Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kickstarter - Car Wars Classic Arenas (Steve Jackson Games)

Car Wars.

I started with the pocket sizes rules and a few of the supplements before moving onto the boxed set. Fun times and fun stuff, but probably not a good fit for the picnic table in the backyard on a windy day ;)

I still have my boxed set.

I'm getting both the boxed classic Car Wars rules and the Arena Box - $40 plus shipping is a steal for the fun within.

I want to see a proper computer version of this. Turn based, just like the original. A man can hope, can't he?

Suppressed Rant and Some Thoughts on the Lack of Social Skills Among a Segement of Gamers

Last night I thought a good night of sleep would take my desire to rant away, but instead it seems to have festered in my dreams. Ah well, this too shall pass.

In the meantime, I was thinking of social skills among gamers, or the lack there of among a certain segment of it. We addressed this in part when discussing group etiquette on episode 46 of The Brainstorm podcast, but I think we missed part of the point - certain gamers are simply attention whores.

We've all seen it - no matter where the enemy is, they are there. If the dialogue is happening two towns away, they have input that you MUST listen to. If there is a magic sword (and they are playing a magic user) it must be theirs.

I'm not sure if it was a lack of attention in childhood or a lack of self worth in real life, but the game is everything and everything is the game. If the spotlight isn't theirs and theirs alone, they bitch and moan and make everyone else miserable. Sharing and teamwork is a foreign concept to them.

I thank God that in my years returning to gaming, I've only had to deal with one person with the above traits (and they are not in my current gaming groups) but in my high school and college years they seemed more common. Perhaps most do grow out of such habits.

I do not know how to turn them into team players. I don't know if they have a desire to learn.

Look at that. A rant that wasn't the rant I was looking for ;)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Do You Use Rule Sub Races in Your Campaigns?

This is going to be one of the topics for tomorrow night's recording of the Brainstorm Podcast - creating sub races for pre-existing fantasy races.

Do you use sub races (grey / high / wood elves and the like) and if you do, do you create your own?

Do you prefer to stick to just the default version of the race? Why or why not?

Are sub races purely flavor, or should they have a game effect?

Let me know your thoughts - and you can hear mine on the podcast ;)

Next Tavern Header - Work in Progress by Jim Magnusson

As I've mentioned previously, the goal here at The Tavern is to have a series of blog headers / banners from different artists in rotation. It keeps things fresh as well as highlights some of the work of my favorite OSR artists.

Currently, +Jim Magnusson is working on the next Tavern banner. Somehow, I think he's caught the proprietor of Tenkar's Tavern in an awkward moment...

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Winner of a Free Print Copy of Sword for Hire / Blue Frog Tavern is...

Wow. We really have had some cool giveaways in the last week. I tip my hat both to the generous donors and all those that have commented. Well done all :)

The dice have decided, and they have decided it is:

+Johua De Santo

Josh, email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing and I'll forward your snail mail address on to Vlark so he can get you your T&T goodness.

The Coot (Far Away Land and Tunnel & Trolls)

When I asked +Jim Magnusson to create a monster inspired by the Classic RuneQuest "Duck", I didn't know what to expect. Amazingly enough, he gave us the Coot.

I've already stated the Coot up for Swords & Wizardry, so here are the Far Away Land and Tunnels & Trolls versions.

Enjoy :)

So, what's a Coot anyway?

Coots have their roots in a the magical experiments of a long since lost cabal of magic users. As such, they have little history of their own and no great civilizations to speak of.

Most Coots live in small, nomadic tribes. They are hunters and gatherers, and rarely stay at one location for longer than a few weeks. They make enclosed nests of branches and leaves, which are often found abandoned and are occasionally used by other travellers for shelter and night or as protection from storms.

Some Coots do live a more civilized life and settle down in an urban environment. The are regarded as outcasts and quite possibly insane by their more traditional brethren. Perhaps this is why those Coots that are drawn to adventuring invariably come from towns and cities.

Tunnels & Trolls

Monster Rating: 15

Combat Dice: 2d6 + 8

Special Damage: None

Note: Can fly short distances (up to 20' forward or 10' up) in lieu of attacking.

Far Away Land

HP: 12, AC: 0, ACT: 6
BRT: 2, DEX: 3, WIT: 1
Boons: Melee and Crafty

I need to right up the Coon as a PC class for all three systems, as I think it fits well in such a roll.

