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Saturday, December 12, 2015

An Open Letter to Mrs. E. Gary Gygax (cc: the Gaming Community at Large)

Mrs. E. Gary Gygax

The questions posed regarding the Gygax Memorial Fund were submitted by the gaming community at large, which is why I'm posting this letter here and not sending it direct, as it is their questions that need to be answered, not mine. Nearly half of the questions submitted to me in relation to the Fund were actually about the Trust and were therefore not submitted for your attention.

I understand your frustration when members of the gaming community are unable or unwilling to distinguish between the Gygax Memorial Fund and the GAIL C. GYGAX REVOCABLE TRUST. Perhaps you need to understand WHY people in the gaming community have that issue.

Emotions.

When emotions are brought into an issue, simple facts become not so simple. When the only mention of the name "Gygax" in the gaming community these days is legal actions taken against those using the name "Gygax" - yes, I'm referring to the recent trademark dispute - the Trust muddies the waters of the Fund.

Is that fair?

Fair has little to do with the real world. Most of us know that. The Trust using all of its legal rights to enforce its trademark against a company using said trademark is certainly legal. Was it fair? Not for me to judge. The community at large will do so.

You say you did not force Ernie and Luke Gygax to leave the new TSR, which is technically true. I do have it on good account from a trusted third party that any that signed on to the trademark agreement had to also agree to refrain from saying, writing, etc disparaging remarks about yourself. Strange that would be a requirement to settle a trademark dispute.

You've communicated that you want the Gygax Memorial Fund to be supported by the gaming community, but the site itself is virtually dead. No updates in nearly a year, no stock in the store, no activity. The Fund's board itself is composed of non-gamers with little to no connection to the gaming community.

You are frustrated. The gaming community is frustrated. Gary was loved by many. His work influenced millions of gamers. We all want the man to be honored. Many of us do that in the games we still play. Sadly, time makes people forgetful, and the longer this goes on without being fulfilled will leave us with fewer people that will care in the end, assuming we get there. An ending like that would diminish us all.

Sincerely,
Erik Tenkar


WotC Posts Another Cartoon Map Walk-Through - Out of the Abyss (5e)


I almost missed this one. The Out of the Abyss walk-through been up for a bit (and the link has been open in my browser for over a week, but free time hasn't been too free for me recently) and I figured it's about time to share it out.

Sure, it's for a 5e adventure but it's still fun to look at / read.

Grab it in low, medium or hi resolution directly from the WotC site here. (edit: link fixed to offer all resolutions)

And no, I haven't read the adventure it's based upon...

Another WTF Kickstarter - With Dice! - Custom RPG Dice



A tip of the hat to +Jennifer Fuss over at the Kicksnarker Community, because this is pure gold.

Yes, a Custom RPG Dice Kickstarter, but the twist is - you don't get to customize them! Nope. It's been done for you to save the stress.

