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Saturday, February 13, 2016

What Updates Do We Have about the Gygax Memorial Fund?

Remember when the hornets' nest was kicked at end of last November? Gail Gygax graciously offered to answer and address the community's questions and concerns about the Gygax Memorial Fund.

Now, maybe I've missed some answers over the last 2 1/2 months. With my current work schedule, that isn't out of the realm of possibilities. Here's the updates I've found:

Updated for the last 2 years of filing. Prior to the questions being raised, only tax returns through 2012 were posted although 2013 could be found elsewhere online (and I profusely thank The Tavern's Community for finding the 2013 return when they did)

One of the bigger questions, at least in my eyes, was how people got their names on the below page, especially after talking to a few who had NO IDEA they were linked to the fund.



After our questions, the page now looks like this:


I expected a purge of some names and titles. This was actually surprising. I have no doubt the new page is an accurate accounting of those actively involved in the Gygax Memorial Fund.

Now, the webstore still has no products in stock, The Tower of Gygax is still blank and the FAQ still lack questions and answers, but there has been some progress. As far as I can tell, there is still no "recent news" but maybe one of my readers has something they've stubbled across.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Tweaking The Tavern Don't Come Cheap ;)

So, as I listened to the latest Roll For Initiative Podcast - yes, the one I was a guest on - I heard Vince talk about podcasts that shill their Amazon webstore, and what point does it become too much?

I've had Amazon ads at The Tavern off and on, and in truth, they really haven't been the most effective. Not sure why, as Amazon is THE online retailer, but I have my suspicions.

I suspect many folks think you need to purchase one of the highlighted product to help the podcast / blog / whatever, but it isn't the case. Just like RPGNow referral sales, just going through the link and making any purchase kicks back to the site.

Now, as many of you know (and many others probably don't) most of the monies from Patreon and RPGNow referral sales get kicked back to the community at large. About 30-40% (the numbers change monthly) of the Patreon monies received in support of The Tavern go right back to supporting other Patreons. Random giveaways (especially of RPGNow GCs) have been a Tavern hallmark, and there should be one or two coming up before the month is out. The rotating Tavern banners highlighting different artists in our community? Some were donated, some were purchased. There's a little over $1,100 in art for your enjoyment in that rotation and I'm always looking to add more. We're sponsoring a room for The Tavern's community, bloggers and podcasters at NTRPG Con 2016- that was $600. This all couldn't have happened without the generosity of all of you, and I thank you.

Of course, there's always more that could be done ;)

In any case, I've put up a link to Amazon on the right side of this page. If you can think of nothing else to support with your Amazon purchases (I support St Jude's, which is way more worthy than The Tavern) please consider using the link provided. It's an easy way to support The Tavern doing something you're probably already doing.


Adding Mythmere Games to the Tabs Above (and other "Old School" News)

It's about time for me to add Mythmere Games to the tabs above. For those that might not have realized it, I'm a HUGE Swords & Wizardry fan. If you are looking for the S&W Core rules or White Box rules in PDF this is the place to snag them for free. Heck, White Box can even be found in RTF format, so you can edit and house rule to your heart's content. How cool is that?

Now, +Matt Finch has put out a "call to arms" to old school publishers and purveyors of stock art in the NTRPG Con Community on Facebook. I'm just adding my voice to the frequency to get the message out. Message Matt via Facebook or G+ if you're interested. As he says, it will be a confidential conversation.


Don't ask me details...



Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern - Be There or Be Not

Yep, it's another Tavern Chat tonight!

Last week it was a Who's Who of the OSR dropping in to say "hello". Tonight? Who knows?

How do you drop in yourself?

See the Tavern Chat window on the right hand side? Log in using the social media service of your choice and join the chat.

See you then!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

OD&D Supplement II: Blackmoor (0e) in PDF for 5 Bucks on RPGNow


OD&D Supplement II: Blackmoor (0e) is a mere 5 bucks in PDF on RPGNow. If you've ever wanted to see where the hobby had it's beginnings, you've never had a better chance than now.

