Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Giving Thanks as One Year Ends and a New One Begins

I really what to thank everyone that has made my gaming, and by extension, my hobby as an OSR gamer and blogger, as awesome as it has been. I'm sure I'll miss some folks as my list is huge and my memory is often weak, but here it goes:

To my Saturday Night Hangout gaming group - some of us been doing this going on nearly 2 years and it feels like I've known them all damn near 20. Judging from the amount of bullshitting that goes on before, during and after sessions, we've become friends first and and gamers second. A finer group of friends would be hard to find +Greg Christopher , +Joe D , +Keith J Davies , +Craig Brasco , +David Przybyla , +Michael Garcia and all the others that have blessed us with their gaming presence (and who could forget the "B Team"? Once a month Friday Night gaming has arrived ;)

To my online support network of sorts - +Tim Shorts , +matt jackson , +Mark Hassman , +James Aulds , +Christian Walker , +Joseph Bloch , +Jason Paul McCartan and many others - you are my sounding boards and my friends. I'll think of you as I home brew 5 gallons of beer tomorrow :)

To some of the most generous publishers and creators in our hobby - +Purple Duck Games , +Pete Spahn , +Dak Ultimak , +Dyson Logos , +Rafael Chandler , +Zach Glazar , +Zzarchov Kowolski , +Mark Chance , +Paul Wolfe , +Jon Marr , +John Stater,  +Johua De Santo , +Stuart Keating and others I'm sure to have missed - the Tavern and it's patrons would be much poorer if not for your generosity and kindness.

Oh, and of course, my wife Rachel, who was instrumental in getting my ass back into the gaming hobby and will be assisting with the beer brewing tomorrow. I love ya lass :)

I'd buy everyone a beer if I could (based on location, that offer is limited to the NYC Metropolitan Area, immediate suburbs and the Pocono Mountains of N/E PA, depending on scheduling and the like and all other sorts of restrictions may apply ;)

In the meantime, we're still waiting on folks to claim all the wonderful gifts that were gifted on days 12 and 13 of the OSR Christmas. Check to see if you've won. There will be more gifts a gifting shortly, but I'm waiting on something to make it even more special ;)

Kickstarter - Playing the "It's Not a Pre-Order" Card

"It wasn't a pre-order. You were funding a process..."

I've heard this, or a variation if it, numerous times in regards to Kickstarters. I've NEVER seen it on a page requesting funding support when a Kickstarter goes live. No, those pages look like... what's it called? Oh yeah, a pre-order page! Hey, that shit looks cool and it says it will ship in six months!

You see, Kickstarter is a "pre-order system" when project creators want YOUR money, but you were "funding a process" when folks start asking, usually after months or years after a project's due date, for THEIR stuff that they paid THEIR money for.

I've never seen an on-time Kickstarter project announce "We are shipping products from the process you funded that wasn't a pre-order."

It only comes up when there are problems with a Kickstarter, and it reminds me of someone playing a "Get Out of Jail" card in Monopoly. "Phew! Good thing Kickstarter is a process and not a pre-order, or I might be held accountable!"

If you feel a need to play the "Kickstarter is a process and not a pre-order" card, don't bother running another Kickstarter project.


If folks think I'm a pain in the ass now, just wait until the Mythus & Marigolds Monstrous Menagerie get's announced for "2e as it Was Meant to Be!" on Kickstarter in 2014...

Monday, December 30, 2013

Myth & Magic Player's Guide Magically Missing for Majority of Kickstarter Backers

The above are the latest comments from the Myth & Magic Player's Guide Kickstarter. I've edited out names of the backers, as Tom has been known to have a vindictive streak against those that call him out on his "mistruths" (Tom is a lawyer, so we have to be careful. Besides, Tom was nice enough to post my full name and shipping info in the comments section when I called him out earlier. Then he shipped my book - but apparently it was just to shut me up).

I'm really beginning to think that the Dark Side of Kickstarter is inhabited by Toms, Gareths and Mikes. The fact that Mike comes out as the lesser of three evils yet again is telling - I'd prefer a fool over a vindictive "mistruther" and a full of shit publisher.

All three seem to have figured out that if all you have are lies and half truths to give to your backers, you're better off hiding. Mikey figured that one out a bit quicker than the other two, and is the only one to come clean with his foolishness and failures. I'd actually have a drink with Mikey, so long as he paid for his own tab up front. I'm not THAT stupid ;)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Is This Thing On? Far West Kickstarter Goes Silent for Over a Month (And Where is the Digital Download?)

Haven't been following the Far West Kickstarter Saga? You've missed a lot.

It was due in the hands of backers in December of 2011, so in a few days it will be over 2 years late.

But hey, we still get promises like these:

From November 11th - "Popping in to let you know that we're chugging along -- I'm looking at digital delivery occurring late next week (which is a bit more on the "ish" side of "mid-month-ish" -- several reasons for that, including the upcoming holiday, for example)...We'll go to press two weeks after we deliver the digital version to you fine folks.  "

Or the last update from November 21st - "Completing the layout is taking me longer than I'd hoped for, due to some sort of virulent plague hitting the Skarka household. We will be ready to deliver the files to the printer (and the digital copies to you) in the next few days (emphasis totally mine) though -- hopefully this weekend, definitely before the US Thanksgiving holiday next week."

So, five weeks later is just like two years later - we still aint got shit. If I had a nickel from every empty promise during the production of this Kickstarter, I'd have made my money back. As it is, much like the Myth & Magic Player's Guide, at best this will go right to the gaming shelf. I doubt it will get read, let alone get played.

And here you thought Dwimmermount was late...

The Lucky Recipients of Day 13 of the OSR Christmas Giveaway Are...

