Category Archives: General

Ork Weirdboy Kitbash — MM 29

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week we’ve got an Ork Weirdboy kitbash.

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Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the current Ork Weirdboy from Games Workshop. It’s because of the chains and the weird poses, but anyway. I also love kitbashing, so I took the chance to add a little spice to my army. Happy #Orktober everyone!

Orktober on Rising Phoenix Games


For this kitbash I used the Orc Hunter from Reaper’s Bones range, a bit of wire, and bits from the Gretchin box from Games Workshop.

Orc Hunter from Reaper Bones

I love the stabby pose, though the spear is ridiculously flexible.

Body Work

I chopped off the spear and drilled through his hands to accommodate the wire. I then added some plastic tubing to attach the shock prod.

I used modelling epoxy to replace his neck after hacking off the little orc head. Onto the new neck I stuck the head at a cocked angle to make him look more menacing.

Since he looked like a Runtherd anyway, I stuck the whip from the Gretchin kit onto his belt at the back, so now he can fill two roles in my army. Maybe hanging around with all those grots made him really weird.

Lastly, I attached him to a 40mm base and this Ork Weirdboy kitbash was done.

Ork Weirdboy Kitbash

Nightscape: Red Terrors is in Print

Nightscape: Red Terrors, the game of cosmic horror set in post-Soviet Russia, is now in print through Drive-Thru RPG.

Nightscape: Red Terrors RPG CoverIn the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian government decommissioned several publicly hidden research facilities devoted to ‘arcane science,’ chief among them, PERM Laboratory 37. Recently, due to several strange energy emissions, the location of the PERM 37 facility has been discovered by various parties with an interest in the lab’s inventory of eldritch artifacts.

You’re an agent of one of these factions on your way through driving sleet to the facility. Dusk is falling as you pass through the broken security gate…



Servants of the Crone — Valkyrie Ragnarok

Continue the Valkyrie: Ragnarok story as Faya is taken in by an old crone and discovers a malicious alliance with the forces of evil in Servants of the Crone!

Last Month

Faya sat, wounded, atop the spires of Bastion, watching a sun she’d not seen in years pass across the sky. After a harrowing night, an ash dwarf brought a strange woman to tend to Faya and her pulped leg.

You can check out last month’s excerpt, The Long Night, here.

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

I’m going to change things a little, and the reason will become apparent. Faya’s story is evolving, much like any storyteller’s tale evolves over time, through retellings and the teller’s exploration of their story and art. The world of the Valkyrie saga exists in my head and in a growing collection of notes, and these ideas are slowly knitting into a more realised whole. I hope you’ll enjoy watching this story germinate and take root, and that you’ll forgive the few unchecked branches.

The crone’s refuge was hidden away in a hollow spire, high above the chasms of the city. A vagrant’s home lost to the world among the uncountable spires of Bastion’s skyscape. It was dark inside. The ash dwarf’s chains had kept him from following us. She had given me strange berries that numbed the pain but brought back the terrors of the night. We hobbled through a twisted nightmarescape of shadowy towers and thin stone bridges, me leaning on her shoulder, where one misstep would spell death.

In her hovel I lay under mildew covered hides and rags. Hours blurred into days, blurred into weeks, maybe months. Sometimes there was a small fire, but it was always cold. The deathly cold of death’s presence.

I remember tinctures and vials tucked into the rafters, glass and pottery vessels that shone like bat’s eyes when the crone’s fire flared.

There were moments of clarity too, when she worked her rituals. These cut through the figments and drowsiness but brought new horrors that would stalk me from that day to this. These took the form of creatures from the umbral world that exists in the spiritshadow of our own. These vision creatures bayed like dogs at the crone’s chanting as they danced about the walls like shadows. Their claws raked my leg with icy talons, but never cut the flesh, and only when the crone’s gestures or some other distraction took my attention.

When her chanting ceased the demon shadows fled. The pain would come rushing back with unconsciousness and fevered dreams.

