Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Kickstarter - The Driftwood Verses - (OSR / LotFP)

This is going to be a first. I'm going to suggest you watch a Kickstarter video because it's damn good. How much does it have to do with The Driftwood Verses itself? Damned if I know. Looks great and it's nice and short. Go and watch it. I'll wait.


It was good, right?

If The Driftwood Verses setting comes close to half the atmosphere in that short video it will be amazing.

So, what are / is The Driftwood Verses?
The Driftwood Verses is a gloomy, nautical fantasy campaign setting for old-school tabletop role-playing games. It's directly compatible with Lamentations of the Flame Princess and more broadly compatible with a large selection of traditional systems. The contents can be used as a stand alone setting or slotted into your existing kitchen sink fantasy campaign as a distinct region in a larger world. 
The setting was conceived as a Dark Sun-esque re-skinning of standard D&D tropes, starting with the conceit that "whales are dragons." It has since developed into something well beyond that original idea. The major inspirations include stuff like Moby Dick, Dishonored, Sunless Sea, Dune, The Scar, and the Monster Blood Tattoo series. 
The book focuses on a blighted maritime region called Walfismeer. It's an impressionistic fantasy setting, a collection of symbols and metaphors come to life. Anachronisms abound. Grizzled mariners pilot haunted, tentacle-powered iron ships across a sludge-poisoned sea. Sinister roachmen quad-wield black powder pistols in hungry cities ruled by vice and bloodsport. Secretly trained navigators employ esoteric disciplines to guide vessels across a mysterious psychic barrier called The Reef. Desperate meerfolk raise sonorous hymns to Leviathan in deep-sea, whale-corpse cathedrals. 
This is NOT another rehash of the typical age of sail/talk-like-a-pirate setting. It's something slightly weirder. It's like Melville's Nantucket meets Leiber's Lankhmar with an oil-spill-chic soundtrack by Tom Waits and Bathory rattling in the background.
12 bucks for the PDF. 25 bucks (+5 for shipping) for the Print plus PDF.

I'm in for the Print plus...

Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Birthday to Tenkar's Tavern - 7 Years Old Today

Yep. 7 years old today.

I wish I could explain the longevity and success of The Tavern, but it's beyond my ability.

I do know that it wouldn't have happened without you, the readers, the regulars at The Tavern. Quite simply, without the community, there would be no Tavern.

Okay, time for bed. Lots of emails to catch up on before NTRPG Con. Tomorrow will be busy.

Thank you all. Here's to seven more :)

No One Expects... The Building Inspectors (a Session Write Up & Play Review of Polyhedral Dungeon

Last night, while enjoying the calming sounds of rain falling on a tin roof, I hopped into a Roll 20 session of Polyhedral Dungeon run by none other than my good friend and writer of said game, +Jason Paul McCartan . Joining me in acts of virtual depravity were +James Spahn , +Keith J Davies and +David B .

Not so long set up shortened, we were recruited to recover three identical statues from a bunch of evil cultists. Of course, evil cultists means carte blanc for acts that aren't normally approved by the average adventurer's guild.

I'm going to borrow the following from a comment Keith posted on G+ earlier today with additional info provided by me:
We walked up to the big oak doors of this place, they weren't locked. So we pulled them open and, since they were on pin hinges, popped the pins and the door fell down.
Explanation: The halfling (James) wanted to remove a door so we couldn't get locked in. He wanted to borrow the dwarf's hammer (me) to do so. Instead, I took down the door
Cultist/priest came running out.
"Building inspector. You know what the penalty is for having doors that can fall on and injure someone?"
Yep, my line. Because of 20 years of civil service, I know the hoops you can make people jum through.
"They didn't do that until you go here!"
"Yeah, clearly they weren't to code. Have you got a signed inspection report?"
"GAH!" walks off
*twang* (crossbow)
That was all James. Halflings are violent, yo!
"What, he was coming right at us." removes crossbow bolt, rolls body over, jams it into the front
after following cultists who fled down some stairs 
"Inadequately lit stairway, no hand rail. Total health and safety hazard here. See? We've got a couple people injured at the bottom of the stairs right now." thoroughly apply hammer to the one still twitching "Head injuries are a serious problem in unsafe conditions like this. I want to see a handrail and proper lighting when I come back."
This was a bit of everyone throwing out lines ate this point. Polyhedral Dungeon expects you to come up with a Schtick or gimmick for your character to make them moire memorable, as well as a quote. For me, these came up in play during the first session.  "No one expects... the Building Inspectors!"

Beyond some excellent roleplay we got to give the PD rules a shake too. Keith remarked that they reminded him a bit of Far Away Land, and he's right, they did in a way. Just like in FAL, once your grok the rules they kinda fade to the back of your mind. Advantage, attacks (and defense), damage (and armor) and the painful disadvantage that taking damage does to both PCs and the adversaries.

Unlike D&D type games, a damaged opponent is less of a threat than an undamaged opponent. Whittling down multiple adversaries instead of concentrating on taking out a single one appears to be more effective.

I used brownie points to negate the small amounts damage I was taking in combat with a half dozen skeletons, because I immediately saw how a little damage can easily be a rolling stone towards death.

One thing that needs to be spelled out a bit more, at least for those of use coming from the OSR end of the spectrum, is how to effectively put oneself in position to gain advantage. Sometimes we just need some examples spelled out for us.

In the end, it felt like D&D without being D&D. I'm still partly amazed at how easily the rules faded into the background, just like they do for me when I play most OSR games that are built on the rules I've played since I was a teenager. That says a lot.

I'm looking forward to the next game session of "Calishun BrightAxe, Independent Building Inspector."

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Polyhedral Dungeon Hits Silver on DriveThruRPG - I Get to Play it Tonight!

