Category Archives: Inspired in Japan

RPGSS2015 – Round 3

The top 16 contestants have entered round 3, as RPG Superstar 2015 continues to heat up.

RPG Superstar 2015

Round 3 is all about unleashing new terrors on the world of Golarion.
The judges offered some great monster creation hints on the forum, which are well worth a read, even if you’re just making monsters for your own home game. Mikko Kallio, last years winner, offered these tips, Adam Daigle, a developer at Paizo, offered these, and Eric Hindley (Movie Monster Matinee and Classic Monsters Augmented) posted these tips.
Continue reading RPGSS2015 – Round 3

RPGSS2015 – Round 2

Maps for round 2 of the RPG Superstar 2015 contest went in late last week and voting is now open. Go check out those entries and put in your votes.

RPG Superstar 2015

Avernos Unearthed
This week we wonder on the edges of the mysterious Veiled Lands, as the Avernos Wiki adds the Fey tainted city of Pandatheon to the collection.

The Books of Faces
The strange wizard, excuse me, gnomeologist, is describing a quest to you in very vague terms. But then, what else do you do but strap on a sword and accept?

You can read the history of the adventure over at the Adventure Chronicle

Campaign Journal
This past Saturday we played our second session of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. Unlike D&D or Pathfinder, there’s a lot of room for players to tell the story, so players need to pay attention when they’re not up. To help, I offered the MVRP award (most valuable role-player) and 3xp to whoever was voted the best player by the group. It was great incentive, and I hope it will continue to be a huge motivator in later games.

MRVP Trophy

Do you have any rewards in your campaign beyond Xp? Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear from you.

Rising Phoenix News
We’ve been working over the last year and a bit to get the Japan Roleplay Society going, a place for English speaking role-players who live in Japan to meet and find players. If you live in Japan or know someone who does, come check us out on FB.

Inspired in Japan
Setsubun is a Japanese festival that happens yearly on February 3rd, celebrating the start of Spring. One of the events held at this time is mamimaki which means “bean scattering”, a ritual intended to chase away bad spirits or oni. The man of the house dresses up as an oni and the rest of the household throw roasted soy beans at him to chase the bad “spirit” away.

What customs might revolve around local monsters in your campaign world? We’d love to hear your ideas.

Oni statue

That’s all from me until next time.
Tell Thrilling Tales

Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

RPGSS2015 – Round 1 Roundup

Winners of the first round of RPG Superstar 2015 were announced this week, with 32 winning items chosen out of hundreds. It’s a tough competition for sure, with a lot to be learnt.

RPG Superstar 2015

In my spare time I’ve been reading the Paizo forums and found a wealth of tips, tricks and loads of encouragement for aspiring game designers. I recommend you check it out, even if you’re not a Pathfinder player/GM.

Here are four things I’ve learnt from voting in round 1.

1. Make Many, Submit One

I had a few ideas, but only one that I fleshed out. Next time I’d try create a list of 10 ideas, flesh out 4 and then have my friends and mentors give some feedback before I submit the best of the lot.

2. Awesomeness Rules

There were some really fun items I got to vote on, items that I want to bring to the table both as a player and as a GM. What makes an item fun? It’s subjective and hard to nail down, but the item needs to get people excited to win this contest.

3. Every Word Counts

Anything you put down in the item description needs to make sense. There were a number or “unexpectedly light” items that I came across. Fine. They’re magical. I can go with that. But it has to make sense with regard to the items theme, not just be a random feature. And at the same time, don’t eat up word count repeating things or trying to be verbose. Shorter entries often grabbed my attention over longer entries.

4. Invincible

I saw many items that made the wielder immune to certain attacks or effects. Invincibility is only fun for the guy who’s invincible, and only for a little while. Look at any item you create from the perspective of all the players and the GM. If everyone’s going to have fun, you’ve got a keeper.

For more lessons learned this year, check out the forum. Enjoy Round 2!

Avernos Unearthed
The Avernos Wiki grows a little more every week. Hey, if I keep it up I’ll have 52 new entries by the end of the year.

