Tag Archives: D&D

Genjutsu Master, the Illusionist Monk Tradition

The Genjutsu Master is an illusion flinging monk tradition for Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition.

Genjutsu Master Cover

Use your ki to cast illusion spells to fool your enemies, with 22 Genjutsu Disciplines to choose from.

Genjutsu Master Phone PDF Sample
The book includes a phone-optimized PDF, for ease of use at the table.

What is Genjutsu? It’s the art of creating illusions and affecting reality.

Disciple of Genjutsu

The genjutsu master learns how to mold their ki and manipulate the ki of others to produce powerful illusions. Some use these abilities to become invisible spies and assassins, while others use them to entertain or manipulate the masses. The way of the genjutsu master is therefore carefully guarded and shrouded in secrecy, with each sensei carefully choosing their students and testing them before even the most basic skills are taught.

Genjutsu Disciplines

Genjutsu Disciplines work in the same way as Elemental Disciplines: you spend ki points, as an action, to cast them. With Genjutsu Disciplines, you cast illusion spells, turning your monk character into a master of deception and trickery.

Unlike the Elemental Disciplines, you gain access to a few more utility spells, such as phantom steed. These spells don’t have much use inside combat — although spamming the battlefield with horses seems like fun — but having access to them gives your character the utility an illusion-focused caster needs.

Get the Genjutsu Master on the Dungeon Masters Guild.

More Where That Came From

The Genjutsu Master follows on from the Street Fighter, the combo slinging monastic tradition, featured last week.

Are there any other monk traditions you’d love to see, like a Naruto-style shadow clone technique, a pro wrestler, or a 5e version of The Karate Kid? Let us know in the comments below.

And don’t forget, this brawler tee is available for a limited time only, from our Trophy Room:



Street Fighter, the Combo Slinging Monk Tradition

The Street Fighter is a combo slinging monk tradition for Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition.

Street Fighter Cover
Rockin’ the retro!

The archetype includes four abilities: Combo, Round Two, Ki Blast, and Signature Move. Let’s break those down:

Street Fighter Phone PDF Sample
The book includes a phone-optimized PDF, for ease of use at the table.

Combo

Combo lets you string unarmed strikes and monk weapon attacks together, turning them even more deadly. The downside is that there are very few ranges attacks that work with this ability, so you’re going to need to get in close and personal to get the most from this ability.

Round Two

Round Two gives you a chance to jump back into the action quickly, with the disadvantage that you’ll be stunned just before gaining the full benefits of this ability. If you can survive that one round without taking damage, then you’ll get your chance to turn the tables.

Ki Blast

Hadouken! Smash your opponents from a distance and string this together with your melee attacks for powerful combos. Of course, you’ll need to tap into your ki to do so, but the added versatility is worth paying for.

Signature Move

Build your own moves from a list of options, which you choose when you gain this ability. Go in close or take another ranged option, then tweak the damage type to fit your character’s concept.

The Street Fighter is a unique take on the monk that leverages the key features of the class to create a close combat combo combatant that’s a lot of fun at the table.

Get the Street Fighter on the Dungeon Masters Guild.

And don’t forget, this brawler tee is available for a limited time only, from our Trophy Room:



Keeping It Classy with Kim Frandsen

Kim Frandsen, author of  Heaven & Hell: Aasimar & Tiefling Ancestries for Pathfinder 2, kindly agreed to do a guest post about his Keeping It Classy series, which is available on the DMs Guild. Take it away, Kim!

Keeping It Classy

Today, I’m here to talk about fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, and more specifically a series of books that I’ve been releasing, called Keeping It Classy.

So far these have been released for the barbarian, bard, and cleric, with more to come in the following months. Each book is 40–50 pages long and jam-packed with content for that class.

A Series is Born…

So what prompted these books? Well, it was a series of conversations with fifth edition players and people who’d been having a sniff at Pathfinder (this all started before Pathfinder Second Edition came out). And the one thing that seemed to connect all of these experienced players (most had been playing for a few years) was that they felt tied down to the options given in the Player’s Handbook. For example, the barbarian only has two standard options in the PHB: Path of the Berserker and Path of the Totem Warrior.

