JBE’s Virtual Conversation Schedule 2020

COVID-19 has dramatically changed convention schedules with most bring canceled (for good reason). But people still want to play their games, and everyone at JBE wants to join in on the fun.

Right now we are scheduled to attend three virtual conventions.

We hope that you will join us at these and other online conventions.

We are looking to attend more virtual conventions so if you are running an online con, contact us by commenting below or going to Twitter or Facebook and let us know about it.

Running an Epic Con Game: Adventure Preparation

If you want to run a game at a convention, you want it to be epic and for people to remember both you and your game. Much of that has to do with what you do before you get to the table as much as what you do during the game. Previously, we talked about how you make pregen characters and set up the character sheets. Today we are looking at preparation for your adventure.

1) Decide What to Show Off

When you are running a game, the most important thing is showing how is this game different. If you are running what would otherwise be a Pathfinder and D&D adventure just in a different system, the gamers leaving the table will think they might as well have been playing one of those games. You need to show them what is different with this game to make them want to give up their regular game and play the game you are running.

Take Traveller for example. Unlike D&D/Pathfinder, the combat and skills are the same system and skills can switch their “attributes” depending on the situation so any introduction convention game should show these off. So firing a gun uses See Dex and the Gun Combat skill. However, if a player wants to perform a ballistics test on the weapon, that would use Intellect or Education. So I would make sure to show off how those skills can switch attributes. If your game lets magic users cast unlimited spells but have to make a roll, make the adventure that requires magical solution.

This does not have to be exclusively about system. Setting is just as important a difference to communicate. If your game makes dragons far more approachable and not be a bag of fire-breathing hit points, show that off in your game. If your setting has a major city made of giant mushrooms and pixies are in charge of construction, show that off. D&D and Pathfinder tend to take themselves seriously so an adventure and setting that was more light-hearted would be a welcome change. Show that off.

And with that we move to our second point.

2) Aim to Use 75% Of the Time

If you have a two-hour time slot, make a 90-minute adventures. Four hours? Make a three-hour adventure? If you run over your time, players are going to be unhappy with you and remember your game in a negative light. Players will be players and will screw around. Good. They should. If they do, that means they are enjoying your game. But that uses time you would otherwise use for your game. Leave time for them for sheer enjoyment. 75% is a good aim. If you finish with an hour to spare, they have extra time to wander the dealer’s hall; they won’t be upset. They will be unhappy if you are cutting into their lunch break or missing the start of their next game. Build in time for that.

My final point involves the adventure itself.

3) Structure a 4 Act Adventure

When you make a four-hour adventure, divide the adventure into four parts:

  1. Character Evaluation / Introduction
  2. The Hook
  3. The Twist
  4. The Finale

Character evaluation begins the moment you and a player get to the table. The players present get to start looking at the character sheets right away and pick what they want to play. Reward the early arrivers with being able to get the character they want.

Introduction is where you tell the players what the adventure is. This is when the wounded guard stumbles into the tavern reporting that the prince is taken before dying. Here is where the players get the mission before the message self destructs. Try to keep this part to no more than half hour.

Second part is the hook. Here is where the players go, “This is fun!” Show off what makes this game fun. The twist is pure plot, where something is revealed or discovered. These two parts should take 30 minutes to an hour in a typical four-hour game.

One of these two sections should be combat. The other should be problem solving. If both of these are problem solving, the players will get tired and worn out. If both are combat, it will be a slog and get to be boring. Making each different keeps them interesting and lively.

The final section is the climax. The finale should be a surprise to you let alone everyone else at the table. Sure you should have an idea of how it goes, but players should be allowed to do whatever they want. If the big bad is guarding a MacGuffin and you figure they are going to fight the big bad in a climatic battle and they instead decide to sneak past and steal it, don’t put unreasonable impediments in their way; let them do it their way. Forcing them to do it your way will make them think their choices have no impact on the game, and it will spoil their fun. Let them do what they want.

If you are looking for an excellent adventure to run for a convention game for Pathfinder or D&D 5e, grab yourself the adventure Deadly Delves: Along Came a Spider. Download now at the JonBrazer.com, DriveThruRPG, and the Open Gaming Store.

