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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Introducing "The Common Room" - Where Publishers, Bloggers, Podcasters and the Rest of the OSR Meet



Alright, I've set up an embedded forum for the use of publishers, bloggers, podcasters - basically a place for anyone active or who wants to be active in the OSR or the RPG hobby beyond that.

The Common Room is the place where publishers can find folks ready to review their works, bloggers and podcasters can find publishers looking to donate products for giveaways and a one stop shop for sales postings (hint - bloggers, you can share out the sales when they get posted if you think it would interest your readers)

The Common Room is a community resource. Use it. Share it. Link to it.

As stated in this morning's post, The Common Room has the following forums (and a few more just for good measure):
- A forum for publishers to introduce themselves and their products / product lines and give contact information. Publishers would list each product they would like to receive reviews for as separate posts in their thread.  
- A forum for blogs to introduce themselves and their blog. How often do you do reviews? How often do you post? You could list links to your prior reviews, if any, in this initial post. Contact information would be helpful to publishers here. Follow up posts linking each review completed through the use of the forum.  
- A forum for podcasters to introduce themselves and their podcasts. How often do you do reviews? How often do you release episodes? You could list links to your prior reviews, if any, in this initial post. Contact information would be helpful to publishers here. Follow up posts linking each review completed through the use of the forum.  
- A forum for completed reviews. As each review gets done and posts, this would be the master list. 
Once a week I'd do a summary posts of the reviews completed here at The Tavern. It would probably follow the following format to some extent: 
For the week of April 6th through April 12th, the following reviews were completed via The Common Room Review Program:  
- My OSR Blog (linked) reviewed The Deepest Deadly Dungeon (RPGNow Link) (Table Top Library Link) (Lulu Link) (Open Gaming Store Link) (etc link) released by Damn Fine Games (linked). The Deepest Deadly Dungeon is an adventure for levels 1 to 8 using the Swords & Wizardry rules but suitable for all OSR gaming.  
There would be a permanent link to both the weekly review summary posts as well as the Common Room Forums in the tabs on top of the main Tavern Page. If we could commission a graphic for the program, I'd also place it on the right sidebar and other blogs / podcasts / publisher sites could do the same if the wished.

As an aside, if a publisher or blog thinks that they need a forum of their own, reach out to me and we'll try to make it work. For some of the larger publishers or blogs that do many reviews, this might work better.


Working on a Place for Bloggers, Podcasters and Publishers to Meet to Arrange Reviews

As I mentioned in the comments of last night's Open Letter to the Various Online PDF & Print RPG Stores there really needs to be a place for bloggers, podcasters and publishers to meet, greet and arrange for reviews to happen.

It occurred to me as I was laying in bed last night that I have something here at The Tavern that could facilitate such a virtual location - a forum.

What? The Tavern has a forum? Yep, unused these days as it really didn't have much of a purpose when I set a page up for it but now I think we have a purpose. I'm going to rework the forum this weekend.

Here's how I'm currently thinking this will work ("this" being whatever we decide to call this community meeting place - currently called "The Common Room")
- A forum for publishers to introduce themselves and their products / product lines and give contact information. Publishers would list each product they would like to receive reviews for as separate posts in their thread. 
- A forum for blogs to introduce themselves and their blog. How often do you do reviews? How often do you post? You could list links to your prior reviews, if any, in this initial post. Contact information would be helpful to publishers here. Follow up posts linking each review completed through the use of the forum. 
- A forum for podcasters to introduce themselves and their podcasts. How often do you do reviews? How often do you release episodes? You could list links to your prior reviews, if any, in this initial post. Contact information would be helpful to publishers here. Follow up posts linking each review completed through the use of the forum. 
- A forum for completed reviews. As each review gets done and posts, this would be the master list.
Once a week I'd do a summary posts of the reviews completed here at The Tavern. It would probably follow the following format to some extent:
For the week of April 6th through April 12th, the following reviews were completed via The Common Room Review Program
- My OSR Blog (linked) reviewed The Deepest Deadly Dungeon (RPGNow Link) (Table Top Library Link) (Lulu Link) (Open Gaming Store Link) (etc link) released by Damn Fine Games (linked). The Deepest Deadly Dungeon is an adventure for levels 1 to 8 using the Swords & Wizardry rules but suitable for all OSR gaming. 
There would be a permanent link to both the weekly review summary posts as well as the Common Room Forums in the tabs on top of the main Tavern Page. If we could commission a graphic for the program, I'd also place it on the right sidebar and other blogs / podcasts / publisher sites could do the same if the wished.

