Saturday, July 20, 2013

Prepping for Tonight's DCC Funnel - Sailors on the Starless Sea

It's been nearly a year since I've run a session of the DCC RPG. Last year in was a series of one shots and short arc - I don't think we ever got beyond 1st level.

I'm hoping this group gets to at least 5th in DCC, as I'd really like to see the higher levels in action - more play than just "play theory".

Tonight has the potential to be a first for me in about 20 years - we just might have 8 players. I haven't run a group that large since my college years. Oh, and as it's a funnel, that's 24 PCs! I need to whittle those numbers down fast ;)

I'll be running Sailors on the Starless Sea. I just finished uploading the maps and handouts to Roll20. As this will be a G+ Hangout / Roll2o with video session, we're actually close to hitting the ceiling of 10 participants. Damn! heh

I printed out the crit sheets for the 0 levels and the monsters and we're probably ready to go for tonight's session, with just a quick reread of the adventure so I don't fuck too much up ;)

Kickstarter - Axes & Anvils Update - Part Deux (the Nystul Fiasco Never Ends - It Goes on and on my Friends)

Even more from Mike - after he realized he never consulted with Andrew over the previous update (and effectively drove a bus over Andrew in the process)

Project Update #51: Andrew Shields

Posted by Mike Nystul

My last post may have given the wring (erh?) impression about Andrew and the part he plays in all of this. Andrew is a godsend (more than that Mike - he's a gentleman and a lifesaver - the life being your own). When my company went south (you never had a "company" - you had the money from your supporters support you and a few others for a few months with nothing to show for it) and took a lot of my life with it I was floundering - I still am in many ways (truthful statement from Mike - mark it on your calendar) . One of the problems has been that the pressures and related stress have made it very hard to muster the creativity I so badly need to see this through (I thought the old excuse was that you were just the "idea man" and the writing was the responsibility of others). It's like trying to write with a gun to your head. Andrew was a vocal member of the Axes and Anvils community whose posts often contained a lot of really useful insights. He volunteered to help and I took him on (you had little choice - you had nothing in hand). He has helped me get my thoughts together and has drafted a lot of material to help flesh out the working test draft I have been showing around at cons. What he is not is responsible for any of this. This project is my sole responsibili ty. I didn't mean to suggest that should I fail to produce when I set my "get this out" plan into effect on Monday that he is then responsible for picking up the pieces. His only role will be to look at what i have before I collect it up and publish with no further delay no matter what the state of the draft (wait! I thought Andrew was actively writing this - now you say you are and he's not?). One of my motivations to plow through is to avoid the self imposed consequence of having to share a cottage cheese of a draft (in other words - to show how little you actually accomplished after taking the money of your supporters or are you saying what Andrew has written so far isn't publishable? Because I'm fairly sure Andrew could make this "publishable" in a lot less time without your daily meddling). It is also important to note that he will also be looking over everything I generate so that he has the opportunity to feed back to me, so there will be a delay inherent in when I write something and when I can share excerpts from it (again, this is opposite what was said earlier). He has a great grasp on what I'm trying to do and what the system does as a whole so his insights will really help (Andrew, I'd completely understand if you withdrew from this clusterfuck). I look forward to diving in on Monday and showing you all what we have. Thanks.

for the benefit of Mike I'm including the definition of Transparent:

a : free from pretense or deceit : frank
b : easily detected or seen through : obvious
c : readily understood
d : characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices

Kickstarter - Axes & Anvils Update (the Nystul Fiasco Continues)

I woke up this morning to an Axes & Anvils Kickstarter update. Mike, who has a problem following up on his own promises to update promptly, now promises to update daily. God help us all, each and every one of us...

Hey, somehow I overlooked Nystul's Magical Pigments:
These magic emulsions enable their possessor to create actual, permanent objects simply by depicting their form in two dimensions. The pigments are applied by a stick tipped with bristles, hair, or fur. The emulsion flows from the application to form the desired object as the artist concentrates on the desired image. One pot of marvelous pigments is sufficient to create a 1,000-cubic-foot object by depicting it two-dimensionally over a 100-square-foot surface. 
Only normal, inanimate objects can be created. Creatures can’t be created. The pigments must be applied to a surface. It takes 10 minutes and a DC 15 Craft (painting) check to depict an object with the pigments. Marvelous pigments cannot create magic items. Objects of value depicted by the pigments —precious metals, gems, jewelry, ivory, and so on— appear to be valuable but are really made of tin, lead, paste, brass, bone, and other such inexpensive materials. The user can create normal weapons, armor, and any other mundane item (including foodstuffs) whose value does not exceed 2,000 gp.
Anyhow, here's more of the Nystul misdirection, as I fail to see what good anything he mentions (especially the daily update and included formula) will do. Unless he's stalling for more time so he doesn't have to pay to print the books...
Project Update #50: Getting it out there 
Posted by Mike Nystul 
Hello all. I am still out here and you still don't have your game. (Mike is nothing if not observant) There are reasons why things are what they are but excuses won't help (we know many of the reasons, but cast Nystul's Magic Aura again. We dare you). All that will help is that game.  
I have a tested game - a good game that some Backers have seen and played. I have some art and the seeds of a living game world. I need to bring it together. No delays. (because this hasn't been delayed since forever already)
Andrew, a talented writer and designer I have been working with, has suggested letting him finish this edition just to get it done. I have hesitated because there is material I still want to include and a pass I want to finish (Mike, I suspect the less you have to do with the project at this point, the better for everyone)
Here is the plan: Starting Monday I will share what I am doing every day. I will post some pages, some rules and art. I will be completely transparent (excellent - so, are you going to tell us the rest of the reasons this doomed project has been delayed? Why all of your recent promises have been for naught? Did the dog steal your homework yet again?). As Backers you will also have the opportunity to post feedback if you like. 
If I fail to make progress for 3 consecutive days or 5 days total Andrew gets the go ahead to take what we have, button it up and get it out. (at this point we get a game within a game? WTF?)
I apologize in advance to the daily spam this method will generate but i think it is called for in this particular case. (God help us all. It may wind up be entertaining in a "rubber necking at the accident on the other side of the highway" sort of way, but I suspect little else)

edit: in case Mike needs an actually definition of Transparent:

a : free from pretense or deceit : frank
b : easily detected or seen through : obvious
c : readily understood
d : characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices

Friday, July 19, 2013

The DCC RPG Campaign Kicks Off Tomorrow - Internet Permitting

I'm currently without proper internet. I'm not 100% sure how long NYC has surpased 90 degress, but I'm willing to bet at least since last Saturday. RCN went down earlier tonight (I'm moving to Fios in September). I'm currently working off my portable internet hub, which may or may not support audio (I'm assuming the video on my end is not happening) for tomorrow night's game.

So I'm looking at a 23 hr window to get the proper internet up and running. I'm working on the assumption this is related to the heat wave. No idea for sure.

I am so psyched to run tomorrow night's funnel, I'll be damned if I let the internet fuck that over ;)

edit: proper internet is up! woot!

Kickstarter - Space 1889 Returns via the Ubiquity Engine

Space 1889. I recently blogged about the first edition (from 1988) of this game when I found the hardcover in the back of a closet. Interesting setting. It's always intrigued me but I've never played it.

Then there was the Savage Worlds powered Space 1889 subtitled Red Sands.

