Category Archives: General

The Lion’s Den — Valkyrie: Ragnarok

Continue the Valkyrie: Ragnarok story as the crew of the Rat finally reach their home. What will happen to their stowaway in The Lion’s Den?

Subscribe to our newsletter for the full excerpt. You can find past excerpts by checking out the Valkyrie: Ragnarok tag (bookmark it).

“Never underestimate the depth of our work, Gawn.” The captain sat in his command chair, speaking with pride as the Rat rolled slowly down the great highway, past tall monuments, towards the vast doors of the dwarven city. “We dwargen have built more than a city. We have built a civilization beyond the taint of men and elves, yes. We have built libraries and mills, mines and inventions, sure. But our true genius is not in any one individual thing. Our brilliance is the interconnectivity of each individual part. A meshing of gears so harmonious that the system sustains itself. No such colossal creation could function without this harmony. Yes, maybe for a time, but entropy would win out, eventually. That is the fault of humanity. They are too short sighted and proud to build something that can both support the system it exists in and be sustained by that system. Yes, they can innovate, and their systems are continually improving, but their works lack the agreement across all parts. Like themselves, their inventions are individual in nature.” Gawn nodded to show he was still listening, though his thoughts were more on seeing home again. It wouldn’t be long now

“It is a lesson we take from nature.” The captain continued. “The birds eat the fruit of the tree, they spread the seeds and saplings grow in new lands. The blossoms of the trees provide nectar for the bees, and so on and on it goes. Such harmony cannot be created from chaos. There is architecture built into the system. As Argitekos built our world and gave the oceans their ebb and flow, created a harmonious, interconnected system, so we mirror his divine creation, a creation that ultimately fulfils his mighty purpose. We all have purpose, Gawn, and it’s time for you to fulfil yours.”

Gawn looked up, paying attention for the first time. “Captain?”

“You’ve done a good job as my second in command. This last outing was a close thing, but you kept the boys together. It could have gone horribly wrong, I can’t deny it, but we’ve made it through. I’m of a mind to recommend you for promotion.”

“Thank you, Captain. I’m honoured.”

“You’ve earned it.”

There was a moment of silence as the Rat crept between two giant stone monoliths. Cascading lava illuminated the large inscribed pictograms that covered it. The play of the shadow in the red light made the features all the more striking, as if they contained the very fires of the lava within. They recorded the great histories of the Dwargen of Grothoring Highhold, a record of the mightiest of the dwargen kingdoms beyond the Mistiga Barg in Avernos.

“One day your deeds will be marked on one of those stones. You’ve the aptitude for it.” The captain said, smiling. “I can see you’ll do great things, Gawn. Protect our great work.”

Valkyrie: Ragnarok. Photo credit: Isis Franca

What hell is this, Faya thought as she awoke inside the belly of a terrifying creature. She guessed it was a dragon because of the smoke, the red hot fire that burned somewhere unseen and cast red shadows on the black walls, and the awful roar. Tiny black creatures of soot danced around her, then leapt across her skin and made it prickle. Worst of all was her thirst. She was sure a creature of ash was choking her with its gritty hands.

I’ll die here. Please, Mother, let it be soon.

She heard her mother’s voice answer in the incessant clanking, but what she said was just beyond understanding. She saw wondrous sakrust falling around her like manaleaf from above, but it turned to acrid slag in her mouth and made the thirst worse.

A sudden hiss made her jolt. There was a violent shudder, then everything went still. The red reflected off the innards of the beast seemed to dim, but the metal dragon or whatever it was was surely only asleep. Gaining enough of her wits, she knew she had to flee, now. She scrambled over the iron decking and through the vaguely remembered crawl space, back into the storage compartment where the dark haired dwarg had hidden her. Was it the longing for sakrut or some other tincture that had given her the visions? She wasn’t sure. She kicked hard at the door. And again. Again. Finally, the lock broke and the door swung open. She rolled out and dropped down, into the shadows below a ledge that ran parallel to the dwargen contraption. Someone heard the commotion and shouted something after her, but Faya was already running.

The rest of the story will go out to newsletter subscribers soon, so be sure to sign up.

