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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Kickstarter - Nystul's Infinite Dungeon Seeks to Become Infinite Weekly Content


When I first read The Wandering Wizard's latest update at the Infinite Dungeon Kickstarter, I was very surprised. It pretty much read like a true confession at first.
I got involved with Kickstarter because I liked the idea of a way to back an idea that might not find backing elsewhere, I had ideas that had no home and this seemed to be a good way to make them a reality. In the case of the "Infinite Dungeon" project I wanted to take my shot at creating a "Mega Dungeon" 
Somewhere along the way I lost this simple motivation and saw a chance to get "back into the business". A series of catastrophically bad business decisions later and I managed to fail to deliver on all three of the Kickstarters I started. 
A few of you have asked "why not just buckle down and do this"? An excellent question. In the case of the Infinite Dungeon it is in part because it had become something other than what i originally intended. The ashcan I sent out was a "Chapter Zero" of an intended series. So for an "Infinite Dungeon" it was a campaign guide and no actual dungeon. It was also the sort of campaign that was not just as series of dungeons, I had set the bar far too high. 
I also had medical issues and then jobs that ate of enough time that I had very few creative hours left. I know some of you have scoffed at this - I maybe could have produced significant material after hours at one point in my life. I can't do that now. I tried. So, to move forward on this and on other areas of my life i have gone back to freelancing and part time work. That is why I have a Patreon account. It is one source of revenue to keep me going while I write and design as close to full time as I can manage.
Starting next week I will be posting a Dungeon level every week - probably on Friday. The Dungeons can be used alone but will also thread together to be one big Dungeon - literally the "Infinite" Dungeon I originally intended. I will post these to RPG Now as "Pay What you Want" - I will keep anything collected in a special account. When there are enough out there - maybe every 12 or so - I will gather them together into a book, add some additional material and add art if there is money in the account to buy it. I will then republish the collections and again - anything collected goes into a special account.
If there is at any point enough in the account to publish physical copies I will do so.
If there is a volunteer among you that we can all be comfortable with I will give them access to the RPG Now account and the bank account. I will also publish updates here so you all know what is going on. 
The Infinite Dungeon will be relatively system agnostic but will need mechanics and notes added for various systems. I'm currently running 5th Edition D&D (because it is awesome) so that will be covered. What else would you like to see?
God bless anyone who volunteers to manage the monies. From what I've seen with Axes & Anvils, working with Mike is not fun.

Now, the golden comment was the following:
I'd like to see, in descending order of preference:
A) Everything I'm supposed to get from backing at $100
B) My $100 back
C) You in prison
D) Your crap plan using Pathfinder rules
To which Mike responded:
Pathfinder it is : )  
Now, my fear was that Mike was going to use this as "content" posts over on Patreon, but my fears might have been misplaced. From the Patreon Page:
Starting next Friday I will be posting a Dungeon a week. They can be used independently but will be designed so they can be threaded together into one big complex.

This is part of my attempt to make good on a long overdue Kickstarter obligation. One of the reasons I went back to full time design is to give me the freedom to do this. I am having to be very careful about  time management because of the nature of Patreon. The weirdness is this - Patreon is a big part of what will help me keep working but the Infinite Dungeon has been paid for by the Kickstarter.

My answer is this - I will not "charge" for the Infinite Dungeon posts (emphasis mine) Patron support is part of what allows me to do them but I wouldn't be comfortable accepting anything for them. If you find yourself liking them and you want to pitch in you will be able to download them from RPG Now and "Pay What You Want" - any monies collected through that avenue goes into a fund for buying art and eventually printing collections for the Kickstarter backers.

The map above is a player handout for the first Dungeon which will be posted next week. Could also be useful if you need a store map.

If there is interest I may start running the weekly Dungeons on Roll20 
Do I believe any of this will play out like Mike states? Not really. Does Mike believe it? Probably. And so the Infinite Nystul Sage continues..
 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Jeff Dee Retains / Regains the Legal Right to Publish Villains & Vigilantes



Looks like +Jeff Dee has the rights to publish Villains &Vigilantes and Scott Bizar does not.

