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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Gygax Memorial Fund - When Does Failure Become the New Reality?



You know, it blows my mind that it is 1 week short of 15 months that I first kicked the tires of the Gygax Memorial Fund. Admittedly, I should have been looking sooner, as someone "in the know" raised some flags with me over beers a few years earlier, but then we had Hurricane Sandy the next day and it got forgotten.

Not that an earlier look would have made a difference. I would have received the same non-answers then as I did in November of 2015.

Looking at 2016, the only Fund News on the website was the Tom deSanto announcement in July. What little info I had of going ons regarding that dried up months ago (I know someone that knows someone that...), and although I am not at liberty to discuss details, I think its safe to say there is little going on on that front right now.

As for Facebook, the Fund had two posts in 2016. The July deSanto Announcement and this:


Break ground in 2017? Sure. And @ConManKen is honest and kind to his backers,

Now, for some reason I can't find this post in the GMF Facebook feed:

Its from the end of April, 2016. That would make three posts. Now, Facebook can be finicky at times, so maybe someone else can find it. I'd hate to think it was deleted.

Nearly 10 months since the audit was announced. Yep. Not holding my breath, either.

Anyhow, about the statue that has no land (because Gail doesn't like the land designated by the City Council) and the bricks that were to have been sold years ago - this really has turned into one of those fucked up Kickstarters.

I'm still amazed that the money in the fund isnt invested in a low interest earning account. I mean, its free money, and as the Fund is no longer in the habit of raising money from donors, you think they would go for the low hanging fruit. If that isn't mismanagement (not criminal, put just piss poor) I don't know what is.

You know what is truly sad? If it weren't for The Tavern's posts, no one would even remember the Fund these days.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Zak S Goes Full Story Gamer - Main Author of Vampire the Masquerade: We Eat Blood (and other related drama)


Yep, Zak S has gone full on story gamer. Good for him. Its all about the Benjamins anyway ;)

Now, if you read the linked post, there is some vagueboooking about allegations dealing with Zak's behavior online. That alleged behavior was apparently directed at David Hill. I could guess as to where such postings were made but really, does it matter? White Wolf has conducted a full investigation and found nothing wrong. Because investigating your own is always on the up and up.

No research assistants were harmed in the composing of this post...

WizKids has a Mind Flayer "Trophy Plaque" for $449 - I Want one of Tsathogga!




Yep, There is a Mind Flayer head looking for a home. I kid (WizKid) you not.

It releases in May, 2017. Preorders are being taken now.
Take on one of the most feared beings in the Forgotten Realms and display your greatest achievement with the Mind Flayer Trophy Plaque. With four tentacles protruding from its octopus-like head, the Mind Flayer Trophy Plaque is sure to grab everyone’s attention (no mind control necessary). 
The Dungeons & Dragons Mind Flayer Trophy Plaque is made of foam rubber and latex that’s carefully hand-painted for realistic detail. The trophy plaque comes with everything you need to mount the plaque to your wall. 
Please Note: This wall hanging unit is a heavy object weighing approx. 14-16 pounds and we recommend professional installation. You must install this unit into structural elements (2”x4” wall studs).
Sadly, I am tempted.

Still, I want a Frog God I can mount on my wall...

edit: As pointed out by +Moe Tousignant , there is a WizKids Red Dragon Head at a slightly cheaper $399 on Amazon.

When Palladium Books Starts Licensing its IP (Along with a 3 years late Kickstarter) You have to Worry About the Cash Flow



First things first - I had no idea that there was a Rifts board game in the works, let along being developed and soon to be kickstarted by a third party until it was brought to my attention earlier today.

First we get Savage Worlds Rifts licensed to Pinnacle and now we are getting a Rifts board game, licensed to a Palladium freelancer (don't call him an employee - I guess that's a black mark or something)

Why would Kevin give up some of his IP control? He's infamous for holding that close to his chest.

