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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
This year I’ve narrowed my scope down to four projects and I thought I’d fill you in on my plans.
I’ll be writing for ICON again this year. If you don’t know, ICON is one of the big role-playing conventions in South Africa. With 10 RPG modules and 2 LARPs scheduled, it promises to be a 3 day role-playing extravaganza. Watch this blog for more!
Continuing with adventure modules, this month I’m doing the Gamers Lifestyle Boot Camp. The goal: publish my first full adventure module on DTRPG. Since I started Rising Phoenix Games three years ago, the goal has always been to publish my modules, making them available to more people. I’ve deliberately held off from publishing for now, but everything will change come August this year or next when my contract ends. So, although you might have to wait, I’ll be toiling away in anticipation. And, to kill two giant eagles with one magic missile, my Boot Camp project is also my ICON module. Yes, sneaky hobbitses indeed.
For a new challenge, I’m helping a friend craft the story for an indie X-Box game. No spoilers yet, but this will be a great chance for me to hone my story telling skills.
Claustrophobia! is getting sleeker. The gnomes are working frantically on page layout and a cover design and I’ve spent some time tightening up the main themes of the game. After a little more simmering I’ll be getting back to you for your opinion. Be sure to join the Facebook group to keep in touch with developments.
Finally, I started working on a Flash game last year. Why a Flash game? Well, it’s something I learnt in university and hadn’t touched for awhile. I must say, picking it up again was easier than riding a bicycle and a great way to end off 2013. Will Rising Phoenix Games go the route of digital gaming? That remains to be seen. I watched an interesting video recently by Jonathan Blow that has me thinking about what makes a good game and I feel I could deliver something really interesting. So, with two digital projects set for 2014, let’s see where this takes us.
Phew. That’s a load. The quote for yesterday’s Boot Camp was “We overestimate what we can do in a year. But we underestimate what we can do in an hour.” That’s from Yax at www.dungeonmastering.com. It certainly might be the case here, but I have worked hard to lay a good foundation and now it’s just a matter of getting stuck in.
Welcome to part 4 in this series focused on solo and GMless infiltration games. Check out part 1, part 2 and part 3 if you missed out.
“The secret of success in battle lies often not so much in the use of one’s own strength but in the exploitation of the other side’s weaknesses.” John Christopher, When the Tripods Came
I like those little snippets of monster tactics you sometimes find in published adventures. They give you a better idea of why the monster is in the adventure, and they provide you with a framework for making play decisions.
In a solo game, it’s just as helpful to have a plan for the monsters, otherwise I tend to fudge their decisions in my favour. “Oh, I know I could easily kill the hero with my sneaky attack. But I’ll come out of hiding, being the brave goblin that I am. I’ll even let Hero-Man have the first swing.” If the goblin has a plan, many of my choices are made, I can focus on playing the star of the show, my optimized and much loved character with the dog eared character sheet.
I came up with the following simple strategy sheet to help me out:
Here’s a brief description of each entry:
Role: a word to describe the monster’s tactics, such as sniper, assassin, wrestler, commander or artillery.
Morale: If the creature tends to be brave, cowardly, or something in-between.
Ease: How the monster acts when there is no threat.
Alert: What the monster does when they become aware of any danger or enemies.
Melee: What the monster does when engaged in, or within range for melee combat.
Range: What the monster does when engaged in, or within range for missile combat.
Blood: What the monster does when they have taken significant damage. You can decide what “significant damage” means, but I usually go with 50% and below of their HP as the crossover mark.
Playing, you will have some idea of how a given monster will react to your actions, eliminating some of the surprise; a problem I’d still like to solve. Furthermore, you have to play as the GM, especially during setup. But this turns setup into a game on its own; how do the goblins think?What are they fighting for? Would they rather fight from far or up close with a sharp blade? These questions bring story and tactics together, giving you a chance to add to your narrative, as discussed in part 2.
Have you tried something similar? I’d love to know what you think. I’ll leave you with a quote from Mr Tzu:
“Conform to the enemy’s tactics until a favorable opportunity offers; then come forth and engage in a battle that shall prove decisive.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War
This is Part 3 of the Daggers at Dusk Series. Check out part 1 and part 2 for more on playing solo infiltration games.
Last week I ventured into the Goblin Caves, had fun and got captured. Now I’m going to show you a simple system I use to make my games even more interesting. You never know what’s around the next corner, and this system is all about adding that kind of uncertainty back into the game.
First, decide on the monsters for your map and add a couple extra. With the Goblin Caves from last week, there might be an orc or two hanging around, so I set aside two orcs with the rest of the miniatures.
We added two orcs, so we’ll set them aside with two goblins, but place everything else on the map: a goblin boss on the throne and two goblin guards to watch the prisoners.
Now place counters for the unknown enemies. These counters might turn out to be the orcs or just plain goblins. They might even turn out to be nothing at all. Place one counter for each goblin/orc pair (the minis still in our pool).
Now play the game as usual. The counters move 20 feet per turn using the system I described in part 1. Since the counters are most likely to be goblins, they have the same perception scores.
If your character lays eyes on the token roll a D4 and consult the table below, replacing the token with the appropriate miniature.
Once the creature has been identified, play with its regular stats. You can also use random monster tables from published sources, but building your own from the ground up keeps the game more manageable. Play around with the table to get more variety for your games, for example:
(D8) Random Monster Table (MK2)
5: Dire rat
6: Goblin Boss
7: Goblin Dog or Warg
8: Goblin riding a Goblin Dog or Warg.
If you’ve played Lunatic Labyrinth then you’ve seen this system in action before. The unknown really raises the game, demanding more of you as a solo player. Scouting missions make more sense too, while intelligence gathering becomes paramount to carrying out a successful mission.