Reign of Winter – GM Perspective.

So, I fucked it.

Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but certainly, running a Pathfinder game was far more work than I expected, and it makes me appreciate the sheer amount of extra effort Keegan puts in above what the adventure path gives him.

Firstly, I haven’t run a rules heavy system since I was 14, where I mangled d20 Modern to represent school. It trainwrecked horribly, but it at least made some people laugh for a session. After that, I entered my WoD phase, being one of those oft-cursed eternal players demanding to be entertained. After some time I began writing Bard: The Crescendo (a WoD template, like Vampire, Geist and Changeling) with some friends. Eventually it fell to me to test the system. It went okay.

When Keegan wanted a turn playing Pathfinder, he thought I could do a decent job (uhh?) of running an adventure path, and gently pressured me into taking the job. What can I say, I can be an entitled jerk. He set me up with the core, our copy of Hero Lab and The Snows of Summer to bone up on.

Much like a Puritan high school, there was less boning up than would be healthy for everyone involved.

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Reign of Winter – Cold, but I’m still here…

So, once again I’m bloody sick. I’m seriously starting to wonder if my body is ever going to completely recover from the series of respiratory tract and chest infections I had during and after my visit to China. I’ve been coughing on and off since then, even after a third round of antibiotics to clear out the last of the infection. Thankfully this time it doesn’t seem to be too bad, though I am more than a little annoyed that I started getting ill the Saturday before a week off on leave. Again with the coughing, but it’s not as nasty as last time. No fever either, just a constant dull ache all over my body. Still, I’m not going to let that stop me from going to see Lindsey Stirling tomorrow night. I’ve been looking forward to this for a month now, and I’ll be damned if illness is going to keep me from it… I’ll just have to stand very quietly at the back and hope there’s some seating available.

Anyway, now that I’ve got my bitching out of the way, it looks like it’s time for another update. As I mentioned last time, this is going to be an introduction to the Reign of Winter campaign that Jimbles is running for me. I was quite excited to have a chance to play in a Pathfinder game, as normally I end up running them, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to actually be a player in a D&D 3.5 game, and I’ve never yet been on the player’s side of the GM screen in Pathfinder, apart from once with a group that fell apart within the first session.

That's one mean looking old lady...

That’s one mean looking old lady…

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The Iron Kingdoms need you! – A Kickstarter Round-up

NOTE: This is finally finished. I’ve added post project updates to the WARMACHINE: Tactics and Tesladyne project write-ups, and have added write-ups for The Agents and Primeval Thule.

Hey guys,

So I know I said I’d try to get this up on Monday last week, but unfortunately life has a tendency to get in the way. Not going into details, as it’s nothing major, just lots of little things. Anyway, I’m in Sydney for a training course at the moment and had a little while to work on this tonight.

Anyway, it’s time for the Kickstarter round-up that I promised when I did my update about Satellite Reign on Sunday the 28th of July. So, we’ll be talking about a few different projects here, some of which still have a significant amount of time remaining, others that are in their last ten days or so. I haven’t pledged to all of these yet. Some of them I may end up pledging for, others I may not. It all depends on funds and other commitments. However, with the exception of one (which has already finished), they’re all projects I feel deserve some attention and hopefully some significant support. We’ll get to the exception later though.

So, let’s get stuck into it. Welcome to The Grassy Gnoll’s second instalment of the Kickstarter Round-up!

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Shattered Star: The Crew.

Our Blog-master decided my post was competent, and made him want to post here more himself. Perhaps in a manly “possession” sense. I can dig it. Because of that, it’s now my job to throw the occasional ham-fisted attempt at bloggery.

I’m playing in the Shattered Star game. I’ve played Aeros Rasta (Remember that guy who smacked himself in the face with a hammer?) finding a cool image and writing a simple fun backstory for him before we all died in the spider-holocaust. And yet… I wasn’t that upset when he died. Actually, I was a little pleased. It seems healing is not for me, or… Change is fascinating.

In an attempt to make this new party more permanent, evocative and interesting, I’d like to set out a small outline, and perhaps a brief description of each of the characters in our new party.

[Editors Note: having read this, it occurs to me that Jimbles has been adding a few flourishes to these characters that don’t exist in the personalities that the actual players have given them in game. And by a few flourishes, I mean he’s making stuff up out of whole cloth. That said, it’s pretty awesome… so I’ll allow it.]

Michael Best
Benjamin Dawson
Michael Aranda
Evan Radovanovic
Myself, James Woodman.

The paladin Gregor Roth, worshipper of the mighty god ____ known for his philosophy of “manning up” and “getting the fuck on with it, our paladin also exemplifies these traits. seeming something similar yo Sten the Qunari. on many an occasion, he has “cut the knot” by stating something similar to “It’s a devil. Kill it.” He fights with a massive falchion, given as a present from his order, the reward for being the strongest candidate in a year.

Zogalypse, Wildblooded Sorcerer of Umbra: A dark man, some say born from shadow, darkness and power, Zogalypse lives to prove himself and bring glory to the Pathfinder society. Collecting the Shards is a good start. Burning things to the ground is only just a means to an end. Dominion over the forces raging through him is a the only reason people can see past his dark heritage, and that used to hurt. Perhaps he can ride these idiots to glory.

Azaezel Blightblade the Magus: Another party member of demonic heritage, Azaezel has seemingly made a pact with a blade of dark, hypnotic metal. He’s found a way to cast some spells THROUGH the weapon. He makes devastating huge swings that crackle with Eldritch energy, lightning being a favourite. And yet, this power hides an even darker secret: Azaezel is not sure of himself. How should he react to hellspawn? Why does he feel uncomfortable in churches occasionally? And more importantly, why does Gregor seem less scary on some days?