Plunder for your Undersea Campaign

Hordes of plunder for your undersea campaign, Atlantean inventions, a fleet of new ships and vehicles, and more feats than you can swing a yardarm at.

Get it now with this special discount (good until the 7th of July).

Claustrophobia is Four! Celebrate with Us!

Claustrophobia!, the game of little gnomes in tight spaces, turns 4 today! Celebrate with us and get 40% off Claustrophobia! when you buy it from our store. Full details below.Claustrophobia Cover

“This is pretty much up our alley.”

— John Arcadian, Gnome Stew

Grab your pointy hat and say goodbye to the daisies, it’s time to embark on a perilous subterranean journey as a brave — or suicidal — garden gnome.
Face grueling challenges and unique monsters as you explore the dark places, traveling aboard the HMS Keeton, a scratch-built, nuclear-powered drilling rig with a mind of its own.
Claustrophobia’s unique mechanics and elegant rules system emphasize cooperative story play, providing the perfect mix for an evening’s hilarious insanity. Just add friends and dice.

 

*Use the code ‘FourGnomes’ on checkout.

The coupon is good for 40% off on Claustrophobia!, until the 7th of June, 2020. Use the coupon code ‘FourGnomes’ on checkout to redeem your discount.

A Brief History of Claustrophobia!

Personally, I learned so much from making Claustrophobia! If you’ve ever wanted to make a game, then the best advice I can give you is: go for it. The process is worth the journey, and each game you create will help you grow as a designer.

Claustrophobia! isn’t perfect, by any means, but it taught me so much and helped me do a much better job of later projects, such as the upcoming Nightscape: Red Terrors TTRPG. It’s one of the reasons why I treasure the game, it was a stepping stone towards going pro.

Here’s a look at the various logos we had for Claustrophobia! I think they speak for themselves. Hiring my brother Don to take on the art and layout of Claustrophobia! was one of the best decisions I made. The book wouldn’t have been nearly as good without him, or my team of playtesters.

The Future of Claustrophobia!

Work is already underway on Claustrophobia! Expanded, the second edition of the game. I’ve learned so much in these four years since the book launched, and there are many things I want to do with the system, that revisiting and expanding the system into a fully formed RPG just makes sense.

I’m toying with licensing the core mechanics under a Creative Commons license, which means you’ll be able to use the mechanics in your own published games. I’d love to see Claustrophobia’s community grow, and supporting creators is one way I can see of doing that. What do you think?

New Fiction

Don’t forget to check out our latest fiction from Valkyrie: Ragnarok. The crew of the dwarven mine crawler known as the Rat face new dangers and have tough decisions to make in Soup With the Enemy.

Bowls

Madness Cards Available Again

Our Madness Cards for fifth edition are available again!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, card printing was unavailable for a time, so we used the opportunity to update the set. This meant that we had to reorder print proofs, but we did and they look great. Madness Cards are available through Drive Thru RPG.

Madness Cards Set
Madness Cards for fifth edition.

We’ve got Madness Cards coming for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Second Edition too, so watch the blog.



Soup With the Enemy — Valkyrie: Ragnarok

A new excerpt from Valkyrie: Ragnarok is here! Join the crew of the Rat, a dwarven mine crawler, and their mysterious guest in Soup With the Enemy. Far from home and running out of supplies, the Rat’s crew resort to desperate measures…

For the full excerpt, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. You can find past excerpts by checking out the Valkyrie: Ragnarok tag ( it’s worth bookmarking the link).

The churned sand sucked at her feet as she walked, her slave shift whispering against the sand as she moved. In the distance, the sun sank slowly past the darkening dunes again, marking another dusk. The twilight was dreamlike, peaceful.

Sand exploded up, a great cloud that showered dirt over the travellers. In the chaos that ensued, Faya caught only fragments of sound and sights. The awful clanking of metal. Balls of fire flying through the air. A guard, screaming as flames engulfed him. A loud crack and a flash, then death screams. A short, thick shouldered figure battered a guard with the butt of his weapon. Then vice-like hands grabbed her by the arm. She tried to run, to wrestle herself free. She didn’t want to die. A gruff voice, commanding her is a harsh language she couldn’t understand. She broke free. She ran. An arm wrapped around her waist and held her tight.

