All posts by Rodney

Game designer, writer, and programmer at Rising Phoenix Games. Follow me on Twitter: RisingPhoenixGM.

The Horde is Coming! — Take a Sneak Peek

Horde is a hack and slash game for 1–4 players. Stand against masses of enemies without lucky dice rolls to save you. Horde’s rules emphasize the need for clever tactics to stay alive long enough to protect the Flame of Life and defeat the deadly hordes.

Horde includes two modes: Defender, for a shorter game, and Dungeon, for a full dungeon crawl through caverns teeming with enemies.

Horde is currently in playtesting, and I’m hoping to release it by the end of the month. Here’s a peek at the cover:

Horde Cover Concept

Horde’s Concept

I wanted a game where you play a powerful hero wading through masses of enemies, where dice rolls didn’t determine the outcome of attacks, but tactics meant everything. I wanted to use as much of my growing collection of fantasy miniatures as possible and put hordes of figures on the board. Horde is my answer to that.

Playtesting Horde
Playtesting Horde

The game also had to be playable solo, quick to set up, and — most importantly — loads of fun.  Horde is checking all those boxes in playtesting, and I’m excited to share more about the game with you, soon.

Horde is being created for the A Game By Its Cover game jam, inspired by the Youkai Project famicase cover art done by Yowan Langlais.

Winter Is Coming

Aurora’s Whole Realms Catalogue was a second edition D&D book for the Forgotten Realms, and we’ve brought it back for fifth edition. Aurora’s Whole Realms Winter Catalogue is out now:

Aurora's WHole Realms Winter Catalogue Cover
Aurora’s Whole Realms Winter Catalogue

You can find the Summer and Autumn catalogues on the Dungeons Masters Guild.

Print Books Coming Soon

We’ve done print cards for a while now, mainly for maps and dungeon tiles. Now we’re adding our first print on demand (POD) titles, which will be available from Drive Thru RPG in a few months time. The first two books we’re setting up are Griffins — A Field Guide (D&D) and Anaximander’s Adventuring Studies (Pathfinder). Going forward, new titles will be available in POD, if the platform allows it.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Our RPG Stock Art Sale Ends Soon!

Our RPG stock art sale ends soon.

If you’re an RPG designer then you don’t want to miss out, we’ve got a huge range of images in stock now. Here’s a small sample of some of the excellent art.

You can find the sale’s page here.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Last Night I Met a Galeb Duhr

A galeb duhr is a boulder-like creature from Dungeons & Dragons, and a creature I’ve never written about or encountered anywhere but in the Monster Manual. Until last night, when I met a galeb duhr in the woods.


Galeb Duhr
by james-olley on DeviantArt

So here I am, wandering along the wooded coastline of some unknown land, when I hear a rustle in the bushes up ahead. The next thing I see is a massive tree stump moving through the air — obviously a club. My fight reflex is about to kick in when I see the walking boulder that’s carrying it. “No worries, I think, this thing’s neutrally aligned.”

Okay, I’ll confess, this was all a vivid and memorable dream, but it stuck with me for some reason. Apart from questioning the effect of my work on my sanity, I found myself wondering about these strange little elementals and why their gravelly complexion would illicit such instinctive trust from me. Is there more to the pet rock thing? Are geographic formations naturally trustworthy?

I think it was the sense of wonder and realism that struck me most. Roleplaying games, by definition, allow us to experience the fantastic. The realism and wonder I felt in my dream are the holy grail (grails?) of a good RPG session, and many of us have had those moments when our imaginations take us beyond reality. If the runner’s high is what keeps a runner running, it’s the wonderous trips of the imagination that bring roleplayers back for more.

The galeb duhr has never piqued my interest before, so why would I dream about such an odd little monster? How do you even pronounce galeb duhr without sounding like a moron? Does any of this matter? 42!

Have you had similar dreams, or nightmares, linked to roleplaying? Or am I booking into the looney bin all on my own? We just need enough lunatics to start a game group in Cellblock C.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Piratical Feats for Your D&D Game

Writing of our Undersea Sourcebook: Feats and Equipment book is almost done, so that means it’s time for a sneak peek of some piratical feats. If there’s anything you’d like to see in the book, let us know in the comments below, there’s just enough time to add more content to the book.

Muskets and Pirate Hunters - Piratical Feats
(Credit: Matt Briney)

The following feats are for Dungeons & Dragons, fifth edition.

