This past Saturday we played our second session of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. Unlike D&D or Pathfinder, there’s a lot of room for players to tell the story, so players need to pay attention when they’re not up. To help, I offered the MVRP award (most valuable role-player) and 3xp to whoever was voted the best player by the group. It was great incentive, and I hope it will continue to be a huge motivator in later games.
Do you have any rewards in your campaign beyond Xp? Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear from you.
Rising Phoenix News
We’ve been working over the last year and a bit to get the Japan Roleplay Society going, a place for English speaking role-players who live in Japan to meet and find players. If you live in Japan or know someone who does, come check us out on FB.
Inspired in Japan Setsubun is a Japanese festival that happens yearly on February 3rd, celebrating the start of Spring. One of the events held at this time is mamimaki which means “bean scattering”, a ritual intended to chase away bad spirits or oni. The man of the house dresses up as an oni and the rest of the household throw roasted soy beans at him to chase the bad “spirit” away.
What customs might revolve around local monsters in your campaign world? We’d love to hear your ideas.
That’s all from me until next time. Tell Thrilling Tales
Winners of the first round of RPG Superstar 2015 were announced this week, with 32 winning items chosen out of hundreds. It’s a tough competition for sure, with a lot to be learnt.
In my spare time I’ve been reading the Paizo forums and found a wealth of tips, tricks and loads of encouragement for aspiring game designers. I recommend you check it out, even if you’re not a Pathfinder player/GM.
Here are four things I’ve learnt from voting in round 1.
1. Make Many, Submit One
I had a few ideas, but only one that I fleshed out. Next time I’d try create a list of 10 ideas, flesh out 4 and then have my friends and mentors give some feedback before I submit the best of the lot.
2. Awesomeness Rules
There were some really fun items I got to vote on, items that I want to bring to the table both as a player and as a GM. What makes an item fun? It’s subjective and hard to nail down, but the item needs to get people excited to win this contest.
3. Every Word Counts
Anything you put down in the item description needs to make sense. There were a number or “unexpectedly light” items that I came across. Fine. They’re magical. I can go with that. But it has to make sense with regard to the items theme, not just be a random feature. And at the same time, don’t eat up word count repeating things or trying to be verbose. Shorter entries often grabbed my attention over longer entries.
I saw many items that made the wielder immune to certain attacks or effects. Invincibility is only fun for the guy who’s invincible, and only for a little while. Look at any item you create from the perspective of all the players and the GM. If everyone’s going to have fun, you’ve got a keeper.
For more lessons learned this year, check out the forum. Enjoy Round 2!
The Avernos Wiki grows a little more every week. Hey, if I keep it up I’ll have 52 new entries by the end of the year.
This week we add dragons to the mix, Elder Dragons to be exact. These ancient beasts are responsible for much of the land as it is today.
I do like dragons, and I wanted to use chromatic and metallic dragons (such as in D&D/Pathfinder), but tie them into the creation legends of Avernos in a meaningful way. Last week I spoke about darkness on the doorstep and so it was important to have examples of evil having been beaten at great cost in the history of Avernos. Now chromatic dragons are set up as a force of evil, and you can be sure that someone will try and resurrect one of them to cause all kinds of havoc.
Rising Phoenix News
Here’s an awesome interior art preview for the pages of the final version of Claustrophobia! from my bro, illustrator Donovan Sloan.
I’ve also restarted going through Johnn Four’s Gamers Lifestyle course, with a view to smoothing out operations and getting more stuff published in the future. Wish me luck, I’ll be hitting the books hard this year.
Inspired in Japan
The #TRPG hashtag on Twitter is worth a browse. TRPG means “Table-talk RPG” and in Japan refers specifically to pen and paper RPGs. There’s plenty to inspire, and surprise (sometimes even shock), even if you can’t read Japanese. #DnDj will get you Japanese Dungeons and Dragons related posts.
That’s all from me until next Thursday. Tell Thrilling Tales
Today I’ve got some tips on making modern player handouts with more punch as well as updates on our current news.
Avernos Unearthed Avernos is all about the darkness on the doorstep, the growing evil at the edge of vision. So it’s high time we took a look at the Abyss, this weeks newest addition to the wiki.
The Abyss is a massive hole in the ground, surrounded by the Jaws mountains and leading directly into the depths of hell. Not a place you want to go, unless you’re, say, a witch hunter, monster slayer or questing paladin.
This is one area that will probably see many more entries this year as we travel deeper into the dark. I hope your sword is sharp and your torch bright.
The Books of Faces Last week I mentioned my big plans for the Book of Faces adventure. But what is it really all about?
The Book of Faces is content that I’m creating while players from all over the Internet are giving their feedback, deciding where the adventure goes. While that’s happening, I’m busy writing more content and drawing concept sketches for a final book version. I call it crowd-questing.
Handouts are a great way to hook players in and say “hey, this information is important.” I made this secret SHIELD Brief for ACT 2 of Breakout for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying.
It’s easy to put something like this together in a text editor like Word.
Write out your text. Use formal language to make it sound official and important.
Use a font like Stencil for the header and Courier for the main body. A font like Freestyle Script is good for hand written parts, such as notes scribbled by NPCs or their signatures.
Add logos harvested from the web. A grey scale version of the logo makes a great watermark if it’s in the background.
As with logos, you can find stamp marks on the web. Better still, stamp them with a real stamp and red ink. Yet another option is to use the shape tool to create your own stamp, using a thick border and the Stencil font, all in red, to get it as close to the real thing as you can.
