Monday, November 24, 2014

Kickstarter - Far West had Another Update - I Have as Much Faith in the Projected Dates as I do The Backer Portraits

Far West will be completed in digital form by Christmas - or not.

You know what? I was real excited when I backed this over three years ago, back when there was an actual artist doing the art, not Gareth and his photoshop skills.

The above example of the opposite of quality art was completed at least by last September, as it was shown in an update. I'm posting it here to share the laughter with my readers. Yes, this is why I supported the project at a premium, and I'll get to enjoy my very own print of it. Obviously it's NOT a piece of Rich Hersey art.

Why is my face orange and my hands are red? Really, WTF is up with that?

Maybe I should be glad this hasn't released yet. With GMS' record of predicting project completion dates, this should stretch out until my retirement in 2016...

Any "Black Friday" Sales From Our Favorite OSR Publishers?

I'm trying to get a list together of any possible RPG sales for the "Black Friday" weekend, which I guess starts on Wednesday these days. I've been told of one so far. I expect there are others, either going on now or starting shortly.

So, if you know of some upcoming sales (or are a publisher that plans a sale) drop me a line at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing.

I've got a post to put together and I can only do it with your help ;)

(edit: the list is slowly coming together ;)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Swords & Wizardry Compatible Logo Design Contest hosted by Gamers & Grognards

I should have gotten to this post yesterday, but shopping, pubbing, napping and gaming took up way too much time. You can read the latest on the Swords & Wizardry Compatible Logo Design Contest below. It was originally posted at Gamers & Grognards.

They are offering some loot, not just for the design that is picked but the runners up too.
Hey everyone.  Some of you are likely already in the know that the artist that designed the Gamers & Grognards logo and I are going to be creating a "Swords & Wizardry Compatible" creative commons logo that you can slap on the stuff that you make/sell for S&W.  I've already thrown my idea at him.  That said, I thought we could have a little fun.  
Starting today (this was Thursday I believe), we will be running a contest.  I want you to pitch me a logo.  Like I said, I have one in mind, so you need a good logo.  It's going to be difficult to make me like it better than my own (I'm my own biggest fan you know.)   
That said, the idea I like the best, whether we use it or not, will win a prize.  What is this prize you ask?  I have in my possession for the Gamers & Grognards Old School ebay store, a set of mixed Windmill Hobbies sharp edged dice from the 1970s.  These babies are brand new, last made in 1979.  Like all good dice, you have to ink them yourself.  The set is 5 dice 1d20 (marked 0-9 twice, 1d12, 1d8, 1d6, and 1d4 plus an extra d20 and d12 in mixed colors (think of them as Ugly Dice.)  These are yours if I like your idea the best. 
I have received more prize support for this contest!  I have an extra set of dice, as well as Pacesetter Games OSR modules!  Now we have three tiers of winner.  The ideas that we like best will all be played with, possibly combined etc. in the forming of the logo.  The three winner tiers prizes are as follows: 
1st place - 8 pc set of out of production Windmill Hobbies dice, Pacesetter Games & Simulations modules: TM4 - Legacy of the Forbidden City and Q1 - The Screaming Temple. 
2nd place - 8 pc set of out of production Windmill Hobbies dice, Pacesetter Games & Simulations  module RC3/Q2 - Eruptor's Vengence 
3rd place - Pacesetter Games & Simulations module - Q3 - Death on Signal Island 
Now, here is what I need from you: 
1. An description of an image.  Must be something that will be recognizable in a small image (think of the Wizard on the S&W Complete logo or the Old Lizard and Wizard on the 70's TSR logos.)  I only want descriptions or very rough sketches, as +Christopher Arendt will be doing the actually design.  
2. A font and layout for the words "Swords & Wizardry Compatible."  You can just list the font and describe the layout, if you don't care to make it into a sample copy. 
3.  Send this off to me at treewytch_at_yahoo_dot_com.  Please list "Swords & Wizardry Logo Design Contest" as the subject if you want me to look at it. 
Both the image and layout should in some way reflect that this is compatible with Swords & Wizardry and OD&D
That's it.  The contest will end one week from today on Thursday, November 27 2014 (that's Thanksgiving day for all of the U.S. Citizens out there.)  Get it in, I intend to start judging when I get back from my Thanksgiving dinner. 
Good Luck and Fight On!
+R.J. Thompson 

My 50% Off Hardcover Purchases at Lulu

I did the deed this morning and ordered a bunch of hard cover RPG goodies. Take 50% off the prices you see above. Later I need to make my softcover purchases at 35% off ;)

50% off hardcovers (HC50) until midnight on Nov, 24, 2014

35% of through Dec 2, 2014 for those that use the coupon code SAVE35 (this applies to all Lulu-ness)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

D&D Tools Website Falls to a WotC "Cease & Desist"

I'm going to post the link to what's left at the D&D Tools website as well as their latest (last?) post, but I'd like to make some observations first.

