Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Releases for Swords & Wizardry

I'm too busy watching the Jets / Colts to do more then make a mention, but two modules were just released for Swords & Wizardry.

Ursined, Sealed and Delivered - (the blurb)

One of the One Night Stands series, Ursined, Sealed and Delivered is a newly written adventure module, but it's a truly unique window into the early days of the game. The module is written by Dennis Sustare, the designer and author of the original Druid class that has become a key character class in virtually every fantasy game ever written since 1978. I've done almost no editing of Dennis's text, although the tournament format has been shifted around to be more easily used during play. The result is that you are about to read an adventure that's a direct window into the imagination of one of the great figures of fantasy gaming. Any typographical errors or glitches in the "flow" of the adventure are the responsibility of the editor, and all the high-adventurous moments of this fast-moving, gripping adventure are to the credit of the author.

In addition to being written by Dennis Sustare, the module has cover artwork contributed by Paul Jaquays, who is also one of the great figures of fantasy gaming art. This new artwork sees the return of Paul's unique style, which will be instantly recognizable by those who gamed during the seventies and early eighties; it is an iconic, original vision of swords & sorcery that has not been seen on the cover of a module for decades. We're proud to be able to bring a new piece of Jaquays art to younger gamers who may never have seen examples of it before. He portrays a world that is stark and fierce, more visceral than art based on high fantasy, with the sort of rough-edged heroes who inhabit the fiction of sword & sorcery's earlier days, before the world-shaking influence of JRR Tolkien rearranged the foundations of the genre at every conceivable level.

Strange Bedfellows - (the blurb)

A circus show erupts in mayhem when goblinoids crash the performance, slaughtering performers and audience members alike. PCs investigate the attack, leading them into an ancient dungeon and uncovering ancient secrets and harbored grudges. Their decisions affect the politics and economics of three unique towns.

Strange Bedfellows is a d20 adventure for 4-6 PCs of level 2 or higher and includes three fully-developed towns, numerous unique NPCs who offer an extensive assortment of side quests, and a wide range of challenging opponents.

Uncover ancient evils and secrets while discovering the reason for the attack at the circus.

Fight unique monsters.

Make decisions that affect the long-term politics and economics of three towns.

Benny and the Jets - J - E - T -S

On a normal Saturday nite I'm either gaming online with Fantasy Grounds, or I'm reading gaming blogs, or checking out another RPG product to review, or running a Tunnels & Trolls solo... you get the idea.

Tonight, i'm watching the Jet's in the Postseason.

Fun fun ;)

To Sleep, Perchance to... Get More Then Five Hours of Sleep on My Day Off

This morning was / is an early day for a day off. My son has an interview at a college, and he's already talking about the easy commute when he gets my car. Needless to say, I drove him to the interview and I'm sitting in the car awaiting his return.

I was very surprised to find that my iSpot gets 4e reception in New Rochelle, NY. If he goes here in the fall, I expect my car is not the only thing of mine he will want ;)

In the meantime, I'm checking out the two newly released S&W modules released on RPGNow from the Frog God folks. More on that later.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it...no?

The Christmas weekend snow storm was a prime example of city government dropping the ball. Today's little dusting is a prime example of doing too much now to cover you past mistakes - i think a salter went by my window at work at least 3 times so far.

My staff is going a little snow crazy tho - nonstop laughing, god bless them.

Time to stream a movie or two tonight - which means hitting the list you fine folks created ;)

The Song Remains the Same - At Least Until 4e

I'm enjoying the idea of stealing song titles for blog post headers ;)

Anyhow, after looking at the ever expanding list of Dungeons & Dragons editions and derivatives, I was struck at how the underlying rules hadn't changes much until 4e.

Yes, they were added to, and built upon, but the OGL showed how easy it was to take 3.5e and boil it down to it's base roots. Thus we have the OSR.

4e makes a fairly clean break from it's predecessors, and with the exception of the six core stats, it's hard to draw a direct connection to those that came before it. This doesn't make it any less D&D then the others necessarily, but I can see why those that started earlier then 4e often have a difficulty in making the connection.

Up until 3.5, all versions of D&D were different dialects of the same language. 4e changed to a new language with distant roots. Or something like that. I think I'm still tired from my job's After the Holiday Party last nite ;)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

DCC Did a Job On Me, Now I am a Real Sickie...

What do you get when you cross Goodman Games' upcoming Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG and a Ramones song? A really bad blog post title.

