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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Free OSR RPG - Saga of the Splintered Realm Book 1: Core Rules (Free RPG Day Alternative Picks - Post IV)



As is my usual, I try to find some free RPGs in PDF to highlight for folks that don't have a FLGS participating in Free RPG Day. Or maybe you're like me and just not all that impressed with this years offerings.

I actually did some work on the Saga of the Splintered Realm Kickstarter - I have a small piece of the mega dungeon. It's a solid system that draws heavily on D&D while taking on it's own strengths.

Best part? It's PWYW.

While you're at it, grab Book 2: Adventures and the Map Book. Well worth your time and again, the price is right.

Frog God Sale - 35% Off All Weekend Long for Father's Day



If I didn't already own just about every Frog God Games Swords & Wizardry release in print and / or PDF already, I'd be all over this:

To celebrate all of the awesome Gamer Dads out there we are happy to offer:

35% Off Site Wide for the next 3 days!

Use this coupon code during checkout:

FATHERS-DAY-3309

Frog God Games linky

Offer expires Midnight on Monday! (PST)

Free RPG - Far Away Land QuickStart - and lots of PWYW Adventures (Free RPG Day Alternative Picks - Post III)



As is my usual, I try to find some free RPGs in PDF to highlight for folks that don't have a FLGS participating in Free RPG Day. Or maybe you're like me and just not all that impressed with this years offerings.

I know. It's almost like I can't stop talking about Far Away Land. Let me put it this way - I've run 4 sessions of FAL with 2 groups and just using the Quickstart, and it has all you need for many evenings of adventure without spending a cent. Even better, if your printer supports duplex and booklet format, you can have your own print copies for the cost of paper and toner.

Dirk does great stuff and the fact that the Far Away Land QuickStart rules includes rules for leveling as well as the first adventure in the series is awesome. Give the FAL rules a try. My groups and I love 'em.

Free OSR RPG - RuneQuest Essentials PDF (Free RPG Day Alternative Picks - Post II)



As is my usual, I try to find some free RPGs in PDF to highlight for folks that don't have a FLGS participating in Free RPG Day. Or maybe you're like me and just not all that impressed with this years offerings.

This time I'm highlighting RuneQuest Essentials, the stripped down version of RuneQuest 6. RuneQuest was one of the early alternatives to Dungeons & Dragons and has gone through nearly as many versions as D&D. BTW, I may call RuneQuest Essentials "stripped down" but it still comes in at over 200 pages for the PDF.

The full version of the RuneQuest 6 rules are 40% off this weekend only, but certainly grab the Essentials version. Can't beat the price.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Free OSR RPG - Iron Falcon (It's Free RPG Day Eve)


As is my usual, I try to find some free RPGs in PDF to highlight for folks that don't have a FLGS participating in Free RPG Day. Or maybe you're like me and just not all that impressed with this years offerings.

Tonight I'm highlighting Iron Falcon by none other than +Chris Gonnerman (of Basic Fantasy RPG Fame)

What is Iron Falcon?
The earliest fantasy campaigns grew directly out of wargames. There was a point in the development of the first commercial role-playing game when the rules shed most of their wargame roots and assumed a form familiar to generations of players to come. Iron Falcon aims to be that game, reproducing its mechanics and style in all its raw and innovative glory, as it was before the advent of more "advanced" rules.
The rules are free in PDF and damn inexpensive in print.

My copy arrives from Amazon on Sunday ;)
 

Thoughts on a NYC Area "PubCon"

+Joe D and I have been discussing the possibility of a NYC Area "PubCon" for more than two years now. Today, we hung for a bit both in Manhattan and Queens. While I would love to game in a pub with 40+ tap lines (Rattle & Hum) the place just isn't large enough and doesn't need our business.

Joe finally got to see the pub out by me today and although it only has a mere 10 tap lines, it also has a catering side that could probably hold 70 folks or so gaming comfortably.

