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Monday, April 23, 2018

Free OSR Rulesets - Fantasy - Mongoose RuneQuest 1 SRD (Doc and PDF)

The Mongoose RuneQuest 1 SRD is available in .doc format (for ease of house ruling) and a spiffy cleaned up PDF.

The editable version of MRQ1 SRD with additional resources:


Luxury PDF of MRQ1 SRD:



Other Free OSR Rulesets - Fantasy 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Kickstarter - Graphic Novel Adventures (Solo Gamebooks)

I'm a fan of solo adventures done right. They are fun to pull out when you have the desire to game and no regular game scheduled. Some of my favorites were from ICE back in the day using their Middle Earth license. I've never seen one that used a graphic novel for the chassis, so I'm finding the Graphic Novel Adventures Kickstarter fairly compelling.

Somehow, visualizing your choice add a new dimension to the genre of solo gaming.

This is just a great visual:

Nice and short video review:

Watch the video. Well worth 3 1/2 minutes of your time. Made my decision to back much easier ;)

19 bucks to back for a single book. 75 bucks to back for all five books.

Time to play with myself... shit! That doesn't sound right!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Deadpool Has Some Cool RPG Homage Covers

With some of these covers I found it is easy to identify their inspiration. Others, not so much ;)

Below are the inspirations:

Friday, April 20, 2018

Announcement - InfiniBadger Press is Lowering PDF Prices Across the Board (Polyhedral Dungeon / Graveyard of Lus / Through Dungeons Deeper / More)

I received this email early this evening and I'm passing it on. I think I own it all already ;)

Some important and awesome things are happening at InfiniBadger Press, with lots of great product releases coming in the next 12-24 months. We've also spent time looking at how we publish, why we do, and what we want to publish. This has led to us changing up a pretty important part of our publishing approach. ONE THAT BENEFITS YOU, FINE READER OF THIS EMAIL! (er - blog post ;)

After some analysis and decision-making, we're revising our entire pricing structure for PDF/digital products. Previously we price products at 50% of the baseline print edition (usually black and white interior).

We're revising those and dropping the prices of products according to a new formula, and this is granting PERMANENT price drops on digital publications today and going forward.

This means you can:
Save $1.00 on Polyhedral Dungeon, which is NOW $2.99 (previously $3.99)
Save $1.00 on The Graveyard at Lus, which is NOW $3.99 (previously $4.99)
Save $6.00 on Through Dungeons Deeper, which is NOW $6.99 (previously $12.99) (do I need to say it? this a pure gaming gold)

Why this drastic shift in pricing?
Because we want more people to get access to our products, perhaps even upgrading to the physical versions over time. Remember that if you buy a digital version, you get a discount of what you paid for it against the print price if you do want a physical version of a product! We want to generate some revenue to allow us to bring some really cool projects to life, and we think that getting more people to buy our stuff is the way to do it.

These discounted prices apply through all digital storefronts we publish on including OneBookShelf, Lulu, Amazon, and our own website. Physical book prices will remain at their normal MSRP.

We hope you take advantage of this exciting change in the way we're publishing, please feel free to share this good news with your friends, your gaming buddies, or even your pet!

There are affiliate links above. They help keep The Tavern doors open, the beer flowing and the lights on. Thank you :)

#ConManKen Plays "Let's Make a Deal!"

The above can be found in the comments section of the KotDT: LAS Kickstarter. #ConManKen wants to make a deal with the individual that had him served.

I'm posting with minimal commentary on my part as am sure my readers will do their fair share ;)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Guest Review - Pyramid of the Lost King by Genius Loci Games (S&W Sandbox / Adventure)

The Tavern is always happy to share guest posts from members of the community. Just use the Blogger Contact Form on the right side of this page or email us at tenkarsDOTtavern at that Gmail thing with "Guest Post" in the subject line to make your pitch.

Now on to our guest review by Doug Kilmer.

A Review of Pyramid of the Lost King by Genius Loci Games

Pyramid of the Lost King is a mini-sandbox (literally in this case!) that includes a collection of short adventures written for the Swords & Wizardry rule set, but like most OSR products it is compatible with many of the early rules versions and later clones. The product is the result of a successful Kickstarter project in 2015. The electronic product is 107 pages long, including the cover, 8 pages of interior cover, introduction, table of contents, backers list, and OGL license info. The remainder is adventure and setting information.

In full disclosure, a pdf version was provided to the reviewer gratis by Joshua De Santo of Genius Loci Games. The game is available in electronic format from RPGNow (http://www.rpgnow.com/product/196455/Pyramid-of-the-Lost-King?affiliate_id=1446)

The adventures in this product are set in the Lands of Usarm, a world that has undergone a long ago upheaval and is replete with ancient technology (magic?). Refer to the publisher’s blog (http://geniuslocigames.blogspot.com/) for more information on the Lands of Usarm and material available on this setting (more information on the setting’s history would be helpful, but is not required, to use this product. Especially if the GM drops this into his own world).

What It Has…

The core of this product is five adventures, three of which are dungeons, culminating with the title piece namesake.  The adventures are designed for S&W 1st through 5th levels.  There is a nice breadth of dungeon, wilderness, and city encounters in the document as a whole. Not only does the game provide the adventures, there is a lot of information on the sandbox setting. It includes information on the great Saragubi Desert and the significant places within: the City of Basq (a merchant-controlled trading city), the Sangab Rift, the Narrows, and numerous other locations. The setting as a whole can be easily dropped into most any campaign world. Like a good sandbox, the locales in the desert can be explored as the players choose. There is enough content to be the basis of play in this area for a significant amount of play time. It would require the GM to invest in creating encounters and finding creatures appropriate to this ecosystem, but there is a strong setting framework already in place.

