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<![CDATA[Pen & Paper Games - Blogs - JP's Iced Tea PBP by jpatterson]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/blog.php/11825-JP-s-Iced-Tea-PBP Pen and Paper Games hosts a very powerful, but easy to seach and join database of players and game masters in the United States and Canada. Our forums are also a great place to find the most recent news, product releases, tips, and rpg discussion. en Sat, 04 Apr 2020 17:25:50 GMT vBulletin 60 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/pnpg_style/misc/rss.jpg <![CDATA[Pen & Paper Games - Blogs - JP's Iced Tea PBP by jpatterson]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/blog.php/11825-JP-s-Iced-Tea-PBP Creating Tabletop RPG Adventures with Random Elements http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1923-Creating-Tabletop-RPG-Adventures-with-Random-Elements Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:12:29 GMT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2V9aRSE4EI ]]> jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1923-Creating-Tabletop-RPG-Adventures-with-Random-Elements Evilution Unchained for Champions/HERO Supers, New Adventure for Sale! http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1916-Evilution-Unchained-for-Champions-HERO-Supers-New-Adventure-for-Sale! Tue, 16 Dec 2014 02:53:47 GMT So, one of our very own PPG members, Pruttm, has got his supers adventure, Evilution Unchained, for Champions Complete/HERO Games, up for sale on... So, one of our very own PPG members, Pruttm, has got his supers adventure, Evilution Unchained, for Champions Complete/HERO Games, up for sale on RPGNow. Most of the art used in it is mine, so I'm doubly proud for him and myself also. Since this is my personal blog here, I'm going to crow about it and say I helped go over it and provide feedback and I can personally attest he has put an unbelievable amount of time and effort into getting this "just right" and I want to do my part to help get interested parties to check the supers adventure out!


jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1916-Evilution-Unchained-for-Champions-HERO-Supers-New-Adventure-for-Sale!
Ghoulblasters - Free Fan System and Adventure http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1904-Ghoulblasters-Free-Fan-System-and-Adventure Tue, 14 Oct 2014 18:33:02 GMT I've uploaded Ghoulblasters, my free restatement of West End Games' Ghostbusters RPG system from the 80s. What ya gonna download?

http://www.penandpapergames.com/foru...do=file&id=135 ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1904-Ghoulblasters-Free-Fan-System-and-Adventure
Temporary PPG Alternate Chat (IRC) http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1866-Temporary-PPG-Alternate-Chat-(IRC) Thu, 15 May 2014 02:24:22 GMT I have set up an IRC chatroom hosted on PPG member Lazarus' site, as an alternate with easy to follow instructions - everything is on this page:

http://peracles-rpg.com/guest/jp/chat/ppg_alt/ ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1866-Temporary-PPG-Alternate-Chat-(IRC)
Why not Visit PPG Chat? New or Old - All are Welcome! http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1851-Why-not-Visit-PPG-Chat-New-or-Old-All-are-Welcome! Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:58:08 GMT Hi there, neighbor, I'm jpatterson (JP for short), a user and chat moderator here on Pen & Paper Games. First off, welcome to the PPG site and forums if you haven't been welcomed! Feel free to post and ask questions, start topics, look for games, make posts looking for games or players or just chat in the Introductions and Offtopic forum categories.

I'd also like to take a moment to turn your attention to PPG's local site chatroom, its activity displayed in real-time at the top of most pages on here, so you can see what's going on and what other PPG members are in chat. All kinds of things go on in chat, from general conversation in the main room, sometimes about gaming and design and various systems, sometimes offtopic, you might even find a simple word game, or anything else, and you'll usually find friendly members posting links to various things or talking about their current projects or games or who-knows-what. Chat also has a pretty sophisticated dice roller like the forums, allowing you to even make exploding dice rolls and do math, plus it also has a newly implemented card draw feature for people that use 54-card decks for any gaming.

Speaking of gaming in chat, there are a handful of private rooms (though they can't be locked or new ones created) that allow players to engage in real-time online chat gaming. Some rooms even have voice and webcam capability for those interested. I have run a normal text-chat campaign of Solomon Kane for the Savage Worlds system in PPG chat, once a week, for over three years, with 2-7 players at varying times, so it is doable.

So if you have some time and are curious, please stop into chat and say hi, ask questions, get to know people, share your experiences, maybe find a game, who knows. Whether you're new to this site, new to gaming or an old hand, you're welcome in PPG chat! See you soon! -JP :cool:

(this topic was also published in off-topic and introductions) ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1851-Why-not-Visit-PPG-Chat-New-or-Old-All-are-Welcome!
The Path of Solomon Kane, Season Six - Play by Post Savage Worlds Campaign http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1839-The-Path-of-Solomon-Kane-Season-Six-Play-by-Post-Savage-Worlds-Campaign Tue, 28 Jan 2014 16:03:34 GMT I've been forced to adapt my Savage Worlds Solomon Kane campaign to play-by-post for the immediate future, until some offline issues "settle down" a bit for me. I hope I'm able to conduct it entertainingly and consistently for my players.

My plan is to conclude "The Lion of Ninn" adventure/plot point/scenario/story arc, and then see if there is interest in continuing into the further "episodes" of Season Six via play by post, or if my players would rather wait for chat to resume.

Here is the link to the Group I created here, for this campaign:

The Path of Solomon Kane, Season Six Play-by-Post Campaign ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1839-The-Path-of-Solomon-Kane-Season-Six-Play-by-Post-Savage-Worlds-Campaign
Online Gem Generator http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1837-Online-Gem-Generator Mon, 20 Jan 2014 22:50:27 GMT Hi everybody, just dropping by to offer this link to a site I have up that has some various random generators for everything from gems to useless... Hi everybody, just dropping by to offer this link to a site I have up that has some various random generators for everything from gems to useless items, technobabble and wrestling moves (and wrestler names and stats). (I know there are a ton of various kinds already on the net, but I feel like some of what I offer may be different than can be found easily and might be useful. A few friends and gamers have used some of them and find them useful on occasion, so I figured I'd share with others here, plus I'm also happy to take feedback and such. Thanks for your time.


PS. I hope to add a jewelry component to the gem generator and maybe have up to four or so gems (all generated using the same script) be able to be inlaid in various valuable materials, for various types of jewelry (bracelet, necklace, etc).

1. Semi-Precious I: a Tiny, Translucent/Poor, Barion cut Chalcedony, Blue Fancy, weighing 0.75 carats and measuring up to 7 mm (0.28 in.), in the shape of a/n Starburst, worth 3.375 silver shillings (4.5 silver shillings per carat).

2. Common Stone: a Tiny, Slight Inclusions/Good, Uncut cut Alabaster, weighing 0.75 carats and measuring up to 3 mm (0.12 in.), in the shape of a/n Arc/rainbow, worth 2.4 silver shillings (3.2 silver shillings per carat).

3. Semi-Precious III: a Small, Transparent/Lacking, Radiant cut Indium, weighing 3 carats and measuring up to 8 mm (0.31 in.), in the shape of a/n Shark, worth 3.41 pounds sterling (22.75 silver shillings per carat).

jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1837-Online-Gem-Generator
Inspiration Pad: Snake Generator http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1818-Inspiration-Pad-Snake-Generator Wed, 21 Aug 2013 23:21:26 GMT These are a few examples from my Snake Generator, which I've converted to Inspiration Pad.
The descriptives use the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay setting, but they can be changed to anything.