We are considering holding an informal gathering in the fall or next spring (preferably a Saturday evening or afternoon) - reserved table or three and pay for your own grub and beer - to judge the interest and feasibility. Location would be near the subway and bus lines (because we wouldn't want to encourage drinking and driving.) If there was enough interest, we would work on organizing a more formal PubCon. Or, it might turn into a seasonal and informal Old School Gathering at a friendly pub. Depends on the interest shown.

Consider this post an attempt to judge interest on the informal gathering to judge interest ;)

(I've already told Rachel I'll be spending her B-Day tomorrow posting Post 5k / NTRPG Con gift recipients - and she didn't kill me)

Thank You All for Keeping it Civil - Yesterday Was a Busy Day at The Tavern

Two posts yesterday.

Fifty-four comments on those posts thus far, including twenty-nine on the polarizing "OGL and Fair Use" rant.

You've all kept it civil.

I really appreciate it.

With the exception of the occasional piece of spam that slips through, I moderate a handful of comments a year, if that. This year, I've had to moderate exactly zero.

Without you, readers and commenters and guest posters, there would be no Tavern.

On that note, a piece of entertaining spam:
ALL THANKS TO OLUMBA SPELLCASTER 
i was married for 6 years and we were living happily together until he traveled to France for a business trip, where he met this girl and since then he ma treat me and the kids and love her only. Any time my husband comes back from work,he said he does not want to see me and my kids ever again and he drove us out of the house.he was always going to France to see the other woman.i moved my kids to my mother's house out of frustration. we were not well treated due to the fact that my mother remarried,i was so confused that i started searching for solution from every angle until one fateful day, i was browsing with my computer when i saw a testimony about olumba spell caster testimonies shared on the internet by a lady and it impressed me so much that i decided to give it a try. At first i was scared but when i thought of what myself and my kids were passing through i contacted him via mail at olumbaspellcaster@gmail.com and he told me to stay calm for just 24 hours that my husband will come back to me and to my greatest surprise i received a call from my husband on the second day asking after the kids and i called Dr olumba and he said your problems are solved my child. so that was how i got my family back together after our long break up. please i want everyone on this forum to join me to say a huge thanks to Dr olumba and i will also advice for any one with this similar problem or any kind of problem to contact him. via email olumbaspellcaster@ notmyfuckingemail.com he is the solution to all your problems and predicaments in life. He is the best in casting of spell of the following: 1) If you want your ex back. (2) if you always have bad dreams. (3) You want to be promoted in your office. (4) You want women/men to run after you. (5) If you want a child. (6) You want to be rich. (7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever. (8) If you need financial assistance. (9) How you been scammed and you want to recover you lost money. (10)if you want to stop your divorce. (11)if you want to divorce your husband. (12)if you want your wishes to be granted. (13) Pregnancy spell to conceive baby (14)Guarantee you win the troubling court cases & divorce no matter how what stage (15)Stop your marriage or relationship from breaking apart,(16)If you have HIV AIDS, E.T.C once again the email address is olumbaspellcaster@notmyfuckingemail.com or phone +99nevermind contact him immediately

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Wherein I Rant about the OGL, Compatibility Logo and Fair Use - If you Don't Understand Them, Don't Use Them



There's been a bit of a kerfuffle over at the White Star G+ Community. I won't bore you with needless details - you can get that and more at the original source.

Here's the meat and potatoes:

- 1 page adventure contest

- one submission omits the OGL, includes the White Star compatibility graphic and uses 2 pieces of art without permission and with the statement / question "I think this counts as fair use, right?"

- submission is pointed out for it's issues

- internet drama blossoms. adventure creator locks down all relevant G+ threads he started after getting his last words in and states "to put an end to the drama I started and kept poking..." (which tells me he enjoyed the drama)

Now, on to the rant...

The OGL - love it or hate it, I really dont give a shit. Use copyright law for all I care. But if you are deriving your work from an OGL product, use the fucking OGL. Mocking the OGL while displaying a compatibility logo isn't just poor taste - it's asinine.

