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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Kickstarter - Ares Magazine - Update From the Source (Sci Fi Fiction and Board Game Magazine)



I posted previously about the Ares Magazine Kickstarter. The idea of a SciFi fiction magazine with optional game included (it comes in both flavors) I find intriguing if not a little bit exciting. My initial posting on it did raise some questions in the comments section.

Carmen Andres was kind enough to give some further details and background on the project via an email, which I will share below:
Thank you for sharing news about the Kickstarter campaign for Ares Magazine with your readers! We greatly appreciate your interest and support.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve added several new reward levels--and we’re most excited about the addition of two subscription-based levels. The ITHACAN gives pledgers six issues chock-full of quality science fiction wrapped around a unique board game for $120—that’s $60 off the cover price. The ATHENIAN is for collectors: two copies of the first six issues for $235, which is $125 off the cover price.

We want to provide customers with a range of products to best suit their tastes, so we also offer pledge levels to allow separate purchases of the fiction magazine or the game.

We pay all of our fiction contributors a fixed price per word. We have a small editorial staff that reads each story and assesses it on the bases of preferred genre, quality of writing, and originality. Two of our staff members have worked as staff on magazines, and one has worked on the staff of a newspaper. All of our editors are mad science fiction fans.

Game designs are paid for at a flat rate depending upon completeness and pedigree of the design. Ares Magazine is a project of OSS Games, which has almost two decades of experience in designing and marketing games.

Again, we appreciate your interest and support. If the above information is valuable to your readers, we hope you will continue to share news about us and our Kickstarter campaign. Let me know if you have any questions or would like more information!
                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Best regards,
Carmen Andres

Web: www.aresmagazine.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AresMagazine
Kickstarter: www.kickstarter.com/projects/1488075951/ares-magazine
 
Consider this a question (and hopefully answer) thread. Post your comments / questions below and let's see if we can't get you some answers.

As for me, I might go for the 6 issue subscription. Can't be more of a risk than the majority of the Kickstarters I've backed ;)

Some Swords & Wizardry Houserules For Your Perusal

The link below will take you to the INVULNERABLOG. At it, you will see an article on some Swords & Wizardry Houserules by +Joshua Kubli .

It was supposed to have appeared in the Unofficial OSR Zine that never fully got off the ground, so Josh posted it on his site. It's a really nice piece, and I'm tempted to steal bits and pieces of it for my current games of S&W Complete.

I'm posting the beginning of the the article here, but you'll need to go HERE for the full article:



MY OSR HOUSE RULES

I’ve got a set of house rules I use for most OSR games I run. They add a simple “hero point” mechanic, skill system, and critical damage system to the game. Why did I add these rules?

It gives the players something to look forward to between levels, without adding a lot of complexity or minmax potential.
It gives players the option of surviving with lasting injury or trauma, instead of dying immediately from serious injuries. I don’t use these rules when running Dungeon Crawl Classics, for example, because heroes characters are supposed to die in droves in that system. That’s half the fun.
It gets players involved and moving forward. They don’t get rewarded for playing it safe and cautious, they win big, and if they screw up, they have a chance to survive.
My first DM used an ad-hoc “point reward” system, to give us stuff when we rolled well or had great ideas. My beloved fighter-wizard had a peanut butter point, a “Knight of the Bone” point (it was because he saved the party by striking up a conversation with a lich, although the name certainly suggests other tales of bravery…) and assorted other silly points by the time that first campaign was done. This is a similar idea, just implemented in a slightly less silly way.

The rules have two parts: Valor and Cunning, and Anguish and Trauma.

VALOR AND CUNNING POINTS
This section provides a rudimentary “hero point” and “skill/feat” system.

GAINING VALOR AND CUNNING POINTS
Each time a character gains a Valor or Cunning Point if they roll:

Any extremely effective, clever, entertaining, humorous, and/or successful plan or action.
01 to 05 on a Thief Skill check.
 20 on an attack roll.
 1 on an Attribute roll.
Any other roll, if the player rolls the best possible result. If the best possible result occurs less than 5% of the time, round up. So, for example, players would gain points on a roll of 1 or 2 on 1d30 (roughly 6.67% chance).
Gaining Valor Points: Characters that roll well on physical actions, or that act with vigor, speed, force, and good combat tactics, earn Valor Points. Attack rolls using physical weapons, lockpicking, and tumbling earns Valor.