Here's the list of the Day 13 of OSR Christmas Gift recipients (I'm still waiting on over half of the lucky folks from Day 12 to claim their goodies):

The Manor bundle of issues 1-5 in PDF, curtesy of +Tim Shorts goes to +Pete Spahn 

The Gnomes of Levenc goes to +Brett Slocum  and A Thousand Dead Babies goes to +Tim Shorts  (talk about your holiday cheer), curtesy of +Zzarchov Kowolski

A Complete 3 Volume Set of Adventures Dark & Deep goes to Vanguard, curtesy of +Joseph Bloch

Eldritch Witchery goes to +Dyson Logos and The Witch goes to Boric 
G , curtesy of +Timothy Brannan

Three copies of The Tomb of the Squonk and The Silent Army go to Jesse Rodriguez, +Sorcerer Blob  and +Joseph Bloch  curtesy of +Paul Wolfe

$15 RPGNow Gift Certificate  goes to +Zach Glazar ,  curtesy of +Johua De Santo

Excellent Web-Series - Fallout: Nuka Break

It's rare that I write about any of the various web-series available on Youtube and the like that butt up against our hobby of roleplaying, but Fallout: Nuka Break is an exception. Very well done and certainly evokes the feel of the Fallout computer game series.

I just started season 2 after discovering season 1 last night. Good stuff!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Our Next DM - Ahsely

This Saturday and last we've been unable to game, what with the holidays and such. We need five to game (DM+4) and we've had four available this week and last.

I offered to have Ashley run a session or two, but she seems to favor Top Secret if I read that screen correctly, and no one wants to go there ;)

(I'll post the winners of OSR Christmas Day 13 when i get back home tomorrow)

Whisper & Venom Webstore Goes Live - Tell Them "Tenkar Sent Ya"

I received my Whisper & Venom boxed set from the W&V Kickstarter last Sunday (mail deleivery on a Sunday, go figure). I would have posted about it sooner,but there's this little thing known as 12 Days of OSR Christmas that was occupying much of my free time (still need to award Day 13 prizes - tomorrow morning probably).

In any case, +Zach Glazar has opened the Whisper & Venom webstore, where your can get your hands on an amazing "Old School" boxed set adventure / mini campaign setting if you missed the Kickstarter.

The boxed set comes in 2 flavors:

The Whisper & Venom Limited Edition Boxed set for $79.99 includes everything listed below -

-Signed Vellum Coversheet
-The Limited Edition Printings of both the Adventure Book (88 pp) and the Regional Setting Guide
-A set of 12 Color Monster Cards
-1 Dastardly Thopas figurine, 5 goblin figurines and a venomous attoral - all cast in old-school metal
-1 11 x 17 Two-Sided Cardstock Map of The Regional Map and The Outskirts of Whisper
-1 Dungeon Map Booklet
-1 Set of Chessex Dice

The Whisper & Venom Complete set goes for $199.99 and includes everything listed above PLUS - 

- the Giant 42 x 32 Regional Map (two are available that are limited signed copies) -Shipped Separately in a Heavy Duty Mailing Tube (not pictured) (we gave away one of these on the 12th Day of OSR Christmas)
- a folded 18 x 24 copy of the color regional map
- A Lesser Gnome Whisper & Venom T-Shirt – We will contact you for size- it is the highest quality Hanes t-shirt in white with the rear box art.
- A stitched Lesser Gnome Hat in Black (1 Available in White)
and the following figurines
-Thopas with Familiar
-Standalone Pixie
-Gauntswept Scavengers x2
-Restless Undead x2
-Malice Solid Form
-Malice Ethereal (Tinted Resin)
-Giant Cave Toad
-Monster Beetle
-Giant Spider
-Mistress of the Grove and Bear Companion
-Nexid Slaves x2
-Attoral x2
-Attoral Broodsource

and for a limited time, if you purchase the Whisper & Venom Complete set and tell Zach that Tenkar's Tavern sent you in the customer notes, you'll be entitled to an original piece of art by Lloyd Metcalf that was used in Whisper & Venom. That my friends, is fucking priceless.    

Can I "Axe You" a Question? ;)

I picked the above up earlier today at the Sugarmann's Indoor Flea Market in Eynon / Dickson City PA. It's a nice (and sharp) replica. I had to ask the vendor that sold it to be to find a bag or two to cover the axe head, as I didn't think I would be projecting the right image otherwise ;)

I also own an antique British Cavalry sword circa late 1840's from India, a large blunt dagger that could inflict a concussion, a replica of "Sting" and some large ass (and cheap) two handed sword.

So, do you own replica or antique weapons? If so, do you display them?

Looking for Alternatives to "By the Book" Level Drain

I'm using my time away from the hustle and bustle to brainstorm some possible adventure locations for my Swords & Wizardry Campaign. I've got an idea for an adventure that will feature some level draining undead, but I don't want to desiccate the party.

Some things to know:

- in the first adventure, my players / PCs inadvertently killed all of the heroes above 5th level within hundreds of miles. There is no one to cast Restoration for them.

- if they found a scroll of Restoration, it would be many levels above what they would normally hve access to.

- the party lacks a cleric (actually, both groups I'm running lack clerics - go figure). So undead will be even more dangerous than usual.

I've never liked level drain, either as a player or as a DM. I do like, however, the palatable fear it puts the players in.

So, have you swapped out level drain for other debilitating effects on your players? How has it worked in play?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Kickstarting a Free MicroGame -vs. Pirates Tabletop Micro Roleplaying Game by Phil Reed

Is this the same Phil Reed that had a daily email of RPG ideas and such a few years back? No idea, and I may be mis-remembering.

Actually, you are NOT kickstarting a free microgame, you are kickstarting the next game in a series of microgames - or something. vs. Pirates is it's name, Oh!

4 days left and I'm not sure it's going to hit goal. Not for lack of backers (53 at the moment) but the average per backer is only around 13 bucks each. $678 out of a $1500 goal.

This project doesn't need to work about stretch goals, it's needs are more basic. It needs to fund.

I'll watch this down to the wire...

8 Fine Readers are Receiving Gifts from the 12th Day of OSR Christmas - They Are...

With the help of Roll20, I was able to roll a random die larger than a d100 ;)

Eight times even...