I may pick this up just to save wear and tear on my dead tree copy...

Join Vince, Tim Brannan and Myself on the Latest Episode of the Roll For Initiative Podcast!


Hey! I was on the Roll For Initiative Podcast! (follow the link to download the episode)

If I have to say so myself, I think this was an excellent episode ;)

(details are as follows - ripped for the RFI website)

Join Vince this week as he is joined by two special guests from the gaming community to chat about the various topics that are seen on Facebook and talked about in the gaming community.

Special Guests:

Timothy Brannan, writer and blogger of the Otherside blog
Erik Tenkar, Blogger of Tenkar’s Tavern.

Topics:

Dungeon Mastering?
– Is charging for seats in a local game (none conventions) fair or just greedy?
– charging to teach newbies how to play and be a DM?

Patreon/Kickstarters?
– playing a simple AD during a podcast is enough, but asking and throwing in plugs more then once is that over doing it?
– Are Kickstarters hurting the hobby or helping?

Buying Books?
– Amazon vs Local Store

Forums vs Social media platforms?
– Which is more helpful vs less informative
– Which encourages more interaction and thoughtful comments?

(and White Star - there must be White Star)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

How Long Before Hasbro Buys Out OneBookShelf?

How long before Hasbro buys out OneBookShelf? Sure, it's a question that can't be answered yet, but it is an interesting thought.

All of WotC's digital products are being sold through OBS (except it's VTT products, which are on Fantasy Grounds - that's a whole 'nother post)

At this point, WotC / Hasbro is the dominant publisher on OBS and the Dungeon Master's Guild is going to lead to a HUGE amount of licensed D&D 5e products. That glut has the potential to seriously tilt the online market towards 5e if it hasn't already. Assuming a limited pool of money to be spent by consumers on RPG products, the Dungeon Master's Guild can seriously drain that pool.

When does it become more profitable for Hasbro to own it's online distributor for it's PDF releases?

What does this mean for the smaller publishers?

When the Dungeon Master's Guild was announced, most of the fear I heard was "it's going to be the D20 era again, with a few gems hidden in piles of dung." Now, I think the fear should be for the market shift and the potential harm to publishers that aren't in the DM's Guild Market (which has huge restrictions and lack of ownership - again, another future post)

The last event that had this much influence on online distributing of RPG products came with the RPGNow / DriveThruRPG merge. Was that merge good for consumers and small publishers? I truthfully don't know, but less competition rarely benefits those spending the cash.

Now, has the current trend benefiting WotC / Hasbro and has it boosted D&D 5e? Is it adding dollars to the coffers of OBS? Of course to all. The question is: What is the long term cost to the hobby?




Some New Gear for StarSlinger

Hey guys, it's +James Spahn  again. Wanted to throw out some more StarSlinger stuff your way. So here's some cybernetics, weapons, armor and equipment. Hope you like it.


Cybernetics
Palm Shuffler: This enhancement can be installed into a cybernetic hand. A small chamber inside the cybernetic hand stores a single deck of cards which can be shuffled and dispensed at the character's mental command. These can be (and often are) modified to shuffle the cards in a fashion that ensures that specific cards are dealt to specific players. Because of this, the gamblers who use them are regarded with particular distrust. They do not count against a character's normal limit on cybernetic enhancements.

Dead Eye: This large, bulky modification to the a cybernetic eye is obvious to anyone who sees it, typically appearing as a single goggle-like cover over one of the character's eyes. It is typically colored red, though others are possible. Characters with this modification have a +1 to all ranged “to-hit” rolls.

Lasso Launcher: A coiled cable of highly flexible steel mesh is installed into a character who already has both a cybernetic arm and cybernetic hand. At the character's command, a length of this cord can spring forth already knotted in a lasso. If the character declares they are using a lasso before initiative is rolled during combat, they receive a +1 bonus to initiative.

Knuckleduster: These are little more than retactable metal studs installed into the knuckles of a cybernetic hand. The character must already have a cybernetic hand to make use of knuckledusters. They grant a +1 bonus to all unarmed melee damage and do not count against a character's normal limit on cybernetic enhancements.