In the end, it's all about community.

So, give me your feedback. Yay or nay? Suggestions? Too much? Too little? Is there something that could really make this pop?

Friday, March 25, 2016

An Open Letter to the Various Online PDF & Print RPG Stores

The other day on social media I mentioned that retailer XXX doesn't give a shit about blogs in the RPG hobby. I stand by those words but they need some further explanation.

Back in the "way back", when a Mr. Fannon was Community Director (or whatever title) at a certain online RPG store, he had a program in place for bloggers and their blogs (possibly podcasters too, but I can't say for sure) Those blogs that applied and got approved were given "featured reviewer" status so that they would get access to review copies of gaming products (reviews were then posted on said blogs), which was (and still is) cool. More importantly, they were given products and store credit to give away on their blogs to their readers.

Holy shit. Giving away free stuff on blogs would be beneficial to online stores and the publishers that sell through them? Say it isn't so!

Publishers see the benefit of giving away free stuff via blogs. Hell, I organize an OSR Christmas every year were publishers (and gamers), not retailers, donate gifts to the gaming community. Their generosity is humbling. I make an announcement and those that want to give, give.

What about the online stores? Nope. Why? Probably because even the biggest blogs aren't seen to drive enough traffic to justify the effort (the expense is minimal)

The thing is, the copies or credit given out to the community benefits both the blog and the retailer. The blog gets traffic and the retailer gets folks following links to products that they have for sale. Oh, and some lucky reader gets free shit.

Strangely enough, I'm not frustrated for The Tavern, as we do enough traffic and affiliate sales to give away store credit on our own. Giving back to the community we're all a part of is fun. Really.

I'm frustrated for the smaller blogs and the newer blogs that have great content and ideas and just need a little push to get more eyes on them. The Tavern was small and new itself at one time and it's success was certainly due in part to Mr. Fannon's program. Of that, I have no doubt.

To the new kid on the block, Table Top Library, I suggest you reach out to the blogs in the OSR and beyond and put together a program that will benefit them, you, their readers and your potential customers.

For the old kid on the block, I suggest you look to the past for ways to expand your reach and goodwill within the gaming community.

We are in a new era of online sales to our hobby. Competition may soon have an effect on the current monopoly, and blogs and even podcasts may be the means to reach out to new customers and maintain old customers, all while strengthening the online community that makes those purchases in the first place.

Stepping off my soapbox.

Tenkar

What do You Get When a Lesser Gnome Joins Forces With a Frog God?


Today appears to be a day for announcements.

In case you missed the post on Facebook from a little while ago, +Zach Glazar , he of Lesser Gnome Games, the man behind Whisper & Venom, has joined Frog God Games as a partner. May God have mercy on their souls ;)

Here's the announcement from +Matt Finch
Introducing the newest Frog of Frog God Games
We're proud to announce that Zach Glazar of Lesser Gnome Games has decided to carry the banner of the Frog Gods forward as one of us. Zach is becoming a partner in Frog God, and bringing a wide array of skills to the company. We've known Zach for years, and been deeply impressed by the products he has developed, including Death and Taxes and Whisper & Venom. The amount of labor, quality, and creativity in Zach's products is outstanding, and he's going to be a powerhouse member of the team.
Awesome news for the OSR. Congrats Zach!

The Future of Old School Quarterly - The Future is Now



Regular readers of The Tavern shouldn't be surprised I've been closely following the progress of Old School Quarterly. It's a project that is close to my heart as I'm supposed to supply +Jason Paul McCartan with a series of Kickstarter related articles. Alas, my work schedule was preventing such from bearing fruit and Jason had a series of events on his side that slowed progress on OSQ but now the planets have aligned, signs and portents have been interpreted and the wind is blowing from the proper direction. 

What I'm saying is, OSQ is a "thing".

Fuck it, let me just quote Jason - and go to the Original Post at OldSchoolQuarterly to get the pretty post will all the snazzy links and pics.

So, it’s about time that we updated everyone on what’s happening with OSQ, because we’ve been far too silent on the subject (mostly because we’ve been getting everything all sorted out and making it right – this takes time).

