Saturday, May 3, 2014

Games From the Basement - True 20

During the time I was no longer actively playing RPGs but was most certainly buying and reading them, I found True 20. Heck, i was even played in a play by post True 20 game WAY back in the day, but getting caught posting from work kinda put a damper on that ;)

I think what I liked most about True 20 were the sample settings. Damn, I need to dig out that True 20 setting book (Worlds of Adventure) I have buried somewhere and convert one or two of them to Swords & Wizardry. Should be easy enough, as they were mostly fluff if I recall correctly.

Shame it pretty much is "abandon-ware" these days. I think the surge in popularity that Savage Worlds went thru, as well as the pull back on D20 games in general, pulled the rug out from under True 20.

Do You Allow Players in Your Campaigns to Research and Design Their Own Spells?

Maybe "allow" is too strong a word, but "encourage" probably wouldn't be right either.

Do players in your campaigns research and design actual new spells - something unique to your ruleset?

I remember back in my college years, I'd have players occasionally express a desire to tweak a spell already in one of the AD&D books with the desire to give it their own flavor, but nobody was designing anything truly new. I haven't come across even a desire to tweak a by-the-book spell in any of the campaigns I've run / played in in the last few years. Maybe it's a "lack of free time issue".

So, do you or your players research and design their own spells??

Wayward Kickstarter - Phase Shift - The Kitchen Sink RPG (I Think, with the dirty dishes and other assorted crap still in it)

"Phase Shift is a tabletop RPG, set in the far future, in a universe where science and technology are hybridized. You're as likely to see a cyberthaumic warp core as a cannon that shoots healing explosives. Also, you can fight a cyber angel as a LASER MAGE. Look me in the eye and tell me that's not awesome."

Dude, it's... not awesome.

First, the video was humorous, but I doubt for the reasons those in it wished. It's just bad.

As for the game itself?
We're raising funds in order to get a large print run for our first release! (no, never attempted this shit before and backed only one prior project - a Con) We are also getting money to start a tour of conventions in the general area around Washington, DC! (so the money you pledge isnt going to just go towards getting the game published, but to hook us up) Printing a manual the way we want it to be costs a lot, especially when we're dealing with full-color art and quality materials. (why do things right when we can jump into the deep end of the pool right from the start) This is a standalone RPG system, completely separate from all existing systems, and we're trying our best to keep it an independent project! You know you love indie stuff! (we do?) This is as indie as it gets! 
Phase Shift is gameplay unleashed! It takes a lot more involvement from players because they have to be much more creative and involved about their character choices. (because we dont have rules for the stuff you are used to having rules for apparently) We streamline fighting so that you don't have to worry about what you can do. Basically, you can do whatever you want, as long as it's something your character COULD do. (OK - dont worry about what you can do, just worry about what you could do - WTF) Ever wondered why in SOME games *cough*dragons*cough* you can't just try to grab someone and toss them off a cliff using Unarmed Combat? (because your DM sucks?) Well, if you haven't wondered that, you SHOULD!  
The setting is pretty awesome. (we have to say so ourselves,more than once, because we doubt you will say it) Factions control the galaxy, and mercenaries are in extremely high demand, due to the chaotic things that happened after two universes, one magic-filled and one scientific, merged in a dramatic event called the Phase Shift (hence the name). Gods took physical form (and started laying claim to people's souls) (sweet - the Avatar event for 2e) , psychics began appearing, and races from both universes were now cohabiting this one. There are thousands of different subspecies of humans, as well as Mekkos, sentient robots who are just looking for a place in the universe where they won't be discriminated against. 
Er, right.

You know what - I'll leave it at that.

Go to the Kickstarter page of Phase Shift and view the video. You'll be sorry you did ;)

Oh, and the rewards are print or online - no PDF. WTF is up with that?

Push my Button - I DARE You!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Wayward Kickstarter - Washington State Attorney General Sues Kickstarter Project Over $25k Project that Failed to Deliver

I need to tip my hat to far too many folks to even mention. Thanks to all that brought this article to my attention.
Washington’s attorney general, calling it “the first consumer-protection lawsuit in the nation involving crowdfunding,” sued a Tennessee firm that got $25,000 from backers but delivered nothing, 
Washington’s attorney general is taking consumer protection to the next frontier: crowdfunding. 
The state’s top lawyer, Bob Ferguson, said Thursday his office has filed the first consumer-protection complaint in the U.S. to target a Kickstarter fraud. 
The lawsuit alleges Edward Polchlopek III and his company, Nashville, Tenn-based Altius Management, in 2012 raised more than $25,000 from 810 people in order to print a deck of “retro-horror”-themed cards designed by a Serbian artist. 
Among those backers were 31 living in Washington state, according to the suit, which was filed in King County Superior Court. 
Altius’ fundraising campaign promised backers that in exchange they would receive playing cards and other freebies, such as poker chips, dice and “even a costume straitjacket,” the complaint alleges. 
But two years later, the attorney general said, not a single backer has received what was promised, and no money was returned. The suit seeks restitution of the cash, as well as fines up to $2,000 per backer for violations of the Consumer Protection Act, meaning the total could top $1.6 million.
You can read the rest of the article at the Seattle Times.

