Category Archives: Products

5 Indie TTRPG Gems To Try This Christmas

Christmas is coming up, and as print shortages loom, it’s time to get those print-on-demand (POD) orders in early. Here are 5 indie TTRPG hidden gems you should check out this Christmas, all from South African designers.

Eventide

Eventide features a fully-formed post-apocalyptic setting and fast, streamlined mechanics, all packaged in Frenzy Kitty’s characteristically professional style. The game also includes solo rules, which is one more reason why I love it.

Eventide Cover

Not many indie publishers bring the level of polish to their games that Frenzy Kitty Games does, which has always inspired me to make better-looking products. Gareth is also a huge fan of the genre, and it shows in the many adventure hooks the setting presents.

Buy Eventide if you love post-apocalyptic games like Fallout and want a deep level of abstraction that lets you tell interesting stories about survival in a post-apocalyptic world.

Nightscape: Red Terrors

This is one of mine, so I’ll just tell you what’s in the game, then you can decide if it’s for you.

Nightscape: Red Terrors RPG Cover

Nightscape: Red Terrors is part of the Nightscape franchise, which explores supernatural and cosmic horrors. Red Terrors is set in Russia, after the fall of communism. You and your team from Integrand General are tasked with recovering occult artifacts from a recently-discovered facility, in a race against time and cultists seeking to use those same artifacts for their own purposes.

The game uses D20s, map tiles, and an abstracted rules set that focuses on cinematic roleplaying.

Buy Nightscape: Red Terrors if you and your players want to take on a multi-faceted puzzle involving eldritch horrors, using the tools at the disposal of a team of elite paranormal investigators.

How to Plan a Murder

Although I had a hand in producing it, this one was written by Chris Visser, who has run the system as part of his very successful dinner murder mystery events.

How to Plan a Murder Cover

How to Plan a Murder is a LARP, or more specifically, guidelines for running a social event that revolves around a murder mystery, which is run by a coordinator. Each character is defined by several truths and what they know about certain characters, which effectively ties every character, and every guest, into the story that’s about to unfold during the evening.

Personally, I think it’s a fun way to get all your RPG friends together, with some of your RPG-curious buds, and all their significant others, and share an evening of fun telling a memorable story that you get to be deeply involved in (without actually killing anyone). Covid has made this sort of event rare, but one day we’ll be able to enjoy some murder with friends again.

Buy How to Plan a Murder if you want to run a dinner murder mystery for your friends, and your friends are up for an evening of dressing up and playing interesting characters with dark secrets.

Hello, My Name is Death

Full disclosure here, this one, like Nightscape, is also mine.

In Hello, My Name is Death you play the Grim Reaper’s apprentices, trying to knock another soul off this mortal coil and get promoted to COO of Acquisitions, the rider in black himself.

Hello My Name is Death

Hello, My Name is Death uses a poker mechanic and comes in zine format. It requires a deck of normal playing cards and is a theater of the mind game. Basically, by winning hands, you get to make things true about the world, or add a truth to what another player has made true.

We think you’ll love Hello, My Name is Death as an alternative to Gloom, or as a great way to improve your group’s collaborative storytelling.

Bullet

Bullet’s full title is Bullet: The Special Forces Role-Playing System and Setting Guideline Manual, which really tells you all you need to know: you get to play spec ops characters, and the book will help you adapt any historic or fictional war setting into a playable campaign.

Bullet RPG cover

Play Bullet if you want to recreate a Navy Seals infiltration mission, loved the SWAT 4, ARMA, or Rainbow Six games, or want to play something where the bad guys are human and the bullets are deadly.

November is Indie TTRPG Month

Thanks to the Rat Hole for hosting this month’s RPG Blog Carnival, with the theme of “Going Indie“. To celebrate, all our indie TTRPG titles are half off on Drive Thru.


A Death in Spring — New Releases from RPG

It’s been a busy month at Rising Phoenix Games HQ, and we’ve got a bunch of new releases and special offers to tell you about.

Hello, My Name is Death

Our new, poker-based tabletop RPG, Hello, My Name is Death is on sale at an introductory price of $1! Outdo your friends, reap souls, and become the next #OffiialGrimReaper.

Hello, My Name is Death is a poker-based roleplaying game that uses betting for souls to influence the ultimate demise of hapless humans. Collect souls, outdo your peers, and become the next official Grim Reaper.

