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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fantastic Heroes & Witchery Retro-RPG Hard Cover in Hand


You remember me referring to the 2-page spread PDF of Fantastic Heroes & Witchery as "Crippleware"? I stand by that assessment, as turning that impossible to read PDF into a "normal" PDF encouraged me to order the HC version literally 20 minutes into reading it.

Hoping to spend some time with this over my week of vacation, as it really looks to have a crapload of stuff I'd like to borrow for my current campaign.


Chaosium's "Magic World" Appears to be a Critical Failure

I do accept guest posts. Here is one such from an "Anonymous Tavern Patron":


Tenkar (or Grumpy, whichever you prefer),

I don't think this is really news, but I figured I would share with you some thoughts on a product I got my hands on recently.

I have always been a fan of d100 systems like Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and Basic Roleplay. So when I heard about Chaosium releasing Magic World, and that it would be a distilled compendium of only fantasy material within their BRP line, I was excited.  I even remember you posting a comment on Dorkland! about this product at one time. I love the BRP 'gold book,' but man it is taxing sometimes to go through all the skills during character creation. So I waited patiently for the financial opportunity to present itself and I ordered a copy of Magic World.

And man... how I have been disappointed. Honestly, it is one of the laziest attempts at a publication I have seen in awhile. There are about 30 errata issues with the book. Some of which is from basic information just plan missing. Also, there is a lot convoluted explanations from copied and pasted material from other systems, like bad math on how rolls should be determined (if that makes sense). Not to mention a lot of typographical errors. But for me the major flaw is that the layout of the art being just plain terrible. Much of the art was scanned or imported with extremely low resolution making much of it pixelated and stretched, or so dark and washed out that I can't tell what the hell I am looking at. Even the banner on the title page has 'Magic World' blurry with bad aliasing. The fucking title page? Come on!

I don't know, maybe I am making too big a deal out of it, but for me art is always a deal breaker. I can tolerate some errata issues if the art is excellent and presented well. It is like listening to bad sound while watching a beautifully shot movie. In this case the movie wasn't shot so well either. I am all for supporting the hobby. I am willing to shell out good hard earned cash for products from varying publishers/companies big and small. Hell, I have even bought PDFs and turned around and paid for hard copies because I like the product so much. But the product has to be worth it. On top of all my complaints, what really pissed me off (despite all the issues) is that the book is priced at 40 dollars soft cover, and 20+ dollars for the PDF. And it doesn't look like a second printing is coming anytime soon, so folks are stuck with all the errors with a 40 dollar price tag.

Am I making too big a deal out this? Does art make or break a tabletop product for you? Do you think errata (even this much) is just part of the way things are? Just wondering.

Great questions. I'll add my own:

At what point does a product's physical failures out weight it's gaming potential?

More!?! - The List of Goodies for the "12 Days of OSR Christmas" is a Pirate's Horde! (No! The Old School Pirate Type)

This is the 4th update and the list of goodies just keeps growing...

This community consistently humbles me by it's generosity. I am very proud to be a part of it and extremely happy to be hosting the "12 Days of OSR Christmas" in December. We are swimming in "Santas"! You all fucking rock!

About that damn spreadsheet I need to do - I better do it soon! heh

I'm going to update (again) the list of goodies, with the additions that came in over night (yet again) at the top of the list:

- An Assortment of Goodman Games 4e Stuff in print (donated by your Tavern Keeper - I'll draw up the list later - may be awarded as one or two bundles)

- The Outpost On The Edge of the Far Reaches adventure module in Print (donated by +Paul Fini )

- Issue 2 of Tales of High Adventure pulp magazine in print (donated by +Paul Fini )

previous donations:

NOD Issues 1-21 in PDF (Bundle donated by +John Stater )

Blood & Treasure in PDF (donated by +John Stater )

Space Princess in PDF (donated by +John Stater )

Pars Fortuna in PDF (donated by +John Stater )

The Witch in PDF (donated by +Timothy Brannan )

Eldritch Witchery in PDF (donated by +Timothy Brannan )

The Shrine of St Aleena in print (donated by Peter Spahn / Small Niche Games)

In The Prison of the Squid Sorcerer - 2 Print Copies (donated by +Paul Wolfe / Mystic Bull Games)

