Saturday, May 18, 2013

Thunder! Thunder! Thunderbird! (Swords & Wizardry Monster)

Art By Matt Bulahao
Thunder Bird

Hit Dice: 10 (45HP)
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Attacks: (3) 2 claw (1d8) and 1 Bite (2d6) or Special
Saving Throw: 9
Special: Can breath Lightning 1/day for 8d6 damage (save for half) as per Lighting Bolt spell. Immune to electrical damage.
Move: 6 / 24 (in air)
Alignment: Neutral
Number Encountered: 1-2
Challenge Level/XP: 11 / 1700

A large (8' from tail to beak) carnivorous bird, Thunder Birds hunt either solo or in pairs. They hunt for food, not for thrill, and will often seek out lone (scouting) individuals. If they are brought down to 1/3 of their starting hit points or less, they will seek to flee, in the hopes of hunting another day.

Tactics wise, they will attempt to swoop down on their target from up high, in the hopes of surprising and killing out right with their Lighting Breath. They often hunt during thunderstorms, using the weather as cover for their attack.

The High Price of Success: Reaper Bones Kickstarter

For some strange reason, most probably naivety on my part, I thought that the Reaper Bones Kickstarter whole point was to add the capability of Reaper to produce Bones (plastic) miniatures in large numbers. What I didn't realize is that the purpose was for a second company in China to produce the miniatures for Reaper. This, apparently adds about 5 weeks to the shipping process, and makes Reaper subject to whatever delays the mysterious secondary company might suffer.

I probably should be surprised, just about everything is made in China these days.

So yeah, this Kickstarter is either shipped or not shipped, depending on whether you had add-ons to your order or not.

I'm in the "not shipped" category.

As of May 14th, this was the latest:

We are currently waiting on only 4 more shipments (Containers) from China, the last of which should be leaving China about one week from today!
It normally takes 3-6 weeks from ship date to arrive at our dock, with 5 weeks being the Average. 
As things arrive over the next few weeks we will be able to resume shipping orders, but we are thinking that the bulk of your orders will be waiting for that last shipment to arrive.
Which would restart shipping at the end of June / early July I guess.

Then there is the secondary effect of the Bones Kickstarter, which is apparently tying up product to the point that retailers aren't able to effectively stock the line of miniatures anymore. Heck, if you go to the Reaper site itself you'll notice they haven't added a New Release PDF since October of 2012.

I guess success can be too much of a good thing...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Meaganbrand's Axe of Giant Slaying (Swords & Wizardry Magic Weapon)

Meaganbrand's Axe of Giant Slaying 

Meaganbrand's Axe of Giant Slaying is a normal + 1 Battle Axe with the following special ability:

Upon rolling an "8" on the 1d8 for damage upon a successful hit, an additional 1d8 is rolled and added to the first 8 points of damage. This is done until the wielder no longer rolls an 8.
The + 1 magical bonus to damage and any strength bonus if aplicable is added to the title from any dice rolls at the end. (think "exploding dice")

For example: Tenkar hits an Ogre with Meaganbrand's Axe of Giant Slaying. He rolls an 8 on the 1d8 for damage, so he rolls again. He rolls another 8 and rolls again, rolling a 5. His total damage is 8 + 8 + 5 + 1 = 24 points of damage plus any bonus from Strength.

Note: The axe is named for a previous wielder who slew a Hill Giant with a single blow. It has no special powers against giants or giant kind.

Side Note: As a DM, I like magic items that players and their characters want to retain even after they've "outgrown them". At it's heart, Meaganbrand's Axe of Giant Slaying is a + 1 magic weapon, but in the hands of the right player, it becomes a unique magic weapon they may decide to keep even over that + 2 or + 3 weapon just found in the latest horde. Make it special and it may just be special for the life of the character ;)

Dwimmermount Update 53 - Scaling the Mountain (and Adventuring Dark & Deep in the Domains of War ;)

What's the status of the Dwimmermount project?