Internal Holster: A portion of the character's cybernetic leg is hollowed out, allowing for a retractable holster to be installed. This holster can hold pistols and other one-handed weapons. Some characters even store daggers or other small melee weapons in them. The character must already have at least one cybernetic leg to receive this modification. These are often used to conceal weapons, but do not count against a character's normal limit on cybernetic enhancements.

Hand Laser: Similar to a Lasso Launcher, this modification for a cybernetic hand allows the character to fire a laser beam from their index finger if this is installed. This does the same damage as a laser pistol. Larger versions of this can be installed, doing damage as a laser rifle, though these larger modifications are obvious. Hand lasers require an energy cell, and large hand lasers consume energy cells twice as fast as normal and are capable of only ten shots before the cell must be replaced.

Teetotaler's Filter: Characters with cybernetic modification cannot get drunk, no matter how much alcohol they consume. They also receive +1 to all saving throws made to resist poisons.

Counter's Computer: This small chip is installed at the base of the character's neck, easily concealed by a human's hair. It allows the character to count cards without error as well as perform basic mathematical equations instantly.

Weapons
Buckstar: Similar to Star Swords, these are heavy handles (often of ivory) that cause a short broad bladed blade of laser energy to spring to life. They do not do as much damage a Star Sword, but are still quite deadly. Any character capable of wielding a Star Sword can use a Buckstar.

Electro-Lasso: Favored by those who herd cattle and atomic bovines, these long cords of flexible metal mesh can be used to restrain and subdue creatures large and small. Once a target has been roped (see below), the attacker can activate a small power cell which causes target to suffer the listed damage.  Robots suffer double damage from the charge of an electro-lasso.




Plasma Shotgun: These double-barreled monstrosities are short ranged and brutal. Their long barrels are often sawed down to make the weapon more concealable at the expense of a shortened range. They fire a massive blast of white-hot plasma that does extraordinary damage, but are only capable of two shots before requiring a new power cell.

Boomer's Rang: These appear to be truncated boomerangs, but when thrown two small laser beams (similar to the full length blades of a Star Sword) spring to life, making this a deadly weapon. After being thrown the attacker must roll a d20 and score equal to or under his Dexterity ability score. If successful, the weapon returns to the attacker's hand whether or not the attack misses.

Armor
Atomic Duster: Made from the hide of atomic bovines, these dusters can be worn over light or medium armor and provide some minor additional protection. These long, bovine leather coats are often dyed black or brown for style. Any character who is able to wear light armor can wear an Atomic Duster. It can be combined with the benefits of light armor, medium armor or shields, but not with heavy armor.

Equipment
Peacemaker Pack: This special cylindrical energy cell can only be used in laser pistols and laser rifles. These laser weapons require special modification to even accept the Peacemaker Packs, which costs 25% of the weapon's purchase price. Peacemaker Packs draw enormous amounts of energy to fire deadly, but short ranged blasts. They are expended after six shots and any weapon using a Peacemaker Pack has its range reduced by one-half. However, the weapon receives a +2 bonus to damage.

Melee Weapon Damage Cost Weight
Buckstar 1d6+2 75 credits 2 lbs
Eletro-Lasso 1d6 50 credits 3 lbs

Ranged Weapons
Damage
Rate of Fire
Ammo Capacity
Range
Cost
Weight
Boomer's Rang
1d6+2
1
40 feet
35 credits
2 lbs
Plasma Shotgun
3d6
1
2
30 feet
175 credits
10 lbs

Armor
AC [AAC]
Cost
Weight
Atomic Duster
-1 [+1]
15 credits
10 lbs

Equipment
Weight
Cost
Peacemaker Pack
0.5 lbs
20 credits

Head 'em Up

When a character attacks with a regular lasso or electro-lasso they can attempt to disable a target. If the attack roll is successful, the target must make a saving throw. If the saving throw is failed, the target is unable to move or attack for one round. Each following round, the attacker can choose to maintain their grip and the target may make a new saving throw to slip free. Attempting to break free is extraordinarily difficult, requiring the defender to roll a d20 and add their Strength ability score modifier. If this is successful, they have broken the lasso. The defender is free and the lasso is destroyed. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Free Time isn't so Free (and other time sinks)

It's not a huge secret that I'm nearing my service retirement. Twenty years in law enforcement isn't quite the same as many other professions - my mother wanted me to have an "office job" out of college ;)

I've accumulated a large amount of time off over the last year or two and I've been slowly using it to ease myself into "non active status" at the end of March which will lead to actual retirement this summer. Damn quick twenty years on one level, slow as all hell last year on so many others.

You would think having some three day and four day weekends would lead to more productivity on the posting and game writing side and it has in short bursts, but overall it hasn't, as my 5 y/o niece has decided that uncle being off for long weekends means more time for sleepovers and "Uncle / Pinkie" time. She's already told me that when I retire, Uncle / Pinkie day will be on Fridays - pick her up from her parents', lunch at the pub, walk the dog at the park, watch some Spongebob, make a fort out of the bed, wait for auntie to come home from work, sleepover and take her home Saturday afternoon. Yes, all that in one breath and without writing down a list.

She was over yesterday and decided to make it a sleepover. Tomorrow into Wednesday? You guessed it. Another sleepover. Thank God her mother is a published writer and Shannon understands the process. She just doesn't understand it as it applies to Uncle.

I'm in trouble.

If we've spoken and I owe you something, I'm working on it as time (and work and niece) allows. The next two things I want to get short reviews / overviews up for are +James Spahn 's The Hero's Journey and The Black Hack (I'm in possession of the PDF from the current Kickstarter)

Ah well, back to work tonight...


Kickstarter - Baby Bestiary Volume 2 & Vol. 1 Reprint



Art. I'm a sucker for good art in an RPG product. The art in the original Baby Bestiary wasn't just good, it was inspiring. The associated text reminded me of the ecology series of articles in Dragon Magazine, complete with hooks hidden within the text. But to be honest, I've sent most of my time with the original Baby Bestiary just looking at the art. Quite simply, it's amazing and evocative.

Which means my only question with the new Baby Bestiary Volume 2 & Vol. 1 Reprint Kickstarter is: do I get Volume 2 as a stand alone, or do I opt for the slipcase?

Did I mention it's systemless? From OSR to 5e, you should be able to find use for this in game.

Here's what will be in Volume 2:





Sunday, February 7, 2016

I Was a Guest Host on Roll For Initiative Earlier Today


See those new tabs up above? One is for +Dyson Logos ' blog and the other is for the Roll for Initiative Podcast. I just happened to guest on the RFI episode recorded this afternoon along with +Timothy Brannan (The Otherside Blog) and show regular +Vincent Florio . We had a blast. One of the topics was nothing other than RPG Kickstarters. I bet you can't guess the angle I took. No, really. I bet you cant. Heh!

The episode should get released midweek, so I'll update everyone when it lands. I've missed podcasting and expect to be getting much more involved come March / April in Podcast Land ;)


Of Tabs and Links and Other Sordid Details...

It was suggested to me, not without good reasoning behind it, that I should monetize the "Tabs" you see right below the header art. It was a reasonable suggestion and oh so tempting, but it's not to be.

You see, the issue for me it is becomes an endorsement for something or someone that I might not be that huge a fan of. Selling my integrity (what there is of it - I do have ads here at The Tavern, they help keep the lights on, especially as I transition into retirement) for 10 bucks a month (or whatever the pricing) seems  - whorish, to say the least.

That being said, there will be new tabs added of the special friends I've made over my years of blogging in the OSR. This will happen over the next few days. Yes, I endorse them. No, none of them asked for me to add a link or a tab to their site. Yes, they are cool folks and they produce awesome content.

Some tabs may be more or less temporary (if I ad any Kickstarters, they will by nature be temporary). Check them out. You never know what you may find.

(I may in the future install "drop down tabs". This currently requires more programming knowledge than I have neither time nor desire to learn, but it would be neat)