Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Value of a Good Cure Disease

It's been my experience in my gaming background, that Cure Disease only came into use in a Meta-gaming sort of way - it cured magical diseases and got the PCs back on their feet.

Anyhow, as I sit here doped up on a decongestant, it got me thinking about the medieval timeframe that most fantasy settings are based upon.  Without immunizations, medication, antibiotics, etc - the common illnesses we don't think much of could be killers back then.

When you add in the fantastic to the medieval (your normal fantasy classes, spells, etc) you realize that the Cure Disease spell is probably more useful in society then any of the Cure Wounds line.  How do you stop an epidemic?  Set up a Cure Disease Triage with the local churches.  Which spell would probably have the common man seeking its services then all others?  Cure Disease.  That could be a real money maker, in volume alone, for fantasy churches and temples.

Or, this could just be some weird tangent my decongestant has put me on.

Time for bed i think...

Errant RPG - Public Beta Release

Greg Christopher has released the Errant RPG in Public Beta Format... which basically means it can now be read by more then the handful of people (like myself) that have been following its growth from the start.

This should be a must read by all small press / indie publishers, if for now other reason then to learn from the amazing layout.  It really is top notch - major publisher level on a shoe string budget, Greg really outdid himself with his latest project.

This is without me even mentioning the art, all of which was donated.  There are some awesome pieces there.

I haven't even touched on the game system, which finds it's roots in D20, but grows far and wide.

It's free, so you really don't need me spouting off about it, you can download a copy for yourself and make your own informed decision.

I might have more on this later today, but my list of things I need to get done today, both blogwise and otherwise, is ever growing.

Laters ;)

Typical First Day of Vacation

I'm sick.

It seems I can't take time off from work without coming down with a cold, flu, virus, back pain, etc. Must have something to do with not taking a sick day in over 3 years. Maybe this is linked to yesterday's flu shot, but my nose has it's faucet turned all the way up. Sigh

Tonight should be a new contest announcement, assuming I'm awake ;)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, December 17, 2010

Grading the Players

In the Castles & Crusades game I play in via Fantasy Grounds 2, Rob, our DM, has us award bonus expo to the other players in the group. Usually you get like 100 expo to divide between 3 or 4 other players as you see fit (via "Whispers" in the FG2 VTT - it's all anonymous yo!)

I know, it doesn't sound like much, but in a 5 player group, that's an extra 500 XP in the pot. As the game is high on role-play and lower on combat, those points can add up. Well, at once a month gaming, it doesn't add up fast, but still ;)

Now, the only time I had experienced anything vaguely similar was at Gen Con back in the early 90's. It was a multi-tiered tourney series, and all the players had to vote for the top 3 in their 6 person group at the end of each round.

I never gave it much thought after that single experience, but I did award some bonus expo for good roleplaying during some of the games I ran, which admittedly, is very subjective, and is probably better served by Rob's method.

Do you award your player's any sort of bonus for good roleplaying? Do you let the player's award each other a small bonus (like Rob does)? Pros? Cons?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Perfectly Placing the Proper Pieces in Place

This has been a great week so far, and next week should be even better (with my being on vacation, with the exception of Tuesday).

To recap:

I became an uncle on Tuesday

My son received his Auxiliary Police shield and ID Card on Wednesday

My pub had an amazing Christmas Party Wednesday Nite

My union had an awesome Christmas Party yesterday afternoon

Found unlimited 4g service via mobile hotspot for home and work for $25 a month - I'll see how great this is when i can actually give it a try.

Tomorrow should have me posting the next contest here at the Tavern. And yet another contest the end of next week. I love the Holiday Season.

Oh, and Christian, my girl should have gotten your package into the mail yesterday. With any luck, it will arrive in time for Christmas ;)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Re: The +1 Obsidian Portal Giveathon of Wonders

Obsidian Portal and Penny Arcade are teaming up to help kids this holiday season.  That widget in the upper left corner is a way for you to help too.  You can read more at the Obsidian Portal Blog,  or just read from the email they sent out:

It's been an amazing year for all of us here at Obsidian Portal. If you recall last month's newsletter, then you know we have a lot to be thankful for. But there's one more thing we're thankful for that most of us take for granted every day. Our health. Right now there are millions of sick children across this little blue dust mote of a planet, and right now we can do something to help.