Is this a good time to mention that +Jim Magnusson is working on a banner for The Tavern? Soon we will have a proper rotation in place. I wonder if Jim will let me sneak a peek to the readers of his work in progress...

The Silent Legions Art Pack has been released for Free to the Public for Personal and Commercial Use

+Kevin Crawford , the man behind Sine Nomine Publishing and perhaps best known for Stars Without Number, has released the art pack from his most recent Kickstarter - Silent Legions - into the hands of the public.
The Silent Legions Art Pack is a free collection of 56 black-and-white line images and one color cover first used in the Silent Legions Lovecraftian horror RPG. As part of the successful Kickstarter campaign, I arranged to buy full rights to the art from the original artists, allowing me to release it for free personal and commercial use by other publishers. 
You are welcome to use these images for your own creation, whether for personal use or commercial products. As a matter of courtesy, I ask that you credit the original artists for their fine work.
There you have it. Kevin has put more quality, affordable art in the hands of other publishers than the rest of the OSR combined as far as I can tell. Kev, I tip my hat to you.

A HUGE "Thank You" to the Patrons of The Tavern!

early Quigley sketch
As March draws to a close and I find myself with my nose to the virtual grindstone, working on creature write ups and small pieces for some projects I promised to participate in, I find I need to thank the readers of The Tavern.

As I've stated before, you don't need to be a Patreon Backer to be a supporter of The Tavern. In addition to shopping through our links at RPGNow and clicking on ads that interest you, we've had some generous donors in the past week, giving away keys to Pillars of Eternity and a Corgi edition of the Tunnels & Trolls solo - Sword for Hire / Blue Frog Tavern (of course it had to be a tavern ;)

I've always regarded Tenkar's Tavern as less of a blog and more of a community - and I've seen so much community here in recent months I'm thrilled to have been proven right and then some.

I owe a G+ Hangout to this very community, pretty much on the level of the weekly Tavern Chat. I don't think the hangout will kick off until the weekend after next, although I could be wrong. It is possible that the stars will align for this coming Sat night. When i know, you will know.

Thank you all. Each and every one of you. If you are reading this, yes, I do mean you :)

Brainstorm Podcast - Episode 50 - Edition Wars! - Which Edition did i Call the Crystal Meth of Gaming?

Sometimes you forget what you said in the heat of the moment. Heck, I mostly forget what I said 5 minutes ago, let alone a week and a half ago.

This time, I called an edition of D&D the "crystal meth of gaming" and it would rot your mind and your teeth.

Overall, I think it's an excellent episode, but I probably should have avoided the "crystal meth" reference. Maybe I'll refer to heroin next time ;)

You can listen to +Vincent Florio , +Glen Hallstrom , +Ordo Monstrum (Sal) and myself give our opinions and have to defend them here at The Brainstorm Podcast site.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Official Unofficial Announcement - Old School Quarterly from InfiniBadger Press

Some of you may have heard rumblings, but I've been given the go ahead to make the official unofficial announcement (or it an unofficial official announcement) - +Jason Paul McCartan and his InfiniBadger Press label will be putting out a quarterly RPG magazine - Old School Quarterly or OSQ for short.

Jason has set a high bar - approximately 256 digest sized pages quarterly. He's damn close to having the content ready for Issue zero too. I do need to write my regular column - it's Kickstarter related. Who would have guessed? ;)

Print on Demand and PDF versions.

Oh, and it's not going to be solely D&D / D&D Clones either - if it's old school in nature, it very well could make an appearance.

The cover (as well as the logo) is a mock up, so it may not remain the same, and the systems indicated may change too, but the plan is to have multiple adventures from multiple systems in each issue.

There'll be paid submissions (paid for in part by advertising) , so Jason will be looking for contributors, artists, etc in the future.

Website will be up and running in a few weeks. I'll make sure to link it when it does.

Shit, I probably should interview The Badger for more details...

Giving Away a Free Print Copy of Sword for Hire / Blue Frog Tavern (Tunnels & Trolls Double Solo - US Only)

Thanks to the generosity of Tavern patron Vlark (a finer dwarf is hard to to find) and an extra copy being placed in a package by Flying Buffalo, we have a print copy of Sword for Hire / Blue Frog Tavern (Tunnels & Trolls double solo with a fairly complete version of the T&T 5e rules included.)