In Hello, My Name is Death you play immortal beings interfering in the lives of oblivious mortals. Plan, scheme, interfere in your friend’s machinations, and collaboratively create truly bizarre circumstances leading to the spectacular death of your selected victim.

What’s Inside:

  1. A device-friendly PDF
  2. A PDF for zine printing on white paper
  3. A PDF for zine printing on colored paper
  4. A printable PDF counter sheet

You can find Hello, My Name is Death on Drive Thru RPG. Get it while our introductory offer lasts.

Aurora’s Spring Catalogue is Here!

Can you feel it in the air? The crispness? The energy? The bounce in your step? It’s spring in Faerûn, and that means it’s time for another of our great sales, featuring all the things you need for the season of rebirth.

That’s right, Aurora’s Whole Realms Spring Catalogue is here!

Aurora's Whole Realms Spring Catalogue

Get ready for the changing of the seasons in Faerûn with 20% off this title if you buy it before the end of the weekend.

Manual of Masks — On Sale!

The Manual of Masks is on sale until the end of the weekend too. Get it for a neat $1!

The book includes mask-related class options, magical items, and more for your Dungeons & Dragons game.

Until next time,
Be the Hero


More Hand Drawn Maps for Your RPG Projects

Kim Frandsen has been working hard to create a great collection of hand drawn maps for your RPG projects and campaigns. We’ve already shown you a bunch of the Elite Design Elements maps, and today we’ll take a look at the newest ones.

Tips for your Hand Drawn Maps

If you’re new to Photoshop and layout, you might be looking for a few ideas to get more out of your Elite Design Elements hand drawn maps. Luckily, we made a video for that!

If you’d like to know how to do something specific with your maps, feel free to drop a comment below and I’ll do my best to help, either with a direct reply or with a follow-up video.

More Maps are Coming

Got a request for a map? Type it out in the comments below and we’ll see what we can do. There are plenty more maps on the way too, so check the Elite Design Elements category on Drive Thru RPG often.

Elite Design Elements and You

Elite Design Elements is a line of stock art, maps, and resources to help you create better RPG products and campaigns. Our stock art license is very reasonable, allowing you to get the maximum amount of usage out of your purchase — we like to keep things simple and easy so you can get on and create better RPG products.

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, discounts, and more RPG fun!



Phoenixes of the Realms — Fire Fowl of Faerûn

Phoenixes of the Realms is our newest title on the Dungeon Master’s Guild. The book is a comprehensive collection of phoenixes and phoenix related player options, including seven phoenix subspecies. And you know how much we love phoenixes.

Phoenixes of the Realms

Here’s what you’ll find inside:

  1. The Desert Phoenix (Huge, Challenge 10)
  2. The Desolation Phoenix (Gargantuan, Challenge 18)
  3. The Imperial Phoenix (Large, Challenge 14). inspired by the Chinese Fenghuang and Japanese Houou.
  4. Two new flaming feathered familiars, including the Shield Phoenix.
  5. Rules for phoenix feather magical items.
  6. Phoenix Guardian monastic tradition
  7. Oath of the Phoenix sacred oath.
  8. The Miniature, Frost, and Hydro phoenixes.

Phoenixes of the Realms Page 5

Origins of the Book

Phoenixes of the Realms converts the rules, which first appeared in Phoenixes — A Field Guide (Pathfinder RPG), to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. It includes new rules and is now set in Faerûn, though it is more of a monster and player option book than a setting book. Ismael Alvarez did a great job of converting the rules, while Anja Svare handled layout. We’ve added more magical phoenix feathers to round out the offering.

Phoenixes of the Realms Page 14

The book is available on the Dungeon Masters Guild and is sure to be an invaluable addition to any campaign featuring these flame-feathered creatures. It also supports the OGL, so you can add a little phoenix magic to your own roleplaying projects.

 

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, discounts, and more RPG fun!
Phoenixes of the Realms is 20% Off, during RPG Con only. Grab it while it’s, erm, hot.



Hand-Drawn OSR Maps Bring Retro Feels

I love maps. Maps tell a story words can’t. Maps are an invitation to explore, and something to show off.

My first RPG map ever was painstakingly copied from the Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play book, and was an underground lair much like two of our recent releases. I still remember the note nailed to the door of the hideout: “Observe the laws of Asylum: Knock and wait.” Good times!

 

One of my favourite maps is the huge poster map of the Old World from Warhammer. The map was included in the massive 300th edition of White Dwarf, and has the titular dwarf illustrated on the back. Yes, I know, I’m a huge Warhammer FRP fan, it’s true.

