Posted on

5 Questions Every Sorcerer Should Be Able to Answer

Sorcerers can be a bit of a problematic topic, depending on what edition of the game you play. If I remember correctly, they came into existence because a sizable chunk of the Player’s Handbook was for wizards only so they created another class that used the exact same spell list. So there are some originalists that do not feel they should exist. I’m more of a modernist in that sense where I accept the class as they are and go from there.

The basic concept of the class itself is that you can just do magical abilities. No matter the reason why, you can just wave your hands, utter what would otherwise sound like nonsense and BOOM magic happens. Frankly it sounds like that if the magic didn’t happen, you’d be locked up for insanity. But here you are, making with the magic. So yeah!

If you want to play a sorcerer, here are five questions that will help you get into your character. See our 5 Questions for bards, clerics, druids, fighters, monks, paladins, rogues, and wizards here.

1) How Did Your Magic First Manifest?

One day you were an average person. The next you were making sparks shoot out of your fingers or you levitated something or you made someone suddenly agree with you. Wait a second, how do you know that that last one wasn’t just a really persuasive argument? Simple, you tried it again without waving your arms or putting that same amount of force to your voice and it didn’t work. It is only when you did that exact same sequence over and over again that you realized that you were making magic. The same is true with the other spells you cast. You tried to make fire happen without waving your hands or suddenly gain the ability of perceiving magical auras by speaking different words but they simply don’t happen.

This brings us to a first if several non-obvious truths about the sorcerer class: sorcerers have to work hard at their magic. Being a wizard requires years if study while sorcerers just make the magic happen so it is easy to think that being a sorcerer is easy. That’s simply not true. There is no guidebook to being a sorcerer. Wizards literally have a book that says this is how you make magic; sorcerers have to reinvent the wheel for every new spell they want to cast. That requires lots of work and patience.

2) When Was The Last Time You Lost Control of Your Magic?

Like I said, being a sorcerer just happens. You did something and unexpectedly magic just happens. So was anyone hurt when you did that? How about the second time that happened? Third? How many times were you told to keep your magical powers under control after you broke something without meaning to? In your anger did you burn someone without meaning to? Is this why you left home and became an adventurer, because you feel you are a danger to those you care about decided to not return until you could control your new-found powers better?

3) Did You Always Choose to Use Your Magical Abilities for Good?

Frankly, I hope the answer to this one is “No.” It is far more of an interesting answer to decide to choose good instead of always being good. Say you left home in a hurry because you had burned someone, not bringing much in the way if food or supplies. You are now a homeless person. So if you manage to outrun the stories about yourself, you’re going to be hungry. So you walk into a tavern and and charm your way into a free meal and a night’s rest from the tavern owner. So when the tavern owner comes to their senses and brings their spouse comes to collect what you owe, you try again and fail and get run out of another town. Sooner or later (maybe after spending a few nights in jail for your actions, maybe after you saw someone in need and you helped and someone looked upon you favorably for the first time since you developed your powers), you realize that you have to clean up your act and can use your abilities to earn your keep instead of stealing it from others.

This brings us to the next non-obvious truth about sorcerers: it’s easy to go bad. Instead of choosing to clean up your act, suppose you always decided to stay selfish. Sure you did the occasional good deed so you could tell yourself you’re a good person, but much of the time you are motivated by your own wants and desires, ignoring the pain you cause others. That way is easier, even quicker. That is a seductive thought, one that your sorcerer should be able to understand, no matter which way they choose.

4) What Spell Is Inside of You That You Can’t Seem to Cast?

Much like Rincewind with a powerful spell inside of him that doesn’t want to come out, you should also have a powerful spell inside of you that doesn’t want to come out yet. You know it is inside of you, but you can’t seem to get it to come out yet. Maybe you don’t even have a name for it yet, but you can feel it inside if you, deep in your soul. Do you hold it back until you can control it? Perhaps you try to bring it out, but it simply will not come out yet. Is it asleep inside if you and you are not sure you want to wake it yet? This is why I like to make my sorcerers with a theme. You know you have a raging inferno inside if you and you try to tap into it and instead you only get burning hands. You try again and you get scorching ray. Then fireball and so in until you can fully tap into that power deep inside if you that you know is there.

This brings us to our last non-obvious truth about sorcerers: it should be confusing as hell. Why does flapping my arms and saying nonsense make magic happen when it doesn’t for someone else? Why can I now call forth this one spell when I couldn’t yesterday? How come I could make this magic spell before but I simply can’t now? There should be very little about your abilities that actually makes sense. That would make some seek stability. Which brings us to our last question:

5) What Do Your Fellow Adventurers Offer You?

Why are you with this group of adventurers instead some other group? The simple answer is that they offer you something that others cannot: stability and acceptance. Your powers can be viewed as weird or downright scary by those that do not understand them. For you to stay with your fellow adventurers, they must have accepted you for who you are. Maybe they express that acceptance while teasing you, but they will stand by your side if anyone is mean or attacks you. This group may very well be the most stable relationships you have had since you developed your powers. So the question then becomes, what will you do to defend them when they need you?