Gaining Cunning Points: Characters that roll well on mental actions, or that demonstrate good long-term or large-scale planning, ideas, puzzle-solving, deductions, foresight, and persuasive skills, earn Cunning. Well-placed attacks with spells, social interaction, and abstract thought are all worthy of Cunning Points.

As you might expect, fightery types, including rangers and paladins, are more likely to earn Valor Points, while spellcasters are more likely to earn Cunning Points. Characters that act in both a physical and a mental capacity, like thieves and bards, have a good chance of earning both.

(go to the INVULNERABLOG for the rest)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Bundle of Holding - The Dying Earth RPG


I'll admit it. I've never read any of Jack Vance's stuff, let alone The Dying Earth series. Shit, this feels like a true confession. The thing is, back in my High School and College years, no one I knew was reading Vance, and the only mention of him I knew of was in the AD&D DMG (it was the DMG, right?).

Now I have a chance to grab The Dying Earth RPG - 7.95 for the core stuff, less then 15 for the full boat.

I'm in for 15. I'll read one of the setting books first, as I'm less interested in the rules than the setting. Maybe I'll find a Vance book to read on my Kindle while I'm at it...


Followed Up By "This" Asinine Email...

You know what I hate about marketers? They don't bother reading. Sure, my site is about "gaming", but not their style of gaming:
Guest editorial on tenkarstavern.com 
Hi Erik, 
We are interested in producing editorial content for your site. 
We would be happy to pay an administration fee of $110 annually for your time spent reviewing and publishing our content referencing our client, one of the largest betting and gaming operators in the UK & worldwide. The content will be professionally written in line with your site’s tone and voice.  
Payment can be made by PayPal (or check delivered via FedEx US/Canada only).
I appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you. 
Sincerely, 
Jonathan Hart
Marketing Assistant 
P: (919) 890-3927 x304
P: (919) 890-3919
Email: jonathan.hart@totalmarketing.com
Web: www.TotalMarketing.com
514-137 Daniels Street
Raleigh, NC 27605 
So, apart from maybe checking my Alexa rating and looking at the number of folks that have circled me on G+, how much time do you think was actually spent reading the blog? Anything more than a minute is a fucking lie.

For a hair more than 9 bucks a month one is expected to sell the integrity of their work and / or hobby?

I wouldn't do it for 110 bucks a month (or any price), but at least it wouldn't be so insulting.

So, is this a sign of "hitting it big", because if it is, it's fucking lame.

I have thoughts on monetizing the blog (or any blog) but this shit certainly isnt it.

God, I really want to send Grumpy after them...

I Got This Awesome Email Last Night...

Somethings make you smile. THIS email had me grinning like a kid in a candy store last night:
I have a funny story for ya. 
Last night my wife was doing some stickers for a little boy at school. (Autistic kid.) Turns out this kid is a FREAK fan of D&D. So, my wife was searching the internet for D&D pictures. 
She says to me "This Erik Tenkar guy has a lot of stuff out there." I was like "holy shit. Do you know who that is? That's NYC Erik !" So, your fame is really getting out there. You da man!
Heh! An Interview AND random fame ;)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Interview is Live to View / Listen / Read! Flog Away!

I was interviewed by +Douglas Cole on this past Monday Night for his Gaming Ballistic Blog.

The interview is now posted over at the Gaming Ballistic Blog - Youtube for the video, MP3 format for download and a transcript.

I'm pretty pleased with how it all went. It never would have happened, as I never would have been on the radar, if it wasn't for the community that has enveloped this fine blog. I can't thank each of you enough. All this would just be a form of "mental masturbation" if it wasn't for the fine patrons of this Tavern (I'm paraphrasing my college Creative Writing professor).

Commence the flogging!