Now we have an Ubiquity powered Space 1889. I'm damn tempted to get in on this, and I've cut back hugely on my Kickstarter supporting. Too much cash tied up in products long overdue. So if this is tempting me, you know it looks good.

I've liked the Ubiquity system since I stumbled across it in the Hollow Earth RPG. It seems like a lighter version of Savage Worlds in many ways. I'll be watching this Kickstarter and won't be surprised if I take the plunge.

From the blurb:

Men have conquered the inner planets of the Solar System and are now travelling through the Ether. They discovered the ancient culture of the Martians and the misty wilderness of Venus. Mercury is a world of extremes but rich in valuable raw materials. The Asteroid Belt and the Earth’s moon, Luna, are waiting for further exploration. And there is still a lot to discover on Earth itself.

Under the burning sun of the Martian steppes, the steamy mists of the Venusian jungle, the deadly cold of the Dry Ice Zone on Mercury, or at the banks of the Amazon River on good old Earth – the world of Space: 1889 is full of adventures.

Everything Jules Verne could have written.
Everything H.G. Wells should have written.
Everything A. Conan Doyle thought of but never published because it was too fantastic.
Everything you need for the adventures of the century.
Almost 25 years ago, well known game designer and author Frank Chadwick came up with the idea of a roleplaying game set in a world inspired by the fantastic novels of early Science Fiction authors like Jules Verne or H. G. Wells.

Space: 1889 was first published in 1988 by Game Designers Workshop, followed by several additional products, amongst them supplements like “Ironclads and Ether flyers,” adventures like “Canalpriests of Mars,” or board games like “Temple of the Beastmen.”

GDW is long gone but, nevertheless, the fan-base has hung on to this “roleplaying game in a more civilized time” and with the growing popularity of 'steampunk culture' the time has never been better to reintroduce a new edition of the game for old and new fans alike.

The Space: 1889 Crowdfunding project is a cooperation between Uhrwerk Verlag/Clockwork Publishing, Chronicle City, and the master himself, Frank Chadwick.

Kickstarter- Myth & Magic Player's Guide - 2E Revived and Updated - Finally Shipping - Sorta...

Here's the latest from the Myth & Magic Player's Guide Kickstarter (which is only a year late):

Mailings Commence

Update #57 · Jul 18, 2013 · 9 comments  
Hello Everyone! I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Things are back on track and picking up for the PHB and GMG (three months since the last update, but who'se counting?). Fulfillment of the PHB is slow going, to say the least; but, now that a personal move is over (not part of a previous update, not even one of the usual third party posting for the creator because he's too busy to post updates), things will pick up. I'm only at 10% right now (about 350 orders to ship, so 35 may have shipped), but I will keep you posted at each 10% interval. Yet again, I completely underestimated the game. Fulfillment is crazy, crazy, crazy!

Eight mailings have been returned to me undeliverable - at least they were domestic. So... (so nearly 1 in 4 of the first 35 were returned to sender? I guess when you ship a year late folks move)

I've set up a dedicated email on gmail: ksaddressupdate@gmail.com

If you have moved, or feel that you might not have provided an accurate address when you pledged (which is likely considering it was like ten years ago!!!) (heh he... - not fucking funny - almost true, but not funny), please email the above address and provide a current mailing address. Please do this even if you have contacted me separately a long time ago. There were several channels used back then, so a dedicated email to consolidate that information is necessary.

Bonus Material: Jeff Scifert has been incredibly awesome in helping me finish up the GMG (and so too has Daniel Gunther!). We're 85% done at the moment, then we'll complete what I started on the PHB bonus material. That will be a PDF update only, but I promised the material, and so it shall come to be. (if nothing else, this update seems more believable that anything Nystul has spewed this year)

Again, I'm sorry for the lack of updates. I really only want to update you when I have new material, a PDF download or some very important thing to discuss (like the address issue). I know some KS campaigns update weekly or bi-weekly with little snippets of nothingness. I really want the updates to be meaningful... (up above you said we'd get an update every 10% shipped - which is it)

I have a GMG update forthcoming! (thank God I didnt back this)


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Vote For the Winning Entries in the July DCC RPG Contest and You Can Win a Prize!

I've decided to let the readers of Tenkar's Tavern choose the winner of the July DCC RPG contest without me whittling down the entries. Remember, those entering were tasked to plot out a "DCC RPG Adventure Path" using at least 4 sources. No knowledge beyond the blurbs on the product pages were needed. Creativity sometimes works best the less knowledge you have ;)

There are 8 entries. Pick your top 3, in the order of 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice.

Casting a vote as a comment below will get you entered in a drawing for some random DCC loot!

Voting end the night of July 25th, so you have a week. I'll add up the votes and award prizes on the 26th.

Here are the entries - vote using the assigned "letters" ;)

A - "This could not go on...!"
The clueless party of 15 or so 0-level ditch-diggers, farmers, hafling traders and trappers have seen too many friends and family members disappear. They form a mob and will lead an assault on the ruined keep. Some will eventually become SAILORS ON THE STARLESS SEA(DCC 67)

Level 1:
The survivors decided that the adventuring life was full of promises of gold and glory, so they form a proper party and went to the neighboring village of Hirot, where the DOOM OF THE SAVAGE KINGS (DCC 66.5) terrorizes the area.

Level 2:
Having solved the mystery of Hirot, the party went on to bigger things and greater challenges. The burgomeister of the far away village of Grumm, having heard of their feats, called for help. That's how they came to the brooding citadel of THE EMERALD ENCHANTER (DCC 69)

Level 3:
Investigating a strange token found in the citadel, the party starts dreaming about the female figure on the said token, and eventually they will try to rescue a strange marine Imperatrix, leading to THE SEA QUEEN ESCAPES (DCC 75)

Level 4:
Following an ambush in Capital City the party get involved in the convoluted plot of EMIRIKOL WAS FRAMED! (DCC 73).

Level 5:
Now established heroes, the party are called by the land's beloved Monarch to investigate strange occurrences and disappearances in a remote village. They will then face mayhem, surprises and devilry in THE TAINTED FOREST NEAR THORUM (CRAWL! #4)

Level 6:
The party business with a certain demon is not over. They will have to go where no human (or halfling or dwarf) ever went before in a deadly FACE-TO-FACE WITH D.... (new DCC module coming in the fall of 2013!!!, following up the events of the TAINTED FOREST.)

B - The Thanes of Hirot
Since time immemorial, you and your people have toiled in the shadow of the cyclopean ruins.  Of mysterious origins and the source of many superstition, they have always been considered a secret best left unknown by the folk of your hamlet.

But now something stirs beneath the crumbling blocks.  Beastmen howl in the night and your fellow villagers are snatched from their beds.  With no heroes to defend you, who will rise and stand against the encircling darkness?  The secrets of Chaos are yours to unearth, but at what cost to sanity or soul?

A band of friends, family, and neighbors braved the Starless Sea.  While many were lost, by lot or by fate a few arose to become true heroes.  Tales of their deeds spread quickly and a plea from near Hirot is soon received.

High above the windswept moors and darksome woods, the village of Hirot is under siege.  Each night, as the sun sinks beneath the western mountains and the candles burn low, a devil-beast stalks the village streets, unleashing its savage fury on the living.  From warlord to pauper, crone to child, no one is safe.

Defeating the immortal hound will require more than mere blades or even spells.  To slay the beast, the characters must delve into the mysteries of the land and its Savage Kings.  Only then, armed with relics forged from a bloody past, can the most cunning and courageous of adventurers challenge the hound of Hirot!

