Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas To All

From everyone at the Tavern, and Borasca, a long time family friend.

- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus...

I know there is, and he works at RPGNow ;)

I have reviewer copies of the following sitting in my mailbox:

Pavis Rises - Glorantian goodness for Mongooses RQ2, I'm sure it would fit with OpenQuest just fine.

Strange Bedfellows and Ursined, Sealed and Delivered - will be released in the next 2 weeks or so, for both Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry (from Necro).  Alright, this was more of a notification, but way cool.

Unspeakable Oath 18 - The ultimate in Call of Cthulhu goodness.  I didn't even know it was available on RPGNow

The Ruins of Tenkuhran - an AD&D adventure for levels 6-10 (for all you folks complaining about a dearth of mid to high adventures)

A very good day to be a reviewer.  Of course, now I have more to read, but that's cool ;)

Remember, tomorrow (dec 24th) is the last day to enter to win a PDF copy of Tunnels & Trolls 7.5e

Just End the Crusade(r) Already!

I really wish Troll Lord Games would put the Crusader Magazine / House Organ to bed already.  Issue #22, which came out last December, even caused me to rant about it.  I'll try to avoid the ranting this time.

Where shall I start?  Perhaps the misguided attempt to take the magazine monthly?  As the current issue is #24, that obviously was an impossible target.  The funny thing is, the current issue feels as much filler as the last dozen have.

One improvement with the current issue is moving away from stapled binding to a glued binding.  The cover is by Peter Bradley, and I generally like his work.  It's nice and subdued this issue.  It's also less cluttered with the table on contents inside, where it belongs.  I'd link it, but I cant seem to find it on the Troll Lord's site (edit:  found it, obviously).

Physically, the magazine is much improved.  It's the filler I can't stand.  What I want from Crusader, and what I haven't seen since it's earliest issues, is alternate rules for use with Castles & Crusades, a small adventure, creatures or magic items that ARE NOT ANOTHER SAMPLE from a soon to be released item.  The last item is the worst of all fillers.  I'm paying for something I'm expected to pay for again?  Besides, it was already written, so it's just being thrown in as filler.

I guess this is an anti-filler rant without trying.

I look at an average issue of Signs & Portents from Mongoose, which is 100% house organ, and I find more that I could use in a C&C game at my table then I do in Crusader.

Issue 24 was a bit of a surprise when it arrived, as I thought my sub had run out.  I suspect with this issue, it has.

At least there wasn't the usual guilt trip to try to raise subscriber numbers that Ward had been giving to his readers.  That crap still has a bad taste in my mouth.

I really want to like the Crusader, but I can't.  Even at $3.99 an issue it's a constant disappointment.  None of this stops me from getting other stuff from the Trolls, but as far as the Crusader, this is my last one.  Sadly, it wont be missed.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Tunnels & Trolls Solo - The Temple of Issoth

The Temple of Issoth is the latest Tunnels & Trolls solo to be released by Lone Delver Games.  It is literally hot off the virtual presses, as it just hit RPGNow on December 21st.

I know times are tough and we're all pinching pennies theses days, but this is priced to walk out the door on it's own:  it's free!

Now, I haven't run through it yet.  Heck, I just downloaded it myself.  I can say the previous releases from Lone Delver Games have been fun to run thru, and as about 75% or more of my gaming time seems to be running solo these days, I look forward eagerly to new releases.  You can't beat the price of free ;)

From the Blurb:

"You must help me. The priests of Issoth have carried my son away. He is to be sacrificed to their dark god this very night. I will pay you 100 gold talents if you go to the Temple of Issoth and rescue him."
Your blood chills at the mention of Issoth's temple. You have heard only rumors of that dark and forbidding place. Horrible stories of demons and the undead. The priests of Issoth are said to be fanatics that sate the great beast Issoth's every fiendish appetite. This man asks you to risk a great deal and offers very little in return. Do you dare enter THE TEMPLE OF ISSOTH?
This solitaire adventure is suitable for a single humanoid warrior with 20-30 combat adds. You may bring whatever weapons, armor, or equipment you wish. Three pregenerated characters are provided if you do not have one that fits the requirements.
The Temple of Issoth is designed to be played using the Tunnels and Trolls™ game system. You will need the T&T™ rules to play this game. A free PDF starter set of the rules is available from Flying Buffalo here at RPGNow.