Greyrend, our signature sorcerer, left her clan of lycanthropes and other skinwalkers when she was only 12. She could only manifest her magical powers when she was angry and she did not have much control of her powers at first, making her an outcast. She tried to live among humans in her human form, but growing up among wolf-people didn’t imbue her with the greatest amount of social skills. While she can unleash destructive power, she prefers to focus on ways to enhance her natural fighting abilities and to adjust the minds of those that oppose her, making it feel like she has some acceptance, even if it is only for a little while. Since joining up with her fellow adventurers, she has had to change other people’s minds far less. They are helping her interact with others when she is less than socially graceful and teaching her how to get along better with others.

Greyrend is featured on the cover of the adventure Deadly Delves: The Chaosfire Incursion for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Download this adventure today and check out all our Pathfinder, D&D 5e,13th Age, and Traveller titles today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Posted on

What Kind of Monster Artwork Do You Prefer?

Earlier this week, we showed off a monster that a druid or wizard can summon with the conjure minor elemental spell. I really like that monster, but there’s something I have been wondering about with the artwork: the style. It is a beautiful color image. The problem is is that I don’t have a massive library of color images. I have a much larger library of black and white image. So as I continue to work on monster books for Fifth Edition, 13th Age, Pathfinder 2e (possibly), and other systems, I want to stay consistent as much as possible throughout the entire project. So that leads me to ask, what do you prefer?

Adding a parchment background to a black and white image is quite easy and rather fun. Not only that, it gives the image a distinctive feeling of being from an ancient tome that time forgot, in keeping with the fantasy theme. However, I do love looking at the color images in monster books. So I am asking you to help me make up my mind.

Tell me what kind of image would you like to see in a monster book from us. Vote in the poll below and as always, elaborate in the comments below.

What Style of Monster Artwork Do You Prefer?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

See our monster books we have published so far for Pathfinder and Fifth Edition at the JBE Shop.

Posted on

GM’s Day Sale 2018

It’s that time of year again and the GM’s Day Sale is in full swing. Just about everything from Jon Brazer Enterprises is on sale at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store. There you will find just about everything in the JBE catalog for Traveller, Pathfinder, Fifth Edition, 13th Age, and Swords and Wizardry at 30% off or more.

Additionally, we will be doing a number of 1-Day Sales at JBE Shop. Today we are offering the Pathfinder adventure Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin for only $2 when you use the GMsDayReignOfRuin coupon code. Download this adventure today and check back this adventure over the next week for more.

Posted on

5 Questions Every Druid Should Be Able to Answer

The clerics of the natural world, druids believe in the divinity of nature and the elemental forces. They draw their magical power directly from these forces. This gives them power to tap into incredible raw power that they can channel for the greater good (the greater good) for the Wild places.

Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium

Join us each Friday as we delve into the classes one at a time, helping you to get in touch with your character. Previously we had similar questions for fighters, clerics, monks, bards, rogues, paladins, and wizard.

Before I continue, we have been having trouble with our Facebook account and have been unable to share our posts in groups for quite a while. So we are asking you to help us. Please share this post (any any other post of ours you find entertaining) to your Facebook profile, any Facebook groups you belong to that would find this post helpful, as well as any other social media platform (Twitter, Google+, Reddit, etc) that you frequent. This will help us during this period. Thank you in advance.

1) Where Does Your Deep Connection with Nature Come From?

You’re not just some random person wandering around a forest. You are a priest and defender of the wild. You can feel the pain of the trees as an axeman cuts it down. You experience the pain of animals hunted for their skins. You cannot bare the enslavement of wheat plants in rows for food instead of being allowed to grow wild and allowed to live a full life, free of civilized taint. Where do you get it? Do you worship one of the elemental lords? Were you blessed by a fae queen? Do you have a shard of the planet’s spirit in your soul? Where does your connection come from?

2) What is Your Spirit Animal?

This one is weird since it sounds like a game term, but it isn’t. A spirit animal, as I mean it, is the soul of a beast that is inside a person, like when a person and their pet have pretty much the same personality. A druid, possessing a deep connection to nature, would be deeply connected it there spirit animal and they would let it show in their mannerisms, their attitude, and their whole person. So what animal spirit do you possess? Consider making that the creature you change shape into, when you gain that ability.

3) How Do You Behave in Urban Environs?

The short answer to this one should be, “Not well.” Remember, you are the priest of nature, and when you are in a city, you are witnessing trees and stones forced into unnatural shapes to make buildings. This could make you angry and want to yell at carpenters and stone cutters. Before your eyes, you see horses forced to wear bridals and harnesses and being made to work for their supper instead if being free spirits. This could make you want to free the horses when the the stable master’s back is turned. Or you could instead see nature as undefeated in the city, forcing people to give a wide berth around a weed that is growing in the middle of a street or giving the rats some food. What is your personal style of behaving “weird” by city folk standards?

4) Why Would You Side With Humans Over Fey?

You may be a priest of nature, but you are still human (or a dwarf or elf or whatever). No one ever sees what their side is doing is completely right, unless you are brainwashed. Reasonable people can disagree. So what would make you say that the side of nature has gone too far and want to protect some humans? Would it be some fey resorting to murder instead of playing the pranks that most fey resort to. Is it fine to kill a dwarf that cuts down a tree? Is it ok to kill an elf if you eat it (since that is nature’s way)? Is disrupting human commerce as far as you will go to protect your furry friends? How far will you go?