Over the past year there’s been some illness and a bunch of other things going on, including InfiniBadger Press, the publisher of OSQ evolving into the next phase of its growth. We also dropped the ball on the original release plans for OSQ due to scheduling issues and a number of other things. Mea culpa.

The time wasn’t right for OSQ to really be developed and released.

The time is right now, though.

So, what’s changed?

Well, for starters, there really is no other ongoing magazine publication catering to the old school gaming community any more, as Gygax Magazine ceased publishing back in January. This leaves an opportunity to step up and take its place and fill the gap. There’s a huge zine movement for other games, but there’s no real magazine-style publication that caters to multiple games at the same time available right now. There have been plenty of other publications that have also ceased publishing or reduced publishing over the past few years.

Secondly, our short term and long term business operations and objectives are now established and aligned. Most small businesses survive their first two years of business and about half make it to the five year mark, but a lot of that depends on the individual industry. InfiniBadger Press has been operational for about two years now and has been mildly successful. It’s now time to develop and grow the business, and a multi-year roadmap has been put together to develop a number of unique properties, including this magazine. The waters have been tested, and we know a little about what we want to create and what sells, and how to connect both.

Thirdly, the use of crowdfunding has been shown to be a great way to help support and grow small creators and companies and help them get their products created and released. After some analysis about how best to use this approach, the best way forward to help support the ongoing publication of a quarterly publication is through Patreon, and so, we’ve decided to launch a Patreon campaign to help support the magazine!

The magazine will still use advertising to help support it as well as post-release sales online (here at the OSQ website and many other online stores) and in retail, but the Patreon allows us to offer a more modern take on being a magazine subscriber:

YOU get to choose how long to be a “subscriber”: 1 issue, 2 issues, or more! Simply pledge during the periods you want

Get your digital edition from three different locations:
-the OSQ website
-OneBookShelf’s family of websites
-the InfiniBadger Press website

Get large discounts on the digital and at-cost POD versions of each issue
-$6 for the PDF instead of the final MSRP of  $9.99 
-$12 for the at-cost POD instead of the final MSRP of $19.99. Get a code and buy the physical copy when you’re ready at cost

Upgrade to the POD version at a discounted rate later if you just get the PDF for one issue
Get an additional 36 page supplemental publication called OSQ MORE that’s ONLY available to Patreon backers every issue

Of course, OSQ is still going to be doing things differently from the way traditional magazines do things. Most traditional magazines focus on print first, then digital, most often only printing in specific territories and costing a great deal to ship beyond that overseas. We’re focusing on digital first, then print using POD, allowing you to choose how to receive print copies of the magazine, if you even want to do that – using POD means being able to print near to where you live, and help keep costs down on international shipping. This approach can be called “just in time” printing, because you don’t print it until you want it or need it. By being a “subscriber” through the Patreon, you can even save yourself some money doing that!

Right now we’re updating a couple of the documents and pages including the Issue Zero page,  Submissions Guidelines and the Advertising Kit to include details of the Patreon and the new operations. We’re also setting up our online webstore, where you’ll be able to purchase digital versions of the magazine, as well as be directed out to other sites where you can buy that same issue, such as OneBookShelf, Lulu, and CreateSpace, allowing you to choose where YOU want to receive your digital or print issues from.

The plan is to release the OSQ Issue Zero in Fall 2016, which means an October 2016 release date. We’ll release an issue every quarter after that, with the support of the Patreon, advertisers, and sales of individual issues.

Of course, there are challenges ahead. A lot of business people say that’s magazines are dying because we’re looking at our phones, while a lot of other smart business people say that the publishing paradigm has changed and that we’re in a period of disruption. This means new business models and changes in the way things are done. It means trying out new ways to do things that are customer-centric and innovative. Even when focusing on old school games.

More news and regular updates to come soon. We’ll keep you posted right here at the OSQ blog.

Oh, and consider becoming a patron at Patreon if you want the best deal possible on the upcoming Issue Zero release. You save money, you get extra content, and you don’t have to pay anything until the issue gets released!

Holy bejeezus but +Jason Paul McCartan has a lotta links in there. I'll make it simple for ya'.

Back the Old School Quarterly Patreon - Click here!



Kickstarter - WHAT!? Pencil Dice


Remember the Ken Whitman Kickstarter trend - Pencil Dice? When he needed more cash to fund his various activities he'd crank a new Pencil Dice Project out much like a sexually frustrated teen. Shit, bad imagery there.

