Tag Archives: pathfinder

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…

 

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.

Something wicked this way comes!

The folk over at ofdiceanddragons.com have announced that it’s carnival time, and what a creepy carnival it is.  Here to hound and harrow your players is the Seething Slime, an ooze for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game that gets more powerful as the heroes get more angry.

Seething Slime by D & R Sloan. © 2014 – 2015.
Seething Slime by D & R Sloan. © 2014 – 2015.

Continue reading Something wicked this way comes!

Dwarves Rule

I’m overly fond of the little guys, although I’d never use the word “little” to a dwarfs face. I love everything about the bearded warriors. Their lore, their grim nature, … their beards. I guess I’m part grumpy dwarf me-self.

Recently, I’ve been watching the excellent Vikings series. In one episode, I believe the first, one character says to another “we’ll be as rich as dwarves.” That struck me as a veritable gold mine, excuse the obvious pun, for a dwarf related blog post, so here we are.

Dwarf by armandeo64
by armandeo64

Dwarven PCs are often portrayed as greedy, but there’s no RPG I’m familiar with where they are actually rich. There’s an obvious reason for this: game balance. You simply don’t want every dwarf to be running around with better weapons than everyone else in the party. Or do you?

Imagine a world where dwarves generally are much richer than your average human, elf or halfling. You can bet that every inn, blacksmith and brothel is going to charge our squat friends a much higher rate for their wears. And then we have the all too commonplace issue of thievery. An escalation in the cutting of dwarven purses leads to more heavily armed dwarves (if that’s even possible), which leads to a veritable arms race. No wonder dwarves are reclusive.

But there’s a shiny side to every coin, and you can bet it would be dwarves who organise the best expeditions to the most wondrous locations, along with the best send-off parties (with the best beer) and the best victory banquets. It is, after all, the excentric rich guy who usually blows his money on the absurd adventures (cough cough Brandson cough cough Musk).

Got any ideas for rich dwarves in your campaign?

(See what I did, I called the post “Dwarves Rule”, when I’m actually talking about rules for dwarves. Sneaky little hobbitses.)

New Pathfinder Tech

This is the year of hoverboards and Star Wars hype, which is all good news for role-players. Today we’ll look at basic rules for hoverboards in Pathfinder and inspire you to tell the story of three daring Tie fighter pilots.

Hoverboards
Imagine your players faces when they discover the ancient artefact they just uncovered is a hoverboard. Here’s my proposal for these awesome rides in Pathfinder.

The Fly skill gives us a great basis to work from, using a hoverboard is just like flying and generally uses the same rules. Hoverboard maneuvers are a little different.


Flying Maneuver Fly DC
Increase speed above normal speed by +5ft 6 (+2/5ft)
Turn greater than 45° by spending 5 feet of movement 15
Turn 180° by spending 10 feet of movement 20
Ramp of up to 45° 20
Balance while grinding 20

Hoverboard speeds: Hoverboards minimize resistance between the board and the ground, so are capable of intense speeds. Start with a base speed equal to the rider’s base speed +10. Going faster than this requires a Fly check, and each turn the rider can spend a move action to increase her speed by +5ft. So a human with a base speed of 30 rides easily up to 40ft a round and would have to make a DC 8 Fly check to reach a speed of 45ft per round. Note that hovering and riding slower than normal doesn’t require any checks, that’s easy stuff.

Turning: hoverboards turn as the rider shifts his weight on the board. To turn sharply, the rider has to contend with his momentum. One way to overcome the direction of momentum is to use a foot or hand grab to swing the board around sharply.

Ramps: If a rider takes a ramp of 45° or less, they can attempt to jump using their current speed as if making a running jump. They make the DC 20 Fly check for the ramp and then an Acrobatics check for the height or distance of the jump.

Rails: To grind a rail, the rider needs to ride or jump onto the rail or ledge and make the Fly check each turn to maintain the grind. Ending a grind is a free action.

