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Known as Mortar on the forums I frequent

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Wrapping up 2016

Well, here we are at the end of another year, and personally it can't end soon enough. I'm not talking about all the crazy stuff happening in various parts of the world, or the craziness of US presidential election campaigns, or even the stunning number of celebrities that have left us.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Just a quick Update

I am definitely still in the fight, but the health took a major beating over the last couple of months and I most definitely took a few steps backwards. Enough about that or I'll end up in some rant about something totally off topic.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Pregens and Archetypes in Fantasy Grounds 3.2.0

I know that FG 3.2.0 isn't going to come out until after FG-Con in October, but I have already seen discussion on this topic so I thought I would throw some info out there.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Life Events, FG changes and a look a ahead

It been a bit too long since I last made a post, somehow I made it 2045 views. Which is way beyond the dozen or so I was expecting with each post. Here is the latest and breaking news, so read even if you don't care. I always welcome the harassment you readers can dish out.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

What a crazy couple of weeks....projects finished, and projects underway

Yes, you read that correctly....projects finished up and projects started.

Like I said its been a really crazy ten days, both in my personal situation and my piece of the RPG world since I posted I was going to start The Last Parsec. Today's post is focusing on the last bit - my corner of RPG-dom. Its going to be a long post too folks!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

A quick update on a couple of things

Just a couple of quick updates as I try to do this from my phone.
First, for OSR folks in the crowd out there, if you haven't picked up "An Adventure Most Fowl" by Grey Fey you need to. This little piece has a great story line, well thought out NPCs. Realistically, it could be used as a basis for starting a campaign. With the update given to the product the new layout and artwork are fantastic. The maps are done by Dysons Logos so you can't go wrong there.
Well worth it. Hats off to Howard Beleiff and.crew.  if you are interested you can check it at the link below:

For the folks more interested in The Last Parsec, the Player's Guide is basically complete. One of the vehicles was missing stats in the PDF. So,  I am waiting for some sort of answer from PEG on that.  I am now working on converting the bestiary portion of the book. Then its images and tokes.
Little bit slower than I would have liked, but comparatively the smallest conversion to date for me.
Hopefully in the next day or two I can add another post with some screen shoots.
As always, comments and flames always welcome!

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Last Parsec progress, and some experiences with the Science Fiction Companion

I started work on the Last Parsec a little less than a week ago. Progress has been decently fast, but it has come with a few bumps in the road and a whole lot of learning going on. I had never really used the Science Fiction companion or its extension all that much, and there are a few weird peculiarities that caught me off guard which took time for me to understand what was happening. Incidentally, that understanding was achieved after +Eric Lamoureux dropped a brick on my head.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Day 11 #RPGaDAY

The answer to this today for me isn't so much the effect on the way I play, but more about the effect on my level of participation in games and in the gaming community. I am going to have to call out +Damian Hupfeld and +Eric Lamoureux on this.

Two years ago when I first came across Fantasy Grounds, I hadn't seriously in a couple years, that changed quickly. From being introduced to the Castles & Crusades and Savage Worlds via some one shots they ran to their endless energy in running new game, to their presence on the forums has been a force in me becoming more active - not just on the forums as my post counts climbs, but participating actively in the G+ communities I am a member,

From the early stages as I leaned how to input my home brew materials into FG, then eventually start making m own product conversions, then starting my own blog about progress on my conversions, and even now as I close in on the completion on my third project.

Their patience, crticism, advice and general all around help has been a fantastic source of support, and with that kick in the ass when I needed it has been of immeasurable help.

So thanks, and hat's off to you guys.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Day 10 #RPGaDay

Largest in game surprise I have experienced?

This one took a lot of thinking, I was originally trying to think of surprises I have pulled on players but really couldn't come up with any really good ones. So I had to go with one where, a good friend and I as players surprised the players in the group.

Waaaayy back in high school, pre-2nd edition AD&D days my good friend Chris (we have been friends for almost 40 years) and I played in multiple groups. One of the campaigns we were involved in the GM ran two totally different groups in the same home brew world. The groups had heard of the other's exploits, but had never crossed paths at all. Our characters were a pair of brothers who were both fighter types and after several years of campaigning two or three times a week were both fairly well leveled....like about level 15 or so. We weren't exactly saints....but not too evil either.

