Tag Archives: Claustrophobia!

2014 Will Be Big

This year I’ve narrowed my scope down to four projects and I thought I’d fill you in on my plans.

I’ll be writing for ICON again this year. If you don’t know, ICON is one of the big role-playing conventions in South Africa. With 10 RPG modules and 2 LARPs scheduled, it promises to be a 3 day role-playing extravaganza. Watch this blog for more!

Continuing with adventure modules, this month I’m doing the Gamers Lifestyle Boot Camp. The goal: publish my first full adventure module on DTRPG. Since I started Rising Phoenix Games three years ago, the goal has always been to publish my modules, making them available to more people. I’ve deliberately held off from publishing for now, but everything will change come August this year or next when my contract ends. So, although you might have to wait, I’ll be toiling away in anticipation. And, to kill two giant eagles with one magic missile, my Boot Camp project is also my ICON module. Yes, sneaky hobbitses indeed.

For a new challenge, I’m helping a friend craft the story for an indie X-Box game. No spoilers yet, but this will be a great chance for me to hone my story telling skills.

Claustrophobia! is getting sleeker. The gnomes are working frantically on page layout and a cover design and I’ve spent some time tightening up the main themes of the game. After a little more simmering I’ll be getting back to you for your opinion. Be sure to join the Facebook group to keep in touch with developments.

Finally, I started working on a Flash game last year.  Why a Flash game? Well, it’s something I learnt in university and hadn’t touched for awhile. I must say, picking it up again was easier than riding a bicycle and a great way to end off 2013. Will Rising Phoenix Games go the route of digital gaming? That remains to be seen. I watched an interesting video recently by Jonathan Blow that has me thinking about what makes a good game and I feel I could deliver something really interesting. So, with two digital projects set for 2014, let’s see where this takes us.

Phew. That’s a load. The quote for yesterday’s Boot Camp was “We overestimate what we can do in a year. But we underestimate what we can do in an hour.” That’s from Yax at www.dungeonmastering.com. It certainly might be the case here, but I have worked hard to lay a good foundation and now it’s just a matter of getting stuck in.


News, September 2013

I’ve seen the first draft of the cover design for Claustrophobia! and it looks amazing. Any time now I’ll be getting it back with more polish and then I’ll give you a sneak peak.

If you don’t own the game yet, here’s your chance, a special discount on Claustrophobia! Get it while stocks last!

I’ve been working on my own little solo/GMless game, and blogging about it right here, here and here. I’m offering you the chance to help me build an awesome game, which will work with D&D 4e and Pathfinder, so take a look and let me know what you think.


Lastly, I’ve been fixing up the website. All this game designing and adventuring sure distracts me from doing a proper job of the home page, but it’s already improved and I have many plans to execute over the following weeks. Check it out here and let me know if there’s something you’d like to see.

Taverns and Trade Dress

I’m back, and with the Japanese festival of the dead (ooh, spooky) I’ve had some time to sort through my collection of cool and bring you some geekness (geekiness?).

Firstly, I don’t think I’ve done a proper introduction of the Claustrophobia! logo on the blog, so here it is:

Claustrophobia! Role-Playing Game


Neat huh? I think the logo really gives you an idea of what the game is about and gave me a chance to practice my Photoshop technique. I’ve been working on more art too and talking to a proper artist who will hopefully grace our humble game’s pages with his L33t skillz.

Lastly, I’ve got a small preview for you…


The Pewter Tankard Tavern is not new to many of you, as it appeared in the Sentinels Watching series here on the blog awhile back. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s an 11″ x 8″ grid map, perfect for printing on A4 paper and sets out a typical tavern scene. I’ve since updated the map and polished it up to what you see before you. The PDF, which includes a list of adventure hooks, should be available from Drive Thru RPG in the next few days.

And, as always, my minions (me) are churning out the goodness here at Phoenix HQ, but I always have time for a chat, so why not drop a comment below.

Till later

The Art of Claustrophobia!

I posted an update to the rules for Claustrophobia! yesterday which includes the following updates:

  • Clarifications of many of the rules and standardization of terms throughout the book.
  • Improved layout of the monster entries to improve readability.
  • Added details about the Claustrophobia! Art Project.
  • Inclusion of a basic Glossary of Terms.
  • Many formatting tweaks.

Be sure to download the latest version of the rules now.


The Art Project

The Art Project on RedBubble is a showcase of the final book art for the game. Here I’ll be posting works from time to time, giving you the chance to wet your appetite and tell us what you think about the art. By buying stickers and t-shirts you help us fund more artworks and improve the final edition of the game.