What does this mean to the Toms, Mikes, Joshuas, Gareths and the rest that take in funds and deliver squat years later? Depends on whether or not backers in Washington state bring their complaints to the state's AG. Even if it goes nowhere, the legal costs to defend against such a lawsuit is beyond the scope of 99.9% of Kickstarter creators out there.

I firmly believe that few project creators go into it planning to fuck their backers over, but I also believe more than a few go into it thinking "if i all goes pear-shaped, I'm really not on the hook for anything and it's not my money being risked".

A lawsuit like this means it IS their money being put as risk. Maybe it will keep those that expect Kickstarter to be their cash making machine with no risk to think twice.

Or not.

WOSR 74.O Tavern Radio featuring Tenkar & The Badger - The Unnamed Podcast is now Named

+Jason Paul McCartan and I spent about 2 hours last night talking about our upcoming podcast. Format, tech, short term and long term plans. You know, all of the goodness. Probably the last thing we hashed out was the name.

We wound up going with a radio theme. We like the naming format, as it allows for expansion down the line. Real play, an all interview program (probably hacked together from previous episodes) or what not can all be Tavern Radio, just different lines. Shit, that sounds very 2e-ish ;)

The hope is to get the first episode up by the end of June or so - time will tell.

There will be a "Tavern Radio" community over on G+ for news about the podcast as well as the usual updates here at The Tavern. Well, it's there now, just nothing "therein" at the moment. Work in progress. Hang at The Tavern in the meantime.

BTW, the "O" in 74.O is pronounced "oh" - it's the letter, not the number. Seventy Four Point Oh. Because that's the way we roll :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wayward Kickstarter - 4thWar Equipment - Wargaming Table - Backed Six, All Current (Follow Up)

So, they often say one should see if the folks behind a Kickstarter project have backed others, as failure to have done so is often a sign of not fully understanding the process or even a simple cash grab.

4thWar Equipment has backed six other projects, which isn't a bad sign - until you notice they are all current. Kickstarter is something that just recently came across their radar, and they are trying to build cred. Sad.

At the very least, they should have learned the importance of editing their Kickstarter page by a native English speaker...

I Like My Random Tables - Now if I Could Just Integrate them into The Tavern's Posts

I really enjoy random tables for inspiration. They are often my "go to" resource when my players zig instead of zagging, or when I need something quickly that is going to fuel my imagination. Which is why I need to work on an inspirational table for some of my blog posts.

Hmm, could even carry it over to the podcast...

All I need to do is figure out format and die size ;)

Deadlands Series in Development for XBOX TV (Video Streaming)

Deadlands, the wild west with magic and undead, is coming to an XBOX near you - not as a game, but as a TV series.

Wasn't Far West supposedly developed with the hopes of going multimedia?
Projects in Development 
Xbox Entertainment Studios has committed to a script based on the successful pen-and-paper role playing game created by Shane Lacy Hensley. “Deadlands” is a genre-bending alternative history of the Weird West, filled with undead gunfighters, card-slinging sorcerers, mad scientists, secret societies, and fearsome abominations.
Microsoft article here.

Forbes article here.

Bleeding Cool article here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kickstarter - Myth & Magic - The Truth Be Told, At Last (update 63)

The Myth & Magic Player's Guide Kickstarter. What can I say about it now that I haven't said already? Not much. It was, truth be told, so full of blatant lies that it was almost humorous to follow. At least until Tom decided to post my name and tracking information in the comments section of the Kickstarter for all to see. Yeah, I contacted Kickstarter for that bit of "unprofessional conduct" and they removed it.

I expected my copy of the M&M Player's Guide to be either piss soaked or covered in anthrax after that little incident, but it arrived clean and unscathed- just so I could be shut up. See, I wasn't bitching so much about the lateness but the lies piled upon lies.

Apparently, Tom has decided the truth will set him free. Not that he admits to lying in so many words. He is still, by training, a lawyer:

Project Update #63: Things are still moving, but...
For backers only (I think folks deserve the truth, so here it is, with snarky comments provide by your favorite Tavern Keeper)
Posted by New Haven Games
Hi Everyone...