Name: Central Thick Moon Moccasin
Length: 43 feet
Diameter: 473.2 inches
Weight: 499 lbs.
Fear of Man: Cozy Home-Visitor
Aggressiveness: Low (Lover-Not-Fighter)
Toxicity: 2 LD50, 1-Low (1 quart may kill a human adult in 24h)

Name: Rhya's Ornate Large Nosed Dawn Asp
Length: 5 feet
Diameter: 34.65 inches
Weight: 37 lbs.
Fear of Man: Often Near Civilization
Aggressiveness: High (Are-You-Looking-At-Me?)
Toxicity: 0 LD50, 0-None (Non-Toxic)

Name: Western Myrmidia's Kislevian Sidewinder Mulga
Length: 20 feet
Diameter: 250.95 inches
Weight: 263 lbs.
Fear of Man: Occasional Guest
Aggressiveness: Moderate (I'll-Be-Your-Huckleberry)
Toxicity: 7 LD50, 2-Slight (1 pint may kill a human adult in 24h)

Name: Eastern Veranna's Dire Rinkhals
Length: 23 feet
Diameter: 326.06 inches
Weight: 340 lbs.
Fear of Man: Infrequent Appearances
Aggressiveness: Very High (Rabid)
Toxicity: 0 LD50, 0-None (Non-Toxic)

Name: Western Lustrian Taipan
Length: 44 feet
Diameter: 658.98 inches
Weight: 685 lbs.
Fear of Man: Infrequent Appearances
Aggressiveness: High (Are-You-Looking-At-Me?)
Toxicity: 0 LD50, 0-None (Non-Toxic)

Name: Southeastern Ranald's Dire Smooth Jumping Rattlesnake
Length: 4 feet
Diameter: 68.04 inches
Weight: 71 lbs.
Fear of Man: Occasional Guest
Aggressiveness: Very Low (Near-Pacifist)
Toxicity: 12 LD50, 2-Slight (1 pint may kill a human adult in 24h)

Name: Eastern Mini Lustrian Habu
Length: 16 feet
Diameter: 146.3 inches
Weight: 156 lbs.
Fear of Man: Infrequent Appearances
Aggressiveness: Moderate (I'll-Be-Your-Huckleberry)
Toxicity: 18 LD50, 3-Moderate (1 oz or 2 tablespoons may kill a human adult in 24h) ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1818-Inspiration-Pad-Snake-Generator
How To Make Paper Miniatures for Tabletop Gaming http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1790-How-To-Make-Paper-Miniatures-for-Tabletop-Gaming Sat, 04 May 2013 00:22:46 GMT I have written a new article on how to make paper miniatures yourself, for free (well, not counting printing and maybe glue or tape). It covers... I have written a new article on how to make paper miniatures yourself, for free (well, not counting printing and maybe glue or tape). It covers choosing images, resolution, sizes, resizing, dimensions, scales, etc. Check it out at my site, Abstruse Decapod!

Abstruse Decapod: Creating Paper Miniatures ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1790-How-To-Make-Paper-Miniatures-for-Tabletop-Gaming
Review - Babwatch RPG http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1752-Review-Babwatch-RPG Tue, 28 Aug 2012 07:15:57 GMT Red speedos and bikinis, hunks and babes saving lives and surfing!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxBdLOfjPL0&feature=plcp ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1752-Review-Babwatch-RPG
Update to my Solomon Kane Savage Worlds Campaign http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1738-Update-to-my-Solomon-Kane-Savage-Worlds-Campaign Tue, 05 Jun 2012 09:57:48 GMT This is just to provide a guidepost for anyone, including myself, on my Solomon Kane campaign I started in Feb of 2011. Currently the site where all... This is just to provide a guidepost for anyone, including myself, on my Solomon Kane campaign I started in Feb of 2011. Currently the site where all the game related information (or at least links to other such locations) can be found is:


The chatlogs may be found in the Adventure Journal section at the bottom, here:

The "series intro" trailer I made Jun 2012 for my current batch of players can be found here:
https://vimeo.com/43431817 ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1738-Update-to-my-Solomon-Kane-Savage-Worlds-Campaign
Visual Building/Room Creation for RPGs: Sweet Home 3D http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1682-Visual-Building-Room-Creation-for-RPGs-Sweet-Home-3D Tue, 10 Jan 2012 16:15:59 GMT Although I posted this on my website, I feel like this is neat enough to reproduce as a blog post here:

So you'd really like to get a good representation of a building or room for your rpg session, to help immerse the players in their characters' situation? There are a number of ways to do that, but here I am going to tout Sweet Home 3D, a free 3d home design application, available on Windows, Mac and Linux.

It seems to be a very tight mix between simple, user-friendly draw-and-drop and more advanced detail-oriented design, for those that want to go that extra step to get things *just right* for their floorplan. At its basic level, you can draw walls (at various angles) and place doors and windows, and designate "rooms" - you can even make round walls, and potentially buildings if I'm understand it correctly. You can choose heights, thicknesses, elevations, colors and textures for the floors and walls and resize and modify about everything in the program. Why textures? Because it has a 3d rendering mode also and even a photograph option, for nicely rendered 3d screenshots, plus there is also a "Visit" mode, where you control a little wireframe guy in the design/plan mode, and in the 3d render window, you can watch as you walk around outside and inside of your creation, to check it over to make sure there aren't any gaps or other problems - this is in addition to the normal overhead camera angles with zoom and pan.

I'm very impressed, especially for something free, and I have no doubt, while it has limits, the ability to import both textures (common graphics files) and even 3d objects, mark this as an app with limitless potential for RPG enthusiasts wishing to easily create their own locations and buildings.

Here is the very start of my own creation, the SugarLoaf Inn, which is a location created for an adventure I wrote sometime back - I'd like to see a finished version of the concept I have in my head, and Sweet Home 3D is just the program to allow me to make that happen. I recommend anyone interested in adding this type of detail to their games check this out!

Initial Stage of My Design: Full-Sized Image

Link/URL: Sweet Home 3D ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1682-Visual-Building-Room-Creation-for-RPGs-Sweet-Home-3D
<![CDATA["True to Life" Experience in an RPG]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1629-quot-True-to-Life-quot-Experience-in-an-RPG Fri, 01 Jul 2011 18:15:28 GMT Is it hard to find "realism" or "true to life" experience delivered in an RPG? First - do you want it?

I think, first of all, it depends on the game you're in, and what expectations you were given, before you joined. If you joined with the promise or idea that it would be "true to life", regardless of what the genre/setting was, then yes, it definitely should be as close to what you expect as possible.

However, the player also has a lot to do with this, in not making assumptions, and is responsible, if verisimilitude (quality of realism) is high on his or her priorities, for asking the GM specifically about the level of reliable and consistent realism, in knowing what the player can expect. No GM can be "perfect" in his or her delivery of "product" every time, but a GM should be honest and if they really can't say they know how well they're able to deliver a certain experience, that should be their response: "I will try my best to give my players X, but I'm pretty new to GMing" or something along those lines, and it is up to the player to take the risk or not.

The player can also talk the level of realism over with other players before the game starts for the first time, if able, finding out their preferences, and seeing which way the game overall is likely to lean, as a group full of people that enjoy high-impact, low-maintenance action movie games are unlikely to be too keen on counting every bullet or making sure they have enough food and water for every day.

