Saturday, March 8, 2014

Blue Dungeon Tiles - A Kickstarter for a Modular Gaming Mat / Map / Tiles

When i see a Kickstarter like this - Blue Dungeon Tiles - I regret the fact that I lack a face to face group, as this would be awesome. Inexpensive compared to set piece such as dungeon wall, it's also hard to discount the easy of storage and carrying. I have Dwarven Forge stuff from their last Kickstarter, and the stuff is awesome, but really, I'd have to be running the session from home for me to break out the pieces.

I'm actually surprised no one thought of doing this before. Wet, dry and permanent marker erasable tiles. Pretty sweet.

I may just have to kick in for the possibility of finding a local OSR styled group at some point, or even for use at a con.

Who am I kidding? 30 bucks for the basic set? I'm in...

Best Laid Plans of Mice and Cats

Last Sunday I was totally psyched. I had stuff in the review pile ready to be reviewed and even thought I could get to as many as TWO a day at times. Which was a great plan until Monday struck at work. Overtime every day but Wednesday (when I have 'Uncle Duty" in the later afternoon.)

Good for the wallet, not so good for reading and posting.

Today has been "clean out the pantry and deal with the mice mess". I'm going to try and steal some reading time even if my wife kills me. Oh, and prep for renovations on monday ;)

Oh, and have already spent a chunk of the overtime earned earlier this week on... mouse resistant storage containers that are air tight. Thank you Amazon for allowing me to spend the money that isn't yet in my paycheck without even leaving my home.

FLAILSNAILS - Why I Don't "Flail my Snail" ;)

I play with some fairly frequent "Flailsnailers", but I myself, have never done such.

I do see the appeal, even if it holds little for me.

See, if you have limited game time available to use and a steady group, there is little need for Flailsnailing.

As a DM, my group and myself vet any guest players into our sessions. As the campaigns we play have core sets or characters, I am likely to review any new PC coming in to see how well they fit and if any adjustments are needed - the inherit occasional FS wackiness is generally not an added feature I'm looking for (that being said, I can see it fit well into certain styles of campaigns).

As a player, I don't have the free time to bounce from game to game, system to system. My time to play is limited and scheduled well in advance, much like my DMing

Now, without a steady group and an abundance of free time, I can certainly see the appeal of Flailing One's Snail, as it were.

I can also see how it would work well as an underlining conversion set of rules for an OSR styles online con, where players could bring their own characters to the game and not use a pregen. There certainly is a lot to say for that use.

Ah well, just some random thoughts...

Friday, March 7, 2014

Of Mice and Men and Living Dungeon Trappings

So, I was sitting at my desk trying to brainstorm a post for the blog (it wasn't coming easy - today was a nearly a 14 hour work day) when I heard my wife scream.

Yep, there was a mouse in the kitchen.

I fail to understand how a mouse can run across the top of the stove when I have a cat that is a proven hunter in the house.

Still, there is a post hidden behind that mouse, as it's gotten me thinking about "dungeon trappings", the things that bring dungeons to life (as opposed to "dungeon traps", designed to remove life in dungeons).

Sure, we can always have 9 giant rats in a room waiting for the PCs to slaughter them for a pile of coppers, but where are the mice, the insects, the spiders and the dust bunnies. We'll mention the color of the walls and the stone cut of the floors, but what about the life that scampers about?

Shit, talking about scampering, i guess I'll have to put out some traps myself to remove some of the "extra life" roaming around The Tavern's kitchen.

You know it's been a long, cold winter when the mice are willing and able to brave the cats...

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Almost Ready to Go Big - Big Maps, That Is

I'm thinking of leaving the mini grid map book to work to doodle during meal and use the larger book for doodling at home. Figured I'd grab a hex book of paper while I was at it, but don't expect to be filling in such a large hex sheet for a bit - still need to work on the smaller hex sheets first.

I haven't had the time (or the energy) to do much mapping this work week even if I find it to be a great tool for de-stressing. Overtime 3 days out of 4 (Wednesday afternoon I have "Uncle Duty") so far, and probably 4 out of 5 days once I finally sign out tomorrow.

Yep, the hits just keep on coming ;)

In any case, I certainly plan on getting some quality mapping time in this weekend...

Reddit "Flash Mob" at The Tavern Today

Apparently the following post: http://www.tenkarstavern.com/2013/06/mike-nystul-fiscally-incompetent-washes.html got linked in a discussion thread of the ass who burned a bunch of books he didn't ship to backers: Kickstarter Fail: Artist Raises $51K to Publish Books, Burns Them in Alley

Reddit drives amazing traffic. Sadly, I suspect its not quality traffic. Still, it's a fun ride and I've already hit twice my previous high for daily traffic and there's still 3 1/2 hours to go.

