Saturday, October 19, 2013

OpenQuest 2nd Edition - Hardcover in Hand - 99.99% OGL

It funny. Just the other day, I was posting about RQ2 (Chaosium) and today I get the HC of OpenQuest 2 from last year's Indiegogo Campaign.

If I'm going to run a fantasy game outside of the traditional OSR rulesets, this is the game I'd run. It feels like a hybrid of sorts between RQ2 and RQ3, built off of the MRQ OGL rules.

Heck, except for the art and the maps, this sucker is ALL OGL.

Shit - I'm a player in TWO games tonight (if I can pull the timing off), the tomorrow is football and the first part of the Adventures Dark & Deep review. I need more free time and I need it NOW! ;)

WotC "Sneak Peeks" the Original D&D Boxed Set Reprint Art - Why Mess With a Classic?

I know you don't want someone inadvertently buying the reprint and thinking they bought an original, but the new cover DOES NOT reflect on the content of the book in my humble opinion.

They could have done new art reminiscent of the original art, but instead we get... hell, I don't know what it is, but I don't like it...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Beating the Dead Kickstarter - Myth & Magic Player's Guide - 2e Reviled and Undelivered

Time to put a fork into the Myth & Magic Player's Guide. Tom (I hope you don't mind referring to you as "Tom" and not Mr. Ryan" or something, but at this point, I feel we have a relationship) has done the big "fuck you" to those that supported his project.

Well done sir!

You've strung folks along along for over a year with pictures and promises, but in the end you are as empty as you "company's" homepage. Yes, you know how important the customers are when the homepage refers to Tom's second Kickstarter (for the GM's Guide) as "Coming Soon" when it finished funding in October of 2012. If you can't bother to update your own homepage in a fucking year, you are pretty much telescoping your priorities (hint - it ain't anything coming from New Haven Games, unless it's money changing from the company account to Tom's private account).

So, in any case, Tom said he shipped stuff out on September 26th (this is after the books spent time in a storage facility - allegedly):
Hi Everyone, 
Well, I've been a busy bee. On Sunday, I packaged up over 200 parcels (209 to be exact). Mailman came to pick up almost all of them. 
So, there is a 99% chance that your shipment is coming and will arrive within 14 business days, UNLESS a) you're international and didn't follow the updated shipping cost instructions (there are a lot of you and I will be emailing you); or b) you ordered a softcover PSG (which I've ratcheted up to a softcover PG) or c) hahaha! fuck you! fooled you all - 100% get ZERO deliveries! Tom is such a naughty boy!
The first softcover PG printing proof was just wonky. The second one was better and it's approved. I'm awaiting a shipment of them. Tracking says Monday the 30th.  
I'll come back in a few weeks to give you another update on this. 
As for the rules expansion. I've uploaded a new one HERE!!!! 
It includes all the new races and two new classes. I'll keep this in beta for a little while, because some of you are undoubtedly waiting for the books to start really digging in. After we think we have all the comments we need, we'll edit, lay art and release as a finalized rules enhancement. 
Thank you all again for your continued support and patience. I've gotten a lot of more positive emails over the last few weeks. (well, I suspect the ratio has been different over the NEW last few weeks)
Yours in the Game, 
It's a shame too. The rules are decent. The PDF isn't bad (especially when Tom finally removed the damn password protection)

Now, if you read the public comments on the Kickstarter page, one of the supporters has left a small gift for the public. Not sure how long the link will last, but I'd hate to see someone put money in this fucktard's hands for a PDF of a game that died before it arrived. Can you Pirate from a Thief? Almost sounds like class warfare.

Oh, read Redwulf's post over at the New Haven Game Forums - spot on!

WotC, Gygax Memorial Fund and the Definition of "a Sizeable Contribution"

I find the Gygax Memorial Fund to be a really strange bird. You have to go to Facebook to find out about updated for the website:

The site NEVER seems to get updated yet it's still collecting funds. Now they are going to start a "new" fundraiser? The old one never ended.