Once defeated the heroes become Thanes of the new Jarl and awarded an Estate just outside of town.   With a little effort the decrepit manor once again becomes the grand home fit for royalty.  But the house has many secrets that obviously want told. Mysterious things happen in the cellar and a secret cache of aged silver is found in a secret hold.

The coins bare the image of a beautiful woman with an uncanny resemblance to one of the heroes!  They soon find themselves cast upon a remote mountain facing the machinations of a power mad ancestor.  Here strange hints of the ancient past propel the heroes to a final encounter with the very forces of the Abyss.

Reeling from this harrowing adventure the Thanes find themselves back at home.  Plagued by strange and subtle events the heroes begin to  realize that all is not well with their estate.  But a larger menace descends on the darksome woods.  A comet has appeared and a freakish blood-red light pierces the sky.  Unnatural storms are gathering.  Reports of a mysterious lake and tower where there was none begin to fill the taverns.  The Thanes are sent to investigate.

From out of time, an archaic menace appears and seems to be drawing doom from the very heavens.  The heroes brave the tower , thwart its master, and witness the return of an ancient explorer.  From beyond the stars and through time immeasurable, what evils could lie in wait within the strange craft?

Back at home as the heroes debate this new threat, the house’s secret finally catches up with the present.  Time once again unleashes an alien menace that may just be the undoing of the Thanes of Hirot.

Adventures used:
Sailors on the Starless Sea
Doom of the Savage Kings
Mermaids of Yuggoth
Imperishable Sorceress
The Tower Out of Time

C - It all started with a request to visit the village of Thorum. It was to be a long journey and not everybody were to make it. It started in mid-spring, the time when the land’s rulers and their men-at-arms go to war with their neighbors. Nearly every able person is already involved in such conflicts, or helping the remaining militia protect the local village, by rose hill, where the first adventure is about to start. At the same time panic is mounting in the isolated settlement of sagewood. There "walking frogs the size of men" is tormenting the populance. Our brave adventurers are not knowing about this tho cause the gamemaster choose to run "the ruins of Ramat" instead this evening.

Having killed all the clawed beast and returned a dog to a girl they continoue their journey towards Thorum. Walking along the southern edge of the stagnant marsh. Arriving at Brandy hollow the local leaders approach our heroes and offer them the mighty sum of 100 gold coins each in exchange for cleasing the Taramack Weald of whatever evil must dwell therein. "The Treacherous Cobtraps" is the adventure for the evening! A lot of spending well earned gold later they return to the path to Thorum only to Battle the savage Greyfolk, guardians of the Sacred Rock to reach the Lair of the Mist Men!

For the past 3 months, strange creatures known as Mist Men have plagued the next village , striking without warning or apparent purpose, only to vanish into the mists from whence they came. After their latest raid, however, they left something behind: a talisman found by a farm boy that will guide them to their hidden lair. Finally, questions will be answered, and our heroes will on behalf of the village have revenge! ("Lair of the Mist Men")

With lots of gold and experience they are still stalwart even though only half the company is intact and new heroes have been picked up along the road; now they were to learn that not all mountain passes are lonely. Yes, only in the high pass will they discover what the Black Goat truly is. A few hours later they know what Mahmat Troth is and what they adore.

And so they finnaly arrive at Thorum. the riverside village with its hidden secret, a dark forest with an extraordinary dragon and a dungeon with a sinister evil. Will they survive? (from crawl fanzine #4 The tainted forest near thorum)

D - The Funnel

While trying to find a lost sheep, one of your neighbors found himself in the ruins of an ancient temple to a profane eldrich God. Among the tumbled idols and altars, there was a strange metal tablet, inscribed with dire prophesy and blood-curdling horror. Believing it the false words of a dead cult, he brought the timeless artifact to the tavern, and regaled the townsfolk with chill tales spun from the contents of that accursed font of doom. It was a well-remembered night of drinking and jollity, and the shepherd enjoyed many evenings being bought drinks by those wanting the thrill of hearing of the end of the world.

A fortnight ago, he was found with his skin, eyes, and tongue removed. Ten nights ago, something began killing livestock, leaving terrifying tableaus of bone, muscle, and sinew. Four days ago, crops began wilting and dying. One old timer, who came from far away lands, says he'd seen the same thing when he was a soldier, and the tyrant he worked for would salt the fields of those who displeased him.

Your village is in danger of starvation, or worse. You and a mob of other youngsters have decided to investigate the ruins yourselves, and see if you can stop the slow strangulation of your humble community.

In this portion of the meander, a group of 0-level peasants risk life and limb to investigate the ancient ruins of a dead cult. There, they find a passage into crumbling catacombs, where traps and monsters hinder their efforts to find a way to end the terrors being inflicted upon their village. Deep under the overgrown ruins, they find a vast underground lake, which they must cross to find their answers. They are assaulted by strange amphibious creatures during their sojourn across this empty expanse of stale water. Those who survive to learn the truth of their plight find a passage out of the depths. But they don't have the luxury of a long rest...

Early Levels

With the trauma of their recent expedition fresh in their souls, a small band of villagers focus on preparing themselves for what they are calling "The Teeming". They do not socialize, nor do they even take the time to explain themselves. They simply return to their preparations.

Late one night, the entire village is wrenched awake by the sonorous bellow of an otherworldly creature. Peeking out from behind hastily shuttered windows, they see the small band of survivors arrayed in the garb of warriors and wizards. They stand ready to defend their neighbors and family as strange shapes begin to appear from the darkness...

After defending their helpless village from an attack of the strange amphibious creatures they encountered on the underground lake, the band must return to that dark emptiness to ensure that the danger is truly halted. Upon returning to the depths, the newly-minted adventurers find that the creatures are coming through a mystical portal, and they must find a way to close it. After closing the portal (if they survive that long), they find evidence of a more sinister sequence of events unfolding. The creatures were trying to find the very prophesy found by the dead shepherd. Upon closer inspection, and deeper study, they find that the creatures are working to end the world! But there may be a way to stop it...

Mid Levels & Side Quests

Determined to save the world, our brave young men and women must gather together the ingredients for survival. The warriors search for legendary weapons and armor, while the wizards and clerics spend untold hours in prayer and research, striving to expand their supernatural powers. There is time, but the stars will align, and the danger will manifest, and the world will die...

A series of shorter adventures are presented for the PCs to expand their abilities and stretch their skills. Included are adventures to recover arcane weapons and shimmering armor from the clutches of the vile creatures, and scenarios for acquiring the spellbooks of ancient (and hopefully dead) wizards, meeting powerful patrons, and for performing great feats in the name of the Gods. Wizards can learn new spells from the Squid Sorcerer (preferably from his spellbook, after prying it from his dead hands/tentacles), clerics can curry favor with their deities by defeating a variety of unholy menaces, and warriors can find legendary weapons in the depths of the Breathing Mountain. Will they survive the trials in time to halt their impending doom?

Upper Levels

Ready or not, the saviors must return to the depths where they first got a taste for adventure. They must reactivate the portal, and journey into the unknown to stop the rituals and prevent the ultimate destruction of the world. Facing insurmountable odds, they must use their wits and weapons to undo the machinations of the bloated Frawg-Queen and her cult of Urstah. If her plans come to fruition, the ancient demon Urstah will be unleashed to devour the stars, and plunge the world into a darkness it cannot survive.

