Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Do It Yourself Kickstarter - Build Your Own "RPG Gaming Table"

I remember seeing at least one prior RPG Table Kickstarter which had some major drawbacks -

Price, which was significant and delivery, which was within a certain driving distance from the project creator's home. Yep, personalized delivery as you were getting a piece of furniture.

With this project, you are getting PLANS to build your own RPG Gaming Table, which keeps the price down and makes delivery a breeze. You just need some skills, tools and a place to build it. Well, or hire someone to build it.

Still will be a pain to store when not in use, but the concept is pretty cool.

An Interesting Yet Confusing Kickstarter - Raiders of R’lyeh: Horror Adventure RPG and Mythos Sandbox!

From what I can understand, Raiders of R’lyeh: Horror Adventure RPG and Mythos Sandbox is built off of the Mongoose RuneQuest Rules, which are OGL. Which means, this project shares a gaming lineage and probably high compatibility with Call of Cthulhu. Not that they claim compatibility, as that would probably require a license

That much I can follow. Here's where it gets confusing -

There is a "Black and White" version of the rules that comes in a single PDF (and at certain pledge levels as a Print version, not just PDF) and a color version that splits the PDF into GM and Players books.
The PRINT EDITION (RAIDERS OF R’LYEH IN GOTHIC BLACK & WHITE) is designed for players who want ALL of the rules in one convenient & beautiful tome. NEW: NOW UPGRADED TO A HARDCOVER WITH SMYTH SEWN BINDING.
But it's NOT all of the rules. They say so themselves:

Coming in at about 256 pages, it's a good size, but has a significantly smaller page count than the combined player's guide (140 pages) and GM guide (240 pages). I doubt they added 100+ pages of art to the color version. Admittedly, there could be some overlap, but it isn't explained if that is so. The color version is only in PDF, no print option.

Now, they offer the color version as a split of the core rules so players and GMs can have access to what is applicable to them, but without a print option for the color PDFs, the reality is, at the game table, 90% of folks will opt for the printed version. A split of the rules in B&W would have been a nice option.

Also, it appears they've hit stretch goals while still waiting to hit their funding goal (they will fund before it ends in 3 days).

In any case, I have three days to decide wether or not to pull the trigger on this one. I'm on the fence on this, as there seems to be some confusion as to the print version being a complete set of the rules or not.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Secret Fire - The Way of the Tree, Shadow & Flame (A Delivered Kickstarter)

The book is NOT that blurry in real life ;)
Look what I found waiting for me when I got home from work today - The Secret Fire - The Way of the Tree, Shadow & Flame.

Estimated to ship in August, it arrived today - not even a month past estimate. Hell, that's practically early in the Kickstarter world ;)

The layout is clean and very readable, although it may take a while before I find the free timne to read it.

Fun times :)

No Longer a Wayward Kickstarter - Reaper Bones are Coming "Dungeon Crusade"!

I've got to hand it to Rodger. I slammed his Kickstarter page pretty hard. Dungeon Crusade is a cool concept, but the initial presentation was severely lacking.

Rodger plans to relaunch the Kickstarter, and this time it will include Reaper Bones Miniatures. That's fricking cool as all hell.

Here's from the latest update:
Hello all, 
BREAKING NEWS!!! I just got a call from Ed Puhg, President of Reaper Miniatures. There WILL be Reaper Miniatures BONES in Dungeon Crusade! Upon news of this, Dungeon Crusade may be coming down for a relaunch with a much BETTER presentation, reward levels, and a better overall look to this kickstarter.  Ed from Reaper Miniatures was INCREDIBLY nice, and wants to help make Dungeon Crusade the best it can be. We discussed what miniatures would be in the base game. 
       So here's what I'm thinking: take down this kickstarter, re-launch with a MUCH BETTER presentation, no Blair Witch camera effect, reward levels in the form of Reaper Miniatures exclusive to the kickstarter crowd. I've learned a lot in the past week. I'm going to offer 2 versions of Dungeon Crusade. There will be 1000 copies of the Deluxe edition, packed with Reaper miniatures BONES, as you saw in the one video in the updates. Then a second "retro" edition that would have the cardboard miniatures, and a retro art work for the box. I will keep that $99 price tag for the retro edition, nothing should change with that. As for the deluxe edition with the reaper bones, that's what we have to figure out, price point.  The goal will also change to reflect that Reaper's Bones will be included now. I'll post more details, a list and pix of what miniatures will be in Dungeon Crusade as I speak with Reaper. Panda games are handing the printing and boxing of Dungeon Crusade.  I feel VERY confident when Dungeon Crusade relaunches, it will be a night and day difference, and all for the better. Have a great day guys, talk to you soon...Rodger :) 
Who says you can't fix what was broken?

