Tag Archives: Undersea Sourcebook

Rainbow Hag’s Hair — Undersea Monster

Meet the rainbow hag’s hair anemone. This psychedelic hippie of the sea is a man-eating anemone with a tentacle attack and a toothy mouth, ready to swallow heroes in one gulp. Let’s check out this new Dungeons & Dragons 5e monster.

Sea Monster Title Image

The Undersea Sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a collection of player and GM options for running ocean-themed adventures. Subscribe for free weekly sea monsters and monthly encounters, right in your inbox.

Last week we looked at the mincy, and this week we’ve got a giant sea anemone with rainbow-colored tentacles. It’s a tentacular spectacular!

Giant Anemone

Hag’s hair anemones are a giant sub-species of sea anemones known for their long, tangling tentacles that resemble the hair of a hag. These creatures inhabit anywhere from shallow tidal pools to the depths of the ocean and are dangerous predators capable of taking large prey.

Hag’s hair anemones are hardy. They can be found at all depths, in all conditions, including drying tidal pools or the deepest, dark trenches of the ocean’s hadalpelagic zone. Here the intense water pressure would crush most unadapted creatures, but the hag hair thrives still. Although they prefer large prey, they can survive well enough on a diet of small creatures, making them patient predators too.

Rainbow Hag’s Hair

This giant anemone’s tentacles pulse hypnotically with psychedelic colors, enticing you closer. 

Rainbow hag’s hair is a giant sea anemone that, unlike its smaller relatives, travels frequently. It rides currents, attaches itself to ships or large creatures, and bobs along on storm-tossed waves to find new hunting grounds. Rare, and widely dispersed, they are often a tantalizing find for the few who will ever discover one. The rainbow hag’s hair uses this and its color-changing tentacles to lure in a meal.

Although showy in full display, the rainbow hag’s hair is adept at camouflaging itself in any terrain. Its habit is to wait for a single creature to pass nearby, then reveal itself and entice the meal closer. Then it attacks, consuming the prey whole and leaving no trace before it moves on again.

Rainbow Hag's Hair Monster for Dungeons & Dragons

There are other forms of giant anemones in the perilous depths. What other kinds of giant anemones can you imagine? Let us know in the comments.


The Mincy — Undersea Sourcebook Monster

All mouth and stomach, the mincy masher is a tiny aberration that’s terrorizing the ocean’s currents. Let’s take a look at this bite-sized D&D monster.

Sea Monster Title Image

The Undersea Sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a collection of player and GM options for running ocean-themed adventures. Subscribe for free weekly sea monsters and monthly encounters, right in your inbox.

Last week subscribers visited the Crystal Caves for adventure #1. Now that we’re in February, we have three new monsters (including the mincies) and adventure #2 in the works. Don’t miss out, subscribe.

Mincy

This tiny disk-shaped creature is nothing but a ring of sharp teeth spinning around a miniature black hole. With an insatiable appetite and the ability to consume anything, mincies are a minute menace that plague the deeps.

Mincy mashers, or mincies, have a rudimentary physiology adapted to consuming anything that fits within their small mouths. Sharp teeth, a hard shell, and a sensory organ that allows it to see rotate around a miniature black hole — the mincy’s digestive system. Scholars have proposed that anything that enters a mincy must end up somewhere, but the total oblivion of the matter is more likely. How this sustains the mincy is unknown, though it has been recorded that the black hole winks out of existence when a mincy dies.

Mincies are usually solitary hunters, but can gather in great numbers when food is plentiful in an area. They often congregate in powerful currents, where they pull water and anything else through themselves to remain stationary. They care little about anything other than eating, and even reproduce by consuming each other.

Most intelligent undersea creatures hate mincy mashers, which they refer to as floating stomachs, and will drive them off or kill them if they can. Sahuagin play a cruel game with mincies, in which players attach these creatures to their skin in turns, to see who can withstand the pain the longest.