She was half pulled, half dragged through the sand and gloom. Several masked figures stood close, ramming rods into their long weapons, then firing gouts of explosive flame past her shoulder. More shouting, then more of the creatures arrived. She suddenly yanked up into the air. More thick hands grabbed her and she was bundled through a dark opening.

It was like another world. Dark, hard, cold, metallic. Acrid smoke burnt her nose and choked her lungs. It was cramped here, claustrophobic. She was shoved and pulled along. The metal grating below her feet clanked as the creatures jostled her.

There was a monstrous roar and the world began to buck and shudder beneath her feet. She fell over, cracking her head hard on the edge of something. More shouting. She got to her knees and felt warm blood running down her face, covering her fingers.

For a time, Faya must have blanked out. She caught glimpses of red light, heard rough, savage laughter, and the thump of a hammer. Darkness enveloped her, but always there was the horrible shuddering.

‘Gawn, you blundering bulldog. “Water,” I said, and here’s you, giving us another mouth to quench.’ Captain Stalslag flexed his bandaged hand, sitting forward in his captain’s chair to stare sternly at the younger dwarf.

‘Aye, Captain. But she was clearly a prisoner.’

‘So, is she our prisoner now, or who exactly have we done a favour for? She’s clearly no Savonin welp.’

‘I have no…’

‘Neither is she a local.’

‘Aye…’

‘Nor is she a mokith pup, though I might be glad if she were.’

‘Aye, but…’

‘Don’t speak while I’m scolding you, boy. This is an important lesson you need to learn. Use your head, boy. Your heart’s in the right place, but now we have a problem, and I don’t intend to be the one cleaning it up. Do you get my meaning?’

‘Aye, Captain. I…’

‘You’ll listen carefully, is what you’ll do. Beir recons we’ve got enough water to make the run back, which means three or four days. Five, if we’re unlucky. You need to decide what you’ll do with your little pet before we reach the grottoes.’ The captain held up three thick fingers. ‘Three days, Gawn, three days. After that she can’t come with us. You know the penalty. And it’ll be your head, not mine. Are we clear?’

‘Aye, Captain. You have my word.’

‘Good. You’re a good lad, and you did the right thing. Just sort it out, for all our sakes. Dismissed.’

‘Aye, Captain.’ Gawn turned on his heels and left the cockpit.

In the companionway he met The Geezer. ‘Gawn, Captain give you an earful, did he?’

‘Aye, but it’ll all be sorted soon.’

‘I have a mind to tell you the same thing that I’m sure the Captain did. She’s not something we want aboard when we reach the grottoes.’

Gawn moved to pass the older dwarf, who grabbed him by the arm before he could escape.

‘She’s not what you think, Gawn. She’s human enough, but not all of her is. She has a touch of the Dark Woods about her. That scares me, Gawn. She shouldn’t be alive if she’s one of their tryst bastards. That’s one taboo the elves don’t take a kindly view of.’

Gawn paused, considering the fact.

‘Poor thing cut her head. I bandaged her up. The proof’s right there, Gawn, hidden in her hair.’

‘Thank you, Geeze, you’re a good friend.’

‘I’ll be your only friend, if you don’t sort this out.’ The older dwarf chuckled. ‘What will you do?’

‘I’ll think of something.’

‘What? Drop her off with the mokith? Drop her off on the surface? I’m not sure what’s worse.’

‘There has to be a human settlement somewhere. Maybe the bedawi?’

‘The bedawi won’t touch her with a stick.’ Sal said, as he came in through a porthole, carrying a bowl of steaming soup for the captain. ‘Foods up. You better eat.’

‘Aye, before Beir scoffs it all.’ The Geezer said. ‘But take that bowl through, then explain what you mean.’

‘The bedawi?’ Sal asked, then continued. ‘They’re down to earth people, but they didn’t survive Angor by being curious.’

‘And other villages, Sal?’ Gawn asked.