Being all army brats, the members of the groups tended to fluctuate somewhat and this particular summer the other players in this group had moved away. The second group our GM ran also lost a couple of players and were at a point where they needed some extra muscle for a particularly nasty expedition. It also helped that both our characters were very familiar with the area the group was going to. So the GM brought us into the other group.

Now we knew of one or two of the players but had never played with them. Our two brothers join the group and guide them to the area they were interested in. A freaking huge dungeon our GM delighted in constantly adding to and/or changing (think Undermountain or Rappan Athuk huge).

So after several sessions, the others hadn't actually realized that their two new beat'em ups were brothers. We didn't tell them, cause well, they never asked. The party was holed up in a fairly large room, and had just surprised and captured some underlings of the BBEG they were after.

The others being of good alignment and disposition questioned the prisoners nicely and had not received any real answers from them. The players were discussing their options when my buddy Chris decides to take matters into his own hands.

He walks up to the prisoners and points at one of them and says to him, "You're going to tell me what we want to know." He then promptly smashes the ankles of the prisoner next to him. Chris looks back at the first prisoner and says, "Cause once I break every bone in his body, I am going to start with yours."

This gets the attention of the other players, meanwhile I am sitting off in the corner minding my own business. The argument that ensues was funny as hell, and Chris keeps basically telling them he is going to get the info one or another, if they don't like it they can look the other way. Chris takes another swing at the maimed prisoner, and one of the other players sticks his shield in the way to block the attack and announces, "He swung at me first, so I am attacking" This sets off a messy in party fight.

I am still minding my own business in the corner, and one of the players has a sudden gleam of intelligence and says, "I am going to go sit in the corner and read my play-elf." In the fight that followed four characters attacked Chris, with the one dude in the corner and I taking it all in. Before they killed Chris' character he was able to kill one of them and wounded the others.

After a few minutes there are three wounded PC's looking  down at the dead bodies of two other characters, and they begin discussing how they were going to split up the loot and get their dead friend brought back to life.

Enter my character....."I just have one question for you guys."

They all turn and look at me.

"Now that you killed my brother, who do I kill first?"

The looks on their faces was awesome, and when it was over I had my choice of some pretty cool loot.

Oh, and the guy reading the play-elf got some nice stuff too after I had him carry my brother's body all the way back to town.

Best part of it all - nobody went away mad.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Day 8...The easiest question of them all for me

Today's question: hardcover, softcover or digital? Easy - all of them. I love books, and I love reading. I am not above owning multiple copies of a book in different formats. I am a proverbial kid in the candy store when I go into a book store or a game store.

Having said that, the bulk of my book purchases in the last three of four years have been digital. Partly because the nearest FLGS is a 30 minute drive on a good day, partly because of the cost of shipping. When it costs more to ship a book to me than the book costs, then its time to "settle" for the digital copy.

If I local group that played regularly then I would actually eat the extra cost to have the real deal in my hands. Currently, my only play time is on line so digital works. Plus it is way easier to do conversions for Fantasy Grounds with a digital copy - be interesting to try and do a conversion on a hard cover though.

New laptop, The Last Parsec, and a theme extension

Its really funny how that old cliche "you don't know what you have until its gone" continues to ring true. In my case, its more I didn't realize how much stuff I actually did on my old laptop until it finally gave stopped working.  I did almost all my conversion work on it, moving to the main computer occasionally. Generally, any image work tended to be on my main rig as it was far more capable than the old laptop for that stuff.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

#RPGaDAY2016 #RPGaDAY 7 Aug

Today's question: What aspect has had the biggest affect on me?

Personally, I am going to have to say the biggest effect on me has been pushing the boundaries of my creativity and imagination. I have also stepped outside my comfort zones at different times over the years. From the time I was three I have always enjoyed reading - yes I started early, and I am still a voracious devourer of books.

Once I started playing 1st edition AD&D back in the day, it was almost as if the beast within was released. I started world building, writing adventures and stories to fill those worlds. Right from the start I wanted to contribute to the hobby somehow. Way back when Dragon and Dungeon magazines were still TSR products, I even submitted several articles and adventures. Looking back now, those admissions were pretty amateurish and its a good thing they never actually got published.

I have not really finished travelling that road though, it has just gone in a different route than I originally envisioned. I have one completed conversion available for +Fantasy Grounds, another one for the gang at +Just Insert Imagination is in the queue for review before being published. I also have a "small" list of other products I would love to convert as well.