I wish Rodger lots of success with the relaunch of Dungeon Crusade. Now, it would be really cool if there were some "print and play" expansions that use minis from the Reaper Bones Kickstarter ;)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tip Toe Through the Tunnels and Avoid the Trolls...

I really have no idea if I'll be running DCC (and finally wrapping up Doom of the Savage Kings) or some Tunnels & Trolls - all depends on the turnout we get for Saturday Night's Hangout Session.

In the meantime I'm thinking of some house rules...

I'm figuring classic fantasy races only. Well, classic for T&T, including fairies and leprechauns. I see hobbits are actually called "hobbits". Guess FBI didnt fear the Tolkien Estate as much as TSR did.

Humans get to roll 2 extra d6 at the end of generating their stats, and can swap them with any other dice rolled. As I'll be using Triples Are Rolled Over, it may allow the humans to overcome some of the stat advantages the demihumans have.

I've going to allow creative use of the Saving Rolls, especially for the rogues. I was thinking of using the optional skills from the back of 5.5 rules but they seem to add move numbers tracking then they are worth, at least for now.

Full "death spiral" for the monsters (both in combat dice and adds) and Spite Damage. I'll be using the special attacks based on Spite from 7e for some of the more special monsters. I've done enough of them on the blog to have some decently new things to throw at the party.

Definitely using the 5x expo and leveling rules as a base and not the 7x rules. Both the 7e and 7.5e expo and level rules seem broken to me. I understand why they are as they are, but they just dont feel right (I'm interested in seeing the dT&T leveling rules).

That's probably the extent of the house rules, which as house rules go aren't all that much ;)

The Classic "Temple of Elemental Evil" for FREE at D&D Classics (AD&D)

Yep, Temple of Elemental Evil is FREE at the D&D Classics web store until September 28th.

How good are the scans? Damn if I know, as I can't get the fucker to download ;)  Still, the price is right, and once it's in my online collection I can always download it later - assuming WotC doesn't pull all of it's products like it did in the past...

Some Thoughts on Hit Points and Why the Resource Differs for PCs and Their Adversaries

I've been thinking a bit about Tunnels & Trolls recently. Specifically the "death spiral" that applies to monsters in 5e (I believe it no longer applies in 7e, but as this is being written on my lunch hour, I'll have to verify that later).

Simply put, monsters in T&T do damage based upon their Monster Rating. MR determines the number of d6 they roll for damage, and half of the CURRENT MR is added to the roll as Combat Adds. When a monster takes damage in 5e, it becomes less effective. As damage in T&T is applied to one side or the other (high total minus lower total equals damage to the losing side), as the MR of the monster decreases, it's opportunity to do damage drops quickly. Therefore, "Death Spiral".

Initially, I didn't like the rule, as D&D doesn't have a similar one. It just seemed foreign to my sensibilities.

Now I realize it's damn near genius. Monsters are, for the most part, just there for a single encounter. Rinse and repeat. PCs get whittled down - monsters get beat down.

You see, hit points or health or whatever you want to call it is different for PCs than it is for monsters. PCs need to survive multiple encounters - a monster, one or done.

Minions in 4e come to mind - it's probably the one think introduced with 4e that I like.

Ah well, back to the grindstone...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Razor Coast - FINALLY in Hand!

This would have been in the list of things to review that was voted on if only it had shipped on time.

It is a beauty to behold. Sure, the pages have the annoying artwork behind the text, but at least it looks readable.

I had gotten about a 1/4 of the way through the PDF earlier this summer before deciding to wait on my dead tree copy to arrive. Looks like I'll be waiting a bit longer with the review pile I have in hand already ;)

When is "Talk Like a Pirate Day"?

