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Saturday, April 11, 2015

RPGNow Deal of the Day - CryptWorld (Think "Chill" Clone)



RPGNow's Deal of the Day has been a bit hit or miss, but when it hits, it hits well.

CryptWorld is a clone of the old Pacesetter Chill game. It's well written by Dan Proctor and +Tim Snider . Tim knows the Pacesetter system very well, and it comes through in CryptWorld.

It's on sale until tomorrow morning for $3.22 in PDF. If you haven't checked it out yet, now is a perfect time to try.
CRYPTWORLD is a horror role-playing game in which you investigate and hunt the forces of the unexplained. The Crypt Master may design any world of horror he desires. 
Classic horror, slasher horror, alien menaces from the stars and interdimensional monsters. These horrors and more may greet you in CRYPTWORLD! 
CRYPTWORLD is a role-playing game complete in one volume. 
In this book you will find:
Rules for character generation
Optional paranormal talents
Creatures covering multiple horror genres
Advice for running horror games
An introductory adventure
...and more!

Giving Away a PDF Copy of the Creature Compendium by New Big Dragon Games



+Richard LeBlanc was nice enough to give me a PDF copy of his latest release, the Creature Compendium, to give away to one of The Tavern's lucky patrons.

What do you need to "be in to win?" Add a comment to this post before 10 AM Sunday morning (April 12th for those counting.)

While you are at it, you can snag a print copy of the Creature Compendium at Lulu for $7.99. If you use the coupon code:APRIL30 you get an additional 30% off.

Code should be good through Sunday, bringing the print price to $5.60.

Friday, April 10, 2015

What is Your Non-D&D-esque Old School Game of Choice?



Even those of us ass deep in Old School D&D and it's derivatives and offspring have a special place in our hearts for other Old School RPGs. It's OK. Really. You can have more than one true love.

For me, the other Old School systems that hold that special place for me are Tunnels & Trolls and RuneQuest - 5e and the Chaosium versions respectively, but I can make allowances for later editions. Oh, and Traveller too. Not Mega, not 2300AD, but the true Traveller of the little black books.

If they are going to find any modern love, it would be in Old School Quarterly, which should have an issue Zero this summer.

Ya gotta share your Old School love +Jason Paul McCartan . You never know what the future may hold. Tell us the Old School games that hold a special place in your heart.


Mini Review - Creature Compendium - New Big Dragon Games Unlimited)


There is so much I want to say about +Richard LeBlanc 's new Creature Compendium, but words fail me. Instead, I'll let Rich's words speak for both of us:


Stats for 0e/1e and BX? 199 more monsters? All for 2 bucks?

So good. So cool.

Why the hell are you still here? Grab a copy already!

How Detailed Should Commercial Adventures Be? (Hat Tip to Dirk Stanley)

Dirk Stanley (Mr +Far Away Land RPG  himself) posted some thoughts on his blog about adventure length and how he feels some of his later adventures are bloating in page count.

To me, it's not the  number of pages in an adventure that is the yardstick but how concise the textual descriptions are. The more verbose a room description is, the less useful I find it. If I cant tell what's in the room at a quick glance, it does me no good. Mini adventure or mega dungeon, keep the room descriptions short and concise.

So, where do fall? Concise? Verbose? Midling?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Oubliette Returns April 12th With Issue # 9 - I Got My Copy Early ;)


Issue #8 of Oubliette released nearly 3 years ago. It is very nice to see it's return.

My micro-print copy of Oubliette #9 arrived with my "Works" package of mapping goodness earlier this afternoon. It goes for sale Sunday, April 12th.

I quite simply love the cover.

You can get the the PDFs of 1-8 for $12.50 at RPGNow.

I'll take pics of the mapping goodness I received over the weekend.

So it is Written, So it Shall be Done - We'll be Giving Away a Tenkar's Tavern Tankard for Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day



Curse you +James Spahn !

It looks like your suggestion will be put into effect - The Tavern will give away a Tenkar's Tavern Tankard for Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day.

