Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Kickstarter to Support D&D Next? Is Next Going OGL With an SRD? Amethyst - Fantasy & Technology Collide

I have a previous version of Amethyst somewhere, purchased back in the 3x days, when I collected RPGs and did not play. It was certainly a pretty release, but nothing in it lit my fires and said: "you need to run this".

I saw the Kickstarter to reboot it for 4e and Pathfinder earlier this month, and again, looked cool but with so many gaming Kickstarters out there, it wasn't on my short list and barely on my radar.

Well, that is until I saw today's update on ENWorld.

Morrus is listing this as a rumor, but it's a rumor with legs, as the Kickstarter for Amethyst lists D&D Next as one of the supported systems. Here's yesterday's Kickstarter update that mentions it.

If D&D Next IS truly OGL with an SRD, that changes the playing field to a large extent and is a huge backtracking from the GSL.

Interesting times indeed...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Awarding Prizes for the Crowdsourced Rumors Entries

I've had limited free time the last few weeks - well, more limited then usual - I've been squeezing in blog time literally in 5 and 10 minutes spurts, which doesn't leave much time to compiling lists.
The initial post is here.

The winners of the $5 RPGNow GCs are:

+Tim Shorts gets my pick as best :)

Random picks are:

Stuart K

Simon J. Hogwood

email me at tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom so I can send you your prizes.

I need to clone myself - really...

Mini Review - Adventurers! - (One Sheet RPG)

Adventurers! from GRAmel is a one-sheet RPG, at least from the player's side. One sheet of paper, 2 sides. The GM rules take up a second, 2-sided sheet. So, maybe 4 pages, 2 sheets is more proper, but who can truly say? ;)

Anyhow, what we have here is an excellent game engine with a convention setting / pick up game type play in mind. Simple enough to hand to the players and have them grasp the rules and mechanics in 5 minutes and literally have them jumping into the game.

The mechanics are based on rolling 2d6 plus stat (ranging from -1 to + 5), 7+ is a success, double ones is a fumble, double sixes is a crit.

3 stats - Strength, Agility and Mind. 10 skills and a flexible power (magic) system.

Oh, and an experience system and character advancement if you want to turn it into campaign play.

The whole system is flexible and concise, which means a strong GM is almost a necessity. In the right hands, this should shine like gold. At a buck fifty ($1.50), the price is certainly right to take the chance.

From the blurb:

Adventurers! is the new ultra-lite RPG from GRAmel. Made for Old School aficionados, it has a Player's Guide and a Game Master's Guide - each in only two pages!

In the Player's Guide you'll find:
+Fast but detailed character creation rules
+Action resolution rules
+Gear and Encumbrance rules
+A slick freeform system for creating magical characters, from traditional wizards to exotic faeries
+Alternative point-buy rules for character creation

In the Game Master's Guide you'll find
+Additional rules for extended tasks, cooperative actions and more
+Hazards: including poisons, diseases and environmental hazards
+Rules to fully customize your heroes
+A bestiary!
+Optional rules
+... and much more!

Bonus Character Sheet included!

Over the next few months GRAmel will publish mini-settings, adventures and supplements for Adventurers!, all of them in only two pages!

Invoking Valhalla - Worthy RPG Kickstarters as of October 25th, 2013

I'm trying out a new series of posts when it comes to Kickstarters. "Invoking Valhalla" is the label I will be using for the projects that are currently live and that I am supporting. Obviously, some may be more worthy than others, and some that I consider worthy, you may not. Ah well, such is life.

I'll also take my stab at how well I expect the Kickstarter to produce if it funds - this is a average of effective communication / ability to produce / how effective the guesstimate to publish is. Average is 2 Tankards. Highest score possible is 4

First up is my first ever "Tavern Pick": Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay - the goal is to produce an "open" city sourcebook that other publishers can reference and use. Kind of a universal city that publishers can plop into their own campaign worlds (obviously GMs can do the same). Written for the LL system (as are the rest of the Small Niche Games releases) it should be suitable for all OSR systems. Personally, I'm currently in at $50, which means Tenkar the Dwarven Bartender will be making an appearance. Funding goal of $500 was hit in $24 hrs and 1st stretch goal of $1,000 was hit on the second day. This one should have legs ;)   4 Tankards - on time or nearly so.

Next we have Adventures in the East Mark - The Red Box. This is an ambitious English translation of the Spanish game "Aventuras en La Marca de Este", a retroclone released in a series of boxed sets. I'm currently in at $30, which is extremely affordable for a boxed RPG with some amazing high quality art - and I'm considering upping to $60 to get the set in full color. Decisions, decisions. My one fear - their math is off and they can't produce at the prices they are betting on. Halfway to funding with half it's funding time left.  2 1/2 Tankards - Ambitious pricing, but the art cost is minimal as it is recycled from the original edition. Still, boxed sets aren't POD, so there are additional logistics involved.