The itch to write is there, I have been working off and on for a couple of weeks on a really big Weird Wars Rome plot point campaign, and there a couple non rpg projects being worked on slowly, but progress is being made.

Friday, 5 August 2016



Today's question: What story does your group tell about your character?

This one is a bit more difficult to answer for me. If I had to go with something recent, I think I would have to go back to the first session of +JC Locke's Beasts and Barbarians game. In the arena, my character, a dashing rogue from the under streets of nowhere and everywhere, happened to be an alcoholic. So as we begin the fight for our lives in the arena, I haven't had a drink in a couple of days and am suffering from the DTs and going through withdrawl.

Part way through the fight, after I had taken down one or two bad guys, the other heroes had the situation well in hand. More than half the bad guys were still alive and active, including a really big scorpion. I go running at the arena wall and scrambled into the stands grabbing all the drinks I can find to quench my thirst. Panicked spectators were running everywhere, though I think they were more running because the arena was falling down around the their heads.

Still did more than that cowardly, useless sorcerer.

That session was full of hilarity and epic moments all around.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

RPGaDAY day 4


Most Impressive thing another persons character did? I think it would have to be the entire group's play during a Beasts and Barbarians game run by +JC Locke.

We started off the game as prisoners to be sacrificed in an arena to the scorpion god of some cult. From the get go the party took it too those pesky cultists (okay, really the sorcerer went hid behind the biggest pillar he could find)

+Skip Voyer+Matt Stark+Lan Kelly +Eric Lamoureux and +Daniel McLaughlin

Hopefully we get to play some more of this!

Recorded session here

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

#RPGaDay #RPGaDAY2016

3 August, Proudest Character moment: Hmm, 35 years worth of gaming and the highs and lows that your characters will encounter. I am going to have to go with something from about a year and half ago.

Playing in +Eric Lamoureux' Weird Wars Rome The Half Set Sun. My character was the Decanus elevated to lead a century of my fellow legionnaires in retaking a backwater district of Aegyptus back from the treacherous Nubians.

I had to lead the century in the retaking of a series of Roman forts and a couple of local villages while keeping my losses as low as possible as I wasn't going to be getting any reserves. I wracked my brain and pored over the shared campaign map between every session working out plans and contingencies for every what if I could think of.

The effort of my planning paid off, we got some really nice modifiers to my Knowledge Battle rolls meaning we captured most of our objectives with very minimal losses. It was our group of heroes that took the most beating, and we were a little on the slow side to catch on when the weirdness started to happen.

We never got to finish that plot point campaign, but it was a blast. When the campaign stopped I still had almost all of my original force after seizing four of the forts and two villages. All the heroes were battered and bruised but still on their feet.

It was a blast to play.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016


My answer to today's question is pretty easy for me to come up with. Its not just a single session, but a weekend of sessions...FG-Con 8.

Here is why

Looking forward to FG-Con9 this October, and if my time permits I plan on running a game this time around.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Winter Eternal submiitted, an extension and a dead laptop.

Winter Eternal has been submitted to SmiteWorks, and is currently in que for review. I am hoping Eric Lamoureux picked out the stuff I missed. With  any luck you should see it the store in a couple weeks.

Work on the theme for Weird Wars Rome progresses slowly. Almost all the issues with various frames have been sorted. One frame refuses to deviate from its default. The issue that stopped Eric from working on it further is still present. It won't all the dragging of bennies from a character sheet. So I started rebuilding the theme from scratch to see if I can isolate it, I do know that it is related.to font he wanted use and the chuanging of anchor points. None of the numbers seemed to be out of place or different.....hence the ground up rebuild.

Unfortunately, for me my 8 year old Toshiba Sattellite laptop bit the biscuit today. I did a significant portion of my work on it, that will hve the follow on effect of slowing down some of my work. Hopefully, I will be able to pull data of the hard drive. Time to start looking for a new one

Just a quick update to keep the information fresh.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Winter Eternal...

I really need to do more regular updates than once every couple of weeks. It has been a wild two and half weeks though, filled with a pile of good news and one tiny tidbit of not quite good news - but not really bad news either.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

For those who have been patiently waiting

So for those who have been patiently waiting. +Pinnacle Entertainment Group's Weird Wars Rome is now available for +Fantasy Grounds.

From the FG store: Weird Wars Rome and on Steam. Check it out! Tad bit stoked to see the result of my work!

So yeah just a real quick post, but like I said, I am a tad bit excited to see it available.

