Tag Archives: Pathfinder RPG

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

Merry Christmas

To all our fans, friends and family in roleplaying, a very Merry Christmas!
2016 has been quite a year, and 2017 promises to be even better. We couldn’t have done it without you, so to say thank you, here’s a copy of Baleful Strix, a beautiful Field Guide illustrated by Bob Greyvenstein and written by Rodney Sloan.
 
Download your copy here.
Have a fun, safe and relaxing festive season!
Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

The Last Laugh is Ours — Mwahahaha!

Welcome to the Laughing Dragon

Tales from the Laughing Dragon Inn is the latest publication from our friends at Wayward Rogues Publishing, and it’s a whopper (56 pages!).

Tales from the Laughing Dragon InnInside you’ll find maps for the entire inn and everything you need to make it come alive, including NPC descriptions and an extensive menu.  You can never have too many taverns and inns prepped for your game, so this is handy.

But it gets even better, with five adventures, pitched at levels 4, 6, 6–8, 8 and 10. There’s plenty to satisfy horror fans, and Lovecraftian horror fans in particular. Even if you don’t use the adventures as written, there are some dastardly NPCs and terrifying monsters you’ll want to throw at your players.

Okay, but I am biased, because I did write one of the adventures. But it’s a great one. One of my best so far. And this brings me to my tie in with this month’s RPG blog carnival theme; “At World’s End“.

Darker Things

A cultist communes with a dark, forgotten entity, calling across the void of time and space. Moments later, he’ll fall to a hero’s blade. Our just hero might leave a little richer, might even defeat the foul spawn summoned by the now cooling cultist, but what of the dark entity? It is awake now, and its attention is focused, menacingly, on the world our hero calls home.

And so the end begins…

 

Pathfinder Sale on DriveThruRPG

DriveThruRPG is having a massive Pathfinder sale, but hurry, it ends in a few days!

Gnome News

Copies of the Claustrophobia! Beta rules are flying off the shelves and feedback is streaming in. My thanks to everyone who downloaded the book so far. It’s never to late to send in your feedback and I’m reading it all, keep it coming!

An update is in progress, mostly rules clarifications at this stage. Remember that once you order the PDF, you can always download the latest updates from the DTRPG site, you don’t need to buy a new copy.

More is brewing too. I’ll be on summer holiday soon and that will mean some interruptions, but hopefully I’ll deliver some juicy new content to you soon!

Meet the Cast

Campaign Journal

Follow our Pathfinder campaign as we face monsters, dungeons and the insanity of the Wednesday night gaming group. See the first part of the series here.

The First Session

Funnily enough, our first session was scrapped as far as its placement in the whole campaign. I can’t actually remember why, but I think we spent some time going over the town and campaign setting, as well as introducing our characters. The result was that what actual story developed was insubstantial and easily discarded. So, without any further ado, we’ll have a look at the characters and a little about the players too.

 

The Setting

We are using the Dungeons and Dragons town of Fallcrest (3D Model), a town with a river running through it and a series of caves beneath it. Some of the characters have lived in the town or in the area for some time, while others are new arrivals.

 

Thorn Ravengrin

A tiefling rogue with red skin who likes to show off his white tattoos by wearing only leather pants and a cape. He carries a longsword into battle, which he wields in his right hand, since his left hand was lost in a dungeon trap, where he had to cut it off to escape. His infernal heritage is interesting, as Thorn’s father, Yawldaw Ravengrin, was a Half-Fiend with babau ancestry.

As the campaign has progressed, Thorn has shown an obsession for anatomy and wishes to re-construct the hand he lost. To this end, he has collected several hands from dead foes and studies them in intricate detail.

Thorn is played by Little Johan, who recently became a father and thus owns his very own hobbit.

 

Rapid Wind

An Elven monk wearing peasant clothing and carrying a long spear and sling. Because he’s mute, Rapid Wind keeps a chalk board around his neck (a nifty little prop to role-play with). It is apparent that something terrible happened in Rapid Winds past, which is why he can’t speak. Rapid Wind practices an elven form of unarmed combat known in the common tongue as Leaping Foot, a bastardised description derived from the elvish name for a style that looks more like a dance than a fighting form.