Case in point, this was posted over at WotC today:
To help honor the memory and work of Gary Gygax, Wizards of the Coast created limited-edition, premium-covered reprints of his original three Dungeons & Dragons tomes (the Monster Manual, Player's Handbook, and Dungeon Master's Guide) and released them throughout the course of the last year. With the purchase of each of these monumental books, a portion of the proceeds was set aside for donation to the Gygax Memorial Fund, established to immortalize the "Father of Roleplaying Games" with a memorial statue in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. 
Wizards of the Coast recently provided the fund with a sizeable contribution to help further the development of the memorial. Both the Gygax Foundation and Wizards of the Coast would like to extend a thank-you to the supporters of the premium reprint initiative so that the memory of the creator of Dungeons & Dragons can live on and touch the lives of future gamers around the world.
How much was donated from each book's sale? 5 bucks? A buck? 2 bits? A wooden nickel?

Just how much is "a sizeable contribution?

What's actually been done with the monies raised thus far?

How much more money needs to be raised to actually get the memorial set up?

How much is needed yearly to maintain it?

How much is needed for the scholarships?

They expect to have this up and running "within 3 years" - when did the clock start running on that?

Actually, are there any details known at all to the public, because the Gygax Memorial site isn't just light on updates, it's also sparse on details.

I'm all for this in theory, just hate the non-profits that want my money put don't really detail how it's going to be used, how much they are looking to raise, and how much is getting eaten by "admin fees and costs".

edit - props to +Dead Greyhawk for this:

Reminder - The Tavern is Only as Good as Its Patrons

I don't have the time to scour the internet for RPG / OSR news like I used to. I'm not going to say work is killing me, but I've lost a large chunk of free time that I used to use researching / wandering the web and forums. It's also the reason the 'zine is currently on hold - I don't have the free time to devote to it at the moment.

Why did it take me a few days to post about the new Adventures in the East Mark Kickstarter? Because I didn't know about it until a reader pointed it out to me. I can't share if I don't know (and for Kickstarters, it also means I can't feed my addiction until you tell me ;)

So I'm relying on y'all to keep me up to date so I can keep you up to date. Or something ;)

You can always send me a message via G+ to +Erik Tenkar . Or you can email me at either tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing or erikATtrubluniteDOTnet. The second one gets pushed to my phone, so if you think it's time sensitive, that's the way to go.

Alright, back to lunch and then back to work.

Thanks again to all :)

New OSR Kickstarter - Adventures in the East Mark - The Red Box

There is some amazing art examples at the Adventures in the East Mark - The Red Box Kickstarter page, apparently from later releases in the series.

Yes, I said series, as this BECMI clone is already on the market in Spain - in Spanish, of course. The Kickstarter is to bring it to the English speaking market.

Oh, did I mention its a boxed set? Rules, adventure, GM screen, dice and a pencil for 30 bucks.

Yep, I'm already in for a box. If nothing else, it gives me more options no matter the system I go with.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Name is "Mike Nystul", and I've Got the Biggest... Balls of Them All!

Earlier today on Facebook

Yesterday on the Axes & Anvils Kickstarter
I'm glad Mike is honest enough to call his latest ideas "schemes". Oh, and he's right. He probably shouldn't share them, as they aren't "unrealistic promises" but further attempts to separate fools from their money.

Still, I will give Mike this much credit - he admits he's a fuck up, that he fucked up and that he can't make due. Oh, and he still posts. And answers posts. If nothing else, that takes a huge set of balls.

Contrast that with Tom from the Myth & Magic Player's Guide Kickstarter - this ass swears he shipped the books 3 weeks ago, promised delivery in "14 business days" which sounds like he's using the Pony Express and now those 14 days have come and gone and not a fucking peep.

Maybe Mike has a right to "The Biggest Balls of them All!" ;)

Ebay Acquisition - RuneQuest 2 - Games Workshop Edition

My favorite RuneQuest edition is 2e, even though the Avalon Hill Edition (RQ3) was my introduction to RuneQuest. I found RQ2 at a con along with Pavis and Big Rubble and it lead to months of sandbox play (even if we didn't call it that back then).