The Tomb of Squonk and the Silent Army 3 PDF Copies (donated by +Paul Wolfe / Mystic Bull Games)

- a set of handmade Elder Futhark Runes made and donated by +matt jackson

Terratic Tome and Slaughter Grid print copies donated by +Rafael Chandler

- 5 PDF copies of That's a Goblin!? donated by +Mark Chance

- $15 RPGNow Gift Card donated by Joshua De Santo

A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore in hardcover and a pdf bundle of all three Adventures Dark and Deep core rulebooks donated by +Joseph Bloch

- "The Gnomes of Levnec" and "A Thousand Dead Babies" in PDF donated by +Zzarchov Kowolski

- a WardCo reprint of the original Metamorphosis Alpha rules signed by James Ward himself donated by +Tim Snider

- print copies of TM1 The Ogress of Anubis and VA1 Valley of the Five Fires donated by Rich "New Big Dragon" - Rich will be mailing via Lulu and will eat the shipping cost for international recipients, so he is double generous :)

- a set of The Manor (issues 1-5) in print and 1 set in PDF donated by +Tim Shorts

-  1 *PRINT* (+PDF) copy each of Crawl, 1-8  and a copy of Hack: Firearms! donated by +Dak Ultimak

1 set including the following -S&W Whitebox (softcover), Heroes & Other Worlds Adventure Game and Whitehack (a very generous donor)

DCC RPG Core Rulebook (1st Printing) (your tavern keeper)

AL 4 - The Way Station and AL 5 - Stars in the Darkness for the DCC RPG (print set - possibly more than one set - donated by +Purple Duck Games 

2 copies of Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (hardcover - your tavern keeper)

1 copy of Dwarves & Dragons (strategy game by Ken St. Andre - signed and numbered 33/100 and donated by your tavern keeper)

1 copy of Three Days Until Retirement (in print and donated by Stuart K - who also wrote and Kickstarted it successfully)

1 copy of Treasure Awaits (softcover andan excellent OSR styles game donated by +Brett Bernstein )

1 copy of Lords of Olympus (softcover B&W donated by +Brett Bernstein )

Other items I find in the prize closet / basement (old games, duplicates, etc)

Other items donated in print and / or PDF

RPGNow store credit

The list is STILL growing - it will be updated again tomorrow when more stuff is nailed down.

Friday, November 22, 2013

New Bundle of Holding - Worldbuilder's Toolkit



Do you want to design the world for your campaign, or make it more realistic?

Looking for some excellent help designing adventures, dungeons, locals?

It's all here.

It's an amazing list of stuff, and I want it all. Actually, I have Red Tide and Tome of Adventure Design in hardcover, but having them in PDF form to read in bed on my tablet is perfect. The only item here that I already have in PDF is Masks, and its a damn good product too.

Can you tell I went in to "beat the average?" Tome of Adventure Design is worth it on it's own in my opinion.

A hair over $15 currently gets everything. $4.95 gets you Red Tide, Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding and A Magical Medieval Society Western Europe.

We Hit the "Big Time"! - The Tavern Got a Mention on the Spellburn Podcast


Wait? You don't listen to the Spellburn Podcast? Why the hell not? It's one of the better RPG / OSR podcasts out there, and they get some pretty cool guests to make appearances on the show, such as:

+Daniel Bishop

+Harley Stroh

+Michael Curtis

Even if you don't play the DCC RPG, it's a great podcast to listen to. It's consistently one of my favorite podcasts on my iPhone.

Besides, they mentioned Tenkar's Tavern in episode 14, near the end. Woot!

Yet Another Amazing Update - The List of Goodies for the "12 Days of OSR Christmas" is Looking Like a Lich's Treasure Room!

This is the 3rd update and the list of goodies just keeps growing...

This community consistently humbles me by it's generosity. I am very proud to be a part of it and extremely happy to be hosting the "12 Days of OSR Christmas" in December. We are swimming in "Santas"! You all fucking rock!