We are making the final approach to the mountaintop. We've:

-sent the drafts, discount codes, and sample layout to backers by individual email
-taken stock of the Dwimmermount material, including drafts, illustrations, maps, and Grognardia posts assembled our team for the remaining stages of editing, development, and layout
-pinned down our best options for printing and the timeline required
-gained play experience with prototypes of the mega-dungeon tracker and vinyl wilderness map
-received further design input and assistance from James Maliszewski
-made some conceptual breakthroughs into how to publish a mega-dungeon
-set up an internal schedule of conference calls and deadlines

We are on track to have the Labyrinth Lord version of Dwimmermount available for backers to pick up at Gen Con this summer and the Adventurer Conqueror King System version in time for this year's holiday season. With the support of our backers and a lot of perseverance, this project is really starting to take shape. It's an exciting thing to be part of!

Individual Backer Emails

At this point, all backers should have received an email at the address you used to register with Kickstarter and/or the address you gave us in the reward survey. In some cases, you may have received it three or more different times over the last three days, perhaps from three separate email addresses! Updating the backer spreadsheet was straightforward, but using it to do a mail merge with Gmail proved to be a different matter.

If you didn't get the email, please let us know at support@autarch.co. Here's what to look for in your mailbox:

The title of the email was: Your Dwimmermount coupons and downloads from Autarch
Email batches were sent on 5/14, 5/15, and 5/16.
The sender was always Tavis Allison, but when unexpected repeat emails ran up against Gmail's limit of messages sent per day I used my email accounts tavis.allison@gmail.com, barnar.hammerhand@gmail.com, and tavis@adventuringparties.com.
Please check your spam folder; the message contained a number of links.
Don't hesitate to reply with COUPOFF (or send a message with this subject line to support@autarch.co) if you don't want to receive further emails as new opportunities to use your discount coupons become available.

Other Worthy Mountaineers

Thanks to a crossover bonus goal with Joseph Bloch's first Kickstarter for Adventures Dark and Deep, Dwimmermount backers received an adventure, The Treasure of Welthorp, providing a unique side trek to which a map found in the Laboratory might lead.

If you enjoyed the new classes, spells, and systems showcased inthis adventure, you'll be glad to know that the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary is using Kickstarter to publish the final piece in BRW Games' fascinating exploration of the question "What would AD&D have looked like if Gary Gygax had stayed at TSR in 1985?". The project is already funded, so (given Joe's excellent record with Kickstarter) you can be sure of getting 900 creatures to use in your game, including almost all those from the original three monster books, finally collected in a single volume, plus scores of new creatures. Your pledge now will help provide illustrations for as many of these bestiary entries as possible. The campaign closes on Saturday, June 1st; as a backer, I'm hoping we reach the $24,000 needed to see each one of them come to life on the page.

Another Kickstarter with ties to Dwimmermount, Domains at War, is also ending soon; its campaign wraps up the afternoon of this Saturday, May 18th. Like the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary, Domains at War is also fully funded and usable in any of the systems you're likely to be playing Dwimmermount with. If you're planning to use one of your Autarch discount coupons toward the Domains at War, your pledge will help create more resources for mass combat in your game. The next bonus goal is an Old School Scenario Pack, including a new way to use the wilderness vinyl map you may be getting as one of your Dwimmermount rewards.

Domains at War features in one of the conceptual breakthroughs mentioned above. Re-reading the Dwimmermount session summaries from Grognardia, a central theme in the original campaign started to look like a nail that the tools for strategic campaign play provided by D@W could really hammer home.

During the adventures of the Fortune's Fools, they learned that part of their enemies' scheme to to lower the arcane barrier that prevents access to Dwimmermount's deepest secrets involved gaining control of a ley line nexus at the Temple of the Moon. Although James took this idea in a different direction in his drafts, the original concept was that Dwimmermount's arcane barrier was related to the convergence of energies from a number of these nexuses in the nearby wilderness. In the final session summaries, it becomes clear that these sites will become the focus of a conflict between the forces of Law, the fifth column of Termaxian cultists in their midst, and an invasion force from the Thulian successor state of Volmar which may be marching overland as well as emerging from within the mega-dungeon's House of Portals. It is hard to imagine a more perfect set-up for the kind of wide-scale struggle that Domains at War is designed to bring to the tabletop.

