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Saturday, December 10, 2016

And Work Begins on The Ramshackle Sewers of the Moon Tribe Ratlings

So, Rach and I broke out The Tome of Adventure Design as well as the Swords & Wizardry Monster Book. Oozing of awesome between the two.

I had her give me a few random numbers between 1 and 100, and what we came up with for the adventure title was The Ramshackle Sewers of the Moon Chieftain of the Goblins. Rach didn't want to go with goblins, so we broke out the S&W Monster Book and found Ratlings. She felt chieftain made the title too awkward, so we dropped it.

Thus, The Ramshackle Sewers of the Moon Tribe Ratlings came to be.

The goblins are addicted to a strong narcotic that the town apothecary supplies. For most humans and demihumans, it is a stimulant a bit stronger than coffee. For the ratlings, it is a highly addictive stimulant with amazing highs (and + 1 to attack and damage rolls while in effect) and horrible lows (- 2 to attack rolls when in withdrawals)

Now, one of the PCs will also be an addict, with a bonus to attacks when properly buzzed and a penalty if he / she is feeling low.

Yeah, Rach is really digging this. Not 100% sure she will run it, but she is certainly going to write The Ramshackle Sewers of the Moon Tribe Ratlings.

The bonus is that I've been in a rut with the adventure I've been working on and thanks to the Tome of Adventure Design, I think I see my way forward. Woot!

Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's OBS affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)

Kickstarter - Traveller Customizable Card Game

Huge thanks to The Tavern's Community for bringing this to my attention - I may have missed it otherwise.

There are so many red flags with the Traveller Customizable Card Game. Let us count the flags, shall we?

1 - First created - zero backed. Never a good sign.

2 - Its Traveller. Please point me to a Traveller Kickstarter that wasn't fucked up.

3 - The video is pretty well produced, yet there are no credits at the end. Not a huge flag, more of a question. Just who produced the video? (host and music are indicated at the bottom of the page - I'm more interested in who produced - because, you know - history)

4 - How many fucking add-ons does one project need?

5 - See that site travellerccg.com? Its a placeholder. It links back to the Kickstarter.

6 - Where are the actual cards to this game. All I see are computer art mockups. Where's the
prototypes? Ah, see, we haven't even gotten to the art stage yet. Its still be ing playtested but will ship in July 2017. Yeah, right.

7 - Horizon Games apparently doesn't have a website. How can the publisher of the game not have a web presence?

8 - Two collaborators, they've backed 6 projects between them and have essentially no bio. Heck, this was even mentioned in the comments of the project's page.

Yeah, too many flags for me. Like any classic LBB Traveller character, lets see if this dies during creation...





So, if Rach Wrote an Adventure, What Would it Be Like?



Over dinner earlier tonight, Rach and I talked about the strong possibility that she will run a session of Swords & Wizardry Light at NTRPG Con in 2017.

Rach - So, I'll need a math person at the table. Because I understand the rules well enough but I hate the math.

Tenkar - There's little math in Swords & Wizardry Light and its just 2 dice sizes. You'll be fine. Besides, we'll find you a short adventure to run.

R - Don't most people run their own adventures at NTRPG? That's the feeling I got.

T - Well, yeah, many do. If you wrote the adventure you probably have ideas of what to do if the session goes off the grid, so to speak.

R - Off the grid?

T - Off script. If the players want to do something that isn't written in the adventure.

R - So, if I do do this, should I write my own adventure? Because that's really insane.

T - If you write your own adventure, fall back on what you already know.

R - Like drug addicts and alcoholics?

T - Exactly

R - There's also sex offenders.

T - Let's forget about them for now...

R - So, like the drug addicts live in the sewers and they steal from the pharmacy... there are pharmacies, right?

T - Er. Maybe an alchemist shop.

R - Right. Alchemist shop. Which is what?

T - Potions and the like.

R - How about salves and creams? Would they make that too?

T - Probably.

R - Damn. We need that here. Okay, this could be fun. But I still have no idea how to turn it into an adventure with numbers and shit.

T - We'll get there.

Tomorrow we will sit down with +Matt Finch 's Tome of Adventure Design to give some more ideas to Rachel and help come up with a snazzy name.


Friday, December 9, 2016

New Record - Original Dungeons and Dragons Set - Woodgrain Box - First Printing - Sells for Over $22k on eBay


Let me just say this...

