Saturday, April 12, 2014

OSR Superstar Competition - Round 2 Entries Close at 1159 PM Sunday

We're still waiting on about a dozen of the 1st round winners to get their monster entries in.

1st Round prizes are still going out and will hopefully complete tomorrow (but I'm off thru Tuesday, so yes, they will be done soon).

List of 1st round winners are here and here.

How Often Do You Kill - PCs?

There are Killer DMs, Carebear DMs and then most of the rest taking up somewhere in the middle.

Me? I don't particularly enjoy killing PCs. I, however, have no problem when their own actions lead to their demise. Most of the time I find it amusing. It removes that little bit of guilt from my DM's soul ;)

I am certainly a "let the dice fall as they may" type of DM, which can obviously lead to PC death, but I'm not so fond of "save or die" situations. Yep, not so simple to peg.

What kind of DM are you when it comes to PC mortality?

Kickstarter - Lusus Naturae: A Gruesome Old-School Bestiary - Funded, Full Color OSR Bestiary - 2 Hours Left

There's about two hours left in the funding of Lusus Naturae: A Gruesome Old-School Bestiary written by +Rafael Chandler .

You are already supporting this - right?

This is what old school gaming dreams and nightmares are made of ;)

Saga of the Splintered Realm Kickstarter - Less Than 12 Hours to Go (Funded)

Yep, the Splintered Realm Kickstarter is the one I'm writing up a mini-level (or three) for.

Yes, the man who harps on late Kickstarters is actually going to participate in one.

There really is no potential "upside" for me - but think of all the potential drama! ;)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tavern 4k - Looking Back at the Underdark Gazette

(this is the second in a series of posts taking a look at the blogs and personalities that have had an influence on me and this blog as we approach 4,000 posts. If you have suggestions of your own, feel free to add them to the comments)

When I think of "must read" blogs of the OSR that are no longer with us, the Underdark Gazette is at the very top of that list. This WAS the go to news site of the OSR.

New releases, new blogs, interesting threads and general awesomeness, if something had happened, was happening or soon would be happening in the OSR, this was the site to find it on.

I learned about much of the OSR from the links that were found at the Underdark Gazette, and it was never afraid of showing some link love to new projects and worthy blogposts from elsewhere.

Regretfully, my attempt to use the Wayback Machine to link to some of the old goodness failed, so you'll have to take my word (or if you were reading it back in the day, your own memory) that this was a must read OSR resource. Heck, i couldnt even find a pic of the old banner to use for this post.

I've never attempted to recreate the news resource that the Underdark Gazette was (as much as I miss it), as it would be an exercise in futility. It was unique in it depth and usefulness as the visible "pulse" of the OSR.

+James Smith , the man behind the Underdark Gazette, now brings us Dreams of Mythic Fantasy, a fine blog in it's own right but different than it's older and now deceased sibling.

The First Rule of the OSR - One Does Not Define the OSR

This actually came up in last night's RPG BS Session hosted by +Tim Shorts - the whole nebulous definition of what constitutes the OSR.

What I took from that part of the discussion is that the definition of the OSR is a personal matter that is colored and defined by one's gaming background and expectations - I've yet to find two folks actively involved in the OSR give the same definition of what it encompasses.

This in and of itself makes it a wondrous thing and for me it would lose much if it's magic if it could be pinned down to a definition accepted by all, or even most.

The OSR is very much in the eye of the beholder...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Tavern is Officially on the ENnies List for Voting - And It Has Good Company

Yep, it is official.

Good competition too - at least the ones I know of ;)

Tavern 4k - Looking Back at Grognardia

(this is the first in a series of posts taking a look at the blogs and personalities that have had an influence on me and this blog as we approach 4,000 posts.)

Even now, well over a year after Grognardia went silent, it still resonates on the RPG blogosphere. It's still there to be read and referenced. In a way, it is much like a dead planet in some sci-fi or post apocalypse story - it still has tales to tell, it's not quite gone and won't be forgotten for a long time.