The tankard will only ship in the US, but entries will be open to all. If the lucky person is outside the US, I'll send them a $20 RPGNow Gift Certificate instead of the tankard..

So, look for the post next week as we celebrate Swords & Wizardry.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 830 PM Eastern - You're on Your Own

I will not be at tonight's Tavern Chat. Instead, I will be in the bowels of The Bronx playing with firearms (we have to requalify twice a year.)

There is a distant possibility I may be able to drop in for a few minutes around 10 ish. Depends on the drive home.

Behave yourselves and clean up afterwards ;)

Fantasy Grounds Virtual Table Top Officially Licenses Dungeons & Dragons 5e - There Can be Only One


Now it all makes sense.

Yesterday I received 3 enquiries about Fantasy Grounds, anything from "where can a get a spoofed key?" (can't help you) to "how does it play compared to Roll20?" (FG has a heavier load for the GM to lift in prep, at least last time I checked.) Today, I woke up to an email letting me know that Dungeons & Dragons 5e had been officially licensed by Smiteworks for use with Fantasy Grounds.

Holy shit. It looks like WotC figured out a way to associate a viable VTT with their product.

We are proud to announce that we are officially licensed to sell D&D source material and content inside of Fantasy Grounds! This is the beginning of a great new partnership between SmiteWorks and Wizards of the Coast that will benefit gamers worldwide. 
You can purchase the D&D Complete Core Class Pack with all the class, feats, spells and equipment or you can purchase individual classes only. You can also buy the monsters in packs or as the D&D Complete Core Monster Pack. These products have been converted to work really tightly with Fantasy Grounds to give you the best possible gaming experience - we know you're going to love them. They contain all the great artwork and content from the official products and all the smarts and integration to work with Fantasy Grounds. Not only will you get the same content that can be found in print, but you also get an exciting new Fifth Edition theme, adventures and content customized specifically for ease of play inside of Fantasy Grounds. 
For Dungeon Masters and players on a budget, you might pick up a Player Customization Pack and one or two Class Packs of your choice. Dungeon Masters can often get by with just the Adventure of their choice and one or two Monster Packs.
Don't forget that players can gift purchases through Steam for Dungeon Masters who have linked their license on Steam. 
To read up a little more on Fantasy Grounds and the different license options available for the core software product, please follo w this link to take a tour.
See all the Wizards of the Coasts products available in the Store
D&D Complete Core Class Pack (49.99) In this module, you get all twelve core character classes converted for play in Fantasy Grounds. You get the class description, special features, spells and abilities used by your class and general character customization options such as equipment and feats. You also get: 
328 Character Portraits
Players Handbook custom theme
Random Tables
All feats from the PHB fully configured for Fantasy Grounds
Equipment tables fully configured for Fantasy Grounds
Weapons lists fully configured for Fantasy Grounds
All Spells from the PHB fully configured for Fantasy Grounds
Automatic addition of new class features when you drag class links to your character's level summary
You get all of this and much more
D&D Complete Core Monster Pack (49.99) The entire collection of core monsters from the D&D Monster Manual is now at your fingertips. Dungeon Masters can use this module to create encounters and combats within their campaigns. NPC records have been lovingly entered and organized for ease of use and reference during play. This pack includes:
273 monster images to share with your players
366 monster tokens for use on tactical combat maps
Full descriptions for all monsters in the D&D Monster Manual
Full stats for all monsters in the D&D Monster Manual
The complete reference material from the D&D Monster Manual
Searchable monster indexes by CR, type and in alphabetical order
You get all of this and much more - [ read more ]
D&D Lost Mine of Phandelver (19.99) Lost Mine of Phandelver is an adventure for four to five characters of 1st level. During the course of the adventure, the characters will advance to 5th level. The adventure is set a short distance from the city of Neverwinter in the Sword Coast region of the Forgotten Realms setting. The Sword Coast is part of the North--a vast realm of free settlements surrounded by wilderness and adventure. This product includes:
the entire contents of the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure
image handouts that can be shared with players
5 pregen characters to get you going quickly
maps containing Dungeon Master (DM) information with all locations pre-linked to story entries, boxed text, encounters, images and treasure parcels
player and tactical combat maps
You get all of this and much more
Ain't cheap. The Basic Rules however, are $2.99.
* The content from this module is included in the Complete Core Class Pack
Set in a medieval fantasy world, D&D allows you to experience stories and adventures full of endless possibilities and amazing surprises. The Basic Rules for Dungeons & Dragons is a PDF that covers the core of the tabletop game. 
As Mike Mearls explained in Legends & Lore, the Basic Rules for Dungeons & Dragons is converted from the PDF (over 100 pages, in fact) that covers the core of the game. It runs from levels 1 to 20 and covers the cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard, presenting what we view as the essential subclass for each. It also provides the dwarf, elf, halfling, and human as race options; in addition, the rules contain 120 spells, 5 backgrounds, and character sheets. All of these features have been compiled into modules specifically formatted for ease of play on Fantasy Grounds at the table or over the Internet.
The PDF that this product was based on is available for free from the Wizards of the Coast website. 
This purchase includes the following items:
-A custom theme derived in the same style as the Player's Handbook
-Random tables for rolling background bonds, flaws, ideals, origins, etc.
-Equipment tables containing items that can be dragged to character sheets, treasure parcels or NPCs for ease of reference, encumbrance calculations and ease of disbursement. The searchable lists contain all items listed in the Player's Handbook (Adventuring Gear, Tools, Armor, Weapons, Mounts, Tack and Harness, Vehicles.)
-Draggable weapons that auto-enter the inventory, weight, attack type (melee, ranged, thrown) and the damage (with damage type.)
-Reference material and artwork which is not specific to any one particular character class
-A list of spells from the D&D Basic Rules, ready to drag and drop to your character sheet
-The class description from the Player's Handbook for all 4 basic core classes: cleric, fighter, rogue and wizard
-Details and features from levels 1-20 for the 4 included classes
-Automatic addition of new class features when you drag the class link to your character's level summary
-This product is licensed from Wizards of the Coast. Dungeons & Dragons is a registered trademark. Unauthorized use or distribution is strictly prohibited.