RPGNow Print on Demand - Beta Tester Update

I've neglected to update my Pendragon - Print on Demand order which I talked about here when I placed it.  The book actually arrived last Friday, but with the hectic holiday season, and all the damn packages arriving at the door on a nearly daily basis, I didn't even get to open it up and take my peek until late this past Monday.

Here's my thoughts on it:

The paper used on the pages seems to be a higher quality then Lulu.  I know Lulu offers different quality paper for the pages (as I've ordered books that had that option) and I assume that many sellers opt for the crappier paper to keep the cost down.  That was not the case here.  Nice white pages, no bleed thru, it was a pleasure to flip thru.

The cover and binding were fine.  I had one Lulu book (one of a batch of 5 OSRIC softcovers I ordered a while back) come with a barely perceptible off kilter cover.  I'm not expecting perfection - but close to it at the prices we have to pay sometimes.  Dead Tree is not cheap.

Side-note: Under the fluorescent light of the bathroom (where all true reading takes place), the part of the pages on the inside near the binding had an almost violet glow.  It was kinda cool.  Probably has something to do with the glue used.

So, would I order Print on Demand from RPGNow / DriveThruRPG again?  If I had a choice between this and Lulu, I would choose this every time.  I tend to steer more towards PDFs, but sometimes you want a physical book.  This worked out great.  Besides, the shipping was much faster the Lulu.

Bump dee bump bump BUMP!

This is just a reminder that the contest to win a free PDF copy of Tunnels & Trolls 7.5e (a $15 value - woot!) end at midnite on Dec 24th - which is 2 days away.

It's easy to enter, and all entries that are also Google Friend Connect Followers will also be entered into a drawing for over $125 worth of RPG goodness from RPGNow at the end of the month.  Click HERE for more details.

So, what are ya waiting for?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Where Is THE OSR Forum?

I know about Dragon's Foot, but they aren't very fond of the clones for the most part over there.

ENWorld is more 3.5 / Pathfinder / 4e.

Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry and Castles & Crusades have their own. I don't know of one for OSRIC.

Is there a central forum for OSR games that I don't know of? Should there be one?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tunnels & Trolling

I've had a whole day to sit around and do absolutely nothing but think, and during this time my thoughts went to the James Shipman / Outlaw Press bruha.  We had over a year of chest thumping, accusations of intellectual theft, heck, a near schism in the little corner of the OSR that has a clustering of Tunnels & Trolls fans.

Why was this such an important event?  Because the vast majority of Tunnels & Trolls material was coming from James and his company Outlaw Press.  Truthfully, with the exception of Fiery Dragon putting out T&T 7e and 7.5e, there has been little added to the Tunnels & Trolls library that didn't come from Outlaw Press since the release of T&T 5.5e.  Shipman found a profitable publishing niche and found he was good at it.  At some point he got greedy.

From what I gather, Shipman and Ken St Andre had a gentleman's agreement allowing Outlaw Press to publish T&T compatible books and magazines, some of which Ken St Andre had a hand in writing. Then (and this is just me trying to find a timeline on these events via an educated guess) Outlaw Press started repackaging adventures and articles from it's magazines (Hobbit Hole and Dungeonier Digest) as stand alone products.  I don't know if Outlaw Press had full publishing rights or first publishing rights for these initially, but I think that is where the problem started.

Outlaw Press was becoming a publishing company and grew too fast to follow the money.  Someone forgot to make sure they had rights to all the artwork they were using, or just plum didn't care.  The T&T market can has a voracious appetite, and everything the Outlaw Press was probably selling like proverbial hotcakes, until everything fell apart like a house of cards.  Outlaw Press was now an outlaw.

The outlaw status continued until Ken St Andre buried the hatchet.  Which doesn't clear up a lot of the other problems, but it does give some closure between Shipman and the man who created T&T.