I Listened to the Pre-Release Version of My Interview - I'm Actually Pleased



I NEVER like how I sound when I hear my voice. Still don't, but I didn't sound half bad. Sure, some stammering, some dramatic pauses as I racked by brain trying to find the answer. Heck, even guilty of being the average New Yoiker - abbreviated words, fast talking at points and the like - but not bad at all. The rocking in my chair annoys the shit outa me, but what can I say? I was nervous...

I most certainly will need to expand on some of my answers, especially in regards to Kickstarter, my thoughts on being a successful blogger and monetizing the blog. I'll hold off on that until you folks get a chance to watch, listen to and / or read the interview. I am quite sure there will be some flogging of the bartender - both here and elsewhere.

It does make me think that "Tenkar & The Badger" as a monthly podcast could actually work. Hopefully this summer, once +Jason Paul McCartan 's life notches down the insanity to moderate madness.

In any case, it should be up on the Gaming Ballistic Blog at some point tomorrow.

How Do You Handle the "Sleep" Spell in Your Campaigns?

Sleep is by far the most powerful spell a low level magic-user can cast. It can take out up to 16 adversaries (if they are low enough) and doesn't grant them a saving throw. Which is all fine and grand until you realize that same spell in the hands of your players opponents can bring the session to an awkward halt.

I have no problem hitting my players with a well deserved TPK, but taking them out without a save, even if it is to wake up tied up and captive instead of dead, just doesn't seem right. It's not all that fair, either, but I'm not so worried about fairness ;)

So, the options as I see it are:

- don't give NPC / monsters access to the sleep spell

- give Sleep a saving throw for all

- the players are special and get a saving throw against Sleep - the spell works as written for others

- allow for a save the moment the victim is touched (to be tied or killed)

The second option is probably the best I can think of, but I'm sure I've missed a few.

How do you handle "Sleep" in your campaigns?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Reflections on my Interview at Gaming Ballistic

I'm probably more anxious to listen to myself being interviewed for the Gaming Ballistic Blog than any of my readers are. I NEVER like how I sound when I am recorded, but I'll just pretend it's not me but some other goofball. Waiting is always the hardest part.

I do, however, remember the questions that were asked and the gist of my answers. Although I like my answers, as they are my actual thoughts, I've got this nagging feeling I'll need to expand on them, or at the very least, some of them, here at The Tavern.

Now it would be pointless for me to expand on stuff that I haven't yet listened to exactly what I said, let alone dtuff that my readers have yet to listen to or read in transcript form, but that doesn't stop my mind from percolating now. When I say that my mind prepares blog posts in the "in-between times", this is what I mean - my mind is going and thinking and revising posts that won't be written until later this week or next.

I expect I'll have the most to expand upon when I listen to my answers on "how to have a successful blog", monetizing your blog (I have thoughts about Patreon that occurred to me after we logged off) and Kickstarters (can you believe I have more to say on that?). Probably more than those three questions and answers will be expanded upon in a series of posts.

I still owe +Douglas Cole (my interviewer) a favor - feedback on his recent GURPS release: Martial Arts - Technical Grappling. I'm about a dozen pages in and I'm having fond memories of playing GURPS from the old boxed set and Man to Man prior to that. After the different editions of D&D and my near complete Tunnels & Trolls Collection, GURPS holds more shelf and / or storage space than any other game in my collection.  

I Weep for Lost Innocence - Kickstarters That Fail to Deliver, Repeatedly

Strangely enough, this is not directed at a single project, so don't get your panties in a bunch if you think this post is a reflection on you. It probably is, but you have esteemed company.

So, lets see what we have:
A project that has pushed it's release date back by years, has repeatedly promised a PDF "in your hands next month, next week, tomorrow" and has yet to deliver. 
A project that has repeatedly claimed to have shipped, had a pissing match in the comments section of it's project page and has apparently only shipped to big mouth bloggers and the like. 
A project that is overwhelmed by what it promised via stretch goals and it creator historically has been late with just about every product that's been offered as a preorder - the Kickstarter just upped that a notch. Big mouth bloggers received some of their stuff late but others still have nothing. 
A project in which the project creator quit (but not before going dark for months), leaving the folks fronting the project holding the bag - and the backers waiting on something that may or may not be what they expected when they backed the project. 
A project that tried to run a second Kickstarter before the first was even written. Now the creator is broke and there is doubt that it will ever release in PDF, let alone print. 
Projects by a creator that funneled the monies not into the projects themselves, but into creating a company and hiring a staff. Now there are no monies and no releases. 
Those are just the chronic failures I've backed.

