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:
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.
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.
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.
The following feats are for Dungeons & Dragons, fifth edition.
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.
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.
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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.
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 & Dragonsfifth 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kit bashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week I’ll show you how to build a miniature Japanese torii gate for Steampunk Musha, Legend of the Five Rings, or similar East Asian inspired settings.
Here she is, folks. This miniature Japanese torii can easily accommodate most Large sized D&D or Pathfinder figures in the center.
Steampunk Musha – Shangti Factory Hub
This project is the first part of my Steampunk Musha terrain project that will consist of several factory pieces set in the mega city of Shangti. Since it’s steampunk, I figure this set will work well for both my Warhammer 40k games and for fantasy gaming, so this is a “two birds with one stone” type of deal.
The torii gate we’re making today is highly customizable, but is perfect for a Japanese themed game. You could use a similar technique to make gallows or other structures featuring a prominent wooden frame.
You’ll need balsa wood for this, but popsicle sticks will work well too. A sharp hobby knife, wood glue, and sandpaper will do all the heavy lifting, then you can paint and varnish the gate as you see fit when it’s done. I used hardboard for the base.
Make a paper template for the top piece of the gate (the kasagi and shimaki). Cut 3 of these. Cut 1 long crossbar (nuki), and 6 poles (to make the hashira). We’ll add more bits later, so keep any extra wood aside.
Place 1 top section on top of 2 pillars. There’s no need to glue it yet, but you can if you like.
Glue the crossbar onto the pillars, with a small space between it and the top piece.
Score lines on 2 more pillars under the crossbar, like so:
Then cut along the scored lines.
Glue the longer sections of pillar below the crossbar. Glue the short sections of the pillar over the top section. This forms the very center of your Japanese torii gate.
Don’t worry too much if the glue is causing all the pieces to float around. When you’re done you can move everything nicely into place, and sanding will clean it all up when we’re done.
Bulking Up the Top
Score lines to match the location of the pillars onto the second top piece.
Glue the pieces of the second top piece onto the first top piece. In the end, this gives the model more strength and bulk.
Finishing Up your Miniature Japanese Torii
Now glue on the last of the pillars and top piece. If your glue is still wet at this stage you can move things around, then put a heavy book on the gate and let it dry.
Next, add a small down piece between the top and the crossbar. Then cut 2 identical pieces to form the very top section of the tori. These will look like slightly curved french fries.
When it’s dry, use your hobby knife to make everything flush along the edges, then sand the model. An emery board (used for fingernails) works very well for this.
I base coated my model white, then painted the whole thing red. I washed it with a purple wash to pick up the natural wood texture of the balsa wood, and to age the model a bit.
For the base, I used hardwood covered in two grades of sand, the finest for the path. I painted and dry brushed this before adding flock. I varnished everything when I was done, because I like harder wearing gaming pieces.
Pro Tip: Suppliers of Shinto religious goods will often have miniature Japanese torii for sale. Personally, I prefer to make my own.
Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere is, like in the Northern Hemisphere, a time of family, relaxation, and lots of food. The Oliphant in the room is the very European aesthetic to the celebrations we have here. Mistletoe, snowflakes, skiing Christmas decorations, and snowmen — even though we’re spending our December by the pool. So, if you’re sick of winter, you’ve had it with snowflakes, or you’re enjoying summer in your corner of the world too, here’s our guide to summer Christmas adventures — a mishmash of adventure seeds in the sun and surf for your RPG campaign.
Sun & Surf Adventure Seeds
A sand elemental is terrorizing the coastline. The locals have dubbed the creature “Sandy Claws.”
A selkie druid in human guise seeks help rescuing her cubs from a sahuagin hunting party, deep below the waves.
An ancient bronze dragon brings toys and gifts to the local children every summer solstice. The gnomes that usually help him make the toys have run into a problem…
A ship disappeared from port during the night, along with its crew. In its place is a strange island of sand. Some say it was the curse of a genie.
A whale swallows the adventurers after capsizing their boat.
The legendary ningyo has been sighted by pearl divers off the coast. Capturing one of these creatures could bring a handsome reward.
An ominous statue is discovered during an unusually low tide. News of the discovery spreads quickly, and nefarious forces are moving to acquire it.
A mysterious spell is slowly turning the surface of the sea to glass.
An island appears off the coast. When explored, it’s found to be a forgotten temple on the back of an enormous sea turtle.
The rising tide brings unusual creatures onto the land.
The adventurer’s ship is captured by pirates and burned. The PCs are given a choice: join the pirate crew or walk the plank.
