Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Metric Ton of FATE (This is a Heavy Book)

So, I got my signed copy of FATE Core along with a set of FATE dice this weekend (I never paid extra for the FATE Accelerated book in print it seems).

What surprises me most? This book is heavy, which is surprising for it's size (trade paper back-ish) and page count (about 300 pages). I could hit somebody in the head with this and do some serious damage.

No idea if I'll ever play a session of FATE, let alone run one, but the book is a beauty physically and the font looks relatively easy on the eye to read. Maybe when I get through my OSR backload of reading I'll get to this.

Eh, who am I kidding? I'll never get through that backload ;)

A Quick Peek at Numenera


That is my initial reaction to the Numenera RPG PDF that I received yesterday after supporting the Kickstarter.

Over 400 pages long, its too much for me to digest in PDF. I'll need to await the hardcover's delivery.

The Numenera Player's Guide comes in at under 70 pages, and I might be better suited reading that first. Actually, I've leafed through it (the Core and the Guide), and Numenera gives off a highly revised 3.5e vibe. Needlessly confusing in the way it figures out the DC for certain roles, which I find annoying, but my opinion may change as I read further.

I can't help but wonder how much of Numenera was destined for D&D Next before Monte left the team.

Observations on the Arduin Grimoire (and it's PDF return)

I just recently spent the better part of a week in the Poconos, and the only in print gaming material I brought was some DCC RPG stuff and the Arduin Grimoire Vol II.

I'm not sure why I grabbed AG Vol 2 - I just saw it in my room on the top of other gaming material waiting to return to a shelf or a box and grabbed it. Over the vacation I read it in bits and pieces, enjoying it even as the horribly small font tortured my 46 year old eyes. Time travel does that to me ;)

Imagine my surprise when OneBookShelf notified me of new Arduin releases in PDF. They are popping up like wildflowers (or fires). I'm going to grab Arduin Adventures for 4 bucks and maybe kick the tires in the near future.

Last Call For Submissions to the Issue #1 of the "Unofficial OSR" Zine

This weekend I plan to do a physical print out of the submissions we have so far, just so I have a better time visualizing everything. Then I start organizing, proofing and editing and finally get it into our amazing layout volunteer for this issue.

We could still use some art. Not that I don't have a large amount of stock art to pull from, but I'd rather showcase original art when possible. Paying beer money doesn't help, I know ;)

Hardish deadline for submissions is August 12.

Send them to: tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom

Friday, August 2, 2013

Dyson's Dodecahedron Magazine Goes "Pay What You Want"

The first six issues of +Dyson Logos 's Dyson's Dodecahedron zine have gone "Pay What You Want.

It's an excellent Labyrinth Lord fanzine, but as with nearly all of the OSR releases it can easily be used in the OSR system of your preference.

+Dyson Logos is well known for his mappings skills, and this is a chance to see some more of his work.

Raggi Pitches the LotFP Referee Book's Upcoming Crowdfunding

I like James. Really, I do. I really like his earlier adventures and I think some of the best parts of LotFP's Weird Fantasy ruleset are the Referee Rules. There is some great advice within (even if, as James admits in this video, he doesn't follow them himself). As far as production quality goes, James is second to none.

James has been hit fairly hard by his crowdsources projects - they've run late as sin, they seem to run over cost and postal rate increases slam him on top of that.

So, to summarize 10 minutes of video (that are fairly entertaining even if they are overlong and really shouldn't have been more than 2) - James needs to put out a Referee Book to match the recent Rules & Magic Book for Weird Fantasy (3rd incarnation of the rules for those counting at home). Funds are tied up in previous Kickstarters that are overdue and still to be released. Therefore, there will be a new crowdfunding campaign for the Ref Book. But you don't get the Ref Book for supporting the campaign, you get credit at James's store to buy the Ref Book when it is completed (or any other product at the store, you are not locked in). You pay shipping (which saves James from postal increases, but not you, the supporter).

The stretch goals are to return Tower of the Stargazer and Death Frost Doom to print. If the stretch goals are hit, your LotFP Store Credit will include the value to buy the reprints too - so you will potentially get more value from your money if the stretch goals are met.

The Ref Book as a stand alone product is damn cool, as I think it's one of James' better pieces of work, even if he doesn't follow it himself (and I suspect never has). If I were to reprint two of James' prior work, I'd got with Tower of the Stargazer and The Grinding Gear myself, but Death Frost Doom isn't a horrible choice either.

So why is it that I feel we're taking a cash advance from one credit card to pay off another with this latest crowdfunding campaign?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Which Has More Lasting Effect - Shocking or Disturbing Imagery?

(what follows is my opinion - nothing more, nothing less - I expect others to add their opinions in the comments below - I very much doubt we will all agree, but that just means there will be a healthy discussion - I hope)

Love it or hate it, "Shock" sells.

