Saturday, June 7, 2014

New Big Dragon Wins the Three Castles Award for Valley of the Five Fires (NTRPG Con)

Quick post before heading down to our evening game.

+Richard LeBlanc AKA New Big Dragon Games Unlimited won the Three Castles Award for Valley of the Five Fires.

Congrats to Rich and his editor David Welborn.

I'll have an interview with Rich sometime next week to discuss Valley of the Fire Fires, other products he currently has out and find out what in the hopper over at New Big Dragon.

3d6 in Order - Natural 18 Right Out of the Box - Matt Finch's Mythus Tower (NTRPG Con)

I rolled an 18 for my strength in +Matt Finch 's Mythus Tower (Swords & Wizardry) this morning using "3d6 in order"- and actually had witnesses. Now, I'm pretty sure I haven't done that in 20 years or more. It really was a "holy shit!" moment ;)

Matt runs a really fun game and manages an insanely large group of players with a skill I have never seen before. We actually hit 16 players at one point and Matt handled it as if it were six - or even less. Simply amazing to see in action. Strangely enough, the only things I killed in this morning's session was giant rats. Weird how that worked out ;)

Rach and I bowed out when we hit town for xp and a long break - we closed the bar out the night before and I really was feeling it. Food and caffeine helped the cause.

Rachel got to play in her 2nd ever OSR game and decided to spread her wings a bit - she chose a human cleric. She didn't get a chance to cast any spells, but she did okay bashing with her mace.

After lunch I sat down with +Vincent Florio and DM Glenn for a short interview, some post interview bullshitting and beer.

Good times.

From the Con - Lloyd Metcalf - Original Ink and Print - Whisper & Venom

I'm just scoffing up art here at the NTRPG Con, aren't I? First it was a +Doug Kovacs original pencils and some prints, and now it's a Lloyd Metcalf original ink (with watercolors) and a print from Whisper & Venom.

This truly is an amazing convention for fantasy art.

Whisper & Venom and some Red Dragon Inn with Doug Kovacs Himself

Tonight was a damn good night of gaming... and beers afterwards with +James Aulds ;)

+Zach Glazar ran a Labyrinth Lord adventure in his Whisper & Venom campaign setting. Strangely enough, I have a real distaste for gnomes now ;)

In all seriousness, Zach ran an excellent session, and Rachel now how her first D&D clone under her belt.

+Doug Kovacs then invited Rachel and myself for a game of Red Dragon Inn. It was a blast, and in the end I was victorious. This is a game Rach and I may need to pick up for play with the family.

Oh, before I forget, some more of +Doug Kovacs's work that we picked up, although this time it's only prints. Still some amazing work. The last two pieces my wife picked out.

Friday, June 6, 2014

From the Con - The One Who Watches - Original Pencils and Color Print - (Doug Kovacs)


Good art.

There is little like it.

+Doug Kovacs does some damn good art.

Above are the the original pencils and the print of the final color version of Doug Kovac's cover to The One Who Watches.

I'm simply in awe of the work this man does. I'm proud and thrilled to have picked this set up.

Rachel and I bought some other prints as well as placed a down payment on an unfinished piece that Rachel simply fell for. More pics later.

See, I can buy 99% of my gaming goodies online, but art I need to see in person.

NTRPG Con is full of damn good art.

If Something is "Intentionally Leaked" by a Company, is it Really a "Leak"?

Despite what I've seen on various blogs, the above is not a "leak". It's a good, old fashioned,  publicity shot, with a cute note to make it even more... something or other... cuter perhaps.

Mearls did not "leak" the above without knowing full well what he was doing and did so with the blessings of the powers that be at WotC / Hasbro. Therefore, it is not a leak.

From Wikipedia: A news leak is a disclosure of embargoed information in advance of its official release, or the unsanctioned release of confidential information.

In any case, at least they seem to be avoiding having art behind the text (for the most part it seems).

The Point at Which You Know a New RPG Player "Get's It"

As I mentioned last night+Tim Snider 's Timemaster game was my wife Rachel's first RPG session in a group setting (back when we were dating I ran a Tunnels & Trolls session for her one on one, but that was more mechanics of an RPG than actually understanding how an RPG works).

The magical moment when I knew it had all clicked for my wife was when she said: "We need to interrogate the last one. We need to know what he knows. I want to know how many are waiting for us on Skylab". This after she had wrestled the four armed alien into a Half Nelson.

She just remarked to me as I type this "It's a good thing I didn't use a Pile Driver, or else we wouldn't have learned anything."

Yep, she get's it ;)

Wherein We Fixed Time and then Found Time for Awesome Kovacs' Art Pics

Tonight Rachel and I played in +Tim Snider 's excellent Timemaster game session. I chose this as the first slot for Rach and I to play in at NTRPG Con for two reasons: I strongly suspected Tim would run an excellent game (he surpassed that expectation by far) and Timemaster was obscure enough a system that Rachel's lack of experience with RPGs wouldn't really be much of a hinderance. Rach had a blast.

You can catch Tim's write up of the sessions highlights over at his Savage Afterworld blog. Check it out. We'll wait for you here ;)

Did I mention that +Paul Wolfe 's wife Brenda was in the Timemaster game with us and that she crochets dice bags?  Well, she does, and Rachel now has one of her own to prove it.

And now for some +Doug Kovacs art porn. I won't be able to leave without a purchase or three...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

New Big Dragon Is at the NTRPG Con

I never realized how much quality stuff +Richard LeBlanc had put out for old School Gaming under his New Big Dragon label until I actually looked at it all at his table. The fact that I had a majority of it in print already struck me, as I tend to go heavy on the PDFs these days.

Rich had a prototype of a B/X DM's screen that literally rocks. If and when he puts it up for sale I'm buying. I'll try to get a pic of it for a later blog post.

Posting this under the influence of Commotion American Pale Ale, courtesy of +James Aulds . Might need to pop open another, as I need more beer influence.

Dinner in a few, and the a game of Timemaster run by +Tim Snider .

Fun times, and it's been great meeting folks face to face that I've known online for years.

I'll try to have a review of The Dragon Horde #2 up on Monday, when it releases on RPGNow

Alright, It's Official Now - We Have our Goodie Bag

Yep, decent loot.

Large dice bag, large drawstring bag (or huger dice bag ;), NTRPG Con guide and ID Card with holder.

Art is by Jennell Jacquays

After we digest some of our breakfast we'll walk around the con a bit. First game is +Tim Snider 's at 6pm tonight.

Bird(s) of a Feather Flocked Together Last Night

Got to do a little meeting and greeting at the hotel bar last night. I met +Richard LeBlanc (Mister d30 himself) and mistook him for +Zach Glazar who I was expecting to meet. Both awesome folks to finally meet in person. Thanks to Zach, I also got to shake hands with +Michael Curtis , +Jeff Dee , Mad Mike (Mister NTRPG Con) and others whose names escape me after multiple pints of Texas Red and way too much sleep.

Zach also handed me a copy of Bird of a Feather for Whisper & Venom, at it really looks awesome. It also comes with a miniature of said bird, and I still can't fathom how the mini will fit between the pages of the adventure itself for mailing. Maybe more beers are needed to figure out that equation.

I was also surprised to see it basically comes with two cardboard covers. The inner on is double sided, with local and regional maps by +Alyssa Faden . Good stuff. Blue and white maps on the inner side of the outer cover and the illustrations are by Lloyd Metcalf.

Too early to review Bird of a Feather, as I haven't done more than thumb through it, but two thumbs up for increasing the font of the text just a tad for the eyes of us older gamers ;)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

When You go to a Gaming Con, Do You Register for Games, Enjoy Pick Up Games, or Both?

When I registered Rachel and myself for the North Texas RPG Con, it took some real effort NOT to register ourselves for every open gaming slot.

In the end, we have a game on Thursday and Friday nights, two on Saturday and one on Sunday morning. It was a fine balance between leaving time open and registering for sessions we really wanted to participate in.

When you got to a gaming convention, do you leave time for open gaming or do you fill your time with registered game slots?

The Grumpy Dwarf Has Landed - Now Where the F' Am I?

So, the flight from JFK was delayed by 30 minutes, but we still got to Dallas / Ft Worth on time.

Apparently, i was channeling The Grumpy Dwarf, as when we got to The Marriott, they didn't have our reservations. I actually had that dream last night, so that feeling in the pit of my stomach from my dream became real.

It was only when I double checked my reservation email, and saw that the courtesy van took us to the Marriott North and the con (and ourreservation) were at the Marriott South did the feeling start to abate. 20 minute cab ride to the right hotel and we were good as gold ;)

Actually, I knew we were in the right place when I heard Mad Mike checking in to my right.


Time to rest and eat. Then get ready for the North Texas RPG Con!

Dear John, When You Read this I'll be on a Plane to NTRPG Con

Yep, I'm con-ifying or some such.

Expect "posts from the con", including such priceless gems as:

- pictures of folks you won't recognize, but probably should

- Feltothraxis the Dragon Puppet makes people feel really awkward to be talking to a dragon puppet

- short interviews with people whose voices you won't recognize, but with names you probably will

- holy shit, but that's "how much"? Hun, how about as a birthday gift?

- listen, we didn't come all the way to Texas to shop at some mall - we have that shit in NY

- sleep on the couch? the only couch is in the hotel lobby. oh...

Remembering Pieces of Gen Con '93 - My Last Con before this Year's NTRPG Con

Ashley has no clue we are leaving in an hour or so and will be gone for day

Just some bits and pieces memories of Gen Con '93

- one meal a day, eaten at 1215 or so each night - beer and burgers, in that order

- folks waiting for a green light to cross downtown Milwaukee streets at 730 am when there was no traffic on the roads. Needless to say, New Yorkers didn't wait.

- sleep deprivation is a wonderful thing

- my introduction to Rifts and Dangerous Journeys

- leaving clothes behind to accommodate my purchases

- running the Spelljammer miniature game (complete with to scale Spellammer) for 30 minutes or so as Dale "Slade" Henson ran off to use the bathroom

- winning a $5 Mail Order Hobby Shop coupon for placing in an AD&D Tournament. I played a fallen Paladin

- sat in on but did not bid in the auction

- sat in on some gaming seminars - wish I could remember much about them

- overall an amazingly good time

looking forward to this weeks memories ;)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Kickstarter - Drinking Quest: Trilogy Edition

I've posted about Drinking Quest in the past and I'm bringing all three decks with me to NTRPG Con - they are ready to fly tomorrow. If I think of it, I may even bring a deck or two down to the bar at the Marriott tomorrow night after the wife and I get settled in.

Anyhow, +DrinkingQuest DrinkingRPG 's Jason Anarchy is running a Kickstarter to put all three decks of Drinking Quest back into print with some improvements like:

- Full Colour Cards
- An Improved D4, D6, D8 System (Instead of 3D6) This adds complexity to the game without adding     a single new rule.
- Bigger Cards while still staying a good size to bring to the pub
- A Bigger, More Attractive Box
- Up to 3 new Quests (Consisting of 12 cards each)
- Other smaller improvements (Think remastered Star Trek not remastered Star Wars)

Now, I already have a set of the 3 Drinking Quest decks and I'm excited to get a chance to play with bigger, better cards. Ah hell, who am I kidding? I just want to fin more people to drink with while playing a fun, light RPG / Card game.

I really should try this at our neighborhood pub with my wife and some friends at some point this summer.

Kickstarter - Dwimmermount PDF Proof in Hand!

Yep, it looks like Autarch is just about ready to finally bring Dwimmermount to the finishing line. The PDF clocks in at just under 400 pages (398 to be exact).

I'm surprised to find myself actually excited by the prospect of actually holding a hard copy of Dwimmermount, and I can tell from the size that this was a project that could easily overcome the folks behind it. Will I run it? You know I have to run the first level again :)

The layout is pleasing to the eyes with none of that annoying "watermarking" and such and it was nice to find some "easter eggs":

If any bring a printed page from the proof with The Grumpy Dwarf quote, I'll be habby to give it a scratch at NTRPG Con ;)

Just How Compatible Will 5e be With the OSR? "Raging Owlbear" Had Done the Math

Who, or what, is Raging Owlbear? It's a fairly new gaming blog that has done the math to compare the numbers across the editions. Don't believe me? The chart above goes to level 20 on his site - I'm just offering a sample to wet the appetite.

It's all about "bounded accuracy", which the Owlbear in question talks about too.

He also stats out a handful of creatures to show how they compare between 2e and 5e. below is a sample.

If this is the kind of stiff one will find at the Raging Owlbear, I strongly suggest folks add it to their list of blogs to read. Drop by and tell him Tenkar sent ya.

What is Your OSR Ruleset of Choice (if any?)

As it is apparent we can't decide on a definition on what is or even isn't OSR, at least beyond the same general definition of "pornography" - I know it when I see it, I've decided to go on a different track. (as an aside, the results of the previous post don't surprise me. Part of the strength of the OSR is it's diversity and the passion of the members of the gaming community that associate themselves as being part of the OSR. In this case, it isn't so much the path taken as it is the final destination)

Since the definition of the OSR is nebulous at best, and subjective in it's most simple terms, I've decided to take a different approach and ask the readers of The Tavern: "What is the OSR Ruleset of your choice or preference?" In other words, when you are looking to play some "old school gaming", what rulesets do you gravitate to?

There are no right or wrong answers, although I expect certain answers may lead to further questioning by other readers / commenters.

For me, the ruleset of choice would be Swords & Wizardry Complete, with bits borrowed from ACKS and the DCC RPG. I'd also so run AD&D1e, so long as the group in question were willing to play it as my groups played it in the 80s, not how it is actually written ;)

Can We All Agree on What the OSR Is NOT?

Defining the OSR is nigh impossible task, as many (if not most of us) that consider themselves part of the OSR have our own definition of what the OSR "IS". We've gone down that path before, and in that direction lies madness.

It is easier, I think, to define what is NOT OSR:

Dungeon World is NOT OSR. Anything built off of the Apoc World engine is not OSR.

- Torchbearer isn't OSR either, but it is purty.

- D&D 3x and 4e are not OSR. 5e might be OSR friendly, but will not be OSR

- Any of them new fangled games that define themselves as"storytelling" aren't OSR. Doesn't matter if     you put a sword in their hand and drop their ass in a dungeon - they are not OSR.

- If the game uses "aspects" and uses words, not numbers, to define the strength or weakness of your       abilities, it is not OSR.

- If it doesn't have "Hit Points", it's not OSR

- If it emulates a game from the 3x era on (2000), it's most certainly not OSR. Emulating a game from     the era prior to 3e doesn't guarantee that a game is an OSR game either.

- If PCs can't die, it's not OSR

Alright, that's my eight thus far. Feel free to add more to the comments.

TheShadowKnows won the internet:
Personally I would omit all references to specific mechanics and systems and just say the following: "If ANYTHING ELSE is more important than THE GAME, it's not OSR". So if "plot" - or "story", or "narrative", or "character arcs", or the "adventure path", or whatever - takes precedence over the game mechanics, it's not OSR.
I would add - there is not a rule for everything. Trust in the DM / GM is paramount, and the group must be comfortable with DM Fiat. Less predestination of the adventure / campaign / character (although that would kick the Dragonlance campaign out of the OSR - I never found it all that good anyway)

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Maps For the Final Round of the OSR Superstar Completion (Final Round Kicks Off Officially Next Week)

This is not the official kick off of the final round. That will happen next week. These are, however, the maps that the final 15 competitors will be working to finish off and stock up. Those that wish a head start may have at it. They will have 30 days once the final round officially launches to submit their entries. As such, there will be no extensions to the submittal timeframe for the final round.

The finished map will need to include the competitor's qualifying magic item and monster entries amongst the encounters.

For those of you that wish to play along at home and aren't in the Final 15, there will be an open round after we have our OSR Superstar winner sometime around the middle of the summer. The prize(s) for the open round are fame and fortune thus far, but should be fun anyhow ;)

They can choose to use the gridded map or the ungridded map as they see fit. Maps donated by +matt jackson

Round 2 Winners of the OSR Superstar Contest Are...

The delay in announcing the winners of the 2nd round of the OSR Superstar Contest is all on me. Work and life in general has been hectic as all hell.

All that being said, we do have winners to announce ;)

15 entries (with ties) made the cut.

The first 4 entries as placed by points awarded by the judges win $25 each - either via Paypal or RPGNow credit - their choice. There may be an additional prize for 1st place in the 2nd round - I need to go through the prize list again.