So, here are the lucky Day 12 gift recipients. Packages going outside the states may require some postage help, as the US Postal Service hates you...

The signed Metamorphosis Alpha, courtesy of +Tim Snider , goes to Tareth Ravensword

The classic Boot Hill Boxed set goes to RJ Thompson (thanks to +Zach Glazar for this and the next 4 gifts)

Signed Box of the Pool of Radiance "Gold Box" computer game goes to Andrew Wurdam

The amazing signed and numbered map from the Whisper & Venom Kickstarter goes to Paul Schafer

The signed Jeff Dee art print goes to Stu Rat

The unsigned Jeff Dee print goes to +Dak Ultimak 

One signed copy (by Ken St Andre) of Dwarves & Dragons goes to Nathan Panke

The other signed copy goes to The Degenerate Elite (thanks go to your favorite bartender for these two)

Remember, nothing is getting mailed out for at least a week. OSR Santa has to return to the job that pays the bills and he is getting old and decrepit ;)

EDIT - use the Contact Vox on the right to get me your info (oops!)

OSR Santa Has Been Busy - Recipients for Days 12 and 13 Gifts to be Chosen Tonight

I know I said we'd have the gifts assigned last night, but between seeing the second part of The Hobbit (excellent movie depicting some alternate revisionist history of Tolkien's work, but I digress) and driving to the Poconos last night for the last part of my week of vacation, certain things didn't get accomplished as planned. Which is good if you haven't commented on one of the posts yet, as there is still time ;)

Things should settle down some time after dinner tonight, so I'll take care of the gifting then. Remember, little if anything will ship before next weekend, as Santa will be back at the job that earns him real money come Monday.

I have yet even more to give away, but I think I'll time that for New Year's Eve and New Years Day. Someone will get a decent DCC RPG starter, will the rulebook and some adventure, all in print. Remember to tip your mailman, as that sucker is heavy ;)

If I'm lucky, I may even have some gaming thoughts to post over the weekend ;)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

I Know That the OD&D Reprint Box is in the Wild, But Amazon Has Yet to Fill My Pre-order - Anyone Else?

Amazon advertised the OD&D Reprint Box at about 40% of retail, so I preordered back in August. Sure, I hate the cover art on the new books, but I figured it would give me actual reading copies without needing to break out my Original Collector's Edition box.

Let's see - the said the release date was Dec 17, 2013 with the end of October update.

They repeated that release date with the end of November update.

Then my Christmas gift from Amazon was this email:
We're still trying to obtain the following item[s] you ordered on August 04, 2013 (Order# 002-37xxxxx-81xxxxx). 
Wizards RPG Team "Premium Original Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game (D&D Boxed Game)" 
Still want it? We'll keep on trying. To keep your order for this item open, please click the link below. Otherwise, we'll cancel your order on January 24, 2014, if we haven't located it by then.
Oh, and it shows out of stock on Amazon - was it ever "in stock"?

I know folks have copies - +Timothy Brannan has pictures on his blog today.

Anyone else have an unfulfilled order?

Did I Mention that the HeroQuest 25th Anniversary Project is on it's Third Crowdfunding Site - Is the Third Time the Charm?

If you haven't been following the HeroQuest 25th Anniversary Saga, it's almost Don Quixote like, just on steroids. I've posted on it as have others, but the short of it is that both Kickstarter and one of the Spanish (as in Spain) crowdfunding sites removed it from their active projects due to legal (or potential legal) issues.

Well, when there is money to be made from customers that are willing to pay for a product up front with no guarantee said project will clear the legal hurdles (likely to be imposed when the game is actually printed and shipping) there isa need to find yet another crowd funding site.

Which is what Game Zone did - Lanzonos is now hosting the 3rd incarnation of the HeroQuest 25th Anniversary Crowdfunder. They've met their goal. Assuming Lanzoanos doesn't get cold feet, next Christmas should be an interesting time for those that back this products, as the chance to find coal in their stockings instead of HQ 25 is significant.

I'd rather back Nystul again - at least I know where my money would be going (kinda - anywhere but what I pledged towards ;)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

New OSR RPG in Beta Testing - Mages & Monsters (free download)

Before anyone asks - no, I haven't had time to read the rules for Mages & Monsters. Apparently running 12 (plus) Days of OSR Christmas with all of it's moving parts is damn time consuming ;) I've actually known about the game for nearly a week and was hoping to find time to read it and it hasn't happened. So, I'm throwing it out to you all to investigate at your leisure.

It does look interesting, but I'm not sure how much of a need there is for yet another ruleset that houserules what has come before it.

From the FAQ

Q: How is M&M different from other OSR RPGs?

A: M&M uses the classic OSR design basis of other retro-clones, but combines them with modern d20 mechanics.  Compared to the classic basic, expert, or advanced fantasy RPG, you have more consistent mechanics (example: ascending Armor Class and higher-is-always-better rolling), simplified combat process and saving throws, fewer restrictions on races and classes, and greater choice and customization in class abilities.  Compared to other d20-based games, you have a more streamlined game that doesn't overload players with choices and offers easier rules adjudication, simpler stat blocks, and easier adventure design for the Game Master. Plus, it's free!

- The initial pdf release has four races (Human, Dwarf, Elf, Halfling) and five classes (Cleric, Fighter, Mage, Thief, and Swordmage -- the latter is a fighter/mage hybrid). Any race can take any class; all classes are 20-level progressions with class abilities "built in". You can fully replicate the classic basic/expert class system with this document.

- Classes allow choices of skills (a simplified attribute-based system -- proficiency or no), weapon proficiencies (with an option to increase in proficiency), and some classes have a fighting style proficiency that allows other fighting options. However, there is no feat system as in d20; choices are internal to the class.

- There are no restrictions on skill choice, or weapon choice, so that players can more readily tailor to a concept (these things are balanced in otehr ways to keep classes distinct).

