State of the Enterprise 2018

Hey everyone. It is that time of year again where I look back at the year coming to a close and forward to the year ahead. 2018 was a big year for the company and for the world at large. In many ways it was the year I expected even hoped for and many others it was not the year I expected at all.

Personal Life

Incase you hadn’t heard, I moved half way across the USA this year. I use to live in New Jersey and now I live in Missouri. My wife got a job that she has been working towards for some time now. We’re thrilled about this, but it has impacted my writing schedule.

What we hoped would happen but didn’t really expect was us buying a house. So in the past 4 months, we moved twice. Even right now, I’m still moving boxes that we never had the chance to unpack after the first move. So my writing schedule has been impacted again. If you want to know why we have not produced much since GenCon, that’s the primary reason (more on other reasons in a bit).

Pathfinder

Another wrench in the schedule is the announcement of Pathfinder Second Edition. I guessed this was coming a while back, but it still took me by surprise. We were just starting to get a solid stream of high level adventures under us when the announcement came. So we made our Pathfinder adventures a priority and we got almost all of them published before the release of the 2e playtest. I’m sad for the ones we cut from the schedule but it is entirely possible they will be seen in the future, either as Pathfinder 2e adventures, Fifth Edition adventures, possibly even 13th Age, or dare I say it Pathfinder 1e adventures.

As my own recent poll revealed, PF2e is not as popular as I (and many others) expected it to be. There still may be people playing PF1e for quite some time. We will keep monitoring the situation as things develop. Frankly, I don’t expect us to make a final decision on as to whether we are going to 2e or staying 1e (or even doing both) until we see the final rules and the compatible license. However, if you had asked me about it six months ago, I would have just assumed we’re going 2e and that is that. The fact that we’re considering other options should give you an indication of the situation.

Fifth Edition

The current push we are on is to make all of our Pathfinder adventures and other supplements available for 5e. We want to have just as much if diverse library of material for 5e as we do Pathfinder.

One thing we are doing with 5e we have not done in years with Pathfinder is get our books into distribution. Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence will be our first adventure making it’s way into game stores for this game. Shortly thereafter will follow Along Came a Spider. The latter was first released when 5e was still young, and our experience with the game was rather low (as was everyone’s). Since then we’ve leveled up our 5e game and we have plans for 5e supplements both print and PDF well into the new year. These include conversations of existing Pathfinder material as well as brand new supplements that are never seen before.

That was what a decent amount of my time has gone to as of late. When I said above that the move was the primary eater of my time, well working through the logistics to get this set up has another major time investment. It will be well worth it when all is ready to go.

Traveller

“Look for that in 2018.” That is what we said concerning several projects for Traveller in the State of the Enterprise 2017. So it is fair to say that things have not gone according to plan this year. We released our first single ships last month… and that is all we published this year for Traveller. Needless to say that was not the plan this time last year. We still have the last two parts of the Prelude to War adventure path. We have a number of monsters and vehicles that we want to turn into their own books. And we want to publish a number of small settings that you can integrate into the Foreven Worlds, elsewhere in the Third Imperium, or somewhere in a different setting. So we have our hands full for the year ahead.

13th Age


We continued our 13 Class Options series with 13 Wizard Cantrips and Spells and 13 Cleric Domains and Spells. The still not yet named 13 Rogue Options has fallen victim to the same time crunch we’ve described above from the moves and the Pathfinder schedule reschuffeling. Plus, we want to take the time to make each one that much more awesome. When we are satisfied with it, you’ll be the first to know.

After the “core four” classes, we plan to get to the others published. Let us know which you would like us to tackle sooner than others. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

2019 and Beyond

The next few months, JBE is focusing on 5e, Traveller, and hopefully some 13th Age as well because they received so little love last year. That will be our plan for the next four-to-six months. Beyond that, we have a number of ideas but nothing concrete. One thing is for sure, 2019 is going to see some big changes from us. We have all the printing logistics worked out, and I will be working on the company full time in the new year. This means we finally have both the means and opportunity to do things we have been dreaming about for a decade. I can’t say for sure yet which way we will be going, but expect big things from us this year.

By big things, I do mean sizable books or possibly our own system or our own setting. The last time we tried something like this was with Shadowsfall back in 2012 (almost 7 years ago!). Back then, we had the means (being in game stores then as well) but really lacked the opportunity to do it at the level we wanted. Having the experience from publishing so many more rules supplements and adventures since then, we are more prepared to embark on this dramatic step.

