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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Time to Brainstorm an Overall Post Title For a Series of Posts that Serve as Follow Ups and Expansions to Brainstorm Podcast Episodes



Damn, that is a horribly long post title, aint it?

This morning I made a post that followed up on and expanded upon the episode of The Brainstorm Podcast that was released last night. The post has been fairly well received and I enjoyed writing it so I'd like to make it an ongoing series of post. So, we need a label. Or a theme.

I've come up with Brain Drippings and Late Thoughts. Not sure if either really hits the bell.

Here's what I'm doing.

Open call.

Give me some ideas as comments to this post. If I decide to go with one of the suggestions, I'll send the commenter in question a $10 RPGNow Gift Certificate. If I choose none of the suggestions, I keep the GC - so make some good suggestions ;)

I'll leave this open until 6PM tomorrow night (Dec 14th)

Yes, you can make more than one suggestion...

After Hours - Whereupon We Discussed Some Dungeon Master Tips and I Make Some Expanded Observations - Brainstorm Podcast #21

It's funny. When +Vincent Florio , +Glen Hallstrom and I go through prepping for the next episode of The Brainstorm Podcast, I probably do less prep than the other two do. Or at least, less written down prep.

My commutes to and from work are usually filled with listening to assorted gaming podcasts and thinking gaming thoughts. When it comes to prepping for the next podcast, I spend part of that commuting time brainstorming ideas and answers to the next topic we will be discussing.

I use much the same process when I prep for a sandbox styled game session. The  main difference is, after the brainstorming for a game session. I write more than just a few words down jar the memory - I go with a sentence or two - sometimes even more, as I may be doing this a week or more in advance. For podcast prep, much of it is done the same day, so the thoughts are fresh and don't need much to jar them lose.

While I like the idea of a "DM's Binder", I couldn't even keep colored index cards in any semblance of order. These days I use a 5x8 notebook in chronological order - doesn't matter whether I'm DMing or running a PC, my notes go in chronological order. Yeah, maybe my advice isn't the advice to follow... heh.

I always go for rulings over rules to keep the session's pace moving. Nothing sucks more than a 10 minute library search to look up some obscure rule. Wrong ruling plus pacing plus immersion plus fun is infinitely better than right ruling minus pacing minus immersion plus frustration.

(as future episodes of The Brainstorm Podcast are released I'll be expanding upon my thoughts in a series of posts here at The Tavern)


Friday, December 12, 2014

OSR Christmas 2014 - Day 4 - The Loot!



It is (finally) time to find out the lucky readers that will be receiving the OSR Christmas 2014 Day 4 Gifts. We'll see how interesting events are in the City That Never Sleeps next week and if I can get OSR Christmas 2014 back on something that resembles a schedule ;)

Without further delay, lets get the goodies awarded...

The following are six print bundles donated by Keith N. Three are for Swords & Wizardry, one is for DCC RPG and the last two are Necromancer Games d20 bundles.

1)  Set of Swords and Wizardry card decks - Monster, Spell, Hireling, and Equipment decks - this gift goes to - Stephen Lawrence

2)  Swords and Wizardry Monstrosities hardcover - this gift goes to -  Kevin Searle

3)  Swords & Wizardry adventures - Grimmsgate, MCMLXXV, and Strange Bedfellows - this gift goes to -  Peter V. Dell'Orto

4)  DCC adventure - Sailors on the Starless Sea (technically not a bundle, awesome adventure in any case) - this gift goes to -  Ned Leffingwell

5)  Necromancer Games d20 adventures - The Six Spheres of Zaihhess, The Coils of Set, Vindication - this gift goes to -  darthbrooks

6)  Necromancer Games d20 supplements - Tome of Horrors III hardcover; Unusual Suspects NPC Gallery - this gift goes to -  Johua De Santo

The above need to email me at tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom with DAY 4 GIFT in the subject. Provide me with the mailing address you want this sent to and I'll forward it to the awesome gift giver.

Free Adventure - The Tower of Bells (Frog God - S&W / Pathfinder)


 The Tower of Bells is a sneak peek of the forthcoming Sword of Air adventure compilation,

Thursday, December 11, 2014

If OneBookShelf Banned a Game, What Would the Potential Fallout Be?

(it is nearly 830 PM - I just had dinner and I'm ready to fall asleep - OSR Christmas Day 4 remains open at least until tomorrow morning - overtime 5 out of 6 days is wearing on me)

So, if OBS banned a +James Desborough Gamergate Game, based in part on a threat by Evil Hat to pull their releases from OBS, would anyone care?

It's drama for the sake of drama, which both James and Fred are good at, but banning the game is NOT the way to handle it. The market polices itself. All the banning did was polarize fans and publishers.

OBS seems to know this but doesn't really seem to know how to fix it.

