Category Archives: Events

Sandy Soulless Somnambulists – One Page Dungeon Competition 2012

I’m talking about mummies, of course, how could you not get that? Well, it’s One Page Dungeon Contest time again, which I entered last year (2011) with the Lunatic Labyrinth, which was really a fun little project and something I’m still playing around with.  This year I decided to try something a little more traditional. I proudly present… Paranoia Pyramid! Eek, gasp, oh the humanity!

Paranoia Pyramid
Fake doors, quicksand, slow sand and skeletons with bad aim... oh the horror!


Paranoia Pyramid

Somewhere is the Desert of Scales lies the pyramid of Tutmosiss (said with a snake like lisp), said to contain not only the entombed body of the snake-man pharaoh but also his valuable treasures, ripe for the picking. Of course, the legends say nothing of the undead legion protecting his sandy crypt, or the fact that the architect of the pyramid had a particularly dry sense of humour for someone born and raised in a waterless desert. Pardon the pun.

Download it here: Paranoia Pyramid (PDF, 1.92 MB)


The Science

First off, while I like science and have started enjoying maths since Varsity, I don’t consider myself to be science or maths brained much, even with my IT degree, but check this: draw a big square on an A4 page, then draw a big square in the rectangular space left over. You’re now messing with something called the Golden Ratio and might create, gasp, a Golden Spiral, with those squares getting smaller and smaller as you dice up those ever present rectangles.

Now, what do you get if you stack squares, starting with the largest at the bottom and ending with the smallest on top? A step pyramid!

So, you see, there is at least some method in my madness. While I didn’t divide up the entire A4 sheet using the golden ratio, it does, I think, provide Game Masters with a nice way to spread out the action over multiple levels on a single map.


For the Future

I’m seriously considering doing a mini solo adventure with this dungeon map, something like I did with Sentinels Watching. If you’d like to play this as a solo adventure or would rather I released something for a group why not let me know by leaving a comment. Of course, if you’re also in the running for the 1PDC why don’t you tell me where I can put in some work to beat your submission. May the most fearsome vault of fellowship fouling using a forlorn folio win the day.

UPCON 2012 Module – Death in the Deep

I could trace the origin of this blog back to many sources, but one of the most prominent must be when I started writing modules for the convention circuit back in Gauteng South Africa, specifically for UPCON and ICON. ICON was actually the first convention I ever attended, going there for comic books (Spider-Man mostly). I came out of that convention with a box of Warhammer 40k, which eventually lead to role-playing. So I kind of think ICON was where most things began for me in a way. But enough rambling, this year again I’m submitting a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure, Death in the Deep.

So, wouldn’t it be neat if players and GM’s could get additional information about the module online? Wouldn’t it be great if other interested readers could get a taste of the adventure? Well, that’s what this page is all about. I’m posting it now, but it’s sure to change as more information and downloads become available here.

#NEWS FLASH! – 30 March 2012# Just submitted the module and all the character sheets. I’m pretty proud of the outcome. I reckon this is my best work so far.

#NEWS FLASH! – 13-14 April 2012 Play Test# Our Japan group, who were a witch, wizard, fighter and stow away rouge (she only joined the fight when the Loreley split in two, managed to wound the sea serpent so badly that it ended up with a Dex of 8 and made it’s escape. The adventurers then made it to land where they sheltered for the night, uncomfortably close to a boggard camp. They then made their way on foot and by horse to Dead Mans Landing, passing the town of Gold Bridge, ruled by Duke One-Eye. They found Lantern Tower to be trapped, a store house for the 8-9-3.


Gear Up

It pays to be ready. All the following items are not required, but may prove useful to GM’s running the module.


Player Characters

You can check out the player character sheets here. Please note, check the files for viruses, I can’t be held responsible if your computer crashes and burns.



Read more about Avernos, the setting of Death in the Deep, here.

Icon 2011 – A Brief Glimps

Already almost a week in the past, Icon 2011 was loads of fun. I only managed the Friday, but there were plenty of familiar faces and I got to try my hand at convention level Magic The Gathering for the first time.



I’ve played Magic on and off since high school, and I was a little worried that I’d be up against serious players that were years younger than me, but those expectations were thankfully shattered. We played booster draft and although I only won two rounds, everyone I played was super friendly and each game a load of fun. I’d guess that most of the guys (and they were all guys) were between the ages of 20 and 35 or so, and more than patient when it came to questions about the rules. If I learnt anything playing at Icon it was that you just need to go and play, don’t make assumptions about other players, rather go and have fun.



Positive feedback on my module, Storm of Souls, which ran in the morning. I didn’t watch any of the role-playing or get involved beyond writing my module, but judging by the number of people around on a Friday I’d say that role-playing games are a great reason to take leave, or that role-players are generally unemployed.

I managed to score some of the controversial D&D Fortune Cards (3 boosters in total of Shadow Over Nentir Vale) and must say I don’t think they are as bad as everyone feared. Firstly, you only need one booster to use them in your game, so 6 boosters will cover a party of 6 players. You can then build a deck with as little as 10 cards (there are 8 in a booster), allowing you to customise your deck to suit your characters fighting style and strengths. I haven’t played with the cards yet, but the advantage to the player is pretty small, considering that you only ever have one card in your hand at a time per turn. To me the main advantage (to the GM as well) is that players will probably tighten up their tactics to maximize the effects of the cards, which means faster combats. My main criticism is that only the rare cards have proper illustrations on them, which I think is sad coming from a company that produces games like Magic the Gathering. Secondly, I picked up 3 swaps in my boosters, which will make me less likely to buy these cards again, unless I find someone who’s willing to trade or the cards see a lot of use at the table. Still, I’m excited about seeing my deck work at the table, and I’ll let you know when I give it a test run.



