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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Kickstarter - RPG Coasters (exactly what it says on the tin)



You know what? With my old desk I didn't really care what spilled or condensed on my desk - it was formica and shed water like a duck. My new desk, while spacious, has a cheap laminate topper that suck up moisture like a dry sponge.

This has gotten me to use my Beer Mats with hex grids for something other than mapping.

So, what do I stumble across on Kickstarter? RPG Coasters. Wooden. Engraved. Custom engraving if you so desire.

Five coasters would cover my old gaming group exactly. This would be awesome for the yearly Gathering of Fools. Actually, we'd need to add one for the group member we lost on 9-11. Easily doable.

Would I use the coaster as a coaster? I don't know, but I think these coasters are cool.

New work hours suck, but the night differential and extra overtime makes decisions like this so much easier ;)

New Major White Star Release - The Graveyard at Lus (More Sandbox for Your Campaign)


This summer has kicked my gaming ability solidly in the ass. I haven't played, let alone read, nearly as much as I would have liked to. So what does +Jason Paul McCartan and his InfiniBadger Press decide to do?  Release a nearly 60 page hexcrawl supplement for White Star - The Graveyard at Lus. It's massive. It has tables. It makes me want to jump in and use it right away. I still don't have the time to do so and this book just doesn't care.

I've barely scratched the surface of The Graveyard at Lus and it has me chomping at the bit.

Here's the description:
Space Graveyards - what's left behind when battles are fought among the points of light that map out the universe. Sometimes there's good salvage to be had there. There's always danger, though. Not everything is dead in a Graveyard, and you're not the only one that come's lookng for the good stuff. And that's not even mentioning the radiation and debris left behind, or the dangerous creatures that end up finding their way there like graveworms and ... the undead. 
A comprehensive toolkit for creating space Graveyards - the result of battles between forces at war in the stars 
Multiple tables for the creation of starship damage, system damage, and crew survivorship 
An event table to ensure that exploration is dynamic during sandbox play
New rules for Cinematic and Realitic space combat 
New starship technology including sensors and targeting/repairing specific systmes
Additional rules for space-based phenomena, space-based explosions, and boarding other starships 
Four new alien races for your White Star RPG campaigns 
Updated starship usage for four of the core alien races in the main game 
Five new creatues, including The Unquiet, a horriffic form of undead 
Use the pregenerated Graveyard At Lus for your own games, or as a guide to create your own Graveyards. 
Designed for use with the White Star RPG, but easy to convert for other OSR sci-fi systems. 
The Graveyard at Lus will be continually supported by the release of FREE expansion material that includes additional rules and other content, including new races, creatures, and tables to help support additional sandbox usage of the product beyond the core book here. The first of these will be the release of all of the silhouetts of the starships in the book (and many more) for use in creation of your own counters for table-based play or use with a VTT. 
The POD version of the product will be available soon in 6x9 format. Those who purchase the PDF version will receive a discount of the full price against the print version. 
There is an update coming that will include bookmarks for tables to make the product easier to use, as well as to correct some layering issues for the sample map, and some small corrections to readibility. 
It's $4.99 in PDF and when it goes to print those that bought the PDF get a $4.99 discount on the dead tree version. Damn close to a no brainer.

Now I just need to add a day or two to the 7 day week so I can do all of the cool stuff I want to do ;)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Kickstarter - The Complete "The Oracle"AD&D fanzine reprint, 1982-1983



I cut my gaming teeth in 6th grade, so that was '78 or '79. I didnt get my first gaming magazine until Dragon issue #66 in late '82 and somehow thought to stick to only "professional" gaming releases in the years later, so I missed out on fanzines and Judges Guild and all the rest in those early years.

The Complete "The Oracle"AD&D fanzine reprint, 1982-1983 is just what is says on the tin, a reprint of a fanzine from the early 80's. With 27 days to go it's already past $3400 (with a goal that was at $1500) and well on it's way to being a successful Kickstarter.

Tim Hutchings, the creator behind this Kickstarter (but not the creator of the original work) was kind enough to share the PDF with me (it also means the project is ready to print once the funding is complete) Hopefully I'll find the time to fully read it and review it before the project reaches the end of it's funding period. From my quick perusal, it is very much a product of the time it was originally published in and that fills me with nostalgia :)

If you don't know Tim, he's also the main man behind The Play Generated Map & Document Archive or plagmada.org. Spend some time exploring your childhood in the archives. It's a good place to be and doesn't get nearly enough of the attention it deserves.

In any case, The Oracle is scratching my nostalgia itch. If I only knew in my youth what I've learned over the past few decades. Alright, time to catch up with my past that could have been,,,


GoG.com releases The Forgotten Realms Archives - Collection Two (Gold Box for Windows, OSX and Linux) for $9.99

Someone put Whitman on the front line with AC8 and 15 HP?