Some days you just should not read the news

Especially when you read a news story like this Ottawa continues fight against Veterans. I get a little worked up over this. Anyone that has been around here and read one or two of my posts knows that this is a huge sore sport for me.

Some updates to the blog site.

Yes, I tinkered the look of the blog again. While I didn't mind the all black theme I had going on, it felt a little two dark to me. The ad-sense ads are gone. I don't have enough viewers yet to even try making money from those types of adds. To add a bit further information, I didn't start doing this to make money. There are all kinds of sites floating around telling you the do's and don'ts of blogging, and I am pretty sure I am breaking them all.

Monday, 13 June 2016

The latest on my Winter Eternal and Weird Wars Rome conversions

It has been a "little" bit of time since I posted any news here on the progress I have (or haven't) made with the both the Winter Eternal and Weird Wars Rome conversions. Even considering that, I somehow crossed the 1000 page views; and for whatever reason +JC Locke is even following this blog. So thank you to everyone that has stopped by to see my crazy ramblings.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Down to 41 days.

Down to 41 days left until I an officially a civilian for the first time since I took the Oath of Allegiance in May 1992. It has not been an easy transition at all, notwithstanding the mental and physical heath problems that brought me to this point. Systems and processes in place to help the ease that transition just seem to fail,

Monday, 30 May 2016

Eleven days since the last post

It's been a long eleven days since I last posted, and I haven't completed as much work as I would have liked. My wife and I have been doing a bit of travelling and making some familial "must do" social calls, it hasn't left me much in the way of time get any serious amount of work done. Then of course it doesn't help that +Eric Lamoureux got me side tracked playing Civilization 5. So I have wasted most of the free time I did have playing that game. I am eagerly anticipating the release of Civ 6, it is way past time for an update to the game.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Whole lot of different stuff going on this week

I spent the first few days this week messing around with the Weird Wars Rome theme extension that +Eric Lamoureux sent me a while ago. I did manage to get it working to a point. Some of the frames aren't using the correct images yet, the fonts on the side bar need some work, tab icons are either not being used or not there. Of course, I am doing it the hard way and floundering a bit at it.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Four wickedly Savage Tales....check!

I really haven't dome as much over the last three of four days as I originally planned. Weather has been great so I took some time to enjoy it. I did manage to get all of the text information for all four of the Savage Tales entered. The bestiary entries have been started, and all that remains after those are the images/maps and pre-gens.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Thirteenth Post!

So here we are at post number thirteen. I keep trying tweak the look and layout of the blog slightly. Probably be much easier if I was better versed in HTML. Ads are live, but I am not all sure about them. My piece of the web and its visitors aren't really big enough to make them worthwhile but they are no cost to me. If something looks off let me know in the comments.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Writing and some other random thoughts

One of the things I have been tossing around in my head, is sitting down and doing serious writing, In my "spare time" there has been some background stuff in this area. I have a good chunk of an account completed of my battles with PTSD and all that goes along with that, the dealings with the Canadian military health system and the daily battle to stay alive and have functional relationships family and friends

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

I am back again with yet another update!

For the update this time around I am doing something a little bit different. Normally, what I do after a couple days of working on the Winter Eternal module is post some screen shots of what has been accomplished on G+ and share them only with +Morne Schaap and +Eric Lamoureux. I then get their feedback and suggestions, make any changes that come out of that, at that point I make an update post here. Incidentally, the two of them have been fantastic to work with on this. Well, this time a couple of the screen shots they haven't seen yet. I figured it was time to put another post up here so the rest of you that have an interest can see the progress.

Friday, 29 April 2016

The Next Update

Here is it is, the next update! Update of what? Don't worry I have asked that of myself as well. I keep tinkering a little bit with the look and layout of the blog. Obviously, I am doing something "wrong" though...all the "how to" blogs are telling me I need to post more often, automate posting and even make "how to" blogs. Google Ad-sense even tells me I don't have enough words on this blog for them to determine what this little corner of the web is all about.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Winter Eternal - Update 2

I know you have been waiting impatiently to see this update. Here it is. Over Friday and Saturday I was able to get a fair amount done - actually it was a lot more than I though I would have done.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Project Number 2 - Winter Eternal

