Tag Archives: Role-playing

Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Murder

You’re cautious to ask, and Google is out — you don’t need that in your search history. But, you must have wondered, how do I plan a murder? How to Plan a Murder is your guide to murder, covering every step from the initial idea to carrying out the deed.

Edit: Our legal department said I need to mention it’s a game, and that we don’t condone actual murder. Sigh.

How to Plan a Murder - Your Guide to Murder

How to Plan a Murder is your complete guide to planning and hosting a murder mystery dinner.

Secrets and dark ambition connect each character in a deadly web of intrigue. As the night progresses, who’ll fall foul of those deadly plot hooks? Can your guests unravel the clues and catch the killer?

Planning and running the evening is easy and fun, with conflict and plot twists developing organically from the rules. Watch as your characters come alive.

The book includes the guest’s guide, A Dinner to Die For, which is also available to your guests as a “Pay What You Want” download. We did everything we could to make things easier for you and your guests, and we’re confident you’ll find this second book a useful addition to the game.

How to Plan a Murder, your guide to murder, is available at the following fine online stores:

Rising Phoenix Games

    Drive Thru RPG     

Open Gaming Store 

 Get it on Paizo.com 

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Busting Out of My Shell

“Write about your personal experiences,” the gurus say. “Speak from the heart, and your readers will listen.” That’s great advice, but I lean so far over to the “introvert” side of the continuum that busting out of my shell isn’t natural or cathartic. But that’s partly why I love roleplaying games so much.

Photo by Alex Chambers - Busting out of my shell
Photo by Alex Chambers

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival has one of those deceptively tough topics: “Why do you love RPGs? Why do you love GMing?” Easy: RPGs are fun. But there’s more to it than that. There’s always more to it.

Busting Out of My Shell

So yeah, two things about me. One, I’m the quiet silent type who avoids crowds and, two, I spend most of my working day involved with RPGs — I’m a huge fan. At the same time, I’ve been a teacher, small group leader, and GM, so I’m used to coordinating others. I learned to do that the old-fashioned way — by running games at high school and after university, then by being involved at church and by taking an English teaching job in Japan. Now I feel confident in my ability to work with others or to run a game.

I still dislike crowds, but roleplaying tables are easier to handle. They also give me a chance to meet others with a shared interest.

Roleplay gives me a chance to dream, and to escape the real world. Since returning to South Africa I’ve felt disjointed. I loved the culture in Japan, the nature, the food, and especially the people. Being back in SA has felt like an uphill struggle in a world that’s no longer my home, but my roleplaying friends were among those who’ve helped me most to settle back in. It’s also great to close the door and drown out the world, now and then. John Kovalic nailed that thought in this Dork Tower comic.

Roll Dice – Touch The World

I’m not suggesting RPGs are a replacement for life. That’s dangerous.

In Japan, I made many friends through roleplaying, but my wife and I also took the time to explore, to get out into a country that was totally alien, even a little frightening, and become part of the community. That wasn’t always easy for me — Tokyo being one of the most crowded cities in the world — but it was good for me.

Busting out of my shell
Photo by Chris Chan

In the same way, a game group can be a way to touch reality. As a GM, I’m a part of providing that space for others, where we can be with friends, joke, and have fun. It’s a place to be part of humanity again and silence the voices in your head.

And believe me, those silent voices are real.

When you spend most of your time locked away in your wizard’s tower, writing RPGs, the voice of reason quickly gets drowned out by negative thoughts and false assumptions.

But that’s a post for another day.

rpg blog carnival logo

Thanks to Campaign Master for hosting this month.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

 

 

 

We are the Stitched!

They came in a deadly whirlwind of steel and spell, annihilating all within the catacombs. In the aftermath, you awoke, gaining sentience from residual magic they’d left behind. Battered and frail, you creep forth.

Last week I wrote about flexing your game design muscle, which is where Stitched comes in. In Stitched, you play the reanimated remains of long-dead corpses, eager to feast and grow in power. The game is my entry into this year’s 200 Word RPG Contest. This month’s RPG Blog Carnival’s theme is “What Scares You,” which gives me the perfect opportunity to share the game and talk about it.