That said, in respect to the last point, some games lend themselves more to "true to life" than others, as a general rule: superhero games, being usually comic-book based, are highly stylized and though they vary, sometimes don't even bother with much gear or character development at all, making a lot of broad assumptions, in favor of the "four color/two-dimensional" flavor of the world of superheroes. Gritty supers are popular also, though, and some will be more to some players' tastes than others, and will be much more unforgiving and strict in not just day-to-day inventory but also more abstract things like moral codes and collateral damage.

The same goes for any genre; modern, future, fantasy, post-apocalyptic, horror or anything else. It is best for the player to research the game system being used if possible, to see what level of realism it "natively" supports, which, while it isn't a guarantee, is at least a starting point to help judge the probability of finding a game with a desired level of realism. ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1629-quot-True-to-Life-quot-Experience-in-an-RPG
My Barbarians of Lemuria: Legendary Edition Character http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1601-My-Barbarians-of-Lemuria-Legendary-Edition-Character Sat, 23 Apr 2011 15:50:23 GMT Kel, Male, Beshaari Desert-Dweller, Race of Man, Wandering Hero Attributes: Str 1, Agl 1, Mind 1, Appeal 1 Combat Abilities: Brawl 0, Melee 1,... Kel, Male, Beshaari Desert-Dweller, Race of Man, Wandering Hero
Attributes: Str 1, Agl 1, Mind 1, Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0, Melee 1, Ranged 1, Defense 2
Careers: Barbarian 1, Hunter 2, Peasant 0, Healer 1
Boons: Beastfriend, Keen Eyesight +1d
Flaws: Landlubber -1d sea
LifeBlood (LB): 12
HeroPoints (HP): 5
Languages (S/R/W): Besharri, Lemurian
Armor: Light d6-2 - battle harness, loincloth, boots, bracers, bronze crownband
Weapons: fist/wrestle d2+, 2h hand-carved family baobab staff d6+1, thrown janium caber d6-2, sling d6-2
Gear: water bladder, wooden tankard, blanket and bedroll,
Other: Aruk the sandrunner (riding ostrich) P84?
Gods: Hurm (All), Zalkyr (Sun), Dyr (Storms), Chiomalla (Crops/Harvest), Quathhoomar (Travel)

http://www.therpf.com/attachments/f9...448d1249683593 ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1601-My-Barbarians-of-Lemuria-Legendary-Edition-Character
My Gaming Group http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1595-My-Gaming-Group Fri, 15 Apr 2011 01:07:21 GMT Although not a game I prefer, this does show me and the majority of my gaming group, including ColdBard, playing Magic: The Gathering, April 11,... Although not a game I prefer, this does show me and the majority of my gaming group, including ColdBard, playing Magic: The Gathering, April 11, 2011.

Me in the yellow. To my right is Ska Daddy the Nephilim. To his left is the Treant. In the foreground is TMI Cold Bard and hiding in the shadows like a ninja behind him is HobgobliRob. ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1595-My-Gaming-Group
Solomon Kane Chatlog, Session 5 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1583-Solomon-Kane-Chatlog-Session-5 Sat, 02 Apr 2011 06:16:54 GMT So I ran Session 5 of Solomon Kane, the first real beginnings for the Wanderers, on a definite beginning of a quest to find their destinies. I'm... not sure what I think. I forgot to save Session 4. I'm certain this adventure should have only been 1 session long, but it's going to run 3 (hope to GOD it doesn't exceed that, or I've done something horribly, horribly wrong) - and no combat in it so far. I feel like I've failed somewhere, very badly, but the players that stuck around seemed to have enjoyed it so far, so I'm at a loss.

My Solomon Kane RPG Wiki Page

Current Adventure Log

Solomon Kane Session 5 Chatlog PDF (at Googledocs) ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1583-Solomon-Kane-Chatlog-Session-5
Feng Shui Actual Play: Heart of Darkness http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1580-Feng-Shui-Actual-Play-Heart-of-Darkness Sun, 20 Mar 2011 06:50:13 GMT I don't remember when I ran the first part, sometime in 2010, before October, but I got a chance to finish the adventure up for my players - FINALLY! David Eber's Heart of Darkness.

NOTE: Spoilers below, so if you are or will be a player in the adventure, it is best not to read this. I'm summarizing both sessions into one, and combining two groups, which consisted of a few different characters, for simplicity.

Adventure: Heart of Darkness - David Eber
Available: Free - Fortress of Shadow: http://www.fortressofshadow.org/adv/
Date Run: 3/18/2011
Thoughts: Overall pretty good, though a somewhat weak hook, and an extraordinarily WEAK end/lack of logical planning for heroic characters

Characters: 2 Ninjas (Cho Sakugi, Terry Aki), 2 Martial Artists (Teros, Wii Dong), 1 Ex-Special Forces (Zao)
Thoughts: No idea WHY they chose like this, but it's interesting from a psychology point of view, as I have all 59 official types plus all the fan types available to my players, and even though they only picked out of the 26 in the core book, two still duplicated other players' choices.

Scene 1: Characters hired by "St. Martin" in Wherever, Hong Kong.
He charters them a flight to Laguerno, from there they would take a riverboat, the Luisa, down the Amazon, to retrieve the Heart of Darkness, a rumored magical football-sized obsidian gem, paying each PC $10,000 per week plus expenses, and researching one avenue of information they desire, to be awarded upon completion of their task.

Scene 2: Laguerno Bar Brawl with DaCosta Thugs, hired by main villain, Xian.
The PCs were overall ready as the thugs approached the bar, at least six of them, looking up to no good, but they remained seated, but quickly flipped tables into the aggressor's faces and broke into action with fists and close weapons, but a dozen more were on their way, and the Luisa's captain urged them out the back door to his boat, as, no matter how good the PCs were, at some point, there just wasn't going to be enough skill to hold off that many. Ninja "Cho Sakugi" pinned Roberto DaCosta's hand to the bar with his own knife and escaped out the back door with the others.

Scene 3: DaCosta Pirate Attack on the River.
The DaCosta's boat, crewed by Juan DaCosta and 10 pirates armed with assault rifles, and the boat being smaller and faster than the Luisa riverboat, requires the Luisa's captain, DeQuerioz, to prepare for combat, unable to outrun the pirates. 2 fast-moving skimmers with outboard motors and holding 4 pirates with shotguns, and 4 jet skis with 1 pilot and 1 submachinegunner each, harry the PC's riverboat. One ninja, Terry Aki, mans the 50 cal mounted deck gun, missing everything he aims at, the entire combat. A few of the Luisa's crew take out a few of the pirates with rifles, shotguns and handguns, and some are also taken down by same - the captain and the first mate are engaged in the combat along with their men, while the pirate captain and his boat stay back out of the fray. One of the martial artists, Wii Dong, leaps from the rail of the Luisa to a passing jetski - and misses, plunging into the river. Undaunted, he bobs back up, and in true action hero fashion, snags the leg of a gunner on a passing jetski, pulls himself up, tosses the man overboard and then also kicks the driver overboard to take the controls, and ramps the vehicle off of another jetski, capsizing two more men, and crashes it into one of the skimmers, sending four more pirates flying into the water. While that is going on, Cho Sakugi has swam to the pirate boat and placed a well-aimed shot at a collection of flammable barrels onboard, causing a mini explosion near the bow that blows a number of men into the water, and sets the rest of the boat on fire. Men come running to the side of the boat but the ninja has already disappeared back underwater. Later, back at the Luisa, which has finally repelled her attackers, the ninja Sakugi and his companions watch as the pirate's boat explodes in a fireball, leaving the PC's freedom to continue down the river.

