Ashen Angels: the Ruined June 22, 2016 16:21 20 Comments

The strife between elves and farishtaa is well known. While many elves simply try to make the best life they can for themselves, some take up arms and fight their oppressors. These individuals brand themselves the Ashen Angels, marking themselves with wing tattoos across their backs. Seen as freedom fighters, rebels, and terrorists, the Ashen Angels take extreme measures to unseat the farishtaa leaders, believing that they can create a better Dalvozzea for all elvenkind.

In an effort to take down the farishtaa council, some members of the Angels have taken to the skies. These elves don specially-crafted winged packs and engage in daring, dangerous dogfights with farishtaan forces. Wherever they go, they leave ruins in their wake, earning them their malevolent monicker: the Ruined. These fallen angels show no mercy and will fight to their last breath. The Ruined employ many tactics during airborne engagements, favoring seemingly randomized attack sequences. Unfortunately, the only people to figure out the grand pattern in their attacks have all been rendered dead silent.

The Ruined trace their origins to the one known as the Valkyrie: an Ashen Angels operative who was captured, tortured, and forced into farishtaa conversion against her will. The operation was botched, and she became increasingly volatile. After fleeing her captives, she returned to the Ashen Angels, swearing to bring them into a new age of warfare. The Vakyrie leads the Ruined with an iron fist, inciting fear into her foes and enraging the public into riots with her vicious propaganda.

If you want to play a member of the Ruined: be warned, people don’t look favorably upon them. You can grab the Auto-Wright or Manual Wright specialty (from page 236 the Playing Guide) with the Aerial Propulsion and Lift augments, or the Flight augment in order to take to the skies with the Ruined. Outfit yourself with a cannon or some explosives, and you too can leave ruins in your wake.

Thank you for reading! If you liked the Ruined, use them in your Tephra adventures for an extra dose of chaos. Tune in next week for completed stat blocks and a look at the Valkyrie. Until next time, Cheers and Gears!

Convention Time! June 16, 2016 11:23 3 Comments

This weekend is going to be a blast! Not only is it a convention weekend, but it’s right in my own Houston neighborhood. Comicpalooza is happening this weekend, and from previous experiences it promises to be an enjoyable one.

Getting back into the convention scene has rekindled my creative spark, and this weekend I look forward to running all sorts of new adventures I’ve written up. I’ve found I enjoy running thought-provoking mysteries and adventures with unexpected twists. While Tephra’s combat is a blast, I get the most excited when the combats are interspersed among a great storyline. When I offer a mystery and a trail of clues, I’m in my zone. Watching the players’ reactions as they discover something they didn’t expect is one of the many reasons I enjoy running games.

If you look on the Comicpalooza schedule you will find two games scheduled for each day. We’re also open to running unscheduled games for those interested - feel free to come on up and ask! We will have our newest products up for sale (and may even use them in our demos).

The d-Infinity Indie Game Awards will also be announced this weekend. If you haven’t voted for the Narrator’s Accomplice, now’s the time! Just hit this link and click vote.

The convention has been a great event in the past, filling up the massive George R. Brown center with all sorts of attractions: arcade games, comic books, artist panels, and even the occasional Time Warp. There’s no shortage of things to do and people to see. Drop on by and say hello.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or con memories you’d like to share, please comment below. Until next time, Cheers and Gears!

Setting the Pace June 3, 2016 22:10 5 Comments

This week I started a new game with some friends, and while we were writing out characters and coordinating our party setup, we got onto the topic of experience rewards and how they set the pace of the campaign. One of my friends brought up an interesting technique he uses to control the length of his campaigns, and that got me thinking of other ways to extend or control how quickly your players can level up or improve within your games.

Limited XP Options

Let’s start with the technique that spurred my thoughts. When writing out your campaign notes, it can be messy parsing out the experience rewards from the plethora of choices the players can make. Instead, set up specific events that must take place before your players gain experience; maybe restrict experience gaining to anything that progresses the plot. This helps to cut out experience grinding from parties that want to hunt down goblins one hundred times before facing a major foe. By using this method you can also reward the party with currency or rare items without quickly tilting the scales. Remember, the party needs a challenge or they will get bored.

Keep Them Poor

Similar to the previous technique, you can opt to make sure your party has a lot of work ahead of them before they can buy that special gear they’ve been eyeing. This may seem cruel, but a party lacking resources will be forced to think outside the box to overcome a situation, and this can often lead to creative and amusing solutions. Can’t afford to buy a missile launcher? Buy a missile and make do! Smash it with a hammer until it explodes, or rig it up with some sort of fuse. A low budget shouldn’t stop your party.

Skimming Off the Top

If you want to add an element of realistic chaos, then consider how the world would react to a bunch of active adventurers keeping wealth on their person. It could be stolen, or suddenly their landlord is charging more rent. Maybe they have to pay for destruction of property and that’s taken out of their reward. Even when the party is out adventuring, maybe merchants will mark up prices when inquiring wallets walk by. Doing this makes any significant reward suddenly more cherished, and cultivates uncertainty.

With these techniques, you can extend your campaign with ease. Use any combination as you like, but also make sure the party won’t get too upset. It’s one thing to provide a challenge, and another to bully your party. If any of your players are sensitive to this kind of narrating, make sure they are informed and won’t take offense.

If you have any narration techniques you would like to share, please comment below. I’d love to see what you guys do to entertain your party. Thank you for reading and, until next time, Cheers and Gears!

It’s Like The Oscars, But For Independent RPGs May 27, 2016 16:00

Whether it’s movies, music, books, or newspapers, one thing people love to do is award those that excel beyond the rest. So why shouldn’t there be one for independent tabletop companies? Introducing The d-Infinity Independent Game Awards, a handy site where anyone can vote for the company that made that wonderful game they enjoyed.

What sets this award apart is that only small or medium independent companies are eligible for submission, creating a level playing field to show their accomplishments. This also creates an excellent source for you, the voters, to discover new games you might not have heard about. The awards are more than recognition; they are great for the companies submitted.

First and foremost, these awards are a great way for these small companies to spread the word about their products. Now not only will Tephra players be able to see it, but many who have never heard of us can discover and see just how popular it is. Anything that makes this community grow is definitely worth checking out. These awards also validate our work, since the companies submitted likely don’t have the budgets to match larger companies. Many members of our team, myself included, are aspiring writers who use our free time to contribute to these projects. It’s very motivational and inspiring to see those works awarded, as that is often the only payment we will see. Finally, and most importantly, these awards let us know that you care about us, and that what we do is appreciated and well-received.

To see our submission for the Narrator’s Accomplice and cast your votes, please click here. If you have any fond Tephra memories you’d like to share, please comment below. Until next time, Cheers and Gears!