Running an Epic Con Game: The Character Sheet

It is convention season and we at JBE want to help every GM running a roleplaying game at the con—whether it is published by my company or not—run something that players will remember. For a publisher, an introductory con game is a chance to sell players on your product. For a home GM running at a con, it is a chance for you to get experience running a game and share your love for a game or an adventure or whatever with others. To help players remember you and the game you ran, you should follow some best practices to make this introductory experience epic for the players. This is the first in our series of Running an Epic Con Game. Follow the whole series here.

Today we are starting off with the most basic part of any game that all players interact with: the character sheet. In a matter of minutes someone who has never played a game before, lacking any knowledge of the basic rules of the system, has to determine which of these pieces of paper they should become for the next four hours. The ease of use of that sheet is going to be a huge part of whether they have fun a the table. If the player cannot understand how these numbers translate into a character, it gets frustrating fast. This bring us to point number one:

Have a Story Accompanying the Character Sheet

We all play role playing games instead of miniature games or board games because of the story. We want a story that we can remember and get into. So give us one right away with the character. Was this character a former circus performer that moonlighted as a cat burglar before becoming an adventure? Tell us what happened to make the person change professions. Was the character a war hero? Telling us about their part in the war is far more interesting than reading “Class: Fighter 2, Background: Military.”

And don’t just make it a wall of text. Have a paragraph or two of the charcter’s backstory and then finish it off with some bullet points for who should take this character. Going back to the cat burglar for a second, those points should read something like,

This is the character for you if you like:

  • Hiding from the authorities from above
  • Taking dangerous risks for a big pay out
  • Finding our the truth through less than legal means

Being able to weed through the characters the player is not interested quickly allows them to quickly find one they enjoy.

From there the player begins to make the character their own. The best way to make the character their own is allow for some customization. This brings me to my second point:

Allow for Customization

Traveller is great for this. In the game, you get skill points from where you grew up, the careers you have chosen, and from connections you have with other players. In Traveller con games that I run, I will have already spent the skill points for the character’s early years and careers. However the players decide how they spend the skill points for connections. This gives them an excuse to get to know each other’s characters right away and has the players thinking about their character sheet.

That’s the real trick right here: having the players think about their character sheets. Between a list of skills, equipment, and abilities, a character sheet can be bit overwhelming to those that never played the system before. If you have them focus on one part of it for a few moments and get them thinking about it, the rest quickly becomes more manageable. Not only that when we do play the game, the players are more familiar with their character and are able to make rolls quicker, saving the game time. So if you the system you are playing has skill points or dots or whatever, hold a few back and let the players choose how they want to spend them. You’ll probably be repeating the instructions on how many they can spend, the maximum they can have in any one thing, or whatever over and over again, but it is worth it to let players feel like they own this character.

Here is the most important customization of all: let the players name their characters. Unless there is some massively important reason why they cannot name their characters, players should be allowed to do so. This helps them to feel that this character is my own, making the adventure you are about to run more personal and thus more memorable. Even if you were doing and adventure like, “everyone is from the same family,” the players should still be able to choose their name. Perhaps someone is playing a cousin with a different last name or someone adopted by the family and never took the family name. The family member could have gotten married and taken their partner’s last name. Maybe they changed their name because they hated their parents. The possibilities are endless. Let players make the characters their own.

Speaking of players making their characters their own, this bring us to our third and final point on the subject of character sheets:

Let the Players Keep Their Sheets

If you are running the exact same game five times that weekend, make the character on a computer and print off five copies of the character sheet. There are usually a form fillable PDF somewhere on the web for the game (frequently at the publisher’s website). Hang on one moment.

*Opens the door to the publisher community*

Publishers, if you do not have a form fillable PDF of your character sheet downloadable from your website, make one!!!

*Closes door*

Where was I? Oh yes, if for whatever reason you can’t prefill a PDF and print off multiple copies, fill it out by hand and make copies of the character sheet. Every player should walk away from the game with a free character sheet. No exceptions. This is the memento from the game. This helps them remember their character and your game. This will help players remember your game long after you part ways with the players.

If you need an adventure to run at your next convention, may we suggest the ones on this last here for D&D 5e and Pathfinder 1e.

Not Going to PaizoCon 2019 Sale!

