Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Adventure Starscapes

I am excited to announce the release of a new free series from Paths to Adventure!

Each of the Adventure Starscapes volume contains a series of high resolution full-page starscapes (space / star maps) including clean, hex, and grid versions. The eight variants can be combined to create one massive 34” x 22” seamless starscape.

A combined super high-resolution 600 dpi source file (that can be used as a 68" x 44" starscape) is also included with each volume.

Volume V includes an entire bonus starscape series themed for "deep space".

I tried to create a wide theme of styles from the darker depths of deep space, to sparse nebulae, to star nurseries, to brightly colored themes that will work for hyperspace / drift travel.

This are a companion series to my "Planet Portfolio" series. And are now included in the Space VTT Set subcategory of products from Paths to Adventure, and are perfect for Virtual Tabletop science fiction gaming.

You can download Adventure Starscapes from DriveThruRPG.

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/241680/Adventure-Starscapes-I?manufacturers_id=10213

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/241833/Adventure-Starscapes-II?manufacturers_id=10213

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/241855/Adventure-Starscapes-III?manufacturers_id=10213

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/241903/Adventure-Starscapes-IV?manufacturers_id=10213

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/241905/Adventure-Starscapes-V--Deep-Space-Bonus?manufacturers_id=10213

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/186504/Planet-Portfolio-I?cPath=25973_30242

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Big Book of Maps Volume 2 (April 2018 Summary)

The April 2018 Month-End Summary update for "The Big Book of Maps for Tabletop Roleplaying Games - Volume 2: Science Fiction" has been posted to the Kickstarter campaign.

April saw the following content releases:
  • 8 Science Fiction Maps (3 Starship Deckplan Maps; 5 Locale Maps)
  • 20 Science Fiction Icons (Themes: Doors & Passages)
  • Planet Portfolio I (50 VTT Assets)
  • 4 Starship Builder Kits (80 Unique Starship Sections)

Special Funding Stretch Goal Achieved!

The very exciting news is that thanks to our late backers, who raised an additional $2,638.00 USD (bringing total funds raised for the Volume 2 project to $23,641.00).

We have unlocked additional stretch goals -- including the "biggie" -- auto-funding "Volume 3: Mini-Dungeon Maps" for all backers.

What this means is that everyone who has backed this Kickstarter for Volume 2, will also be getting the digital content and/or PDF (relative to level backed) for the next volume of maps which will focus on smaller fantasy-themed "mini-dungeon" maps.

The production of Volume 3 will not begin until the "Volume 2: Science Fiction" project is completed and fully released, but will roll into its creation phase immediately thereafter.

Late Backer Portal Extended!

The plan was originally to wrap up the Late Backer Portal on April 30, 2018. However, since backers have now auto-funded the fantasy maps for Volume 3, I will be extended that deadline by a few weeks. If you missed the Kicksdtarter, you can still get in on this huge collection of maps!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Starship Builder Kit #4: Terran Fighters

Another of my Starship Builder Kits has been released!

This Starship Builder Kit has been designed to allow you to utilize various stylized starship sections to compile your very own custom starship deckplan. You can use any graphics editing software that support PNG format to combine the pieces, drop them directly into your favorite virtual tabletop (VTT) application, or even print and cut them out to be put together to make a tabletop play map.

This series of kits is designed to allow you to mix-and-match any of the sections included herein with sections included in other sets in the series.

This product provides at least 20 ship sections as well as three sample ships built utilizing the included resources.

With Starship Builder Kits it is easy to create your own high-quality starship deckplans!

Example starship deckplans created with this Starship Builder Kit:




This product is available via DriveThruRPG!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Starship Builder Kit #3: Terran Freighters

Another of my Starship Builder Kits has been released!

This Starship Builder Kit has been designed to allow you to utilize various stylized starship sections to compile your very own custom starship deckplan. You can use any graphics editing software that support PNG format to combine the pieces, drop them directly into your favorite virtual tabletop (VTT) application, or even print and cut them out to be put together to make a tabletop play map.

This series of kits is designed to allow you to mix-and-match any of the sections included herein with sections included in other sets in the series.

This product provides at least 20 ship sections as well as three sample ships built utilizing the included resources.

With Starship Builder Kits it is easy to create your own high-quality starship deckplans!

Example starship deckplans created with this Starship Builder Kit:



This product is available via DriveThruRPG!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mini-Dungeon Tome Map Pack

The massive map pack for the Mini-Dungeon Tome (AAW Games/Adventureaweek.com) has been released to backers and is available for order via the project's Backerkit page.