‘You’re out of luck. The next village is a day’s detour north. Considering the Savonin were heading that way, I wouldn’t bet my luck on it.’

The stories continues, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get the full story.



Barrow-Downs — Mini Monday #19

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we’ll build super simple Barrow-downs for your undead horde.

Mini Monday Logo

To make this little addition for your gaming table all you need is an old CD or DVD, an egg box, papier-mâché, paint, flock, and some matt varnish.

Barrow-Down
These guys love death metal. You can find our skeleton painting tutorial here.

What are the Barrow-downs? In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, they’re tombs built into earthen mounds, which became the home of the ghostly barrow-wights. I don’t think they featured in the movies, but hey, a roleplaying table can never have too many tombs.

Because of the CD’s size, the model fits well on battle maps. Barrow-downs makes a stunning centerpiece for an encounter, or to mark the entrance to a dungeon. The model is so cheap and easy to build that you could bang it out in a weekend.

Building the Barrow-Downs

Build the structure out of bits of the egg box, using your CD as a base. I used the center bits (whatever you call them) to form the standing stones at the entrance to the tomb. Papier-mâché over the whole thing to form a solid shell, then let dry. This makes for a strong, lightweight model.

Paint the earth a muddy brown, then dry brush it with a lighter brown to highlight it. Paint the stone gray, then dry brush with a lighter gray.

When that’s dry, flock over the model, leaving the stone, a path to the tomb entrance, and any cliffs free of the flock. Then spray the model with matt varnish and you’re done.

There are thousands of ways to take this project to the next level, so get inspired and have fun with it.

Till next time, stay frosty!



Ork Gundam Deff Dreads: Mini Monday 18

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we’re building Ork Gundam Deff Dreads for Warhammer 40,000. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get stuck in, boyz!

Mini Monday Logo

Cubicle Seven’s newest incarnation of Wrath & Glory just arrived and has me pumped for more Warhammer 40,000. As you may know, I’ve been working on two Gundam Deff Dreads for my Ork army. Let’s check these clanking contraptions out!

Looting Parts

Both Gundam Deff Dreads started out as chibi-style plastic kits of iconic Gundams. The legs, bases, saw arms, and big shootas came from Mech Warrior Clix figures. The heads, torsos, and backpacks were from the kits. The rest came out of my bits box.

Gundams

The point is, let your inner Mek Boy out and use whatever inspires you. Most things can work for Orks, if you add enough spikes and DAKKA! Mork’s teeth, there’s even a Mr. Potato Head Stompa terrorizing the Internet.

Deff Dread Guncan Tankskrappa

Let’s talk about this build’s concept. Tankskrappa was the first Gundam Deff Dread I did, and I had a very clear concept in mind for the build, which you’ll see in a bit. The issue was that I sidelined a lot of my concept during the build because I didn’t know how to get the look I was going for. I figured things out in the end, and I’m very happy with the final result, but it would have been too easy to cop-out. Perseverance really paid off.

The weapon arms are magnetized, allowing you to swap out weapons.

Tankscrapper Big Shootas - Ork Gundam Deff Dreads
Big Shootas and buzz saw

Deff Dread Guncan Mek-krakka

The biggest influence on Mek-krakka’s design was problem solving. It was much easier on this build to dive in and figure out the best way to create features like rokkit launchas and rokkits as I went. Mek-krakka has three rokkit launchas and a big shoota, and those rokkits took more of my time on this build than anything.

Experimenting and adding details helped a lot. The rokkits were made from ballpoint pen nibs. I’d tried toothpicks, but they didn’t look right at all. Adding fins to the rokkits near Mek-krakka’s big shoota brought the build together. Without the fins they just didn’t read like rokkits.

By Gork, I spent so much time thinking about rokkits for these two Gundam Deff Dreads I could write another whole post about them.

Mek-krakka Deff Dread

Mek-krakka - Ork Gundam Deff Dreads
Mek-krakka, rear view

Mek-krakka - Ork Gundam Deff Dreads
Lots of rokkits!

Mek-krakka More Rokkits - Ork Gundam Deff Dreads
More rokkits!