Polyhedral Dungeon hit Silver over at DriveThruRPG last night (still Copper over at RPGNow) Pretty exciting for a game that I was getting sneak peeks during the creation.

Even better, +Jason Paul McCartan is running a session of PD tonight so I'll be able to post a "play review", hopefully before I head to NTRPG Con.

Gonna be another hot one in the Poconos today. Time to head out for a heart attack breakfast ;)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

On Monday, The Tavern Will Have Served Beer and Sausages for 7 Years

Yep, on Memorial day, May 31st, Tenkar's Tavern will turn 7 years old. Seven years already. Holy shit.

While heavily focused on the OSR, we've also ventured into Kickstarters - the good, the bad and the downright evil. Some indie games, some random thoughts.

So, it occurred to me earlier today. With all this talk about women in gaming, just how many read The Tavern? Damn if I know. It occurred to be that The Tavern's Facebook Community page could give an idea. Lets see. 476 members. How many can I identify as women? Six, although one is the daughter of Gary himself.

Still, six women (maybe more where names are initials and the graphic gives no hint). We're looking at less than 2%. Let's assume the numbers are screwy and double them. Less than 4% (closer to 3%)

Is it me? I don't think so.

Is it the OSR? More likely. I'd say NTRPG Con comes in between 10-15% women attendees, many of them with their spouses.

Why is that? Is it that old "men are from Mars and women are from Venus" shtick? We're wired differently and enjoy different games and genres?

Apparently so. Its simply the nature of Nature.

Some women do enjoy "kicking ass" as my wife so gleefully just reminded me. Next thing I know she'll take kickboxing up again.

Women, ladies, girls, butt kicking goddesses of goodness - whatever they want to call themselves, are always welcome at The Tavern. I, and The Tavern itself, are true to our very own nature and have been for seven years.

So please, come into The Tavern for the beer and sausages, but stay for the conversation and the community.

Finally Away for an Overnight for the First Time Since Last Summer - Laptop, Tablet and DT&T Came with Me

Rach and I hadn't gotten away from the city since last summer. My change of days off and work hours, first to evenings and later to midnights, made getting away for even a weekend nigh impossible. With me retired, we no longer have the same restrictions.

We're in the Poconos thru Monday morning, then off to NTRPG Con on d Wednesday. I struggle with the gaming material I wanted to bring with me tom read, then settled on Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls along with a table full of PDFs. dT&T is a spare copy, so it will stay at my parents' house You never know when a game of T&T may suddenly break out.

Tomorrow night I'll be plying in a Polyhedral Dungeon session run by none other than The Badger ( +Jason Paul McCartan himself). Expect a review / play report with be posted prior to our heading out to Dallas.

92 degrees in the Pocono Mountains in May. I wonder if Dallas in June will be cooler?

Kickstarter - Bard's Gate - With Stretch Goals for Non-Backers Too!

Bard' s Gate is the latest Frog God Kickstarter and it comes in the usual three flavors these days - 5e, Swords & Wizardry and Pathfinder. In less than a day it's hit a third of it 75K goal, but that's not the big news. The big news is that Frog God Games is working with TableTopLibrary, the new online RPG distributor of PDF and Print gaming goodies and hopeful competitor to OBS. They have set stretch goals that will be given to ALL registered TableTopLibrary customers if the numbers are reached, whether or not the TTL customers are backers of the Bard's Gate Kickstarter or not.

That makes for a pretty good reason to check out the TableTopLibrary site if you ask me.

+Matt Finch mentioned the details on his blog and I'm going to add to the bandwidth below:
We’re excited to announce our cooperation with Frog God Games on the Bard’s Gate Kickstarter. This project funds an epic, full-color book describing the iconic fantasy city of Bard’s Gate, and the Kickstarter is already on track to a massive success. 
And we thought to ourselves -- because we do that sometimes -- “Why limit stretch goals just to people who pledge for a Kickstarter? If it does well, let’s give everybody some stuff!” 
So here’s the plan – it’s a type of cooperation that hasn’t been done before between an online retailer like us, working with a publisher like Frog God Games. If it works well, we’ll do this with other Kickstarters in the future to help boost their signals. 
For ALL registered customer here at Tabletop Library, if the Bard’s Gate Kickstarter does well, we’ve arranged with Frog God Games to put up some of their Bard’s Gate related products for free until (just after) the end of the Kickstarter. So don’t forget – if you’re not already registered as a customer at the www.tabletoplibrary.com, you should register now to be included in these goals! 
Here is our schedule of the Tabletop Library Double-Rewards for the Bard’s Gate Kickstarter: 
$25,000: Gulf of Akados Region Map. If the Bard’s Gate Kickstarter reaches $25,000 in pledges, we will put the Gulf of Akados poster map (pdf) up as a free product until just after the end of the Kickstarter. The Gulf of Akados is the region where Bard’s Gate is located. 
$45,000 Sinnar Coast Region Map. If the Kickstarter reaches $45,000 in pledges, we will put the Sinnar Coast Region poster map (pdf) up as a free product until just after the end of the Kickstarter. The Sinnar Coast Region contains the Bard’s Gate colony-cities of Eastgate and Telar Brindel. 
$75,000 Rogues in Remballo Adventure Module. If the Kickstarter reaches $75,000 in pledges, we will put all three versions of the module Rogues in Remballo (5e, PF, and S&W) up as free products until just after the end of the Kickstarter. Rogues in Remballo concerns matters involving the House of Borgandy, a banking family in Suilley that has extensive financial dealings with Bard’s Gate.

Did I mention the Bard's Gate Kickstarter is going to have some Easter Eggs of interest to members of the OSR community and gaming in general? I didn't mention it? OK... I said nothing, I know nothing...