As the campaign has progressed, Rapid Wind has become very fast, reaching a speed of 55′ at level 3 (at level 4 he can use his ki to move at 75′). He has an old horse companion, Gunthar, that he has saved several times from near disaster during our sessions.

Rapid Wind is played by me, and is probably the most difficult character I’ve ever played. I’ve never played an elf before, except as a GM, and found it challenging to think like an elf, but luckily there’s the Lord of the Rings trilogy to help out. Also, as an introvert, playing a character who can’t speak means that I say very little at the table. Still, it’s been fun playing Rapid Wind, and not being able to speak is worth a load of laughs.

 

Stander Vrok

A half-giant cleric of the church of Torm. Raised by dwarves, Stander was the first character to have his own theme song, which was “Stander Struck” to the tune of “Thunder Struck” by AC/DC. So far the church of Torm has been an important element in the story, even though Fallcrest has only a small congregation.

Stander has had recurring visions and his focus on his quest is unswerving. Despite his size, Stander is not very strong and has often found himself in need of healing, even though he is the party cleric.

Stander is played by Willem, recently married, at who’s wedding reception we all sang along to “Stander Struck” like there was no tomorrow.  I’ll also mention that he and his lovely wife walked in to the Darth Vader theme song, so you have to give him props for that! Willem was the GM for the first few sessions.

 

Densharr Tailchaser

Densharr is a Catfolk who loves to sing (practically all the time). Our party bard, and composer of the epic ballads “Stunder Struck” and “You can’t stop the rod”. Densharr comes from nobility within his clan and is rather well off, and thus supports most of the party. He is often seen taking notes which he hopes to use in composing a major saga.

Densharr has often exhibited the cunning of his kin, and although he seldom gets directly involved in fighting, he has directly influenced the course of many battles and bolstered the resolve of the rest of the team.

Densharr is enthusiastically played by Francois, who I hope will be releasing a sound track of the campaign near the end of the year. Francois keeps track of our wealth and maps out any locations that need mapping, thanks to the power of grid paper!

 

Gimp

The Blue wizard, this little goblin kin is small for his race, making him quite hard to spot. He focuses his magical skills on support magic rather than combat spells and creates many of the items the party uses.

Gimp is the most learned member of the party, and often knows something on any given subject. He has recently been spotted talking to  something over his shoulder.

Gimp is played by Big Johan, who is also the current GM at the time of writing. Johan also GM’s another campaign that Francois and I play in, a D&D 4th Edition game, which is why let Johan get away with more than any GM really should.

 

Serisia

Serisia is also a tiefling and an assassin in the making. She is the only female in the group, and possibly one of the most level headed. Not much else is know about her, but that’s what you get when dealing with these shady types.

Serisia loves her sneaking about, and her acquisition of a magical ring of invisibility means she’s pretty good at it.

Serisia is played by Andries, the local mathamagician. The force is strong with this one, or else he just knows a lot about Star Wars.

 

Conclusion

Other players brought their characters into the game at different times, I’ll introduce them during the relevant parts of the story.

Starting a New Campaign

Campaign Journal

In this series I’ll be taking you through our bi-monthly Pathfinder campaign that began at the start of 2011. Mostly I’ll just focus on the story, but will also point out some of the lessons we learnt and fun ideas that came up. Unfortunately, it looks like I will be missing the last half of the campaign, but I’ll see if I can organise someone else to continue the story where I left off.

In this post I want to focus on how we got started and all the ground work that was laid before we started playing, which I hope will give you some ideas for your own game.

Picking The Team
The biggest question when we set out, and in most RPG groups, is who is playing. There are always people with different levels of commitment or difficult schedules and finding a time that suits everyone is a bit of a logistics nightmare, especially when everyone is working and has a family. I missed the 2010 campaign because of my busy schedule which left me with only Wednesdays and Fridays open during the week, and Thursdays nights were more convenient for the rest of the guys.