The adventures are well written and are a good length for 1-2 game sessions each, depending upon how long your gaming group plays at one time. Creature stats for encounters are presented in-line with each encounter (not in an attachment at the end). This makes for easier use, but some detail on how to play certain monsters or encounters would help for less experienced GMs.  I won’t go into details of the adventures here to avoid spoilers, but have to give a shout out for several of the encounters to wet your whistles: Ratmen, Rusted Sentinels, and a Great Worm. Now, that is a nice spread that warms any dungeon crawler’s heart.

The encounter maps are also well done, in that they are actually useful as drawn. They are hand drawn black & white, clean lines with just the right amount of information – not cluttered or confusing. For those that use gaming mats or paper, the dungeons are easily recreated to scale for miniatures use. The rooms are keyed to the written content as well. I like that each location has a unique title, but also appreciate they did not put this on the maps. The hand-drawn style is an aesthetic I am particularly fond of. I would play the adventures in order as they appear in the book (which may not work with a sandbox approach), as they play well in that order and become more challenging (and interesting) in that order.

The author also went to great lengths to provide random encounter tables. These encounters are great for getting groups from location to location in play time. Each table comes with brief explanations of each encounter and quick stats – just enough info to put into play immediately if rolled but not so much that it bogs down play while the GM is reading.

The end of the document contains the obligatory new magic items specific to the setting. Nothing earth shaking here, but they are good window dressing. There is also one new spell.  As mentioned above, creatures are presented within the adventures themselves rather than consolidated at the end in a separate appendix.

The Not So Good…

There really is not much about this product that isn’t useful or well done.  As typical, we would all probably like more detail. That is the hallmark of a good setting. More guidance on how to tie the five adventures together to create a mini-campaign arc would be welcome. I would also have liked to have seen more new and original monsters for this locale, or at least a general listing of where standard monsters appear and how they can be used. Many of those in the adventures seemed like standard rules creatures with new names. Maybe just giving them some setting relevant powers would help.

There is one mini-adventure, Relics of the Lost Age, where not having more information on the history of Usarm is a bit disconcerting. The adventure involves the ancient technology, and again while not necessary, more context would be appreciated.

From a production standpoint and appearance, the artwork is a bit on-again, off again. The juxtaposition of some of the finer pieces (including a very fine cover) against the weaker work is a bit off-putting. For example, a nice black line depiction of a priestess in Temple of the Fallen God which has a nice pulp vibe is followed on the next page by an elven female adventurer or caravan survivor that is almost anime in proportion.  It is understandable and common among smaller publishers to have to use a variety of stock art to adequately fill a product, but more careful consideration of pieces used and trying to be consistent would have helped. Overall, though, the art is fairly good and it does not take away from the quality of the content.

Not sure this is really a negative, but to be used to the maximum, this sandbox like others will require some input and effort from the GM. Especially once you are past the five written adventures. It also requires good planning on how to tie the adventure locales and other random encounters together in a coherent fashion for more discerning gaming groups.

The Good…

There is a lot of good in this product as described in the preceding so I won’t rehash that. The setting, the adventures, and the quality of the writing are all notable. The content will be easily recognizable to any fan of the OSR, which I also consider a plus. The setting can be easily dropped into any homebrew world that has a varied geography. That’s actually one of the best values of this product – its depth of use and versatility. The book offers just enough detail to be playable, yet leaves plenty of room for the GM to exercise their own creativity and expand upon the setting as they see fit and as fits their world. There is a lot of value in this book at the price (pdf $10.00 as of the writing of this review). This product is more than loosely linked adventures. It truly is the basis for sandbox play. GMs and players both will get a lot of value from this book.


On the old five star system, gotta give this a solid 4 out of 5. 

Yep, that's an affiliate link above. Keep the lights on and the taps flowing here at The Tavern :)

More Thoughts on the Gygax Games / Fig Announcement (Snark Free)

Last night in Tavern Chat, one of the topics that came up was the Gygax Games / Fig announcement. As we were discussing, I received a PM with the following screenshot:

Talk about horrible timing. Not only is there no Gygax Games website to go along with the announcement that Gygax Games was to license IP for video games BUT the Gygax Memorial Fund website was down (still is as I type this)

So, why the apparently rushed announcement that Gygax Games was apparently NOT ready for? And yes, they weren't ready, as you can see from the Facebook commentary of one of the Gygax Games team members:

The announcement benefitted Fig but does little for Gygax Games. Fig needs "eyes on". It needs traffic. It needs incoming links. Sure, it's funded some huge IPs for millions of dollars, but these were well-known IPs / developers with huge followings. Compared to Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Fig is barely a fig leaf.

Here are some Alexa traffic rankings for Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Fig:

See the traffic rankings? I'll throw ENWorld in for comparison.

Just as important, if not more, look at the "sites linking in". Nearly 40k for Kickstarter. Over 18k for Indiegogo. 75 for Fig. They aren't in the same ballpark.

That's telling. It means that Kickstarter and Indiegogo are destinations unto themselves. Backers will go there to find projects. Few are going to Fig to find projects. Projects are sending folks to Fig.

So, yesterday's announcement was potentially huge for Fig. It got them press. It got them traffic. For Gygax Games, with no website, it means very little. No traffic from yesterday's announcement. Just an opportunity to piss off the established fanbase of Gary's work (why Alex couldn't you have avoided trashing TTRPGs?) Gamers have a short attention span when it comes to news in the industry, but insults tend to linger.

My advice, unsolicited as it is, is for Alex to start priming the "social media pump". For this endeavor to have any chance to succeed Gygax Games needs to have a presence on Facebook, in gaming forums (both tabletop and electronic), news articles, blogs, and Alex needs to be that face. He's personable enough in person. He can't be like Gail, a recluse, as that WILL NOT build up the fan base that will be needed for success.

Gygax Games needs a website like yesterday. Professionally done. Pleasing to the eye. It needs to be updated frequently with news related to this project. It needs to funnel Alex's excitement.

Anyhow, for comparison, below is The Tavern's Alexa statistics. We're no ENWorld ;)

Talking about ENWorld, the commentary on the relevant thread over there is worth the read.