In any case, like everything else Ken put's his hands on there was little intention to actually bring the Pencil Dice projects to fruition. The money from the dice projects went to fund his filming projects (Ken said so himself)

This is not those Pencil Dice. This is Pencil Dice. Whereas Ken had pencils pretending to be dice, this project is dice decorated with pencil images.

Lame? Perhaps.

Watch the video.

It's worth it and it's totally a joke that deserves to fund. The Tavern is backing for a full set of 5 Pencil Dice.

Why?

Because this project will complete before anything Ken has on his plate.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9PM Eastern - Your Host May Be Popping in and Out

Maybe I should have chosen a different word than "popping" as part of this post's title, as I've been having stomach issues most of the day. Ah well, at least I didn't have to call out sick from work though I did need to postpone a podcast recording.

Still trying to adjust to a more productive schedule now that time is, in theory at least, on my side.

At least The Tavern is getting more attention. This will make 15 posts so far this week. Now to move on to The Taproom this weekend. Beer. Mmmmm.

So, tonight at 9PM Eastern. We may be moving the chat to a different night in the relatively near future. Thinking of moving it seasonally, just to make is accessible to more readers of The Tavern. I'm also thinking of doing a 9AM chat once a month to accommodate those with various work schedules as well as those across the pond (and further away) The 9AM chat may fall on the weekend, for even more chatting pleasure.

Let me know what you think of the once a month weekend morning chat idea and see y'all tonight.

EverQuest Next Canceled -- "It Wasn't Fun" (EQ and EQ2 Were My Go to MMOs)



Yep, EverQuest Next is no more. Well, actually, it will never be.

Why?

Apparently, "It Wasn't Fun"

Daybreak Games made the announcement on their website today. Who's Daybreak Games? It's the former Sony Online Entertainment. Yes, EverQuest has gone through many hands.

Here's the relevant part of the announcement:
For those familiar with the internals of game development, you know that cancellations are a reality we must face from time to time. Inherent to the creative process are dreaming big, pushing hard and being brutally honest with where you land. In the case of EverQuest Next, we accomplished incredible feats that astonished industry insiders. Unfortunately, as we put together the pieces, we found that it wasn’t fun. We know you have high standards when it comes to Norrath and we do too. In final review, we had to face the fact that EverQuest Next would not meet the expectations we – and all of you – have for the worlds of Norrath.
Ah well. There goes one potential time sink in my retirement. I guess I'll just have to be more productive or something.



Tenkar's Tavern Mid-Week Roundup for Thursday, March 24, 2016

Mid-week roundup is something I'm going to experiment with. I'm guessing it will move to Wednesday's in the future but who knows. Still trying to adjust to "free time" and the day of the week doesn't have as much importance as it used to ;)

What is the mid-week roundup?

Events and interesting posts from our corner of the OSR. Could be links to previous posts here at The Tavern or from other blogs in my "I read their blogs" circle or other stuff that strikes my fancy. Just call me "Mr. Fancypants"

Maps from a Master Mapper

Temple of The Four Gods+Dyson Logos - Dyson's Dodecahedron Blog - multiple levels, multiple goodness. What you see here is just a small peek. Bookmark the page before you forget ;)

White Box - Cyberpunk

Save Vs. Poison Blog - looking to add some cyberpunk to your White Box / White Star game? Look no further. DungeonMastahWieg has you covered. Multiple posts, so read and read deep.

Tavern Patrons, Not The Tavern

+Tim Shorts of the Gothridge Manor blog put together a random table of 6 Tavern Patrons. Being a lover of all things Tavern, I had to share this :)

Kickstarter Drama

Want to read some of the recent Kickstarter related drama for projects long overdue with creators that lie - misspeak without even moving their lips? The Tavern's got you covered. Ken or Tom, the choice is yours.

Bundles of Gaming Joy

OpenQuest 2 and the original WEG Paranoia are being featured on Bundle of Holding. Get OpenQuest 2 to play it and get Paranoia to read it. You wont be sorry in either case.

Hot and Free? It's for me!

The Hero's Journey Fantasy Roleplaying by +James Spahn has been in the #1 best seller spot on RPGNow pretty steadily for the past week and a half. Actually, it only released on March 14th, so it's held on to that spot for it's entire run. Pretty impressive for a Pay What You Want release, as it's my understanding that only copies folks actually pay for are counted towards those sales figures. Grab a copy, see if you like it and if you do, go back and put some coins in the tip jar for James. If you don't like it - well, you risked nothing but your time.

K, that's it for this week's Mid-Week Roundup.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Kickstarter - Myth & Magic Player's Guide - New Update Breaks 13 Months of Silence - Complete With Grumpy Dwarf Commentary



Over 13 months of radio silence on the Myth & Magic Player's Guide Kickstarter. 13 fucking months. Then today, we get two updates (the second was a link to get a no cost PDF of the M&M PG at RPGNow. That link and update are NOT being posted here)

So, why has Tom been silent for over 13 months? Damned if I know. It wasn't addressed. However, if Tom wasn't getting your messages via Kickstarter, it's because they had an old email addy. I kid you not.

Here's the "Backers Only"update from today. I woke up Grumpy to assist and he's in a foul mood. I'd ask you to forgive him ahead of time but he just told me to "fuck off ya lazy sod!" - Tenkar


Update on PG and GMG - 2016



Hi All,

I just wanted everyone to know that I'm still here and Jeff (who the hell is Jeff?) and I are working hard to get a finalized PDF of the GMG to the GMG backers (wait! this shite is STILL hanging? I thought this was ready to be printed years ago! WTF? Who can throw a grumpy dwarf a lifeline and give me an update on this project that's been comatose for a year), as well as to ensure that all backers are shipped their Player's Guides if they ordered one (this is a joke, right? the list of those that aven't received what they paid for is longer the line outside Tom tax office - wait, it's tax season! expect nothing to ship for 3 to 6 months, then not at all) We've had additional setbacks on the GMG side of things but a new artist is trying to wrap it up. Over the last few months though we have made great strides to complete the book. (where were the updates? Nothing since July 2015 on the GM book side of this KS fiasco)

I thought we tackled the shipping issues back in '15 (and 2013 and 2014 - what a load of fooking shite!), but I guess not. After the last round of shipments, the focus shifted to the GMG (sure), but I understand now from a backer (a single backer! more shite!) that I need to look into the orders again and pour through the emails/comments here to see who legitimately needs a PG shipped out. (ack! just from the comments on this update there are 9 10 backers, overseas or those that ordered 4 copies, that never got their shite! I call shenanigans on Tom for being so full of shite that the gas station bathroom would turn him away!)

I changed the settings here on KS to ensure that all emails and notifications go to the right email address now, which was not the case apparently. (The lack of logging in for so long meant KS had a defunct email address - not good and I apologize for that.) (how the fook can ya not log into your KS account if you aven't fullfilled yer fooking KS!?! My God man, we're choking on shite now! it's an excuse written like a lawyer)

The GMG is almost done. We're waiting on the last round of the art before compiling the PDF. (the check's in the mail and I swear she said she's on the pill!)

I know this certainly doesn't stand as a hugely informative and earth-shattering update, but I wanted to simply let everyone know that I'm still here and still working on things, albeit slowly. You should know that. (bloody fucking silence for over a year and a quick stroke job!?!  Ya can explain away being slow as shite. Ya can explain away you failures in shipping. Ya can't explain away 13 months of friggin' silence by "I had a bad email addy, but it's all fixed now. Yep, all done. We're good. No worries. If you didn't get your ghost shipment in 2013 I'll get you now. Carry on." Christ, I need a drink! - Grumpy)

-T

Wherein I Offend & Apologize

Part of the responsibility of having a bully pulpit such as The Tavern is to acknowledge mistakes through actions not completely thought out. It has come to my attention that my previous post has caused distress for some. It wasn't my intention. I was objectively commenting on a product pulled from OBS' virtual shelves (temporarily at the moment) for being flagged as offensive. My suggested solution, half in jest, was to point out the poor choice of wording in the first place.

I had no intention to be insensitive to the horrors of rape, and having personal knowledge of rape survivors (my son's mother was one, God rest her soul) I have seen the pain that never fully heals first hand.

Sometimes being an objective voice lends one to fail to hear the more personal experiences others have had to suffer through.

Where I might not find offense, others may and will and my voice is certainly not more valid than any other in this or any discussion.

As always, The Tavern is open to any who desire to post their thoughtful opinions.

So, Just How Offensive is Alpha Blue?

How offensive is Alpha Blue to my eyes? Not very.