5) How Do You Share Your Love of Nature to Fellow Adventures?

Obviously you are working with your fellow adventurers towards the greater good (the greater good) of protecting nature, even if that is not their goal. Yet if they do not respect the wild places, it is doubtful that you will stay with them for long. How do you share with them your passion for protecting the untamed wilderness? Do you make shelter for them each night so they do not have to endure the elements during the night? Do you call and have a deer come to you so your party can eat and not have to hunt? Do you wake up each morning surrounded by bunnies and song birds and ask the others to hold them as a way to start their day off on a positive note? How do you spread the joy of nature?

Kanoa is our signature druid, although some call him an oracle of the sea. His kind, being one of the gillmen, live underwater and are distant relatives of humans. He sleeps with the fishes and walks with an octopuses. While he has no problem with shipping, he does mind it when ports and harbors dump their garbage in the sea, and he makes his displeasure well known to the council chambers of local cities. His eternal fight for the sea is never done.

Find the racial stats on the gillmen race and other nature-friendly races in the Book of Heroic Races Compendium and Advanced Compendium for Pathfinder, Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 as well as Player Races 2 for Fifth Edition, and Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 and Age of Races 2 for 13th Age.

Posted on

Now in Print Feb 2018

While JBE is primarily a producer of electronic books, we know that some of our fans prefer to hold their books in their hands. To that end, we have made a number of our most recent books available for print at the JBE Shop and DriveThruRPG. See what we’ve got.

Pathfinder

When You Call Forth The Dead, What Horrors Will Answer?

The Barony of Petane has lost its sole remaining heir at sea, and the artifact which the Petane noble line wields to ensure the region’s prosperity will only function for a member of their bloodline. To ensure that her family’s legacy continues for the sake of her realm, Baroness Jelia Petane seeks a group of experienced adventurers to delve into the Tombs of Valor and resurrect a long-lost ancestor using a powerful ancient amulet secured by the Barony’s operatives—just find his tomb, activate the amulet, and escort him back to the Baroness. Easy, right? Right…

Order your copy of this 12th level Pathfinder adventure today at the JBE Shop and DriveThruRPG.

Fifth Edition

Rumors of death move like a plague through the Crannogtowns of the Great Swamp—of ranger patrols mysteriously disappearing on routine scouting missions, of a winged shadow that blots out the midday sun, and of entire villages slaughtered, their homes left burning and the victims’ flesh melted from their bones. All evidence gathered from the sites of these massacres points to the heart of the Great Swamp, where an ancient and primitive tribe of lizardmen have ruled from an abandoned human temple for centuries on end. The Crannogtowns’ protectors, the Stormhammer Rangers, warn that horrid half-dragon monstrosities still stalk the bogs and travelers would do well to stay away from the inner swamp. Yet the killing and the carnage continue, and the people of the Crannogs plead for heroes to aid them now as they did in days long forgotten. Are you up to the challenge?

Order your copy of this 7th-8th level Fifth Edition adventure today at the JBE Shop and DriveThruRPG.

Swords and Wizardry

Rumors of death move like a plague through the Crannogtowns of the Great Swamp—of ranger patrols mysteriously disappearing on routine scouting missions, of a winged shadow that blots out the midday sun, and of entire villages slaughtered, their homes left burning and the victims’ flesh melted from their bones. All evidence gathered from the sites of these massacres points to the heart of the Great Swamp, where an ancient and primitive tribe of lizardmen have ruled from an abandoned human temple for centuries on end. The Crannogtowns’ protectors, the Stormhammer Rangers, warn that horrid half-dragon monstrosities still stalk the bogs and travelers would do well to stay away from the inner swamp. Yet the killing and the carnage continue, and the people of the Crannogs plead for heroes to aid them now as they did in days long forgotten. Are you up to the challenge?

Order your copy of this 6th level Swords and Wizardry adventure today at the JBE Shop and DriveThruRPG.

Posted on

JBE Adventure Price Reduction

After hearing your feedback and much consideration, we have decided to reduce the price of our adventures from $10 to $6.95. This means that these exceptional adventures that you have been wanting are now permanently reduced by more than 30%. Specifically, this affects:

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Deadly Delves: To Claw the Surface
Deadly Delves: The Gilded Gauntlet
Deadly Delves: The Chaosfire Incursion
Deadly Delves: Nine Lives for Petane

Fifth Edition
Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin

Swords and Wizardry
Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin

Grab these adventures today to enhance your world and your game.

I hope you enjoy these adventures as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

Posted on

5 Questions Every Wizard Should Be Able to Answer

Wizards are the geeks of the fantasy realm. They spend quite some time in books, prefer to spend time in a library instead of with other people, and they are frequently imagined as wearing glasses. They are the studious ones, the one that went to a university and can bend the universe with a gesture of their hand, words of power on their tongue, the right magical material within their grasp and an investment of power from their mind. The road to become a wizard or wizardess is far from easy and many burn out along the way. You are one of the lucky ones that was able to achieve such a lofty goal without losing your mind or worse.

Experiences that you had while learning to harness such power will shape your outlook on the world, and these questions will help you define that outlook. Previously we had similar questions for fighters, clerics, monks, bards, rogues, and paladins.

1) Why Did You Start Learning Wizardry?