Anyhow, the retro game that isn't a retro game will be released in 11/11, but is available for preorder now. Needless to say I've reserved my copy.

Let me figure out the various editions / iterations of D&D I currently own:

OD&D in the Collector's Box and all the supplements
D&D Holmes
D&D Metzner
D&D Rules Cyclopedia
AD&D 1e
AD&D 2e / with the stupid Skills & Powers books even
D&D 3e
D&D 3.5e
D&D 4e
Hackmaster 1e
Hacmaster Basic
LL w/ the AEC
S&W White Box
Dark Dungeons
LotFP Weird Fantasy
(edited for the last 2 entries)

Ack, my head hurts.

No wonder Tunnels & Trolls has my attention these days. It only has 7 editions and minor changes between editions.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More Beans! For Free

I gave away a nice number of copies of Bean! the D2 RPG over the last two contests.  I was able to, as it cost the fairly cheap price of 2 bucks.  It's not like I'm rolling in referral credit at RPGNow ;)

To make it an even greater value, there are two free adventures for it, one solo and one for a GM and a party.

Grab them, read them, play them.  Stretch that purchase Bean! value even further.  Remember, beans are a good source of protein.  These Bean! products are gas free BTW...

The Trollish Taproom - A Little Paranoia Goes a Long Way

Apparently, someone flagged one of the commentators on yesterday's Outlaw Press post as spam. Now, in most circumstances, I'd write this off as Google Anti-Spam software having a hiccup, but these were posts that were solidly anti Outlaw Press, as was Andreas' right.

They've been de-spammed and posted, as they should have been from the start.

I'm not big on conspiracies, but the only other spam I found in my comment spam folder was in Chinese. Someone is gaming the system to their perceived advantage.

If I post about Outlaw Press in the future, it will be solely dealing with the products themselves. This may be the one time I'll be looking to torrent RPG products.

I'm left with a very sour taste in my mouth.

I wonder if anyone tried to rewrite the Tunnels & Trolls wikipedia entry yet again?

Not that it makes much of a difference. The latest iteration of Outlaw Press' fly by nite website is down.

Geek Tech Tip - The iSpot From Clear

Last month, when everyday seemed to offer a new unbeatable deal, I found Clear's iSpot 4g Wireless hub for sale for a mere $20 (usually $99). It is advertised as a 4g service solely for iOS devices (Apple's iPads, iPhones and iTouches). For $25 a month, no contract, you get unlimited 4g service - assuming you live / work in an area covered by Sprint's 4g network.

I have been receiving mailed advertisements from Clear since the summer, and while I found it interesting, I could never justify the price point. This time around, I couldn't justify not taking a chance on it.

My review after using it for a few weeks? Its amazing. I can get a nice, solid, fast internet signal both in downtown Manhattan and the outer boroughs of NYC. The device does not receive 3g, so Long Island and Upstate NY or the Poconos it's basically a brick. Still, what it does, it does very well.

It does more then advertised BTW. I've yet to find a device, laptop or phone that I could not connect to it. I had assumed it would have been locked to iOS devices view MAC address filtering, but that is apparently not the case. As I really only use the iSpot at work or my fiancés apt, 99% of the time is spent on my iPad. Still, its nice to know i can use it otherwise. I don't know if my iSpot is an aberration or not, and I can't speak for others out there, but this was a very pleasant surprise.

If you find it on sale, and if you are in one of the limited areas covered by its service, and you need a better connection for you iPad, this is a great option.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Streaming the World - Discworld

Thanks to the awesome responses to the last contest of 2010, I have a truly amazing list of movies and shows to watch.

My first two selections were movies that I felt I would be familiar with the subject manner - The Colour of Magic and Hogfather.

I've been reading the Discworld series for going on 20 years, and it is probably that long ago that I first read The Colour of Magic.  So, except for some of the characters, I really didnt recall much of the story.  Which means I can't tell you how close the movie follows the book.

Taken on it's own, i had a blast watching it.  I had a few laugh out loud moments, and many more that put a nice smile on my face.  Very well done and decently acted.  I had the Rocky Horror Picture Show and LotR movies going thru my head at times, but good actors are good actors.

Hogfather was good, but not as good as The Colour of Magic.  I preferred the representation of Death in Hogfather, but the Guild of Wizards seemed better portrayed in the first movie.  The story did drag a bit at the end of the first half, but the second half more then made up for it.  I had forgotten that Death had a granddaughter, and it was great to see the Ankh-Morpork Watch make an appearance.

