Lots has been going on, so stick with me for all the Hot News. We’ve got some great offers to tell you about that you don’t want to miss.
When Flamingos Attack is the first official adventure for Claustrophobia!, and the perfect introduction to the game. It’s more than that though, as it sets the scene for a larger campaign I’m designing.
January was an excellent month for Claustrophobia!, and so putting aside time to support the game was a natural next step. That’s the thing about this industry; fan support is vital to the growth of any game, so I deeply thank you for getting behind us on this.
We’re just putting the finishing touches on a new Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible adventure too. Contagion’s Kiss is a location based adventure, with the PCs needing to break into a defended keep to solve the mystery of the poisoning of the town’s wells. We have some fun surprises hidden within!
Contagion’s Kiss will be available by the end of the month.
Quick, wish them a Happy New Year so we can talk about the wands!
Um, yes, Happy New Year. May 2017 be a truly prosperous year for you and yours. Rising Phoenix has a big year planned, with all sorts of projects in the works. 2016 was a smash hit for us, and 2017 promises to be even bigger.
Now tell them about the wands…
Sheesh, I’ll get to that! But first, the new game…
Imperiad Publishing announced that the Nightscape series of Lovecraftian horror will be getting its very own roleplaying game this year. Although Rising Phoenix Games isn’t the publisher, our head bird, Rodney Sloan, is designing the game, so we’re super excited for their offering, which comes out in September.
Here’s the trailer to the Nightscape movie.
WARNING: The following trailer is unrated and may be disturbing to sensitive viewers.
Rodney is also the new line developer for Steampunk Musha, an Asian inspired steampunk setting, developed by Fat Goblin Games. If you love Asian inspired worlds, consider yourself an otaku, are a Steampunk connoisseur, or love kung-fu kicking oni in the face, come join the team for a chat on Facebook.
As for our own stuff, Claustrophobia! has some exciting things on the go, with its first adventure sitting in layout. Right now, until the 23rd, the complete rulebook is on sale for 20% off on Drive Thru RPG. This is a great time to pick up a copy and introduce a new game to your group.
We’ve also collected all our works from 2016 in one handy, discounted bundle. If you’ve already bought some of our books on One Bookshelf sites, you won’t have to pay for them again, so it’s a great way to grab any Field Guides you might still need.
Some of our fans might remember our popular Lunatic Labyrinth, our first product, ever. It has been hugely successful, with over 5000 sales to date. We’ve relaunched it, updating the text and added a map tile for the combat encounters, making it better than ever before.
If you like what we’re doing, why not join us, we’ve put out an open call for writers. You can find more information on the blog.
If you’re a Pathfinder fan, of if you’d like to to get started with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, there are still a few days left to support a good cause and grab the fantastic Humble Bundle they’ve got on offer. Personally, I’ve been enjoying the Goblin comics, fun!
And that’s all I can talk about right now, except for those wands I promised you about.
Here’s a sneak peek at something Bob Greyvenstein and I are working on. Have you ever wanted to make wands more of a thing, like the wands portrayed in a certain wizarding franchise, in your Pathfinder Roleplaying games? Try these rules:
Attuned to their owner, personalized wands allow a spell caster to focus their magical powers and channel them with a great deal of accuracy.
These rules modify the rule for magic in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook and can be used at your GMs discretion.
Casting arcane spells with a wand cancels the material component of the spell unless the material component is more than 25 gp. The wand is used to execute any somatic component of the spell too. Personalized wands cost between 500 and 2,500 gp.
Casting without a wand is difficult, and even unpredictable. There is a 20% chance of spell failure for any arcane spell cast without a wand. If there is a somatic component to the spell, the chance of spell failure increases to 30%. Casting arcane spells with someone else’s wand, or using a spell storing wand to cast a spell not stored inside it, incurs a 5% chance of spell failure.
Till next month, Tell Thrilling Tales! The Rising Phoenix Games Team
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!, 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.
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.
A bunch of years ago I began writing a book—a dangerous book—about garden gnomes. Many gnomes died because of this book, and many more will die for this book in years to come. Don’t let them die in vain…
In the coming months I’ll be launching the full, beautifully illustrated version of this RPG. Please like and follow the Claustrophobia RPG? page on Facebook and help me make this book launch spectacular.
We’ve got a bunch of titles that we’re about to publish, some book recommendations, and some lessons learnt from Disney. Enjoy.
Inspired in Japan
In my spring break I went to Tokyo Disney Sea, one of the world’s busiest amusement parks. What struck me was how much the park controlled the visitors experience, much like a GM control the player experience (there’s a pun in there somewhere).
Here are some ways they achieve this.
Visuals: Eye popping architecture, characters in costume, moving sets, smoke machines, lights, darkness. Every visual effect you can think of. We can use candles, light switches, props and costumes for the same effect, if not with the same budget.
Elimination of distraction: The park is cleverly designed to keep your eye—and attention—inside the park at all times. This keeps you immersed in the fantasy world that Disney creates. It’s also surprisingly difficult to see the exits to the park and quite easy to get lost in the labyrinth-like layout. Again, this keeps your attention where the park operators want it. The more we limit the distractions, the more our players are immersed in the worlds we create for them.
Sound: Sound, even the sound of birds in the trees, can really set the mood. It’s easy to do sound wrong, but I think the best thing is to keep it simple. Use sounds that set the mood you want but don’t distract players.
Everyone has a secret, and every secret has a price.
