Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Wayward Kickstarter - City State of the Invincible Overlord - Maintaining Radio Silence in the Hope We All Go Away (Guess What Bob III? We Won't)

I had this big post written after reading the last 3 months of comments on the City State of the Invincible Overlord Kickstarter page. I was all piss and vinegar. I was channeling the backers. I'm a backer too.

I was angry and it showed. It wasn't pretty. Actually, its embarrassing.

Thankfully, some friends that got to peek early told me to step back and sit on it for a few hours, and I did. I reached out to a few folks, including Bob Bledsoe II. I asked questions.

I'm still pissed, but my focus is where it needs to be. Solidly on Bob Bledsoe III, the one who ran this horror of a Kickstarter. The one who has a Kickstarter with no funds left to complete.

Bob III is the one that is not communicating. Bob III is the one that took $1k from his father to pay someone to layout the project, only to claim to be doing layout himself. Bob III is the one hoping we'll all simply go away.

Bob II is still putting money into the project, hoping it completes. Monies made from licensing Judges Guild IP are being put aside to complete this project.

In truth, it won't be enough.

Bob II isn't totally blameless - he put his trust in Bob III, and Bob III is doing his best to ruin the legacy that is Judges Guild.

My suggestion? Follow the lead of +Rob Conley . Release the PDF of the book and the maps to backers. Give the backers "at cost" codes to "Print on Demand" the book and the maps at RPGNow. Salvage what you can. Offer partial refunds as monies are raised by sales of the PDF and maps to non-backers and from 3rd party licensees of Judges Guild IP.

Oh, and forget about the Pathfinder version, at least for now. I'm sure the current document is written for the JG Universal System. Take what you can get and move on.

Kickstarter - 28mm Terrain for Tabletop Gaming (or Chocolate Covered Fig Newton)

Look at the above. Tell me what it looks like.

What? You don't see 28mm Terrain for Tabletop Gaming?

Really, do you need more?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Clan & Hammer Teaser #1: Axecracker Clan

Here's a little teaser of the kind of stuff you're going to find in Clan & Hammer. This is an early draft of one of the clans player characters can select for their characters at creation. I give you, the Axecracker Clan.


“Ahahahahahahaha! Is that all ye got ye wee daisy-eating pig-stickin' pointy-eared bastard?”

All dwarves are warriors in one capacity or another. But not all dwarves are driven to gleeful, fearless bloodlust in battle. Axecrackers are the regarded as mad by other clans and its quite possible they may be right. It is said that Axecrackers are born with a blade in their hand and blood in their beards. They crave battle for the sheer joy of it, one and all. Fearless and without any regard for their own safety, they will leap happily into flaming maw of a dragon or a horde of goblin spearmen, simply for the thrill of combat and the off chance that if they survive, they'll have one hell of a story to tell. Scars great and small are regarded as badges of honor to Axecrackers. Whether it's a scar from a barbed arrow or an eye lost to the bite of a giant spider, members of this clan wear their war wounds openly and as proof of the glory they've won for the clan. Indeed, most do not regard an Axecracker as having entered adulthood until they have their first battle scar.
When not cracking skulls and terrorizing their foes, Axecrackers are master weapon smiths. Their axe blades are broad and sharp, their hammers fall like an avalanche. They forge no armor – such foolish protections are the province of the Stonebones – and instead craft arms so deadly as to rival the weapons of the gods, or so they claim.

Clan Strength: Axecrackers are skilled in battle, one and all. Regardless of their class, they can wield any melee weapons they choose in battle. In addition, facing a foe or number of foes whose hit dice are twice their level or more, they receive a +2 on all melee “to-hit” roll, +2 to all melee damage rolls, and automatically succeed on any saving throws made to resist fear-based effects.

Clan Weakness: Because of their recklessness, all Axecrackers refuse to use ranged weapons in combat, with the exception of the thrown war hammer or thrown hand ax. Even then, this is only done as a prelude to charging into melee combat. In addition, whenever faced with an opportunity to slay a goblin, dragon, or other hated foe of their clan, the Axecracker must make a saving throw or immediately throw caution to the wind and charge into battle.