Here's the posting from Jeff's V&V Facebook page:
Update on the Legal Battle 
We stated in a previous post that we expected it to take at least 3 months for the courts to issue a ruling on the appeals surrounding our victory in the lawsuit over the publication rights to V&V. 
Well, it didn't take 3 months. We have the court's ruling in hand. The appeals court is sending the case back down to Arizona to re-visit several issues. But on one particular issue - the one that's most central to our case - the judges were absolutely clear. Quoting from their ruling: 
"Reviewing de novo, Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1131 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc), we hold that summary judgment in favor of Dee and Herman was proper on the copyright claims. The 1979 contract granted to FGU, Inc., publication rights to the 1979 Villains and Vigilantes Rulebook. The parties’ course of conduct extended the contract to apply to the 1982 Rulebook, as well. But the contract expressly provided that the agreement would terminate by operation of law if FGU, Inc., ceased to do business for any reason. The agreement also prohibited the assignment of any rights under the contract without the written consent of the other parties. By the terms of the agreement, when FGU, Inc., was dissolved in 1991, all rights to the 1979 and 1982 Rulebooks reverted to Dee and Herman. Accordingly, all sales after the 1991 dissolution of FGU, Inc., of the 1979 or 1982 Rulebooks were infringing acts." 
In plain English: we have the legal right to publish our superhero role-playing game, and Scott Bizar does not. 
As we said, the judges sent several other issues - most notably, the question of the trademark - back down to the Arizona courts. We remain confident that all of our rights will ultimately be upheld. 
Thanks for your continued support! 
-Jeff Dee & Jack Herman

Christmas in July - The OSR Picks - Part 3



There really are a great number of OSR companies participating in RPGNow's Christmas in July Sale. This is the third post in the series highlighting some good picks for The Tavern's Patrons. You can find all the previous links by going here.

ZEROBarrier - Who's this? None other than +Dyson Logos and his excellent Dyson's Delves

Sine Nomine Publishing - Stars Without Number, Scarlet Heroes, Silent Legions and many others

Purple Duck -Excellent DCC RPG releases and some amazingly affordable stock art (even more affordable at 25% off)

Splintered Realms Publishing - I have a small piece in the Saga of the Splintered Realms Adventures book - and that's Pay What You Want, so go grab a copy

Goblinoid Games - Labyrinth Lord, Crypt World, Rot World, Starships & Spacemen - the list goes on

Genius Loci Games - 2 Page Adventures and more

Brave Halfing - Here's your link for the X-plorers RPG

Mongoose - Legend (RQ with the serial numbers stripped off it), Traveller and others


Christmas in July - The OSR Picks - Part 2



More Christmas in July OSR Picks have been brought to my attention.

Woot!

Goodman Games - DCC RPG releases, including the Chained Coffin, Peril on the Purple Planet and DCC Lankhmar: Through Ningauble's Cave in PDF, are 25% off

Grognardia Games - James Ma's Thousand Suns

Troll Lord Games - Castles & Crusades anyone?

North Wind Adventures - Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - 'nuff said

Monte Cook Games - Numenera - Alright, not OSR, but folks still like it apparently

Thick Skull Adventures - More DCC goodness

Serpent King Games - Dragon Warriors - the best game I never owned as a teen gamer

Mythic Bull Games - yet more DCC goodness

I'm sure there'll be even more picks brought to my attention as the day goes on. I'll add another post in the evening. In the meantime, all the Christmas in July posts can be found here.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Christmas in July - The OSR Picks



So, I asked in the OSR G+ Community for some help with identifying the OSR publishers with applicable Christmas in July Sales.

Thus far I am happy with the results :)

Barrel Rider Games has put nearly all of it's catalogue on sale (exceptions being this week's releases) - White Star, White Box, Labyrinth Lord - it's all here,

d101 Games - OpenQuest, OSR Adventures and the like - OpenQuest Basic is free as always and an excellent pick up. I have much of this in print myself.

BRW Games - Adventures Dark & Deep as well as Castle of the Mad Archmage and other. What can I say, I have most of this catalogue in print.

Savage AfterWorld - maybe Mutant Future IS the future.

Violent Media - Murder Hobos? Oh my!

