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Saturday, July 18, 2015

What Non D&D Derived OSR Game Are You Hankering to Play?

We are getting the DCC RPG session started, which really means we are bull-shitting and yapping and tangenting all over the place.

One thing that came up is that we'd like to play a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1e game for a bit, which would be only the second Non D&D derived game for the group (Far Away Land was the first.)

We have a comfort zone, and it's based on what most of us played back in out early days of gaming. For me and a few other's in the group, we have lot's of great memories of WFRP 1e.

Is there a game, from your early days of gaming or a recent release, that you haven't played in ages (or at all) that you are hankering to play? What is it that makes it appealing to you?

Kickstarter - Starvation Cheap: Planetary Warfare for Stars Without Number



I'll start with the "due diligence." +Kevin Crawford always comes in early. Kevin always has the text ready to go before the Kickstarter downloads. One of the stretch goals has the art used available for free for personal and commercial purposes. Did I mention Kevin Crawford is running the Starvation Cheap: Planetary Warfare for Stars Without Number Kickstarter

It's simply a ground ball.

Heck, it could easily be used for other OSR style sci-fi RPG, like White Star, X-plorers and others.

I'm in.

Oh, yeah, here's the blurb:
Starvation Cheap is a military campaign supplement for the free Stars Without Number sci-fi tabletop role-playing game. It's written to provide the reader with all the tools they need for building a sandbox-style military campaign focused on planetary armies and mercenary legions. Everything from the construction of wars and vital military objectives down to the gritty details of building a battlefield adventure is provided in this 100+ page book. 
While written for Stars Without Number, the great majority of the tools in this book are system-neutral, perfectly usable with the sci-fi game of your choice. Within these pages you'll find tools like... 
Details on the typical structure of a modern ground army. Ranks and roles are described, along with the pertinent details of military justice, the chain of command, and the various types of modern military units. GMs unfamiliar with military culture and flavor can use these pages to tighten up their game. 
Guides for creating planetary conflicts through War Tags, rolling up reasons for savage conflicts and assigning critical Vital Points that must be captured or overcome if a side is to be victorious. 
Building ground armies, dividing them into units, and dealing with the potential complications of sending modern laser rifles and gravtanks against spears and lostworlder jezails. Creating a mercenary legion? Everything you need is in here, too. 
Strategic mass combat rules for resolving these planetary wars with the armies and mercenary legions you've made. The rules are quick and streamlined, meant to give a fast outcome and focus on player involvement in offensive priorities and desperate defenses. 
GM tools for building battlefield missions and adventures, with the PCs thrown onto the field to achieve some grave task or die trying. These rules interface with the mass combat tools, making PC success in their objectives the crucial factor that tips a bitter defeat into a hard-won victory. 
Hardware, of course. Lots of merciless hardware, from self-propelled artillery guns to radioactive weaponry and semi-sentient landmines. The far future battlefield is a dangerous place to be.

Free Stock Art - 10 Beastman Sketches and 10 Item Sketches

I'm always on the lookout for good and low cost stock art. The more, the better, as there are times my creative juices are flowing and I need some extra inspiration.

1manstudio released some free stock art (they have further free, PWYW and low cost stock art in their RPGNow Store) yesterday and it's worth checking out if you blog, self publish or are interested in doing so.

Here's the link to the free 10 Beastman Sketches


and here's the link to the free 10 Item Sketches




Lulu 30% Off Coupon Through July 20th

Alternate Cover

I caught this in my G+ stream last night so I figured I'd share it with The Tavern's Community. Lulu has a coupon through July 20th, 2015 for 30% off of print books. Thats no small discount.

The example I saw being used on G+ was Dark Albion in Hardcover. Normally $36.66, it's currently 20% off, bringing it down to $29.24. Using the code BIGJULY brings the price down to $20.47 for a 280+ page book. Not too shabby at all.