Sure, the subject matter may seem juvenile to me (and I'm going to still run with the tagline Porky's meets Babylon 5 / Deep Space 9) and it might not be something I'd run, but on the offensive meter it doesn't hit the level I'd expected. Alpha Blue does not go to Eleven. Maybe six or a rounded up seven.

Now, while there is a noticeable amount of outrage for the inclusion of the poorly named Rape Machine (easy enough to find as it's listed in the nicely hyperlinked Table of Contents and then sits by it's lonesome on the page you are taken to) the description of the use of the machine is actually fairly tame. I suspect if +Venger Satanis had named in the Unwilling Fuck Machine it would have both fit the setting better AND not have generated the amount of outrage we're seeing.

Hell, maybe the Rape Machine is not what generated the complaint that has temporarily (thus far) removed Alpha Blue from the virtual shelves of OBS. Maybe it was someone offended by The Interstellar Caliphate.

Interstellar Caliphate you say? That is so Politically Incorrect. It's there, over the top, campy and politically incorrect as hell like the rest of Alpha Blue:
According to the Interstellar Caliphate, those who refuse
to submit before the will of Allah are considered infidels
and shall be made to suffer. And suffer they do under the
oppressive, religious imperialism carried out by their
ghazi troopers. 
While the entire faction does not go to such ideological
lengths, the Interstellar Caliphate is full of extremists.
Many of whom believe that if they die in service to their
"holy war", they'll be granted 72 cyber virgins in paradise.
Color me not offended but I'm sure some would be. It is a work of fiction and I suspect no infidels were made to suffer in the writing of this work. Oh, and it's a decent hook for an evil cult. BTW, my great aunt was a Catholic Nun and I wasn't offended by their depiction in Far Away Land, which also went with a humorous approach.

As for the Unwilling Fuck Machine (Trademark Pending) -
Originally built as an automated penetration device, the
templars of a dark god modified it to rape unwilling
subjects. These templars used the device as punishment
for disobedience, but soon the rape unwilling fuck machine
became a public spectacle that satiated their twisted lust for                                           pain and degradation. 
There are certainly templars aboard Alpha Blue - some
probably worship demonic deities. Chances are that one
of those cults will have a rape unwilling fuck machine for
"cleansing the palate".
(edit - we have some formatting issues - live with it ;)

Not there for PC use, it's there as a plot hook. An evil device used by templars of a dark god. Kinda like a sacrificial altar in the fantasy game / dungeon of your choice. No detailed description of how it works. Four simple sentences.

Now rape is and of itself is a four letter word and I'm sure just the word itself is offensive and hurtful to some. I understand that. I do think Half-Orcs in AD&D are far more offensive than this, as Half-Orcs are the result of the forcible rape of another race by an orc. A player race whose whole existence is based on rape. It sure as hell isn't love.

What does offend me in Alpha Blue is the amount of "white space" left unused on many of the pages. Oh, and the women with the 70's hairdos. My God what a painful recollection to have forced on one unwillingly. That which is seen can not be unseen.

I may mine Alpha Blue for some of it's tamer random tables but on the whole it probably won't see much use at my gaming table. I do, however understand the appeal it has for others. Porky's meets Babylon 5 / Deep Space 9 certainly has an audience even if it isn't me.

edit: DungeonMastahWieg - Bingo!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Kickstarter - Rodger Deering's Dungeon Crusade - Book I: Genesis of Evil


If Dungeon Crusade sounds familiar, you're probably a long time reader of The Tavern. This is the third incarnation of Dungeon Crusade, and it is huge.

First, I'm already out as I certainly don't have the table space to hold half this game. It's impressive. Hell, the Rodger Deering's Dungeon Crusade - Book I: Genesis of Evil Kickstarter page is impressive to the point of sensory overkill - there's just too much to read and too many pictures. Yes, too much can be an issue.

As for the video, the sound quality is worse than the video quality shown in this pic. It also clocks in at over 14 minutes. Make your sales pitch and be done.


I like Roger. I've been following the various incarnations of this project for years. His passion for his creation shows vividly.

There are some issues with the current version's funding, like the $25 funding level that offers something that can only be used with the $100 and $150 funding levels. What's up with that?

There are typos and grammatical errors in the KS text. Nothing show stopping but jarring when you compare it to the sheer amount of sample pics for the game. The visual overstimulation makes your eyes seek out simple text for a safety zone. 35 photos of the game board and pieces and at least as many images of cards, stretch goals, characters, game rules... make that at least twice as many. There has to be at least 100 images on the page. Less would certainly be more in this case. I have Fios, so the page loaded fine for me, but if your bandwidth is limited, beware.