HOLY SHIT!

My understanding is the old record was at or around $10k $5,378 for an OD&D Woodgrain Box 1st Printing. (Acaeum used for pricing history) This is simply amazing.

Personally, I'd prefer to use the money for a new car, but if you have the spare cash? Good for you.

So, who wants to but my OCE for $1k? ;)




Steve Jackson Games is Organizing an Organized Play Program


While the news is nearly a week old, I find it very interesting the Steve Jackson Games is joining the ranks of organized play and have even hired an Organized Play Manager.

Why is this important?

Because organized play brings people into game stores. Its as simple as that.

While many bemoan the swing to Kickstarters for even the larger players in the gaming industry to protect themselves from potential losses should a new game not sell, the fact is, Kickstarter is keeping many of these companies in the black. What Kickstarter does, however, is divert sales that may have been made at the FLGS. Which sucks for the FLGS.

Now, what will be interesting to see is if this will be a new trend amongst the publishers of RPGs and similar games to get customers into the stores they've been diverting business from.

We know Paizo and WotC have their Organized Play programs. From the original posting, I'm going to guess SJG is going to cover their core games - Munchkun, Ogre, Car Wars and possibly, dare I say it? Dungeon Fantasy?
At Steve Jackson Games, we've big plans for OP, and 2017 will see us adding programs for pretty much all of our existing lines, plus a few games we've yet to tell you about! Stay tuned!!!
I've heard rumors of another company exploring the idea of adding some sort of organized for their RPG lines.

So, what other gaming companies have or soon will be joining in on Organized Play Programs? Will it benefit the FLGS enough to keep them in the black?



Thursday, December 8, 2016

DCCisions - Which Do I Swap in First?



The postal service seems to have taken the long way around, but the DCC belt buckles +James Spahn was nice enough to sell me arrived today.

I have a new belt all ready to go.

So, which one gets the first go?


Mini Review - Broodmother SkyFortress (LotFP)



Look, I have this habit. Its a bad one. I generally pick up all of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess releases even if I know I'd never run them. Fun to read. Total party killers by nature, at least for the past couple of years. Maybe that's too broad a statement, as the party killing aspect is certainly a +James Raggi feature, but its not always as strong when he hires other authors.

Still, unusable or not, LotFP releases are always top notch in presentation, art and readability. Broodmother SkyFortress is no exception to that, except it is an exception. Not only is it playable but its a great resource beyond the adventure presented within. How did that happen? Simple. +Jeff Rients .

Jeff gives us an adventure that might not be world shaking, but is certainly a major campaign event that your players should want to stop. And yes, you need a campaign world, because terror, death and destruction falling upon towns and cities your players have connections to just makes the adventure stronger.

I really like Jeff's approach to Broodmother SkyFortress - tight enough that the storyline is easy to follow, loose enough that you can flex it to the needs of your players / campaign world. That is always a trick, as most adventures are written for a certain campaign world and setting, even if that is never actually said in the adventure.

In a way, its an Adventure Toolkit with a set theme. There is no "this is how this plays out." Jeff asks questions. You provide the answers. No two groups will see this play out the same way.
Can the location withstand attack by giantish bludgeons and hurled boulders? 
Will it be completely smashed or mostly damaged or relatively unscathed?
Charts are the core of this adventure. Heck, there is so much here that you could easily use the charts provided to seed other adventures down the line.

I can see the build up to this adventure take months of real life, weekly gaming, before the players know what's going on and how they can try to stop it. Its like fishing, and with enough play in the fishing line your party should get hooked and hooked well.

As an aside, although written for LotFP WF, Bloodmother SkyFortress is easily run with any of the OSR rulesets in circulation. Play what you want, how you want to. Its what the OSR is all about.

Beyond the adventure, which is the first 90 or so pages, we have 80 or so pages of tables and articles from Jeff's blog, going back years. It really is a "Best of Jeff" selection and is well worth the price of admission on its own and I don't say that lightly. Sure, you could read through Jeff's blog and read through years of excellent posts or just grab Broodmother SkyFortress and have the cream skimmed for you, ready for you to consume, or read.

I'm a backer of this crowdfunded project. Money in, amazing content given in return. I am happy.