Play It Forward

As you might know, Rising Phoenix Games has published a bunch of Dungeons & Dragons titles on the Dungeon Masters Guild. From May 4th until May 17th, you can get 20% off all our D&D titles, and 100% of the earnings go to community creators like us and our contributors.

Play It Forward

This is a massive opportunity for us, so if you’ve been eyeing any of our books, now is a great time to grab them and support us too. You can find links to all of our books in this blog post.

 

Please consider sharing this with your D&D friends, but most of all, stay safe and good gaming!

 



The Rat’s Crew — Valkyrie: Ragnarok

This is the fourth excerpt from Valkyrie: Ragnarok, which introduces Gawn and the intrepid crew of the Rat, a dwarven mine crawler. Far from home and running out of supplies, the Rat’s crew look for hope in old legends.

For the full excerpt, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. You can find past excerpts by checking out the Valkyrie: Ragnarok tag (worth bookmarking the link too).

Not recommended for readers under the age of 12.

Gawn Dwargstul stood atop a rocky ridge, surveying the desert with his telescope. Its gears whirred like angry bees as he refocused the lenses. Below his vantage point, Ratta spat into his goggles and wiped them with the corner of his greasy apron.

Rat's Crew. Desert by Yuliya Kosolapova

“Grease, grease is what she needs. No water. She has water, plenty of water. Grease will keep her smooth.’ Ratta muttered on.

‘I’ll run smoother with some water.” Gawn removed the telescope from his eye, revealing a harsh vertical scar over his eye.

Gawn was a handsome dwarf, with thick black hair and a full beard he kept in a simple braid. He had sharp green eyes under his thick eyebrows. Blue tattoos covered his arms, the entwined dragon lords of Fear and Death. ‘Come on Ratta, you old fool. Cap had good intentions, but no amount of fresh air will do you enough good. Back to the Rat.’

‘Aye. Grease. Greasy gears. Good, greasy gears.’

Gawn patted the older dwarf on the back and led him over to a hole in the ground, which they promptly disappeared into. There was the muffled clank of a metal hatch closing, followed by the growl of an engine. Suddenly dirt exploded up from the hole, sending down a shower of grit. When the dust finally cleared, the hole, and the dwarves, were gone.

The Rat was a sleek mine crawler with eight births and a cramped cargo bay. It was a machine to be proud of, with an intricate combination of valves and chain-driven cogs that worked together in synchronized harmony to propel the drilling rig through the earth. As much as Gawn loved the Rat, it was his brother crewman that filled him most with pride.

The Rat's Crew. Photo credit: Isis Franca

Big Beir was the crew’s cook and joker, a dwarf who never seemed to worry, no matter what life threw at him. He stood near the Rat’s small stove, rummaging through a box of dry rations. ‘Anything?’ He asked the returning dwarves.

‘Not a drop.’ Gawn said.

Sal was Bier’s opposite, a contemplative loner who seldom shared his thoughts. He was dependable to a fault and the most widely travelled of the crew. He sat cross-legged on the decking, cutting wood for the stove.

‘See anything?’ Gawn asked Sal.

‘Same as you, I reckon. But follow this ridge and we’ll hit something.’

‘Aye aye.’

‘Or dive and we’ll hit all the water we could ever want.’ Tav said, lazily buckling on his breeches as he stood by his bunk. The ship’s weapons master wore his dusty orange hair in a tight mohawk that showed off the scars that crisscrossed his scalp.

‘I told you Tav…’ Sal began.

‘The Abyss runs shallow here, Tav. We can’t dive, Tav. Your mother’s a whore, Tav. Give it a break already. We’ll find water before we ever hit the boundary. And don’t give me that ‘saltwater’ nonsense. We’ve got the Geezer.’ Tav thrust his thumb over his shoulder. In the shadow of another cot, an older dwarf harrumphed. ‘Not you too, Geezer.’ Tav said, throwing his hands in the air. ‘To the Abyss with all of you, I’ve got munitions to polish.’ The young dwarf threw open a hatch and disappeared inside, just missing the laughter that erupted in his wake.

‘So, Geezer, is it true? Can you turn brine into water?’ Gawn asked.