Backing the Domains at War Kickstarter isn't necessary to unlock this aspect of Dwimmermount. You can wait until the complete mass-combat supplement is in stores, or use the Free Starter Edition to allow players to command armies, build fortifications, lay sieges, and lead heroic forays in the campaign to bring down (or keep up) the arcane barrier. However, this will will need to wait for the Adventurer Conqueror King System version of Dwimmermount. The assumptions about the equation of personal power and political power on which ACKS and Domains at War rely are at odds with the situation described by James' Labyrinth Lord stats for the settlements surrounding his mega-dungeon. It will certainly be possible to use D@W to play out military campaigns using the setting as presented in his drafts, but as long as we're committed to an ACKS conversion in any case it makes sense for us to focus on developing D@W options specifically for that version.

New Team Members

Logan Knight's winning map in the Tomb of the Rocketmen contest is so amazing that it's hard to believe it was his first foray into cartography. I'm glad to say that he and his collaborator Rose will be contributing the cross-sectional map of Dwimmermount that will be a key insert into the mega-dungeon tracker and create some eye-dazzling two-page spreads within the hardcover and PDF. The sheer scope of Dwimmermount means that this cross-section won't be able to accomodate the same degree of three-dimensionality as the Tomb, but I'm nevertheless very excited to see what Logan and Rose come up with. Their blog, Last Gasp, is well worth checking out but not safe for work.

Jonathan Bolding is an editor at The Escapist and a backer whose epic Dwimmermount campaign stretched over more than 50 sessions and delved all the way to the City of the Ancients. I am grateful to add his expertise to the development team, and his assistance is going to be invaluable as we realizing the vision that's emerged from our recent re-reading of the Dwimmermount drafts and Grognardia posts and been clarified through new emails from James.

Timeline and Internal Scheduling

Jon and I will be having weekly conference calls with editor Matthew Pook as we prepare the Labyrinth Lord manuscript for publication. There are three months until we will have that hardcover to backers at Gen Con and mail it to those who want the LL version but can't make it to Indianapolis. The last of these months will be devoted to printing and shipping, and Richard Iorio will be doing layout of the text in the second month, so we'll be staying on top of the remaining work of development, editing, and proofreading during four of these morning conference calls. I'll plan to do these backer updates on those afternoons so as to combine the work of summarizing our internal discussion and keeping you informed on our progress.

We have seven months to deliver the Adventurer Conqueror King System version. One of the things I'll do with this time is to continue the Harlem Dwimmermount campaign whose early sessions suggested some of the other conceptual breakthroughs I won't be able to fit in this update. My plan is to run weekly sessions both here in NYC (dates to be determined) and online via G+. The first of these hangout games will take place next Thursday, May 23rd, at 8 pm Eastern Daylight Time. If you're interested in playing, use the character builder at the Autarch site to have a set of stats emailed to you, then forward them to me at tavis@autarch.co. Should we have more potential players than G+'s bandwidth will allow, I'll let the dice choose from the emails I've received by the night of Monday the 20th.

Thanks for making this project possible, and I look forward to sharing the fruits of all the hard work that's gone into it - especially since some of that work is the awesome kind that involves playing games with old friends and new.

(as an aside, I will probably be joining Tavis in either the face to face group or the G+ group. I rarely get a chance to play as a player these days. besides, I've experienced Tavis' DM'ing skills first hand - he's top notch. oh, and if you like OSR style Monster Books, the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary should be top notch. the fact that Joe Block is an all around nice guy doesn't even factor into the equation ;)

Update: Win a PDF Copy of the Razor Coast PDF for Swords & Wizardry Now With More Booty!

You can enter to win a PDF copy of the Razor Coast for Swords & Wizardry by entering a pirate ship, it's captain and a short description here.