To a point.

Each release has to top the previous one in shock value for it to garner the needed attention and audience, and at some point, your audience get's numb to it.

Shock also turns some folks off, but initially your gain far outweighs your loses. So, I understand it as a business practice.

Disturbing to me has more value. Carcosa made me feel a bit disturbed after reading it. Alright, very disturbed. It wasn't shocking, it was disturbing. I'll almost always come back for more disturbing. It might take a while, but I can't help myself. I might never feel comfortable using it, but it keeps me always looking for Geoffrey McKinney's work. Not that there is much at this time ;)

The Omen as a movie was disturbing.

Nightmare on Elm Street and the whole genre of slasher films work off shock value.

Shock to me seems to be the easy substitute for disturbing, but that's like replacing a home cooked meal with McDonalds - they may both fill a need, but one is more fulfilling than the other.

Fuck For Satan might drive the bible thumpers angry by title alone but if they read Carcosa they'd break out the Holy Water and start the exorcism right then and there.

The thing is, to be disturbing you don't have to be evil or overwhelming or even in your face. You just need enough realism to make someone relate, to feel it.

Eh, maybe it's my occupation. "Shock" has never stuck with me, it has no value. "Disturbing" is the shit that you keep for years. The pool of blood and brains and raspberry jam. The maggots in the living crackhead's open sores, and trying not to touch the wiggles as you cuff the crackhead. Opening a door to the overwhelming stench of death and guessing the day of death based on the intensity of the smell. Looking for the living heroin addict's boot that was ripped from him when he was struck by a truck, only to find his foot still in it. The he-she prostitute baring it's hairy chest. The body with a bullet in it's temple but still breathing, slow to realize it was already dead.

Disturbing rents space in your head.

That's my problem, apparently. My bar is set higher than most ;)

I may need to write up some gaming examples of "disturbing encounters and locations" later on.

Ambition & Avarice is Now Available in Print!

I really like Ambition & Avarice, but I've never reviewed it. Why? Because I playtested, proofread, helped edit and have a mention in the dedication. I can't do a review of it and be impartial. Simple and honest truth.

That being said, I do believe it's one of the more unique takes on an OSR ruleset that I've read, remaining true to it's source material and gaming ancestors and yet taking on a new direction of it's own.

PDF is 7 bucks.

Print + PDF is $12.42 (if you already ordered a PDF copy of the rules, there should be a coupon coming your way later tonight for 7 dollars off).

I plan on running a game session of A&A using +Greg Gillespie 's Barrowmaze in late September via G+ Hangouts, and I'll put out a call for players as the time gets closer. If all goes well, I'll make it a monthly event.

I raise my tankard to +Greg Christopher for a great game now in print.


A Tale of Two Kickstarters - Axes & Anvils vs Numenera - Of Truth and Lies

Patrick over at the Nerdwerks blog has put together a very enlightening comparison of the Axes & Anvils vs the Numenera Kickstarter. It's very well done, and worth your time for the chuckles it will elicit.

Here's a snippet:

Go on now and read the rest ;)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mind Your Manors!

As I spend my last night of this stint of vacation in the Poconos, I'm getting to read the latest issue of +Tim Shorts The Manor. It's half S&W adventure and half mini Monster Manual and pure goodness.

Maybe if I'm lucky, the hard copy of The Manor #4 will be waiting for me as I arrive home to NYC tomorrow afternoon.

I'll do a proper review of this after I settle in back at "la casa".

Oh, and a review of Fuck For Satan too, although I'm in no rush to do so at this point. I'm trying to figure out how it would mesh into an ongoing campaign. From what I've seen from my initial skim, the answer is "poorly". I suspect it works better in a one-shot or con type setting. One-shots have their place, just not in an on going campaign. I suspect there is a blog post topic here for a future date.

Treasure - By the Book or Off the Page?

Treasure, whether magical or mundane, is detailed in most OSR / Original (A)D&D DM / GM / Ref sections of the rules. In effect, this gives one a shopping list or, even more likely, a classic Chinese Menu to choose from. This certainly simplifies things, but it does lead to repletion, especially after 35 years or so of gaming. How many + 2 Longswords can one expect to find over that time? I suspect the answer is infinite.

This is a large part of the reason my first two OSR projects / products dealt with more unique magic items. I have no problem taking many of the magic items in my campaign off the shelf (or out of the core rules), but it's the ones crafted at the workbench that helps keep the magic "magic" in my opinion.

The same goes for the more mundane treasure - gems, jewelry, coins - get repetitious after a while. Having the party try to successfully recover (and later sell) the fragile porcelain tea set without breakage is a lot more fun (challenging) than the next hoard of coins.

Am I guilty of taking the shortcut of grabbing from the shelf more than I feel I should? Definitely, but I'm trying to go to the shelf less often in the future.