I remember my reaction when I first found Grognardia - "Who the fuck can write this many blog posts, consistently and on a daily basis and still be employed?". I look back years later, and I find that the answer to that question, at least in part, is me.

The amazing thing of those early days of Grognardia, or at least my early days of reading it, wasn't just the sheer amount of posting, but the connectivity it gave to the budding OSR community. Conversations there were deep and broad, and it was rare for the comment section of a particularly thought provoking post of James's to not drive dozens of comments. Before the advent of G+, the place to be part of the OSR was for many people, myself included, Grognardia.

Grognadia was also a bit of a crossover, as it brought in readers that wren't just "old school gamers" but those that were curious about the topic. It's reach was deep, and at it's best it was the standard bearer of the OSR, whether that was the intention or now.

There will never be another Grognardia. There is no need for another. It's still there. A snapshot of earlier times and well worth your reading if you haven't frequented it before (although I would advise you skip the gaming magazine "play by plays"and dig into the true gaming articles and early Dwimmermount sightings)

Thoughts on the Upcoming 4,000th Post

We are just over 50 posts away from 4,000 posts here at The Tavern.

Let me type that again:

4,000 posts...

Probably by the end of April

Holy shit...

I want to do something special for "Tavern 4K" but I'm at a loss - besides, OSR Superstar will probably still be going on ;)

Maybe a series of posts highlighting all of the awesome gaming blogs that I read on a daily basis and have an influence on The Tavern, even if they don't even realize it.

This post is #3948...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Locked & Loaded - The Tavern Has Been Entered for the 2014 ENnies

Yep, I done did the deal. I entered The Tavern under "The Blog" category at the ENnies sign up page. I expect it will take a few days to register on the site.

I'm happily surprised to see blogs I know and follow have entered as it's nice to have good company.

Now favorite is HelpMyRPG - which apparently has an expired domain- DOH!

So, what does that mean for The Tavern? Not much. I'm sure I'll put out a "call to arms" when the voting starts if nothing else.

Being that there are at least three blogs on the current list it would be an honor to lose to if needed, I'm just happy if it brings some more attention to all the blogs involved.

Gamer's Man Cave - Finished - for Now

I had to finish this tonight in preparation for participating in +Tim Shorts RPG Bull Shit session on G+ Hangouts tomorrow evening - my only disappointment is that I haven't found Feltothraxis yet - he's still packed away somewhere because of the renovations...

Ashley was insistent that she get in a picture too - the cat is a damn ham!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

CHILDHOOD MONSTERS - Guest Post by Rafael Chandler

For me, it started in the mid-eighties.

My friend Brian had something he called "the red box." It was a new game, something we'd heard about -- Dungeons & Dragons.

We agreed not to tell our parents. They wouldn't get it. Brian's dad wouldn't let him listen to Megadeth because they were a self-described speed metal, and obviously "speed" was a drug reference. "You kids think I fell off the turnip truck yesterday," he said. We had no idea what the fuck he was talking about, so we didn't listen to Megadeth or play Dungeons & Dragons when Brian's dad was home.

Top left to bottom right: Jump in the Fire by Metallica, Dungeon Master's Guide, Calibos from Clash of the Titans, The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker, Mephisto, Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden, Mon*Star from SilverHawks, Show No Mercy by Slayer, Freddy Krueger.

That first summer, Brian hit level 20 or 30. He conquered an entire kingdom, cleared out all 7 layers of Hell, and killed Satan with a sword made out of an ancient red dragon's skull.

I considered myself an excellent DM. I was eleven.

The tales we studied in school mirrored D&D and its otherworldly entities: Theseus decapitating the Minotaur, Beowulf wrenching off Grendel's arm, Sigurd cutting down the dragon Fafnir. I devoured every tale of myth and legend I could find, eager for additional material.

My appreciation for the game was magnified on the day that I first held the Monster Manual. Sure, I'd already figured out that D&D was a horror game -- after all, the adventures had titles like Tomb of Horrors and The Temple of Elemental Evil -- but when I opened the Monster Manual, I found confirmation: demons, devils, ghouls, zombies, vampires, and hell hounds. The stuff of horror novels and movies.

For the next ten years, I ran blood-drenched games full of scenes lifted from Stephen King and Clive Barker novels, or whatever slasher movies I watched on HBO at a friend's house. In my D&D games, an NPC had the lifespan of a mayfly, and usually wound up getting torn to pieces by displacer beasts or trolls. Every dungeon wall dripped with blood. If you swung and you hit, then limbs went flying and guts splattered all over the treasure chest full of gold. Obviously.

At some point, I decided to write my own monster manual. It only took me the better part of three decades.

Teratic Tome was released in 2013, and people said nice things about it. A gentleman named Shane wrote, "I can only presume that Chandler dreamed up these monsters while smoking weed mixed with the ashes of Ed Gein." That was damned kind of him.

Now, a year later, I'm looking to create a new kind of evil. But unlike last year's tribute to the orange-spined books of my youth, this new tome features none of the traditional monsters -- you'll find no dragons, orcs, or demons in the pages of this compendium.

Lusus Naturae includes 100 new creatures, each more nightmarish than the last. Most are from my own warped imagination, but I've also included a few monsters inspired by mythology. The legends in question are all from Inca and Mochica tales, because as I approach 40, I've become quite curious about my Peruvian ancestors.

This enchiridion of entities, Lusus Naturae, is currently Kickstarting. The project is funded, and we're pretty close to the stretch goal of full-color illustrations throughout.

Do you love monsters the way I do? Does your dungeon crawl (or city adventure, or random hexcrawl encounter) sometimes resemble a horror movie?

Do you ever read monster manuals just for fun?

Do you like it grimdark and twisted?

If so, then this might interest you.


Stay brutal.


-- Rafael Chandler

I've Decided to Submit The Tavern to the ENnies - Help Me Pick a Defining 2013 Post

After a long (and sobering) night's sleep, I've decided to submit Tenkar's Tavern to the ENnies awards under the "blog" category.

Really, what could go wrong? An influx of Pathfinder players asking about articles on "feats" perhaps? ;)

Anyhow, I need a post or two from 2013 that highlight's "what The Tavern IS", and the Lord himself knows that I can't answer that question... heh.

So, let me know what you think was the best or defining post from this blog in 2013. One random commenter either here on the blog or G+ will get a $10 RPGNow gift cert sent to them. I'll be open to your thoughts for the next 48 hours or so.

Oh, and the musical selection should The Tavern place:

Monday, April 7, 2014

So, What Value is an "Ennie" to the OSR?

I had the page open on the ENnies website - I was about to enter Tenkar's Tavern as a blog entry to the ENnies, and then I thought - why? Actually, i thought "who cares what music gets played when one's entry places in the top three", and then I asked "why?"

Does it really make a difference in our corner of the universe?

Heck, do main stream RPG Blog readers even read this blog?

Beyond the Three Castles Award, is there an OSR award floating around that I don't know about?

Should there be?

Does it matter?

Should your bartender be partaking of the The Tavern's stock (Allagash Tripel Reserver, 25.4 oz, 9% alcohol) - is the fine Belgian Style Ale clouding my thoughts? - damn good brew thought)

Bundle of Delta Green is Here to Haunt You

Yep, i have the Delta Green book. Probably the best book for CoC or most any RPG.

The current Bundle of Holding got me to dig my copy out, and then put money down for the PDFs.

Just doing my small part to fuck up the OBS servers ;)

(sent the first 7 prizes out via RPGNow to the top 7 first round winners. Will hopefully start with the rest of the first round winners tomorrow - Wednesday the latest)

Gamer's Man Cave in the Works - With Props to My Wife

In the midst of everything else going on, we've been having renovations at the Tenkar Abode for a few weeks now. The final part of the major projects (at least for now) was the closet being build behind my back - literally. It's behind me when I'm sitting at my computer desk.

