Thursday, October 31, 2013

40% Off Coupon For Lulu - Suggest Some Gaming Purchases

The following code is good at Lulu for 40% off through November 4th if I'm correct:


So, what shall we spend out savings on?

Come on! Give us some ideas!

New S&W Supplement From the Creator of Crawl! - Hack! (Firearms for S&W)

Back in the way back (mid April of 2013) there was a day unlike any other. That day was Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day. Much goodness was had that day, and one of the things that sprung forth was an awesome article by one +Dak Ultimak about Firearms in Swords & Wizardry.

+Dak Ultimak has now put that in finalized form as a Print / PDF supplement for Swords & Wizardry. If you have ever read an issue of Crawl! for the DCC RPG, you know that Dak puts together an amazing zine, and I expect no less from Hack!

Maybe if there is enough interest, Hack! could be a semi-regular release ;)

The PDF is PWYW and the Print / PDF Combo is $3.50 - shipped! You can't beat either price.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Free Sh!t at DriveThruRPG For Halloween - IF You Can Find It...

Through November 3rd, OBS / DriveThruRPG is running a "find the pumpkins and you get free swag" promo for the Halloween season.

I've found Savage Worlds Horror Companion thus far (follow the link and click on the pumpkin for the free loot).

If you find the other freebies (there's a total of 7), post the links in the comments so the rest can share :)

I'll update this post with the links as they are found...

edit - thanks to James Smith for the heads up:

Bottom of login page, there is a pumpkin for Guide to Transylvania (AD&D 2e) (same link of the Free Stuff Page)

Click "About Us" to find the pumpkin that leads to Streets of Bedlam: A Savage World of Crime + Corruption

DriveThruCards has 5 - the first is Building an Elder God

DriveThruComics has 7 - the first is Impaler Volume 1 Trade

DriveThruFiction has 7 - the first is The Book of Apex: Volume 1 of Apex Magazine

WarGameVault has 5 - first is Red Ops 5

Are You Late to Crawl!? Crawl! Zine Now Available in a Colorful Bundle!

+Dak Ultimak has back issues of Crawl! available in a bundle pack. If you have somehow missed out on Crawl! in the past, it's an excellent way to catch up.

Sure, it's for the DCC RPG, and you might say "is it of any use if I don't play DCC?" The ideas themselves are often priceless, and I'll be yoking stuff from back issues of Crawl! to liven up my new Swords & Wizardry campaign.

Crawl! is one of the best RPG zines out there - if not the best (the competition is damn tight for "the best").

Oh, and Dak is taking preorders for issue #8 too...

Are There Any "Legit" Old School / OSR Horror Settings?

Ravenloft was NOT a horror setting, no matter the trappings. It was more of a "horror fun house".

Tainted Lands for C&C looks like Ravenloft with a different set of paints.

Midnight (for 3e) is a dark setting, not horror.

Is there a horror setting for Old School gaming that I've missed?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Google Plus Simplifies URLs - About F'ing Time

I hated sharing my G+ link that led to me, as it was a huge jumble of numbers.

Now, its: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ErikTenkar/about

That's almost... simple ;)

Hey, I'm almost at 8,300 folks that have circles me :)

New Bundle of Holding - "Bundle of Tentacles (Cthulhu Heavy)

I really like Call of Cthulhu - maybe one day I'll get to run another session or two ;)

That being said, there is a lot for me to like in the current Bundle of Holding:

I've always wanted to check out Trail of Cthulhu. Sure, it's only the Player's Guide, but it should be enough to let me know of the system is for me.

The Cubicle 7 CoC books always tempted me in the past, are there are two in this collection.

I almost pulled the trigger on Eldritch Skies over the summer - now I can get it for cheap ;)

About $15 bucks gets you everything pictured and no watermarks dirtying up your PDFs.

Monday, October 28, 2013

C&C Tome of the Unclean Has a Dirty Trick For Some...

I doubt this is intentional BUT you can buy 7 pages of the C&C Tome of the Unclean Issue # 3 for $9.99 or you can subscribe to the whole project for $9.99

Now, I thought for a sec that maybe this was supposed to be a special link that they might give out to reviewers, but it's in the rotation on the RPGNow homepage.

I know the Trolls have some quality control issues at times, but this is a new one for me...

(not linking the 7 pages with 2 whole monsters for $9.99, as I'd hate for anyone to buy it)

(subscription page)

Wayward Kickstarter - Myth & Magic - Print Copy in Hand

I almost thought I wasn't going to get a copy. That is, until Tom posted my full name and tracking info in the comments section of the Myth & Magic Kickstarter. Safe to guess my persistent badgering got under his skin. I'm also fairly sure that without the vocal complaints of numerous backers in the comments section of said Kickstarter, we'd still be waiting on delivery.

That being said, its a pretty book. The cover has a nice grip to it and the pages seem to be of a high quality paper. I'd guess and say NHG made little if any profit after shipping these books.

Which is a shame. The PDF showed Myth & Magic to be a damn decent reimagined presentation of the 2e rules and the print copy is an excellent companion to the PDF. I'm just not sure how well Tom is going to be able to regain the faith of a sizeable portion of those that backed this Kickstarter.

Poor communication in a Kickstarter is bad. Outright "misstatements of truth" hurts credibility, and Tom had some whoppers in various updates.

So, excellent game design and presentation, piss poor customer service and management on the business side of things. All in all, not a huge surprise for this hobby of ours.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A New Trend in RPG Kickstarters? - PDF Rewards With "At Cost Print on Demand" for Supporters

Awesome art can open my wallet, and this piece and others like it
may just get me to support the Amethyst Kickstarter
The first time I noticed "At Cost" print options as a reward in a Kickstarter was the Lords of Gossamer and Shadow: Diceless Role-Playing campaign. Steve Russell, the main man behind Rite Publishing, has been doing crowd sourced projects from a time before Kickstarter became the engine for funding.