The +1 Obsidian Portal Giveathon of Wonders
Every year, the guys from Penny Arcade run a big fundraiser to help provide games and toys for kids stuck in hospitals. Last year, we donated the +1 Obsidian Portal Chest of Wonders. This year, we're leaning on all of you to help us out. Until December 31st, we are replacing all our advertisements with the Child's Play donation widget. We kicked it off with a $100 donation, and many of you have chipped in as well. We're looking to raise $2000 by the end of December. That's a high bar to reach, but we think we can make it. If you help us get there, we'll kick in an additional $500.

Mini Review - Bean! The D2 RPG

Bean! is a recent sprout in the gaming world, having just been released November 12th on RPGNow, but it has become something larger then the sum of its parts.  As the game itself takes less then 20 pages for it's full write up (the other 11 pages are composed of a solo adventure and a GM adventure), that's a decent feat.

Basically, the mechanic is roll a plus or minus, even or odd, high or low, etc - but no matter how you define it, each plus is a degree of success (or brings you closer to success).  The number of beans, dice, coins, mattresses, etc you toss depend on your score in that attribute.  It really is that simple.

Still, this rulebook includes not just 3 character classes, not just 3 stats (yes, they are linked in a sort of way to the 3 classes), not just a fairly comprehensive spell list, equipment list and bestiary... it includes a solo adventure and a GM / group adventure.  All in 30 pages.  All for 2 bucks.

Heck, you don't even have to roleplay animated beans... you could go strictly old school with the races if you want.  I think you could flex this system into a pretzel and it wouldn't break ;)

From the publisher's blurb:

BEAN! is an easy-to-master, rules-lite, d2 RPG system, and the latest stand-alone title from the Fabled Worlds RPG game system! Perfect for introducing new players or children to the hobby, BEAN! is also great for veteran gamers who enjoy flexibility in their rules. Complete in one simple volume, spend less time reading and more time playing! The highly versatile and customizable d2 game system is unique and quickly memorized, so simple, yet able to handle any situation on the spot, without having to thumb through volumes of obscure rules. The best part? You get to toss your beans! With a d2 dice system, you could use standard dice for "high or low" "odd or even" rolls, you could toss coins or any other objects that have two distinct sides, but we recommend plain ol' beans! They're cheap and plentiful, some people really enjoy customizing their own beans, and a handful of beans keeps the game moving along quick and easy!

Simple, versatile, and sometimes silly, welcome to BEAN!

Cold as Ice

It's been damn cold in NYC these past few days (although much of the country has been having cold AND ice AND snow) and it gotten me thinking. I know I'm constantly underdressed, being that I wear short sleeve shirts though out the year, and I'm still wearing a fall jacket on top of that.

My thoughts have been straying to those that would wear heavy metal armor in these temperatures or worse. The metal wouldn't keep one warm, if anything it would leech the heat right out of you. If it got cold enough, your skin could freeze to your breastplate.

Leather armor would probably be a better choice, as it would be more likely to insulate one's own body warmth.

How many adventures or settings actually make reference to extreme weather and it's effects on the PCs, and civilization in general? Or is it just easier to gloss it over, and assume most adventuring takes place when the weather is more suitable for the PCs?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bits N Pieces

I have an idea or two for some contests to close out the year. They may even involve the Bean RPG. Hey, if the Troll God endorses it, it has to be good ;)

Got to see my newborn niece today for the first time (she graced us with her presence yesterday). She's a cutie.

edit: for James ;)
I'll try to get around to reviewing it by the weekend.

- Posted from my iPhone

Mini Review - Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook

The funny thing is, this had completely slipped off my radar of things to watch for.  I knew it was coming, just totally lost track of the time frame.  Then I saw last weekend's blog posts about the release of the Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook, about the ordering site glitch and I realized I was about to miss out on a cool piece of gaming... or at least be heavily delayed ;)

So, I ordered the softcover with the free PDF.  Yeah, I know my shelves are already full, and PDFs look awesome on the iPad, but this was a deal I couldn't pass up... instant gratification and the joy of receiving a package in the mail.  It was a two-fer!