Should you back this? God only knows. I have way too many fantasy board games I'll never play already stealing space on my shelves. For Dungeon Crusade I'd need to set aside a whole room...

No More "Deal of the Day" at RPGNow?



The last Deal of the Day email I received was on March 19th. I haven't received an email for such since and the upper right of the RPGNow home page is blank.

Did RPGNow just kill the promotion?

Question for the publishers that use the feature for their products: Did it capture sales and did it help with long term sales? Did it get eyes on your back catalogue?

Bundle of Holding - OpenQuest 2


I'm a huge fan of OpenQuest and have been since I first found the first edition of the rules. Clean, concise with much of the feel of the classic RuneQuest Chaosium rules of old.

I'd be all over this Bundle if I didn't already own it al in PDF (and most of it in print)

The Bonus Collection is just under 20 bucks.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Wizards of Aus - (webseries)


I didn't know what to expect when my Saturday Night Gaming Group drop this link on me. I kinda imagined some weird Wizard of Oz take off.

Not even close.

Funny as hell, decent effects and quality acting.

I'm loving the juxtaposition between the fantasy world and "the real world"

Ah, just watch it. Give the first episode a try. You'll thank me. Probably.

Why You Should be Concerned that Alpha Blue got Temporarily Pulled From OBS



If you read The Tavern you probably already know my opinion of +Venger Satanis 's Alpha Blue. Based upon the blurb alone - juvenile, sexually oriented campy humor done in poor taste - Porkey's meets Deep Space 9 I'd guess. No, never read it. Until last week I didn't have time to read the RPGs I was deeply interested, let alone those I wasn't. It simply wasn't "my bag" as presented, but it did appeal to a sizable audience.

Still, this in no Tournament of Rapists, whose very blurb made it seem like the PCs were supposed to be rapists (yes, the author explained how that perception was wrong but he wrote the very words that led to that perception)

You can't miss the fact that Alpha Blue (dead link for now) is over the top in it's campy portrayal of sex. It doesn't hide the fact. Shit, look at the cover.

It was, however, available on OneBookShelf for MONTHS and sold relatively well (after a successful Kickstarter campaign). Pulling it now for review (and taking up to 2 weeks to review it) seems half assed.

Now, OBS does have an "adult content" filter and I have no idea if Alpha Blue was behind that or not. I generally see their filter at the R rating area - be an adult or let your parent buy it for you section. If it was behind that restriction already and it's been pulled now, I'd be really pissed if I were Venger.

This is not censorship in the "free speech" sort one usually thinks of. OBS is not the government. It is, however a slippery slope and one where I'd prefer the content stay live and a review be conducted expeditiously in the meantime. I suspect on some level the new closeness between OBS and WotC had something to do with this.

Edit - Girls Gone Rogue IS NOT suspended. Go figure.

Mini Review - Albatross Hexbook (Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make me a Map...)

Damn dog! Placed it on the bed for
a minute and she thought it was
a new chew toy ;)
I recently came into possession of an Albatross Hexbook (thanks +Jed McClure ) It is, quite simply, a map maker's joy. Hex map on half the pages, standard grid on the other half. Lines are nice and light so they should fade to the background mostly when used.

I'm going to put this through it's paces when the weather warms up and i spend my mornings in the back yard.

The Albatross Hexbook is $6.95 on Lulu. It's about 6" x 8" in size, 64 pages in total. Simply put, it is what it says on the tin. (and yes, as it is Lulu, wait for a code to appear before buying)
A handy pocket sized notebook with 64 pages of hex and graph paper for sketching out your campaign ideas on the go. The hexes are 1/2 inch and the graph paper is 4 squares to the inch.  since it is saddle-stitched, the notebook can be laid flat.

Monday Morning Kickstarter Update - Conan Conquers A Godbound Drunken Quest for a Classic Screen Folio

One thing I'm guilty of is highlighting Kickstarters, good or bad, and then never returning them to the spotlight, which I think is a shame. Most of the good ones deserve a second look and some of the bad ones certainly have more sacrifices to make to the community on our behalf. The Monday Morning Kickstarter Update should be a weekly feature (although the title itself is subject to change).

Without further ado...

