Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Wayward Kickstarter - City State of the Invincible Overlord - Maintaining Radio Silence in the Hope We All Go Away (Guess What Bob III? We Won't)

I had this big post written after reading the last 3 months of comments on the City State of the Invincible Overlord Kickstarter page. I was all piss and vinegar. I was channeling the backers. I'm a backer too.

I was angry and it showed. It wasn't pretty. Actually, its embarrassing.

Thankfully, some friends that got to peek early told me to step back and sit on it for a few hours, and I did. I reached out to a few folks, including Bob Bledsoe II. I asked questions.

I'm still pissed, but my focus is where it needs to be. Solidly on Bob Bledsoe III, the one who ran this horror of a Kickstarter. The one who has a Kickstarter with no funds left to complete.

Bob III is the one that is not communicating. Bob III is the one that took $1k from his father to pay someone to layout the project, only to claim to be doing layout himself. Bob III is the one hoping we'll all simply go away.

Bob II is still putting money into the project, hoping it completes. Monies made from licensing Judges Guild IP are being put aside to complete this project.

In truth, it won't be enough.

Bob II isn't totally blameless - he put his trust in Bob III, and Bob III is doing his best to ruin the legacy that is Judges Guild.

My suggestion? Follow the lead of +Rob Conley . Release the PDF of the book and the maps to backers. Give the backers "at cost" codes to "Print on Demand" the book and the maps at RPGNow. Salvage what you can. Offer partial refunds as monies are raised by sales of the PDF and maps to non-backers and from 3rd party licensees of Judges Guild IP.

Oh, and forget about the Pathfinder version, at least for now. I'm sure the current document is written for the JG Universal System. Take what you can get and move on.

Kickstarter - 28mm Terrain for Tabletop Gaming (or Chocolate Covered Fig Newton)

Look at the above. Tell me what it looks like.

What? You don't see 28mm Terrain for Tabletop Gaming?

Really, do you need more?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Clan & Hammer Teaser #1: Axecracker Clan

Here's a little teaser of the kind of stuff you're going to find in Clan & Hammer. This is an early draft of one of the clans player characters can select for their characters at creation. I give you, the Axecracker Clan.


“Ahahahahahahaha! Is that all ye got ye wee daisy-eating pig-stickin' pointy-eared bastard?”

All dwarves are warriors in one capacity or another. But not all dwarves are driven to gleeful, fearless bloodlust in battle. Axecrackers are the regarded as mad by other clans and its quite possible they may be right. It is said that Axecrackers are born with a blade in their hand and blood in their beards. They crave battle for the sheer joy of it, one and all. Fearless and without any regard for their own safety, they will leap happily into flaming maw of a dragon or a horde of goblin spearmen, simply for the thrill of combat and the off chance that if they survive, they'll have one hell of a story to tell. Scars great and small are regarded as badges of honor to Axecrackers. Whether it's a scar from a barbed arrow or an eye lost to the bite of a giant spider, members of this clan wear their war wounds openly and as proof of the glory they've won for the clan. Indeed, most do not regard an Axecracker as having entered adulthood until they have their first battle scar.
When not cracking skulls and terrorizing their foes, Axecrackers are master weapon smiths. Their axe blades are broad and sharp, their hammers fall like an avalanche. They forge no armor – such foolish protections are the province of the Stonebones – and instead craft arms so deadly as to rival the weapons of the gods, or so they claim.

Clan Strength: Axecrackers are skilled in battle, one and all. Regardless of their class, they can wield any melee weapons they choose in battle. In addition, facing a foe or number of foes whose hit dice are twice their level or more, they receive a +2 on all melee “to-hit” roll, +2 to all melee damage rolls, and automatically succeed on any saving throws made to resist fear-based effects.

Clan Weakness: Because of their recklessness, all Axecrackers refuse to use ranged weapons in combat, with the exception of the thrown war hammer or thrown hand ax. Even then, this is only done as a prelude to charging into melee combat. In addition, whenever faced with an opportunity to slay a goblin, dragon, or other hated foe of their clan, the Axecracker must make a saving throw or immediately throw caution to the wind and charge into battle.