The old dwarf rose from the shadows. He was bald, but his long white beard was braided through with golden talismans.

‘I can turn brine to wine, and more. Lead to golden ore, or your mother into a lusty…’

‘Oi, that’s enough.’ Gawn interrupted, but the gleam in his eye was full of laughter.

‘No. In a different time, maybe,’ the Geezer continued, ‘but now, no, impossible.’

‘Why?’ Sal asked.

You’ll get more of the story about the Rat’s crew if you’re a subscriber to our newsletter.

Bunny Girls

April 1st wasn’t much fun for many of us this year, but we still had a good laugh with Book of Races: Bunnygirls. Kim Frandsen’s newest book for 5th edition is available on our Rising Phoenix Games store, on Drive Thru RPG, on Paizo.com, and on Itch.io.

Book of Races - Bunnygirls Cover



Faya’s Memories — Valkyrie: Ragnarok

This is the third piece of fiction in the Valkyrie: Ragnarok and Valkyrie: Saga settings, and sits at the start of Valkyrie: Ragnarok, following on from Coercion. I hope you enjoy it. For the full story, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

Because of adult content, the following is not recommended for readers under the age of 12.

When she awoke, Faya was lying on the rotting floorboards. Her senses were muddled, and she gasped with pain when she tried to move. Bors had somehow broken a rib, she was sure. There was blood across the floor, leading to the door, but he was gone.

Faya pulled herself slowly up and dressed. Each movement triggered a sharp pain in her side. It was hard to breathe. She carefully brushed out her hair with a hand while holding her side, careful to cover her ears with her bangs. She then rifled through the sheets and searched the dark corners of the room. Besides the sleeping pallet and a small smokey lamp in an alcove the room was empty, and there was no sign of her weapon. She cursed, then slipped out of the room, and into the darkness of the undercity.

It didn’t take long to find Anders lying in a dark alcove, covered in alcohol and his own blood. If the alcohol was meant to mislead anyone, it wasn’t necessary; the stab wounds spoke volumes. Here, so close to the Depths, nobody would care about a bloody corpse anyway.

Bors had figured out enough of Faya’s history to scare her. It was her mother, not her father, that was elven, but he’d been right on many other accounts. Her mother was a queen of the Lotus Courts, and that had given Faya an unlikely refuge in a world that hated her for her mixed heritage. She had never known her father. It was possible that he’d escaped during the Night of Betrayal, but she would likely never know. She knew how terrible life in Savonin was for humans—she’d known the whips and the thousand tortures herself—but she could only guess at his fate. So many slaves had fled into the deserts of Angor that night. Many had died in the weeks after, killed by the mokith, the heat, or hunted down by Savonin slavers. Still, it was possible that he’d died before that mass escape, even before her birth. Her mother had never spoken of him. She would whip Faya for daring to ask, so her life had been one of noiseless service within the gloom of the Lotus Courts. She had been a shadow, veiled and jeweled and ever silent.

After the Night of Betrayal, the hunters of the Savonin raided far into Angor. By the third cycle of the moon, they’d recaptured many of the last surviving slaves, slaves who had been too weak to run any longer. These were kept in camps for collection by the caravans that went back and forth from the forests of Savo. The mokith had proven to be a deadly obstacle, and so the caravans moved only under heavy guard. A lifetime under the green, lightless canopy meant that the Savonin could not stand the brightness of the sun, so they only ventured out across the sands when it was dark. It was slow going, and so supplies were always short, and morale low. Soon the Lotus Courts were sending the queens they could spare with the caravans, to heal and work their seductive magic over the Savonin’s elite hunters. Inevitably, Fethfaura, Great Queen of the Enticing Needle, Faya’s mother, was called to cross the scorching sands to work her needle magic. Faya went too, hidden within her mother’s palanquin as a favored slave.

***

Faya in the Desert of Angor. Photo by Yuliya Kosolapova

The red desert shimmered in the scorching midday heat, a vast, uncrossable barrier. The caravan was camped out in the shade of a mighty crag of black-singed orange stone, spread out between the great blasted boulders between the cliff and the shadow’s shifting edge. The guides called the landmark “little castle.” Some of the soldiers had dared each other to scale the tower of rock, but most rested uneasily, tired from the nights of marching and their running battles with the mokith. It would be another long, harrowing trek through the dark desert as soon as the sun-kissed the horizon.

