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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Traveller RPG: Spiders

It has been a very long time since we posted anything Traveller related on our website, let alone published anything. Short of the long, we are working on it. With Pathfinder ending it required us to throw out our whole schedule and quickly adjust. Fortunately we are almost done with our last 1e Pathfinder project and then we can go back to Traveller. And to show how much I love this game, I am sharing with you today a nice little spider.

Did I say nice? And little? Yea, this thing needs killed with fire. Nuke it from orbit; it is the only way to be sure.

Spiders

Description

Ranging from the tiniest of creatures to those as large as humans, spiders come in a wide variety of sizes and colors. Several have distinctive spots or designs on their bodies. They possess eight legs, a poisonous bite and compound eyes on their head. Many spiders create webs to capture and hold their prey in place while they scurry close to feed.

Combat Tactics

All spiders are aggressive predators that use their poisonous bites to subdue or kill prey. They prefer to surprise their prey and repeatedly bite until either they have eaten enough, are driven off or have made their target helpless.
Spiders come in two general types: hunters and webspinners. Hunters rove about, while web-spinners usually attempt to trap their prey in their web. Hunting spiders can spin webs to use as lairs, but cannot use their webs as weapons the way web-spinners can.

Ecology and Habitat

Universally, spiders prefer dark places with little wind or sound vibrations. Apart from that they differ greatly between individual species. Some prefer dank caves, others prefer corners in homes, while other still prefer grasslands. Wherever there is life, there are spiders. Even though spiders are more common and larger in warmer climates, they still populate colder environments.

Animal Hits Speed
Stalking Spider 12 12 m
Skills Melee (bite) 1, Recon 2, Stealth 1, Survival 2
Attacks Bite (2D + Poison)
Traits Armour (+1), Poison (12+/2D/1 minute for 6 minutes), Small (–1), Spider Climb
Behaviour Carnivore, Killer

You’ll note that this one has a new trait on it: spider climb. Here’s what it does:

Spider Climb: The animal can walk at its full speed on any surface that is not designed to be slick and perfectly smooth.

Download all of our Traveller books at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.

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Going to Origins 2018

Monday morning, I am heading out towards Columbus, Ohio for Origins 2018. As I do with all the other conventions I attend, I will be sharing pictures on Twitter and Instagram as well as sharing my experience of the convention on JonBrazer.com when I get back. Here’s my links to PAX Unplugged and Dreamation. I will be attending as a gamer and not as a publisher. If you see me, I hope you come up to me, say, “Hi,” and we grab a selfie, but I will be with my daughter so I hope you understand if I will be not be able to spend more time than that with you. At another convention, I would be thrilled to talk with you. If you are going to Origins, I hope that you have fun and that we can game at the same table together.

Speaking of gaming, I will be playtesting the new Pathfinder 2.0 Beta. I don’t know who my GM will be (fingers crossed from someone from the design team). Unless I am not allowed to talk about it, I most definitely will be talking up a storm about the new game afterwards. Also, I will be playing a few rounds of Adventurers League. I got in an escape room and will even be playing Fairytale Gloom. I’m really looking forward to that.

On a side note, If you order any print books from the JBE Shop between June 11-17, I will not be able to ship it out until the 18th. So if you want my personal copy of the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path, Legacy of Fire Adventure Path or the D0-D1.5 adventures (the Falcon’s Hollow adventures), order them now to get them that much sooner.

As always, happy gaming.

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5e: Vampiric Young Blue Dragon

Today I would like to share with you a fun mash up of two monsters: dragon and vampire. We are so use to vampires being humanoid that we forget that a vampire can be of any shape. So when creating it in another form, why not marry it a creature that is already scary like a dragon. Done like this, it opens up some new design space. You can make adjustments to the standard vampire abilities that fit a dragonic form much better. For example, we changed the ability Legendary Resistance to Legendary Scales. This is both familiar while still being unique for this specific monster.

As always, check out all our Fifth Edition products at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store. Supporting us lets us to bring you more monsters every Wednesday and other blog posts throughout the week.

Vampiric Young Blue Dragon

Large undead, neutral evil


Armor Class 20 (natural armor)
Hit Points 123 (13d10 + 52)
Speed 40 ft., burrow 20 ft., fly 80 ft.


STR 21 (+5) DEX 16 (+3) CON 19 (+4)
INT 22 (+6) WIS 18 (+4) CHA 20 (+5)


Saving Throws Str +10, Con +9, Wis +9, Cha +10
Skills Athletics +10, Perception +9, Stealth +8
Damage Resistances lightning, necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 19
Languages Common, Draconic
Challenge 14 (11,500 XP)


Legendary Scales (3/Day). If the dragon succeeds a saving throw that would normally deal half damage on a successful save, the dragon can choose to take no damage from the attack. Any conditions that would be applied on a successful save are still applied.
Regeneration. The dragon regains 20 hit points at the start of its turn if it has at least 1 hit point and isn’t in sunlight or running water. If the vampire takes radiant damage or damage from holy water, this trait doesn’t function at the start of the vampire’s next turn.
Vampire Weaknesses. The dragon has the following flaws:
Forbiddance. The vampire can’t enter a residence without an invitation from one of the occupants.
Harmed by Running Water. The dragon takes 20 acid damage if it ends its turn in running water.
Stake to the Heart. If a piercing weapon made of wood is driven into the dragon’s heart while the dragon is incapacitated in its resting place, the dragon is paralyzed until the stake is removed.
Sunlight Hypersensitivity. The dragon takes 20 radiant damage when it starts its turn in sunlight. While in sunlight, it has disadvantage on attack roll and ability checks. .

Actions


Multiattack. The dragon makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 24 (3d12 + 5) piercing damage plus 5 (1d10) lightning damage and 5 (1d10) necrotic damage. The target is grappled (escape DC 18). The dragon cannot bite another target while grappling. The target’s hit points maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and the dragon regains hit points equal to that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0. A dragon slain in this way and then buried in the ground or a mound of copper, gold, and silver rises the following night as a vampiric dragon spawn under the dragon’s control. If a humanoid is slain in this way and then buried in the ground rises the following night as a vampire spawn under the dragon’s control.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (3d8 + 5) slashing damage.
Terrify. The dragon targets one dragon or humanoid it can see within 30 feet of it. If the target can see the dragon, the target must succeed on a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw against this magic or be terrified of the dragon. The terrified target regards the dragon as a imposing image that must be obeyed. Although the target isn’t under the dragon’s control, it takes the dragon’s requests orders that must be carried out or suffer the consequences. Additionally, it is a willing target for the dragon’s bite attack.
Each time the dragon or the dragon’s companions do anything harmful to the target, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. Otherwise, the effect lasts 24 hours or until the dragon is destroyed, is on a different plane of existance than the target, or takes a bonus action to end the effect.
Black Lightning Breath (Recharge 5–6). The dragon exhales lightning infused with necrotic energy in a 60-foot line that is 5 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw, taking 44 (8d10) lightning damage and 44 (8d10) necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.