Clan Craft: Axecrackers are masterful weapon smiths. Their Legacy Items are always weapons that are passed down from generation to generation.

Smasher One-Eye, Axecracker Warslayer speaks his mind regarding the other clans
Silverbeards: “Well hello Mr. Fancycoin. Ain't ye all pretty with your finely combed whiskers and your pretty words. Lets see how y' do when the horde comes out 'ta the darkness gnawin' at yer bones.”

Stonebones: “As good a dwarf outside the clan as can be found, but'n they need to be more willin' to split skulls and spill blood instead of using those mattocks for chippin' away at the rock. Nice armor, though – if'n yer inta that sorta thing.”

Brewbeards: “These lads are the ones y' wanna have patchin' ye up and pourin' yer pints when its all over. They'll be singin' yer praises and that of yer fathers long after yer in tha' tomb.”

Rockspeakers: “I dunna know about all this blood of the earth and speakin' ta stone business, but they're tapped inta something queer, and I'm not rightly sure they're to be trusted...”

Beardless: “Only good one's a dead one. Faithless dogs who don't deserve ta taste me axe. Worth less than goblin piss in me book.”

Clan & Hammer - What We're Going For - Flavor and Family

Its not secret that I was a backer of Mike Nystul's Axes & Anvils Kickstarter, which promised a Dwarven RPG and delivered one of the more famous earlier Kickstarter implosions and failures. This was one that took a long time to die.

Still, the core idea - an RPG focused on Dwarves, has been an idea that's kicked around for a bit in my head. So, when +James Spahn challenged me last year to write one using the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light rules I started to sketch it out.

Now I'm actively working on it. Not just classes, but setting and what the setting means. Because this is a dwarven RPG and its going to have to tackle things like dwarven culture, the importance of clan, family and honor. Without magic users or clerics in the culture, where do magic items come from? What is with the obsession with gold and gems? The historical rivalry with goblins and the distaste of eleven culture?

By asking questions, we find answers.

The best answer I've found so far? +james spahn ;)

James has offered to be not only my sounding board but my collaborator. We've done such before (SWCL comes to mind) and we find we are generally on the same wavelength, even if we get there with different methods and from different directions. That, and my respect for James goes beyond mere words. Needless to say, I'm stoked.

So, as we dig into the classes (James may take the lead on some and I others, but the end results will be "we") a question came to us:

Where DO dwarven magic items come from? This lead to the importance of clan and how the two are inseparable. Magic swords with bonuses to hit and damage might be crafted by the surface dwellers, but Balik, Son of Gorin has an axe that slew the Green Beard Goblins' Chieftain. Gulbrand has been in Balik's clan for generations and now he wields it with honor.

Little things like this.

Now, while Clan & Hammer will build off of and be 100% compatible with SWCL (and other S&W flavors) it will be a stand alone game. Classes will be more verbose in their description. There will be more "crunch & fluff" than is typical to SWCL. If its successful, and by that I mean we finish the project with a thirst for more, halflings and elves can't be too far behind...

Alright, enough about the process. I need to get back to the writing. As many of you know, when I go through these steps, a post a portion of the progress here at The Tavern for comments and feedback. That will continue. No reason to change what works :)

Oh, almost forgot. Playing with two different fonts for the title. Any preference?

Kickstarter - Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars (Alpha Blue)

You've got to hand it to Venger - he knows how to market and he KNOWs how to source some amazing art. Now, not all of the art is appropriate for every gaming table but V doesn't hide that. Titillation is very much one of his schticks.

You also can't agrue with the success of Alpha Blue. Its a Copper Pick at RPGNow and has a very strong and loyal, if relatively small compared to Stars Without Number and White Star, following amongst the Sci-Fi OSR crowd. Folks that embrace the quirky humor and sexual innuendos (or more overtly sexual references) really enjoy the Alpha Blue line of releases.

Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars is the latest in the line of Alpha Blue Kickstarters.

So, what do you get?
Three separate scenarios for the Alpha Blue roleplaying game!  Here are the titles... I Wear My Heart on My Sleaze (you're attending a space party and looking to score), Emergency Escape Sequence Delta Cream (your ship runs into trouble and you've got to get the fuck out of there), and Outer Rim Jobs of Ta'andor (your crew of spacers are looking for employment and crazy shit happens along the way).
I'm sure you see the theme here ;)

Did I mention there is a map by +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) ? PDF only, but wow, useable with any old school sci-fi system.

Here's is a more family friendly art sample:

As I said above, the art that Venger sources is simply top shelf awesome.

Now, the 3 adventures in PDF are 7 bucks. But if you get them with the Alpha Blue rules, its 10 bucks. The rules themselves at RPGNow are 10 bucks (there's a link above to the rules on RPGNow but don't use it to buy, just use it for reference - this is a much better deal if you are interested)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Clan & Hammer - Runecaster - Work in Progress Preview (SWCL)

It looks like there's some interest in seeing the Runecaster Class. Be warned, this is a "work in progress". Its not complete. There is much that is needed to be done, but here's where we are at the moment:

Dwarven Runecaster

Armor: Leather & Shield

Weapons: Hammer, Pick


One Body Rune every odd level starting at 1st level – Each usable once per day – 10 minutes per level

Protection - +2 AC 10 minutes per level

Skin of Rock - Immune to normal, none magical missile weapons

Burning Gauntlets - +1 Hit 1d6 Fire Damage if wielding no weapon – can set papers, kindling on fire

Darksight – see in total darkness as well as twilight

Detect Treasure – Detect precious metals / gems / jewelry of 100 GP value within 50’ – direction – distance

Light as a Feather – fall at a rate of 1 foot per second

Chameleon – Hide 4 in 6 in plain sight if not moving


One Item Rune every even level, starting at 2nd level – Each known item rune can be in effect on only one item at a time. Am item may have more than one active rune. Duration is one day per level

Slaying - +2 damage against creature type (giants, goblinoids, dragons)

Protection - +1 AC

Lighten the Load – weights 1/10th the normal weight (max effect 100#s original weight)

Lock – As per Lock spell

Light - as per Light spell. Must be used on an object.


Runes are carved on pieces of stone. The carving fades after use unless a saving throw is made (adjust by any Wisdom Bonus). If save is made, rune can be reused again the same day. Only 1 rune per level of the Runecaster can be active. Runecaster can prepare multiples of the same rune, but at no time can the total number of runes prepared exceed their level. No more than one rune of the same type can be active at the same time.

Summon Golem







As you can see, far from complete but I've got the rest sketched out.  I'll try and preview the Brewmaster next.

Hmmm, I'm going to need title art and a decent dwarven runecaster - any stock art one can point me to? ;)

Clan & Hammer Question - What Class do You Wish to See Previewed First (and other SWCL News)

I've been in a creative glut the past two months or so. Lingering cold symptoms off and on during those two months hasn't helped much. What did help? Actually playing Swords & Wizardry Continual Light as a player yesterday. Its about time. Batteries Recharged!

Anyhow, the game plan right now is to put one of the following classes planned for Clan & Hammer (the work in progress Dwarven themed SWCL game) into releasable form in the next week or so:

Rune-Caster - dwarven runes and wards are their specialty
Brewmeister - while there are no dwarven clerics (by the book) in SWL / SWCL, there is still a need for community, healing and spirituality
Troubleshooter - it takes a thief to catch a thief
Axe-Thain - a warrior with a singular focus and high sense of honor
Teutatle - a religious warrior on a holy mission to protect the dwarven race
Skald - stories and songs of dwarven heroics are the bedrock that dwarven society is built upon

Figure they will be in a format similar to that of last year's Elementalist class. Which one(s) strike your fancy?