Palladium - The Uninviting - Kevin Seimbeda no Longer Gaming Guest of Honor at Capricon

I guess failure has consequences. How many Robotech Tactics backers were left out in the cold?

Ah well, I'm sure Gareth is available. Or even Kenny if there is a film industry in Chicago ;)

Link to the Facebook announcement: https://www.facebook.com/capricon.org/

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Free OSR Rulesets - Fantasy - Swords & Wizardry White Box & Core - Editable Documents

I'm adding the Swords & Wizardry White Box rules in .doc format and the Swords & Wizardry Core rules in .rtf to the Free OSR Rulesets Fantasy page.

Perfect for those looking to house-rule or hack their own ruleset together based on the Swords & Wizardry engine.

Swords & Wizardry White Box

Swords & Wizardry Core

Free OSR Rulesets - Fantasy Page

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern - Whitman, Gygax Games - oh my!

Yep, I expect a lively discussion tonight at Tavern Chat, what with the recent Gygax / Ken Whitman announcements.

The link to tonight's chat is here:


9 PM Eastern on The Tavern's Discord Server.

Voice chat will be in the Open Bar channel. Feel free to lurk :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

#ConManKen Goes on the Lam - Little Monsters "Sold" - Ken Looks for a New Community to Grift

It's been a busy day here at The Tavern. Beleive it or not, now we have some news from our very own #ConManKen that he posted on Facebook. Actually, I'm surprised it took this long:
As of 6pm tonight, I am no longer manager/owner of Little Monsters Games & Comics, LLC. I will be staying on till the end of the month to help with the transition of new owners. I will begin persuing a full time career in the motion pitcure industry as well as finishing up some unfinished kickstarter business. I appreceate all of you who have helped my time at Little Monsters an incredable experience.
Yep folks, its time for a new episode of ConManKen Goes on the Lam with Marcus playing the part of the chief enabler.

Mind you, all that follows are a whole bunch of suppositions. Strong ones, sure, but still suppositions.

Now, let us be real. Ken was NEVER the owner of Little Monsters. It was a shell game that benefited both Ken and Marcus UNTIL Ken was served last week with a lawsuit. The store being in Ken's name, even if only on paper, put Marcus in an awkward spot. Spotting Kenny a few bucks and giving Kenny a place to sleep (even if it was a cot in the store's office) is one thing - being on the hook to lose a whole business because of Ken's past shenanigans is a totally different ballgame.

Full time career in the motion "pitcure" industry? Where? He has a rep in Atlanta and it isnt a good one. The West Coast won't take him. Vancouver, maybe? He can claim refugee status in Canada ;)

As for the unfinished Kickstarter business - it's ALL unfinished. Not some of it - ALL of it.

Psst! Kenny - the business you sold may still be at risk from your current lawsuit, as the "sale" happened after you were served. Just a thought...

edit- I originally had "Lamb" instead of "Lam" in the post title. I blame it on Ken ;)

What's 10 Years Old and Losing Value Every Day? - The Gygax Trust (CRPG Games to be Licensed by the Gygax Trust via Crowdfunding)

How do you ensure the IP you are entrusted with withers on the vine?  Refuse to license it for 10 years.

How do you attempt to revive its value? Talk about the death of its original market and aim for a new one.

What am I talking about? Why, the Gygax Trust and the ludicrous attempt to get value from Gary's work, not from tabletop RPG but from computer games.

There are two articles floating around today about the Gygax Trust making a deal with Fig (some crowdsourcing program) to license CRPG rights to Gary's works to developers. Let us look at those articles, shall we? Be warned, there's a shitload of snark from your bartender, and I'm not referring to Alex Gygax...

First, from Polygon:

Dungeons & Dragons creator’s unpublished work to be turned into video games

Gygax Games and Fig announce open call for interested developers
By Charlie Hall@Charlie_L_Hall  Apr 17, 2018, 12:00pm EDT

It’s been 10 years since the death of Gary Gygax, the man who co-created Dungeons & Dragons. Now, Gygax’s family, through the auspices of the Gygax Trust, wants to bring his unpublished works to life as video games. (Here's the deal - Gail's hope to have movies / streaming services / multimedia from the deal with theTransformers producer in July of 2016 hasn't come up with shit and Gail / Alex need money - the rest of the family is NOT involved)

The Trust announced today that it has partnered with crowdfunding and investment website Fig (who the fuck is "Fig"?). Together, they will begin a global search for the right developers to carry the legacy of Gary Gygax forward. (this should have happened 10 years ago. The Gary Gygax legacy has withered on the vine)

To accomplish their goal, the Gygax Trust has rejuvenated Gygax Games (you would think they would have revived the website BEFORE the announcement)  and installed Gary’s youngest son (and Gail's only child), Alex Gygax, as the CEO.

“I was gaming since I could walk and talk,” said Alex, who was raised in the family home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. “My first D&D adventure I’d say was when I was four or five years old, running a solo campaign with my father on his work breaks. So I was playing D&D before I knew what any of that was.”

Alex told Polygon that at an early age he played an instrumental role in playtesting another creation of Gary’s, a tabletop role-playing game called Lejendary Adventure, which was licensed for a time to Troll Lord Games. The game is now out of print. (and why is it put of print? Gail. Yep, she's a real wizard at making money)

“I was playing in our Thursday group through the entire creation of the Lejendary product line,” Alex said, who is also one of the lead bartenders at a local pub called Sprecher’s. “Since then I’ve been working here in town, doing a lot of gaming, hanging out with the locals, going to my local game store. I’ve played everything from Xbox games to computer games, board games, over at my brother’s house or Magic: The Gathering events at the local game store.”