Completing Weird Wars Rome was a very satisfying feeling for me, but it left me wanting to do more. It's pretty cool to be helping grow the Fantasy Grounds library, and knowing that there are people waiting for that one to hit the store. Just as I finishing up that project I caught a post on G+ about one of the Accursed books by Melior Via. I actually sent an email to them and asked if they had any interest in seeing their products on Fantasy Grounds. John Dunn got back to me and said that they would love to see their products on here but they neither have the ability or a license. I am still aiming to fix both those problems.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Weird Wars Rome finally done and submitted

Back around the middle of February I decided I was going to convert the +Pinnacle Entertainment Group  Weird Wars Rome setting into a module for +Fantasy Grounds, simply because I wanted to open the library section and only see story entries related to whatever adventure I was running. Now Fantasy Grounds actually makes it quite easy to create modules - you just need to have an understanding of this thing called XML. Which at that time I only had a basic of knowledge...I knew what it is and that it had elements...so not a whole lot. If you haven't read it, there is a whole thread about it on the forums.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

FG-Con8 and I

In case you missed it, FG-Con8 ran last weekend April 8-10 and fantastic fun was had by all involved to the best of my knowledge. Thanks to all the people who put it together, the GM's for hosting all the games, and the players for coming out. I personally had a blast playing in five games over the weekend. From a friday night game of Top Secret in Savage Worlds, to my first dip into 5E, to Rippers and Primeval Thule again in Savage Worlds to finally a foray into DungeonWorld it was a lot of fun and at times I was laughing like I haven't laughed in years. So I am a little slow getting this one posted, it has been is draft for several days now as I try to get the wording correct.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

So I finally watched some podcasts...

Yeah, I know what you are thinking..."Get with the times!"

I have watched all of four in the last week, all of them got this old brain doing some thinking. Though I better stop before I hurt myself.

So, I will toss out some further thoughts on a subject or two touched on this one in particular to start with: The Gathering of Dorks. As I have said before, I enjoy gaming. Pretty much doesn't matter the system or setting (yes, there is a difference -  but that's another post and commentary on another podcast)  I am willing to give it a try at least for a couple of sessions. I started with 1E and played a whole lot of different systems since then - no 4E or 5E yet. My first 5E game is this weekend at the FG Con.

Now, in this particular podcast one of the gang mentions something about they had they had gotten more into "meta-gaming rather than just gaming" or something along those lines. I don't remember who actually said it, or when during the podcast but it stuck with me.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Discovering Fantasy Grounds

In my last post I talked a little about my start in gaming, so this carries on from there to my discovery of Fantasy Grounds.

In the winter of 1985 I discovered a new gaming group, and that lead to 7 years of awesome gaming and fun times. Year round we could pretty much be found in the camping trailer parked in their parent's drive way or in the living room of somebody's house playing something. The list of games we tried out and liked or didn't like was crazy.

Monday, 28 March 2016

So back in the summer of '81

Doesn't quite have the same ring as the Bryan Adams hit but it will do.

The previous school year, I had a Language Arts teacher who took a different approach to the subject. She read us J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit", complete with nuances, inflections, tones. She gave every character a slightly different voice, to the point with your eyes closed you could tell which character was speaking. Part of chapter or a full chapter two or three times a week. We also got to watch the 1978 animated version of "The Lord of the Rings".

The class also put on a version of "Robin Hood" as a school play. I was excited to be one of the Sheriff of Nottingham's guards. I can't act - I know it now, and I knew it then, but I was hooked on the fantasy genre and Tolkien in particular.

The Roman Empire and I

I mentioned in my first post that I have always loved reading, and that I enjoy history. I am particularly interested in the Roman Empire. To me its a fascinating time period. Yet another reason why I wanted to start work on the xml version of Weird Wars Rome for Fantasy Grounds.
So today I thought I would share some of the authors whose books I have immensely enjoyed reading…specifically the books around the time of the Roman Empire.

First….a little about me

I apologize to those few folks that stumble across my own little piece of internet fame, I am not sure what kind of adds you'll see here yet.
Since May of 1992 I have served as an infantryman in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Been to a few ugly places in this world, and seen a few nasty things. Its been a fun ride, and I am glad that I have had the opportunity to wear the uniform. I won’t pretend it was all fun and games, nor will I pretend that I necessarily agreed with whatever mission I was on at the time. When I enlisted, I knew what I was in for. My father wore the uniform for 44 years. Every journey comes to an end at some point, the end of my current one is fast approaching. 21 July 2016 will be my last day in the CAF. My body can no longer take the punishment I have put it through, and its letting me know in no uncertain terms.