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Monday, March 19, 2018

News - The Fantasy Trip - Melee & Magic - 14.95 Price Points on Each

Steve Jackson Games made an announcement about The Fantasy Trip at GAMA and followed up with more info over at the Steve Jackson Games website:
At the GAMA Trade Show, just ended in Reno, we announced that the relaunch of The Fantasy Trip will start with miniboxed editions of the two combat games, Melee and Wizard, each retailing for $14.95.
The Fantasy Trip was Steve Jackson's first RPG. Its first part, Melee, was published in 1977. TFT was published by Metagaming, which went out of business about 1982, and TFT has been unsupported since then, and only available on the secondary market. 
In late 2017, Steve regained the rights to the eight TFT releases that he had written himself: Melee, Wizard, Death Test, Death Test 2, Advanced Melee, Advanced Wizard, In The Labyrinth, and Tollenkar's Lair. 
Most if not all of this material will be republished. The format is totally up in the air right now . . .
You can find more details at the link above.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Notes From the Tavern Keeper - How I Run Convention Games (YMMV)

I've now run convention games (Swords & Wizardry Light to be exact) at NTRPG 2017 and Gary Con 2018 - two sessions at each convention. At North Texas it was all "theatre of the mind". At Gary Con we had a level of Rappan Athuk in 3d dungeon terrain. It was certainly a different experience between the two, but some things for me remained consistent. Below is how "I Roll." Some of this might be useful for other GMs to consider or not. The only hard and fast rule is "Have Fun"

I roll characters at the table. With SWL clocking in at 4 pages as well as having character class cheat sheets that double as character cards, character generation shouldn't take more than 15 to 20 minutes, even with a table of 10 or so. Heck, my players expecting a 5e game adjusted to SWL with no issues and character generation went just as smoothly.

Note, I allow surviving characters to be used in follow up sessions at later conventions, so yes, your characters can "level up." Not an original idea - +Matt Finch and +Bill Webb do the same. It does allow for a bit more buy in from your players than "one and done" games do.

Keep it moving. While your home game may consist of half an hour of catching up and banter at the beginning of the session and assorted bullshitting throughout, a convention game must fit into a particular time slot. Additionally, if the pace slows you will lose the attention of your players. For most games you want a thrill ride, not a plodding place.

I embrace walk ups to my table. Generally speaking, most games expect 6 to 8 players. With the Swords & Wizardry Light rules, I expect I can handle up to a dozen. Even if the game is started we can probably fit you in (note, I'm speaking for myself here and not others - games with pregens and such are much more difficult to add a random person to the game)

Project your voice. While this wasn't much of an issue at last year's NTRPG Con, as we had a semi-private gaming space, at Gary Con we were set up in a hallway right outside the door for the majority of the wargaming going on. The table was large and I had to project to be heard. I wasn't always successful but I tried my darnedest.

Minis are used best for marching order. Even with the 3d terrain, it was difficult (if not damn impossible) to accurately show battles and digging out appropriate monsters would have been time consuming AND would slowed down the pace. Moving minis from room to room also slowed down the pace. But using them for marching order and pointing out the location the PCs were in combined theatre of the mind with a 3d dungeon seemed to work best.

Make magic special. Magic items that are unique will be remember well after the players leave the session. They don't need to be over powered to be very useful.

When your players are about to go off the map, improvise. They find the secret entrance to a lower level? Have it lead to a hidden chamber.

Embrace the metagaming. Its going to happen, especially with 3d dungeon terrain revealing secret rooms and occasional traps (doors to nowhere) - "Yep, there are two doors in this room that go nowhere. Don't blame me for what happens ;)"

The bottom line is everyone should be having fun. If folks walk away happy and energized, you did well.

ICv2 - Top 5 RPGs Fall 2017 - Starfinder Surpasses Pathfinder - D&D 5e Remains #1

Starfinder got the huge bump of a Gen Con release. 5e holds strong to the first position.

Star Wars traditionally holds a top 5 spot and Star Trek Adventures is a new release.

While I find the ICv2 rankings interesting, "the charts are based on interviews with retailers, distributors, and manufacturers." I prefer hard numbers. I need to find the latest ORR (Roll20) report.

And found it:

If 5e has twice the players as Pathfinder, I can see why they are rebooting to reclaim their share of the market.

Starfinder is much further down the list here...

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Kickstarter - HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals (Two AS&SH Adventures)

Some of the best OSR adventures come from +Jeff Talanian 's publishing Northwind Publishing arm. Although they are written for and labeled with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, these adventures are readily usable with the OSR ruleset of your choice. I plan on running previous adventures that Jeff has published using Swords & Wizardry. these two will get added to the list. Sweet point for Beasts & Cannibals appears to be $44 - both adventures in print plus PDF. I'm in.