The Geezer had once spoken of the threads of magic, the unseen bindings of reality. Wizards knew how to manipulate these, to pluck on the taught strands to conjure manifestations of their wishes. I know now that they had little knowledge of the effect this plucking had, for it was worse than twanging on some spiderweb of the arcane. The witch knew both the web and those that lurked unseen on the other end, past where our world and a world of dark horror meet. She had made some pact with these servants, and they served her well.

The crone taught me many things too, but I hid my revulsion at her arts and failed at my lessons whenever I could fain a lack of understanding.

The Savonin fear one thing more than anything, and their word for it is ‘Venn.’ It might be translated as ‘spirit beings.’ The Savonin are creatures of the here and now. Their immortality binds them to this world. When they die, they have no souls to send to the afterlife, and so they fear anything from that world. Their fear, I think, led them to their hatred of humans, with their short lives and infinite ever afters. The Savonin elves know only the Venn of depravity and despair, for they are closest to the elves. In the common tongue, you’d call them “demons.”

I will not use the Savonin word ‘Venn’ for the eternal creatures of hope and promises kept, though the Savonin do not make this distinction. There is an older Dwargen word more appropriate: ‘Walkure.’ In the common language ‘angels,’ ‘heavenly messengers,’ or ‘little gods’ might all work. The dwargen knew their hierarchy and pantheon, but only worshipped a select few of the Walkure. Chief among the worshipful Walkure was one with many names, some unspoken, who rules over all. It was His light I sought in those dark hours of toiling at spirit calling.


The rest of the story continues, but you’ll have to be a newsletter subscriber to get the rest of the action.

The 400th Rising Phoenix Games Blog Post

Yes, that’s right, it’s our 400th post on the Rising Phoenix Games Blog! To celebrate, we’re given away a free game!

400 and Counting

Mmm, 400 is a big juicy number.

We’ve shared some great articles over the years, including our Stranger Things Season 3 RPG campaign that tried—and succeeded in many ways—to anticipate the show’s third season before it aired. We’ve run several article series beyond that, including Write Design Program which looks at game design topics, Magic Life Lessons which delves into Magic: the Gathering to learn important life lessons, and our largest series yet, Mini Monday, which brings you miniature painting, terrain, and kit-bashing projects for your gaming table.

Mini Monday Logo

Of all our series, Valkyrie: Ragnarok, our short fiction series, is the one I’m most excited about. It tells the story of Faya, a half-elf outcast trying to surive criminal cults and the city watch in the deadly city of Bastion. Her story is much bigger than her own survival though, but I better not spoil any surprises just yet. The newsletter is the place to read more of Faya’s story, delivered to your inbox each month, so be sure to subscribe.

Of course, we’ve always been focused on our core business, which is producing excellent RPG supplements. The Rising Phoenix Games blog will always be the best place to find out about our newest products and special offers, like our newest game, which is free to download!

D4 Dungeon

D4 Dungeon, is an OSR dungeon crawl RPG I created for the #AGBIC game jam. We’re giving it away to celebrate hitting our 400th post!

D4 Dungeon Cover

The pyramid of Krug lies in the deep mists of the Valley of Bones, drifting in and out of reality as the tides of magic ebb and rise. Four determined tomb robbers have climbed the pyramid’s many black steps to reach the ancient tomb’s pinnacle, and the great door of bone.

Beyond the grim door’s threshold lie the many mysteries and horrors of the pyramid. Those who overcome them may discover great treasures, or a horrible end. Beware, for the pyramid’s power will work for and against you.

D4 Dungeon is a light dungeon crawl and a love-letter to old-school RPGs. It includes all the maps you’ll need to play, four character cards for the greedy Tomb Robbers under your control, a Doom Clock to mark the hour of your ultimate demise, and the rules in a printer-friendly PDF.

Download or Donate on D4 Dungeon’s store page, which you can find by hitting the big orange button below. Can you survive the dark dismal D4 Dungeon?!


You can read more about the “A Game by its Cover” game jam on Be sure to check out D4 Dungeon’s game jam thread, or download or donate on D4 Dungeon’s page. If you would like to donate, the best option is through the orange button above. That way your donation will have the greatest impact and help us to keep improving the game.