The party will face not only more Frawgs and their minions, but the ripples of decades-long rituals being performed to bring about the coming of Urstah. They must use their wits to avoid being completely overrun by the slimy cultists and their queen. If they are lucky, they can disrupt the rituals, and force Urstah to wait another ten thousand years for the stars to align again. If they are unlucky, the rituals will be completed, and Urstah will be released to devour the stars again.


This Delving Meander was the product of my imagination, sparked by the titles and descriptions of various published adventures as noted in the Inspirations section. It is meant as a background arc for an entire campaign and the full life cycle of the adventurers. By the time the party defeats the Frawg Queen, they should be nearing 10th level. It is deliberately paired with a lengthy timeline to allow for additional adventures to be had. In fact, even if Urstah is released, it will take centuries for the effect to even be noticeable, and it will be eons before the world truly falls into darkness. Surely enough time for a stalwart band of experienced adventurers to find a way to imprison Urstah again. If not, other people will find portents and prophesy that will lead them into a lifetime of danger and adventure...


Funnel - Sailors on the Starless Sea (Goodman Games)
Early Levels - Attack of the Frawgs (Thick Skull Adventures)
Side Quests - In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer (Mystic Bull Games) & White Plume Mountain (TSR)
Upper Levels - Stars in the Darkness (Purple Duck Games)

E - Patron Path 1: Three Trials of Bobugbubilz

Prologue – You Killed My Frawgs! (Level 0) – Attack of the Frawgs – Thick Skull Adventures:

Trapper in the village of Sagewood has been severely wounded by man sized frogs, who captured his partner when they were trapping near the Dead Goblin Lake. With no shining knights around, mob of peasants picked up their torches and pitchforks and headed to the lake to save their fellow citizen and slaughter the demonic man-frogs.

After defeating the man-frogs the mobs celebration/funeral of the fallen is cut short when different kinds of frogs start to rain from the sky and croak in cacophony “I’m Bobugbubilz, Lord of Amphibians, and you just killed my FRAWGS!”

Bobugbubilz curses the mob and every villager (probably the livestock too) in Sagewood with bad luck and mutations (-3 luck and three rolls on Patron Taint: Bobugbubilz. If the characters want to appease the great demon lord, the frogs tell them of three trials that would lessen Bobugbubilz wrath (+1 to luck and removal of one patron taint per trial). Of course some taints are pretty sweet, even if socially awkward, so PCs and individual villagers can choose to keep them if they want to.

Trial I – Frog Food (Level 1) – Appendix N Adventures #2: “The Vile Worm” – Brave Halfling Publishing:

Deep within the Sagewood (the forest, not the town that’s been named after it) lies an ancient oak, that has grown huge, twisted and evil. Below the oak is carved out chamber where worm godling called the Vile Worm lives. Because divine worms are Bobugbubilz favored food, killing it will make a worthy first trial for the PCs.

After killing the Vile Worm frogs start to crawl out of the PCs clothing. After devour the worm they’ll croak in cacophony “No worm godling can stand before the might of the Lord of Amphibians!

Trial II – Offender’s Legacy (Level 2) – AL1: Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror – Purple Duck Games:

Dellspero the Philosopher’s dancing horrors offended the Chaos Lords (Bobugbubilz included) and it wants them destroyed.

After the dancing horrors have been destroyed frogs start to burrow from the ground and croak “That’s what happens to those who try to deny Bobugbubilz’s might. Well done and only one trial awaits.”

Trial III – God’s Hammer (Level 3) – AL4: The Waystation – Purple Duck Games:

God Upan has been a thorn in Bobugbubilz side for too long and it’ll want to send him a message. The PCs are to retrieve mystical hammer named Stone Fist from fallen dwarven settlement of Upanesh.

After they’ve found the hammer a toadfiend will appear (now would be a great time to congratulate the player’s for unleashing a type III demon, especially if they aren’t loyal to Bobugbubilz) and if some of the PCs have taken Bobugbubilz as their patron it’ll tell them that Bobugbubilz is pleased and the curse is lifted and as a reward they can keep the Stone Fist, otherwise it’ll swallows it.

The toadfiend stays in Upanesh and radiate Bobugbubilz power that’ll draw other servants to the settlement where they’ll build a (un)holy temple to the Lord of Amphibians.

F - From Swamplands to Starfields
After exploring The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk and continuing on to Lair of the Mist Men (which are already linked by the titular Mist Men appearing in Jonas Gralk), the brave explorers go back into the swamp to dig up a treasure they discover on a map.

Around this time, the first lucky star goes missing.

They encounter The Folk of Osmon in the swamp.  Other stars disappear from the night sky, and the group is drawn to aid the Sea Queen as she claims in dreams that she knows what is making the stars disappear.

As the group makes its way to the coast, a servant of Bobugbibilz urges them to solve The Croaking Fane, in return for which its master will give them news related to the disappearance of the stars.

What the party learns from Bobugbibilz’s servants and The Sea Queen Escapes leads them to the Ronti Islands, where they encounter Stars in the Darkness, and either restore their Luck or die trying.

G - 0-funnel ("portal under the stars")
Our party enters the secret dungeon by the hill, searching for glory on the word of an dying old man.

When emerging, they find that their village has been attacked! They need to move fast and track the culprits to the old ruined castle in the next valley. There, what they thought was a regular rescuemission turns into "sailors on the starless sea". (DCC 67) 

Somewhere in there, they find out correspondence to the evil shaman that more human specimen are needed for the experiments and for the sacrifices in the great pit of power they're building in the next county. This correspondence comes with a name : "Emrikol" 

Hell-bent for revenge, our heroes grasp their weapons and depart to solve their issues with the "people of the pit". (DCC 68)

While in that adventure, where they realize that most of their townfolk have been hideously murdered/sacrificed/transformed into cultists, they happen upon some curios emeralds and more references to the name "Emrikol"... Upon researching these emeralds and the name "Emrikol", they happen upon the town ravaged by the "emerald enchanter". (DCC 69)

In that adventure, they stumble upon the supposed whereabouts of emrikol, which should be in Punjar, the pearl of the east, and they happen to involve themselves in a ruckus concerning the "Jewels of the carnifex". (DCC - 70)

After this concluded adventure, they happen to be contacted by a sorceress who knows the means to get to Emrikol, and she suggests a heist to his tower for getting revenge, and mighty tomes of power. The heroes gladly accept.

This is it. This is the time to take up arms and chant ignominable utterings in the dark. This is for Edward the baker who never fulfilled his dreams of becoming a mighty fighter, or Horak the beggar who wanted nothing more than become a godly man in these ungodly times. This is for all those fallen and left behind.
Emrikol was framed? No, Emrikol must Die! (DCC 73)

For the encore, the party can find clues to how they possibly can travel to deaths domain, now when Edward the baker is avenged, it it time to bring him back from the great beyound. Destinies unfulfilled must be allowed to blossom once more, run heroes, to where no man has entered and left before, take up your blades against death! (DCC 74)

H - Level 0-3: Doom of The Savage Kings/Sailors on the Starless Sea/Perils of the Sunken City/Frozen in Time supermodule.

A creature stalks the Northern Province of Gammin, ravaging the land. The beast is seemingly invulnerable, slaughtering the Province's soldiers and feasting on their flesh. Every week a village falls, it's only a matter of time before the Province crumbles completely.