Did your parents scrimp and save in order to send you to wizarding school? Did you exemplify some basic talent and a traveling wizard took you on as their apprentice? Are you from a rich family and going to wizarding school was always in your future whether you wanted it or not? Were you a blacksmith that wanted to learn to enchant your swords because enchanted swords sell so much better? Did you simply decide that that is what you wanted to do with your life? Did you follow someone you were in love with? There are all kinds of answers to this question and yours should be both unique and interesting.

2) How Did You Learn to Wield Arcane Power?

The two most obvious answers to this questions are at an arcane college/university or as an apprentice to a great wizard. Other less common answers include self taught, a tutor as part of your upbringing in a great wizarding family, and other similar examples. The important distinction in this answer is that you are taught from another source as opposed to a sorcerer where the magic was always inside them.

Describe what your schooling was like. Did you learn illusion magic quickly so you could make an image of yourself taking notes while you cut class? Did you have to perform hundreds of menial tasks for your teacher in exchange for them teaching you the basics? Did you take up mud artistry in addition to leaning transmutation magic so you can change your clay statue into stone?

What where your classmates like? In a sizable school you’d have dozens, hundreds of peers. As an apprentice, you’d have only two or three. Do you have close friends or bitter rivals? Come up with a memory involving classmates that happened during your schooling years that you remember fondly and another one that still causes you pain.

3) Why Did You Leave?

If you start off as a 1st level wizard, you are far from accomplished. Sure you can cast cantrips all day and a few 1st level spells, but there is so much you cannot do yet. First year Hogwarts students could levitate a troll’s club. While a first level wizard could levitate the feather with a cantrip, the club is out of the question. Nor can you locate your lost keys, unlock a door because you lost your keys, nor walk on the walls to get to the open second floor window which you wouldn’t have to do if you could find those dang keys. Like I said, you’re barely competent as a wizard, yet you left your studies behind. Why did you do that?

4) How Do Others Perceive You?

As I said above, wizard are the nerds of the fantasy world, and nerds are not known for their popularity. So how do others see you? Does your family get you and what you are doing, or do they just not understand what you study and why you do it? Do the people that you grew up with respect you or fear you? At the same time, do you hold a grudge against those that picked on you when you were young and now seek revenge now that you wield immense power? Do you make friends easily, or do people risk getting blasted by magic just to punch your face within ten minutes of meeting you?

5) What Have You Learned From Your Fellow Adventurers?

The thing about wizards is that they never stop trying to learn. Every moment is an opportunity to learn something new. So what is it you learned from your fellow adventurers? Do you learn to always expect an ambush from the ranger or how to secure your belongings from the rogue? Did the monk teach you that meditating can help focus your mind? Or rather is it that your fellow adventurers inspired you to learn something new? Did you learn to make someone large to help make the fighter more deadly in combat? Did the bard teach you the value of enchanting someone?

Luis is our signature halfling wizard. He learned wizardry from his tribal mage because he was one of the clever people in his tribe and wanted to learn arcane secrets. When the tribe was taken over by a priest that wanted to return to the old ways, he and the others well schooled were thrown out of the tribe. Being a halfling, he was able to make friends faster than other wizards. From his fellow adventures, he learned to accept himself for who he is since he no longer had to hide his intellect to appease religious extremists.

Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin features Luis blasting a black dragon with ice. Help us bring you more great role playing game posts by downloading Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin for Fifth Edition, Pathfinder, 13th Age, and Swords and Wizardry. Use the “holiday2017” coupon code to get 30% off your order today.

Posted on

5 Questions Every Paladin Should Be Able to Answer

I have seen quite a few paladins in my time—both at the table and in fiction, and my favorite is O-Chul from the Order of the Stick Comics. He is what a paladin should be in my opinion, fighting for justice without overdoing it. Paladins have a stereotype of being “lawful stupid.” Frequently they appear so full of themselves and their station that they make everything about them.

A paladin should put their deity above everything incuding their own pride. They shouldn’t be glory seeking zealots but seeking to glorify their deity through their every action. Their should be someone with rock hard faith in the rightness of their cause, not the rightness in themselves. If anything, they should doubt themselves, questioning whether or not their every action is the right one to exemplify the rightness of their deity and their cause. Here are 5 Questions to help you role play a paladin better. Previously we shared with you 5 Questions to help you play a fighter, cleric, monk, bard, and rogue better.

1) What Caused Your Strong Devotion to your Deity?

Following a deity is one thing. You worship, follow a few tenants, and go about your daily life. Being devoted is another. A devoted person will take time out of their day to contemplate how to best incorporate their deity’s tenants into their actions and will wonder if they are devoted enough. Being a paladin is far, far more devoted than that. You are so devoted that you are willing to go into dangerous places risking your own live to do your deity’s work and are willing to kill while doing so. Being that devoted should be sobering. One does not do that “because it seemed like a good idea at the time,” at least, not for long. The person had to have had a life changing event to inspire that level of devotion. So what was it? Were you rescued from certain death or worse by a servant of that deity (or the deity him/her/itself/themselves)? Perhaps you were in a bad place in your life and the church helped you leave that life behind. Did you lose a family member to monsters or strung out on demonic narcotics and a paladin of this deity was the only thing that kept you alive? What bad place were you in and how does this deity help change that in you?

2) What is Your Purpose?