Now, some Torchlight news. Things have been on hold recently with some interesting events behind the scenes that will be revealed sooner than later. It doesn't mean we can't start releasing some teasers to highlight the type of content one might find within.

Torchlight Teaser #1 will be +James Spahn 's excellent article expanding upon Torchbearers. With a high enough Charisma your torchbearer may do more than simply hold your torch.

Torchlight Teaser #2 will be the above linked Elementalist class, slightly tweaked from the original.

Expect them to release as PWYW on RPGNow in the next few weeks

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Manhattan Mini Con III - We played Swords & Wizardry Continual Light

This afternoon Rach and I played in a session of Swords & Wizardry Continual Light run by +Denis McCarthy at the Manhattan Mini Con III. Its the first time I've actually played (not run) SWL / SWCL.

I had a blast. It was great to see Rach really getting into her character and grasping the rules. Ranger was a good choice for her. She likes to hit things - in game ;)

It was great to see faces I hadn't seen in a bit (Miguel & Noah), put a face to a person I've gotten to know online (Denis) and meet a new face (damn but we need name tags - doh)

We played in Denis' soon to be released for SWL / SWCL Beneath the Fallen Tower scenario. We barely scratched the surface in the session of play but Denis let us peek behind the screen afterwards. There is a whole lot of adventuring for a party in this package. I'm going to guess at least 2 to 3 sessions, but with the hooks and setting bits you could build a whole campaign around it. Denis should have a hit here.

I really don't want to give away any spoilers. It was a quest to find a missing son (not a child - though we found a child - but not child sized) with enough hooks and shiny parts we could have caused trouble for many levels. Heck, I even played a combat mage (15s in Strength and Dexterity)

Oh, and as I told Rach over dinner tonight. Its recharged my batteries. Woot!

Kickstarter - ITHERVERSE Fantasy Turn-Based Game / D&D 5e RPG Play-By-Post (Let me Count the Ways)

Alright, what could be wrong with the ITHERVERSE Fantasy Turn-Based Game / D&D 5e RPG Play-By-Post Kickstarter besides the horrid title? Let me count the ways...

1 - The Kickstarter page is a word for word transcription of the 7 minute video. Best part of the video? The first 4 seconds of audio.

2 - This is apparently going to be a subscription service. 15 bucks gets you into the "Closed" Beta, but after the Beta, you'll have to pay.

3 - How much with the service be? Doesn't say. But first level will be free, so never level up and you can play forever. If you wanted to.

4 - This quote irks me, as I don't think it refers to many - if any - table top RPGs: "Does your current game hold you back, limiting your creative use of the environment, such as swinging from chandeliers, parkoring out of danger and being heroic? Well, not here. Just like any other epic story-telling RPG, you are integral to making up your story and your character attempting anything you can think of. "

5 - Yeah. PVP. So, its really being targeted at MMORPGers. Therefore the subscription. Oh, and billing it as "the fantasy turn-based-game". Which is pretty much ALL TTRPGs.

6 - Can't you already do this for free? Aren't there forums dedicated to Play by Post?

7 - Prior failure -

8 - Backed all of 4 projects - all early 2017 - 3 of 4 failed to fund.

9 - "Look, I already own ITHERVERSE.com! I need to USE it!"

10 - "The risks are minimal" Damn skippy they are. I doubt this will fund either...

Some folks think the Kickstarter cash cow hasn't been beaten to death. It has. Sure, the new KS is only asking for 1k, but the fact remains that nothing new is being offered.

Goodman Games 2018 Mystery Grab Bag - $25 and $50

2017 was the first holiday season in years where I didn't grab one of the mystery grab bags offered by the various OSR publishers. I pretty much hda what I needed. Or so I thought...

Then Goodman Games had to announce their 2018 Grab Bag. Damn it! I nearly escaped! heh

25 bucks gets you a 1" deep box of random goodness. 50 bucks gets you 3" deep - about 8 pounds. Cost is 9 bucks to ship the 50 pound box to New York. Don't ask how I know ;)

Product Description
Grab bags are back! Once every couple years we give fans the chance to get a giant box of Goodman goodness at a great price. The catch? We pick what goes in the box! 
This offer is only available to customers in the USA. Sorry international folks, but shipping this many pounds of books overseas is cost-prohibitive! 