Fethfaura slept easily on her palanquin. She’d perfected the art of sleeping serenely, yet with a sultry smile on her face and her hair draped perfectly across her shoulders, accentuating her breasts. These were adorned with necklaces of silver shards and blood-red rubies. She wore a silk summer sadi, in the style of the Angorian badawi, colored in the black and red of her sect. Around her waist was the wide black belt of a queen of the Lotus Court, with her sect’s distinctive silver ring pierced with eight sharp needles. Each was as long as a finger and their wicked points caressed her skin but drew no blood.

Faya had often wondered about those needles, but she would never dare ask her mother about them. There were many rules in the Lotus Courts, but Fethfaura had given her daughter only two; go unsee, remain unheard. Faya had quickly learned the consequences of disobeying those two rules.

One of her earliest memories was of her mother’s terrible scoldings…

You’ll get more of the story if you’re a subscriber to our newsletter.

Wargaming With Kids

Do you play wargames with children between the age of three and ten? We’d love to hear about your experiences! I’m busy putting together an article to help wargamers introduce the hobby to their kids, and I’d love any insights you might have to share. Reach us on Facebook or via our Contact Us page.



Mini Monday #15: Painting Yochlol

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we’re painting Yochlol from Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game.

Mini Monday Logo

We’ve already painted a few minis from this great game, and we’ll be painting loads more in the weeks to come. Yochlol is a pretty simple model, but it’s also perfect for highlighting a few techniques that we’ll come back to in the next few projects. Today is all about washes! (No, not handwashing, though you should be doing that too.)

Step 1: Clean and Basecoat

I base coated Yochlol white. I used to love black as a base coat, but white is nice and bright and, in this case, it’s a perfect base for step 2…

Step 2: Mellow Yellow

I painted the entire model yellow (Flash Gitz Yellow), except for Yochlol’s eye.

Painting Yochlol 1
Custard Monster!

Step 3: Flesh Wash

Paint the entire mini with Flesh Wash.

Painting Yochlol 2: Flesh Wash
A little definition goes a long way.

Flesh Wash isn’t available from GW anymore, but Coat d’Arms still sell the original Citadel Flesh Wash, now called Ink Wash: Flesh. It’s a terrible wash for skin tones, but I discovered a bunch of great uses that make this is a great paint to add to your collection. Yochlol is our first test subject.

Flesh Wash pools in the recesses of the mini and gives a nice contrast with the yellow. If too much wash pools in one spot, just use a dry brush to mop up the excess. When you’re happy, leave the mini to dry.

Step 4: Details

Paint the eye white. When that’s dry, add a little blue to your white and paint a line along the top edge of the eye. This provides a slight shadow. Paint the whole pupil and iris black. When that’s dry, paint the iris orange, being careful to paint within the “lines” or edges of the iris you painted black before. Lastly, paint the base to fit the rest of your collection.

Painting Yochlol 3: Detail
Here’s Looking at You.

Step 5: Varnish

Varnish with gloss varnish. Two coats works best. The gloss gives Yochlol a wet, slimy look. You can use a matt varnish on the base to create some variety.

That’s it, you’re done!

Painting Yochlol 4: Finished
Done!

Yochlol is a quick and easy model to paint, which also makes it perfect for trying out new things. This was the first time I’d found a good use for Flesh Wash, and the techniques I used on the eye were a first for me too. Overall, I’m very happy with the results.

Home Alone? Here’s a Free Solo Adventure!

Can’t get out to roll dice and smack skeletons? We’ve got you covered! Here’s a free copy of one of our top-selling solo adventures for D&D 5e. Please like and share.

Use the coupon code “HAPPYSOLO”

 

Stay safe out there everyone!



Madness Cards for D&D Fifth Edition

As sanity slips away, draw Madness Cards to decide your character’s mental affliction.