This is going out to the backers of both Kickstarters.

I wanted to drop a much-needed update to tell you that I'm still here and still working to complete the GMG and PG shipments. You have asked multiple times for the true reason for the Kickstarter fiasco. I tried, as politically as possible, to dodge the question and to keep you all positive (lets call bullshit what it is... bullshit. Tom lied. Now he tells us the justification for lying). Well, my attempting to keep you (and me) positive turned into untruthfulness (see, lawyer 100%) and I can't run away from the issues any longer.

The site is no longer active. In fact, NHG is no longer active. For the last few months, I have been trying to form a plan to complete the projects as quickly as possible. Part of that plan includes not funding anything outside the projects.

The first cause of all the problems is that I underestimated the cost of the Player's Guide KS, artwork for the GMG, and international PG shipments (I'll give him some play on this - he went high on the hog when it came to the art and international shipping costs rose tremendously as the project got delayed). Not having the proper business foresight (translation - "I had no idea WTF I was doing but the money coming in seemed nice"), I didn't control the early spending and went overboard with quality. So, I've been self-funding the final leg of the PG shipments and everything since the first draft of the GMG; and by extension, everything to be completed moving forward is to be funded with my money (because Tom can't budget for shit - not uncommon in the world of Kickstarters). The second cause has been a lack of time outside of my work and family. I wrote this game and began marketing it before I was working. I always naively thought that I would be able to manage it all. Well, I was wrong. (honesty - doesn't it sound nice for a change?)

The cold hard truthful reason why things have crawled to a temporary stop is that I don't have enough money stored up to quickly fuel the projects (did he piss it all away on hookers and blow? no - he suffered from some of that Nystulian syndrome - can't run a business for shit)

Now, having said all of that, I'm NOT GIVING UP. It's hard enough to think that NHG is no more, but even harder to think that I have let down the players that made the game possible. And for that reason, I vow to get this done. I have begun to look into various loan programs and for a few private reasons, I should be able to secure the necessary funds by the end of Summer. Mid-September to be exact. (I'm glad Tom is looking to make things right. Doesn't explain away all of the lies, nor does it earn forgiveness for said lies, but it's more than some other project creators have attempted. Assuming it's not more lies...)

A few things must happen. It doesn't cost any money to release the full art-free GMG, so I can realistically get that to the GMG backers on or before the first week of May (nicely done). I will also continue to send out small quantities of books with my private money until I get the loan. These shipments will also include the Players Guides ordered by GMG backers. As I said, any loan will most likely come through in mid-September. At that point, whatever orders are not received or needing to be re-shipped will be immediately shipped out. I would love to get all international orders shipped before the loan, but some of them are $80 to $100 a whack! I will still try though. My goal, in terms of the GMG, is to have it printed and shipped before the end of the year. (lofty goals)

Trust me, I understand your frustration. You have every right to be frustrated and even angry. We all had an amazing time collaborating and creating this game. The only thing I ask for is more patience and more time. Please. Nothing happened as a result of bad faith or any intentional scheme to defraud you (except for the lies. That built upon more lies. And when confronted with evidence of lying, more lies still). It was all a matter of my mismanaging the PG Kickstarter. It's a beautiful book, but dammit, it was my undoing!

Another factor of my undoing was not communicating enough (no - Tom's undoing was the lying. That, more than anything, has hurt whatever business he had.) I was embarrassed. Add in the hate mail and hate comments, and running away from the updates and comments was the only way I could avoid having a nervous breakdown. You may or may not know this, but I have two small children. I can't let them see me fall apart over this. (understandable. lying puts a horrible toll on folks, especially when they want to do right and are confront by their bullshit)

My next update will include the GMG pdf and an update on how many additional shipments I was able to send out. I will also set up a new dedicated email address to start fresh with everyone. The other email addresses are filled with vileness. I hope we can just start over, with a new email, and have some better dialogue. I probably will not read the comments here so that I can try to focus on what's ahead, but I will update you more frequently.

Well, that's it - the entire ugly truth. I'm still here and still dedicated. I have the right mindset now to get this done and I will get this done!!


It's not the entire ugly truth, but close enough. The angry comments (and blogposts) were due more to the outright lies, especially about having shipped out hundreds of shipments, than being late. If Tom truly (there's that fucking word again) attempts to do right now, much of his earlier deception will be forgiven, but probably not forgotten.

Damn shame as Myth & Magic had the makings of a fine game.

Steading of the Hill Giant Chief - Cartoon Walkthrough - WotC

How did I miss this? (probably because it just released today ;)

You can grab the full size maps / strips (there are 2) at the WotC site (linked for your enjoyment)

Magic Items - How Unique Do You Want Them?

