Monthly Archives: July 2015

Gen Con 2015 Schedule

If you are looking to get me to sign things, or to hang out with me, or buy me meals and drinks, this guide may be useful!

My (approximate) Gen Con schedule! Beyond these times, there’s always a good chance I’ll be at the Gaming Paper booth, or Green Ronin, or Paizo!


Fly in 3:25pm

Meat dinner with friends 5:30 or so (I think)

Get-together at Vigo, as I am able 6:30-9:30

SMOG gathering, from the time I leave Vigo until I pass out


Seminar: “Writing for Pathfinder” (11 am)

Seminar: “Pathfinder 101” (Noon)

Seminar: “Be The Next RPG Superstar,” (4pm)

Possible dinner, 5-ish to 7-ish

Mysterious Freelancer Get-Together, 7:30 until I pass out


8am: Maybe a PFS scenario!

11am-1pm Maybe lunch (a few offers on the table!)

Noon to 5pm – The Four Horsemen Open: A Date with Death

Dinner, with John Reyst at least, 5-ish tom 7:30-ish

ENnies, Union Station, 8pm

Mysterious RSVP’d After-Party


Possible early brunch with someone!

Mike Myler’s booth of Hypercrazyness (probably), Noon-2pm

Possible late lunch with someone!

Mysterious SMOG Gaming Event, 7:30 pm – Midnight

War Room, the pilot for Peter Adkison’s new Chaldea fantasy web series! Midnight, Westin Grand Ballroom III.


Seminar: “Developing Pathfinder” (Noon).

Lunch – With one or more of a few folks

Dinner – With one or more of a few folks



In the Basalt Mountains, mighty tribes of hill and stone giants rule almost without question, often enslaving orc clans and forcing them to do any work the giants consider beneath them. Interbreeding isn’t common enough for half-giants to overrun the mountains, but the giantish blood has clearly been infused into the orc bloodlines over generations, forming a breed of hulking orcs both larger and more cunning than their kin of unadulterated heritage. Known as orrocs, these massive and powerful humanoids spread the tyranny of their giant overlords for miles in every direction from the mountains, and orroc scouts and raiders often influence (or sometimes control) orc bands in wilderness areas weeks away from the mountains to harass and weaken nearby kingdoms.

Unlike both their orc and giant kin, orrocs cannot interbreed with humans. This may be one of the reasons orrocs generally feel an intense dislike for half-orcs, and often go out of their way to inflict cruelties on their most humanlike kith. Half-orcs have no instinctive dislike of orrocs, but generally the way orrocs treat them is enough for a trained enmity to develop.

A typical orroc is an orc barbarian 2 with the advanced template. One in four is a bloodrager or also has the giant template (and roughly 1 in 16 is both). In a group of orrocs, In any given group or orrocs, half are likely to be higher level. A group of 16 orrocs is generally includes 8 second level orrocs, 4 third level orrocs, 2 fourth level orrocs, one fifth, and one sixth. Most bloodrager orrocs have the elemental (water) bloodline, though a few possess the aberrant or blook blood bloodline instead.

Roughly 1 in 8 orrocs has a class other than barbarian or bloodrager. Among these brawlers are common, and hunters and slayers often serve as scouts and assassins. Orroc oracles and warpriests are less common, but those that exist often lead warbands. Orrocs are rarely clerics, fighters, rangers, or rogues though some such creatures exist. No orroc arcane spell casters other than bloodrager are common enough to be considered anything but rare, and only skalds and witches are common enough to be encountered more than once in a lifetime. Any other class is encountered only in unique individuals.

Orrocs are treated as orcs, ogres, and giants for all prerequisites and when determining what abilities affect them.

Orrocs often have the Rock Chucker feat.

You have your own form of the giant trick of rock-throwing.
Prereq: Ogre, cannot have rock throwing.
Benefit: You can hurl sling stones designed for creatures one size larger than your size as if firing them from a sling. You can hurl such stones as often as you are able to make attacks (you are not required to “reload” the stones). As long as you are in a rocky or natural setting, you are assumed to be able to find an unlimited supply of such stones under normal circumstances.

Tales from Gen Con

Paizo was kind enough to ask me if I had any thoughts on Gen Con. I ended up writing more than 1,000 words on my experiences, and how they have both shaped and been shaped by my career path.

AFK E&E “Advanced Guide” Drink Review: Jedi in the Street, Sith in the Sheets

I’ll be reviewing the drinks from the Advanced Guide menu at the AFK Elixirs and Eatery. Every drink is reviewed only after I have had one, drunk from start to finish.
Clearly the “Jedi in the Street, Sith in the Sheets” wants to be both geek-mainstream and a bit naughty. It’s a drop shot (a shot that you drop into a slammer glass of other liquid), of vanilla vodka, cherry vodka and grenadine dropped into Ultra Blue Monster and blue caracao.
That *ought* to be too much, but the bartender who blended this recipe knew what she was doing. The end result is definitely a strong mixed drink, but it’s eminently sippable. It goes particularly well with a simple side or a dessert, which makes it a nice “hanging out and playing games” drink, perfect for the AFK.
One of my favorites.