Alex said that his job will be to ensure that future projects based off his father’s work continue to retain the spirit of the original Dungeon Master. Right now the Gygax Trust is working to archive handwritten materials and Gary Gygax’s personal effects, some of which formed the basis for the creation of Dungeons & Dragons. Alex called the collection a “treasure trove.” (problem with this - anything Gary wrote before he left TSR is probably owned by WotC these days, whether or not Gary revealed it at the time. What does the trust have rights to? Lejendary Adventures, the game they refuse to put back in print)

Alex Gygax was one of the first playtesters of Lejendary Adventure, a role-playing system by Gary Gygax and published for a time by Troll Lord Games. You can still find the quick-start rules at their website. (Grab it before the Witch of the Mid-West demands it be taken down)

“One of the major ones that everyone knows about is his personal dungeon,” Alex said. “It was his personal D&D campaign that he had never released to the public. He didn’t want his game nights being destroyed by publishing his work and then having his group go out and buy it and find out all of his secrets. So that’s one of the main things that we have to use, and all the little side derivatives of that.” (not so sure where the rights for that actually lie, but whatever)

More than anything, Alex said that he’s excited to find his father’s original work a new home in the future of digital role-playing games.

“I grew up playing this and I’m also a huge video gamer, so I’ve always wanted to see my dad’s work because I thought that they were some of the greatest stories and tough adventures,” Alex said. “I’ve always wanted to see them put out in the next level. Pen and paper is a dying art. (There you go tabletop gamers. Get your Fucking Shine Box! Tabletop RPGs are hitting new highs but they're dead. Sigh. Alex, I had high hopes for you. Ever get your name actually on the GMF website as a member of the board or is that still "in the works"?) Computer games, video games, they’re the next generation, the next wave of games and I’ve always wanted to see them on that new medium (that's all fine and dandy, but why not tabletop too?) and I’ve always wanted to be working with someone who’s excited as I am about it.”

Alex said that many of the games that his father created were always meant to be digital properties, and the time is right to fulfill his wishes.

“He always had the intention of taking certain product lines and transferring them to the digital realm (I'm guessing this was in addition to print versions), it just never came to fruition,” Alex said. “There are a few lines that he created specifically with that in mind. So published or unpublished, there’s definitely the digital realm in mind with these lines. It’s something that has been talked about for a very long time, and I’m really excited to get this underway.” (sure it has been. So why is Gail finally giving it the OK? is the Trust broke?)

Fig CEO Justin Bailey told Polygon that his company entered into a licensing agreement with the Gygax Trust with the intention of finding developers to pair with it. Ultimately, the Fig platform will be used to run the crowdfunding campaigns that will in turn produce the games.

“We’re running a full green-light process with our advisory board,” Bailey said, referring to the team of experienced game developers who help curate games on that platform. They include Randy Pitchford (Gearbox Software), Feargus Urquhart (Obsidian Entertainment), Tim Schafer (Double Fine Productions), Aaron Isaksen (Indie Fund), Alex Rigopulos (Harmonix Studios) and Brian Fargo (InXile Entertainment).

“Any developer who wants to propose something, get it in through pitches@fig.co and we’ll review it with our green light committee and with Alex to make sure that it’s a good fit. Once Alex is able to get the Gygax Games website up, that will be another avenue for submissions.” (Holy Shit! See this? The website isn't up for Gygax Games - that's some shade throwing right there. CEO of a shit show don't mean shit)

So why did it take 10 years to bring these foundational pieces of Gary Gygax’s work to the digital space? Alex said that it was all simply a matter of timing. (LOL! Timing? The timing was lost long ago. This is a matter of desperation to finally get some cash from the rotting IP)

“It’s just a combination of things,” he said. “Technology. Having the right group of people there. (Mom being broke) Wanting to have the fans involved and being able to keep some creative control. Maybe not full control, because we want a developer to be able to do what they’re good at, but making sure that it’s done with Gary’s spirit in mind. So being able to keep his spirit with everything is I think one of the really big parts of why we waited so long.” (No, the reason you waited so long is Gail wanted a million bucks to even open the vaults. Now, she's willing to take coppers on the gold piece in the hopes of making some kind, and kind of money.)

Yep, fun times.

Now, from VentureBeat:

D&D co-creator Gary Gygax’s trust and Fig partner on video games

Video games owe a great deal to Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons. In many ways, his game set foundations for the medium, and its mechanics and spirit branch out to all genres these days. But Gygax never created a video game that made it to market.

Alex Gygax wants to add video game development to his father’s legacy. Today, The Gygax Trust is announcing a partnership with the crowdfunding platform Fig to publish video games based on the unpublished works of Gary Gygax. Timing for the first campaign was not disclosed. (Because there IS no timing for the campaign. Judging from the lack of details, this probably just developed)

In an interview with GamesBeat, Paul Stormberg (I'm clueless) of Gygax Games said that the projects would deal with, among other things, the original home role-playing game campaign that Gygax ran. (Good luck on that - isnt that owned by WotC thse days?) “We’ll just say it’s something people have been waiting for a long time,” said Stormberg, who’s worked for years in the pen-and-paper RPG industry.

Alex Gygax said that the trust picked Fig as a partner because of the important role fans play in crowdfunding. (Huh? Correct me but wouldnt, I don't know, Kickstarter be a better choice?) Since they don’t have a development studio signed or a game prototype yet, they chose Fig to work with. This platform differs from Kickstarter and Indiegogo in that people backing products can get a piece of the action and a return on their pledges. (interesting)

“It’s a good opportunity to get some games produced and work with gamers and still be able to have some direction of where some things go,” Alex said, “making sure the spirit, the essence, of Dungeons & Dragons (bad Alex! Bad bad bad) and the RPG Realm is kept in mind.”

I asked if it was at all based on Castle Greyhawk, the megadungeon that served as the base for one of Gary Gygax’s home campaigns. They were a bit coy about it, but they did confirm that the projects wouldn’t involve Gord the Rogue, his character that appeared in novels after the D&D co-creators breakup with his own company, TSR, or the Castle Zagyg, a Castles & Crusades megadungeon that could be called “The Son of Castle Greyhawk.” (right, so is LA stuff that's been rotting for 10 years)

“We’ll just saw it’s something people have been waiting for a long time,” Stromberg said.