For many religious people that find faith because of some great change, they feel they now have a purpose to their lives that they lacked before. What is that purpose? “Spreading the word of the deity,” is far too easy and generic of an answer. It would be specific and would relate directly to your old life before you began worshiping the deity. It is this purpose that propels you to wake up every morning, even when you are questioning your devotion to your deity. You remember what your life was like before and are determined at all costs to not return. You swore an oath and follow a strict code of conduct that keeps you on that purpose. That purpose can suddenly change your perspective in any situation. If you were addicted to drugs, you would be particularly merciful to someone you were after the moment you found out they are hooked on those same narcotics and even more wrathful if the person you are after sells those bits of false pleasure. If you purpose is to hunt down demons so no one else’s family need die and you were hunting down a nest of demon worshippers, you would only show mercy to those that were doing their bidding out of fear, not out of a desire for power. What drives you?

3) What About Yourself Do You Not Like?

You swore an oath and follow a strict code of conduct because you were in a bad place and do not want to return. The thing is, deep down you blame yourself for being in that bad place in the first place. If you didn’t blame yourself, you could have fought your way out of that situation and became a fighter or learned to see the right opportunity to escape it and became a rogue. Instead, you couldn’t adapt, couldn’t figure a way out, and needed rescued. Situations like this can make a person turn their anger at the situation inward and see the fault with themselves, making them not like some aspect of themselves.

Yet there is the purpose that let’s the person ignore that inner struggle, silencing it for a time while focusing on the work. As such those unresolved feelings fester inside and can make the paladin stumble. This is exactly why paladins have the ex-paladin sections in their class description, about breaking their oaths. Everyday for a paladin should be a constant struggle between the good person they want to be and the darkness that lurks inside. What is that darkness for you?

4) How did those you know respond to your change?

People don’t like change. You have changed yet your old friends and family have not. They are still in the same place they were before. Some people can handle that you are a different person now; others cannot. Some relationships should end, like those that helped you to get to your bad place. Others were unaware of how bad that place you were in truly was and do not understand what that change means to you. So when you start trying to help them in ways they do not want helped, it is not uncommon for people to abandon the changed person. Name three relationships that changed for your character. The first should be someone that helped get you to that bad place. The person can be evil but does not have to be. The second should be someone you were close to before but you are now estranged from. The third should be someone you casually knew before but are now close to after your change. All three of these people should be people your GM can use as NPCs to cause internal conflict, making the story more personal.

5) Why Do You Stay With Your Fellow Adventurers?

Let’s be honest, adventurers can be a rather unpredictable lot. They steal, fail to show proper respect for “worthy” deities or those that serve them, and can commit all manner of sacrilege, not because they are evil (necessarily) but because they are ill-informed of what they are doing. Is this why you stay with them? To help them see how they could be better? Or do you see the person you use to be before you went to your bad place and are trying to help them find a way to avoid the same fate? Is this simply a relationship of convenience, where they happen to be fighting the same evil you are? Or do you genuinely care for them and as a good and faithful friend you are sticking with them?

Corrakwak is a tengu paladin (sometimes preferring the term inquisitor) of the goddess Amanozako, bent on making sure that all are treated fairly. He despises those that go back on their word having once been left for dead by those that use to be his close friend. As such, Carrakwak has trouble making close friends now, but has learned to trust his fellow adventurers enough to know they will not cheat him. Now he fights for truth and justice with a vengeance.

Carrakwak is featured on the cover of the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium for Pathfinder, the Book of Heroic Races Player Races 1 for 5e and Book of Heroic Races Age of Races 2 for 13th Age. Download these today at the JBE Shop with the “holiday2017” coupon code until January 31st for your game to choice to get 30% off your order.

Posted on

Happy Festivus and Merry Whatever

With the holidays upon us, get yourself something that you really want. Download the JBE book you have been wanting now through January 31, 2018 for 30% off your entire order at JonBrazer.com with the “holiday2017” coupon code.

From all of us at Jon Brazer Enterprises, have a safe and happy holiday.

Posted on

State of the Enterprise 2017

Good day everyone and welcome to the State of the Enterprise 2017.

Before I begin on I want to take a moment to thank everyone that helped make JBE the success it this year and in all the years proceeding. I want to thank my wife who does not want to be talked about much online who supports me in all I do. Thank you to my two editors Kevin and Richard and the many authors and artist whom make all the wonderful products you enjoy. Thank you to all the people at DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the OpenGamingStore for selling and promoting our books, helping us to get our books into your hands. Thank you to Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Mongoose, and Pelgrane Press for letting us make gaming material for your games. Thank you to everyone that told your friends how awesome our books are. Lastly, thank you to our fans like you for all your support over the years and for sharing our passion. All this we do is for you and for the love of the game; thank you for being apart of that love.

Book of Heroic Races: Advanced CompendiumSo how have things gone for the past year and where are they going next year? First up, our accomplishments: we finally have a schedule that works for us. We have been releasing 1 product every month since Fall of 2016. This year proved that we can hold that schedule. Some are rather thick like the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium. Some were rather thin like the Book of Magic: 10 Warlock Invocations. Yet we still made it. Why is this a big deal? Because being regular and on time is huge part in showing those that are skeptical that we are reliable and approach our work seriously. Previously we tried releasing 1 product every two weeks, and we simply could not sustain that. Some months we did succeed in releasing 2 products. Those were frequently followed up by months without a single product. Just take a look at the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium. That book was supposed to take 1 year to get all the individual PDFs released. It took 2 years. While the quality of that book was well worth the additional time, it did show that we bit off more than we could chew. We learned from it and the next project like this we do, we will allocate our time better. Hooray for lessons learned!

