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Saturday, May 13, 2017

DCC/MCC RPG Game-Finder for Free RPG Day

The folks over at the Sanctum Secorum podcast (which includes myself) have launched our list of DCC RPG games being run for Free RPG Day this year. The list is a continuing work in progress up until the day of the event, so if you are running DCC or MCC this year, send your info on over to us.

Last year's list covered games held in 28 locations across 19 US states and spanning three countries, and we hope to surpass that this year. As of this posting, the list launched three hours ago and already shows games to be held in 15 locations across 11 US states with one event in Canada and two in the UK.

Tonight There Will be Dragon Slaying - or a TPK - Magic Eight Ball says "Ask Again Later"

So, last Saturday night my players were on a roll, knocking down encounters, parleying and roleplaying like nobody's business. All that and they confirmed a dragon nearby in the caves above the Lost City of Baracus.
I mean - really nearby. That's where we ended the session, right after the slaying of the dark elves and before the planning of the Dragon Slaying. Of course, the slaying of the dark elves did cause a ruckus, and the steady rumble of what is believed to be the dragon's breathing has ceased. Yeah, they don't the last part yet, but they will when the session kicks off tonight (before they track down their dragon)

They are hell bent on engaging the dragon. Mind you, in the years I've had this Saturday Night Gaming Group we've never encountered a dragon before, so whether they kill it or get killed in return, it will be a first and one for tall tales to be spoken of.

Of course, we are playing Swords & Wizardry, using the Continual Light rules, and the characters range from second to fourth level. The dragon, although not ancient, is old enough to wipe them without much difficulty unless they truly strategize. They do have two hand crossbows and a number of sleep poisoned bolts they recovered from the dark elves.

Now, do I think its advisable for the characters to attack a dragon? Of course not! 

Do I think tonight's session is going to be "fun as shit!" no matter what? Hell yeah! I may just need to kick off a new campaign next week though... Or tonight. Damn. Hard to really prep for a session when you aren't sure if the party will survive the first encounter ;)




Necromancer Games Back Stock Blowout! $100 a Box (10-12 mixed HC / SC books per box)


It is as it says on the tin above. I asked +Bill Webb if I could share this at The Tavern and Bill said yes. There are about 40 boxes ready to be sold.

This is 3x era releases. I think the only thing I'm probably missing from the Necro releases is City State of the Invincible Overlord.

So, how do you order?


Bill posted this on Facebook so I assume the PM is meant to be via Facebook.

Anyhow, Necromancer Games was the gold standard of the 3x era of gaming material. Really hard to go wrong. I convert 3x stuff to Swords & Wizardry all the time. You just need to drop all of the useless fiddly stuff ;)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Follow Up #4 (Last?) - Kickstarter - Rifts® Board Game (Cancelled) - And Just Like that, It were Gone...

I thought I would be taking a break from follow up posts for the Rifts® Board Game Kickstarter, and I will be, just not yet. You see, after this morning's update where we got to see some painted minis were were given this afternoon's update, which canceled the project.

Thank. Fucking. God.

Seriously, the Kickstarter was toxic BEFORE it even launched and it was just getting worse. Anything linked to Palladium, especially with miniatures, is going to get huge push back but there was more of that than even I expected, and I expected a shit ton.

Then there was the fact that the project simply wasn't ready for prime time. Carmen agrees with this assessment and is going to get stuff in order before relaunching. I suggest that he wait a good bit before doing so. Why? Because Carmen needs to make sure that he's ready for the pressure of running a Kickstarter of this size, with the inherit expectations and baggage attached to a Palladium property. I wish Carmen good health and success when this does launch in the future and it will. It has to. Carmen has too much money and time invested in this Kickstarter to not come back to it.

Here's the update announcing the cancelation:


Deal of the Day - Barbarians of Lemuria: Mythic Edition (solid Swords & Sorcery RPG)



I own the original, non mystical, edition of Barbarians of Lemuria. Its one of those games I've always wanted to run but never have. Time is never on the gamer's side, it seems. 

With the Barbarians of Lemuria: Mythic Edition being today's Deal of the Day at RPGNow, I may just snag the new edition and run this at tome point. More probably, I'll borrow and steal from it liberally for whatever OSR campaign I'm running.