Could it be Robotech RPG Tactics, the Kickstarter that over $1.4 million and still isn't fulfilled? Sure, some have their product but many don't and boy, are they angry. Seriously, the comment section is alive and well even of the Kickstarter isn't. 98,000 comments and popping another every few minutes. I guess over 5,300 angry backers can do that to ya.

It is a total fucking train wreck. A few years ago, a trusted business partner embezzled money from Palladium and the company almost went under. This time it may be the influx of $1.4 million that puts the nail in coffin.

Maybe this comment sums it up the best:


Any of my readers have pics of the horrible models from wave one?

Oh, and one update in 5 months:


So, if wave one was such shit, are they going to get new shipments with wave two?


Thursday, February 16, 2017

To 3k and Beyond - State of Swords & Wizardry Light and Slinging some other Stuff ;)



We surpassed 3k downloads of the Swords & Wizardry Light rules earlier today. Huzzah! It really is gratifying to see the community embracing this little project.

Work continues on Swords & Wizardry Continual Light. +james spahn took SWL, built it up and now I'm tweaking and refining. I must say, its a blast to do so!

There has been movement on the Starslinger front. No details yet that I can disclose but I'm extremely excited. Wish I could say more. In due time...

I'll be running some SWL at GaryCon, off the grid. I'll be getting to Lake Geneva either Tuesday or Wednesday. Hoping to find a carpool from the airport (Milwaukee or Chicago - I'm flexible) hint / hint ;)

Kickstarter - Yarr! The Pirate ArrPG Hardcover : Make 100 Edition



I hear ye like pirates! Even better, you prefer your pirates "Old School" with old school sensibilities.

Well, Yarr! might be the came for you.
Based on the world's most popular RPG, Yarr! is a class/level d20 game rooted in the OSR. This rules-light game can be learned by kids and enjoyed by seasoned players alike. The core book is a complete RPG in one volume. This hardcover printing of only 100 copies will be an omnibus of the core book, all the supplements (including the Adventure Module "The Baron's Gold" and the expansion "Avast, Thar Be Ninjas!) And some all new material! 
Tempting to put some piracy in my SWL gaming.

Hardcover and PDF of the Ref Screen is $25

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Loren Wiseman - Co-Founder Game Designer's Workshop - Passed Earlier Today


You can read Loren Wiseman's Wikipedia entry for a full account of his career. I remember him mostly from the GURPS Traveller line.

Cause of death appears to have been a heart attack.

Rest in peace.

Kickstarter - Dwarves of Iron Peak - Two Player Boardgame


Trolls are so big, all you get are the feet ;)


I've got a confession to make. I've backed a number of fantasy themed board game Kickstarters and have yet to play them. Most require three or more players and I'm just not getting that number of players at my kitchen table.

Dwarves of Iron Peak might actually get played. Why?


Small time commitment and two players? That's a win / win in my book.

Did I mention it has dwarves? Or that the boxed set buy in is 44 bucks?


Yep, the minis look damn good too.

Pin the troll's feet with the spears. That's actually pretty damn cool.

Now to find room on the gaming shelves...



Reminder - Tavern Chat - 9 PM - Time to Yap



Its Wednesday and that means another Tavern Chat.

Tonight I may spill the beans on an upcoming Mapping Kickstarter. Alright, not going to name it but I've seen the KS page and it looks good. If you liked Dunjinni, this will be right up your alley.

Of course we'll have the usual assortment of conversations going on. Always fun :)

9 PM Eastern using the Chat Box on the right side of this page.




2000 AD / Judge Dredd coming to EN Publishing


My first Judge Dredd RPG was published by Games Workshop. Later, I found the Mongoose version. Soon we will have an EN World version. Colour me very surprised (see what I did there?)