Three Days Until Retirement: A Game About Cops On The Edge is something I find interesting mostly because of my real life profession. My wife is actually pretty psyched about using it as her introduction to roleplaying. Game is written and funding is for art and professional printing. In for $25 at my wife's request ;) Has hit it's funding.  2 Tankards - First project and an ambitious February 2014 shipping date. 

The Lost Lands: Sword of Air Pathfinder & Swords & Wizardry by Frog God Games. The Frog's stuff is never cheap but always looks amazing. When they hit 400 backers (360 as I type this) Swords & Wizardry Complete goes free for everyone in PDF. This is a a full art version of S&W Complete. As for the setting book itself, I'm interested in seeing an old school setting from the Frogs. In at $110 for the S&W version. This has funded and you are pretty much guaranteed this will be published. 3 Tankards, as you are also pretty much guaranteed that it will ship late  ;)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Remember The "Overdue Kickstarter List" I Used to Do Mostly Monthly?

I think I'm going to try something different, as I want to highlight successful projects as well as point out the ones that are crapping out.

Something along the lines of "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" but with a more neutral middle ground than "The Bad" ;)

Actually, "The Good" would probably be looking at current Kickstarters that should appeal to a portion of my readers and bring possibly overlooked projects to their attention.

"The Ugly" would focus on the projects that fall into the Nystulian Abyss.

Maybe "The Collective" for updates on Kickstarters that have funded and haven't fallen into the abyss yet.

I'm open for input...

When Mike Nystul is the Shining Example of "How to Act", Your World is Upside Down

My world is officially upside down. I just used Mike Nystul as the example of how to act when you fuck up a Kickstarter beyond recognition and get caught in your lies and misdirections over on the Myth & Magic Kickstarter comments page.

Mike owned up to his shit. He may still be delusional about how to fix things, but he did admit to being a fuck up. I can respect that. I may not respect him as a "traveling wizard", but he did express a level of ownership of his own shit.

Tom on the other hand...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dwarven Forge Kickstarter Arrives - With 2,000 Coppers ;)

Yep, I opted for the painted pieces from the Dwarven Forge Kickstarter, and boy I'm glad I did. The painting job is awesome. Did I mention it shipped on time? Well, it did!

And look, it came with it's own pile of 2,000 coppers (some might claim it's supposed to be gold, but I say it's copper).

The doors even swing open and closed.

Shame I game 100% online these days, but when I get around to painting some of those Reaper Bones from that other Kickstarter, I can set up some rocking dioramas...

OMG! An Update From "Tom" for the Myth & Magic Player's Guide Kickstarter - 2E Reviled and Undelivered!!!

A huge update from Tom. Amazingly enough, it doesn't address the dozens of comments and posts complaining that apparently NO ONE received any of the Players Guides he claims to have shipped over 3 weeks ago. Yep, he avoids addressing the statements he made in his last update.

I suspect the following is more bullshit. I'll be happy to be proven wrong.

Update #61 - For backers only Oct 23, 2013 
Update on Shipping, Fulfillment, Rules Expansion, GMG 
9 comments  Like 2 likes 
Hi there, 
I wanted to give you a monthly update. 
I made a few decisions. The first: I updated everyone who ordered a softcover Player's Starter Guide. Now, you're getting one (or more) hardcover copies of the actual Player's Guide. That's great news for you, and it actually saved me money. The second: 100 softcover Game Master's Starter Guides are due to arrive at my house Saturday, November 2.  Those of you who have one or more of these softcover GMSGs have not received your order because of that. But, I think the book is a must-have and for those that had the foresight to order it, you deserve it. 
If you fall into this category and want me to send your other books now, but are willing to pony up five bucks in a few weeks, that's fine; but, it may just make more sense to hold off. You're call.  
To my international friends: I mentioned in my September update that many of you pledged much less shipping than what the International Shipping update indicated. Not your fault. It was confusing then. It is confusing now. What I have to do now is email every international backer separately, except for like 12 of you (thanks attackx3 - you got it right ;) We'll get it sorted out. In some cases, the cost to ship exceeds the cost of the books by a wide margin, so I certainly can't front that. I am using m-bags where appropriate to reduce costs, so please know that. 
The Rules Expansion has gotten a lot of commentary. Thanks Speaker, by the way. I hope you enjoy them. Chad Sergesketter just came off a project and is now dedicated to more Myth & Magic, including the GMG (more on that below). He will be doing some BW renditions for the Rules Expansion PDF. 
GMG: Contrary to what you may believe, the GMG Kickstarter will kick in big time. I am going to try to approach that differently and by literally forgetting everything that has transpired between us here and starting fresh. The material is great and the art will be awesome. Having said that, it will take some time, a lot of time (finally, honesty) but I will take you along the journey - something I failed to properly do here. Once all the shipments here are fulfilled, this KS will be behind us and the updates will only focus on the GMG.
As always, I apologize for the crazy-ass-unacceptable-and-unforgiven delays here. The books rock, as you know or soon will know, and it will turn around. I have always sucked at communications, but never at design and I have always and will always deliver. 