‘In a mad world, only the mad are sane!’
— Akira Kurosawa

Madness Box Cover
Madness Box Cover

A pack of Madness Cards contains 60 cards; two copies of 30 unique afflictions, each with a short term, long term, and indefinite madness, including afflictions from Arcanaphobia to Zoophobia, compatible with the Fifth Edition OGL.

Check It Out

You can see our in-depth look at the Madness Cards on YouTube:

The free printable rules leaflet is available on Drive Thru RPG. It goes into the differences between the cards and the madness rules in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. It’s not a big difference, really, and we’ve tried to keep these as intuitive as possible.

Madness Cards Set
So many cards.

The cards themselves are pre-cut, poker-sized, with rounded corners, and they come in a handy card box.

Our Design Philosophy

Madness Cards were designed to be intuitive, with all the rules you need printed on each card. Nobody wants to page through reams of text at the table, so having everything on a poker-sized cards makes things easy. We included two copies of each card so that the DM and afflicted character’s player could each have a copy.

We wanted a connection between the various madnesses, so here each card’s content is grouped by affliction, such as Vampirism, Claustrophobic, or Delusions of Grandeur. Each level of madness affects your character in different ways, with short term madness mostly affecting combat and indefinite madness affecting how you roleplay your character.

 

Most of the rules text is brand new, so you can give up on that stuffy old table in the DMG.

South African Limited Print Run

If you’re in South Africa and are interested in a pack or two, let me know by contacting us through our Contact Page. We’re looking to do a limited print run of the cards locally, to defer some of the high import costs involved in getting the cards from the US.

 



Coercion — Valkyrie: Ragnarok

This is the second bit of fiction in the Valkyrie: Ragnarok and Valkyrie: Saga settings, and sits at the start of Valkyrie: Ragnarok. I hope you enjoy it. For the full story, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

Because of adult content, the following is not recommended for readers under the age of 12.

Bors ran his rough fingers over her skin, lightly tracing every scar.
“You’re pretty, for a Get.”
“You’re pleased, master?”
“You’ll do, half breed.”
“Thank you, master.
“You’re trained?”
“Yes master, by the queens of the Lotus Courts.”
“Really, a Savonin plaything? I thought they drowned their bastards? Or were you a curiosity?” Bors asked, running his hand down her long legs.
“I don’t know, master.”
“Probably. And yet you’re here. Far from Savonin. Far from Angor.” Bors ran his hand along her arm, then grabbed her wrist, hard. He pulled her hand closer, until it was between their faces. “A plain decoration,” he said, indicating the burnished orange bangle on her wrist. “But not Savonin, or Angorian. Not from Avernos either, at least not the lands the light touches. Dwarven.”
“If you say so, master.”
Bors shook her, hard, his expression dangerous. “You know it is. My spies have been watching you. You wear your hair loose to hide it, but you’re a half breed Get, plain enough. The child of a human slave and her elvish slave master, a child of a Savonin heathen lust ritual, more likely than not. Yet, you’re alive and far from the lands that spawned you. You’re an interesting one, for sure, but everyone has their story. Not easily do the miserly dwarves give up their tokens, even of copper. What’s your story, wench?”
“My story is whatever you want it to be, Master.” She said, as she tried to pull out of his iron grip.
“No games.” Bors’ demeanor changed again, and he smiled, revealing his brown, stained teeth. “A Get like you has a hard enough time as it is. Uncle Bors can help. I’ve got many brothers. Friends, really. Help us and we’ll help you. The undercity of Bastion would be a hard place for one, such as yourself, if you were found out.”
“Master can have what he paid for.”
Bors swung himself over her, pinning her to the musty sleeping pallet with his naked body. “I want answers. My silver not good enough for that?”
“Off me, or I’ll scream.” She’d dropped the coquettish act.
“Oh, your man’s been dealt with. So hard to get good help these days, hey?” Bors’ voice turned cold. “Now, tell me the truth, or you’ll end up in the Depths. Can you speak the elven tongue?”
“Yes.”
“And Dwarven?”
“No. I know nothing of…”
Bors slammed the back of his hand through her face. “Tell me again.”
“I know it.” She said, as blood welled up inside her mouth.

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