Tag Archives: Dungeons & Dragons

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.

Last Night I Met a Galeb Duhr

A galeb duhr is a boulder-like creature from Dungeons & Dragons, and a creature I’ve never written about or encountered anywhere but in the Monster Manual. Until last night, when I met a galeb duhr in the woods.


Galeb Duhr
by james-olley on DeviantArt

So here I am, wandering along the wooded coastline of some unknown land, when I hear a rustle in the bushes up ahead. The next thing I see is a massive tree stump moving through the air — obviously a club. My fight reflex is about to kick in when I see the walking boulder that’s carrying it. “No worries, I think, this thing’s neutrally aligned.”

Okay, I’ll confess, this was all a vivid and memorable dream, but it stuck with me for some reason. Apart from questioning the effect of my work on my sanity, I found myself wondering about these strange little elementals and why their gravelly complexion would illicit such instinctive trust from me. Is there more to the pet rock thing? Are geographic formations naturally trustworthy?

I think it was the sense of wonder and realism that struck me most. Roleplaying games, by definition, allow us to experience the fantastic. The realism and wonder I felt in my dream are the holy grail (grails?) of a good RPG session, and many of us have had those moments when our imaginations take us beyond reality. If the runner’s high is what keeps a runner running, it’s the wonderous trips of the imagination that bring roleplayers back for more.

The galeb duhr has never piqued my interest before, so why would I dream about such an odd little monster? How do you even pronounce galeb duhr without sounding like a moron? Does any of this matter? 42!

Have you had similar dreams, or nightmares, linked to roleplaying? Or am I booking into the looney bin all on my own? We just need enough lunatics to start a game group in Cellblock C.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

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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.

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.

Welcome to Aurora’s Whole Realms Catalogue

Greeting, adventurer. Let me introduce Kim Frandsen, a game designer I’ve worked with on a number of projects before. We recently collaborated on the Aurora’s Whole Realms Summer Catalogue, which he’s here to tell you a little more about.

This will likely be a bit of me gushing, so bear with me.

Back in the heady days of AD&D, a younger version of Kim was introduced to a number of fantastic worlds: Dragonlance, Ravenloft, Forgotten Realms, and more.

For some reason, the Forgotten Realms always stuck with me. It had a depth unmatched by any other setting. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t necessarily better, but it had a depth that the others simply couldn’t match. Even just in the world of Abeir-Toril, you had a number of other settings: Al-Qadim, Maztica, Forgotten Realms, Kara-Tur, and the Hordelands. But the central Forgotten Realm, Faerûn, stuck with me.

This was a world where you could dive into almost unimaginable detail: Volo’s Guides, Faiths & Pantheons, the Forgotten Realm’s Player’s Guide, and then there was this “little” tome called Aurora’s Whole Realms Catalogue.

Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue

The Catalogue was like opening a box of toys for me. It contained bits and pieces I’d never even thought of, but which belonged perfectly within a fantasy world, or even a realistic medieval one. All this was offered to you by Aurora, an adventuress who sold these things from her shop, Aurora’s Emporium, in Westgate. Using teleportation and magic, this high-level (16) adventurer would collect bits and pieces from all over this fantastical realm.

And here I was, with my greedy little fingers, paging through the book, like someone paging through a book at a store. (In hindsight, it actually reminds me a bit of what they’ve done with the shops in Red Dead Redemption 2). I was itching to get my hands on these items.

This wasn’t the power-hungry munchkin player in me that got so attracted by these. This was something that allowed me to see the world of the Forgotten Realms as a living, breathing place, where ordinary people could experience extraordinary things, just by entering a shop. How could I not get hooked?

Fast forward 24 years and here we are. Along with Ishmael Alvarez, Troy E. Daniels, and Rodney Sloan, I finally get to release my homage to this book that, in my youth, captured my imagination. I hope, dear reader, that this humble offering of ours, will do the same to you and your imagination. But for now, let me invite you inside Aurora’s Emporium. As Aurora would say: “Welcome, dear customer. How may I serve you today?”