The PDF is normally $15.16, now on sale for $6.14
The Second Age of Man is a savage time of sorcery and bloodshed, where strong men and beautiful women battle with warlords, priests, magicians and gladiators to carve a bloody path to the Throne of Lemuria... 
Barbarians of Lemuria is a heroic role-playing game set firmly in the sword-and-sorcery genre. Lemuria is a post-apocalyptic world thousands of years in the future and unrecognisable to anyone from today. The continent has returned to an almost prehistoric state – a land of steaming jungles, vast untamed wildernesses, horror-filled swamplands, and sunbaked deserts. Massive man-eating beasts roam the unexplored regions of Lemuria and beyond, from island-sized sea serpents capable of sinking wargalleys, to the huge jungle-dwelling dinosaurs that can swallow a man whole.  
Print on Demand versions of Barabarians of Lemuria: Mythic Edition are now available. 
Included with the pdf purchase are:
- the main pdf in full colour
- the main pdf, print-friendly version
- a high resolution pdf map of Lemuria
- cover with artwork
- plain cover.
Remember, a portion of all RPGNow purchases made using The Tavern's affiliate links goes to support The Tavern. Tip your bartender! ;)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Follow Up #3 - Kickstarter - Rifts® Board Game - In Carmen's Own Words

Today's update at the Rifts® Board Game Kickstarter features Carmen answering questions and addressing issues in his own words. In the interest of keeping something that resembles a balance on the coverage of this wild ride, I'm going to quote some parts of the update. Note, not all of the update, as it is long. You can read today's update in full here.

Also, I'm going to address parts of the update where I have relevant info to expand or refine what Carmen posted.

As a side note, the next post will certainly NOT be about the Rifts® Board Game Kickstarter - I promise gaming content! ;)
Not quite. From the Palladium website, March 2012.


The gestation period of this Kickstarter was 5 years. Or, at least, the idea is 5 years old. And it doesn't seem to be solely Carmen's idea, as Kevin was involved in the "feasibility" discussion. Now, 2 years may be the time period that Carmen said "Let's get 'er done!" but its not the time frame of the idea.


Makes perfect sense. To not use a license you paid for would be foolish.


I agree. Harassing backers of the project is simply wrong.


The LLC being in Michigan while Carmen is in Canada raised some flags. I'm glad this was addressed and answered.

Nothing earth shattering. It attempts to put some distance between Carmen and Palladium. Can't say I blame him.

I know there are folks that are backing the Rifts Board Game KS specifically to support Carmen and that is great. He's getting professional help and that is good. He's also in for 2 plus years of stress, frustration, angry backers, frustrated backers and worse. I don't envy the position Carmen has put himself in.

Alright, back to fun stuff with the next post.

Follow Up #2 - Kickstarter - Rifts® Board Game - They Snuck in Their Own "Terms and Conditions" - You Can Forfeit Your Reward For Not Answering the Survey in a Timely Fashion


Holy shit! I've never seen a Kickstarter with its own "Terms and Conditions", especially one that basically says "If you don't confirm your pledge within 8 weeks of us emailing you, you have effectively forfeited your reward. We MAY ship to you if you miss the date or we MAY refund you, but it is just as likely we'll tell you to go screw."

They KNOW your basic order. They KNOW what you pledged for. They most certainly can fulfill that, but they have just stated they may choose not to. Because.

Customer service seems to be a foreign concept with these people. If this was a brick and mortar store would you buy anything from them with this warm and engaging attitude that they have towards their customers?

Yep, the Rifts® Board Game Kickstarter. The gift that keeps on giving...

Thanks to Impact Miniatures for pointing this out with a comment to the prior post.

PS - I still need to look at todays comments on the KS...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Followup - Kickstarter - Rifts® Board Game - How NOT to Respond to Your Backers' Questions


Yep, from about 2 hours ago as I type this. I'm literally STUNNED that anyone associated with a Kickstarter project would post this, but as I said with the previous post on the Rifts® Board Game Kickstarter, this one is going to have drama and more.

Guess what Andrew, those $1 backers are the ones that are interested but aren't sold yet. Those are leads you should be working to convert, not dismiss.

Now, is the $1 backer in question trolling? I'd say so, but Andrew's comment dismisses ALL $1 backers out of hand.