Interlude: The Netherworld.
The Luisa enters a canopy of trees and eventually rock, even overhead, having asended into the underworld, known only to the Luisa's captain and her crew. In a cavern, an ancient Chinese warship appears and a squeaky voiced figure promises death, then the ship withdraws into the mist as a torrent of bubbles appear off the Luisa's bow.

Scene 4: Death of a Thousand Tentacles.
One of the martial artists, Teros, dumps a barrel of fuel over the front of the ship, much to the captain's dismay, and Zeo, the Ex-Special Forces soldier, places a well-aimed shot, just as dozens of tentacles shoot out of the water and slam onto the ship, crushing wood and bones and dragging people and debris into the water. The barrel's explosion fades as gunfire, swords and other bladed implements flash into action as flaming tentacles writhe around in pain and slam to and fro chaotically. The captain is grabbed by a ropey squid-like appendage the thickness of a man's arm, but Teros slices him free with a bladed fishing spear, then attempts to hault two more barrels of fuel into a fishing net and over the side of the boat but loses his balance and loses precious time, keeping himself from falling into almost certain death in a swirling mass of tentacles below. A stalactite, loosened from the earlier explosion, plummets from the cavern ceiling, smashing into the Luisa's engine, causing a fire and rolling black smoke. One of the ninjas uses his mechanical knowledge to take the power leads from the boat's generator and give the monster an electric jolt, stunning it, allowing everyone a chance to breathe and an extra attack. A few more slices from katanas and large scaling knives and the wounded creature from the depths decided it has had enough with this prey, and the oozing tentacles slither back into the water and disappear into the darkness below, taking one last crewman as it does.

Interlude: Uptaki Village.
Captain DeQuerioz informs the PCs they will have to stop at the Uptaki village to resupply and repair, plus recheck his charts and figure out what to do, since a barrel of fuel was lost (accusing look at the martial artist), but the Uptaki challenge strangers to prove themselves worthy to pass, believing themselves to be the guardians of the realm of the dead - the Captain and his crew have already done so, but the PCs have not. The chieftain and shaman meet the PCs as the ship moors at the village dock, and the Captain translates that at least two tests must be passed if the group is to be allowed to proceed - combat, sorcery or storytelling. The shaman looks disappointed there are no sorcerers among the newcomers to test his abilities, and sighs, his shoulders sagging. Two of the PCs, the two martial artists, choose to participate in the Challenge of Combat, while ninja Cho Sakugi decides to participate in the Challenge of Storytelling. Though normally the Challenges are one-on-one affairs, Teros counter-suggests a team combat. The Chieftain, intrigued and impressed, agreed heartily, and calls his two best champions, armed with swords, while the martial artists are armed with a staff and a pair of nunchaku. The combat actually does proceed more or less as individual fights, as the two pairs never really cross paths, but they both occur simultaneously, something not usually done. The tribe gathers around and sends up chants, cheers and shouts of encouragement in their tongue, while a steady, deep thumping rhythm is kept by drummers, increasing in tempo as the combat goes on.

Martial artist Teros fights his opponent, Tek, up the steps of one of the tribe's Aztec-like pyramids, where he sweeps the man's leg with his staff, sending him to land flat on his back two stories below. Choosing to stay on solid ground in the more traditional center combat ring in the village square, martial artist Wii Dong seems matched with his foe, Tak, to begin with, until he sidesteps behind and gets his opponent in a choke with his nunchaku, then sweeps his leg from behind. But the wily native spins on the ground and also sweeps his opponent, taking him down as well, and the two struggle on the ground, kicking and punching each other. Back at the temple, Tek grabs his sword up and runs back up the steps only to have Teros give him a solid thump on the head with a leaping quarterstaff attack from a dozen steps above him, sending him crumpling backward onto the ground in a heap. The other native champion, Tak, misses with another sweep attack as Wii Dong kips up to his feet, then takes an unstoppable Lightning Fist, immediately knocking him unconscious and ending the fight. The native reaction is a mix of disappointment of their champions losing, and an exciting fight, and the warrior spirits displayed by the newcomers, who have proven themselves.

The ninja, Cho Sakugi, is shortly invited to regale the tribe with his story, for which he chose to use his knowledge of fine art, specifically the antique weaponry and honor and history of the warrior culture of Japan, which suitably impresses and intrigues the tribe, enough that both the shaman and chieftain are willing to talk further with the ninja, who asks about the Heart of Darkness. Through the continued interpreting of Captain DeQuerioz, the chief and shaman relate the Heart of Darkness is a "heap big" pile of bad news and should be avoided at all cost and left where it is - no good will come of having anything to do with it. When pressed further, he will shrug and direct the PCs to the island where it is kept, saying there is a group of "holy men" with their temple there, that are the keepers of the gem, but again, it is there for a reason and should be left alone. The tribe believes it to be immensely powerful, and while not necessarily evil, potentially very dangerous and therefore there's no reason to mess with it. After other small talk, and a day or so of resupplying, resting and healing for both natives and PCs, the crew of the Luisa are free to head on to the island.

Scene 5: The Temple.
The Luisa approaches the island with a small Shaolin monastary in its center; they also hear the sound of fighting. The Chinese warship is anchored near the temple and pirates armed with swords and pistols are fighting a small group of young Shaolin Disciples, who appear to be holding their own, armed only with staves. Captain DeQuerioz refuses to get involved in the battle and instead will pull his boat around to the other side of the island to allow anyone out, and will wait there.
The heroes decide to split up, with the two ninjas disembarking and heading for the temple, while Wii Dong and Zao, rowing to the warship with a makeshift bomb built from materials scrounged from the Luisa, and Teros stays on board the boat. The two in the boat set a short timer and pitch the bomb abovedeck, where it explodes into a small but expansive incendiary, setting the deck and sails on fire, and claiming a few men. Wii Dong focuses his Chi and breaks a hole in the outer hull of the enemy's ship, and the two men manage to clear away enough broken boards to make a hole large enough to fit through. Sighing, the Martial Artist realizes he needs to punch through a secondary interior hull to gain access to the inside of the ship. As he does so, a figure in robes flutters down behind them in mid-air, from the deck, and drives a lightning bolt into the hole. The soldier returns fire but the bullets bounce off an invisible shield - the two recover and decide to return to their rowboat and make their way back to land. The flying robed figure sees his deck on fire but also sees something occurring at the temple, and flies off rapidly in that direction.

At the temple, the ninjas search the structure and finally come to the central chamber, intricately carved and decorated with mirrors, chimes, bells and other decorations obviously designed in an incredibly complex system of feng shui interposition. At the center of the room they see a football sized chunk of black obsidian, and feel waves, like magnetic pulses, almost physical, emanating from the object. As one approaches the gem, a short, wizened asian man in the robes of a Shaolin master steps from behind the pedestal, where they had checked more than once, his arms folded behind his back calmly. He asks them their business there and when told they are there to protect the Heart from those there to take it, he smiles and says he appreciates it, but he is the Guardian and is specially appointed to that task himself. They ask if he would let them take it for safekeeping, to which he says no. Cho Sakugi, deciding the gem is too powerful to risk falling into the hands of either villains or even corrupt neutrals, such as the people that hired them, decides to open fire on it with his automag. But the Shaolin Master's speed is deceptive, and he walks into the path of the bullets - but uses uncanny reaction and his silken robes to slightly deflect the trajectory. The bullets, though they still strike the Heart, do not impact it directly, but spin it off its perch and send it rolling across the floor, causing a wave of disorienting energy to rush outward as it impacts the temple floor.