Carpenter Surgeon

Onboard a ship, you have to make do. Nowhere is this truer than when it comes to emergency surgery on the high seas. As a ship’s carpenter, you’ve learned to use your woodworking tools to amputate limbs and perform other types of minor surgery. You gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your Wisdom score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • If you are proficient with carpenter’s tools, you can use them to stabilize a creature that has 0 hit points, without needing to make a Wisdom (Medicine) check.
  • You have advantage on Wisdom (Medicine) skill checks made to treat or identify wounds.

Water Marksman

You have trained with ranged weapons underwater, and have developed techniques to improve their effectiveness in the deep. You gain the following benefits:

  • The normal range of a ranged weapon, other than a sling, is 10-feet longer for you. The weapon’s long range remains the same.
  • You do not suffer the normal disadvantage on ranged attacks made with ranged weapons underwater, except with slings. You still have disadvantage with thrown weapons such as hand axes and light hammers.
  • During a long rest, you can prepare a single firearm to fire one shot under water. If you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll with such a specially prepared firearm, it is destroyed.

Home Page News

We’ve recently updated our front page. To celebrate, you can get $2 off your next purchase from us when you use the coupon code “CCCJUNE2019”. We’ll also send you a link for any books you buy here through Drive Thru RPG as well, so that you’ve got them in your collection.

All the Undersea News

We’ve created a dedicated page for all the latest news and product launch updates for the Undersea Sourcebook series. Bookmark the page and check back often.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Undersea Sourcebook: Race & Class Guide

The Undersea Sourcebook: Race & Class Guide is here!

Undersea Sourcebook Race & Class Guide Cover

The Undersea Sourcebook series provides players and Dungeon Masters with everything they need to explore the crashing waves and the vast ocean depths below. In this, the first of the series, you’ll find races, classes, and backgrounds for creating characters suitable to an undersea or ocean-spanning campaign.

The Races of the Oceans, Coastlines, and Rivers chapter features detailed descriptions and game statistics for underwater fantasy staples like merfolk, the sealskin wearing selkie, warlike sahuagin, and undines, along with the river fey called naiads, whose description includes a deep sea variant. Atlanteans, the forgotten ancestors of humanity, are listed along with some of the fabulous inventions that ensured their survival during the great cataclysm that sunk their island home. You’ll also find the new spellborn race—creatures grown from arcane experiments—which are suitable to both land and sea campaigns, depending on the arcane mutations you choose. Coastal dwarves, ocean and lake dragonborn, sea elves, and fenwader halflings provide subraces for most of the races featured in the Player’s Handbook.Undersea Sourcebook Race & Class Guide Spread 1

The Class Options and Archetypes chapter includes new options for every core class. The Path of the Slayer barbarian primal path grants you boons for the risks, you take. The College of the Tamer bardic college use their music to tame savage beasts, while the Drowned Cleric archetype combines control over the sea with divine healing. A new Waves domain extends the cleric’s choice of domains. The Circle of the Sea druid circle grants you mastery over the waves and the creatures of the ocean. The Marine fighter archetype is a soldier of the sea—a great fit for a naval soldier, a viking, or any other type of sea raider. Elemental Disciplines of Water provide more options for a monk of the Way of Four Elements. The paladin gains the Oath of the Shark oath, for those knights who stand before the monsters of the depths to protect the people who live on the ocean’s shores. The Surf Sentry ranger archetype is a watcher and protector of oceans, while the Treasure Diver rogue scours shipwrecks and sunken cities for gold, and is adept and foiling the creatures that lurk below. The Aberrant Bloodline sorcerous origin draws power from alien creatures and strange aberrants of the ocean depths. The Leviathan warlock patron is a monster of the deep, which grants its followers monstrous abilities and gruesome mutations. The Weather Wizard arcane tradition focuses on the control of the natural elements to protect and drive ships on a magical wind, or to crush foes with terrible storms.

Rounding off the book are four new backgrounds, including the Experiment, Forlorn, Seachild, and Slave. This is followed by a short Spells chapter, which includes new spells introduced in some of the race and class entries within this volume, but which can be used by any spell caster, at your Dungeon Master’s discretion.

Undersea Sourcebook: Race & Class Guide is available on the Dungeon Masters Guild now.

All the Undersea News

We’ve created a dedicated page for all the latest news and product launch updates for the Undersea Sourcebook series. Bookmark the page and check back often.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Undersea Sourcebook — The Dockyards

The Undersea Sourcebook series provides players and Dungeon Masters with everything they need to explore the crashing waves and the vast ocean depths below.
Be sure to bookmark this page and check back often for release dates and product announcements. We’ll post it all here.