This week we add dragons to the mix, Elder Dragons to be exact. These ancient beasts are responsible for much of the land as it is today.

I do like dragons, and I wanted to use chromatic and metallic dragons (such as in D&D/Pathfinder), but tie them into the creation legends of Avernos in a meaningful way. Last week I spoke about darkness on the doorstep and so it was important to have examples of evil having been beaten at great cost in the history of Avernos. Now chromatic dragons are set up as a force of evil, and you can be sure that someone will try and resurrect one of them to cause all kinds of havoc.

The Books of Faces
Don’t forget to checkout and like the Book of Faces Facebook page. You can check out the adventure history over at the Adventure Chronicle.

Rising Phoenix News
Here’s an awesome interior art preview for the pages of the final version of Claustrophobia! from my bro, illustrator Donovan Sloan.

IMG_7429.PNG

I’ve also restarted going through Johnn Four’s Gamers Lifestyle course, with a view to smoothing out operations and getting more stuff published in the future. Wish me luck, I’ll be hitting the books hard this year.

Inspired in Japan
The #TRPG hashtag on Twitter is worth a browse. TRPG means “Table-talk RPG” and in Japan refers specifically to pen and paper RPGs. There’s plenty to inspire, and surprise (sometimes even shock), even if you can’t read Japanese. #DnDj will get you Japanese Dungeons and Dragons related posts.

That’s all from me until next Thursday.
Tell Thrilling Tales

Zombies! - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

Hottest New Book
The End Of The World: Zombie Apocalypse
The End Of The World: Zombie Apocalypse

Punchy Printouts

Today I’ve got some tips on making modern player handouts with more punch as well as updates on our current news.

SHIELD Secret Brief

Avernos Unearthed
Avernos is all about the darkness on the doorstep, the growing evil at the edge of vision. So it’s high time we took a look at the Abyss, this weeks newest addition to the wiki.

The Abyss is a massive hole in the ground, surrounded by the Jaws mountains and leading directly into the depths of hell. Not a place you want to go, unless you’re, say, a witch hunter, monster slayer or questing paladin.

This is one area that will probably see many more entries this year as we travel deeper into the dark. I hope your sword is sharp and your torch bright.

The Books of Faces
Last week I mentioned my big plans for the Book of Faces adventure. But what is it really all about?

The Book of Faces is content that I’m creating while players from all over the Internet are giving their feedback, deciding where the adventure goes. While that’s happening, I’m busy writing more content and drawing concept sketches for a final book version. I call it crowd-questing.

You can follow the history of the quest at the Adventure Chronicle or take part on Facebook.

Campaign Journal
Handouts are a great way to hook players in and say “hey, this information is important.” I made this secret SHIELD Brief for ACT 2 of Breakout for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying.

It’s easy to put something like this together in a text editor like Word.

  1. Write out your text. Use formal language to make it sound official and important.
  2. Use a font like Stencil for the header and Courier for the main body. A font like Freestyle Script is good for hand written parts, such as notes scribbled by NPCs or their signatures.
  3. Add logos harvested from the web. A grey scale version of the logo makes a great watermark if it’s in the background.
  4. As with logos, you can find stamp marks on the web. Better still, stamp them with a real stamp and red ink. Yet another option is to use the shape tool to create your own stamp, using a thick border and the Stencil font, all in red, to get it as close to the real thing as you can.
  5. To make your document more intriguing for the players, use a black marker pen or white-out to hide important facts. You can also use this trick to create red herrings.

Rising Phoenix News

Rising Phoenix Games is 4! In all the commotion of the holidays I forgot that we’ve been working towards our goals since the very last day of 2010. For sure, it has been a great ride, and the best is still to come, with so many exciting projects itching to go live.
You can check out our publications for the past four years on DriveThruRPG.

Voting for RPG Superstar 2015 ended a day or so ago, but next week the round 1 winners will be announced over at Paizo.com.