Falling: Collisions at high speeds can hurt. For every 10ft of speed above the characters base speed (not hoverboard speed), a collision deals 1d6 points of damage. So a rider with a base speed of 30ft who hits a wall while riding at 40ft per round takes 1d6 points of damage, or 3d6 damage if riding at 60ft per round. Falling off works much in the same way, except that the damage is none lethal if the rider can make a DC 14 Acrobatics check to roll with the momentum of the fall.

There you go. Marty McFly would be proud. Let me know if you try these rules out and happy riding.

Inspired in Japan
It took artist OtaKing77077 4 years to finish his short film entitled Tie Fighter, and it’s way impressive.

With the Star Wars Age of Rebellion Rpg, plus the new Armada game and of course X-Wing, we have a great chance to tell the story of these three pilots. So, who are they, how did they get here, and why are they loyal to the Empire? I’d love to see someone write a scenario for this.

Avernos Unearthed
Avernos opens up with Avernos—Secrets, a free web enhancement available to all blog subscribers. Subscribe today and jump into a world on the verge of destruction. Be warned, there’s no turning back.

Campaign Journal
Getting in a quick RPG session is possible, but needs some work from the GM and all players involved. We played a 2 and a half hour session this weekend and here’s what we learnt.

Prep: As a GM, you’ve got to be as ready as possible before you play. Pre-written adventures are great for this. If there are rules you’re fuzzy on, read up before you play. I made sure I knew all about flying before game, so my dragon could terrorize the skies without disrupting play. Bookmark those rules too. Players can really help the GM by sending character sheets in before the game and reading up on all their feats and skills.

Setup: Similar to prep, but really, this is what you do when everyone is arriving, or just before. Roll20 is great for prep, because you can set everything up before hand. Make sure you have tokens or models for everyone, and a few pre-generated characters. Keep down clutter as much as possible. Really all you need is some paper, a pencil, the rules and a set of dice. Only add to this if it will make for a faster game.

Game Time: Establish a turn order and stick to it. Keep things simple and focus on the fun stuff. When the party approached a beauacrat wanting to know about an artefact, it sped things up to give them a summary, rather than force them to probe for details. Players should roll attack and damage dice together and think about what they’re going to do when it’s not their turn.

Aftermath: Really, fast games take real teamwork. Talk about what worked and how you can improve on things. Also, take the time now to get ready for the next session. If you’ve done the work, the next time around will be so much easier.

That’s all from me until next week.
Tell Thrilling Tales


Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

Flaming Centipedes of Doom!

Adventure, adventure and more adventure. That’s what we have for you today. Fight a flaming centipede on behalf of the Dragon King, challenge the forces of the Abyss on behalf of humanity or build your own epic encounters. All this and more in today’s epic post.

Inspired in Japan
Last week we met with a nasty goblin, and the week before that we fought an oni. This week we have Dragon Kings, singing gold fish and flaming giant centipedes.

My Lord Bag of Rice is a story about a brave samurai who faces off with a giant centipede to save the kingdom of the Dragon King. As a reward, he gets an ever–full bag of rice and earns the title “My Lord Bag of Rice”.

Scene 1, a bridge over a narrow lake, much like Lake Biwa, the original setting for the story. Across the bridge lies an imperial sea dragon, who is looking for a way to rid his kingdom of a giant centipede that invades his lands nightly, killing his children. If the party attacks the dragon, he fights them for a few rounds before extoling them for their great bravery and asking them to join him.

Worm! I shall step over thee!

Scene 2, under the waters of the lake. The dragon invites the party to his underwater palace. As they follow him down, the waters part magically for them, keeping them nice and dry (and saving them from Swim checks). If you need some mechanics for this, you could have the dragon give them a pearl to swallow that surrounds them in a bubble and acts as if he had cast Water Breathing on them for 24 hours.

While in his palace, the Dragon King throws a banquet for the party, with all kinds of fishy creatures serving magnificent dishes or providing entertainment. This needs some thought, because you want to paint the right picture and create a sense of awe and mystery. It’s also going to be a very different game if you have a druid in your party; if you do, this is their chance to really shine.