Go figure ;)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Stop the Presses - I've Agreed to Participate on a Kickstarter Project

Holy shit Batman!

Yep, I've agreed to participate on a Kickstarter project in a limited scope.

The creator of the project has Kickstarted in the past and has done it well. No complaints from my end and I've supported the previous Kickstarters - they never made "the list".

More details as the project gets closer to going live, but it is RPG related.

Gygax's Last RPG - Lejendary Adventures

Lejendary Adventures is the game I always wanted to play. I ordered the signed books when they originally came out, and never read them straight through, as I no longer seemed to be fluent in High Gygaxian. Didn't stop me from gathering another set of the books (unsigned) although all are currently in storage.

At some point, I realized that Troll lord Games had published a sized down and edited version of the rules in a boxed set, and I picked it up. Well, I picked it up three times apparently. One box is a full set with dice, one set has no dice, and one set only has one booklet in it, so the rest of it must be boxed away somewhere. I may need to take my son up on his offer and have him catalogue my gaming collection. Even the shake down he'll attempt will save me money in the long run.

At least the two extra boxes will be finding homes in my gaming group. Who knows, we may actually play it at some point ;)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Castles & Crusades - The Other "White Box"

I had forgotten I had the Castles & Crusades Collector's Edition, otherwise known as the C&C White Box.

I guess I should do a "White Box Comparison" post or series of posts at some point. Original Dungeons & Dragons, Swords & Wizardry White Box, Delving Deeper and the Castles & Crusades Collector's Edition.

It is kinda neat with just the 4 core classes, 10 levels and 4 races. A whole game in just one box.

Amateur Night at the Tavern - My Thoughts are Bigger than the Paper

Yep, stairs in the center and three open passageways of the paper.

I am certainly not ready for ink and it's "once and done" rules ;)

I'm not sure how to make the lower right room stand out more, short of cutting it by half a hex to the south and the west sides. Eh, work in progress.

That being said, I did order some larger sheets of graph paper and may need to order some more small sheets from across the pond at the rate I'm going...

Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay - Released on RPGNow as PWYW (OSR City Setting)

The Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay has been released and I'm pretty pumped. +Pete Spahn puts out some damn good stuff, so when he Kickstarted this I was all over it.

There is even a Tenkar's Tavern located within.

The price is right at PWYW. Take a peek and download it. If you find it useful, and you will, toss Pete a few scheckls. Trust me, it's worth it.

A review with be coming soonish, as soon as I review the things that are sooner ;)

In the meantime, step in Tenkar's Tavern...

Monday, March 3, 2014

GM's Day Sale is Live at RPGNow - Over 15k Products at 30% Off - Sifting Out Some OSR

With over 15k products to choose from, finding the OSR products you want is like finding a needle in a goblin's latrine. Lets see if we can help your searching:

The Troll Lords have discounted their catalogue at 30% off.

The search for keywords Swords & Wizardry (some LotFP stuff is here too)

Search for OSR stuff  (lots of Expeditious Retreat Press stuff among others)

Can't forget the Labyrinth Lord search.

Sine Nomine's catalogue is on sale - lots of OSR goodness within.

Goodman Games has it's catalogue in sale - perfect time to grab those DCC adventures.

Purple Duck has it's DCC RPG line of adventures at 30% off.

Purple Sorcerer also has it's line of DCC RPG adventures at 30% off

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea for 7 bucks - can you beat that?

Adventurers! for 79 cents. bamn!

Liberation of the Demon Slayer - even the soft cover is discounted

Edit: New Big Dragon Games has put both the D30 Sandbox Companion and the D30 DM Companion on sale ($4.95 and $2.50 respectively) - I can't say enough good stuff about either product.

Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition Open Beta (Free)

The Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition Open Playtest is free in PDF.

It comes in three flavors - print friendly, low res and hi res.

I've peeked at the hi rez and it does look pretty. I would, however, consider the print friendly version easier to read.

Damn, This Map Could Almost Be a Player Prop at this Point ;)

I've been digging into boxes and in between the pages of books that I haven't looked at it ages today, all in the name of "getting shit outta the way for renovations".

I remember drawing this with colored pencils, probably around '85, give or take a year. The pencils have faded, the paper has gone through hell, but even back in the day I found mapping to be therapeutic.

I think I have a few more mini-dungeon levels in me before I switch gears to outdoor hexes ;)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Review - Adventure Fantasy Game - Getting My D6 Fix (part the first)

Every so often, someone attempts to capture the "old school" flavor of the OSR and package it with new mechanics. Success, I think, lies greatly in the manner in which those mechanics are used.