There are tales of weapons that can defeat anything, once wielded by the savage kings that ruled the land. The weapons are at their greatest when united, and thus the kings massacred each other in the distant past, covetous of each other's artefact. Those who recover each will not only be able to save the province, but also be a force to be reckoned with.

Your clues have led you to the village of Hirot, the resting place of the final king. From there the adventure leads all across the province, in search of the other Dooms of the Savage Kings.

Will you save Gammin from the dark fate that awaits it? Will you instead use the artefacts for nefarious purposes? 

Or will you perish in the lightless tombs of the Kings, with no one to mourn you?

Mini Review - Brave the Labyrinth Issue # 1 (PWYW PDF Zine for LL)

I am going to say this straight out - +Pete Spahn has put together an excellent 'zine for Labyrinth Lord with Brave the Labyrinth. Quality articles (including a dungeon adventure by +Dyson Logos ) for the simple price of Pay What You Want. Heck, you can get it in print for $3.99, which is probably a steal too.

I'm not sure who submitted the map that graces the cover (and appears later in the issue without obstruction) but has the feel of the old TSR 1e adventures. There is no article attached to it, so you get to stock it on your own, which works fine for me.

The spells are interesting. I think Flesh Pocket may be a little overpowered as a 1st level spell, but that's probably because I can imagine the ways my party would use it to torture captives. I do like it tho ;)

There a lot to like here - magic, maps, monster, a character sheet for LL - and even if you only use bits and pieces, the price can't be beat. I'm not sure if September's planned release of Unofficial OSR will hit the high water mark Small Niche Games has set, but I'll certainly try :)

From the blurb:

Brave the Labyrinth is a quarterly fanzine published by Small Niche Games for the Labyrinth Lord™ roleplaying game community. It consists of fan-created material designed to cover all types of Labyrinth Lord™ and Advanced Edition Companion™ gaming.

In this Issue you get:

-Six (6) New Magic Spells

-Three (3) New Monsters

-One (1) Unstocked Dungeon Map

-One (1) NPC Party of Halfling Adventurers

-Five (5) New Magic Items

-One (1) Alternate Character Sheet

-One (1) Adventure (The Screams from Jedder's Hole)

-Articles on using animals as retainers, alternate rations, and a review of the one-page adventure The Burial Mound of Esur the Red

Download Brave the Labyrinth - Issue #1 for FREE!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Isn't It a Bit Late to be Recruiting DM's For GenCon?

+Joe D , otherwise known as Joe the Lawyer, posted earlier today that WotC is apparently short DMs for the D&D Next events they are running at GenCon.

Talk about piss poor planning.

What are they offering to get folks to step up and run D&D Next? (I wonder if you have to agree to the NDA if you want to DM / play at GenCon?) (more thoughts but damn the blog I linked to here is monetized - holy shit - and here I dropped adsense because I thought it was tacky...)

Free rooms! (if you are lucky, you only share it with one sweaty gamer, but it may be two. Don't worry if you want to bring your wife, they'll find a different sweaty gamer for her to bunk with)

Free Badges! - We don't need no steenkin' badges! 'Cause we ain't going to GenCon.

Free Swag! - Unless that includes free airline tickets - it ain't happening.

4 weeks before GenCon opens and NOW they realize they're short? Makes me wonder about the behind the scenes activity with D&D Next.

It's a shame I can't be more positive about D&D Next, but what I've seen makes it feel like the Mongrelmen of AD&D have taken over the latest version's development, as there are what appears to be bits of different (A)D&D versions but lack of a coherent whole.

Now, if they were bribing folks to run DCC or S&W I'd put in for the emergency vacation days tomorrow. Alas, it doesn't appear to be the case...

Rant Time! The Red Aegis Kickstarter Wants YOU to Pay Them $250 to Be Published

It's been a long fucking while since I had a good rant on this blog. I need to thank +Harley Stroh for bringing this to my attention (Harley had a damn good rant on the G+ side).

Do you have $250 burning a hole in your pocket? Do you want to give it to someone so you can have the privilege of writing a piece of a product that will be sold for profit (and you will see none of that profit)?

You do? Well, I have a Kickstarter for you and the dumb fucks like you. It's the Red Aegis Kickstarter, and their looking for schmucks.

Let them tell you in their own words (The Grumpy Dwarf will add comments / translate for the intellectually challenged / insult those that need insulting where required):
Want to be a Game Designer? (Game DESIGNER? Woot! Fuck yeah! I want to design games, not just write articles. I want the "big money" boyo!)
At the start of this Kickstarter we said “Join us in designing a tabletop roleplaying experience that you've never seen before!” and we meant it! (Awesome! How much you gonna pay me?)
We’re sincere in our desire to solicit feedback from the roleplaying community during every stage of the design. But contributing to online polls and filling out beta surveys only goes so far. For a few of you, that sort of impersonal feedback is not enough. (Damn straight skippy!)
You want to be more directly in contact with the designers and help shape the mechanics or lore of the game. (That's more of the "designer" shit you mentioned up above - sounds cool to me!)
The fact is, getting freelance writing assignments in the tabletop industry is not easy (they're not? coulda fooled me. I've had one article and three small products published and I'm putting together a zine. If The Grumpy Dwarf can do it, anyone can). It’s often just as much about being noticed by the right people as it is having mastery of a particular system (well, and actually writing something and submitting it helps) . And even if you are one of the lucky few to get a contract, your first assignments are typically limited to online articles paying a few cents a word (yeah, the market is tough. many zines don't pay for publishing rights - even mine only pays in "beer money").
Vorpal Games has secured many talented and well known individuals to make the RED AEGIS RPG a reality. However, we also have a genuine desire to find talented unknowns in the industry and give them a shot. If that individual is you, you may consider pledging at the Associate Game Designer level. (uhm, how do they know if I'm qualified? Oh, by paying $250 I've apparently got talent - the talent to be taken advantage of! who the fuck needs to pay $250 to get published? someone with no fucking talent. Again, if you have talent you WILL get published. You just need to write and submit or self publish. It won't make you rich - but then again, neither will handing over $250 to someone for the privilege to be taken advantage of) 
Backers at the Associate Game Designer level will be given a small section of the Corebook to design (how small is small? how much does $250 buy?). Other RPG Kickstarters may allow you a token task like naming an NPC, or a city, or some such, but this opportunity is much grander than that (sure, they get a hack to pay them to write a portion of the RPG - that's awesome for the customers that are hoping for a quality RPG). Who knows, if you complete your assignment as tasked and on deadline, you may even find additional, paying contracts in your future ("Hi, I'm the schmuck that paid a publisher $250 to get a writing credit". Fuck you! Pay Me!) 
Back us at the Associate Game Designer level, use this as an opportunity to boost your visibility in the industry (sure - "Hey, I'm that shmuck again! Look, thats me! It only cost me $250 and any sort of pride in my own self worth, but I'm published! see, I got cred! WotC, here I come - I want to design the Next NEXT, with furries!) and see your name credited in the deluxe Corebook as a game designer. Limited to 50 slots only.
edit: Matt James, one of the folks behind this Kickstarter, added the following in the comments to this post in an effort to explain much of the above:
We added the following to show that it's more of a full-blown mentorship. We used a poor choice of words.  
"The extra cost associated with this reward level is really for the one-on-one mentoring the backer will have with an established game designer, who will offer advice, critique design work, and so on. There should be no pressure for a backer to turn over a perfect design. Our fantastic editors are here to make every designer’s work shine!"