More To Come

We hope you’ll subscribe and keep coming back for more.
Until next time, keep safe and play good games.

The Long Night — Valkyrie: Ragnarok

Continue the Valkyrie: Ragnarok story. Can Faya survive the night, perched high above the city, among the spires of Bastion?

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

Faya swam in a confusing dreamland, half-waking, half-sleeping. She felt incredibly tired, but it was a comfortable weariness. She was aware of pain, but it was numbed and barely real. Slowly her senses coalesced and she realised she was propped up against the hard granite of a pillar. An ash dwarf—maybe the one she had seen on the bridge below—was rifling through her bag.

“Hey, stop that you!”

“Whaaat? Is not stealing I is doing. I is looking fur summin’.” The ash dwarf held up its empty hands indignantly. “You is lost lots of blood, you is. I is ‘opin’ to mend you wiff summin’.” The small grey man was jumping up and down and gesturing wildly, as if that would somehow make him more trustworthy.

The dwarf had ripped her shirt and shawl to make bandages, and had bandaged her arm and braced her shattered leg with a plank.

“You is need ‘elp girl, if you is want walk again. Lots of people is looking fur you too. What ya is gonna do, girl?”

“I know a little of the healing arts.”

“Is ya now? I ‘ope you is, but is ‘aving a betta plan, I is.”

“Oh yes?”

“You is stay ‘ere, and I is coming back. You gotta do me one favour.”

“Oh?” Faya tried to shift, but the pain was too much.

“Ya rest an’ don’t die. You is wait long, but you is patched up. Just wait an’ keep alive ‘til I come.”

There was a shout from somewhere and the jangle of chain. Faya noticed for the first time that the dwarf was chained at the ankle, and the chain was drawing taught. Without another word the dwarf was off, scuttling across the rooftop and down a ladder.

She could see a trail of blood leading from it to where she lay, though she had no idea of how she’d gotten from there to here. More pillars hid her away from anyone who might peer over the rungs. She needed to find a safer place, but as she tried to move again the pain became unbearable. She wasn’t going anywhere.

Flight through Bastion. Image credit: Jace Afsoon
Image credit: Jace Afsoon

Faya knew she had to do all in her power to keep awake. She was weak from blood loss and pain, and the shakes of shock were starting. She checked the rest of her body for injuries, moving her good hand slowly over her body because of the pain. A fractured rib, a cut across the palm from the whip, the snapped arrow shaft in her arm. Her leg was the worst of all. It was shattered below the knee, and had become an ugly, swollen purple. The ash dwarf had cut her breeches from the ankle up to the knee. She knew there wasn’t much she could do, but raised it carefully up onto her bag.

Her mother had known a great deal of the apothecary’s arts and had spent many hours teaching Faya what she knew. Faya had become an adept apprentice. In the Court of Eight Needles, pain and suffering brought great ecstasy, but all too often a neophyte or guest would take things too far and her mother would have a new patient.

“Healing”, her mother had said “is the bright face of the two-faced moon. The Savonin are despised for their ways with poison and pain, but when it comes to healing, we are without equal. We know the body for we explore it in every way we possibly can.” To suffer and heal in an ongoing cycle of great ecstasy was one of the most sacred tenants of the Lotus Court of Eight Needles.

The Long Night
Image credit: Billy Huynh

Far above her a spire egret wheeled majestically. She’d heard of these great birds before, and now, watching them filled her with a childlike sense of wonder. She had heard they were big enough for men to ride to war on, but they wheeled far too high above for her to discern a rider.

The world of spires above the city was a beautiful one. She’d been in the deep shadows of Bastion for so long she’d forgotten what it felt like to breathe the clean air, to watch the low scudding clouds float by, or to see sunlight.