Inspired in Japan

I’m not sure who the two people carved on this stone are, but my guess is they were a couple who lived in the area. Perhaps their descendants commissioned the carving after they passed away. What do the statues and carvings your players come across tell them about your world?

Carved Stone. Photo by R Sloan

That’s all from me until next Thursday.
Tell Thrilling Tales

Old School RPGs - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

New Games, Ancient Lands

Happy New Year! I hope 2015 is a great year for you.

happy_new_year_2015_3d

This year I’m changing things up with the blogs focus. Each Thursday expect updates on my weeks gaming and project progress, as well as inspiration for your campaign. If you’re a GM, be sure to subscribe, because you don’t want to miss out. (Enter your email address on the right and hit “Join The Party”).

Avernos Unearthed
Each week I’ll bring you a new Avernos Wiki entry. The entries usually go live earlier in the week, but I’ll highlight them here.

This week South Fort expands with a look at the Sentinels. These fearsome totem-towers are both defence and rallying point for the people living in their long shadows.

The Books of Faces
Last year we embarked on an epic adventure with the crowd-game Book of Faces and this year I’m ramping things up. The game will still be available on the Facebook page, but has a new home on the site, with updates mentioned here.

Campaign Journal
After every game session I play I’ll post some thoughts aimed specifically at GMs.

Last Friday I ran my first session of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying (MHR). Man! Am I sad they stopped publishing it. Anyway, I love this sort of story driven game. D&D and Pathfinder show their wargame roots, while MHR, like World of Darkness, Burning Wheel and my own Claustrophobia!, are much more free form systems that encourage great story telling.

Making the shift from Pathfinder to MHR was tough for me, but so worth-while. I learn’t more about GMing while fumbling through a new system than I would have if I played several sessions of the same old game. And most of that learning came from being out of my comfort zone and having to kick up the role-play a notch. I felt the game was much more immersive for it.

Nothing will improve your GMing like playing something new and unfamiliar, that’s for sure.

Rising Phoenix News
I’ll post weekly updates and teasers of our current projects, so watch this space. For now, you’ll find it worth subscribing to our YouTube channel, interesting things are about to happen there soon.

Also, don’t forget to vote in the 2015 RPG Superstar Contest at Paizo.

Inspired in Japan
Japan is full of history, culture, art and other inspirational things to fuel your creativity. I’ll be posting the videos, pictures and prose that have inspired me recently.

IMG_7364.JPG

This girl was painted on the wall of a local train station and I immediately thought of the beautiful but chilling yuki-onna.

Anyway, that’s all from me.
Tell Thrilling Tales

PFRPG Sumo

Here are some simple rules for sumo wrestling, for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Inspired in Japan

The objective of sumo is to throw your opponent out of the ring, or dohyou, or to force them to touch the ground with any part of their bodies other than the soles of their feet.

Sumo Match by Kunisada, 1851
Sumo Match by Kunisada, 1851

To play, both contestants roll for initiative. They then attempt to grapple each other. The first contestant to successfully grapple and move their opponent is the winner of the bout.

When a contestant attempts to move an opponent, the opponent gets a free attempt to break the grapple with the usual +4, as if they were being moved into hazardous terrain. See the “Combat” chapter in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook for more on grappling and moving grappled opponents.

The above rules will appear in a forthcoming supplement for the Kamen, Land of Masks Campaign series.

Sneak Peek – Where Heroes Stand

I’m very proud to share this sneak peek of the book cover for Where Heroes Stand, the first adventure in the Kamen, Land of Masks Campaign.

Where Heroes Stand Preview
Copyright 2014, R. & J. Sloan.

All credit goes to my beautiful wife for putting this together so masterfully.

You can get the poster map of the campaign world over at RedBubble.com, or read more about Kamen, Land of Masks right here on the blog.

Till next time, Tell Thrilling Tales.

Inspired in Japan

Pathfinder Bestiary 3

I just picked up the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 3, since it will form a major cornerstone of my upcoming Kamen, Land of Masks campaign. The campaign is set in mythical Japan, and Bestiary 3 has loads of monsters that can slot right in, like the Spirit Oni, Tanuki and Jorogumo.