This is the softcover of the RQ 2e rules published by Games Workshop in (I'm going to guess) 80/81?

Just happy to be able to add it to my collection.

I also grabbed a bunch of AD&D 1e / 2e modules on eBay earlier this week. I'll post some of those fine finds tomorrow.

Have a few posts I'm working on (Adventures Dark and Deep review, the listing and prize awarding from last week's "Rumors" post) and an essay for +Andrew Shields I need to work on. Heading to the inlaws during the afternoon on Saturday and bringing my voice recorder along for the ride. Hopefully I can make some essay progress ;)

May have a Kickstarter post later on this evening before heading to bed tonight...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Eeeeviilllllllll!!! Do You Allow Evil PCs in the Campaigns You Run?

I'm not saying PCs can't or won't commit evil acts no matter their stated alignments. It's just been my experience that PCs with an actual evil alignment written on their character sheet are disruptive to group play.

It's kinda like "my PC is evil, so I get to play an asshole".

No, you don't get that "privilege". Least not when I'm running a game.

RPGs are a group experience, and if that experience is to be successful, we all need to be on the same page.

Besides, aren't PCs supposed to be heroes of some sort, even if they might be at the "Dirty Harry" end of the spectrum?

Maybe I'm off target. Maybe "evil" is a legitimate alignment in campaign play. Maybe they can work with good aligned characters.

Am I wrong?

Some of the Excellent Art From the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary

The art in the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary was funded by those that supported the Kickstarter, and it's damn good.

Here's some examples:

There are literally hundreds more pieces of art in here, and for the first time in a long time I plan on using art from a "monster book" in game, even if my game is Swords & Wizardry these days. All I need to do is swap the ACs (as we are using ascending) and we're good to go.

+Joseph Bloch , let me say it again - well done!

Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary - In Hand 5 Months Early!

The Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary was due to ship in March of 2014 - Today is October 16th, 2013 and I have it in my grubby hands.

+Joseph Bloch knows how to run a Kickstarter. For all of the failures, folks like Joe and Sine Nomine Publishing show what can happen when you put your trust in capable hands.

Hey, wasn't there another AD&D 2e "clone" Kickstarter that supposedly shipped over 2 weeks ago? One that was due in August of 2012? Hey Tom! What's your latest excuse?

+Joseph Bloch I'll be putting a few brews back tonight to salute you ;)

Do You Use "Alignment Languages" in Your Campaigns?

One of the least understood aspects of AD&D in my days of youthful gaming (somewhere after Weapon Speed) was Alignment Languages or Alignment Tongues.

Were they actually different languages or more like regional variations of the common tongue?

Could characters discuss tactics in the middle of battle using their alignment tongue and keep the enemy from ever figuring it out?

We quietly handwaved it away and ignored it after a while - it just seemed like so much useless baggage.

Do you use Alignment Tongues in your campaigns? If so, how do you use it?

What is any houserules do you have for it?

If you used it in the past and no longer do, why is that?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Is "The Tome of the Unclean" Troll Lord Games' Latest Tweak to Crowdfunding?

The Trolls have turned to running their own crowd funded projects (Bluffside is their latest) for a bit now. They still use Amazon Payments, but they get to cut Kickstarter out, which I'm sure helps their profit margins (even if it does lose them some visibility).

