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Friday, December 9, 2016

Steve Jackson Games is Organizing an Organized Play Program


While the news is nearly a week old, I find it very interesting the Steve Jackson Games is joining the ranks of organized play and have even hired an Organized Play Manager.

Why is this important?

Because organized play brings people into game stores. Its as simple as that.

While many bemoan the swing to Kickstarters for even the larger players in the gaming industry to protect themselves from potential losses should a new game not sell, the fact is, Kickstarter is keeping many of these companies in the black. What Kickstarter does, however, is divert sales that may have been made at the FLGS. Which sucks for the FLGS.

Now, what will be interesting to see is if this will be a new trend amongst the publishers of RPGs and similar games to get customers into the stores they've been diverting business from.

We know Paizo and WotC have their Organized Play programs. From the original posting, I'm going to guess SJG is going to cover their core games - Munchkun, Ogre, Car Wars and possibly, dare I say it? Dungeon Fantasy?
At Steve Jackson Games, we've big plans for OP, and 2017 will see us adding programs for pretty much all of our existing lines, plus a few games we've yet to tell you about! Stay tuned!!!
I've heard rumors of another company exploring the idea of adding some sort of organized for their RPG lines.

So, what other gaming companies have or soon will be joining in on Organized Play Programs? Will it benefit the FLGS enough to keep them in the black?



Thursday, December 8, 2016

DCCisions - Which Do I Swap in First?



The postal service seems to have taken the long way around, but the DCC belt buckles +James Spahn was nice enough to sell me arrived today.

I have a new belt all ready to go.

So, which one gets the first go?


Mini Review - Broodmother SkyFortress (LotFP)



Look, I have this habit. Its a bad one. I generally pick up all of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess releases even if I know I'd never run them. Fun to read. Total party killers by nature, at least for the past couple of years. Maybe that's too broad a statement, as the party killing aspect is certainly a +James Raggi feature, but its not always as strong when he hires other authors.

Still, unusable or not, LotFP releases are always top notch in presentation, art and readability. Broodmother SkyFortress is no exception to that, except it is an exception. Not only is it playable but its a great resource beyond the adventure presented within. How did that happen? Simple. +Jeff Rients .

Jeff gives us an adventure that might not be world shaking, but is certainly a major campaign event that your players should want to stop. And yes, you need a campaign world, because terror, death and destruction falling upon towns and cities your players have connections to just makes the adventure stronger.

I really like Jeff's approach to Broodmother SkyFortress - tight enough that the storyline is easy to follow, loose enough that you can flex it to the needs of your players / campaign world. That is always a trick, as most adventures are written for a certain campaign world and setting, even if that is never actually said in the adventure.

In a way, its an Adventure Toolkit with a set theme. There is no "this is how this plays out." Jeff asks questions. You provide the answers. No two groups will see this play out the same way.
Can the location withstand attack by giantish bludgeons and hurled boulders? 
Will it be completely smashed or mostly damaged or relatively unscathed?
Charts are the core of this adventure. Heck, there is so much here that you could easily use the charts provided to seed other adventures down the line.

I can see the build up to this adventure take months of real life, weekly gaming, before the players know what's going on and how they can try to stop it. Its like fishing, and with enough play in the fishing line your party should get hooked and hooked well.

As an aside, although written for LotFP WF, Bloodmother SkyFortress is easily run with any of the OSR rulesets in circulation. Play what you want, how you want to. Its what the OSR is all about.

Beyond the adventure, which is the first 90 or so pages, we have 80 or so pages of tables and articles from Jeff's blog, going back years. It really is a "Best of Jeff" selection and is well worth the price of admission on its own and I don't say that lightly. Sure, you could read through Jeff's blog and read through years of excellent posts or just grab Broodmother SkyFortress and have the cream skimmed for you, ready for you to consume, or read.

I'm a backer of this crowdfunded project. Money in, amazing content given in return. I am happy.

On that note, I will leave you with this:



Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's OBS affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The End of an Era - Mythoard is No More

I literally just got the email minutes ago. Mythoard is no more. Damn fucking shame. It was great to have something waiting in the mailbox after a long day / night at work. Or now, appearing in my mailbox, making every month a month with Christmas.

I was an addict. Heck, I inadvertently had two subscriptions running, and that was okay, as it gave me stuff to pawn off on my niece or give away at some point to the community.

+Jarrod Shaw , you gave me more joy than you will ever know. Even if the business wasn't the success you had hoped it would be, you were more successful in ways that counted than you give yourself credit for.