To make your document more intriguing for the players, use a black marker pen or white-out to hide important facts. You can also use this trick to create red herrings.
Rising Phoenix News
Rising Phoenix Games is 4! In all the commotion of the holidays I forgot that we’ve been working towards our goals since the very last day of 2010. For sure, it has been a great ride, and the best is still to come, with so many exciting projects itching to go live.
You can check out our publications for the past four years on DriveThruRPG.
Voting for RPG Superstar 2015 ended a day or so ago, but next week the round 1 winners will be announced over at Paizo.com.
Inspired in Japan
I’m not sure who the two people carved on this stone are, but my guess is they were a couple who lived in the area. Perhaps their descendants commissioned the carving after they passed away. What do the statues and carvings your players come across tell them about your world?
That’s all from me until next Thursday. Tell Thrilling Tales
Here are some simple rules for sumo wrestling, for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
The objective of sumo is to throw your opponent out of the ring, or dohyou, or to force them to touch the ground with any part of their bodies other than the soles of their feet.
To play, both contestants roll for initiative. They then attempt to grapple each other. The first contestant to successfully grapple and move their opponent is the winner of the bout.
When a contestant attempts to move an opponent, the opponent gets a free attempt to break the grapple with the usual +4, as if they were being moved into hazardous terrain. See the “Combat” chapter in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook for more on grappling and moving grappled opponents.
The above rules will appear in a forthcoming supplement for the Kamen, Land of Masks Campaign series.
A few weeks ago I ran my “Where Heroes Stand” adventure. Set in mythical Japan and using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game system, the players play villagers hunting a group of ninja. It was a great experience and I wanted to share what I learnt from the play test. Enjoy.
Str 6 (-2), Dex 16 (+3), Con 13 (+1), Int 15 (+2), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 12 (+1) Base Attack Bonus +0; CMB -2; CMD 11 Feats Improved Initiative Skills Acrobatics +9, Climb +2, Disable Device +7, Disguise +5 (+15 in human form), Escape Artist +7, Perception +5, Sense Motive +5, Sleight of Hand +7, Stealth +7, Swim +2. Languages Common, Sylvan, Tengu, Celestial Combat Gear 2x Dagger (hidden in clothes), Blowgun and darts (20) in Den, Quilted cloth armour, Thunderstone (hidden in clothes). Other Gear Flint & steel and small steel mirror in belt pouch. Baggy yukata conceals daggers and thunderstone for escapes (DC 19 perception to observe, DC 15 perception to frisk). Special Abilities lowlight vision, change shape, agile (included), fast shifter (shift form as a move action), bite attack (natural form only) Tactics When discovered he uses his thunderstone to stun opponents, then shifts form and flees back to his den. If cornered he makes ranged attacks with his daggers until he can shift and flee. Description: A wide eyed teenager, who seems both a little out of place and uncomfortable in his own skin. He has little understanding for human ways and often makes mistakes that could easily give him away. He stares wide eyed at everything he sees and wants to take in as much as he can, knowing he won’t get such an opportunity again until next year.
This is the third of three NPC previews from my upcoming Pathfinder adventure, Where Heroes Stand. Check out the humble mountain villager and the samurai bodyguard from last week. For more NPC goodness check out my recently released NPC Strategy Cards on DriveThruRPG or Paizo.com.
Presenting the samurai bodyguard. He delights in pushing the peasantry around, roughing up his masters enemies and otherwise bullying anyone who stands in his way.
Samurai Bodyguards CR 3 XP 800 Human Warrior 5, CN Medium Humanoid Init +0; Senses perception -1
DEFENCE_________________________________ AC 18, touch 10, flat-footed 18 (+8 armour, +0 Dex) hp 39 Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +0
OFFENCE_________________________________ Speed 30 ft. Melee mwk nodachi +10 (1d10+3 /18–20 ×2)
mwk wakizashi +9 (1d6+3 /18-20 x2) Ranged short bow +5 (1d6 / x3) Space 5 ft.; Reach 5ft.
STATISTICS _______________________________ Str 16 (+3), Dex 11 (+0), Con 12 (+1), Int 9 (-1), Wis 8 (-1), Cha 10 (+0) Base Attack +5; CMB +8; CMD 18 Feats Intimidating Prowess, Skill Focus (Intimidate) , Weapon Focus (nodachi), Dazzling Display. Skills Climb +3 (+0 in armour), Intimidate +14, Ride +8 (+2 in armour) Languages Common Combat Gear master work Nodachi, master work wakizashi, dagger, short bow, 20 arrows and master work agile half-plate. Other Gear Leather belt case containing (2x antitoxin, 2x meditation tea, 2x smelling salts, 2x soothe syrup, 3x vermin repellent) and light combat trained horse with riding kit. 72 gold. Tactics Pairs of bodyguards use their Dazzling Display to demoralize foes, then focus their attention on the nearest threat; who they cut down without mercy. Description These heartless oafs love nothing more than pushing around peasants at their lord’s command. They carry huge swords both as a sign of strength and as an effective means of crowd control.
This is the second of three NPC previews from my upcoming Pathfinder adventure, Where Heroes Stand. Check out the target of the bullying samurai bodyguard, the humble mountain villager, from last week. For more NPC goodness check out my recently released NPC Strategy Cards on DriveThruRPG or Paizo.com.