Vlark is willing to ship via media mail to any address in the United States, including Hawaii & Alaska.

If you are in the confines of the US and are looking to snag this, comment below. Tomorrow night, sometime after 8pm New York time I'll pick a random winner from the comments below.

Good luck to all :)

The Winners of Keys to the Computer Game Pillars of Eternity Are...

Time to award the keys to Pillars of Eternity that were generously donated by a patron of this very Tavern. Three cheers and hip hip hooray!

Key number one goes to - mwschmeer

Key number two goes to - erik johnson

I need the above to email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing and I'll get those keys to you.

Another giveaway coming up later today - this time it's in print, US only and generously donated by another patron of the tavern :)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Kickstarter - Darkplane (a 5e Setting)

I fully blame +Timothy Brannan for pointing me at this.

Darkplane is a "weird" horror setting for 5e. More importantly, the art is awesome. Damn, I'm really becoming an "art" guy, even if it's just as someone that appreciates awesome art.
Here are a few ways that the Darkplane setting changes the core assumptions of a campaign.
The World Appears Mundane. To the everyday inhabitants of Vinramar, magic is only a dark legend. Half-believed traditions of the supernatural prevail among commoners—whispers of spirits, strange magic, and unexplained terrors—but few people come in contact with such things. Darkplane campaigns focus on those special few.
Perilous Horrors Hide Under Every Stone. Beneath the facade of the everyday world lies a nightmare realm, the true reality that would drive common folk to madness. Magic is rare and dangerous. Vengeful abominations creep into the natural world from other dimensions, sowing chaos and fear. Frightful vestiges of pre-human civilizations lie hidden in the earth, and some of their immortal denizens live unseen among mortals. When such supernatural forces come in contact with average people, the scars they leave are deep and troubling.
God is Dead. Shortly following the creation, the supreme creator Sowm was killed by Her son Daemoth, plunging the Heavens into an endless war. The key players in this conflict are unfathomable gods who rarely visit the mortal realm, but their followers are all too eager to drag the world through milennia of bloodshed and carnage. These priests might be showmen, sages, or warmongering vipers, but if their faith is sufficient they can channel powerful wonders.
Industrial Revolution Has Created Wide Technology Gaps. Some cultures resort to ancient practices like hunting and gathering to survive, while others have developed specialized crafts like printing and glass blowing. In Trentsmund, steam power has irrevocably changed the kingdom’s infrastructure. Traffic between these societies is still limited enough to preserve the technological disparity.
The Darkplane Encompasses All. The four worlds are surrounded by an endless void beyond natural reality, called the Darkplane. The Darkplane is populated and ruled by mysterious aberrant powers so unnatural that their comprehension is almost beyond mortal minds. Daemoth’s slow conquest of the Darkplane has driven these alien horrors into the four worlds, where their presence infects and twists natural creatures into unspeakable aberrations.
Now, what entails "weird" horror led me to follow a link to darkplane.com, where I found the following:
The Darkplane universe is a campaign setting for 5th edition that blends Gothic horror and weird tales with a rich, culturally diverse history. Its mortal world, Vinramar, can be a perilous place, whether you’re leading witch-hunts in Trentsmund’s colonial provinces, searching forgotten ruins for the secrets of the cosmos, or taking desperate flight from the cannibal-infested wastelands that once were the kingdom of Welluxia. 
Darkplane is weird fiction. That means its stories rely on an overarching, seductive sense of dread and mystery. It’s about cults, hauntings, twisted monsters, and breaking away from moral simplicity. While there are elements of high fantasy, it won’t take you long to see that this is not a setting modeled on Medieval Europe. It pulls from the mythologies and folklore of many different cultures in an attempt to support a wide array of horror stories.
I don't like "Darkplane is weird fiction." Roleplaying might be a form of story telling, but fiction is not an RPG. Writing an RPG adventure or setting is not writing fiction. Yeah, this irks me a bit. Can you tell?

But then this part of the Kickstarter page kinda explains it:
I'm Graham Ward, a writer, actor, and filmmaker living in Denver with my awesome wife Bethany. Darkplane is my baby. I began early work on it in the days of 2nd edition D&D, when story and imagination were at the center of the game. I've been writing adventures, running campaigns, and expanding the world of Vinramar ever since. It's been a huge source of fun for my friends and me.