Compatibility logos and licenses. You get to use someone's trademark on your product. It's awesome until you fuck with it. Why are you fucking with it? Sure, this is the internet and we are all to some extent attention whores, but why piss on someone else's work that you are making a claim to appreciate?

Fair use. I wouldn't touch it with a 10' pole. If you're not sure it's fair use, assume it isn't. That sir, is a ground ball.

Oh, and blocking comments on all your threads after getting your final words in? That's just lame.

Alignment - Is It Better Left Out?

Over my commute the last 2 days I've been listening to the Save or Die podcast wherein they discuss the Basic Fantasy RPG+Chris Gonnerman is the special guest.) It's and excellent episode and very informative, but it got me thinking when it was mentioned that there is no alignment system in BFRPG.

Is alignment really needed in an RPG?

How many RPGs that aren't derived or inspired by RPGs have alignment?

Does the removal of an alignment system open up the game to moreor less defined monsters and NPCs?

If 90% of PCs are either Chaotic Selfish (or Chaotic Crazy Homicidal Murder Hobos) and the other 10% are Lawful Rules Lawyers, is the 9 point alignment chart even accurate?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

How Do You Handle Encumbrance, Especially Coinage?

I know that D&D as written was intended to be as much about resource management as anything else. Really, when you think about it, 10 coins to a pound might make for easy math, but the ability to move with your loot was practically nil. You needed 40 pounds of gold just to buy a suit of plate mail.

So, of course, encumbrance was one of the first parts of the game we houseruled in high school. Not intentionally, we never discussed it, but the sheer weight of coinage made it something we just stopped counting towards weight. Heresy, I know.

Later, bags of holding and portable holes gave us an in game reason to no longer fret about coins. Drop them into an inter-dimensional space and be done with it.

Later still, we changed it to 100 coins per pound, but even that didn't satisfy.

These days, my groups trade in coins for gems, but really, who else but a gem merchant or jeweler is ever going to cash them out?

How do you handle the heavy coins of classic D&D?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kickstarter - The Folio #3, 1E/5E format, Adventure Module!



Sure, the title of this Kickstarter - The Folio #3, 1E/5E format, Adventure Module! - doesn't quite flow from ones mouth, but that's not the driving question. The question is - does this Kickstarter provide me with quality gaming material at a fair price?

Simple answer - yes.

More in depth answer - I am lucky enough to have been forwarded PDF copies of The Folio #1 and #2 to review. They will get full reviews later, but I'll give the basics now.

Art? Excellent choices. I've always been a huge Jim Holloway fan, whether his work was for TSR or West End Games. I'm not sure where I've seen Travis Hanson's work prior, but I like it. All the artists are good in the early folios and I expect more of the same (even if the artists change) from Folio #3.

Maps? Here's a sample from Folio #1:


The writing itself? Entertaining. I like the split between gazetteer and adventure. I'd gladly run this for one of my groups, although I'd be converting to Swords & Wizardry on the fly.

Do I have any complaints? My usual, so it's not like it's pointing out the Folio series in particular, but I really hate the watermarking behind the text. Sure, it's there to make the "paper" look old, but I hate it everywhere I see it. Still, I can more than tolerate it here as the product itself rises above it.

Edit: Scott told me he removed the watermarking after Folio #1 - outstanding!

For those that may ask, no, there's no OGL attached. It really isn't needed, but that's a whole 'nother discussion ;)

Did I mention that the print copies have removable covers just like the old TSR modules? Yep.

Folios 1 and 2 shipped on time. The creator states that Folio #3 is ready to release in PDF when the Kickstarter funding wraps up. 11 previous Kickstarters (one cancelled to tweak the presentation of the Folio series.) Project has funded with 16 days to go in the funding period as this is posted. Folio #3 to ship in print in August. No stretch goals listed at this time. No distracting swag.

I'll be backing for #3 and I'm damn tempted to back to get 1-3 in print. We'll see when I get paid this Friday.