Every player worth their salt has memorized the magic item tables of the rulebook of your choice. Really, just ask them.

So, not only are weapons and armor with simple plus "ho hum", but so is just about every magic item published in a core book. They can recite the abilities of that Staff of Power or the Elven Cloak they just found once they ID them (and probably before as they pelt you with guesses).

Do you create magic unique magic items for your campaigns? If you do, is it there to add spice to the basics ones or do you replace all of the standards with unique items of your own design?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wayward Kickstarter - 4thWar Equipment - Wargaming Table - (built by Anton Jackson)

Wait, you don't remember Anton Jackson, the homeless character from In Living Color? He could do magic with a cardboard box:

Apparently, so can the the Italians that are bring us cardboard gaming tables at the 4thWar Equipment Wargaming Table Kickstarter.

Where shall we start? Despite what the Kickstarter says, they aren't located in NY, NY. Or maybe they are, as the Kickstarter appears to have been written with a NYC Public High School education (I live here, I should know):
Put the LEGS on your HOBBY! Fully crafted cardboard table for wargamer and tabletop gamer. By a player mind for players fight! 
If you have any trouble understanding english, in the link below you can find the video with ITA & FRANCE subtitles: (strangely enough, the English subtitles are as hard to understand as the English is)
 Just who the fuck proofread this before going live?

anyone want a "chep kit"?

and I really can't make heads or tales out of this shit:

but in any case, they do supply boobies:

it's not like you could put HER on the table - it's just cardboard. Actually, my wife says that would be the true stress test for this table - damn, but my wife is as bad as me.

You want to raise $99,000? maybe spend a couple of hundred to have a native english speaker proofread your project.

I sincerely blame +Jason Paul McCartan for bringing this to my attention...

and the Winner of the $25 RPGNow GC From Post 4k is...


I had my wife pick a random number from 1 to 13, and see chose "11".

So, Jonas, send me an email at tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom with your info and we'll get that RPGNow credit out to you.

New up will be 5 years of blogging at the end of May....

Early Peek at The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence - The Art (OSR Adventure / Mini Sandbox)

Luis Merlo
+Venger Satanis was kind enough to forward me some art of the art (and unformatted text) from his upcoming The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence. It's an adventure, sandbox styled setting and some accompanying house rules. I've barely hit the house rules, and already I've found something I'm going to port into my own game sessions. More on this with a later post

+Dyson Logos will be providing the dungeon cartography and +Alyssa Faden will be providing the island cartography. Hard to beat those choices.

As for the interior art?

I want to know WTF is going on the the scene above, because I want to put my players through that nightmare.

As for the the creature below, I want a print of this. Really. Want.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mini Review - CrawlJammer #2 (DCC RPG in Spaaaace!)

There is something I really like about CrawlJammer, and that is it's freshness. Admittedly, there is something fresh about most of the DCC RPG adventures out there, but CrawlJammer stuff is fresh and unique. Putting the DCC RPG into space seems like a no brainer now that +Tim Callahan has done so.

Last things first - CrawlJammer #2 has an adventure that takes up the second half of the issue - Red Planet Rendezvous: The Arcadian. Space combat and some derelict spaceship "dungeon crawling" give one the last of both new and old. Very well done.

Back to the beginning - Space encounters give you both a random encounter table and some CrawlJammer monsters which would fit well with little adjustments into any DCC RPG Campaign - or with more adjustments as inspiration for new creatures and adversaries in any OSR game.

The Technomancer is a new DCC RPG class for a CrawlJammer Campaign. DCC magic is something I've always had trouble wrapping my head around fully, so all I can say is it looks good, but no idea how it would turn out in play. Same goes for the new spells.

Hail Bob's is a space bar and random tables for both patrons and drinks. Very random. Very cool. Easily yoked for most OSR games.

CrawlJammer is well worth the $3.95 shipped asking price in print. Really. Whether you play the DCC RPG or not. It is simply inspirational.

Post 4k - Tell Us Your Favorite Blogposts and You may Win a $25 RPGNow Gift Cert

This is the 4,000 post here at The Tavern.



I'd like to share the excitement and offer $25 of RPGNow credit to a random blog reader. Here's how to enter:

- Link BOTH your favorite post from Tenkar's Tavern AND your favorite RPG blog post from another gaming blog. Here's a chance to highlight what YOU like.

- Do this by 7PM Eastern Time tomorrow night (April 29th, 2014).

- I'll pick a random commenter for the GC tomorrow night around 8PM

See, easy as pie.