- Classes have a base attack bonus and three-save progression (Fortitude, Reflex, Will) and the d20 mechanics of "roll high against a DC" is used, with a fixed DC progression (Easy, Average, Difficult, Very Difficult, Nigh Impossible)

- Classes use a unified progression; no balancing classes against each other by using XP advancement.

- Math is flatter than the base d20 system (max BAB for a 20th level fighter is +6). Attack rolls and AC stay very flat with relatively small increases over time; damage and hit points scale more.

- There is no multi-classing; it is "built in" to hybrid class designs like the Swordmage which allow an equal progression in fighting and spellcasting (but are not quite as capable in either as a single class). The plan is to increase the number of hybrid classes significantly in the Expanded rules.

- Spell lists are more limited but spell descriptions are more flexible and spells allow power scaling to compensate for fewer choices. Spell power does not depend on caster level in the majority of cases ... yet a more powerful mage can still throw a more damaging fireball than a low level mage.

- Monster stats are "one line" stat blocks like the old basic game.

Did You Get Your Gift of Choice for the Holidays, Gaming or Otherwise?

My wife did awesome by me, and ordered me the Cooper's DIY Beer Brewing Kit Bundle (linked). I haven't home brewed since we were courting a few years back and I used to supply home brewed Cooper's Sparkling Ale on our "stay home" date nights. Nothing says "I love you" like home brewed beer. Now I have all new supplies (and enough supplies on hand to brew 4 different 5 gallon batches of beer. Woot! Beats that year my mom got me 8 different pairs of lounging around the house pants that were all 4" to long...

So, did you get what you REALLY wanted for Christmas? Not the shirts, ties, soap, etc. - something you were really jonesing for.

Tell us. I will pick the person that got most screwed out of what they want (or tells the most amusing story) to receive either a $20 RPGNow Credit or a $20 Amazon Gift Card (via email). Totally subjective on my part ;)

I can't give a gift to all my readers, but you might be the one that gets the gift.

Open to comments until sometime Friday afternoon, December 27th.

D&D Encounters Goes Multi-System - 3.5, 4e and Next - Will It Go Further?

I saw the link to ICV2 on ENWorld, but the week has been a bit too hectic for me to read and digest until now, so if the news is old to you, I apologize and wish you Merry Christmas instead ;)

Here's the interesting quotes"
"We really wanted to make sure that all D&D players could engage with this great adventure story and so we know that some people are playing with the playtest rules, some are diehard 4th Edition players, and we also wanted to open it up to people who may still be using 3.5 rules.  We think it really expands out the audience and lets all D&D players enjoy the fun.   
"A big part of this is shifting our emphasis away from the rules we’re delivering to the great stories that we’re delivering.  This is a great Sundering adventure; it lets people participate in the future of the Forgotten Realms; and for us, whatever rule set is their favorite rule set, that’s great and we don’t want to get in the way of that decision.  We want them to participate in this great story."
"The Scourge of the Sword Coast Adventure, which will be available for download at dndclassics.com, can be played with whichever edition of D&D you prefer.  This is in-line with our strategy to put the emphasis on the story and allow players to choose the rules they use to experience that story.  We made the decision to extract the rules from the body of the product, leaving just the narrative elements, and we offered the stat blocks separate from the product.  That still remains the case."
This is a HUGE change in direction for WotC. With 3x (and to a lesser degree, 4e) they expected to supply the rules and have most of the (poorly profitable) adventures written by eager 3rd parties. Rules were supposedly where the money was.

Now it seems that WotC has decided that "adventures" are the "evergreen" product. Which could mean that "D&D Next" may actually turn out to be "D&D ALL", if WotC decides to provide downloadable stat blocks for all of it's older ruleset with it's new adventure releases.

Time will tell, and we do live in interesting times.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Treat Yourself to Some OSR Goodness Over the Holidays - Brave the Labyrinth #3 is PWYW

I really like the PWYW method of pricing - you can try for free, and if you like what you see, you can put money in the tip jar. Sometimes, you already know the quality is there, so you can put money in the kitty right from the get go.

Brave the Labyrinth is one of those things that you know you are going to enjoy. Put together by Small Niche Games, it's now on it's third issue and is, of course, PWYW. In many ways, it is what I would want from a zine were I to actually get mine out. Lots of folks involved in the creation and a smorgasbord of ideas. It is truly greater than the sum of it's parts, and it's parts are damn good.

Here's what's in the latest issue:

-Eight (8) New Dwarven Magic Items

-One (1) Tavern Map

-Goblinoid Character Class and Subclasses

-Rat Humanoid Race (with 6 different types)

-Beast Rider and Bard Classes

-Grimp Race/Class

-One (1) Adventure for 1st-3rd Level Characters (Red Rope Run)

-One (1) Article on elves

-Three (3) New Monsters

-Twenty-four (24) New Magic Candles

-One (1) Review of the adventure Dark Times in Brighton

Download Brave the Labyrinth - Issue #3 for FREE!

Written for Labyrinth Lord but useable with any of the OSR rulesets, you really can't go wrong with Brave the Labyrinth

On the 13th Day of OSR Christmas, Santa Put in for Overtime...

We have some PDF Goodness to Giveaway on the 13th Day of the 12 Days of OSR Christmas. Just like the 12th Day, the 13th Day will be open to comments until December 26th. There may be some delay in filling the gift orders due to the Holidays, but they will get filled. Again, open to all!