Here's some of the official announcement:
EN Publishing, under license with Rebellion, are developing a range of Tabletop Adventure Games and supplements based on the iconic characters and worlds found in the legendary British comic 2000 AD. 
“2000 AD has forty years of rich history and storytelling and this worldwide license allows us to explore those characters and stories and bring them to the tabletop” Angus Abranson, Business Manager of EN Publishing said. 
The first release will be Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD Tabletop Adventure Game, a full colour hardcover book which contains the core ‘Worlds of 2000 AD’ rules as well as setting information enabling the players to not only play Judges, but also civilians and perps, in Mega-City One. 
“The rules system we’re using is our own WOIN (What’s Old Is New) engine that also powers our N.E.W. – The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game which spent some time as the #1 best seller on RPGNow” said system designer and EN Publishing Owner, Russ Morrissey. “The system is incredibly flexible and can cater seamlessly for the Celtic environs of Slaine to spacefaring hijinks of the Ace Trucking Co.” 
Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD will be followed by a series of adventure sourcebooks giving players and Game Masters the opportunity to play through the story arcs that made Judge Dredd such an enduring character. 
“We’ll be publishing a series of books, starting with The Robot Wars, which will not only allow players and GMs to play through the events that took place in the comic arc, but also add to the game setting with additional rules or source material relevant to the period or location. So, for instance, Robot characters will be expanded in The Robot Wars whilst in Luna-1 we’ll be providing detailed information on the moon colony and life there” Nick Robinson, Line Developer for the Worlds of 2000 AD Tabletop Adventure Game said. “The idea is to move chronologically through the classic story arcs in the 2000 AD Progs providing adventures for not only Judges, but for those players who may wish to explore the Dredd universe from a different perspective – that of a Civilian or even a Perp. Each book will contain a core adventure, mini-adventures based upon the other story arcs at the time, as well as expanded settingand rules information.” 
In addition to the support material for the Judge Dredd campaign a series of ‘Campaign Guides’ are planned which will cover other 2000 AD settings.
You can read the rest of the announcement here.

I'm not a huge fan of the WOIN system, but many of us buy this still not for the system but for the setting.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Resources for the Time Crunched DM - City GeneratorBy CrystalBallSoft


So, your players need to know more about the hamlet they stumbled into. All you thought of was the name of the inn and now they want to know about a local thieves guild and can they hire some mercenaries.

City GeneratorBy CrystalBallSoft has you covered, more or less. There is as much information as most DMs could possibly need and its fairly system neutral - just ignore the levels assigned to the common folk and such ;)


One guard, one beer merchant, one thief and one prostitute. Its like "Cheers", just Hamlet sized.

They export doves. Now THAT is interesting!

When is a Coin NOT a Coin? When its a Token ;)


A little bit of family history. My great grandfather on my mother's side own a bar in lower Manhattan in the early 1900s (and later owned a speakeasy just over a block from where I live now in Queens)

How do you get customers coming back to your bar and not going to someone else's?  Give them a token worth a 5 cent drink on their next time to your bar.

The above tokens are from the Manhattan bar.

Anyway, imagine the party thief's surprise when he picks that merchant's pocket and finds a pouch full of bar tokens. Maybe the party finds a sack of such deep in a dungeon. Can they still be cashed in? Hell, maybe there is a bar in some corner of your megadungeon and only those with the right token in their possession can gain admittance.

Not all treasure is coin, gems or magic and not all coins are coins...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Resources for the Time Crunched DM - Roll3d6.com

We've all been there. The Game is in 90 minutes and all your have is a +Dyson Logos map and nothing to go in it. Heck, you don't even have the town or a single person in it. What to do?

In my case, its "start a series of posts highlighting some free DM resources." It may be apps for your phone or tablet, programs for you to use on your PC or Mac or even a website. Today, we start with a website:

Roll3d6.com

What do you get here? You get tables. What kinda tables? Gaming tables sir!


This is quite simply inspiration with the click of the mouse.

Need the name of a village your players just stumbled across in your sandbox?


How about that tavern? They can't all be Tenkar's ;)


You get the idea. No, it can't do your work for you but it certainly can nudge you in a direction or two.

Play with the random charts a bit. I'm sure you'll find some inspiration.