Ah shit, let me just post the project text and make my comments. Do you really want to waste your time going to the actual Kickstarter page?
So I discuss a lot of this in the video (there is no video - oopsie!), but I wanted to talk about this more in depth here. These dice were originally an idea to help get my name out there in the dice/pen&paper rpg community (uhm, you do that by being part of that community) so that when I launched a game I intend to release, people are more willing to pledge to such a big project. (because they'll surely see my design skills with these dice) See my logic was people are more likely to pledge a large project(not saying this one is exactly small but the game will be about 5 to 7x this cost) if they can see you have successfully created a project before. Thus this idea was born. (right. so, the Algerian Flag was the inspiration for the 12 sided die? )
Now the project has undergone several attempts (two canceled and one fail to fund - say what?) and revisions due to customer base trying to help get this project where it needs to be in terms of cost and currently...this is about the best I can do on pricing. Why is this the best? Well here is my expense break down: The dice themselves require 100 sets at $22.00 to purchase from Q-Workshop (so I could buy from them direct and actually get what I want?) who i have supplied the designs to. Shipping them TO ME is about $81.00 shipping the 100 sets out is around $250.00. So we have $2200.00+$81.00+$250=around $2531.00 if my math is correct which is not factoring in International shipping which is around...oh $6.00 and some change.So let's look at a 50/50 split in shipping. $125 would be my local cost and intenrational (irrational shipping costs perhaps, because the numbers seem awfully low) comes to about $300 which changes it to $425 or double almost double the original shipping plan. SO let's add this extra $175 in 2531+175=$2706. So 10% of this would be $270.60 resulting in a total cost of $2976 in the event of a 50/50 split, which isn't very likely. Since last attempts had a high number of international pledgers we shall simply say around $600 for shipping as a ballpark estimate bringing us to a little over $3000 roughly after all is said and done, but that is just for the dice. My pledge levels also include special art work from the currently tabled Fated Worlds tabletop I conceived so then we have artist fees to consider and such so when all is said and done I am not really making a profit as all my funding goes to cover my expenses (I couldn't follow the math but I suspect the creator couldn't either...)
So what exactly does polyhedral dice mean? The type of dice being funded called polyhedral dice are commonly dice used in Tabletop gaming also known as pen and paper rpg. This set consists of a 20 sided die, 4 sided die, 8 sided die, 2 ten sided dice(one is a percentile die), 12 sided die, 6 sided die. (if your audience needs to ask this question, they aren't the customer you are looking for. please more along. we know someone that is going to try - again - to sell pop-o-matic dice on Kickstarter. give your money away to him)
What makes these special? These dice have numbers on them replaced with symbols, most of which were chosen at random except the d20 which replaced the 1 with a skull to represent a critical fail. The six if i can manage it will replace all numbers with symbols or if the render is chosen with numerals. (which means they will be total useless in game. Woot!) 
Now for the fun part: The render I have was for my original design and several people liked it, but last try only hit about 50% of goal, so i decided to change it up a bit this time. I have a color table from Q-Workshop showing several body and numbers colors. So you will have a choice this time. I have a secondary set of symbols picked but since I cannot afford a second render($150) I am using the original render to give you an idea of what kind of quality and all we are looking at. So in this project at the end I will send out a survey asking whether the render should be made, or if a different color set and symbols should be used! If you like parts of both symbol sets, tell me which ones you like and then I will tally the results and the dice with the highest votes get made. But what if there is a tie on certain aspects? Well I shall then work to reach a middle ground and send the survey with that to see if it is yay or nay. (oh my fucking God - even f this funds it will never be completed)  
I laid the foundation, but you guys get final say in this creation! Also please remember this is an all or nothing site so there is no need to cancel pledges unless you cannot afford your pledge. Below are the alternate symbols and color chart. I will also do these in updates to tidy it up a bit. (guess what. no chart either. maybe the chart and the video were too smart to stick around) 
Also one final note: There will be a project for individual dice starting with the d6. After this renders set I will simply have someone draw the rough idea. These will be small projects usually around $500 maybe a bit more or less. (because more projects will give me street cred in the RPG community) They will be 50 units of the dice. However Another branch of Soulcraft Games is talking about doing this. (there's more than one branch? WTF? )  More information on this to come.
And the last reminder I wish to offer: to people thinking these dice are too expensive. This set for 1 set from Q-Workshop without a 100 set minimum is $40 a die....or $280 dollars. Just thought i should address that issue here. (okay - but it's custom FOR YOU. It's not custom made for the rest of us) 
Oh One final thing, I will try to have the color chart Q-Workshop gave me up soon, I just either have to find it or request a new one (uhr?) 
Risks and challenges 
I am simply making dice. (actually, no you aren't. Q-Workshop is) The biggest risk here is delays with getting the dice made and art made. (which is the whole project if I'm not mistaken. Where's that street cred going to be?) After all the company making them for me are overseas. If this does occur I will try to do something to make it up to my backers and will keep you posted every step of the way. (I may back for a buck, just for the updates)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Day Two of OSR Christmas - "And Five will INHERIT Bundles (Print & PDF)"



Is it really Day Two of OSR Christmas? Yep, it is! heh

Day One kicked off two days ago and there is a prize I must award here at The Tavern:

GM Tim - email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing and I'll get that $10 RPGNow GC to you.

So, what is today's OSR Christmas Offering?

Mischief Inc is offering FIVE Print and Play bundles of The Inheritance, an introductory / 1st level adventure for the OSR ruleset of your choice. It comes in at 40 pages.