Mincy — Undersea Monster 4

 

Are you interested in knowing what inspired the mincy? This photo of an arctic lamprey and talking about portable holes and bags of holding.


Merfolk — Undersea Sourcebook Monster

Lithe, human-like hunters glide through the water, their athletic bodies propelled by strong, piscine tails. These are merfolk, the princes and princesses of the sun-touched sea.

Merpeople are a common addition in any Bestiary or Monster Manual, but we thought the 5e version could use an update, so here we have a new merfolk build for your game of D&D 5e.

Sea Monster Title Image

The Undersea Sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a collection of player and GM options for running ocean-themed adventures. Subscribe for free weekly sea monsters and monthly encounters, right in your inbox.

More Monsters! Check out the Concussive Clam and Grindylow.

Merfolk, Saltwater

Fey touched, merfolk possess an unnatural beauty and grace, which complements their beautiful singing. Despite the legends surrounding them, merfolk seldom entice sailors to their doom. Unfortunately, their beguiling traits have earned merfolk the distrust of land-going peoples. In reality, merfolk prefer to use their enchanting singing to lure sailors away from their territories.

Merfolk dwell throughout the oceans of the world, though they seldom live far from the reach of the sun. They do not like settling close to land-dwellers and prefer uncharted waters off major trade routes. Merpeople often live in great coral cities which may comprise a chain of small islands on the surface.

Mermaids and mermen cultivate crops of shellfish, seaweed, and kelp, domesticate many varieties of fish, including dolphins and orcas, and trade with other peoples when they are on peaceful terms with them. They have a long and bitter history of war with sahuagin, who are known to raid merfolk settlements and enslave merfolk.

Saltwater merfolk are the most common variety of merpeople, while brine , arctic , deep , and freshwater varieties have also been sighted by explorers.

 

Merfolk D&D Stats

 

What special abilities would you like to see freshwater varieties of this monster sporting? How about arctic mermaids?  Let us know, in the comments below.


Grindylow — Undersea Sourcebook

“Sucker marks on the tavern windows, salt water in the ale, and squid ink on the floor. Yip, a sure sign that you’ve got a grindylow infestation.” Let’s take a look at this classic D&D monster.

Sea Monster Title Image

The Undersea Sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a collection of player and GM options for running ocean-themed adventures. Subscribe for free weekly sea monsters and monthly encounters, right in your inbox.

Grindylow

Grindylow are an aquatic subspecies of goblin. They have bulbous heads, sharp teeth, and dextrous tentacles that are constantly poking around and grabbing things. Legend says that the first grindylow was a goblin cutthroat who attempted to drown a merciless wizard in a bog. The mage cursed the goblin and his spawn to dwell in the swamps and marshes of the world as half-octopus mutants.

Grindylow are cunning hunters with a fondness for kidnapping, thieving, and drowning. Most grindylow live in small tribes in stagnant water, usually close to travel routes and hunting trails.

Ocean-dwelling grindylow are a subspecies that live in tribes along cavernous reefs, in shipwrecks, and kelp forests, never too far from land.

Of all goblinoids, grindylow have the strongest ties to the lands of Faerie, and their bogs often conceal dank routes into the land of the Fay. Although they will protect these portals if they must, their true role is often as scouts and lackeys of the more powerful Fay on the edge of whose domain they dwell.

Undersea Sourcebook Monster 2: Grindylow

 

Find a new monster, next week. We’re bringing you three new monsters a month, one a week for the first three weeks, and then a complete D&D encounter.

Is there a sea monster from lore you’d like us to build, or an idea for a creature you’d like us to play with? Maybe you’ve got an idea for using the grindylow in your own campaign. Let us know, in the comments below.


This monster uses the OGL.

Concussive Clam — Undersea Sourcebook

With an ear-piercing clap, the concussive clam snaps shut and rockets backward, out of reach. Check out this new D&D monster.

Sea Monster Title Image

The Undersea Sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5e is a collection of player and GM options for running ocean-themed adventures. Subscribe for free weekly sea monsters and monthly encounters, right in your inbox.