The Gygax Trust has had years to adapt Gary Gygax’s works into a game. So, why did they decide now is the time? It’s a combination of platforms like Fig and the advancement of in-game design and computer tech. (sure, and like I said above - Gail is finally desperate to make money off the IP - 10 years to late and a million dollars short)

“Video games have caught up” with the ideas and concepts my father played with, Alex Gygax said. “I think [the industry] has caught up with what we’re trying to create.”

Stromberg explained how over the years, the family has tried to work with studios to make games on Gary Gygax’s works before.

“Gail [Gygax, Gary’s wife] herself is quite familiar with the development of her husband’s IP for computer games, having worked with a number of companies over the years to do so. While the projects all had promise, some of them quite fantastic, the developers could never quite achieve the vision Gary had laid out,” Stromberg said. “However, now, with Fig, an amazing pool of talented developers, and some truly amazing advances in computer gaming, we know we can begin to bring the real jewels of Gary’s unpublished IP to his legions of fans and the larger gaming community.” (as a betting man? this goes nowhere)

As we chatted, Alex Gygax and Stromberg kept talking about the fans. It’s certainly the people who play, who create adventures and worlds of their own, that have been the key to D&D‘s longevity over the past 40 years. Poking around internet communities such as Reddit and forums devoted to RPGs, you find people still playing the old editions that Gary Gygax published decades ago. (so, there's a market for Gary's work, but they aren't going to market to the market...)

“[My father’s work] is something people love, and they stick with it. It had a very family like feeling to it, to everyone that has played or enjoyed it over the years,” Alex Gygax said.

On Reddit and those forums, you’ll also find people recounting their fond memories of encounters with Gary Gygax, who always made it a point to interact with fans at conventions and answer thousands of letters and emails. Alex Gygax even noted how his father would answer letters from prisoners.

And it’s that passion and goodwill that Fig and the Gygax Trust are hoping to tap for their crowdfunding campaign.

So, there you have it. Another deal from The Trust that will go nowhere. Beleive me, with 10 years of practice doing nothing with the Gygax IP, Gail is a master at the art now.

If I appear to be overly harsh in my assessment, feel free to make counter-arguments below. Note that Gail is a shrewd business woman, able to balance a Trust and a Fund and accomplish nothing with both of them.

Monday, April 16, 2018

White Star Galaxy Edition - 25% Off PDF Sale (Barrel Rider Games "Helping out a Friend Sale")

James Spahn / Barrel Rider Games is running a sale on White Star Galaxy Edition to help a friend facing eviction. Details below:


A dear friend of mine is facing some rough and rather sudden financial difficulties. To help them out, Barrel Rider Games is having a two-day sale. From now until Thursday, anyone using the link below can purchase the White Star: Galaxy Edition PDF at 25% off. All proceeds go to help out my friend, who has asked to remain anonymous. Get an awesome game and help out some awesome people.

Link to White Star Galaxy Edition:


Bundle of Holding - Mythras (RQ6)

Mythras is RuneQuest 6 under a new label. If you are a RuneQuest fan or are interested at all in RuneQuest, Mythras is considered by many to be the ultimate edition of RQ. Bundle of Holding is currently giving us a Bundle of Mythras.

"For just US$14.95 you get all five titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $47) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the 304-page Mythras core rulebook, three adventures -- Madness & Other Colours, Xamoxis' Cleansing, and A Gift From Shamash (that last one is even science fiction!) -- and the 336-page Classic Fantasy supplement (Old School dungeon crawls in Mythras!)."

"And if you pay more than the threshold price of $25.40, you'll level up and also get our entire Bonus Collection with seven more titles worth an additional $52, including Mythic Britain (and the Mythic Britain Companion), Mythic Rome (plus the Mythic Rome Maps), and three Classic Fantasy adventures: These Violent Delights, The Terror of Ettinmarsh, and Tomb of the Mad Wizard."

Sunday, April 15, 2018

New Release - Hell Hath No Furry - Fail Squad Games (BECMI / LL)

Fail Squad Games has launched its own online storefront and the latest release is Hell Hath No Furry for BECMI / LL. This 6 page, full-color PDF is priced at 3 bucks BUT if you sign up to be a Fail Squad Games Guild Member (its free to sign up and the information is on the same page as the adventure is) you get it at half off - $1.50. Not too shabby at all.

Lloyd does great work and I've backed every Kickstarter he's run (at levels that have included original art, because as skilled as he is at adventure writing he surpasses even that as an artist.)

Here's the write up from the page:
A BECMI / Labyrinth Lord adventure for 4-6 level 3 characters 
(6 pages – full color) 
Who let the dogs out? Some hellhounds have escaped their domain in the Lands of Lunacy (or a small island on the Elemental Plane of Fire). One of Brimfire’s (a fire giant) hounds discovered a jewel that opens a portal to the Prime Material Plane, and the hounds are wreaking havoc hunting and terrorizing the mortals.
Note - this adventure is a mini-hex crawl with an outdoor hex map (100 yards per hex) - as well as a dungeon crawl. Two great tastes, one candy bar. Er, wait... you know what I mean ;)

Tavern Tidbits - Monster Madness - Skeletal Mage (SWL / SWC)

Skeletal Mages are the results of sacrificed apprentices of those seeking to master the necromantic arts. Unlike the usual skeletal undead, these creatures retain much of their intelligence and cunning from their prior existence along with some spellcasting ability. They also greatly detest the living, which may be based in part on resentment of their current condition.

Treat Skeletal Mages as third level magic-users as far as their casting abilities go. They regain spells at the stroke of midnite, no rest or studying needed. They may not swap out spells - the ones they know are the ones they have memorized.

Skeletal Mages have been known to control lesser undead and are often found in the company of skeletons, zombies, and other mindless or low intelligence undead. Liches and vampires have been known to employ skeletal mages as lieutenants

Note: Skeletal Mages speak the languages they knew when they are living and can be bargained with. Whether they stick to the terms of such bargains is between them and those that strike a bargain with them.