Here's the letter OBS sent to publishers (and thanks to the anon reader that sent it to me)


Dear Publishers,

We elected to ban a title from our marketplaces. Of the tens of thousands of titles that we carry, and after operating for 13 years, we have never before banned a title (other than for
legal reasons). I hope those numbers make it clear this is not an action we have
undertaken lightly, nor is it one we will undertake frequently, if ever again.
Nonetheless, as this is the first time we’ve decided to ban a title, I
thought a letter of explanation was in order.


The title in question is a card game whose theme is the Gamergate issue. The game attempted to present the issue in a satirical manner.


Normally, satirical works would be welcome on our marketplaces.
However, we feel that there are situations where satire is inappropriate. For
example, we do not think that a game released today that satirizes police
killings of minorities in the USA would be appropriate. Regardless of how one
feels about an issue like that, we feel that it is too current, too emotionally
charged on both sides, and too related to real-world violence or death to make
it an appropriate matter for satire.


Similarly, no matter how one feels about Gamergate, it is likewise too current, too emotionally frought, and too related to violence to be an appropriate subject for satire. Additionally, we considered that the violent element of the Gamergate issue has a basis in misogyny. For
these reasons, we felt that this card game title was not welcome for sale on our
site.


Note too that this is a card game, not a roleplaying game. Some may feel that if we
were to ban an RPG from our marketplaces, that action would levy a significant
economic penalty on that title since we have a long reach in the overall RPG
market. This is not true of card games, where OneBookShelf is currently a tiny
corner of the card game market. Our not carrying a card game should have minimal
impact on that card game’s economic viability.


While we also considered the customer complaints on both sides of this issue (we are a business, after all, and we cannot ignore customer complaints and survive), these were not a major factor in
our decision. Not surprisingly, given the gaming fanbase, many of the complaints
we received were intelligently written and provided us with additional,
thoughtful perspectives on the issue. Unfortunately, most customers were not in
a position to review the content of the title itself and were therefore forced
to be “judging a book by its cover” only.


Some publishers also complained about this title, and a few publishers let us know they would not be interested in continuing to work with us if we carried it on our store. We will not allow any
publisher to dictate content policy onto any other publisher, explicitly or
implicitly. If any publisher ever decides to discontinue business with us
because our content policy errs to the side of being too open, rather than
restrictive, then we will respect their decision to leave our marketplaces and
wish them well. To be clear, no publishers’ comments had any bearing on
our decision to discontinue selling this title.


Having now banned a title for the first time, we asked ourselves if we needed to establish any explicit policy for banning of future titles for reasons other than legality or production quality.
Given that this is the first time such a thing has happened in 13 years, and
given the difficulty of defining policies of this nature, we elected not to
invest the time in creating a policy that would probably end up a poor guideline
anyway. Our time is better spent getting back to retailing your titles to fans.


We carry a lot of titles on our marketplaces that some or all of the members of the
OneBookShelf staff find morally distasteful (and we’re generally a pretty
open-minded lot), but we find anything that smacks of censorship even more
distasteful. We will continue to have a content policy that is more open than
will give many of our publishers and customers comfort.


Regards


Steve
Wieck

CEO

OneBookShelf

Normall Grumpy would be inserting all sorts of obnoxious comments, but as he dictates and does not type, that won't be happening tonight.

Alright - discuss. I'm putting my head down and catching some zzzzzzsssss...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Radio Rivendell - Fantasy Music Streamed for Free


I'm going to tip my hat to +Glen Hallstrom . Last night, before we recorded the latest episodes of The Brainstorm Podcast, Glenn mentioned Radio Rivendell. I didn't think much of it at the time, but after we were done for the night I decided to give it a listen.

Very good background music to listen to while surfing the web, blogging or just reading thr latest RPG purchase. Much of it feels Celtic in nature.

All it needs is an android app...

Give it a listen and tell me what you think.





How I Lost a Day and Other Quirks of Christmas Time

So, last week, due to various events here in NYC (primarily protests) I seem to have lost a day. I started work on Thursday at 6 AM and didn't head back home until nearly noon on Friday. Amazing how much that screws with your internal clock.

My weekend was basically a wash too.

What does all this mean? I'm still playing catchup on this end. I need to forward the info for the Day 3 gift receivers on to their respective gift givers. That makes thirteen matches I need to make and send

I need to actually open my Lulu hardcover box of goodness that has been sitting in the living room since Friday.

I probably should flip through the 5e DMG that arrived yesterday, and then there's the small package of goodness from +Lloyd Metcalf that I haven't even unbagged yet.

At least the overtime from last week will take care of paying for the recent gaming purchases and more ;)

We haven't even mentioned the chores around the house that need to get addressed, have we?

What does that mean? OSR Christmas Day 4 will stay open for comments through tomorrow as I play catch up on my end. Besides, the awesome bundles deserve at least 150 comments :)

Does that mean that the Twelve Days of OSR Christmas is going to run through the end of the month and not rap up before Christmas as planned? Shit, when does anything go as planned?