And of course, this doesn't include the price of the Fantasy Grounds software itself. Still, for the right group, this could be an excellent option,


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Web Series - Doraleous & Associates - How Did i Miss This?


One of the guys in my "old" face to face RPG group sent the link to Doraleous & Associates, a web series about one screwed up adventuring group.

I'm addicted already.

The guys behind this are also behind the Battlefield series of web videos.

Sure, the humor is mostly immature, but it's funny as hell ;)

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day 2015 is April 17th - Not It!



Remember Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day 2013? I do. It was  an amazing success. More successful than I ever dreamed possible. Which is the reason I'm not anxious to jump back in those waters ;)

+R.J. Thompson has taken the helm this year, and God bless him. It's going to be April 17th this time around (a week from Friday) but RJ would like you posts links by the 16th.

You can read more about it at Gamers & Grognards.

Now what the hell am I going to do for S&W Appreciation Day at The Tavern? Time to think...

Monday, April 6, 2015

Tavern Updates - Silent Chats and Purple Cats


Busy days (and nights) here at The Tavern.

I have a shit ton of reviews to get to. Peril on the Purple Planet and Cast Tower of the Blood Moon Rises for the DCC RPG, Silent Legions (the latest from Sine Nomine), White Box Companion II (Barrel Rider Games) among others. Full plate and then some.

I was going to do my twice a year "playing with firearms" qualification tomorrow night, but the forecast is for rain. So, it's going to be Wednesday night instead (19 years on and 13 years in rank does have it's privileges.) Which means Tavern Chat will have to make do with my absence on April 8th. I'll try to make up for it with an open Hangout via G+ later on this month.

Oh, and still working on two projects. And need to sit down with Rachel as she raids my gaming collection for the big Patreon backers.