I'm going to update (again) the list of goodies, with the additions that came in over night (yet again) at the top of the list:

- NOD Issues 1-21 in PDF (Bundle donated by +John Stater )

- Blood & Treasure in PDF (donated by +John Stater )

- Space Princess in PDF (donated by +John Stater )

- Pars Fortuna in PDF (donated by +John Stater )

- The Witch in PDF (donated by +Timothy Brannan )

- Eldritch Witchery in PDF (donated by +Timothy Brannan )

- The Shrine of St Aleena in print (donated by Peter Spahn / Small Niche Games)

- In The Prison of the Squid Sorcerer - 2 Print Copies (donated by +Paul Wolfe / Mystic Bull Games)

- The Tomb of Squonk and the Silent Army - 3 PDF Copies (donated by +Paul Wolfe / Mystic Bull Games)

previous donations:

- a set of handmade Elder Futhark Runes made and donated by +matt jackson

Terratic Tome and Slaughter Grid print copies donated by +Rafael Chandler

- 5 PDF copies of That's a Goblin!? donated by +Mark Chance

- $15 RPGNow Gift Card donated by Joshua De Santo

A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore in hardcover and a pdf bundle of all three Adventures Dark and Deep core rulebooks donated by +Joseph Bloch

- "The Gnomes of Levnec" and "A Thousand Dead Babies" in PDF donated by +Zzarchov Kowolski

- a WardCo reprint of the original Metamorphosis Alpha rules signed by James Ward himself donated by +Tim Snider

- print copies of TM1 The Ogress of Anubis and VA1 Valley of the Five Fires donated by Rich "New Big Dragon" - Rich will be mailing via Lulu and will eat the shipping cost for international recipients, so he is double generous :)

- a set of The Manor (issues 1-5) in print and 1 set in PDF donated by +Tim Shorts

-  1 *PRINT* (+PDF) copy each of Crawl, 1-8  and a copy of Hack: Firearms! donated by +Dak Ultimak

1 set including the following -S&W Whitebox (softcover), Heroes & Other Worlds Adventure Game and Whitehack (a very generous donor)

DCC RPG Core Rulebook (1st Printing) (your tavern keeper)

AL 4 - The Way Station and AL 5 - Stars in the Darkness for the DCC RPG (print set - possibly more than one set - donated by +Purple Duck Games 

2 copies of Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (hardcover - your tavern keeper)

1 copy of Dwarves & Dragons (strategy game by Ken St. Andre - signed and numbered 33/100 and donated by your tavern keeper)

1 copy of Three Days Until Retirement (in print and donated by Stuart K - who also wrote and Kickstarted it successfully)

1 copy of Treasure Awaits (softcover andan excellent OSR styles game donated by +Brett Bernstein )

1 copy of Lords of Olympus (softcover B&W donated by +Brett Bernstein )

Other items I find in the prize closet / basement (old games, duplicates, etc)

Other items donated in print and / or PDF

RPGNow store credit

The list is STILL growing - it will be updated again tomorrow when more stuff is nailed down.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Remembering "Santa Claws" From the 2012 DCC Patron Contest - Is He Our 2013 "OSR Christmas" Mascot?


Hmmm

Is this our 2013 "OSR Christmas" mascot?

I may need to add some coal to the list of gifts if he is ;)

+David Fisher does good work :)

What Defines the "OSR" for You?

I've been thinking recently about what the "OSR" really means, at least to me.

Old School Renaissance

Old School Revival

Open Shared Rules

I think "Open Shared Rules" is closest to it's true meaning. No matter the rules you play with - OD&D, AD&D, LL, S&W, OSRIC, LotFP WF, ACKS, C&C, BFRPG AS&SH, C&T, DCC RPG and others too numerous to list - they all share a common DNA.

I can run ACKS with a S&W setting and adventures from BFRPG and LotFP WF without any advanced prep besides reading the material in advance.

I can run AD&D / OSRIC with a S&W megadungeon and crib rules from ACKS.

I can run S&W using a 3.5 version of an Old School setting using DCC RPG adventures with all conversions on the fly.

All of this wonderful stuff fits together with minimal fuss and maximum enjoyment. Sure, OSR is also a style of play. With the right group and tools, 3.5 can be played "Old School". Wasn't that the point of the old 3x DCC adventures?

Open... because of the wonders of the OGL

Shared... because they all share a common DNA

Rules... because without the rules, there is no need for dice... and we NEED dice.

So, what does OSR mean for you?








The OSR Has Blown My Mind and Exceeded My Expectations - As Always

You know what? I had this idea for a little Christmas Giveaway. Nothing big, maybe squeeze some PDFs from a few of the publishers I'm on good terms with, throw in a handful of print items I had in the prize closet collecting some dust and call it a day or twelve.