They Pathfinder Fans, It is that time of year again!

To put cucumbers in our ears?

No. It is time for the Not Going to PaizoCon 2019 Sale! This year is going to be amazing because every Pathfinder PDF we produce that is over $2 is 60% off the regular price and it is exclusively at the JBE Shop. To make it easy for you, we put all of our products that are on sale on its own page.

So if you have been wanting the $10 PDF of the Book of Heroic Races Compendium, you can now download it for only $4. That is one heck of a discount that you do not want to pass up. We’ve got monsters, NPCs, and spells from $1.18, playable races from $1.58, and Adventures from $2. Even the Book of the River Nations is available for only $2.38.

You do not want to pass this up. It lasts until the end of PaizoCon so while you are waiting for any spoilers from the convention, download these PDFs and enjoy yourself now. Check out the Not Going to PaizoCon 2019 Sale! at JonBrazer.com now.

Origins: A Gamer’s Large Convention

Just over a week ago was the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio. I went as an attendee with my daughter so I can give the perspective of not only a gamer but also a parent, and I can say that without a doubt that we both had fun. It is one of the largest tabletop conventions in the country and well worth your time to check out.

Origins fills the Greater Columbus Convention Center and is in the neighboring Hyatt hotel, accessible by a sky bridge. Other hotels are accessible by a sky bridge so it is entirely possible that the convention could expand into them if Origins continues to grow, which it did by over 1,000 people since last year. Despite its size, Major gaming companies like Wizards and Paizo do not have a booth here, meaning that companies like Goodman Games, Evil Hat and others can have sizable booths there. Naturally there are tons of board games, roleplaying games, and more that you can try out. My daughter and I demoed Dragonfire at the Catalyst Game Labs as well as the Big Trouble in Little China by Everything Epic. If you haven’t played them yet, give them a play.

The D&D, Pathfinder, and Shadowrun organized play area was in the adjoining Hyatt hotel, meaning you could go between each game quickly and try out all three games without any difficulty. Not only that a food court was the floor below so you could literally get there first thing in the morning before your first game and not leave the general vicinity until after your last game ends at 11 that that night. It really was a sweet setup. My daughter and I spent much of our time in the D&D Adventures League area and as you can see from the picture it had a very nice entrance sign as they always do. We got to play in a number of games and had quite a bit of fun. I won’t go into any detail of the games since I don’t want to spoil the adventures for anyone. The majority of the events I wanted to get us into quickly sold out during preregistration (more on that later) but I understand that people had a very good rate of getting in with general tickets, so I am guessing that Baldwin Games added more tables. Had I known that earlier in the convention, I would have tried to get my daughter and I into the games that we had wanted to play in. Oh well. Better luck next year.

Like I said I did not get my daughter and I into all the RPGs that we wanted to play in so I got us into a number of other games that I am glad we did try. First of all, we got to play in Fairytale Gloom by Atlas Games. If you like telling stories as much as I do, this game uses the familiar Grimm’s fairy tale characters and lets you have fun while making these characters’ lives miserable. It was great fun and took far less time than a role playing game session. From there, we took a nice breather and went to the paint and take area. As you can tell from the picture, I am not all that good at painting, but it was nice to just take a calm break right in the middle of the con to paint a mini. Both of these areas were in a hall adjacent to the dealer’s hall. It would definitely be worth it to spend a day in there, playing full games, instead of getting a quick demo in the dealer’s hall.

If you are more of the physical sort, True Dungeon has its own area as well. I played TD before with friends, but I didn’t do it this year since I was not sure if my daughter would enjoy it. So instead I took her to an escape room there. Ours was a fantasy-based room, decorated with armor, mead barrels and more. I didn’t take a picture because I didn’t want to give anything away. If you prefer your True Dungeon experience to hit people with foam swords instead of sliding discs in a shuffle board-like fashion, there’s are those similar to TD there that do exactly that (my apologize for not remembering your organization’s name). Now that I know my daughter enjoyed it, I will have to have us try something more involved.

One additional point I want to mention, Origins was the same weekend as the Columbus Pride Parade. I and many other gamers there took time out of their gaming day to see the parade. I know because the parade went down the very street the convention was on and there were quite a few people sitting by windows or walking out the convention center’s front doors to see the parade. It was a beautiful parade, and I am proud of us gamers for showing our support.