The road ahead is exciting, and we are ready for this adventure. We hope you will join us on our epic quest.

That pretty much wraps up our look back of the year and the look ahead. So from all of us, we hope you enjoy your time with family and friends this season, and we will see you in the new year.

What is Your Favorite Kind of Fantasy Monsters to Fight?

Today, I thought I would make a nice fun poll to end the week. What is your favorite kind of fantasy monster to fight? No matter if you play Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, 13th Age, Swords and Wizardry or some other fantasy game that we don’t support, you can still tell us your thoughts.

So what team are you on? Team Fiends? Team Sparkle Vampires? Team Venus Fly Trap? Vote in our poll and share it with your friends. We would love to hear your thoughts.

Holidays in Gaming

Are you using holidays in your game? If you were like me when starting out as a game master, no you’re not. Yet holidays mark various places on the calendar, help recognize important persons and groups in your setting’s history, and much more. They give your game life where it otherwise feels flat, like there’s nothing going on in the world besides what the players are doing.

In the United States there are 10 major holidays and a near infinite number of lesser holidays. To break them down the major ones into more generic terms that are easier to use in your game, they are (in calendar year order):

  1. Start of the calendar year
  2. Recognizing the birth of a civil rights leader
  3. Celebrating nation’s leaders
  4. Remembering soldiers that fell on the battlefield
  5. Marking the birth of our nation
  6. Recognizing the common laborer
  7. Remembering someone that discovered this continent
  8. Remembering living soldiers
  9. Harvest
  10. Holiday for the nation’s largest religion

So how can you use these in your game? Some of these are quite obvious and able to be used without exactly as is: harvest, remembering living and fallen soldiers, start of the calendar year, etc.

How about celebrating a civil rights leader? Well considering that the most discriminated against races (uh, ancestries) of the game are half-orcs or tieflings, how about a day where their contributions to the nation’s society are recognized. Or turn it on its head. Make it human-rights day because the elven rulers are keeping the humans from having a voice in their government. Is the day marked with celebrations or protests? Are the town’s guards brought out to prevent pick pocketing or riots?

The way you name a holiday says quite a bit about the leaders. If you call Labor Day Peasants Day that shows the rulers as looking down upon their subjects. Peasants Day would have a much different feel than Labor Day.

If you want to make you location anything but generic, come up with some quirky holidays. Something like Groundhog’s Day, International Talk Like a Pirate Day, Teacher’s Day, or Secretary’s Day. Try using something like National Health Day, a day where everyone goes down to the river and washes all the filth and grime off their bodies, which is perfect after a long winter of being inside. Or how about Hug a Gnome Day, the one day a year where gnomes are willing to sell in human markets, and the mayor wants them to come back more often so they are trying to spread good feelings among he gnomes. For the brutish types, how about Woodcutter’s Day. This day before the start of winter, all manner of trees that are unfit for being made into buildings or furniture are cut into firewood and sold to the people to help them last the winter. Naturally there would be lots of beer and other pleasures sold at such events, which can be a good cause for the reasons for the players to come together in the first place.

An important thing to remember is that while we all take the weekend (or some regular set of days off, no matter where in the week it resides) for granted today, the Five-Day Work week did not begin as a concept in the US until 1908. Europe was no better. For proof, Dame Maggie Smith in her role as the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey once asked “What is a week end?” Before that, the only days off for the average person were on holidays. This is why the holidays we now consider minor were not so minor a hundred to a thousand years ago. Not overworking your people is important so holidays were frequent.

With Halloween coming soon, why not download the Deadly Delves: Along Came a Spider adventure for Fifth Edition at the JBE Shop. You can also find it for Pathfinder right here.

Watchtower Balleron

You would be forgiven if you were not aware that the kingdom’s forced still operated out if Watchtower Balleron long after the hobgoblins took it over. Few in the kingdom did, including the hobgoblins. The lower level had a secret door to a staircase that led to the caves below. The Stone Breakers, the Queen’s elite dwarven commandos, listening (aided by magic) to the hobgoblins plans from below, slipping into the watchtower itself when vital to the mission, and stealing maps and committing various acts of sabotage.