AFK E&E “Advanced Guide” Drink Review: Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster

I’ll be reviewing the drinks from the Advanced Guide menu at the AFK Elixirs and Eatery. Every drink is reviewed only after I have had one, drunk from start to finish.
The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster is just about the only drink on the Advanced Guide I’ve had versions of before. This has been making the Convention circuit for decades on one form or another. Most are terrible.
The AFK E&E version is gin, tequila, triple sec, 151, blue curacao, grenadine, bitters, Sprite and, of course, lemons.
According to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, drinking one should be like having your brains smashed out with a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.
There’s definitely some of that here. This has a strong alcoholic taste, and packs a bit of a punch. To my surprise it is neither too sweet nor too sour. With that many distilled spirits you can’t expect to note more than “booze” flavor, and you get it. But the mix does manage to give it an actual vaguely-citrus flavor and independent character, which I enjoyed.
IN any case, it’s namesake is a classic, putting this high on the list of Geek Drinks you should try… if you have a ride home.

AFK E&E “Advanced Guide” Drink Review: Sonic Screwdriver (4th Doctor)

I’ll be reviewing the drinks from the Advanced Guide menu at the AFK Elixirs and Eatery. (With thanks to Stan! and Andy Collins, for the suggestion.) Every drink is reviewed only after I have had one, drunk from start to finish.
There are numerous “Sonic Screwdrivers,” and this one is the “4th Doctor” version.
Cherry vodka, orange juice, and cranberry juice.
Sweet, but not cloying. Surprisingly smooth. Mild alcoholic bite. Warms the insides nicely.

AFK E&E Drink Review: Star Lord

I’ll be reviewing the drinks from the Advanced Guide Drinks menu at the AFK Elixirs and Eatery. Every drink is reviewed only after I have had one, drunk from start to finish.
The Star Lord is gin, white rum, citron vodka, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, and sweet and sour.
It ended up tasting like Hard Grapefruit-Aid to me, though there’s no grapefruit in it. It’s sharp, with a pronounced citrus flavor and a good alcoholic kick.


“So… Sudden-Oven-Man?”

“I prefer James.”

“Really? Is that your actual name?”

“It is, amusingly enough! When your first name is James, letting that secret out doesn’t actually give the shadowy conspiracy of anti-appliance villains a lot of help tracking your home or work address.”

“You have a, ah, ‘normal’ job?”

“I do, though I’d prefer not to go into it. It’s boring. Tedious, even. But if I told you I was a pizza delivery man, which I’m not by the way that’s just a hypothetical, but that might actually put other ‘Jameses’ who deliver pizza in danger. In case the League of Appliance Repairman Assassins ever went on a rampage.”

“You don’t seem to take this very seriously.”

“I get called ‘Sudden-Oven-Man’ on national television. How seriously should I take it?”

“So if you don’t like the name, how did you get it?”

“I strongly suspect it’s related to my ability to spontaneously manifest 40″ O’Keefe & Merritt ovens anywhere within a few hundred feet of myself. It’s a nice model. Four burners, chrome griddle, oven on the right side, ‘Grillevator’ broiler on the left. It even has side salt & pepper shakers.”

“We mean, who chose that exact name, which is so closely associated with you, and why didn’t you fight against it if you dislike it?”

“I’m pretty sure the Chicago Comet stuck me with that nom de mask first, when I got involved in the Battle of Bronzeville. As for why I haven’t fought it… what’s the point? I summon ovens. Suddenly. What am I going to come up with that’ll replace ‘Sudden-Oven-Man’ in people’s heads? If the ovens could produce fire I might go with ‘Grillevator,’ just because I like the sound of it, but it’s not like they come connected to gas lines.”

“Why DID you get involved in the Battle of Bronzeville? Over the years it’s become very clear you’re not motivated to be a full-time hero. Sometimes years go by without you doing anything with your powers.”

“I got involved because people were dying, and the heroes on-scene were overwhelmed. We all thought Gargoyle was dead, Red Tail was having to hold the line at Sunset on his own and Hexen started yelling near a shop where I was that we had to evacuate. She turned to face down a wave of razorlings to give us time to flee.. and I just didn’t see how she could do it. Not alone. A cop ran up next to her and started firing his pistol, and I figured I had to do my part. So I began dropping ovens on them.”

“How do you do that?”

“Gravity, mostly.”