Another major development with JBE is the creation of our own webstore. I decided it was long past time to invest in the website and gave it an upgrade, including a way to sell our books, both in print and PDF online. If you haven’t downloaded from us directly yet, I invite you to do so with the coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off. The coupon code expires on 31 January 2018. So be sure to do that today.

All in all, I have to say that it was a good year for the company. The worst thing that happened to us is that my computer died on me. Even though I had all the data backed up online, temporarily switching to an older system tends to impede workflow. A new computer has been ordered (Acer Aspire Tower with an AMD Ryzen 7 processor, Nvidia 1070, and 16 Gigs of RAM, for all you technophiles out there), but I do not have an estimate on its delivery date yet. With Christmas a week away, I would not be surprised if it arrived next year, but I can hope. My Skyrim and Witcher III games are about to get an upgrade. As we all know, however, even this can’t hold a candle to the graphics in our imaginations.

Traveller

Foreven Worlds: Rusted Fang StationTraveller remains our favorite science fiction game. It is quick and simple, allowing the GM to focus on the story rather than a bunch of mechanics. That really was what led to the creation of Foreven Worlds: Rusted Fang Station. This was meant for Traveller referees to have a location they could use and incorporate into their own games. Its a small station, meaning the players can take their time to get to know everyone aboard from commander to the maintenance staff. It is a place for legitimate business people can make deals that are on the edge of the law. We really liked this little piece and feedback on it has been great. Expect to see more locations like this in the future. I started working on the next one recently, a Zhodani domed city. “But how can the Zhodani be interesting with all their people mind altered into thinking everything is puppies and unicorns?” That is the exact question we are setting out to answer, and we hope to give you a new perspective on them. Look for that in 2018.

At the time of writing this blogpost the rewrite of the Prelude to War Adventure Path part 3 should be arriving at our door soon. Between edits, artwork, and layout, we are hoping to have it out in the summer. That is one thing we learned for future Adventure Paths: have all the adventures in hand and edited before the first is published. This way, we can release the issues one after the other in rapid succession with only the monthly break in between.

In years past, when I was bored or frustrated and infront of a computer, I would create a Pathfinder monster. In the last few months, I realized that that habit has been replaced by the creation of a Traveller vehicle. As a result, I have a nice little database of Traveller vehicle stats. Sure they all need a description and artwork, but one piece of a nice Traveller vehicle book is well on its way to being made. While such a book is not on the schedule at this point in time, I would not be surprised if it were not created at some point during 2018. Keep your eyes pealed.

13th Age

My feelings on 13th Age can best be summed up as the Little Game System that Could. It is not our best selling system, but it holds it’s own, and we are happy with it. I always expect Pathfinder and Fifth Edition to dominate sales because they have such a large player base, but because their base is so large they attract an overwhelming number of publishers, giving players more choices than they know what to do with. Smaller games like 13th Age and Traveller have far fewer publishers catering to the players of that game. So it is easier to get a player or GM’s attention.

Our first release for the year was a conversion of Pathfinder races to 13th Age, Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 2. Giving players more choices in the races they play is something we have done for some time and are glad to do the same for this game. We may do another set of converted races (or even some new ones) next year, but I forsee us focusing on more products like our second release—13 Fighter Talent and Maneuvers. This short supplement is designed with one class in mind and expands players options, allowing a player to customize their character to the player’s unique vision. Supplements for the Wizard, Cleric, and Rogue classes are planned throughout the coming year.

Fifth Edition

In a number of ways, what happened with Pathfinder happened with 5e but on a much more accelerated pace. Two years ago when I released Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1, it quickly became a smash hit and one of our best selling products that year, if not our best selling product that year. It’s sequel, Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 2 released earlier this year, did not sell at the same pace. The reason for this is simple: increased competition. When Pathfinder was released the number of companies supporting it we’re few, but as time passed that number grew. The same has happened to Fifth Edition, but on a much quicker scale.

The solution to this situation is simple: distinguish yourself in a way your competitors cannot, essentially putting yourself in a market of one. We do have plans to do exactly this but they will not be ready in 2018. We are taking a long view with 5e and will be working to make something amazing for it, something you are going to want to grab the moment it is released and hug it and squeeze it and call it “George.” For next year we have a number of adventures and magic item supplements that GM’s will be sure to want to get their hands on. Who knows, we might even make some more monsters. We’ll see. Expect great things from us in 5e’s future.

Pathfinder

For obvious reasons, our best selling product of 2017 was the Big Book of Everything. Have everything bundled up for 90% off and it goes like hot cakes. It does, however, mark the beginning of the end of our Pathfinder support. We are still releasing high level adventures well into next year (and possibly beyond) because GM’s need the help and there are far too few adventures that go up that high. For them, we are glad to help. You can count on us next year.