Because of the kingdom’s internal politics, the kingdom could not strike openly against the hobgoblins so the reigning queen took steps to make sure they were ineffective. She let them operate out of Watchtower Balleron as a concession to the local Lord since he was taking bribes from the hobgoblins. However, the queen had her people to think about and detached a small force to serve as an information source. So frequently when the hobgoblins go out on raids, away from the lord’s lands, they mysteriously found the local guards prepared for an attack.

Since the queen cannot act openly against the aggressors, she hopes a group of adventurers show up and handle the problem for her. One of her advisors suggested holding a fighting competition to attract such persons but to do so they need enough advanced warning to advertise the competition so they can attract such seasoned adventurers. As things stand, they fear that only new adventurers will be present and answer the call and will likely die in the fight. She may not have much choice, however, as keeping up current operations costs more than the kingdom’s treasury can afford.

Even then, once the hobgoblins are dealt with, the lord that was backing the hobgoblins will be upset and may have against the royal court or he may run away. To catch the lord, the queen knows she’ll need the help of the adventurers to keep her hands out of it. She may have to have the Stone Breakers leave evidence of the lord’s collusion with hobgoblins and escape before the adventurers show up. But then again, they are elite troops, specializing in information gathering, stealth, and subterfuge over combat. Should the queen’s roll in all of this be made public, there could be considerable complications for her.

Watchtower Balleron

LE large fortification
Government military overlord
Population 1,300 (1,000 hobgoblins; 100 dwarves; 200 other)

Notable NPCs


Captain Teurik Deathaxe, military overlord (LE male hobgoblin fighter 5 [13A: 3rd level leader])
Lieutenant Ooknar Bloodvengence, lead raider (LE female hobgoblin ranger 3 [13A: 2nd level archer])
Iknix Flamecloak, priest of goblinoid god (NE male goblin cleric 2 [13A: 1st level caster])
Lieutenant Harnask Silverheart, leader of the Stone Breakers (LG male dwarf rogue 6 [13A: 3rd level spoiler])

Be sure to also check out Fort Strange and let us know if you want to see more locations like this.

Support our efforts to bring you more awesome material like this by downloading our Pathfinder RPG, D&D 5e, 13th Age, and Swords and Wizardry books directly from the JBE Shop.

Christmas in July 2018

Its that time of year again everyone.

*Time to brush up on our juggling?*

What?!? No. Well, not only that, but it is time for the Christmas in July Sale. Sure we said last year and the year before and the year before that that it is better than ever. Just like it was true then, it is even more true now. Why? Because we have more on sale than we did last year.

*Isn’t that just because you have more stuff than you did a year ago?*

Yes, thank you very much unhelpful voice in my head, that is true. We are talking over 200 PDFs that are 25% off.

*Wow! 25% off. That’s like … 75% of the regular price.*

Once again unhelpful voice, you are correct. And you can find these deals at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the Open Gaming Store. Let’s take a look at some of these awesome deals you can snag right now.

Pathfinder

Book of Beasts: Legendary Foes (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)
Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)
Book of Heroic Races Compendium (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)
Book of the River Nations (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)
Deadly Delves: The Gilded Gauntlet (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)
Deadly Delves: To Claw the Surface (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)
Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Player’s Companion (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)

Traveller

Creatures of Distant Worlds Compendium (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)
d66 Compendium (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)
Mech Tech ‘n’ bot: Mech Squadrons (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)

Fifth Edition

Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Forbidden Woods (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)
Deadly Delves: Along Came a Spider (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)
Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)

13th Age

Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)
Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 2 (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)
Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin (DriveThruRPG/Open Gaming Store)

See all of our PDFs on sale at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the Open Gaming Store and download now before this sale ends.

Sky Full of Five Star Reviews

Since our last review roundup (where I said I would cover more that happened between it and May of 2017, which I am still meaning to do!), we have had quite a few more reviews, many of them earning 4 and 5 stars. If you haven’t seen them, I would like to point out some of my favorites. If there is something that you have been eyeing for a while but haven’t gotten, these reviews should help you decide.

Standard disclaimer: my summaries of adventure reviews are spoiler-free. However, the full review may contain spoilers.

Deadly Delves: To Claw the Surface (PFRPG)

Even though our adventures today focus on the upper levels, we didn’t always do that. To Claw the Surface a prime example, starting off at level 1 with the characters reading level 4 by the time it is finished. Being so low level does not mean it is boring or your typical adventure. I’ll let Endzeitgeist speak for himself.