Someone really should take over their customer interaction on this project. I'm sure Kevin S is waiting in the wings ;)

Don't worry, I'm sure this is more drama forthcoming. Now, about those Glitterboys...

Reminder - Tavern Chat - Tonight 9 PM Eastern



Is it really Wednesday already? That went awfully fast. Heh. It was a very busy week in Tenkar Land and I'm still behind on stuff that needs to get done.

Nothing stops Tavern Chat! (except conventions, but that's a whole nother story)

Where is Tavern Chat? The Chatwing app on the right side of this page.

What is Tavern Chat? An opportunity for The Tavern's community to share thoughts, ideas, experiences and to simply "chat" - it is a Tavern after all ;)


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Guest Poster James Shields discusses Artist Transparency

Tonight we have a guest post by +James Shields where he breaks down the factors that go into the rates for his art. I think it is eye opening and factors in aspects that are often missed by many. A version of this post was shared on G+ by James but we are hoping it will get a wider audience with this post. Without further ado...

ARTIST TRANSPARENCY
It's the thing people want to know but nobody wants to talk about it. Sometimes rates seem to be pulled out of the air or determined mostly by what an artist thinks a client will be willing to pay.

I don't want this to be me.

I want to have integrity in what I do. I hope you do to. So, let me talk about my process and my rates openly. Maybe this will help you.

HOURLY RATE
First, determine what hourly rate you need where you are.
As a husband and father of four, I need around $20 an hour to adequately provide for my family.

ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES
As a freelancer, you need to know how much of your work week is spent on administrative (non-paying) duties. These may be things like client conferences, advertising your services, updating products, additional training, etc.

I spend at least 25% of my work week on these activities.

PAID LEAVE
Would you like to take an occasional vacation? Want to be able to afford some sickness? If you do, these need to be factored into your rates.

I personally take the standard 14 days of vacation and 7 sick days.
That means out of 260 working days (52 weeks x 5 days), I work about 92% of them.

DO YOUR MATH
If we take the above information and factor it into an equation, it would look something like:

[$20 an hour] divided by [75% of actual paid work activities] divided by [92% of actual days of work] = An adjust hourly rate of $29

This is my personal adjusted hourly rate. Yours may look differently.
But the math doesn't end there.

KNOW YOUR WORK PROCESS
I have a project tracker to record how much time I spend individually on:
References, Sketches, Inks, Colors, Etc

This gives me a much better idea of how much time your project will take me to complete.

I then multiply my adjusted hourly rate by the average time spent on a given project, factor in supply fees (variable), tax (8%), copyright license fees (variable), and transaction fees (3% + $0.30) for a final total which is then adjusted (usually down a few dollars) to a more palatable cost for sales. (Example: $63.21 would become $59)

[Side Note about License Fees: I charge no additional fee for Non-Exclusive contracts. The client gets the ability to use the artwork for their one specific purpose indefinitely. I charge an additional 25% for All Rights for a Limited Purpose. My current Work for Hire contracts are set at an additional 50%. Copyrights have value. Don't give them away. Client aren't letting you 'keep' copyrights. They are already YOURS. Therefore, value your work and charge for your copyright licenses.]

Lastly, we are in a commercial industry that includes supply and demand. The above does not include determining your personal value from the base rate where you start with this system. So, let's assume you begin using this approach and consistently have enough clients and work for months at a time. At some point, you may begin turning work away. At that point, there is more demand than there is supply. Therefore, increase your hourly rate some, which of course, will affect the flat rate you charge per piece.

(In the reverse and I hope it's not the case, but if you aren't getting enough work, evaluate your promotional time and efforts, and if need be, lower your hourly rate until you grow and improve more and demand catches up with your supply.)

So... that is my entire rate calculation process. Take it, use it, and adjust it for your needs. Finally, be proud of your rates and stand by them.

If you have any questions/comments, don't hesitate.
If you are a freelancer and feel like all of the above makes sense but have a hard time applying it, I urge you to use my Client Queue and Rate Calculator - https://gumroad.com/l/KfthF. It's the document I use to track time on various types of projects. Put in $0 and download it for free.