I went to my first ever Icon looking for Spider-Man comics, and won a door sized Mary Jane poster because of it. I was also introduced to Warhammer 40,000, which led to role-playing games, so comics for me will always be where it all began. Comic books are still well represented at Icon, and if I had had more time and money I would have filled out my X-Force collection, or my Amazing Spider-Man collection, or my… well, you get the picture.


Warhammer and Warhammer 40K

I got a lift to the Con from a friend who was just bitten by the Warhammer bug, but unfortunately there was no action on Friday except for a demo game of Warmachine, which seems to be hugely popular. I must say though that, after spending a week packing up my home, Warhammer is one of the most difficult hobbies to cart around. It’s almost like being the logistics guy for your own horde of Orks (in my case), and is likely to end up with more than a handful of carefully painted miniatures hitting hard floor at one time or another and a huge load of stress, so I don’t blame them for not showing up on the Friday.



Big things are happening in the LARP world, and I’ll leave that for another post, save to say that you need to give it a try. The LARPers are great people and LARPing in South Africa is growing stronger all the time.


If you were at ICON 2011 let me know what you got up to, leave a comment and share your experience.

Run For Japan – Fun Run Event

In aid of raising funds for those affected by the tsunami and quake in Japan this year, Pray For Japan From South Africa is hosting a fun run at the Pretoria Botanical Gardens. It’s this weekend, and a great chance for all you otaku to make a difference. You can download the file here.

Icon 2011 is around the corner.

Icon 2011 is booked from the 15th to the 17th of July. More information at

I’ve written a D&D 4th Edition module for the con, called Storm of Souls:

In an age forgotten, seven exquisite weapons known as the Soul Blades were forged. Legend says that the weapons were lost for a time, until a wise magus sought to reunite the weapons. For a long age he sought the weapons, but only managed to recovered six. The seventh weapon, it was said, had a will of its own and strove to flee the magus, leaving death and sorrow in its wake. Now rumours of the Seventh Blade’s return are being whispered in fear. Can the six sister blades be found? Can heroes be found to wield the weapons in this time of need? What secrets lie within the weapons themselves?


This is Dungeons and Dragons with a special twist that will have you wanting more. Be part of the six heroes that take up the mythical Soul Blades in the quest to destroy the Seventh Blade.


Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition for six players and a GM.


See you there!

UPCON 2011 – The Highs and Lows

It’s been awhile since I was last at UPCON, and it’s always interesting to see what’s new and what hasn’t changed. My main interests at any con are always role-playing games and boardgames, with a little LARP or Animé on the side. I’ll focus this post on the shopping and organised play specifically with regard to role-playing, since that’s our main interest at Rising Phoenix Games.

I was impressed by the range of boardgames available and I’d say that South Africa is enjoying a wide range of games and vendors, so you can usually hunt for a good bargain. Role-playing games, however, were poorly represented, except for the gaming sessions, and I’m supposing this is because of great sites like Drive Thru RPG. Various hobby gaming vendors have told me that they are struggling to get stuff in, particularly Wizards of the Coast stuff (which is generally the stuff I’m looking for), while on the other hand many book stores are able to get role-playing titles in and at much more reasonable prices. Dice, on the other hand, is almost always available at any con, and in more colours than Joseph had in his amazing coat, which is probably why you’ll catch a role-player wide-eyed and drooling talking about “shinies”.

I played in two sessions of organised play and honestly had the most awesome game of the year and the worst game of all time between those two sessions. The best game used the Pokethulhu rules and was part of a campaign called “Ses van die Bestes”, which means “Six of the Best” in English. The game revolves around a team of six heroes and an alternate reality with South Africa as a focal point. We had an excellent GM and a table of great players, and I felt like everyone tried their best to contribute to the story which resulted in me laughing so hard throughout most of the game.

The second session I played was written by a writer who’s games I actually really appreciate, and this made it the third game I’ve played of his. However, the GM and the rest of the table had been playing in this particular campaign for some time, and the character had pretty much degenerated from what I saw on my hand outs into a bunch of over sexually charged miscreants. So, at the point where the session started, things were pretty much a hard-core porno. Now, I know that role-playing games are meant for adults, and that we can expect explicit content, but there is a line. There is always a line, and I think any half able GM should be aware of it, otherwise players will leave the table, which is exactly what I ended up doing. To me though it illustrates the difficulty with this kind of game, at the end of the day a group works well if everyone is of a like mind. Just because we are role-players does not mean we all agree about everything, and that’s cool, but it can make game play impossible if GMs in particular are not sensitive to the feeling of other players.

On the bright side, my own module at UPCON went well. Since I was playing at the time, I only listened in every now and then, but the players were having a ball, which is what every writer wants and the end of the day. Feedback was all positive and I’m looking forward to putting some of the ideas from the feedback into a more finished version of the module.

Well, UPCON 2011 is over and done with, which for me as a writter was in the works for almost half a year. There were highs and lows for me for sure, but I’d say it was worth it, even if just for that one great game. I won’t likely be back next year though, since I’ll most likely miss all the cons till 2013, but I’d encourage you to get to any conventions in your area and see what’s on the go and be involved in the hobby.

Till next time!