Saturday, September 6, 2014

Kickstarter - Quests of Doom - Swords & Wizardry Modules (Frog God Games)

Hot off the heels of their successful 5e Kickstarter, Frog God Games is porting the Quests of Doom over to Swords & Wizardry (Pathfinder too, but that really, if you read The Tavern, odds are good that your aren't a regular Pathfinder player).

So, what do you get with Quests of Doom?

18 Adventures in total, themed and written by as follows:

(3) Demons & Devils - Bill Webb and Clark Peterson
(3) Vampires & Liches - Casey Christofferson and Bill Webb
(1) Lycanthropes - Steve Winter
(1) Elementals - Michael Curtis
(1) Lycanthropes & Elementals - Skip Williams
(1) Men - Jim Ward
(1) Monstrosities - Matt Finch
(1) Men & Monstrosities - Casey Christofferson
(1) Giants - Michael Curtis
(1) Dragons - Jim Ward
(1) Giants & Dragons - Ed Greenwood
(1) Bugs - Bill Webb
(1) Blobs - Jim Collura
(1) Bugs & Blobs - Matt Finch + Bill Webb

Very nice assortment of authors.

$55 for the print and PDF shipped to the states is a fair price. And it will all be integrated into the Lost Lands setting

Wherein the Party Gets Damaged by Pink

Last night was the "B-Team's" more or less monthly delve into the Castle of the Mad Archmage using my houseruled version of Swords & Wizardry Complete. We play it for shits and giggles. My group has no intention of moving on to another dungeon or location. The group has faith that their DM (myself) isn't looking to unjustly hose them, and in return I often pull back the curtains a bit after an encounter or a room has been successfully conquered or bypassed. I'm also fast and loose with the expo, as we only get together once a month. I feel a bit like the Wizard of Oz ;)

CotMA can be played straight or slightly gonzo. I try to run it slightly gonzo while keeping a straight face. Not always easy, but I think it adds to the experience for all of us. Besides, all mega dungeons have gonzo to them - it's just a matter of how much. Even Rappan Athuk had the magical slot machine...

One thing that stood out to me (and was missed in +Douglas Cole 's Gaming Ballistic session write up which shouldn't be missed) was when the party took "pink damage" - no save allowed. Ouch! I wonder if that was an easter egg critique of her music. Heh

We really are having a blast with CotMA.

Friday, September 5, 2014

When Exceptional Strength Was the Rule, Not the Exception

Back in the early 80's, it became readily apparent to us - and by "us", I mean my gaming groups both in NYC and the Poconos, that fighter types "needed" exceptional strength or they were no better than a cleric without spells.

Sure, I know differently now, but in looking back there were many things in AD&D that encouraged min-maxing. All of which made the game less about the players and the roleplay and more about the characters and the rollplay. It was like Spinal Tap and "this one goes to Eleven". And we had no idea.

Myself and most of my gaming circles at the time cut our teeth on AD&D. Basic D&D was a child's game to us (we were after all, teens, and it was important to play an "adult" version of Dungeons & Dragons.

Unearthed Arcana came along with weapon specialization and barbarians with a d12 HD and doubled bonuses for Dex and Con and we almost saw the issues. Almost. We quickly banned cavaliers and barbarians (and no one wanted to play a thief-acrobat, so it was a non-issue) but the new spells, new character generation, weapons specialization and the like? We kept it all. It fed our teen desire to be even more better. More super.

Now I look at 5e, and in many ways it makes me think of 1e. It's certainly closer than 3e or 4e are to that venerable edition to the rules. Except now, with 5e, stats matter less and all characters are damn near super.

Which is why my OSR clone of choice emulates pre-1e. I want exceptional players more than exceptional characters these days...

(not that exceptional players CAN'T have exceptional players - it is not mutually exclusive - I just want to emphasize player skill over character abilities in my old age)


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Are You Experienced? Methods of Awarding Expo in the OSR

+Vincent Florio and I were bouncing some observations of awarding experience points back and forth throughout the day today. Although there are definite rules that cover awarding expo in the various editions of D&D and it's clones, it seems to be one of the things that is most often houseruled.

Some folks keep the gold recovered for expo - some don't, or they tweak the way it's awarded.

Some award expo for cool acts, or doing something in character, or great roleplay, or achieving goals and the like.

Some go the 2e way, and award expo for actions that are class related.

Yes to expo for magic items found and kept or no?

Tweaks depending on the frequency of the group gaming - more often, smaller rewards, less often, greater rewards.

How do you award expo? Do you go by the book or do you have your own houserules? If you go by the book, which edition or clone's rules do you follow? Is it the same as the edition you are actually running?

Inquiring minds want to know ;)

More Judges Guild - The Original, Revised & Expanded Tegel Manor

Another of my recent eBay acquisitions. Technically, it's a Gamescience product and not Judges Guild, but this is the reprint that Gamescience did for the 89 (or was it 90) Origins Convention. Only 100 copies were printed, and this copy is in mint condition.

One huge advantage of the Gamescience version of Tegal Manor is that it is not printed on newsprint.

I also grabbed some inexpensive Judges Guild D&D and AD&D adventures. When I pick up the DM reigns for the weekly group again (I'm enjoying my current turn in the player's seat) I'm torn between running Lost City of Barakus and a series of Judges Guild adventures from back in the day.

Ah well, plenty of time to figure all that out ;)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Apparently The Tavern is the OSR Equivalent of Rush Limbaugh...

Interesting comment from the Ten RPG Blogs Everyone Should be Reading thread on ENWorld from this weekend. Although I do rant (and give rant warnings prior to the worst of my rantings) it far from the majority of the content on this end. Heck, it isn't even a significant minority, unless one includes my Kickstarter posts as rants. Damn, maybe he's upset by my Gor RPG project post. Or the magazine that's not a magazine (although I do agree with Venger, calling it Draconic regularly-updated-post-hub-willing-to-share-profits wouldn't have had the same ring to it ;)

Ah well, to each their own. trancejeremy, we hardly knew ya...

I'm still gassed that The Tavern was included in a top ten list, which is very cool. We're up there with very esteemed company. Check the list yourself - they're all - Tavern included - excellent gaming blogs.

Damn, I guess this podcasting schtick I'm doing on the side really does make it like talk radio.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Far West - So Close, yet So Far - Missing Deadlines Since December 2011 (Wayward Kickstarter)

Far West. Far from Done. These are the voyages of the RPG Far West. It's bold, daring mission. To miss more self imposed deadlines than any other Kickstarter. DaDaaaDaDaDaDaDaaaaaDa!

Lets see, what has happened in the gestation span of Far West:

- consistently missed deadlines dating back to December, 2011. Then November 2013. January 2014. Most recent missed deadlines to release the PDF: June 2014, July 2014, August 2014. I know I missed at least a half dozen in between. Always the release is just over the horizon.

- Cubicle 7 was brought in to distribute the print version in June of 2013. In mid October 2013 we were promised actual copies being printed. As of September 2, 2014, Cubicle 7 cut their losses.

Now for the quote of quotes, the definition of a messed up Kickstarter:

At worst, I figure I am no more than a week to 10 days behind schedule. That must be that new math shit they teach in college these days. At worst, assuming the promised December 2011 delivery, I'm seeing 138 weeks behind schedule. At best, given the promises from last October, about 39 weeks.

It's comical. Hell, it could be made into a drinking game. At this point, I'd take nearly ANY game, as I've lost all hope that Far West will be any more coherent or complete upon any possible future publication. Because as Annie says, tomorrow is always a day away. Far West is coming tomorrow...

Monday, September 1, 2014

We Just Finished Recording Episode 2 of the Tenkar & The Badger Podcast with Harley Stroh - Holy Sh!t

About an hour ago we ( +Jason Paul McCartan and myself) just finished recording the latest episode of the Tenkar & The Badger with +Harley Stroh .

Holy shit doesn't come close to covering it.

We stayed on topic and totally off any format we had intended to stay upon. Basically, it was a sandboxed podcast.

