Crimson Boar: A Community Partnership

Although Jon Brazer Enterprises supports a variety of game systems and genres of play, it’s no secret that fantasy gaming makes up the lion’s share of our product releases. If you’re reading this, chances are good that you’ve already got one of our many adventures or rules supplements for Pathfinder, 5th Edition, or 13th Age either in your digital library or on your bookshelf. (If not, click on one of the links in my previous sentence to see what we have to offer your game!)

In addition to being a role-playing game publisher, JBE’s staff and contributors are also part of an international community made up of local networks of gamers. For my own part, I’ve been a member of an amazing community in Raleigh, NC for nearly ten years now—Raleigh Tabletop RPGs (or RTR), a Meetup-based community of nearly 1,600 gamers that has grown from coffeehouse meetups and a loose network of private home games to multi-table in-store gaming events and year-round semi-organized play for a number of different systems. Much has changed since RTR’s founding, yet the heart of that community remains just as vibrant as it was at its inception.

Today, it’s my utmost pleasure to announce in this blog post a partnership between the RTR community and the JBE community on a product we hope to bring to you within the next year: Tales of the Crimson Boar.

Longtime RTR members know the Crimson Boar well, although newer members or those outside the Raleigh area might not be familiar with its origins. In 2011, a group of gamers met at Deja Brew Coffeehouse in North Raleigh and began a massive crowdsourcing effort to stock an inn and tavern with unique NPCs. For seven going on eight years, RTR has hosted a summer fantasy gaming event called Tales of the Crimson Boar every July where the inn and its inhabitants were featured in the games run—sometimes just as a starting point, other times as the focal location of the scenario.

Over the next few months, I’ll be spearheading a design team to reconceptualize the Crimson Boar Inn and its inhabitants as a cohesive, modern campaign mini-setting, along with a massive collection of full-color maps and a short adventure module set in and around the Inn for GMs around the world to introduce their gamers to this little corner of our local community. Most excitingly, we’ll be working in concert with RTR organizers and GMs to bring their ideas to life! Our design team for this project includes eight former or current members of RTR (myself included) who will bring their unique talents to bear on creating an unforgettable setting and cast of characters. The Crimson Boar always has been, and always will be, RTR’s—JBE is merely the custodian and deliverer of that content, and it’s important to us that the product represent both our standards of quality and the diverse spirit of the Raleigh gaming community!

We’ll have much more to say about Tales of the Crimson Boar in the coming weeks and months, including a full introduction to our design team and some preliminary details about what makes this setting stand out—so pull up a bar stool and try a pint of the house ale!

Sky Full of Five Star Reviews

Since our last review roundup (where I said I would cover more that happened between it and May of 2017, which I am still meaning to do!), we have had quite a few more reviews, many of them earning 4 and 5 stars. If you haven’t seen them, I would like to point out some of my favorites. If there is something that you have been eyeing for a while but haven’t gotten, these reviews should help you decide.

Standard disclaimer: my summaries of adventure reviews are spoiler-free. However, the full review may contain spoilers.

Deadly Delves: To Claw the Surface (PFRPG)

Even though our adventures today focus on the upper levels, we didn’t always do that. To Claw the Surface a prime example, starting off at level 1 with the characters reading level 4 by the time it is finished. Being so low level does not mean it is boring or your typical adventure. I’ll let Endzeitgeist speak for himself.

[This adventure] manages to evoke a sense of atmosphere you only very rarely get to see. In fact, this felt in many instances almost like an OSR-module, with so much care poured into the details, the small bits. There is a subtle, playful artistry in this adventure, one that made me reminisce about Tomb Raider, about some survival movies, about classic dwarven-themed adventures and underworld exploration…but at the same time, the adventure manages to somehow transcend all these diverse influences, weaving them into something distinct, novel and exciting.

He went on to talk about just how much he loved this adventure, saying,

I’ll just come out and say it: This is one of the best 1st level modules available for PFRPG. It’s, in fact, good enough to warrant checking out even if you play another system. This is a true gem, and will receive 5 stars + my seal of approval, granted without any hesitation. It also qualifies as a candidate for my Top Ten

If you are thinking of running this module, read the whole review at Endzeitgeist.com. If you want an adventure this good in your Pathfinder game, download Deadly Delves: To Claw the Surface today at the JBE Shop. You can also find it at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, the Open Gaming Store, and Paizo.com.