Deep Where the Liche-Lord Lies - Descent into Horror (Taster Edition Lvl 1) {Free Tunnels & Trolls GM Adventure}

Written for use with the T&T 5e and 7e rules (and I suspect the upcoming 8e rules), Deep Where the Liche-Lord Lies (Level 1) is the first level of a multi-level dungeon and it includes some random tables and a small setting.

Group adventures for T&T are few and far between. Andy Holmes has written a few nice ones and this is one of the better ones.

The price is right for a "taste" of the fuller adventure and should be good for a couple of sessions of gaming depending on your group.

From the blurb:

Free 'Taster Edition' - contains the complete first level of the dungeon. Try before you buy!

Beneath an ancient mausoleum, deep within the Forest of Maugaral, there is a mighty dungeon; a stronghold of goblins, ogres, and worse. At its deepest point, surrounded by earthly riches, lies the tomb of Vasarax, an ancient and malignant sorcerer. Though entombed for centuries, stories abound that the long dead mage has arisen as a powerful Liche-Lord. It is said that whoever steps foot into his resting chamber will instantly perish...

Deep Where the Liche-Lord Lies: A Descent into Horror is a huge, multi-level GM adventure for Tunnels & Trolls, compatible with 5th or 7th edition rules. It is a tough dungeon that will test even the strongest of parties as they penetrate deeper into its gloomy depths. Everything a GM requires to run what would amount to a mini campaign can be found within its pages, including detailed maps of each level and the surrounding terrain, plus descriptions of all of the rooms and contents. This is the largest GM module ever produced for T&T from the master of gothic horror adventures, Andy Holmes.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mentzer D&D Basic Set Released in PDF at DnD Classics for 9.98

This ain't 4e, right?
The Mentzer version of D&D Basic is available for 9.98 ($4.99 for the Player's Manual and $4.99 for the DM's Rulebook.)

Not a bad price for something you can add to you portable gaming collection (iPad / tablet / etc)


"To commemorate the original D&D "Red Box's" 30th anniversary, take advantage of this special promotion!

With the purchase of the D&D Basic Set Player's Guide or D&D Basic Set Dungeon Master's Rulebook from the original "Red Box," get a coupon for 50% off any of the B-series adventures!

This special offer includes B1 In Search of the Unknown through B12 Queen's Harvest and ends next week so act fast!"

Axes & Anvils Is a Critical Fumble - Time to Move on From This Train Wreck

On June 27th, Mike Nystul promised a Table of Contents for Axes & Anvils "in the next day or two". It's been nearly 3 weeks. This has been Mike's MO since the beginning: make promises and never follow up.

I think it's time to put Axes & Anvils out to the curb with the trash that is now Mike's reputation. Unless Mike comes forward with an actual product (or an entertaining story as to why he's still fucking up) this is probably the last I'm posting on this fiasco (someone should turn this int o a Fiasco scenario perhaps ;)

There is a community effort on G+ to put together a "Dwarf Themed" RPG to replace this fiasco. I need to check up on it's progress.

edit: I added this as a comment on G+ in answer to an inquiry of Mikes Kickstarter history:

3 Kickstaers were used to fund Castle Nystul LLC and a Dwarf Con, not the products that were being funded.

Money was running out, so Nystul tried an Indiegogo campaign for more money

Then he had to admit the money was gone and had nothing completed (even the product he claimed was already written before it was Kickstarted)

One product was taken over by a trhird party along with the liability of delivering the print items promised (Infinite Dungeons)

Another (Cairn) was sold to a third party. They will send printed versions of the kickstarter if the supporters now pay for shipping

A&A Mike kept / couldn't unload / can't finish / never wrote anything / your guess is as good as mine.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Look at Using Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea as a DCC RPG "Monster Manual"

I now have Critters, Creatures & Denizens for the DCC RPG in print and the fucker is killing me under it's crunch. It seems, now that I've sat down with it and read it more fully, there is little here that I will actually use at my table (with the exception of screen-capping the excellent +Scott Ackerman art for use in my Roll20 games). Scott's art is inspirational, but the the charts and extra monster stats are doing the magic of the old NyQuil for me.

So, then i thought "why not use another Appendix N influence RPG for inspiration?" Which of course let me to break out my copy of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. It also came to mind because it was nominated for like 3 or 4 Ennies earlier today. What can I say?

Now, as much as DCC is in need of a setting, AS&SH is too much a human-centric setting game wise for me to easily convert one to the other. YMMV. It is, however, as simple as converting AC to use the creatures in the AS&SH Bestiary in DCC. Not all will fit, and some may seem too common, but there are some awesome inspirational winners. Tonight, I'm looking at Orcs.

Here's the relevant text and art:

These despicable humanoids are the unhallowed progeny of swine dæmons and an abominable tribe of Picts. They are stocky, short-legged, thick-boned, and heavily muscled, but their features are horribly disfigured and oft porcine, with pronounced lower canine teeth. In the wilderness they are largely nocturnal, but in subterranean lairs not necessarily so. Orcs are temperamental and prone to infighting, but under a strong leader they are capable of exceptional obedience. They are a violent species, killing for pleasure, and they relish in torturing and burning their victims; too, they are notorious slavers. 
Orcs are intelligent enough to manufacture their own weapons and armour and perform other feats of simple engineering, but their craftsmanship is generally inferior to human standards; hence, a suit of orcish plate mail might provide AC 4 instead of AC 3 (otherwise orcs have natural AC 6 from their thick hides). Orcs speak their own language (Orcish) and oft a crude form of the Common tongue of man; some are able to speak a smattering of Pictish.
These are The Orcs I want to use in the DCC RPG. They'll make for one exciting "random encounter" between adventures with their built in flavor or even a full adventure. My wheels are turning :)

Notice I didn't bother copying the stat blocks for this example? In Appendix N style gaming, stats take a distant second to flavor.

What's Going on With the Gygax Memorial Fund? No Updates Since GenCon 2012

Seriously, what's up with the Gygax Memorial Fund? There hasn't been an update on the fund's website since last August. Before that it seemed to be nearly weekly updates.

Did we ever find out exactly how much WotC raised selling the AD&D 1e Core Book reprints? I don't recall a percentage or amount per book sold going to the fund.

Any info on how much the find has raised so far? What it needs to raise?

Is there a date when the memorial is going to be erected?

Is there a reason why the Gygax Memorial Fund site is still collecting donations but hasn't been updated in nearly a year?