I loved the Amber RPG, even if I only played it in a short, email run campaign years ago, so it was a no brainer that I would support a Kickstarter that was bring the rules for that game back into print. Until I saw the "At Cost Print on Demand" in the rewards section of the Kickstarter. In truth, it pissed me off initially, as it meant that my pledge / support / backer cash that I was Kicking in WASN'T going to actually give me a "prize in hand" without further expenditure (not counting the PDF that is). In the end, I recognized it as pure genius.

With "At Cost Print on Demand", some schlep who can't keep his finances in order to actually pay for print copies, or just as bad, pays for print copies but never ships them because of the latest excuse of the day, isn't the one holding things up. When it's ready to "print", you get your link or code to OBS, pay the "at cost" price plus shipping and you get it shortly thereafter.

Instead of shipping to someone's apartment and then shipping from there across the world, in dribs and drabs as one sneaks out to the post office between real world responsibilities, it's just a single shipment from the Print on Demand source.

International shipping? The project creator isn't at the mercy of increasing postal rates. OBS' PoD partner prints in Europe and Australia if I'm not mistaken, again keeping down costs (and removing the dreaded "International backers please add $30 US for shipping).

Amethyst - Fantasy & Technology Collide is another Kickstarter that is going the "At Cost PoD" for backers, which allows one to get all of the rewards for $40 in PDF and print copies of the products one wants in print at cost.

Taking shipping out of the hands of creators can be an excellent business decision, as more often than not, creative types make for horrible business types. Not everyone can be good at both.

The danger lies with the back tho'. One has to remember the final cost will include the price to print and ship. Still, it's a better option than waiting on a "Wandering Wizard" or looking at photos of boxes piled in someone's living room waiting for the shipping fairies to come and take them away.

Now we just need to get project creators to stop with the t-shirts, tankards, usb keys and all of the other extraneous chotskies that are used to drive up pledge amount totals but do nothing but drain money, time and effort from the project. One can hope, right?

PWYW - Prince Charming, Reanimator (DCC RPG Funnel)

There is something special about DCC RPG adventures - there is usually a really strong story to each of them, and each adventure generally stands on it's own. Prince Charming, Reanimator is definitely special, it has a strong story and hook and if successful, may not need to stand on it's own. It's also the first "Pay What You Want" release for the DCC RPG that I can think of.

It's funny - I think I've gotten to the point where I can recognize a +Harley Stroh , +Michael Curtis or +Daniel Bishop DCC adventure just from reading the opening text. They are each strong storytellers and each has their own style. Prince Charming, Reanimator is certainly in +Daniel Bishop 's style.

I love the re-imagining of the classic fairytale, and the multiple ending options IS the way to write an adventure of this type. It is very much an Appendix N style adventure.

The price is right, and if you enjoy what you read, you can give Daniel and +Purple Duck Games a few silvers to ensure there are more stories to be told :)

From the blurb:

A 0th-level funnel for DCC by Daniel J. Bishop

Prince Hubert Charming, son of the Baron of Westlake, and heir to Westlake Manor, is well known as a cold man, whose watery blue eyes seem to betray no emotion at all. Yet he is a great lover of beauty, as all his wives have proven. The first he found working in the cinders of a woodsman’s cottage. Some say that the girl’s jealous stepsisters threw her down a well to prevent her from becoming the young prince’s bride, but even death did not bar Prince Charming, and she enchanted everyone at the wedding. Her stepsisters were placed in spiked barrels filled with hot coals and dragged through the town until they themselves died.

Whatever process Prince Charming used to revive his bride, it did not last forever. All too soon, the Princess Ella took ill and died.

Charming then found another bride, and there was no doubt in this case that she was dead. She was entombed in a glass coffin guarded by half a dozen or so dwarves. Yet,
when Prince Charming injected his magic elixir and kissed her upon the lips, her eyelids fluttered open and she breathed again! The story was told that the new Princess had been in but a deep coma, a sham of death, until a poisoned apple was dislodged by the Prince’s kiss. But folk began to whisper in dread, and none were surprised when it was announced that Princess Snow, like Princess Ella, succumbed to a fatal illness after only a few years of marital bliss.

In all kingdoms there are tales, and in the Barony of Westlake, it is said that the Grimmswood hides the ruins of a long-lost realm. The daughter of its final king, cursed by a malevolent faerie, pricked her finger on a spindle upon her sixteenth birthday, in the blossom of her youth, and died. With her death, the kingdom went to ruin. Few now dare to go far into the Grimmswood, although the riches of the lost kingdom are said to lie unclaimed within. Fear of dark fey magic and even greater evils keep men out.

Or they did so until now. For Prince Hubert Charming of Westlake has determined that the long-dead Princess Beauty is only cursed to sleep away the aeons, and he will have her for his bride. His men rounded up a stable of “volunteers” at the beginning of one early autumn morning, and here you are, with what makeshift arms and equipment you had upon you when you were “volunteered”.

Your mission, the Prince’s Bailiff explains, is to enter the ruined castle, find the place where the “Sleeping” Beauty lies, and bring her forth for Prince Charming to restore with a kiss. Those who choose not to go upon this quest must take their chances with the Prince’s Guard, twenty men strong, and be declared outlaw. Those who choose to hazard their lives within the ruined castle may keep what they find, apart from the sleeping princess, but dare not leave without her.

Free OSR Spell Supplement - Space Age Sorcery (Swords & Wizardry)

I'm sure I've forgotten to mention this, but there are some awesome (and free) OSR resources over at the Hereticwerks Blog. I'l try to highlight them over the next few weeks, just in case you've failed to find the blog on your own (it's on my blogroll).

Today, I'm highlighting Space-Age Sorcery. It's a bunch of new spells for casters (in this case, using the S&W format, be usable with the OSR ruleset of your choice.

It is a collection of mostly bizarre and Lovecraftian style spells. It really is an awesome menu to choose from when trying to make your BBEG different and disturbing. I'm willing to go so far as to say they would work equally well in the DCC RPG as a resource of NPC spells.

With Halloween coming up later this week, the spells in Space-Age Sorcery are even more appropriate ;)

Here's a sample spell:

I mentioned it's FREE, right?