New Releases

Introducing the Undersea Sourcebook: Race & Class Guide. In this, the first of the series, you’ll find races, classes, and backgrounds for creating characters suitable to an undersea or ocean-spanning campaign.
 
Undersea Sourcebook Race & Class Guide
Undersea Sourcebook: Mutants & Mariners is a follow on book to the Race & Class Guide, and introduces the pirate class, College of Shanties bardic college, and the mutant hybrid race. Combine any race with one of the 30+ creatures listed to create your mutant character or NPC.
Undersea Sourcebook: Mutants & Mariners

Forthcoming Releases

Production of the next five books in the Undersea Sourcebook series is well underway:

Book 2 in the series, Undersea Sourcebook: Feats and Equipment, will include feats and items essential to underwater adventures, allowing you to round off your characters with setting appropriate abilities and gear.

Book 3, Undersea Sourcebook: Water Magic, is set to detail spells and magic items, and begins to bridge the gap between player options and Dungeon Master material.

Book 4 is entitled Undersea Sourcebook: Dungeon Master’s Guide, and explores running underwater and ocean campaigns in more depth. It will include advanced rules for ships, ship combat, advanced rules for underwater combat, and tools to help you run engaging adventures at sea and in the dark depths below.

Book 5 is the Undersea Sourcebook: Monster Manual, which includes new monsters to populate the ocean depths.

Book 6, Undersea Sourcebook: Ocean Adventures, will focus on ocean and underwater adventures and may include one or two adventures set within the oceans of Faerûn or the Elemental Plane of Water. You’ll also find maps of useful locations above and below the waves.

Photo credit: Ryan Loughlin

Playtest Releases

From time to time we release previews and playtesting material, which you can find below. Your feedback is invaluable, so please reach out to us if you have any thoughts on the content we’ve shared.

Tentacles of the Deep

Tentacles of the Deep introduces a new kind of monster for your Dungeons & Dragons game, the tentacle. Instead of a whole monster, challenge your heroes with its limbs alone.

Undersea Sourcebook - Tentacle of the DeepThese playtest rules are PWYW, so you can try them out and let us know if you like them with a small tip or in the comments on the product page.

Path of the Slayer

The Path of the Slayer barbarian primal path can be found in the Undersea Sourcebook: Race & Class Guide. An earlier version of the path is available on the blog for free.

Undersea Guides to the Core Rules

We took an in-depth look at each of the core rulebooks and how you can leverage their content in an undersea or ocean campaign. You can find those articles on the following pages:

The Undersea Sourcebook Guide to the Player’s Handbook

The Undersea Sourcebook Guide to the Dungeon Master’s Guide

The Undersea Sourcebook Guide to the Monster Manual

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Patiently Persistent Petitioners — A MTG Mill Deck

In Magic: the Gathering, playing a mill deck offers you a unique advantage. Most players are not expecting you to go for their cards instead of their life total. A good mill deck relies on the ability to control the board and survive long enough to pull off a powerful mill combo. You can’t win by milling one or two cards a turn, you need to build up to the big mill that robs your opponent of the remainder of their deck.

Meet the Patient Petitioner.

I’ve been working on this deck since I started playing MTG Arena, and it’s been loads of fun to play. Played right, it can be tough to counter.

The Cards

4x Scrabbling Claws
2x Blink of an Eye
8x Persistent Petitioners
3x Thought Collapse
3x Verity Circle
3x Waterknot
3x Watertrap Weaver
2x Sleep
2x Patient Rebuilding
1x Weight of Memory
1x Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp
2x Mass Manipulation
24x Island
2x Reliquary Tower

Total: 60 Cards

The Strategy

There are three main goals of the deck: controlling the board, drawing cards, and milling the opponent.

Control

Sleep and Waterknot not only offer control, but synergize well with Verity Circle to give you card draw. Verity Circle offers an expensive control option on its own. Mass Manipulation is by far the most powerful control card in the deck. Play it when your opponent has their most powerful creatures on the board and they’re likely to give up then and there.

Draw

Patient Rebuilding is the backbone of the deck, drawing cards while thinning out your opponent’s deck. Scrabbling Claws is an excellent piece of tech for thinning pesky graveyards that contain resurrecting creatures or instants that power cards in play. It also offers limited card draw that effectively targets specific cards in the opponent’s graveyard. Ultimately, you’re looking to combo Sleep and Verity Circle with Reliquary Tower to fill your hand with Persistent Petitioners…

Mill

Four Persistent Petitioners, with their second ability, effectively mill a fifth of most decks, which, when combined with the whittling effects of Patient Rebuilding, Weight of Memory, and Thought Collapse should bring you to victory.