If you have secret squirrel info and don't want to publicly post it, send it to tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing. I'll scrub any identifiers ;)

The OSR Punches Above It's Weight in the Latest Ennie Nominations

Here's the full breakdown of the Ennie Nominated Products (list borrowed from ENWorld - if you want links to the products nominated, go to ENWorld) - I'll make comments here or there in my best Grumpy impression ;)

Best Adventure 
Achtung! Cthulhu - Three Kings (Chronicle City/Modiphius Entertainment) - this is the Nazis meet Cthulhu book if I'm not mistaken - I may need to check this out)
Deadlands Reloaded: The Last Sons (Pinnacle Entertainment)
Enemy Within (Fantasy Flight Games) - I'm assuming this is an update to the original WFRP adventure
Pathfinder: Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition (Paizo Publishing)
The Zalozhniy Quartet (Pelgrane Press)

Best Aid/Accessory 
All We Have Forgotten—Music for Ashen Stars (Pelgrane Press)
Night’s Watch (Green Ronin) - this sound like fantasy law enforcement - must research
The One Ring Loremaster’s Screen & Lake-town Sourcebook (Cubicle 7)
Protodimension Magazine Issue 13 (Kinstaff Media LLC) - urhh?
The Unspeakable Oath (Arc Dream Publishing) - always good and bizarre 

Best Art, Cover 
Champions Complete (Hero Games)
Iron Kingdoms (Privateer Press)
The Magnificent Joop van Ooms (Lamentations of the Flame Princess) - James always does awesome art with his projects 
NPC Codex (Paizo Publishing)
The Whole Hole Volume 01: Keister Island (Mutha Oith Creations)

Best Art, Interior 
Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster's Forgotten Realms (Wizards of the Coast)
Night’s Black Agents (Pelgrane Press)
Night’s Watch (Green Ronin) - ah, Song of Fire and Ice
Shadows of Esteren Book 1 (Agate Editions) - I don't need to see any other product to declare this the winner ;)
The Whole Hole Volume 01: Keister Island (Mutha Oith Creations)

Best Blog 
Gnome Stew - the only one I know and a damn good one - but where are the ones I know besides Gnome Stew? +Martin Ralya 
The Illuminerdy
Nerd Trek
Triumph and Despair
The Rogue Warden

Best Cartography 
Ancient Temple Interior (DramaScape)
Deep Blues: Nautilus (0One Games)
Drake Starship Map (Blackwyrm Games)
The Lands of Ice and Fire (Random House)
Sprawl Sites: High Society and Low Life (Catalyst Game Labs)

Best Electronic Book 
Curse the Darkness (Growling Door Games, Inc.)
Deadlands Reloaded: The Last Sons (Pinnacle Entertainment)
The Deadly Seven (paNik productions)
Experimental Paradigm of Cinematic Horror (EPOCH) (Imaginary Empire)
Hobomancer (Hex Games)

Best Family Game 
Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space—11th Doctor Edition (Cubicle 7)
Hero Kids—Fantasy RPG (Hero Forge Games)
Mermaid Adventures (Third Eye Games)
Project Ninja Panda Taco (Jennisodes)
Wandering Monsters High School (Bold Pueblo Games)

Best Free Game 
Mazes and Perils RPG (WG Productions) - Vince get's us another OSR nomination - never heard of any of the others +Vincent Florio 
Phantasm (2010) (End Transmission Games LLC)
Nights of the Crusades (Aetheric Dreams)
Silent Memories (Morning Skye Studio)
Throwigames Simple Roleplaying System (Throwigames)

Best Free Product 
Battletech: A Time of War Quick-Start Rules/Shadowrun Quick-Start Rules (Catalyst Game Labs)
EPOCH: Road Trip (Imaginary Empire)
Fools Rush In (Privateer Press)
Night in the Seyvoth Manor (Darklight Interactive)
Wayfinder #8 (Paizo Fans United)

Best Game 
Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea (North Wind Adventures, LLC) - awesome pick - now it has to win :) +Jeff Talanian 
Broken Rooms (Greymalkin Designs, LLC)
Champions Complete (Hero Games)
Iron Kingdoms (Privateer Press)
Night’s Black Agents (Pelgrane Press)

(shit - this list is longer than the Oscars and the Academy Awards put together)

Best Miniature 
Dungeon Command: Blood of Gruumsh (Wizards of the Coast)
Freeblades: Black Rose Bandits (DGS Games)
Pathfinder Battles: Shattered Star Gargantuan Blue Dragon (WizKid Games/NECA)
Pathfinder Bestiary Box (Paizo Publishing)
Spot of Bother Set One: Royal Highland Guards (Okumart Games)

Best Monster/Adversary 
Champions Villains Vol. 3: Solo Villains (Hero Games)
DC Adventures Heroes & Villains Vol. 2 (Green Ronin)
Inner Sea Bestiary (Paizo Publishing)
Mutants and Masterminds Threat Report (Green Ronin)
NPC Codex (Paizo Publishing)

Best Podcast 
Atomic Array
Indie Talks
Haste: The Official Obsidian Portal Podcast
TableTop: Dragon Age (wait, wasn't this like a youtube one shot?)
Transmissions from the Ninth World

Best Production Values 
Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea (North Wind Adventures, LLC) (another chance for AS&SH to win)
Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space—11th Doctor Edition (Cubicle 7)
Iron Kingdoms (Privateer Press)
Rimward (Posthuman Studios)
Shadows of Esteren Book 1 (Agate Editions) - from what I've seen, this is a contender

Best RPG Related Product 
Edition Wars (Gamer Nations Studios)
Eighth Day Genesis: A Worldbuilding Codex for Writers and Creatives (Alliteration Ink)
The Express Diaries (Innsmouth House Press)
Kobold Guide to Wordbuilding (Kobold Press) only one i heard of
The Lands of Ice and Fire (Random House)

Best Rules heard of 3 out of 5
Champions Complete (Hero Games)
Dungeon World (Sage Kobold Productions)
Experimental Paradigm of Cinematic Horror (EPOCH) (Imaginary Empire)
Iron Kingdoms (Privateer Press)
Night’s Black Agents (Pelgrane Press)

Best Setting
Broken Rooms (Greymalkin Designs, LLC)
Magnimar: City of Monuments (Paizo Publishing)
Menzoberranzen: City of Intrigue (Wizards of the Coast)
Midgard Campaign Setting (Kobold Press)
Mythic Iceland (BRP/Chaosium)

Best Software 
The Crawler’s Companion (Purple Sorcerer Games) - congrats +Jon Marr 
Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia (E-book Edition) (Arc Dream Publishing)
Dice & Dragons - 3D Dice Roller (simpleFun)
PCGen (PCGen)
Roll20 (The Orr Group, LLC) - my VTT of choice these days

Best Supplement 
Dark Roads & Golden Hells (Kobold Press)
Doctor Who: The Time Traveler's Companion (Cubicle 7)
Night’s Watch (Green Ronin)
Menzoberranzen: City of Intrigue (Wizards of the Coast)
Shadowrun 2050 (Catalyst Game Labs)

Best Website 
The Escapist
Gnome Stew - wait, blog or website? can you be both? - hmm, every blog IS a website, but not every website is a blog...
Modus Operandi
See Page XX

Best Writing 
Doctor Who: The Time Traveler's Companion (Cubicle 7)
Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding (Kobold Press)
Never Unprepared: Guide to Session Prep (Engine Publishing) - more congrats to +Martin Ralya 
Night’s Black Agents (Pelgrane Press)
Wolsung Steam Pulp Fantasy (Kuźnia Gier/Studio 2 Publishing)

Product of the Year 
Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea (North Wind Adventures, LLC) - do eett!
Broken Rooms (Greymalkin Designs, LLC)
Champions Complete (Hero Games)
Doctor Who: The Time Traveler's Companion (Cubicle 7)
Experimental Paradigm of Cinematic Horror (EPOCH) (Imaginary Empire)
Iron Kingdoms (Privateer Press)
Menzoberranzen: City of Intrigue (Wizards of the Coast)
Night’s Black Agents (Pelgrane Press)
NPC Codex (Paizo Publishing)
Shadows of Esteren Book 1 (Agate Editions) - the whole line looks amazing

Judges' Spotlight Winners 
Hooper - Leviathans (Catalyst Game Labs)
Matthew Muth - School Daze (Sand & Steam Productions)
Jakud Nowosad - Deniable Asset (Random Encounters)
Megan Robertson - Killshot: Director’s Cut (Broken Ruler Games)
Kurt Wiegel - Eldritch Skies (Battlefield Press, Inc.)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Reminder - Only a Few More Days Left to Get Your Entries in for the July DCC RPG Contest Here at the Tavern!