I'm the creator and lead writer on this project, but I'm helped by a great team of collaborators who have contributed concepts and writing over the more recent years of the setting's development: Kristy Eagar, Mike Eagar, Adam Rodger, Derrik Young, and Kent Lloyd. 
I started playing D&D at age 10, and it's stuck with me for most of my life since. I've run campaigns all over the country in various cities I've lived, and even ran a short campaign in London while there for a study abroad. 
Right now I work full-time as a professional actor at several theaters in Colorado. It's a bizarre career, but I love it. More recently I've been getting traction as a writer and filmmaker. Check out my recent no-budget short film...
There's more, but I stopped reading. Graham is very creative. We get it.

I'm intrigued by the setting, but that's because I took the extra step to actually find additional info. The Kickstarter is funded and jumping through stretch goals, so Graham has done something right.

Then there is this piece from the "Risks and challenges":
A note about copyright: Wizards of the Coast owns Dungeons & Dragons and its associated intellectual property. This project will not be published or distributed in any way that violates copyright laws. It's a personal project that will be delivered as a gift to those who help fund its creation. No profit is expected, and no infringement intended. If no other avenue is provided, in a worst-case scenario, it will be printed without system-specific rules and backers will be provided with digital packets of the "crunch" for printing). 
"Dungeons & Dragons" and "3E" are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, LLC. Graham Ward and Darkplane: A Campaign Setting are not affiliated with Wizards of the Coast LLC. We make no claim to, or challenge to, such trademarks.
I don't think that not expecting profit makes a difference if WotC thinks its copyright is being violated. I'm not saying WotC is going to go in that direction, but I don't think it would be a defense if they were.

I'm conflicted on this. Weird fiction isn't about story telling or story creating or looking back and saying "holy shit, that makes an excellent tale", it's a story that is written and told. Maybe "weird fiction" is just a poorly chosen phrase.

Do I back or do I not back.

I'm on the fence on this one. Thankfully I have over 2 weeks to decide

One Day Sale - The Black Monastery - HC $20 - Frog God Games (S&W and Pathfinder)


Today's Daily Deal:
The Black Monastery Hardcover
Only $20! (Regularly $34.99)
Use this coupon code during checkout:

Offer expires Midnight Tonight! (PST)

This is one that has slipped by my radar. $20 for Print and PDF of The Black Monastery and available for Swords & Wizardry? May need to add this to my endless gaming collection myself.

Level range 7-9.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Giving Away Two Keys to the New Computer RPG - Pillars of Eternity - Comment, Friend... and Enter

"Eternity aims to recapture the magic, imagination, depth, and nostalgia of classic RPG's that we enjoyed making - and playing. At Obsidian, we have the people responsible for many of those classic games and we want to bring those games back… and that’s why we’re here - we need your help to make it a reality!

Eternity will take the central hero, memorable companions and the epic exploration of Baldur’s Gate, add in the fun, intense combat and dungeon diving of Icewind Dale, and tie it all together with the emotional writing and mature thematic exploration of Planescape: Torment."

So, I've got 2 Steam keys for Pillars of Eternity to give away thanks to an extremely generous patron of The Tavern. They will work on Windows, OS X and Linux.

How do you get into the mix?

Comment on this blog post. Sometime on Saturday morning I'll be randomly picking two commenters to receive these free keys.

So, what are you waiting for? You know you want this :)

(these are $45 retail)

Tenkar's Tavern Tankard - Currently One of a Kind

I must say that +Eric Quigley 's art looks damn nice on a beer stein!

Would there be an interest in me getting these up for sale via Cafe Press or the like?

I know I'll be ordering a few more for myself ;)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I Suspect a Far Away Land Adventure is Hidden in This Bag

Sometimes inspiration is found in the damnedest things.

There is an adventure in this bag of gummy bears for Far Away Land.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 830 PM Eastern - Right Here at The Tavern

Tonight is another weekly Tavern Chat. We use the chat box on the right hand side of this page.

I am wary of setting topics, as the participants seem to do a fine job of finding their own.

We did launch the Far & Away podcast for the Far Away Land RPG this past Saturday. If you haven't listened yet, there is a player for the episode in the upper right hand corner of this page - or you can find it on iTunes :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What Would be Your Top 10 List of OSR Games?

Logo Dysonized by Dyson

+The Padre asked me about a Top 10 List of OSR Games / Rulesets earlier this evening, and it got me thinking about how varied the answers would be if thrown out to the OSR Community.

I would consider OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord and Swords & Wizardry as the triumvirate of the OSR, but once you go beyond that I think the list would grow in some awesomely divergent manners.

So, I ask you. What is YOUR Top 10 List of OSR Games?

Doing the Death Spiral - Bringing T&T's Death Spiral to S&W and FAL

If you don't know about Tunnels & Trolls' "Death Spiral", this is it in a nutshell. As a monster takes damage those numbers come off it's Monster Rating or MR. Damage dice and adds are directly determined by MR (MR doubles as HP in D&D terms. MR is recalculated at the start of each round, so as a monster takes damage, it's ability to deal damage also goes down - therefore the "Death Spiral."

As I've said elsewhere, converting to another system is more art and less science - you go for the feel, not the reproduction.

For Swords & Wizardry, you could replicated such an effect by making it "1" harder for the monster to hit for every 5 points of damage taken as well as make it "1" easier to hit them for every 10 points of damage taken. I think something like this would be more appropriate in a Swords & Sorcery styled campaign, where heroes are expected to be heroic and perhaps in sessions with fewer PCs, as it helps change the balance as an encounter goes on.

Far Away Land has a much smaller power curve than S&W or T&T, so I would go with a lighter touch - when a monster has taken half it's hits in damage, remove 1 die from Brute / Str for purposes of attacks. At 1/4 hits, remove a second die. At no point can a monster go below 1 die.

Monday, March 23, 2015

So, Why Does the Same Creature have Such Completely Different Stats in Three Different Systems?

Over the weekend I wrote up the Failed Lich for S&W, T&T and Far Away Land. Three different systems. Three very different write ups, even if the non-stat description is the same.

What's up with that?

Well, I tend to start with Swords & Wizardry as my baseline. I can think in S&W - it is a language I am fairly fluent in.

I'm also fairly fluent in Tunnels & Trolls. As such, I know it's weaknesses (at least in 5x.) One of those weaknesses is ranged attacks. it throws off the math. I either avoid it like a plague or a count it as a long melee attack. That's why the failed Lich's attack become a spite damage fueled extra fire damage.

Far Away Land is a system I'm still feeling out in many ways. I'm not even sure if my FAL Failed Lich "works", but I think it's close enough.

In any case, that's why the three versions of the same thing are so different.

Pile That Plate High - A Look at the Projects And Other Time Sinks I Have In Place

Last week, one of the players that played in my short run Sunday Morning Crypts & Things campaign two years ago wanted to get members of my old (high school, college and beyond) to commit to a Sunday morning ongoing campaign via Roll20. Needless to say, I'd be running it.

I felt a need to point out the following: I'm in a regular Saturday Night Roll20 group and run a more or less monthly Friday Night Roll20 group. I moderate a chat here at The Tavern on Wednesday Nights and record The Brainstorm Podcast on Tuesday Evenings. Every other Sunday afternoon, we record the Far & Away Podcast and I owe the fine patrons of The Tavern a monthly Hangout on G+. I owe two fine folks content for their Kickstarters, I owe my Patrons content on the blogside and I put multiple blog posts up on a daily basis. Not to mention a 43 hr work week when not working overtime as well as finding time with my family (uncle duty is most Wednesday Afternoons and Saturday - All Day - auntie is on duty too.)

Needless to say, I could only commit to every other Sunday Morning ;)

Actually, if I showed this breakdown to Rachel, she'd probably tell me I'm insane... heh

Buy One, Get One 50% Off Sale - Frog God Games - Until Midnite, March 24th

There's still time to get lucky! 
For St. Patrick's Day, we are having 
Buy One, Get One 50% Off Sale! 
Use the following Coupon Code at Checkout to get 50% off of one item when you buy one of equal or greater value. 


(offer expires Midnight on March 24th, 2015)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Failed Lich - Swords & Wizardry, Tunnels & Trolls and Far Away Land (Stat Blocks)

Nichole Cardiff
The Failed Lich

Swords & Wizardry

AC: 2[17]
Attacks: Hands 2x(2d4)
Saving Throw: 6
Special: Can throw balls of fire up to 2x per round
              for 2d6 damage each
Move: 12
Challenge Level: 9 / 1,100 xp

Tunnels & Trolls
Reid San Filippo

Monster Rating: 80

Combat Dice: 9D6 +40

Special Damage: 3/ - Flaming Fists do an extra 5d6 damage

Far Away Land

HP: 25, AC: 1, ACT: 10
BRT: 2, DEX: 2, WIT: 4

Magic: Fire Beam 1d6+2

and here's the "fluff from the previous post:

The Failed Lich is pretty much what is says on the tin. When a high level wizard attempts to grab nigh infinite power and undying life, their chance for true success is minimal. Blinded by thoughts of what may happen they fail to take into account what probably will happen.