Antherwyck Hosue Games - DragonQuest+The Padre did you catch this?

Moebius Adventures - OSR and generic. Grab what fit's your needs.

Kort'thalis Publishing - Crimson Dragons, Purple GM's and other madness ;)

If I get more links to add, I'll add them :)

Christmas in July at RPGNow - Up to 25% Off (or more)



What's that you say?

There that white stuff in July? There sure is - White Star is 25% off!

Bamn!

Actually, there's lots of stuff on sale at RPGNow for the Christmas in July Sale. I'l try and highlight some good picks when I get home from work tonight.

Wayward Kickstarter - Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series - At Whit's End



So, Ken Whitman said he emailed the invited to the Gen Con Premier of the Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series a week ago - as of yesterday, it appears folks are still waiting on theirs.

Here's Jolly Blackburn's latest take on the situation (comments section of the Kickstarter):
Jolly Blackburn 1 day ago 
Ken it's really unfair that you haven't sent out those invitations to the premiere as promised. Especially when you squeezed extras money out of those backers who already pledged for the premiere (basically the paid twice). It's very late in the game. GenCon is in a week. Folks will be hitting the road soon and won't have access to email. You are adding to their frustrations and worries and for no reason. If you can post memes all night on Facebook why can't you take a few minutes and send out those invitations? And why can't you answer your email, messages or update folks here (or on your other five kickstarters which are piling up with complaints). WE get you blew through all the money. You're broke. You say you're struggling to raise more money to fulfill your obligations. That's great. But silence and refusing to just be honest and telling folks that is adding to the problem. You're leaving folks guessing and assuming the worse. A lot of people are betting you'll come down with an excuse a the last hour and not even show up for GenCon to face backers and present your 3 film projects. Or that you'll send a proxy. I have no idea. As you've said many times this is YOUR project not mine (or KenzerCo's). But it's our base and our IP you've been milking for money for over 18 months and now that backers have questions you have no time for them. NONE. You do a drive by 'update' with broken promises and dates every few months and that's about it. You told me the other day I was 'sabotaging' you by ruining our ability to 'raise money' on the internet by my 'insistent complaining'. Actually, I've been simply letting our readers know that they shouldn't be throwing good money after bad. I have no idea where all the money went. That's your business as you say. My 'complaining' if you ever bothered to read the comments here has been about your lack of communication. As in NO communication. Also the lying. Why tell backers you have shipped their books only to have them learn weeks later that you didn't? I just don't get the logic. Call me crazy but I think honest answers are always better than a lie. I look forward to seeing the three episodes at GenCon next week. (two of which we had here at KenzerCo has little or no opportunity to see, let alone provide creative feedback on as promised). I REALLY hope you show up Ken. It's going take a lot of courage. And I hope you come with some real answers - even if it's just to deliver some bad news. (product will be months late or whatever). I will never personally work with you again. I can handle someone who makes mistakes and owns up to them and makes an effort to improve. I can't work with someone who makes mistakes and then blames others for his failures.


I don't personally know Jolly, but I've been told by those that know him well he is a kind, patient person. It seems Ken's pushed Jolly (and others) to their breaking point.

I don't personally know Ken, but from what I've seen from his serial Kickstarters and inability to balance a budget (and basically saying in his own words, he uses subsequent Kickstarter Project funds to try and complete previous Kickstarters) I wouldn't give him another dollar. Actually, I never have, and I consider myself lucky for dodging this one.

It's the old saying - Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame one me. D20 Entertainment alone has fooled folks six times under his management. It's making Castle Nystul appear to be a valid investment in comparison.

Seven Unique Magic Sword Attributes

Yep, still trying to squeeze in some creativity with the new work hours...

Alright, here's 7 Unique Magic Sword Attributes / Abilities:

1 - Wounds inflicted by the sword only heal for half when magical healing is used (spells, wands, potions, etc.) Non magical healing works as normal.

2 - Each consecutive miss against the same target adds a cumulative + 1 to hit until a successful hit is landed, at which point the bonus is reset. Note, the bonus to hit is also added to the damage roll if and when the successful hit is made.

3 - Swords Whistles While it Works - The whistling effect distracts nearby foes, resulting in a - 2 to their attack rolls (no save.) The resulting noise requires a random encounter check every third consecutive round the sword is wielded.