Oh, how good it would be to feel the sun again. She was a child of Savo, it was true. Her kin, at least the elven line of her mother, had spent their lives in the shadows of the great trees of the Forest, and had little love for the sun. The dwarves had taught her to love the sun, even low below the earth. Their homes were warm and bright, lit by clever devices that brought the sun’s warmth far below the mountains. She had spent days with Gawn wandering the dwarven farms above the surface too. They were great hidden terraced fields of wheat and barley that survived only because of the dwarves’ ingenuity.

It was, she guessed, mid-morning, and the sun was behind her. She sat in the obfuscating shadows and watched. And waited. Slowly the shadows crept from left to right. She could hear people far below, the general hubbub of the city, but not a soul disturbed her.

She had only a few sugar cubes, which she ate, and a small flask of her own concoction of herbs. She fought to keep these down, and kept her eyes on the sky to distract her from the nausea.

The rest of the story continues, but you’ll have to be a newsletter subscriber to get the rest of the action.

What Makes or Breaks an RPG Web Store?

Sometimes a discussion on the Internet is just too important to ignore, and this post, by Owen KC Stephens, concerns you, our customers. Owen asked about previous customers on Paizo’s RPG web store, and his questions concern how you’re able to access our products, as well as those by other great third party publishers of Pathfinder and fifth edition content. If Owen’s post applies to you, we’d love to hear your feedback.

Our own Rising Phoenix Games RPG web store is growing, and we’d love to be able to offer you the experience you want. If you have any feedback for us, feel free to contact us or drop a comment below. I’ll be keeping an eye on Owen’s thread too, because your opinion matters.

Speaking of online stores, please do check out Rising Phoenix Games on Buying from our own store is always the best way to support us, but our partnerships with companies like, the Open Gaming Store, Drive-Thru RPG, and Itch.IO mean that you can get your favorite Rising Phoenix Games books and supplements at your favorite online store.

The Best Way to Support RPG Creators

If you’ve ever wondered where your money goes when you buy RPG books online, then hopefully this will shed some light on the subject. The best place to support RPG creators, by revenue split is:

  1. The creator’s own website. We get 100% of the profit off each sale made through our store.
  2. The Open Gaming Store.
  3. Paizo.Com
  4. Drive-Thru RPG or other One Bookshelf (OBS) sites. DTRPG and sites like Drive-Thru Cards take a 35% cut of the profit. That said, their tools make promotion and contractor payments far easier, their staff is very helpful, and their library of titles is the largest on the web, so we’ve always been happy to sell through them.
  5. Community creator sites, like the Dungeon Masters Guild. The DMG takes 50% off each sale, which is likely shared between Wizards of the Coast and OBS.

Don’t Miss the Newsletter

I’m busy putting together the final touches for this month’s newsletter, and it’s a whopper. Don’t miss out, subscribe to the Rising Phoenix Games newsletter today. Each monthly issue includes exciting product news, discounts, and free fiction from the Valkyrie: Ragnarok saga. I’ll be posting an excerpt from the story on the blog too, but subscribers get to read more and subscribing is totally free.


MVP Yourself to a Painted Army — MM 26

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week we’ll look at a great little trick for getting your army painted.

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The easiest part of this wonderful hobby is buying the miniatures. You can get loads of wonderful models, some at amazing prices, for just about anything. I don’t know about you, but the hard part for me is getting them all painted. I still have a good whack of metal and plastic from my high school days that are still a pristine gray. That, my friendly Internet blog reader person, is where this blog comes in, and today I’m going to share my little secret that’s winning the war on bland gray.

An MVP Army

MVP stands for Minimum Viable Painting. I swear it does. No need to look it up.

By MVP I mean the fewest number of miniatures you need to paint in order to play a game where all the models are painted. In an RPG, this might be four characters and the monsters for an evening’s worth of encounters. In Warhammer 40,000, this might be a small combat patrol including a squad and your warlord.

I’ve been collecting miniatures for Warhammer 40,000 for years, but recently I’ve been working hard to put together three armies, so I can have friends over to play (when lockdown ends). I’ll show you what I mean with these three races. For Orks, I can put together 10 Boyz with a Nob, plus a Weirdboy warlord, for 163 points. My Genestealer Cults army consists of a Magus and 12 Neophyte Hybrids, for 162 points. Lastly, my Angels Encarmine Space Marines include a Tactical Squad and a Captain, all for 163 points.

The total number of miniatures I’d need to paint if they were all fresh out of the box is 12 Orks, 13 Gene Cultists, and 6 Space Marines. That’s only 31 models.

Start Small

The point is that it’s easy to go out and buy a 2,000 point army, but much better to start with a small one and add to it as you go. This lets you learn your army as you go, is much easier on the wallet, and means you’ll never be demotivated by a mountain of gray.

This is one of the many strengths of the Games Workshop 9th edition starter sets. You get everything you need to play, and it’s the perfect seed for a bigger painted army.

Also, starting small and painting an MVP helps stave off buyer’s remorse.

Don’t Forget RPGs and Board Games

This principle works well for painting up board games and RPG minis.

If you’re a GM, you usually know what the players will face, so you can paint what you need for your next session.

In the case of board games, you can sometimes exclude unpainted minis, or you can focus on the minis that will see the most play. I’ve got a stack of cards for my Dungeons & Dragon Adventure Board Game collection that includes only painted (and pre-painted) minis, so whenever I play the models are all painted. As a bonus, whenever I finish up new models their cards get added to the game; it feels like a treat.

How about you? Do you have any painting tips to help us get through the gray and bring a painted army to the table? Let us know in the comments.

Modular Tavern Storefront — Mini Monday 25

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week we’ll build a modular tavern storefront, because every adventure starts in the pub.

Mini Monday Logo

Modular Tavern Storefront

“You meet in the tavern…”

That line has probably started more roleplaying campaigns than any other, as cliched as it is. Having some tavern terrain is going to get a lot of use in fantasy tabletop games, so let’s build one. We’ll make it modular to get as much use out of this piece as possible, and we’ll use the magic of magnets!

Module Tavern Storefront Without Sign
The module tavern storefront without its sign.

Modular Tavern Storefront and Mini
With the power of magnets, the shop sign is attached. The Pewter Tankard is an obscure Warhammer FRP 1st ed. reference, and is the name of the establishment in our Pewter Tankard Tavern Map.

Modular Tavern Storefront Phoenix Books
We make books, so we need a book shop, even if it’s only a mini one. More magnets and a quick switch are all that’s needed.


We’re making a sandwich, with the door and window in the middle, then the walls, then the wooden beams. This will give the model depth, but allow us to keep things thin enough to game around.

I’m sorry that I don’t have any pictures of the process of making this. I did take a few, but they’ve been lost in the general chaos of my Pictures folder. If I do find any I’ll update this post, but I’ll do my best to describe what’s going on.

The Frame and Door

Cut two pieces of card into rectangles. Mine is 4″ long and 2.5″ high, enough space to incorporate the door and window. Cut a space for the door and window in both pieces of card so you’ve got two copies.

Cut a rectangle of balsa wood to make the door. This should be wider than the space you’ve cut in the cardboard.

Cut lengths of balsa wood to form the outer wooden frame, for both sides of the model. Keep any offcuts for later.

Ramblings on Balsa Wood

A lot of people use popsicle sticks or coffee stirrers for wooden features, but balsa wood is much easier to work with, lighter, and a strip of it will get you through many projects. They build remote control airplanes out of the stuff, it can take a real banging. Believe me, I’ve crashed my glider more often than I’ve flown it.


Use the back of a hobby knife to lightly gouge along the grain of the balsa wood. You can press harder to define planks, so the door is one solid piece that looks like it’s made of individual planks. This cheating saves time and glue, and keeps the model stronger.


The window is made of stiff plastic, like the type you find in toy packaging. Cut a piece of this that is larger than the space it’ll fill. Use a ruler and a permanent marker to draw the black lines to represent the lead frame on one side of the plastic. Then, use a yellow highlighter to carefully color between the lines and color the opposite side too. Let this dry, and remember that the highlighter will rub off easily. Finally, carefully stipple gloss varnish over one side, leaving it to dry before doing the other. This should cause the yellow to pool and will texture the glass.


Glue the door onto one piece of card. Then, using cutoffs, line the outer side of the card (the same side that has the door) and around the window. Fill all the gaps so you won’t see any when the second piece of card is joined.

Next, glue the outer wooden frame onto the walls.

Pro Tip: Don’t stick the second piece of card or the window on yet. Work with the two pieces until you’ve finished painting them, then glue the window in and join the walls. This way, you won’t have to worry about getting paint on the window.

The Magic of Magnets

Glue a strip of metal above the window. We’ll hide this later, and then use magnets on the signs to stick them onto the wall.


Mix up a small amount of wall grout and paint it onto the walls, between the wooden supports. Be sure to paint it over the metal strip.


Use strips of cardboard to make the slate stones of the base. As long as your wall isn’t top-heavy, the base can be quite narrow, making it easier for gaming around.


If you haven’t glued the two sides together or stuck the window in, this part will be easy enough.

Paint the walls an off white, then use a slightly darker version of the same color to paint the top of each wall section, drawing the brush down to make it look like weather damage.

Paint the wood black, making sure to fill in all the gaps. Paint over this brown, without filling the gaps. Holding the brush flat against the wood will help with this. Drybrush with a lighter brown over the edges of each beam.

Paint the stone gray, then drybrush with a lighter gray, picking out the edges again.

Modular Tavern Storefront
Use a small picture frame eye screw to make a door knocker. Stick a “U” shaped loop of paperclip over this to complete the look.

Finally, paint everything with a matt varnish, except for the window, then glue it all together. Done!

A Dark Night for Russia

I’m very excited to tell you about Nightscape: Red Terrors, our latest release:

Nightscape: Red Terrors RPG Cover

In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian government decommissioned several publicly hidden research facilities devoted to ‘arcane science,’ chief among them, PERM Laboratory 37. Recently, due to several strange energy emissions, the location of the PERM 37 facility has been discovered by various parties with an interest in the lab’s inventory of eldritch artifacts.

You’re an agent of one of these factions on your way through driving sleet to the facility. Dusk is falling as you pass through the broken security gate…

“The line between magic and science disappeared in the utopianism of the early Soviet period. Hopes formerly invested in religion and magic were transferred to technology and science. Stalinist political culture utilized ideas taken from the occult elements in its attempt to influence the masses.”
— B.G. Rosenthal

In Nightscape: Red Terrors you play an agent of Integrand General — an extra-governmental non-profit established to research the arcane sciences — fighting your way through the PERM 37 facility. You will be opposed by the horrific forces at the disposal of the Director. Modern weapons have little power against the most powerful horrors you’ll face, but a host of creatures do bleed. Arm yourself well and expect the unexpected.

Nightscape: Red Terrors includes everything you need to play, except for a few 20-sided dice and a group of friends.

Journey into the world of Nightscape:

Visit to find out more, and buy the book today:


It’s becoming a tradition that we end off product announcements with a 20% off discount code. This one is good until the 23rd of August.

How to Learn any New Game Dev Skills — WDP

One of the things I absolutely love about game design is that I’m learning all the time. In this article, I’m going to talk a little about what ‘baby steps’ really mean and how you can go about learning new game dev skills — or anything else — to become a better game designer, GM, or whatever.

Write - Design - Program
Write – Design – ProgramWrite

Think about it; what do ‘baby steps’ actually mean? First of all, they’re small and slow. Baby’s don’t take steps until they’ve first managed to support the weight of their own head, roll around, push themselves up, crawl, and then pull themselves up and stand. That’s a whole lot of learning that’s happening in a brain that’s a giant information sponge — and we haven’t even taken a ‘baby step’ yet.

When babies start walking, they get everywhere, exploring the world around them and enjoying the new freedom afforded to them by their little legs. It’s fun, and the risk of falling doesn’t hold them back much.