Ah, who am I kidding?  They could have been total crap and I would have loved them both.  They weren't crap.  Both were far better then either of the Dungeons & Dragons movies (which isnt all that hard I know).  I enjoyed them immensely.

Now I need to dig further into the list ;)

The Trollish Taproom - Someone Crapped in the Privy

Yes, someone crapped in the privy. No courtesy flush or perfume spray, just a bunch of stink. I kinda knew I would have that effect when I started talking about Outlaw Press products.

Just to clear the air a wee bit. I jumped feet first into the sewage when the pissing match started with the Trollgod. I held his banner high, posted the posts as requested, redacted parts of posts that were requested to be redacted. Then we were told to retreat. The war was over, no ground was won... if anything, ground was lost.

Which leads me to believe, right or wrong, that Outlaw Press was a legal right to publish Tunnels & Trolls material. Whatever contracts that were signed or entered into are still in effect, or at least severely disputed.

Might Outlaw Press have taken advantage of the Trollgod? Quite possibly. Still, it is no longer a battle that has a fight to it.

Has OP's license to publish T&T material been revoked? Depends on how the initial license was written. No one knows but those that signed it. Still, OP could always go the route of Mayfair games and such, and just say "for use with Tunnels & Trolls". Even Kenzer Co avoided the GSL with their first 4e product, and went with "for use with the 4th edition of the worlds most popular RPG" or something to that effect.

The use of copyrighted artwork without permission which started this downward spiral? That does not appear to be the current issue. It was a huge issue, and whether it was ignorance when purchased from a broker (as one article states), or willful arrogance, recent OP products are sans cover art, with the exception of the magazines.

Maybe someone who has submitted to the Hobbit Hole or such can let us know what kind of rights Outlaw Press gets when you sign off on the contract. Can they republish / repackage?

Could Outlaw Press be the moral equivalent of a monster that chews up babies and then poops on your couch? Quite possibly. I don't know. Maybe I'd feel different if I hadn't been drawn into a fight that wasnt mine, then told we were apologizing and walking away.

I no longer see this in black and white, but shades of grey.

For those that see it in black and white, God bless you. Me, I'm going to be reading my Tunnels & Troll material in poor lighting (the type your mother always complained to you when you read in it) with the faint aroma of poop - or is that Troll?

Watch the Game or Play the Game

My Jets (I call them mine, as I am a long time suffering Jets fan) have an 8 pm playoff game this Saturday nite. If my memory serves, I also have a monthly Castles & Crusades game via Fantasy Grounds 2 at, you guessed it, 8pm on Saturday nite.

Decisions, decisions.

I am leaning heavily towards watching the game. I know in theory I could do both, but I sincerely doubt my ability to game successfully while watching football, eating chips and drinking beer. The distractions will just be too great ;)

Not that I expect the Jets to go all the way this year. Their play has been too inconsistent. Still, I expect I'll have a good time watching, assuming they don't get crushed.

We are gradually closing in on 100 followers of this fine blog. I'll need to think of someway to celebrate when we finally do hit the mark.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mini Review - The Flux

There aren't all that many RPG products that leave you standing there with your mouth open and at the same time wanting to smack yourself in the head.  The Flux is one of those few.

Hello, my name is Erik, and I suffer from Gamer's ADD.  No, not AD&D, but Gamer's Attention Deficit Disorder.  There is just so much cool crap, i want to run from Labyrinth Lord, to Fate, to Dresden, to Swords & Wizardry, to Tunnels and Trolls - I want it all.  As a GM, sometimes I get drawn to the new shiny like a moth to flame.

The Flux embraces my illness and makes it a strength.  The solution is obvious really, run them all, yet keep them linked.  John Wick is a smart man.

This isn't a long, wordy product, but a tool that may be eye opening and inspirational.  I'm already toying with it, and I don't even have a campaign started with any system at the moment.

From the blurb:

What if the world died yesterday? 
What if the world died yesterday and was completely reborn? 
What if the world died yesterday and was completely reborn and you were the only one who noticed? 
And what if you could pull skills and abilities and even powers from the old world and use them in this new world?