Shadowsfall: Temple of Orcus (PFRPG)

Next up we have a review from review writer newcomer David D. He takes the time to review the first adventure I ever wrote: Shadowsfall: Temple of Orcus. He describes it as:

I would describe ‘The Temple of Orcus’ as a classic rescue mission where player characters attempt to rescue some NPC’s from the clutches of evil, the mission clothed in an atmosphere of horror.

His final verdict on this adventure is:

For its price, you get a quality product that I personally find its 5 stars worth.

He keeps his review spoiler free so feel free so feel free to read it at DriveThruRPG. You’ll also find the review Endzeitgeist did back in 2012, also rating it 5-Stars. Read these reviews today and download it for your home campaign. You can find it at the JBE Shop. It is also available at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Deadly Delves: The Dragon’s Dream (PFRPG)

Next up, we have our newest adventure: Deadly Delves: The Dragon’s Dream. This 16th-level adventure has the distinction of being our highest level adventure for all of Pathfinder, even if it one really close will be coming out soon.

Endzeitgeist reviewed this one not long ago (read the full review here) and I would like to point out some of my favorite bits.

Landon Winkler’s “Dragon’s Dream” is a rare beast indeed. … [T]he module truly excels in its storytelling: There is a ton of interesting roleplaying potential suffusing the pdf, and the adventure ultimately rewards for the PCs caring, being invested in the story, etc.

His final thoughts on this module sum it up best.

In short: This is an excellent module. The craftsmanship and production values are impressive, and the book manages to evoke a unique and concise atmosphere that breathes evocative high fantasy. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval – Well done indeed, Mr. Winkler!

Grab your copy of this excellent adventure today at the JBE Shop. You can also find it at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Deadly Delves: Nine Lives For Petane (PFRPG)

Our final adventure for today’s review summary is Deadly Delves: Nine Lives for Petane. This 12th-level adventure is a great transition to high level gaming. No longer are you going into the dungeon to save a few individuals, but to save an entire nation. Endzeitgeist reviewed this one, writing:

I know Christen N. Sowards primarily as an author of crunch: The master of Lost Spheres Publishing knows how to create interesting rules that have a very strong tie-in to storytelling. As such, I wasn’t surprised to see this adventure sport pretty interesting and challenging adversaries. What did surprise me, though, was how well this adventure played. This is a dungeon that works better in play than on paper, and the tie-in with the easily replaced divine angles, demons and ancient cultures can make this work within the context of a ton of different settings; the catfolk angle would make this, for example, a natural tie in for Midgard’s Southlands, connecting north and south. So yeah, the module ties in pretty seamlessly with most common campaigns.

He concludes his review with the following.

It is a cool, interesting module that can, if you choose, provide a great transition towards the world of high-level gaming. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

You can download Deadly Delves: Nine Lives for Petane for Pathfinder at the JBE Shop. You can also find them at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

You will notice that that is four adventures of ours with 5-Star ratings. If you goto the Deadly Delves series on Endzeitgeist’s site, you’ll see that he’s given 6 out of 10 adventures he has reviewed for us a 5-Star rating and 3 more either a 4- or 4.5-Star rating. If you run games, you should pay attention to the Deadly Delves series from Jon Brazer Enterprises.

5e: Lantern Archon

The little helper angel, the lantern archon, is one of my favorite and it really disappointed me that it was not in the MM. This is a perfect creature that a cleric should be able to conjure up for help. Heck, you could even say this is the spirit that takes on an animalistic form from the find familiar spell when finding a celestial.