Strangely enough, one of this blog's fine readers had a similar idea, and had a small bundle of OSR goodness he wanted to share with the community and offered to donate for the cause. So, I put together a little list of what we had to give away, posted it as the 12 Days of OSR Christmas preview and the donations haven't stopped coming in.

I'll need to do another update tomorrow morning, as at least three more publishers / creators are adding themselves as "not so secret Santa' since this morning's update and I still haven't tried to shake the tree for some gifts from the larger players ;)

The OSR is an active community. It's a tight community. It's a giving community, as is evidenced not just in the works that are being donated for the Christmas Giveaway, but in the free works that are produced for the community, by the community, on nearly a daily basis.

The Tavern is just one small light in a multitude of blogs, podcasts, content creators and publishers that keep our corner of the RPG hobby growing and vibrant. I'll be shining that small light on my particular favorites in the weeks and months to come.

Thanks to one and all - now to put together that damn spreadsheet before I lose track of it all...


Holy Carp! The List of Goodies for the "12 Days of OSR Christmas" is Growing Like a Hasted Enlarge Spell Recipient - or Something

This is the 2nd update and the list of goodies just keeps growing...

This community constantly humbles me by it's generosity. I am very proud to be a part of it and extremely happy to be hosting the "12 Days of OSR Christmas" in December. We are swimming in "Santas"! You all fucking rock!

I'm going to update (again) the list of goodies, with the additions that came in over night (yet again) at the top of the list:

- a set of handmade Elder Futhark Runes made and donated by +matt jackson

- Terratic Tome and Slaughter Grid print copies donated by +Rafael Chandler

- 5 PDF copies of That's a Goblin!? donated by +Mark Chance

- $15 RPGNow Gift Card donated by Joshua De Santo

A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore in hardcover and a pdf bundle of all three Adventures Dark and Deep core rulebooks donated by +Joseph Bloch

- "The Gnomes of Levnec" and "A Thousand Dead Babies" in PDF donated by +Zzarchov Kowolski

- a WardCo reprint of the original Metamorphosis Alpha rules signed by James Ward himself donated by +Tim Snider

- print copies of TM1 The Ogress of Anubis and VA1 Valley of the Five Fires donated by Rich "New Big Dragon" - Rich will be mailing via Lulu and will eat the shipping cost for international recipients, so he is double generous :)

- a set of The Manor (issues 1-5) in print and 1 set in PDF donated by +Tim Shorts

-  1 *PRINT* (+PDF) copy each of Crawl, 1-8 and a copy of Hack: Firearms! donated by +Dak Ultimak

and yesterday's listing:

1 set including the following -S&W Whitebox (softcover), Heroes & Other Worlds Adventure Game and Whitehack (a very generous donor)

DCC RPG Core Rulebook (1st Printing) (your tavern keeper)

AL 4 - The Way Station and AL 5 - Stars in the Darkness for the DCC RPG (print set - possibly more than one set - donated by +Purple Duck Games 

2 copies of Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (hardcover - your tavern keeper)

1 copy of Dwarves & Dragons (strategy game by Ken St. Andre - signed and numbered 33/100 and donated by your tavern keeper)

1 copy of Three Days Until Retirement (in print and donated by Stuart K - who also wrote and Kickstarted it successfully)

1 copy of Treasure Awaits (softcover andan excellent OSR styles game donated by +Brett Bernstein )

1 copy of Lords of Olympus (softcover B&W donated by +Brett Bernstein )

Other items I find in the prize closet / basement (old games, duplicates, etc)

Other items donated in print and / or PDF

RPGNow store credit

The list is STILL growing - it will be updated again tomorrow when more stuff is nailed down.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More Donors is More Better! The List of Goodies for the "12 Days of OSR Christmas" Grows in Leaps and Bounds!

This community constantly humbles me by it's generosity. I am very proud to be a part of it and extremely happy to be hosting the "12 Days of OSR Christmas" in December. We are swimming in "Santas"! You all fucking rock!