The Flux is the first "little game" from The Big Book of Little Games. It is a "meta-rpg" that gives you the tools to Flux between RPG worlds and retain your characters.
Fantasy to Science Fiction. 
Science Fiction to Pulp Adventure. 
Pulp Adventure to Gothic Horror. 
Gothic Horror back to Fantasy. 

It is all possible with The Flux
But be warned. The world may notice you cheating the system. And if it does, it will do its best to get rid of you.

Get ready for The Flux
It's later than you think.

The Trollish Taproom - The Missing Tunnels & Trolls Edition

The missing Tunnels & Trolls Edition, if you must know, is the 6th edition. We went from the Flying Buffalo published 5.5 edition to the Fiery Dragon published 7.0 edition. This was a nod to the various fan written rulesets that had been floating about the net.

The 6e ruleset that has stuck is the book published by Outlaw Press. I had been of the mindset to ignore it, what with the Outlaw Press controversy, and it being an unofficial edition (no matter what the book itself may say, it is not an "official" edition). With the Trollgod removing his "pox upon tho" position on those that purchase Outlaw Press products, I decided to pick up 6e. I'm glad I did.

Not only does it help me get closer to completing my Tunnels & Trolls Rulebook Collection, it is a nice edition of the rules. In many ways, it it truer to 5/5.5 then 7/7.5 are, and yet there are some noticeable changes to the game balance.

For me, the most striking are character generation - stats no longer get a multiplier depending on Kindred, instead, the number of dice rolled is changed. This changes the spread of numbers, and is a good change IMO.

Warrior no longer double the points their armor protects them for. Instead, they add 2 points of armor protection per level, no matter the armor they are wearing (even no armor). I think this adds some flexibility, and may even remove the min/maxing of armor for some players.

There's a crap load more, both large and small, that 6e does different. Still, the change isn't as much as from 5.5e to 7e.

Oh, as a side note, it appears that Outlaw Press' latest website is down. Their site drops more often then pants at an army physical.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tenkar's Trollish Tavern

I'm currently toying with the idea of spinning much of the Tunnels & Trolls stuff that I blog about to it's own blog.  For now, it's just a thought.

In the meantime, I'll be titling and tagging most of the future T&T posts with "Tenkar's Trollish Tavern".  I'll be covering all the Tunnels & Trolls stuff I can find, whether or not their source is considered "politically correct".  I say "politically correct", as the legitimacy of Outlaw Press' products is in dispute, although with Trollgod bowing out of the scuffle, I am leaning toward considering their products as legitimate, if not licensed (we all know that game rules can't be copyrighted, just their presentation can).

I've read thru (well, bounced thru) Outlaw Press' 6th Edition of the rules, and there is an awful lot to like.  I might be preferring it to T&T 7.5e.  Heresy, I know, but them's the facts.  More on that on a later post.

Remember, there are still prizes to be picked up from the latest contest.  Zanazaz, you have a time limit with your prize, so contact me ASAP at tenkarsDOTtavern@gmailDOTcom

Contest Winners Announced - Are You One of Them?

Wow, I have a huge pile to look through.  Major thanks to all who entered.

Lets see:  Who gave me the best picks?  This is the purely subjective part of the contest, and I'm picking:
JDJarvis - JD, you got yourself a PDF copy of Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook

Jim Pacek, as the first entry, you get a PDF copy of Bean! The D2 RPG

Harald, you also get a PDF copy of Bean! the D2 RPG, for listing a bunch of stuff I never heard of and now I need to track down.

Editor, your huge list also get's a PDF copy of Bean! The D2 RPG

Aberrant Hive Mind - as the final entry, you guessed it, you get a PDF copy of Bean!, the D2 RPG

Now, for the prize we've all been waiting for - over $125 worth of PDF goodness from RPGNow - 22 entries between this contest and last - Zanazaz!  Woot!

I need all the above to email me at tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom.  Everyone but Zanazaz, I'll be buying the PDF in question for your RPGNow account, so I'll need the email you uses to login there.

Zanazaz, I need to give you a coupon code.  Time is of the essence for you lad, as the coupon expires 1/5/11.

Below is the list of prizes Zanazaz won courtesy of RPGNow.com:

Weird War II Player's Guide [Pinnacle Entertainment]
Adventurer's Guide to Cthonia [Alea Publishing]
ArcheTech Special Report: An Assortment of Armor [Cracked Mirror Publishing]
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]
Ave Molech (2nd Edition) [Morbidgames]
Book of Alignment (OGL/Pathfinder) [Emerald Press]
Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

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