This collection consists entirely of my cartography and includes over 130 maps. Each map is provided in GM and Player formats as well as two different VTT versions (with and without icons/symbols). That means this map pack includes more than 520 map files in all!

It is both exciting and gratifying that there have been over 700 likes on the Mini-Dungeon Tome Map Pack via BackerKit. I love making maps, but it really feels like the effort is worthwhile when hearing that others find the work enjoyable and useful as well.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Budget Gaming: Minatures on the Cheap

So you want to game with miniatures, but you don't want to take out a loan to afford them? I hear you! There are options! And, it can be done for pennies per miniature -- with a few concessions!

"Budget Gaming" is a series of articles I'll be writing on my blog with ideas and suggestions on how to fund a potentially expensive tabletop gaming hobby on a shoestring budget. In today's article: miniatures and miniature painting.

Some of the most affordable high-quality tabletop RPG miniatures available are Reaper Bones; with a price tag of about $3-$4 USD on average per figure. This means to build up a sizable campaign-ready collection of miniatures [about 300 including duplicates], you're looking at investing about $900-$1,200 USD.

Pictured: Zombies ($18), Aliens vs. Humans ($18)
and Monsters ($17) "bucket" action figures collection.
What if I told you that you could build the same size collection for under $50 USD? Allow me to introduce "bucket" action figure play sets -- available from $10-$20/set which can include as many as 100 miniatures.

Yes, for the price of a box of cardboard pawns, you can have a huge collection of durable, three-dimensional, themed miniatures for your tabletop.

There are many varieties of these figures available on Amazon, and if you're already a Prime member, you can look forward to scoring some free shipping as well.

I've recommended these play sets to folks seeking inexpensive miniatures for years, but before now I had never actually ordered any myself. I decided to do a bit of research and find out of my advice has been sound. It has. These things are highly detailed for their price point. They take well to primer for painting, are very durable, and you get a really decent assortment in each tube.

For the purposes of this article, I bought three sets that seemed to reach across a wide breadth of genres from modern, to fantasy, to science fiction. The sets I ordered were: zombies, aliens, and monsters.

The contents of all three buckets on display.
290 miniatures for $53 USD.
Options available include:
The play sets also include some terrain pieces (tombstones and graves in this case) that should also help to add some ambient scenery and scatter terrain to your tabletop play space. Check out the three images below for a closer look at the spread of all 290 miniatures from the three sets I purchased for this article: 

Zombies

Aliens

Monsters


Miniature scale comparisons.
They're kind of a big deal...

A bit of forewarning: the figures from these sets are noticeably larger than standard miniatures. For monsters and such, that's not such a "big" deal, but if you're a stickler for scale, be sure to check out the size comparison in the photo to the right.
 

An assortment of a few different figures from each of these three sets.

And, of course, as with any collection of tabletop RPG miniatures, the next logical step is painting them. The surprisingly fine detail of these figures provides a great depth with a little bit of wash and dry-brushing.

Here are a few of the figures and terrain pieces from these sets that I spent about an hour painting to test out how well the paint takes to the miniatures.


Painted examples of the miniatures.


Aren't Paints Expensive Too? 

Yes! Paints for miniatures can be very pricey (as much as $3-$5 USD for 0.5 oz). Professional sets can cost hundreds of dollars. But, fret not! While you won't get the same flexibility with color that a professional paint set provides, you can get everything you need for miniature fun at the tabletop for under $20 USD.

Martha Stewart 2 oz Craft Paints are available
for less than $2 USD a bottle, and available in
hundreds of different colors.
For cost effective acrylic paint that works great on miniatures, I recommend 2 oz bottles of Martha Stewart brand acrylic craft paint. These are available at almost any craft shop, and typically cost less than $2 USD each (compared to $15-20 USD each for professional paints). A pack of detailing brushes will run you about another $5-$8 USD.

There are hundreds of color options available in this inexpensive line of paints; each for the same low price. If you want to get fancy there are even high-gloss, glittery, and metallic versions for the same price.

However, when working on a tight budget, all you really need are the basics: black (x2), white, brown, red, yellow, green, cyan, blue, and magenta. By mixing colors, applying water, and creating wash -- these bottles should last you through painting several hundred miniatures.

Note: I suggest getting two bottles of black paint since creating ink wash by watering it down tends to use it up more quickly. 