Skeletal Mage: HD 3; AC 5[14]; Atk 2 (1d6 or by weapon) or Spell; Move 12;  Save 13; AL C; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Immune to Sleep, Spell Casting

Artwork copyright Daniel F. Walthall, used with permission


Last 20 Hours - HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals Kickstarter (AS&SH)

Quick reminder - the HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals Kickstarter is in its last 20 hours.

The goal was 10k - it's knocking on 20k.

Gotta love Jeff, he knows how to publish good stuff.

Stretch goals hit thus far:

  • $12,000 = Inside Cover Maps. ***ACHIEVED!*** Printing on the inside covers is a traditional and well-received component of classic RPG adventure modules.
  • $15,000 = Additional Art. ***ACHIEVED!*** We will commission additional pieces of interior art to further improve the visual component of each adventure module.
  • $18,000 = Bookmarks. ***ACHIEVED!*** Every print customer receives a free 2 x 6-inch card stock bookmark inserted in each module purchased. These bookmarks will feature the cover art seen above.
  • $20,000 = Xambaala Gatefold Cover. XXX-ALMOST-XXX We will create a gatefold cover for The Anthropophagi of Xambaala, displaying maps in a gorgeous and utilitarian spread.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

News - Jack Vance’s Lyonesse (High Fantasy) to become a new RPG from The Design Mechanism

I must admit, I've never read any of Jack Vance's work. I guess that gives me an Appendix N demerit or something.

In any case, The Design Mechanism has secured the license to produce an RPG based on Jack Vance's Lyonesse Trilogy. It will be a stand-alone game built on the Mythras RPG, which itself is a descendant of RuneQuest 6. Then there are the Mongoose OGL versions of RuneQuest (later named Legend) that came before.

In any case, here's a bit of the press release:
Jack Vance’s high fantasy masterpiece, Lyonesse, is brought to life in a new roleplaying game by The Design Mechanism. Licensed and approved by Spatterlight Press, Lyonesse is a standalone game based on the acclaimed Mythras system.
Using The Design Mechanism’s Mythras mechanics, the Lyonesse roleplaying game is presented as a standalone game with all the rules necessary for play.
The development of the Lyonesse roleplaying game will be documented from time to time on the Design Mechanism’s website and forum. Work is well underway, and the game is anticipated to appear between late 2019 and early 2020.
You can read The Design Mechanism's blog for a larger summary here or the press release here. Or go to ENWorld, where there is a summary and no links to the source. Almost makes one think they had an exclusive...

Friday, April 13, 2018

Kickstarter - The World of Center Campaign Sourcebook fantasy RPG D&D 2e

"The World of Center Sourcebook presents players and DM’s with an extensive range of expanded material designed around the 2nd edition of the first and original Fantasy RPG. The World of Center was created to be a full campaign world where the DM and players are able to run adventures within the realms."

Here's something I don't quite get - the project creator is particular enough NOT to refer to D&D in the opening paragraph -  "designed around the 2nd edition of the first and original Fantasy RPG" and yet has D&D right there in the project title. He knows he should avoid referring to it, yet he wants it for search engine purposes. Sigh.

Alright, so what exactly is The World of Center Sourcebook? The short of it - Someone's 2e houserules and setting. The long of it:
The World of Center Sourcebook is the core reference guide providing the game features necessary to experience this expanded and augmented adventure setting. It is usable in whole or adaptable in part to any 2nd edition campaign and is adaptable to most other Fantasy RPG’s. 
The 280 page book contains expanded classes, races, spells, magic items, monsters, consolidated combat options, deities, religious orders and more. Individually, the subjects covered can easily be taken piecemeal and inserted into any campaign and collectively provide a fully fleshed framework of rulings and expansions to launch a World of Center campaign. 
I played - and ran - more 2e AD&D than I did 1e AD&D, but once the bloat of Complete Handbooks started, I longed to return to 1e. I have little desire to return to 2e at this stage in my gaming career. (come to think of it, I ran all of our D&D campaigns back in HS and College. Except for two or three sessions early on and two conventions, I only got to be a player in non-fantasy RPG campaigns)

Admittedly I find this project intriguing - price points aren't bad ($12 PDF and $25 for trade paperback print plus PDF) for 280 pages of gaming material, but 2e simply doesn't do it for me these days.

Add in this isn't just a "first created" but also "zero backed" and I'll probably pass on this one. Apparently, its all written and laid out (art included) and will ship next month. For the 2e fans, this may be of interest.

Oh, I do find the color art to be trippy ;)

Lord of the Rings (sorta) Coming to TV - Five Seasons from Amazon - Paid $250 Million for Rights - $1 Billion to Produce

This was announced a back in November but it just caught my eye today as it is recently back in the news cycle. Amazon reportedly paid $250 million for the rights to produce five seasons of a Lord of the Rings TV show for its Prime streaming service.

Looks like the bidding war between Amazon and Netflix was strong.

Anyhow, ComicSands.com has the article covering the costs involved.
After a battle with Netflix, Amazon won the adaption rights to J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved fantasy series. The streaming service reportedly paid $250 million for a deal that guarantees a five-season television adaption of The Lord of the Rings. Estimates indicate the series will cost Amazon around $1 billion, making it "the most expensive TV show ever," according to The Hollywood Reporter. 
The complicated contract stipulates that this new show must enter production within two years or the rights will revert back to Tolkien's heirs.
The Hollywood Reporter goes a bit deeper:
On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. With the clock ticking, Amazon must be in production within two years, according to the terms of the pact. When production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.
The Verge had the announcement back in November - I missed that one too.