The cover of White Dwarf 300. Colossal is true! We won’t show you the actual map, because of copyright, but you’ll find pictures if you Google it.

Kim Frandsen has been producing hand-drawn OSR maps for us, and here are the first nine of them. Each pack contains several versions of the same map, and all are covered under our stock art license, so you can use them in publications as well as in your home campaigns.

You can find all our Elite Design Elements, including the above OSR maps, on Drive Thru RPG, and all our maps and map tiles are also on Drive Thru. (All our Elite Design Elements can be used in commercial products, while our other maps are only intended for personal use. You know how it is.)

Map Tiles

We’ve done a bunch of Print on Demand map tiles, like our Maze Tiles and Sea Tiles.

Raft on Sea Tiles
Ah yes, early product photos.

Maze Tiles Detail 1

We’ve also done clix-sized sewer tiles, which are still some of my favourite POD products we’ve ever done, besides the Madness Cards.

Hero Gridz Sewer

Got a request for a map? Bang it out in the comments below and we’ll see what we can do. There are plenty more maps on the way, so check back often.



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.

 



First Contact — Valkyrie: Ragnarok

This is the first story in the Valkyrie: Ragnarok and Valkyrie: Saga settings, and sits between both. I hope you enjoy it. For the full story, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

First Contact

The ground shook, rattling the shelves of tools and threatening to topple the computer screens in the small control room.

Stevens cursed and grabbed the monitors. “No, no, no. Not now.”

“What the hell was that?” Stern asked. He’d slopped hot coffee all over his white shirt.

“Probably a mine collapse. There are several major shafts running through this area.” Stevens straightened his chair and grabbed the PC’s mouse. “Diagnostics all green. Nothing in the envelope, and the seals are all good.”

“We should manually inspect the exterior. Call it ‘protocol.’”

“Right, Did you ever get to listing emergency procedures for earthquakes?”

“Haha,” Stern said, mirthlessly, “I’ll get to it. Just after I finish writing emergency protocol procedures for dealing with aliens, pixies, and hippies.” He grunted a laugh.

Suddenly the lights flickered. Both men leaned forward to peer through the perspex viewing window, into the hanger beyond.

***

“The Landing Pad was built for a single purpose,” Stevens said, speaking into Stern’s camera. “The saying goes: ‘build it and they will come.’ So we built it.”

Stevens stepped aside as Stern began his long pan, which took in the hanger and all of its modifications.

The Landing Pad, as they’d dubbed it, was a medium-sized airplane hanger, an old military building they’d bought and repurposed. The hanger was purposely empty except for a large square marked out in yellow and black chevron tape on the concrete floor. The square was exactly a meter from each wall, and the space it marked out was empty — the envelope.

There were four red lights, one in each corner, at eye level. All of them were off.

Besides these, the hanger was featureless, although sensors and cameras were carefully tucked away into the girders that make up the hanger’s skeleton. Heavy white plastic sheeting covered the walls and ceiling between each girder, overlapping and carefully bonded together to form an airtight seal. Behind that, the corrugated iron sheeting of the hanger had been carefully reinforced and sealed as well, to prevent anything bigger than a bug from getting in.

“This structure is a marvel of ‘can-do’ engineering.” Stevens said, “It’s a science project on a massive scale. This is what happens when men with a passion for science put their efforts and their money together. Some called us mad. Some said it was a midlife crisis, but here we are.”

Stevens stood in the centre of the envelope with his arms outstretched. “This is the world’s first monitored teleportation landing pad. It is a safe zone for machines, for vehicles, to teleport into, perhaps from a different time. We will provide a live feed and a freely accessible archive of the 24-hour video footage, of the envelope and Landing Pad via our website, which you can find in the links below.”

Stern zoomed in for the finale.

“We predict,” Stevens said, “that our first arrival will occur within moments of the project’s completion. Join us live in three weeks, on December 6th, for the launch of our live feed. Till next time, teleport safely.”

Stern cut.

That had been two weeks ago.

***

The four warning lights flashed, bathing the Landing Pad in red, strobing light. The two men gazed through the perspex, into a confusing conglomeration of substance which their minds, at first, failed to comprehend. Then they discerned figures, bodies in battle with dark masses that bore sharp black fangs down with savage fury, ripping the throats of the human figures in a frenzy of bloodlust. The vision dissolved into a red mist, and then nothing.

The red lights blinked twice, then went dim.