It's not so much my innocence that was lost, but the creators above that thought they found the secret to success before learning the gold path they walked upon was actually pyrite.

Well, I also weep for the monies I pissed away, but that's a whole 'nother issue ;)




Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I Was Interviewed for the "Gaming Ballistic Blog" Last Night

Yep, I sat down with +Douglas Cole from the Gaming Ballistic blog last night to chat about RPGs, blogging, Kickstarter and other stuff.

The video should be up in a week or so (I think) and for those that don't want to hear me yap for 40 minutes or so (who can blame you) there will be a transcript.

Hey, if we can get just the audio, it could be listed to while some of your folks commute to work. Just think, my words of wisdom in your ears. "Tenkar's Tavern on the Go!" That would be right up there with "Tenkar and the Badger" ;)

Seriously, I think the interview went well. Amazingly enough, I don't think I dropped a single "fuck!" the whole time, not even when talking about Kickstarters. Or maybe I dropped a few ad don't remember. Think of them as "audio Easter eggs" ';)

I know I forgot to mention a long list of amazing folks that help make this blog what it is, but ya know I love you all. Now get off my fucking lawn!

Shit! I should have brought out Feltothraxis for a few minutes. Damn it! :)

Is Far West Finally Within Reach?

From last Thursday's Far West update:
Project Update #80: Fiddly Bits 
Posted by Gareth-Michael Skarka ♥ Like 
Just a quick note to let you know what's up:  At this point, it's crossing "t"s and dotting "i"s, doing final passes on the index, catching any remaining "page XX"s, and making sure that no backer portraits have been left out. 
Beyond that, it's fiddly, boring stuff like double-checking (and adjusting, if necessary) CMYK ink coverage so that we don't have production problems, and setting up the necessaries for secure digital delivery to you, and other production-and-fulfillment stuff which I won't bore you with. 
At this point, I'm hoping to turn this over to you at some point this weekend, but -- given that there are other folks I need to coordinate with on some of this -- it may be Monday or Tuesday at the latest.  (emphasis mine)
If you need anything, drop me a comment here or an email at the usual address.  I'll try to be as prompt as I can in responding. 
-Gareth-Michael Skarka
Lawrence, Kansas
9 January 2014
Today is that "Tuesday" (Monday has exited already, as did the weekend).  Anyone want to make predictions?

Today could truly be "True Tuesday"...

On Saturday Night, My Players Encountered "The Church of the Elect" (d30 Sandbox Companion Generated)

So, I mentioned last week that I planned to put some of the D30 Sandbox Companion in motion for our Saturday Night game session. We only had 3 players, so much of that went out the window, but I had a backup plan of sorts. I put The Church of the Elect into play as the party's protagonists antagonists (edited for sleepy writing) (previously generated using the D30 Sandbox Companion).

There is a race on for the recovery of a book of power hidden in the dungeons under the remains of a mad wizard's tower (The Maze of Nuromen). The players have taken a beating, but in their encounter with the cultists they managed to get the advantage of surprise. The three cultists never stood a chance. Shame the players were only able to deal with the first level of the dungeon before retreating. Still, they have befriended the local wood elves, which may allow them to return without much of the level repopulating.

As you can see at the left, i now have both the D30 DM Companion and the D30 Sandbox Companion in print (as well as PDF and "scratch" copies printed at home). These will be getting a ton of use.

It should be noted that my players noticed the difference in tone and presentation between the DCC adventures (both 3x and DCC RPG modules) that I have converted on the fly for use with Swords & Wizardry Complete (heavily house ruled) and The Maze of Nuromen which is written for BLUEHOLME. DCC stuff is more "gonzo" while the map in Nuromen has more options for exploring and probably more doors on one level than they had encounter in the campaign thus far ;)

Fun times were had by all :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Magic the Gathering to be a Movie Franchise!