The Adventure Fantasy Game, henceforth to be referred to as AFG, is the latest to make such an attempt. Does it succeed? For me, yes, but then again, I'm comfortable with the idea of putting away all other dice but the venerable D6. Tunnels & Trolls is my go to system that is not directly built on D&D (but is greatly influenced by D&D). The influence of D&D on AFG is just as obvious.

There are three classes (or paths or ways) in AFG - Casters, Fighters and Practitioners (just like there are three core classes in T&T - go figure). Casters and Fighters are pretty self explanatory. Practitioners are the skilled workers, and the definition would include thieves in all of their roles.

There are three stats: Physique, Craft and Spirit. They are rolled using 3d6, and high scores (13+) and low scores (8-) will give bonuses and penalties in different circumstances.

Casting is a bit Vancian in nature, as a spell that is cast cannot be cast again until the following dawn. Actually, I could hone in on the classes right now, but I'd rather look at hits (or hit points for the rest of us).

Hit points are rolled with a D6 (fighters get to add a +2 to the roll. At first level, 2 dice are rolled and the best roll is kept, which i think is a fine compromise between roll once or give max at first level.

At 2nd level, 2 dice are rolled (+2 per die for fighters). If the new roll exceeds the previous total, you keep the new roll. If it doesn't, you add 1 to your old total. Repeat at 3rd level with 3 dice and so on. It goes a long way to ensure that hits will be around average in the long run, without extreme lows or highs due to chance. I like this, and may port it over to my S&W campaign - but it's sure to not be loved by the ranger who has rolled damn near max with each die - heh.

The resolution system is referred to as 5MORE. Basically in a nut shell, roll 5 or more on a single D6 (with adjustments) to succeed. Truly hard to succeed attempts will need more than one successful roll to achieve. There is a lot more to that simple system than what I just wrote in the previous sentence, but that will have to wait to the next part of the review, which will also delve into EXPERT and MASTER task rankings, combat, wounds and if I can squeeze it in - Cthulhu, the Tentacled Ur-Dragon and the rest of the gods.

D&D Next Player's Handbook Lists at 50 Bucks at Barnes & Noble - August 19 Release

Looks like D&D Next, or simply "Dungeons & Dragon", is releasing this summer. Well, we knew that, but we didn't know the pricing.

The Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook is listing at $49.95, with Barnes & Noble discounting it to $37.96.

If they keep the pricing across the board with the thee core books, it's going to be $150 just to have what you need to play the new D&D. Assuming you support your "brick & mortar" store. At these prices, where you can save nearly 40 bucks or more ordering from B&N or Amazon, who is going to support their neighborhood store?

Actually, at these prices, D&D is obviously no longer for kids.

Wasn't Next supposed to make D&D simpler and less bloated? Shouldn't that mean less pages and at least keeping the price steady, or near-so, compared to 4e?

At least they are putting out a D&D Starter box in July for $20. The thing is, if it's anything like the 4e starter box, it's totally worthless. If they put out something like the Pathfinder Beginner Box, WotC could redeem themselves. But they won't. A loss leader to bring folks into the hobby? Fugetaboutit

Mini Review - JD2 Darkland Moors (OSR Sandbox Adventure for levels 3-5)

The second part in the Jeff Dee series of adventures (thus the numbering of the adventure as "JD2"), Darkland Moors is a sandbox adventure of sorts. The only map supplied is an outdoor map (supplied in both DM and player versions, which is damn cool and very suitable for VTT play).

So, your players defeated the bog-mother or whatever she was in JD1 and are going to continue adventuring in the area - this is their sandbox.

You get your choice of three hooks to get your players involved, which is cool. If your players kicked off the campaign with JD1, you should probably home brew and adventure or two before kicking off the plot line in JD2, but as you have the local sandbox supplied as well as the local map, that shouldn't be much of an issue. Unless, of course, you failed to move a decimal point in the loot values in JD1 - in which case your PCs may already be level 3 to 4... sigh.

Actually, Darkland Moors is a nice little sandbox so long as you put some minimal time into fleshing it out. There really is a lot more this can be used for then just the included storyline. Why waste a sandbox that's already been handed to you? There are roughly 500 square miles of adventuring in the Darkland Moors. Use them to your, and your party's, advantage.

From the blurb:

A huge, monstrous presence rampages through the farms and villages of Darkland Moors, throwing the locals’ formerly peaceful lives into turmoil. What manner of giant is responsible, where is it taking its captives, and what is their fate? To restore peace, our heroes must scour the misty Moors and track the beast to its lair! This is the sequel to JD1 Cess-Pit of the Bog-Mother!