On that note, I will leave you with this:



Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's OBS affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The End of an Era - Mythoard is No More

I literally just got the email minutes ago. Mythoard is no more. Damn fucking shame. It was great to have something waiting in the mailbox after a long day / night at work. Or now, appearing in my mailbox, making every month a month with Christmas.

I was an addict. Heck, I inadvertently had two subscriptions running, and that was okay, as it gave me stuff to pawn off on my niece or give away at some point to the community.

+Jarrod Shaw , you gave me more joy than you will ever know. Even if the business wasn't the success you had hoped it would be, you were more successful in ways that counted than you give yourself credit for.

I thank you.

Erik Tenkar


The letter Jarrod sent is below:


Tavern Transparency - November Financials Update and a Thank You

I'll be giving a full breakdown of The Tavern's income and other financials come the New Year for 2016, but I wanted to give an update on the month of November, which was really amazing.

OBS Affiliate Credit came in at $307 for the month, which was higher than any of the prior quarters for the year. I really can't thank everyone enough for using my affiliate link when making their purchases at the OBS storefronts.

Patreon came in at $82 ($118 less fees and other projects backed) for the month after backing a plethora of gaming related projects. I really do enjoy backing the work of those much more talented than I.

Adsense came in at $32. Paypal support came in at $12. Amazon affiliate credit ended the month at $6. Not even sure if Amazon is even worth keeping. It has potential, but doesn't seem to hit it.

So, the month of November came in around $440 for income raised by the Tenkar's Tavern blog, directly or indirectly.

What does that mean?

Well, as much as I'd like to see number like November continue, it's unlikely. Still, overall the numbers are trending up, and that's good. For one, it means supplemental income in my retirement (went off the active payroll on July 18th of this year and onto the pension). More importantly it means that the potential is there for my hobby to be profitable enough to maintain my hobby. What I'd really like to do is use monies from The Tavern for two main things - run contests / giveways for my readers and cover convention expenses multiple times a year to actually meet The Tavern's Community face to face. Oh, an of course, art purchases. I have need for two art purchases coming up - headers / logos for the upcoming SWL zine and the series of one-sheets.

2017 looks to be a good year for that. Frog God Games will be covering NTRPG Con for me - all but airfare. It also looks likely I'll be getting to GaryCon in 2017 with FGG covering many of the expenses. Which really means no excuse not to make GameHole Con in the fall. Maybe even squeeze a fourth one in if possible.

Again, I'd like to thank everyone, backers via Patreon and Paypal, those that have used my affiliate links and those that simply read The Tavern on a regular basis. There would be no Tavern without you.

Tavern Chat Reminder - Tonight - 9PM Eastern



Yep. Wednesday is back, and that means tonight is another Tavern Chat.

Where can you find Tavern Chat? At 9PM Eastern using that chat box to your right.

In the meantime, I have Uncle Duties until about 7PM. Posting will be light unless I can convince a nearly 6 year old to nap. Not bloody likely ;)


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

TSR Tuesday - New PoD Releases - Heroes, Locations and Clans Undermountain


So, what do we have this week?

FR7 - Hall of Heroes: Hall of Heroes provides complete histories and AD&D game statistics for such beloved characters as Elminster, the greatest sage and magic user of the Realms, Tristan Kendrick and Robyn of the Moonshae isles, Wulfgar the Barbarian, Drizzt the dark elf, and Bruenor the dwarf, all from the northern reaches, plus Alias and Dragonbait, Shandril and Narm Tamaraith, and many more.

But the Hall of Heroes is more that a listing of game statistics: It's also a sourcebook describing (among other things) artificial and magical lifeforms of the Realms, as well as the lives of the world's elves, dwarves, lizardmen, and exotic creatures.

Fantastic Locations - Hellspike Prison - its for 3.5, so...

GAZ14 - The Atruaghin Clans: The Atruaghin Clans is the fourteenth book in the best-selling Gazetteer series. It provides a complete description of the culture, history, and goals of the noble Children of Atruaghin. Included in this product are:

- A 64-page Player's Book that provides rules for Atruaghin character creation and introduces the Shamani, a new character class.
- A 32-page DM's Guide that details the history of the Atruaghin Clans, the unique Immortals that they worship, and several sample characters.
- A large, full-color map that details the geography of the Atruaghin Plateau and the lands around it.

Note on the Print version: The Player's Book, DM's Guide and Map have been combined into a single Softcover volume.