The Manor bundle of issues 1-5 in PDF, curtesy of +Tim Shorts

The Gnomes of Levenc and A Thousand Dead Babies (talk about your holiday cheer), curtesy of +Zzarchov Kowolski

A Complete 3 Volume Set of Adventures Dark & Deep, curtesy of +Joseph Bloch

Eldritch Witchery and The Witch, curtesy of +Timothy Brannan

Three copies of The Tomb of the Squonk and The Silent Army curtesy of +Paul Wolfe

a $15 RPGNow Gift Certificate curtesy of +Johua De Santo

New Releases for the DCC RPG (reviews will come later)

In the past week there have been a number of strong releases for the DCC RPG. I've been running Swords & Wizardry Complete these days, but I've been using DCC adventures ;)

In release order they are:

The Perils of Cinder Claws - (Purple Duck Games)

At the waning of every year, as the sun grows closer to the horizon, and spends less time in the sky, there comes a time of terrible cold and deep snow to the lands of the north.   The world waits with hushed breath for this, the longest night of the year, to be over.  Soon, the sun will begin to climb higher each day, and the days grow longer.  Although long stretches of cold weather are yet to come, this is the night in which winter’s back is broken.  After tonight, the world turns slowly back to warmth and light.

But that is after tonight.

Perils of the Cinder Claws presents two holiday-themed adventures, The Thing in the Chimney (1st level) and The Nexus of Yule (3rd level), as well as the Cinder Claws himself as a potential patron (complete except spells).

Dungeon Crawl Classics 2013 Holiday Module: The Old God's Return - (Goodman Games)

A Level 1 Adventure

A shivering plague. Knives glinting in the moonlight. A frigid mountain drifting in the sky. These ominous events attend the return of an evil long forgotten by Man. On the night of the winter solstice, when the world is balanced on a knife’s edge in the battle between fire and ice, a slumbering deity awakes. Now, only those heroes chosen as the champions of the Lord of Flickering Flames can end this growing threat before it reclaims its former malevolence and reminds the world why the old forests are places to be feared…

This special holiday-themed adventure is the perfect gift for your gamer friends. It is an excellent one-shot to play during the winter holidays!

D.A.M.N! Issue 1 - DCC RPG Adventure Magazine and News (Straycouches Press)

D.A.M.N. (Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Magazine and News) Issue 1 is a magazine devoted to the publication of adventures, articles, and reviews for DCC RPG. Our premiere issue features the work of Daniel Bishop, Paul Wolfe, Goderic McKellan, David Fischer, and Garett Oliver.

Forsaken Reavers of Praeder Peak - Paul Wolfe

An adventure for 6 to 10 characters of levels 2 to 4. Taking place in the tropical setting of Praeder Island,  the players will have to brave the harsh wilderness, battle reptile ghuls and uncover a new patron, The Queen of Abominations.

The Mysterious Valley - Daniel J. Bishop

An adventure intended for use as a mini-sandbox. Inspired by the works of the late Ray Harryhausen, the players will learn of the wizard Harhasen. With laboratories beneath his tower, he bred monsters from both Men and Animals.

The Snow Queen - Garett Oliver

An adventure for 4 to 8 4th level characters,  or 4 to 6 6th level characters.

The City of Thalos, built by Elves, was said to be the City of Eternity. The city that was lost under ice,  has now been unearthed by Dwarves. The players must now battle both foes and the winter climate to uncover the mystery of The Snow Queen.

The Barbarian - Godric McKellan

A new warrior inspired class for DCC RPG,  The Barbarian offers players an alternative to the warrior class.

Converting Material to Dungeon Crawl Classics - Daniel J. Bishop

Want to run that favorite module for DCC RPG? Well now you can! Daniel offers the tools you need to convert material from other systems for use in DCC RPG.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tavern Kickstarter Pick - An Illustrated Bestiary of Fantastic Creatures - (Stat-less Illustrated Monster Book)

It's been busy here at The Tavern, what with an overflow of OSR Christmas goodness flowing from the taps, so I'll need to thank Mr. Land of NOD himself, +John Stater , for pointing out this Kickstarter on his blog this evening - An Illustrated Bestiary of Fantastic Creatures by Casey Sorrow.

The sweet price points are $6 for the digital DL, $16 for signed print copy and digital DL ($10 added to pledges outside the US for the print version, because the US Postal Service HATES other countries).

I'm backer number 14 for the curious amongst us. Anyhow, I'll let the art speak for itself:

The Tavern Receives an Early Christmas Present!

Much thanks to the multitalented +Andrew Shields !

Hmm, yeah, a version with "Tenkar's Tavern" instead of the weapons over my drunken ass wouldn't be a bad deal either ;)

This will find a permanent spot on the blog :)

On the 11th Day of OSR Christmas, Treasure was Awarded to the Lords that Waited...

Behold the awarding of the 11th Day of OSR Christmas gifting:

Andrew Beyers - tho shalt receive Lords of Olympus

Brett Slocum - tho shalt review Treasure Awaits

thanks again to +Brett Bernstein for his generosity

(there is still more diceless roleplaying in store later on this week)

On the 12th Day of OSR Christmas, Presents Were Mapped, Signed and Delivered (in 2014)

Note: Due to the expense of mailing packages outside the US, some days of the OSR Christmas Giveaway will be limited to US mailing addresses only. This is one of those days. I apologize to the international tavern patrons and will make it up to you (to some extent) in the coming (and previous) days. PDF gifts will be international and will require an OBS (occasionally LULU) account to claim in most cases. Early 2014 the Tavern will be hosting an event open to all.

Lots of  goodies in Santa's bag today. So much, in fact, that this post will be left open until December 26, at which point the OSR Christmas Giveaway will start back up, as there are still more goodies to give away.

If you haven't dropped a comment yet, now's the time ;)

First off, +Tim Snider has kicked in a signed (by James Ward himself) reprint of Metamorphosis Alpha.