I'm attaching my Rate Matrix for you to see the results of my personal calculations. Hopefully, its complexity makes it clear why I use a Client Rate Calculator on my site - http://jeshields.com/wp/rates/


ENnies Submissions are In - Guess What Will Soon Need Your Votes? ;)

Yep, a couple of firsts here with the 2017 ENnies:

  • First submissions to the ENnies by Frog God Games
  • One of the (if not the) first Free Print Product submitted that was not released for Free RPG Day
  • First time my name was on a submission (not counting the submission of Tenkar's Tavern a few years ago as a blog entry before realizing I wasn't edgy enough ;)
It should be an interesting summer ;)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Kickstarter - Rifts® Board Game (100 buck buy in, but the drama is free)


Wow. Simply wow. The Kickstarter is live for less than 12 hours and already there are over 350 comments. Its also 46% to its $100k funding goal.

What am I talking about? Quite simply the Rifts® Board Game (don't forget to use the ®)

Now, you might be saying "didn't this happen already?" and the answer is "no". What DID happen is a whole lot of drama, a suicide attempt and lots mudslinging by Kevin and those frustrated with the the Robotech Tactics KS. You can read THAT post here. Too much to repost but very useful for those looking to do some "due diligence" on the Rifts® Board Game Kickstarter.

Let's cover the basics (its your cheat sheet):

  • Palladium does not have a good record with its prior Kickstarter.
  • Technically, this Kickstarter is not being run by Palladium.
  • There are those questioning who really is calling the shots on the Rifts® Board Game Kickstarter.
  • Carmen, the one who is producing this Kickstarter, attempted suicide less than 3 months ago.
  • We know this because Kevin told us so.
  • The suicide attempt was blamed on angry backers of the Robotech Tactics KS. We know this because Kevin told us so. Backers who refused to back the board game because they are stil waiting for full fulfillment of Robotech Tactics.
  • The Rifts® Board Game has train wreck capacity right from launch.
Personally, I would be wary of backing a project being run by someone that attempted suicide because of this very Kickstarter less then 3 months prior to launching this Kickstarter with this much drama and baggage attached to it. I am sympathetic of all that the creator has gone through, but that doesn't mean I'd back this.

That being said, I'm backing for a buck to get the backers only updates, as I expect this will be an interesting ride. Its just not a ride I'm willing to gamble 100 bucks on. It has a two year stretch before fulfillment and there is just too much potential for something to go wrong.




Kickstarter - d20 Dice Ties


d20 Dice Ties. I'm surprised no one thought of it before. Or maybe they had and it totally went past me.

I like the concept. Heck, if I was still working I'd buy one just to wear it at official training classes just to mess with the minds of my fellow officers. Sadly, the only time I'm going "shirt and tie" these days is weddings and funerals and I don't think it fits either.

The ties are 15 bucks for one (plus 3 bucks for US shipping - other shipping rates are higher) Not sure what they are mad of but for 15 bucks, I'll assume they aren't silk.

I'm kinda partial to the blue ;)

Anyhow, funded with six days left in the funding period. Expected to ship in July of this year.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Excellent Article at Glixel - How a Pen and Paper RPG Brought 'Star Wars' Back From the Dead


I don't often link to articles from fairly obscure places on the net and in truth I never heard of Glixel before this article was forwarded to me, but damn - its a good article. (and looking deeper, Glixel seems like a decent site to read other articles too)

D6 Star Wars IS Star Wars for me. The first three films that were released where the be all end end all - I know I'm a heretic to most when I can say I didn't care for the second trilogy and haven't watched any of the later releases, film or cartoon. My Star Wars ended when West End Games lost the license.
Greg Costikyan, a co-creator of Paranoia, was one of the people tasked with securing the Star Wars license. “We flew out to California to meet with Lucasfilm,” he says. “We made a bid of $100k. We later learned that TSR had tried to get the license too, but they only bid $70k.”
Just imagine - we were close to getting Star Wars done in the same manner as Indiana Jones and Conan - the sad TSR treatment. Shudder.

Read the article (linked here). Its well worth the minutes of your time.

When The PC's Inner Monologue Clashes with The Parleying Encounter, Anything Can Happen


Last night's session of Swords & Wizardry Continual Light was a blast. The group is exploring the cave system above The Lost City of Barakus and last night the party was focused AND lucky.

They blew through encounters that could have easily been TPKs if they had followed the +Tim Shorts method of rolling ;)

Then came the final encounter of the night. Its a minor spoiler for any that may play The Lost City of Barakus in the future, so I'm going to add a page break.