Category Archives: General

Quick Terrain Projects — Mini Monday Ep 6

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we take on two quick terrain projects, which you can bang out in an evening.

Quick Terrain Projects of a stalagmite and road sign.

The first project is a stalagmite, those naturally forming spikes of rock that you find at the bottom of caves.

For mine, I used paper clay, but any type of clay should work. I drilled a hole through it and threaded a bit of chain through the hole to create some visual interest. I dripped super glue down the chain, which keeps it stiff. To paint the stalagmite, paint with a dark gray then dry brush with a lighter gray on the raised edges. The chain is painted black and then painted with a metallic color. Done!

The road sign is a bit of chopstick and popsicle stick, shaped and stuck together with wood glue. I used paper clay for the base, and you need something that is heavy enough to keep the sign upright. I then painted it brown and edge-highlighted it with a tan brown. I didn’t paint a name onto the sign, because I wanted to be able to add names to photos with Photoshop, as I’ve done above.

Both of these projects are simple and quick enough that you could turn out several in an evening, and they’re great projects for beginners. Besides being cheap, you can get a lot of reuse out of each bit of scenery. My little stalagmite has appeared in every prison and dungeon I’ve run since making it, and fills an inch square nicely.

Is there anything you’d like to see me paint or build? Let me know in the comments below.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

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Magical Life Lesson #3 — Know Your Goal

Magical Life Lessons are short snippets of wisdom learned from playing Magic the Gathering. It may be a game, but here you’ll find insights learned from slinging cards that you can apply to the game of life.

Magic the Gathering is a great game, and it has plenty to teach about life. Today I want to talk about goals.

You win a game of Magic by getting your opponent’s life total to 0. Nothing new about that. There are other ways to win, such as if your opponent has to draw a card from an empty deck, but, for the most part, it’s all about that magical number, 0.

It’s easy to miss the point here. You can play to “beat” your opponent, forgetting that you’ve got everything set up for a lethal play. Taking your opponent down to 0 is the goal, any distraction from that goal is an opportunity for your opponent to win. Strong decks and strong players keep this in mind.

You’ll see people forgetting this in MTG Arena often. When your opponent has a significant advantage, but doesn’t go for the win, then they’ve forgotten the win condition. That can buy you time for a life-saving or game-winning play.

Knowing your goals will get you ahead, in Magic, and in life.


GOAL
Magical Life Lesson #3 by MaxieLindo on DeviantArt

Magic Life Lesson #3 — Know Your Goal

By figuring out your goals, you can eliminate anything that distracts you or stops you from achieving it.

As an example, I’ve been wanting to do regular posts here again, and blog about Magic, but I didn’t want to kill my productivity. I figured that short, 300-word posts would give me a chance to achieve my blogging goal without taking too much time away from writing RPG content. My priority — my number 1 goal — is to write new RPG books. Knowing this goal helps me manage my time and gauge how well I’m doing, so I budget time for blogging appropriately.

We’re halfway through 2019, so it’s a great time to look back at the year’s goals and see how you’re doing. Cut any goals that aren’t working out, create new goals where needed, prioritize them, and the rest of the year’s your chance to shine.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

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Magical Life Lesson #2 — Practice Lots

Magical Life Lessons are short snippets of wisdom learned from playing Magic the Gathering. It may be a game, but here you’ll find insights learned from slinging cards that you can apply to the game of life.

I’ve been playing Magic the Gathering on and off for around 20 years now, but I only started to understand many aspects of the game recently, after playing hours of Hearthstone and MTG Arena.

With online play, you can get in more games against a wide variety of players in a single sitting, so you learn quicker. If you’re open to learning, do some reading (or YouTube watching), your growth can spike quickly. The rest is all practice, lots and lots of practice.

And the same goes in life…

Magic Life Lesson #2 — Practice, Practice, Practice

Here are two covers I designed myself, using stock art:

Covers, Then and Now

I studied design as part of my degree, so you could argue that I knew what I was doing back in 2012 with my first RPG book cover. I won’t hold it against you if you disagree. Fast forward seven years to the present and my cover for Horde is far more solid, works better from a distance, and communicates what the game is about.

Practice alone won’t get you to where you want to be. In his book, Talent is Overrated, Geoff Colvin talks about how practice needs to be intelligently done. Pick something you need to work on, and focus your practice on it. You don’t go into a game of Magic with a set of random cards and hope to win, you plan your deck, try it out, and refine it after a few games.

Figure out one thing you want to improve about yourself, practice that skill until you nail it, then move to the next thing. Rinse and repeat. Don’t give up.

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.



Magical Life Lesson #1 — Never Give Up

Magical Life Lessons are short snippets of wisdom learned from playing Magic the Gathering. It may be a game, but here you’ll find insights learned from slinging cards that you can apply to the game of life.

One Card to Rule Them All

So I’m playing a life gain black and white deck against an arguably better version of the same deck. I’m at 9 life, my opponent’s at 765! He or she has four creatures that could nail my coffin shut, and I can block three of them. But, for multiple turns, only two creatures come at me, so I block with my two 1/1 bats, spawned each round by Regal Bloodlord. A win doesn’t look possible, and I could throw in the towel — something common on MTG Arena — but I press on.

Then I land Adjani, Strength of the Pride. I activate his +1 ability and reach 40 health. My opponent goes all in on the attack, but at this point I’ve got the extra creatures to block. I kill off all but the three biggest guys, then pop Adjani, destroying my opponent’s advantage for good. Still far above 750 life, my opponent quits the game.

Draw Engine Fail

Earlier the same day, I played against an elemental deck with Omnath, Locus of the Roil and Risen Reef featuring prominently. My opponent’s forces were stacked heavily against me, but I waited for the assault that never came. In the end, I won because my opponent drew their last card off Omnath.

So…

Magic Life Lesson #1 — Never Give Up


NEVER GIVE UP!
by Emezie on DeviantArt

Never give up, success could be just around the corner. I’ve seen this again and again in RPG publishing, where one book might struggle to sell and another can fly off the shelves. You can do all sorts of things to help sales along, but you’ll never make it in the industry if you’re not creating new content regularly.

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.



 

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

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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.

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.