If there’s a new skill you want to learn — and this doesn’t just apply to learning new game dev skills — then you need to be like a baby:

Have Fun

In a recent interview, with Kenny from Oh! Sheep, I talked about following your passion. Passion certainly fuels motivation, but things can quickly start to look more like work than play when the lines between your job and hobby blur. You have to keep things fun, and that often comes down to finding the fun.

If you can’t find ways to keep things fun for yourself and you’re creating games, writing for entertainment, or trying to bring joy to others, then that’s something worth investigating for yourself. Ultimately, I think it comes down to a sense of play or having a puzzle to solve. A lot of the time work throws puzzles at you, and trying to crack them can be a lot of fun.

I once asked my dad why I’d never seen the train set he had as a boy laid out before. He told me that, as an engineer and property developer, he was doing that sort of thing every day, only on a much bigger scale. His job was full of puzzles, and there was a sense of play to his work. It has kept him motivated, even after suffering a debilitating stroke.

Compete with Yourself

Unlike most of us, babies are never comparing themselves to other babies and putting themselves down for what they can’t do.

It seems even more difficult to avoid comparing ourselves these days, thanks to social media. When was the last time you came away from social media feeling good about yourself? If Twitter or Facebook left you feeling down or angry the last time you visited, what types of posts affected you and how did they make you feel, personally? Did you feel like you weren’t achieving enough? I often get that feeling when browsing social media.

The thing is to compete with yourself, not with the world. It’s far better to get better each day than to be like someone else, and it’s far less draining.

Something from nothing

That’s the motivation mostly out of the way. Let’s get practical for a moment.

Breaking It Down into the Basics

I picked up skateboarding again two months ago. I’m… not very good, but I see a lot of things more clearly now than I did when I was a kid, inspired by Rodney Mullen and Tony Hawk and trying to learn to ride for the first time.

For one thing, we’re incredibly lucky to have the Internet and sites like YouTube that make learning more accessible. That doesn’t mean that all of the content is good, accurate, or useful, but we can easily skim through basic information in a couple of minutes, assimilate and process it, then apply it.

Most YouTube videos (and posts like this one) tend to provide the surface information, and you have to dig deeper to gain true mastery. That’s true of many books too, but we have to be aware that we’re only scratching the surface.

As an example, something that doesn’t come up much in videos on skateboarding is how important it is to get the basics right. Yes, many videos talk about where to put your feet for a trick, but few people are talking about getting comfortable on your board, riding in different stances, riding backwards, getting comfortable turning, stopping, and generally mastering the basics. Nobody thinks these basics are cool. Maybe they’re just seen as the gateway to becoming a real skater. Even though these skills are fundamental to being able to skateboard and the best skateboarders have mastered these skills.

In Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, Geoff Colvin talks about deliberate practice, and a part of that is getting the right practice for your needs. This, I think, also means not getting too far ahead of yourself.

I recently read an article about a martial artist that spent lockdown practicing footwork, the “literal foundation” of martial arts. He listed three goals he had:
1. Be comfortable with either foot leading.
2. Be able to stop instantly without losing balance.
3. Maintain a good posture throughout his movement.

By focusing on these basics he was able to improve a vital element of his martial arts skill, train using his limited resources, and overcome bad habits.

Image Credit: Drew Beamer
Image Credit: Drew Beamer

In short, you have to look for the pillars of whatever skill you’re learning, then seek to master them.

In coding, this might be understanding the logic of if else statements and other general coding principles before trying to master the whole of Java.

In writing, knowing how to write good, grammatically sound sentences has made it far easier for me to deal with the complexities of storytelling and composing larger pieces.

When I first started skateboarding, I was pushing mongo, which is generally considered the worst way to push a skateboard around. It never felt comfortable and it caused all sorts of other issues. Since starting again, I’ve focused on the basics and seen much better growth. Skateboarding now feels like something that’s possible, rather than an impossible pipe dream.

Not saying I’ve cracked the code or anything, but it certainly seems there’s a lot of worth in having a good base to any skill you want to master.