Be sure to check out all of our 5e monsters, class options, races and adventures at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Lantern Archon

Tiny celestial, lawful good
Armor Class 14
Hit Points 76 (17d4 + 34)
Speed fly 30 ft.
STR 3 (–4) DEX 19 (+4) CON 14 (+2)
INT 12 (+1) WIS 18 (+4) CHA 15 (+2)
Saving Throws Wis +6
Damage Resistance radiant
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, petrification
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages all
Challenge 2 (450 XP)


Innate Spellcasting. The lantern archon’s spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 12). The lantern archon can innate cast the following spells, requiring only verbal components:
At will: aid, detect evil and good
Magic Resistance. The lantern archon has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Actions


Multiattack. The lantern archon makes two light rays attacks.
Light Rays. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 60 ft./360 ft., one creature. Hit: 6 (1d4 + 4) radiant damage.
Healing Touch (1/Day). The lantern archon touches another creature. The target magically regains 9 (2d6 + 2) hit points.

Origins: A Gamer’s Large Convention

Just over a week ago was the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio. I went as an attendee with my daughter so I can give the perspective of not only a gamer but also a parent, and I can say that without a doubt that we both had fun. It is one of the largest tabletop conventions in the country and well worth your time to check out.

Origins fills the Greater Columbus Convention Center and is in the neighboring Hyatt hotel, accessible by a sky bridge. Other hotels are accessible by a sky bridge so it is entirely possible that the convention could expand into them if Origins continues to grow, which it did by over 1,000 people since last year. Despite its size, Major gaming companies like Wizards and Paizo do not have a booth here, meaning that companies like Goodman Games, Evil Hat and others can have sizable booths there. Naturally there are tons of board games, roleplaying games, and more that you can try out. My daughter and I demoed Dragonfire at the Catalyst Game Labs as well as the Big Trouble in Little China by Everything Epic. If you haven’t played them yet, give them a play.

The D&D, Pathfinder, and Shadowrun organized play area was in the adjoining Hyatt hotel, meaning you could go between each game quickly and try out all three games without any difficulty. Not only that a food court was the floor below so you could literally get there first thing in the morning before your first game and not leave the general vicinity until after your last game ends at 11 that that night. It really was a sweet setup. My daughter and I spent much of our time in the D&D Adventures League area and as you can see from the picture it had a very nice entrance sign as they always do. We got to play in a number of games and had quite a bit of fun. I won’t go into any detail of the games since I don’t want to spoil the adventures for anyone. The majority of the events I wanted to get us into quickly sold out during preregistration (more on that later) but I understand that people had a very good rate of getting in with general tickets, so I am guessing that Baldwin Games added more tables. Had I known that earlier in the convention, I would have tried to get my daughter and I into the games that we had wanted to play in. Oh well. Better luck next year.

Like I said I did not get my daughter and I into all the RPGs that we wanted to play in so I got us into a number of other games that I am glad we did try. First of all, we got to play in Fairytale Gloom by Atlas Games. If you like telling stories as much as I do, this game uses the familiar Grimm’s fairy tale characters and lets you have fun while making these characters’ lives miserable. It was great fun and took far less time than a role playing game session. From there, we took a nice breather and went to the paint and take area. As you can tell from the picture, I am not all that good at painting, but it was nice to just take a calm break right in the middle of the con to paint a mini. Both of these areas were in a hall adjacent to the dealer’s hall. It would definitely be worth it to spend a day in there, playing full games, instead of getting a quick demo in the dealer’s hall.

If you are more of the physical sort, True Dungeon has its own area as well. I played TD before with friends, but I didn’t do it this year since I was not sure if my daughter would enjoy it. So instead I took her to an escape room there. Ours was a fantasy-based room, decorated with armor, mead barrels and more. I didn’t take a picture because I didn’t want to give anything away. If you prefer your True Dungeon experience to hit people with foam swords instead of sliding discs in a shuffle board-like fashion, there’s are those similar to TD there that do exactly that (my apologize for not remembering your organization’s name). Now that I know my daughter enjoyed it, I will have to have us try something more involved.

One additional point I want to mention, Origins was the same weekend as the Columbus Pride Parade. I and many other gamers there took time out of their gaming day to see the parade. I know because the parade went down the very street the convention was on and there were quite a few people sitting by windows or walking out the convention center’s front doors to see the parade. It was a beautiful parade, and I am proud of us gamers for showing our support.

So with all this great, is there any downsides to Origins. As I have commented about on the Dreamation and PAX Unplugged, my chief complaint revolves the preregistration system. As you might expect from any sizable convention, everyone that is has a ticket by the time you can preregister for games is waiting on their computers for the exact moment to beat everyone else. That kind of traffic requires quite a few servers to handle the load. The company that did it, Event Ready, did a better job than last year (where the system was down for days), but still it took hours to try to get into games you wanted, meaning that many people didn’t get into the games they wanted. That is the worst I can say about it. Origins has been run long enough that the kinks have largely been worked out. They know what they are doing. I applaud Event Ready for being better than last year, but progress can still be made on that front.

Origins is one of those larger conventions that is definitely worth going to. I got to game with people I gamed with last year, and it was great seeing familiar faces again. We didn’t encounter any problems with the convention itself and there were lots of games to enjoy. If you haven’t checked it out yet, this is definitely one to consider to start your summer off right.

13th Age: Deific Weapon

All week long, we are looking at the new class options in 13 Cleric Domains and Spells. Earlier this week, we looked at the Luck domain and the Spark of Hope spell.

Lets be honest here a second, epic level spells and abilities should just be massively cool. This is the time where you can just ride a dinosaur and have it just eat your enemies. Or maybe through your sword of undead slaying and have it just appear back into your hand. If you’re a bard, you give an epic performance that lets a few high level character and a group of mooks to stand against an entire horde of enemies. So what should a cleric get? How about their deity’s personal weapon?

Download 13 Cleric Domains and Spells for your 13th Age Compatible game at the JBE Shop. You can also download it at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the Open Gaming Store.

Deific Weapon

Close-quarters spell
Daily
Effect: Excalibur. Mjolnir. Trishula. Areadbhair. The names of these legendary weapons echo across the ages, wielded by the gods, the icons, and their most powerful servants. The mightiest of the gods’ faithful can call upon these weapons in times of need. When you cast this spell, you must cash in an icon relationship point on which you rolled a 6 at the start of the session. The legendary weapon of your deity manifests in your hand for the rest of the battle, overwriting the appropriate magic item chakra (so any other item you currently have in that chakra slot is rendered inert until the spell wears off). The item grants a +3 bonus and the epic version of two weapon powers from those listed in Chapter 9: Magic Items. (If the two selected powers offer the same situational bonuses, use the higher of the two rather than stacking them.)
Additionally, when the escalation die value is less than or equal to your Charisma modifier, enemies who are direct enemies of your god/pantheon, or enemies of icons with whom you have positive relationships, become vulnerable (16+) to attacks from your deific weapon.
Finally, on a hit by 4+ with this weapon, you ignore any resistances possessed by enemies who are direct enemies of your god/pantheon, or enemies of icons with whom you have positive relationships.

13th Age: Spark of Hope

Earlier this week, we released 13 Cleric Domains and Spells for the 13th Age Roleplaying Game. Yesterday we shared with you one of the domains inside. Today we want to bring you a 1st level spell, Spark of Hope.

Like the Luck domain, you can take the spark of hope spell at 1st level. Clerics are supposed to be a beacon of hope when all else looks dim, when the battle seems lost. That is exactly what this spell does: it provides a spark of hope when the battle turns against the adventurers, encouraging them to fight on all the harder for just a little longer.

In my own imagination, I see don’t see it so much as the cleric casting this spell as much as the deity channeling their power through the cleric. The cleric is seized by the god’s holy power and shoots beams of light through the eyes, mouth, finger tips, etc and then converging upon the target. How do you see this spell being cast? Share our thoughts in the comments below.

Download 13 Cleric Domains and Spells for your 13th Age Compatible game at the JBE Shop. You can also download it at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the Open Gaming Store.

Spark of Hope

Close-quarters spell
Daily
Special: You must be staggered (at 50% or less of your total hp) to cast this spell.
Target: One nearby enemy (or more, depending on the spell level)
Attack: Wisdom + Charisma + Level vs. MD
Hit: The enemy is vulnerable (18+) to all of your allies’ attacks until the end of your next turn.
Additional Effect: All nearby allies gain 1d8 + Wisdom temporary hit points.