Something to keep in your Gaming Bookmarks folder. Or maybe I should start a series of links on the side for these? Maybe with another 2 or 3 posts behind me.

Have ideas for other posts in the series? Mention them in the comments below.




Bundle of Holding - One to One RPGs - Bundle for Two


Yep, tomorrow is Valentine's Day, so we have a bunch of two player / one to one / one on one RPGs in the Bundle for Two.

Starter Collection is $7.95 and includes... nothing I've heard of before.

The Bonus Collection (a hair over 17 bucks) has Scarlet Heroes+Kevin Crawford ) which is simply amazing. I've also heard good things about Don't Rest Your Head. The rest? All new to me.

From the BoH page:

About half these games have appeared in past Bundle offers. Most of the new games are in our low-priced Starter Collection, which gives you five titles (retail value $37) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks for just US$7.95:

Romance Trilogy (Black and Green Games, retail price $10): Newly updated versions of Breaking the Ice, Shooting the Moon, and Under My Skin, the groundbreaking "Three Quick Games About the Human Heart" by Emily Care Boss.

A Single Moment (TAGSessions, retail $8): A life-and-death narrative battle between samurai, and the past events that brought them here. Additional playsets translate the drama to the Wild West, medieval England, and even romantic comedy. Includes Five Single Playsets (Riverhouse Games, retail $1), which adapts the system to new settings.

Stories From the Grave (Spectrum Games, retail $10): Anthology-based horror (think EC Comics, The Twilight Zone, and Creepshow) for a GM and one foredoomed protagonist.

Mars Colony (TCK Roleplaying, retail $8): A political struggle for the salvation of an isolated outpost. (Originally presented in our September 2013 Indie Treasure Trove.)

And if you pay more than the threshold price of $17.22, you'll level up and also get our entire Bonus Collection with five more games (mostly drawn from past offers) worth an additional $53:

Scarlet Heroes (Sine Nomine Publishing, retail $15): Both a standalone old-school game and an overlay for your favorite retroclone, Scarlet Heroes lets you run any published fantasy adventure, unaltered, with just one player. From Kevin Crawford, designer of Stars Without Number. (From the November 2014 Old School Revival +2.)

Showdown (Dark Omen Games, retail $15): A tense card-based confrontation between longtime enemies where victory always brings great cost. (New in this offer.)

Macabre Tales (Spectrum Games, retail $13): A Cthulhu Mythos experience that uses dominoes to create a tense, fiercely accurate simulation of HP Lovecraft's stories. Dominoes not included. (From the October 2014 Bundle of Tentacles +2.)

Don't Rest Your Head (Evil Hat, retail $5): An insomniac in Mad City struggles against monsters both real and imagined. (From the October 2013 Bundle of Nerves.)

Beast Hunters (Berengad Games, retail $5): Stalk and fight monsters that threaten your people. When you defeat them, use their blood to ink tattoos on your skin and gain their power. (From the March 2014 Fantastic Valor collection.)

Kickstarter - Critical Smells - D&D Inspired Candles with RPG Dice

Note - Die color shown is NOT what
you will receive with your candle
I've mentioned before that "smell-o-vision" and RPGs do not mix well in my opinion. There are few dungeon smells that I would consider tolerable - most would be plain disgusting. So, with that out of the way, lets look at Critical Smells - D&D Inspired Candles with RPG Dice.

Actually, something just got in the way. If, perchance, I did want a candle with scents evocative of, well, leather - which seems to make the list for 3 of the 4 candles, why do I NEED to purchase dice with said candle? Oh, and a dice bag too.

I mean, if I am such an avid gamer and all around geek that I need a "Wizard" scented candle, wouldn't you expect I'd have more than enough dice?

If I want a candle, I want a CANDLE. I don't need non candle related accessories.

Oh, and why no Cleric candle? I mean, holy candles (and unholy ones) are an RPG staple. Ranger instead? Why, so he can burn the forest down?