4 - Sword Crackles with Electrical Energy - Sword inflicts + 2 damage to foes wearing metal armosr and wielder's hair stands on end.

5 - Sword acts as Feather Fall Spell When Held - Due to lighter effective weight damage rolls are made at -1.

6 - Sword is Extremely Dense - -1 to hit rolls due to weird balance but + 2 to damage rolls due to extra weight.

7 - Sword Channels Negative Energy - Each successful hit by the sword on a foe causes a cumulative - 1 hit penalty for the foe. This penalty lessens at a rate of 1 per day

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tavern Chat Tonight - 830 PM EST

Tonight is another weekly Tavern Chat.

I was absent last week but will try to pop in via the app on my phone, at least for a bit.

It was nice to see a lively chat was had even in my absence.

Be there or be not!

White Star - Stunner Pistol - Set Phasers to Stun!

Monday night while jotting down random gaming thoughts, I thought about Star Trek and it's "Phasers on Stun!" schtick and how to incorporate that into White Star.

What follows is the result ;)

Art by Jeshields - Used with permission

Stunner Pistol     Damage  1-2 plus Special       ROF 1    Range 30'     Weight 2.5      Cost 100 

        *Special When hit by a Stunner Pistol, the Target must potentially make TWO Saving Throws (saving throws against a stunner pistol are adjusted by Constitution bonus or penalty if any.)

        - If the first Save is failed, the target suffers a -2 penalty to all rolls except Saves for 1d6 rounds and is required to make a second saving throw. If the Save is made, nothing happens to the target.

        - If the second save is failed, the target is put to sleep for 2d6 rounds and can not be woken prior without a medical kit of some sort being used. If the second save is failed, the target simply suffers the results from the first failed save.

       Note - Stunner Pistols are rare and are usually found in the hands of prison guards and slavers. They hold a maximum charge of 2 shots before needing to reload / recharge. They are viewed with suspicion when in the hands of civilians.

OGL Link

Unique Magic Items - How Important Are They to Your Campaigns?

I started gaming with AD&D 1e. We didn't use unique or home grown magic items, we just used the DMG and let the dice fall as they may.

As I got older, I saw a value to unique magic items. My players, all of whom new the DMG front to back, back to front, side to side and all manners in between, needed to be surprised and challenged.

So, I started to tweak magic items, to keep my players guessing.

Years later, I even wrote a product or two with some of my creations.

My question to you is - do you design unique magic items, do you source them from others places or do you stick to the book?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mini Review - White Box Options - Psychic Talents (Swords & Wizardry)



Note - I'm in the midst of reading a handful of longer products for review purposes - White Box Options are a nice, short, change of pace from the rest of my reading - other reviews will be forthcoming - it HAS been a while.

Psychic Powers. Psionics. Wild Talents. You either love it or hate it - or in the case of AD&D 1e, never fully understood it, as it had it's own unique rule system attached to it that had little if anything to do with the core rules.

In truth, I've always liked the concept but I have never liked it's implementation. +James Spahn may have changed my opinion as I like his implementation.

Just like in 1e, with White Box Options - Psychic Talents your chance to be psychic is totally random, with higher scores in the mental abilities increasing the chance and non-human races having a decreased chance. In all cases, the minimal chance to have a psychic talent is 1% (assuming the player wants a chance - it's all opt in.)

None of the powers are game breaking, which caused a nice sigh of relief on my part. They give options and such, but aren't overpowered. A successful save allows the power to activate. A failed save means try again in 24 hours. So, you can't depend on them but they certainly can help.

Here's two examples:
Regulate Metabolism
Duration: 24 Hours
The character is able to regulate their body to such a degree that
while this ability is active they suffer no penalties from lack of food or water.
They also receive a +1 to all saving throws made to resist poison while
Regulate Metabolism is active. Once this ability wears off, the character
immediately suffers all the effects that would be applicable from a lack of
food and water. A character who would die from such things immediately
drops dead when they reach that point, even if this talent is active.
Direction Sense
Duration
: Instant
The character who successfully activates this talent can immediately
sense which direction is North as well as sense their distance from the
ground, whether above or below it. 
Nice perks without being overpowering.