Aurora's Whole Realms Summer CatalogueYou can find the 50 page Aurora’s Whole Realms Summer Catalogue on the DMs Guild.

Kim Frandsen

37 years old, and a gamer since I was 13. These days I freelance as a writer for various companies (currently Fat Goblin Games, Flaming Crab Games, Outland Entertainment, Paizo, Raging Swan Games, Rusted Iron Games, and Zenith Games) as well as editing the Pathfinder and D&D 5th edition lines for D20PFSRD Publishing. I’ve dipped my hands into all sorts of games, but my current “go-to” games are Pathfinder, Dungeon Crawl Classics and SLA Industries. Unfortunately, while wargaming used to be a big hobby, with wife, dog and daughter came less time.

Tentacles of the Deep – An Undersea Monster

What do Cthulhu, an octopus, and many politicians have in common? Tentacles! That’s right, tentacles!

As roleplayers, we kind of love tentacles, don’t we. Evard’s black tentacles, Day of the Tentacle, mind flayer chins, and the Japanese porn industry – tentacles have dipped their slimy appendages into every part of geek culture.

Today, I’ll share a new monster I’m working on that’s 100% tentacle, and tell you how you can join in and playtest it at your table.

Tentacle Miniatures - Hand Made Monsters
Tentacle Miniatures. Easy handmade monsters.

The above tentacles are based off the Watcher in the Water from The Lord of the Rings movie, and the miniature Games Workshop made of it. They were relatively cheap and easy to make, too.

In most cases, the adventurers are fighting against whole monsters, but what if you wanted to only pit them against a giant’s hand, or a dragon’s claw, or the tentacles of a creature hidden deep below the waves?

That’s where the tentacle of the deep comes in. First, I’ll talk about the miniatures, then I’ll show you where to go to find the stats.

Making Tentacles

I made my tentacles with wire and modeling clay. You could probably use Green Stuff, but anything that won’t go brittle when it cures is fine. For the water effects, I used clear silicone, then painted the tips of the waves white. Lukes APS has an excellent tutorial on water effects that’s well worth checking out for this kind of project, and his silicone idea worked a treat.

I painted the miniature dark green, and used a mixture of Citadel’s Bronzed Flesh and Goblin Green on the underside. Paint the base black, because it really adds depth once the silicone is added to the top. When I was all done I used a gloss varnish to give the tentacles a wet look.

D&D Stats for Your Tentacles

We’ve published the stats for these tentacles, free, on the DMs Guild. Grab your copy here.

Tentacles of the Deep

If you like the monster, let us know or drop a tip in the tip jar. If you’ve got creative feedback, we’d love to hear from you too.

Black Friday with Rising Phoenix

This Black Friday we have a massive 50% Off Sale on Drive Thru RPG. This includes books compatible with Dungeons & Dragons and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, as well as stand-alone games, map tiles, and all of our Solo Adventures.

Looking for some unique gaming gift ideas? Check out our Black Friday Buyer’s Guide.

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 Quick Win – Leveraging Goals for the Big Win

I’m a big believer in the quick win.

Especially when it comes to hobby gaming.

The Quick Win
Photo credit: Andre Hunter.

Quick wins, as the name suggests, are small projects that don’t take much time, or effort. The miniature you paint in an hour, the terrain you bang out in 3 hours, or the monster stat block you write in 5 minutes all fall into this category.

Why the Quick Win?

Getting things done is very motivating. My recent post about painting RPG miniatures gets into that more. The reverse is also true though, that having too much on your plate can turn you off of your hobby quicker than a quickling in hyperdrive.