Now, if you also post it at the Genius Loci blog, the three finalists over here at The Tavern will also be eligible to win copies of the Razor Coast Freebooter's Guide for Swords & Wizardry. That combo is priceless.

So, what are you waiting for? Go!

Roll XX and Roll XX: Double Damage FREE Until Midnight Tonight!

+Rafael Chandler and myself are working through the awesome character death entries to decide on the winners, but in the meantime, Roll XX and Roll XX: Double Damage are totally free in PDF until midnight tonight.

Go to the link above and grab your copies NOW!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Win a PDF Copy of the Razor Coast PDF for Swords & Wizardry

As I mentioned earlier this week, the Frog Gods were generous and have placed a PDF copy of the Razor Coast for Swords & Wizardry (PDF) into my hands so that one of my readers could land a copy.

How sweet is that?

So, what do you have to do to win the prize?

Name a pirate ship, it's captain and tell us a bit about the captain (and the ship if you would like). You can stat him out or not, but if you do stat him out, it should be via the S&W rules. Bonus points if you also write a small sea ditty. Extra bonus points if you sing the sea ditty and post it to Youtube or some similar site where all can hear you in your glory. I'll need the link ;)

I will decide on the top three entries and then we'll have a vote by the blog readers on those top three.

Entries will be accepted through 8PM NYC time Saturday, May 18th, 2013. Sunday afternoon I'll post the top three entries and there will be 48 hours to vote for your favorite.

The 2nd and 3rd place votes, as well as a random voter, will all get $5 RPGNow gift certificates. 1st place gets the Razor Coast PDF.

So, add your entries as a comment to this post. Ler's get 'er on!

How Many TPKs Have You Been a Part Of?

As a player, I've probably been part of 4 or 5 TPKs. Each one effectively ended campaigns, and two actually caused us to change systems.

As a DM/GM I think I've inflicted 3 TPKs (not counting the random campaigns of my high school years, where TPKs were a ritual of DM passage), 2 of which were with Rolemaster and it's sister system MERPS - both campaigns died at those moments.

I've expected and worried about TPKs in my recent campaigns, but luck and player ingenuity kept it from happening. Heck, my players aren't even sure about the moments I fretted, so either I have a great poker face or they have great player skills, or both ;)

So, what's your experience with TPKs? Do your campaigns survive it, do you start anew or do you even change systems?

The "Best Character Death" Contest is Now CLOSED - 102 Comments and 94 Entries - Well Done!

The "Best Character Death" Contest is now closed. We had an amazing turn out. +Rafael Chandler should be very happy ;)

Give us a few days to sort out the prizes - 94 entries are a lot to read through and judge.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Some House Rules From the Tavern for Swords & Wizardry

I have this really bad habit. I house rule the just about every game I run. I can't help it.

The thing is, Swords & Wizardry is built for house ruling, and it's damn hard to break the rules while doing so.

Without further ado, here's some of my current house rules:

- A killing blow results in a free attack against any enemy in reach. Fighters and their subclasses can keep this going for up to their level in attacks, assuming each blow is a killing blow. Other classes get one free attack after a killing blow (Inspired by ACKS)

- Spell bonuses from high ability scores: if the prime stat (WIS for Clerics and INT for Magic-Users) of the caster is 13+, they are entitled to memorize bonus spells each day.
     13-15 = bonus 1st level spell
     16-17 = bonus 2nd level spell
     18+    = bonus 3rd level spell
Bonus spells are cumulative. Bonus spells are only available when the caster can normally cast that level of spell (exceptions may be made for 1st level Clerics and 1st level spells)

- I find that I don't stress racial level limits, as PC death seems most prominent at 1st level and name level, when encounters start to get all swingy again.