Of course, there are plenty of ways to tweak the deck. Do you have any suggestions for improvements? Let us know in the comments below.

Till next time, play good games!

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter. Or come play some HearthStone with me and chat about game design.

Wizards of the Coast, Magic: The Gathering, and their logos are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the United States and other countries. © 2009 Wizards. All Rights Reserved.

Anaximander’s Adventuring Studies Wants You!

There is a place where magic lives, were witches and warlocks study the arcane arts, and where adventure dwells behind every corner.

Welcome to Scarthey, the University of the Arcane!

Anaximander’s Adventuring Studies is a new adventure for 1st level characters, which takes them through three years at the school, through 3rd level. The adventure is written by Jeffrey Swank, a frequent collaborator at Paizo, and comes in at 75 pages.

Anaximanders Adventuring Studies Cover
Anaximander’s Adventuring Studies Cover

Here’s the back cover text:

We are only as strong as we are united, and only as weak as we are divided.
—Arcturius Anaximander

Anaximander’s Adventuring Studies is a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure designed for a party of four 1st-level PCs. This adventure follows the players through three years as they attend the University of Scarthey and branch out into the institution’s new School of Adventuring Studies.

This adventure introduces and takes place in the lands around the University of Scarthey, as revealed in the campaign setting of Welcome to Scarthey published by Rising Phoenix Games, but can be played on a stand-alone basis in any city.

What’s Inside Anaximander’s Adventuring Studies

You’ll find maps of Scarthey, the Undervaults, and several adventure locations. Major NPCs are detailed in full, and there are certificates and handouts you can print for your players — yes, you can now get your Adventuring  Studies certification from the University of Scarthey. I think that’s a nice touch.

For the price, this is going to give you plenty of material to throw at your players and to inspire future adventures set in the Arcane University.

You can find the adventure on Drive Thru RPG.

Till next time, play good games!

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter. Or come play some HearthStone with me and chat about game design.

Undersea Fantasy Names, the Ultimate Guide

We’re busy putting the finishing touches on our first Undersea Sourcebook (that’s a big reveal),  which will be a player’s guide to undersea adventures in Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition (that’s two big reveals). The guide features loads of races, each with a list of names like in the Races chapter of the Player’s Handbook. Here are a few undersea fantasy names, to help you name your next underwater character.

Undersea Fantasy Names
Photo credit: Nsey Benajah

Merfolk Names

Merfolk parents choose names for their children that reflect the nature of the sea, invoke images of the ocean, or signify freedom or purpose. Merfolk also have a tribal name, which they’ll use when dealing with merfolk from another tribe. Merfolk rarely use their tribal name around other races, and then only if they have significant reason to do so. Even among friends, merfolk regard mentioning their tribal name as an unnecessary vanity.

Male Names: Adrian, Aegir, Aukai, Bellerophon, Calder, Celsion, Clarion, Dorian, Dover, Drake, Ezeel, Kai, Lachlan, Marlowe, Merrick, Oceanus, Poseider, Ridley, Rio, Tritonis, Zale, Zander

Female Names: Adrianna, Aeriel, Athena, Azure, Azurine, Coraline, Diana, Dione, Doriana, Echo, Eldoris, Fontanne, Galiana, Lana, Madison, Marinella, Nerio, Oceana, Pearl, Ria, Umiko, Undina, Ursula

Tribal Names: Aquillon, Deepfin, Gaion, Laviathon, Moontide, Moray, Nautilon, Neptune, Oceanor, Titanus, Waverider

Naiad Names

Naiads choose their own names when they come of age, and prefer names that are lyrical in nature. They have no clan or family names, though they may name themselves after the body of water they have recently bonded with, such as Khev of Dessarin and Loreley of Lac Dinneshere.

Male Names: Akdish, Bhom, Dakdoov, Dashion, Dhegor, Dhev, Dibam, Ebdordon, Embohz, Ghaaja, Jenjor, Khaav, Khajon, Khev, Memendev, Nagnesh, Naash, Omden, Shevshin, Vahz, Vanvin, Vor, Zekovion

Female Names: Ahni, Avya, BaIrafen, Basheena, Bura, Cerenya, Cini, Faadhi, Felfe, Ferrafin, Fifavi, Hamnaa, Laffuuna, Lidyh, Loreley, Lyrdu, Merdimy, Mirizan, Phibi, Rulfaya, Semfe, Welladuuna, Weni

Selkie Names

Selkies often adopt names similar to those of the people who live near to their colonies. As such, selkie names vary greatly from region to region, though they almost always prefer shorter names. Selkies have no clan or family names, and may refer to the region their family inhabits when introducing themselves, such as Runn of Boatscrape Cove, from Waterdeep.

