Up until now almost all of my work in the gaming sphere has been community management. Almost eight years as a manager on Planewalker.com, a time during which we won two silver ENnies, has been fantastic but this is a long-standing dream come true.
Dark Roads and Golden Hells from Open Design is the book in question. A tome of resources for planar adventuring under the Pathfinder rules. I had the pleasure of contributing a plane of existence and a nasty little creature to go with it.
And now back to the mountain of work involved in preparing to move house….
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It is a testament to the quality of Paizo’s products that I am about to do something I have not done since the original Ravenloft module was released in the ’80s. I am going to run an adventure *gasp* exactly as written.
Not only that, but I am committed to running the entire adventure path – levels one to fifteen – as presented. Skull and Shackles is just that good. So far the first installment, The Wormwood Mutiny, is wonderful. From the opening scene where the PCs wake in the hold of a pirate ship after having been press ganged – to the new mechanics for Infamy and Disrepute it is a joy. Major bonus points for both fluff and crunch, something I am coming to expect of Paizo as they continually raise the bar for RPG quality.
Wormwood takes characters from first through third level, giving them a taste of ship board life among a crew of scalawags. Quick and realistic rules for crew interactions, ship board punishments, a fully detailed pirate goddess and other elements combine to give the best take on ship bound adventuring I’ve seen. From these humble beginnings our pirates fight for survival as they work towards mutiny and a ship of their own.
So with ships and pirates and seafaring rules in the mix I’m sure people are wondering how rapidly I’ll be adapting the material to Spelljammer. The answer is 16th Level. You see, the Skull and Shackles adventure path runs from first to fifteenth level taking the PCs from prisoners to Pirate Lords. Conveniently enough there is a sixteenth level adventure in the works, The Moonscar, that will take the party from Golarion to its satellite. It should make a great jumping off point. From there, after they acquire a spelljamming helm, the rest of the solar system awaits.
And what a solar system it is, beautifully detailed in Distant Worlds the gazetteer for Golarion’s star system. Spelljammer DMs take heed – this volume belong on your shelf next to Greyspace and Realmspace. It’s a terrific gazetteer of the strange and terrible things that exist beyond Paizo’s core world. Of course, like Golarion itself, there are science fiction elements here as well. Much like Expedition to the Barrier Peaks or the City of the Gods in Mystara, you will find elements like machine intelligences and neural nets interspersed with the more traditional fantasy fare. It;s easily ignored if that doesn’t fit the style of your game so don’t consider it a down point.
So, to recap the plan.
- Run the Skull and Shackles adventure path as is.
- Run The Moonscar (or liberally pillage it, can’t say till I’ve seen it).
- Use Distant Worlds to take them into space, and perhaps eventually as far as Greyspace…
I’ll be blogging about as I go, and as usual you can follow along with the character journals and such on the Obsidian Portal page for the campaign.
Click the links below to purchase these products (we get a few pennies to support our gaming habit if you do).Read More
I’m guilty as all hell.
Guilty of working on the Obsidian Portal wiki for the game rather than posting here. It’s my own fault and I make no apologies. You see, we started the new game last night. Ad Astra Per Arcana has kicked off the latest campaign in the Planejammer series as it enters it’s thirty-first year!
Before I go on about the new game and our experiments with video conferencing I’d like to thank everyone who voted for us. Our Spelljoined campaign, affectionately referred to as the Cincinnati game, won Obsidian Portal’s Campaign of the Year for 2011. I’ll be sharing photos of the trophy full of dice as soon as it arrives in the mail!
With the new game we decided to bring in one of the players from The Spelljoined via video. With modern technology four state lines should be as nothing to a bunch of determined gamers. First we tried the Hangouts function on Google+ which held up reasonably well for a while. Unfortunately as time wore on and we had been using it for an hour or so the video and audio artifacts began to multiply like orcs in an adventurer free zone.
Since we had Mac devices on each end we decided to try Facetime from the Mac desktop here in New Orleans. Without an available external mic we were limited to the factory offering. This was still not cutting it.
Then I had an inspiration – what about my iPhone? It’s got Facetime and relatively decent volume when in speaker mode.
At first it was clunky, but I think it turns out to be the best bet when only bringing one player into the came virtually like we were. I ran an audio-out to my stereo system and we adjusted her volume to the average conversational level of the room and it worked out perfectly.
We used a small stand for the iPhone so we could rotate her view, which took a bit of work. One terrific aspect of this approach, despite the extra work of playing camera-man as well as DM, came when doing combat. Unlike a stationary webcam I could easily rotate her view of the battle mat and miniatures, even setting the iPhone down on the battle mat itself. This afforded an on the ground view most players never see, one that garnered quite a look of surprise from Emily when we tried it.
While we have not looked into Skype yet, a service I use a lot but that was not available on the other end, I don’t thing we will need to. Despite the trailing audio cable using the iPhone in the way seems to offer the easiest way to really bring a single player to the table over long distance.
Between that and Obsidian Portal for managing character sheets and game data we have the makings of a great tool set for bringing in guest stars and other long distance gamers. In the future we will be trying to reboot the Spelljoined as a purely online game. Whether Hangouts, Oovoo, or Skype end up being our best bet for a game where everybody is on webcam remains to be seen, but I’ll make sure to report on our experiments as they evolve.
