Tag Archives: Dungeons and Dragons

5e Character Option Previews

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.

Manual of Masks Cover Preview
Here’s an exclusive preview of the forthcoming Manual of Masks cover.

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.

Mask Mage

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.

Mask Magic

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]

Path of the Lone Wolf

The last of our 5e character option previews is inspired by good old Conan and designed to fill the needs of solo players in our Choose Your Destiny campaign.

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.

Undying Will

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!

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

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If, like me, you can’t get enough mask-inspired mayhem, do check out the great CGI short Majora’s Mask – Terrible Fate on YouTube.

Your RPG Resolutions for an Awesome 2018

What are your RPG resolutions for 2018?

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.

Make Your RPG Resolutions Today

My 2018 RPG Resolutions are straight forward:

  1. GM more one-shots and demo games.
  2. Run a Stranger Things game with the vs. Stranger Stuff rules.
  3. Up my ability to run fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons.
  4. Buy Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play 4th Ed. Convince my friends that it’s awesome.

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.

The Player's Companion Will Help You Achieve Your RPG Resolutions
The Player’s Companion Will Help You Achieve Your RPG Resolutions
A Ton of Player Options — Helpful For Achieving Your RPG Resolutions
A Ton of Player Options

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.

Excellent Advice — Up Your Game in 2018
Excellent Advice — Up Your Game in 2018

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.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Take on the Death Queen

No GM? No Problem!

From the creator of Lunatic Labyrinth comes a new solo adventure, the first in a series of solo adventures revolving around Scarthey, the University of the Arcane.

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?Death Queen and the Life Stone cover

Get Death Queen & the Life Stone on Drive Thru RPG

 

Character Class: Cleric or Fighter
Character Level: 1st
Play Mode: Solo / 1-on-1
System: fifth edition fantasy
SettingScarthey, the University of the Arcane


Till next time, Tell Thrilling Tales
Rodney Sloan and Bob Storrar
Rising Phoenix Games

March Madness

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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:

  1. Coding
  2. Game design
  3. Writing

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

Contagion's Kiss CoverWhen 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.

Chilling Curiosities is available on Paizo and the Open Gaming Store.

 

In the Works

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.
  • I did some editing work for best selling Dungeon Master’s Guild author M.T. Black. If you’re a Dungeons and Dragons fan then check out his great collection of adventures, such as the Complete Adventures of M.T. Black Vol. I.

So all in all, a great month.

 

March 21st

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.

Photo credit: Redd Angelo
Photo credit: Redd Angelo

5 Tricks for Perfect Portals

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.

New D&D Covers

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.

NPC Strategy Sheets

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.

NPC Strategy Cards Book Cover
NPC Strategy Cards Book Cover

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.

Grab your free cards here and go crush those heroes!

Why I’m Hopeful About DnD Next

I’m sure many folk out there think I’m a huge D&D fan, so I want to preface this post by saying: “No”. In fact, I only got into D&D recently, having grown up on Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play and World of Darkness. I started playing 3.5 right around the time 4e came out and then got quite seriously into the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. I’ve generally found D&D to be bland, not near as interesting as the Warhammer World or the World of Darkness setting.

And yet, I think D&D Next will be a good thing.

Next will surely bring in new blood. Kids that were too young to play 4e are now older, and students who missed 4e have a chance to be excited about something new. Also, here’s another chance for Wizards of the Coast (WotC) to entice more of the “old school” back to the table.

If you haven’t played the D&D Adventure System boardgames yet then you’re missing out. They have a rightful reputation in board gaming circles as a top dungeon crawl. I think WotC learnt loads from the Adventure System and the Next play tests. I’ll wager that will mean a great starter set, one that could even include miniatures and modular dungeons, while being tailored to new players. Consider what WotC have learn’t from their Red Box and the Pathfinder Beginner Box. This product will be a key to the growth of Next. If they do it well enough, they might even manage to sell it to experienced role-players.

A new rules set also means more miniatures. Let’s look at another WotC product; Dungeon Command. Having played a few games and having played Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures before that, I think WotC is heading in the right direction. Buy a themed army of twelve figures: goblins, orcs, undead, drow or heroes, then use them in any one of three games; DC, AS or regular role-play. You could run a campaign off a box alone! I’m hoping Dungeon Command will see more support and smaller boosters, which tie in with Next and the Adventure System. That sort of marketing can only boost sales. However, Wizards announced this month that they are partnering with WizKids to bring the next line of D&D miniatures, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Now, I haven’t talked about Next‘s mechanics, and I’m not going to. Inevitably there will be folk who love it or love to hate it. It’s just one more system in a sea of countless fantasy RPGs. Can it be ground-breaking while remaining true to the D&D legacy? Probably not. But maybe D&D Next doesn’t need to be ground-breaking. Maybe the magic is in the marketing.

Dungeons & Dragons Classics