Then +Zach Glazar decided Santa's bag isn't properly filled unless it's overflowing:

- Classic Boxed set of Boot Hill, copyright 1979 (not signed but way old)

- Pool of Radiance "Gold Box" computer game, signed by Zeb Cook, James Ward and Steve Winter

- one oversized map from the Whisper & Venom Kickstarter, signed and numbered and not folded
(also includes one normal sized black and white map and a Jeff Dee print from the Kickstarter)

- one signed Jeff Dee print from the Whisper & Venom Kickstarer

- one unsigned Jeff Dee print from the Kickstarter and one B&W map

last, but certainly not least, we have:

- two copies of +Ken St. Andre 's Dwarves & Dragon game, signed and numbered

Don't expect these to arrive until early 2014, as I suspect by first opportunity to mail these (as oversized mailing tubes dont fit into mailboxes very well) won't be until the first Saturday after the New Year.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

For Those that Play Mutants and Masterminds (or just want to peek at a cool modern sourcebook) - Deus ex Historica (376 page sourcebook) is PWYW

Let me preface this by stating unequivocally, +Mark Gedak - aka +Purple Duck Games games is one of the most generous indie / 3rd party publishers I have had the pleasure to deal with. I can attest to this by the stack of in print DCC RPG adventures Mark has published and sent to be to given away to this blog's readers. The man is, simply put, aces.

So, here's the background as to why over 375 pages of Mutants and Masterminds goodness, aka Deus Ex Historica, is being offered at a Pay What You Want pricing:
Purple Duck Games originally shared -   
After much deliberation, I've decided to place Deus ex Historica (M&M) up as pay-what-you want.  
Deus Ex Historica was a product that was kickstarted by 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming. When I took over 4WFG, I inherited the responsibility for completing the kickstarter but not the funds from the kickstarter. This was known to me at the time. It came to me with the art (paid) and the writing (unpaid). 
The book turned out to be 376 page long. The writers have been paid, the kickstarter rewards have been sent and its been out in PDF for quite a while now.  
But its not moving. My additional costs on this product (rewards, paying writers, some additional art) amounted to just over $5K. It has brought in $450. So its definitely a terrible red smear in my ledger.  
We have tried sales including a deep discount one of at d20pfsrd and it didn't amount to anything. 
I'm very pleased with the authors work. I'm very pleased with the work of the artists who contributed. I'm very pleased with the final product. 
So even if I never break even on it, I want people to see it an enjoy it.  
So as of right now you can download it for nothing if you want. Download it, read it, enjoy it. There is nothing worse than a product that is not seen.
From the blurb:


Gods from the Ages!

From the dawning days of the Second World War to the present day, the dynamic, colorful world of super-heroes has thrilled generations of readers. Whether draped in the dark of night, or wrapped up in brilliant colors, they duel with their arch-enemies across cities, countries, space and even time – modern myths to inspire the imagination.

With this book, you take a look into the files of future archaeologist Danni Cipher, and explore the Ages of the Super-Hero: from their Golden Age beginning, straight through to the Modern Age. Follow the way these comic book eras focused on different styles, struggles, attitudes and even powers, for hero and villain alike.

And more: you can step into the role of any one of four dozen ready-made heroes, to take up their struggles against dozens of their most diabolical foes! Golden, Silver, Bronze, Iron, Modern; each age presents its own team of heroes and the criminals and maniacs that they opposed, good to go straight from the book. Or as GM, use them to populate the backdrop of your own world's history, with secrets, stories and excitement that can serve to flesh out your players' own characters. With advice on scaling characters in power level to fit any campaign's needs; bases and vehicles, gear and gadgets; adventure seeds; and even a chance to peer into the timelines of our characters, to see how things might go villainous for them, these pages can provide more than enough material for any gaming group ready to make the leap into playing out their own modern myths!

376 pages packed with heroes, villains, and adventure seeds for a new superhero campaign

How Detailed Do You Like Your Adventures?

When I purchase a prewritten adventure, I understand that it will be written in a manner that will cover most contingencies that could come up. Cover as many bases as possible type of thing. I expect details even if most of them will never come into play.

When I flesh out an adventure for my own use, I just need "memory signposts". Just enough written down to jog my memory when the times comes. Heck, I find that if it's a common enough creature in the encounter, I just write the name and move on - in theory, i should be able to recall the AC, HD and damage of the average orc or even troll - and if I am off in one way or another, it just helps in keeping the players on their toes.

I am partial to using +James Raggi 's Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and their Modern Simulacra for the BBEG and / or it's minions on occasions. Again, a great tool to keep the players off balance, but I would use it lightly. If your otherwise "meeting typical D&D expectations" styled fantasy world has a bizarre creature behind every door, the bizarre will become normal and lose it's effect.

In any case, how detailed are the adventure that you write for your own use?

Part 2 - Do you design unique creatures / encounters to keep your players guessing, or do you stick to the book?

On the 10th Day of OSR Christmas There Were 10 Winners of "Mishler-toe"...

Yep, 10 bundles of James Mishler Games releases were up for grabs. The receivers of these awesome gifts are:

+Doug Medesha 

+Erik Jensen 


+James Smith 

+AJ Fritz 


Damian Breen


Henry Wong


You know the deal - use the contact box on the right to get me your email, which I will forward to +James Mishler

Congrats to all and thanks to James!

About to Open the Sandbox - Dyson's Maps Will Be the Toys

I've found that sandboxes work best AFTER the PCs have established themselves a bit - once they hit 3rd level or so, it's time to remove the training wheels and allow the players to explore the world at large as they wish.

My last campaign was set in Rappan Athuk, and as a megadungeon, it allowed for my players to decide on the challenges they were to seek out, but at the same time, I had an idea where they would probably be for the following session. That doesn't apply this time, especially since I'm running two groups in the same setting and allowing crossovers - the events experienced by one group may be reflected on the other.

So, my game plan is to load up a crapload of +Dyson Logosawesome dungeon maps into Roll20, each with a sentence fragment or so to describe it. From there, an index card to fill in some of the major encounters in each, as well as the seeds to plant for the groups and let it all fall where it may. I may also load up some DCC adventures, but these would be more in the line of major dungeons / ruins / events.

It's been many years since I allowed myself to DM an adventure that I can fit on an index card, but it allows for more spontaneity from my side of the screen. This past Friday's session fell into that category, as work and life events left most of my preparations unwritten and residing in my head.