Zamnil Blackaxe the spell-less Ranger:
Zamnil Blackaxe is a dwarf hailing from a century of trench warfare in the most brutal fashion possible. It has carved a name in his soul and mood. As a lead trail-blazer, the underground became his home and parade ground. While Zamnil can track smoother than an elf, he feels no kinship with the earth. He has learned the texture and feel because it was life or death… Mostly death. Zamnil wields hand axes with a talent borne of experience. He sees these companions as a way to earn a living without having to see Orcblood ever again.

Keira Strongarm, Human Archer: Keira lives in a world that was supposed to be denied to her. At first it was “You are too weak to use the longbow effectively.” When she drew the night watchman’s longbow at 8, it changed. “Your… Body makes true mastery out of your reach.” When she skewered an apple at 60 paces, the complaint changed. Father took away her weapon, and stated “You have duties at home, stop pretending to be a soldier.” She snuck away at night and carved her own bow, starting a life of a traveling trapper. It was only natural to come across the pathfinders.

That’s the basics. We’ve managed a few sessions without dying horribly, though Gregor came close. While we are relatively devoid of healing (PALLY IS FOR FITE) we are playing cautious.

Any questions?

Listening to: Hands Like Houses’ new album. I can’t place a genre on these beauties, but I do know they’ve matched the power and energy of the first album, avoiding the “Sophomore slump” like pros.

Still here…

Good evening all.

I just wanted to put up a quick update assuring people that I haven’t mysteriously disappeared or anything. I’m still around, I’ve just been utterly swamped with work at the moment, and am finding it hard to do any writing when I am getting spare time, since my head is still racing with work stuff.

Rest assured, I’ll have plenty more updates soon. I need to get the first proper entry for the Shattered Star journal written, and I’ve got some more characters for the Unusual Suspects. Work on my home brew campaign settings is also proceeding, albeit slowly, so I hope to be able to get some more updates for Cooking the Cosmos done at some point soon.

Right now though, I need some sleep. I need to get to work at 7:00 AM tomorrow, then get home and do prep for a Pathfinder game, so rest is necessary.

I’ll promise I’ll be back soon. Until then, keep safe, and keep your dice rolling.

Shattered Star: The Quest Begins…

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the campaign journal for my Shattered Star gaming group.

Shattered Star is the Pathfinder Adventure Path that just wrapped up a couple of months ago, and I’ve recently managed to put a group together to play through it. It’s a campaign that ranges from investigation through to old-fashioned dungeon delving and Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider artifact hunting.  It’s also a direct sequel to the earlier Adventure Paths that have taken part in the country of Varisia, but for the most part avoids retracing the same ground – As far as I’m aware the only revisited locale is the city of Magnimar.

Anyway, onto the journal itself. At the moment I’m undecided about how I’m going to write this. Since I’m pressed for time at the moment, the first update is just going to be an overview of the party and a bit of an explanation about optional rules that I use. Later on I’ll be doing recaps of each session, but am still unsure as to whether or not I’ll be doing it as a story with notations about out of character details, or just summarizing events.

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Argh!

Well, I did have a proper update for tonight. I spent the last two and a half writing up a recap of the first session of the Shattered Star Pathfinder group I’m running.

However, my browser died and when I reopend the draft, the last autosave was from an hour and a half ago. Since it’s now after midnight here, and I have work in the morning, I’m not going to rewrite it now. Right now it’s time for sleep.

Expect to see the completed update tomorrow night, when I have time to sit down and re-write it. Goodnight all.

Hell Is Where The Heart Is…

Evening ladies and gentlemen. Tonight’s topic isn’t quite what I had planned, but unfortunately my original topic was kind of jolted out of my head by a near miss I had on the way home from work yesterday. Thankfully I came out of it unscathed, but it was a close one. Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that having someone decide to change lanes right in front of me on a goddamn roundabout isn’t something I’d call fun, especially in wet weather.

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A Friendly Word of Advice

Today I just wanted to share something that I’ve learnt from spending half of my life as a role-player on both sides of the GM’s screen. This is probably going to come across as a rant, and if I’m being honest, that is exactly what it is. But I like to think that it’s a justified rant, and also fairly topical at the moment given a situation that is occurring in a game that I run.

The advice is this:

Do NOT be a dick to your GM.

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The Unusual Suspects – Norva Wintarius

Note: This update is as yet unfinished. I did intend to have it up last week, but it’s been unbelievably hectic for me lately, with a trip to Sydney to see Alestorm, someone managing to damage my scooter to the point that I had to take it in for repairs, and trying to finish off work stuff before I take a week off. As I am away for the next week, and I don’t know if I’m going to have any internet access where I am, I’m going to post what I’ve got for this update so far. I’ll be coming back to finish this off at some point in the next fortnight, hopefully by the end of next weekend.

Well, it took a bit longer than I’d hoped, but I’m finally ready to get started on a new series for the blog. Welcome to the first installment of The Unusual Suspects. Each update will focus on a different character that I have created, whether it’s one of my own player characters, a non-player character or a PC I’ve created for one of my friends to use. After a description of the character and a summary of their personality and backstory, I’ll go into detail on the build, including:

  • What sort of game they’re being used in
  • What I did to try and make them an interesting and memorable character
  • How I balanced the build so that the character is useful without having to be the best at everything.

I’m also in the midst of arranging for a friend of mine to do some character artwork for these updates, but at the moment there’s no timeframe for when that will happen. When it does, then I’ll try to get artwork done for the earlier pieces and come back to update them.

So, now that we’ve got the introduction out of the way, let’s get started. The first character I wanted to introduce is a recent creation, and has only seen a little bit of play. So let’s take a look at…

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