So with all this great, is there any downsides to Origins. As I have commented about on the Dreamation and PAX Unplugged, my chief complaint revolves the preregistration system. As you might expect from any sizable convention, everyone that is has a ticket by the time you can preregister for games is waiting on their computers for the exact moment to beat everyone else. That kind of traffic requires quite a few servers to handle the load. The company that did it, Event Ready, did a better job than last year (where the system was down for days), but still it took hours to try to get into games you wanted, meaning that many people didn’t get into the games they wanted. That is the worst I can say about it. Origins has been run long enough that the kinks have largely been worked out. They know what they are doing. I applaud Event Ready for being better than last year, but progress can still be made on that front.

Origins is one of those larger conventions that is definitely worth going to. I got to game with people I gamed with last year, and it was great seeing familiar faces again. We didn’t encounter any problems with the convention itself and there were lots of games to enjoy. If you haven’t checked it out yet, this is definitely one to consider to start your summer off right.

Pathfinder: Playtest at Origins

Yesterday I got my first chance to play the demo of the Pathfinder Playtest, and I couldn’t be more excited to have been apart of it. I played in a 2 hour demo with pregen characters. So I would like to share with you my impressions of the game.

Before I begin, I would like to say that I am not going to talk about the adventure itself since I don’t want to spoil it for anyone that is going to play it. I am only going to limit my remarks to my thoughts on the game itself.

Have you ever played a sequel to a video game you loved and realized from all the changes and upgraded that this was for all tense and purposes that this is a completely different game (none of the original programming code reused whatsoever), but the design loveingly took the time and effort to make sure that the new game still look and felt like it was a successor to the original. Like those working on it loved the original game but knew the code needed to rewritten for modern audiences. That is exactly how this felt, only with a tabletop game. It is undoubtedly a different game than Pathfinder 1e, but it felt the same. That is without a doubt a good thing.

I played the Kira the cleric (my apologies to Paizo if I got her name wrong). The character had the Fire domain, giving her a bolt of fire as an attack. I was able to cure one person in the group with a touch and the whole group with a burst. The fighter moved and attacked. Traps were disarmed and on and on. All of this sounds familiar to Pathfinder 1e fans, but the way it happened is different in 2e. That fire bolt was launched from my pool of spell points instead of X uses per day. The fighter had a specific 2-action option for moving and attacking. Disarming the trap was assisted by the paladin because she had a background that helped in this matter.

All those differences are good and all, but what do I think of it? And more importantly, is this the 5e killer? Well, I like it. It currently appears to be a solid game from the little I saw of it. Is it a 5e killer, I think that is the wrong question to ask. The right questions is, are they going after the same audience? To me, that is an unquestionable, “No.” Fifth edition is an elegant game. It is fun and easy for new players to pick up and learn. It also has painfully few choices for an individual character. Sure you get a subclass in the early levels and can choose to upgrade an ability or take a feat every so often, but that is it. It is all to easy to make one elf rogue look exactly like another elf rogue in that game. Add in the fact that the number of books they sell that are not tied to a specific campaign that contain new player options can still be counted on one hand several years in, and it becomes obvious that Wizards designed their game to be played by casual gamers. They wanted someone that only had the core book five years after launch to not be intimidated by someone with the gym bag library at the table.

That is not the audience Paizo is going after. One year of Pathfinder 2e will see more pages of player options published than 5e has from their respective companies outside of their core books by the same date. Where 5e is covering the basic ideas for you to play, Pathfinder 2e is going to cover all the options, allowing you to make exactly the character you want to play. Between classes, class options, feats, skill feats, archetypes, and more, choices for your character are something you will not be hurting for in Pathfinder 2e.

That is where I see Pathfinder 2e finding it’s home, among gamers that want their character the way they want it and not having characters that are highly similar. Where 5e is the Basic Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder 2e is the Advanced game.

I just want to take a moment to thank Mark Seifter. He ran an awesome game for our group and took the time to answer all of our questions about it after the game. I am sure he had to do that a million times at PaizoCon and he was still fresh and engaging with us at Origins.