When I started toying with the idea of various characters from fiction and myth, it struck me that it was a very limited view of what the barbarian could be. So, one evening, I sat down and started brainstorming — to see which fictional characters would fulfill the criteria of a barbarian, but who wouldn’t necessarily fit within those two paths. Rather quickly I had a long list of characters ranging from Conan (the classic barbarian, who you could, at a squeeze, fit into the Berserker, but who was really more of the “noble savage” type), Achilles (the warrior who could not be damaged), all the way over to more esoteric characters like Mr. Hyde (from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) or He-Man.

The idea of more barbarian paths was born, and I set a few goals for these. There had to be something new and unique to each path (this wasn’t so much of an issue for the Barbarian and Bard, but we’ll get to the Cleric), and I wanted there to be a plethora of options. So, my shortlist ended up being 15 different, and new, paths, all with new and unique powers.

That got me wondering: where do these people come from? Again, there are a number of backgrounds in the Player’s Handbook, but some of the character tropes that you typically see for barbarians weren’t covered, so the book ended up with 5 new backgrounds too. Of course, that got me thinking about races and equipment, until I eventually had a full book on my hands.

When The Barbarian was released, one of the first questions I got was “So, what other classes are you doing? Can I have X?” While I’d originally intended The Barbarian to be a once-off thing, I started digging into various classes and found that a lot of them had the same issue that the barbarian did, that there simply wasn’t that much choice to be had in how you made your character (the bard for example, also only has two options in the PHB, the College of Lore and the College of Valor). I realized that all of the classes, in one form or another, are a bit underserved with the options in the core books.

Now you’ll see that I’ve specifically mentioned the amount of paths/colleges available to the barbarian and bard, but that was not the issue facing the cleric. The cleric has 7 domains to choose from, but you’ll notice that a LOT of the powers are recycled or reskinned versions of each other — and DAMMIT, I want my character to be unique, not just a copy-paste of another domain. It bothered me a lot (and The Cleric took me a lot longer to write than The Barbarian and The Bard) as I wanted each domain to not only have unique powers but also to feel like they belong in a fantasy setting. This gave birth to The Cleric, and it’s 15 new domains, all tied to mythology and the existing pantheons in D&D, and all with unique powers that only they have.

In essence, I want to give you, the player, the option to make the character YOU want to make, not just the one intended by the writers of the Player’s Handbook, while maintaining the accessibility of fifth edition.

You can find The Barbarian, The Bard, and The Cleric, on the DMs Guild.

Simple Drow Paint Tutorial — Mini Monday, Ep 2

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week I’ll show you a simple drow paint scheme to have you ready for your next drow encounter in no time.

This paint scheme is perfect for an Underdark campaign and doesn’t take much time at all. I used the drow duellist miniatures from the Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game (Boardgame Geek Link).

Simple Drow Paint Scheme
“This way!” “No! This way!”

Base Coat

Base coat your drow miniatures with a medium to dark grey. I use this as the skin tone for my drow, since black is a very flat color that pulls in light. Your drow figures are going to be predominantly black, so the grey gives you some variation, and you can always darken it with a wash later.

Any Color as Long as its Black

Paint all the armor, weapons, bases, and gear black. Leave only the skin and hair grey. For variety, you could paint the armor and any cloth dark red or deep purple.



Hair

Drybrush the hair white. This works very well with the grey basecoat, which defines the recesses.

Metals

Pick out metallic parts by dry brushing with a metallic color. I used Mithril Silver from Citadel, which shows how old my paints are. Mithril Silver is a bright metallic, now called Runefang Steel. I painted the swords with the same metallic paint, but might have gone with a darker metallic color, like Leadbulcher, just for more variation.

Done, And…

At this point, the simple drow paint job is done. They’re ready for gaming.

Simple Drow Paint Scheme

If you have time, you can go back into your simple drow paint scheme and pick out details like eyes, belt straps, wands, or markings. With white, you can highlight the hair, and use greys to highlight the skin. When you’re done, use a dark purple wash to bring out the detail, but leave the hair.

Painting Heroes and Villains

This tutorial works best for rank and file drow, but you can extend these principles for major NPCs and dark elf player characters. I use this technique as my first stage on all my drow figures, then work in more detail for the major minis.

Pro Tip: Us a purple base coat if you want your drow to look like the ones in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Till next time, play good games!

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.

The Horde is Coming! — Take a Sneak Peek

Horde is a hack and slash game for 1–4 players. Stand against masses of enemies without lucky dice rolls to save you. Horde’s rules emphasize the need for clever tactics to stay alive long enough to protect the Flame of Life and defeat the deadly hordes.

