Saturday, May 4, 2013

What is Your Favorite "Non OSR" RPG?

I figure if you read this blog on a regular basis, you at least have some interest in OSR games (although the definition of OSR varies from gamer to gamer, it's one of those things that we all "know it when we see it";)

I'm looking to see what folks are playing (or want to play)when they aren't playing their favorite OSR ruleset.

Foe me that game is Soloman Kane. Sure, it uses the Savage Worlds system, which I've actually only played once and was fairly clueless, but I love this book with a major gamer's crush, and would play it in a heart beat. I'd run it too, but then I'd actually have to learn the Savage Worlds system well enough to do so ;)

So, what is your favorite "Non OSR" RPG?

Tenkar's Transformation II - A Tasty Brew and Temporary HP Too! (Swords & Wizardry Spell)

Tenkar's Transformation II

Spell Level: Magic User, 2nd Level
Range: Immediate vicinity
Duration: 2d6 Turns (20 minutes to 2 hours)

This spell turns two pints of any quality water (brackish, murky, salty, etc) into a tasty pilsner beer. The water needs to be in proper receptacles prior to casting (pitchers, mugs, cups, etc) for this spell to work.

A pint of Tenkar's Transformation II Beer has the following effects if drunk within 5 rounds of the spell's casting (after 5 rounds, it is still a tasty brew but it has no further effects):

     1 - 1D4 temporary hit points. Damage taken is counted against temporary hit points first. Temporary hit points can exceed the PC's usual max HP for the duration of the spell.

     2 - If drunk by an NPC, their morale is vastly improved. They will not flee unless the party    flees.

Drinking more than one pint has no additional effects.

This spell destroys any parasites that might be present in the water but does not neutralize or remove any poison therein.

Note: Duration of this spell should be rolled by the GM and not shared with the players until the spell expires. Relying on temporary hit points that one may not have later is a dangerous gamble.

(The Wizard Rathman researched various levels and versions of the above spell to reward and assist his adventuring companion, Tenkar Calishun. TTII was often shared between Tenkar and Rathman before entering a dangerous location, or between Rathman and a henchman if Tenkar was elsewhere. Some of these spells will be described in later blog posts.)

The Troll Lords are Running a 50% Off Sale on Their PDFs This Weeeknd

Just in case you missed the news elsewhere, which is doubtful, as its "Pretty Big News":

The Trolls are running a 50% off sale on nearly all of their PDFs, which is dangerous as hell, as there certainly are some gems.

Heck, you could probably pick up an adventure path or two for 10 bucks or so each and they convert easily to the OSR rules of your choice. Castles & Crusades pretty much is the Rossetta Stone of the OSR ;)

I think the Codex Centarum is one of the few releases not included, and this is an very recent release, so I can understand why.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sex in RPGs? Do You "Do It"?

I got involved in a stupid "back and forth" on G+ earlier today (nearly all "back and forths" on G+ are inherently stupid to engage in) and my mind strayed to the thought of "Sex & DnD".

I always had the player in high school and college that wanted to bed the barmade in every town the party stopped in and actually wanted to role play the "wooing" part of the encounter (I am very thankful we were able to "fade to black" thereafter).

I've also have only played female characters in pick up games with pregens and at cons. I kinda like sticking with the bits and pieces I already know.

In any case, I'm thankful my current group hasn't stated a desire to find more romance "in game". Then again, they are heavily involved within Rappan Athuk, and I expect any romance they might encounter would be regard with a great amount of suspicion ;)

How far do you allow your group (or yourself) to roleplay romantic encounters, or would you just rather avoid them altogether?

A Kickstarter for Miniatures - Tome of Horrors Complete - 28mm Heroic Scale Miniatures

I think I need to start this out by mentioning I'm still waiting on my Reaper's Bones delivery. I expect I will have more miniatures than I will ever need (let alone paint) in my lifetime.

But I don't recall any Flumphs in the Reaper mix. I'm not even sure what color a Flumph is - purple, perhaps? Yes, there are Flumphs in the Tome of Horrors set if the stretch goal is met, which I expect it will be. Oh, and these are metal (not plastic like the Bones).