Do you create your own magic items for your campaign? Do you add more unique non magical treasures? Does your group even care one way or the other?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Updated and Finalized Winners List From July's DCC RPG Contest!

The winners of the DCC RPG Adventure Path contest are:

B at 21 points

G at 20 points (someone shoot me)

E at 19 points

1st Place goes to Dithering Fool you get: print copies of In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer (Mythic Bull Games)AL3 Through the Cotillion of Hours (Purple Duck Games), AN1 The Ruins of Ramat (Brave Halfling) and AN2 The Vile Worm (Brave Halfling)

2nd Place goes to Bannana Bill you get: print copies of AL3 Through the Cotillion of Hours (Purple Duck Games), AN1 The Ruins of Ramat (Brave Halfling) and AN2 The Vile Worm (Brave Halfling)

3rd Place goes to Hex Ox, you get a PDF copy of In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer (Mythic Bull Games) -

Special Mention goes to yves larochelle - Yves, Dak and I will hook you up with the latest issue of Crawl! You kicked things off with an excellent entry.

The other 4 entrants get the following random prizes courtesy of Purple Sorcerer:

+Jim Magnusson  - Perils of the Sunken City in PDF

+Kenneth Cummins  - Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk in PDF

+Daniel Bishop  (aka RavenCrowKing) - A Gathering of the Marked in PDF

Neko-Kun - Lair of the Mist Men

But wait! There's more! Some of those that cast votes are in for prizes too!

Attack of the Frawgs in PDF goes to Simon J Hogwood.

A $5 RPGNow GC goes to David Eppling

I'm sure I forgot to award a prize or two, and if so they will simply carry on the the next DCC RPG Contest.

Winners need to reach out to me at tenkarsDOTtavernAT that gmail thing. I'm still on vacation, and some of these prizes are coming from different folks to different folks, so I'll start untangling this over the weekend.

Congrats to all, and thanks for the patience as I royally bugger things up over this past weekend ;)

Some Thoughts on the Latest LotFP Release - F@ck For Satan

This is not a review. The review will be forthcoming in the next few days. This post is just some thoughts and observations on Raggi's latest LotFP release.

First, the name. Even James states that it's named Fuck For Satan to get noticed:
As I write this I’m still unsure whether or not I’m actually going to call this thing Fuck For Satan. It would be unnecessarily divisive and provocative, especially for an adventure that’s essentially a farce... that by putting something so patently tasteless right on the cover they can avoid spending money on a product they won’t like anyway. Plus they’ll do it loud enough that they will entertain us all with their outrage that a role-playing game scenario is not to their tastes and help me with a little publicity to boot.
There was a time when James sold adventures based on quality, not drummed up controversy. The Grinding Gear, Tower of the Stargazer, Death Frost Doom - these all became popular based on the quality of the adventure, not some innuendo or attempt at shocking the gaming public.

Now, I know that James sells on his own webstore as well as RPGNow, but I find it striking that Fuck For Satan has fallen to 13 place on RPGNow after a week of release on the Hottest Selling List, whereas Ambition & Avarice, a new OSR RPG from a relatively unknown publisher (compared to LotFP) is at a solid 7 after nearly 3 weeks.

Why is that? Quality outshines shock nearly every time. Shock can also obscure quality. I haven't fully read FfS yet, but I suspect the walking penis will make this adventure just a notch less quality then I had hoped.

I guess if I want to read quality over shock from James these days, I'll have to read his older stuff - until he re-skins them with more "shocking" titles.

How Much of Your Campaign Involves Getting to the Next Adventure?

I'm sitting here in the Poconos, looking out the window at the woods across the street from me, and it occurred to me that much adventure could be had within (and there certainly was much adventure had within when I was 30+ years younger).

How much of your campaign takes place in the places in between? Done properly, the travel to one adventure from another can in and of itself be an adventure. To a large extent, this is what sandboxes are about, but even without running your campaign in a sandbox, the places in between have the potential to challenge the players. I'm not talking random encounters but more like "random localized locations" that you can drop in between to change the pacing.

Hmm, in many ways this is what +Daniel Bishop 's series of Campaign Elements for the DCC RPG seeks to do, but it could be done on even a smaller scale of simple fleshed out encounters that include localized setting elements.

In any case, do you explore the places in between when you run a campaign, or do you players more from location to location fairly uneventfully?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Magic Mayhem Monday - Zaznaraz's Cage of Flesh and Bone (DCC RPG Magic Item)

Zaznaraz's Cage of Flesh and Bone - This 12" tall, 10" wide and 10" deep cage is made of human bone wrapped and held together by human skin and tendons.

Inside this small cage is a dimly glowing white orb. If the orb is removed from the cage, it will dim and turn to a white powder in less than an hour, effectively destroyed. Creating a new orb requires sacrifice of living beings and permanent attribute loss by the wizard involved. The details, if required, should be fleshed out by the Judge.