- One thing I'd like to borrow from the DCC RPG is The Mighty Feat of Arms, as I think it's one of the finest things the system has added to gaming in general. I just need to tweak a version of it to S&W ;)

- Max HP at 1st level. "1" are rolled again at later levels, but kept if the second roll is a one

- BAD ASS - Bonuses for Attacking the Darkness, Advantages Shared and Simple
     I've changed the conversion from 25 points of damage to 10 for a BAD ASS, and 10 x leftover  damage points for expo, awarded to each PC (not divided) - It makes them choose between an XP boost or encounter help, and makes rolling a "1" on a to-hit roll exciting, sorta. It's worked well in my Rappan Athuk / AD&D 1e campaign since last fall.

Last 12 Hours to Tell Us About Your "Best" Character Death and Win Some Print & PDF Prizes (Teratic Tome and Such)

+Rafael Chandler 's "Tell us about your "best" character death and you can win some phat loot!" ends tomorrow morning at 8AM NYC Time.

There are SIX PDF & Print prizes up for grabs, such as Roll XX, the Teratic Tome and others.

We have over 90 entries thus far - I'd like to see us break 100.

So, help us celebrate the release of SlaughterGrid and tell us how your character bought it ;)

(go to the link above to enter - comments on this post won't count)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Burning Mace of Areth Dor (Swords & Wizardry Magic Weapon)

Burning Mace of Areth Dor

The Burning Mace of Areth Dor is a + 2 Mace with the following special properties:

- When wielded by a lawful or neutral cleric, all Turn Undead attempts are made as if the cleric is 1 level higher than his actual cleric level.

- When wielded by a lawful non-cleric, the wielder may make one Turn Undead attempt at half of his character level per day.

- When used against undead as a weapon, the base weapon damage is doubled to 2d6

- If touched by a chaotic cleric, it inflicts 4d6 fire damage to the cleric (save for 1/2 damage). A chaotic cleric will find the mace impossible to hold, and attempts to do so will inflict the above damage each round the attempt is made.

- Chaotic characters will be unable to hold onto the mace, as it will be severely uncomfortable for them, but no damage will be inflicted. Save each round one tries to keep possession of it. Failure requires leaving the mace where it is.

The history of Areth Dor has been lost to time, but presumably he or she was a high level lawful cleric who wielded the mace in the service of his lawful deity.

The last wielder of the mace was a lawful Paladin named Stryker, who used the mace to strike fear into the undead that retained intellect. He was a mighty undead destroyer, until he crossed paths with the chaotic Necromancer Z known simply as The Many. The Many sent hordes of undead to kill the wielder of the Mace, and after a long battle and the loss of many undead troops, Stryker succumbed to to his wounds.

Unable to touch the mace or move it from the field of battle, The One had his minions bury it under stone and rubble. There it waits to serve again.

D&D Next to Bring Demon Princes and ArchDevils Back to the Forefront - Somebody Wake up Jack!

I started gaming with the AD&D 1e books back in 80/81 or so. I'm fairly sure that the official word was that the DMG had an Effetti on the cover, but to the eyes of most, that sucker was a kick ass demon.

Hey, that's what I thought it was, and my great aunt, Sister Camilla certainly saw it that way (it was a long summer of playing Traveller and Paranoia when she was visiting).

Then 2e came out, and the devils and demons were replaced with their simulacrum that lacked the names but certainly kept much of the imagery - because it was the time of religious backlash.

I'm going to skip 3e, as my gaming ended in 96 and didnt restart until I found Castles & Crusades. Sure, I had a lot of 3e book but I wasn't actually playing them and often wasn't even reading them.

4e was a blip on my radar.

Next is generally a frustrating mishmash of various D&D editions, cut up into chunks and blended. I really haven't liked much of what I've seen, but as I'm neck deep in the OSR that really isn't all that surprising. Heck, I even stopped showing Grumpy the latest DnD Next articles, as they really didn't interest me enough to even get worked up.

So this is kinda surprising.

From James Wyatt's latest article on the WotC site:
One of the things we want to accomplish in D&D Next is to develop the groups that serve the various demon princes and archdevils. We want to flesh them out into groups that are distinct from each other, each with its own look, agenda, and membership. So this week’s column is basically a stab at that—looking at the ways that mortals worship three different demon princes.
It then goes on to describe the cults of Demogorgon (sorta a Cthulhu Cult for DnD), Baphomet
(Mr Hyde?) and Graz’zt (the worst of the Salem Witches).