Outlaw Press is still out there, still selling it's enormous library of Tunnels & Trolls material.  I'm on the fence out the whole scenario now that the Trollgod has announced an end to hostilities.  I've looked at Outlaw Press's current website, and there is a crapload of good stuff there.  I'd assume the newer stuff is not an issue, but some of the older stuff (New Khazan for example is offered by Outlaw Press in 2 products, and by Peryton Publishing via RPGNow and Lulu) seems to be a problem waiting to happen.

I'm not gonna publish a link to Outlaw Press, although a little google-fu will track it down for you.  It's your own decision to make, it's just a shame that so much of the Tunnels & Trolls library is currently in a strange no-man's land.

Thoughts and Observations

So, my sinuses are still all the rage today.  If I wasn't on vacation, I'd probably have gone sick.  Tomorrow is the only day I'm working this week, and as my staff is throwing their Christmas Party tomorrow specifically because its the one day I'm in, I better show up ;)

I spent some time while watching the Giants fall apart and the Jets salvage some self respect, reading more of the Swords and Wizardry Complete Rulebook.  There's a few things I might tweak if I used them (Str Bonuses, Paladin Spells and such), but it really does seem to come closer to AD&D as the groups I was in in High School played it then Labyrinth Lords with the AEC. It all comes down to a matter of personal taste I guess.

After I motivate myself to clean (throw out accumulated junk) for a bit, I'm going to move on to a Solo Adventure or two.  I think I'll start the gaming with Bean! and then move on to Tunnels & Trolls.

I'd be remiss if I failed to remind folks of the ongoing contest.  Even if you don't have a Tunnels & Trolls spell crawling around your skull waiting for you to write it down and enter the contest, the two entries so far are top notch, and you may even find them inspiring.  Give it a peek.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gaming History - Pics of Tunnels & Trolls 2nd Edition

Today's new contest reminded me that I never got around to posting pics of Tunnels & Trolls 2e, which I was lucky enough to pick up in the Troll God's (Ken St Andre) auction earlier this month.

Tunnels & Trolls 2e Cover
Tunnels & Trolls 2e Contents

Pretty damn cool if you ask me ;)

Ken also sent me a signed copy of The Infinite Adventure and a copy of Yar Skelos (a thin book of T&T related artwork)

The Infinite Adventure
Reproduces T&T 1e Cover Art
The cover of Yar Skelos states that Tunnels & Trolls 1e had a very limited run of 100 copies.  I think I'll need to be happy with a reprint of T&T 1e and an original 2e and 4e.

Hmm, I now have a copy of all but 3e... need to research that.

Contest: Write a Spell For Tunnels and Trolls, Win a PDF Copy of T&T 7.5e

I plan to close out the year with 2 contests - this is the first.

This is all you need to do:

     1 - Refer to any edition of the T&T rules.  If you don't have a copy of the rules, you can find an abridged version here for free.

     2 - Write a spell for T&T using the following 1st Level T&T spell examples for format (taken from the abridged rules) - Silly names always work in T&T

           Oh There It Is (4) Usually detects concealed or invisible things or doors by surrounding them with a purple glow that slowly fades.

           Take That, You Fiend (6) Uses IQ as weapon, inflicting hits equal to caster's IQ. Must be directed at an indi- vidual foe. No effect on inanimate objects.

     3 - Submit your entries as a comment to this blog post.  Contest ends midnite on the Dec 24th.  Prizes will be awarded the weekend of the 25th/26th.

That's about it.  One random entry will get a PDF copy of the Tunnels & Trolls 7.5e Rules.  My personal favorite entry will get a PDF copy of Bean!  The D2 RPG.

This is my way of thanking my readers.  Above prizes are from my account credit at RPGNow, thanks to all of you.

Next contest should be live in a few days to go along with this one.

Oh, almost forgot.  All entries from folks on my Google Friends Connect (otherwise known at the Tavern as Regular Tavern Patrons) will be entered into a drawing for $125 worth of PDF gaming goodness curtesy of RPGNow (it's the same list I awarded at the beginning of the month).  If you missed out the first time around, here's a second change to win it.  All entries from folks on my Google Friends list in this contest and the next will be entered into a pool for the big prize.  So, if you follow the site, but don't follow via Google Friends, here's a good reason to do so.

Big prize package with be awarded on January 1st, 2011.
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