Not that I NEED more RPG books, but I'm open to some suggestions for the Lulu sale. Make your suggestions below :)


Friday, July 17, 2015

Frog God Sale - Razor Coast Bundle 60% Off (had 80, but my math was off;)

Frog God is running a sale through Sunday. these prices are hard to beat, and impossible to beat on the Razor Coast Bundle (one day I will run this) - a $180 value for $72!

Most is available for Swords and Wizardry (Fire as She Bears is Pathfinder only.)

My highlights would be:

The Rappan Athuk add ons for 2 bucks a pop.

Cyclopian Deeps Chapters 1 and 2 for a buck a piece.

The $100 Grab Bag for $60 (each bag contains a minimum of $300 in retail product.)

The Razor Coast Bundle I mentioned above.

Stoneheart Valley for $20.

Here's the email:



I Survived a Week of Working Evenings - Tavern Chat Survived My Absence Too ;)

I'm still adjusting to the new evening hours (and considering asking to work overnights - now that's one hell of a switch) and I still haven't found a proper way to move my creative hours to the 12 hour switch around - maybe I need to brew some tea in the morning for the caffeine hit.

I'm happy to see that Wednesday Night's Tavern Chat went off ok. I tried logging into the chat from my phone but it didn't seem to sync with the chat properly. I was afraid nothing was happening. Glad to have been proven wrong.

I have stuff to ship and packing will be going on tomorrow, but I don't think I'll get a chance to hit the post office until next Friday. There is a lot to be said about working "Banker's Hours" and I'm missing the flexibility you had with certain chores and such. That being said, hitting the 24 hr supermarket at 11 pm does make for easier shopping.

There isn't one piece of gaming material that I've read more than a few pages of in the last week. I'll try tonight to get some reading in, but I had "uncle duty" today with my 4 year old niece and I'm exhausted.

Henchmen and Hirelings - Yea or Nay?

Back in my early (teenage) era of gaming, henchmen were important.  When I spend my summers in the Poconos, at best we had a group of 4 - most times it was 3, and 1 of those 3 was obviously the DM.

Initially we played with DM PCs (yes, I know how bad that is) and we quickly learned that didn't work well, especially when the DM placed treasures with his PCs in mind. Therefore, we moved to using henchmen to flesh out the party.

As this was AD&D 1e, and we were mere teenagers interpreting Gary's rules for recruiting and using henchmen as best we could (or as best we could in our favor.) Our henchmen never broke ranks and ran. Never betrayed a party member. They were fodder for the PCs quest to earn gold, magic items and expo.

My group in NYC rarely lacked players and when it did, only one member of the party sought out a henchman, who later in turn became less henchman and more NPC party member (but not DM PC.)

I can only recall one instance of party members seeking out henchmen in my return to gaming these past few years (torchbearers and hirelings have been used and abused.) We ran a funnel of sorts to see which potential henchmen would survive to be hired, but that campaign wrapped up shortly thereafter and they didn't get used.

So, from my perspective, it's "nay!" for henchmen and "eh!" for hirelings.

Where do you stand?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How the Hell Did I Miss Shane Runkle's Blog Interview of Ken Whitman? (there are some classic statements)

Sometimes you wonder what someone is thinking. I've often wondered that about Ken Whitman and his serial Kickstarters.

Well, wonder now more!

Back in June, Shane Runkle did an interview of Ken Whitman on Shane's blog. I'm just going to post one small piece. Give Shane the traffic and read the rest on his blog.


Knights of the Dinner Table Episode #1 (Somehow I missed this)


It's actually not half bad.

Of course, if you read the comments on the Knights of the Dinner Table Live Action Kickstarter page, you get this insightful piece from none other than Jolly himself:

Gee. Ken Whitman blew through all the funding? But he has six Kickstarters to fulfill. Say it isn't so!

Serial Kickstarter Projects should be curtailed by Kickstarter itself. Oh, that's right, they don't have a review process anymore.