This module was originally created as a stretch goal for Jeff Dee’s Kickstarter project to re-create his lost paintings from the covers of the classic RPG adventures A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity, A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords, and C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness. The author wishes to thank all of his backers, whose support made this work possible.

Included are three alternate introductions to this outdoor adventure, stat blocks for the standard creatures which appear herein, complete stats for unique creatures especially designed for the adventure, plus GM and player maps.

Last Night, We Playtested an Upcoming S&W Adventure - No TPK, Yet

Last night was my second session of Swords &Wizardry from the player's side of the screen and our second night of playtesting, and it got me thinking.

Neither of my S&W campaigns has a cleric in the party. For the playtest, I chose to be a cleric and I've noticed an important thing - undead are killers without a cleric's turning ability. Seriously, swarming undead that don't have a morale check to worry about are killer. It's also pretty swingy in the numbers it effects.

Hold Person is a kick ass spell. I always looked at it previously from the DM's side of the screen as the key to "potential TPKs", which isn't a bad thing, just something I had to be prepared for. As a player, it does an amazing job cutting down human and similar adversaries, without the mess of fireballs and lightning bolts (not that the party has access to such at the moment).

Being a player means "thinking out of the box" in OSR styled gaming. You are not looking to game the system, you are looking for the DM to supply game mechanics and feedback based upon your thoughts and plans. Case in point - last night Calishun, my cleric had turned a pack of ghouls and had them cowering on the far side of the room. We wanted to search that side of the room, and I asked our DM if I, moving slowly and cautiously, could use my turning ability to move them out of that corner. I was thinking classic vampire movies AND magnets with the same poles facing each other. My idea was plausible, so it worked. I'm used to dealing with what the players throw out at me, but this was me throwing a challenge out to the DM. I would have gladly accepted any answer, as I trusted +David Przybyla to make the right call (the right call didn't have to be what we wanted to happen).

Actually, there were many times in last night's session where the dungeon's environment challenged us to think of things that weren't covered by the rules. As a DM, I reacted to such feedback from my players instinctively, but as a player, it was much more of a challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed it :)

As an aside, I was able to mail out the DAGGER RPG to all that entered the OSR Superstar Competition last night, stealing time in the "in between moments" to do so. If it's not in your emil and you sent in a submission, let me know so I can correct it.

Mini Review - JD1 Cess-Pit of the Bog-Mother (OSR Adventure Levels 1-3)

I have a bunch of reviews in the hopper. I may get to two or three a day at times. We'll see.

Cess-Pit of the Bog-Mother is a low level adventure for pretty much any OSR game, but hews closest to AD&D / OSRIC. In it, your party explores the ruins of a castle in a swamp - or is it "bog"?

I like the fact that Jeff Dee supplies you with three different hooks to get your party involved. It's rare that I use the hooks provided as is, but including three options gives me a better than even chance that one of the hooks will fit without too much adjusting.

I like the adventure. It got an interesting theme and I expect would be a decent challenge for the average newbie party, but I suspect the loot is off by a decimal point. The reward offered to the party is 5,000 GP and there is over 50,000 GP worth of loot in an adventure. Maybe I'm a stingy DM, but at those levels I'd be sliding the decimal point to the left one position. Magical loot is relatively minor and balanced for the levels in question.

We get some new monsters (Bog Blights, Bog Dwellers and Blog Shamblers. Or I think they are new, as well as the Hatchlings. All are easily used outside the adventure, so they are ripe for reusing.

Two versions of the map are included - one classic blue and one more modern. I'd have preferred having the second map as an unlabeled version suitable for VTT play, but that's me.

Cess-Pit of the Bog-Mother looks to be fun to run, but you have to move a decimal point to keep the treasure in line.

From the blurb:

What strange being has taken up residence in the long-ruined swamp-circled castle, and what is its connection to the increase of Orc raids in the region?

JD1: Cess-Pit of the Bog-Mother is a dungeon on a swamp & muck theme for characters of level 1-3 for all advanced fantasy role-playing games by classic TSR artist Jeff Dee!

The adventure includes a full-page color map and a black & white cover painting by the author. Also included are three alternate scenario introductions and five unique creatures especially designed for this adventure.

PDF Copies of DAGGER, the RPG for Kids Should be in the Hands of All of the Entrants

PDF Copies of DAGGER, the RPG for Kids should be in the hands of all of the entrants of the OSR Superstar Contest. If you entered and it isn't sitting in your email, let me know.

If you get a chance to use the rules, let me know that too ;)
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