Now, I can't talk about the physical product yet, as I haven't received it, but the PDF is a beauty to lay eyes upon.  I think the cover was the deciding factor in getting the softcover as opposed to just the PDF - its just that cool.  You can see it in all of it's glory right now at RPGNow.  Truly, all of its glory, as the image won't fit on my 28" LCD.  I think there is a bit of a problem there ;)

The PDF is well put together.  The artwork is evocative and generally high quality (which is to be expected with the participation of Frog God / Necromancer).  At first glance, it reminds me a lot of AD&D 1e's Player's Handbook, which isn't a bad thing.  Actually, for emulating AD&D 1e as it actually was played, it may come closer then Labyrinth Lord with the AEC.  At the very least, it approaches it from a different angle.  I'm sure someone could write and excellent article comparing S&W CR, LL w/ AEC,  the Original Edition D&D with the Supplements and AD&D 1e.  I'd certainly read it.

It is very complete for a 128 page book, just like it's title says,  including both player and referee material, monsters and treasure.  My single complaint with the PDF?  It isn't bookmarked or hyperlinked, which is a shame.  There is no excuse to fail to bookmark an RPG PDF these days, especially one that is high quality in other regards.

Is this a must by?  No, not when you can get the S&W Core Rules for free.  Should you want to buy it? Yes.  Is it worth the 10 bucks?  I think so, but I really wish they had bookmarked the sucker.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Sky is Falling and Other Tales of WotC's Virtual Table Top

I've read elsewhere that WotC's Virtual Table Top is going to destroy roleplaying as we know it.  Folks are going to have to pay microtransactions to play certain classes and races, Hasbro is going to make folks sign off promissory notes on their first born children and no one will be allowed to roleplay at the dining room table anymore.

I call a proper BS on this.

Working from last to first, few folks that currently have a local gaming group are going to move that group to a VTT.  In person is almost always preferable to the computer screen.

Hasbro no longer has a policy asking for first born children as payment.  They do ask for souls to work at WotC, but I think those are refundable upon the annual Holiday Season Termination Session.

As for microtransactions to play, from what I can tell of the Beta, GM's play for free and Players will pay a fee per session.  Which is a nice switch as usually the DM incurs most of the gaming costs and the players ride for free.

Seriously, the Virtual Table Top can only add players to the gaming mix.  It won't be leeching players from your local game, unless they didn't want to be there in the first case.  If that was the situation, they probably wouldn't have joined your group in the first place.

The sky is most certainly not falling.  At least, not just yet.

PDF Pricing Observations - Corrected

I goobbered ;)

821 for the week is correct, equaling approximately $1100 is sales

821 is volume-wise (not cash) equal to 4 months of sales, or 17 weeks.

Putting the average week at about 48 products sold at a rough average of $6 a pop. (why Jim thought lowering prices on everything to $1.34 would only double his sales is beyond me... he really low balled expectations).

Average weekly sale of around $290 for that 4 months period, so the sales nearly quadrupled his cash, and increased the number of sales 17 fold.

See what happens when you type before double checking your facts? ;)

Still, an amazing feat, and a great showcase for the idea of lowering prices to increase profit.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

PDF Pricing Observations

Jim over at LotFP states that he sold 821 PDFs at the $1.34 price point in the week that he had them on sale. He had hoped to sell 100.

Cash value of the week's sales was equal to the total of the previous 2 months.

At $1.34 in sales, he made about $1100 before RPGNow's cut of the monies.

At an average of $6 a product, Jim sold around 183 PDFs in the previous 2 months, or approximately 23 a week.

23 a week at $6

821 in a week at $1.34

Now, to be sure, the limited time of the low pricing accelerated the sales. Still, there is a lesson to be learned here. You can make more profit by selling for less under the right conditions. It's up to Jim and others to discover those conditions, because in the end, we'll all profit from lower prices and more volume.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, December 13, 2010

Saturday Nite's Gaming Recap

This past Saturday was my first chance to play with the updated Castles & Crusades ruleset for Fantasy Grounds 2.  My lord but they did an amazing job with the update.  Automation of combat bonuses right from the character sheet, a combat tracker for the PCs to look at, whispers between PCs, updated rulebooks... its a really neat piece of work.  Cost for the update?  Nada, so long as you had purchased the previous version.