Terry Aki grabs the gem up, barely fighting off a wave of nausea as he makes contact with the object. The Master grabs quickly for it and also gets his hand on it, and fends off Cho Sakugi's bare handed strike. In the doorway, a robed figure flutters to a landing from the sky and walks in, throwing streams of fire at everyone. The two ninjas turn their attention to the newcomer, as ninja Terry Aki thrusts the gem at the Master, who, surprised, loses his balance a moment, but recovers his footing. Gunfire and martial arts attacks are mostly met with arcane energies that deflect them by Xian, the short, pot-bellied eunucn sorcerer with the squeaky voice. "This will be the death for all of you!" he shrieks shrilly, throwing lightning at ninja Terry Aki, who is driven back into a stone column but recovers. Wii Dong and the soldier show up in the door and the sorcerer is surrounded, as the Master takes the gem and begins running around the interior of the chamber like an ancient football player, using the stone stone beams as steps, avoiding the sorcerer. Xian, enraged, casts a spray of acid, hitting two of the heroes, but Teros shows up announced in the doorway behind the sorcerer and strikes him twice in the back of the head with a wooden staff, sending him to the floor, unconscious. The Master, being in proximity of the powerful gem too long, is overcome by its properties and loses consciousness, falling heavily to the floor from a height, the tough jewel skittering to a halt near Terry Aki, who stoops to retrieve the gem but as he touches it, his eyes flutter and he falls to the floor unconscious.

Everyone mutually decides the initial assessment was correct, that the gem is too dangerous to be allowed to exist, and a chaotic rain of destruction of hand weapons, barefisted martial arts and firearms attacks pulverizes it. Terry Aki retrieves a small fragment and the group decides to retreat at the temple itself, and the cave over the entire island begins to shake and collapse, stalactites falling dangerously close. As the heroes near their boat, they see a group of four betentacled, slithering, spined abominations advancing on the Luisa, and waste no timing diving into combat, to get it taken care of so they can get out before the whole place comes down around their ears. Although the grotesque beasts are fearsome looking and very strong, they are ungainly and inept, and present little challenge for the impatient heroes, who tear through them, slicing off tentacles and arms alike; even Captain DeQuerioz makes a one-in-a-million shot from the deck of the Luisa, sending a bullet into the eye and brain of one of the creatures, previously unharmed, killing it instantly. With a last strike, the heroes board the Luisa, whose engines roar to life and the boat speeds back into the tunnels and caverns on its way out of the Netherworld and to the Amazon.

Conclusion: Laguerno.
The heroes return to meet with St. Martin in Laguerno, delivering only the fragment, claiming that was all there was of the fabled Heart of Darkness. The British man looks at the tiny shard, then at the heroes, and frowns severely and suspiciously. "Are... you sure...? This doesn't... seem right. You found nothing else? This is the Heart of Darkness?" The heroes all nod in agreement. St. Martin sighs and looks at them through narrowed eyes. "Very well. You have performed your services as requrested. Here are your rewards, as promised." He nods to two thick bodyguards in his office, who open attache cases, as another opens a case to receive the fragment of the Heart. Money and folders of information for each hero are given over, and St. Martin adds, before everyone leaves. "Oh, also, I offer you the hospitality of a two week vacation in my own condo in Rio - all expenses paid of course, in extra appreciation for your services. A sampling of my gratitude." He smiles thinly and awaits their answer. Terry Aki looks briefly at Cho Sakugi and the others before answering. "Well... that is most appreciated, but we will have to unfortunately decline, all the same. Lot of things to do, information to follow up, money to spend. We have a lot of more Shui to Feng, but thanks again. Have a good day." St. Martin nods unreadably as the heroes file out of the office and a guard closes the door behind them. ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1580-Feng-Shui-Actual-Play-Heart-of-Darkness
My Gaming Resume 3/7/2011 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1573-My-Gaming-Resume-3-7-2011 Tue, 08 Mar 2011 00:04:29 GMT JPatterson's Gaming Resume as of Mar 7, 2011:
abbreviation: ~5 on = approximately 5 sessions online

For info on a game, check out John Kim's "An Encylopedia of Roleplaying Games"

General Overview:
I enjoy rules-lite to rules-medium games; not necessarily "hack and slash", but cinematic and active when possible, both as a player and as a GM, cool is the rule - the more awesome, the better - implausible but applause-worthy stunts are terrific!

While I like players to feel free to do stunts and come up with big ideas, they need to share the spotlight with each other, and ALSO to remember there IS a plot/story backdrop to play against and solve also, and obstacles to overcome. The GM puts the obstacles and plot there FOR the players and their characters, for those characters to demonstrate their best qualities, whatever the players feel those are, however the players play them. The adventures are ABOUT the characters, because they are the ones DOING them, but their goal, is about whatever the objective of the adventure is.

What percentage of my games are RP vs Combat? 50%/50%? What do the other GM's say? I really want to win that car. Seriously though, what do you consider RP? Climbing a mountain or sneaking into a castle past the guards? Besting a wizard in a battle of wits? Winning a debate with the mayor, charming the princess, convincing the townsfolk not to lynch the witch? Planning out your next route to the Forbidden Mines? The amount of combat and RP is really mostly up to the players, so I can only say 50/50 because I can't really predict what will happen.

I'm not fond of fiddly rules, lots of fluff, convoluted restrictions and monotonous tactical quibbling - I like cool narrative and clever ideas - those win out every time.

Recent/Current Games I GM:
Feng Shui (Atlas Games), ~5, ~15 on
Solomon Kane (Pinnacle Games Savage Worlds), ~5 on (~10 SW total)
Wushu (Dan Bayn), ~3, ~10 on

Previous Games I've Gamemastered:
AD&D 2E (TSR), many sessions irl, but with no formality, structure or seriousness
Barbarians of Lemuria (Basic and Legend), ~3
Call of Cthulhu (Chaosium BRP), ~10, ~3 on
Chill (Mayfair Games), ~1-2, ~3 on
DC Heroes (Mayfair Games), ~1-2
Dungeons & Dragons Redbox/BECMI (TSR), many sessions irl, but no formality/structure/seriousness
Star Trek original series (FASA), ~1-2
Warhammer Fantasy Role Play 1+2E (Games Workshop/Fantasy Flight Games), ~10

Games I'm Interested In:
Basic Action Super Heroes - BASH (Basic Action Games)
Basic Role Playing (Chaosium)
Broadsword (Deep7)
Cartoon Action Hour (Zman Games, Cynthia Celeste Miller)
Hong Kong Action Theater (Guardians of Order)
Mini-Six (AntiPaladin)/OpenD6
Tri-Stat DX (Guardians of Order)