The yellow glow of the hanger’s overhead lights took their place, revealing a scene that was unchanged from moments ago, the envelope empty again.

“First contact,” Stevens mumbled, fumbling for a pen, a phone, he wasn’t sure what.

“Get on the phone Stevens.”

“To who?”

“The news. The President. Someone important, you ass.”

Stevens didn’t seem to register, and was mumbling to himself. “They’re early. The vents aren’t even closed yet. I still need to test the scrubbers. Anything could leak out.”

“Screw the scrubbers. We’ve been broadcasting, look. The feed’s live.” Stern pointed to the screen.

“We’ve been streaming for a minute. Look, it started just before the quake. You can see it on the log.”

Stern grabbed Steven’s phone and started dialling. “Crap, this is bad. Start the lockdown.”

Suddenly the earth shook. This time, tools cascaded from the racks, clanging to the floor. Draws of filing cabinets rolled open and a coffee cup smashed to the floor. The red warning lights began flashing their steady pulse and a siren began its droning wail.

Stevens took a deep breath. “Something’s coming through.”

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to get the full story, which will go out next week.

 



Piratical Feats for Your D&D Game

Writing of our Undersea Sourcebook: Feats and Equipment book is almost done, so that means it’s time for a sneak peek of some piratical feats. If there’s anything you’d like to see in the book, let us know in the comments below, there’s just enough time to add more content to the book.

Muskets and Pirate Hunters - Piratical Feats
(Credit: Matt Briney)

The following feats are for Dungeons & Dragons, fifth edition.

Carpenter Surgeon

Onboard a ship, you have to make do. Nowhere is this truer than when it comes to emergency surgery on the high seas. As a ship’s carpenter, you’ve learned to use your woodworking tools to amputate limbs and perform other types of minor surgery. You gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your Wisdom score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • If you are proficient with carpenter’s tools, you can use them to stabilize a creature that has 0 hit points, without needing to make a Wisdom (Medicine) check.
  • You have advantage on Wisdom (Medicine) skill checks made to treat or identify wounds.

Water Marksman

You have trained with ranged weapons underwater, and have developed techniques to improve their effectiveness in the deep. You gain the following benefits:

  • The normal range of a ranged weapon, other than a sling, is 10-feet longer for you. The weapon’s long range remains the same.
  • You do not suffer the normal disadvantage on ranged attacks made with ranged weapons underwater, except with slings. You still have disadvantage with thrown weapons such as hand axes and light hammers.
  • During a long rest, you can prepare a single firearm to fire one shot under water. If you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll with such a specially prepared firearm, it is destroyed.

Home Page News

We’ve recently updated our front page. To celebrate, you can get $2 off your next purchase from us when you use the coupon code “CCCJUNE2019”. We’ll also send you a link for any books you buy here through Drive Thru RPG as well, so that you’ve got them in your collection.

All the Undersea News

We’ve created a dedicated page for all the latest news and product launch updates for the Undersea Sourcebook series. Bookmark the page and check back often.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Undersea Sourcebook: Race & Class Guide

The Undersea Sourcebook: Race & Class Guide is here!

Undersea Sourcebook Race & Class Guide Cover

The Undersea Sourcebook series provides players and Dungeon Masters with everything they need to explore the crashing waves and the vast ocean depths below. In this, the first of the series, you’ll find races, classes, and backgrounds for creating characters suitable to an undersea or ocean-spanning campaign.

The Races of the Oceans, Coastlines, and Rivers chapter features detailed descriptions and game statistics for underwater fantasy staples like merfolk, the sealskin wearing selkie, warlike sahuagin, and undines, along with the river fey called naiads, whose description includes a deep sea variant. Atlanteans, the forgotten ancestors of humanity, are listed along with some of the fabulous inventions that ensured their survival during the great cataclysm that sunk their island home. You’ll also find the new spellborn race—creatures grown from arcane experiments—which are suitable to both land and sea campaigns, depending on the arcane mutations you choose. Coastal dwarves, ocean and lake dragonborn, sea elves, and fenwader halflings provide subraces for most of the races featured in the Player’s Handbook.Undersea Sourcebook Race & Class Guide Spread 1