Concussive Clam

These shell-armoured molluscs burrow in river and ocean beds and can also be found clinging to tidal rocks or the hulls of large ocean-going ships. When attacked, they use their powerful shell to create a deafening blast that shoots them backwards, away from danger.

Concussive clams are also known as clap clams, slam shells, or crack jacks. They are found in cold and warm oceans, at great depths as well as in shallow freshwater rivers.

Concussive clams live in colonies, but can occasionally be found alone. They are particularly tasty and those divers who make a living harvesting them are often hard of hearing.

Concussive Clam D&D Stats

In the next two weeks we’ve got two more monsters coming your way, including one iconic sea creature and the tentacled goblins of the sea, then a 1st-level encounter in the Crystal Caves featuring the new editions and the concussive clams. Here’s an initial design for the caves that didn’t make the cut:

Coral Caves 39x35 Map
Pretty, but we prefer hand-drawn maps, so this got scrapped early.

Have you got any ideas for using concussive clams in your game? Do you have a sea monster you’d like us to design or redesign? Let us know, in the comments below.

So, You’d Like to Read More, Would You?

Be sure to check out our roundup post for last month’s “No Dice” RPG Blog Carnival. We also recommend our State of the Phoenix post from the end of 2022.

Till the next monster arrives, have a good one. See you on the high seas!


The State of the Phoenix – 2022

Every year we learn and adapt. In 2022 we returned to our grassroots and applied those lessons to great effect. Here’s what Rising Phoenix Games got up to in 2022.

Early in the year, I finished developing TTRPGs for d20pfsrd.com Publishing with the release of the Pathfinder Second Edition version of the Eldryn character supplement and Artful Dodgers (which, alongside Masters of the Occult: Play Manga d20 is my best works for the company). Leaving them allowed me to commit more time to freelancing and to Rising Phoenix Games.

Freelancing remains the best way for me to learn the art, science, and business of TTRPG production, so it’s one pillar of the business.

The GrimDark Pamphlet Banner

For Rising Phoenix specifically, our goal was to focus on the Grimdark Pamphlet and Undersea Sourcebook series, complete Three Stone Stories, and begin work on a larger solo RPG product that will eventually form the core of our business. All have progressed nicely:

  1. Three Stone Stories is out and on its way to earning its Copper Seller medal. It has two 4-star ratings so far.
  2. With the release of Undersea Sourcebook: Water Magic we are halfway through the development of the series. We’ll probably focus on the monster book next, which I’ve done a substantial amount of development work on already.
  3. The Grimdark Pamphlet is progressing well, and we’ll return to it in 2023 after some freelance work in early 2023.
  4. Our larger solo project is top-secret for now, so I can’t say much.

In refocusing we’ve let a few games go, including several miniature skirmish games that we’re selling off to larger publishers. There are also a few paused projects, which we’ll sit on until the time is right.

Mayas & Dungeons and Camp Karate

Some opportunities are worth grabbing with both sets of talons, and we had two great opportunities this year.

In March I was asked to develop a small game to promote JAST USA on April 1st, and this became Mayas & Dragons, a small (and free) print-and-play solo dungeon crawl.

In July we participated in Drive-Thru RPG’s ZineQuest, creating Camp Karate. It was a great opportunity to get eyes on our products, and we remained within the top 8 entries for all of August.

Camp Karate RPG

The Fat Long Tail

One pleasant surprise was our 5e Madness Cards making more sales this year than in all of 2020 and 2021. I added a PDF version for home printing after a customer’s request on Drive-Thru (thank you, Lee). We’ll be adding a version of the Pathfinder Second Edition Madness Cards for home printing in 2023.

Goals for 2023

Next year will be more of the same:

  1. Develop the Grimdark Pamphlet, according to the roadmap.
  2. Develop the Undersea Sourcebook monster book.
  3. Take part in ZineQuest if possible.
  4. Develop our Solo RPG master plan (mwahaha).