3rd level spell Your allies gain 2d8 temporary hit points; the enemy becomes vulnerable (16+).
5th level spell Your allies gain 3d8 temporary hit points; the enemy becomes vulnerable (14+), or you can target two enemies to become vulnerable (16+).
7th level spell Your allies gain 4d8 temporary hit points; the enemy becomes vulnerable (14+), or you can target three enemies to become vulnerable (16+).
9th level spell Your allies gain 5d8 temporary hit points; the enemy becomes vulnerable (12+), or you can target three enemies to become vulnerable (14+).

Adventurer Feat: Affected enemies are also dazed until the end of your next turn.
Champion Feat: Affected enemies are also weakened until the end of your next turn.

13th Age: Luck Domain

While other games may take a broader-based approach to the cleric class, 13th Age focuses on the classic archetypal clerics: bastions of holiness who protect and heal their allies while debilitating the forces of evil. So when we set out to create new domains and spells for clerics, we wanted to expand that view some. Take the Luck Domain for example. This domain is perfect for clerics of gambling gods as well as trickster gods. The help of such deities is far from consistent, unless the cleric call upon the luck of these deities to help them in their quests. It is this good fortune that we wanted to incorporate into 13th Age and as always, Richard Moore did a smashing job of delivering that.

Download 13 Cleric Domains and Spells for your 13th Age Compatible game at the JBE Shop. You can also download it at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the Open Gaming Store.

Domain: Luck

Once per battle on your respective turns as a free action, you and your allies may each adjust the natural value of a single d20 roll downward by 1 (typically to trigger a result which would usually only work on a natural odd or even roll). An ally must be nearby you in order to use this blessing.
Champion Feat: As a free action at any time (typically after an enemy attack is rolled but before its damage and other effects are resolved), you can revoke this benefit for yourself and all allies who have not yet used it in order to add the escalation die to a single ally’s AC or PD (you choose which one is affected). You cannot bestow this defense bonus on yourself.
Epic Feat: As the Champion feat above, except that the escalation die bonus is now granted to AC, PD, and MD.
Invocation of Luck: This battle, you and each of your allies can each separately reduce the difficulty value of a single save in order to end an ongoing condition by one step—Hard (16+) is reduced to Normal (11+), Normal (11+) is reduced to Easy (6+), and an Easy (6+) save automatically succeeds the next time the character would make the roll. This difficulty reduction persists until you or that ally succeeds on the save, or until the battle ends.

13th Age: Pray for New Domains and Spells

May The Righteous Be Exalted

Liberate the oppressed from the yoke of tyranny! Shape the battlefield through acts of faith and divine allegiances! Shine your holy light where the deepest darkness pervades! Clerics channel their devotion into miraculous deeds that shield their allies from evil and smite foes born of the grave and the pit. Now you can go beyond the core book and expand your character’s repertoire of healing and protection spells, as well as utilize the icon relationship system to shape the story with your character’s unique spiritual journey.

13 Cleric Domains and Spells is the latest in our 13 Class Options series for the 13th Age Roleplaying Game. Inside this 12-page PDF, you will find:

  • 3 New Cleric Domains for worshipers of the deities of Weather, Liberation, and Luck
  • 3 New 1st Level Spells to offer lucky opportunities in a fight, save an ally’s life at the cost of your own blood, and turn the tide of a desperate battle
  • 2 New 3rd Level Spells for limiting opponents’ tactics and sanctifying the ground on which you stand
  • 2 New 5th Level Spells that punish your enemies’ misdeeds and invoke the saints of your religious tradition in battle
  • 2 New 7th Level Spells to overwhelm your foes with the fear of your gods—or open their hearts to redemption
  • 1 New 9th Level Spell that calls forth a legendary weapon from the myths of your patron or pantheon

The Damned Will Cower Before Your Glory in the 13th Age.

Download 13 Cleric Domains and Spells for your 13th Age Compatible game at the JBE Shop. You can also download it at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the Open Gaming Store.