Someone needs to remind me that I do 100% of my gaming via G+ Hangouts / Roll20 and miniatures will never come into play at my table. I most certainly DON'T need this. Not that that has stopped me before.

Did I mention I like Flumphs?

My wife has figured out that I have supported a substantial number of Kickstarters, and she sees them all as variations of Far West - a pie in the sky idea that never produces. Tome of Horrors Complete - 28mm Heroic Scale Miniatures I pretty much expect will produce close to on time, although the more minis that make the list via stretch goals, the longer I expect final fulfillment to take.

P.S. - my wife has no fucking idea how many Kickstarters I have supported over the last year and a half - she thinks about a dozen or more... "more" is the key word ;)

Tenkar's Transformation I - A Spell for Swords & Wizardry (and other OSR games)

Tenkar's Transformation I

Spell Level: Magic User, 1st Level
Range: Immediate vicinity
Duration: Permanent

This spell turns one pint of water per caster level of any quality (brackish, murky, salty, etc) into a barely palatable beer. The water needs to be in proper receptacles prior to casting (pitchers, mugs, cups, etc) for this spell to work.

This spell destroys any parasites that might be present in the water but does not neutralize or remove any poison therein.

(The Wizard Rathman researched various levels and versions of the above spell to reward and assist his adventuring companion, Tenkar Calishun. Some of these spells will be described in later blog posts.)

The Winner of the Post 3K $10 GC to RPGNow Is...

suspended-chord - rolled using % at my work desk and ignoring results that were higher than the number of entries.

SC, I need you to send an email to tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom with the email addy you use at RPGNow so I can send you the certificate.

Some of the entries were many layers of funny. Thanks for making the 3,000th post a fun one ;)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tenkar's Tankard - A Swords & Wizardry Magic Item

Tenkar's Tankard is a rare magic item made specifically for the dwarf known as Tenkar Calishun. Tenkar was looking for an item both practical and martial in nature, and the Wizard Rathman crafted him his own enchanted tankards. There are two known to be in existance, and only one of those two is currently accounted for.

For practical purposes, Tenkar's Tankard always holds 25 oz of cold pilsner beer. Even if turned upside down or while striking an orc over the head not a drop will spill. It will, however, easily fill a dwarf's beard with foam and suds while always maintaining a full tankard of beer.

When used as a weapon, Tenkar's Tankard is treated as a + 2 mace. The wielder may freely imbibe between striking blows.

A Kickstarter on Fire - Torchbearer

In 2 days Torchbearer has raised over $25k against a goal of nearly $15k - it is funded and then some.

It appears to be using The Burning Wheel for it's core rule elements, which is all Greek to me, as I no nothing about The Burning Wheel. Well, I know about it, but not how it plays.

Still, extremely strong support so early in the Kickstarter should indicate this game has potential, so I'm in for the PDF at $15 for the moment.

I find the following quote interests me - a lot:

In the spectrum of BWHQ games, Torchbearer is advanced Mouse Guard. It’s not as complex as Burning Wheel or Burning Empires, but it’s certainly more involved than Mouse Guard or even FreeMarket. From a broader perspective, it's Basic D&D on Hard mode. 
Basic D&D on Hard Mode. This I have to see ;)

From the blurb:
Torchbearer is a riff on the early model of fantasy roleplaying games. In it, you take on the role of an adventurer seeking his or her fortune. To earn that fortune, you must explore fornlorn ruins, brave terrible monsters and retreive forgotten treasures. However, this game is not about being a hero. It is not about fighting for what you believe. This game is about exploration and survival. You may become a hero. You might have to fight for your ideals. But to do either of those things, you must prove yourself in the wilds. Because there are no jobs, no inheritance, no other opportunities for our deadbeat adventurers. This life is their only hope to prosper in this world.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Zaramen - The Astral Planes Hopping Elf / Dwarf Hybrid for Swords & Wizardry - Prelude

They say anything can happen when you travel the astral planes. It's also been said that what happens in the astral planes, stays in the astral planes. The second part is a load of elven crap.

