Sunday, December 21, 2014

No Gaming Post Today - Mourning the Loss of Two Fine Officers

It's rare that I step away from gaming over here at The Tavern. This is a roleplaying blog, and the posts obviously reflect that. I make an exception yearly for 9-11. Today is going to be one of those rare exceptions.

Yesterday two officers of the NYPD were executed in their patrol car. We almost lost a third officer last night when a perp put a gun in an officer's face but the firearm was empty of rounds, as the perp had just tried shooting at someone else (the reason the cops responded.)

My mind is far from games and gaming at the moment.

My thoughts and prayers are with officers Liu and Ramos and their families.

My fear is this is just the beginning.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Carl Sargent - Whatever Happened to the Man that last Defined Greyhawk 2e?

The great +Joe D asked the following question during tonight's game session:

What ever happened to Carl Sargent, the man who defined Greyhawk for AD&D 2e?

So, does anyone know?

After Hours - Prepping To Run a Game at a Convention (or any one-shot really)

Convention gaming is very much NOT like gaming with your home or regular group. While open ended sandbox styled gameplay is my favorite style at home, for convention play, you generally do need some rails to keep the session on track.

While I'm the only one of the three hosts on The Brainstorm Podcast that hasn't run a convention game, I've played in my share. Successful convention games generally have a few features in common, at least as far as I'm concerned:

- A knowledgeable GM - Know thy system. There is a good chance that you may be running a game where one or more of the players art your table don't know the system well, or even at all. If the GM is constantly referring to the rules pacing will be lost.

- Pacing - Remember, convention games have a limited amount of time slotted to them. While you don't want to end the session to early, running late will either leave you and your players with an unfinished session or have you running into someone else's game time.

- Prep beforehand - pregen characters, handouts, battlemat - whatever - all should be waiting for the players as they arrive at your table. Otherwise you are losing potential gameplay time.

- Playtest - this goes hand in hand with knowledge, pacing and prep. Playtest the adventure with once, or preferably twice. Doesn't matter if it's commercial or homebrewed. It will give you an estimate of how long it will run for and help you figure out where to cut or add to if needed.

Happy Jacks has mentioned con prep in the past on various episodes. You could probably have someone on their forums track down the relevant episodes for you. Just ignore the belching ;)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Win Some free Crawl! That's NOT Part of OSR Christmas ;)

Head over to the Channel Zero blog and win some cool Crawl! swag. +Ryan Moore is giving away print copies of Crawl! 5, 6, 7 and 9 to 4 luck winners (to be picked on December 23. +Dak Ultimak will be adding PDF copies for the luck winners.

What are you waiting for? Tell Ryan "The Tavern" sent ya! ;)

Casting Times - A Segment on Segments in 1e

I remember using "segments" in AD&D combat rounds, especially as it came to casting times. I don't remember if we ever used it right, but if you are going to use spell interruption in your campaign, it's kinda necessary.

I also remember that we slowly forgot to use casting times, and when we put that to the side, segments transformed into initiative order and little more. Of course, as casting times went to the side, so did casters loosing spells to interruption. I'm sure it change the game balance, but we didnt care, as it sped up play.

It went both ways. Getting the drop on an enemy caster was no longer as effective, as his spells were no longer getting interrupted either.

Maybe it was one of out earlier house rules, along with ignoring weapon speeds (as we could never make hide nor hair of it, and we tried) and weapon vs armor type adjustments (because we wanted it to apply to monsters and humanoids too, but as written it didnt.)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Soon We Will be Back on Pace - OSR Christmas, OSR For the Lapsed Gamer and More

Left for work at 530 AM. It's a bit after 8PM and I just got home. It's been that kind of a month. I've fallen behind on lots of planned stuff, but I'm on vacation for a week starting whenever I get home tomorrow, so yes, there will be some catching up to do.

There should be a bunch of gifts for OSR Christmas going up tomorrow night. I'm thinking PRINT and INTERNATIONAL shipping. That is, of course, assuming I get home at a reasonable time. If not, Saturday morning. I expect the pace of the posts to pick up.

I'll be getting back to the OSR for the Lapsed Gamer series of posts this weekend too. I've been away for it for too long, so time to pick up where we left off.

Other stuff too. I got's plans, I just need some down time to do them ;)

Weapon Damage Vs Size - Do You Use It?

I was introduced to role playing games with AD&D 1e and weapon damage vs size was my baseline. Now that I'm playing and running clones for the most part, I appreciate the lack of a single die type regardless of monster size.

Still, I do remember the damage charts for a good 80% of the weapons from 1e. Many of them didn't make much sense to me (such as broadsword) but we didn't stress it back in the day. After all, it was canon ;)

Do you use weapon damage vs size these days?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

OSR Christmas 2014 - Day 5 - The Loot!

It is (finally) time to find out the lucky readers that will be receiving the OSR Christmas 2014 Day 5 Gifts. We'll see how interesting events are in the City That Never Sleeps next this and if I can get   back on something that resembles a schedule ;)

(I've managed to work 30 hrs of overtime this month so far without even trying...)

Without further delay, lets get the goodies awarded...
The first bundle is a set of Dyson's Delves Volumes 1 and 2 donated by +Tony T (there will be more Dyson's Delves given away on a later day.) +Nathan Panke , you are the lucky gift receiver

The second bundle is a set of five miniatures donated by +Boric Glanduum  - a human cleric with a tome on a stand and 4 male elves in heavy plate and big ass swords. William Dowie, you are the lucky gift receiver

The above need to email me at tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom with DAY 5 GIFT in the subject. Provide me with the mailing address you want this sent to and I'll forward it to the awesome gift giver.

Day 4 gifts will have the gifter notified tomorrow. There was a straggler from an earlier day who needs to have his gifter notified. Trying to find those moments of in between time to do so. 

Dumping on Dump Stats or Have Followers but No Charisma - Do You Have a Favorite Dump Stat and Why?

From what I've seen during my 35 years of gaming, Charisma seems to be "the" dump stat of the various D&D editions. I never fully understood why, as Wisdom and Intelligence can serve the same purpose for most non spell casters without giving you a negative reaction adjustment. Or maybe I understand why, but don't agree with the "why."

Wait, your DM doesn't take Charisma into account for reaction rolls? Heck, he doesn't even bother with reaction rolls? Yep, that's how we were as teens - Charisma adjustments got handwaved and therefore Charisma become the dump stat.

High intelligence gives extra languages, high Wisdom gives a bonus for certain spell saves (at least in AD&D) but if you are ignoring Charisma adjustments to reaction, loyalty and even more importantly - maximum number of followers, you're playing it wrong (IMHO - your opinion may differ. No opinions were harmed in the writing of this post. Lack of sleep due to overtime and puppy power may have influenced this post. Don't post and drive.)

One of my favorite characters had a 5 intelligence and 7 wisdom with decent combat stats and a 13 for charisma. Of course, I named him Gru and he had a fondness for cheese dip...