So, if you're looking to buy and paint miniatures for your tabletop game, for less than $80 you can score upwards of 400 miniatures and all the paints and brushes you'll need to bring them to life!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Starship Builder Kit #2: Terran Ring Ships

Another of my Starship Builder Kits has been released!

This Starship Builder Kit has been designed to allow you to utilize various stylized starship sections to compile your very own custom starship deckplan. You can use any graphics editing software that support PNG format to combine the pieces, drop them directly into your favorite virtual tabletop (VTT) application, or even print and cut them out to be put together to make a tabletop play map.

This series of kits is designed to allow you to mix-and-match any of the sections included herein with sections included in other sets in the series.

This product provides at least 20 ship sections as well as three sample ships built utilizing the included resources.

With Starship Builder Kits it is easy to create your own high-quality starship deckplans!

Example starship deckplans created with this Starship Builder Kit:




This product is available via DriveThruRPG!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Goblins in Spaaaaace! (Personal Project)

Just sharing a fun personal project I completed over the weekend. Note that this is not officially related to the Starfinder RPG in any way.

The Starfinder RPG shelf in my library looked a bit lonely, so as a personal weekend project, I decided to make a space goblin!

I converted it from one of the Paizo vinyl  Pathfinder RPG goblin coin banks. Was a fun little project, and now my Starfinder books have an appropriate guard as well.

More pictures available on my original Facebook post about the project

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mini-Dungeon Tome for Pathfinder RPG Now Avaialble!


I am incredibly excited to see this release of Mini-Dungeon Tome from AAW Games/Adventureaweek.com going out to the public.

It has been a privilege to work with so many brilliantly talented individuals on this team, and quite an exciting journey to reach this point.

In addition to managing the initial creation project, I also contributed 24 adventures (plus six additional bonus "holiday themed" adventures rolling out to backers over the next couple of weeks), crafted over 130 maps, and did graphic design, layout templates, stationary design, and advertisement design. I even did some illustration for this awesome book.

 I also designed the Kickstarter project that raised a total of over $204K from more than 3,250 awesome backers, pushing the total $$$ raised from KS projects I've designed to well over $1 Million.


I do believe this project encompassed just about every skill set I have to offer to the tabletop RPG industry, and it's been a blast! Many thanks to everyone for making it such a huge success!

"Over 130 adventures for Pathfinder RPG!
From the depths of the darkest dungeons to primal dangers of the untamed wilderness, this tome binds ancient mysteries, forgotten lore, and the allure of epic quests. Adventurers will explore realms unknown, face deadly foes, and discover tantalizing treasures and magnificent artifacts.
AAW Games brings you this massive collection of more than 130 complete and ready-to-run scenarios designed especially for discerning Game Masters who want exciting adventures and need them now. Begin the next chapter of your campaign with the turn of a page!
Themed and organized for convenience, the Mini-Dungeon Tome provides setting-neutral fantasy adventures suitable for every party level and size. With all reference material included in a convenient index, this single book holds everything you need for years of adventuring.
Offering contributions from all-star authors and game designers, Mini-Dungeon Tome is the book you have been searching for. Always have a new adventure at the ready and test the mettle of even the most experienced players!
Official Press Release from AAW Games: 

"I am super excited to finally announce the release of the Mini-Dungeon Tome for 5th Edition & Pathfinder RPG!
(Pathfinder PDF now / 5th Edition in 2 weeks)


Congratulations o everyone involved in this massive undertaking which includes over 130 adventures for Pathfinder RPG. Stephen Yeardley, Justin Andrew Mason, Louis Agresta, Michael Allen, Rone Barton, Liz Courts, Richard Develyn, Dan Dillon, Jonathan Ely, Endzeitgeist Sigurðr, Tim Hitchcock, Michael Holland, Nicolas Logue, Michael McCarthy, Ben McFarland, Brian Mønster, Will Myers, Stefanos Patelis, Michael Smith, Jason Sonia, Colin Stricklin, Brian Suskind, Rory Toma, Rachel Ventura, Thomas Baumbach, and so many more!

Thank you to all our amazing backers for making this book possible! Please chime in below so we can thank you properly!" -- Jonathan G. Nelson (AAW Games)

 This book is available via Adventureaweek.com, DriveThruRPG, and RPGNow.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

5-Star + Seal of Approval for Maw of the Dark Tide

Maw of the Darktide (AAW Games/Adventureaweek.com) has recieved a 5-star + seal of approval rating from Endzeitgeist!