It’s also great having something to show for your efforts, and with a string of quick wins you can easily build up to a much larger goal. It’s a lot like how I write now. My current RPG book — teasers here, here, and here — is being written in 2-hour bursts. In each session, I aim to finish one section of the book. Sometimes I’ll get 2-3 monsters done, sometimes it’s most of a background, but every session that I finish something is another thing off the checklist.

How’s this different from how I used to write? Before, I didn’t break down my tasks much, so in 2 hours I often worked on a bunch of sections, got demotivated, and lost my concentration. That kind of thing can lead to burnout. In other words, I’m talking about the tortoise’s approach to winning the race: slow and steady, and about breaking down that race into milestones. Each milestone is a victory in and of itself.

Life also takes up much of our hobby time, so when we have time, we need to use it wisely.

Your Next Quick Win

I’ll leave you with this thought. What small hobby project would give you the most satisfaction. Is it drawing that dungeon map you’ve been planning? Making a handout? Stating up an NPC? Or do you just need to run a short session over Google Hangouts to get everyone ready for a longer session?

Plan it. Do it. Celebrate your quick win.

Black Friday with Rising Phoenix

This Black Friday we have a massive 50% Off Sale on Drive Thru RPG.  This includes books compatible with Dungeons & Dragons and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, as well as stand-alone games, map tiles, and all of our Solo Adventures.

Looking for some unique gaming gift ideas? D20Radio.com has some excellent gamer gift ideas worth checking out.

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.

Black Friday – 2018 Buyer’s Guide

Right now, all our books are 33% Off, but wait, because this Black Friday (and maybe earlier) we have a massive 50% Off Sale on Drive Thru RPG. This includes books compatible with Dungeons & Dragons and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, as well as stand-alone games, map tiles, and all of our Solo Adventures.

Black Friday

Black Friday with Rising Phoenix

Here are my top 5 recommendations, based on sales and customer feedback, as well as my own (totally biased) opinion:

5. Mecha – A Field Guide

This has 2.5 stars out of a possible 5, making it our worst rating, for any product, ever. Still, if you read the reviews objectively, you’ll notice that nobody’s complaining about the rules, which are water tight. The book might not show you how to design your own mecha, but attentive readers will be able to reverse engineer the system and create anything they want, using the core Starfinder Roleplaying Game rules.

Get it on Drive Thru RPG

4. How to Plan a Murder

How to Plan a Murder CoverWhat’s a little murder between friends? A lot of fun, it turns out.
The game’s rules are so intuitive that you might be tempted to think the game is overly simple. In fact, the game’s streamlined for an evening’s dinner party with friends, and makes intrigue an integral part of the experience. We think you’ll find that How to Plan a Murder has something special that most murder mystery dinner games lack. Check it out.

Get it on Drive Thru RPG

3. Phoenixes – A Field Guide

This book is so beautifully illustrated that it’s worth grabbing, just for the pretty pictures. The art is by Bob Greyvenstein, who does most of our illustration and layout work, and this book contains many of my favorites of his art. It takes real talent to draw birds well, and Bob pulls it off with apparent effortlessness.

Get it on Drive Thru RPG

2. Death Queen and the Life Stone

Death QueenOur Choose Your Destiny line of solo 5e adventures is steadily growing, but it all starts with this, the first adventure in the series. The second book, Forest of Secrets, is also on sale.

The books contain rules for extending the game, as well as player boons and class archetypes, so they’re valuble resources for GMs too.

Get it on Drive Thru RPG

1. Welcome to Scarthey

This brings us to my top recommendation for Black Friday, 2018. Scarthey, the University of the Arcane, is your guide to adventures in a wizard’s university, complete with map, location guide, introductions to the main faculty members, houses, the surrounding town of Scartheyton, history, activities, and sports. You can set your whole campaign within the grounds of the university, or drop it straight into your campaign. Our Choose Your Destiny adventures are set in Scarthey and its surrounds, making Welcome to Scarthey an invaluble part of the collection.

Get it on Drive Thru RPG

Enjoy your Black Friday shopping!

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.