Horde includes two modes: Defender, for a shorter game, and Dungeon, for a full dungeon crawl through caverns teeming with enemies.

Horde is currently in playtesting, and I’m hoping to release it by the end of the month. Here’s a peek at the cover:

Horde Cover Concept

Horde’s Concept

I wanted a game where you play a powerful hero wading through masses of enemies, where dice rolls didn’t determine the outcome of attacks, but tactics meant everything. I wanted to use as much of my growing collection of fantasy miniatures as possible and put hordes of figures on the board. Horde is my answer to that.

Playtesting Horde
Playtesting Horde

The game also had to be playable solo, quick to set up, and — most importantly — loads of fun.  Horde is checking all those boxes in playtesting, and I’m excited to share more about the game with you, soon.

Horde is being created for the A Game By Its Cover game jam, inspired by the Youkai Project famicase cover art done by Yowan Langlais.

Winter Is Coming

Aurora’s Whole Realms Catalogue was a second edition D&D book for the Forgotten Realms, and we’ve brought it back for fifth edition. Aurora’s Whole Realms Winter Catalogue is out now:

Aurora's WHole Realms Winter Catalogue Cover
Aurora’s Whole Realms Winter Catalogue

You can find the Summer and Autumn catalogues on the Dungeons Masters Guild.

Print Books Coming Soon

We’ve done print cards for a while now, mainly for maps and dungeon tiles. Now we’re adding our first print on demand (POD) titles, which will be available from Drive Thru RPG in a few months time. The first two books we’re setting up are Griffins — A Field Guide (D&D) and Anaximander’s Adventuring Studies (Pathfinder). Going forward, new titles will be available in POD, if the platform allows it.

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.

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 Fantasy Names, the Ultimate Guide

We’re busy putting the finishing touches on our first Undersea Sourcebook (that’s a big reveal),  which will be a player’s guide to undersea adventures in Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition (that’s two big reveals). The guide features loads of races, each with a list of names like in the Races chapter of the Player’s Handbook. Here are a few undersea fantasy names, to help you name your next underwater character.

Undersea Fantasy Names
Photo credit: Nsey Benajah

Merfolk Names

Merfolk parents choose names for their children that reflect the nature of the sea, invoke images of the ocean, or signify freedom or purpose. Merfolk also have a tribal name, which they’ll use when dealing with merfolk from another tribe. Merfolk rarely use their tribal name around other races, and then only if they have significant reason to do so. Even among friends, merfolk regard mentioning their tribal name as an unnecessary vanity.

Male Names: Adrian, Aegir, Aukai, Bellerophon, Calder, Celsion, Clarion, Dorian, Dover, Drake, Ezeel, Kai, Lachlan, Marlowe, Merrick, Oceanus, Poseider, Ridley, Rio, Tritonis, Zale, Zander

Female Names: Adrianna, Aeriel, Athena, Azure, Azurine, Coraline, Diana, Dione, Doriana, Echo, Eldoris, Fontanne, Galiana, Lana, Madison, Marinella, Nerio, Oceana, Pearl, Ria, Umiko, Undina, Ursula

Tribal Names: Aquillon, Deepfin, Gaion, Laviathon, Moontide, Moray, Nautilon, Neptune, Oceanor, Titanus, Waverider

Naiad Names

Naiads choose their own names when they come of age, and prefer names that are lyrical in nature. They have no clan or family names, though they may name themselves after the body of water they have recently bonded with, such as Khev of Dessarin and Loreley of Lac Dinneshere.

Male Names: Akdish, Bhom, Dakdoov, Dashion, Dhegor, Dhev, Dibam, Ebdordon, Embohz, Ghaaja, Jenjor, Khaav, Khajon, Khev, Memendev, Nagnesh, Naash, Omden, Shevshin, Vahz, Vanvin, Vor, Zekovion

Female Names: Ahni, Avya, BaIrafen, Basheena, Bura, Cerenya, Cini, Faadhi, Felfe, Ferrafin, Fifavi, Hamnaa, Laffuuna, Lidyh, Loreley, Lyrdu, Merdimy, Mirizan, Phibi, Rulfaya, Semfe, Welladuuna, Weni

Selkie Names

Selkies often adopt names similar to those of the people who live near to their colonies. As such, selkie names vary greatly from region to region, though they almost always prefer shorter names. Selkies have no clan or family names, and may refer to the region their family inhabits when introducing themselves, such as Runn of Boatscrape Cove, from Waterdeep.