I cut my RPG Computer Game teeth playing the Gold Box AD&D adventures on my old Commodore 64 in the late 80s. I loved them all, although I remember Hillsfar as being sub par.

Now, with The Forgotten Realms Archives, Collection 2 you can get Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, Hillsfar, Secret of the Silver Blades, Pools of Darkness, Gateway to the Savage Frontier, Treasures of the Savage Frontier and Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures for $9.99. Thats just a bit more than a buck a game.

Retirement can't come soon enough ;)

Heck, you can buy all three Forgotten Realms Archives for $25.97 - this includes Eye of the Beholder 1, 2 and 3 as well as Dungeon Hack and Menzoberranzan.

Now that's Old School :)


AD&D 1e Forgotten Realms PDFs 50% of at DnD Classics



DnD Classics is running a sale on it's AD&D 1e Forgotten Realms adventures in PDF, putting the pricing at $2.50 each, which is one heck of a bargain.

N5 Under Illefarn and N4 Treasure Hunt probably got the most use out of me, as I reused and reskinned each multiple times, sometimes for the same group but with a different campaign. The Savage Frontier was fun as a setting book and I don't recall ever reading Swords of the Iron Legion. I may have to correct that. I3 through I5 contain some fun gaming if you can get the party to a desert area.

Shadowdale, Tantras and Waterdeep are mostly forgettable, as they deal with the Time of Troubles (the switch from 1e to 2e) in a very railroadie way. Players actions and achievements meant little if anything as the worlds events happened no matter what. Still, interesting to read to see the mindset going on with the change to 2e at the time.

Sale lasts until the end of August.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Lesser Gnome releases The First Sentinel in Interactive PDF Format


Damn, but I have a bunch of gaming news posts to put up.

If you haven't guessed, I love all of the Lesser Gnome game releases. If they have an unwritten motto, it's probably "Go Big or Go Home!" or some such. I have the print version of The First Sentinel, which is still available for $25 bucks at the Lesser Gnome online store.

Today we get to see the The First Sentinel as an affordable interactive PDF version for less than 7 bucks.

So, what do you get for your 7 bucks?
Within its pages Game Masters have a complete adventure for three to six players using character levels between three and five. Characters are confronted with a small mystery involving a missing resident. Clues could offer muted warnings or, if followed closely, will bring them face to face with a vanguard of the demonic Nexid.

This digital release contains the written content from the 2014 printed edition with a few PDF extras. It has a completely new layout designed to make the PDF more than just a printout on your screen. It is meant for table-top use on a tablet or other device.

The First Sentinel Interactive Features…

No watermarking (woot!)
Separate text, art and vector layers. (yeah, I can never figure this out)
Bookmarks to important tables and maps accessible via the PDF Reader (excellent)
Hyperlinks to appendix entries and tables. (needed IMHO)
Interactive buttons for quick access to relevant pages (I like)
Image buttons that link to illustrations for players. (very cool)
Purchasing the First Sentinel on PDF will make you feel younger and more 'with it'! At least we felt that way making it

PDFs SHOULD be more than just a digital copies these days. I salute Lesser Gnome for making the PDF more than just a digital copy of the print release. 

Frog God Games Goes "Non-Kickstarter" - Preorder with Funding Goal for "Quests of Doom 2"


When is crowdfunding not crowdfunding? When it's a preorder...

You know my argument: No matter how your try and define it, Kickstarter is basically a preorder system where a minimum goal needs to be met before a project is funded.

Now, Kickstarter takes their own cut on top of the cut the credit card companies take (that second cut used to go to Amazon Payments.)

If you had the experience, visibility and presence in the hobby you could pretty much run a Kickstarter WITHOUT using Kickstarter. A preorder with a funding goal to turn on the presses. Oh, and of course, having everything already to go right from the start.

That is what Frog God Games is doing with Quests of Doom 2 for 5e.
Instead of using Kickstarter, we are raising the funds for the printing of this book on our own. 
This product is currently available for pre-order. Once we have raised enough money to print a run of hardcover copies, we will produce and ship the books.  
We have raised $3400 of our $5000 goal so far!  
When pre-ordering in hardcover or PDF format you'll receive the PDF instantly! (there is something to be said about instant gratification)
Here's the actual description:
Six Adventures for First and Second Tier! 
From the weird and terrifying interior of the Spire of Iron and Crystal (cover) to the heat-misted Jungle Ruins of Madaro-Shanti, this sequel to the two-volume Quests of Doom offers a whole new set of adventures for Fifth Edition. These adventures are all for characters level six and below, so the book isn't going to sit on the shelf and gather dust. Are your players up to the challenge of old-school First Edition style play?  Make them earn those experience points.
$25 for the Hardcover is a very fair price. I may just have to bite at this one...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tavern Chat Tonight - New Time - 10 PM to Midnight (Eastern)

As I've mentioned before, work has thrown me a curveball this summer. New days off, new working hours, new assignment - it's all made a mess of my "other stuff" time-wise.