#RPGCon is Wrapping Up

Rising Phoenix Games’ #RPGCon has been a real blast, and we’ve loved sharing every minute of it with you. We’ve already begun discussing plans for next year, so hopefully #RPGCon will just grow and grow. Thank you all so much for your support!
Rising Phoenix Games Con
You can still find all the articles, interviews, and discounts on the  #RPGCon Homepage. Many of the discounts are ending today and tomorrow, so this is your last chance to buy great supplements for Pathfinder 1e, D&D 5e, and some excellent stand-alone games.

Rising Phoenix Games Interview with Oh Sheep!

Kenny of Oh Sheep! recently interviewed me about the creation of Rising Phoenix Games, publishing games, pursuing your passion, and building your audience. Check out the Rising Phoenix Games Interview with Oh Sheep! below, or on YouTube.

Have any questions about the Rising Phoenix Games interview? Feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

You can find out more about the Oh, Sheep! card game and the upcoming Kickstarter campaign for the project on the Oh, Sheep! website. There’s also a print and play version of their beta rules for Oh, Sheep!

Rising Phoenix Games on YouTube

Be sure to check out our own Rising Phoenix Games YouTube channel, where we take a closer look at some of our products and projects. This blog and our newsletter remain our focus, but we release new videos every now and then, especially to showcase new products or ask the community questions, so please consider subscribing.

Rising Phoenix Games’ RPG Con is On

Rising Phoenix Games’ RPG Con is this week, all week, right here on the blog!
Rising Phoenix Games Con
Join us for articles, interviews like this one, discounts, and more RPG fun! We’ve been adding links to the RPG Con Homepage all week, and there are a lot of super deals to be had.


Tuesday’s post was the next installment in the Valkyrie: Ragnarok series of fiction: Flight Through Bastion.

Aurora’s Christmas at the Realms Emporium

Aurora’s Whole Realms Catalogue was a supplement for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd-Edition, packed full of fun and useful items for your characters. Now, we’re revisiting Aurora’s Whole Realms Emporium for some early Christmas shopping!

Aurora's Christmas Catalogue

Friends of mine, Ismael Alvarez, Kim Frandsen, and Troy Daniels kindly asked me to join them in revisiting Aurora’s Whole Realms Emporium, this time for D&D fifth edition. We’ve been doing so for a while now, with a Summer, Autumn, Winter, and now a Christmas catalogue published on the Dungeon Master’s Guild.

Need the perfect gift for the barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard in your party? Look no further.


Aurora’s Whole Realms Spring Catalogue is in the works, and will soon go off to editing and then layout.

Aurora’s Christmas — Behind the Scenes

A magician never reveals their secrets, but, besides the fact that we deal with magic all the time, I’m no magician, so let me show you a little about what happens behind the scenes during the making of any Aurora’s Whole Realms Seasonal Catalogue.

First, one of our developers becomes a 17th-level wizard and learns the gate spell. We then pool our collective resources, sell a few unnecessary organs, and purchase a diamond worth exactly 5,000 gold pieces. The exchange rate between South African Rands and gold pieces has never been great, so we don’t go for flashier bling, or cut corners. Our dev then teleports to Faerûn to speak directly with Aurora.

On his probable return, the developer sits down with the rest of the writers to produce an accurate translation of the latest seasonal catalog from Common into English. We then have our ash dwarves layout the document in MS Paint, before fairy magic turns the document into the glorious PDF available for purchase.

It’s worth noting that we don’t use any gnomes during the process, they’ve already got plenty of other work to keep them busy and can’t spell ‘catalogue’ to save their lives.

Rising Phoenix Games’ RPG Con is On

Rising Phoenix Games’ RPG Con is this week, all week, right here on the blog!
Rising Phoenix Games Con
Join us for articles like this one, interviews, discounts, and more RPG fun!


Tuesday’s post was the next installment in the Valkyrie: Ragnarok series of fiction: Flight Through Bastion.

A Special Bonus, Just for You

You made it to the end of the article, so here’s a 20% off coupon on Aurora’s Christmas, just for you.