Male Names: Albi, Coll, Conn, Bhim, Blake, Brenn, Brian, Bert, Des, Don, Dylan, Finn, Harper, Jock, Kay, Kel, Lloyd, Mort, Neal, Rhone, Rob, Runn, Ted

Female Names: Ada, Adele, Celeste, Ceridwen, Cordelia, Enid, Fiona, Gail, Gioga, Kay, Kaylen, Loreley, Lynn, Moon, Muriel, Myfanwy, Nadine, Ondine, Raine, Sapphira, Saraid, Thora, Ursilla, Varona

Make Your Own Undersea Fantasy Names

If you’re looking for more ideas for you own undersea fantasy names, I found loads of inspiration on fantasynamegenerators.com. Start there, find a name you like, then change it to suit your needs. Look for shorter, easier to pronounce names, since those are more memorable and far easier to use while roleplaying.

More Undersea Adventure

If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy the free monster preview available on the Dungeon Master’s Guild:

Till next time, play good games!

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.

 

Miniature Japanese Torii – Mini Monday, Ep 1

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kit bashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week I’ll show you how to build a miniature Japanese torii gate for Steampunk Musha, Legend of the Five Rings, or similar East Asian inspired settings.

Here she is, folks. This miniature Japanese torii can easily accommodate most Large sized D&D or Pathfinder figures in the center.

Miniature Japanese Torii
The base is 2 x 4 inches: perfect for using on a grid map.

Steampunk Musha – Shangti Factory Hub

This project is the first part of my Steampunk Musha terrain project that will consist of several factory pieces set in the mega city of Shangti. Since it’s steampunk, I figure this set will work well for both my Warhammer 40k games and for fantasy gaming, so this is a “two birds with one stone” type of deal.

The torii gate we’re making today is highly customizable, but is perfect for a Japanese themed game. You could use a similar technique to make gallows or other structures featuring a prominent wooden frame.



Getting Started

You’ll need balsa wood for this, but popsicle sticks will work well too. A sharp hobby knife, wood glue, and sandpaper will do all the heavy lifting, then you can paint and varnish the gate as you see fit when it’s done. I used hardboard for the base.

Prep

Make a paper template for the top piece of the gate (the kasagi and shimaki). Cut 3 of these. Cut 1 long crossbar (nuki), and 6 poles (to make the hashira). We’ll add more bits later, so keep any extra wood aside.

Miniature Japanese Torii

Torii Frame

Place 1 top section on top of 2 pillars. There’s no need to glue it yet, but you can if you like.

Miniature Japanese Torii

Glue the crossbar onto the pillars, with a small space between it and the top piece.

Miniature Japanese Torii

Connecting Things

Score lines on 2 more pillars under the crossbar, like so:

Miniature Japanese Torii

Then cut along the scored lines.

Miniature Japanese Torii

Glue the longer sections of pillar below the crossbar. Glue the short sections of the pillar over the top section. This forms the very center of your Japanese torii gate.

Miniature Japanese Torii

Don’t worry too much if the glue is causing all the pieces to float around. When you’re done you can move everything nicely into place, and sanding will clean it all up when we’re done.

Bulking Up the Top

Score lines to match the location of the pillars onto the second top piece.

Miniature Japanese Torii

Glue the pieces of the second top piece onto the first top piece. In the end, this gives the model more strength and bulk.

Miniature Japanese Torii

Finishing Up your Miniature Japanese Torii

Now glue on the last of the pillars and top piece. If your glue is still wet at this stage you can move things around, then put a heavy book on the gate and let it dry.  Miniature Japanese Torii

Next, add a small down piece between the top and the crossbar. Then cut 2 identical pieces to form the very top section of the tori. These will look like slightly curved french fries.

When it’s dry, use your hobby knife to make everything flush along the edges, then sand the model. An emery board (used for fingernails) works very well for this.

Miniature Japanese Torii
There are 25 ninjas hidden in this image. Really!

I base coated my model white, then painted the whole thing red. I washed it with a purple wash to pick up the natural wood texture of the balsa wood, and to age the model a bit.

For the base, I used hardwood covered in two grades of sand, the finest for the path. I painted and dry brushed this before adding flock. I varnished everything when I was done, because I like harder wearing gaming pieces.

Pro Tip: Suppliers of Shinto religious goods will often have miniature Japanese torii for sale. Personally, I prefer to make my own.