Avernos—Secrets is an upcoming free ebook that introduces you to the world of Avernos, a world where a secret war threatens humanity at a time of broken alliances and forgotten destinies.
Rising Phoenix News
I know you’re as eager as I am to send your gnome from the garden and down into the deadly depths of the earth with Claustrophobia! And you don’t have too long to wait! The layout/artist guru-gnome just sent me a preview of the book, in all it’s illustrated glory, and it looks awesome. But I’m not going to show you anything just yet, I don’t want to spoil the big unveiling. Watch this space, you’ll be blown away.
I’m all over Pathfinder Society Quests at the moment. If you don’t know what Quests are, go check out The Silverhex Chronicles on Paizo, it’s a free download and well worth a read.
I’ve adopted the quest format for a bunch of once-off games I’m planning to run on Roll20. I’m so busy at the moment that it’s hard to squeeze in a game, but Quests only take an hour or so to play, making them perfect for busy people.
That’s all from me until next week. Tell Thrilling Tales
Winners of the first round of RPG Superstar 2015 were announced this week, with 32 winning items chosen out of hundreds. It’s a tough competition for sure, with a lot to be learnt.
In my spare time I’ve been reading the Paizo forums and found a wealth of tips, tricks and loads of encouragement for aspiring game designers. I recommend you check it out, even if you’re not a Pathfinder player/GM.
Here are four things I’ve learnt from voting in round 1.
1. Make Many, Submit One
I had a few ideas, but only one that I fleshed out. Next time I’d try create a list of 10 ideas, flesh out 4 and then have my friends and mentors give some feedback before I submit the best of the lot.
2. Awesomeness Rules
There were some really fun items I got to vote on, items that I want to bring to the table both as a player and as a GM. What makes an item fun? It’s subjective and hard to nail down, but the item needs to get people excited to win this contest.
3. Every Word Counts
Anything you put down in the item description needs to make sense. There were a number or “unexpectedly light” items that I came across. Fine. They’re magical. I can go with that. But it has to make sense with regard to the items theme, not just be a random feature. And at the same time, don’t eat up word count repeating things or trying to be verbose. Shorter entries often grabbed my attention over longer entries.
I saw many items that made the wielder immune to certain attacks or effects. Invincibility is only fun for the guy who’s invincible, and only for a little while. Look at any item you create from the perspective of all the players and the GM. If everyone’s going to have fun, you’ve got a keeper.
For more lessons learned this year, check out the forum. Enjoy Round 2!
The Avernos Wiki grows a little more every week. Hey, if I keep it up I’ll have 52 new entries by the end of the year.
This week we add dragons to the mix, Elder Dragons to be exact. These ancient beasts are responsible for much of the land as it is today.
I do like dragons, and I wanted to use chromatic and metallic dragons (such as in D&D/Pathfinder), but tie them into the creation legends of Avernos in a meaningful way. Last week I spoke about darkness on the doorstep and so it was important to have examples of evil having been beaten at great cost in the history of Avernos. Now chromatic dragons are set up as a force of evil, and you can be sure that someone will try and resurrect one of them to cause all kinds of havoc.
Rising Phoenix News
Here’s an awesome interior art preview for the pages of the final version of Claustrophobia! from my bro, illustrator Donovan Sloan.
I’ve also restarted going through Johnn Four’s Gamers Lifestyle course, with a view to smoothing out operations and getting more stuff published in the future. Wish me luck, I’ll be hitting the books hard this year.
Inspired in Japan
The #TRPG hashtag on Twitter is worth a browse. TRPG means “Table-talk RPG” and in Japan refers specifically to pen and paper RPGs. There’s plenty to inspire, and surprise (sometimes even shock), even if you can’t read Japanese. #DnDj will get you Japanese Dungeons and Dragons related posts.
That’s all from me until next Thursday. Tell Thrilling Tales
Happy New Year! I hope 2015 is a great year for you.
This year I’m changing things up with the blogs focus. Each Thursday expect updates on my weeks gaming and project progress, as well as inspiration for your campaign. If you’re a GM, be sure to subscribe, because you don’t want to miss out. (Enter your email address on the right and hit “Join The Party”).
Each week I’ll bring you a new Avernos Wiki entry. The entries usually go live earlier in the week, but I’ll highlight them here.
This week South Fort expands with a look at the Sentinels. These fearsome totem-towers are both defence and rallying point for the people living in their long shadows.
The Books of Faces
Last year we embarked on an epic adventure with the crowd-game Book of Faces and this year I’m ramping things up. The game will still be available on the Facebook page, but has a new home on the site, with updates mentioned here.
After every game session I play I’ll post some thoughts aimed specifically at GMs.
Last Friday I ran my first session of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying (MHR). Man! Am I sad they stopped publishing it. Anyway, I love this sort of story driven game. D&D and Pathfinder show their wargame roots, while MHR, like World of Darkness, Burning Wheel and my own Claustrophobia!, are much more free form systems that encourage great story telling.
Making the shift from Pathfinder to MHR was tough for me, but so worth-while. I learn’t more about GMing while fumbling through a new system than I would have if I played several sessions of the same old game. And most of that learning came from being out of my comfort zone and having to kick up the role-play a notch. I felt the game was much more immersive for it.
Nothing will improve your GMing like playing something new and unfamiliar, that’s for sure.
Rising Phoenix News
I’ll post weekly updates and teasers of our current projects, so watch this space. For now, you’ll find it worth subscribing to our YouTube channel, interesting things are about to happen there soon.