An ancient city rises from the ocean.
The party discovers a tunnel that leads deep beneath Waterdeep. In a water-filled chamber, they find a massive clockwork crab lying in its berth. Portholes and a hatch indicate something of its intended purpose.
A sailor reports having seen a giant undead whale.
A coastal town floods during the night. In the morning, the citizens discover that the graves of the town have been emptied.
The PCs discover an open portal in the ocean, which draws water through. The portal brings the water to a thriving desert city, but endangers ocean inhabitants.
An underwater ritual opens a portal to the Elemental Plane of Water, through which a giant sea monster passes to terrorize the Mortal Realm.
We’ve also got Griffins – A Field Guide, which offers 6 subspecies of griffin, a new paladin archetype, and rules for griffin animal companions and familiars. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout and would make a stunning player aid for a party of griffin riders. The book is $2 off until Christmas.
Tentacles of the Deep
Tentacles of the Deep is a PWYW title with statistics for tentacles that act as individual monsters but are connected to a larger creature deep below the ocean’s surface. Grab it free, and if you like it, you can always leave a tip in the tip jar, or a review.
Steampunk Musha: Races of Rosuto-Shima
Lastly, for Pathfinder this time, and not from us but from our friends at Fat Goblin Games, is Steampunk Musha: The Races of Rosuto-Shima. The book introduces several East Asian inspired races, such as the tanuki, pandajin, jinteki oni, and kappa, as well as steampunk inspired races such as the clockwork ronin.
These Christmas stocking fillers are a great way to show your appreciation for a year of great gaming.
We’ll be back next week with more exciting content, but if we miss you, have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Greeting, adventurer. Let me introduce Kim Frandsen, a game designer I’ve worked with on a number of projects before. We recently collaborated on the Aurora’s Whole Realms Summer Catalogue, which he’s here to tell you a little more about.
This will likely be a bit of me gushing, so bear with me.
Back in the heady days of AD&D, a younger version of Kim was introduced to a number of fantastic worlds: Dragonlance, Ravenloft, Forgotten Realms, and more.
For some reason, the Forgotten Realms always stuck with me. It had a depth unmatched by any other setting. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t necessarily better, but it had a depth that the others simply couldn’t match. Even just in the world of Abeir-Toril, you had a number of other settings: Al-Qadim, Maztica, Forgotten Realms, Kara-Tur, and the Hordelands. But the central Forgotten Realm, Faerûn, stuck with me.
This was a world where you could dive into almost unimaginable detail: Volo’s Guides, Faiths & Pantheons, the Forgotten Realm’s Player’s Guide, and then there was this “little” tome called Aurora’s Whole Realms Catalogue.
The Catalogue was like opening a box of toys for me. It contained bits and pieces I’d never even thought of, but which belonged perfectly within a fantasy world, or even a realistic medieval one. All this was offered to you by Aurora, an adventuress who sold these things from her shop, Aurora’s Emporium, in Westgate. Using teleportation and magic, this high-level (16) adventurer would collect bits and pieces from all over this fantastical realm.
And here I was, with my greedy little fingers, paging through the book, like someone paging through a book at a store. (In hindsight, it actually reminds me a bit of what they’ve done with the shops in Red Dead Redemption 2). I was itching to get my hands on these items.
This wasn’t the power-hungry munchkin player in me that got so attracted by these. This was something that allowed me to see the world of the Forgotten Realms as a living, breathing place, where ordinary people could experience extraordinary things, just by entering a shop. How could I not get hooked?
Fast forward 24 years and here we are. Along with Ishmael Alvarez, Troy E. Daniels, and Rodney Sloan, I finally get to release my homage to this book that, in my youth, captured my imagination. I hope, dear reader, that this humble offering of ours, will do the same to you and your imagination. But for now, let me invite you inside Aurora’s Emporium. As Aurora would say: “Welcome, dear customer. How may I serve you today?”
37 years old, and a gamer since I was 13. These days I freelance as a writer for various companies (currently Fat Goblin Games, Flaming Crab Games, Outland Entertainment, Paizo, Raging Swan Games, Rusted Iron Games, and Zenith Games) as well as editing the Pathfinder and D&D 5th edition lines for D20PFSRD Publishing. I’ve dipped my hands into all sorts of games, but my current “go-to” games are Pathfinder, Dungeon Crawl Classics and SLA Industries. Unfortunately, while wargaming used to be a big hobby, with wife, dog and daughter came less time.
What do Cthulhu, an octopus, and many politicians have in common? Tentacles! That’s right, tentacles!
