Saturday, June 14, 2014

Project NUTS - Bringing in the Co-Conspirators

I mentioned my recent secret project the other day - NUTS (Nearly Ultimate Time Sink). I'm really excited to talk about it, who I'm partnered with, folks that have agreed to be a part of it - and I can't. At least not yet, and it's killing me. But it is exciting. I'm sure I'm annoying the shit out of Rachel just by the amount of my talking about it.

Things are moving faster than expected, so hopefully I'll be able to spill the beans soon than later.

On the OSR Superstar side of things, I'm trying to get they post up for the final round and get 2nd round prizes out this weekend. I've had a bit of a distraction, as my niece came over yesterday afternoon in anticipation of my sister (her mother) returning from El Paso and two readings of her new novel, The Hollow Ground.

Long story short, the flight was cancelled and sis didn't get to the house until about an hour ago - and now she's passed out as she spent all night catching transfers. So uncle is still on duty. My dice collection has been raided multiple times (I've learned to remove the d4s ahead of time) and I'm currently attempting, in vain, to keep the kinder from my keyboard.

Back later...

Games From the Basement - Car Wars: Deluxe Edition

I was in the basement last night and one of the games I stumbled across was Car Wars: Deluxe Edition. The box is actually crammed full of stuff Car Wars related, including an issue of Autoduel Quarterly. I suspect much of it was bought separately.

Strangely enough, the counters don't appear to be cut. I remember playing a lot of Car Wars at one point, but I suspect it was all with the microgame box. I probably bought this on my tail end of Car Wars gaming.

It should be interesting when Steve Jackson Games comes out with the car Wars Kickstarter...

Friday, June 13, 2014

Games From the Basement - Wabbit Wampage

Maybe if I phase my body, I can avoid the chainsaw...
I had a conversation earlier today with a friend about reviewing games that are long out of print. This got me thinking about the games we played when we didn't have the full group to play D&D, MERP or whatever.

So I went down to the basement and brought up Wabbit Wampage. As you can surmise from the title, it's a Looney Toons riff with an extra dose of violence. We had fun with it, but we enjoyed Chaos Marauders and Talisman a whole lot more.

Still, I may force the family to play a session of Wabbit Wampage so I can do a "real play" review for Operation: NUTS.

Bundle of Holding - Paranoia (2004 Mongoose Edition)

This is for the 2004 Mongoose version of Paranoia, which I have no experience with. That being said, if you pay more than the average, it includes updates to some of the classic originals:  Flashbacks (retail $24): This must-have 256-page mission collection presents classic 1980s PARANOIA missions updated for the 2004 edition. Learn why Vapors Don't Shoot Back, which citizens get The YELLOW Clearance Black Box Blues, when to Send in the Clones, and what to do when Something Falls Off.

I was already "in"as of last night.

Paranoia, for me at least, is as much fun to read as it is to run ;)

How Strict Are You with Paladins?

I remember playing a Paladin back in my early 1e days. I must have rolled the 4d6 character generation method hundreds of times to get the necessary stats AND still have high scores in strength and the like.

Then, in play, no one really worried about how strict we played our alignments. In retrospect, that Paladin should have fallen so many times he'd have the broken bones to show for it.

Since my return to active gaming over 2 years ago, no one has even flirted with the idea of playing a Paladin. Played BTB, it's a challenge and then some. Hmm, actually, we had a Paladin for a single session. One session in over 2 years of mostly weekly gaming.

Do you run Paladins BTB? If so, how many have you seen legitimately rolled in the campaigns you've played in? I suspect some DMs disallow Paladins in their games. If so, do you have a substitute class for the role they play?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

In the Hopper - Upcoming Events Here at The Tavern - From Superstars to Nuts

It's been a busy time playing catchup at work after spending the better part of a week at NTRPG Con. I also need to play catchup here at The Tavern. Here's what's going on:

 - OSR Superstar - we announced the qualifiers of the 2nd round last week. This weekend we will officially kick off the Final Round. I'll also be contacting qualifiers this weekend to find out if they want their prize via Paypal or RPGNow credit. Only 9 of the 14 have actually emailed me to acknowledge their moving on to the next round. Can't send you a prize if you don't contact me.

- Reviews of NTRPG Con acquisitions. Whisper & Venom's "Bird of a Feather, Valley of the Five Armies and a whole lotta other loot. You've been warned ;)

- DCC RPG module reviews - I got a whole bunch I gotta do. Also some idea on a post or two on how to down-convert to traditional OSR without losing the DCC flavor

- WOSR Podcast Episode One should be forthcoming in 4-6 weeks.

- Super Secret Project - Codename: NUTS (Nearly Ultimate Time Sink) - This will probably be announced late July / Early August. Ideally, it would get announced on the first podcast episode, but I'm not sure it will fall into place in time for such.

PWYW - Adventures in the East Mark - Quick Start Rules (OSR)

Adventures in the East Mark was recently funded via Kickstarter, and it's the English translation of a Spanish OSR system. It really is pretty.

That being said, the Quick Start Rules really are more of a free preview. There is no included adventure, and specific class info is missing (but the pregen character sheets do explain most of what is needed). It does include all of the combat charts and saving throw tables, as well as weapons, armor, 1st level spells, setting and the like.

If you liked the old "red box", this should give you a similar feel.

I do NOT suggest paying for the PWYW version. Use this as a free peek at the rules and the setting. If you like what you see, the full featured PDF of the Adventures in the East Mark is $12.99 in PDF.

From the blurb of the full set:

The Spanish game "Aventuras en La Marca del Este" began from the mind of Pedro Gil as a homebrew campaign for some friends in Spain playing the world's most famous game as devised in Frank Mentzer’s (BECMI) Red Box with 9 starter classes and new rules on mounted combat, aerial combat, seafaring and ship battles.  Now, many years later, it is one of the most popular role-playing games in Spain. By enlisting incredible artists that are now rising stars in the RPG industry such as A.J. Manzanedo, Jorge Carrero and Víctor Guerra, the "La Marca" team produced an incredibly captivating "retroclone" role-playing game that is an old school experience wrapped in old world flare. The game is published in Spain by Holocubierta Ediciones.

Supported by Kickstarter, this is the first ever English edition of the game, now called "Adventures in the East Mark". This Basic Rule Set has everything that you need to play a game with the deep traditions of the original fantasy roleplaying game and imbibe it with an authentic European flavor.

Want to Listen to Vince Florio Interview Me (and others) at NTRPG Con?

I just finished listening to the 2nd RFI NTRPG Con 2014 podcast. Wow.

Frank Mentzer does an excellent interview. Really entertaining, knowledgeable and well spoken. Shit, Frank should be doing podcasts ;)

Frank opens the podcast and I close it. In between there are some decent interviews with others, such as Bill Barsh from Pacesetter Games. I surprised myself by not sounding half bad ;)

+Vincent Florio I enjoyed sitting down with you and Glenn, and I'm happy I was able to introduce you to Texas' own Shiner Boch :)

Weren't Able to get to North Texas RPG Con? Roll for Initiative Did a Live Podcast

+Vincent Florio from RFI and Glenn from Save or Die did a live podcast last Friday and Saturday at the NTRPG Con.

Some highlights:

Steve Winter - simply amazing info on the TSR days of D&D and Steve's high hopes for 5e.

Sandy Petersen - Cthulhu Wars sounds like a slamming game. Damn shame I didn't give it a closer look while I was at the con.

+Jim Wampler - Regular host on Save or Die and Spellburn. He says some very kind words about your's truly - glad we finally met over breakfast on Sunday. I need to thank +Doug Kovacs and +Michael Curtis for that luck.

Vince and Glenn did a nice recap of games I didn't get to play in either.

And other guests too numerous to mention :)

Assuming I made the cut, the next episode should have an interview with me from Saturday

Rumor has it the Next Bundle of Holding will be Paranoia

I seriously love Paranoia, if only to read the adventures ;)

Let's see later on today if the Bundle of Holding rumors are right ;)

Wayward Kickstarters Discussed at NTRPG Con

Kickstarters are a way of life in the RPG hobby these days. Large companies and start-ups and the places in between, all are using Kickstarter to hedge their bets when it comes to funding projects. Some of the "wayward Kickstarters", the ones that have been less than what they could have been, were topics of conversation while at the NTRPG Con, and amazingly enough, I didn't bring them up.

Appendix N Adventures for the DCC RPG from Brave Halfling has been pretty much written off as a loss by those that discussed the project. I suspect that there is still more to come, but the overall opinion I got was to expect nothing and be surprised, than expect something and be dissapointed.

Dwimmermount came up multiple times, not the least of which when I sat down to play some S&W. I carry the label of being, at the very least, partially responsible for derailing the project in it's early days. You can't derail something whose wheels were already coming off. In any case, it popped up multiple time on multiple days with multiple people. I'm very hopeful that the final product will be worth the investment.

Myth & Magic Player's Guide - what a fiasco. Even retailers got screwed on their shipments (they were shorted), and I've seen no mention that delivery to backers has wrapped up. This is the one Kickstarter that folks that brought it up seemed to know the least about, except that copies were as rare as unicorns. A copy did pop up on Saturday's midnite auction, which got me thinking maybe I should donate my copy to the cause next year. Signed by me, of course, as if that has any value ;)

Amazingly enough, Nystul was only mentioned in passing.

Now, I did have conversations about possible future Kickstarters (I'm not involved in any) but I've been sworn to secrecy. Interesting stuff.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"Find Norman" and Find a New Patreon Project by Time Shorts (Gothridge Manor)

Yeah, I "stole" the above from +Tim Shorts Gothridge Manor Blog in order to highlight Tim's new Patreon Project.

Listen, Tim will be offering the above for free on his blog, but if you want to support him (and possibly get some input into what he produces) Tim's Patreon Project is a way to do so.

Oh, and if you haven't picked up any issues of Tim's The Manor zine, you've failed in your OSR Perception Check - got ya! There is no such check, but there is such a zine. Check it out.

D&D Next Weapons Page Posted on G+ and ENWorld

I can get behind a weapon page like this (although I see darts seem to be missing).

As a side note, the page is fairly easy to read - not as busy as many of the RPGs released recently that try to show off their art at the expense of the readability of the text (Numenera, I am talking about you!)

More Sales at DriveThruRPG - Fractal Mapper v8.0 and Fiery Dragon Counter Collection v3.0 for $10 each

Last night I highlighted some bundles, now I'll highlight two accessories.

Fractal Mapper v8.0 is a very powerful mapping tool. Normally $35, it's on sale for 10 bucks

Counter Collection Digital v3.0 - there's so much to say, I'll let Fiery Dragon say it:
This download is in a large ZIP archive, it is over 525MB to download and uncompresses to approximately 550MB. There are approximately 3,400 images, nearly 3,000 are unique [some overlap exists between folders for organization]. 
This downloadable version of our Counter Collection Digital v.3.0 contains every counter image produced up to December 2008 by artist Claudio Pozas: a massive collection of characters, monsters, items, and more! This is a massive update to the v2.0 counter collection, with nearly 3,000 unique counter images spanning 3rd edition, 4th edition, Modern [with plenty of supers counters], Ptolus, Arcana Evolved and Iron Heroes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Things I Learned at North Texas RPG Con

Last week I found myself at my first gaming convention in over 20 years. I had so much planned that I did not do, did so much that was not planned, and have some ideas on how to plan for next year's convention. So, without further waste of space, the things I learned at NTRPG Con.

1 - No schedule survives arriving at the con - whether games get cancelled, you close the bar down at the hotel, conversation and beer prevent you from running your planned pick up games or unplanned pick up games rob you of that optional thing called sleep - just roll with it. You would think that 16 hours a day of potential gaming and con going is a long stretch of time - it isn't.

2 - Shopping at cons is amazing. Shopping for art is amazing. Shopping for art at cons is like double rainbow amazing. Really. +Doug Kovacs , your shit rocks. Thank you.

3 - Pick up games are hard to schedule. I planned on running some Drinking Quest. Brought all three decks. Did lots of drinking and some pick up gaming (Including Red Dragon Inn thanks to +Doug Kovacs - Rachel just made me order a copy tonight) but not the pick up gaming I had expected. Still worked out fine.

4 - If you plan to close the bar - or even don't plan to close the bar, but it is a distinct possibility, do not register for morning games. You have been warned.

5 - Leave time just to enjoy the ambiance of the con. Yes, it has a certain ambiance.

6 - Socializing is more important than gaming, but if you can do both at the same time, it's a win-win. I cemented more friendships than I ever thought was possible, and that was more valuable than any of the gaming (although some of the sessions were gaming and friendship cementing)

7 - Pack light, because you will be leaving with more than you came with. Without trying, I left with 2 large game boxes and probably 10 or so adventures and game booklets. I still don't know how it all fit in my carryon to go home.

8 - Beer. It all goes better with beer.

9 - My wife Rachel is apparently a natural roleplayer. She has an easy grasp of the concept as a whole, if not the mechanics involved.

10 - I really need to organize a Tavern get together at the hotel bar next year. Set a time and day and place within and then buy my friends and my readers their first round. Rach says I need to limit the number to the first 2 dozen or so, because if word spreads, I may be buying more than my wallet can handle ;)


11 - make sure you know WHICH hotel you are staying at. North, South, it's all the same shit until it isn't ;)

You Say You Want PDF RPG Bundles from DriveThruRPG? $10 Bundles are in the House (post 2 of 2)

Apparently DriveThruRPG is 10 years old. I remember the days when DTRPG and RPGNow were separate companies.

In any case, they are offering two distinct $10 bundles, each with over $150 worth of RPG PDFs.

Bundle Two includes the following:

Buffy RPG Revised Corebook (I never watched Buffy, so no idea)

E-Z DUNGEONS: Deluxe Edition (cardboard dungeons are cool and cheaper than other solutions)

Eclipse Phase (see, it's not just in the Bundle of Holding)

Fae Noir (never heard of it, but fantasy noir may appeal to the budding roleplayer otherwise know as "my wife")

Flatpack: Fix the Future (I got nuthin')

Midgard Campaign Setting (Kobold Press, so it should be good)

Necessary Evil Explorer's Edition (over double the size of the original Savage World's campaign)

Primeval RPG Core  (is this still on TV?)

The Ninth World Bestiary (Numenera)

Wraith the Oblivion (2nd Edition) (World of Darkness)

find Bundle One here.

You Say You Want PDF RPG Bundles from DriveThruRPG? $10 Bundles are in the House (post 1 of 2)

Apparently DriveThruRPG is 10 years old. I remember the days when DTRPG and RPGNow were separate companies.

In any case, they are offering two distinct $10 bundles, each with over $150 worth of RPG PDFs.

Bundle One includes the following:

Traveller 2300 AD (never played this as much as I would have liked to back in the day, although this is the Mongoose Traveller version))

Adventure! (a pulp game from Onyx Path)

Book of Monster Templates (for Pathfinder)

Classic Spycraft: Spycraft Espionage Handbook (tempting)

Don't Lose Your Mind (Evil Hat)

Firefly Echoes of War: Friends in Low Places (it's Firefly)

SHADOWRUN DIGITAL TOOLS BOX (yes, it's in all caps)

The Imperial Age: True20 Edition (holy shit! it's for True20 - this may get me buying the bundle on this alone)

Wild Talents 2nd Edition (i've heard a lot of good about the system)

Xcrawl Core Rulebook (Goodman Games)

Bundle 2 link here

Bundle of Holding - Eclipse Phase

This is a short term Bundle of Holding, as it only went up yesterday and as I post this, it has 42 hours left.

Eclipse Phase is a sci-fi game of "transhumanity". I own the original PDF and it's a beautiful book - it's just that I'll never play it with my group. Trust me. If I thought I would get use out of the materials in this bundle in the next few years, I'd be all over this.

You, however, might be in position to get use out of the Eclipse Phase bundle. If so, go forth and enjoy a well designed and well written sci-fi RPG.

Gygax Magazine #4 is Here - in PDF at Least

I haven't done more than a quick scan of the PDF, so all I can do is bring up some observations that come to mind.

The cover literally screams Dragon Magazine from the rooftop of the hobby in the loudest of all possible voices. Which usually leads to disappointment when one reads the table of contents, and is reminded that Gygax Magazine isn't the old school magazine whose trade dress it apes, from cover to font to presentation.

All of which leads me to a mild surprise with Issue #4 - there is a decent amount within that is applicable to "old school" D&D. It does seem, however, the system used for reference varies with each article (AD&D, S&W, RuneQuest, Top Secret, AD&D 2e(?) 13th Age). The various Classic / OSR systems used are not labeled but are obviously not the same system in each article. I'm assuming this is to avoid saying "Dungeon & Dragons", but it's awkward. There are enough clones to use as reference, and the Necromancer's Cookbook is obviously using the S&W format with both ascending and descending AC. Just say such.

Which leads me to yet another observation - the OSR's lack of an "in print" magazine is noticeable, and Gygax Magazine is an inconsistent filler of the gap. We do have a wealth of 'zines, but the lack of a true magazine in our corner of the hobby (Fight On! and KnockSpell seem like faded dreams at this point) is noticeable. It's a shame, because one of the things the OSR does not lack in is creativity (as evidenced by the 'zine and the abundance of small press publishers).

Issue contents are:

Operation: Rendevous Oasis (A Top Secret adventure) by Merle M. Rasmussen

Men and monsters of Polynesia by Michael O. Varhola

Leomund's Secure Shelter by Lenard Lakofka

Adventuring without the magic by Jon Peterson

The Necromancer's Cookbook by Dave Olson

Djinn by Lawrence Whitaker & Pete Nash

Randomize your realm by Timothy Connolly

Psionics without the points by Bill McDonald

Ed’s Effulgent Euphuism by Ed Greenwood

Melee Masters by Brian Liberge


Full Frontal Nerdity by Aaron Williams

Order of the Stick by Rich Burlew

Reviews (0) Discussions (0)   Follow this discussion

Monday, June 9, 2014

D&D 5e to Include Video Tutorials - Chris Perkins Will School You (maybe)

This could be very good, or very bad. Such is the word of online videos.
We decided early on that any materials likely to be used only once had to be eliminated from the set or kept to a minimum. One example would be a tutorial that teaches the rules through a scripted adventure. And in deciding that such a tutorial is something we didn’t want, we were able to think about how that kind of resource would be much better suited to other media—such as online video. Because we’re giving players the opportunity to learn the game without investing any money in it (with our move to make Basic D&D a free download), a new player who downloads the rules can then make use of video tutorials that provide a much better experience of how D&D works. This approach would be like packaging a master DM like Chris Perkins in every Starter Set.
As a side note, I have some thoughts on jagoffs that refer to those in the OSR that aren't falling all over 5e prior to release (in other words - "sight unseen") as "OSR Taliban", but I'll probably need to put that post to virtual paper when I'm a tad more sober. I'd hate for anyone to get butt hurt too badly.

Back in NYC - Already Told Work I'm Extending Vacation by a Day

We flew back to NYC today. I reached out to my staff while we were awaiting our flight from Dallas to NYC and asked them to ask my boss if I could take another day. None of that infamous "Con Crud" - probably because as a New Yorker I am exposed to germs from around the world on a daily basis - but I seriously need to catch up on sleep.

And look, Lady Ashely forgave me for being away for the better part of six days - but she had no patience to pose next to any of the RPG loot that was waiting for me upon my return.

Look! A Kickstarter in my hands! The Covetous Poet's Adventure Creator and Solo GM Guidebook

And another Kickstarter! Three Days Until Retirement (actually, for me it is 769 days, but who's counting? ')

Reviews of the above will have to wait for me to finish reading and reviewing the items I picked up over at NTRPG Con.

Time to Head Back to NYC

Our time in Texas is about to come to a close. Heading down for breakfast, then check out, shuttle to airport and flight back to NYC.

Yep, I'm sure there are a few more embarrassing pictures to post over the next few days, but for the most part, we'll be back to standard Tavern operating procedures ;)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Free RuneQuest 6 Essentials (fully usable RPG ruleset)

Huge props to +Nicholas Bergquist for linking to the Free RuneQuest 6 Essentials rules over at his Realms of Chirak blog

I'm pretty sure free RPG rules is not a new trend, but WotC stating that the core rules of D&D 5e will be free to download have certainly drawn attention to the concept.

Very cool. Now maybe I'll be able to read through the RQ rules without dozing off (they are just super detailed ;)

At over 200 pages, this is still a vary complete ruleset.

Quotes From the Con

"I think we need to do a drive by on Skylab."

"You find 2,000 coppers. Wait, what do you mean Erik went to the bathroom?"

"We have to kill these kids."

"You're NOT with me."

"You're a lot scruffier than that interview on Youtube I saw you in."

"Shit. How many beers is that?"

"Okay, you are now going for a Quadruple Nelson."

"Sweet! I Won! What do I do with this?"

"Hey, you're that guy from Tenkar's Tavern!" followed by "Never heard of it. Should I have?"

"You have Shiner in New York?"

"That's right. You're a cop. It's a good thing I already like you, or I'd think less of you."

"She looks like a little brown turd" after seeing a puppy pic.

I've Been to (North) Texas (RPG Con) and I Will Be Back

Rachel and I were taken out this afternoon by some of our friends that are local to the Dallas / Fort Worth area. Now we can officially say we've been to Texas, as we had some excellent BBQ in Fort Worth.

I really can't stress how amazing a time we had here at NTRPG Con 2014. The hotel staff were excellent, the convention breakfast buffet special was amazing, every game we participated in was a home run, we made and met some amazing friends, got to see some of the local scenery  - when we come back next year (and Rachel has already told me that we are coming back next year ;) we'll probably stay Monday thru Monday and use the days up front to explore the Dallas / Fort Worth area on our own.

I shook many hands, and a handshake or two may bear some fruit down the line. More on such later, if and when I have something to announce.

In the meantime, you can expect reviews of all three Three Castle Award finalists over the next week or two. Sure, I already gave Whisper & Venom glowing reviews, but I can always do so again ;)

I'm currently reading through Valley of the Five Fires (2014 Three Castles Award winner) and will be picking thru The Blood Cult box during the upcoming week.

Last Day of NTRPG Con - and I'm Hurting. It's a "Good" Hurt

The plan was to be in another session of +Matt Finch 's Swords & Wizardry game this morning, but that ain't happening. Partially because Rach and I never had our post dinner nap - instead we hung out with +Richard LeBlanc , David Welborn, +James Aulds and even +Michael Curtis for a bit before heading over to the Midnight Auctions. We spent the evening in a much more enjoyable manner than napping ;)

All of which means I'm typing this a half hour before game time, dopey and hungry, and +Rachel Griffin is still sleeping. Yeah, not happening.

I think next year, just one game a night and no morning sessions. The games have all rocked, but the most fun we've had has been hanging out with other members of the OSR community that I've known but had never met face to face prior to NTRPG Con. The time spent turning "online" friendships into getting to truly know them as friends has made my time here at NTRPG Con priceless.

Midnight Auction Madness - The Devil is a !0th Level D... (NTRPG Con)

The midnight auction was a crapload of fun. Not only did "The Devil Himself" make an appearance, I also snagged some loot - some was strange and some was good, but it was all for a good cause ;)

Some of my loot:

at 10 bucks it was a steal
my soul for a buck

35, so I paid too much, still cool
7 bucks - Rach thought it was interesting
Just a sample of a bunch of crappy bumper stickers ;)

How Does a Master DM Handle a Table with 16 Players?

It's all about having the height advantage like +Matt Finch ;)
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