Don't make me go out there and physically twist your arm!

In all seriousness, we have a crapload of prizes and only 2 entries. Excellent entries, but we need more. I may extend the deadline if needed but I'd rather not. Play the odds, they are in your favor!

We have print copies of Appendix N Adventures, In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer, Through the Cotillion of Hours and the latest Crawl! IN PRINT! There are also a bunch of PDF prizes including Purple Duck and Purple Sorcerer releases.

Take 10 minutes and enter. It will make this old bartender feel useful ;)

Mini Review - Transylvanian Adventures - The Winter Home (DCC Adventure)

Transylvanian Adventures - The Winter Home is a strange beast. It is written as a one-shot with pre-gens to serve as an introduction to the forthcoming Transylvanian Adventures sourcebook.

What is Transylvanian Adventures? It's "a supplement for Goodman Games’ Dungeon Crawl Classics roleplaying game (DCC RPG). It is quasihistorical and heavily influenced by Gothic Horror and the Hammer Films of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The setting is a mythical version of Transylvania at the turn of the 19th century. There are no Elves, Dwarves or Halflings."

Yes, it's one hell of a divergent direction for the DCC RPG. If the full Transylvanian Adventures sourcebook / supplement for the DCC RPG is anywhere near as good and fun as Transylvanian Adventures - The Winter Home, we may just be seeing some alternative DCC RPG campaigns cropping up.

In The Winter Home itself, it refers to the rules included as Quickstart Rules, as The Winter Home plays with it's own variation off of the DCC Rules proper. We get Fear Saves, Dead and Mostly Dead (which replaces the current unconscious and dying rules), healing without a cleric, turning undead without a cleric and Killing Vampires. Yep, this is no longer the DCC RPG you know so well.

The divergence is why there are pre-gens included as well as rules to cover some of the changes in the default setting. They say you can use regular DCC RPG characters / classes, but you'd have to shoehorn the adventure a bit awkwardly into the default assumed setting for DCC (unless your party get's thrown into another dimension - now there's an idea)

For me, I'd rather appreciate this for what it is, an amazing introduction and hint of promises for the forthcoming Transylvanian Adventures setting book and save it for when that book is released. I'd rather use it as part of a campaign for the implied setting. Now, if I was running a one shot at a con or the like, this would be aces.

The atmosphere in this adventure is so thick you can cut it with a knife. This is a good thing. Because if he can pull that off with the full setting book, this is going to be one of the better horror releases for the OSR in general (and the only one for the DCC RPG that I can think of).

Now we just need someone to take the DCC RPG into space ;)

From the blurb:

Transylvanian Adventures is a supplement for Goodman Games’ Dungeon Crawl Classics. It is heavily influenced by Gothic Horror and the Hammer Films of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.

"The Winter Home" is an introductory adventure designed for the 5 pre-generated characters included in the back. The characters in The Winter Home include 5 of the 8 new classes from  Transylvanian Adventures: the Valiant, Exotic, Half-Breed, Hunter and Reaver.

The adventure is also suitable for a party of 3rd or 4th level Dungeon Crawl Classics characters.

The Magic of Freehand Mapping the Classic AD&D Module G1 With Roll20 (Complete With Pictures)

We were playing the classic G1 last night. The original map is in blue. The map as drawn is in grey.

Needless to say the map as drawn got some great comments from the players. The sad thing is, Joe probably still draws straighter lines than I do ;)

Next Saturday the DCC RPG Campaign Will Start - It's Funnel Time!

It looks like we'll be switching up between the classic Against the Giants AD&D series run by +Joe D and some DCC RPG adventure run by me. Should be fun. I've enjoyed my chance to play as a player and not the DM, but I also enjoy running games. This seems like a very good way to keep things balanced.

At the end of last night's session, I told everyone to go to the Purple Sorcerer site and roll 3 sheets of characters (using 3d6 in order) then pick the 3 characters they want to use in the funnel. One straight up stat swap per character. Sure, on average the characters are going to have slightly higher stats than just rolling 1 sheet and picking 3, but as I plan on running this as a campaign and not a series of one shots, the opportunity to have qualified funnel survivors works better for my group and I. Besides, no matter the stats, all funnel participants are just as squishy as the other - for the funnel I expect the usual lethality ;)

I'll be running with a version of my idea of the players having a "stable" of available characters. I'm thinking three, but we'll see what shakes out in the end. I'm also thinking of allowing the players to distribute a number equal to half the expo earned by their active character at the end of a session among their two inactive characters.

Toying with the idea of an "organic sandbox" of sorts - very localized initial setting, with rumors and treasure maps to lead the party astray ;)

Shadows of Esteren - Book 0 Prologue (Free Fantasy / Horror RPG Quickstart "Plus")

The Shadows of Esteren - Book 0 Prologue is more than a quickstart. It's more like a preview of the Shadows of Esteren RPG / Setting that is playable over multiple sessions. (There is currently a funded Kickstarter proceeding for Book 2 in the series)

Why over multiple sessions? This 80 page free prologue includes game system, setting and three adventures for the price of FREE. Hard to beat that. 

It's an excellent way to find out of the game meets your (and your gaming group's) needs and expectation with little investment other than the time to read it and perhaps play it. At first glance the system seems simple enough at it's core.

Production qualities are second to none. If you like high quality artwork in your RPG, you've found a winner here. If I use this for nothing else, I'll be screen capping much of the artwork for use in my Roll20 sessions. It's just too good not to find a use for.

From the blurb:

Shadows of Esteren is a medieval role-playing game with horrific and Gothic overtones. Drawing inspiration from Celtic myths, this universe has a discreetly fantastic side under a bleak, realistic surface. This world is populated by humans who have to cope with a harsh daily life and supernatural threats lurking in the dark. Focused on investigation and survival scenarios, Shadows of Esteren is a game in which the atmosphere and the interactions among the players are paramount.

Prologue will be your first journey into the universe of Shadows of Esteren’s role-playing game, and will prepare you for the first episode of the official campaign. 
You will find:

. An Introduction to the Universe. Familiarize yourself with the main concepts of the game, as well as with a general presentation of the universe.

. A Summary of the Game System. All the necessary elements to grasp Shadows of Esteren’s system and play your first scenarios.

. Six Template Characters. Illustrated and ready-to-play characters: Yldiane the Varigal, Arven the fighter, Ean the fugitive, Liam the scholar, Mòr the Ionnthén, and Urvan the Blade Knight.

. Three Scenarios. The triptych “Omens” offers three scenarios, which are very different, and yet linked by a single red thread. They are meant for players and leaders of all levels.

. Poison: An ideal scenario to discover Esteren and take your first steps in role-playing. The village of Melwan is threatened by a poisoning. Will you be able to discover its source and how to stop it?

. Loch Varn: Dive into the confines of nightmare in an elaborate scenario with original narrative concepts and discover the secrets of Loch Varn’s vale.

. Red Fall: A dead man and a missing woman. Lead an investigation in Dearg and experience an initial overview of the vale in which the first episode of the official campaign will be set.

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