Now, the closet literally holds a crap ton of clothes - we have a high clothing bar and a low clothing bar inside. We have cubbies on the left side and two large cubbies above. I asked what we were doing with the two large cubbies and I was told "use it to display your boxed games - so when you are online gaming or interviewing you can look the part".

And yes, 90% of the plush is mine... heh

I'm only partway done with filling in the cubbies, but what a joy it is :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

OSR Superstar Round Two Reminder - We Need Your Monsters by Friday, April 11th at the Stroke of Midnight

Last day for the first round winners to get their monsters in for the second round of the OSR Superstar Competition is Friday, April 11th. edit:  moving it to Sunday, 1159 pm eastern time - the beauty of a 4 day weekend ;)

Swords & Wizardry is the default ruleset.

The email address to submit to is the same as before.

First round prizes will got out as soon as OBS's site stabilizes. I'd hate for the credit (and the Crypts & Things Bundle) to get buggered.

Top 7 Round One placers

The 34 others that made the cut

email for the above to enter is at osrDOTsuperstar at that gmail thing

edit - this round is only 1 entry per qualifier - so we should see 41 entries if I recall correctly ;)

Are There Any OSR Settings / Systems that use the "Plot Point" Format?

I was looking at the Savage Worlds site, and it seems to me that I really haven't seen the "Plot Point" format used elsewhere - or maybe I'm spending too much time reading the format and not the results.

From the PEG / Savage Worlds site:
In general, Plot Point books follow a certain format: 
1) Introduction: Geared for both players and GMs. This section tells you what the world is all about, what the big backstory is, and who the adventurers typically are. Maybe a quick overview of the world goes here as well. 
2) Characters: Any special rules for making characters, gear, or new Edges and Hindrances. 
3) Setting Rules: Any new rules the particular setting needs, like rules for Superheroes in Necessary Evil, or ship-to-ship combat in 50 Fathoms. GM’s Section – The rest of the book is purely for the Game Master. 
4) Gazetteer: A list of locations the group will travel to and the things they’ll see there. Locations should be keyed to Savage Tales to help the GM run adventures on the fly. 
5) Savage Tales: Dozens of adventures ranging form fully-fleshed out tales to short encounters. The first few Savage Tales should be your “Plot Point” adventures. These occur intermittently through the campaign as the timeline advances and the backstory progresses. It should be very clear to the GM when these are to be run, such as “When the first hero in the group reaches Heroic Rank.” 
6) Bestiary: A complete list of all the creatures and common NPCs (such as guards or bandits) the players will encounter.
It's kinda like a sandbox with set pieces.

I'm not a Savage Worlds player, so maybe I'm seeing these from a totally wrong perspective... heh

Ant thoughts?

Moving on to the Next Phase - Surviving Renovations and then Some

It's been a long six months. Between multiple deaths in the family, the passing of one of my detectives, the "re-engineering" of my bureau at work and nearly a month's worth of renovations at the house (the last week of the renovations curtailed much of my computer use, as it was happening in the room with my computer in it and my contractor works late - until 1045 or so last night - yes, a Saturday night) I find myself finally breathing a sigh of relief. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Stuff should wrap up at the house tomorrow or Tuesday.

I'm looking forward to NTRPGCon in June and DexCon (for the 2 OSR Days)  in July - my first cons in 20 years. Hopefully between the two cons I'll get to meet some my fellow bloggers and readers of this blog. It's one thing to interact via posts, comments, emails and G+ and a whole 'nother level when you get to shake hands and share some beers (beers are optional, but won't be turned down ;)

I'm going to try and send out the prizes from round 1 of the OSR Superstar Competition today. Would have done it yesterday, but my contractor was here for 13 hrs. Still, I can't complaint much with the results (all custom work, just the doors were prefab - this 110 year old house threw him curve balls and knucklers ;)

The new backdrop when I'm online :)

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