June Update

Update time.

I thought I’d try posting some biweekly updates concerning Rising Phoenix Games  and my own writing and design projects. Onto the news…

I’ve contacted my successor, who will be taking over my teaching post here in Japan in the summer. She seems lovely and the perfect fit for the job. After 5 years on the JET Programme it’s great to be handing over to new talent.

That leads nicely into the big question: “What Next?”
In August I’m taking the plunge and going full time into game design, writing and development. This is a big step, but I’ve managed to build a network with some great companies, both in Japan and the USA, which means that my dreams are now a plausible reality.

And now for the highlights from the last two weeks:

Claustrophobia! got a 5 star rating AND an amazing review on YouTube.

– Lots of animals visited our town, we believe Kintaro is holding a sumo tournament in the area.

– Rodney has joined the Steampunk Musha team (but don’t worry, he’s still a Phoenix Gamer).

– Met with the owner of JAST USA here in Japan to talk about some programming work for them. If you’ve never heard of them go check out Steins;Gate and see what the whole visual novel thing is about.

– Father’s Day number 2 was amazing. We did a lovely little nature walk through the mountains. Didn’t see Kintaro or his friends.

– Secured a deal to write a role-playing game for an established author. More info in a few weeks.

– Wrapping up some setting development for our good friends at Wayward Rogues Publishing.

– And some other RPG design work is on the cards, just need to sign some contracts before I talk about that too.

– Finished reading Map of Bones by James Rollins, a very interesting read that’s going to lead to plenty of Wikidiving.

– And a bunch of other things are in the works. More on that later.

Till next time.

Round Up – May’s RPG Blog Carnival

May’s RPG Blog Carnival was a blast, we destroyed worlds, reshaped history and watched heroes rise and fall, all in the spirit of “At World’s End”.
Here’s a post by post summary…

Moebius Adventures

Only the brave or foolhardy would dare go beyond the borders of the world.
Moebius Adventures offer up some great setting ideas that I haven’t seen get much play in published works and would be perfect for a home campaign.

6d6

Some fantastic campaign seeds and how to introduce them into your game.  Beware, for the end is nigh!

Doom Rides to Silverado

A nice blend of fact and fiction, inspired by the Aztecs. Man, why does it have to end with earthquakes (I live in friggin’ Japan! I’ll be the first to go!)

Notes of the Wandering Alchemist

John Crowley III talks about reaching the end of your campaign, and how to deal with it when the day comes. Because, really, an awesome  campaign needs an awesome ending, so you’ve got to get that right.

Tales of a GM – Part 1

Phil gives us a look into four of his own campaign finales, some bumps he had along the way, and what he learned from the experience.
Some great examples to ponder over.

The Watch House

Some very practical ideas here for apocalyptic events, in a sort of “having your cake and eating it without your whole campaign dying” sort of way. Their title really says it all: Apocalypse Not Now.

Sea of Stars RPG

A dramatic opening to the apocalypse in the Sea of Stars setting. And dragons!

Tales of a GM – Part 2

Phil is back with his finale successes, rapping us up on a high note with more GMing advice based on actual plays.

That’s it for this month. Next month’s topic is Cold Iron and Pixie Dust: The Fae. Be sure to check it out!

 

Claustrophobia! Available June 1st!

Claustrophobia!, the game of gnomish insanity, is done, and on June 1st it will go live on Drive Thru RPG.

I couldn’t be more excited (or nervous). Donovan did some amazing work on the layout, art and design, and you’ll finally get to see that, along with added content about the world of garden gnomes and more. We’ve worked hard to polish the game and I’m sure fans old and new will be really pleased with what they see.

Claustrophobia! Lamp

You can keep up to date with all things gnome on our Facebook page. We would certainly appreciate a like if we can get it too.

The Last Laugh is Ours — Mwahahaha!

Welcome to the Laughing Dragon

Tales from the Laughing Dragon Inn is the latest publication from our friends at Wayward Rogues Publishing, and it’s a whopper (56 pages!).

Tales from the Laughing Dragon InnInside you’ll find maps for the entire inn and everything you need to make it come alive, including NPC descriptions and an extensive menu.  You can never have too many taverns and inns prepped for your game, so this is handy.

But it gets even better, with five adventures, pitched at levels 4, 6, 6–8, 8 and 10. There’s plenty to satisfy horror fans, and Lovecraftian horror fans in particular. Even if you don’t use the adventures as written, there are some dastardly NPCs and terrifying monsters you’ll want to throw at your players.

Okay, but I am biased, because I did write one of the adventures. But it’s a great one. One of my best so far. And this brings me to my tie in with this month’s RPG blog carnival theme; “At World’s End“.

Darker Things

A cultist communes with a dark, forgotten entity, calling across the void of time and space. Moments later, he’ll fall to a hero’s blade. Our just hero might leave a little richer, might even defeat the foul spawn summoned by the now cooling cultist, but what of the dark entity? It is awake now, and its attention is focused, menacingly, on the world our hero calls home.

And so the end begins…

 

Camp Nanowrimo 2016 and Planning

Well, that’s April. I finished several projects, all ahead of schedule and within the target word count. Part of what I did took place on Camp Nanowrimo, and I’m glad I took part. I’m a big believer in surrounding yourself with a strong “team”—even if that team is working on vastly different things—and Camp Nanowrimo, with its cabins, provided just that.

Camp NanoWrimo 2016

Planning

I pulled off some great work this month; an adventure, some location writeups and a short story. I wouldn’t have finished on time or even close to the word count goals if I didn’t plan well.

What worked was not writing until I was sure of what I wanted to write. That’s it. No bullet points. No fancy diagrams or mind maps.

Let me say it again. Don’t write a word until you know exactly what you’re writing. For my adventure, knowing was writing the Adventure Synopsis. For my writeups, it was drawing the location maps. For my short story, it was figuring out why a hero was standing in a church with his eyes closed.

Don’t write until you know what you’re going to write.

Try it. Now. Write your own version of Little Red Riding Hood—you know the story. It won’t take long. You’ll add your own voice, your own ideas, but the plot will be the same. Watch how much easier it is than creating something totally new.

In our experiment, what you knew about Little Red Riding Hood was the plan, a writing goal. Your writing, your execution, was informed by the plan/goal, but not strictly constrained by it; you had some room to embellish in your own way. Plan your work until you have such a strong concept and then write, words will flow from your pen.

Watch this space because I’ll be posting more about some of the work I did in the months to come.

At World’s End

RPG Blog CarnivalImagine you’re coming to the finale of your years-long campaign. Friends are moving away, and you want to end with a memorable bang. A big bang. A cataclysmic bang! This time it’s not just the people and things the PCs love that are at stake, but their entire world that’s on the line. There is no turning back.

So how do you prepare for a world shattering session? With the Kickstarter for Crisis of the World Eater successful funded, we’ve got plenty of this sort of thing to look forward to. Maybe you, as a GM, are feeling inspired. Perhaps, as a player, you’re about to face your toughest challenge yet.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Viktor M. Vasnetsov [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The topic for May’s RPG blog carnival is “At World’s End”, and the best and brightest RPG bloggers will be sharing links to related posts, right here, in the comments below.

Anything is fair game; cataclysmic events, stats for planet crushing monsters, rules for the Apocalypse, or perhaps a hero’s survival guide to the End Times. We’re not playing games anymore, now we’re playing for keeps, winner takes all!

Don’t forget to follow the Phoenix on Twitter and Facebook, it’s the best way to keep up to date with the world shattering events that are about to be unleashed by ruthless GMs the world over.

More information about the RPG Blog Carnival can be found on roleplayingtips.com.

Tell Thrilling Tales