Did I mention it hit and surpassed its 10k funding goal in a day? Well done +Jeff Talanian . Well done.
The Anthropophagi of Xambaala, by Corey R. Walden, is an adventure in HYPERBOREA designed for from four to six characters of 1st through 3rd level. 
Visitors to the desert city of Xambaala, beware! When the city slumbers, dæmoniacal cachinnations roll in from its outskirts, and dull totemic drumbeats rumble in the surrounding waste. Vile shrieks and noises out of nightmares bring shudders to the spines of even those who fancy themselves heroes, and when the eventide bell tolls residents lock themselves behind stout walls—for something sinister moves during the dead time. But the people of Xambaala do not speak of the hellish noises that haunt their city; only furtive whispers hint that those who trust in the safety of the inn of Aramis D’Athak oft disappear, vanishing into the unknown. And the sounds outside the city walls grow louder . . .
The Beasts of Kraggoth Manor, by Tim Callahan, is an adventure in HYPERBOREA designed for from four to six characters of 4th through 6th level.
Your party have travelled northeast from the great city of Khromarium, through the unforgiving expanse known as the Lug Wasteland. You undoubtedly seek greater riches in the north: ruined tombs secreting ancient artefacts, deep caves filled with long-lost Atlantean technology, or strange villages built atop sacred Hyperborean burial grounds that brim with pre–Green Death treasures. Finally, after having emerged from the treacherous bogs, you set up camp on a craggy outcropping that provides dry land and a modicum of protection from the crawling unknowns. Straightaway your attention is drawn by a nearby light source, a fire not more than 100 yards away. Through the cacophony of croaking frogs, buzzing insects, and hissing slimy things, a shriek of pain knifes through the air. 

News - Interesting D&D 5e Figures Releases by WotC at GAMA Earlier this Week

+Stan Shinn was at the GAMA (The Game Manufacturers Association) Trade Show earlier this week and came away with some interesting figures about D&D 5e released by WotC's Mark Price. Here's the takeaway:
— 2017 was the best year for D&D ever in terms of sales
— Year 3 of D&D sales is stronger than their first year
— Actual play streaming is a key driver of D&D’s success, with 9 million users watching D&D on Twitch
— 8.6 million Americans have played D&D in the last 12 months (they did not give stats for overseas)
Certainly stuff to think about. A rising tide lifts all ships and 5e is certainly doing more to raise that tide than any other system right now.


Friday, March 16, 2018

The Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server has Surpassed 400 Members

The Tavern's Discord Server has been lively since it kicked off last summer. Not only is the text chat active close to 24/7 but the Wednesday Night Tavern Chat (voice plus text) keeps getting better.

Case in point - this past Wednesday, March 14th, I finally bowed out at 130 AM (Eastern) with the chat still going strong with nearly a dozen members logged in. That's for a chat that kicked off at 9 PM. And we didn't have Bill Webb holding court either, it was simply an amazing chat.

We currently have 403 members at The Tavern's Discord server (I'm sure there are some duplicate accounts, but the numbers rise every day)

I want to thank everyone that participates and or lurks in the weekly chats. Its been likened to a live, multi-participant weekly podcast that DOESN'T get recorded, so its fairly unique and an awesome chance to talk with members of our corner of the gaming universe, especially if you don't get to conventions all that often - if at all.

Haven't joined yet? There's plenty of time before the next voice chat (and text chat is going on as you read this):


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Giving Away a Bakers Dozen of MegaHeroes Priority ID Cards (Upcoming Frog God / Jim Wampler KS for Late 2018)

We were giving out MegaHeroes Priority Identification Cards at the Frog God Booth at Gary Con this past weekend and we had a few left, so I "liberated" them.

MegaHeroes is +Jim Wampler 's upcoming supers RPG that will be Kickstarted by Frog God Games this fall.

The cards are good for 20% off at the Frog God website. Don't ask me how, look at the pic above and it should be clear ;)

That being said, there are a limited number and they were only distributed at Gary Con. Here is your chance to have one mailed to you anywhere in the world. Well, you have 13 chances.

How do you get YOUR elite card?

Comment below with your thoughts on why you like supers RPGs, or if you don't like them, in what way do they fail for you. Comment by 6 PM Eastern, Monday March 19th, 2018 right here on this post. I'll pick thirteen recipients of this awesome honor that evening and will share the names with a new post that night.