Zaznaraz's Cage of Flesh and Bone is a prized possession of any wizard which might come across it, as it can be used to enhance spellburn.

When a Wizard spellburns, he may use Zaznaraz's Cage of Flesh and Bone to add the effect. When the cage is first found, roll 1d3+1. These are the attribute points that the orb within the cage holds. The wizard can burn these in addition his own (the wizard must spellburn at least 1 point to enhance the spellburn with the orb), and the regenerates 1 point of spellburn per day.

If the wizard rolls a natural one on his spellburn attempt, in addition to the usual corruption check, he must make a Luck Roll. Failure on the luck roll means that 1 point of the wizards own spellburn is transferred to the orb permanently (determine the attribute that suffers the permanent loss randomly). When this happens, increase the orb's own attribute point total by one permanently.

Anyone Have Recent Info on the Gygax Memorial Fund?

I know I asked this question fairly recently, but as Gary's birthday just passed this weekend and I've seen other blogs and even ENWorld point folks to the Gygax Memorial Fund Site, I was wondering if anyone had more info on it.

The website doesn't look like it's been updated in a year and the two items in it's online shop have been out of stock for months if not longer.

Has the statue been completed yet?

How much money was raised by WotC's 1e reprints?

How much money has the fund raised so far?

The website states the memorial is to be completed in a 3 year period. 3 year period from when?

I'm not trying to be negative at all, but there really should be some updates to show things are moving as planned. Asking for money is all fine and good, but those that are giving should see how it's being used.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Announcing the Winners of July DCC RPG Contest (with a follow up tomorrow)

(HUGE fucking edit! Why I should not post while in pain / on meds)

(Second edit - I THINK it's right now)

The winners of the DCC RPG Adventure Path contest are:

C  B at 21 points

G  F G at 20 points (someone shoot me)

F  E at 19 points

1st Place goes to Dithering Fool you get: print copies of In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer (Mythic Bull Games)AL3 Through the Cotillion of Hours (Purple Duck Games), AN1 The Ruins of Ramat (Brave Halfling) and AN2 The Vile Worm (Brave Halfling)

2nd Place goes to Bannana Bill you get: print copies of AL3 Through the Cotillion of Hours (Purple Duck Games), AN1 The Ruins of Ramat (Brave Halfling) and AN2 The Vile Worm (Brave Halfling)

3rd Place goes to Hex Ox, you get a PDF copy of In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer (Mythic Bull Games) -

Special Mention goes to yves larochelle - Yves, Dak and I will hook you up with the latest issue of Crawl! You kicked things off with an excellent entry.

I need y'all to email me at tenkarsDOTavern and that gmail thing

Our other 4 entrants will also get some loot as will some of the voters. I'll figure that out tomorrow. Time to lie down and abuse myself reading some more Playing at the World. It's painful but good.

(I'm really out of sorts - this better be right this time - I need to sleep at this point I think ;)

I Went to the ER and All I Got Was Slightly Less Pain and Meds

I'm trying to put together the list of the winners for the July DCC RPG Contest. I know who they are, I just need to link the prizes to them, and award all the other prizes and fun stuff.

I'm also enjoying the effects of antibiotics and a pain killer from todays trip to the private ER.

Yay I'm healing! Fuck I'm still in pain!

Is it wrong to want to drink a beer or two in the midst of all this fun?

In any case, I'm working on the post of the contest winners, but I seem to be having difficulty keeping it all in order. Not sure if it's because of the pain or the pain killer... sigh.

Hopefully it all sorts out tonight.

The Game Session That Nearly Wasn't

Last night before the game session my internet went down twice. Not a good sign. And it really isn't my internet, as I'm currently on vacation in the Poconos. My parents went from piss poor DSL to pretty poor DSL recently, and this was the first serious test.

I found that so long as I killed the incoming video feeds on G+ AND kept my father off of Netflix, I only had rare moments of distorted audio.

When we all got in to the session, is was time to level up the four players that could make it to level them to actual classes, as last week had been the funnel.

A wizard, an elf and two warriors, it took a little time to sort it all out. And then there were the usual side treks in the conversation - everything from Land of the Lost to juvenile attempts to decode scramble porn back in the day.

I think it was nearly two hours before we actually got to the game session proper. Even that almost didnt happen, as there was some thought of just wrapping things up as we were short party members.

Luckily, we were set to playtest an upcoming release in Purple Duck's Campaign Elements series of releases. It truly was usable and adaptable to all levels / party sizes. The session went well (and thankfully it was short, as we had already burned much time) and it even was used to easily set up next weeks session - Doom of the Savage Kings.

Well done +Daniel Bishop . I'll give the latest CE a proper review when it is released :)
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