Tag Archives: roleplay

Round Up – May’s RPG Blog Carnival

May’s RPG Blog Carnival was a blast, we destroyed worlds, reshaped history and watched heroes rise and fall, all in the spirit of “At World’s End”.
Here’s a post by post summary…

Moebius Adventures

Only the brave or foolhardy would dare go beyond the borders of the world.
Moebius Adventures offer up some great setting ideas that I haven’t seen get much play in published works and would be perfect for a home campaign.

6d6

Some fantastic campaign seeds and how to introduce them into your game.  Beware, for the end is nigh!

Doom Rides to Silverado

A nice blend of fact and fiction, inspired by the Aztecs. Man, why does it have to end with earthquakes (I live in friggin’ Japan! I’ll be the first to go!)

Notes of the Wandering Alchemist

John Crowley III talks about reaching the end of your campaign, and how to deal with it when the day comes. Because, really, an awesome  campaign needs an awesome ending, so you’ve got to get that right.

Tales of a GM – Part 1

Phil gives us a look into four of his own campaign finales, some bumps he had along the way, and what he learned from the experience.
Some great examples to ponder over.

The Watch House

Some very practical ideas here for apocalyptic events, in a sort of “having your cake and eating it without your whole campaign dying” sort of way. Their title really says it all: Apocalypse Not Now.

Sea of Stars RPG

A dramatic opening to the apocalypse in the Sea of Stars setting. And dragons!

Tales of a GM – Part 2

Phil is back with his finale successes, rapping us up on a high note with more GMing advice based on actual plays.

That’s it for this month. Next month’s topic is Cold Iron and Pixie Dust: The Fae. Be sure to check it out!

 

At World’s End

RPG Blog CarnivalImagine you’re coming to the finale of your years-long campaign. Friends are moving away, and you want to end with a memorable bang. A big bang. A cataclysmic bang! This time it’s not just the people and things the PCs love that are at stake, but their entire world that’s on the line. There is no turning back.

So how do you prepare for a world shattering session? With the Kickstarter for Crisis of the World Eater successful funded, we’ve got plenty of this sort of thing to look forward to. Maybe you, as a GM, are feeling inspired. Perhaps, as a player, you’re about to face your toughest challenge yet.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Viktor M. Vasnetsov [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The topic for May’s RPG blog carnival is “At World’s End”, and the best and brightest RPG bloggers will be sharing links to related posts, right here, in the comments below.

Anything is fair game; cataclysmic events, stats for planet crushing monsters, rules for the Apocalypse, or perhaps a hero’s survival guide to the End Times. We’re not playing games anymore, now we’re playing for keeps, winner takes all!

Don’t forget to follow the Phoenix on Twitter and Facebook, it’s the best way to keep up to date with the world shattering events that are about to be unleashed by ruthless GMs the world over.

More information about the RPG Blog Carnival can be found on roleplayingtips.com.

Don’t Be Boring

We don’t have much time on this blue planet. We just don’t. If we can do anything we put our minds to, and I really believe we can, then we need to get focused and not waste our precious time. We don’t have time to be boring.

I don’t want anyone, ever again, to have a boring rpg session. I declare it, henceforth, to be “verboten”. Great, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s break it down.

What Makes a Session Boring?

Low Buy In.

If you’re not invested in your game, then you’re going to have less fun. Some easy ways to get more involved include hamming it up, putting on those accents and, I can’t believe I need to say it, but roleplaying. I’m surprised at how many people (myself included), don’t roleplay.

 

Confusion

If you’re confused about the rules or the situation your character is in then you’ll have less fun. This is largely a GMing issue, but as a player you need to make an effort to call out your confusion and work out a solution with your GM.

 

Low Risk

The more your character has riding on the dice, the more fun it’s going to be. I know plenty of cautious players, and I don’t think caution is bad, but I do think it’s worth remembering that our characters are heroes, and they’re expendable. Put them on the line and enjoy the wild ride that follows.

 

What else can cause a boring session? I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment and I promise to get back to you.

Easy-Peasy Terrain Projects

A great looking map and some simple model terrain can go a long way towards making your games stand out. Here are three super easy projects.

A Sign (Post) of Things to Come

I made this little sign post to put alongside roads on my game map. It gives the players a visual reminder of where something is, like the big city, in relation to the combat action. I intentionally left it blank.

Orc and sign post.
“Dis way!”

To make it, all you need are some small pieces of wood, cut to shape, and some modelling clay for the base. I actually used a kind of papier-mâché, which worked fine. I highly suggest painting the wood and giving it a wash to bring out the grain.

Stalagmite (of Doom)

Stalagmites and standing stones are all over every fantasy world, so having one I can plop down on the map really helps highlight those features.

A well, a sign post and... a rock.
“Some sexy models!”

This is mostly modelling clay, molded into shape and then filed to add some detail. I added chains so that it could be part of a broken bridge or a feature of a jail, surrounded by miserable prisoners.

 

Well, well, well. What have we here?

Again, water wells are everywhere. You know there’s something down there and you know your players want to find out.

Well ambush
“All I ask for is one empty well!”

The well was also made with modelling clay, built on top of plastic card, which I painted black. I added chains to look like they connected to the depths below. Some dry brushing really made this model pop!