"Justin Andrew Mason’s “Maw of the Dark Tide” requires a bit of templating work, but oh boy is it worth it! The floating fortress is unique, the artifacts are cool and the super-boss is BRUTAL when built according to specifications. While the work requires is somewhat annoying, it’s worth it and warranted by the pay-off. 5 stars + seal of approval." -- EZG

You can check out the full review on Nerdrek.com:
This adventure is available in digital and print formats via Adventureaweek.com, DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, and Paizo.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Starship Builder Kit #1: Terran Battle-Hardened Ships

The first of my Starship Builder Kits has been released!

This first release in the series is available for free. Snag it and give the SBK series a try. If you like it, additional releases will be forthcoming throughout 2018. 

This Starship Builder Kit has been designed to allow you to utilize various stylized starship sections to compile your very own custom starship deckplan. You can use any graphics editing software that support PNG format to combine the pieces, drop them directly into your favorite virtual tabletop (VTT) application, or even print and cut them out to be put together to make a tabletop play map.

This series of kits is designed to allow you to mix-and-match any of the sections included herein with sections included in other sets in the series.

This product provides at least 20 ship sections as well as three sample ships built utilizing the included resources.

With Starship Builder Kits it is easy to create your own high-quality starship deckplans!

Example starship deckplans created with this Starship Builder Kit:




This product is available for FREE download at DriveThruRPG!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Speed Mapping Video

Speed mapping? I've had a lot of requests to do one of these.

The video shows me creating a dungeon in the style of those done in the Big Books of Maps sped up to x10 normal speed.

So, here it is! Sorry about the watermark. Had I known when I downloaded the free trial that "watermarked video" meant they were going to slap a logo in the middle of the screen, I would have found another solution. But, might as well use it since it's complete.




A relatively simple dungeon design, but it displays much of my process clearly.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Justin's GoodReads Author Profile

Justin's GoodReads Author Profile (Screenshot)
So, I have an author page over at Goodreads now if any users would like to follow.

Apparently they had created one for me, and added few titles. Given the option to claim it, I did so and have been working with their librarians to get titles I've written added.

There are several titles still pending, but it's slowly coming together. I won't be anywhere near as active there as I am on social media, but since it's available, I'll be utilizing it some in the coming months for special promotions

Monday, March 12, 2018

Now Available: The Big Book of Maps for Tabletop Roleplaying Games - Volume 1: Fantasy Adventure

Cover Image
Cover Image
Available now in hardcover print. The Big Book of Maps for Tabletop Roleplaying Games - Volume 1: Fantasy Adventure contains over 230 full-color maps authored by fantasy cartographer Justin Andrew Mason. The maps are themed towards fantasy adventure.

Format: Full Color Premium Heavyweight Hardcover
Author: Justin Andrew Mason
Illustrator: Justin Andrew Mason
Publisher: Paths to Adventure
ISBN: 978-0-692-08675-9
Publisher #: PTA-BBM-001
Publication Date: February 18, 2018
Pages: 521
Size: 8.5" x 11" x 1.5"
Weight: 4.75 lbs.
Retail Price: $99.99

Whether your adventures embrace classic high fantasy, swords and sorcery, or fringe on an otherworldly Lovcraftian realm, this collection will provide suitable cartography for your tabletop roleplaying game adventures.

Over 520 pages of full-color maps: Dungeons, castles, keeps, temples, sacred sites, urban sprawl, caverns, mines, dwarven halls, elven empires, extradimensional planes, heavenly encounters, hellish delves, and even ancient forgotten advanced technology – this book has it all. There are even ten Underworld mega-dungeons included!


Note: Every map in the book is available as a digital VTT Map Set for virtual tabletop roleplaying. You can pick up the hardcover book at DriveThruRPG.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Big Book of Maps for Tabletop Roleplaying Games - Volume 2: Science Fiction

I've just launched my new Kickstarter for the second volume of my Big Book of Maps series! I hope you'll check it out.

The Big Book of Maps for Tabletop Roleplaying Games - Volume 2: Science Fiction is a cartography collection of more than 100 full-color tabletop role-playing game maps that is being created by Justin Andrew Mason.

Most maps will be geared towards a futuristic setting, though a few will likely have potential of crossing genres. The focus of this collection will be various science fiction locales such as space stations, planetary outposts, asteroid mining colonies, futuristic cities, science labs, spaceship deck plans, alien locations, and interplanetary waypoints, but will also include offerings for subgenres such as cyberpunk, science fantasy, and neo-noir.