Thinking of Using Tunnels & Trolls to Convert The Wife to "The Dark Side" :)

I mentioned earlier this week that I plan to use Tunnels & Trolls as my back up game to run when our weekly game night runs a bit short on players. It's a handy system to balance on the fly, and so long as you keep the "death spiral" for monsters as a rule, combats shouldn't drag out overly long.

I'm also thinking of running a short "one on one" session with my wife. Again, not as overwhelming as D&D and it's immediate siblings, just uses d6s and again, easier to balance on the fly.

I did run a "one on one" session for her a few years back using the 7.5e rules, but I think I'll have her roll a 5.5e rogue this time around.

Not sure when I'll get around to running it for my wife, but the thought of it makes me smile :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Wayward Kickstarter - How NOT to Present Your Kickstarter - Dungeon Crusade (Solo Board Game)

First things first - a big thanks to +James Aulds for pointing out Dungeon Crusade - it is destined to be a classic. Maybe not in the manner the creator had hoped, but a classic Kickstarter none the less.

Where shall I start?

Maybe the 22 minute long motion sickness inducing video that tops of the project's Kickstarter page. Simple rule of thumb - any video longer than 3 minutes is going to drop viewers faster than a 9th level fighter slicing through a pack of kobolds. 22 minutes means you just don't give a shit about your potential customers. If you can't say what you need in 2 minutes, you'll never be able to say it in 22. Well, that and cut down on the camera motion. If I want motion sickness, I'll get on a boat.

Looking to raise 80 grand? How about using proper grammar in the very first image we see of your prospective product:

Remember, when it comes to crowd-funding, you are selling yourself as much as you are your product. If you come off as sloppy on your Kickstarter page, what can we expect from what you are trying to sell?

Hey, but wait! There's more sloppiness in the first paragraph:

Alright, you can have a full paragraph, but let me warn you ahead of time, it will trip you up. Hell, maybe it's a solo adventure of it's very own.

So yeah. Decent concept, horrible presentation.

Over / under? About 6 feet.

Sometimes I Forget I Own the Wilderlands Boxed Set

As I begin my delving into the City-State of the Sea Kings, it reminds me that I own the Wilderlands of High Fantasy boxed set. Which is cool, but I wish I owned the Judges Guild originals.

Ah, for a time machine. I remember my trips to the Complete Strategist in the late 80s and early 90s, where pretty much every Judges Guild product was on sale for original cover price - it lined the floor on the left side of the left isle. To my teenage eyes, it looked cheap and poorly put together compared to the TSR (and Role Aids) releases. To know then what I know now.

Sure, I've picked up some of the releases in PDF over the years, but original Wilderlands releases? I'm sadly lacking. I'll need to fix that at some point in the future.

The maps in the boxed set surely do rock :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

I Think the Backup Game for the "Low Turn-Out" Game Nights Will Be...

Tunnels & Trolls.

The answer was kinda staring me in the face. It's an extremely easy system to adjust on the fly based on part numbers / power.

The 5e rules have a free PDF that covers a decent spread of levels, including spells. And it kinda makes sense to use T&T, as I have 10 copies for the deluxe Tunnels & Trolls arriving whenever the Kickstarter finally ships - enough for the group and then some (yes, there will be a blog giveaway at some point).

Non-solo T&T adventures are rarer then for most system, but I do have access to a few, and there are more online I can grab in PDF.

I still want to run my SWN / Starships & Spacemen mashup at some point too. Too many games, so little time...

Dice - Often Imitated, Never Replicated

The one thing I miss about gaming at a real, as aside from a virtual table, is the dice.

Don't get me wrong, virtual dice can be fun too, and the ability to game in your underwear is hard to beat - it's just that the physical act of rolling dice with all of the sights and sounds can't be replicated. Imitated maybe, but not replicated.

Well, that and the cat can't dream about how she's gonna knock your virtual dice around.

I admit to having a dice fetish of sorts. At least once a year I buy a pound of dice, or a 100 die grab bag and see what I get.