Aye. Busy busy ;)


RPGNow "Deal of the Day" - Whisper & Venom Compendium


Holy crap! How did +Zach Glazar NOT give me a heads up that the Whisper & Venom Compendium was going on sale for $5.20 in PDF?

Grab it and enjoy a well designed, localized sandbox.

Damn you Zach! Focus!  ;)

Description from the Lesser Gnome site:
At it core, Whisper & Venom is a table-top role-playing adventure module that can be used, with an absolute minimum number of adjustments or modifications, with most any fantasy role-playing game rule set.  
Whisper & Venom was designed by Zach Glazar. It is written by Zach Glazar and John Hammerle with illustrations and gameplay maps by Lloyd Metcalf. Whisper & Venom also includes contributions from well-known and talented tabletop gaming industry artists, cartographers and sculptors. 
It is intentionally written to be evocative of the style of modules from the early 1980’s while utilizing modern production techniques and materials.
Review by The RPG Pundit



Far and Away Podcast Episode 2 is Available to Listen to (Far Away Land RPG)



Yes, we recorded the 2nd episode of the Far and Away Podcast on Easter Sunday. Damn, we missed an obvious opportunity to give the Easter Bunny stats for the Far Away Land RPG.

We covered character generation and answered a bunch of questions from the community and had a fun time doing so :)





Sunday, April 5, 2015

RPGNow "Deal of the Day" - King Arthur Pendragon: Edition 5.1 - 4 Bucks in PDF



Wether you plan to run a Pendragon Campaign or just want an amazing sourcebook of the Arthurian Legends, King Arthur Pendragon: Edition 5.1 for $4 in PDF is a steal.

Offer is good until 11 AM Eastern, Monday, April 6th, 2016

I'm sure I've missed a few decent "Deals of the Day" as they don't seem to give any notice via email...

How Do the Characters in Your Campaigns Actually Meet?

We talked a bit about how characters meet at the beginning of a campaign during this afternoon's recording of the Far & Away podcast, although I don't recall if it was during the episode or afterwards - things tend to meld during these recordings ;)

Anyhow, we discussed how the "meet in a bar" cliche is about as over done as all hell but is still used constantly, as it has a certain sense of familiarity to it. In a way, it's part of the common experience of many roleplayers, and even if they groan when hearing it, they still willingly go along with it.

All of which got me thinking - maybe this would make for a useful random table. Then I thought further, and I realized that there is more than just one cliche (geas, political pressure, imminent emergency and and others that have been used repeatedly) when it comes to kicking off a new campaign and introducing the player characters to each other, or at least making an excuse to put them in the same place.

So maybe a table of "how the PCs meet" cliches that then takes the cliches and gives multiple ways to play each of the cliches off - a table leading to more tables.

May be worthwhile, even if not used as a series of random tables but as a list for inspiration.

Yea? Nay? Useful? Pointless? What say you? How do characters in your campaigns meet?


Why Does Easter Always Make Me Think about Raise Dead spells and the Like in D&D?

Actually, the why is kinda obvious. According to the New Testament "On the third day he rose again," referring to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What's interesting in D&D is that the resurrection of Christ would not be a resurrection under the D&D rules - it would more likely be the result of a Raise Dead spell.

Lets see - must be raised within days of death and body must be whole - I guess we can hand wave the need for one day of bed rest for each day dead. Christ WAS the son of God after all.

Which makes me think about the use of Raise Dead and Resurrection (you died a messy death, or one a long long time ago type of spell - from the players' perspective, more likely messy death.)

In game terms, is a Raise Dead spell written as it is because the assumption is that the soul of the deceased hasn't yet reached it's final destination in the afterlife. The soul's attachment to it's mortal body is still strong, thus requiring less power (2 levels lower spell level) than a resurrection spell?

Is Resurrection (on par with a magic-user's Wish spell in power) recalling the soul from it's eternal resting place? If so, what happens if the soul recalled does not want to return?

This is what Easter does to me. Makes me think on multiple levels ;)