I thank you.

Erik Tenkar


The letter Jarrod sent is below:


Tavern Transparency - November Financials Update and a Thank You

I'll be giving a full breakdown of The Tavern's income and other financials come the New Year for 2016, but I wanted to give an update on the month of November, which was really amazing.

OBS Affiliate Credit came in at $307 for the month, which was higher than any of the prior quarters for the year. I really can't thank everyone enough for using my affiliate link when making their purchases at the OBS storefronts.

Patreon came in at $82 ($118 less fees and other projects backed) for the month after backing a plethora of gaming related projects. I really do enjoy backing the work of those much more talented than I.

Adsense came in at $32. Paypal support came in at $12. Amazon affiliate credit ended the month at $6. Not even sure if Amazon is even worth keeping. It has potential, but doesn't seem to hit it.

So, the month of November came in around $440 for income raised by the Tenkar's Tavern blog, directly or indirectly.

What does that mean?

Well, as much as I'd like to see number like November continue, it's unlikely. Still, overall the numbers are trending up, and that's good. For one, it means supplemental income in my retirement (went off the active payroll on July 18th of this year and onto the pension). More importantly it means that the potential is there for my hobby to be profitable enough to maintain my hobby. What I'd really like to do is use monies from The Tavern for two main things - run contests / giveways for my readers and cover convention expenses multiple times a year to actually meet The Tavern's Community face to face. Oh, an of course, art purchases. I have need for two art purchases coming up - headers / logos for the upcoming SWL zine and the series of one-sheets.

2017 looks to be a good year for that. Frog God Games will be covering NTRPG Con for me - all but airfare. It also looks likely I'll be getting to GaryCon in 2017 with FGG covering many of the expenses. Which really means no excuse not to make GameHole Con in the fall. Maybe even squeeze a fourth one in if possible.

Again, I'd like to thank everyone, backers via Patreon and Paypal, those that have used my affiliate links and those that simply read The Tavern on a regular basis. There would be no Tavern without you.

Tavern Chat Reminder - Tonight - 9PM Eastern



Yep. Wednesday is back, and that means tonight is another Tavern Chat.

Where can you find Tavern Chat? At 9PM Eastern using that chat box to your right.

In the meantime, I have Uncle Duties until about 7PM. Posting will be light unless I can convince a nearly 6 year old to nap. Not bloody likely ;)


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

TSR Tuesday - New PoD Releases - Heroes, Locations and Clans Undermountain


So, what do we have this week?

FR7 - Hall of Heroes: Hall of Heroes provides complete histories and AD&D game statistics for such beloved characters as Elminster, the greatest sage and magic user of the Realms, Tristan Kendrick and Robyn of the Moonshae isles, Wulfgar the Barbarian, Drizzt the dark elf, and Bruenor the dwarf, all from the northern reaches, plus Alias and Dragonbait, Shandril and Narm Tamaraith, and many more.

But the Hall of Heroes is more that a listing of game statistics: It's also a sourcebook describing (among other things) artificial and magical lifeforms of the Realms, as well as the lives of the world's elves, dwarves, lizardmen, and exotic creatures.

Fantastic Locations - Hellspike Prison - its for 3.5, so...

GAZ14 - The Atruaghin Clans: The Atruaghin Clans is the fourteenth book in the best-selling Gazetteer series. It provides a complete description of the culture, history, and goals of the noble Children of Atruaghin. Included in this product are:

- A 64-page Player's Book that provides rules for Atruaghin character creation and introduces the Shamani, a new character class.
- A 32-page DM's Guide that details the history of the Atruaghin Clans, the unique Immortals that they worship, and several sample characters.
- A large, full-color map that details the geography of the Atruaghin Plateau and the lands around it.

Note on the Print version: The Player's Book, DM's Guide and Map have been combined into a single Softcover volume.

Undermountain - StardockThis DUNGEON CRAWL adventure returns once more the the hallowed halls of Undermountain, but it's a different day. At dawn of Highharvestide 1369, every practitioner of magic on the Sword Coast knew there was a problem. By midmorning, the Lords of Waterdeep confirmed the ill omens: Some brave souls worthy of the title "Hero" must enter Undermountain on a mission to save Halaster Blackcloak! Could these heroes be your group of player characters?

This is a stand-alone module and does not require extra support materials. It can be placed into a campaign on any AD&D world, but best fits and impacts a FORGOTTEN REALMS campaign set in Undermountain or Waterdeep.

Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's OBS affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)