New PWYW - Pandemonio (Rafael Chandler)

I really wish +Rafael Chandler had given me the heads up that Pandemonio was releasing, but no, I had to stumble across it myself ;)

From the blurb:


Demons feed on innocent souls while angels obliterate cities. Humans are caught in the middle: possessed, devoured, judged, damned.

The world needs a hero. Unfortunately, there aren't any, so what the hell, you might as well give it a try.

You're a Disciple, a supernatural warrior on the front lines. Wielding bizarre magics like Sexpletive, Death Panel, Photobomb, and Gunfetti, you must hunt down the diabolical and divine, rescue innocent civilians, and maintain a grip on the tattered vestiges of your humanity. How far will you go to destroy your enemy? Will you resort to cannibalism? Are you certain? Listen, don't knock it until you've tried it.

This game is an amalgam of two previously-published RPGs. Dread: The First Book of Pandemonium was originally published in 2002, with a new version in 2007. Spite: The Second Book of Pandemonium was released in 2009.

Pandemonio combines both rulesets and settings into a fast-paced game of splatterpunk action set in a world of violence and decay. You'll need several 12-sided dice and a mind full of nailbombs, scaphism, and hollow-point bullets.

"If you love gorehound transgression at its most base, this is the game for you. You will be vomiting needles ten pages in." (Jason Morningstar)

"This is an independent-publishing triumph." (Ron Edwards)

"I bought the game and devoured it immediately. Excellent writing, flowing with ideas, and worth every penny I spent on it." (Jason L. Blair)

"One of the best traditional RPGs I've seen. It's rock solid entertainment with rules that are easy to grasp, cool to play with, and make play fun." (Matthijs Holter)

"An excellent horror game." (Kenneth Hite)

"The game is something of a primal scream of rage against the kind of God that burns Sodom and kills the first born of Egypt. And the expressions of that rage are the PCs, armed to the teeth with machine guns, kill-mobiles and the ability to go nova when they need to." (Steve Darlington)

"Damn near perfect for a lot of folk who want to play horror games involving humans with supernatural gifts, especially if they're focusing more on the monster takedown." (Christopher W. Richeson)

"The book's a riot to read—Rafael Chandler is the kind of writer that the RPG field sees maybe a couple of times a generation." (Stew Wilson)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Kickstarter to Support D&D Next? Is Next Going OGL With an SRD? Amethyst - Fantasy & Technology Collide

I have a previous version of Amethyst somewhere, purchased back in the 3x days, when I collected RPGs and did not play. It was certainly a pretty release, but nothing in it lit my fires and said: "you need to run this".

I saw the Kickstarter to reboot it for 4e and Pathfinder earlier this month, and again, looked cool but with so many gaming Kickstarters out there, it wasn't on my short list and barely on my radar.

Well, that is until I saw today's update on ENWorld.

Morrus is listing this as a rumor, but it's a rumor with legs, as the Kickstarter for Amethyst lists D&D Next as one of the supported systems. Here's yesterday's Kickstarter update that mentions it.

If D&D Next IS truly OGL with an SRD, that changes the playing field to a large extent and is a huge backtracking from the GSL.

Interesting times indeed...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Awarding Prizes for the Crowdsourced Rumors Entries

I've had limited free time the last few weeks - well, more limited then usual - I've been squeezing in blog time literally in 5 and 10 minutes spurts, which doesn't leave much time to compiling lists.
The initial post is here.

The winners of the $5 RPGNow GCs are:

+Tim Shorts gets my pick as best :)

Random picks are:

Stuart K

Simon J. Hogwood

email me at tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom so I can send you your prizes.

I need to clone myself - really...

Mini Review - Adventurers! - (One Sheet RPG)

Adventurers! from GRAmel is a one-sheet RPG, at least from the player's side. One sheet of paper, 2 sides. The GM rules take up a second, 2-sided sheet. So, maybe 4 pages, 2 sheets is more proper, but who can truly say? ;)

Anyhow, what we have here is an excellent game engine with a convention setting / pick up game type play in mind. Simple enough to hand to the players and have them grasp the rules and mechanics in 5 minutes and literally have them jumping into the game.

The mechanics are based on rolling 2d6 plus stat (ranging from -1 to + 5), 7+ is a success, double ones is a fumble, double sixes is a crit.

3 stats - Strength, Agility and Mind. 10 skills and a flexible power (magic) system.

Oh, and an experience system and character advancement if you want to turn it into campaign play.

The whole system is flexible and concise, which means a strong GM is almost a necessity. In the right hands, this should shine like gold. At a buck fifty ($1.50), the price is certainly right to take the chance.

From the blurb:

Adventurers! is the new ultra-lite RPG from GRAmel. Made for Old School aficionados, it has a Player's Guide and a Game Master's Guide - each in only two pages!

In the Player's Guide you'll find:
+Fast but detailed character creation rules
+Action resolution rules
+Gear and Encumbrance rules
+A slick freeform system for creating magical characters, from traditional wizards to exotic faeries
+Alternative point-buy rules for character creation

In the Game Master's Guide you'll find
+Additional rules for extended tasks, cooperative actions and more
+Hazards: including poisons, diseases and environmental hazards
+Rules to fully customize your heroes
+A bestiary!
+Optional rules
+... and much more!

Bonus Character Sheet included!

Over the next few months GRAmel will publish mini-settings, adventures and supplements for Adventurers!, all of them in only two pages!

Invoking Valhalla - Worthy RPG Kickstarters as of October 25th, 2013

I'm trying out a new series of posts when it comes to Kickstarters. "Invoking Valhalla" is the label I will be using for the projects that are currently live and that I am supporting. Obviously, some may be more worthy than others, and some that I consider worthy, you may not. Ah well, such is life.

I'll also take my stab at how well I expect the Kickstarter to produce if it funds - this is a average of effective communication / ability to produce / how effective the guesstimate to publish is. Average is 2 Tankards. Highest score possible is 4

First up is my first ever "Tavern Pick": Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay - the goal is to produce an "open" city sourcebook that other publishers can reference and use. Kind of a universal city that publishers can plop into their own campaign worlds (obviously GMs can do the same). Written for the LL system (as are the rest of the Small Niche Games releases) it should be suitable for all OSR systems. Personally, I'm currently in at $50, which means Tenkar the Dwarven Bartender will be making an appearance. Funding goal of $500 was hit in $24 hrs and 1st stretch goal of $1,000 was hit on the second day. This one should have legs ;)   4 Tankards - on time or nearly so.