Elves don't like to admit that the Zaramen, a humanoid race that travels the astral planes like waterborne pirates travel the oceans, have elvish blood. The facts, so far as scholars can tell, line up with the truth the elven race as a whole refuses to believe - The Zaramen race has it roots in the astral journeys of long since forgotten adventurers. They are believed to be the descendants of an illicit romance between an elven magic user and her dwarven fighter / thief lover. Yes, strange things can happen in the astral planes and even the laws of nature can be warped and turned upon itself.

There is a school of thought that the lovers in question actually come from a future time, an alternate timeline or both. It matters little the true origin, as the reality is this highly intelligent and violent race has found itself a foothold in the world. This world and possible others.

They are not evil as some would define the goblinoids and the orcs races. No, they are more calculating. Devious might be the word. The ones that are here have given up their careers of piracy for something even more profitable. You'll find them in the markets these days, hocking wares few need but often buy. They are good at what they do.

A few still have the bloodlust. Those that do find the world of trading and cheating to hold little excitement for them. These few are the ones you may find sitting next to you in a tavern, looking for work as adventurers. Best you befriend them when you can, for as foes they have few equals.

                                                                                         Rathman Brecht
                                                                                         Wizard (Retired)
As told to the patrons of Tenkar's Tavern, on the last night of the 4th month.

(a future entry / entries will flesh out the Zaramen as a PC race for Swords & Wizardry and possibly include a racial class - yep, starting the month of May's "One a Day Swords & Wizardry Posting" just a tad early ;)

A Monster of a Kickstarter - Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary

Let me start by giving you a number:


That's not the funding goal (that's $1,500 and has already been surpassed).

No, 900 is the number of monster entires in the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary.

The game is written. The Player's Handbook shipped EARLY, and if you are even an occasional reader of this blog you know how rare that shit is.

Money raised past the initial goal of $1500 pays for art. Each $25 raised pays for an illustration. No wacky stretch goals for extra shit that is peripheral to the actual project. The stretch goals are for the art.

I'm in for a hard cover. I may up that later on down the line.

+Joseph Bloch delivers and delivers early. I like to put my gaming dollars down on a sure bet, and in the world of RPG Kickstarters this is about as close to a sure bet as you can get...

Post 3K - One Random Commenter Will Get a $10 GC to RPGNow

Three thousand posts. It doesn't feel a hair more that 2,500 ;)

In any case, we are celebrating the occasion by giving away a $10 Gift Certificate to RPGNow to a random commenter on this very post. Add your comment by 1PM tomorrow NYC time (That's May 2) for your chance at the cash.

We ( +Christopher Helton , +Matt Finch and myself) are closing in on awarding the prizes for the Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day blogfest. If we do this again next year, I need two days off from work - one to run it and one to recover and read the posts.

So, what are you waiting for? Add some comments!

heh ;)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kickstarter Round 2 is the Charm - The Way of Tree, Shadow & Flame for The Secret Fire

The first time The Way of Tree, Shadow & Flame for The Secret Fire Kickstarter was up, there was a screwup with the payment set up that prevented folks from making pledges. Well, there was also the issue that there weren't pledge levels designed for folks that already owned The Secret Fire RPG.

+George Strayton has fixed the payment set up (the new Kickstarter is taking pledges) and there are now pledge levels for folks like me that already own The Secret Fire. I'm in for $25 - pledge number 11 ;)

I don't know if the project is going to hit it's $10k stretch goal, but if it does there will be few folks happier than me:
$10,000 - Bruce Heard to author a gazetteer of The Secret Fire world!
I'm still pissed at Jim Ward for dumbing down The Crusader when it was under his editorship (I think it's irrelevance was mostly his doing) and Frank Mentzer and I butted heads over his Lich Dungeon. I'm happy to be able to look at +Bruce Heard  as one of the old TSR crew that still does quality work. I'm hoping Bruce gets to work on this project and I look forward to his next project.