Carry on. Nothing to see but more Nystulain Madness.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tavern Chat - Tonight - 930 PM Eastern - You're on Your Own ;)

Today is Wednesday, so that means tonight is Tavern Chat!

My work hours are temporarily buggered, but I will attempt to make an appearance via my "mobile device."

Y'all don't generally don't need me anyways ;)

For those that don't know, there is a chat box on the right side of this page. It's open for posting 24/7, but most active on Wednesday nights. You never know who is going to drop in ;)

AD&D 1e Monster Manual Releases in PDF at RPGNow


I really don't like the new covers they used on the reprints, but other than that WotC did a fine job with them.

I think I'd get more use out of the AD&D 1e Monster Manual at the gaming table these days than any other 1e book - with the potential exception of the Fiend Folio.

In any case, the Monster Manual is 10 bucks in PDF at RPGNow.

First Impressions - Dark Albion - The Maps

This is just a section of the Albion color map
If there is one complaint I have with many maps in rpg supplements, it's lack of scale. For some reason, it's often missing from the map (but occasionally mentioned in the product's text. That is not an issue with Dark Albion.

The Dark Albion PDF (I couldn't wait for the softcover to arrive and I was bored at work last night ;) includes 19 maps. Now, that number can be a bit misleading, as the same area may be covered by a color map and a hex map or a player map. Still, it doesn't detract from the fact that the maps are awesome by themselves.

This is about 1/4 of one of the six player regional maps - each regional map comes with a companion player's map

Shit, I don't even need the Dark Albion book to mine these maps for potential adventure inspiration.

To be honest, the maps accompanying the Dark Albion PDF could probably see as a stand alone product at RPGNow. Then again, I love maps.

The Dark Albion PDF is 285 pages long, so the review may take a bit to get to (and the bulk of the reading will await the softcover to arrive), but +Kasimir Urbanski (RPGPundit) and company put together an excellent package of maps to accompany Dark Albion.

WTF Kickstarter -The Ancient Game of SeraQetra



My God! You NEED to watch this video!

Holy shit!

Whatever he's taking, I want some ;)


Here's part of the transcript:
I am BRUCE ALMIGHTY and I am here to talk to you about the Ancient Game of SeraQerta. That's right, the Ancient Game of SeraQerta. 
Over 30 years ago, my business partner Jerry Campbell showed me a map drawn on a zebra's skin, where an ancient game was buried. We followed the map and unearthed the ancient game but, unfortunately, could not bring it with us.  
Shortly after returning, my business partnership with Jerry Campbell ended. He was selling drugs! We went our separate ways and I moved to California. 
A few years later, I got a call from a detective who told me that Jerry Campbell died. Tragically, on November 13, 1990 Jerry was murdered in his apartment in Salt Lake City, Utah. Shot once in the head. His murder has never been solved.
It just gets better from there.

Watch the video. It's some of the most entertaining 2 1/2 minutes you'll ever watch :)

Tip of the hat to +Jim White !

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kickstarter - Purgatoria: City of Angels (with 700+ diverse player techniques)

Art that simply captures the imagination

Yes, you read that right. "700+ diverse player techniques." 19 character classes. Three branching skill trees. You know how some folks say "more is better." No it's not. This seems like needless overkill that will bring even the crunchiest players to their knees.

I'd much rather see new settings for already established systems, as you have a built in audience that only has to learn the setting, not the rules, but maybe that's me.

I just figured that if a group wanted a system with "700+ diverse player techniques" they already had it - it's called Pathfinder.

And there's just two small paragraphs on the setting of Purgatoria: City of Angels, which in my mind would be the hook. The rest is vaguely about the system itself. Surprisingly, we don't get an example of the task resolution or even a hint of the dice used. It might be over at the development blog for the game, but don't you think the very basics should be on the page where you are asking for money?