Thanks to +Erik Jensen and +James Aulds for bringing this to my attention.


From the Hollywood Reporter website:
20th Century Fox has closed a deal to acquire the hugely popular fantasy card game from Hasbro and will develop the property with an eye to launch a massive franchise on the scale of Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings.
This will be either really sweet or suck ass. We do know the Dungeons & Dragons movie franchise sucks ass.

My favorite quote from the article:
Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner and Stephen Davis and Wizards of the Coast president Greg Leeds will act in produce capacities. (emphasis mine)
So, are we going to push the movie in the "produce aisle" of the local supermarket?

Yeah, I make typos all of the time, but I'm a lowly blogger ;)

The Grumpy Dwarf Peers into the Scrying Pool for 2014

Grumpy nearly forgot to give his predictions for 2014 in the world of RPGs. I've sent him to the scrying pool, otherwise known as the Tavern's Outhouse, to make his observations for 2014.

Here are the results:

1 - Far West will finally release in 2014. It will be over 2 years late and no one will notice, because no one cares anymore.

2 - D&D Next will release at NTRPG Con in June. It will be a re-reprinting of the AD&D 1e books. Optional modules will include the re-reprinting of 2e and 3.5e, as well as a reprinting of 4e. All are the New D&D according to WotC.

3 - Dwimmermount will dim further, before being rescued by none other than James Mal himself. It will be rewritten for James's Thousand Suns RPG and be reskinned as a abandoned space dreadnought. Kickstarter backers won't be amused.

4 - There will be 2d6+1 OSR rulesets released in 2014. At least one will attempt to recreate My Little Pony.

5 - Myth & Magic will still be shipping at the end of 2014

6 - Mike Nystul will attempt to run a "real life dungeon" in some random cave complex. Funding will be via Indiegogo.

7 - RPG Kickstarters will have funding issues in 2014, as backers money will still be tied to unfilled Kickstarters from 2012

8 - WotC will license the FATE rules for a special "tho shalt not die" edition of the D&D rules. Afterwards, the FATE system will simply fade away.

9 - Someone will invent a D31 die - just because. The D31 will supplant the D31, and cause all D30 tables to be revised.

10 - Two months after the release of D&D Next, the first OGL reskinning of D&D Next will occur. There will be much teeth grinding at WotC and burning of the OGL in effigy. The OGL'ed reskin of Next will outsell next itself.

11 - It will be a cold December in Seattle. The yearly purges will return.


Is D&D Next is Compatible With AD&D 1e "Out of the Box" - Wizards May be Saying So


Dungeons of Dread (S1-4) and Against the Slave Lords (A0-4) are listed as usable with D&D Next or have conversions for download.

When you follow the links for the two above, there are numerous download links, but none for conversions.

So, will the final version of Next be AD&D 1e (or a clone) with a bunch of bells and whistles as options?

Or is WotC incapable of having a website that is updated and accurate? They still have a link to the playtest documents, but you can no longer download them. Sloppy.

Perhaps this is more sloppiness. Or maybe it's an attempt to assimilate the OSR.





Sunday, January 12, 2014

Grumpy Returns and Looks at "Roleplaying in D&D Next" (a Mike Mearls article)

Yes, the infamous Grumpy Dwarf has been on hiatus for a while. Is he still as grumpy as he was? Let's find out, shall we?

Roleplaying in D&D Next <- Original article link without the Grumpy-isms

Mike Mearls

During the holiday season, we're looking back at some of the most popular articles this year, within each column. Today's Legends & Lore originally ran back on September 22. (see how long it's been since I've looked at this shit? - oh, and I guess the Holiday Season means "filler articles" - hey, how about I dig up some old posts and spread them out again?)

We look forward to seeing you again in the new year!