By the way, if you need some water tiles for this scene, check out our Sea Tiles on Drive Thru RPG.

Scene 3, evening in the underwater palace. The Dragon King alerts the party about the coming centipede, which can be clearly seen coming down the mountain because of its flaming eyes and glowing legs. To keep things simple, use a CR appropriate centipede and keep the fire aspect of it purely cosmetic—this is fantasy, after all.
Pick a map that gives the party some time to rain down missiles on the monster, while it uses its 40 foot speed to come on like a freight train of flailing legs.

For treasure, an appropriately themed and scaled Cornucopia of Plenty could work well at the right level. Otherwise, you could easily make up the treasure quota with bags of rice, a nice bell and bolts of silk.

Treasure!

This adventure has two big monsters, so make sure that the CR of the centipede is the higher of the two. Also, how is this centipede making his way to the Dragon Kings palace? Centipedes don’t swim or breathe underwater right? This is a good opportunity to set up a recurring villain, someone who can cast a few spells to make things happen. This villain doesn’t even need to show themselves yet, giving you a seed for your next big, Japan themed adventure.

Avernos Unearthed
Humans—that self-serving race who do more damage in their short lives than all the minions of the Abyss could in a lifetime of elves. Yet there is some hope, however slim, that this chosen race may realize their place at the head of the coming battle. Pray they do, before it is too late.

Avernos Wiki

Rising Phoenix News
Last week’s post mysteriously disappeared into the netherwebs. We’re blaming it on a kobito ninja server invasion, although it probably has something to do with the auto post not running properly (or that’s what the kobito ninjas want us to think). As a result, you get two posts from me this week, happy reading!

Campaign Journal
Since I’ve been writing a bunch of Pathfinder encounters—four this month—I thought I’d share a little about my creative process. Encounters make up the heart of an adventure, so building great encounters is worth the effort.

First I get a concept. This usually comes from a map or monster that I really like. Specially, I look for an interesting twist that will make for a fun and memorable encounter. Maybe the party has to fight off some orcs, but the orcs are actually fleeing from an owl bear. Maybe that owl bear is a druid trapped in that form because of a failed spell. Maybe the party all get turned into owl bears and get to rampage through the orc camp! Whatever happens, it’ll be better than just fighting a bunch of orcs.

I’ll then calculate APL and set up the encounter. At this stage the concept may change a little. I might find that an owl bear is too challenging for my 1st level solo player, or that I need an orc chieftain to fill out the ranks. Maybe I’ll even have a little wiggle room for a small trap or another monster that will spice up the mix. Maybe that owl bear has a goblin “rider” hanging on for dear life.

Next I’ll set out the encounter in point form, something like this:

  • Orc party (6x orcs) appear up ahead on the forest path. They rush the PCs.
  • Orcs try to get past party, fighting if they must.
  • Five minute breather for party to recoup. If not hit hard, scrap this.
  • Raging owl bear storms down forest path. Screaming goblin (Knuckle ‘Ed, lvl 1 warrior) clutches at its back.
  • Perception checks to notice medallion around owl bears neck.
  • Fight with owl bear. More perception checks to notice medallion.
  • If defeated, PCs find medallion (transmogrifies to an owl bear). Owl bear is actually Gunther Firth (level 4 druid).

The last thing is just to flesh things out. Build NPCs, stat out the traps, decide what treasure will be up for grabs and so on. Rinse and repeat for all the encounters that make up your adventure.

Have fun.

That’s all from me until next week.
Tell Thrilling Tales

Superheroes - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

RPGSS2015 – Round 4

Voting for round 3 of RPG Superstar 2015 is now over, with 8 contestants left to bust out an encounter for round 4.