Be sure to check out all our Pathfinder and 5e options at the JBE Shop.

Going to Origins 2018

Monday morning, I am heading out towards Columbus, Ohio for Origins 2018. As I do with all the other conventions I attend, I will be sharing pictures on Twitter and Instagram as well as sharing my experience of the convention on JonBrazer.com when I get back. Here’s my links to PAX Unplugged and Dreamation. I will be attending as a gamer and not as a publisher. If you see me, I hope you come up to me, say, “Hi,” and we grab a selfie, but I will be with my daughter so I hope you understand if I will be not be able to spend more time than that with you. At another convention, I would be thrilled to talk with you. If you are going to Origins, I hope that you have fun and that we can game at the same table together.

Speaking of gaming, I will be playtesting the new Pathfinder 2.0 Beta. I don’t know who my GM will be (fingers crossed from someone from the design team). Unless I am not allowed to talk about it, I most definitely will be talking up a storm about the new game afterwards. Also, I will be playing a few rounds of Adventurers League. I got in an escape room and will even be playing Fairytale Gloom. I’m really looking forward to that.

On a side note, If you order any print books from the JBE Shop between June 11-17, I will not be able to ship it out until the 18th. So if you want my personal copy of the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path, Legacy of Fire Adventure Path or the D0-D1.5 adventures (the Falcon’s Hollow adventures), order them now to get them that much sooner.

As always, happy gaming.

Dreamation: A Gender-Inclusive Convention

If you want to know how to make your gaming conversation gender inclusive, to make it a welcoming place for all gamers no matter what their background, look no further than Dreamation. This convention, as well as DexCon, both if which are run by Dexposure, is a local con for me, located in North-Central New Jersey. It hosts board games, miniature war games, LARPs, and of course role playing games. It was this past weekend and I enjoyed myself immensely at it.

This conversation has a sizable indy game presence where you can find yourself in a game of Monster Hearts as well as Dungeons and Dragons. I spotted games of Dungeon World and Misspent Youth. I ran a game of Traveller set in the Foreven Worlds. Naturally Adventurers League, Pathfinder Society, and Starfinder Society were present as well as Living Arcanis, Greyhawk Reborn, and Shadowrun Missions. I can now finally say I played in Pathfinder Society. Despite having a low 4 digit society number, I never sat down for a game. My first character is now level 2. First, however, I had to play a pair of Greyhawk Reborn games. If you like D&D5e rules but miss the Greyhawk setting, but sure to check out Reborn. You will be glad you did.

Munchkin Panic

While I spent much of my time in the role playing area, I did slip out and got in a game of Munchkin Panic. This game is similar to Castle Panic, but with some elements of Munchkin thrown in. The shear number of games that were offered we’re amazing and well worth spending an entire weekend in those areas.

I never got to the war gaming and LARPing area and I always wish I did. Perhaps next year. Seeing people in costume or with their minis sets is always a joy.

So what about this conversation makes it inclusive? I will just let two pictures speak for themselves:

By having ribbons to stick to name badges that let everyone know how they should be identified, it makes it more comfortable for everyone. No one has to tell another how they should be identified; everyone can just read for themselves. On top of that, the signs in the second picture we’re covering the normal restroom signage, meaning there weren’t any strictly male or female restrooms. I did hear some ask others that the seat be lowered when they leave so maybe that can be added to future signs. Even still, there are plenty of other ways Dreamation supports an inclusive culture in tabletop gaming, and if every other convention followed their example in these two areas, it would go a long way to helping gaming to being a welcoming place for all.

When I talked about PAX Unplugged last year, I mentioned that they needed a much better way to pre-register people for games. While Dreamation’s system is light years ahead if them, they could be better. I would prefer it if they migrated completely to Warhorn or Tabletop.Events instead of only being done by Adventurers League, Pathfinder Society, and Greyhawk Reborn, but writing names down on paper still got the job done. Dreamation had a massive quantity more games, letting everyone get in a game in every time slot they choose to. Plus, Dreamation’s sign up sheets were always up and spread out over a sizable area, letting multiple people sign up for games at the same time, day or night. So if my biggest complaint about the convention is that its game registration system is not as modern as I would like it to be, I’d call that a serious win for this conversation.