Games I've Played:
All Flesh Must Be Eaten (Eden Games), 1 session irl
Barbarians of Lemuria (Basic and Legend), ~3
Champions (R Talsorian Games), ~3
Dangerous Journeys (Gary Gygax, Game Designers' Workshop), 1
Dark Conspiracy (Game Designers' Workshop - also own), 1
Dragon Magazine's Boxed Collection, ~5
Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 (Wizards of the Coast), ~12, ~on
Dungeons & Dragons 4.0 (Wizards of the Coast), ~12 on
Ghostbusters (West End Games D6), 1
Middle Earth Role Playing (Iron Crown Enterprises), 1
Nephilim (Chaosium), 1
Paranoia (West End Games), 2
Pathfinder (Paizo), 1 on
Pendragon (Chaosium), ~2
Prime Directive (Task Force Games - also own), ~2
Runequest (Chaosium D100), ~8
Serenity (Sovereign Press Cortex), 1
Shadowrun (FASA D6 Dice Pool), ~4
Star Trek: The Next Generation (Last Unicorn Games), 2
Star Wars (West End Games D6), ~5 off
Tales of the Floating Vagabond (Avalon Hill), 1 (tipsy)
Toon (Steve Jackson - also own), 1
Traveler (Game Designers' Workshop), 1 (convention)
Twilight 2000 (Game Designers' Workshop - also own), 1
Window, 1

Games I Own But Haven't Played:
Batman RPG (Mayfair Games)
Expendables (Stellar Games)
GURPS, Car Wars (Steve Jackson)
Hahlmabrea (Sutton Hoo Games)
It Came From the Late, Late, Late Show (Stellar Games)
Judge Dredd (Games Workshop)
Marvel Superheroes (TSR)
Men In Black (West End Games)
Necroscope/Masterbook (West End Games)
Palladium RPG (Palladium)
Quick and the Dead, the (White Wolf)
Rolemaster (Iron Crown Enterprises)
Shades of Fantasy (HinterWelt Enterprises)
Super Squadron (Adventure Simulations)
Swordbearer (Heritage Models)
Tabloid (TSR Amazing Engine)
Talislanta (Bard Games)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Palladium)

The Horror:
And just in case you're curious, I also created a character for FATAL, using a spreadsheet and 3 hours of my life I'll never get back. ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1573-My-Gaming-Resume-3-7-2011
<![CDATA[Atlas Games Releases Free "Dragon's Heirs" Official Archetypes PDF]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1497-Atlas-Games-Releases-Free-quot-Dragon-s-Heirs-quot-Official-Archetypes-PDF Wed, 05 Jan 2011 15:13:05 GMT I'm glad this PDF is finally done and up on the Atlas site - nice to see it up there, and I appreciate the help from the co-author Jay and the other resources provided from other members there and some here as well; I couldn't have put it all together without the help. Blurb follows:

Hey all, anyone interested in the Feng Shui RPG might find the following useful, as Atlas Games has uploaded a free PDF which compiles brief summaries of each of their 59 official archetypes into one resource for players and GMs alike. I admit a vested interest in "plugging" this, as I'm the main author. Anyway, I hope it proves a handy supplement to FS players.

The Dragon's Heirs ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1497-Atlas-Games-Releases-Free-quot-Dragon-s-Heirs-quot-Official-Archetypes-PDF
Wushu Pick-Up Game http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1472-Wushu-Pick-Up-Game Sun, 12 Dec 2010 22:49:33 GMT I'm in the process of running a pick-up game of Wushu here in PPG chat, for a few players, including Pieh and ak47 and others; bog-standard quick fantasy adventure. We'll see how it goes. Here are some example PCs.

Lurg Ugghrugger
Ogre Brute
Smash Things 5
Thick Hide 4
Intimidating Demeanor 2
Friend of a Boar 3
Weakness: Too Big
Honor: 2

Blademastery 4
Ninjitsu 4
Gadgets 3
Self-Reliant 3
Honor: 4
Weakness: 1-Can't Refuse Challenge ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1472-Wushu-Pick-Up-Game
Savage Worlds Hellfrost Chat Game: First Session Schedule http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1469-Savage-Worlds-Hellfrost-Chat-Game-First-Session-Schedule Fri, 10 Dec 2010 21:48:39 GMT Nobody has really replied about the timeframe for the Savage Worlds game so I'm setting the schedule for:

Savage Worlds Chat Hellfrost Chat Game:

Monday, Dec 13, 8PM CST/GMT -6 (6 PST, 7 MST, 9 EST)

If anyone has any last minute adjustments, please contact me before then. Thanks! -JP ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1469-Savage-Worlds-Hellfrost-Chat-Game-First-Session-Schedule
I Ran a Savage Worlds Hellfrost Tabletop Game http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1458-I-Ran-a-Savage-Worlds-Hellfrost-Tabletop-Game Sun, 28 Nov 2010 10:17:09 GMT It took four hours from character creation to end of adventure, including stopping to eat home cooking at my friend's house, for he and his stepson and nephew, and everyone thought it was awesome and pretty simple - everyone liked it, and maybe it was the simple adventure I picked, but it was easy to run as well.

The different dice types all get used a lot and can be a bit confusing at first, and always using a "Wild Die" for all your rolls except damage also confused people a few times, but overall, it has a lot of options and depth, but is still simple enough there aren't a whole lot of complications unless you go looking for specific complexities for specific needs, and then you can use them if you need to, but they aren't required, which is something I like about the system.

Although I had them make Hellfrost characters, I ran a generic adventure to get used to the game, and it went just fine, except I hadn't printed out all the spells for my friend's Druid so I had to wing his Shapechange, Entangle and Summon Wood Elemental spells, but it turns out I was pretty close, so I'm pretty proud of my improv there.

I DID flub fairly badly on the actual combat with the damage Soak and Spirit rolls for recovering from Shaken and Wound results. When you take damage, you're Shaken, period, end of story - you don't get an immediate roll to resist it - you get to make a Spirit roll at the beginning of your turn to slough that off, or you can pay a Benny (like a Fortune Point) to instantly remove it. When you take damage (a Wound), if the damage actually exceeded your Toughness and armor, you don't get any sort of defense roll unless you spend a Benny - you're Wounded, period, end of story, and if the enemy gets Raises (every 4 pips over the Target Number, in this case, your Parry), he inflicts more Wounds, to a max of 4, when you become Incapacitated. I allowed my players to Soak and Recover immediately for no cost, which explains why nobody took any damage.

Unfortunately for anyone playing in my chat game when I run it, I now have probably made my worst initial player-benefitting mistakes there, and won't make them again, so while the game is simple and geared toward higher cinematics, it is still an RPG and failure is possible - BUT, my players rolled a LOT of Aces, the max you can roll on a die, and got to roll again and add the new roll to the previous one; that got them a LOT of successes on a lot of things. My friend never did botch his spellcasting rolls which would have resulted in a roll on the magical disaster table. I look forward to seeing how that looks in action! ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1458-I-Ran-a-Savage-Worlds-Hellfrost-Tabletop-Game
Savage Worlds Hellfrost Chat Game In Works, Review http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1452-Savage-Worlds-Hellfrost-Chat-Game-In-Works-Review Mon, 22 Nov 2010 21:47:43 GMT Hello, sometime soon to-be-announced, I am going to be running a one-shot game in the P&PG chatroom of Pinnacle Games' Savage Worlds' system using Triple Ace Games' Hellfrost fantasy setting, and would like anyone who wants to play, to make characters and post them in the following thread on my Iced Tea PBP Group like Pieh has done with his Frost Dwarf Ice Rigger.


