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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Roll20 Hits the 2 Million Player Mark

Roll20 has hit the 2 million player mark and then some. I was an early backer of the Roll20 Kickstarter, and truth be told, I was a little nervous with the initial release. While I wasn't asking for much, even some basic things as drawing tools were borked.

Flash ahead a bit over 4 1/2 years and not only has Roll20 become my Virtual Table Top (VTT) of choice, but that of over 2 million other players. Pretty impressive. Actually, it was my VTT of choice even with the initial quirks as the potential was just that good.

I've used MapTools, Klooge, ScreenMonkey, Fantasy Grounds 1 & 2 and a handful of other VTTs that have come and gone over the last 10 years or so and none have come close to the usability of Roll20 for me. The learning curve is small and the depth is huge.

As I've said elsewhere, I'm very much a minimalist when it comes to running my games online but there are a few features I absolutely need: online die roller, chat and fog of war (we use a third party app for voice and video usually) for my game map. Everything else is optional and not needed for my use (you milage and needs may vary). The scalability of the features in Roll20 is probably its strongest asset.

Which reminds me, now that we've resurrected the once a month "B" Team its probably time to bring back the Saturday Night Team, now with a "Lighter" Swords & Wizardry ;)

Kickstarter - Star Hat Miniatures: Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom! 2 (Get Your "Tenkar the Warrior Barkeep" Mini)

Star Hat Miniatures: Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom! 2

You know you want one. Or many.

Yep, I'm talking about your very own "Tenkar the Warrior Barkeep" miniature. Beer mug in one hand, beer cask cradled in his other arm and a bitchin' battle axe strapped to his back. Because even though beer is a priority, you need to be prepared for all situations.

Yes, the mini was made to my specifications. Darcy is amazing at the back and forth needed to get a vision like this right and my God, he did an excellent job. I owe you big time good sir, as to the readers of The Tavern. He's about 8 bucks on his own plus shipping.

Did I mention there is also a HUGE St. Andre Troll available too? Based on the creator of a certain game that goes by the initials T&T.

Oh, I'm in at $70 USC. Everything included the troll ;)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Quick Updates - 1200+ & 2300+

Over the past few days we've hit a few milestones and I figured I'd share them. I find them very gratifying as well as humbling.

Over the weekend we surpassed 1200 members in The Tavern's Facebook Community. For a community that didn't even exist even 14 months ago, I find that number to be stunning. Thank you all. I've enjoyed watching it grow from just my posts to an active community of posters and commenters. Its ALIVE! heh

Tonight we surpassed 2300 downloads for Swords & Wizardry Light. That's in addition to the hundreds of physical copies given away at Gamehole, 700 or so copies sent out with the Bard's Gate Kickstarter and hundreds more arriving with the Swords & Wizardry Complete 3rd Printing Kickstarter. And we ain't done yet. Zach, James and I have plans... as do others. Its fun. Its scary. Its scary fun!

Alright, three straight days of uncle duties are wrapping up. I need a drink ;)

Kickstarter - Life of the Party: The Realities of an RPG'er - Humorous RPG Comic

Usually I'd assume its depicting +Tim Shorts , but he avoided Natural 1's last Friday Night ;)
Time to peek at a sweet looking Kickstarter that  mocks the very game we love.

Yep, I'm talking about Life of the Party: The Realities of an RPG'er, an online comic strip releasing a printed collection.

It had a goal of $7k. It has currently surpassed $38k and still has 4 week of funding left. Stretch goals have added pages of content, a switch to hardcover and more in the pipeline.

I don't know about you, but I get a Calvin & Hobbes feel from the art, which I do like.

$10 for the PDF, $22 for Print plus PDF, $35 for Print plus PDF plus sketch - which is where I'm at. There are other, higher backer levels, but for me, $35 is the sweet point.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

New Year, New Game! Sale at RPGNow - Bundles 40-58% Off - Nearly 1,000 Releases 20% Off

There's a sale going on at RPGNow - the New Year, New Game! Sale.

First off, we have bundles of Doctor Who, A Song of Ice and Fire, stars Without Number, Mummy: The Curse, Scarred Lands and Ashen Stars. You can see the "Starter" bundles here.