The first two will be coming out rather quickly. Deadly Delves: 9 Lives for Petane was supposed to be out this month, but my computer dying required me to push it back a month. This 12th-level adventure written by Christen N Sowards of Lost Spheres Publishing has the players trying to figure out which body is the right one to bring back from the dead, and the stakes get worse as time goes on. Deadly Delves: The Dragon’s Dream by Landon Winkler is a 16th-level adventure where the players are asked by a group of psychopomps to travel into the demiplane formed by a dead dragon. Both of these adventures are challenging and fun to boot. If you like running high level games, be sure to check these adventures out.

We do have one other product coming out next year that is not an adventure—the Book of Heroic Races: Occult Intrigue in the Wilderness. When we started designing what would become the Book of Heroic Races Advanced Compendium, we specifically excluded Occult Adventures and Ultimate Intrigue, despite both fans and authors asking to include material from them. We decided against it since we did not want tengu, catfolk, and other early released races excluded merely because of timing. Now that the Advanced Compendium is complete, we have the time and do right by all of the race and create rules for all these races with the classes found in these books plus Ultimate Wilderness, and that is exactly what we are doing.

Sword and Wizardry

With all the good news we have to report, there has to be some bad. Unfortunately, it is with Swords and Wizardry. We decided to convert over an adventure—Book of Heroic Races: Reign of Ruin—to this old school system to test the waters. I set a very low threshold of sales it would have to meet for us to continue to support it. Two months and a 4-Star review from Endzeitgeist later, and it did not make it a third of the way there. Should it get there we’ll talk about more releases, but for the time being all of our old school plans are on hold.

That is all the plans we are able to talk about at this point. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ and subscribe to our newsletter to stay current of more previews of upcoming and current products from us and see our regular blog posts through the week. Remember to use coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off at the JBE Shop.

Dale McCoy, Jr
Jon Brazer Enterprises

Posted on

5 Questions Every Rogue Should Be Able to Answer

Comparing a fighter with a rogue is a healthy exercise and helpful when trying to understand how these characters are fundamentally different. When in a fight, a fighter walks up to the thing and beats it down until it is dead while a rogue will look for the creature’s weak point and strike there. When trying to get something from a cave where a monster lies sleeping, a fighter will most likely wake it up with the clanging of its armor and then have to kill it before getting the treasure while a rogue will quietly sneak past it and just take it. When trying to talk their way into a room past a guard, a fighter will try to intimidate the guard into letting them pass while a rogue may intimidate but will more likely turn on the charm and convince the guard that they should already be in there. The common thread in all of them is that a rogue relies on looking for the opportunity, and that is where the heart of your character should lie.

To help you flesh out your character, we have 5 questions for you that you, as the player of the rogue should be able to answer through your character’s eyes. If you prefer to play a fighter, cleric, monk, or bard, we have 5 questions for them as well. So lets begin.

1) Why Did You Start Seeing the Opportunity in Every Situation?

Being a rogue doesn’t mean that you look for an opportunity; it means that you just see the opportunity in every situation. You were not born seeing the opportunity. This is a survival mechanism; you were made. So something had to happen over and over again, and you compensated by looking for ways to fight back. This happened so often that it comes to you as easily as breathing. So what was it? Did you grow up an orphan on the street and had to hide in order to avoid the bigger kids? Are you the scion of a noble and were constantly tricked by someone jealous of your station? Was one of your parents an abusive drunk that would beat you until you could find ways to keep the drunk from attacking before the beatings began? In short, something in your life was not pleasant for a long time and this is how you survived. What was it?

2) How Did You Escape that Bad Situation?

You’re an adventurer and are no longer in that bad situation. The story of how you got out of there is one that will hold considerable meaning to you as it will be your goto backup plan the moment the chips are down. Did you run away from your problem? This will probably mean that if the battle turns badly, you may well abandon your friends to get away. It will also mean that you take feats and other class choices that let you move faster and get away without taking attacks from your enemies. Did you finally confront that abusive parent and say, “No more!” If that were the case, you’d probably make character choices that let you attack before anyone else, striking hard with that first blow, ending the fight right away. It also means you would rush into battle faster than the fighter. Did you outsmart your jealous rival, tricking them as you were? This means you will rely on far less conventional tactics than most characters. Maybe you will use a net, whip, or other weapon that incurs some type of penalty onto your enemy. Your method of escape is a proven method of survival in your mind. What is it?

3) When Did You Fight Your Instincts and Trust Someone?

Trust is a difficult thing when you have been treated in some fashion that turns you into a rogue. However, those that do not trust lead very lonely lives. Sooner or later you have to take a chance and trust someone. Come up with three examples. Two of them should be good friends, even if you have moved on and have not talked to them in a long time. The third should be someone that let you down. It could be out and out betrayal, but it could also be something as ordinary as simple human failing. Remembering those that you trust is what keeps you trying to trust again. Feeling that pain of being let down should always temper that trust, keeping you from getting too close.

4) What Actions Will Make You Trust Again?

As mentioned previously, you don’t trust easily. To a rogue, actions speak louder than words. You have heard words over and over again and no longer trust them. “I won’t get drunk and hit again,” “I only want to help you, “I won’t tell anyone your secret.” It doesn’t matter. You’ve heard all the lies. So what does someone have to do to make you trust them? Is it someone that makes sure you get a fair share of the gold? Someone that stands up to a bully? Honesty no matter how much it hurts? What is it that will let you put your guard down to someone?