Before we jump in, a word of thanks to Reckoning of the Dead for hosting this month’s carnival.

rpg blog carnival logo

Stitched!

They came in a deadly whirlwind of steel and spell, annihilating all within the catacombs. In the aftermath, you awoke, gaining sentience from residual magic they’d left behind. Battered and frail, you creep forth.

Stitched is a game for 1–5 players and a GM. You’ll need 8d4, 4d6, 2d12, and 1d20. The GM uses a pile of counters.

The Stitched

You are undead, weakened but sentient after tomb raiders invaded your dungeon home. You begin with 1d6 to represent your abilities. As you hunt, you’ll gain dice, allowing you to attach them to your growing form by spending two similar dice: 2d4 = 1d6, 2d6 = 1d12, and 2d12 = 1d20. Each die represents a different amalgamation of necrotic flesh with a shared consciousness.

Playing the Game

The GM sets the scene, then players take turns describing their actions. Roll the dice. A 4 or more indicates success. A 1 is an injury: split the die or remove it if it’s a d4.

The GM can increase the difficulty by 1 by giving a player a token. A player can spend 2 tokens to gain 1d4.

Reap the Flesh!

The Design Perspective

So that’s the game, in all its 200-word glory. The core of the game is the dice mechanic, which I first built to emulate oozes splitting and rejoining. Playing an ooze, even a sentient one, didn’t sound like a fun session at the table, so I changed ectoplasm into limbs and got the Frankenstein’s monster-like stitched, undead that can sew more body parts onto themselves.

I hope you enjoy it.

For more games I’ve designed, check out 3 Stone Stories (free) and Claustrophobia!

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

 

LEGO Makes GMing Better

You have to love LEGO. The toy is infinitely reusable and loads of fun. Besides that, LEGO makes GMing better. Here’s a rotating stand I built for my Kindle out of LEGO I got when I was a kid.

LEGO makes GMing better with this Kindle swivel stand.
It’s IMAX for Minifigs!

It even comes with its own grumpy tech support.

LEGO makes GMing better with a grumpy tech support.
“Have you tried turning it off and on again, block-head!”
LEGO makes GMing better, except when grumpy is playing solitaire on his consol.
Every now and then I catch him playing solitaire.

The stand works without the rotating base too, and at it’s simplest — without the base and tech support — is only 12 LEGO pieces.

Lego GMing Tools

I use my Kindle when I GM, so the swivel base is great for showing my players the screen and keeping things at the right eye-height for quick rules checks. Maybe I should build a dice tower next.

Do you have any interesting GMing tools built out of LEGO? Share them in the comments below or tell us your story of how LEGO makes GMing better.

Till next time, Tell Thrilling Tales

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

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

Roleplaying on the Cheap

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is about Roleplaying on the Cheap, which is something I’ve written about before.

The thing is that roleplaying is a dirt cheap hobby, and you can get by with a handful of dice and some free rules you’ve downloaded off the web, like the basic Dungeons & Dragon rules.

But of course, things are never that simple. You’ll want the massive, beautifully illustrated core books. They’re awesome, and their awesomeness comes with a hefty price tag. Believe me, I know how it feels to shell out for a hefty tome. Living on the other side of the world means shipping often doubles the price on books. My local brick-and-mortar sells the Player’s Handbook for R 850 (South African Rand), which equates to just over $69 USD.

So, what’s a fan to do?
Piracy is rife, but I can’t help feeling that it’s killing the industry and the hobby I love.

I follow three principles when it comes to buying RPG books, which has helped me grow an impressive collection without breaking the bank:

Buy Cheap

Buy books on Humble Bundle, or second-hand, or when there’s a sale, like on Black Friday. Facebook often has local geek interest groups for buying and selling second-hand stuff.

Buy Big

Buy bigger books, instead of small ones. As an RPG publisher, I can attest to the fact that bigger books give you more bang for your buck. The recent Player’s Companion, at 174 pages, is a huge resource for a reasonable $14.95.

Player's Companion, an Excellent Buy if You're Roleplaying on the Cheap
Buy bigger books that give you more content for your money.

Buy Smart

Don’t waste your money on books you won’t use often. Rather, buy books that will lie open at your table, every session. When money is easier, then you can pick up those “nice to have” titles, like extra monster books.