I'm left asking "why"?

Why bother? The are never going to show "true evil" without hitting "Book of Vile Darkness" "Carcosa" levels and I'm pretty sure they don't want to do that, so why add demons and devils as a prominent part of the Core Next? It's not going to be enough to entice the OSR gamers who are already playing the games they want to play and it certainly won't be kid friendly.

I'm not sure what the overall aim is, but I can't see it helping. I'm sure it's fun as hell (pun intended) for the designers to write, I'm just not sure how DnD Next will benefit from it.

Unless they are going for a Midnite type of default setting. I'd play that if they could pull it off. But they won't, as Forgotten Realms is where it's at for Wizards.

I'll Be Running a Contest For a Free PDF Copy of Razor Coast for Swords & Wizardry on Thursday - Any Ideas on What the Contest Should Be?

First things first - there is a current contest going on here at The Tavern where you can win a print AND PDF copy of the Teratic Tome, a most awesome OSR manual of monsters. This contest will be taking entries until 8am Thursday morning NYC time - 5/16/13.

Thursday evening I'll be running a contest to give away a free PDF copy of the Razor Coast for S&W curtesy of Frog God Games. All hail the Frawgs!

I'm looking for a good idea for the contest theme. I've run lots of these, and sometimes I could use help with the ideas. Can't offer a prize for helping, just my undying gratitude ;)

So, drop your thoughts and ideas as a comment to this post and I thank you in advance

Monday, May 13, 2013

Grudlum, Witch Doctor of the Deep (Swords & Wizardry NPC)

Art by Bruno Balixa - used with permission
Grudlum, Witch Doctor of the Deep

Hit Dice: 7 (38HP)
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Attacks: 2 claw (1d6) or spell
Saving Throw: 12
Special: Blunt weapons do only half damage due to rubbery skin, can breath in air or water
Move: 6 / 12 (in water)
Alignment: Neutral
Number Encountered: Unique
Challenge Level/XP: 8 / 800

Grudlum certainly looks more dangerous than he is. Or, more accurately, looks more "Chaotic" in nature than is the truth.

Before Grudlum was "Grudlum, Witch Doctor of the Deep" he was Gravetis of the Brown Robes, a magic user of middling ability. While exploring the Dungeon of She That Shall Not Be Named, the fellows in his adventuring party were killed as Gravetis ran for his life. He made a wrong turn, opened a wrong door and fell into the wrong pool in what was certainly the wrong dungeon. When he removed himself from the waters, he was no longer in the wrong dungeon but in the wrong land and most certainly in the wrong body, as now he looked like an obese Sahuagin.

Gravetis goes by the name Grudlum these days and uses the title "Witch Doctor of the Deep" to keep the few locals in the area away from his lair, as the title in and of itself is impressive and mysterious. They respect his space and sometimes leave him offerings of food and alcohol. In return he occasionally casts Continual Light on a river stone and leaves it for the villagers to use. The arrangement has worked well for both sides.

When he talks to others it's in a deep, gutteral manner, but in truth this is mostly an act to go along with his appearance. On the occasions that he talks to himself (which is not unknown for one living with themselves as their sole daily companion) it's in his old voice as Gravetis.

Grudlum / Gravetis casts spells as a 6th level magic-user and has a fairly comprehensive spell book that boasts some unique spells. As he is known to say, to the few that he talks to, he has nothing but time. He has been in his current form for nearly 27 years and doesn't feel like he is aging at all. He enjoys his existence of solitude, but every once in a while the urge for the company of others draws him to one of the local villages for a few hours. Even then he doesn't talk much, but he is known (or at least "known of") by the locals, and his appearance generates excitement more then anything else.

Frog God Games Puts the Whole Swords & Wizardry Line of PDFs on Sale 15% Off

I just noticed that Frog God Games has put all of it's Swords & Wizardry line of PDFs at 15% Off - no coupon needed!