How do you get your chance for one of these bundles?

Simple. Go to the Mischief Inc forums. Register an account so you can post in this thread. Say something to the effect that "I'd surely love a copy for OSR Christmas." You have a week to enter, so don't wait too long.

Oh, and if comment on this very post here at The Tavern, you'll have a chance to snag another $10 RPGNow GC. Entries close for the GC when the next OSR Christmas Post goes live on Sunday.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tavern Chat Tonight - 930 PM Eastern - Don't Say You Weren't Notified ;)

Yep. It's Thursday, which means tonight is another Tavern Chat.

Tonight's topics will be - whatever we wan't them to be. I'm sure OSR Christmas will be on the list. OSR Santa has been good so far this year - have you?

What is Tavern Chat? It's that chat box to the right we hang out it once a week :)


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

12 Days of OSR Christmas is LIVE! - Big Dragons and Not So Small Hobbits - Oh My!


Yes, what you've all been waiting for is here! The 12 Days (or more) of OSR Christmas has started!

If you wish to participate and possibly receive a gift, you must closely follow the instructions on each OSR Christmas post as they occur (roughly every two days.)

Here's the instructions for Day One:

1 - Make a comment on THIS BLOG POST for your chance to win a $10 RPGNow Gift Certificate. Comments open until sometime Friday.

2 - Make a comment over at the SAVE VS DRAGON BLOG (New Big Dragon Games / +Richard LeBlanc ) Actually, make several comments over the next 2 weeks. This is what Rich is doing:
"First, I'll be giving away 12 print copies of the Creature Compendium. I'll be giving away 1 copy away each day; 10 of the 12 will be open to US recipients only, 1 of the 12 will be open to Canadian residents only, and the final copy will be open to any location in the world except the US or Canada. Each print recipient will get a PDF copy as well. 
Second, I'll be giving away 12 PDFs of the Basic Psionics Handbook; again, I'll be giving away 1 copy each day. "
3 - Make a comment (and follow the instructions carefully) over at the HALFLING'S LUCK BLOG ( Barrel Rider Games / +James Spahn ) This is what James is doing:
"Here's what's up for grabs: 
Class Compendium (for use with Labyrinth Lord) (hardcover)
White Box Omnibus (for use with Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox) (hardcover)
White Box Omnibus (two of them!, for use with Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox) (softcover)
White Star: White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying (hardcover)
White Star: White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying (two of them!) (softcover) 
But if you want to win, you're going to have to earn it this year! You can only win once and you can only win one product! Here's how ya win: Comment on this blog post with why hobbits or ewoks are the best races to ever grace the pages of fantasy literature and sci-fi film. It's not a contest, but I want to know that folks read the post and didn't just blindly comment. Those who follow these simple rules will be eligible to win.
 4 - Good luck to all!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

"OZ to US" Aussie Gamer Photoblog looking to Raise Money for GaryCon Visit


Heath Farden is an Aussie. He's looking to go to GaryCon and basically bring it to life for those of us that won't be able to make it (which includes Rach and me - one trip a year, and for us that NTRPG Con.)

I'd love to go to GaryCon but it just doesn't fit our schedule, so if there was a skilled photographer that was also a huge old school gamer that could attend, that might just be what we need. It won't stop +Doug Kovacs from mercilessly reminding us at NTRPG Con every year about how much we need to get to GaryCon but from what I can tell, not much stops Doug at all ;)

Need more background on Heath before considering backing his GoFundMe? Here's Heath in his own words:
If I am able to raise enough to make it to Gary Con, anyone (and I do mean anyone) who contributes will receive a nice little folder full of high res photos of my trip over there.  I intend to capture the spirit of gaming via photography.  Anyone who wants to contribute a substantial amount can AMTDA (Ask Me To Do Anything) (within reason of course).  You could ask me to take a photo of a game at the highest point here in Adelaide!  You could ask me to send you a postcard via snail mail!  You could ask me to find someone from your State / Territory / Provence / Country here in Adelaide!  You could ask me to share some Christmas cheer with a complete stranger!  You could have me play in one of your games at Gary Con!  You could…. Well you get the idea! 
Ok, so now you are probably wondering a little bit more about me.  Who I am and why I want to do this.  Well let me tell you! 
My name is Heath Farnden, and I am, amongst other things, a gamer and a photographer.  I’m an Aussie and I have travelled some of the world, but have not been to the US… yet.
BTW, that $5k is actually about $3,600 American. Honest numbers. Come next paycheck I'll toss in a few coppers myself. Of course, I may ask for a photo of the site for the yet to be built Gygax Memorial...