This year we are offering two sizes, the 1” deep box and the huge 3” deep tab-lock boxes. The 1” box is $25 and the 3” box is $50. We will stuff the box full of books and send it your way. Each small grab bag holds approximately 2.5 pounds of books, and each large grab bag holds approximately 8 pounds of books. Which books will you get? We guarantee no duplicates in the box, and that all contents are in English. Otherwise, it can be anything from any of our product lines: Dungeon Crawl Classics, Age of Cthulhu, Xcrawl, Judges Guild, Metamorphosis Alpha, Fifth Edition Fantasy, systems neutral, maybe even older 3E or 4E titles. Only the gods themselves know for sure! 
There is a new grab bag feature this year: 
We may include a T-shirt as well! When you place your order, tell us your T-shirt size in the comments field. If the stars align, you may get a T-shirt in your size along with the rest of the grab bag contents.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Talislanta Arrived at RPGNow - Free PDFs - Low Cost HC - No F'n Elves!

Thanks go out to The Taverners. I received multiple notifications that some Talislantian goodness had arrived at RPGNow.

There are six titles available. All Talislantian are free in PDF and reasonably priced in Hardcover (I'm guessing at or near cost)

Now all we need is Skyrealms of Jorune to go free and both weird settings of my teenage years (and well remembered for their ads in Dragon Magazine) would be complete....

That's an affiliate link above. Feel free to just grab the free PDFs. I am, and I'll probably grab the PODs later...

Troll Lords Sale at RPGNow - 30% off (Stacks with Current RPGNow Sale where Applicable)

Troll Lords is having a 3 days sale on their PDFs at RPGNow - 30% off everything, and if its already on sale with the current New Year, New Game promotion at RPGNow it comes out to be just over a 50% discount.

Even better for the bargain hunters, Troll Lords has a series of titles that are normally marked down to $1.99 - it includes some classic C&C adventures. They come out to be $1.39 on sale.

Those are affiliate links above. Keep the lights on and the beers cold at The Tavern ;)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Kickstarter - Dice Roll Dungeons — Instant Encounters for DND & Pathfinder

I'm on the fence about the Dice Roll Dungeons — Instant Encounters for DND & Pathfinder.

From what I gather, its fairly systemless, which makes it useful for OST systems too.

I'm just not quite sure what it is. A sample page would go far, but there isnt one.

Here's what it says it is:
Dice Roll Dungeons is a collection of 20 different encounter scenarios, designed to work with D&D, Pathfinder, or any other fantasy-based RPG! Dice Roll Dungeons turns the act of detailing your encounters into a game of dice; it provides a fun and easy framework for your encounters, so you can generate ideas instantly and pick and choose from all of your favourite results!

You start by gathering your favourite set of dice and rolling your trusty d20! The result of your twenty-sided dice roll will give you your DUNGEON SETTING, corresponding to what you rolled. From there, you flip to the chapter of the book that coincides with your result, and you will be given an overview of the location, lore about the dungeon itself, and other interesting sidenotes about potential hazards and inhabitants. After that, you can further customize the dungeon by rolling other dice on ADVENTURE HOOKS, the BOSS FIGHT of the dungeon, a variety of ENEMIES and DANGERS, and, of course, totally customized TREASURE! 
So, I know what it says but it doesn't really says what it is. Eh, maybe I'm overthinking it.

Buy in is 8 bucks American. I'll see where it goes. Print options are forthcoming. Its funded with nearly 500 backers. 

Kickstarter - Dungeon Delve #1: Tower of the Black Sorcerers (OSR Adventure)

I'm pretty big on backing OSR themed Kickstarters. I like to back the community I'm a part of and want to see creators, new and old succeed. The Dungeon Delve #1: Tower of the Black Sorcerers looks to be an excellent OSR Kickstarter, with a bunch of pluses and a huge potential warning sign.