Now it appears the are doing some crowdfunding via RPGNow, as you get to preorder a book that will be released in dribs and drabs over the course of many months.
Under a sky of blue, lies our vibrant world, where life blossoms in the green spring, or lays in repose in red autumn. But beneath the green, beneath the red, lies the cold, hard ground. Here the roots of things cut the earth, devouring what it holds. Small creatures dig and burrow and worms grow fat on the still dirt. Deeper still lie subterranean worlds, caves, where rock crawls upon spirals of time, creeping from pools of quiet that lap the shores of darkness. And beyond the darkness, beyond all sense, lies a gulf of empty fear, where our demons lurk. 
Born with twisted thought, tainted with stains of malice, these are creatures unkempt. Foul of sight and smell, sunk in the darkness of the time's caverns, the dwell in an abyss, in hell, in the Wretched Plaines of shadow and loss. These are the demons. These are the devils. 
Kim Hartsfield, author of the wildly popular, Classic Monsters (the poor man's Tome of Horrors Complete - well done and a decent price), returns to bring us Tome of the Unclean. Revisiting those demons and devils of the earlier publications you'll find the Demogorgan, Asmodeous, Amon, Mammoth and more in this, the next volume of monsters for your Castles & Crusades game! 
IN THIS INSTALLMENT: This first installment contains 3 Monsters! 
Every 2-3 weeks we are going to update your copy of Tomb of the Unclean with new monsters, building the book as we go. (at the rate of a monster a week, say 2 pages per monster, we are looking at a year before this completes - but they get my money up front - do I even get credit towards buying a physical copy?)
Tome of the Unclean, once complete, will contain close to 100+ pages (how can one be "close to 100+ pages?" shouldn't it be "close to 100 pages?") of demons and devils, revisiting old ones and introducing new ones. The book is slated for release in 2014! It will have a cover charge of $19.99 and the digital will go on sale at $14.99. Order today and you pay only $9.99!
So, basically I can give you 10 bucks up front for bits and pieces over a year, or I can wait until it's done and pay 15 bucks. Or wait until it's nearly done and pay $10? maybe?

It has to be better then the serial Adventure "Beneath the Dome". Which, by the way, has some really fucked up pricing. The four individual pieces were $2.99 each, but the subscription for all four was $9.99. Yet i you buy the completed adventure, it's $6.99. Apparently, the cheaper version is the "cohesive" version - so you were screwed if you subscribed - paid more, got a poorer package.

Bundle of Holding - October Horrors: Collection 1 of 3

Not as exciting to me as bundles, but I'll probably still get it (just very unsure what I'll actually use).
You can get our core collection of four DRM-free .PDFs -- Don't Rest Your Head, Dread, Kingdom of Nothing, and Murderous Ghosts -- a US$37 value -- for a price you set yourself. Pay more than the current average to get four bonus titles, including D. Vincent Baker's brand-new version of Murderous Ghosts, appearing in the Bundle of Nerves for the first time anywhere: Northampton State Hospital. And we'll be adding more bonus titles to the Bundle of Nerves as the week goes on. (Oh boy, will we be adding bonuses.) If you buy now, you'll receive them automatically on your download page. Never worry about missing a book!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Some RPG Related Kickstarters That Deserve a Look - No, I Really Mean It!

Hey, I admit it. I'm a fucking Kickstarter addict. Sometimes I get burned by that "rock of crack" that winds up being soap, or even worse, the dealer takes my money and does the dip.

Doesn't matter. I keep coming back for more.

Today, I present some of the latest gamer Kickstarter Crack:

The Dice Vault: A Handcrafted Wooden Case for Gaming Dice

Do I need this shit? No. Is it cool as fuck? Yes. Will I take the plunge? Need to judge wife agro first...

Encounter Dice - The NPC Pack - Adventure in Full Colour

Shit! I have absolutely no use for these, but they look so cool I will need to invent a use for them!

Three Days Until Retirement: A Game About Cops On The Edge

I was in for a PDF copy, until I played the attached video as I worked on this post. My wife insisted she wanted a print copy. Yes, my WIFE is interested in a RPG. I was just in it for the "cop" aspect. She wants it to be her portal into the world of RPGs. Sorry Stuart, but she just set an awfully high bar for you ;)

Why Our Obsidian Portal Swords & Wizardry / Wilderlands Campaign Is "Friends" Only Viewing

I've been asked why our new Swords & Wizardry / Wilderlands campaign page over at Obsidian Portal isn't open for public viewing but is limited to those that have "friended" me (and their friends I do believe).

Simply put, I'd love to make it public, but as I'm using some Wilderlands stuff "as is" and have stuff up on the OP page for the players to reference (just like playing at a regular tabletop) I don't feel right making the page public (unless the fine folks at Judges Guild tell me otherwise).