Finally Caught Up Enough to Start Playing Catch Up

Amazing what an excellent convention followed by overtime at work can do to one's posting schedule. I finally feel, a week after returning from NTRPG Con, that I'm in position to start playing catch up ;)

Among the many reviews I need to address, Westward - a western steampunk mashup - is high on the list and is literally sitting on my desk awaiting some love.

There are a handful of vetted Kickstarters I need to highlight.

Can't forget content for White Star and White Box. I've been slacking the first half of June and need to get back to it.

Oh, and can't forget to award gifts for the Post 5k / NTRPG Con celebration.

Phew!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Guidebook to The City of Dolmvay (Print) Goes to...


I got back from NTRPG Con last week and I'm finally playing catch up. Phew!

Anyhow, here goes the first gift to be given out for the Post 5k / NTRPG Con Celebration - it's a print copy of Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay:

After appealing to the Random Gods (or is that Petty Gods?):

+Allan Bray

Congrats! I'll need your snail mail address. Email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing.

(I'll be awarding one or two gifts a day until we get through the backlog - and then more gifts to give away ;)

Be Forewarned - I Hosted The Latest Brainstorm Podcast - The Episode of Hate!


I dropped an F-Bomb or two in this Brainstorm episode and I don't know if Vince took them out. I also filled the "host" role.

A fun fill in episode recording in a winter marathon.

Stuff we hate in RPGs, RPG Players and more.

edit: oh my God! once we hit midpoint it is awesome in such a bad way ;)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Adding Text to Speech Integration - The Tavern is Now Listenable via iTunes and other Podcast Apps

While at NTRPG Con last week I played in +Mike Stewart 's Victorious session. Mike runs a really entertaining game and it is easy to forget that he is visually impaired. Afterwards, a third party mentioned to me that Mike would like to read The Tavern, but he literally can't.

I've been playing catch up on my end since we got back last Monday but I've spent a good part of the day today trying to find a solution. In the end, simple is best.

Podcastomatic allows blogs to be converted to podcast feeds, so you can subscribe and listen to them via iTunes or other podcast apps. Sure, the voice is a bit robotic, but it's actually a nice solution. The podcast feed is constantly updated.

I'm surprised Rach didn't get on me to do this earlier. Her vision defines her a "legally blind" and issues like this are important to her. Don't feel bad if you met her at NTRPG and never realized - there is a reason we found her oversized dice ;)

Here's the Tenkar's Tavern podcast link.

+Elizabeth Stewart I apologize to Mike for not thinking of this before and encourage other bloggers to do the same. It's simple and it works.

Adding a Little Vetting on the Kickstarters I Highlight - As Folks Tend to Not Do So On Their Own



I did a lot of talking about Kickstarters while at NTRPG Con. I know some of what's coming up, heard details about what's currently available and shared horror stories of the failures and the nearly so. Some of what I heard was surprising and some not so much.

One thing was clear though. Few backers or potential backers do even the most basic vetting of Kickstarters they may be potentially backing. They like it and the price looks good (and look at all the pretty pictures of awesomeness) and they're all in. Few look deeper. I'm going to try and attempt that slightly deeper look.

It isn't going to be an in depth vetting. I'll point out previous projects by the creator (if any) and look for the general feedback on quality and timeliness for them. I'll look at how many projects the creator has back and over what amount of time (did he just back a dozen to fill in his profile) and I'll give my opinion on the viability of stretch goals if any. If they are a known publisher, that will also factor into the vetting.

It's not a lot, but still more than most. I'm not going to give a letter or number grade. Just a simple opinion. Heck, my opinion of the project as a consumer may be different than the paragraph I'll come to when I do the vetting. Actually, I suspect that will happen more often than one might initially imagine.

The vetting I'll be doing isn't the be all and end all, but I'm hoping it will encourage others to take a closer look at the Kickstarters they are interested in backing and maybe increase the odds of skipping the ones with potentially major issues.

Last night's PEDION Kickstarter highlight included a very basic vetting. I hope to get a bit more in depth as I do it more often.

Feedback on this idea is of course welcome.