I'll be adding this to my bag of campaign tricks next time around. White Box Options - Psychic Talents is a good value at 2 bucks.

AD&D 1e Dungeon Master's Guide - Released in PDF for $9.99


The holy trilogy of AD&D 1e core books is now complete in official PDF releases - please welcome the Dungeon Master's Guide to your virtual collection.

It's $9.99 in a PDF that replicates the remastered reprint edition, including the new cover. As I've said with the other two releases, I much prefer the original covers. Still, I've heard good reports about the previous two PDF releases (Player's Handbook and Monster Manual) and it would be nice to have a clean PDF copy for my tablet.


Random Thoughts - Seven Beers, Ales and More in a Dwarven Tavern

This was part of last night's random thoughts. Strangely enough, it was the first thought.

Seven Beers, Ales and More in a Dwarven Tavern

(why 7? why not?)

1 - Angston's Angry Ale

2 - Nine Toes Lager

3 - Zezlyn's Green Apple Cider

4 - Dead Orc Port

5 - Tenkar's Ten Ton Stout

6 - Twice Brewed, Once Filtered Dwarven Stout

7 - Dark Meadows Mead

(hey, if I do enough of these, I can be an RPGNow publisher ;)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Random Thoughts & The Moments Between - Part 1, Monday Night Scattershot


So, I experimented with some creative thinking in the free moments at work. I took a legal sheet of paper, folded it so I had 8 quadrants to work with and had at it.

I used 6 quadrants, so maybe a letter sized sheet of paper will have sufficed ;)

As a side note - yes, my handwriting sucks.

I'll do the same for the next 3 nights and see what the results are.

Gonna Attempt Getting Back on the Creativity Wagon in Those Moments Between

So, the new hours at work involve playing traffic cop of sorts for complaints and incoming reports from my new desk (there are other aspects, but this is the driving force.) Which means managing both cops and calls. There's plenty of downtime, it's just not scheduled downtime, as at any moment I'm dealing with one issue or another and then dealing with nothing for an extended period of time.

I'm going to try and use those unscheduled moments of calm for creative purposes. No idea if it will work or not - or if it works how well it will work, but as I eat my meal at my desk anyway I figure the moments in between are mine to take back if I can ;)

Item write ups, monsters, random lists - lets see if I can accomplish anything...

Christmas in July? ENWorld Posts Rumors of WotC Layoffs

There was a point where WotC was good for a Christmas Purge like clockwork. That kinda stopped / slowed down as D&D Next / 5e was getting it's polish.

Now that 5e is pretty much all outsourced for it's adventures and just about everything else, should it simply be called D&D OS (for "outsource" of course ;)

Anyway, it looks like art director Mark Painter is one of the victims of the latest round of WotC layoffs.

Read the thread over at ENWorld. It actually has a good list of what WotC is outsourcing these days in the comments section.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

What Historical Time Period Would You Like to Run / Play In?

I got my softcover of Dark Albion in the mail yesterday and I'm going to need to block out some time to give it proper attention.

It did get me thinking - what time periods of history would you like to run / play in a campaign? It could certainly be a "fantasized" version of the time period, but it would be recognizable for what it is.

Me, I'd like to run a "Dark Ages" based campaign at some point but drawing heavily on Celtic and Nordic myths.

So, what would be your choice?

Thinking About Restarting the OSR for the Lapsed Gamer Series of Posts

Last year I was working on a series of posts called OSR for the Lapsed Gamer. That got derailed back in December.

I'm thinking of picking it up from where it left, which is covering the free OSR ruleset options:

Delving Deeper

LotFP Weird Fantasy

Dark Dungeons

Labyrinth Lord

Swords & Wizardry

Basic Fantasy RPG

OSRIC

Those are the systems already covered. I'll try and cover the rest of the free OSR RPGs before moving on to the ones that have a cost.

So, is there interest in me picking this back up? Are there systems you'd want to see covered sooner that later? I'm probably going to lose the timeline and just post as it comes to me. I'm guessing a post or two in these series a week. Probably the most I can do with the new work hours.