So starting tonight and for the indeterminate future, Tavern Chat will be kicking off at 10 PM Eastern. It is most likely that I won't get to log in until about 1030 / 1045 tonight, but I know the chat doesn't need me to be lively.

Fair warning - I suspect I'll only be on for an hour tonight, as I have to be out the door by 630 in the AM tomorrow.

Of course, the doors open early, so even if you drop in at the old 830 time I suspect there will be a few people on.

Kickstarter - Support LGBT Rights & Help Create Our PC-RPG Game! (The Issues Have Little to do with the Issue)

Let me get this said right out of the gate - the issues with this Kickstarter have little to do with the issues that the project creator is attempting to address - and yet it has everything to do with how he is trying to address it. Confusing, right?



How many gamers, RPG or otherwise, are looking for a love story in their game? Probably not many. Or to be more precise, a love story based on the title of this kickstarter - "Support LGBT Rights & Help Create Our PC-RPG Game!"

Do you want to know the name of the actual game?

"The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Groves" Game - A Story of Love & War in Ancient China..."

Now THAT sells. Love AND war? Cool.

Folks that play computer games play them to have fun. I can't think of many that play them to support certain issues (although some may avoid certain titles if they feel they are associated with certain social issues - I've never purchased a GTA game although I've seen the gameplay - blowing away cops is not a storyline I'd personally enjoy)



Now this Kickstarter has 9 days to go and it's raised approximately 1% of it's goal 50K Canadian. Why? Because it put social issues before the game. I strongly suspect if it were a project named "The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Groves" Game - A Story of Love & War in Ancient China... "it would have significantly more backing. Maybe not enough to fund, but more than 1% of goal.


It almost feels like they want this project to fund based solely on folks backing it for a social issue and not for what the game itself presents, which if you read the Kickstarter page, looks like it could be a fun PC RPG to play. Sadly, as a vehicle to support LBGT rights or as an RPG, this Kickstarter has failed coming out of the gate. It's a shame.

Now, when you get to the risks and challenges you are told you are funding a playable demo, which really isn't what was being sold. Then again, I'm not sure what was actually being sold.



Ah well. I'm sure they will try again. Maybe the next time they will present it as a fun game to play FIRST as well as a game that addresses certain social issues that have become important in our time.




Tuesday, August 18, 2015

One Day Only - 30% Off Lulu Print Titles

Yep, Lulu is running one of those One Day Only sales, this time for 30% off with coupon. Tip of the hat to +Newt Newport for bringing it to my attention via the D101 Games Community on G+.

The coupon code you need to snag this Print Only sale is WACKY30

Folks, now is the time to suggest to The Tavern's readers not to be missed RPG titles that can be grabbed at cheap prices. Make your suggestions in the comments below. I may make my purchase when I get home from work late in the evening and your suggestions will help in the process ;)

State of The Tavern - August 18th, 2015 - Rejigging & Adjusting

As some of you already know, this summer has been a bit of a curve ball for me. My assignment, work hours and days off have changed, which has had some benefits as well as detriments.

On the negative side, working evenings has really hurt my ability to be productive on my creative side. My creative hours historically are in the evening. This has been painful. I've tried to sneak in some creativity in the in-between moments at work, but this shit is busy ;)

It's also my prime reading time. If you've noticed a lack of reviews recently, I simply find it hard to focus in the morning hours on gaming material and by the time I get home in the evening I'm usually ready for bed. Well, that or a beer ;)

For those wondering where the podcasts are - I work Sundays now and evening hours. All the podcasting was done either in the evening hours early on in the week or Sunday afternoons. Times I'm now at work. We'll see what we can do and I am considering doing some short (5 to 10 minute) solo casts.

There's also the issue that I only have one day of the weekend for now, so all the stuff that needs to get done family wise? It's getting done on Saturdays.

I'm trying to rewire the brain to be more creative in the AM. Hasn't worked much thus far.

There are some positives, both short term and long term. The new work schedule puts $30 a day in night differential into my pocket before taxes and puts half of that into my future pension. Oh, and overtime. The new office is greatly overworked and understaffed. The better the pension, the less of a need of a part time job this time next year and more time to put toward the blog, creating, writing and all the fun stuff one wants to do.

So, what sucks now pays dividends far into the future.

As an aside and reminder, Wednesday Night Tavern Chat is moving to 10pm to Midnight Eastern Time. I won't be on until about 1045 myself but that's not stopped y'all from having a blast in the past. Tomorrow night may be a short visit for me - I have to be out of the house by 630 AM Thursday morning.


