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!
Social classes and RPG classes are two very different things, but when they start to mix things can get really sticky very quickly. Just look at the barbarian in Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder. Almost always represented as a class for tribal berzerkers, the class could just as easily be used to build an urban gladiator. Take it a step further: the berzerker could be the king of a tribe or a landless peasant.
Why’s this important? Social classes were an important aspect of the medieval age, and navigating social classes can make for interesting interactions at the table.
RPG Classes are Jobs
Think about RPG classes as jobs. As a first level fighter, you have some on-the-job training, and are on the path to learning more, through leveling. When you multi-class, you’re effectively learning two jobs.
Most RPGs I’ve played blur the lines here, and as you level you also rise in status. Effectively, the social class you’re born into has very little impact on a character unless the GM is using a specific system to represent it.
And Social Classes?
Each social class contains a number of jobs, similar to how you could be a cat burglar rogue, a bandit rogue, or an assassin rogue. Could you be a level 1 noble or a level 7 peasant?
The hierarchy of European feudal society goes something like this:
Nobles and Barons
We can simplify this into three groups that are representative of the largest portion of the population:
Those who prayed – the clergy.
Those who fought – the knights.
Those who worked – the peasantry.
Here’s my first attempt at defining each of these as RPG classes, compatible with the fifth edition SRD:
As a member of the clergy, you gain the following class features.
Hit Dice: 1d8 per clergy level Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (5) + your Constitution modifier per clergy level after 1st
Armor: Light armor Weapons: Simple weapons Tools: Brewer’s supplies, calligrapher’s supplies, cartographer’s tools, or clerical supplies Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma Skills: Choose three from History, Investigation, Insight, Medicine, Persuasion, Religion, and Literacy (yip, Literacy is now a skill)
As a knight, you gain the following class features.
Hit Dice: 1d10 per knight level Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (6) + your Constitution modifier per knight level after 1st
Armor: All armor, shields Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons Tools: None Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution Skills: Choose two from Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Perception, Religion, Stealth, and Survival
As a peasant, you gain the following class features.
Hit Dice: 1d8 per peasant level Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (5) + your Constitution modifier per peasant level after 1st
The clergy class is quite similar to the cleric and the knight to the paladin, for obvious reasons. I figured the clergy would have a d8 Hit Die, representing their better living conditions. Peasants get a d8 for being hardy, but a d6 Hit Die could also make a lot of sense.
We’ve got a bunch of books in the works, but I wanted to take a moment to give you a sneak peek at three new 5e character option previews for your D&D game. The first two are from my forthcoming Manual of Masks for the DMs Guild, and the third option is for our third Choose Your Destiny book.
New Pact Boon
Masks have a mysterious, otherworldly nature, which certainly inspired this first one. There’s a pinch of inspiration from The Mask comics and movies too.
At 3rd level, when your otherworldly patron bestows a gift upon you, you may instead select the Pact of the Mask instead of the three pact boons given in the Player’s Handbook.
Pact of the Mask
Your patron inspires you to create a mask representing your patron. While wearing this mask you have disadvantage on Persuasion (Charisma) ability checks, but have advantage on Intimidation (Charisma) ability checks. In addition, during a short or long rest, you can imbue the mask with the power of your patron… [More in the playtest version]
New Arcane Tradition
The basic concept of the mask mage is a wizard that imbues masks with spells. Imagine reaching into your coat to bring out a different mask for each challenge you face and you’ll have some idea what this one’s about.
Searching for a way to extend the life of their spells, an obscure order of mages perfected the art of imbuing masks with magical energies. As a student of their legacy, you are able to use the power in these masks to become a fearsome entity on the battlefield or to doll out powerful masks to your allies to enhance and protect them against enemies.
Beginning when you select this arcane tradition at 2nd level, you learn to craft and imbue masks with your spells. When you prepare your spells, you can cast some of them into these specially prepared masks… [More in the playtest version]
Some barbarians value self-sufficiency and personal endeavor over all else — for the warrior who can stand alone is a much stronger defender of the tribe. The Path of the Lone Wolf is an often lonely path to greater glory, lined with the bodies of one’s enemies. As a follower of this path, you trust in your weapon and wit to see you through any trial.
At 3rd level, you may select the Path of the Lone Wolf instead of other primal paths.
Starting when you choose this path at 3rd level, when you enter a rage you regain hit points equal to your proficiency bonus. From 11th level, when you would drop to 1 hit point because of your Relentless Rage ability, you instead drop to 1d4 + your proficiency bonus.
[More in the playtest version]
You can get the playtest versions of all these options and more by supporting us on Patreon at the Flaming Backer tier. Additionally, if you provide us with playtesting feedback, we’ll put your name in the book’s credits. Playtest packages go out tomorrow, so jump aboard now if you want them.
I hope you enjoyed these 5e character option previews. Till next time, play good games!
How was 2017?
Even if you didn’t achieve everything you set out to do, don’t lose heart. These last few days of 2017 have taught me that success in anything is about chipping away until you achieve your goal.
One day you’ll get there, or, as the Dead Man Fall song Bang Your Drum goes, “keep banging on your drum, and your day will come.”
Rising Phoenix Games was born on New Year’s Eve, 2010. This year, 2017, saw us cranking up the heat, and publishing more titles than ever before. The plan is to burn hotter in 2018, and we’ve got some great things planned.
Your RPG Resolutions for Better Adventures
I asked Twitter friends for their New Year’s RPG Resolutions. Here are some of the answers I got.
I plan on developing an origions setting for world of Braxia with Saurians
If you’re a GM, then you’ll probably have similar goals.
