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: Miniatures 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!

Addendum added on 09/05/2018:

A customer on the Amazon discussion thread for the miniature products asked for a reference to the miniature heights. Since Amazon's algorithm blocked my responses linking to the image, I'm adding it here. The figures vary a bit between sets, but in general they all stand about 2 - 2.5 inches tall. 

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.