Be sure to check out Dreamation and the other conventions such as DEXCon at Dexposure.com.

State of the Enterprise 2017

Good day everyone and welcome to the State of the Enterprise 2017.

Before I begin on I want to take a moment to thank everyone that helped make JBE the success it this year and in all the years proceeding. I want to thank my wife who does not want to be talked about much online who supports me in all I do. Thank you to my two editors Kevin and Richard and the many authors and artist whom make all the wonderful products you enjoy. Thank you to all the people at DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the OpenGamingStore for selling and promoting our books, helping us to get our books into your hands. Thank you to Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Mongoose, and Pelgrane Press for letting us make gaming material for your games. Thank you to everyone that told your friends how awesome our books are. Lastly, thank you to our fans like you for all your support over the years and for sharing our passion. All this we do is for you and for the love of the game; thank you for being apart of that love.

Book of Heroic Races: Advanced CompendiumSo how have things gone for the past year and where are they going next year? First up, our accomplishments: we finally have a schedule that works for us. We have been releasing 1 product every month since Fall of 2016. This year proved that we can hold that schedule. Some are rather thick like the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium. Some were rather thin like the Book of Magic: 10 Warlock Invocations. Yet we still made it. Why is this a big deal? Because being regular and on time is huge part in showing those that are skeptical that we are reliable and approach our work seriously. Previously we tried releasing 1 product every two weeks, and we simply could not sustain that. Some months we did succeed in releasing 2 products. Those were frequently followed up by months without a single product. Just take a look at the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium. That book was supposed to take 1 year to get all the individual PDFs released. It took 2 years. While the quality of that book was well worth the additional time, it did show that we bit off more than we could chew. We learned from it and the next project like this we do, we will allocate our time better. Hooray for lessons learned!

Another major development with JBE is the creation of our own webstore. I decided it was long past time to invest in the website and gave it an upgrade, including a way to sell our books, both in print and PDF online. If you haven’t downloaded from us directly yet, I invite you to do so with the coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off. The coupon code expires on 31 January 2018. So be sure to do that today.

All in all, I have to say that it was a good year for the company. The worst thing that happened to us is that my computer died on me. Even though I had all the data backed up online, temporarily switching to an older system tends to impede workflow. A new computer has been ordered (Acer Aspire Tower with an AMD Ryzen 7 processor, Nvidia 1070, and 16 Gigs of RAM, for all you technophiles out there), but I do not have an estimate on its delivery date yet. With Christmas a week away, I would not be surprised if it arrived next year, but I can hope. My Skyrim and Witcher III games are about to get an upgrade. As we all know, however, even this can’t hold a candle to the graphics in our imaginations.

Traveller

Foreven Worlds: Rusted Fang StationTraveller remains our favorite science fiction game. It is quick and simple, allowing the GM to focus on the story rather than a bunch of mechanics. That really was what led to the creation of Foreven Worlds: Rusted Fang Station. This was meant for Traveller referees to have a location they could use and incorporate into their own games. Its a small station, meaning the players can take their time to get to know everyone aboard from commander to the maintenance staff. It is a place for legitimate business people can make deals that are on the edge of the law. We really liked this little piece and feedback on it has been great. Expect to see more locations like this in the future. I started working on the next one recently, a Zhodani domed city. “But how can the Zhodani be interesting with all their people mind altered into thinking everything is puppies and unicorns?” That is the exact question we are setting out to answer, and we hope to give you a new perspective on them. Look for that in 2018.

At the time of writing this blogpost the rewrite of the Prelude to War Adventure Path part 3 should be arriving at our door soon. Between edits, artwork, and layout, we are hoping to have it out in the summer. That is one thing we learned for future Adventure Paths: have all the adventures in hand and edited before the first is published. This way, we can release the issues one after the other in rapid succession with only the monthly break in between.

In years past, when I was bored or frustrated and infront of a computer, I would create a Pathfinder monster. In the last few months, I realized that that habit has been replaced by the creation of a Traveller vehicle. As a result, I have a nice little database of Traveller vehicle stats. Sure they all need a description and artwork, but one piece of a nice Traveller vehicle book is well on its way to being made. While such a book is not on the schedule at this point in time, I would not be surprised if it were not created at some point during 2018. Keep your eyes pealed.