Clan Craft: Axecrackers are masterful weapon smiths. Their Legacy Items are always weapons that are passed down from generation to generation.

Smasher One-Eye, Axecracker Warslayer speaks his mind regarding the other clans
Silverbeards: “Well hello Mr. Fancycoin. Ain't ye all pretty with your finely combed whiskers and your pretty words. Lets see how y' do when the horde comes out 'ta the darkness gnawin' at yer bones.”

Stonebones: “As good a dwarf outside the clan as can be found, but'n they need to be more willin' to split skulls and spill blood instead of using those mattocks for chippin' away at the rock. Nice armor, though – if'n yer inta that sorta thing.”

Brewbeards: “These lads are the ones y' wanna have patchin' ye up and pourin' yer pints when its all over. They'll be singin' yer praises and that of yer fathers long after yer in tha' tomb.”

Rockspeakers: “I dunna know about all this blood of the earth and speakin' ta stone business, but they're tapped inta something queer, and I'm not rightly sure they're to be trusted...”

Beardless: “Only good one's a dead one. Faithless dogs who don't deserve ta taste me axe. Worth less than goblin piss in me book.”

Clan & Hammer - What We're Going For - Flavor and Family

Its not secret that I was a backer of Mike Nystul's Axes & Anvils Kickstarter, which promised a Dwarven RPG and delivered one of the more famous earlier Kickstarter implosions and failures. This was one that took a long time to die.

Still, the core idea - an RPG focused on Dwarves, has been an idea that's kicked around for a bit in my head. So, when +James Spahn challenged me last year to write one using the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light rules I started to sketch it out.

Now I'm actively working on it. Not just classes, but setting and what the setting means. Because this is a dwarven RPG and its going to have to tackle things like dwarven culture, the importance of clan, family and honor. Without magic users or clerics in the culture, where do magic items come from? What is with the obsession with gold and gems? The historical rivalry with goblins and the distaste of eleven culture?

By asking questions, we find answers.

The best answer I've found so far? +james spahn ;)

James has offered to be not only my sounding board but my collaborator. We've done such before (SWCL comes to mind) and we find we are generally on the same wavelength, even if we get there with different methods and from different directions. That, and my respect for James goes beyond mere words. Needless to say, I'm stoked.

So, as we dig into the classes (James may take the lead on some and I others, but the end results will be "we") a question came to us:

Where DO dwarven magic items come from? This lead to the importance of clan and how the two are inseparable. Magic swords with bonuses to hit and damage might be crafted by the surface dwellers, but Balik, Son of Gorin has an axe that slew the Green Beard Goblins' Chieftain. Gulbrand has been in Balik's clan for generations and now he wields it with honor.

Little things like this.

Now, while Clan & Hammer will build off of and be 100% compatible with SWCL (and other S&W flavors) it will be a stand alone game. Classes will be more verbose in their description. There will be more "crunch & fluff" than is typical to SWCL. If its successful, and by that I mean we finish the project with a thirst for more, halflings and elves can't be too far behind...

Alright, enough about the process. I need to get back to the writing. As many of you know, when I go through these steps, a post a portion of the progress here at The Tavern for comments and feedback. That will continue. No reason to change what works :)

Oh, almost forgot. Playing with two different fonts for the title. Any preference?

Kickstarter - Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars (Alpha Blue)

You've got to hand it to Venger - he knows how to market and he KNOWs how to source some amazing art. Now, not all of the art is appropriate for every gaming table but V doesn't hide that. Titillation is very much one of his schticks.

You also can't agrue with the success of Alpha Blue. Its a Copper Pick at RPGNow and has a very strong and loyal, if relatively small compared to Stars Without Number and White Star, following amongst the Sci-Fi OSR crowd. Folks that embrace the quirky humor and sexual innuendos (or more overtly sexual references) really enjoy the Alpha Blue line of releases.

Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars is the latest in the line of Alpha Blue Kickstarters.