I enjoyed the challenge and embrace it ;)

On the 11th Day of OSR Christmas, Lords & Treasure Awaited

Note: Due to the expense of mailing packages outside the US, some days of the OSR Christmas Giveaway will be limited to US mailing addresses only. This is one of those days. I apologize to the international tavern patrons and will make it up to you in the coming (and previous) days. PDF gifts will be international and will require an OBS (occasionally LULU) account to claim in most cases. 

This is definitely NOT wrapping up in 12 days. Go figure ;)

What does Santa have in his bag today?

Lords of Olympus and Treasure Awaits thanks to the generosity of +Brett Bernstein

LoO is a diceless RPG based on the classic Amber Diceless and Treasure Awaits is a fantasy RPG that evokes many "old school" feelings in me. It's a game I want to run at some point.

(there is a free adventure for Treasure Awaits - The Brewmaster's Tomb - my kinda tomb ;)

edit - open 'till about 8am Monday morning

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Eldar Futhark Runes Fall Upon...

The dice have spoken.

The recipient of the Eldar Futhark Runes is

+James Stanton 


Use the comment thingamajig on the right side and tell me where +matt jackson should be sending your gift :)

Some Thoughts on Magic Users Learning New Spells in Swords & Wizardry Complete (and other Old School Games)

I was listening to THAC0's Hammer (an excellent 2e podcast) in the shower and one of the topics that came up was "chance for magic-users to learn a new spell". In truth, I never liked these numbers, even back in my early days of gaming. Even with a high Intelligence score (say 16), a magic-user would still fail on his chance to learn a new spell 1 time in 4.

Fail that roll to learn "fireball" and you'll never learn it. It's pretty much why I don't use it in my current S&W campaign - it's a huge downside with little upside as far as I'm concerned.

I seem to remember the stated reason for the limitation was that each individual magic-user interprets every single spell differently. Get a dozen magic-users together, and not one will have the exact same "recipe" for "magic missile". Which got me thinking - what if the chance to learn was actually the chance to understand that particular interpretation of the spell?

You failed to learn "fireball" from the scroll you found? Sucks, but at least you can try again when you find the next "fireball" scroll.

I'd also rule the chance to learn does not apply to spells learned directly due to level advancement, so if you REALLY want to learn fireball, make it the free spell you learn at 5th or 6th level.

Hey, look at that - a really gaming post squeezed in between OSR Christmas Gifting ;)

On the 10th Day of OSR Christmas, Santa Bundled James Mishler 10 Times...

Alright, maybe Santa isn't bundling +James Mishler himself up 10 times, but he is bundling 10 sets of James Mishler Games releases in PDF.

The list includes:

Gods, Demi-Gods, and Cults #1: Chaos Queen of Ants

Hercynian Grimoire #1

Ogres of the Olden Lands

Vampires of the Olden Lands

Chronicles of Mhoriedh Map 00 Olden Lands Continent

Open to all. 10 winners. Comments close around 3 pm tomorrow. Get commenting!

Santa Will Ship Day 8's Ogre and Fires to...

Sorry about the delay is getting this out (as well as the Day 9 Runic post). Long work day, long wife day (heh) and game immediately upon getting home late last night left me with little time to be had. But... I'm on vacation for a week, so lets see how it all goes now ;)

Now, I know you want to know who is getting what under their OSR Christmas Tree, so here they are:

TM1: The Ogress of Anubis will be going to Moe Tousignant

VA1 Valley of the Five Fires will be going to Robert Morris

Lads know what to do - hit me up using the contact form and I'll pass your info onto New Big Dragon himself.

On the 9th Day of OSR Christmas, Elder Futhark Runes Fell From the Sky

Note: Due to the expense of mailing packages outside the US, some days of the OSR Christmas Giveaway will be limited to US mailing addresses only. This is one of those days. I apologize to the international tavern patrons and will make it up to you in the coming days. PDF gifts will be international and will require an OBS (occasionally LULU) account to claim in most cases. We do have print gifts that will be shipping internationally in later days.

I'm a few minutes late for Friday in NYC, but if I was in LA, I'd be early ;)

+matt jackson is offering a handmade set of Elder Futhark Runes. This is probably the most unique gift in the 12 Days of OSR Christmas Giveaway.

Damn cool stuff :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

The 12 Days of OSR Christmas Will Last Longer than 12 Days, as We have a Plethora of Gifts to Give Away

I just took a glance at the spreadsheet I have for the 12 Days of OSR Christmas Giveaway and I have confirmed there is no way in heaven or on earth that this will wrap up on December 23rd.


At a quick glance, we have Lords of Olympus, Treasure Awaits, Lords of Gossamer & Shadow x2, AL 4 and 5 for DCC RPG, DCC RPG Core Book, The Manor Bundle of 1-5, a signed copy of Metamorphosis Alpha, Boot Hill, Maps, Art Prints, Minis and More from the Whisper & Venom Kickstarter, A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore, Three Days Until Retirement, In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer x2, The Outpost on the Edge of the Far Reaches and Tales of High Adventure #2 to give away - and that's just the PRINT stuff. Oh, there might be more too.

Wait, also a signed Pool of Radiance Gold Box computer game- signed by James Ward, Steve Winter and Zeb Cook.

In PDF we still have 10 complete sets of James Mishler's current releases, the Manor 1-5 Bundle, 3 copies of The Tomb of the Squonk and the Silent Army, Eldritch Witchery, The Witch, a complete set of Adventures Dark & Deep, The Gnomes of Levnec, a Thousand Dead Babies.

We also have a handmade set of Elder Futhark Runes and a $15 RPGNow Gift Certificate.

In many ways, much of the blog's normal postings are on hold for now - reviews, game recaps, gaming thoughts and the rest play second fiddle to getting these awesome gifts into the hands of our readers.

I believe this is all worth the effort. Trust me when I say, 2014 will be even more exciting here at The Tavern :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

On the 8th Day of OSR Christmas, Santa Offered to Ship Internationally...

Thanks to New Big Dragon, we have some gifts in print that all can try for, even The Tavern's international patrons.