As roleplayers, we kind of love tentacles, don’t we. Evard’s black tentacles, Day of the Tentacle, mind flayer chins, and the Japanese porn industry – tentacles have dipped their slimy appendages into every part of geek culture.
Today, I’ll share a new monster I’m working on that’s 100% tentacle, and tell you how you can join in and playtest it at your table.
The above tentacles are based off the Watcher in the Water from The Lord of the Rings movie, and the miniature Games Workshop made of it. They were relatively cheap and easy to make, too.
In most cases, the adventurers are fighting against whole monsters, but what if you wanted to only pit them against a giant’s hand, or a dragon’s claw, or the tentacles of a creature hidden deep below the waves?
That’s where the tentacle of the deep comes in. First, I’ll talk about the miniatures, then I’ll show you where to go to find the stats.
I made my tentacles with wire and modeling clay. You could probably use Green Stuff, but anything that won’t go brittle when it cures is fine. For the water effects, I used clear silicone, then painted the tips of the waves white. Lukes APS has an excellent tutorial on water effects that’s well worth checking out for this kind of project, and his silicone idea worked a treat.
I painted the miniature dark green, and used a mixture of Citadel’s Bronzed Flesh and Goblin Green on the underside. Paint the base black, because it really adds depth once the silicone is added to the top. When I was all done I used a gloss varnish to give the tentacles a wet look.
Quick wins, as the name suggests, are small projects that don’t take much time, or effort. The miniature you paint in an hour, the terrain you bang out in 3 hours, or the monster stat block you write in 5 minutes all fall into this category.
Why the Quick Win?
Getting things done is very motivating. My recent post about painting RPG miniatures gets into that more. The reverse is also true though, that having too much on your plate can turn you off of your hobby quicker than a quickling in hyperdrive.
It’s also great having something to show for your efforts, and with a string of quick wins you can easily build up to a much larger goal. It’s a lot like how I write now. My current RPG book — teasers here, here, and here — is being written in 2-hour bursts. In each session, I aim to finish one section of the book. Sometimes I’ll get 2-3 monsters done, sometimes it’s most of a background, but every session that I finish something is another thing off the checklist.
How’s this different from how I used to write? Before, I didn’t break down my tasks much, so in 2 hours I often worked on a bunch of sections, got demotivated, and lost my concentration. That kind of thing can lead to burnout. In other words, I’m talking about the tortoise’s approach to winning the race: slow and steady, and about breaking down that race into milestones. Each milestone is a victory in and of itself.
Life also takes up much of our hobby time, so when we have time, we need to use it wisely.
Your Next Quick Win
I’ll leave you with this thought. What small hobby project would give you the most satisfaction. Is it drawing that dungeon map you’ve been planning? Making a handout? Stating up an NPC? Or do you just need to run a short session over Google Hangouts to get everyone ready for a longer session?
This week’s post is part of the RPG Blog Carnival. This month the carnival is hosted by NukeTown.com, and the theme is “All These Worlds.” Be sure to check them out and see what others have shared on the topic.
The Monster Manual is full of useful creatures for your undersea campaign, and the easiest way to access these is to refer to appendix B in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, which lists coastal and underwater monsters. Below is a list of suggestions for expanding on those lists.
Aquatic and Amphibious Variants
Many creatures can become sea monsters by giving them the ability to breathe underwater and a swim speed. Twig blights could become seaweed blights, while you could replace a frost giant’s greataxe with a trident and call it a sea giant. Be careful with some monster abilities though, an ocean basilisk could pose a real problem for characters who can’t breathe underwater.
Most undead creatures can survive underwater, without any modification. Adding a swim speed is usually all that’s needed to make them effective threats. Ethereal undead, such as ghosts, can use their fly speed instead of a swimming speed, making them difficult to escape.
Similar to the undead, constructs don’t need to breathe, so giving them a swimming speed is usually enough to make them useful. A homunculus might have a swimming tail instead of wings, while golems might be formed like sharks or dolphins, giving them a swimming speed and a reduced base speed. You can also replace some golem abilities with ones from other sea monsters; like giving a flesh golem tentacle attacks to replace its slam attacks.
Common sense if your greatest ally here — a stone golem is more likely to sink than swim.
When it comes to sea monsters, a little creativity goes a long way, and the Monster Manual serves as an excellent starting point for populating your campaign world.
What would you like us to cover for your undersea campaign next? Let us know in the comments below.
We recently asked about trinkets in your D&D game, and we’d love to hear your ideas, especially if you’ve got some ocean themed ones.
What trinkets have you enjoyed the most in your #DnD games?#RPG