Incidentally, Chris Shaeffer created an amazing map centered around a well as his entry to round 2 of RPG Super Star Season 9, go check it out.

 

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.

 

 

The Goblin of Adachigahara

Four contestants. Four adventure proposals. Only four winners…

RPG Superstar 2015

As RPG Superstar enters its final round, it may be easy to dismiss the prize of the contest, since all four contestants are essentially winning it. The prize—a chance to write an adventure proposal for Paizo—is kind of like the round 5 submission. But there’s so much more at stake here—the contest isn’t called RPG Superstar for nothing—with each contestant having grown a fan base since the beginning of round 1. And that counts for a lot. Who will be the next Gygax?

So, who’s your favourite?

Avernos Unearthed
It is said that there exists a place on the very edge of vision, hidden in the shadow of shadows, where man is not welcome and where weird, twisted things live. None venture there by design, and those who enter unwittingly struggle in vain to escape. This is Feoni, land of the fey.

Avernos Wiki

Campaign Journal
Game mastering takes effort, practice and dedication. Recently I’ve been reading the Pathfinder GameMastery Guide and thinking a lot about how I GM. Part of GMing is prep, but a whole other part is what you do at the table, which encompasses so many things: rules knowledge, social skills, time management, voice acting—the list goes on. Of all these variables, rules knowledge is probably the easiest to tackle during prep time and between sessions.

Last week I took a practice exam for DCI Rules Advisor, which might not have anything to do with roleplaying, but did get me thinking even more about rules. Things can get confusing, but usually it all comes down to common sense and an understanding of how the rules are written. What keywords are important for the game and how do they work? In Pathfinder we have checks and actions, with so much coming from the interactions of those two. Can you make an attack roll (it’s a kind of check) during a move action? No. Why? Well that all comes down to understanding those keywords and what they mean and how they work.

So if in doubt, go back to the basics, especially those keywords.

Rising Phoenix News

We’ve slashed our tile prices for this week only. Save big on Print-on-Demand and PDF titles until March 27th. Get em now!

Inspired in Japan
Last week we battled an oni in Kyoto. This week we come face to face with The Goblin of Adachigahara.

In the story, a lost monk comes to the home of an old lady, who is actually a human-eating goblin*. She doesn’t invite him in at first, but finally lets him sit by her fire and feeds him. When her fire dies down she tells him not to look into the back room of the house, then goes out to gather firewood. When the priest gives in to his curiosity, he finds the grizzly remains of all her past victims. Making a run for it, he is chased through the night by a very angry—and probably hungry—geriatric goblin.

*In Japanese folklore, oni and goblin can be used interchangably, so the term goblin is used lightly here.

This tale could easily be turned into a thrilling, roleplay heavy, horror encounter.

Scene 1, the PCs are travelling at night. Perhaps they failed a navigation check or were given a missleading map. Force them to roll against the cold and fatigue, then offer them a shining light in the distance. On closer investigation they find the run-down home of an old woman who isn’t overly eager to let them in.

Scene 2, the delapidated hut. The old woman eventually lets the party in, offering them some rice and stoking up the fire. She’s friendly enough, but mostly she’s polite, and that offers interesting leverage—sure, you can go and collect the wood, but you’ll offend your host. For this scene a good knowledge of Japanese ettiquete makes all the difference between a good session and a great session, and you’ll want to give your players some prep too, so they can play along. The scene ends when the old lady tells the party not to go into the back room, then goes out to collect firewood. This the time to start building the suspense, which means it’s a perfect time for those Knowledge(local) rolls and the howling wind to pick up.

A lot will depend on how the players feel about their situation starting out. They might expect that the old woman will have a mission for them, that the cottage is really a safe place to be and that, after all, she’s just a little old lady. You want to lull them into a sense of peace. One option for this is the cold, but the party could also be hiding from monsters or just need a place to get those eight hours of rest.

Scene 3. The PCs will either stay around the fire, leave, or explore the house. All three options will probably lead to a confrontation with the goblin. So what kind of stats are we looking at here? I’d probably make her human and stat her as an NPC with ranks in commoner. With a reputation as a “goblin”, this little old lady cannibal is so much scarier than a real goblin. But really, she could be anything, whatever fits best with your campaign.

Once you’ve figured out who or what she is, the rest is fairly simple—the party needs to deal with her and get out of there. The cottage gives you a lot to play with; you could have traps, haunts, undead servants, prisoners that need freeing, rats, whatever fits with your idea of her hut.

For more inspiration, read up on Adachigahara, a sci-fi version of the story, and about the grusome Onibaba.

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

Best Selling RPGs - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

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

Claustrophobia Art Update

When I see the awesome work my design gnomes have put into Claustrophobia I get really excited. I just wish I could share it all with you now! Unfortunately, I do have to save some surprises for the actual book. Props to my talented brother, Donovan Sloan, for this provocative work.

+1 Shovel by Donovan Sloan
+1 Shovel of Doom by Donovan Sloan

 

Copper Labyrinth

Lunatic Labyrinth is a Best Copper Seller on DriveThruRPG! To celebrate, we’re offering a big discount on the PDF until Friday the 25th.

Lunatic Labyrinth Cover