I have created a Hellfrost Wiki (spelled wikki because I'm an idiot) for people to learn the rules and character creation, magic, gear and everything else, which you can find here:


I will be running a one-shot because I have not run a realtime chat game before so I don't know how it will go or how long it will take or how well myself or the players will take to it, so if I do even more than one, I will stick to single session one-shots for a while until we all get used to it before I commit to any sort of lengthy idea like a "campaign". I am usually in the chatroom in the afternoons to evenings if anyone is interested and would like to make characters or has questions.

The adventure will start with the PCs answering a flyer for work, posted in the town of Aslov, promising coin for those of stout heart, able to handle themselves on the road and not afraid of "adventure" - they were to meet the contact at the Four Sheaves Tavern, and found others at the same inn, also answering the flyer for work.

Also I have created a review for the Savage Worlds system but I don't know if Farcaster has to approve it or what. ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1452-Savage-Worlds-Hellfrost-Chat-Game-In-Works-Review
Imagi...Imagi...whut? http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1341-Imagi-Imagi-whut Tue, 31 Aug 2010 19:58:28 GMT C'mere for a second. I don't want to say anything in front of... you know... the other guy. He's a nice guy, and an okay player, mostly. He knows the rules pretty well, he can make characters, he tries to get into the game, I think... I guess... maybe. But I've been thinking... there's something about the way he plays, the way he talks about the game... I think I know what's wrong.

Do you remember when you first started playing RPGs, and reading sci-fi or fantasy, watching awesome movies and shows, reading comic books, or even writing, or drawing, your own stuff? Making up your own awful, or awesome games? Did you read adventure gamebooks? Lone Wolf, Zork, Endless Quest, D&D, Sagard, Wizards and Warriors, Fighting Fantasy, Choose Your Own Adventure?

Do you remember imagining being someone else, somewhere else, doing something else? Seeing scenes in your mind's eye, either in a fully immersive, sit-back-and-close-your-eyes exercise, or just while you were staring off into space, while not doing homework, while someone was droning on?

When was the last time you truly used, focused on, for any significant length of time, your imagination; your active, conscious, willful, artistic creativity, to get back in touch with that ability to appreciate the wonder that you yourself can create and bring forth, all from within yourself? Were you ever able to do that? Did you ever do that? Can you still do it? Do you do it when you game, as player or GM? Will you do it?

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day, we'll call him Ted. His 15 year old stepson, eh, name him Brent, has played games with us enough to understand the basics of a few systems, how gaming works, including GMing, and even ran a few sessions of Warhammer FRP 2nd Edition adventures from some of the more famous campaigns, and I thought, did pretty good - he's a little rough around the edges in places, as player and GM, but for 15, he's got a good grasp and has the dedication to sit down and work on NPCs and go over the adventures he's going to run, when he wants to, to prepare.

So Brent is starting to GM for his group of friends, about 3-5 kids around his age, give or take a couple of years. He essentially observed that he felt one of the main problems with his group was that, besides them not being previously acquainted with RPGs, besides online (MMORPGs/WoW etc) or console games (that's all for another post), he felt they just really didn't seem to have the ability to <em>imagine</em>.

Granted, that's just Brent's opinion, and potentially carries some bias and he's not exactly a trained psychologist, but from the standpoint of his experience with gaming, I think he might have enough authority in this particular subject to be able to at least "diagnose" that much of an issue, if it's as obvious as he thinks it is. His friends do not fit the "gamer mold" as most of the rest of us (Brent, me, my friend Ted, my cousins, the group to which I and my friend belonged) - voracious readers, interests in psychology, philosophy, trivia, history, arts, various sci-fi/fantasy, various analytical pursuits or aspects of the games themselves (his is the in-game hierarchy, intrigue, etc., mine's mechanics). Brent's friends aren't really readers except for one who's also a Star Wars fanatic, one's a sports nut, etc. In a way it's neat to see out-of-the-ordinary "types" (for us anyway) interested in gaming, but in another, it's a real head-scratcher as to how to deal with them or explain things.

Brent's statement about the lack of imagination made me think about when he started gaming, and when my own cousins started, and when I started, and I think his observation is probably not just valid but significant. When I was in 7th grade, our science teacher did a guided imagery exercise where we closed our eyes and imagined what it was like to be an animal as a rainstorm came up - we had to run (or fly) for shelter - the smell of the rain, the cooling breeze coming in, the sound of the drops and wind, the other animals also scampering for cover, the intensifying breeze, flashes of lightning, booming thunder, all that. This was at least 20 minutes, maybe longer. I just thought this was one of the most awesome things I had ever experienced in school, as I was already playing RPGs at this time and realized at that time most of the other kids probably didn't do anything that would lead them into anything that would ever give them the cause to do anything even remotely similar to that, and likely they never would again.

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I flashed forward back to Brent's statement about his friends and I realized that it's quite possible that his friends, now that they had matured into self-awareness and long out of the influence of the toddler "imagination" stage, had no real practice in engaging their imagination, as they had no cause to do so. They didn't read, only one drew or wrote; they most all played video games, but everything is already rendered very concretely for you. The only thing I could call to mind that might fire their imaginations was music so I hope they at least have that.

But again, I thought back and realized at the time of the animal visualization, even though I played RPGs and I did some peripheral visualization and wrote my own stuff and drew, I really didn't do all that much true imagining either. Everything was always fuzzy and vague, and still is. I think that's why that exercise was so awesome to me, because it was a true novelty even for me, because I was able to appreciate how it could fully be applied and its use in something, rather than just "This is cool but what good does it do?" like the other kids probably thought.

When I gamed, GM or player, it was always a mesh of mental calculations of game mechanics, narration and vague mental image of the current action - I never fully clarified in my mind the full scene, it was always just a snapshot or a video clip of what was going on, like <* SCENE: Pit Fighter throws Dwarf Trollslayer through window into goblin crossbowman *>. Sometime it would just be a hazy face or general outline, especially if I didn't get a good idea of an NPC or creature from a description - it's more used as a placeholder in my head, than for imagination purposes, just to categorize things for how and when I deal with them.

And I wondered about that. The whole point of games is having fun and I realize it comes down to what your definition of fun is, and not only that, I think it depends on WHICH definition of "fun" you're going to choose each time you sit down to play. Some days you're in a "standard gaming fun" mood, character sheet, dice, pencil and whatever else, and there's nothing wrong with that at all.

But there is the more primitive but no less valid definition of "fun" - it isn't about leveling up, hording coins, sucking up XP, buying new implements of destruction, slaying monsters, figuring out stats, or how many inches a feat lets you jump or how much damage you can do - not really; gaming, like any entertainment, are about escapism, and they're about losing yourself, letting the books and numbers and dice and everything fall away, enjoying sharing the same make-believe world for a few hours with other people and everyone getting along and loving the whole experience of being able to be somebody totally different.

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So, when you make that warrior or knight character, maybe you see him on a horse, okay... but... can you see YOU on the horse? Have you ever tried it? Is there a difference in first and second or third person point-of-view imagination scenes? How much does it change our emotional investment? Our enjoyment? Our appreciation? Can you imagine looking down from the view of the lush expanse of deep green meadow and the far distant lavender mountain range and dark silhouetted tower, and grabbing the saddle horn in your gloved hand, feeling and hearing the soft leather creak slightly as your grip tightens, while the bit and bridle jingle musically, and your whole body is jarred rhythmically as the eager horse trots forward in surprise, anticipating your tugging on the reins? Can you see your own royal blue velour tabard cascading from your body?