Support the Industry, Support the Hobby

Buying books, dice, maps, minis, coins, t-shirts, and Patreon subscriptions all keep the industry alive and growing, and you should support the hobby by buying what you love. With some thoughtfulness you can do that and still chip in for pizza and pay the rent.

Happy Gaming

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

Claustrophobia – Book Cover Revealed!

A bunch of years ago I began writing a book—a dangerous book—about garden gnomes. Many gnomes died because of this book, and many more will die for this book in years to come. Don’t let them die in vain…

In the coming months I’ll be launching the full, beautifully illustrated version of this RPG. Please like and follow the Claustrophobia RPG? page on Facebook and help me make this book launch spectacular.

Claustrophobia Cover
The Amazing Claustrophobia Cover. Illustrated by Donovan Sloan.

 

 

A GMs Gift

March 4th was GMs day, so don’t forget to buy something nice for the GM in your life at the Drive Thru RPG GMs Day Sale. This post is dedicated to GMs everywhere, you lords and ladies rock! Secretly all of our posts are aimed at GMs, but nobody knows that, shhh.

This week is also our first post in the new time slot and we have loads of stuff for you, so let’s dive right in.

Avernos Unearthed
As promised, this week we venture into the Veiled Lands, the mysterious home of the elves.

Next week we’ll go beyond the Veil and into a whole other world, the fae lands.

Avernos Wiki

Campaign Journal
For my Marvel Heroic Roleplaying campaign I made my own Daily Bugle template in Word (docx 863kb).
You’re free to share it, just provide a link to this post by way of credit if you do. It helps me to keep doing what I love to do.

I use the Bugle to do “in character” session reports, which have been a great way to keep everyone informed and excited for the next session.

Rising Phoenix News
Yarr, ’tis swell ta be a buccanneer on the high sea, where every day be talk like a pirate day. Our new Sea Tiles let you create vast oceans and rivers on the tabletop. I made them to use with maps I already had in my collection, and I know you’ll find them useful too.

Raft vs Fire Elemental
Miniatures and raft model not included.

Sea Tiles

Inspired in Japan
The Ogre of Rashomon is a great little tale about a samurai and his battle against the menace of Kyoto, a fearsome oni. It would make for a good adventure.

Scene 1, the PCs are asked to investigate a string of murders at the Rashomon gate in town. They discover that all the murders happened at night, the only time the oni comes out, and so they wait for night fall.

Scene 2, before the Rashomon gate, during the darkest hours of night. The group is surprised by the oni, who attacks them after using magic like invisibility or darkness. Before the oni is killed, he uses magic to escape into the night. The heroes find his arm lying on the ground.

Scene 3, after finding no trail of the oni, several weeks pass before an old lady visits the party. Really the oni in disguise (disguise self), she attacks the party again, seeking to make off with her arm. If she escapes then you’ve got a very interesting recurring villian who might be all sorts of trouble for the party. That arm could even become a much sought after artifact, causing even more headaches as various daimyo send their ninja to claim the appendage.

If you’re playing Pathfinder, then both the fire yai and kuwa oni from Bestiary 3 would work, giving you a CR 15 and a CR 4 option, although I like the fire yai more, since he more closely fits the story.

The Books of Faces
I love the Internet, especially the way I can quickly test the strength of a concept. The Book of Faces hasn’t had the response I was hoping for, but that’s okay, because it has been a great chance to learn. As such, I’ve decided to pull the Book of Faces section from future posts.

I’d like to thank you for your interest in the project. Choose Your Own Adventure and Fighting Fantasy books were a big part of my youth, and I’ve really enjoyed writing my own adventure for you. Rest assured that the adventure will continue, and you can still play on the Facebook page, but it won’t be a regular weekly feature here from now on. This will give me a chance to work on the book and relaunch it later in a much more polished form.

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


Savage Worlds: Fast, Furious, and Fun! - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

New Time Slot

This is not the post you are looking for…

Instead, our featured posts will now come out on Saturday morning, 00:00 GMT. We’re doing our best to optimize the blog and we hope this change will help us do just that.

See you Saturday!