Thats 15% of Razor Coast, S&W Complete, Monstrosities, Tome of Horrors Complete, Tome of Adventure Design (holy crap!), Grimmsgate and a whole lot more.

Now THAT is an OSR sale!

OSR Sale Over at DriveThruRPG - 15% Off Coupon

Below is a snapshot of 10 of the 12 PDFs on sale for the Old School RPG Sale over at OBS:

Use the code: OSRF711F2 to take an extra 15% off the prices you see above.

My favorites of the 12, and the ones I'd pick first if I didn't already have them:

Swords & Wizardry Complete - my "go to" ruleset these days

Crypts & Things - A S&S reworking of the S&W rules

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - an amazing value for $8.50

Adventures Dark and Deep Player's Manual - I nice reimagining of the 2e rules

Heck, any and all are good choices... I may need to pick up Classic Fantasy for the Basic Roleplaying Game (the CoC D100 engine) myself.

Win a Print Copy of the Teratic Tome and Other Fine Prizes - Just Tell Us About Your Favorite Character Death

Welcome to Tenkar's Tavern, where the beer is always cold and adventurers are always welcome. Today we are celebrating the release of SlaughterGrid (I will post a review before the contest is over - I started peeking tonight with an advanced copy - "genocidal halflings" - I'm already hooked;) freebies and a contest with some awesome prizes.

Here's the instructions straight from +Rafael Chandler:

What you need to do is post your nastiest character death as a comment to this here blog post -- tell us how he/she died! I'm looking for brutality, grotesquerie, humor, or preferably some combination of the three.

Three winners will get free books -- just pick a book from the list below and I'll mail you a copy. (I'll also email you the PDF.)

* Teratic Tome
* Roll XX
* Roll XX: Double Damage
* Spite
* ViewScream

Three other winners will be chosen at random! Same deal, you'll get a free print book (and PDF). 

Not only that, but everyone else who participates will get a free PDF copy of Roll XX or Roll XX: Double Damage (your choice). Just for posting about the unpleasant death of one of your RPG characters, you get a free PDF!

Finally, I'll be knocking $2.16 off the price of Teratic Tome (which is currently $6.66 for the PDF). That'll bring it down to $4.50. And for every person who participates in this contest, I'll knock another two cents off the cover price. So if 100 people post at Tenkar's Tavern, that'll bring the price of Teratic Tome down to $2.50, which is a steal.

I'll also discount the print version by the same amount.

The contest will be open for entries for 72 hrs after going live.

So, you want everyone to get a PDF copy of the Teratic Tome for a steal or even cheaper, for free (we would need 250 entries for that to happen)? Share this blog post to G+, Facebook, Twitter, Forums - wherever! The more that enter, the cheaper it gets! Besides, everyone should have a copy of Roll XX ;)

Comments on G+ and the like are nice, but are not counted as entries for purposes of this contest. Sorry, them's the rules :(

Some links:

Rafael's Webstore

SlaughterGrid on Lulu

SlaughterGrid on DriveThruRPG

SlaughterGrid Blurb:

Created by genocidal halflings aeons ago, SlaughterGrid is a strange and gruesome dungeon, avoided by all save the bravest or most foolhardy of adventurers.

This module features:

This module features:
* An 18-area mini-hexcrawl to start you off
* A three-level dungeon with 55 encounter areas
* 32 new monsters, including stygiacs, gold-whores, progenitors, and necro-otyughs
* Weird treasure, dangerous magic items, and unpleasant surprises
* Rules for thieving abilities, schemes, and weaponized monsters

If you thought Teratic Tome was pleasurably vile, then you will like this adventure module. If you are not sure that you want to experience something that is "pleasurably vile," then this is probably not for you.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Contest Week Kicks Off At the Tavern Monday Morning - Teratic Tome, Roll XX and Razor Coast!

Monday morning (tomorrow), probably around 7 am NYC time or so, I'll be putting up the post for +Rafael Chandler 's "Best Character Death" Contest to celebrate his latest release, SlaughterGrid.