UPDATE - OSR Kickstarter - Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (Small Niche Games) - Tavern Pick

UPDATE - The Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay Kickstarter has hit it's $500 goal in a day! Congrats Pete!

Time now to reach for the stretch goals:

Stretch Goal: $1000

A full length city-based adventure for 3-6 characters of 1st-3rd levels entitled Oak Grove Whispers. This adventure will be available for sale on RPGNow at the usual price of $4.95 (PDF) or $7.95 (softcover). The PDF will be free to backers who pledge $20 or more to the Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay.

Stretch Goal: $1500

A special edition hardcover of the Guidebook of the City of Dolmvay that includes the adventure Oak Grove Shadows. This edition will be available for sale through RPGNow in PDF and softcover format. The special edition hardcover and PDF will be free to backers who pledge $50 or more to the Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (this special edition hardcover will replace the standard hardcover that is offered to backers who pledge $50 or more).

(Pete may need to add others ;)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

OSR Kickstarter - Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (Small Niche Games) - Tavern Pick

Let me just say this up front - I'm already in for $50 and I'm toying with the idea of upping that to $100. In any case, there will be a dwarf named "Tenkar" running a tavern in the City of Dolmvay. I've already brought that up with Pete ;)

So, why support the Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay if it's going to be PWYW in PDF? Maybe because you want all of the excellent OSR setting books and adventures that Pete's throwing into the pot.

Or maybe you like the idea of an OSR city that's OGL and can be used by other publishers in their settings and adventures.

Perhaps you've checked out Small Niche Games releases in the past, or maybe you want to kick in because it's simply "cool shit' ;)

The first issue of Brave the Labyrinth Fanzine is PWYW, (edit - Second Issue too)s o you can check out Pete's style of gaming and writing for free.

From the blurb:
Kickstarter: Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay 
The Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay is a Labyrinth Lord™ supplement for the Chronicles of Amherth™ campaign setting that details the people, layout, and government of the City of Dolmvay. The city was specifically designed to give Labyrinth Lords a convenient city setting to place their adventures. 
The Guidebook will be largely Open Game Content and will be offered for free under RPGNow's Pay What You Want Program.. My goal is to provide professional and amateur publishers with a simple to use common city setting to publish their city-based OSR fantasy adventures... 
All money earned from Kickstarter pledges will be put towards artwork and maps (with a bit held out for printing/shipping/handling), so the more backing I receive the prettier the product will look. I expect the look of the product to be a factor when attempting to get other publishers on board, so the more professional it looks, the better.
Are you waiting for an invitation? Here it is... check this out :)

PS - First "Tavern Pick" for a Kickstarter. I think that's a new trend ;)

More WotC "Sneak Peeks" of the Original D&D Boxed Set Reprint Art - What is With The Damn "Flames"?

Is this something I've missed in recent fantasy gaming art? Flames or smoke effects on every piece? If so, it's about as annoying as sitcoms with laugh tracks IMHO.

Anyhow, the first piece, replacing the classic art for Monsters & Treasure isn't to my liking, but does a decent job of evoking the pose of the original - it's the fucking flames that are killing it for me:

WTF happened with the cover of The Underworld and Wilderness Adventures? It went from some winged horse creature that was NOT a Pegasus to a Roc on steroids - with flames of course. There isn't even an attempt to replicate the first cover - the horse had hooves - this eagle from hell has talons.

I really don't get this new art for a classic, iconic reprint. They could have found an artist that could have redone these pieces and still retained an "old school" feel, but it seems that WotC doesn't want to entice old school gamers to pick this up, and new school gamers are going to be disappointed as all hell by the contents. There is no "truth in advertising" left with these covers.

Damn shame.

Bundle of Holding - Nightmare Alley

It's the second October Horrors Collection - Nightmare Alley

Rotworld is the one I know. It uses the classic Pacesetter System (Chill, Sandman and the like). You can get that and 3 other games for a donation of ANY amount.

Beat the average (currently a hair over $14) and you get Cryptworld (for all intents and purposes a Chill clone) and one other game - with more to follow, I am sure.

I did have fun with Chill and the other Pacesetter games back in the day and it is October...