The Big Book of Maps (Volume 2): Science Fiction -- Kicktraq Mini

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Motorized Custom Tabletop Terrain (Personal Project)

As a personal weekend project I decided to give crafting tabletop RPG terrain crafting a shot. I figured that if I was going to invest the effort, I might as well try to push it to the next level.

The result is my motorized Magic Circle with programmable phasing LEDs. A later weekend's project will be building the “temple platform” themed case to enclose it with scale miniature steps leading up to the landing for the complete illusion.



It was a fun and relatively quick build. Turned out pretty decent for a first attempt, I think.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Tabletop Gaming Media Makers: RPG History Documentary by Dorks of Yore



In tandem with my regular ongoing Gamer Bling! and Tabletop Gaming Artisans articles, I've decided to also showcase some of my favorite tabletop gaming media makers as well. This series of articles will  include works such as video production, audio production, music composition, and any other sort of multi-media content creation I think fits the criteria. Be sure to check out all the amazing things folks are creating and sharing! 

Today I would like to showcase the production of an RPG History documentary by Dorks of Yore. The project is spearheaded by actor, comedian, author, director, and huge gaming fan, Pat Kilbane. You may know Pat from his many hilarious roles on Mad TV or from other popular television shows and the big screen. He has spent over 25-years in the media production industry both in front of and behind the camera.

The documentary is an effort of the broader RPG History Project on Patreon along with many great interviews and video shorts like RPG Science and Two-Minute History mini-documentaries.

The focus of the feature film in-production is on the early history and roots of tabletop roleplaying games, and the importance of preserving that history is something I wholeheartedly agree with Pat about.
"Their stories need to be told and preserved for history... They deserve to be remembered."
I have been supporting the RPG History Project on Patreon since 2016. This is something I not only want to see, but that I think needs to be made.

Over the past year, Pat and I have touched base via phone every few weeks to discuss the project progress, his ideas and vision for the documentary, and organizing the massive collection of documentation, video, photographs, memorabilia, and interviews he has amassed for this project.

It's a huge undertaking, but I have been repeatedly impressed by Pat's ability to transform raw footage and resources into a finely polished media presentation. My confidence in his ability to bring this project to complete fruition has even prompted me to contribute in addition to my monthly pledges (and, I plan on doing so again this year). 

I would be remiss in discussing this project without providing the context that frames my perspective of the RPG History Project's efforts.
There have been two failed high-profile efforts to create a documentary reflecting on the early days of Dungeons & Dragons. Both were fully funded by the gaming community (I'm out several hundred dollars between the two myself), but ultimately became entangled in a legal quagmire between the two production companies.

In the end, all anyone got for their investment -- after FIVE years -- was a promotional trailer for each of the two documentaries that will likely never be created and a proverbial slap in the face for investing their hard earned money. Understandably, that has soured many to the idea of there ever being a quality documentary for the gaming community.

The huge difference with the project being created by Dorks of Yore is the bigger picture. 

The documentary is a secondary (though inevitable) result of the RPG History Project. Supporters of the Patreon are privy to production footage videos, interview snippets, frequent news updates, and open discussion about the documentary. There is an active community and new content released every month. We can literally watch the documentary as it comes together, and what has been released over the past year is more than just promising. It's inspiring!


My purpose in writing this article is to raise awareness about the RPG History Project as well as the documentary in hopes of driving more traffic and potential support from the gaming community.


The Patreon offers reward tiers ranging from $3, $5, and $10/month and up. The content produced and frequently released makes the minimal investment worthwhile -- and -- the investment goes towards the completion of the documentary that many of us have been waiting years for.

If a quality documentary about the the dawn of tabletop roleplaying is something that interests you, I do hope you'll consider pledging to this Dorks of Yore project!



Sunday, January 14, 2018

5-Star + Seal of Approval for The Vikmordere

The Vikmordere: An Introduction (AAW Games / Adventureaweek.com), has received a 5-star + seal of approval rating from Endzeitgesit!

"It should be noted, that the similarities to parent cultures, while only running skin-deep, also allow the Vikmordere to be easily and seamlessly plugged into pretty much any fantasy world; it is only slowly that they transcend the connotations of their parent cultures, becoming something different…which may, in and of itself, generate a sense of tension and excitement at your table." -- EZG

You can check out the full review on Nerdretk.com:
This book is available in digital and print formats via Adventureaweek.com, DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, and Paizo.