Transition metal borides, carbides and nitrides are candidates for very high temperature applications. A review of various processing techniques to fabricate dense monolithic and composite materials is presented. In particular, we focus on reactive hot pressing (RHP) which allows synthesis and densification to be achieved simultaneously. We report the RHP of composites in the Ti-B-N, Zr-B-C and Zr-B-Si-C systems using the reactions of Ti/BN, Zr/B4C (Si, SiC particulate) powder mixtures at moderate pressures and temperatures. Substantial reductions in processing temperature may be realized from those in excess of 1800°C down to as low as 1200°C by exploiting a combination of transient liquid phases, plasticity in a non-stoichiometric ZrC and enhanced transport in a sub-micron microstructure.