Undermountain - StardockThis DUNGEON CRAWL adventure returns once more the the hallowed halls of Undermountain, but it's a different day. At dawn of Highharvestide 1369, every practitioner of magic on the Sword Coast knew there was a problem. By midmorning, the Lords of Waterdeep confirmed the ill omens: Some brave souls worthy of the title "Hero" must enter Undermountain on a mission to save Halaster Blackcloak! Could these heroes be your group of player characters?

This is a stand-alone module and does not require extra support materials. It can be placed into a campaign on any AD&D world, but best fits and impacts a FORGOTTEN REALMS campaign set in Undermountain or Waterdeep.

Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's OBS affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)

Flash Kickstarter? Troll Lord Games Runs 72 Hr KS - 3 Days in the Darkenfold


So, a 72 hr Kickstarter. This should be interesting.

Have I mentioned I have more Castles & Crusades stuff than a gamer could hope to use in two lifetimes? Maybe even three lifetimes?

So, since much of the adventures in question already exist, why the Kickstarter?
To expand the Darkenfold environs through publication of two more adventure setting modules C6 Ends Meet and C7 Castle Upon the Hill and to update the previous C Series adventures. These adventures will be vehicles to bring the forest and the adventures to life with 3D maps, isometric views of towns such as Ends Meet and Greenbriar, encounter tables, NPCs, monsters, more detail on the occupants of the forest and through all this, make the Darkenfold a realm of adventure like no other!
Maybe I'm Trolled out, but there is nothing here that interests me except for the fact the KS only runs for 72 hrs.

The timing interests me. Now that truly is sad.



Are Charity Bundles getting Out of Control?

Charity bundles are part of the landscape at RPGNow. Medical bills for a creator in the hobby. Death in the family. Apartment gutted by fire. We've all seen those. Heck, I back those without hesitation. Doesn't matter the content - it's going to a good cause and generally they need money fast.

Then you have incidents like Black Rock. Time and money is of the essence and getting a chance to donate to a cause you support while getting gaming content back is a win win. Again, you know it is time limited. You know the incident won't be lasting forever.

Now we have the Southern Poverty Law Center bundle. The SPLC was formed in 1971. Its not going anywhere. This isn't something where raising money has a time issue. What's next? Planned Parenthood? Right to Life National Committee? ACLU? Judicial Watch? PACs? Political Candidates? Where does one draw the line?

When I can see the person or family where the money is going, I'm all in. If its an incident going on NOW I can see how a bundle to raise cash has an imminent need. When its for organizations that have been around for decades it just seems to me to belittle what a charity bundle is for (from my perspective) - a call to arms, either for a member of out community or for a current incident.

Constant charity bundles might just leave those in need with less charity coming their way.


Monday, December 5, 2016

DC Adventures - 5 Bucks a Book - PDF



It looks like Green Ronin's license for DC Adventures is coming to an end. The four titles in the series can be snagged for 5 bucks each in PDF through the end of the month.

If you know Mutants & Masterminds, you already know the system.

I own the books in PDF because I'm a DC Junkie, but I've never played it nor read the rules with the expectation that I would run it, so I can't give that kind of feedback.

BTW, the Quickstart is free if you want to peek before considering buying.

Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's OBS affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)

There's a 1st Print - Woodgrain - Original Dungeons & Dragons Boxed Set for Sale on Ebay - Brother, Can I Have $5k?


Woodgrain Dungeons & Dragons boxed sets don't pop up for sale to often. Sadly, I don't usually pay much attention, as the prices are quickly out of my range. This is by far out of my price range but the story behind this box is a good one:
Statement from the owner: 
This set is in Very Fine condition with one small stain on the front label and very minor scuffing on the corners of the box. Note that the Reference Sheets are not stapled, but loose sheets folded together. This was the original condition. 
It was acquired by the present owner in an interesting way. 
In 1974 I worked in a project offering supplemental educational materials to four school districts in Northwestern Wisconsin. I met Bill, an elementary school librarian, who was very excited about working with his students using role playing games. He had a friend in Minneapolis whom he had met through their shared interest in war gaming. This friend, “Lance,” was involved with creating a new project, a fantasy-style wargame in a box that could be played by anyone. 
My librarian friend was working with a sixth-grade class to create a book based on playing the game. Included in this set is a copy of the booklet that his students created using the game.  
Bill also used a 20-sided die that he had hand-colored to differentiate scoring. Adding to the charm of this set, the die is included, as is a hand-written note from Bill, the librarian, explaining the use of the die. He added that there was currently a shortage of these dice, but they were available in England. He was going to England for a vacation, and would be bringing some back with him.