I'm going to update the list of goodies, with the additions that came in over night at the top of the list:

- $15 RPGNow Gift Card donated by Joshua De Santo

- A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore in hardcover and a pdf bundle of all three Adventures Dark and Deep core rulebooks donated by +Joseph Bloch

- "The Gnomes of Levnec" and "A Thousand Dead Babies" in PDF donated by +Zzarchov Kowolski

- a WardCo reprint of the original Metamorphosis Alpha rules signed by James Ward himself donated by +Tim Snider

- print copies of TM1 The Ogress of Anubis and VA1 Valley of the Five Fires donated by Rich "New Big Dragon" - Rich will be mailing via Lulu and will eat the shipping cost for international recipients, so he is double generous :)

- a set of The Manor (issues 1-5) in print and 1 set in PDF donated by +Tim Shorts

-  1 *PRINT* (+PDF) copy each of Crawl, 1-8 and a copy of Hack: Firearms! donated by +Dak Ultimak

and yesterday's listing:

1 set including the following -S&W Whitebox (softcover), Heroes & Other Worlds Adventure Game and Whitehack (a very generous donor)

DCC RPG Core Rulebook (1st Printing) (your tavern keeper)

AL 4 - The Way Station and AL 5 - Stars in the Darkness for the DCC RPG (print set - possibly more than one set - donated by +Purple Duck Games 

2 copies of Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (hardcover - your tavern keeper)

1 copy of Dwarves & Dragons (strategy game by Ken St. Andre - signed and numbered 33/100 and donated by your tavern keeper)

1 copy of Three Days Until Retirement (in print and donated by Stuart K - who also wrote and Kickstarted it successfully)

1 copy of Treasure Awaits (softcover andan excellent OSR styles game donated by +Brett Bernstein )

1 copy of Lords of Olympus (softcover B&W donated by +Brett Bernstein )

Other items I find in the prize closet / basement (old games, duplicates, etc)

Other items donated in print and / or PDF

RPGNow store credit.

The Traveling Wizard Nystul's Latest Crowdfunding Campaign

No, I'm not stalking the man. I got no less than three heads up that Mike had found himself a new angle - via email, Goople+ and a comment on this here blog.

I'm all into crowdfunding. I think it's an amazing way to fund projects that otherwise may never get made. In the case of Mike, it's a way to fund project that will never get made. His ability to complete ANYTHING via crowdfunding is right around zero, give or take a few points.

Is anyone that knows anything about Mike's history of failed Kickstarters (and the Indiegogo project to fund those Kickstarters when he ran out of money) really going to entrust Mike with their money on his latest boondoggle? (isn't he supposed to be couch surfing across the country? how the fuck is he making resin dungeon pieces from the back of a family van?)

In Mike's words:
You know that proverb about interesting times? That's been my life. A lot has gone wrong lately. I have the perspective to know that I am still fortunate in many ways but I have been unemployed for quite a while and have not been able to get my head above water.  
Here is the plan - instead of landing the stopgap job I can't seem to land anyway I will start the terrain building business I have been working toward and start looking for ways to go back to school so I can shift careers completely. The trouble is - I have to get by until I can make this happen. That's where you come in.  
I am raising funds to keep me going while I put my plan into effect. I am asking for help but want to work for my supper. I have come up with a series of Rewards that should offer something for almost anyone. 
STARTER DUNGEONS  
These hand made sets include 2 Medium Corridors, 1 90’ Turn, 1 “T” intersection, 2 Small Rooms, 2 Doors, 1 Trap Door, 1 Staircase and 3 Wall Slugs. Sold separately these bits would run $100 but I am pricing this test run at $60.  
My math says I can cast all he bits I need for one "round" of sets in one week. If assembling and painting takes another week that means these will be done toward the end of the month.  
IMPORTANT 
I have priced the sets without shipping - if you want something I'll let you know how much it will cost to send it to where you are and you can PayPal the shipping cost to me.
I must admit - $25 to make Mike write an apology is tempting, but I'm not the "1 in 8" ;)



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Compiling the List of Goodness For the "12 Days of OSR Christmas"

I received an email earlier today from a patron of The Tavern, offering a package of OSR goodness if I were running a Christmas Giveaway. The fact it, I am running a Christmas Giveaway here at The Tavern. 12 Days of it to be exact.