5e: Arm Wrap

One thing I hear over and over again no matter what edition or variation of D&D, there just are not enough magic items for monks. In an effort to fix that, I started writing some. As usual for this blog when showing off something not yet published in a book, it hasn’t been approved by my editors yet so it is not as polished as it would be when given the final nod.

Tell us what you think of it in the comments below. Support our efforts to bring you more 5e awesomeness by downloading our adventures, races and more at JonBrazer.com. You can also find our 5e game supplements at DriveThruRPG RPGNow Paizo and the Open Gaming Store.

Arm Wrap

Wondrous item, uncommon (requires attunement)

When wrapped around the arms, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls on from natural weapons such as claws and bite attacks as well as martial arts that use unarmed strikes. If you have ki points, you gain an additional ki point.

Download our Fifth Edition PDFs at the JBE Shop. You can also find our 5e books at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow Paizo and the Open Gaming Store.

Pathfinder: Playtest at Origins

Yesterday I got my first chance to play the demo of the Pathfinder Playtest, and I couldn’t be more excited to have been apart of it. I played in a 2 hour demo with pregen characters. So I would like to share with you my impressions of the game.

Before I begin, I would like to say that I am not going to talk about the adventure itself since I don’t want to spoil it for anyone that is going to play it. I am only going to limit my remarks to my thoughts on the game itself.

Have you ever played a sequel to a video game you loved and realized from all the changes and upgraded that this was for all tense and purposes that this is a completely different game (none of the original programming code reused whatsoever), but the design loveingly took the time and effort to make sure that the new game still look and felt like it was a successor to the original. Like those working on it loved the original game but knew the code needed to rewritten for modern audiences. That is exactly how this felt, only with a tabletop game. It is undoubtedly a different game than Pathfinder 1e, but it felt the same. That is without a doubt a good thing.

I played the Kira the cleric (my apologies to Paizo if I got her name wrong). The character had the Fire domain, giving her a bolt of fire as an attack. I was able to cure one person in the group with a touch and the whole group with a burst. The fighter moved and attacked. Traps were disarmed and on and on. All of this sounds familiar to Pathfinder 1e fans, but the way it happened is different in 2e. That fire bolt was launched from my pool of spell points instead of X uses per day. The fighter had a specific 2-action option for moving and attacking. Disarming the trap was assisted by the paladin because she had a background that helped in this matter.

All those differences are good and all, but what do I think of it? And more importantly, is this the 5e killer? Well, I like it. It currently appears to be a solid game from the little I saw of it. Is it a 5e killer, I think that is the wrong question to ask. The right questions is, are they going after the same audience? To me, that is an unquestionable, “No.” Fifth edition is an elegant game. It is fun and easy for new players to pick up and learn. It also has painfully few choices for an individual character. Sure you get a subclass in the early levels and can choose to upgrade an ability or take a feat every so often, but that is it. It is all to easy to make one elf rogue look exactly like another elf rogue in that game. Add in the fact that the number of books they sell that are not tied to a specific campaign that contain new player options can still be counted on one hand several years in, and it becomes obvious that Wizards designed their game to be played by casual gamers. They wanted someone that only had the core book five years after launch to not be intimidated by someone with the gym bag library at the table.

That is not the audience Paizo is going after. One year of Pathfinder 2e will see more pages of player options published than 5e has from their respective companies outside of their core books by the same date. Where 5e is covering the basic ideas for you to play, Pathfinder 2e is going to cover all the options, allowing you to make exactly the character you want to play. Between classes, class options, feats, skill feats, archetypes, and more, choices for your character are something you will not be hurting for in Pathfinder 2e.

That is where I see Pathfinder 2e finding it’s home, among gamers that want their character the way they want it and not having characters that are highly similar. Where 5e is the Basic Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder 2e is the Advanced game.

I just want to take a moment to thank Mark Seifter. He ran an awesome game for our group and took the time to answer all of our questions about it after the game. I am sure he had to do that a million times at PaizoCon and he was still fresh and engaging with us at Origins.

Be sure to check out all our Pathfinder and 5e options at the JBE Shop.