Next we have Adventures in the East Mark - The Red Box. This is an ambitious English translation of the Spanish game "Aventuras en La Marca de Este", a retroclone released in a series of boxed sets. I'm currently in at $30, which is extremely affordable for a boxed RPG with some amazing high quality art - and I'm considering upping to $60 to get the set in full color. Decisions, decisions. My one fear - their math is off and they can't produce at the prices they are betting on. Halfway to funding with half it's funding time left.  2 1/2 Tankards - Ambitious pricing, but the art cost is minimal as it is recycled from the original edition. Still, boxed sets aren't POD, so there are additional logistics involved.

Three Days Until Retirement: A Game About Cops On The Edge is something I find interesting mostly because of my real life profession. My wife is actually pretty psyched about using it as her introduction to roleplaying. Game is written and funding is for art and professional printing. In for $25 at my wife's request ;) Has hit it's funding.  2 Tankards - First project and an ambitious February 2014 shipping date. 

The Lost Lands: Sword of Air Pathfinder & Swords & Wizardry by Frog God Games. The Frog's stuff is never cheap but always looks amazing. When they hit 400 backers (360 as I type this) Swords & Wizardry Complete goes free for everyone in PDF. This is a a full art version of S&W Complete. As for the setting book itself, I'm interested in seeing an old school setting from the Frogs. In at $110 for the S&W version. This has funded and you are pretty much guaranteed this will be published. 3 Tankards, as you are also pretty much guaranteed that it will ship late  ;)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Remember The "Overdue Kickstarter List" I Used to Do Mostly Monthly?

I think I'm going to try something different, as I want to highlight successful projects as well as point out the ones that are crapping out.

Something along the lines of "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" but with a more neutral middle ground than "The Bad" ;)

Actually, "The Good" would probably be looking at current Kickstarters that should appeal to a portion of my readers and bring possibly overlooked projects to their attention.

"The Ugly" would focus on the projects that fall into the Nystulian Abyss.

Maybe "The Collective" for updates on Kickstarters that have funded and haven't fallen into the abyss yet.

I'm open for input...

When Mike Nystul is the Shining Example of "How to Act", Your World is Upside Down

My world is officially upside down. I just used Mike Nystul as the example of how to act when you fuck up a Kickstarter beyond recognition and get caught in your lies and misdirections over on the Myth & Magic Kickstarter comments page.

Mike owned up to his shit. He may still be delusional about how to fix things, but he did admit to being a fuck up. I can respect that. I may not respect him as a "traveling wizard", but he did express a level of ownership of his own shit.

Tom on the other hand...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dwarven Forge Kickstarter Arrives - With 2,000 Coppers ;)

Yep, I opted for the painted pieces from the Dwarven Forge Kickstarter, and boy I'm glad I did. The painting job is awesome. Did I mention it shipped on time? Well, it did!

And look, it came with it's own pile of 2,000 coppers (some might claim it's supposed to be gold, but I say it's copper).

The doors even swing open and closed.

Shame I game 100% online these days, but when I get around to painting some of those Reaper Bones from that other Kickstarter, I can set up some rocking dioramas...

OMG! An Update From "Tom" for the Myth & Magic Player's Guide Kickstarter - 2E Reviled and Undelivered!!!

A huge update from Tom. Amazingly enough, it doesn't address the dozens of comments and posts complaining that apparently NO ONE received any of the Players Guides he claims to have shipped over 3 weeks ago. Yep, he avoids addressing the statements he made in his last update.

I suspect the following is more bullshit. I'll be happy to be proven wrong.

Update #61 - For backers only Oct 23, 2013 
Update on Shipping, Fulfillment, Rules Expansion, GMG 
9 comments  Like 2 likes 
Hi there, 
I wanted to give you a monthly update. 
I made a few decisions. The first: I updated everyone who ordered a softcover Player's Starter Guide. Now, you're getting one (or more) hardcover copies of the actual Player's Guide. That's great news for you, and it actually saved me money. The second: 100 softcover Game Master's Starter Guides are due to arrive at my house Saturday, November 2.  Those of you who have one or more of these softcover GMSGs have not received your order because of that. But, I think the book is a must-have and for those that had the foresight to order it, you deserve it. 
If you fall into this category and want me to send your other books now, but are willing to pony up five bucks in a few weeks, that's fine; but, it may just make more sense to hold off. You're call.  
To my international friends: I mentioned in my September update that many of you pledged much less shipping than what the International Shipping update indicated. Not your fault. It was confusing then. It is confusing now. What I have to do now is email every international backer separately, except for like 12 of you (thanks attackx3 - you got it right ;) We'll get it sorted out. In some cases, the cost to ship exceeds the cost of the books by a wide margin, so I certainly can't front that. I am using m-bags where appropriate to reduce costs, so please know that. 
The Rules Expansion has gotten a lot of commentary. Thanks Speaker, by the way. I hope you enjoy them. Chad Sergesketter just came off a project and is now dedicated to more Myth & Magic, including the GMG (more on that below). He will be doing some BW renditions for the Rules Expansion PDF. 
GMG: Contrary to what you may believe, the GMG Kickstarter will kick in big time. I am going to try to approach that differently and by literally forgetting everything that has transpired between us here and starting fresh. The material is great and the art will be awesome. Having said that, it will take some time, a lot of time (finally, honesty) but I will take you along the journey - something I failed to properly do here. Once all the shipments here are fulfilled, this KS will be behind us and the updates will only focus on the GMG.
As always, I apologize for the crazy-ass-unacceptable-and-unforgiven delays here. The books rock, as you know or soon will know, and it will turn around. I have always sucked at communications, but never at design and I have always and will always deliver. 

UPDATE - OSR Kickstarter - Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (Small Niche Games) - Tavern Pick

UPDATE - The Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay Kickstarter has hit it's $500 goal in a day! Congrats Pete!

Time now to reach for the stretch goals:

Stretch Goal: $1000

A full length city-based adventure for 3-6 characters of 1st-3rd levels entitled Oak Grove Whispers. This adventure will be available for sale on RPGNow at the usual price of $4.95 (PDF) or $7.95 (softcover). The PDF will be free to backers who pledge $20 or more to the Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay.

Stretch Goal: $1500

A special edition hardcover of the Guidebook of the City of Dolmvay that includes the adventure Oak Grove Shadows. This edition will be available for sale through RPGNow in PDF and softcover format. The special edition hardcover and PDF will be free to backers who pledge $50 or more to the Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (this special edition hardcover will replace the standard hardcover that is offered to backers who pledge $50 or more).

(Pete may need to add others ;)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

OSR Kickstarter - Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (Small Niche Games) - Tavern Pick

Let me just say this up front - I'm already in for $50 and I'm toying with the idea of upping that to $100. In any case, there will be a dwarf named "Tenkar" running a tavern in the City of Dolmvay. I've already brought that up with Pete ;)

So, why support the Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay if it's going to be PWYW in PDF? Maybe because you want all of the excellent OSR setting books and adventures that Pete's throwing into the pot.

Or maybe you like the idea of an OSR city that's OGL and can be used by other publishers in their settings and adventures.

Perhaps you've checked out Small Niche Games releases in the past, or maybe you want to kick in because it's simply "cool shit' ;)

The first issue of Brave the Labyrinth Fanzine is PWYW, (edit - Second Issue too)s o you can check out Pete's style of gaming and writing for free.

From the blurb:
Kickstarter: Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay 
The Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay is a Labyrinth Lord™ supplement for the Chronicles of Amherth™ campaign setting that details the people, layout, and government of the City of Dolmvay. The city was specifically designed to give Labyrinth Lords a convenient city setting to place their adventures. 
The Guidebook will be largely Open Game Content and will be offered for free under RPGNow's Pay What You Want Program.. My goal is to provide professional and amateur publishers with a simple to use common city setting to publish their city-based OSR fantasy adventures... 
All money earned from Kickstarter pledges will be put towards artwork and maps (with a bit held out for printing/shipping/handling), so the more backing I receive the prettier the product will look. I expect the look of the product to be a factor when attempting to get other publishers on board, so the more professional it looks, the better.
Are you waiting for an invitation? Here it is... check this out :)

PS - First "Tavern Pick" for a Kickstarter. I think that's a new trend ;)

More WotC "Sneak Peeks" of the Original D&D Boxed Set Reprint Art - What is With The Damn "Flames"?

Is this something I've missed in recent fantasy gaming art? Flames or smoke effects on every piece? If so, it's about as annoying as sitcoms with laugh tracks IMHO.

Anyhow, the first piece, replacing the classic art for Monsters & Treasure isn't to my liking, but does a decent job of evoking the pose of the original - it's the fucking flames that are killing it for me:

WTF happened with the cover of The Underworld and Wilderness Adventures? It went from some winged horse creature that was NOT a Pegasus to a Roc on steroids - with flames of course. There isn't even an attempt to replicate the first cover - the horse had hooves - this eagle from hell has talons.

I really don't get this new art for a classic, iconic reprint. They could have found an artist that could have redone these pieces and still retained an "old school" feel, but it seems that WotC doesn't want to entice old school gamers to pick this up, and new school gamers are going to be disappointed as all hell by the contents. There is no "truth in advertising" left with these covers.

Damn shame.

Bundle of Holding - Nightmare Alley

It's the second October Horrors Collection - Nightmare Alley

Rotworld is the one I know. It uses the classic Pacesetter System (Chill, Sandman and the like). You can get that and 3 other games for a donation of ANY amount.

Beat the average (currently a hair over $14) and you get Cryptworld (for all intents and purposes a Chill clone) and one other game - with more to follow, I am sure.

I did have fun with Chill and the other Pacesetter games back in the day and it is October...

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Swords & Wizardry Complete PDF Goes FREE When the The Lost Lands: Sword of Air Kickstarter Hits 400 Backers

I got the following email this morning from The Frogs regarding The Lost Lands Kickstarter:
When we get to 400 backers, we're going to post the Swords & Wizardry Complete rules pdf (only) for free. Forever. PDF download only. 
Yeah, we're doing that!
+Skeeter Green then clarified the above statement
Just so we are clear: this is not a backer-only gift. This is the Kickstarter pledgers giving a "gift" to rpgers everywhere. This unlocks the pdf for everyone, forever.
Look at that. We can actually Kickstart the Swords & Wizardry Complete rules in PDF to everybody :)

Currently at 320 backers with 25 days to go - this will be happening, and possibly before my "B-Team" plays their first session of the "Southern Reaches of the Wilderlands" using S&W Complete.

Not too shabby ;)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Running Hangout Games as a "Roll20 Minimalist"

I was about to post this to the Southern Reaches of the Wilderlands - Sandbox community page, but I figured it might be interesting to share with all.

I really am a Roll20 Minimalist when I run games.

I don't use tokens, even though I have hundreds of virtual tokens ready to go and could have thousands more using the RPtools token creator app. I have used them in the past, and it usually results in party members' tokens being left 3 rooms behind as someone takes a bio break or just forgets to move their tokens.

I'm not saying there aren't uses for them in the games run by other GMs, nor am I saying that I'd never use them, but I feel they distract a bit from the "Theatre of the Mind" type of gameplay which is how I like to run a game. I want the gameplay to be bigger than the tokens on your screen or the minis on the table.

I do like importing maps from existing adventures and using "fog of war" to reveal to the party what they can see and where they have been. If I need to point out something or confirm a location, I just "ping" it with a click of the pointer. It's much easier and less time consuming than trying to draw the map out freehand based upon GM description or even having the GM sketch it out I've done both.

Handwaving - I do lots of it, especially with combat. It replaces tokens for me.

Handouts are awesome with Roll20 - I love them and enjoy using them. Once or twice a session on average, assuming I have something suitable.

As for character sheets and macros - that's up to the players. I don't think anyone in my regular group uses them, but they could always prove me wrong.

We most definitely do use the online dice feature, but we've never used the 3d Dice feature, which is strange in retrospect, as it's one of the features of Fantasy Grounds 2 that I really enjoyed. I guess the flashy dice really do take a backseat to gameplay.

We use Roll20 within Google+ as an app and have never had an issue, or at least no more issues than one normally has with G+ Hangout sessions.

I'm a huge supporter of Virtual Table Tops and have thrown money at nearly all of them. Roll20 via G+ Hangouts is the closest I've come to a Virtual Table feeling and playing like a dining room table.

Mini Review - DCC #79.5 - Tower of the Black Pearl (DCC RPG)

The Tower of the Black Pearl is a DCC RPG conversion of the 3x adventure of the same name, authored by +Harley Stroh and converted to the DCC RPG by +Daniel Bishop .

How is it? I used the 3x version (converted on the fly) to kick off last week's Swords & Wizardry Campaign, and it f'n rocked. Hard!

In truth, for the DCC RPG I can more readily see this run as a 0-level funnel: the tower makes it's appearance and hopeful adventurers commandeer a skiff or two and swarm the tower, hoping to find the Black Pearl. When they do, hilarity ensues.

I don't want to give away any of the big twists, as they are awesome, but this really would work well as a funnel. Well, I suspect it would. It may be the whole swarm of noobs wipes, but that's what funnels are for, right? ;)

If I have one complaint, it's the map. It's a bit harder to read in this version of the adventure and it's awkwardly divided between two pages. To run it, you'll absolutely need to print it out. To use the map with a VTT, I'd suggest you crib it from the earlier version if you have access to it. Man, I never bitch about the DCC RPG maps...

In any case, DCC or 3x or S&W, the Tower of the Black Pearl is a blast, both for the players and the DM - it's hard to go wrong when both Harley and Daniel have their hands in an adventure.

Announcing Recruitment for the S&W Wilderlands Campaign "B Team"

I kicked off our new Southern Reaches of the Wilderlands Swords & Wizardry Complete sandbox campaign a week ago Saturday and I've gotten a number of inquiries from those looking for an open slot or to be an alternate.

Screw that!

I'm going to run a semi-open session one Friday night night decided upon by the community a month starting November.

Same world. Same campaign. Events in one session will be reflected in the other.

"Team B" players will have priority for open spots in the regular, 2 to 3 sessions a month "A Team" group.

I just put up the Southern Reaches of the Wilderlands - Sandbox  community on G+. It's a private community, so if you want in, ask to join and I'll let you in. This is where players for the Friday Night sessions will be drawn from.

It's barebones right now, but as the week goes on, I'll add in posts for the houserules and such.

Sessions will be run using G+ / Roll20, so if you are one of those that thinks G+ is evil, there's not much I can do to help you at this time ;)

Players will be added to the Obsidian Portal Group after they play their first session.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

OpenQuest 2nd Edition - Hardcover in Hand - 99.99% OGL

It funny. Just the other day, I was posting about RQ2 (Chaosium) and today I get the HC of OpenQuest 2 from last year's Indiegogo Campaign.

If I'm going to run a fantasy game outside of the traditional OSR rulesets, this is the game I'd run. It feels like a hybrid of sorts between RQ2 and RQ3, built off of the MRQ OGL rules.

Heck, except for the art and the maps, this sucker is ALL OGL.

Shit - I'm a player in TWO games tonight (if I can pull the timing off), the tomorrow is football and the first part of the Adventures Dark & Deep review. I need more free time and I need it NOW! ;)

WotC "Sneak Peeks" the Original D&D Boxed Set Reprint Art - Why Mess With a Classic?

I know you don't want someone inadvertently buying the reprint and thinking they bought an original, but the new cover DOES NOT reflect on the content of the book in my humble opinion.

They could have done new art reminiscent of the original art, but instead we get... hell, I don't know what it is, but I don't like it...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Beating the Dead Kickstarter - Myth & Magic Player's Guide - 2e Reviled and Undelivered

Time to put a fork into the Myth & Magic Player's Guide. Tom (I hope you don't mind referring to you as "Tom" and not Mr. Ryan" or something, but at this point, I feel we have a relationship) has done the big "fuck you" to those that supported his project.

Well done sir!

You've strung folks along along for over a year with pictures and promises, but in the end you are as empty as you "company's" homepage. Yes, you know how important the customers are when the homepage refers to Tom's second Kickstarter (for the GM's Guide) as "Coming Soon" when it finished funding in October of 2012. If you can't bother to update your own homepage in a fucking year, you are pretty much telescoping your priorities (hint - it ain't anything coming from New Haven Games, unless it's money changing from the company account to Tom's private account).

So, in any case, Tom said he shipped stuff out on September 26th (this is after the books spent time in a storage facility - allegedly):
Hi Everyone, 
Well, I've been a busy bee. On Sunday, I packaged up over 200 parcels (209 to be exact). Mailman came to pick up almost all of them. 
So, there is a 99% chance that your shipment is coming and will arrive within 14 business days, UNLESS a) you're international and didn't follow the updated shipping cost instructions (there are a lot of you and I will be emailing you); or b) you ordered a softcover PSG (which I've ratcheted up to a softcover PG) or c) hahaha! fuck you! fooled you all - 100% get ZERO deliveries! Tom is such a naughty boy!
The first softcover PG printing proof was just wonky. The second one was better and it's approved. I'm awaiting a shipment of them. Tracking says Monday the 30th.  
I'll come back in a few weeks to give you another update on this. 
As for the rules expansion. I've uploaded a new one HERE!!!! 
It includes all the new races and two new classes. I'll keep this in beta for a little while, because some of you are undoubtedly waiting for the books to start really digging in. After we think we have all the comments we need, we'll edit, lay art and release as a finalized rules enhancement. 
Thank you all again for your continued support and patience. I've gotten a lot of more positive emails over the last few weeks. (well, I suspect the ratio has been different over the NEW last few weeks)
Yours in the Game, 
It's a shame too. The rules are decent. The PDF isn't bad (especially when Tom finally removed the damn password protection)

Now, if you read the public comments on the Kickstarter page, one of the supporters has left a small gift for the public. Not sure how long the link will last, but I'd hate to see someone put money in this fucktard's hands for a PDF of a game that died before it arrived. Can you Pirate from a Thief? Almost sounds like class warfare.

Oh, read Redwulf's post over at the New Haven Game Forums - spot on!

WotC, Gygax Memorial Fund and the Definition of "a Sizeable Contribution"

I find the Gygax Memorial Fund to be a really strange bird. You have to go to Facebook to find out about updated for the website:

The site NEVER seems to get updated yet it's still collecting funds. Now they are going to start a "new" fundraiser? The old one never ended.

Case in point, this was posted over at WotC today:
To help honor the memory and work of Gary Gygax, Wizards of the Coast created limited-edition, premium-covered reprints of his original three Dungeons & Dragons tomes (the Monster Manual, Player's Handbook, and Dungeon Master's Guide) and released them throughout the course of the last year. With the purchase of each of these monumental books, a portion of the proceeds was set aside for donation to the Gygax Memorial Fund, established to immortalize the "Father of Roleplaying Games" with a memorial statue in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. 
Wizards of the Coast recently provided the fund with a sizeable contribution to help further the development of the memorial. Both the Gygax Foundation and Wizards of the Coast would like to extend a thank-you to the supporters of the premium reprint initiative so that the memory of the creator of Dungeons & Dragons can live on and touch the lives of future gamers around the world.
How much was donated from each book's sale? 5 bucks? A buck? 2 bits? A wooden nickel?

Just how much is "a sizeable contribution?

What's actually been done with the monies raised thus far?

How much more money needs to be raised to actually get the memorial set up?

How much is needed yearly to maintain it?

How much is needed for the scholarships?

They expect to have this up and running "within 3 years" - when did the clock start running on that?

Actually, are there any details known at all to the public, because the Gygax Memorial site isn't just light on updates, it's also sparse on details.

I'm all for this in theory, just hate the non-profits that want my money put don't really detail how it's going to be used, how much they are looking to raise, and how much is getting eaten by "admin fees and costs".

edit - props to +Dead Greyhawk for this:

Reminder - The Tavern is Only as Good as Its Patrons

I don't have the time to scour the internet for RPG / OSR news like I used to. I'm not going to say work is killing me, but I've lost a large chunk of free time that I used to use researching / wandering the web and forums. It's also the reason the 'zine is currently on hold - I don't have the free time to devote to it at the moment.

Why did it take me a few days to post about the new Adventures in the East Mark Kickstarter? Because I didn't know about it until a reader pointed it out to me. I can't share if I don't know (and for Kickstarters, it also means I can't feed my addiction until you tell me ;)

So I'm relying on y'all to keep me up to date so I can keep you up to date. Or something ;)

You can always send me a message via G+ to +Erik Tenkar . Or you can email me at either tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing or erikATtrubluniteDOTnet. The second one gets pushed to my phone, so if you think it's time sensitive, that's the way to go.

Alright, back to lunch and then back to work.

Thanks again to all :)

New OSR Kickstarter - Adventures in the East Mark - The Red Box

There is some amazing art examples at the Adventures in the East Mark - The Red Box Kickstarter page, apparently from later releases in the series.

Yes, I said series, as this BECMI clone is already on the market in Spain - in Spanish, of course. The Kickstarter is to bring it to the English speaking market.

Oh, did I mention its a boxed set? Rules, adventure, GM screen, dice and a pencil for 30 bucks.

Yep, I'm already in for a box. If nothing else, it gives me more options no matter the system I go with.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Name is "Mike Nystul", and I've Got the Biggest... Balls of Them All!

Earlier today on Facebook

Yesterday on the Axes & Anvils Kickstarter
I'm glad Mike is honest enough to call his latest ideas "schemes". Oh, and he's right. He probably shouldn't share them, as they aren't "unrealistic promises" but further attempts to separate fools from their money.

Still, I will give Mike this much credit - he admits he's a fuck up, that he fucked up and that he can't make due. Oh, and he still posts. And answers posts. If nothing else, that takes a huge set of balls.

Contrast that with Tom from the Myth & Magic Player's Guide Kickstarter - this ass swears he shipped the books 3 weeks ago, promised delivery in "14 business days" which sounds like he's using the Pony Express and now those 14 days have come and gone and not a fucking peep.

Maybe Mike has a right to "The Biggest Balls of them All!" ;)

Ebay Acquisition - RuneQuest 2 - Games Workshop Edition

My favorite RuneQuest edition is 2e, even though the Avalon Hill Edition (RQ3) was my introduction to RuneQuest. I found RQ2 at a con along with Pavis and Big Rubble and it lead to months of sandbox play (even if we didn't call it that back then).

This is the softcover of the RQ 2e rules published by Games Workshop in (I'm going to guess) 80/81?

Just happy to be able to add it to my collection.

I also grabbed a bunch of AD&D 1e / 2e modules on eBay earlier this week. I'll post some of those fine finds tomorrow.

Have a few posts I'm working on (Adventures Dark and Deep review, the listing and prize awarding from last week's "Rumors" post) and an essay for +Andrew Shields I need to work on. Heading to the inlaws during the afternoon on Saturday and bringing my voice recorder along for the ride. Hopefully I can make some essay progress ;)

May have a Kickstarter post later on this evening before heading to bed tonight...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Eeeeviilllllllll!!! Do You Allow Evil PCs in the Campaigns You Run?

I'm not saying PCs can't or won't commit evil acts no matter their stated alignments. It's just been my experience that PCs with an actual evil alignment written on their character sheet are disruptive to group play.

It's kinda like "my PC is evil, so I get to play an asshole".

No, you don't get that "privilege". Least not when I'm running a game.

RPGs are a group experience, and if that experience is to be successful, we all need to be on the same page.

Besides, aren't PCs supposed to be heroes of some sort, even if they might be at the "Dirty Harry" end of the spectrum?

Maybe I'm off target. Maybe "evil" is a legitimate alignment in campaign play. Maybe they can work with good aligned characters.

Am I wrong?