“We mean, how does your power work? Where does it come from? Why… why ovens?”

Actually it’s not just ovens. I can also summon a small stretch of tile floor, a gust of warm air, a cast-iron cooking tray, and some wonderful oatcakes. They just don’t come in as handy.”

“Do you know the origin of your power?”

“My grandfather was a Boomer Baby. No, I won’t say if you know him. My mother didn’t have any powers we ever noticed. And I summon ovens. Pretty clearly it’s a skip-a-generation thing. After Bronzeville, Doctor Phoenix checked me out. He says the oven, and the other things I can summon, are quantum projections. He suspects when the Big Boom hit in New York, one of the things it destroyed was a kitchen that had all the items I can now create, as hiccups in the space/time continuum.”

“Are their any limits to your, er… oven-summoning powers?”

“Many. The ovens don’t last long, about six hours on average, though if they get hit by high-energy states they sometimes go ‘piff.’ They are all the exact same oven, or copies of it. I’ve studied it pretty closely. There’s a scratch on the chrome on the left-hand side, and it’s not completely even on a level floor. It has momentum relative to the most influential gravitational field it’s being summoned within, which is a fancy way of saying it always appears stationary compared to the planet. I can’t ‘throw’ ovens, just drop them or set them on the ground. But it’s pretty heavy, so both those things work pretty well. The back is tougher than the front, weirdly, and I have learned to summon it in new orientations, so I can drop it point-first on someone. The oatcakes too, for that matter. And I have a maximum range of less than 1,000 feet, though Gargoyle won’t let me say exactly how far.”

“Do you interact with Gargoyle often?”

“Weirdly, yeah, I do. He arranges for training for me, though I’m never doing enough hours in a week to satisfy him. But I’m not really a hero. I don’t want to be. I help where I can or must, but I have no interest in forming ‘Kitchen Appliances for Justice,’ or anything. You said sometimes there are years I don’t do anything with my powers, but that’s not really true. My main power is humanity, just like everyone else. I pay my taxes, love my family, volunteer at a soup kitchen. Overall, I think those do more good than creating sudden ovens in the name of liberty. And, of course, there’s the babysitting.”

“We’re sorry, what?”

“Well, sometimes its ‘dog sitting,’ or ‘quantum anomaly sitting.’ That’s actually the main way my powers are used, which is to say to not use them but be able to if things go wrong. When one of Gargoyle’s allies needs someone to keep an eye on something, generally something weird, but they don’t think it’s important enough for a real hero to be sidelined doing it, they call me. I’m back-up. It’s a lot less dangerous than actual hero work, though I did once have to drop 47 ovens on a Fanashi Warcaster to protect a baby mammoth.”

“Does, does that sort of thing come up often?”

“For me it’s four or five times a year, on average. Some other folks in the back-up business have gigs almost every week. More during alien invasions and demonic outbreaks. I mean, look, we live in a world where people can fly by force of will. Mythic objects are walking around as people. Super-science allows zero-point rods to rewrite reality. Psychics can travel through time with the power of their bald minds. People wear onesies to fight crime. That’s the top level of weird. But there are lots of levels between that and spoon-bending, and for a bunch of us, that’s where we can contribute the most.”

“So you’re saying there are a lot of people doing… back-up?”

“Oh, yeah. More than full-time heroes. A lot of retired heroes in their 70s and 80s who don’t happen to still look 22. Apprentice Supreme Spellcasters. Younger sibling of kid sidekicks who can’t go into the field yet. And folks like me, weirdos with bizarre powers that are only sort of useful. We often call ourselves the Oddities. Sometimes we get together for Bar-B-Ques.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Not this time, no. It’s a messed up world. I summon ovens for justice. None of that should get in the way of having a good time with friends.”

Progress on the Apocalypse

I continue to work on Warlords of the Apocalypse.
It’s still slow going.
The recent Anachronistic Adventures compilation available through Bundle of Holding has the new, revised base classes that have been updated to be more stand-alone, and will serve as the basis for the Warlords classes. A lot of its rule systems (ESP, PL familiarity, “running a low-magic campaign) are also the testbed for WotA systems.
I have more custom art from Erik Lofgren, which will act as chapter openers.
The augmentation rules (including mutation, nanocybernetics, and strange devices) are close to ready for another playtest.
But since I have a full-time office job with Paizo, a half-time developer gig with Green Ronin, and publishing duties with rogue Genius, my spare writing time is not enough for things to happen quickly.
I has *hoped*, for obvious reasons, to have a draft ready when Mad Max Fury Road came out. Equally obviously, I didn’t manage that, although the effort is one reason I have made some solid progress.
It is still absolutely my plan to make this book happen. I also still don’t have a solid eta on when.wota_vehicles_co