From the Verge:
In the statement announcing the news, the company clarifies that the new show will “explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring,” with a potential spinoff series also included as part of the deal. That means Amazon is going to be making a prequel to the classic tale of Frodo Baggins, offering Amazon plenty of leeway to create its own characters and take on the world. If Amazon is looking for an opportunity to add the sex, violence, and soap opera drama to Tolkien’s world that have made shows like Game of Thrones so successful, this kind of approach would certainly offer the opportunity.
So, really its less Lord of the Rings and more Middle Earth. Still, interesting. I wonder if it will add to the popularity of fantasy roleplaying.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Kickstarter - Retro 1E & 5E Fantasy Mini-Adventure Set

The Retro 1E & 5E Fantasy Mini-Adventure Set Kickstarter is "a triple mini-adventure bridge from Roslof Keep to The Curse of Roslof Campaigns in both 1E & 5E gaming formats."

By now, I expect most of The Tavern's readers know about "The Folio" - a series of adventures written for both 1e & 5e D&D. See, I can say that even if the Kickstarter can't ;)
What is the Folio? The Folio is a OSR inspired adventure path that incorporates both 1E and 5E Dungeons & Dragons mechanics. Currently, three full campaigns exist within its volumes including the six part Roslof Keep Campaign, the twin trilogies of The Complete Cities of Sorcery, and the six part island adventure campaign of The Complete White Ship.  That's 19 full Folio adventure and dozens of mini-adventures in three huge PDF super adventure volumes.  That's a lot of gaming!
So, what is this "Mini-Adventure Set"?
What are in the mini-adventures? Each mini-adventure is roughly 10 encounter points in a scenario that blends in with the main Folio adventure it corresponds to (in this case, the pre-adventure for the beginning of The Curse of Roslof Keep super-campaign). This includes maps, and statistics in both classic AD&D and 5th Edition D&D. However, these can also easily work as stand alone encounters for other ongoing campaigns.  They are designed for 4-6 characters from levels 10+. 
There are two days left in this seven day Kickstarter. It's about $400 short of its $3k goal. It's $15 for the trio of adventures in PDF, $40 for Print plus PDF. want it all - 18 prior releases and the 3 mini-adventures in PDF? 90 bucks. The price points aren't bad and the prior releases are high quality.

So, How Much Bat Guano for a Fireball?

Its technically spring, so today was spent at a nursery buying stuff for the garden.

Low and behold, what do I find? Bat Guano.

I guess that means I should be asking: who uses spell components in their campaigns? More importantly, was this a good deal for Bat Guano?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern - Ah, Dear Kenny - How Sweet That You've Been Served

Today is a Wednesday. Tonight is a Wednesday Night. Today is the day @ConManKen was served. Ah, what a night it will be ;)

Seriously, Wednesday Nights at 9 PM Eastern is when The Tavern's Community gathers in The Tavern's Discord Server and talks gaming - news, thoughts, rules, geek stuff - whatever comes to mind. Somehow, I expect @ConManKen will be a strong topic tonight.

Tavern Chat is mostly a voice chat hangout. You can hangout out in the Open Bar Voice Channel and lurk if you don't feel like talking. The additional chat takes place in the Tavern Chat Text Channel, but most of the activity is certainly on the vice side.

Voice chat is set for "push to talk" with very few exceptions.

Join us. You literally never know who will be popping in.

Invite below:


Ken Whitman - You've Been SERVED!

Holy shit! Huge thanks to David Flor and his A Walk in the Dark Blog for getting @ConManKen talking and forwarding me the information shared below. Even greater thanks to Desy Louis Jr for doing what many have wanted but not have been able - serve Ken / Whit Whitman legal notice of a legal action against him. At his shop. How appropriate.

Yes, Virginia, there is a special place reserved for @ConManKen. It isn't the North Pole, either.

No Ken, you can't sue me for sharing this. You can't have me arrested for sharing this. Just finish packing up your shop, put your head between your legs and await the summary judgment as I KNOW you won't be coming to NYC to answer this.

Wish I had been there to witness the expression on your face when you were served. See, this is what happens Kenny when you fuck with people. They use the law to fuck you back.

There is a 14-page legal action against Kenny. I'm only sharing a few pages here. The rest can be found as a linked PDF file on The Tavern's Discord Server in the Common Room text channel.

Link for the Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server:

Yeah, I think I have an idea about tonight's Tavern Chat topic ;)

Tavern Tidbits - Minor Magics - Flying Stuffed Monkey (SWL / SWC)

Continuing with the revisiting and updating of some earlier magical items / creatures that have graced The Tavern.

Flying Stuffed Monkey

The Flying Stuffed Monkey is a sort of quasi-golem. It can fly (up to 60', in a straight line, screaming monkey screams the whole time), walk, fight and even die for its master, but so long as it’s master retrieves the majority of its remains from the field of battle, it will be ready to fight the following day.

Hit Dice: 2 (roll new HP each time it reforms)
Armor Class: 6 (13)
Attacks: 2 Claws (1d6-1), 1 Bite (1d6)
Saving Throw: 14
Special: Reforms 24 hrs after being defeated. 23 Points of magical fire will destroy the Flying Stuffed Monkey for good
Alignment: Neutral
Number Encountered: 1
Challenge Level/XP: 2 / 30


Quests of Doom for S&W - $30 off in Print - Frog God Games

I received the following via email early this morning:

Got Doom?

No? Well, here is a chance to get it for Swords & Wizardry at a price worthy of your wallet!

Use coupon code: DOOM-DEEP-25 and watch the price magically become $30 dollars cheaper!

(use the following link) https://www.froggodgames.com/quests-doom-pfsw

Swords and Wizardry only through Friday!!

(note - price drops from $54.99 to $24.99)

This book is packed with 18 adventures in over 250 pages, by acclaimed and award-winning authors Ed Greenwood (The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, The City of Splendors), Bill Webb (Rappan Athuk, The Lost City of Barakus), Matt Finch (Swords & Wizardry, Tome of Adventure Design), J. Collura (Caverns of Thracia Reloaded, Chaos Rising), Michael Curtis (The Dungeon Alphabet, Realms of Crawling Chaos), Casey Christofferson (The Tome of Horrors, City of Brass), Steve Winter (Tyranny of Dragons, Murder in Baldur’s Gate), James M. Ward (Gamma World, Pool of Radiance, Castle Keeper’s Guide), and Skip Williams (Axe of the Dwarvish Lords, The Rod of Seven Parts).