So, we set up a meeting for all interested parties to discuss times. Some of us have played together since meeting on-line, (www.rpg.co.za for South African players), others were relatives or friends of other players, and so on. We drew up a grid of each day and who would be available when. We decided that we would choose one week day and play every two weeks, which would also mean that the impact on our weeks would not be too unmanageable. Wednesday was chosen and we keep our game days to that, although busy schedules and wierd holidays have meant that we’ve played less that twice a month, it does mean that people try and keep Wednesday open.

A number of potential players have not yet pitched for a game and some players have only played a single session, but our core of six players has remained pretty solid. Instead of choosing one person to be the GM, we are taking turns that span a few sessions. This method worked well for the guys in their last campaign, and lead to some interesting results, including a multitude of villains that had it in for the party, each villain the brain child of a different GM.

Picking The Rules
Our next decision was picking a games system. In the 2010 campaign the guys used Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, but there were many other possible available now with our collections of books growing as they have. In the end we chose Pathfinder because it is 3.5 and lets us use all the 3.5 stuff we have.

Picking Pathfinder meant that we didn’t need to learn new rules. This is worth mentioning because, although it is 3.5 compatible, Pathfinder does make some changes. The key though is that when we look up a rule, we look it up in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, and we haven’t really needed to invest much time learning.

For interest sake, some of the other games that were listed as possibles included Mouseguard the RPG, Call of Cuthullu, World of Darkness, Warhammer Fantasy Role-play and Dungeons and Dragons 4, which at least 3 of us are currently involved in a campaign of.

House Rules
At this point, let me just mention that if you do have a session like this to plan your campaign, be sure to order pizza. In fact, if you remember nothing else from this post,remember the pizza. Good friends and good food makes all the admin seem like fun.

With the rule set chosen we defined a number of house rules, some more bizarre than others:

We use a critical fumble table for 1’s rolled in combat. If you fumble, not only do you miss, but now bad things happens to you, such as loosing your weapon and so on.

Each play must bring a white board marker, since we use a glass pane over a grid map to mark out encounter locations. If each player brings one, we always have a choice of markers and it’s not an issue if someone forgets. You could easily do the same thing with bringing map tiles or maps.

Halflings have hairy feet. This was an odd one, and I brought it up, because I’m a Tolkien nut. Discussing the world makes it more immersive, in my opinion. If you imagine the same things, you share the experience more deeply.

Keep the beer lids. We are keeping beer lids to make into a suit of scale mail. The Yaya Sisterhood have their jeans, we have our scale mail.

Story points. Players can accrue story points both in game and out of game that they can then use to affect the game in a way not normally available to players in Pathfinder, such as to get a re-roll on a dice, changing something in the story or bring in an NPC. You may only ever have 3 story points and you can spend 1, 2 or 3 points to get various effects:

One story point: Re-roll a dice, make an acrobatic move you could not normally make or get extra information from someone.

Two story points: An extra attack, an automatic crit or convince an NPC of something.

Three story points: Avoid death, invent an NPC or change the story.

Character Creation
We decided that any Humanoid character was legal, resulting in a party consisting of a Catfolk, two Tieflings, a Giant, an Elf and a Blue. We discussed the party make-up to try and get a balanced party, and ended up with a multi classed rogue wizard, a wizard, a bard, a monk, a ranger and a paladin. I’ll be introducing the characters in the next Campaign Journal post.

Many other aspect of character creation were decided after the meeting. In fact, nothing was actually decided regarding characters on the day, but the first GM requested that each player send him an email with class, race, name, a short description and a backup character class. We could then go ahead and create a level one character.

In Summary
I think the planning session was very valuable, and our games would probably not have gone as smoothly as it has without the planning meeting. It surely saved us a great deal of email. It was also fun, and we got to shared many war stories and got to meet other role-players, have some great pizza and just laugh about our adventures.

Have you had a similar planning meeting for your campaign or group, please tell us about your experience.