So, "friends" only at this point.

If you want to follow along, I'm "trublunite" over at Obsidian Portal. Friend me and I'll friend you back.

Once you are "friended", the link for the campaign is:


Sure, it's a work in progress - we just kicked off last saturday ;)

(Over the next few days I'll work out how we will invite "quest players" for sessions and adding those folks to the campaign page at Obsidian Portal)

Sometimes All You Need is a Little Luck - Using "Luck" in Swords & Wizardry

I like to tinker.

Very few RPG rulesets survive intact before the first session of a new campaign when placed in my hands, and Swords & Wizardry Complete is no different.

I think the Luck house rule, inspired by the DCC RPG, worked better in game then I could have ever hoped. Actually, it went so well, one of my players is considering using the same house rule, adjusted for his upcoming LotFP Weird Fantasy game. There is no greater flattery in gaming than having a creation of yours, no matter how big or small, used by another.

Anyhow, here's the latest revision to the Luck Rules, as used in my S&W Complete / Wilderlands Campaign that kicked of this past Saturday:

- Luck - 
     All characters start with 5 points of luck, adjusted as follows -
           Thieves + 2
           Clerics + 1
           Monks + 1
           Halflings + 2 (race and class bonuses are cumulative)

     Once per encounter, a player  can decide to burn luck after rolling a die or after a die roll that would effect him / her (NPC or monster attack / damage / surprise / etc)

         1 point spent equals + 2 to the roll

         2 points spent equals a reroll

         Halflings can spend their "once an encounter" luck ability on another PC at twice the                    stated cost - 2 points or 4 points

     At the end of each session players get back some luck, but in no case more than they started the campaign with:

           Thieves get back 1d4
           Clerics / Monks get back 1d3
           All other classes get back 1d2
           Halflings add + 2 to the roll
           (multi-class characters use the best class to determine the size of the die)

Note: I'm considering allowing the "burning" of luck - a permanent loss of luck (probably 1d3 points) to avoid death - the PC would instead be a "zero" HP

Certain adventures - large quests at the behest of a god or the like, may result in the permanent increase of a character's Luck total by 1d2 points. These quests would obviously be rare and dangerous.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hooks, Rumors and Seeds - Letting the Party Choose the Next Adventure

I'm using Obsidian Portal for the campaign updates and such for the Swords & Wizardry Wilderlands Campaign that kicked off yesterday. I used the crowdsourced contact table whose entries were submitted by this blog's community, and it went off EXTREMELY well. It's a great resource.

I need to sort out the rumors that were submitted on the later post, and award prizes as appropriate. Hopefully tomorrow.

Now, I've tossed three figurative balls at my party, for them decide on the direction for the next session. I have them up on the OP page, but I'm going to copy them below for feedback (each leads to a classic DCC adventure that should last about a session - I'm probably going to hold off on the longer adventurers until the party is all 2nd level or higher):
Posting at Tenkar’s Tavern- “The Hamlet of Barrowdown is in need of Heroes! Please Help! Worms with faces are destroying our crops and have poisoned our well! Time is running out! Will pay in gold and all rights to loot. See bartender for further details.” 
Rumor – Lower sections of Sacred Rock have been sinking. Sewers are backing up with heavy rain and high tide combinations. May have something to do with the “old mages guild”. (previously looted many times over) 
Posting at Town Center – “Looking for volunteers to recover religious relics. Discretion required. Volunteer are nearest church (we are an equal worshipper employer)”
Yeah, I'm making The Tavern a location in the Souther Reaches of the Wilderlands ;)

(for those that want to follow the Obsidian Portal Page for this campaign, you'll need to send me a "friend request" from within Obsidian Portal - just send it to "trublunite" and I'll add you to the friends list so you can follow along)

Sandboxing With a VTT - Planning In Between Sessions

I'm excited to return to sandbox play with my gaming group. It's fun for them and it's fun for me AND it keeps me on my toes. I do expect to keep the game moving via G+, emails and Obsidian Portal in between game sessions, as it will allow me (and them) to be on the same page with the start of each session.