Robert E. Howard's Conan Roleplaying Game - how many 112 page sourcebooks were funded by stretch goals? Fifteen!. If that doesn't get a "Holy Shit!" I don't know what does and it ain't over yet. They're still taking funding at their company website via Paypal and the next book in the stretch goals is none other that the Kull sourcebook. Oh, and you can grab the free Conan Quickstart here.

Classic Edition GM Screen +Richard LeBlanc steps into the crazy world of Kickstarter and it's a beauty. Two screens, reference booklet, class master cards (don't leave home without it), spell record sheets, spell summary booklets and a character record log. Buy in is as low as $7 in PDF for the lot. Seriously, it's a steal. Me? I'm in for 2 sets in print. I'm building a fortress...

Drinking Quest: Journey into Draught - it fucking more Drinking Quest! Do you need to know more than that? Holy shit! I need to run a weekly session online or something. No, seriously. Not that the sessions would be all that serious, but I'm serious.

Godbound: A Game of Divine Heroes+Kevin Crawford . Need I say more? Don't forget to read Kevin's update where he discussing the whole time sink involved in running and completing a Kickstarter. (His previous update is about the funds themselves) It's a good and necessary read for ANYONE looking to run a Kickstarter.

The Folio #8 The Hidden Valoria - I've posted about the previous releases in the Folio series but this one is special. It's actually has Dwarven Forge's stamp of approval and is set in Dwarven Forge's World of Mythras. Yes, THAT Dwarven Forge. If you are looking to get a chance to play in +Stefan Pokorny 's campaign world, here's your chance. The adventure and accompanying material are written for use with AD&D 1e and D&D 5e, so you're covered if you are a regular reader of The Tavern.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Kickstarter - Strange World Cthulhu: Shadow Over Texas (Horror RPG with Amazing Video)

Didn't he play BJ on M.A.S.H.?
Tag line from the video: "Intrigued? Please contribute early and often." How the bloody hell do you contribute "often" to a Kickstarter? Do you need to create multiple accounts? And why the fuck would anyone do so in the first place? Grrrr.

Alright, what else can I say about the Strange World Cthulhu: Shadow Over Texas Kickstarter?

Simply this.

Watch the video.

Start at the beginning, and after the female narrator drones you nearly to sleep, skip ahead to 5:57. Seriously, you can skip the rest. From here, hang on for a thrilling ride. You may need to increase the volume a bit, as Donald Saxman is a soft spoken man. Maybe wear your headphones and crank it to the max. It's not like the end credits haven't had their volume equalized to the rest of this exciting video.

Wait. What about the RPG itself?
Shadow Over Texas is a major new role playing campaign based on monster hunting in Texas in the Roaring Twenties. It is based on the Strange World game engine and is compatible with a variety of game systems including Dungeons and Dragons, Call of Cthulhu, and These Strange Worlds
Yep, simply put, Shadow Over Texas is the swiss army knife of horror RPGs - at least the ones set in Texas in the Roaring 20's with Dark Ones and such.

What's that? You suffered hearing loss by listening to the credits? Fuck dude, it's a horror game. Be glad you didn't lose sanity points...

Print to Play EMAIL?


Looking at the Sanctum Secorum Podcast (DCC RPG Related)


I've been long overdue in highlighting the various podcasts that I listen to and I do listen to a large number (unlike many other podcasters I know). Part of the reason I listen to so many is was my daily commute. It's a fairly effortless manner to do something game related while doing something that is mostly mindless (driving). Now that I no longer have a daily commute I'll need to a substitute a different mindless activity, but I digress.

One of the recent additions to my podcast list is Sanctum Secorum. It's a DCC RPG related podcast in that the themes that come up are often referred to in DCC RPG terms, but that's just the surface. What Sanctum Secorum truly is is a podcast about gaming related fiction and it just oozes with inspiration.

Your hosts +Bob Brinkman , +Jen Brinkman and +David Baity are knowledgable of their source material and have excellent chemistry amongst the three of them. Favorite episode thus far? Episode #07 – Who Fears the Devil? Manly Wade Wellman's works are the topic of conversation and +Michael Curtis makes an appearance as guest host (I so dearly need to run The Chained Coffin). Seriously, if there is an episode to be a "first time listener" this is the one. All the episodes are good to great but #7 goes to 11 ;)

If I have a quibble, and it's minor, it's that the background / mood music, which is barely perceptible, would give me motion sickness on more than one occasion while driving and listening. As I no longer commute, the quibble is moot... heh