The D&D Tools website was up for 5 years and it's only now that WotC has gotten around to a "Cease & Desist."

It's not like it was a hidden website. It's Alexa ranking is 114,870. For comparison purposes, ENWorld comes in at 44,688 and The Tavern at 237,743. It's highly doubtful that WotC had no idea that D&D Tools existed. (Google is, of course, #1)

Is it that the 3x era OGL rules that were referenced were too close to 5e? Or was there a fear that the current OGL could allow D&D Tools to replicate the 5e rules?

Just some thoughts. In any case, here's the last post at the D&D Tools site...

D&D Tools – End of an Era...

Hello everyone,

TGG here. As you have probably gathered, we have received a Cease and Desist letter from WotC (well, from a law company under WotC rule). I'd like to take some time now to comment on this.

I started D&D tools some five years ago as a tool for me to find "all the feats that affect criticals". From then, it grew up a lot, both in content and audience.

At the time of this letter, the site served roughly 1.000.000 pages a week.

100 races.

500 items.

1.000 classes.

3.000 feats.

5.000 spells.

Everything was interlinked with each other. Feats listed requirements as links. You could find what a class had for prerequisite and click it right away. Wanted to know what spells are there available for a class in campaign settings? No problem. Lots and lots of filtering and searching.

At November 14, 2014, I've received a letter requesting that we put the site down. As of now I have to comply, since I have neither time nor law skills nor resources to do otherwise. Also, I'm not allowed to post the letter itself here.

... about future?

First of all, the site itself is open source project. The sources are my intellectual property and I'm free to share them as I wish. About a year ago I created a repository at github – The setup notes might not be up to date, but it's possible to get it running with OGL contents. Since it was there long before the C&D letter, I feel free to share the knowledge.

Second, there is also great mobile app for android a Google Play (sorry iPhone users). It comes with full OGL contents. If you are friends with Uncle Google or Web Archive, you might even find a more interesting database for it. I myself cannot claim to be the creator of it, so please do give some love to the author on the app page!

Third, since the sources codes are available for public use and the database itself was distributed among users, there is nothing in my power to prevent others to try to resurrect the site.

Final words

I want to thank very much to all the people who put a lot of effort to see the site grow! Without you, it could never have grown into what it did. Thanks!

I'd also like to say something to WotC. The game you created is great. I spend a lot of time playing it. You have moved to 4e and then 5e. Why do you try to destroy what your fans have created? Things that can help players, that encourages them to play more? (I'm talking about all the sites that went down over the years) You'd better invest the money into creating something yourself than to spend it on law companies...

tgg out.

Castle of the Mad Archmage - Session Report "Whatever" - More Fun Than a Barrel Full of Drunken Monkeys!

We had a blast during last night's session of the "B" Team's adventuring in the Castle of the Mad Archmage.

+Douglas Cole says it was six weeks since out last session - it felt longer than that. Our last session was postponed due to me being sick and rescheduling wasn't easy to do. To make up for it, we are aiming to get our next session in in two weeks.

+Peter V. Dell'Orto , +Tim Shorts and Doug rounded out our regular trilogy and +Joe D and +Reece Carter brought out numbers to five for the night. First time in a long time that all four core class rolls were covered even if three of the five are pure fighters.

The group descended from level 3 to 4 last night, which surprised me as much as anyone else, as i couldn't find the stairs down on the map if my life depended on it (like I said, our break from last session was a long one.) Amazingly enough, the party found it in about 10 minutes of play (intermingled with about 50 minutes of bullshitting at the time.)

Level 4 should be a blast. As +Joseph Bloch said elsewhere, level 4 of CotMA is chuck full of role play opportunities should the party accept it. If not, there are stairs leading to lower levels (and possible death.)

I award my players a 10% experience point bonus if they do a write up of the session. Thus far, Doug, Peter and Tim have done so. Click the links and enjoy yourself. I know we did.

Knocking Your Noggin - Helmets in AD&D

Last night during our more or less monthly delve into the Castle of the Mad Archmage, obscure rules from the AD&D 1e Dungeon Masters Guide came up. For me, one of the classics is the rule for helmets on page 28 of the DMG:
It is assumed that an appropriate type of head armoring will be added to the suit of armor in order to allow uniform protection of the wearer. Wearing of a "great helm" adds the appropriate weight and restricts vision to the front 60" only, but it gives the head AC 1. If a helmet is not worn, 1 blow in 6 will strike at the AC 10 head, unless the opponent is intelligent, in which case 1 blow in 2 will be aimed at the AC 10 head (d6, 1-3 = head blow).
I always found this to be a strange rule for a game with an abstract combat system and no called shots rule.