Our next session of the S&W Wilderlands Campaign is in 2 weeks, and between now and then I want to feed my players some plot hooks and rumors and then get a feel for where they want to go. I can ready three or four adventure and let them decide at 915 on a Saturday night and hope for the best, or I can give them some leads and see which ones they want to follow up on. Basically, putting the majority of my effort into the directions the party wants to go in.

Do you, as a DM, run minor events / campaign maintenance in between sessions, or do you try to get everything accomplish "in session"? Why or why not?

Recap of Last Night's "Tower of the Black Pearl" Swords & Wizardry Session

No, I didn't run the DCC RPG version of the Tower of the Black Pearl by +Harley Stroh last night - I ran the 3x version from DCC #29, converted on the fly for Swords & Wizardry Complete.

In summary - it was a blast!

Spoiler Alert!

Spoiler Alert!

What follows is loose recap of the night's events. I'll be skipping over much, as I doubt very many want a play by play of the events. Still, if you plan on being a player in the adventure at some point, you probably shouldn't read what follows. I do not know how close the DCC RPG version follows the older 3x version, but I suspect they are fairly close.

The party got hired by a merchant to recover The Black Pearl from a tower 5 miles off shore tat is only accessible one night every 10 years. Needing a job, and with a decent amount of cash being offered, they accept the job.

Upon arriving, they notice there is already a boat moored to the tower. They investigate the boat, bumping their's against it, waking pirates up above in the tower. The party thief takes a crossbow bolt immediately taking him to zero HP. The party mage moves to stabilize him (with no cleric in the party last night, I allowed the thief to return to 1HP after the combat thanks to the mage's action). Next round, a sleep spell followed, taking out the three pirates. The mage then attempted to charm on of the pirates after the other two were dispatched. The pirate was too drunk to follow the party, although he did find the eleven mage extremely attractive. Yet another reason we don't do "Hangouts on Air" ;)

I had decided to add a Potion of Extra Healing to the loot of the first encounter once I realized the party was going to be healer-less. I'm glad I did.

With some experimentation, the party figured out much of the lore of The Candle Room. They even restored six dead heroes to life. A good deed, even if it's effects were to be short lived - literally.

Some good critical thinking enabled the party some significant bonuses to their remove trap rolls - the traps in the Tower of the Black Pearl are lethal as all hell, and perhaps excessive for a 1st level party (especially with the small chance to succeed that a 1st level S&W character gets). The water room trap nearly nailed them before the party dwarf removed a door hinge with a crowbar and a natural 20.

The portals were a nice touch. They really made the party think and experiment. Fun stuff to say the least.

The Ferryman was immediately recognized from real world mythology, and the players acted appropriately - I suspect I would have fucked this part up if I had been a player in the session and not the DM.

The combat that presented itself worked well. I'm actually very happy how my Luck Houserule played out - it added excitement without being game breaking. When the reroll succeeded, there was much rejoicing, and when it failed the was much laughter - win win if you ask me.

As for the final scene? The found the Black Pearl and revovered it - leading to a mad rush to the top of the tower and their skiff as the tower flooded behind them. When the Candle Room was extinguished, I told them it was similar to the scene in Star Wars when Alderan was destroyed - there was "a disturbance in the Force".

The party members got to roll 1d4 and add it to their permanent HP total. They also found out upon returning to shore that some of the leaders of the Thieves Guild had apparently died of food poisoning, the local Mage's Guild burned down, town leaders were missing and other assorted goodies. I did limit the effect to a 250 mile radius, as this is the Wilderlands and it's a mighty big world. Still, evil is not stupid, and the effects of the missing heroes will be felt immediately.

There was excitement in the group that I hadn't sensed for a while. General excitement, not just the rush that hangs on the latest crit. It was fun and the time flew by in a mad rush. There is something to be said for the simpler RPG systems - they easily find their way into the background and let the play take over.

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