As for the session itself:  if I had been on time it might have been even better, but I had my best time in forever (and I usually have a blast).  Maybe it was all the tea I was drinking instead of beer to keep me aware and awake, but I avoided the "junkie nod" that usually hits me after 11pm.

I'll avoid the play by play, as I'm sure my writing would not do it justice.  Suffice to say, lots of role playing and dice rolling, I spent much of my nite on the edge of my seat.

It's hard to believe this campaign has been going on for over 2 years via Fantasy Grounds 2.  I think I'm the last of the original party, and yes, there was a hiatus and later a change from weekly to monthly gaming.  Still, the campaign is going strong - even if the highest level characters in the party are 3rd level (Tenkar is a 3rd level Dwarven Cleric - who is more warrior priest in mindset).

Hmmm... I guess gaining levels isn't the be all and end all '_

Properly Fitting the DM's Mouthpiece

My first post on the DM's Mouthpiece is here

Harold's excellent follow-up and response is here

When i posted the first post, I was typing on my iPad, which generally means it is a thought that popped into my head and if I didn't put it down immediately, it would fly away on its cute little wings - bye bye!

Here's more of the same, hopefully more fleshed out ;)

Anyhow, the rest of my definition of the DM's Mouthpiece:

1 - Unmeasurable Power - Gandalf, Elminster, Fizban (Dragonlance) fit the definition
2 - Have no problem telling characters / pcs what to do, but when asked for clarification, speak in riddles
3 - Could easily do whatever mission they have asked / assigned to the pcs with both hands tied behind their backs, gagged and castrated - but still require the PCs to do it.
4 - When PCs are totally off the rails, can always find the PCs and return them to the rails, point in the right direction, and clarify the riddles still befuddling the PCs

These are not mere NPCs. These are not DM PCs (a true horror). These are Demi-Gods masquerading as mere mortals, ensuring that the PCs stay within the bounds of the DM's ongoing story.

Any NPC can speak for the DM. DM Mouthpieces speak as the DM.

Thanks for the great discussion folks!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Piece of Gaming History

The Troll God (aka Ken St. Andre) run auctions of different items that he has in his possession for the members of Trollhalla (link is above).  Recently one of the items auctioned was Ken's personal copy of Tunnels & Trolls Second Edition.  Being that the 1st edition only had 100 copies printed, the 2nd edition is also extremely rare.

I won this particular auction ;)

Later this week I'll post some pics of this treasure, but suffice to say this is friggin' awesome!  Yes, its a bit used and worn, but it is graced by Ken's signature.

So, I now have a reprint of the 1st edition of Tunnels & Trolls, an original of the 2nd edition, and original of the 4th edition, and of course 5.0, 5.5, 7.0 and 7.5 editions.  Woot!

The comparison of solo experiences using the different rules (flashing back to the poll I ran earlier) will probably produce fruit in a week or so... a week off from work should allow for some productivity ;)

The Winner of Over $125 Worth of RPG PDFs is...

The contest is over.  I asked to reach 75 Google Friend Connect Followers, and you wonderful lads and ladies hit 80.  I can't thank you enough.

Of course, that means there are 80 entries ;)

The list of prizes, to be awarded to ONE lucky person:

Weird War II Player's Guide [Pinnacle Entertainment]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade [Third Eye Games]
Martial Cultures: the Daikort Pack [Chaotic Shiney Productions]
Legend of the Five Rings (4th Edition) [AEG]
Dungeon Dwellers (Rev. 2nd Edition) [Empty Room Studios]
Fuzzy Heroes (2nd Edition) [Inner City Games]
Book of Alignment (OGL/Pathfinder) [Emerald Press]

The dice were rolled and the winner is (drumroll):

ze bulette


Hit me at tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom so I can tell you how to collect.

Thanks again to the publishers and RPGNow / OneBookShelf for their generosity.

I'll announce another contest in the next few days that will run thru the end of the year.  Same prize list for the winner, but if there is enough interest I may add a prize or two so we can have additional winners.
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lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

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