RPG Superstar 2015

Did you have any personal monster favourites? I really liked the Geomaw and the Stonevine Stalker, although I think the Stonevine Stalker needed a lot more to make it stand out. Just think about the Womping-Willow from Harry Potter, or Old Man Willow from The Lord of the Rings and Rockbiter from The NeverEnding Story film. They were all interesting in their way, but none of them were show stealers. Nazguls and Dementors, now those were monsters.

Avernos Unearthed
This week the Elves take their place in Avernos. Misunderstood, mistrusted and feared, this reclusive race fights an invisible war with a dark evil.

Read more about the Elves.

The Books of Faces
We’ve set off down the road and into an ancient forest, where we come to a set of stone steps. Read the adventure and make your choice on the Facebook page.

A blow by blow account of the quest is always available at the Adventure Chronicle.

Campaign Journal
Our current Marvel Heroic RP Game is about to kick off it’s third session, with the heroes going in search of Thor’s mighty hammer, Mjolnir. Hopefully a few of the escaped inmates of the Raft will end up back behind bars too. It’s going to be epic.

And while we’re on the topic of comics, my buddy Brent over at Comics League International invited me to recorded a podcast with him about the heroes in a half-shell, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You can take a listen on his site or iTunes.

Rising Phoenix News
Here are some more pictures and a video of our Maze Tiles. I’m really proud with the Print-On-Demand version of the tiles, they look amazing. The tiles fit perfectly with other inch grid maps, which was one of our critical criteria for quality control. This means you can expand on your existing collection of maps and tiles with this set for even more adventure options.

Maze Tiles Detail 1

Maze Tiles - Detail 2

Inspired in Japan
One of the weird things I collect is tenugui, or Japanese hand towels. Here are a couple of modern ones I found on Amazon.

That’s all from me until next Thursday.
Tell Thrilling Tales


Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

Hottest New Book
Ninth World Guidebook
Ninth World Guidebook

RPGSS2015 – Round 3 Voting

Voting for round 3 of RPG Superstar 2015 has begun. Go check out those monsters.

RPG Superstar 2015

Avernos Unearthed & The Book of Faces
Due to a Japanese national holiday, these sections will return next week.

Campaign Journal
My first game of Call of Cthulhu didn’t happen, probably because of a big event that sucked up the player pool. Never the less, dice were rolled and demons fought, so happiness all around. Instead of CoC we played the Legend of Drizzt D&D Adventure Boardgame, which will soon be joined by a new release for the series, the Temple of Elemental Evil, scheduled for release on April 30th. I’m pretty stocked for that!

Drizzt Vs Owl Bear
Photo by AndyC

Also, if you want to play Call of Cthulhu and you only have two interested people, check out Monophobia, A Fear of Solitude. We might give this a try sometime soon.

Rising Phoenix News
Maze Tiles are a simple and effective solution for building a moving, shifting maze. Complete with levers and gears, these tiles work well as a clockwork dungeon, a gnome’s warren or artificers puzzle.

Maze Tiles

The set includes 4 tiles with unique designs on each face, giving you a total of 8 options to build your mazes with. Available as a PDF download and as Print on Demand.

Inspired in Japan
The ninja create perhaps the most evocative of images; that of the skilled, invisible assassin. But what does it really take to be a ninja? Getting whacked a lot, that’s what.

That’s all from me until next Thursday.
Tell Thrilling Tales


Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

Hottest New Book
Ninth World Guidebook
Ninth World Guidebook

New Games, Ancient Lands

Happy New Year! I hope 2015 is a great year for you.

happy_new_year_2015_3d

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”).

Avernos Unearthed
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.

Campaign Journal
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.

Also, don’t forget to vote in the 2015 RPG Superstar Contest at Paizo.

Inspired in Japan
Japan is full of history, culture, art and other inspirational things to fuel your creativity. I’ll be posting the videos, pictures and prose that have inspired me recently.

IMG_7364.JPG

This girl was painted on the wall of a local train station and I immediately thought of the beautiful but chilling yuki-onna.

Anyway, that’s all from me.
Tell Thrilling Tales