Good luck to all and thanks for being part of this amazing ride.


Working the Senses - How Much Sensory Information do you Give your Players?

Saturday night's game session turned into a bullshit session, and one of the topics that came up was sensory information - smells, touch, visual and audio.

It got me thinking - we tell the players what they see and often tell them what they hear, but how often do we tell them what they smell? (touch always seems to be the odd one out)

Even when I described my first crime scene, with the brains and blood having the appearance of raspberry jam, I didn't include the smell of gunpowder and copper that just wouldn't leave my nose even hours later. The visual is burned into my memories and is easy to bring forward, but the smells kick in on their own when something "dings" that memory.

Just wondering if occasionally adding another sense to sight and sound might be the way to immerse the players just a wee bit more...

(post 4k is next)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dwimmermount - Labyrinth Lord Version is Essentially Complete - Golf Claps Please

No, not the cover for the Dwimmermount Kickstarter, this is the cover of "what almost was"

Now, I say "essentially complete", as there is still proofing, spell checking and layout to do, but Alexander Macris says the Labyrinth Lord edition of Dwimmermount is complete.

I do not doubt the effort that has been used to get this monster of a Kickstarter completed, but I suspect the hands of three very different creators are going to have a bit of a "Frankenstein" effect. I could be wrong. Hopefully I am wrong, as I invested a pretty penny in this cursed project. It's good to see there will be some closure soon, no matter what the end product finally is.

Here's the first paragraph of the backers only update that was sent out late this afternoon:
Hello Dwimmermount backers. I'm pleased to report that I've just uploaded three huge word documents to the backer dropbox: Chapters 1-7, Chapters 8-20, and Appendices A-G. To put it bluntly, the writing of the Labyrinth Lord version of Dwimmermount is complete. 
It's still in .docx format and multiple files. I'll wait for the "maybe ready for prime time PDF" before I spend any time pouring over this.

High or Low - How Do You Like Your Fantasy RPG Setting?

Quick question for this fine Sunday morning.

Do you prefer your fantasy settings in high or low flavor? Lots of magic and magical creatures or a bit more gritty with little magic and a very humocentric base?

Or are you somewhere in between?

Forgotten Realms is very much high fantasy - you can't walk down a road in 2e without bumping into a god's avatar ;)

I like to think I prefer low fantasy, but the reality is my games run fairly weighted to the side of high fantasy.

Games From the Basement - Demons (Mayfair Games)

Remember one of the biggest changes to AD&D 2e? No, I'm not talking about the removal of assassins or half-orcs from the roles of PCs. No, it was something that got my gaming group riled back in the day - the removal and Demons and Devils from the monster manuals and renaming them Fred and Ethel (or Tanar'ri and Baatezu - I forget which). It was, for lack of a better word, sacrilege.

So, up stepped Mayfair with it's Demons line of supplements. Made for AD&D 2e, they included new demons, new spells, a players book to get them in the mood, poster maps and other goodies. I have 2 boxed sets and 4 folios from the line. The demons come on their own hole punched pages, made to be inserted in the horrible AD&D 2e Monster binder.

Did I ever use it? No - I've never have included named demons or devils in any of my campaigns (although Azmodious did appear in a random dungeon room of a dungeon I rolled up back in High School). We did include the basic unnamed ones as "just another monster". It was just the idea that TSR was "dumbing down" or making D&D "politically correct" back in the day that annoyed us.

I don't recall if there is a matching "Devils" line of boxes and books.

Games From the Basement - Tunnels & Trolls Rulebook (Corgi Paperback Edition)

I'm a big fan of Tunnels & Trolls. I have every edition published - 1st and 3rd (oopsie - no third edition owned - cover is same as 2e - no idea the differences between 2 and 3) edition are reprints, 2nd is Ken's very own copy, 4e, multiple copies of 5e and 5.5e, unofficial 6th and 7e and 7.5e. Notice multiple copies of 5Xe? That's because there are multiple flavors.

My favorite of ALL the editions is the Corgi printing of the 5e rules from 1986.


Not because they renamed some of the more silly sounding spells (leaving Yessa Massa as is still surprises me when they changed Poor Baby - a healing spell - to Restoration).

It's because of the convenient size (slightly oversized paperback) and the affordable price, even for the time - just under 3 British Pounds.

Corgi also packed many of the classic T&T solos in double titled paperbacks. So you got two solo adventures AND a stripped down version of the T&T rules - enough rules that you could play some sessions with other players with what was provided.

Sometimes I think I'd like a copy of S&W or LL in such a convenient, portable and affordable size, but I guess that's what PDFs and tablets are for these days...
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