Later this month and in early August I’m off on holiday, so I’m not planning any updates until late August. This time will be a chance for me to unwind, regroup and come back stronger than before. If you’re off on holiday I hope you have a great time and safe travels too.

Pathfinder Sale on DriveThruRPG

DriveThruRPG is having a massive Pathfinder sale, but hurry, it ends in a few days!

Gnome News

Copies of the Claustrophobia! Beta rules are flying off the shelves and feedback is streaming in. My thanks to everyone who downloaded the book so far. It’s never to late to send in your feedback and I’m reading it all, keep it coming!

An update is in progress, mostly rules clarifications at this stage. Remember that once you order the PDF, you can always download the latest updates from the DTRPG site, you don’t need to buy a new copy.

More is brewing too. I’ll be on summer holiday soon and that will mean some interruptions, but hopefully I’ll deliver some juicy new content to you soon!

Claustrophobia! – New Advancement Rules

I’ve been working on the experience and advancement system for Claustrophobia! The original game didn’t have rules for XP because I figured gnomes would die before they had a chance to level, or that sessions would be once off affairs. After play-testing and thinking about it more, I figured it was necessary and an important way to award players for creating an entertaining story.

In designing the system there were some specific considerations. The system needs to reward players for the following:

  1. Entertaining role-play.
  2. Interesting, dramatic or creative character death scenes.
  3. Creative use of a gnome’s name in play.
  4. Creative use of a gnome’s gear.
  5. Completing missions, overcoming challenges and defeating monsters (the bread and butter stuff).

I didn’t want a clunky system with loads of tables and calculations, like the rest of the game it had to be rules light and easy to run. Also, since gnomes should always be expendable, I wanted to award the player, rather than the character. Some games that stood out to me for their experience systems are the Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game and the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Basic Game, which I recently picked up, so I drew inspiration from them in part too.


Trophies of Triumph

For the Beta I decided on a simple awards system, with award recipients decided by group voting. Players have four awards to give out and, like in Mouse Guard, need to give them to different players. If there are fewer players than awards then awards are dropped from the list until there is one award per player.

The Golden Gnome: given to the best role-player or the person who delivered the most interesting scene using their character and the circumstances before them.

Drama Queen: given to the player with the most entertaining death scene.

I Name Thee…: given to the player with the most creative use of a name during the session.

I Never Leave Home Without It: given to the player with the most interesting use of gear during the session.

Players who win an award get 2 experience points. Each player also gets one further point for each scene in which they faced danger. Once six points are accumulated, the player can increase one sphere by one point or gain two health. Sphere scores cannot be increased above 5 or a total of 14 between the three spheres of Social, Mental and Physical.

Lastly, when a gnome dies, the player can take half of its total XP, rounded down, to create a new character. This represents crew members of the HMS Keeton rising up through the ranks to take their place in the spot light.

What do you think about this simple system? Any ideas or comments, please let us know!

Update – Avernos, Trow and Claustrophobia!

Avernos in Trow-ble

You may have noticed that I’ve reworked the Avernos Campaign Setting here on the site. I’ve got so much in store for you that I needed to rework the structure of the pages to ensure it would all fit together well. I’ve added pages too and the most recent is a look at the Trow, or dark elves. These guys put the “dark” back in being a dark elf.



The copy editing for the Beta is done, so expect more news on that in the coming months. You can keep in touch by connecting to the Claustrophobia! Facebook page.


Super Secret Mystery Projects

Because of contracts and bad tempered gnomes I can’t reveal some of the other projects under way in the lab, but many wonderful things are bubbling away nicely. I’ve decided to refocus my efforts and so you’ll notice less blogging from me and more wonderful goodies in the future.


Till next time!

Superheroes - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com


Today I get to play with the Blog Carnival topic, “Pimp A Game”, which gives me a good chance to write about cool games. And who doesn’t like cool games…

“Free” is a good thing right? Many games are free in some way or another, like Facebook games, which make their money from those annoying “in game purchases”. But what about role-playing games? There are loads of free ones out there, and a quick look around will prove a universal truth: “Free isn’t always good for RPGs”. Generally, no income means no support and a poor production quality. Players are likely to disregard a game if they think it’s cheap, which impacts how many people even give the rules a spin. Thankfully, some games break that rule, and build a huge fan base around them which keeps it going and growing. Take the Pokéthulhu Adventure Game as an example. The game is possibly one of the simplest free games around, but its strong community of fans means the game is still available for download today. I got to play it at a convention a few years ago, and man, it was awesome. Hands down the best session I’ve played too.

I’m going to look at three games that got my attention recently. They’re all free. You don’t need to pay a cent, give your email address or pay for additional books to make the thing work.

Continue reading Freeeeedom!!!