Monday, December 7, 2015

So, Anyone Find Updates on the Gygax Memorial Fund Site That I Missed?

We were promised that, at the very least, the Tax Returns for 2013 and 2014 would be posted at the Gygax Memorial Fund before the end of last week - assuming the web master had time. Guess there wasn't any time.

Folks are still listed as affiliated with the fund that don't recall being affiliated with the fund. I would have assumed that to be an easy fix.

So, did I miss something? Has it been updated? The responses weren't much in the form of answers but that's what happens when lawyers apparently prepare them.

Do we need a new definition of transparency?

OSR Christmas to Kick Off This Wednesday - Need a Volunteer or Two from the Gifters



Yeah, in less than 48 hours we are going to kick off OSR Christmas. Which means December 9th. Wow.

Current game plan is for a new gift / set of gifts to go up every 2 days or so, with some exceptions (yes, +Richard LeBlanc , this means you and the plethora of gifts you have for the community.)

Remember, if those gifting have a website, they are going to host their own giveaway - The Tavern is just going to give directions. Allow folks 1 day or 1 week to make a comment and enter, the choice is that of the gifter.

For those hoping to get lucky and snag a gift - you need to comment on the relevant post at the site giving away the gifts to have a chance. On each of those 12 days The Tavern will be giving away a $10 RPGNow gift certificate and maybe more - that you'll be entered for by commenting on the relevant Tavern post.

For those that are gifting - I know a 2 day warning is short, but I do need a volunteer for Dec 9th and one for Dec 11th. Email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing if either day is good for you. First to volunteer for either date gets it - I'll work on the schedule for the rest of the month on Friday in all likelihood. I'll send you an email confirmation before i head to work tonight if you are confirmed for the 9th or the 11th.

The Tavern's linking post to the individual gifting sites will go up in the afternoon of the day(s) in question. I ask the gifters to send me a link to their post so I can send the Christmas Carolers your way.

Alright, nap time before work tonight...


Sunday, December 6, 2015

State of the Tavern - Long Hours, Shorter Work Weeks and Non-Work Productivity

Adding some inspiration ;)


I see I just had 10 posts last week. For some, they would be a huge number. For me, that's tied for my lowest weekly post total in the past year plus. The other weeks are 10/19 - 10/26/14 (10) and 08/23 - 08/30/15 (10). I'm sure +Charles Akins has the stats for my posting decrease for the last half of 2015 compared to the last half of 2014.

The new work hours (overnights) are a huge cause of that decrease. It's just hard to be productive when you work from 930pm to 6am (not counting overtime) and sleep from 7am until whenever (plus naps - I LOVE naps these days.)

So, I'm going to attempt to be more productive during my non-working days off. How am I going to do that? Instead of holding off and running all my time come mid March, I am going to do a four day weekend every other week until the end of March or early April - and then run the remaining time off to carry me over to retirement. It delays when I actually stop working but allows me to regain some sanity in the meantime.

I'm designating Fridays for productive time, as I owe my blog readers and my Patreon backers gaming content. Friday is the only day in the week that is completely my own. Well, except for Christmas and New Years coming up, which the family are going to grab, but I'm off Christmas week so I'll designate an earlier day in the week for creative time.

Besides, I grabbed a new collection of stock art (fatgoblingames.com). Uploading it to my phone for inspiration during the down time at work. 1 am until 5 am gets pretty quiet ;)






50% off Lesser Gnome PDFs - 40% off Lesser Gnome Minis

A portion of the proceeds are 'donated' to Tenkar's Unregulated Slush Fund Celebrating Gaming ;)


Minis come unpainted. Results not typical. Gnomes may smell. PDFs will not smell+Zach Glazar smells less than he used to.