Look at the pretty picture please!

Here's the instructions directly from +Rafael Chandler :

What you'll do on Monday morning is, you'll mosey over (to this here blog), and you'll post your nastiest character death (on the contest post, which will go up Monday Morning) -- tell us how he/she died! I'm looking for brutality, grotesquerie, humor, or preferably some combination of the three. 
Three winners will get free books -- just pick a book from the list below and I'll mail you a copy. (I'll also email you the PDF.)
* Teratic Tome
* Roll XX
* Roll XX: Double Damage
* Spite
* ViewScream 
Three other winners will be chosen at random! Same deal, you'll get a free print book (and PDF). 
Not only that, but everyone else who participates will get a free PDF copy of Roll XX or Roll XX: Double Damage (your choice). Just for posting about the unpleasant death of one of your RPG characters, you get a free PDF! 
Finally, I'll be knocking $2.16 off the price of Teratic Tome (which is currently $6.66 for the PDF). That'll bring it down to $4.50. And for every person who participates in this contest, I'll knock another two cents off the cover price. So if 100 people post at Tenkar's Tavern, that'll bring the price of Teratic Tome down to $2.50, which is a steal. 
I'll also discount the print version by the same amount. 
Who's in?
Easy enough, right? So, post on tomorrow morning's post to qualify to win. I'm not sure how long Rafael want's to leave the contest open, but I suspect 24 hrs will be the minimum. It might also be the maximum I know now, 72 hrs, so don't wait forever to post!

Later on in the week I'll be giving away a copy of the Swords & Wizardry version of the Razor Coast PDF curtesy of the fine folks over at Frog God Games. That will go up sometime after the first contest closes. No details yet, but I am personally dying to run this (still need to finish reading this sucker) and I expect there are others that would love a copy.

Damn full week of contests and free stuff this week at the Tavern. Exciting times!

(This is NOT the post to post your character deaths!)

The Orc King and His Merry Horde (Swords & Wizardry)

Art by Eric Quigley - used with permission

Orc King (Horde Leader)

Hit Dice: 6 (35HP)
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Attacks: 1 by weapon type
Saving Throw: 12
Special: Inspire
Move: 12
Alignment: Chaotic
Number Encountered: 1 (with 30-300 Orcs)
Challenge Level/XP: 5/240

Orc Kings are rare but dangerous adversaries. Whereas ans Orc Chieftain may lead a group of orcs numbering in the dozens, an Orc King may lead a dozen chieftains and hundreds of orcs.

When an Orc King is on the battlefield, all other orcs under his banner have +1 to attack and damage due to his leadership and are much less likely to break and run.

On his own, an Orc King isn't too much of a threat, but leading a horde of orcs can make him nigh unstoppable.

Sandbox, Adventure Path, Megadungeon or Something Completely Different?

Different strokes for different folks. Or groups. Or "just because" ;)

Currently I'm running Rappan Athuk, which is a Mega Dungeon with more than a single rail - multiple ins and outs from each level (and the possibility to bypass levels) and players can easily stumble into areas and opponents beyond their capacity to dispatch - "Oh Shit! Run!" most certainly applies.

So, not a "sandbox" but not strictly "railed" either.

My other irregular campaign just kicked off, and initially it will be more of an "adventure path" until the players build up some character knowledge of the area, and which point it will transition to be more of a "sandbox" in nature.

As most of you know, I am immersing myself in the Razor Coast "setting", which is what the Swords & Wizardry version reminds me of. There are pre-plotted events and paths that will be going on (enough so that some GMs may feel overwhelmed - my instincts are to just fudge and handwave some events as needed) but the presentation is one hell of a detailed "sandbox" with plotted events.

Hmmm, I guess I use or feel comfortable with multiple campaign styles and none of the games I run (or plan to run) are strictly one style or another.

As a GM, do you ave a preferred style, or does it change with game and group needs and desires?

As a player, do you have a preferred game style?
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