So, currently on the list of things to be given away:

1 set including the following -S&W Whitebox (softcover), Heroes & Other Worlds Adventure Game and Whitehack (a generous donor)

1 DCC RPG Core Rulebook (1st Printing) (your tavern keeper)

AL 4 - The Way Station and AL 5 - Stars in the Darkness for the DCC RPG (set - possibly more than one set - donated by Purple Duck Publishing)

2 copies of Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (hardcover - your tavern keeper)

1 copy of Dwarves & Dragons (strategy game by Ken St. Andre - signed and numbered 33/100)

1 copy of Three Days Until Retirement (donated by Stuart K - who also wrote and Kickstarted it successfully)

1 copy of Treasure Awaits (excellent OSR styles game donated by +Brett Bernstein )

1 copy of Lords of Olympus (softcover B&W donated by +Brett Bernstein )

Other items I find in the prize closet / basement (old games, duplicates, etc)

Other items donated in print and / or PDF

RPGNow store credit.

If you want to gift the patrons of this fine blog, email me at tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom

The Giveaway will kick off on or about December 12, 2013

Prizes will be awarded randomly to blog readers that comment in the relevant day's thread, and comments will be open about 24 hrs on each thread, give or take.

NOTE TO READERS OUTSIDE THE US! 

The US Postal Service hates you. Really. The cost to ship anything to you will probably exceed the value of the items shipped. I'm running this using RPGNow referral sales credit, and unless someone makes like a thousand dollar purchase and we get some extra referral funds, shipping overseas will be way too costly.

So, PDF prizes / RPGNow credit for you UNLESS you want to paypal me (or possibly a donor if they are shipping direct) your shipping fee. It sucks. I know.

edit: I'm sure I missed a donor or 3 ;)



Another Completed Kickstarter - Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless Roleplaying)


Back in my mostly "non-gaming" days from early 1997 thru 2007 I did more RPG reading than I ever did when I was gaming. Kinda had to make up for lost game time I guess. In that time, I came across Amber Diceless. Maybe not the cleanest written set of rules, but my God, they were inspirational. Somehow, someway I found a group that was about to kick a game off via email, with the GM as a hub. It didn't last long - the logistics of gameplay via this awkward method caused the game to crumble shortly after kicking off. Still, I wanted more - never happened.

When I saw Lords of Gossamer & Shadow was the spiritual successor of Amber Diceless, I was all in. I don't regret it at all, either. It's a beautiful book, and I hope to dig into it a bit while on vacation. Will I run it? Not immediately, but damn sure I will at some point.

Expect a copy or two of the Lords of Gossamer & Shadow rulebook in hardcover to show up as prizes during the "12 Days of an OSR Christmas" daily giveaways come December - lots of other stuff being given away, both in print and PDF. Some nice secret (and not so secret) Santas are helping to kick it up a notch ;)

It hasn't released to the public yet, but the free preview is up on OBS.

New Bundle of Holding - Fantasy Tracks - Ambient Background Sounds for RPGs


I have never used background music for my RPG sessions. Well, except for the original Conan movie soundtrack back in my college days, but I'm not sure if that counts ;)

I've been interested in trying some background tracks for my Roll20 sessions, but everything I've stumbled across was too loud / too intense / too much "something".

I just dropped $10 to get all of the tracks in the latest Bundle of Holding, Fantasy Tracks, and the handful I've sampled - Fantasy Tavern, Pharaoh's Tomb and Dungeon Realm 1 sound pretty good. Good enough to risk playing in the background of one of our upcoming sessions. These pieces know that their place is in the background and I think it will work. If they don't, I have some nice ambient sounds to clear my mind when trying to get down to creative ventures and the like.

Sounds and music and the like in RPGs certainly polarized a number of the gamers I've spoken to about it in the past, and I can understand the strong feelings that are occasioned on both side. Still, I plan on having fun with these ;)



Another Classic TSR Module Given the "Cartoon Map" Treatment - Ravenloft

I'm not sure how I missed Ravenloft, as it was posted by WotC on November 1st. Actually, I do know how I missed it, as I'm rarely at the WotC site these days. Ah well.

Full sized maps, both with path and without, are available for download at the WotC site.

Me? I'm waiting on The Temple of Elemental Evil to get the treatment. Or Against the Giants.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Mini Review - Silent Nightfall (DCC RPG Adventure)



Those of you following this blog may find it strange that I am reviewing a DCC RPG adventure, when I am currently running S&W as my ruleset of choice. Nothing strange at all, as I convert modules from different systems to S&W on the fly - including DCC RPG adventures.