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Swords & Wizardry Complete PDF Goes FREE When the The Lost Lands: Sword of Air Kickstarter Hits 400 Backers

I got the following email this morning from The Frogs regarding The Lost Lands Kickstarter:
When we get to 400 backers, we're going to post the Swords & Wizardry Complete rules pdf (only) for free. Forever. PDF download only. 
Yeah, we're doing that!
+Skeeter Green then clarified the above statement
Just so we are clear: this is not a backer-only gift. This is the Kickstarter pledgers giving a "gift" to rpgers everywhere. This unlocks the pdf for everyone, forever.
Look at that. We can actually Kickstart the Swords & Wizardry Complete rules in PDF to everybody :)

Currently at 320 backers with 25 days to go - this will be happening, and possibly before my "B-Team" plays their first session of the "Southern Reaches of the Wilderlands" using S&W Complete.

Not too shabby ;)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Running Hangout Games as a "Roll20 Minimalist"

I was about to post this to the Southern Reaches of the Wilderlands - Sandbox community page, but I figured it might be interesting to share with all.

I really am a Roll20 Minimalist when I run games.

I don't use tokens, even though I have hundreds of virtual tokens ready to go and could have thousands more using the RPtools token creator app. I have used them in the past, and it usually results in party members' tokens being left 3 rooms behind as someone takes a bio break or just forgets to move their tokens.

I'm not saying there aren't uses for them in the games run by other GMs, nor am I saying that I'd never use them, but I feel they distract a bit from the "Theatre of the Mind" type of gameplay which is how I like to run a game. I want the gameplay to be bigger than the tokens on your screen or the minis on the table.

I do like importing maps from existing adventures and using "fog of war" to reveal to the party what they can see and where they have been. If I need to point out something or confirm a location, I just "ping" it with a click of the pointer. It's much easier and less time consuming than trying to draw the map out freehand based upon GM description or even having the GM sketch it out I've done both.

Handwaving - I do lots of it, especially with combat. It replaces tokens for me.

Handouts are awesome with Roll20 - I love them and enjoy using them. Once or twice a session on average, assuming I have something suitable.

As for character sheets and macros - that's up to the players. I don't think anyone in my regular group uses them, but they could always prove me wrong.

We most definitely do use the online dice feature, but we've never used the 3d Dice feature, which is strange in retrospect, as it's one of the features of Fantasy Grounds 2 that I really enjoyed. I guess the flashy dice really do take a backseat to gameplay.

We use Roll20 within Google+ as an app and have never had an issue, or at least no more issues than one normally has with G+ Hangout sessions.

I'm a huge supporter of Virtual Table Tops and have thrown money at nearly all of them. Roll20 via G+ Hangouts is the closest I've come to a Virtual Table feeling and playing like a dining room table.

Mini Review - DCC #79.5 - Tower of the Black Pearl (DCC RPG)

The Tower of the Black Pearl is a DCC RPG conversion of the 3x adventure of the same name, authored by +Harley Stroh and converted to the DCC RPG by +Daniel Bishop .

How is it? I used the 3x version (converted on the fly) to kick off last week's Swords & Wizardry Campaign, and it f'n rocked. Hard!

In truth, for the DCC RPG I can more readily see this run as a 0-level funnel: the tower makes it's appearance and hopeful adventurers commandeer a skiff or two and swarm the tower, hoping to find the Black Pearl. When they do, hilarity ensues.

I don't want to give away any of the big twists, as they are awesome, but this really would work well as a funnel. Well, I suspect it would. It may be the whole swarm of noobs wipes, but that's what funnels are for, right? ;)

If I have one complaint, it's the map. It's a bit harder to read in this version of the adventure and it's awkwardly divided between two pages. To run it, you'll absolutely need to print it out. To use the map with a VTT, I'd suggest you crib it from the earlier version if you have access to it. Man, I never bitch about the DCC RPG maps...

In any case, DCC or 3x or S&W, the Tower of the Black Pearl is a blast, both for the players and the DM - it's hard to go wrong when both Harley and Daniel have their hands in an adventure.

Announcing Recruitment for the S&W Wilderlands Campaign "B Team"

I kicked off our new Southern Reaches of the Wilderlands Swords & Wizardry Complete sandbox campaign a week ago Saturday and I've gotten a number of inquiries from those looking for an open slot or to be an alternate.

Screw that!

I'm going to run a semi-open session one Friday night night decided upon by the community a month starting November.

Same world. Same campaign. Events in one session will be reflected in the other.

"Team B" players will have priority for open spots in the regular, 2 to 3 sessions a month "A Team" group.

I just put up the Southern Reaches of the Wilderlands - Sandbox  community on G+. It's a private community, so if you want in, ask to join and I'll let you in. This is where players for the Friday Night sessions will be drawn from.

It's barebones right now, but as the week goes on, I'll add in posts for the houserules and such.

Sessions will be run using G+ / Roll20, so if you are one of those that thinks G+ is evil, there's not much I can do to help you at this time ;)

Players will be added to the Obsidian Portal Group after they play their first session.
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