For players, your goals might be to play you character better, or to contribute more to the fun at the table. If so, I recommend the excellent Player’s Companion, just released on the DM’s Guild.
Besides a ton of character options, the book provides excellent advice on playing your character, and on combat tactics. Included in the Better Gaming chapter is a section on action economy, which I’d never considered before but made a huge impact on how I play.
So, what are your RPG Resolutions for 2018? Share yours in the comments below — making your intentions public is a great first step to achieving them.
The Stone of Ashirai—said to contain power over life itself—is rumored to lie within the tomb of the goddess Ashirai, the Death Queen. Can you be the first to reach her tomb, find the stone, and survive to tell the tale?
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What a month.
I’ve got this personal vendetta against distraction, but March had me against the ropes.
Getting sick is no fun, but I did learn a lot from it.
For one, working in the games industry means I get to help others relax, have fun, and spend time with friends. March showed me just how important that can be — there were some bleak moments when escaping into game and time with gaming friends was very uplifting.
Secondly, I recommitted myself to the three pillars of my work:
Eventually I’d like to be doing what I do for the tabletop for online games. The coding side has been something I haven’t given proper time to of late, but you can expect some interesting things from me in the future.
New Products — Contagion’s Kiss
“O true apothecary, thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.” — Romeo, in Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare
When the city’s water supply is threatened by extortionists, the heroes are called on to infiltrate the fortress of a powerful outsider. Can they get in, get even, and get out, before it’s too late?
Contagion’s Kiss is an adventure for a party of 4th level characters. It can be used in any fantasy city or town where wells or cisterns are the main source of water. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game GameMastery Guide and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary are required for play. This adventure includes creatures detailed in Chilling Curiosities — A Field Guide.
This adventure includes a full scale, printable poster sized map of the adventure.
We’ve been hard at work on a number of products. Here they are, in no particular order:
Today I handed over the final draft to Bob Greyvenstein for layout for our new setting, Scarthey, which our Field Guides are a part of. More on this soon.
Also for Scarthey we’ve got a bunch of adventures in the works, from both new and experienced writers. I’ll talk about that, too, soon.
We received the final draft for a new, fast paced modern spec ops game by Basil Koufos, designer of Might. We’re very excited to be publishing his latest creation and absolutely love the system and all that it stands for.
The Nightscape RPG for the Nightscape Series and Imperiad Entertainment is off to a good start. We’ve defined much of the core mechanics and have some interesting things we’re looking forward to trying.
Steampunk Musha rolls on with a number of books in and out of editing. As the line editor I’ve been learning a lot from the talented individuals who make up the team at Fat Goblin Games — they’ve got some great stuff in the works.
On a more sombre note, March 21st is Human Rights Day in South Africa, a day of remembrance for the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960 and the suffering caused during the Apartheid era.
To me, the most important thing is remembering that we all share this planet. We all have a right to life, dignity, and respect. Let us all strive for mutual understanding — therein lies peace and happiness for all.
This months blog carnival is about gates and portals, the jam to fantasy roleplay’s bread and butter. Let’s throw it open and jump right in!
1. Build Drama
Gates and portals build drama because they have potential. Something behind the lock is forbidden, and by putting a door in the PCs way you’ve wrapped a big pink bow around it. Make sure that whatever is behind the door doesn’t waste that built up tension. When a door is unlocked, the plot should advance.
2. A Level-Up Reward
In the same way, a door can be a prize. If the DC to open a door is too high for the party now, or they need a key, it lets them know that they’ll be coming back later. Give them a hint of what’s behind it to really wet their appetites.
3. A Gate to a New World
Did you ever watch Stargate? I love the idea of stepping into another world. Portals give you limitless options, so use that to really shake things up. Don’t just send the party off to a hotter climate, send them to a different planet where they can truly discover the meaning of the word “alien”.
4. Change it Up
Forget iron-bound doors around every corner. Change it up!
What would a door to the fey realm look like? Would it have wings? Would an earth elemental even bother with doors, or just shape the earth around itself?
What if a door was the reanimated skull of a long dead monster, all too happy to open up wide?
5. The Door is the Journey
Everything comes together when you make the door as much a part of your story as the main NPC or boss monster. Stargate did it well, so here’s a clip.
Remember, every door is a chance to tell a story, so tell thrilling tales.
Fantasy is full of memorable doors and portals. Do you have a favorite? Or one from a campaign? Please tell us about it in the comments.
I just came across the new D&D covers. WOW. Wizards really went all out on the art! The covers are iconic Dungeons and Dragons; a lich, a beholder, and so many dragons! I love it!
It’s interesting that the Player’s Handbook cover doesn’t focus more on player races. That said, all the covers take a “heroes eye view” of the action (with a focus on the monster). I’m sure that will appeal to players imaginations.
Click on the image to go to the respective Amazon pages.
Have any thoughts on the covers? Leave a comment and let us know.
By far one of our most popular free downloads, NPC Strategy Cards are a useful tool for any GM. They are especially tailored to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 and 4th Ed.
Using Strategy Cards
Before a session, look at your monsters and NPCs. Fill out a card for each. If you have 6 orcs with the same tactics, you don’t need 6 cards for them, just one for the group.
Use this writing time to plan how each monster will react to different actions from the players. Do they flee when they’re badly wounded, or stay and fight to the death? Do they rush into the melee, or take up bows and attack from a distance? Make your choices and write them down.
These cards are a handy reference during play, just look at the card to see how the NPC reacts. They’re also useful after play as a handy record for recapping the last session.