As I type this it is currently sitting at a bid of $5,600 on eBay.

Probably not a bad price, all things considered, but I'll have to be satisfied with my 2 OCE White Boxes ;)

Wherefore Art Thou Buckaroo Banzai the RPG?


Before there was the fiasco know as Far West, Adament Entertainment (Gareth Sharka) grabbed the RPG license for Buckaroo Banzai.

What were the excuses for the preorders getting fucked on this one? Con Crud? Flaky artist? Incompetent publisher? Do tell...

Tip of the hat to one of The Taverners for sharing the above pics in The Tavern's Facebook Community.

Now, to be fair, this was due AFTER the Far West Kickstarter, even though it started shaking down marks prior to the Far West fiasco.

Anyone have an estimate of how much Kickstarter / Preorder monies this "Icon of the Gaming Community" bilked folks out of?


Barrel Rider Games is Running a 25% Off Sale on PDFs 'Till the End o The Year - White Star, White Box, oh My!



+James Spahn / Barrel Rider Games is running a 25% off sale on nearly all of their digital releases as a way of thanking the gaming community for all of the support they've shown James over the years and especially in the past few months. Even Kamikazi Bambis can't stand up to the power of community support ;)

White Star? 25% off

White Box? 25% off

Heroes Journey? Already PWYW

Labyrinth Lord releases? 25% off

Sale prices are good until the end of 2016.

Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's OBS affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Rach MAY be Onboard to DM some Swords & Wizardry Light at NTRPG 2017



I understand that rounding up women / ladies to run OSR games isn't easy. Maybe its the subject matter. Maybe its that the system the OSR draws upon is old and doesn't excite newer gamers. The "why" doesn't really matter. The fact is there are far fewer women running OSR games at cons than men.

So I challenged Rach earlier today. I told her 4 pages of rules and a single sheet adventure shouldn't be intimidating. I reminded her that she's played in games run by +Tim Snider , +Doug Kovacs +Zach Glazar , +Matt Finch , +James Aulds , Merle Rasmussen and others at NTRPG Con for 3 years running now. She's sat at the tables of some of the best GM's in our hobby. Its not that she doesn't know how to do it - she just needs to be confident that she knows the system and the adventure.

A total of six pages should be right in her wheelhouse.

She's agreed to give it serious thought. I've agreed to to make sure she is comfortable with the rules.

To think back in 2013 she thought she'd spend her time in Dallas shopping and swimming in the hotel pool. Damn OSR gaming bug bit her too ;)

The OSR is like the Borg - Resistance is Futile :)

Podcast - Old School Blues - Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells - Review



On Friday Night I got together with Vince and Colin to review Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells, a PWYW OSR styled release for the Old School Blues Podcast.

I think we did an excellent job covering it and the great thing is, you get three perspectives on what is a very solid product.

So, head on over to the Old School Blues Podcast website and give it a listen. Heck, download a copy of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells before you do so and you can follow along at home. Its Pat What You Want, so if you like it you can always go back and tip the publisher / writer. I suspect many of you will do just that.


OSR Creature Decks - 5 Decks IN PRINT - $12.95 - Inkwell Designs



If you haven't checked out +Joe Wetzel / Inkwell Designs' Creature Decks for 0e / 1e / LL/  OSR, you've been missing out. Normally 10 bucks to 12 bucks a deck, you can get all 5 decks of creatures for just $12.95 and that includes the PDF files.

What is covered by the actual decks?

This is a HUGE discount and I'm not sure how long Joe will keep the prices in effect. No coupon required.

Oh, yeah - if you play those "other" systems, those card decks are also on sale: 5e, PF, Dungeon World, Fate and even System Neutral.

I already have a complete collection of these cards for the OSR and will be using them quite liberally or else I'd be all over this.

Disclaimer - I make no monies off of any of the sales from Joe's store. I STRONGLY endorse Joe's Creature Decks. The art is awesome and the utility is great. At these prices you would be a fool to pass this up. 'Nuff said.