I find it telling that when my group wanted a change from DCC after the summer, it wasn't because of the adventures - whether a Goodman Games release or third party, they were excited by the adventures one and all - just not the system behind them (too quirky and random, especially for the spell casters, or so I was told).

So, with that in mind, let it be known that when I read Silent Nightfall by +Daniel Bishop , it was with one eye on the DCC RPG and the other on converting it to Swords & Wizardry. Final verdict, it will run very well with whichever rule system you choose. Silent Nightfall is a 2nd level DCC RPG adventure, so it probably works best with an OSR styled party of 3rd to 4th level - or a really skilled 2nd level party ;)

There is a little bit of "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks" within the adventure. Not a lot, and some players may not even notice it - well, okay, the dense players may not notice it, but it works.

As with many DCC RPG adventures, blindly swinging at everything and charging headlong will lead to some major problems. With my group, I foresee major problems - but that's what OSR gaming is all about. Heh!

Daniel gives us a nice D30 table for aberrations that can be yoked for just about any game. Excellent stuff.

He also introduces the concept of "Minor Patrons". I like the thoughts behind this, and may introduce this to my S&W Campaign down the line.

I figure depending on your group, you are looking at a session to a session and a half to complete Silent Nightfall and other stuff in the back the GM can easily reuse in later sessions.

Pretty nice package. I just want to know where Daniel gets his endless ideas from...

From the blurb:

There are often periods of greater or lesser magical influence in the world. Millennia ago, during a period of reduced magical activity, there was a nuclear power station at this location. When magical influences began to spread once more, the nuclear core became unstable, and began to develop a form of malevolent sentience. The ancients placed the core in a shaft three miles deep, the last 500 feet of which were filled with heavy water. This shaft, and its attendant control center, were given the codename “Silent Nightfall”.

In the ages since, much of the complex has collapsed or ceased to function, but the main shaft still remains, going three miles deep into the ground. The rooms that remain have undergone great changes, having been used for many different purposes and by many different creatures over the centuries. As a result, the original purpose of the shaft, rooms, and corridors has become obscured.

One of those who used the area was the wizard Mortmallion the Pale, who stole the Whispering Stone from Elfland. He hid himself and the stone in the Silent Nightfall complex, but the weird energies coming up from below changed him. Mortmallion can still be found, deep below, as the shaft crawler. Over time, the Whispering Stone became confused with the area where it is now found, and some texts refer to it as “Silent Nightfall” without making it clear why the stone has this name.

Currently, they are used as the nesting ground of owl-like humanoids that call themselves the grallistrix. Incubating their eggs in the Silent Nightfall complex has changed them, and they have become dangerous nocturnal predators in the region. The grallistrix hunt in triads, and locate prey by an extraordinary sense of hearing. As a result, communities nearby observe unexpected quiet at night – there are no late night gatherings. Inns and taverns close their doors with the fall of night.

Finally, the nuclear core itself has gained sentience and a malevolent, demonic intelligence. Imprisoned at the bottom of the shaft, it knows no other name than Silent Nightfall. So long as the demon remains bound, it is no great threat to the PCs or their world. In fact, they may be able to deal with it in order to gain magical aid.

In this way, the term “Silent Nightfall” has come to mean the following within the context of this location – the remains of the nuclear complex, the practice of avoiding loud noises after dark, the Whispering Stone, and the great demon imprisoned at the bottom of the shaft. This gives the judge many ways to lead the PCs into this material. It also allows the judge to make finding information difficult, as the many uses of “Silent Nightfall” spill into each other.

Mark Your Calendars - Barrowmaze "Complete" Crowdfunding Project Hits in January 2014



I'm a big fan of Barrowmaze. I have both volumes in print and was a supporter of the Barrowmaze II Indiegogo project. Heck, +Greg Gillespie was nice enough to throw an easter egg in BM II that is a reference to me. Damn good stuff and plays as well as it looks (I put my players through part of BM I when we had our ACKS campaign and it went over well.

So, what's +Greg Gillespie 's new plans for Barrowmaze?
In brief, my plan with the new crowfund is to combine the two Barrowmaze books into a definitive single volume entitled Barrowmaze Complete with new material, art, professional design and layout. Ex-TSR artist Erol Otus has agreed to provide the cover art! Woot! Woot!
Excellent news! I'll be back for more it seems ;)

You can read the rest over at Greg's blog, Discourse & Dragons.

