Tag Archives: RPG

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

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Children of the Fall — Design Insights

In this edition of Write – Design – Program we’re chatting to Gareth Graham of Frenzy Kitty Games about his latest Indiegogo campaign for Children of the Fall.

The cover of Children of the Fall.
The cover of Children of the Fall.

Rising Phoenix Games: Hi Gareth. First up, can you tell us a little more about Children of the Fall?

Gareth Graham: Hi Rodney. Thank you for inviting me to feature on the blog. Children of the Fall is an apocalyptic story game for 3–5 players. In the game, the players play as the sole survivors of a terrible apocalypse that has turned all the adults on the planet into evil, bloodthirsty savages. In addition to portraying their characters, the players will also need to manage their tribe and haven — fighting off the terrible atrocities that exist in this broken new world. It is a GMless game and has an improved system that is built on the mechanical skeleton of my previous big design, KARMA. Each session is framed around a mission and the world is built collaboratively by all the players through an extensive session zero. Children of the Fall also offers support for campaign play as well as one-shots. There is a huge variety of different missions and characters which are all customised every time they are used, meaning the game has a lot of replay potential.

RPG: You’ve already achieved some of your stretch goals. Where is the campaign currently sitting and what can fans expect once the next stretch goal is met?

Gareth: The campaign got off to a bit of a slow start, but we have successfully funded and unlocked our first stretch goal. Future stretch goals include new character playbooks, missions, and improved quality of the printed materials.

RPG: Frenzy Kitty Games has several apocalyptic survival horror titles, including Dusk, Downfall, Unchained, and a few of the modules in KARMA: A Roleplaying Game About Consequences. What is it about the genre that inspires you?

GG: There is something about this particular genre that excites me from a gamification perspective. What’s great is that it is rich with opportunities to create narratives that are dripping with tension, drama, and high stakes. It also allows the players to get into the action straight away, starting scenes or sessions in-media-res. In my opinion, the best stories are those of characters overcoming truly terrifying and seemingly insurmountable challenges (or seeing them die trying).

RPG: As a designer, how has Children of the Fall allowed you to dig deeper into apocalyptic survival horror? What can fans of the genre expect from the game?

GG: One of the design goals I had with COTF was to really emphasize the struggles that these characters face as children in a deadly and dangerous new world, and the scarcity of resources that are slipping through the character’s fingers as they and other tribes fight over supplies. The engine was mechanically designed from the ground up to tell these kinds of stories — stories of desperate measures in desperate times. The complication system has been weighted to make characters succeeding in difficult complications something rare and truly worth celebrating. The players also have story points which serve as a metagame currency to allow the players to possibly affect other player’s scenes — and this resource is limited and invaluable — emphasising the scarcity and helplessness that these characters must be feeling as children in a world hell-bent on wiping them out. It’s not all hopeless though — players also each get one Determination and Helix point which allow them to flip a result on its head and add great twists in the tale.

RPG: The art from Vincent Sammy really fits the theme and the mood of the game. Can you tell us a little more about their involvement with the project?

GG: I’ve known Vincent for years — we worked together on DUSK and in my opinion, nobody does dystopian art like him, so when it came time to make Children of the Fall he was my first choice. One of the things I love about Vincent is that we are both on the same wavelength — something I’m not extremely good at is writing up briefs for art commissions, so I explained the setting to him and told him to let his imagination run wild — and the images he has created for COTF are better than I could ever have hoped for. He’s also from Cape Town, so it’s great to have a product that is proudly South African.

Click here to see the image in full screen.

RPG: This isn’t your first Indiegogo campaign, following the fully funded KARMA: A Roleplaying Game About Consequences. What, if anything, did the past campaign teach you and how has it influenced the Children of the Fall campaign?

GG: The two main lessons I learned from KARMA was to set a more achievable goal and to make the campaign only 30 days (as opposed to KARMA’s 60-day campaign). Setting a lower target allows you to fund quicker and to get into that delicious stretch goal territory which is why people really decide to back crowdfunding campaigns in the first place.

RPG: You’re from the “Mother City” of Cape Town, South Africa. What’s the gaming scene like there?

GG: The gaming scene in Cape Town is great. It’s grown exponentially over the last 5 years, with gaming stores, cafes and conventions becoming more and more commonplace. One thing about Cape Town’s scene is that it is still a little more fragmented than I would like. Hopefully, as the conventions become bigger and more popular they will help to solidify connections between different gamers and game groups.

RPG: And yourself? What are you playing, what’s inspiring you as a designer, and where can folks find you and Frenzy Kitty Games?

GG: I’m diving into John Harper’s stuff a lot at the moment — Blades in the Dark and Lady Blackbird are absolute masterworks. There are lots of indie RPGs that just get me excited — I love the whole DIY mentality of indie game design. I’m also very interested in a lot of the OSR stuff that’s been coming out over the last few years — that feeling of nostalgia with modern design sensibilities is hard to beat.

Thanks Gareth and good luck with the campaign.

If you’ve got questions for Gareth then put them in the comments below. Be sure to check out Children of the Fall on Indiegogo and Frenzy Kitty Games on Drive Thru RPG.

 

 

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

Enroll Today

Welcome to Scarthey, University of the Arcane

Admissions Now Open, Enroll Today

Scarthey Book

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.

Archchancellor Gwydion Ambrosius
Archchancellor Gwydion Ambrosius

Get it on Paizo, Drive Thru RPG, and Open Gaming Store

 

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 PDF and a Double Page Spread PDF, stunningly illustrated, for your viewing pleasure.

Get that Degree in the Arcane Arts! Enroll Today!

Get it on Paizo, Drive Thru RPG, and Open Gaming Store

 


More titles from Rising Phoenix Games

Griffins A Field Guide Dying Dead, a 1-on-1 adventure. Contagions Kiss. Claustrophobia!

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Griffins — Designing the Beasts

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.

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!

 

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…

 

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.