We’ll be moving away from social media in the same way we pulled back from the blog, but there’s still time to snag a book from our latest contest:

Have an amazing holiday season and a happy 2023!

Captain Nemo’s Scimitar, a D&D 5e Artifact

Captain Nemo’s scimitar is a powerful artifact that you can add to your undersea Dungeons & Dragons 5e campaign.

Nemo’s Scimitar

Weapon (scimitar), artifact (requires attunement)

The legendary Captain Nemo was a consummate gentleman and an amicable diplomat who made many friends, both above and below the waves. It is said that he counted sphinxes and phoenixes among his closest advisors, and that it is they who helped him build the vessel his name is synonymous with: the Nautilus (see Undersea Sourcebook: Feats and Equipment).

Captain Nemo's Scimitar

While the Nautilus was being completed, a companion blade was forged, a scimitar linked to the vessel by powerful magic. The scimitar would serve as a mark of rank and ownership, while its arcane link to the great vessel would be able to bring the Nautilus back from disaster if their planned journey to the ocean depths ever became too perilous.

Although the scimitar is not required to command or pilot the Nautilus, it is a common misconception that the scimitar is its key, and that the Nautilus would be powerless without it. This misinformation has inspired many of Nemo’s rivals to steal the sword, though none have yet succeeded.



While attuned to the scimitar, you can breathe air or water, have a swimming speed of 30-feet if you don’t have a better swimming speed, and are immune to the effects of extreme cold.

Call the Nautilus. If you are holding the scimitar and are within 120 feet of a body of water big enough to hold it, you can, as an action, call the Nautilus (Underwater Sourcebook: Feats & Equipment). The vessel teleports to your location if it is on the same plane. If the Nautilus has been destroyed, it appears with 1 Hit Point remaining for each of its components. You can’t use this property again until 3 days have passed.

Captain’s Gate. If you are holding the scimitar, you can use your action to cast gate, linking a spot you can see to the captain’s quarters within the Nautilus. You can’t use this ability again until after a long rest.

Conjure Shield Guardian. If you are holding the scimitar, you can use your action to conjure a shield guardian. You can conjure it within 30 feet of you or within the Nautilus. In either case, it is bound to the scimitar, which acts as the shield guardian’s bound amulet. The shield guardian dissipates after 1 hour. You can’t use this ability again until dawn.

Destroying the Scimitar. The only way to destroy the scimitar is to melt it down within an underwater volcano, alongside a power crystal from the Nautilus.

Captain Nemo's Scimitar


Set Sail in a Miniature Ship — Mini Monday, Ep 4

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we’ll build a miniature ship to go with your Ghosts of Saltmarsh campaign or Undersea Sourcebook inspired adventures.

Wind Runner Ship Complete
“Yo ho ho, a pirate’s life for Smee!”

This little boat is very easy to make, looks great on the table, and is highly customizable. I’m planning to make a small armada for my undersea pirate campaign, which won’t take much time or break the bank with this technique.

Wind Runner Miniature Ship
“Arr, tis a ghost ship!”

Building the Ship

I used foam board, which I marked out to be an inch wide and 5 inches long. I then cut it and shaped the bow and stern.

For the gunwales, I used cardboard strips, which I glued to the sides of the foam board. The prow and rudder is made from balsa wood, and the tiller is a match stick. The deck was left plain, except for four struts, which are used to mark the squares off for models to stand on. The mast is a bamboo skewer, with thick yarn glued around the bottom of it.

I then undercoated the miniature ship in white, and painted the hull and prow a dark red. The rest was either painted dark brown to resemble wood, or light brown to resemble rope.

When the paint was dry, I rolled up a thin strip of linen and tied it to the mast. I then glued it in place and painted the yarn. To finish up, I painted the whole thing, including the sail, with matt varnish.

Full Stats Coming Soon

The wind runner, which this is a model of, will appear with full stats in our forthecoming Undersea Sourcebook: Feats & Equipment, which includes two new ships, two submersibles, and an airship.

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 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.