Monday, September 15, 2014

It Looks Like the "Tenkar's Landing" Crowdsourced Project Will be a "GO"

There appears to be enough interest in giving the Tenkar's Landing crowdsourced project a shot. So, here's where we stand:

- I HOPE to have this kick off at the beginning of October. No guarantees. Work has been a summer of hell. Let's see how fall falls into place.

- We need a better name than "Tenkar's Landing" for the island. Tenkar's Landing is just the major town / port. It was a colony of a trading nation that is now a failed nation. The town itself is self sufficient and has a relatively strong mercantile influenced government.

- There are remains of an advanced civilization long passed scattered around the island. At a certain point, magic and technology are indistinguishable - that is the case here.

- There are no traditional native human / demihuman communities. All are immigrants from elsewhere. Aside from Tenkar's Landing there are some small scattered hamlets / enclaves.

- Hexes are either 5 or 6 miles across. Not a huge difference, but we'll figure it out in the next few weeks.

- Hexes 1214 and 1314 are desert with obsidian shards and strange ruins scattered about. Magical or nuclear devastation, to be decided. Strange beasts abound.

- Hex 1213 is broken mountains and craters.

- Dungeons, Castles, Towers, Ruins indicated are those that are commonly known. East of the river near Thocar's Castle is hardly explored.

- Some folks have requested hexes already. I'll do my best to honor those.

- I'll probably open up a G+ community page and a Obsidian Portal page when it gets closer to going live.

- There is no default system, but as I'd like this to be usable with everything from S&W and LL to the DCC RPG and everything in between, the less system stats the better.

- Figure a sandbox for levels 1-8 or thereabouts.

Alright, back to catching up on some 1500+ pieces of email

Announcing "The Brainstorm Podcast" - 30 Minutes or Less or it's *Free (*it's always free)

Wild Games Productions has added an "edition free" podcast to it's stable - "The Brainstorm."

It literally is a podcast about brainstorming ideas for RPG games (primarily edition free.) Use the ideas, abuse the ideas, submit ideas - the podcast really is there for the listener in this case.

So, join your hosts +Vincent Florio , +Glen Hallstrom and myself ( +Erik Tenkar ) at The Brainstorm Podcast.

(Episode 2 of the Tenkar & The Badger Podcast should be dropping any time now too - so much Tenkar, so little time)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

How Important are PC Spellcasters in Your Campaign?

I remember when I ran AD&D (1e and 2e) back in my college days clerics were rare as PCs. If the party was lucky they had a Paladin with his laying of hands ability and a crap load of potions. Magic-users weren't much more common, and once I banned Bladesingers from ever again being used in our group, I'm not sure we ever had one again.

It certainly made writing adventures for the group a bit of a challenge, as the party was built more for head on combat than it was stealth or death from afar. I also found myself using less NPC spellcasters, for the few I used were damn tough on a party that lacked a response. Remeber, the goal at the end of the night is for everyone to have fun.

In the playtest of The Unmaking Campaign, we lake a magic-user. So, no sleep spells to save our bacon. No web, invisibility or fireballs as we rise in level. I doubt +Jason Paul McCartan is going to change the campaign to conform to the PCs - this is, of course, a playtest. Instead, it will force us to overcome out shortcomings.

So, how important are PC spellcasters in your campaign?

Idle Thought's of Tenkar's Landing - Crowdsourcing a Small Sandbox

I was working on this sandbox way back in the spring of 2013 and aside from the maps and a few notes, I've done nothing with it. Stuff got put to the side and the plate can only hold so much.

I got to thinking about Tenkar's Landing again last week, but the plate these days is so much smaller and it's stacked so high I can't see much of what is on it anymore. I want to get some use out of this as I do like the map (used Hexographer for those that are curious.)

So, my idle thought is this - crowdsourcing the development of the island. Give my readers a hex (5 or 6 miles across per hex - it's not a huge sandbox but as I have the surrounding area mapped, it is expandable) each and let them have at it and see what the end result is. I'd keep hex 1311 for myself, of course ;)

As I said, and idle thought, and even at that, I'd still need the time to set things up and organize it. Consider this post a simple gauging of interest into the concept of passing out the 30 some odd hexes on the island and the dozen and a half that are on the map but across the waters.

I Forgot to Add "What" to My To Hit Bonus? (DCC RPG)

Last night was another session of our DCC RPG campaign being run by +Craig Brasco . This is the campaign with Graygor, my damn near mutant warrior, he that has bonuses on 5 of his 6 stats (and no penalty on the last. He of the amazing hit points, due to his lucky roll adding his luck bonus to his HP every level in addition to the usual stamina bonus. He really is a monster.

Apparently, he's more of a monster than I realized, as I forgot to add his luck modifier to "attack rolls with one specific kind of weapon."

It's not a hidden rule, but it is one that passed me by when I read the details of the warrior class.

As his reward earlier in the campaign was a non-magical mithril two handed sword (+ 1 hit, + 2 damage) he started out with a bit of a bite. He's also got + 1 hit and + 1 damage due to his strength score. I just never realized he could get yet another + 2 hit with his swords due to his luck,

Didn't make him miss any less ;)

I wonder what else I've overlooked while reading the DCC rules.

Still haven't managed to pull off a single Mighty Deeds of Arms. trust me, it's not for lack of trying...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Most of Us Seem to Have a Default Class / Race When We Play - What is Yours?

Although I always offer to play whatever the party wants or needs, the truth is I have my comfort zone - I tend towards human or dwarf for the race (although I do enjoy playing the occasional halfling) and the class is usually cleric, fighter or a cleric / fighter multiclass (or just a cleric that considers himself a front line fighter - sometimes wisdom doesn't apply across the board.)

I always feel a little awkward playing a magic-user - too few choices at low levels, too many at higher ones. Thieves are okay, but I'd probably never play a straight up thief - multiclassed with magic-user or illusionist though, and that thief just became a stellar thief ;)

Which is strange, because in my early days of gaming, after I played my first fighter (and my first character Cyrus) I don't think I ever went back and played a straight up fighter. The gods themselves know I NEVER played a cleric back in those days. Paladin, ranger, magic-user and the occasional bard from Dragon #56. Sure, I DMed a lot more than I played, but when I did play, vanilla fighters or clerics were not on my list of what to play.

These days I have a 1st level DCC Warrior and a 1/1 Dwarven Fighter / Cleric in Swords & Wizardry Complete.

Maybe it's because my first character upon my return to gaming (and my embracing the OSR) was a Dwarven Cleric in Castles & Crusades in an online Fantasy Grounds 2 Campaign who happened to be the best combatant in the party.

Or maybe it's because I just happen to like dwarves...

Do you have a default class / race when you play?

Can there be "Too Much Tenkar?"

If all goes well, episode 2 of Tenkar & The Badger should get released on iTunes and such this weekend. Crossing fingers and other superstitious necessities. This is the +Harley Stroh episode that threw format and preplaned sections out the window. Yes, this is where +Jason Paul McCartan and I realized you could "sandbox" a podcast.  And there was great rejoicing.

Episode 3, the +Zach Glazar episode, should follow in about a week, assuming the stars align and no major shit happens. Best laid plans of mice and men and all that shit.

There should also be "something else" that may release on Monday. Similar yet different. I've said all I can say - I can say no more (unless someone gives me permission to say more.)

So, too much Tenkar?


As I side note I'm nearly 1,000 unread emails in the hole. So, if you emailed me and I haven't responded, it's probably because I haven't read it. Sorry. Working to catch up as work becomes slightly more manageable on the side of "real life."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Kickstarter - Time of the Dying Stars: Book One (Small Niche Games)

+Pete Spahn is at it again. Yep, he's got another Kickstarter out, this time for fiction in the World of Amherth plus gaming material. Time of the Dying Stars: Book One stars a dwarf named Tenkar showcases a dwarf named Tenkar a dwarf named Tenkar makes an appearance in the story. Now, that in and of itself should sell this Kickstarter, but wait, there's more:

Yet another Spahn, +James Spahn of Barrel Rider Games, will be contributing Labyrinth Lord classes to the project. Two Spahns, not related except for love of the game.
Time of the Dying Stars: Book One is the first of three books set in the City of Dolmvay. It is a collection of interlinked short stories that follow the events leading up to an ancient prophecy. This novella provides insights into the city's politics, religions, and the lives of everyday citizens. It also features cameos of favorite NPCs such as Tenkar the Tavernkeep, Dyson the Cartographer, and others. Time of the Dying Stars: Book One is a must-have for OSR Game Masters running adventures in the City of Dolmvay.
The Kickstarter went up today with a modest goal of $500. as I type this it sits at $479 in less than 24 hrs, with a full month to go.

+Pete Spahn 's work speaks for itself. Grab the PWYW City of Dolmvay and see what Pete's previous Kickstarter has wrought :)

Gaming Future - "Uncle, I Want to be a Dragon!"

My not quite 4 year old niece was over on Tuesday and she decided she wanted to "see trains" about 20 minutes before 7pm, which gave me 20 minutes to walk to the pedestrian overpass, catch a rush hour train or two and get back in time for my scheduled Skype call with +Vincent Florio .

We caught two trains (and just missed a diesel) before I told the young lady we had to head back home.


"I have a phone call with a friend in a few minutes, and we need to go now."

"Whose your friend?"


"Where does Vince live?"


"Mommy has a friend that lives in Texas. Only one friend in each state. Vince needs to live in... Tennessee!"

"Heh. I'll let him know."

"Whatcha gonna talk to Vince about Uncle?"

"Well, we are going to talk about Dungeons & Dragons."

"What's Dumgems & Dragons?"

"It's a game where you play heroes, and the heroes explore the wilderness or the underground and they beat up monsters (I left out the -and take their stuff - part)"

"I wanna be a monster! I wanna be a dragon! Or a troll! Or a dinosaur! Or a alligator! Can I be a dragon, uncle?"

"Sure Pinky, You can be a dragon."

"Uncle, can you teach me about Dumgems & Dragons when I get older. 'Cause I'm only 3 now."

"Heh. Yes Pinky. I'll teach you about Dungeons & Dragons whenever you want. Remember uncle's dice, and your own dice? You use those dice in Dungeons & Dragons."

"I'm going to breath fire!" and she proceeded to puff her cheeks four times, blowing out air before taking a needed breath for the next puff.

She's not yet four, and already she has the gaming bug and an amazing imagination.

Something tells me she will be gaming sooner than later...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Session Playtest - The Unmaking Campaign - Swords & Wizardry

I run Swords & Wizardry fairly regularly, but it is rare that I get to actually play in a session. Come to think of it, NTRPG Con was my first session of S&W as a player. Damn.

So, when +Jason Paul McCartan asked me to join the playtest of his forthcoming The Unmaking Campaign for S&W, I was all over it like a pig in mud.

The playtesters besides myself are +James Aulds , +Zach Glazar , +Nathaniel Hull and +joseph browning . Yep, you may recognize some of those names. Needless to say, Jason has his hands full ;)

I'm playing a Dwarven fighter / cleric. Actually, our party is well rounded with fighter and thief types and even a monk. No magic-user, which may be a problem down the line, or not.

I don't want to give too much away, as it is a playtest of an upcoming product, but there were some highlights - quotes even - that should be shared.

- "Religious Looting" - when the dwarven fighter / cleric entered the abandoned tavern and immediately started liberating the casks of ale BEFORE looking for signs of survivors (or the dead)

- "Man can live on ale, but feed a man just bread and he will die of thirst." - direct quote from above dwarven cleric when asked about his obsession with ale and his desire to feed town-folks with it before considering actual food.

- "Stay behind the halfling!" - when you think about it, that can never be a good situation

- "If you are going to die, die in front of a church." Yep. Been there and done did. Ouch!

I really need to sit down with Jason and decide how much of the story I can divulge. I don't want to give away any secrets but I do want to share some of the excellent scenario Jason has shown us thus far.

edit - I forgot the follow:  "He dropped like a Tenkar."

Idle Thoughts and Dulled Senses

Four pints and two shots. For some reason, this day get's harder, not easier, as time goes on. Good food and good company was had at the pub. My wife and son kept me good company, and my bartender John understood the meaning of the day.

I am behind in many things. OSR Superstar is awaiting the responses of the judges for the final round. I have not been hounding them, as work on my end has been hot and heavy. My daily posting has been cut in half from the usual numbers over the summer, and not just for lack of free time. I am mentally exhausted. I should prod them I think. PROD!

Emails have gone unread in some cases for weeks. Again, it's as much lack of time as it is lack of energy with what little time I have free. Retirement can not come soon enough.

As I told my wife over lunch, I don't drink on this day to forget what I saw, heard, and learned on 9-11-01. I drink to take the edge off the pain. To fuzz out some of the details. Forgetting even a moment of the day would be a crime, and I refuse to do so.

+Jason Paul McCartan is running a game tonight. I'm playing in it. Jason, you are so fucked ;)

Dedicated to Paul Benedetti - Lost 9-11-01 - Friend and Gamer

Today is 9-11.  13 years after 9-11-01.

If I had responded to the actual mobilization point I was supposed to arrive at, there might be nine more names to read of those that were lost that day. I was supposed to arrive at the foot of Tower 2, but never made it past the masses of folks near City Hall that were already fleeing the Towers.

I lost a good friend that day. I had 4 good friends that worked in and around the World Trade Center on 9-11-01. Three walked miles and miles to get home that day. One never made it home. All were from my core group of gaming buddies and best friends dating back to High School.

Paul, you are sorely missed. You were there when the towers were attacked in '93, and I remember hearing about the 70+ flights you had to walk down. The second time they were hit you never had that opportunity.

Roll those dice and roll them well. The rest of us will join you when our time comes, and we'll pick up where we left off.

Rest well.

Paul Benedetti, age 32 when taken too early.