I've Decided on the 3K Post, 4 Year Blogging Anniversary Theme

Yep, I've decided on the theme for the Tavern in the month of May - A Swords & Wizardry related post every day. Thirty-one days of monsters, magic, NPCs, encounters, locations - the list goes on. It's a good way for me to warm up for the Copper Droppings e-zine.

So, what's in it for you? Besides my words of wisdom that is ;)

Each week I'll make a post asking for you to link your Swords & Wizardry themed post / article. The following week, I'll pick my favorite and give them a $5 RPGNow gift certificate. If you submit your article to Copper Droppings and it's accepted, you also get 5 bucks - but that's later on down the line.

As for the 3k post itself? When it goes up, add a comment. A random commenter will find themselves with a $10 RPGNow gift certificate.

At least you know where my referral cash from RPGNow goes - right back to the community that reads my shit ;)

+Matt Finch , +Christopher Helton and myself are still working out way through the 140+ posts from the S&W Appreciation Day blogfest - prizes will be awarded once we are done digesting...

Level Limits - Do You Use Them?

I've pretty much scratched level limits from my current AD&D / OSRIC game. Main reason?

I don't expect the campaign to go much beyond the "by the book" level limits for demihumans anyway ;)

The party ranges from 5th to 7th level. They started around 3rd or 4th (depending on class and / or class combinations) and that was back in December. If we end the campaign after a year of play, more or less, they'll probably be around 9th or 10th level at this rate.

In my opinion, why limit options by limiting levels. Besides, both of my demi humans are multiclass, which by itself throttles down the level gain. If the game was going to level 20 I'd probably have have some level limits on the demi humans, but it would still be higher than BTB.

So, do you limit levels for the demi humans in your game?

Monday, April 29, 2013

In Four More Posts The Tavern Hit's It's 3,000 Post - How Shall We Celebrate?

We are sneaking up on the Big 3k Post. It's a bit sooner than I expected, but I'm not complaining ;)

What shall we do to celebrate?

I literally have no ideas. I should, but I don't. It's a cool mark to hit, but I'm actually more excited to be hitting the 4 year mark of blogging on May 31st (ignore the lone post from 2008).

Maybe I should make May a special month...

ENWorld Removes the Major Catch from the "Design an RPG" Contest Win a $1000 Prize

Thanks to Callin to pointing this out and props to Morrus for making the changes:
The catch? I (as in EN World) get to own and [try to] sell your game if you win (if I don't publish it, I'll simply return it to you). That's how I - hopefully - make my $1000 back... I may well also approach some of those who didn't win with an eye to publishing their game, but no promises!
So, you only give up the rights to your work of you win the thousand bucks, not just by entering (win or lose, you were giving up the rights to your entry before). That's not half bad at all. Contest runs through May 5th, British odd time ;)

Original post on this by me is here.

Link to the article on ENWorld is here.

Busy Weekend - Little Accomplished on the RPG Side

Sure, I got some short blog posts up - which were squeezed in when "Uncle Duties" would allow. My niece was over Saturday and Sunday, as my sister is finishing edits on the novel she sold (yay!) and needed some time to write and not be "the mother". Shannon thinks "Uncle" is awesome, which actually is awesome but oh so tiring...

My niece is 2 1/2. My son is nearly 20. I forgot how little free time there is when you fill the parental role for young ones. I think I need a vacation ;)

In any case, I'm hoping to get the interview I mentioned last week up tonight or tomorrow. It's with Richard Iorio II from Rogue Games and I think it came out pretty well. Rich is a nice guy with a lot of stuff on his plate and it's impressive to watch him keep the balls in motion.

I also have some work on one of my own projects that's overdue, but thankfully the little that I still owe should hopefully be an easy update... knock on wood

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Free RPG - Crumbling Epoch (OSR-ish)

+Andrew Shields is one of the most prolific writers of free games that I know. He's also the guy that is in the process of pulling Mike Nystul's ass out of the Kickstarter fire for Mike's failure to accomplish pretty much anything of value with Axes & Anvils before Andrew's participation (that's all my spin on the situation - I never asked Andrew).