Burned to a cinder with their soul shredded and shared by devils and demons alike is a far better failure than ending up as a Failed Lich, so close to success that is now forever out of their grasp.

Unable to rest, forever seeking a state of existence denied to them, the Failed Lich is obsessed with extinguishing life. They hope that with every life they take they'll be closer to either Lichdom or oblivion, but their curse is that lives lost at their hands heal them by absorbing some of their victims souls. 

If they are defeated, they will rise again in 1d6 days if their skull is not crushed under the heal of a hero. What defines a "hero" is open to much debate.

There are reasons the Failed Lich has different powers for each of the three systems, but that's the topic for a whole 'nother post ;)

Further Thoughts on Converting Established Settings to the Far Away Land RPG

Now, I say "further thoughts", as this was one of the questions brought up on the first episode of the Far & Away Podcast - do you tweak the rules to fit the setting or do you pick from the setting to bring pieces to Far Away Land?

I said "leave the rules intact and bring in the setting in pieces" but in retrospect, that answer is a little lacking and depending on the setting, it might not be the totally correct choice.

Case in point: I've got this idea burrowing around my head to use the FAL rules to run a Red Dwarf campaign (you know, the classic British SciFi show). This would require a mostly new set of boons, which is easy enough to do but kinda opposite of what I suggested with my original answer.

So, my revised answer would be pretty much as follows: understand the setting you wish to port over and what defines it. Don't worry about rules so much as history, personalities, geography and the like. Port that over. Tweak the FAL rules by adding or removing boons from the list - allowing one to change flavor without effecting the core rules system.

The core rules of Far Away Land are easy to learn and use, but you don't want to tweak them to make them needlessly more complicated. If you find you can't convert the setting with a light touch, it may not be a good fit for FAL.

As a side note, the power curve in FAL is greatly tamped down compared to most OSR games. PCs remain vulnerable to weaker threats throughout their careers. Settings like Forgotten Realms may not fit well without changing some of the base assumptions of the setting.

The Far & Away Podcast Episode #1 is Released!

I've got to hand it to +Vincent Florio . He turned the episode around in record time, as we had just recorded it earlier this afternoon. I must say, I had a blast recording this with Dirk ( +Far Away Land RPG ) and Vince.

Want some highlights?

- Dirk talks about some ideas about a NTRPG Con themed Far Away Land adventure

- We discuss ideas on converting OSR adventures and settings to the FAL ruleset

- Lean the background behind the FAL setting

- FAL Quickstart?

- Dirk discusses licensing plans

- Info on the upcoming seaborne supplement

- Lots more!

It's about 51 minutes from start to finish (well, Youtube video is a tad longer.)

It's not up yet on iTunes (not sure how long that takes) but you can listen to the episode here onYoutube:

Mini Review - White Box Omnibus - The Kitchen Sink for Swords & Wizardry White Box

What can I say about the White Box Omnibus that I haven't previously said about some of it's previously released parts? Quite simply, the sum is far greater than it's parts.

To the new classes previously presented, we now get a monk, the implementation of is simply dead on and a perfect fit for White Box.

To the adventures previously presented, we now get a micro-setting, town and sandbox included ( +James Spahn is the hex map 5 or 6 miles per hex or something else? I can't find the scale - edit - 20 miles per hex - thanks James - no longer a "micro"-setting ;) Oh, and of course some adventure seeds to truly expand your use of the sandbox.

There is enough here between new classes, class tweaks, new magic items, new monsters, adventures and micro-setting to keep a campaign fresh for months of not years. All in one 120+ page offering.

If you haven't picked any of James' White Box offerings yet, THIS is the one to get. If you have picked up some of James' White Box offerings previously, you should have a discount link in your email (I did.)