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

What Does the OSR Mean to You?

No, I'm not talking about what the letters that compose the OSR stand for, but what the actual OSR means to you.

To me, it means an amazingly creative community, generous with their time, happy to share their completed works with others and quick to open their wallets & purses when a member of the community is in need.

Members of the OSR are quick to help other members on their projects, offer advice, share knowledge and all that good stuff. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a strong community to produce high quality gaming material (without being a large company or part of a larger corporation).

The OSR is compossed of members that are passionate about their hobby and are enthusiastic about sharing their love for Old School Gaming with others. Some are grumpier than others, but that comes with age ;)

It is a community I am proud to be a part of.

That is what the OSR means to me. What does it mean to you?

Tavern Tidbits EXTRA - Minor Magics - Tenkar's Traveling Tavern (James Spahn / System Neutral)

James Spahn posted the following as a comment to last night's Tenkar's Robe of Serving post. I felt this deserved a post of its own :)

Legends also speak of Tenkar's Traveling Tavern, a tiny wooden box carved with intricate dwarven runes, save for a single door wood burnt into one side of the fist-sized cube. Once per month, or on any dwarvish holiday, the owner can speak the command word and cast the cube onto the ground. It will grow into a sprawling tavern that is 30 feet wide, 50 feet long, and stand a full two stories. Inside, a combination of enchantments conjures forth a spectral dwarven innkeeper and trio of human servers. A spectral halfling also appears in one corner of the tavern interior and performs tunes both merry and calming.

Tenkar's Traveling Tavern remains in this form for a full 12 hours, after which it returns to its original form of a wooden cube. Up to a dozen patrons may enter the tavern during this twelve hours where they will feast on the finest food, perfectly crafted ale, and find relaxing beds on the second floor. Such a wonderful celebration heals them of 1d6+1 hit points and provides +2 to all saving throws made to resist fear effects for twenty-four hours after leaving the tavern.

If anyone fails to exit the tavern before its 12-hour enchantment ends, they awaken unharmed on the ground where the tavern once stood, but have a terrible hangover. They suffer a -1 penalty to all to-hit rolls and saving throws for the next twenty-four hours and spellcasters must make a saving throw (with a +4 bonus) whenever they attempt to cast a spell to concentrate through their pounding headache. In addition, the dejected individuals find that they no longer have Tenkar's Traveling Tavern in their possession. Instead, the enchanted box is transported within one mile of the nearest dwarf.

Only a single Tenkar's Traveling Tavern exists and it is regarded as a holy artifact to many dwarves. If discovered and returned to dwarven settlements, there will undoubtedly be great rewards. However, should non-dwarves discover Tenkar's Traveling Tavern and attempt to abuse its power they will draw the ire of any bearded folk who discover this transgression.

Tenkar's Traveling Tavern is priceless and would likely fetch over 100,000 gold pieces if the proper buyer were ever discovered. - James Spahn

Monday, April 9, 2018

Tavern Tidbits - Minor Magics - Tenkar's Robe of Serving (Any OSR Ruleset)

I'll be revisiting some of the magic items and creatures I first created five years ago. Some made it into Minor Magiks & Miscellaneous Arcana Volume I, a release from a now-defunct third-party publisher. I figure with five additional years under my belt I can improve on some of this ;)

Tenkar's Robe of Serving

Tenkar's Robe of Serving is similar in many ways to a Robe of Useful Items, but it is geared more towards delivering a fine pub experience on the go. The robe is often found with a bartender's apron of non-magical quality.

The following pockets have a limited number of uses - when the item in question is pulled from the robe, one of the uses is gone. All items are permanent unless consumed or destroyed (or spoiled by time) and cannot be returned to the pocket they came from.

Table and Six Stools, Wooden - three uses
Bench, Wooden (seats four) - two uses
Serving Tray, Pewter - three uses
Wine Glasses, Six - two uses
Lute, low quality - four uses

The following have a limited number of uses per day:

Wine Cask, 1 Gallon - once per day
Beer Barrel, 2 Gallons - once per day (must choose dark or pilsner)
Mugs, Wooden (holds 3 cups of liquid) - six times per day
Candle, Wax - twice per day (it is lit when removed from the robe's pocket)
Pan Fried Bread Chips ("Crisps") - twice per day, six servings (each serving equals one standard ration)

An additional feature of the robe is the ability to make change. Putting a gold coin in one pocket allows one to retrieve 10 silver pieces, or 8 silver pieces and 20 coppers, etc. Note, the original coin disappears when the new coinage appears. One can not change coins in the other direct - 10 silvers cannot be turned into a single gold piece. This feature can be accessed five times per day, maximum 10 gold pieces in value per use.


link to art - CC0 - https://pixabay.com/en/robe-hooded-anonymous-cape-coat-154808/

Kicking Off the Week - Kickstarter RoundUp for April 9, 2018 -D.A.M.N. The Heretical Dragon is with Beasts & Cannibals!

Yep, back to weekly Kickstarter RoundUp posts. Some I may have highlighted before, others this might be the first look. All are worthy of your time and attention.

D.A.M.N. Magazine - DCC RPG Magazine and News - A DCC RPG Magazine from Paul Wolfe - three adventures (two long and one short), a new patron, previews and more. Cover by David Fisher - About 85 pages, 8 1/2" x 11", color cover and B&W interior.
The Dragon Heresy Introductory Set Fantasy RPG - "Explore and conquer in a Norse-inspired land with Dragon Heresy, with modified 5E rules - In the Dragon Heresy Introductory set, you will find everything required to create your hero, play the game, and challenge fearsome foes. Go forth and stake your claim. Your saga starts here."

HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals - "Two new adventure modules for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (AS&SH) - From North Wind Adventures, creators of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea™, come two new, exciting adventure modules for the AS&SH™ game: The Anthropophagi of Xambaala™ and The Beasts of Kraggoth Manor™"

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition