Saturday, July 19, 2014

New PWYW Release - Brave the Labyrinth #4 (LL Zine)

Brave the Labyrinth Issue #4 has been released into the wilds, and as always, it is prices to move - that's because it is priced under the Pay What You Want method. Grab it for free, and if you like what you see, toss a few silvers in the direction of Small Niche Games.

Here's the ToC:

-Two (2) new Dwarven races (Clockwork and Stone)

-Chaos magic to beef up your humanoid shamans

-The Demonologist class for Labyrinth Lord

-Two island maps (Player's and Labyrinth Lord's)

-New ideas for terrifying fantasy zombies

-Health insurance for adventurers

-One (1) adventure for 1st-3rd level characters (The Ruined Tower of Hilsosk the Mad)

-One (1) article on weapon mastery

-Six (6) new faerie magic items


-One (1) Review of Red Tide: Campaign Sourcebook and Setting Toolkit

So, what are you waiting for? Grab a copy - NOW!    ;)

Games From the Basement - Tunnels & Trolls 2e, 4e and UK 1e

A question about Tunnels & Trolls editions came up recently and in the midst of it all, I forgot about the "Black Spiral Cover UK Edition".

Now, here's how the breakdown goes best as I can tell.

1e was very limited - less than 100 copies.

2e was also very limited. My copy of 2e is +Ken St. Andre personal play copy.

I don't own a copy of 3e, but the cover is the same as 2e (even if the ink seems to be a different color in the pics I've seen).

4e is 2e with the supplemental rules incorporated.

UK 1e is the spiral cover, with contents of 2e plus the supplement, but it is laid out differently than 4e.

UK Orange Box and UK Corgi are the 5e rules of T&T.

Personally, I love the UK Corgi edition for the convenience factor - it's just a damn good size to carry around.

All because I stumbled across some of my older T&T stuff as I condense boxes and fill up gaming shelves for some late spring cleaning...

A Good and Ugly Kickstarter - The Storyteller's Thesaurus

The Storyteller's Thesaurus is both "good" and "ugly". First, I'll cover the ugly. Chenault & Gray is the parent company of Troll Lord Games, the publisher of Castles & Crusades. If C&C has gotten a knock over the years, it's due to typos and other mistakes in the printed copies.

Now, The Storyteller's Thesaurus isn't even released yet, so why am I mentioning typos? Simply because they couldn't spell their own company's name correctly on the Kickstarter page. Not the most auspicious sign.

At least the graphic for the book itself is correct, right?

There an apostrophe missing in the title above.

Enough of the bad, lets look at the good. This has the potential to be an excellent resource:
This is a reference book with over 100,000 interrelated words! It is specifically designed for writers, teachers, game designers, students and anyone who enjoys the creative output of fantasy, science fiction or horror tales! 
Words have their own entries, there is no need to hunt through pages of alphabetical listings! Words that are crucial in fantasy, history, and horror. No other thesaurus is like this: the Storyteller's Thesaurus names weapons, armor, magical items, mystical creatures, symbols, treasures, and descriptive terms essential for any genre. There are usage notes and writing tips to clarify and expand. The authors draw from decades of work to target areas of concern for beginning writers as well as experienced authors. 
The Storyteller's Thesaurus actualizes character design. The Storyteller's Thesaurus helps you contrive enduring settings and unleash the full power of any scene, great or small.Let this book inspire new characters and develop original settings and locales. You’ll be amazed at how quickly new ideas form as you browse. The Storyteller’s Thesaurus just might be the cure for writer’s block, dull prose, and stale ideas ~ pick up this book and let your world expand!
Over 500 pages.

Authors are James Ward and Anne K. Brown

I may kick in for the digital copy at 10 bucks. At least that way, if it suffers some annoying typos, there is always the hope that the file can get updated

Friday, July 18, 2014

15 Days Later - WotC Releases the 5e Starter Set Pregen PDF - Better Late than Never

The moment folks opened up their D&D Starter Sets social media was abuzz with "where's the pregens PDF?"

Well, it's finally here.

Probably the first misstep with the release of 5e, which isn't all that bad come to think of it...

As an aside, someone has uploaded the D&D 5e Basic Rules at Lulu for Print on Demand - $4.70 plus shipping - get it while you can...

Tenkar & The Badger OSR Podcast Announcement Promo

if video above doesnt work, use http://youtu.be/Qhu1K1iTAFE

The Tavern makes it's ENnies Picks - Part the Third

It's that time. Time for me to use my undue influence for EVIL! Or, failing that, at least point out the OSR picks and such for the ENnies.

- Best RPG Related Product - I got nothing

- Best Rules - I own 4 out of 5 of the finalists, and I'm going to go with Fate Core System

- Best Setting - Again, I own 4 out of 5 of the choices. I'm going with Razor Coast, as two of the choices are core books / settings anyhow, and I really enjoyed Razor Coast.

- Best Supplement - Fate System Toolkit - it is the Year of Fate.

- Best Software - while I really dig Cityographer, I use Roll20 at least once a week.

- Best Writing - I have a few of the finalists and I have no vote. Sorry.

- Best Website - The Escapist - I seem to find myself at The Escapist more than I ever intend to.

- Product of the Year - Razor Coast is an impressive book. Fate Core System and Numenera set new marks for gaming related Kickstarters. Those are my top three.

That's a wrap! Next ENnies post will highlight what I believe are some overlooked products.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tenkar & The Badger - Episode Zero - In the Bag - Lets See What Survives

Earlier tonight +Jason Paul McCartan and I recorded "Episode Zero" of the Tenkar & The Badger Podcast.

It was expected to be an exercise to find our issues and problems - I'm surprised at how few there were. Some initial technical glitches were quickly fixed and I ordered some WD-40 for my squeaky chair.

Our main topic was tournament play (and convention one-shots to some extent) and we did a review of Advanced Adventures #21: The Obsidian Sands of Syncrates from Expeditious Retreat Press, as it is a tournament module (and is offered for sale at PWYW pricing, so there really is no excuse not to take a peek at it.)

Over the next few days we should have some clips to share and possibly a more or less full episode. We kick things off in a grand fashion in about two weeks when Episode One releases with our special guest +Matt Finch :)

Tenkar & The Badger, Episode Zero Goes Down Tonight - and there was Great Weeping

Due to some technical difficulties (not the least of which was my 3 y/o niece visiting her favorite uncle Tuesday evening) we had to push back the Tenkar & The Badger Episode Zero test recording until this evening.

Which works out pretty cool, as now we have some snazzy graphics.

I'm going to convince +Jason Paul McCartan to release some pieces of tonight's "not for public release" episode as soon as we get them cleaned up - what better way to tease a new podcast than releasing parts of an episode that's guaranteed to be fucked up?

We've set up a G+ Community for the show - Tavern Radio. Join us like a good lemming ;)

The Tavern makes it's ENnies Picks - Part the Second

It's that time. Time for me to use my undue influence for EVIL! Or, failing that, at least point out the OSR picks and such for the ENnies.

- Best Family Game - Wait, Fate Accelerated is a Family Game? Aside from Fate, I know nothing on this list

- Best Free Product - Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Quickstart - Chaosium Inc. - Would have been nice to see the City of Dolmvay make the list...

- Best Game - Fate Core System - Evil Hat Productions - I have 4 of the 5 choices, and even if I never play it, I think Fate is the better choice - Numenra is an eye sore to read.

- Best Miniatures Product - Whisper & Venom Collector's Set - Lesser Gnome - I never thought of my W&V box as a miniature product, but in retrospect, yes it is. A damn fine one too.

- Best Monster/Adversary - Creature Decks: Creature Information Cards; 54 Aberrations & Magical Beasts - Inkwell Ideas - I really need to find some time to review this. The art is simply amazing.

- Best Podcast - Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff - Ken Hite and Robin Laws - usually pretty decent. Surprised no Wild Games Productions podcasts are on the list

- Best Production Values - Whisper & Venom Collector's Set - Lesser Gnome - everything else is a distant second - at best

Thus ends part 2 of the the 2014 Lemming List ;)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Kickstarter in Hand - Adventures in the East Mark (Basic Clone)

Alright, so we got some whiteout from the computer monitor in the shot. Still, Adventures in the East Mark is an impressive game, and not just because it's a decent sized box.

Inside is a full color rulebook (I opted for color over B&W), and excellent GM's screen (strong enough not to bend easy), dice, a crayon to color in said dice and a pencil.

Of course, I have no time to read Adventures in the East Mark. Work, the podcast, the secret project and puppy prep have hold of my time for the moment. I am, however, on vacation at the end of the month - I need a day to devote to just reading and perusing my games...

WOSR Podcast: Tenkar & The Badger - First Guest Confirmed - Matt Finch

Yep, we have confirmed our first guest for the first ever episode of of the WOSR Podcast: Tenkar & The Badger - the one and only +Matt Finch .

If all goes as planned, the episode should get posted on August 1st.

Talk about setting a high water mark!

If you don't know who +Matt Finch is, you probably don't read this blog and the podcast wouldn't interest you anyway ;P

Our Episode Zero test recording has been pushed back to tomorrow. Hopefully +Jason Paul McCartan and I will have something for your amusement next week...

The Tavern makes it's ENnies Picks - Part the First

It's that time. Time for me to use my undue influence for EVIL! Or, failing that, at least point out the OSR picks and such for the ENnies.

So, where do we start?

- Best Adventure - Razor Coast: Heart of the Razor - Frog God Games - S&W and Pathfinder, ya gotta support the Frawgs

- Best Aid/Accessory  - Odyssey: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Campaign Management - Engine Publishing - it's a useful resource. Can you ask for much more? Sure, it's also well written.

- Best Art, Interior - Shadows of Esteren Book 2 - Travels - Agate Editions - all of the Shadows of Esteren releases are visually amazing

- Best Art, Cover - Razor Coast - Frog God Games - Achtung! Cthulhu - Keeper's Guide to the Secret War - Modiphius works well too

- Best Blog - Gnome Stew (The Other Side isn't a bad choice either) - no, The Tavern isn't on the list. Must be blacklisted because of all of the Lemmings

- Best Cartography - Razor Coast - Frog God Games - Map of the Flanaess - Anna B Meyer Fantasy Maps is a decent choice too

- Best Electronic Book - FT 0 - Faerie Tales from Unlit Shores: Prince Charming, Reanimator - Purple Duck Games - a DCC RPG adventure by +Daniel Bishop  - do you really need to know more - just vote

Thus ends part 1 of the the 2014 Lemming List ;)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

You're All a Bunch of Lemmings! (or so I've been told and some choose to believe it)

but I know they're wrong, wait and see...

It seems to come up with annoying frequency these past few months.

Apparently, I exert too much influence in our corner of the hobby to be entitled to my own opinions, at least not the negative ones. Yes, it seems I've hit that point where my readers can't think for themselves.

Yep, you, my readers, are apparently a bunch of "Fucking Lemmings!" Which, needless to say, surprises the shit out of me as disagreeing with my posts seems to be a full time job for some of you folks - as well it should be. Nothing breeds discussion more than disagreement.

Now, I'm not one of those "everybody that plays should get a prize" type of people. That is not real life. That's not this blog. I can guarantee you that if The Tavern was that type of blog, the vast majority of you wouldn't be reading it. Shit, I probably wouldn't be bothered posting.

But there are folks that are of the mind set that negative opinions and observations shouldn't be made by those that exert undue influence - and under their definition, I am one that exerts undue influence.

So be it. If you are lemmings, you are some of the most opinionated, independent thinking lemmings I know. If I were to jump off a cliff, I expect you'd all tell me to fuck off as you went your separate ways.

I'd expect nothing less.

Long Live the Lemmings!

As an aside, all Kickstarter posts will now be labeled as either The Good, the Bad or the Ugly ;)

My Britches are Burning!

Yesterday I caused a small firestorm with one of my "Kickstarter" posts. Well, actually, the post was on Sunday but the fires were started yesterday. Pretty much consumed what little meal and personal time I had at work last night and I'm back at work this morning with minimal sleep and a pile awaiting me at my desk.

Sooo... I'm not going to even touch the relevant G+ threads until I get home this afternoon.

I will say this:

If you put your hand out for money to fund your crowdfunded project, you've opened yourself up to attention, good or bad. You want money based on a promise. Many times, those promises are poorly explained or barely explained at all.

As I've stated elsewhere, I do not have an obligation to reach out to Kickstarter project creators behind the scenes to give my opinion on how to better present their project. They put it out there on the interwebs with an open palm.

If someone asks me to took at their project prior to release, I consider that to be confidential. I've looked, given feedback, critique and /or encouragement many times in the past. Live projects are fair game for public critique.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Failed Basic Math Kickstarter - Warrior's Crusade (Board Game)

Yeah, I'm a Kickstarter ass. So I've been told. The fact that Kickstarter no longer vets new projects is becoming a huge issue.

Alright, I'm not going to mention the video. Watch it yourself.

Instead, I'm going to ask you to work out the math for Warrior's Crusade on your own. (note - there is only one pledge level)

Again - no projects backed.

Notice under Risks and Challenges it lists "funding for the production."

Since Kickstarter isn't doing due diligence on any level with this projects, I strongly suggest you do your own.

Another Amazing Laminated Micro Adventure by Tim Shorts

Listen, I pity the fool that isn't backing +Tim Shorts 's Micro Adventures Patreon project page, as you are missing out on these cool laminated one-sheet adventures.

Don't be a fool, fool!  :)

OSR Superstar Final Round Entries - Due Date Pushed to July 20th

I literally don't know if I'm coming or going this week. If nothing else, it will be one hell of a ride. That being said, I won't be looking at much email this week (and I'll be blogging in those magical moment "in between") so I'm pushing the due date for the final round of entries to Sunday, July 20th at 12PM NYC time. At this point, I haven't been told I'm working the coming weekend - but this could be subject to change top.

Some recaps:

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.

List of the 15 that made the cut:

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

and those awesome +matt jackson maps:

A DCC RPG Kickstarter - Peril on the Purple Planet

Goodman Games appears to have embraced Kickstarter as the way to push new products. Can't say I blame them, as it certainly seems to be working for them and others - for now. At some point, the Kickstarter well will start to dry up due to over-saturation and limited backer funds for what is essentially a preorder. And make no mistake, these are most certainly preorders.

Now, the previous DCC RPG Kickstarter, The Chained Coffin, didn't start out as a boxed set. It morphed into a boxed set when numerous stretch goals were hit. The $30 entry point for the module with the stretch goals became an amazing value. I doubt Goodman Games lost money on these boxed sets, but I suspect they didn't make much off them either.

This time, the retail adventure of Peril on the Purple Planet for a $20 pledge (no box, no stretch goals) while the boxed set with all of the stretch goals is being offered at $50. A bit of a bump from the previous Kickstarter, but this one potentially included an amazing looking Judge's Screen. It's also a price point where Goodman Games should still make a few bucks off the boxes sets ;) The Kickstarter launched this weekend and has already hit it's first stretch goal.

The writer this time around is +Harley Stroh , so I knew I'd be backing this the moment it was announced, price points and details mostly unknown. Need I mention the +Doug Kovacs art? Simply amazing.

At this point I expect I'll be hacking this for Swords & Wizardry.

Summary of Kickstarter:

A Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure module of planetary scope – at level 4. The adventure flings your characters to adventures on a distant world dying slowly under a weirdling sun.

The basic pledge funds print+PDF copy of a boxed set containing Harley Stroh’s 32-page adventure module, plus a second 32-page campaign booklet – and possibly more depending on stretch goals.

The first softcover book is the adventure module Peril on the Purple Planet, which has two built-in special features. First, the cover art is oversized, and spreads across front and back cover in addition to wrapping around to front and back flaps. The flaps also double as player handouts when folded out to face the table. Second, the adventure map is a three-page-wide hex crawl, which folds out of the module center as a three-panel gatefold. Additionally, the adventure includes a number of B/W interior handouts to show the players what they face on the Purple Planet.

The second softcover book is a campaign booklet to expand your journey on the Purple Planet. At the basic pledge level, before any stretch goals, it includes three chapters: Lost Tombs of the Ancients, Bestiary of the Purple Planet, and Lost Tech of the Purple Planet, with contributions from Daniel J. Bishop, Tim Callahan, Edgar Johnson, and Terry Olson.

You can support this Kickstarter by adding on other adventure modules from the Dungeon Crawl Classics line, most of which are on sale for 25% off as part of this Kickstarter. You can also add on Purple Planet Player Guides at $5 each.

Stretch goals for this project will put even more items into the boxed set! These include the possibility of an ecology book, additional encounters, a book of handouts, a book of magic, a custom GM screen, and a guide to the Purple Underplanet!

The basic adventure module is complete and ready to print. All writing, art, and layout is complete. The additional writing for the campaign booklet is also complete. Art and layout for the campaign booklet will begin when this Kickstarter funds.

We expect PDF copy of the module to be available shortly before Gen Con, and print copy to be available at Gen Con or shipped soon after (depending on backer preference). If we have extra copies remaining at Gen Con after all Kickstarter pickups, they will be offered to the general public.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

One Guarantee For the Upcoming WOSR Podcast - We Won't be Pleasing Everyone

As +Jason Paul McCartan mentioned on the G+ side earlier today, we have locked down (I supplied the cuffs) 4 of our first 8 guests. Actually, we have a nice amount more that have agreed to come on the podcast, we just need to find times that are mutually acceptable. I must say, I am impressed and humbled. I'll try not to be too star struck.

Now, as I stated in the title of this post, the one thing we can guarantee is that we won't be pleasing everyone. To attempt to do so would be self defeating. And bland. And most probably boring. Wait, we can guarantee TWO things - we won't be boring. You may hate us, but we won't bore you ;)

Oh, I've had numerous requests to NOT belch in the mike like some other podcast is known to do quite often. Shouldn't be a problem, as my wife can attest, belching has never been my issue. Silent but destructive? Yes. If you hear yelling in the background of the podcast you can draw your own conclusions...

2 days to "Zero Episode" recording. 15 days to the recording of the 1st episode with our special guest "To Be Named Shortly". First episode should release to the wilds on August 1st.

Another Dungeons & Dragons Documentary is being Kickstartered - The Great Kingdom - Do We Need Two?

Just to refresh everyone, the original D&D documentary kickstarter was Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary, which funded back in fall of 2012. It's supposedly due to release sometime this year, which may hit some bumps, as 2/3 of the folks behind the original project left it to produce The Great Kingdom, which is Kickstarting now (and is about 60% short of goal with a week left to fund.)

Yep, there's a lawsuit involved. Can't have a documentary (documentaries?) without a lawsuit. Well, you could, but then there would be no drama.

Anyhow, "personalities" is what led folks from the first project to leave to form a second project. We all know how evil personalities can be.

Do we need two D&D documentaries? Damned if I know. I didn't support the first one and I'm into stuff like this. Would I buy a copy of either upon release? Probably.

Examiner.com has a bit more on the legal issues involved between the two competing documentaries.

Another WTF Kickstarter - FanAdv- A new d20 RPG

Really, shouldn't this map speak volumes for the project?
A picture is worth a thousand words...
Actually, let me present the author of FanAdv in his own words:

So, what makes this different than every other OGL system? Who knows, he doesn't say. He just says he can do better than the core rules that are presented in the 3.5 SRD. Based on his amazing map work, I think it's a safe bet that he can't.
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