Saturday, December 20, 2014

Carl Sargent - Whatever Happened to the Man that last Defined Greyhawk 2e?

The great +Joe D asked the following question during tonight's game session:

What ever happened to Carl Sargent, the man who defined Greyhawk for AD&D 2e?

So, does anyone know?

After Hours - Prepping To Run a Game at a Convention (or any one-shot really)

Convention gaming is very much NOT like gaming with your home or regular group. While open ended sandbox styled gameplay is my favorite style at home, for convention play, you generally do need some rails to keep the session on track.

While I'm the only one of the three hosts on The Brainstorm Podcast that hasn't run a convention game, I've played in my share. Successful convention games generally have a few features in common, at least as far as I'm concerned:

- A knowledgeable GM - Know thy system. There is a good chance that you may be running a game where one or more of the players art your table don't know the system well, or even at all. If the GM is constantly referring to the rules pacing will be lost.

- Pacing - Remember, convention games have a limited amount of time slotted to them. While you don't want to end the session to early, running late will either leave you and your players with an unfinished session or have you running into someone else's game time.

- Prep beforehand - pregen characters, handouts, battlemat - whatever - all should be waiting for the players as they arrive at your table. Otherwise you are losing potential gameplay time.

- Playtest - this goes hand in hand with knowledge, pacing and prep. Playtest the adventure with once, or preferably twice. Doesn't matter if it's commercial or homebrewed. It will give you an estimate of how long it will run for and help you figure out where to cut or add to if needed.

Happy Jacks has mentioned con prep in the past on various episodes. You could probably have someone on their forums track down the relevant episodes for you. Just ignore the belching ;)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Win Some free Crawl! That's NOT Part of OSR Christmas ;)

Head over to the Channel Zero blog and win some cool Crawl! swag. +Ryan Moore is giving away print copies of Crawl! 5, 6, 7 and 9 to 4 luck winners (to be picked on December 23. +Dak Ultimak will be adding PDF copies for the luck winners.

What are you waiting for? Tell Ryan "The Tavern" sent ya! ;)

Casting Times - A Segment on Segments in 1e

I remember using "segments" in AD&D combat rounds, especially as it came to casting times. I don't remember if we ever used it right, but if you are going to use spell interruption in your campaign, it's kinda necessary.

I also remember that we slowly forgot to use casting times, and when we put that to the side, segments transformed into initiative order and little more. Of course, as casting times went to the side, so did casters loosing spells to interruption. I'm sure it change the game balance, but we didnt care, as it sped up play.

It went both ways. Getting the drop on an enemy caster was no longer as effective, as his spells were no longer getting interrupted either.

Maybe it was one of out earlier house rules, along with ignoring weapon speeds (as we could never make hide nor hair of it, and we tried) and weapon vs armor type adjustments (because we wanted it to apply to monsters and humanoids too, but as written it didnt.)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Soon We Will be Back on Pace - OSR Christmas, OSR For the Lapsed Gamer and More

Left for work at 530 AM. It's a bit after 8PM and I just got home. It's been that kind of a month. I've fallen behind on lots of planned stuff, but I'm on vacation for a week starting whenever I get home tomorrow, so yes, there will be some catching up to do.

There should be a bunch of gifts for OSR Christmas going up tomorrow night. I'm thinking PRINT and INTERNATIONAL shipping. That is, of course, assuming I get home at a reasonable time. If not, Saturday morning. I expect the pace of the posts to pick up.

I'll be getting back to the OSR for the Lapsed Gamer series of posts this weekend too. I've been away for it for too long, so time to pick up where we left off.

Other stuff too. I got's plans, I just need some down time to do them ;)

Weapon Damage Vs Size - Do You Use It?

I was introduced to role playing games with AD&D 1e and weapon damage vs size was my baseline. Now that I'm playing and running clones for the most part, I appreciate the lack of a single die type regardless of monster size.

Still, I do remember the damage charts for a good 80% of the weapons from 1e. Many of them didn't make much sense to me (such as broadsword) but we didn't stress it back in the day. After all, it was canon ;)

Do you use weapon damage vs size these days?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

OSR Christmas 2014 - Day 5 - The Loot!

It is (finally) time to find out the lucky readers that will be receiving the OSR Christmas 2014 Day 5 Gifts. We'll see how interesting events are in the City That Never Sleeps next this and if I can get   back on something that resembles a schedule ;)

(I've managed to work 30 hrs of overtime this month so far without even trying...)

Without further delay, lets get the goodies awarded...
The first bundle is a set of Dyson's Delves Volumes 1 and 2 donated by +Tony T (there will be more Dyson's Delves given away on a later day.) +Nathan Panke , you are the lucky gift receiver

The second bundle is a set of five miniatures donated by +Boric Glanduum  - a human cleric with a tome on a stand and 4 male elves in heavy plate and big ass swords. William Dowie, you are the lucky gift receiver

The above need to email me at tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom with DAY 5 GIFT in the subject. Provide me with the mailing address you want this sent to and I'll forward it to the awesome gift giver.

Day 4 gifts will have the gifter notified tomorrow. There was a straggler from an earlier day who needs to have his gifter notified. Trying to find those moments of in between time to do so. 

Dumping on Dump Stats or Have Followers but No Charisma - Do You Have a Favorite Dump Stat and Why?

From what I've seen during my 35 years of gaming, Charisma seems to be "the" dump stat of the various D&D editions. I never fully understood why, as Wisdom and Intelligence can serve the same purpose for most non spell casters without giving you a negative reaction adjustment. Or maybe I understand why, but don't agree with the "why."

Wait, your DM doesn't take Charisma into account for reaction rolls? Heck, he doesn't even bother with reaction rolls? Yep, that's how we were as teens - Charisma adjustments got handwaved and therefore Charisma become the dump stat.

High intelligence gives extra languages, high Wisdom gives a bonus for certain spell saves (at least in AD&D) but if you are ignoring Charisma adjustments to reaction, loyalty and even more importantly - maximum number of followers, you're playing it wrong (IMHO - your opinion may differ. No opinions were harmed in the writing of this post. Lack of sleep due to overtime and puppy power may have influenced this post. Don't post and drive.)

One of my favorite characters had a 5 intelligence and 7 wisdom with decent combat stats and a 13 for charisma. Of course, I named him Gru and he had a fondness for cheese dip...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Kickstarters Arrive - Metamorphosis Alpha and Barrowmaze Complete

Found these waiting for me when i got home from my extended tour at work. Technically it's a Kickstarter (Metamorphosis Alpha) and Indigogo (Barrowmaze Complete) that completed well, but who's counting?

Love the cover for Barrowmaze and my God, Metamorphosis Alpha is huge.

These did not make my Wayward Kickstarter list, as linked to on the EN World10 Biggest Tabletop RPG News Stories of 2014 list.

OSR Christmas Day 5 remains open BTW - I'll award prizes tomorrow night. I just tallied up the overtime numbers thru the first half of the month - 30 hrs thus far... sleep calls...

After Hours - Embracing Lycanthropy - Following Up on The Brainstorm Podcast Episode 22

On yesterday's episode of The Brainstorm Podcast, we answered a letter from a DM that wanted a way to cure two of his players of wererat lycanthropy. True to my nature, I argued that instead of trying to get rid of the "curse", the DM and the players should embrace it. Let's put aside that two of the players are age 5 and 6 for the moment ;)

First, don't introduce ANYTHING into your campaign that you aren't ready and willing to deal with for the long haul. Magic items, unbalanced PCs or NPCs, curses, whatever - don't introduce it if you aren't ready to deal with it. Players rarely do what is expected, and the item or whatnot that you expected to be short lived may become a permanent feature.

Second, as I mentioned in the podcast, cursed characters generally do not want to be uncursed. Lycanthropy may or may not be a curse, but as it involves an alignment change for the most part, it is safe to assume that the character (if not the player) is embracing the change.

Player characters ARE the exception to the rules. If a player becomes a lycanthrope, I'd allow a one degree change on the alignment axis (assuming a 9 axis alignment system) in the direction of a player's choice. So, a Lawful Evil lycanthrope, as a PC, could be Neutral Evil or Lawful Neutral.

(After Hours posts are expansions and follow ups to thoughts and ideas mentioned on The Brainstorm Podcast - Join +Vincent Florio , +Glen Hallstrom and myself twice a week, thirty minutes or less at a time)

Monday, December 15, 2014

OSR Christmas 2014 - Day 5 - Miniature Delvers in Two Volumes (US Shipping Only)

Alright, we have two bundles up for grabs.

The first bundle is a set of Dyson's Delves Volumes 1 and 2 donated by +Tony T (there will be more Dyson's Delves given away on a later day.)

The second bundle is a set of five miniatures donated by +Boric Glanduum  - a human cleric with a tome on a stand and 4 male elves in heavy plate and big ass swords.

Now, you know what to do, right?

Add a comment to this post and sometime after 800 PM tomorrow night (NYC Time) two random commenters will be drawn to receive the above gifts.

Current events in NYC may delay me, so this post may remain open longer than expected, but don't delay - comment now!

(these gifts are only shipping to US mailing addresses)

I'll be sending out the mailing addresses to the Day 4 gift receivers to the donor tomorrow - so if you haven't emailed me yet, please do so.

Potions - Labeled or Not?

When a potion is found in your campaigns, are the bottles labeled as the the contents (accurate or otherwise)? Are there common symbols use for healing, invisibility and the like? Do all healing potions have the same color (and can the experienced alchemist identify potions by color and or smell alone?)

I'm always on the fence as to whether or not the party should be able to quickly ID the more common potions they find in their adventures.

How do you handle potions?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

So, What Comes First? The Character Concept or the Characteristics

I had some idle thoughts last night as our weekly game was canceled, and I thought about how I decide upon the type of character I want to play. Depending on the campaign, I can go can go either way - character concept first or characteristics / stats / abilities.

In our current campaign (AD&D 1e) I decided to go with a Bard (Dragon issue #56 version) before rolling the stats. As a party we had most of the niches covered and I really do have a weekness for bards.

At NTRPGCon, in +Matt Finch 's S&W game, I rolled my 3d6 in order before deciding to be a fighter. The fact that I had rolled a natural 18 for strength had (almost) nothing to do with it ;)

In general, I'm the type of player that tries to fill a roll need by the party before worrying about that I want to play, as I enjoy playing most character types and classes.

Do you roll you abilities first and than decide upon a class or do you have a class in mind and arrange the rolls to fit the character?

"After Hours" Will be the Place to Be for Expanded Thoughts from The Brainstorm Podcast

Looks like I'm holding on to the $10 RPGNow Gift Certificate for just a little  longer, as my wife just came up with the post title / theme I was looking for - "After Hours". Keeps the Tavern theme going as well as hints at after thoughts from The Brainstorm Podcast. I may go back and do post for previous episodes too.

Don't worry about missing out on the 10 bucks - it will be added to the OSR Christmas 2014 prize pool.

Day 5 of OSR Christmas 2014 will go up tomorrow. Every other day is a pace I am finding impossible to keep up with or even come close to this December
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