I think Brent's friends, and probably a LOT of people, maybe a LOT of experienced gamers, may need a primer for just imagination - not a "game", not an adventure or a scenario, but just like a 10 minute "walk-through" if you will, of just guided imagery, read by the GM, nothing but one long "read-aloud" box, directing them, similar to the animal in the rainstorm exercise. No dice, no stats, no character sheets - just "sit back, close your eyes, relax and imagine". ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1341-Imagi-Imagi-whut
Rules Lite Is My One True Way, Sorry Number Crunchers http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1322-Rules-Lite-Is-My-One-True-Way-Sorry-Number-Crunchers Wed, 25 Aug 2010 23:00:58 GMT As I was talking to P&PG member Umiushi in chat the other night, I thought, again, about my gradual transition from initial wallowing in TSRian/Gygaxian tomes of charts and critical hit tables and equipment lists that spanned dozens of pages, to Chaosium/Warhammer rules and gear complexity moderation, and now preference for as close to so-called "rules lite" systems as I can get, but with a still solid and practical structure, like Feng Shui or more specifically, now that I've re-examined it, Savage Worlds.

I initially liked the sheer amount of quantity of "gameness" presented in the initial "encounter" with RPGs I had - all the different wondrous ideas, dice rolls, concepts, items, spells, trivia like how long it took someone to walk X miles on foot per day - whatever - it was all there, and if you ever needed it, there it was, somewhere in a rule book.

Later, I drifted to realizing most of those conditions didn't come up a lot, and I also wanted some different and unusual gaming experiences, both genre-wise (such as Call of Cthulhu), and mechanics-wise (what's this, no classes or levels?), which just happened to also have fairly straight-forward, no-nonsense rules-medium mechanics, all in one book, not broken up into a dozen different books, etc.

Finally I realized those second generation games (though some were actually not really but a few years difference in age from D&D and other similar games) were a great improvement but still relied heavily on first generation ideas and ideals and added their own levels of deceptive in-depth complexity, merely compartmentalized, rather than out in the open in a sloppy, all-over-the-place manner - unnecessarily complicated and overly specific and very much themed to their particular genre.

Stepping outside, as it were, trying to use or imagine any of these external to their "native habitat", was a tremendous effort, and would take quite a bit of reworking, enough that it would essentially mean a rewrite of the system itself - and basically eventually did. But as I go into RPG.NET and indy games and free downloads and fan-made stuff, I realized human creativity isn't always rewarded by being published and making money, and I found a lot of really novel and enjoyable and fascinating concepts, that people turned into PDFs that they wrote up and shared freely with others on the internet, a practice I myself endeavor to continue to emulate whenever possible.

Basically, I grew tired of mentally and visually wading through oceans or walls of text, pretentious and dry prose and lectures on the importance of turn sequence or vital necessity of keeping track of how far a character moved in a turn or other abstract and peripheral considerations that are barely even tangential to what I personally consider IMPORTANT to the actual playing and enjoyment of a roleplaying game.

I don't want rules to tell me what I CAN'T do - I want rules to tell me what I CAN do and how to do it, and tell me how awesome it is. That's the point of playing a game! The GM will worry about keeping people in line, he knows what's up, and he and the players will work out what is and isn't acceptable in play, and yes, that means me too, since I mostly GM, so this means it is up to me to decide the limitations on what the player-characters are allowed to do - I just need to know their capabilities so I can tell them how to be awesome. I want a game to be like a good book, show or movie - like real life except entertaining with no boring crap.

I don't care how many arrows are in a character's quiver or bullets in their gun, and I don't want to hear them natter on about it either - is that fun? Do they do that in books, or movies? If it isn't the last one or two, it's never mentioned, because it isn't important to the story. I'm not going to track their ammo and I don't want them doing it either - when they run out, it's a pivotal scene, so it should be in a game too - maybe it's a fumbled roll, or the GM just decides it's a good time for it to happen - but not because you simply didn't find anymore, like you're playing Doom. That's why I like rules-lite games, because it is the same for any gear or equipment; the characters will have things that make sense - you worry about the significant stuff, like maybe their weapons and armor, maybe light sources and such, but past that, they have what makes sense for them to be carrying, or when the time comes, you just discuss it right there, or they make a Luck roll or something - it's not a giant catastrophe and I don't like the idea of a giant enumerated shopping list, which even Warhammer and Call of Cthulhu suffers from, sadly. It's a roleplaying game, not an inventory control simulator.

I could go on about the size and depth of character sheets and info and stats and number of dice rolls in play and length of time it takes to do things, but as you might imagine, those arguments would all be similar to my gear rant above - suffice it to say, I feel the same about those, in that I prefer an abbreviated approach to all this, that allows a quicker, more direct and simplistic but still on-the-surface, apparently complete appearance, which is good enough for me to enjoy a game, running or playing it, which is why that's about the only type I'm likely to play with any sort of regularity - I might try something else here or there, but I don't see myself ever consistently being part of any group or campaign playing anything past rules medium, and those tend to be ones I'm very familiar with already, and I much prefer these less involved systems and rulesets. ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1322-Rules-Lite-Is-My-One-True-Way-Sorry-Number-Crunchers
Lost Island Activity http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1305-Lost-Island-Activity Tue, 17 Aug 2010 03:26:58 GMT Now I've had 3 players post, including one who really put some real creative effort into his character creation, including a photoshopped calendar for his failed career, and two more people are joining! PBP is fickle! ]]> jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1305-Lost-Island-Activity Lost Island - Slow Start, MIA Player(s) http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1297-Lost-Island-Slow-Start-MIA-Player(s) Sun, 15 Aug 2010 10:00:30 GMT Started with approximately 3 players, seem to have dropped to 2 (I hope the second person, that I know IRL, is reliable), though I now have another... Started with approximately 3 players, seem to have dropped to 2 (I hope the second person, that I know IRL, is reliable), though I now have another joining, and I may possibly have another person from the chatroom joining.

It's a slow start - maybe it was all the faux Christopher Walken (Reginald Strolen) posts? It was a lot of text, but it felt like a typical convoluted action movies setup, that will eventually turn out to be pointless, like it should be.

I finished putting up my new flatfile wiki where I'll keep all the important reference information - will still run the game in the forums, but now I have a much better venue for presenting information to the players and keeping track of things.

I guess we'll see how it goes. ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1297-Lost-Island-Slow-Start-MIA-Player(s)
My First Blog Post: Feng Shui: Lost Island http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1287-My-First-Blog-Post-Feng-Shui-Lost-Island Mon, 09 Aug 2010 10:45:02 GMT I'm trying out this whole "blog" thing, on this here site here, and for my pbp I'm trying to get started.

It's FENG SHUI, the action movie game! I need at least another player or two - fun in the sand and surf, be a reality show contestant, vote people off the island, fight for your life in the South Pacific ... uh I mean.... I always give things away when I write stuff! D'oh!

Come check it out! Feng Shui: Lost Island ]]>
jpatterson http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1287-My-First-Blog-Post-Feng-Shui-Lost-Island