The Class Options and Archetypes chapter includes new options for every core class. The Path of the Slayer barbarian primal path grants you boons for the risks, you take. The College of the Tamer bardic college use their music to tame savage beasts, while the Drowned Cleric archetype combines control over the sea with divine healing. A new Waves domain extends the cleric’s choice of domains. The Circle of the Sea druid circle grants you mastery over the waves and the creatures of the ocean. The Marine fighter archetype is a soldier of the sea—a great fit for a naval soldier, a viking, or any other type of sea raider. Elemental Disciplines of Water provide more options for a monk of the Way of Four Elements. The paladin gains the Oath of the Shark oath, for those knights who stand before the monsters of the depths to protect the people who live on the ocean’s shores. The Surf Sentry ranger archetype is a watcher and protector of oceans, while the Treasure Diver rogue scours shipwrecks and sunken cities for gold, and is adept and foiling the creatures that lurk below. The Aberrant Bloodline sorcerous origin draws power from alien creatures and strange aberrants of the ocean depths. The Leviathan warlock patron is a monster of the deep, which grants its followers monstrous abilities and gruesome mutations. The Weather Wizard arcane tradition focuses on the control of the natural elements to protect and drive ships on a magical wind, or to crush foes with terrible storms.

Rounding off the book are four new backgrounds, including the Experiment, Forlorn, Seachild, and Slave. This is followed by a short Spells chapter, which includes new spells introduced in some of the race and class entries within this volume, but which can be used by any spell caster, at your Dungeon Master’s discretion.

Undersea Sourcebook: Race & Class Guide is available on the Dungeon Masters Guild now.

All the Undersea News

We’ve created a dedicated page for all the latest news and product launch updates for the Undersea Sourcebook series. Bookmark the page and check back often.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Undersea Sourcebook — The Dockyards

The Undersea Sourcebook series provides players and Dungeon Masters with everything they need to explore the crashing waves and the vast ocean depths below.
Be sure to bookmark this page and check back often for release dates and product announcements. We’ll post it all here.

New Releases

Introducing the Undersea Sourcebook: Race & Class Guide. In this, the first of the series, you’ll find races, classes, and backgrounds for creating characters suitable to an undersea or ocean-spanning campaign.
 
Undersea Sourcebook Race & Class Guide
Undersea Sourcebook: Mutants & Mariners is a follow on book to the Race & Class Guide, and introduces the pirate class, College of Shanties bardic college, and the mutant hybrid race. Combine any race with one of the 30+ creatures listed to create your mutant character or NPC.
Undersea Sourcebook: Mutants & MarinersInUndersea Sourcebook: Feats and Equipment you’ll find feats and items essential to rounding of your character for an undersea or ocean-spanning campaign. The book includes expanded vehicle rules, firearms, siege weapons, undersea themed trinkets, and a whole horde more.

Forthcoming Releases

Production of the next four books in the Undersea Sourcebook series is well underway:

Book 3, Undersea Sourcebook: Water Magic, is set to detail spells and magic items, and begins to bridge the gap between player options and Dungeon Master material.

Book 4 is entitled Undersea Sourcebook: Dungeon Master’s Guide, and explores running underwater and ocean campaigns in more depth. It will include advanced rules for ships, ship combat, advanced rules for underwater combat, and tools to help you run engaging adventures at sea and in the dark depths below.

Book 5 is the Undersea Sourcebook: Monster Manual, which includes new monsters to populate the ocean depths.

Book 6, Undersea Sourcebook: Ocean Adventures, will focus on ocean and underwater adventures and may include one or two adventures set within the oceans of Faerûn or the Elemental Plane of Water. You’ll also find maps of useful locations above and below the waves.

Photo credit: Ryan Loughlin

Playtest Releases

From time to time we release previews and playtesting material, which you can find below. Your feedback is invaluable, so please reach out to us if you have any thoughts on the content we’ve shared.

Tentacles of the Deep

Tentacles of the Deep introduces a new kind of monster for your Dungeons & Dragons game, the tentacle. Instead of a whole monster, challenge your heroes with its limbs alone.

Undersea Sourcebook - Tentacle of the DeepThese playtest rules are PWYW, so you can try them out and let us know if you like them with a small tip or in the comments on the product page.

Path of the Slayer

The Path of the Slayer barbarian primal path can be found in the Undersea Sourcebook: Race & Class Guide. An earlier version of the path is available on the blog for free.

Undersea Guides to the Core Rules

We took an in-depth look at each of the core rulebooks and how you can leverage their content in an undersea or ocean campaign. You can find those articles on the following pages:

The Undersea Sourcebook Guide to the Player’s Handbook

The Undersea Sourcebook Guide to the Dungeon Master’s Guide

The Undersea Sourcebook Guide to the Monster Manual

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.