Seriously - WTF are you forcing dice and dice bags with the candle? Did I mention they choose the dice for you to coordinate with the candle. I get the feeling there was a deal on discontinued Chessex dice.



Its not even noon and I need a drink...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Review - Hubris: a World of Visceral Adventure - Part 1 - Race & Class & Buyin' Ass



I've been sitting on a couple of releases from the end of 2016 / beginning of 2017 that I've intended to review but just haven't had the time to do more that a quick flip through - until this past week. Being sick and spending lots of time in bed is beneficial to those that like reading PDFs on their tablets. That me. I prefer reading on my tablet to the computer screen.

Anyhow, I dove into Hubris: A World of Visceral Adventure for the DCC RPG by +Mike Evans . I really didn't know what to expect. It bills itself as a Swords and Sorcery campaign setting but that is basically DCC RPG in a nutshell. What really could make that seem fresh?

Apparently, the "what" is a "who" and the "who" is Mike Evans.

Before I start. Minor quibble. The table of contents is not hyperlinked. At nearly 350 pages, a hyperlinked TOC would be helpful. Not a biggie

First, we get nine new classes / races for the DCC RPG (races are classes on DCC). They range from good but awkward to run (Mutant comes to mind) to "holy shit I want to play this right now" (Murder Machine) to "I want to convert this to Swords & Wizardry Light" (Avarian) and places in between (Alchemist, Blood Witch, Druid, Shadowdancer, Ekrask and Half Demon round out the list)

Alright, more about the Murder Machine. You know the Warforged for D&D? Now, imagine them done as psychotic killing machines derived from sentient creatures.

Got it? Well, most of them are totally converted and loyal to the Black Queen, but some go awry and have their original consciousness and personality (although severely damaged by the conversion process I expect) Yep, free will. Lollipops and wheellocks.

Oh, and Swiss-Army Hands: Swiss-Army Hand: A murder machine is built to
kill, and as such is outfitted with a hand that can rotate and become one of three weapons. At level one a player chooses three weapons from the following list: hand crossbow*, dagger, flail, hand axe, mace, short sword or wheellock pistol*

Listen, worth the price of admission for this racial class alone. I will do a S&W conversion at some point - as a monster entry, not a PC class. But man, I want to peek into Mike's head some more.

Lets bounce ahead to the optional rules. One in particular stands out to me - Weapon Damage by Class. I remember an article similar to this is a Dragon Magazine in the late 60's or lower 70's (by issue number) Of course, we were all into min-maxing back in my High School days, so we didn't think much of it but now as an adult and someone who has dabbled in system design? I like it.

Light, medium and heavy weapons, with fighter types getting the most of the damage potential and the squishy arcane casters getting the least. I would bump the thief up a notch with heavy weapons myself, but other than that I really like the list.

Oh, favorite table thus far?

That last line? When I worked the South Bronx in the late 90s we had a number that "Walked the Point" that fit into that category.

On that note...

I'll be back in a few days to delve into the Territories of Hubris. Random tables that scream sandbox. And more :)

From the blurb:
Hubris is a weird fantasy setting that  uses the awesome Dungeon Crawl Classics rules! 
In this book you will find 10 territories filled with tables and charts to generate interesting locations and encounters, new occupations, 4 new classes, 5 new playable races, 3 new spells, 4 new patrons, including 3 patrons spells for each, 11 new and terrible gods, 14 tables and charts for a GM to use to aid them in their game or create interesting/fun situations, two new adventures to kick off a campaign, and 51 new enemies (including enemies that are unique thanks to random generation).  Hubris is hackable!  Each territory can be used as the GM wills!  Need a desert, swamp, or frozen tundra for your game?  Use what's in Hubris! 
Campaign Summary 
Legend states that Hubris was created from the fetid corpse of a long-dead god. Hubris is a land of terrible creatures, grand inequality, strange and cruel gods, dangerous magic, opulent nobility, destitute commoners, people that have become corrupted and turned to savage beasts, constant wars, and worse.