5) How Does Staying With Your Fellow Adventurers Benefit You?

While you will not sell out your fellow adventurers, you can walk away from them at any time. So why do you stick with them? There must be something in it for you? Money is the obvious answer. Going on adventures makes you rich. Yet you could find another group of adventurers. Why do you stick with this particular group? Do you trust one of them (or *gasp* all of them)? Are you doing it as a favor for someone that you want a favor from? Did someone you trust ask you? Or are you with them only for the moment and could leave when you get paid? Why are you still in this group?

Edward grew up a noble but renounced his birthright because of all the political games he had to play. He did run away, stealing to survive from that day forward. It was the Princess Yolanda that made him trust again. So when the King caught Edward and Yolanda together and he talked with them, Edward trusted the King as well. Now he adventures to prove himself worthy of the Princess’ hand and the King’s approval, trying to amend his past crimes.

Edward stands tall on the cover of Deadly Delves: Rescue from Tyrkaven. Download this adventure for Pathfinder and Fifth Edition. Download these and all of our books today using coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off this and everything else at the JBE Shop now through January 31, 2018.

Posted on

5 Questions Every Bard Should Be Able to Answer

“Why did you think going into the dungeon and singing at the monsters was a good idea?” Let’s just agree that the idea of going into a deadly location armed with a tune is silly concept, at least at first glance. Yet, no one will hear of the hero’s exploits unless someone that is skilled at retelling the tale of heroic is there to witness them. In so doing, they have to know how to stand their ground and meet dangers head on. So it makes sense that they would use what they are best at to full effect.

To help you flesh out your character, we have 5 questions for you that you, as the player of the bard should be able to answer through your character’s eyes. If you prefer to play a fighter, cleric, or monk, we have 5 questions for them as well. So lets begin.

1) How Long Have You Been Training?

Anyone can move to music. Anyone can pick up an instrument, blow on it or pluck a string, and make noise. Anyone read words on a page while changing pitch. These, however, are not the product of years of training, dedication, and long hard work. That is what you have done. Day in and day out you played your lute until it comes to you as easily as breathing. You strengthening certain muscles while hammering your dulcimer, carrying your tuba, lifting your trombone again, and again, and again. Imagine what it was like, being a child on stage performing your dance routine and years later still performing. Not only are you good, you are captivating, enthralling, mesmerizing, inspiring. Your performances are quite literally magical. What were those long days like? Did you enjoy them or were they downright torture? This is actually the perfect intro to the next question…

2) Why Did You Start Training and Keep Training?

First off, why did you start? Did it seem like fun? Did you try it out and liked it? Were you forced by your parents for some village or clan festival? Trying it is one thing; continuing it is another. Children are notorious for trying something and stopping the moment it gets hard. So why did you stick to it? Did you tell your parents you wanted the instrument, they got it for you, you were unhappy when it got hard and your parents made you continue after they spent the money for it? Did they tell you how proud they were of you for doing so? Were you determined to earn someone’s approval by playing hard? Were you trying to emulate the local performer? What made you keep going when it was hard?

3) How Did You Learn a Bit of Everything?

Bards may not be experts in any one area, but they are darn good at just about everything. They may not be front line fighters but they know how to use a number of weapons well. They may not have the spell breadth of a wizard, but they do have a solid number of spells. Their skill selection is diverse. How are you so well educated, so much of a jack of all trades? Did you get sent to college or did you go to the school of hard knocks? Was far more expected of you than most others or were you naturally gifted at learning anything you were shown once. How are you so good at everything?

4) What Drives You To Be Better?

While this answer should always be, “To be better than I was yesterday,” what fun is there in that? If anything this is a great end point for your character—coming to a point where you are in competition with no one but yourself—but not a good starting point. This is a point of professional conflict with your character. Are you trying to be better than someone you consider your equal, that started around the same time as you, but got all the recognition that you feel you deserve? Perhaps you want to be just like your hero, the one person that got you into performing in the first place. Maybe you have this idealized version of yourself and you are forever striving for it but never attaining it. Over the course of the campaign, you should come to terms that you are only in competition with yourself, and talk to your GM about wanting to explore this in the campaign. Maybe your rival or hero can play a part in the campaign and your character can find a kind of peace when they finally see the truth of the situation. This will make your character engaging long after the campaign is over.

5) What “epicness” does your current group of companions present?

If you are going to tell the tale, sing the songs, perform the scene of the exploits of your character and their adventures, their deeds should be worthy of tales, songs, and plays. Maybe they haven’t done anything yet, but you see the spark inside them. What is it that makes you believe in them, and how does being with them make you believe in yourself more?

Sharem is our signature transman samsaran bard. He remembers himself playing instruments and telling tales in previous incarnations and started playing to connect with his former lives. That is what kept him practicing year after year growing up. Today he is more of an actor than a musician. He makes his performances showy, using his whip whenever possible to swing over the audience. He uses similar showmanship when in the dungeon as well. By keeping the monsters’ attention on himself, his companions can take them down with ease.

Sharem and his fellow adventurers are on the cover of the adventure Deadly Delves: The Gilded Gauntlet. Download this Pathfinder book today using coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off this and everything else at the JBE Shop now through January 31, 2018.