Blog Spotlight - Not Another Dime (For Ken Whitman)



I have to say, as a trained investigator myself, that the writers behind the Not Another Dime (For Ken Whitman) blog are doing some amazing digging. The great thing about the internet is that it is much like the proverbial elephant - "it never forgets."

Looking for a timeline of Ken's projects with paydays and updates mapped out? It's all there.

Wants some behind the scenes info of Ken's Rapid POD fiasco? There's some tantalizing nuggets.

How about projects that Ken was the mover and shaker behind the scenes, took his share of the cash and never did the work he was paid for? Yep, it's there.



Ken has set the high water mark for how low one can go in abusing Kickstarter and Not Another Dime is doing an excellent job in highlighting Ken's misdeeds.

I do like the way NAD(FKW) presents facts and postings it's discovered on the net. Although the goal is obvious - to keep Ken from continually screwing others, the excellent support material makes it difficult to dispute the facts that are presented.

So, put aside 30 minutes or so and read a good investigative site on the Ken Whitman drama. It will be time well spent, and knowledge is power.




Monday, August 17, 2015

Humble Bundle - Dungeons & Dragons Comics Bundle


I read some of these titles back in the 90s I think.

$12 bucks is the level I went in on, which adds even more to the bundle. Stuff to load onto my tablet for bedtime reading ;)


Humble Bundle D&D Comics Bundle link is here

Guest Poster - Let in Some Fresh Air

Negative:2.
      (of a person, attitude, or situation) not desirable or optimistic

We've all been the above and some of us are there currently. I spent 25 years in a career where 90% of what you saw and dealt with was negative. It takes a toll on the human spirit eventually. We lose focus of what's important and things that matter the most. Then one day we awaken and those important things are gone, never to return.

Today, I think of James Ward. I don't know James personally, and have never met or talked with him. I only know his name from his contributions to a hobby that I partake in and enjoy. I started in the late 70's with the Holmes Basic Set and that game resonates still to me today.

The past few days several people have combined together to raise funds to assist Mr. Ward in his
burden of medical debt. These people I speak of are all involved in the RPG community either as
players, bloggers, small print publishers, or better yet as humans who muster the spirit of love in this
dark world we share.

I understand a lot of you are battling life events presently. Believe me, I understand. I've had quite a
few tragic life events the past three years. Enough to last the rest of my lifetime. And many years ago, I also battled the “paycheck-to-paycheck” lifestyle. So, I fully understand you don't have an extra dollar to share. I also understand and believe when you put someone else above your current needs, you will be rewarded in some way for that at some point.

My plea today is that we put “negative” in the closet and lock him away. Open that door “positive” and let some fresh air in. I encourage you give what you can to another person whose needs outweigh your own. Instead of that $5.00 specialty coffee or drive-thru meal today, go and give it to James.

Gamers Unite!

Tony T.

http://www.gofundme.com/vqbnpbbt

1 Corinthians 13:13

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Kickstarter - Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls is a Real Thing - There's Pics Even!

Pic borrowed from the Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls blog

Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls is apparently real now. I must say, even after looking at the PDF it just didn't click how thick the book actually was until I saw the actual pics. As an aside, that's +Ken St. Andre without his trademark hat ;)

I'm glad to see the books will be shipping shortly. Three pallets worth of dT&T at that. I have 20 pounds worth of softcovers coming my way it seems.

Interesting how the books got printed shortly after the Nuclear War 50th Anniversary Kickstarter completed (and timed well for the release of those funds to FBI.)

Tenkar's Tavern - The Cosmopolitan Magazine of the OSR

There.

It's said.

Well, not initially by me, actually, but by a poster on Zak S's thread 2 weeks ago. Yep, the same thread where Stacy Dellorfano was nice enough to state that I was having as much fun as a rock at NTRPG Con. Yep, she's apparently biting at the bit to respond to my response, just as Zak S is racing to correct the injustice of blocking me for the last 4 years on G+.


But I digress.

One comment on the G+ thread was that Tenkar's Tavern was the Cosmo of the OSR. I assume they meant Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Now, if they were trying to insult me by comparing me to the most influential and most read women's magazine, they failed at a very high standard.

Millions of copies of Como are published each month. It actually had a monthly circulation of over 3 million in 2011. Assuming it's lost half of that in the last 4 years, it's still an engagement with readers I would kill for. Alright, perhaps merely maim.

Now, I DON'T ask my readers about the sexual positions enjoyed by elves or the best way to manipulate your DM using sexual innuendos or what combination of races have the best "half-races", but maybe I'm missing something. Is this something readers of The Tavern actually want or just those that follow Zak? Or is it, perhaps, something that they wish they had at The Tavern but don't, and wish The Tavern could provide?

Fuck if I know. But the comparison is accurate on one level - The Tavern IS the most read OSR blog. If the rest of you don't mind, I'm going to leave out the sex articles. If you need those, I'm sure you can find them on your own.