[This adventure] manages to evoke a sense of atmosphere you only very rarely get to see. In fact, this felt in many instances almost like an OSR-module, with so much care poured into the details, the small bits. There is a subtle, playful artistry in this adventure, one that made me reminisce about Tomb Raider, about some survival movies, about classic dwarven-themed adventures and underworld exploration…but at the same time, the adventure manages to somehow transcend all these diverse influences, weaving them into something distinct, novel and exciting.

He went on to talk about just how much he loved this adventure, saying,

I’ll just come out and say it: This is one of the best 1st level modules available for PFRPG. It’s, in fact, good enough to warrant checking out even if you play another system. This is a true gem, and will receive 5 stars + my seal of approval, granted without any hesitation. It also qualifies as a candidate for my Top Ten

If you are thinking of running this module, read the whole review at Endzeitgeist.com. If you want an adventure this good in your Pathfinder game, download Deadly Delves: To Claw the Surface today at the JBE Shop. You can also find it at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, the Open Gaming Store, and Paizo.com.

Shadowsfall: Temple of Orcus (PFRPG)

Next up we have a review from review writer newcomer David D. He takes the time to review the first adventure I ever wrote: Shadowsfall: Temple of Orcus. He describes it as:

I would describe ‘The Temple of Orcus’ as a classic rescue mission where player characters attempt to rescue some NPC’s from the clutches of evil, the mission clothed in an atmosphere of horror.

His final verdict on this adventure is:

For its price, you get a quality product that I personally find its 5 stars worth.

He keeps his review spoiler free so feel free so feel free to read it at DriveThruRPG. You’ll also find the review Endzeitgeist did back in 2012, also rating it 5-Stars. Read these reviews today and download it for your home campaign. You can find it at the JBE Shop. It is also available at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Deadly Delves: The Dragon’s Dream (PFRPG)

Next up, we have our newest adventure: Deadly Delves: The Dragon’s Dream. This 16th-level adventure has the distinction of being our highest level adventure for all of Pathfinder, even if it one really close will be coming out soon.

Endzeitgeist reviewed this one not long ago (read the full review here) and I would like to point out some of my favorite bits.

Landon Winkler’s “Dragon’s Dream” is a rare beast indeed. … [T]he module truly excels in its storytelling: There is a ton of interesting roleplaying potential suffusing the pdf, and the adventure ultimately rewards for the PCs caring, being invested in the story, etc.

His final thoughts on this module sum it up best.

In short: This is an excellent module. The craftsmanship and production values are impressive, and the book manages to evoke a unique and concise atmosphere that breathes evocative high fantasy. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval – Well done indeed, Mr. Winkler!

Grab your copy of this excellent adventure today at the JBE Shop. You can also find it at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Deadly Delves: Nine Lives For Petane (PFRPG)

Our final adventure for today’s review summary is Deadly Delves: Nine Lives for Petane. This 12th-level adventure is a great transition to high level gaming. No longer are you going into the dungeon to save a few individuals, but to save an entire nation. Endzeitgeist reviewed this one, writing:

I know Christen N. Sowards primarily as an author of crunch: The master of Lost Spheres Publishing knows how to create interesting rules that have a very strong tie-in to storytelling. As such, I wasn’t surprised to see this adventure sport pretty interesting and challenging adversaries. What did surprise me, though, was how well this adventure played. This is a dungeon that works better in play than on paper, and the tie-in with the easily replaced divine angles, demons and ancient cultures can make this work within the context of a ton of different settings; the catfolk angle would make this, for example, a natural tie in for Midgard’s Southlands, connecting north and south. So yeah, the module ties in pretty seamlessly with most common campaigns.

He concludes his review with the following.

It is a cool, interesting module that can, if you choose, provide a great transition towards the world of high-level gaming. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

You can download Deadly Delves: Nine Lives for Petane for Pathfinder at the JBE Shop. You can also find them at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

You will notice that that is four adventures of ours with 5-Star ratings. If you goto the Deadly Delves series on Endzeitgeist’s site, you’ll see that he’s given 6 out of 10 adventures he has reviewed for us a 5-Star rating and 3 more either a 4- or 4.5-Star rating. If you run games, you should pay attention to the Deadly Delves series from Jon Brazer Enterprises.

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.

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.

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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