We have two adventures up for grabs:

TM1: The Ogress of Anubis and VA1 Valley of the Five Fires

Again, these are in print and everyone may participate, so get those comments rolling

Open for comments until about 8 pm nyc time tomorrow...

Awarding Day 7 of the OSR Christmas Giveaway to....

Joe Moore - you got yourself a copy of the Teratic Tome

Digital Orc - you got yourself a copy of SlaughterGrid

use the contact form on the right to get me your snail mail info, so I can pass it on to +Rafael Chandler


It's Official! D&D Next to Release in Summer of 2014

Wizards of the Coast Announces Thrilling Dungeons & Dragons Launch for Summer 2014

Players fight the most fearsome monster of all time in an exciting multi-platform gaming experience.

December 19, 2013 – Renton, WA – Wizards of the Coast today announced that the highly-anticipated new rules system for Dungeons & Dragons will release in summer 2014.  After nearly two years of an open public playtest and more than 175,000 playtest participants, the rules are complete. Players will be immersed in rich storytelling experiences across multiple gaming platforms (WTF does this mean?) as they face off against the most fearsome monster of all time.

“Just like a perfectly balanced party, Wizards has worked cohesively with fans, designers and partners to create the next generation of D&D,” said Nathan Stewart, Brand Director for Dungeons & Dragons. “We whole-heartedly thank all of the play test participants, whose feedback has proven instrumental in shaping the future of Dungeons & Dragons.”

More information about the exciting Dungeons & Dragons entertainment offerings will be available in early 2014. To learn more about D&D, visit dungeonsanddragons.com.

linky here - hat tip to czak for the heads up ;)

here's the horrid looking screenshot:

Razzle Zazzle - Pimping The Tavern with Steins and More

Last night in our Hangout session, +Rafael Chandler noticed my Tenkar's Tavern Beer Stein. This reminded me that others have asked about it in the past.

Before I knew it, I had the beginnings of a Tenkar's Tavern Zazzle store. Not sure about the stein in blue - I need to order a piece for myself, but there is a watch on the page that I think I shall gift myself - well, that and the larger key chain.

+Scott Ackerman I think I owe you a beer stein and then some for the awesome banner work :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

On the 7th Day of OSR Christmas Santa Slaughtered the Teratic Tome

Note: Due to the expense of mailing packages outside the US, some days of the OSR Christmas Giveaway will be limited to US mailing addresses only. This is one of those days. I apologize to the international tavern patrons and will make it up to you in the coming days. PDF gifts will be international and will require an OBS (occasionally LULU) account to claim in most cases. We do have print gifts that will be shipping internationally in later days.

+Rafael Chandler is offering up a copy of the Teratic Tome and a copy of Slaughter Grid in PRINT to 2 lucky gift recipients. This is a US only gift day.

Teratic Tome is $22.62 on Lulu and a bargain at that price. There is a 40% off coupon floating around for Lulu right now, so even if you don't get lucky you can still treat yourself ;)

Not sure how long the code is good for:  LULUEMP2013

This will close to comments around 7 pm tomorrow, NYC time. Best of luck to all.

Time to Award Crawl! from Day 6 of the OSR Christmas Giveway

Yes, it's time to Crawl! Much thanks to not so secret Santa +Dak Ultimak for the generous gifts! Our recipients are:

Rodney Hankemeier - Crawl! Bundle in Print and PDF

Boric G - Crawl! Bundle in PDF

OSRbaron - Crawl! Bundle in PDF

+Dyson Logos - Crawl! #1 in Print and PDF

Erik Talova - Crawl! #1 in Print and PDF

Teh Bagder - Crawl! #1 in Print and PDF

Congrats to the gift recipients!

Use the form on the right side of the page to contact me so we can get these gifts out to you!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

LotFP PDF Sale - $2.50 PDFs

+James Raggi has put his collection of PDFs on sale at $2.50 each. Most of James' releases are pretty good, and even the ones I'm not personally crazy about have a strong following.

Carcosa is something I'd never run, but would liberally steal ideas from, and at $2.50, it's a bargain.

Vornhiem is something I swear at, but others swear by it. Again, a bargain for $2.50

LotFP Rules and Magic Full Version - sure, you can get the no frills no art version for free, but the art is what makes this, for good or ill.

The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions - Vincent Baker's take on wizards in LotFP Weird Fantasy.

Isle of the Unknown - a sandbox ripe for picking - probably the bargain of the bunch.

There's a lot more, but this should get you started.

Prices are good until December 30th.

The Recipient of the Day 5 Small Niche Games Bundle of Goodness is...


DSB, use the contact form on the right side of the page and let me know the email this stuff is going to.


On the 6th Day of OSR Christmas, Santa Made Us Crawl!

Yes, it is time to Crawl!

+Dak Ultimak has donated some Crawl! bundles (1-8) to the OSR Christmas festivities.

These bundles are open to all, no matter their mailing address.

1 Bundle of Crawl! in Print + PDF

2 Bundles of Crawl! in PDF

EDIT Adding 3 Crawl! Issue 1 in Print and PDF!

One of the best gaming fanzines ever, and if you are lucky you may find this DCC RPG fanzine under the OSR Christmas tree.

You know what to do - add a comment and you may be one of the lucky three six:)

Monday, December 16, 2013

On the 5th Day of OSR Christmas, We Found More of the 2nd Day Goodness...

Small Niche Games has been kind enough to give away another set of PDF goodness open to all :)

If you missed this over the weekend, you've got a second chance...

The Chronicles of Amherth

Blood Moon Rising

The Inn of Lost Heroes

Pyramid of the Dragon

The Stealer of Children

The Shrine of St. Aleena

Ghoul Keep and the Ghoul Lands

A very nice collection of Small Niche Games products in a tidy package to one fine commenter on this post. Again, open to all.

Post will be open for comments until 8pm or so tomorrow night.

(Day 4 gift recipients can be found here)
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