13th Age

My feelings on 13th Age can best be summed up as the Little Game System that Could. It is not our best selling system, but it holds it’s own, and we are happy with it. I always expect Pathfinder and Fifth Edition to dominate sales because they have such a large player base, but because their base is so large they attract an overwhelming number of publishers, giving players more choices than they know what to do with. Smaller games like 13th Age and Traveller have far fewer publishers catering to the players of that game. So it is easier to get a player or GM’s attention.

Our first release for the year was a conversion of Pathfinder races to 13th Age, Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 2. Giving players more choices in the races they play is something we have done for some time and are glad to do the same for this game. We may do another set of converted races (or even some new ones) next year, but I forsee us focusing on more products like our second release—13 Fighter Talent and Maneuvers. This short supplement is designed with one class in mind and expands players options, allowing a player to customize their character to the player’s unique vision. Supplements for the Wizard, Cleric, and Rogue classes are planned throughout the coming year.

Fifth Edition

In a number of ways, what happened with Pathfinder happened with 5e but on a much more accelerated pace. Two years ago when I released Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1, it quickly became a smash hit and one of our best selling products that year, if not our best selling product that year. It’s sequel, Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 2 released earlier this year, did not sell at the same pace. The reason for this is simple: increased competition. When Pathfinder was released the number of companies supporting it we’re few, but as time passed that number grew. The same has happened to Fifth Edition, but on a much quicker scale.

The solution to this situation is simple: distinguish yourself in a way your competitors cannot, essentially putting yourself in a market of one. We do have plans to do exactly this but they will not be ready in 2018. We are taking a long view with 5e and will be working to make something amazing for it, something you are going to want to grab the moment it is released and hug it and squeeze it and call it “George.” For next year we have a number of adventures and magic item supplements that GM’s will be sure to want to get their hands on. Who knows, we might even make some more monsters. We’ll see. Expect great things from us in 5e’s future.

Pathfinder

For obvious reasons, our best selling product of 2017 was the Big Book of Everything. Have everything bundled up for 90% off and it goes like hot cakes. It does, however, mark the beginning of the end of our Pathfinder support. We are still releasing high level adventures well into next year (and possibly beyond) because GM’s need the help and there are far too few adventures that go up that high. For them, we are glad to help. You can count on us next year.

The first two will be coming out rather quickly. Deadly Delves: 9 Lives for Petane was supposed to be out this month, but my computer dying required me to push it back a month. This 12th-level adventure written by Christen N Sowards of Lost Spheres Publishing has the players trying to figure out which body is the right one to bring back from the dead, and the stakes get worse as time goes on. Deadly Delves: The Dragon’s Dream by Landon Winkler is a 16th-level adventure where the players are asked by a group of psychopomps to travel into the demiplane formed by a dead dragon. Both of these adventures are challenging and fun to boot. If you like running high level games, be sure to check these adventures out.

We do have one other product coming out next year that is not an adventure—the Book of Heroic Races: Occult Intrigue in the Wilderness. When we started designing what would become the Book of Heroic Races Advanced Compendium, we specifically excluded Occult Adventures and Ultimate Intrigue, despite both fans and authors asking to include material from them. We decided against it since we did not want tengu, catfolk, and other early released races excluded merely because of timing. Now that the Advanced Compendium is complete, we have the time and do right by all of the race and create rules for all these races with the classes found in these books plus Ultimate Wilderness, and that is exactly what we are doing.

Sword and Wizardry

With all the good news we have to report, there has to be some bad. Unfortunately, it is with Swords and Wizardry. We decided to convert over an adventure—Book of Heroic Races: Reign of Ruin—to this old school system to test the waters. I set a very low threshold of sales it would have to meet for us to continue to support it. Two months and a 4-Star review from Endzeitgeist later, and it did not make it a third of the way there. Should it get there we’ll talk about more releases, but for the time being all of our old school plans are on hold.

That is all the plans we are able to talk about at this point. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ and subscribe to our newsletter to stay current of more previews of upcoming and current products from us and see our regular blog posts through the week. Remember to use coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off at the JBE Shop.

Dale McCoy, Jr
Jon Brazer Enterprises

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