One last quick announcement. If you’re looking for a new fantasy novel to read on your Kindle? Check out Eria by Andrew Sanderson with the cover done by Planejammer artist, Emily Vitori, as it’s free for the next two days!
If you’ve been gaming over video I’d love to hear about what has and has not worked for your group, let us know in the comments or circle the Planejammer page on Google+ and interact!Read More
The Spelljoined won Campaign of the Month last April on Obsidian Portal. That means we are in the running for Campaign of the Year, and voting ends on the 31st!
Being a bit of a narcissist I would love to win this purely for my own egotistic satisfaction, however there is more than that in the equation. You see, we have two brand new game artists on our team and their imagery is what really brings it all to life. Just read through the Journals and you’ll see some amazing illustration as well as some truly entertaining writing.
As the DM I am the overall architect of their fate, but as you can see from the journals we have hit on a really good streak of gaming at it’s best – collaborative storytelling. Even if my rules design doesn’t grab you their art and the fiction they’ve produced most assuredly will.
Check them out our artists’ galleries on Deviant Art:
- RavenKin did our logo and the more Manga looking artwork while
- Syreene did the majority of the illustrations found here and on Obsidian Portal.
It would be a great kick in the pants to see them get this sort of recognition.
Vote Here for The Spelljoined because we would all really appreciate it!
Yes, it would seem that I am. Trolling, that is.
Today my debut post on the Troll in the Corner Website just went live today- Edition Wars Are Merely Failed Diplomacy Checks.
I’ve donned my asbestos underwear and quaffed a potion of fire resistance. I have a feeling I’ll need them.Read More
Gamers came together six years ago to support those of us who were impacted by Hurricane Katrina and the New Orleans levee failure. Now it’s our turn in the wake of Hurricane Irene to do so ourselves!
This is a special one, folks, and it’s full of awesome gaming stuff for fans of Savage Worlds, Call of Cthulhu, and Pathfinder. Included publishers: Fabled Environments, Fun Sized Games, Gun Metal Games, John Wick Presents, Malhavoc Press, Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Savage Mojo, Super Genius Games, Timeout Diversions, and Triple Ace Games. Do some good, and do some great gaming!
Hurricane Irene Flood Relief is a charity bundle created in support of upstate New York victims of flooding from Hurricane Irene. All revenue generated by the sale of this bundle will be donated to the Schoharie County Community Action Program to help in their work.
As a Spelljammer DM this little project thrills me. The fine folks over at Clockwork Gnome Publishing look like they have a real winner on their hands with the forthcoming release of Sailing Starlit Sea, a fantasy space supplement.
Now here is the part I really love. You see, every attempt at fantasy space since Spelljammer has felt obligated to address space travel differently. This project allows for a lot more versatility by allowing you a number of options including the traditional Spelljamer perspective [emphasis below is my own]:
However, one of the key parts of Sailing the Starlit Sea will be the Campaign Overlays. These will provide advice on how to alter the standard assumptions to your tastes. Campaign Overlays will address everything from methods of interstellar travel to adjusting the physical laws of the universe. So if Platonic inspired crystalline spheres are your preference,Sailing the Starlit Sea will provide a way to accommodate that choice while still preserving the rules and setting presented in the book.
With the final product not due out till early 2012 how can we judge what to expect from it? Easily, my dear cutter, they’ve just released a few teasers with info about their main solar system and more. Check them out:
- The Major Planets of the Seren System
- The Moons, the Shattered Wanderer, and Other Celestial Bodies of the Seren System
- Monsters of the Starlit Sea
This looks like fun, here’s hoping the crunch is as good as the fluff is so far.
By the way if, like most Pathfinder DMs I know, you scavenge old 3.x material for your game you might be interested in this old chestnut I wrote looking at some that are very useful for a PFRPG/3.x campaign: Contraband – Some Third Edition Spelljammer Resources.
There is a lot more to do, but the heavy lift is finished. Planejammer is now on it’s new servers, hosted locally in Cincinnati by Inexistence. The new masthead and logo by RavensCraft is up, and we are preparing to get our pricing and galleries up.
We will continue to blog about gaming, with a heavy bias towards fantasy space and planar adventuring. However we will also be centralizing the efforts of three creators to bring you a line of commission art and pdf based products.
Let us know what you think of the new look and feel, and certainly please sing out if there is something you would like to see us add!
Wishing you Natural 20s!Read More
Today we bring to you guys, a truly awesome showcase of campaign depth and intricacy. The very dedicated and friendly DungeonMasterLoki shares with us a bit about his game, his players and gives us some sound advice. The Spelljoined campaign has been going on since before some of us were born! So ‘ave a seat cutter, and stop rattlin’ your bone box for a just minute and park your ears right here!
So begins the blog post which announces our status as the feature Campaign for the entire month of April on Obsidian Portal! I can’t thank our contributing players, artists, and writers of crunch enough. You are all brilliant!
So rest assured that there is still a lot to go up on the Campaign wiki, we’re talking 30 years of setting development here. I’m slowly getting The Seven Stars and The Misfits formatted and online.
Additionally, all of the campaign journals, rules and such are undergoing a full migration to Obsidian Portal. This website will be transitioning to general RPG news and updates on the forthcoming line of pdf supplements we are working in for Pathfinder.
So here they are, the last three campaigns of the Planejammer series in various states of construction:
We love feedback and comments!Read More