Do you too have a dice fetish? ;)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Review - City-State of the Sea Kings - Part the First - Looks Good, Easy to Read (Judges Guild Wilderlands)

You know how I bitch and moan about some gaming books having layout that simply distracts from the words on the page, thereby making it difficult to read (Numenera, I'm talking to you)? City-State of the Sea Kings (henceforth referred to as CSotSK) does not suffer from that distraction. Simple layout, easy to read with black and white art, CSotSK has the proper "old school" feel for a work that is the first in a line to bring the Wilderlands back into print.

That doesn't mean it's all perfect. I'm glad the grey highlighting was explained by the author as a comment to a previous blogpost (it's there to highlight GM information) it would probably have been better served using a lighter gray for the highlighting. If you, like me, tend to read in poor lighting so as to not keep the significant other awake, the darkness of the highlighting can make things a tad difficult at times. Sure, I could read in better lighting - but that would cause other, non-gaming, issues ;)

The map (which is two sided) is excellent. I comes attached to the inner cover with a small bit of a rubber cement like glue. No stains to the map or the books itself.

I expected CSotSK to start out with detailed hex listed by numbers, but I was pleasantly surprised that it starts with the important settlements on the Isle of the Blest (which is the Isle this book covers). It lists them by hex number, but it isn't ordered by hex number. Having the population centers grouped together works well, especially when one is trying to read the material. I guess I'm used to sandbox styled products that list everything by order of hex number, which isn't easiest way to read material (although it does make for easy look up).

Currently, I'm at the beginning of the book, just reading about the settlements. I really want to skip ahead - I always do it seems, but if I'm going to do this right I need to go in order.

Something Was Left Off of the Review Pile List Voting... Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle for D&D Next... I Suspect It's NOT a Loss

As I've said on earlier posts, my review pile is much larger than my free time will ever allow me to dig through it.

That being said, Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle probably should have been included on the list of games to be voted on. That was an oversight, but probably not a loss.

My experience with D&D Next is mixed - it brought the core members of our gaming group together, and then nearly destroyed the same when the first Friends & Family update to the Beta (or at least, the first update AFTER we were accepted) made the game far more "wonky" and less playable then any of us desired to play. Yes, most of us moved on to ACKS, AD&D/OSRIC and now DCC as a group, but the final taste that D&D Next left with us was not a good one.

Now, after pretty much ignoring the Beta updates (both regular and Friends & Family) as my interest was no longer there, I thought the first "print" version of the Beta rules would be a good place to take a new look with fresh eyes.

It appears to me to be some hybrid of AD&D 2e / D&D 3.5 and the kitchen sink thrown into fill in the gaps. Alright, maybe not so bad as to deserve the kitchen sink line, but it doesn't seem to really do anything that hasn't already been done by a previous D&D rules system.

As for Dragonspear Castle the adventure? It's a campaign railroad, but so is every adventure path. It's not poorly written, but doesn't excite me - at least what I've read thus far. Probably won't read further either.

I'm kinda glad I forgot to include it in the voting - I might have actually have had to read this in full ;)

How Often Does Your Group Game?

My RPG group of friends generally plays every Saturday Night via G+ / Roll20, but recently we've had some cancelled nights - the most recent being last night, when I canceled the session due to events on my end.

Still, attempting to get 30 to 50 y/o somethings together on a weekly basis, in face or virtually, is set up for failure. We are no longer college students with responsibilities we can blow off - we now have "adult" responsibilities - it sucks ;)

So, I'm thinking to change things around a bit. I'll run 2 DCC sessions a month, and we'll leave the other Saturday nights open for open gaming - I could run a side game, one of the others could try running something, maybe a game or two of Drinking Quest.

Open game nights would be just that - no harm, no foul if you can't make it (which is why I was asking about RPGs suitable for small groups and easily picked up). It might relieve some of the coordination stress (although admittedly, emergencies come up, as I well know) of folks blocking out every Saturday Night on their calendar.

So, how often does your group get together? Do you use something like "open game nights" to break things up?

And the Random Winners of the "Pick the Top of the Review Pile Are...

I'm awarding 3 $5 RPGNow Gift Certs to random readers of the blog that voted for items for the top of the review pile. The lucky folks are:

Peter V



I'm also awarding 1 $5 RPGNow Gift Cert to a random voter on the G+:

+Joshua Ramsey

I need the above to email me at tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom so i can send the prizes.

Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition