Saturday, June 21, 2014

Free RPG Day Pick #5 - RuneQuest Essentials

RuneQuest 6 is an amazing RPG that is as intimidating as it is awesome. I gave up on it.

Then came RuneQuest Essentials, a "Pay What You Want", stripped down but still complete at 200 or so pages.

So yes, you can check out the new RuneQuest for free. I advise that you do so, as it is the granddaddy of d100 based RPGs and the price is right at free ;)

From the blurb:

This special, 'Pay What You Want' version of RuneQuest 6th Edition is designed to introduce players and Games Masters to the essentials of the game. In this book you will find the core of the RuneQuest engine, in a stripped-down format, but still complete enough to create characters and begin adventuring with one of roleplaying’s most enduring and respected systems.

The intention is that this book will give you a taste of the mechanics and encourage you to move onto the full edition of the rules. The full rulebook contains much, much more: more game options, more magic, more monsters more cults.

But for now let RuneQuest Essentials be your gateway to fantastic adventures with heroes and magic!

Free RPG Day Pick #4:Mazes & Perils (2013 Gold ENnie for Best Free RPG)

Winner of the 2013 Gold ENnie for Best Free RPG, Mazes & Perils takes "Holmes" Basic to the next step and envisions it as a full RPG.

Guess what?

It's also free ;)

Free RPG Day Pick #3: BLUEHOLME Prentice Rules - The Maze of Nuromen (Holmes Clone)

I'll make this a dual pick, with both the BLUEHOLME Prentice Rules and the introductory adventure The Maze of Nuromen available as "Pay What You Want" - so download them both, read them, play them - and if you feel the author deserves a few silvers, you can throw a handful his way.

It really is a nice clone of the Holme's Basic Rules and you can't beat the price...

Free RPG Day Sale - Buy a PDF Copy of Nebin Pendlebrook’s Perilous Pantry and receive a free PDF of A Gathering of the Marked (DCC RPG)

+Jon Marr over at Purple Sorcerer Games is running a sale for Free RPG Day. Buy a copy of Nebin Pendlebrook’s Perilous Pantry (from this link) and you will receive a free PDF of A Gathering of the Marked.

I ran A Gathering of the Marked over the course of three sessions a while back via Google Hangouts, and it was damn fine. Everyone had a good time, including me as the DM ;)

Think of it as a buy one, get one free offer ;)

From the Blurb of Nebin Pendlebrook's Perilous Pantry:

The tiny village of Bitterweed Barrow is unaccustomed to mysterious tunnels, missing halflings, or the need for brave adventurers, but now it has all three! Can a band of gong-farmers and shoe-cobblers muster the courage to descend into the darkness and confront the terror that waits beyond Nebin Pendlebrook’s unexpectedly perilous pantry?

Designed to be completed in a single furious session, this Instant Action 0-Level Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure drops your players into peril straight away. Dangerous foes, wicked traps, and ancient secrets await!


42 pages of classic 6'x9' digest-format old-school b/w dungeon fun.

Designed to be completed in a single 4 hour session, perfect for convention or demo play, but with enough hooks to become a centerpiece for your beginning campaign.

37 page appendix contains paper miniatures of every combatant, initiative cards, battlemaps of the entire dungeon, and printable pics of every image in the adventure.

Free RPG Day Pick #2 - VA1a The Lost Caverns of Azgot (New Big Dragon)

The Lost Caverns of Azgot is a free mini adventure from the guy who won the 2014 Three Castles Award. It's short, it's free and it's old school.

As a bonus, if you go to +Richard LeBlanc 's blog (Save vs. Dragon), he has 3 free d30 charts up for Free RPG Day.

Remember, my Free RPG Day picks aren't the same one you'd be getting at your FLGS - but they are just as free ;)

From the blurb:

Only a minimum number of monster encounters have been included in this adventure. Instead, it is designed to allow “population” of the caverns as the DM deems fit, allowing it to be easily adapted into almost any existing campaign (old-school or new).

While this adventure is not part of Old-School Adventures™ Module VA1: Valley of the Five Fires (winner of the 2014 Three Castles Award), it has been designed to be used in conjunction with the setting it creates. Furthermore, its format allows use with almost any early edition of the original role-playing game (Oe, BX, 1e) or comparable retro-clone (e.g., S&W, LL)

Free RPG Day Pick #1 - Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay

Alright, I'll admit it. Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay is "Pay What You Want" all of the time in PDF. Today is, however, Free RPG Day, and since not all of us have the time or inclination to make a trip to their FLGS (or may lack a FLGS) I'll be highlighting some inexpensive and / or free products one can add to their RPG toolbox over the weekend.

So, what makes Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay an excellent pick for Free RPG Day? It's a complete and fairly generic city that is close to be drop and play in most any campaign. When I say it is "generic", I don't mean that it's boring or the same old same old - what I means is that it is very flexible in the settings it should be able to fit in without major (or even much minor) work. Wnat to drop it in Greyhawk? Go ahead. How about Forgotten Realms? Easy as pie.

Heck, maybe you just want to steal bits and pieces, like neighborhoods or even just business establishments and possibly some NPCs. Have at it. Nothing says you need to take it whole cloth. Just take what you need for now and you can always come back later. I hear there are some decent taverns described in Dolmvay ;)

Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay is "PWYW", so you can check it out for free and if you life what you see, you can always toss Small Niche Games a few silvers. In any case, the price is certainly right and the amount of game-able material is excellent.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Castle of the Mad Archmage - Adventures Dark & Deep - 30% off PDF and Print - Thru June 22!

Forgive me if there are any glaring typos in this post - my son just took my wife and I out to the local pub for her birthday - five rounds of beer and shots in less than two hours will leave you feeling it. I'll admit to getting old ;)

+Joseph Bloch is putting his BRW catalogue of releases on sale for 30% off through June 22 - basically through the end of the weekend. This applies to PDF AND Print versions, so if you've been holding off on getting the Adventures Dark & Deep RPG or Castle of the Mad Archmage now is the time to pull the trigger.

I think I'm going to bed now...

Purple Duck Sale - 33% Off DCC, LL, S&W, Stock Art

+Purple Duck Games is running a sale on it's entire catalog.

DCC RPG adventures, Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, Stock Art and more.

I may need to pick up some more stock art for the "Secret Project" I'm partnered up in...

You can find the Purple Duck page here.

20% Off Lulu Coupon - Looking for Suggestions

Alright, OSR Today has a Lulu Coupon code posted of JFS20 - good for 20% off. Today is my wife's birthday, so I need suggestions of what to buy myself (she already has a MacBook Air coming her way, so she's more than good.)

Add suggestions in the comments below...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

First Look at Print Copies of Adventures in the East Mark

Damn, it's purty :)

Yes, I got a sneak peek and it looks good.

Look at that. A Kickstarter that will deliver well.

You can get Adventures in the East Mark in PDF at RPGNow. Not sure when print copies will be available to the general public.

How the Latest Spellburn Episode Nearly Disabled My Car

So, I noticed on OSR Today that the Spellburn Podcast  had a new episode up. I downloaded it at work and had it playing as I got into my car to head home.

I should mention that I work in downtown Manhattan, so driving is always an experience.

As I get to the corner to make my turn north, this is what I hear:

"In the comments section of Tenkar's Tavern, did you say that QUOTE: DCC RPG Adventures are all fucking clown shoes, and if they were real I'd kick the fucking shit out of them for being so stupid?"



and then someone gets the shit beat out of them.

I had to swerve to miss the pedestrian jaywalking and then almost found myself in a damn trench being dug out by Con Ed for the damn steam they use to heat building and water in Manhattan.

Yes, I was laughing that hard... holy shit!

Made it home in one piece thankfully :)

I blame +Jim Wampler+Jobe Bittman and +Jeffrey Tadlock may have been accomplices - I'm not sure ;)

Do You Custom Design Classes for Your Campaigns?

I don't custom design classes for my campaigns, but I have written classes. About 3 years ago, I wrote a Bard class for Knockspell Magazine (last issue of I recall - I'd hate to think my bard killed a magazine) and I wrote some Halfling racial classes for S&W a few years back. I neither case were the classes written for a specific campaign.

That being said, I do know that some DMs do design specific classes for their campaigns or tweak existing classes to make a better fit.

Do you write such classes? Have you played in a campaign with custom classes? Pros and cons? Tell us a bit about your custom classes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Just Over 2 Days Left for the DTRPG $10 Bundles and Fractal Mapper 8.0 Sale

My post on Fractal Mapper 8.0 and Counter Collection Digital V3 for $10 each

Bundle 1 of RPG Goodness for 10 bucks (complete list)

Bundle 2 of RPG Goodness for 10 bucks (complete list)

(yeah, just a quick remind before this sale ends - I've noticed that Fractal Mapper 8.0 is very popular at this price)

OSR News Site Goes Live - OSR TODAY

Looking for one stop shopping for the events going on in the OSR (and I'm sure, some of the more major events in RPG gaming in general)?

OSR TODAY is the site to bookmark. Hell, I'll probably make it my homepage I made it my homepage, just so I'm sure I'm keeping The Tavern up to date.

It's being run by my podcasting partner in crime, +Jason Paul McCartan .

Jason, now that this project is live, it's time to get our OSR podcast on the virtual airwaves :)

Another Nystulian Sighting - This Time, an Axes & Anvils Update

It seems when Mike get's a spark, it spreads. What confuses me is, A&A was effectively completed, in PDF at least. +Andrew Shields was brought on by Mikey to do so. It was released to backers, then deemed "not worthy" by Mikey, apparently because it lost much of it's Nystulian identity.  The thing is, the torch for Nysul's Infinite Dungeon was passed on to "some other sucker of a company (I forget who right at the moment.) So, why is Mikey messing with something he already washed his hand of, unless it's just to obscure things with new "I'm working on it updates" when in reality, all he is doing is a casting a cheap, 1st level spell.
I am tackling my outstanding Kickstarters methodically so that i can get everything done. The first steps involve figuring out exactly what needs to get done and how to do it. Then I will set about working my way down the list until everything is done. I will also be going in the order the Kickstarters were presented so "Nystul's Infinite Dungeon" is first. I will be generating some material for each of the Kickstarters that will be shared with backers of all three. When I know what you will be getting from the Infinite Dungeon project. I will let you know. At the very least PDFs of some maps and an RPG called "Delve". 
I'll keep you all posted on my progress. 
Thanks as always for your patience and understanding. 
Upwards and onwards!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

OGRE Pocket Edition - $2.95 - Same Price as in 1977 (NOT PDF)

Steve Jackson Games is offering the OGRE Pocket Edition for a measly $2.95. You can order direct from them (and pay some sort of shipping, so you might want to pad that order) or pick it up at your local game store by the end of the month.

I played the shit out of OGRE and GEV back in my high school and early college days and you really can't beat the price.

From the blurb

The giant tank rumbles toward its target . . . its guns are destroyed, its movement crippled, but only a few defenders are left. Will they stop the robot juggernaut, or will it crush the Command Post beneath its gigantic treads?

Ogre was Steve Jackson's first game. First released in 1977, it set a new standard for fast, exciting boardgame play. Over 25 years after its release, Ogre earned a spot in James Lowder's popular book Hobby Games: The 100 Best.

In 2012, Steve Jackson Games launched the "Designer's Edition" of Ogre on Kickstarter. . . a 24-pound box with giant maps and several hundred counters, retailing for $100.

Now Ogre Pocket Edition takes the game back to its roots. A small rulebook, 140 counters, and the same bare-bones map Steve drew himself for the very first printing. And the price is the same as it was in 1977: $2.95. ($2.95 in 1977 dollars translates to be over $10 today when adjusted for inflation; this is Steve's way of saying 'thank you' for your support for Ogre over the last three decades.)

Despite its "pocket" size, Ogre Pocket Edition will have more than enough counters to play all five of the "Ogre vs. Command Post" scenarios. It includes two different conventional forces (a Black force and a White force), with a whopping eight White Howitzers! That's a whole lot of gameplay for $2.95.

What are the Most Neglected "Old School" Games?

I'm not necessarily referring to D&D and it's clones when I speak of neglected "Old School" games, although some of it's rulesets might be included in the list (Dark Dungeons, Mazes & Perils and the like). I'm also including things like WFRP 1e, Timemaster, Gamma World (TSR), Traveller (GDW), Swordbearer, MERP and the like.)

As a fan of the older games (although I do have a number of "newer" games in my collection) it seems to me a number of them do not get the attention they deserve. Or, for that matter, any attention at all on social media, blogs and the like for a large portion of them.

Are there games you are a fan of that you feel should be getting more attention? If so, why?

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Dragon Hoard Zine #2 - On Sale for a Buck in PDF Thru Thursday!

+Richard LeBlanc , winner of the 2014 NTRPG Con Three Castles Award for Valley of the Five Fires as well as the D30 Sandbox Companion and my main co-conspirator on the secret project NUTS!, has released The Dragon Hoard Zine Issue #2 for a measly buck on RPGNow. Yep, a dollar. But only thru Thursday.

Issues 1 and 2 of The Dragon Hoard Zine are available in print (true print, not POD) for $4 each or the pair for $7. The print versions include the PDFs (actually, anything bought in print and the New Big Dragon storefront includes PDF versions for free, delivered via RPGNow).

I'm stuck between finishing reading Valley of the Five Fires or The Dragon Hoard Issue #2, both of which i picked up at NTRPG Con the other week.

From the blurb:

Inside this 32-page Nordic-themed issue:

• The Monster Roster: Linnorms (Oe/BX/1e information for 6 types)

• The Long and Short of the Viking Longhouse (with several sample maps)

• Here's the Thing... (folkmotes and fitting them into your adventures)

• The Völva: A New NPC Character Class - including several new spells
(part seer, part shaman, part wanderer... all woman)

• Vifillmein: An Adventure for Characters Levels 1-3

• Dealing with Level Drain (a host of alternatives to "by the book" level drain)

• The Houses of the Mark: NPC Encounters Adapted from
William Morriss The House of the Wolfings (NPC encounters for nearly
2 dozen tribes and their most important members)

• A Trio of Norse-inspired Magic Items

What is the Justification for Rangers getting 2HD at 1st Level?

Rangers (and Monks) in AD&D 1e both get 2 Hit Dice at 1st level. If they have a Constitution bonus, they also get it twice at first level, giving Rangers a potential of 24 HPs to start out with (they get D8 for HD, not D10 like fighters and paladins.

I don't recall how it was for the ranger and monk in the OD&D supplements, but I've always wondered why these two classes started out with extra hit points at first level.

Was there ever a stated reason?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mini Review - Bird of a Feather (Whisper & Venom Setting - Lesser Gnome)

Ashley is in lazy mode today

Bird of a Feather was my first "acquisition" at NTRPG Con earlier this month. It almost felt like a cold war spy thriller, meeting +Zach Glazar in the hotel bar and receiving the "hand off". All it needed was to be wrapped in some brown paper wrapping and tied off with some twine.

I don't think I can properly stress what a great product Whisper & Venom is. I have both the boxed set and the hardcover for "Old School Gaming Systems" and it is extremely well done. Boxed set if you like opening Christmas presents and hardcover for portability.

Bird of a Feather is set in the Whisper & Venom setting. You don't need Whisper & Venom to run Bird of a Feather (BoaF), but the two fit together seamlessly.

BoaF is a sandboxie hunting expedition for the party, with plenty of opportunities to roleplay and kick your party's collective asses. Zach has a talent when it comes to writing NPC - it doesn't take much space for him to bring them to life, which will only help the DM's running this (and Whisper & Venom - the reason I wanted to run W&V for my wife was because of the lively NPCs - I'll still run it for her, especially after she got a taste of it at NTRPG Con).

The font size is perfect for my older eyes. It's the first thing I noticed, followed by the double cover - an outer cover for the adventure map on the inside side, and the regional maps on a separate inner cover on both sides. I really don't know how Zach manages to put out such high quality work with all of the little extras.

Well worth a few of your coins. Oh, did I mention Bird of a Feather comes with a Rhacos figurine custom sculpted just for this release? Yep. I'm waiting to see how the mini fits in an envelope ;)

Final Round of the OSR Superstar Competition Kicks off Now!

Your mission (assuming you are one of the 15 qualifiers from the Second Round of the OSR Superstar Competition) is to:

1 - Complete the map below. You may use the hexed version or the "clean" version.

2 - You must "stock" the dungeon level using the OSR ruleset as you see fit. I advise using a "clone", as all entries will be published in a free PDF under the OGL. You can use whatever "D&D Clone ruleset you desire, but you must identify the ruleset you are using.

3 - The magic item that you qualified with in the First Round must make an appearance in your adventure.

4 - The creature you qualified with in the Second Round must make an appearance.

5 - Entries must be submitted to the email OSRdotSUPERSTAR at that gmail thing no later than midnight, July 15th, 2014. If you are unable to scan or digitally prepare your map, contact me at the above email and we will make arrangements. There will be no extensions. You have 30 days from today, at which point the judges will be given the entries to judge.

Just 9 of the 15 Second Round qualifiers have emailed me at the above address. Those 9 will be emailed over the next day or so to verify where they want their prizes sent.

Games From the Basement - B1, B2 & B3

NTRPG Con got me thinking about the box of D&D goodness I purchased via Craig's List a few months ago. Many holes in my collection were filled with that box, as my limited budget in my early gaming days prevented me from buying all that I might have wanted.

I can truthfully say I've never run an adventure from the "B" series, although I have owned B2 for years and did play through it a bit while participating in early D&D Next Playtesting.

There is a whole lotta adventure in that slim booklet. It's one of those rare modules that says 'Levels 1-3" and actually means "we'll take you from level 1 to level 3 and maybe beyond".

Good stuff.

Alright, back to uncle duties. Father's Day festivities are at our house, so I'm stealing the moments i can ;)

Wayward Kickstarters - Mike Nysul's Infinite Dungeon - An Infinite Kickstarter

Nearly 2 years overdue, somehow I expect I will not be getting my $75 worth...

Today's update:
I am tackling my outstanding Kickstarters methodically so that i can get everything done. The first steps involve figuring out exactly what needs to get done and how to do it. Then I will set about working my way down the list until everything is done. I will also be going in the order the Kickstarters were presented so this one is first. 
The Book - originally this was going to be several smaller books with a map book, art book and so forth. When D3 took over it made more sense to move it to a standard book to make it easier to print. That means some of the re-usability I sold the project on would be lost so it seems like I should provide some maps.  
A note about D3 - We have been working on eliminating any obstacles to getting the books printed and out to you. 
Hardcover Books - We are looking at a few options including having a print on demand account set up that you can redeem for your copy or copies.  
Art Print, Miniatures and Key - I have the minis and have been waiting to include the other items so they can ship together so it's only one shipping cost. I will have to pick an art print. If we have more than one option I'll set up a way for you to choose which one gets printed. As far as the key goes, is this still what you want or would a piece of terrain, custom die or something make more sense at this point? 
Delve - I offered a standalone RPG. At one point this became Cairn which then became my second Kickstarter. That doesn't seem like fair trade so I will be providing Delve as a digital download.  
Once again - I apologize for not delivering sooner. Digging in and getting everything done without worrying about how massive the task seems as a whole is the only way to untangle this mess and untangle it I shall. Thank you for your patience and your understanding. 
Well, at least the "wandering wizard" has seemed to have settled down...

What Makes 3d6 in Order so Special?

When I came into the RPG hobby back in Junior High in 1980/81, character generation was 4d6 (drop the lowest) and arrange as you see fit. Pretty much every group I played in rolled that way, with a few campaigns rolling 5d6 and dropping the two lowest. And then came Unearthed Arcana, with it's 3d6 to 9d6 method, depending on class or attribute - that was like characters on steroids before steroids were big ;)

It seemed to be the groups that had been playing since the White Box were big on the 3d6 in order. I didn't realize this until years later. When we played with a previous generation of gamers (back then, it seemed like every 4 years was a new generation) it was strict and by the book - or at least, strictly by that group's set of houseruled rules. In Junior High or High School playing with a College group - it might have been AD&D, but it wasn't the AD&D we played, and it always was 3d6 in order and no level bump. The party is in their low teens and you and another are 1st level and your highest ability is a 12? Maybe, just maybe, if you hide in the back you'll survive to level 2. Or, failing that, survive until the first food break and then leave ;)

When I rolled an 18 on 3d6 for strength in +Matt Finch 's game at NTRPG Con last weekend, it was the first time I've rolled a PC using that method in nearly 30 years. Probably the first 18 that wasn't the result of rolling dozens of characters using the method and than cherry picking (which you would do as a teen - we even did it on 4d6).

That 18 was special. I also didn't have much of a class choice at that point, as my next highest score was a 12, and I did have a 5 and a 7 in the mix (wisdom and intelligence respectively).

I'm not sure I'd run a campaign with 3d6 in order these days, but a funnel via the DCC RPG method to weed out the chaff? Yep, that I can see. I like that idea, actually. It's like rolling multiple characters but not really having sole decision over which one wins out in the end...
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