Anyhow, in 8 pages of Crumbling Epoch (based on Searchers of the Unknown) Andrew has put together a ruleset that is pretty much B/X compatible with a whole lot of non-standard stuff going on. Including no stats, but if you are rolling 3d6 in order, lack of stats and associated bonuses / penalties probably isn't much of a loss

What I would like to do is take some of the new classes / races that Andrew has introduced and rework it for Swords & Wizardry - the Blooded and the Thirsters come to mind.

Interesting stuff to play with, and Devilmount is also part of the inspiration.

A Kickstarter I Want to Support Just for a Single Piece of Art - Edara: A Steampunk Renaissance Tabletop RPG

I'm not into steampunk. I know what it is, but it doesn't do much for me.

Edara: A Steampunk Renaissance Tabletop RPG is obviously a Steampunk themed RPG. I watched the short video on gameplay, and it does nothing for me.

The above dwarf with a rifle that was the largest barrel I can recall seeing ever is awesome. The game may be a heartbreaker, but that rifle looks like it makes some major holes in things ;)

What's a Wish Worth?

My players recovered an Efreeti Bottle last night in Rappan Athuk. Not having any desire for the party to have an Efreeti at their beck and call for a year and a day I had the Efreeti offer the opener of the bottle a wish.

I've never seen a game session come to a screeching halt faster in my life. They wanted to take a week to decide on the proper wish and it's wording. I wasn't going to stop them - I understand the importance, but I've never fucked a player over for a wish that didn't ask for it.

What I mean is this - in my mind, a wish is something that is appropriate for your relative level or a bit higher. So if you're level 7, something appropriate for a level 9 or 10 character, but if you are wishing for something appropriate for a 15th or 20th level character, it probably won't work out as you expect.

Sure, it's all rule of thumb, but my rule is basically "only screw the players if they are being extremely greedy or foolhardy."

That all being said, I'm very interested in seeing what the intervening week brings...

A Kickstarter That Makes Me Go "Urh"? - Skape Rend URPG

I'm not even sure what the Skape Rend URPG actually is. It claims to be a tabletop RPG, but it's also app driven and has actors...
Skape Rend is a massive universal app driven tabletop RPG that's constantly evolving with the actions and decisions of players.
That still doesn't say much, but the following speaks volumes:

Launched April 17th, 2013

Raised $40 so far.

Needs to raise $50,000 by May 18th.

Critical failure? Yep

ENWorld is Giving Away a $1000 "Design an RPG" Contest Prize With a Major Catch

Lets be honest. Even some fairly good game designers would be hard pressed to get a thousand bucks for their game idea up front in the economics of our hobby. The chance for the hobby designer to get 1k for their idea before it's even published is pretty awesome, but there is a major catch - just by entering you give up all rights to your entry, win or lose. (link to article on ENWorld)

You enter your game - preferably as a PDF, but you can use any file format you like; it's being voted on, so the more inaccesible your file format, the fewer votes you'll get - and the RPG community spends a week voting on them. The winner gets $1000, which I will send by Paypal immediately the week's up.  
The catch? I (as in EN World) get to own and [try to] sell your game, whether you win or not. That's how I - hopefully - make my $1000 back. Yes, I might try to sell all of them, if they're any good (and I may have to spend a bunch of money on them to make them pretty for sale). Please, please - if your work is precious to you, has sentimental value, is the product of years of development, is a mark of your genius and is worth much more, or is too good for a competition like this, don't enter it. Same goes if you have any reservations, compunctions, disagreements and general dislikes about this competition. It's utterly, utterly, utterly voluntary. But if you feel like writing an RPG over the next 7 days (or have one you've written that you'd like folks to see), this is a fun way to do that. Plus, hey, maybe $1000!
What Morrus has done here is pretty much pure genius, as that $1000 prize could potentially return him the rights to a dozen or more RPGs.

I wouldn't want to give up my rights to my creations for the chance to win a thousand bucks, but I'm fairly certain Morrus will get a sufficient number of entries to make this potentially profitable. I say potentially, as little is ever certain in this hobby.

This will certainly be interesting to follow if nothing else.
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