Till next time, play good games!

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.

Summer Christmas Adventures

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere is, like in the Northern Hemisphere, a time of family, relaxation, and lots of food. The Oliphant in the room is the very European aesthetic to the celebrations we have here. Mistletoe, snowflakes, skiing Christmas decorations, and snowmen — even though we’re spending our December by the pool. So, if you’re sick of winter, you’ve had it with snowflakes, or you’re enjoying summer in your corner of the world too, here’s our guide to summer Christmas adventures — a mishmash of adventure seeds in the sun and surf for your RPG campaign.

Summer Christmas Adventures
Image credit: Frank Mckenna

Sun & Surf Adventure Seeds

  • A sand elemental is terrorizing the coastline. The locals have dubbed the creature “Sandy Claws.”
  • A selkie druid in human guise seeks help rescuing her cubs from a sahuagin hunting party, deep below the waves.
  • An ancient bronze dragon brings toys and gifts to the local children every summer solstice. The gnomes that usually help him make the toys have run into a problem…
  • A ship disappeared from port during the night, along with its crew. In its place is a strange island of sand. Some say it was the curse of a genie.
  • A whale swallows the adventurers after capsizing their boat.
  • The legendary ningyo has been sighted by pearl divers off the coast. Capturing one of these creatures could bring a handsome reward.
  • An ominous statue is discovered during an unusually low tide. News of the discovery spreads quickly, and nefarious forces are moving to acquire it.
  • A mysterious spell is slowly turning the surface of the sea to glass.
  • An island appears off the coast. When explored, it’s found to be a forgotten temple on the back of an enormous sea turtle.
  • The rising tide brings unusual creatures onto the land.
  • The adventurer’s ship is captured by pirates and burned. The PCs are given a choice: join the pirate crew or walk the plank.
  • An ancient city rises from the ocean.
  • The party discovers a tunnel that leads deep beneath Waterdeep. In a water-filled chamber, they find a massive clockwork crab lying in its berth. Portholes and a hatch indicate something of its intended purpose.
  • A sailor reports having seen a giant undead whale.
  • A coastal town floods during the night. In the morning, the citizens discover that the graves of the town have been emptied.
  • The PCs discover an open portal in the ocean, which draws water through. The portal brings the water to a thriving desert city, but endangers ocean inhabitants.
  • An underwater ritual opens a portal to the Elemental Plane of Water, through which a giant sea monster passes to terrorize the Mortal Realm.

More Summer Christmas Adventures

Looking for more summer goodies? Aurora’s Whole Realms Summer Catalogue has a vast collection of thematic items that will add flavor to your Dungeons & Dragons game, without breaking it.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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.

RPG Christmas Stocking Fillers

Ho, (and a ho, ho, ho), Adventurer!

We’ve got four Christmas stocking fillers for the players and GM in your life this festive season.

Aurora’s Whole Realms Summer Catalogue

For D&D fifth edition, Aurora’s Whole Realms Summer Catalogue is a fresh take on Aurora’s Emporium, which some of you might remember from AD&D. The book’s 50 pages include loads of interesting, flavourful, summer-themed items that won’t break your game. And yes, we know it’s probably winter where you are, but here in Africa we’re melting.

Christmas stocking fillers

Griffins – A Field Guide (D&D)

We’ve also got Griffins – A Field Guide, which offers 6 subspecies of griffin, a new paladin archetype, and rules for griffin animal companions and familiars. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout and would make a stunning player aid for a party of griffin riders. The book is $2 off until Christmas.

Christmas stocking fillers

Tentacles of the Deep

Tentacles of the Deep is a PWYW title with statistics for tentacles that act as individual monsters but are connected to a larger creature deep below the ocean’s surface. Grab it free, and if you like it, you can always leave a tip in the tip jar, or a review.

Christmas stocking fillers

Steampunk Musha: Races of Rosuto-Shima

Lastly, for Pathfinder this time, and not from us but from our friends at Fat Goblin Games, is Steampunk Musha: The Races of Rosuto-Shima. The book introduces several East Asian inspired races, such as the tanuki, pandajin, jinteki oni, and kappa, as well as steampunk inspired races such as the clockwork ronin.

Christmas stocking fillers

These Christmas stocking fillers are a great way to show your appreciation for a year of great gaming.

We’ll be back next week with more exciting content, but if we miss you, have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

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.