So, what do you get?
Three separate scenarios for the Alpha Blue roleplaying game!  Here are the titles... I Wear My Heart on My Sleaze (you're attending a space party and looking to score), Emergency Escape Sequence Delta Cream (your ship runs into trouble and you've got to get the fuck out of there), and Outer Rim Jobs of Ta'andor (your crew of spacers are looking for employment and crazy shit happens along the way).
I'm sure you see the theme here ;)

Did I mention there is a map by +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) ? PDF only, but wow, useable with any old school sci-fi system.

Here's is a more family friendly art sample:

As I said above, the art that Venger sources is simply top shelf awesome.

Now, the 3 adventures in PDF are 7 bucks. But if you get them with the Alpha Blue rules, its 10 bucks. The rules themselves at RPGNow are 10 bucks (there's a link above to the rules on RPGNow but don't use it to buy, just use it for reference - this is a much better deal if you are interested)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Clan & Hammer - Runecaster - Work in Progress Preview (SWCL)

It looks like there's some interest in seeing the Runecaster Class. Be warned, this is a "work in progress". Its not complete. There is much that is needed to be done, but here's where we are at the moment:

Dwarven Runecaster

Armor: Leather & Shield

Weapons: Hammer, Pick


One Body Rune every odd level starting at 1st level – Each usable once per day – 10 minutes per level

Protection - +2 AC 10 minutes per level

Skin of Rock - Immune to normal, none magical missile weapons

Burning Gauntlets - +1 Hit 1d6 Fire Damage if wielding no weapon – can set papers, kindling on fire

Darksight – see in total darkness as well as twilight

Detect Treasure – Detect precious metals / gems / jewelry of 100 GP value within 50’ – direction – distance

Light as a Feather – fall at a rate of 1 foot per second

Chameleon – Hide 4 in 6 in plain sight if not moving


One Item Rune every even level, starting at 2nd level – Each known item rune can be in effect on only one item at a time. Am item may have more than one active rune. Duration is one day per level

Slaying - +2 damage against creature type (giants, goblinoids, dragons)

Protection - +1 AC

Lighten the Load – weights 1/10th the normal weight (max effect 100#s original weight)

Lock – As per Lock spell

Light - as per Light spell. Must be used on an object.


Runes are carved on pieces of stone. The carving fades after use unless a saving throw is made (adjust by any Wisdom Bonus). If save is made, rune can be reused again the same day. Only 1 rune per level of the Runecaster can be active. Runecaster can prepare multiples of the same rune, but at no time can the total number of runes prepared exceed their level. No more than one rune of the same type can be active at the same time.

Summon Golem







As you can see, far from complete but I've got the rest sketched out.  I'll try and preview the Brewmaster next.

Hmmm, I'm going to need title art and a decent dwarven runecaster - any stock art one can point me to? ;)

Clan & Hammer Question - What Class do You Wish to See Previewed First (and other SWCL News)

I've been in a creative glut the past two months or so. Lingering cold symptoms off and on during those two months hasn't helped much. What did help? Actually playing Swords & Wizardry Continual Light as a player yesterday. Its about time. Batteries Recharged!

Anyhow, the game plan right now is to put one of the following classes planned for Clan & Hammer (the work in progress Dwarven themed SWCL game) into releasable form in the next week or so:

Rune-Caster - dwarven runes and wards are their specialty
Brewmeister - while there are no dwarven clerics (by the book) in SWL / SWCL, there is still a need for community, healing and spirituality
Troubleshooter - it takes a thief to catch a thief
Axe-Thain - a warrior with a singular focus and high sense of honor
Teutatle - a religious warrior on a holy mission to protect the dwarven race
Skald - stories and songs of dwarven heroics are the bedrock that dwarven society is built upon

Figure they will be in a format similar to that of last year's Elementalist class. Which one(s) strike your fancy?

Now, some Torchlight news. Things have been on hold recently with some interesting events behind the scenes that will be revealed sooner than later. It doesn't mean we can't start releasing some teasers to highlight the type of content one might find within.

Torchlight Teaser #1 will be +James Spahn 's excellent article expanding upon Torchbearers. With a high enough Charisma your torchbearer may do more than simply hold your torch.

Torchlight Teaser #2 will be the above linked Elementalist class, slightly tweaked from the original.

Expect them to release as PWYW on RPGNow in the next few weeks