Personally, I can't thank +Harley Stroh enough for joining us tonight and yes, we will definitely have him back.

I'm still drinking some black & tans to bring myself down to a comfortable state after the highs we legally hit with Harley ;)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Leaving Off the "R" in OSR

Sometimes I think we as a hobby are too big on labels, especially the labels we put on ourselves and the corner of the hobby we love.

I thought we were going to have a Donnybrook yesterday on a G+ thread related to the first episode of the Tenkar & The Badger podcast, simply because a listener went off on a tirade that none of the definitions of the OSR put forward in the episode was right - we were all wrong and only he had the proper definition of the High Orthodox Church of the OSR. Which just went and proved a point - it is a fucking nebulous thing to define as we all bring our own gaming baggage into the pew with us.


Old School... Revolution... Revival... Resurrection... Regurgitation... Retread...

Maybe the "R" should be for Resolution. The resolution to keep Old School gaming alive, whether it be D&D, T&T, RQ, RM, MERPS, WFRP, Traveller, Bunnies & Burrows, Empire of the Petal Throne, Champions, GURPS, FASRIP or whatever your old school game of choice is.

In the grand scheme of things, our hobby is a small one. We should be embracing our commonalities, not excluding those that may have cut their gaming teeth on a system that came out a year or two after a white box (or more accurately, wood grained box) that very few of us actually had a chance to play with back in the day.

That my resolution.

Well, that and keeping the extra crotchety grognards off my lawn ;)

Audio From the Hangout with David Wilson Brown / eXtra-Dimensional Publishing is Live on iTunes

While episode 2 should be posted by the end of the week, +Jason Paul McCartan has uploaded the audio from the interview with +David Wilson Brown that we conducted earlier this month via an On Live Hangout on G+.

Now you can listen without the need to look at my goofy headphones ;)

We present to you Tenkar & The Badger, Special Episode #1

Roll For Initiative Podcast - What To Expect When Playing RPGs in Different Settings - Your Bartender is a Guest Host ;)

Earlier today I sat down at the virtual gaming table to discuss the differences in play and expectations between conventions, organized play, home gaming and G+ gaming with +Vincent Florio and +Glen Hallstrom.

May we present for your listening pleasure Roll For Initiative Podcast Vol 3 Mini Issue 1.

I had a great time. Hopefully the three of us can get together and do this again sometime in the future ;)

Looking at Some of the Differences Between Convention, Organized and Home Play of RPGs

+Vincent Florio and I have had some recent discussions about the differences between Convention, Organized and Home play of RPGs and we will probably be discussing it more today.

As I see it, some of the basic differences are as follows (this is by far not a complete list):

Convention Play - in convention gaming, the adventure itself is what the players are invested in, not so much their characters (which are general pregens - there are exceptions to this, such as the Mythus Tower sessions run by +Matt Finch and +Bill Webb at NTRPG Con). In a convention set up, the classic Tomb of Horrors or +James Raggi 's fairly recent The Monolith Beyond Space and Time work much better than in a home environment (and would never be part of organized play). If a convention adventure results in a total party kill, it doesn't kill a campaign. Houserules are rare and always announced prior to the session.

Organized Play - in organized gaming, groups across the world are playing through the same series of adventures. There will be no house rules, because it is designed so that players could theoretically move from one group to another with ease. Adventures generally have a rigid structure to ensure similar play across different groups. Adventures begin and end in a self contained manner, and the links between adventures are pretty much on rails - there is little if any opportunity to "sandbox" in organized play, and sandboxing would make similar play between groups running the same series of adventures near impossible.

Home Play - home play is probably the most traditional sort of play for most player. It is also the hardest of the three to apply a general definition to, as some groups run sandboxes, some run linked adventures (muck like organized play), some run episodic campaigns (where adventures or adventure arcs have little connection to each other.) Character development plays a large part of home play (and to a lesser extent organized play.)

The above is certainly not complete. There can be some bleed over between the three basic types of play and I'm sure I left of a crap ton of wiggly bits that would make the above definition less well defined.

I'd love some thoughts and input on the above.

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