Apparently the book is already written, which is good. It's also their first Kickstarter project (and possibly their first rpg project at all) so you need to keep that in mind. They talk about all of the art to be used in the project, but show none of it on the Kickstarter page. Actually, it's a pretty bland page. They are offering a 320 page hard cover for $30 - not sure if that includes shipping as shipping is not mentioned. They are not using POD but a local printer, so they will be shipping this out on their own.

Tip of the hat to +Reid San Filippo for bringing this to my attention.

Time to Retrain the Brain - Adjusting the Blog to the New Work Schedule

My most productive hours are from 7PM to 10PM. Regretfully, I'm at work 5 days out of 7 these days as summer work commitments wreck havoc with my free time.

So, I need to retrain my brain.

I'm fairly good from 6AM to 7AM, as the old drive to work usually allowed me to brainstorm.

I need to change those hours to 830AM to 11AM or so.

Yeah, complete rewiring of my brain's most productive hours.

Sadly, there will be no beer in the morning hours ;)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Least Liked Classic Demi-Human Race

We all have one. When you open up the Player's Handbook and look for a race for your latest character and go to yourself "I really don't want to be a..."

Apparently for WotC, that race was the Gnome. Often overlooked and seen as the red headed step brother of the dwarf, I've overlooked them myself.

Folks seem to love or loath halflings.

I've never fully understood the half races and wether or not they can breed amongst themselves.

But for me, the last race I'd personally choose would be an elf. Something about them just makes me want to avoid them these days. Maybe it's the amount of fighter / magic-users and fighter /magic-user / thieves I'd see in my early days of gaming.

So, what classic demi-human race do you avoid playing?

State of The Tavern - Late Hours and Other Changes



Last night was the start of my new summer hours at work - 130 pm to 10 pm with Friday and Saturday as my days off. Yeah, it's playing havoc with home life and hobby life.

On the hobby life side, it's simply buggering my creativity. The hours my brain is conditioned to create I'm now sitting at a desk at work supervising detectives and dealing with virtual fires, big and small.

I get home from that and I want to decompress, not write. So, there will be an adjustment period as my brain rewires slightly. I'm sure by the time that happens, I'll be back to my normal hours ;)

On a more exciting note, I'm lucky enough to have been chosen by The RPGPundit (as well as some good friends on G+) to receive a print copy of Dark Albion to read and review. I am stoked! Yes, this will be going right to the top of the review pile. Heck, it might not even make it to the pile as it may just snag it the moment it arrives at my doorstep.

Dark Albion has the potential to hit multiple sweet points for me as I have my BA in History with a focus on England from the Dark Ages to the Renaissance and I'm a fan of historical fiction. I suspect The Pundit is in his element with this release. The few reviews I've seen trickle in thus far have been highly positive.

Back to the creativity part - I have small three pieces for White Star written to various extents. I'm hoping to bang one or another to completion tonight or tomorrow.

Wish me luck ;)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

DCC Does NOT Stand for "Disney Crawl Classics"


We had WAY too much fun playing DCC RPG last night. Who was we? +Jason Paul McCartan in the driver's seat and +Craig Brasco (that's his art above), +Keith J Davies , +David B and myself (with +David Przybyla as an observer of sorts for the first bit.)

Some highlights of the funnel?

Craig's Jester taking a trap of nails to the face. Down for the count but survive the "rolling over the body" bit. Decided to leave the three nails right where they were, which didn't help much in the bar but boy was it entertaining.

David B's Solicitor and her "elven falcon" pet, which just had to be a vulture. My God but her non stop mouth was a running joke.

My Test Pilot, who didn't accomplish much but kill a charging dog with his pistol (generated using the Purple Planet PC Generator at Purple Sorcerer's website). When the Solicitor complained that the Test Pilot killed the dog for doing nothing, he turned to her with his gun pointed at her head and remarked "Yep, I killed the dog for doing nothing. Think about that."

There's a crapload more but the laughing was so contagious the details are hazy. Probably the most fun I've had in a single game session in years.