It's pretty obvious that D&D began its life as a roleplaying game. It has grown to include toys, novels, comics, video games, and board games. At the core of D&D, though, rests an RPG. (D&D is just a marketing brand these days. The D&D RPG hopefully is an RPG)

So, if D&D is an RPG, what do the rules need to do to encourage you to roleplay your character? (roleplaying is in the eye of the beholder, and what one player considers roleplaying, another may consider "wasting time when dice could be rolling and swords be a swinging") Like a lot of things relating to D&D rules design, the answer lies somewhere between providing no encouragement and demanding players to play act personalities that are distinct from their own.

To start with, I think that D&D is more fun when players adopt characters with distinct mannerisms, traits, and goals. (which is fine, and I'm glad mike states it as an opinion, and not a fact) As a DM, I love it when a player ties a character to the setting in a meaningful way.

For instance, in my current campaign, the rogue is a former member of the duke's secret police. He turned in evidence of a plot that resulted in the execution of his former comrades for treason. One member of the secret police escaped arrest and has sworn to kill the rogue. That gives me a ready-made villain to throw into my campaign. It also means that when the player characters visit towns or villages where the secret police installed a reign of terror, he had best watch his back.

One of my current characters, the wizard Kel Kendeen, is fun because of his personality and mannerisms. His mechanics reflect his abilities as a wizard, and I love slinging fireball spells and using disguise self spells, but five years from now I'll remember him more for his ardent dedication to anarchy, chaos, and freedom. He's fun to play not because he can cast the disguise self spell. He's fun to play because he's a radical anarchist who uses that disguise self spell to mimic petty officials and undermine hierarchical organizations.

If the rules give us tools to use in a campaign, our character's personalities tell us why and how to use those tools. Without that layer, D&D is no longer an RPG but simply a fantasy world simulator or a skirmish battle game (sounds like 4e - doh!). It doesn't take much to make that work, but it's a layer of play that brings the game to life in a way that no other type of game can match.

Of course, every group has different standards for roleplaying. Our goal is to give you guidance and ideas to inspire you to roleplay a character with a compelling backstory and provide you with mechanics that have a light touch in terms of helping you shape your game. We want to encourage you to roleplay your character without mandating it. (carrot but no stick I guess)

In the current draft of the game, as part of character creation, you also flesh out a few things beyond alignment. Your bonds are your character's ties to the world, people, places, or things that are meaningful to your character in some way. Your flaws are your character's weaknesses, while your ideals represent the things that keep your character going when things are at their worst.

In essence, these concepts flesh out the starting point provided by alignment. They translate those abstract ideals into actions, things, and beliefs that are tied to the campaign world.

To make things easier, our current draft of backgrounds includes tables you can use to flesh out your character's bonds to the world. Additional tables use alignment as the starting point for ideals and flaws. For instance, as the member of a craft guild you might be intensely loyal to the patron noble house that sponsored your guild membership. On the flip side, you've made an enemy of the criminal cartel that wants to disrupt your guild. DMs with the time and inclination can fill out their own tables as starting points for characters. As usual, you can also choose to make stuff up if nothing on the tables is appealing, or simply roll on them and accept the results. (actually, pretty cool, and seems to be something you find in RQ6 and the like)

A final table provides your character with something that sparks the beginning of your adventuring career and gives your character a key problem or question that needs an immediate solution. Perhaps you left the guild because your master was murdered under circumstances that point to you as a suspect. You might have been sent as an undercover agent to infiltrate the cartel that is working to undermine the guild. (if everyone has this huge type event in their backstory then none of these events are huge, or unique)Your DM could also give you ideas based on the campaign, or you could come up with something on your own. (tailoring to the campaign is almost always better)

Mechanically, we're looking at a fairly simply system that we're calling inspiration. (shit! here comes the New Age / touchy feely / aspect driven crap) When you have your character do something that reflects your character's personality, goals, or beliefs, the DM can reward you with inspiration. (this of course is based on the DM's opinion, which will often not match that of the player in question) The key lies in describing your action in an interesting way, acting out your character's dialogue, or otherwise helping to bring the game to life by adding some panache to your play. (great! time to improv at the table) By demonstrating that the events in the game are critical to your character's goals and beliefs, you can allow your character to tap into reserves of energy and determination to carry the day.