The kingdoms are not kind or benevolent: In the Blighted Sands the Klind are slavers and openly practice sorcery, offering sacrifices to their depraved serpentine god, Set. Across the continent the Fairweather kingdom is governed by a corrupt and inbred royal family with the nobility following suit. Esenbar is ruled by a staunch xenophobic theocracy that tolerates little outside of their strict doctrine. The barbaric Ingvar of the Frozen Wastes wage vicious battles against the savage frost giants of The Crag, and care little about the goings on of the world; their life is cut from battle with an axe or sword. The Black Queen rules the citizens of the Floating Island of Terror from her throne of bones and dreams terrible machinations for Hubris. Shadowfall, built in the remains of the burrow of a gigantic worm, is ran by vampires and their thralls, and they welcome all who are devious, vicious and cunning.

There are no easily recognizable heroes in the world. You wander the wilderness or delve into ancient ruins: out of desperation, some crazed need for adventure, or for some bizarre belief that the world can actually be made a better place. Though civilization offers you security and comfort, you shirk those in the hopes of gaining riches and power. But when you die, no one will sing songs of your deeds. You will die a horribly bloody death at the hands of some twisted abomination or by the knife of an assassin sent by some fat, scheming noble.

Your epic tale will be forgotten in days as the dangerous world continues on without you and the apathetic masses stay complacent to dogmatic control of their government.

This is not a fairy tale or an epic ballad. This is a savage world. This is Hubris.

Sale - Far Away Land RPG - Best RPG that isn't SWL ;)


I do love Far Away Land. The art, the writing, the simplicity with unexpected depth. Oh, and the humor. Deadpan and subtle and oh so effective.

Did I mention even I picked up on the rules within minutes? You'll notice its OSR roots even if it isn't an OSR game.

Well, its on sale.

Let me show you (BTW, the Architect series of cards is worth its weight in gold. Get 'em!)
We've lost our hive minds!

We are offering a huge discount on all of our Far Away Land RPG books, Dungeon Architect Cards, and World Architect Cards. Our online store is crawling with discounts so make like a cow steed herder and grab some of our books and cards today! We have limited quantities on most of these items. Also, all print books ordered from us will be signed by yours truly.  
Here are our current sale prices... 
FAL Tome of Awesome (Hardback): $35 (was $45 = you save $10!)
FAL Core Rules (Paperback): $10 (was $15 = you save $5!)
FAL Creatures Vol. 1 (Paperback): $10 (was $15 = you save $5!)
FAL Companion Rules  (Paperback): $10 (was $15 = you save $5!)
​FAL Tales of Awesome (Paperback): $10 (was $15 = you save $5!) 
Dungeon Architect Cards (Physical Deck): $10 (was $15 = you save $5!)
World Architect Cards (Physical Deck): $10 (was $15 = you save $5!) 
And, all of our pdfs are now $5 each! 
I'd be all over this if I didn't already own it all :)

Head over to the Far Away Land blog for links to the sale.

Empire of Imagination - 30 Kindle Copies Sold Yesterday!



Yep, 30 copies of Empire of Imagination were sold via The Tavern's Amazon affiliate link yesterday. That is simply amazing. I'm sure more copies were sold today.

At $1.99 for the Kindle version of the book (at least in the US) its a hard price to beat. Screw that, its an impossible price to beat, especially for an inside look at this hobby's early history.

Some quick thinks to point out:

- The Tavern's Referral Rate at Amazon for the month of February went from 4% to 6.5%. So, it wasn't 8 cents a book sold that went into The Tavern's coffers - it was 13 cents ;)

- That 6.5% applies to all future sales for this month too.

- If you want to support The Tavern doing what many of you (including myself) already do, which is shop at Amazon, using The Tavern's Affiliate link helps us and costs you nothing.

Thanks to all. Your support is truly appreciated. Now, back to work on The Hidden Sanctum of the Blood Cult.