Qualifiers 5 thru 7 will each get $10 RPGNow gift certificates.

Qualifiers 8 thru 15 will each get $5 RPGNow gift certificates (we had ties for 8th place)

I'll be covering the cost of awarding the RPGNow credit to the expanded qualifying list.

1 - Gavin Norman
2 - Shane Knysh
3 - Eric Branstad
4 - Gus L

5 - Diego Nogueria
6 - Jason Reilly
7 - Eric Tresure

8 - Erin Bisson
9 - John McCollun
10 - Tony Mullins
11 - Legion McRae
12 - David Brawley
13 - Jon Hiesfelter
14 - Joel Davis
15 - Nathan Irving

The winners need to contact me at osrDOTsuperstar at that gmail thing - put the name of your monster entry in the subject header so i know it's you ;)

I'm heading out to NTRPG Con in less than 2 days. I probably wont be awarding prizes until I return a week from today. The next and final round of the OSR Superstar Contest won't kick off officially until next week some time and the 15 finalists will have 30 days to submit their entries.

Congrats to all who entered.

Bundle of Holding - King Arthur Pendragon

I own the Chaosium boxed set of this from back in the mid 80's, you can see it's influence from it's Basic RPG roots, but there is much more to Pendragon than this. Campaigns span generations, which is probably why I could never get the old high school / college group to play in more than a session or two - there was too much going on for them.

As I recall, it's a fairly simple system with great depths of roleplaying potential. In the hands of the right gaming group, there are literally years of gaming potential here.

I'm going to pick King Arthur Pendragon up just to read it and maybe, just maybe, get to play in a campaign down the road.

Gamerstable RPG Podcast - OSR Episode - Corrections, Clarifications and Comments by The Grumpy Dwarf

Last week, Gamerstable RPG Podcast aired an "OSR" episode. It was... interesting. It was similar to watching folks discuss Star Wars and Star Trek as if they were the same franchise - and yet still have little knowledge of either.

This was the first episode of Gamerstable that I've listened to, and they hosts do seem to have a good chemistry between them. I'll need to give a listen to an episode where they have some actual knowledge of the topic they devote an entire episode to ;)

Anyway, on to the corrections, clarifications and comments, as relayed by The Grumpy Dwarf:

"we are totally not prepared to talk about this" - Truer words were never spoken

"anything we get wrong we can get corrected on it later" - ouch!

not quite sure what the SRD is apparently, but it ties into the OGL

"are we going to upset people because we get so much wrong and they are so into it?" - Grumpy is not upset. Grumpy has been handed a shit ton of entertainment value based on the show's near total lack of knowledge. I almost expect that this episode was recorded as a goof, because really, except on talk radio, who talks this much about a subject they have so little knowledge of it?

"OSR is not about playing 1st edition D&D... because old school games change the original game" - the differences between the original clones / simulacrums are minimal. The original clone (OSRIC) was written to enable publishers to write adventures for AD&D within the OGL. There ARE rulesets that step beyond just revisiting the original material and move beyond. OSR gaming is about the original rules, their clones, new interpretations and expansions and the like. The OSR is not, however, Dungeon World (a fine game in it's own right)

"It is as much about creating something new as it is about playing something old" - now that is a prefect definition right there - they may actually have a clue

Labyrinth Lord is NOT the ruleset with the art that makes "decent folk" cringe. That is LotFP Weird Fantasy. LL IS however, put out by Goblinoid Games, who also publishes GORE and Mutant Future, so that part is right.

Dungeon World is not OSR - yeah, I said it earlier, but it bears repeating.

Retroclones ARE OSR - so if C&C is a retroclone, it is OSR (now, whether folks feel C&C is a true retro-cone is another kettle of fish)

Troll Lord Games is NOT Gary Gygax's new company after TSR, although he did work with TLG on certain projects - and yes, Castle Zagyg was one of them.

"One of the old School tenets is Quick Character Generation, which is why I think Dungeon World probably applies". God, I think I just puked in my mouth just a little bit. Dungeon World doesn't emulate any of the Old School rulesets - it isn't OSR and it isn't Old School - it's New Wave Dungeon Crawling, which is fine, but it is not Old School.

Shit, not even 9 minutes int the 32 minute podcast and I need to take a break. I didn't catch all of this with my casual listen last night

Review - Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters

UNFRAMED: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters is probably misnamed, as it could easily include players in that title, as it's a skill used by all at the gaming table.

I had a response to my Sneak Peak post of UNFRAMED last week that included a remark that basically asked "who needs a book to tell them how to improvise?" To that I would answer, very few need a book to tell them how to improvise. However, a large portion of the gaming community could use some help in learning how to improvise more effectively. If you GM, this skill is more important than knowledge of the game rules, IMHO. It's also a skill that is often overlooked, because we all do it to some extent. If you want to get better at it, this is the book for you.

Now, are you going to find value from each of the two dozen essays? I'm going to guess that would be impossible. Everyone's mind works a little (or a lot) differently than others, which is why I put a huge value on the number of different authors contained within. Someone, or many someones, have something here that will give you the knowledge to up your improvisational abilities.

For me, Robin Laws essay is too formulaic - but for others, it will be spot on. John Arcanian's article on Island Design Theory is spot on for me, if not as a tool for improvisation but rather as a sandbox design theory I can wrap my head around. Of course, a sandbox styled campaign is nothing if not highly improvisational.

Jennell Jaquays' article also struck home with me, as am nothing if not a procrastinator when t comes to game prep. There are some helpful tips for me to save some time, and using a "Dead Pool" is so damn obvious I should have thought it up years ago.

Jason Morningstar summarizes his advice on improvisation at the gaming table as: Listen more than you talk. If you are going to improvise, let your players do the brunt of the work (at least, that's my take on it... heh).

I've always thought of myself as a decently skilled improviser as a DM, and yet I've added at least a dozen tricks to my repertoire and I've opened my eyes up to some techniques that will make the gaming sessions I run better. Not every article spoke to me, and there were a few that left me scratching my head, but that's because we are all wired differently. What works for me may not work for you, and visa versa.  Still, what I found within UNFRAMED that works for me is well worth the price of admission.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

I'll be Running Pick Up Games of Drinking Quest at NTRPG Con

I've already packed the 3 decks of Drinking Quest in my bag and they are ready to go. My initial game plan was to run a DCC RPG adventure with S&W rules, but I never got around to the conversion. It has been that kind of a year thus far.

So in steps Drinking Quest, a finer game of drunken fantasy flavor RPG buffoonery one could not hope to find. It really is a cool game. I've run it with by old gaming group and I've even played with the creator, +DrinkingQuest DrinkingRPG (Jason Anarchy) via G+ Hangouts.

Come to think of it, I should run a session or two of Drinking Quest with some members of my online gaming groups.

Anyhow, I made some copies of the rules which are quick to learn and I expect to fill some of the time between scheduled games with beer and dice and silliness. Oh, and more beer ;)

Time to zip the bag up on Feltothraxis
Bet he can't wait to go thru the TSA Checkpoint at the airports ;)

Packing for North Texas RPG Con and We Have a Stowaway!

If it was up to me, I probably wouldn't be packing until Wednesday morning right before our flight out, but Rachel has already started, so I figured I may as well too.

I'm trying to keep us from having to check any baggage, as that shit is just an annoying waiting game to pick up ones stuff.

Anyhow, Feltothraxis is ready to go. Had to leave his stick behind, so his arm movements will be limited to twisting his body side to side. You never know, I may be able to jury rig something when i get to Texas.

Laptop, pocket vid camera, tablet for all my PDFs.portable charger for phone and / or tablet, S&W Complete HC, notebook, pens, dice - oh, and clothes. Should all fit in a backpack and a messenger bag.

Alright, back to working out the winners of the second round of the OSR Superstar Contest... and drinking beer...mmmm ;)

Kickstarter - Castles & Crusades Color Edition (30 hrs left) - Lots of Loot

The Castles & Crusades Color Edition (new printing) Kickstarter has had me one both sides of the fence recently. I mean, I have so many copies (and so many editions) of the C&C Player's Handbook with typos galore in each edition, that I am loath to support yet another printing without some sort of editorial guarantee that it will at the very least set a new low waterline for typos and gaffes for The Trolls. As an aside, the Kickstarter has hit enough stretch goals to include color copies of Monsters & Treasure, the Castle Keeper's Guide and a whole slew of goodies.

On the other side of the fence, Castles & Crusades was may gateway drug not only to the OSR, but also my return to gaming. I have a soft spot for The Trolls, as they really seem to enjoy and respect the hobby - and the vast majority of the adventures published by Troll Lord Games have been really solid.

So yeah, solidly on the fence on this one. That being said, the $99 entry point on the Kickstarter is chuck full of value, especially for those that haven't checked out Castles & Crusades yet.

You get:

     Player's Handbook - print copy in color and a PDF copy

     Monsters & Treasure -print copy in color and a PDF copy

     Castle Keeper's Guide - print copy in color and a PDF Copy

     Character Reference Sheets

     5 adventure modules (signed by the authors)

     Jim Wards Elemental Magic

     Jim Wards Solar Magic

     A complete set of Castles & Crusades dice (10)

     A custom flash drive

     Arms and Armor Resource Guide

     C&C poster

     Levels 1, 2 and 3 of the megadungeon Aufstrag

     A printed index guide

     A dice cup

     A slip sleeve for the 3 core books

That's a lot of loot for your cash, and that's not counting further stretch goals. This is just where the Kickstarter is now - there are still 30 hours to go.

Baur and Winder Talk 5e and Tyranny of Dragons on IO9

Wolfgang Baur and Steve Winter were interview on IO9 yesterday about their work writing Tyranny of Dragons for WotC and Kobold Press.

You can read the entire interview here.

Personally, I think their are skilled RPG writers, and the following quotes gives me hope that WotC is going for an old school feel with both 5e and the adventures for the new edition:
The adventure starts by dropping characters into the middle of a major raid against a town by the Cult of the Dragon. That's a long night of battling raiders, sneaking through sewers, rescuing hostages, plugging breakthroughs in the defenses, and even squaring off against a dragon—albeit briefly, since the characters are only 1st level. 
From there, they go into some espionage and infiltration of the cult, then a dungeon crawl, then a long road trip with all sorts of oddball encounters, more skullduggery, some "Heart of Darkness"-type action in a swamp, negotiations with a traitor, and a huge, dynamic finish that people will remember for a long time. And that's just Hoard of the Dragon Queen. There's much more in The Rise of Tiamat with just as much variety... 
The action starts out simple, with short, basic fights against raiders in the town. But after that, the adventure becomes pretty free-ranging. There are specific tasks characters should undertake and a sequence in which they happen, but we don't hand the DM a script. 
This adventure lays out what's going on, then relies on the DM to use that information dynamically while interacting with the players. There's very little "This is Tuesday, so this must be Belgium" about these adventures. I suppose some people consider running a game that way to be 'advanced' DMing, but I don't. It's a natural form of play, with lots of give-and-take between players and DM and also between the DM and the adventure itself. 
I suppose that's tougher than reading a script, but it's also a lot more enjoyable.
I'm hopeful. Ever hopeful...

12 Hours Left in the DCC RPG Chained Coffin Kickstarter - The $30 Package is Amazing

I don't ever post about a Kickstarter multiple times - well, at least not the "good" ones, but with The Chained Coffin I'm making an exception.

Here's what you currently get with your $30 pledge:
Level 5 DCC RPG adventure module to be manufactured with a puzzle on inside front cover packaged separately in the box, that consists of 3 spinning wheels. 
Spinning wheel edition to be produced with limited edition silver foil cover, at $30 price. "Regular" color cover edition is also available (featuring the wheel graphic without the moving parts) at a price of $10. 
Written by Michael Curtis with inspiration from Appendix N author Manley Wade Wellman. Includes additional mini-adventure "The Rat King's River of Death" by Steven Bean. 
The Chained Coffin will be a boxed set! All Kickstarter orders of silver foil or gold foil will include the box.
 There will now be a THIRD adventure included in the boxed set, in addition to the (32 page) Almanac (of the Shudder Mountain region), the 0-level bonus module, the Chained Coffin, and the add-on spinning wheel! 
I'm in for the silver foil adventure and a DCC flask. Why the flask? Because it's cool. Why the adventure? It's an amazing value for it's price. Well, that and all the DCC RPG modules rock.
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