You can spend inspiration to gain advantage on a check, saving throw, or attack attached to your action. Alternatively, you can bank it to use on a roll that happens during the current encounter or scene. Additionally, you can choose to pass the inspiration along to a different character during the scene. In this case, your character's determination serves as an inspiration for the other party members. You can have only one inspiration at a time. (and if the player isn't the type to ham it up, or is shy, or just isn't into this shit - they don't get the bonus)

It's up to the DM to reward inspiration, but as a rule of thumb, a player can gain it once per significant scene or important combat. Inspiration fades quickly, so you must spend it within a few minutes in game time before you lose it. (and folks complain about DM Fiat in OSR games - this is no better, because again, awarded at the DM's whim)

Just as a DM chooses when to reward inspiration, the DM also chooses why to award inspiration. You can use it as described above, or adapt it to other things that your group finds help bring the game to life, keep the action moving, or otherwise make the game more enjoyable for everyone. (Fuck it! "Nat 20" for the win!)

Like many things in the DM's hands, inspiration is a tool that requires more finesse and art rather than science to properly apply. A good DM uses inspiration to encourage play that makes the game better for everyone at the table. Think of it like a micro-reward, something short of experience but still a useful reward for good play. (very open to abuse and too ill-defined in my know it all opinion) 

The inspiration mechanic is a simple gateway to deeper rewards for roleplaying your character. Groups that want a more narrative game (see, I told you we were talking indi game / new age bullshit) can reward inspiration freely or adapt it for other uses. You can even give players a pool of inspiration that they can spend only to reward other players for good roleplaying moments. (time to hold hands and sing kumbaya)  By baking inspiration into the core of the game, we have the basic structure needed to provide for more in-depth rules modules.

Damn, but Grumpy is out of practice!

Mini Review - Cartographer’s Guide to the Creatures of Eira (OSR Monster Book)


There is one thing I've found I can never get enough of - monsters and other creatures for my OSR games (alright, two things - as I can never seem to have enough dice). The Cartographer's Guide to the Creatures of Eira is another enjoyable addition to my monster book collection.

Many of the enclosed creatures have a Celtic feel, which is to be expected, for as the author states in his forward:
While originally meant to be about “OSR Gaming with a Celtic Twist” my blog, Genius Loci, has grown from there and the following pages will show you that.
That excellent blog is where many of these creatures were hatched and raised. Well done. Personally, I appreciate the Celtic flavor wherever it crops up in games, and it lends an air or authenticity - or, at least, it does for me ;)

The art is minimal, which is fine, as the monsters themselves are the content needed, not the pictures. Many of the entries start with a narrative paragraph to set the scene, like the following example for the Ancient Titan:
“I remember that day clearly. My raiding party was crossing the straits to the Isle of the Mist looking for some easy plunder. It was a good day, a day of song and good hard work at the oars. Then It rose from the waters. Like a man, but not, and made of stone and strange metals. With one fist it crushed our and sent my crew to their grave.”
The above tells me more about how to present an Iron Titan to my players than a stat block or explanation of it's powers. Not saying you don't need the latter, but the narrative sets it apart. Well done.

A buck fifty for 43 creatures. Hard to go wrong picking this up at that buy in. Compatible with the OSR system of your choice, with ascending and descending AC.






A Kickstarter for DCC RPG Dice (and then some)


I admit it - I'm a dice whore. At least once a year I buy a "pound of dice" just to see what the dice fairy gives me. With this set of dice, I'll never be needed more dice ever again. Well, thats a lie, but still, at least these folks are offering an attractive D7 - my D7 is the ugly duckling of random number generators.

The Kickstarter 14 dice sets compatible w/ Dungeon Crawl Classics +D9 D11 is a bit confusing, as you aren't getting dice but "picks" to pick individual dice or sets, and the value of a set or die is in "picks". So, 8 "picks" gets you a full set of 14 DCC RPG Dice. "Points" would have made more sense perhaps.

In any case, I'm in for $40, which is 18 "picks" - 2 full sets of DCC RPG Dice . Maybe I'll grab 4 extra D7s with my points, er "picks".

Told you I'm easy when it comes to dice. Sigh.