Male Names: Albi, Coll, Conn, Bhim, Blake, Brenn, Brian, Bert, Des, Don, Dylan, Finn, Harper, Jock, Kay, Kel, Lloyd, Mort, Neal, Rhone, Rob, Runn, Ted

Female Names: Ada, Adele, Celeste, Ceridwen, Cordelia, Enid, Fiona, Gail, Gioga, Kay, Kaylen, Loreley, Lynn, Moon, Muriel, Myfanwy, Nadine, Ondine, Raine, Sapphira, Saraid, Thora, Ursilla, Varona

Make Your Own Undersea Fantasy Names

If you’re looking for more ideas for you own undersea fantasy names, I found loads of inspiration on fantasynamegenerators.com. Start there, find a name you like, then change it to suit your needs. Look for shorter, easier to pronounce names, since those are more memorable and far easier to use while roleplaying.

More Undersea Adventure

If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy the free monster preview available on the Dungeon Master’s Guild:

Till next time, play good games!

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

 

Path of the Slayer (Barbarian Primal Path)

Since pirates took over, I haven’t been allowed to blog much, but I managed to sneak this barbarian archetype past those black-hearted scoundrels. This archetype is compatible with the 5th edition SRD. If you like it, give it a play and let us know what you think in the comments below.

The line between bravery and stupidity may seem razor-thin to some, but to barbarians of the Path of the Slayer, bravado is a powerful tool for destroying even the most deadly monsters.

You may choose this primal path at 3rd level instead of another primal path, and gain its features at 3rd, 6th, 10th, and 14th level.

Fearless

At 3rd level when you choose this path, you become immune to fear and cannot be frightened.

Bravado

At 3rd level, while raging, if you are adjacent to an enemy that is larger than you and not adjacent to any of your allies, you gain a 1d6 Bravado die at the end of your turn. You may spend your Bravado die in the following ways:

Dodge. As a reaction, you can spend your Bravado die to roll it and add it to a saving throw.

Parry. You can, as a reaction, spend your Bravado die to roll it and add it to your armor class against one attack.

Dig Deep. You dig deep into your strength reserves and, as an action, spend up to two Bravado die. You heal hit points equal to the roll of the die.

Slaying Strike. You can spend any number of Bravado die before you make a melee attack roll. If you hit your target, roll the Bravado die and add it to your weapon’s damage roll.

You lose any unused Bravado die when your rage ends.

Your Bravado die changes when you reach certain levels in this barbarian primal path. The die becomes a d8 at 6th level, a d10 at 10th level, and a d12 at 14th level.

Belly Ripper

Starting at 6th level, when a creature at least two sizes larger than you attempts to hit you with a bite attack, you can, as a reaction, make a Dexterity saving throw. The DC for this saving throw depends on the creature’s CR, as given in the table below.

If you succeed at this saving throw, you jump through the creature’s jaws and down its gullet. On your following turns, while inside the creature, all your attacks have advantage and any hits are treated as critical hits. You gain Bravado dice and may spend them while inside the creature, even if you are not raging.

If you fail at the saving throw, and the creature successfully hits you with its bite attack, it automatically scores a critical hit against you, regardless of the number shown on the die.

While inside the creature, you cannot avoid any breath attacks it makes and you cannot breathe. If the creature is destroyed, you are able to cut yourself free on the following turn as an action. Creatures without a discernible mouth, such as most oozes, are immune to this ability.

Belly Ripper

CR Dexterity saving throw DC

0–3: 13

4: 14

5–7: 15

8–10: 16

11–12: 17

13–16: 18

17–20: 19

21–23: 20

24–26: 21

27–29: 22

30: 23

Slayer’s Armor

Beginning at 10th level, you gain proficiency with heavy armor and can rage while wearing heavy armor.

Goad

Starting at 14th level, when a Large or larger creature within 5 feet of you makes a melee weapon attack, you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack against that creature. If your attack hits, the creature’s next melee weapon attack is with disadvantage.

Did you like this primal path? Let us know below.

Till next time, play good games!

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.