I always thought any bestiary after the first to be a waste of money, but Paizo did a great job of providing groups of creatures that fit well together. I already mentioned the traditional Japanese monsters you’ll find. Can anything be more iconic than the Kappa and Yuki-Onna (Snow Woman)? There are also creatures of Chinese origin (Terracotta Warriors), RPG cult legends (Flail Snail and Flumph) and loads more.

A bad example though is the Jubjub Bird and Bandersnatch, from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, since you’ll need the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 2 for the Jabberwock. Still, the Jubjub Bird and Bandersnatch work well together, and the Jabberwock is a great loner. That’s the same with the Sasquatch, Axe Beak and Bogeyman, which are all in Bestiary 3.

Groups of monsters include Clockwork creatures, Asura, Kami and Oni, to name but a few.

Challenge Rating (CR) wise, I’m very happy, I hardly play high level campaigns but there’s plenty to throw at mid level players. If you are starting out though, this isn’t going to give you all your Orcs and Goblins.

On the art side, this is a gem. I love the Kappa. Living in Japan there are loads of Kappa illustrations around (usually comical), but they made it look believable and scary. I didn’t like the Kodama (watch Princess Mononoke by Studio Ghibli to see more of these cool little dudes) or the oni in general. But I am biased.

Overall, a great addition to the collection.

 

Savage Worlds: Fast, Furious, and Fun! - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

Inquisitive Kitsune Cub NPC

Inspired in Japan

 

Presenting the inquisitive kitsune cub. Unable to resist the temptations of the local mountain village festival, he dons his disguise and joins the crowd. Before long he’s in over his head.

Kitsune Cub & Vixen
Kitsune Cub & Vixen by R Sloan. Interior art for the upcoming “Where Heroes Stand” adventure.

Kitsune Cub
XP 200 CR 1/2
Kitsune rogue 1, CG Medium Humanoid
Init +7; Senses perception +5

DEFENCE_________________________________
AC 14, touch 13, flat-footed 11 (+1 armour, +3 Dex)
hp 5
Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +1

OFFENCE_________________________________
Speed 30 ft.
Melee dagger -2 (d4 – 2/19-20) bite -2 (d4-2)
Ranged dagger +3 (d4/19-20)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5ft.

STATISTICS _______________________________
Str 6 (-2), Dex 16 (+3), Con 13 (+1), Int 15 (+2), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 12 (+1)
Base Attack Bonus +0; CMB -2; CMD 11
Feats Improved Initiative
Skills Acrobatics +9, Climb +2, Disable Device +7, Disguise +5 (+15 in human form), Escape Artist +7, Perception +5, Sense Motive +5, Sleight of Hand +7, Stealth +7, Swim +2.
Languages Common, Sylvan, Tengu, Celestial
Combat Gear 2x Dagger (hidden in clothes), Blowgun and darts (20) in Den, Quilted cloth armour, Thunderstone (hidden in clothes).
Other Gear Flint & steel and small steel mirror in belt pouch. Baggy yukata conceals daggers and thunderstone for escapes (DC 19 perception to observe, DC 15 perception to frisk).
Special Abilities lowlight vision, change shape, agile (included), fast shifter (shift form as a move action), bite attack (natural form only)
Tactics When discovered he uses his thunderstone to stun opponents, then shifts form and flees back to his den. If cornered he makes ranged attacks with his daggers until he can shift and flee.
Description: A wide eyed teenager, who seems both a little out of place and uncomfortable in his own skin. He has little understanding for human ways and often makes mistakes that could easily give him away. He stares wide eyed at everything he sees and wants to take in as much as he can, knowing he won’t get such an opportunity again until next year.

Kamen, Land of Masks
Kamen, Land of Masks

This is the third of three NPC previews from my upcoming Pathfinder adventure, Where Heroes Stand. Check out the humble mountain villager and the samurai bodyguard from last week. For more NPC goodness check out my recently released NPC Strategy Cards on DriveThruRPG or Paizo.com.