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

OSR Christmas 2014 - Day 4 - Monstrosities make Strange Bedfellows of Horrors on the Starless Sea but Grimmsgate hides the Usual Suspects (Print - US Only)



I came very close to not putting up this post tonight. I was stuck with overtime at work, recorded some episodes of The Brainstorm Podcast with the talented +Vincent Florio and +Glen Hallstrom and all I want to do is sleep. Luckily the podcast recording was invigorating. My lack of sleep is your gain ;)

The following are six print bundles donated by Keith N. Three are for Swords & Wizardry, one is for DCC RPG and the last two are Necromancer Games d20 bundles.

1)  Set of Swords and Wizardry card decks - Monster, Spell, Hireling, and Equipment decks

2)  Swords and Wizardry Monstrosities hardcover

3)  Swords & Wizardry adventures - Grimmsgate, MCMLXXV, and Strange Bedfellows

4)  DCC adventure - Sailors on the Starless Sea (technically not a bundle, awesome adventure in any case)

5)  Necromancer Games d20 adventures - The Six Spheres of Zaihhess, The Coils of Set, Vindication

6)  Necromancer Games d20 supplements - Tome of Horrors III hardcover; Unusual Suspects NPC Gallery


Now, you know what to do, right?

Add a comment to this post and sometime after 800 PM tomorrow night (NYC Time) six random commenters will be drawn to receive the above gifts.

Current events in NYC may delay me, so this post may remain open longer than expected, but don't delay - comment now!

(these gifts are only shipping to US mailing addresses)



Are You Experienced? Awarding Expo Houserules

Gold.

Magic items found.

Defeating monsters.

That is pretty much the ways to get expo in 1e by the book, as well as being in order of importance.

I find that expo awarding is one of the most house ruled parts of gaming. Me, I house rule it for pacing purposes.

In my once a month S&W delve into the Castle of the Mad Archmage, I find I need to award more expo than I would in a weekly game. My players want to explore, I went them to explore, and the only way to accomplish that is to award more expo so they can level a bit faster.

What I do with them is I offer a "room bonus" based on the number of rooms explored without taking a break to camp or re-memorize spells. The first room is worth 10xp for the party, the second 30xp, the third 60xp and so on. I cap it ay 1k per room, and dungeon levels that are not much of a challenge either grant reduced xp or none at all for exploring.

This has the potential of pushing my party to take risks. One more room could be an extra 1k xp in the party xp pool - it could also mean a TPK when they are low on HP and spells.

Does it get any better than this? ;)

Monday, December 8, 2014

OSR Christmas 2014 - Day 3 - The Loot!

these are the gifts being given this day:

- a complete set of The Manor zine in PDF, donated by by +Tim Shorts - if you haven't read The Manor, you are missing out on an excellent OSR zine.

The Manor is gifted to: +Alasdair Cunningham 


- 6 PDF copies of Assault on the Southern Horn (osr) are gifted to the following:

+Brett Slocum 

christopher potter

+David Fisher 

sean ellis

+Tim Shorts 

mattruane



- 6 PDF copies of Paranormal Investigators and Exterminators (PIE) for mini-six donated by +Johua De Santo

+Christopher Wood 

KristianH

The Angry Monk

Libri

mike monaco

+Gavin Norman 

If your name is listed above, email me at tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom with DAY 3 GIFT in the subject. Provide me with the mailing address email address you want this sent to and I'll forward it to the proper gift giver (yeah, I still haven't recovered yet)

Listen Up! New Episode of The Brainstorm Podcast - We Talk About Wizard Spell Books and More



I'm an avid podcast consumer, as it gets me through my daily commute with some semblance of sanity.

I'm also a podcast host.

The Brainstorm Podcast is a short (30 minutes or less) podcast that I do with +Vincent Florio and +Glen Hallstrom . I consider myself blessed with amazing co-hosts that bring out the best of "my brain" ;)

If you listen and like what you hear, please go to the link above and give us a rating on iTunes. We've gotten some feedback but could always use more.

Our latest episode is #20:  
Join Vince, Glen and Erik this week as they speak about wizards spell books and how to handle them..

They also take a look at how many spells should be given out, and then quickly get off track talking about Priest/cleric spells as well in the mix!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

OSR Christmas 2014 - Day 3 - Mind your Manors when the Paranormal Investigators Assault the Southern Horn (PDF - International)

Yes, Day 3 of the OSR Christmas 2014 madness was delayed. No, I can't promise it won't happen
again. I'll do what I can to keep on track tho' ;)

So, these are the gifts being given this day:

- a complete set of The Manor zine in PDF, donated by by +Tim Shorts - if you haven't read The Manor, you are missing out on an excellent OSR zine.

- 6 PDF copies of Assault on the Southern Horn (osr) and six pdf copies of Paranormal Investigators and Exterminators (PIE) for mini-six donated by +Johua De Santo



Now, you know what to do, right?

Add a comment to this post and sometime after 830 PM tomorrow night (NYC Time) thirteen random commenters will be drawn to receive the above gifts.

Current events in NYC may delay me, so this post may remain open longer than expected, but don't delay - comment now!