From J. K. Rowling’s Hogwarts to Terry Pratchett’s Unseen University, magic schools and universities abound with fantastic adventures. Now you can join the adventure and enroll at Scarthey, University of the Arcane. Live and breathe the magic, wander the halls alongside wise wizards, discover hidden secrets, and battle fearsome foes.
Welcome to Scarthey — University of the Arcane is the ultimate student’s guide to the University of Scarthey, including everything you need for fantastic adventures in the exciting and unpredictable world of magical studies. Compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, this 66 page book includes:
An exploration of the tumultuous history of the University of Scarthey.
An introduction to the staff and faculties of the University.
A look at the four Houses of Scarthey, including campaign traits for each House.
A map of the University and descriptions of all the major locations around Scarthey’s campus.
A guide to the surrounding town of Scartheyton.
A practical guide to the gruesome sport of cackleball and the competitive sport of dragon boat racing.
Both a Single Page Spread PDFand a Double Page Spread PDF, stunningly illustrated, for your viewing pleasure.
Griffins — A Field Guide, our first monster book, went up on Drive Thru RPG last week. The book, beautifully illustrated by Bob Greyvenstein, features six different griffin species, from a small griffin familiar to the large noble griffin and a terrifying evil griffin.
Designing the half-lion, half-eagle creatures presented a unique challenge. The beasts had to be varied enough to provide GMs with plenty of options, while still fitting in with the griffin theme. The trick, we discovered, was to design for specific roles. So we’ve got riding griffins (the noble, common and wingless griffin), others built for encounters (the feral and terror griffin) and the sorcerer’s griffin built as a familiar.
Our field guide approach is different from other traditional monster books in that we provide a rounded look at our subjects. We included griffin rider archetypes and a cavalier order—the Order of the Gryphon—plus sections on ecology and on rearing and training, to ensure there would be something for players too.
If you like griffins, be sure to check out the book, I think you’ll be impressed.
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.
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.
Inside 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“.
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.
Imagine 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 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.
I was just looking at the Pathfinder Humble Bundle over at humblebundle.com and wow, what a deal. You can grab all the books you’ll ever need to play for a meager $18, and for $25 you’ll even get maps, dice and tokens. I can’t recommend this offer enough. Not only do you get to support a charity of your choice, but you’ll also be supporting a great publisher and an excellent initiative.
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.
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.
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.
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.