Some of the Excellent Art From the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary

The art in the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary was funded by those that supported the Kickstarter, and it's damn good.

Here's some examples:

There are literally hundreds more pieces of art in here, and for the first time in a long time I plan on using art from a "monster book" in game, even if my game is Swords & Wizardry these days. All I need to do is swap the ACs (as we are using ascending) and we're good to go.

+Joseph Bloch , let me say it again - well done!

Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary - In Hand 5 Months Early!

The Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary was due to ship in March of 2014 - Today is October 16th, 2013 and I have it in my grubby hands.

+Joseph Bloch knows how to run a Kickstarter. For all of the failures, folks like Joe and Sine Nomine Publishing show what can happen when you put your trust in capable hands.

Hey, wasn't there another AD&D 2e "clone" Kickstarter that supposedly shipped over 2 weeks ago? One that was due in August of 2012? Hey Tom! What's your latest excuse?

+Joseph Bloch I'll be putting a few brews back tonight to salute you ;)

Do You Use "Alignment Languages" in Your Campaigns?

One of the least understood aspects of AD&D in my days of youthful gaming (somewhere after Weapon Speed) was Alignment Languages or Alignment Tongues.

Were they actually different languages or more like regional variations of the common tongue?

Could characters discuss tactics in the middle of battle using their alignment tongue and keep the enemy from ever figuring it out?

We quietly handwaved it away and ignored it after a while - it just seemed like so much useless baggage.

Do you use Alignment Tongues in your campaigns? If so, how do you use it?

What is any houserules do you have for it?

If you used it in the past and no longer do, why is that?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Is "The Tome of the Unclean" Troll Lord Games' Latest Tweak to Crowdfunding?

The Trolls have turned to running their own crowd funded projects (Bluffside is their latest) for a bit now. They still use Amazon Payments, but they get to cut Kickstarter out, which I'm sure helps their profit margins (even if it does lose them some visibility).

Now it appears the are doing some crowdfunding via RPGNow, as you get to preorder a book that will be released in dribs and drabs over the course of many months.
Under a sky of blue, lies our vibrant world, where life blossoms in the green spring, or lays in repose in red autumn. But beneath the green, beneath the red, lies the cold, hard ground. Here the roots of things cut the earth, devouring what it holds. Small creatures dig and burrow and worms grow fat on the still dirt. Deeper still lie subterranean worlds, caves, where rock crawls upon spirals of time, creeping from pools of quiet that lap the shores of darkness. And beyond the darkness, beyond all sense, lies a gulf of empty fear, where our demons lurk. 
Born with twisted thought, tainted with stains of malice, these are creatures unkempt. Foul of sight and smell, sunk in the darkness of the time's caverns, the dwell in an abyss, in hell, in the Wretched Plaines of shadow and loss. These are the demons. These are the devils. 
Kim Hartsfield, author of the wildly popular, Classic Monsters (the poor man's Tome of Horrors Complete - well done and a decent price), returns to bring us Tome of the Unclean. Revisiting those demons and devils of the earlier publications you'll find the Demogorgan, Asmodeous, Amon, Mammoth and more in this, the next volume of monsters for your Castles & Crusades game! 
IN THIS INSTALLMENT: This first installment contains 3 Monsters! 
Every 2-3 weeks we are going to update your copy of Tomb of the Unclean with new monsters, building the book as we go. (at the rate of a monster a week, say 2 pages per monster, we are looking at a year before this completes - but they get my money up front - do I even get credit towards buying a physical copy?)
Tome of the Unclean, once complete, will contain close to 100+ pages (how can one be "close to 100+ pages?" shouldn't it be "close to 100 pages?") of demons and devils, revisiting old ones and introducing new ones. The book is slated for release in 2014! It will have a cover charge of $19.99 and the digital will go on sale at $14.99. Order today and you pay only $9.99!
So, basically I can give you 10 bucks up front for bits and pieces over a year, or I can wait until it's done and pay 15 bucks. Or wait until it's nearly done and pay $10? maybe?

It has to be better then the serial Adventure "Beneath the Dome". Which, by the way, has some really fucked up pricing. The four individual pieces were $2.99 each, but the subscription for all four was $9.99. Yet i you buy the completed adventure, it's $6.99. Apparently, the cheaper version is the "cohesive" version - so you were screwed if you subscribed - paid more, got a poorer package.

Bundle of Holding - October Horrors: Collection 1 of 3

Not as exciting to me as bundles, but I'll probably still get it (just very unsure what I'll actually use).
You can get our core collection of four DRM-free .PDFs -- Don't Rest Your Head, Dread, Kingdom of Nothing, and Murderous Ghosts -- a US$37 value -- for a price you set yourself. Pay more than the current average to get four bonus titles, including D. Vincent Baker's brand-new version of Murderous Ghosts, appearing in the Bundle of Nerves for the first time anywhere: Northampton State Hospital. And we'll be adding more bonus titles to the Bundle of Nerves as the week goes on. (Oh boy, will we be adding bonuses.) If you buy now, you'll receive them automatically on your download page. Never worry about missing a book!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Some RPG Related Kickstarters That Deserve a Look - No, I Really Mean It!

Hey, I admit it. I'm a fucking Kickstarter addict. Sometimes I get burned by that "rock of crack" that winds up being soap, or even worse, the dealer takes my money and does the dip.

Doesn't matter. I keep coming back for more.

Today, I present some of the latest gamer Kickstarter Crack:

The Dice Vault: A Handcrafted Wooden Case for Gaming Dice

Do I need this shit? No. Is it cool as fuck? Yes. Will I take the plunge? Need to judge wife agro first...

Encounter Dice - The NPC Pack - Adventure in Full Colour

Shit! I have absolutely no use for these, but they look so cool I will need to invent a use for them!

Three Days Until Retirement: A Game About Cops On The Edge

I was in for a PDF copy, until I played the attached video as I worked on this post. My wife insisted she wanted a print copy. Yes, my WIFE is interested in a RPG. I was just in it for the "cop" aspect. She wants it to be her portal into the world of RPGs. Sorry Stuart, but she just set an awfully high bar for you ;)

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