Let me explain.


  • The art team is amazing: Bradley K. McDevitt, Ryan Jack Allred, Matthew Ray, and Russ Nicholson
  • Removable cardstock cover printed in color.
  • A cut-away map of the tower, a map of the tower levels, and a dungeon map printed in classic dungeon blue in the inside cover.
  • Its written for 1e
  • Its written, edited, laid out and all art is accounted for.
  • Shipping for the physical copy is apparently included in the $20 price. Looks to ship anywhere. Enough international backers can make this a monetary loss. 
Its funded and I'm currently in for 20 bucks.

Edit: "Tower of the Black Sorcerers" is an adventure for 5 to 7 characters of intermediate levels 5 to 8. "

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern - How Should we Celebrate Swords & Wizardry Continual Light going Silver? :)

Today is Wednesday and that means Tonight is Tavern Chat at 9 PM Eastern. Voice Chat. Text Chat. Chat chat :)

As a side note, I noticed earlier today that Swords & Wizardry Continual Light (currently on sale for $1.88 in PDF) hit Silver status on RPGNow. My God, but this is both amazing and humbling. Hopefully we can continue the success with later releases. What shall we do to celebrate?

Here's the link for tonight's Tavern Chat:


New Year, New Game Sale at RPGNow

I've been remiss in mentioning there is a New Year, New Game Sale running at RPGNow. Its 25 % off thousands of titles in PDF, including Swords & Wizardry Continual Light ($1.88 for the next 4 days)

There is a surprising amount of OSR related releases on sale and I'll try and cover a few in the next day or so.

Personally, I find the NYNG Call of Cthulhu 7E Bundle a very tempting pick, and I already have the core books in print. Quite simply a shit-ton of horror gaming for your 40 bucks (not cheap at all, but still tempting). The Conan bundle is tempting, but I backed the Kickstarter, so I think I have (or should have) all included.

Yep, those are affiliate links. Keep the lights on and the beers cold at The Tavern with your Patronage.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

10 Copies of the 2018 Baby Bestiary up for Grabs

Enter to win a copy of the 2018 Baby Bestiary Calendar with artwork by Travis Hanson. 10 copies in the mix.


use the following links

Twitter announcement link

Link to Giveaway

Facebook Link

0Your Entries
220Total Entries
31Hours Left


10 people will win a Baby Bestiary Calendar,
2 of which will also win the Baby Bestiary Collectors Edition (containing Volumes 1 & 2 of the Baby Bestiary)

#ConManKen - Kenny Takes the Show to Facebook Live - Hilarity Ensues followed by Threats of Indictment

Because I didn't have an easy way to replace him with a pile of shit
Ah, sweet #ConManKen. Never at a loss to make folks laugh. See, Kenny took to Facebook Live for a live sale yesterday and my, the laughs were flying. And yes Kenny, folks were laughing AT you.

Now, it WAS authentic Kenny as you will see from the following shots taken by one of The Taverners" of the scroll at the bottom of the feed:

Some folks went s far as commenting about Ken's Kickstarters that he's failed to deliver, failed to update - fuck it, he's basically a failure.

Then Kenny complained about the Trolls - he started deleting posts and blocking people:

This is the post that got James banned: "Will unsold product be available as a Stretch Goal reward in future Kickstarter projects?"

He also made the statement that those trolling were in violation of Kentucky Law for causing a loss of business and it was a Class D Felony. I couldnt find the relevant law.

The following does, however, seem potentially relevant:

KRS 517.120 Operating a sham or front company

Kenny, can you quote us the law you are threatening folks with in the above format? It may help.

Because folks want to know which law you are threatening them with via PMs:

Turn you over and pour you out...

Kenny, where's my FBI Agents? I've had tea and coffee cake ready for them for 15 months and they never came. What was the federal law that I was violating again?

#ConManKen , if he wasn't so full of shit, he wouldnt be Ken...