New OSR Ruleset - Fantastic Heroes & Witchery - Free "Crippleware" PDF


I was over on the DragonsFoot forums yesterday when I came across the thread for a new OSR ruleset. Sure, I know, what really is "new" when it comes to rulesets in the OSR. Still, this one does seem to add a bunch.

Fantastic Heroes & Witchery adds a boatload of new classes and races. You don't even have to use the rules as written. Lift liberally to the ruleset of your choice. New classes, new races, new spells - there really is a lot to like. No magic items or monsters, so you will be using this with another set of rules in any case.




Did I mention the abundant and for the most part decent or better art? Yep, it's a pretty cool package.

So, why do I refer to it as "crippleware"?

The free PDF version comes in a 2 page spread format with no bookmarking. I can survive the lack of bookmarking (and the intentional removal of the table of contents) but the 2 page spread makes this nearly impossible to read on anything but the largest screens. I have a 27" screen, and I still find it very annoying - damn old age!

I haven't done more than skim it at the moment - like I said, the 2 page spread is pretty annoying, but what I have read looks pretty damn good and rippable for other OSR systems.

The author is fairly active on the thread over at DragonsFoot, so feel free to ask him any questions.

From the author's initial posting:
This is the game we all know, in a version borrowing from all editions, from "classic" to "3e." As such you already know the rules, nothing to relearn. You've got ascending attack bonuses (called BtH) and AC, but using the old descending AC is still possible. You've got all the spells found in 1e with UA, and many more for a total of 666 spells. There is a lot of classes, old and new. There is a fundamental difference with regard to priests though: all spellcasters are considered mages, with those using former cleric spells being wise-men/women, and those using former druid spells being forestals. Then, priests classes don't necessarily get supernatural powers, and when they do (i.e. friar class), they pray for immediate divine help rather than preparing and casting spells. This is the only main difference. Other than that, FH&W is 430 pages of simple rules and many options. The book is a combination of player's manual and GM's manual, but does not include monsters and magic items. However, you may use those from Osric or Castles & Crusades just as easily.
Indexed PDF version (not free) coming in December. Print on Demand may be before that.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Tavern is 95% Male - According to "GenderAnalyzer.Com" ;)



Sure, Gender Analyzer is a goof. Still, it's refreshing to know that Tenkar's Tavern is 95% likely to be written by a male.

Of course, I could have told you that was 100% likely, but we obviously needed an app for that.

Just for random info, YDIS comes in at 52% male. Hell, even Zak's site comes in at 63%. Go figure ;)

Amazingly, you can even meet Pretty Asian Girl on the site too...

Downloads of Swords & Wizardry Complete and the Power of Reddit


The above graph shows the downloads of Swords & Wizardry Complete via DropBox using a "bitly" link for tracking (initially shares of the file were either via email or untracked from the DropBox file direct). See that huge spike yesterday? That was nearly all Reddit - like 98% or so. Well, it was till they nuked the posting. I rarely post anything to Reddit, and my last few from last year were my own blog posts, so this got nuked as spam for not sharing enough variety. Fair enough. Makes sense actually.

Still, the power of Reddit is amazing, or at least has the potential to be so.  As such, I have the following goal:

I'll be sharing at least one blog post a day from the many blogs I follow on Reddit. Today's shared blog post is +matt jackson 's DIY Wooden Runes post. This shit is awesome, and should be shared far and wide in any case.

Criteria for me to share it on Reddit? It has to be really cool ;)

Some more eyes (and hopefully boots on the ground) reading OSR blogs can only be a good thing. More OSR is more goodness ;)

Best "Classic" Old School Module?

Notice I didn't say favorite. Best and favorite often don't align, especially with questions like the one being posed.

See, my favorite module was G1-3, the giants series, but it was far from the best or most useful. My most used module was T1-4, Temple of Elemental Evil.

So, what's the best "classic" module in my opinion?

B2, The Keep on the Borderlands. Sessions of gameplay within. Setting and dungeon all rolled into one. Damn shame I didn't get to appreciate the greatness of B2 until my later years, when everyone and their brother had already spent hours or days exploring it.

So, what's the best "classic" old school module in your opinion?