Then we have nearly a 1,000 other releases on sale for 20% off. White Star, DCC RPG, Crypts and Thing, Starships & Spacemen, Apes Victorious and others.

Here's the link for items tagged specifically as OSR, but its a limited selection that is properly tagged.

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!  ;)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

This is How I Roll... Online

Well, I had a comment to the previous post which I figured needed a follow up answer and a post of its own:
Hey, barkeep. Remind us how you do your online play. I seem to recall Hangouts, but do you mix in any other apps? 
Right now I'm targeting Rolz, plus Skype. (Roll20 is just too ... much.) I don't know if I want to trust Hangouts when they are sunsetting app support. 
Bob P
Historically I used Google Hangouts with the Roll 20 app inside the hangout. Yeah, couldn't figure out how to get ANY apps open in Google Hangouts. Google, the only company that can make great applications basically useless. Alright, maybe not the only company...

So, this is what we did:

We used Google Hangout for voice and video. I actually like seeing my players expressions and I'm sure they enjoy seeing my cat's ass in HD ;)

Then I loaded up the Roll 20 app which I had set up earlier in less that 15 minutes, sent out invite and used that on my main screen. On my vertical side screen I had the Hangout and various PDFs open.

The map is a +Dyson Logos . Its a perfect dungeon for what I needed. Support his Patreon for more awesome maps for the RPG community. Find his maps at his blog.

I use Fog of War to show may players what they can see and where they have been. I reveal new parts as the party progresses. Sure, part of the fun and challenge from my teen and college years was the mapping. Well, not really. No one ever wanted to be the mapper. Now, its not an issue.

Notice something missing? Tokens. I never use them. I could. Maybe I should. I have access to hundreds, if not thousands of them. Instead, I go more theatre of the mind. Maybe at some point in the future I'll find a nice middle ground between not using them and using all the bells and whistles.

I do use character sheets now. They actually have ones coded for Swords & Wizardry. I'm impressed.

The thing with Roll 20 is use what you need, not what sounds cool. Dynamic lighting would be a blast to use but the time needed to set it up could be better spent making blog posts like this, or writing more SWL content, or drinking more beer, or...

I roll all attack rolls, damage rolls and 99% of adversary saves in the open. I think players trust the DM to do what is right behind the screen when the rolls of chance are all in front of the screen.

As a DM, I want the players to think out of the box. You want your halfing fighter to make a running leap into the half dozen skeletons coming at you, trying to knock some over and block the doorway at the same time? Sure, make an attack roll with a penalty of 2 to the roll.

Oh, in case you missed it, here's Tim's blog post of last night's session.

Peter just put up his post. Read it. Please comment on the possible motto for The Tavern. It came up organically in play ;)

Last Night the "B" Team Playtested Swords & Wizardry Extra Light & an Adventure I am Finishing Up

Idi the Ogre by Eric Quigley
Its been a long time coming. I hadn't run a game for the "B" Team+Tim Shorts , +Peter V. Dell'Orto and +Douglas Cole ) since late 2015. Yeah, the last year or so of work was rough.

As Tim mentions in his post over at The Gothridge Manor, in the time since we last gamed, Doug created a Kickstarter to make grappling feasible in D20 based games and I put together Swords & Wizardry Light. Of course, Pete's been writing GURPS articles and Tim's been a beehive of creativity with his Patreon and SWL projects.

If you want a recap of last night's game session, read Tim's post on it. Its well done and entertaining.

Here's my highlights:

I got to put the Swords & Wizardry Extra Light rules into play. They are built off of SWL and they really don't change the core, just add to it. The Ranger class played well.

I also got to give the short adventure I owe +Pete Spahn a playtest. Some parts can use tightening and I certainly need to take into account that even my players can attempt non violent solutions to encounters ;)  Attempting to Charm Person an Ogre, even one that speaks Common and is inclined to negotiate, shouldn't work. But when you roll a Natural One on a save, anything can happen ;)

I need to flesh out the setup a wee bit. Which is good to know. I also know where I left out details that were in my head but not on the sheet.

It went well, even though I knew we were on a time constraint. It played out in about 2 hrs 15 minutes - probably closer to 3 hours with a larger party and a tweak to the last part of the dungeon the party reached. Right about where I want it.

I expect a relatively quiet posting weekend...

Original set up of the adventure is here.