Not that we didn't try using this for a while, but it didn't make much sense for us. If you couldn't "call a shot" in the game as written how could you "call a shot" for an unarmored head?

It was least painful to the magic-users (whose magical armor and bracers covered them head to toe) than it was to other combatants whose armor (magic or otherwise) only protected from the neck down.

Also, what kind of AC does a chain coif or leather helm give? 5 and 8 respectively probably, but EGG doesn't say.

About the only thing helmets protected from in our campaigns was ear seekers, and you had to removed your helmet to listen anyway...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Lulu Hardcovers 50% Off Thru November 24th

I'm kinda glad that my Lulu card crashed the other night and I was too pissed to go through the motions a second time, because I found this over at +joseph browning 's Sorcery & Super Science blog:
FYI - Lulu's having a big sale - 50% off hardcovers (HC50) and 30% off softcovers (FLASH30) until midnight on Nov, 24, 2014.
Damn Lulu! Damn you to hell!

Ah well, just adding to the bandwidth.

Pandantilus - Petty God of Gong Farmers - In Technicolor!

Props to +Jim Magnusson . B&W version will be appearing in Petty Gods :)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Let's Open our Books to Chapter 7 - Centerstage Miniatures Files for Bankruptcy (No Surprise There)

Our New "Fucked up Kickstarter Mascot" thanks to Jim Magnusson
So, remember they fiasco otherwise known as CenterStage Miniatures various Kickstarters, in particular Tome of Horrors Complete - 28mm Heroic Scale Miniatures. Well, it appears the final shoe has dropped - Chapter 7 bankruptcy has been filed. Now, like true venture capitalists, backers can expect to get back pennies on their dollars - if they are lucky. Woot!

From the comments on the Tome of Horrors Complete Kickstarter from earlier today (not my comments - I didn't back this train wreck):
After filing a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office last week, I received 2 correspondences from the attorney Matt has retained to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. It was clear in the letter, and his response to my questions, that he (the attorney) is still waiting on Matt to provide a bunch of documents so that they can proceed with the Chapter 7 filing. It looks like we are considered “customer deposit creditors” in this case, (but remember, I Am Not An Attorney).  
It was mentioned that there was a review of the possible sale of his business by Mortal Arrow LLC, but the bottom line was that Matt realized it would not resolve all the problems or guarantee that all creditors would be paid (that could mean us, or other businesses/entities). It was emphasized that Matt was not happy going this route, but it seemed inevitable.
So from here (once all the paperwork is filed, court costs paid, etc. , there will be a Court supervised liquidation sale. The attorney indicated that “For the purposes of distribution in the Bankruptcy context, consumer deposits for undelivered services and products have the highest priority under the Bankruptcy Code.  
He also indicated that a business entity might be willing to purchase the inventory, molds, customer list/goodwill of the business for a significant enough sum from the Bankruptcy Estate to warrant a meaningful distribution to creditors  
When the Bankruptcy case is filed, all creditors will receive notice in the mail of the date set for the “debtor’s examination” and other terminal dates. You may attend the Debtor’s examination or you may review the Petition once filed. It is public record and It will disclose all assets and all creditors. 
So, there you have it. A Shit sandwich for all.

The success of the various Kickstarters killed CenterStage Miniatures as they apparently failed the basic math of funding less fees (Amazon & Kickstarter) less additional cost of generous stretch goals must => cost to fulfill and ship rewards.

Again, thanks to +Jim Magnusson for the generous use of his art ;)

Dragon, Dungeon, Adventurer and Other Magazines Archived and more (AnnArchive)

So, earlier today I was looking for a cover picture of Dragon Magazine #68 for my post on weather in RPGs. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled on an archive of Dragon Magazine, Dungeon Magazine, Adventurer (mid 80's RPG mag from the other side of the pond) and a whole lot more.

I give to you:


Scroll down and I see Amber Diceless

Wacky Weather - Six Feet Under (Buffalo & Homlet, Perfect Together)

Looking at the weather in upstate New York, where parts of Buffalo are looking at 6 feet of snow, it makes me think of the campaign I had that died before the players ever reached their destination. Not because of random encounters but due to random weather.

The party was going to adventure in the village of Homlet and the Temple of Elemental Evil, but they had to get there first. We had decided it was winter in the campaign (as it was for us in real life at the time) and I broke out Dragon Magazine #68 (found a link to the PDF here) and used the enclosed weather system to add some realism.

This was fairly early in my gaming career (if you can call it that) and I was very much "play it as it rolled." We didn't fudge.

Well, the damn weather system dropped 5 1/2 feet of snow on the ill prepared party in less than 2 days, with temperatures remaining below freezing for at least the next few days. The party had no shelter. They were first level and were lucky to have bed rolls.

They died.

We never used the weather system again.

Come to think of it, that was my first and only TPK inflicted without rolling an attack roll (or ten) against the party.