Edit: James told me I'm allowed to share the discount link with all, so here it is:

White Box Omnibus $7.99 Discounted Price

James, I do have one further question - when is the POD of the Omnibus coming out?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Reminder - Far and Away Podcast Records It's First Episode Tomorrow 1 PM Eastern

Join Vince, Dirk and myself as we kick off the Far and Away podcast Sunday @ 1pm. We're recording using G+ Hangouts, so all are welcome to watch the unedited version get recorded live. The edited version should be available in audio form from the usual sources (iTunes and the like) about a week later, give or take.

You can go to the Hangout link here and get some Far Away Land goodness.

It should be a damn good time.

What is Your "Sweet Spot" of Level Range for Pre-Written Adventures? (Poll)

Initially I was going to phrase the question as "commercial" adventures, but that would imply it would have to have a cost and the OSR is abundant in freely available ODR adventures, many of them of high quality.

I recently rediscovered the abundant collection of freely available adventures at Dragon's Foot. I've also been readily enjoying the recent S&W White Box releases as well as other adventures in my collection.

It occurred to me that the higher the level of the adventure, the less likely I'll be able to use it without making major changes to adventures as written. Higher level play for me, at least, requires customization to the part of characters in question.

In any case, I plopped a survey in the upper right hand corner of the blog.

Vote and drop your comments and thought's here. If your answer wouldn't fit the admitedly simple poll choices, comment away.

The Kickstarter that Cried Wolf - Myth & Magic Player's Guide is Shipping - Again - and Again... (Grumpy is in the House)

Tom is obviously a lawyer, because lying comes so easy to him.

What do I mean? Tom has his own variation of "the check is in the mail."

Here, lets look at some of Tom's recent updates on the Myth & Magic Player's Guide Kickstarter (his first claims to shipping were back in 2013, but those are so obviously full of shit I'm not even going to go there.)

Well, as you can see, Tom claimed shipping was happening back in 2013.

Now, way back in April of 2014, Tom came semi-clean. He never admitted to lying about shipping, but did admit there were... issues:

Things are still moving, but...

This is going out to the backers of both Kickstarters.

I wanted to drop a much-needed update to tell you that I'm still here and still working to complete the GMG and PG shipments. You have asked multiple times for the true reason for the Kickstarter fiasco. I tried, as politically as possible, to dodge the question and to keep you all positive (well, i lied so you kind folks, the ones that gave me money, wouldn't know the kind of shit I actually was. Didn't work, did it?) Well, my attempting to keep you (and me) positive turned into untruthfulness (fucking lawyer speak for LYING) and I can't run away from the issues any longer (perhaps you backers aren't as stupid as most juries.)

The site is no longer active. In fact, NHG is no longer active. For the last few months, I have been trying to form a plan to complete the projects as quickly as possible. Part of that plan includes not funding anything outside the projects.

The first cause of all the problems is that I underestimated the cost of the Player's Guide KS, artwork for the GMG, and international PG shipments. Not having the proper business foresight, I didn't control the early spending and went overboard with quality. So, I've been self-funding the final leg of the PG shipments and everything since the first draft of the GMG; and by extension, everything to be completed moving forward is to be funded with my money. The second cause has been a lack of time outside of my work and family. I wrote this game and began marketing it before I was working. I always naively thought that I would be able to manage it all. Well, I was wrong.

The cold hard truthful reason why things have crawled to a temporary stop is that I don't have enough money stored up to quickly fuel the projects.

Now, having said all of that, I'm NOT GIVING UP. It's hard enough to think that NHG is no more, but even harder to think that I have let down the players that made the game possible. And for that reason, I vow to get this done. I have begun to look into various loan programs and for a few private reasons, I should be able to secure the necessary funds by the end of Summer. Mid-September to be exact.

A few things must happen. It doesn't cost any money to release the full art-free GMG, so I can realistically get that to the GMG backers on or before the first week of May. I will also continue to send out small quantities of books with my private money until I get the loan (I've scoured G+ for any M&M sightings - except for the Lulu versions - none). These shipments will also include the Players Guides ordered by GMG backers. As I said, any loan will most likely come through in mid-September. At that point, whatever orders are not received or needing to be re-shipped will be immediately shipped out. I would love to get all international orders shipped before the loan, but some of them are $80 to $100 a whack! I will still try though. My goal, in terms of the GMG, is to have it printed and shipped before the end of the year.

Trust me, I understand your frustration. You have every right to be frustrated and even angry. We all had an amazing time collaborating and creating this game. The only thing I ask for is more patience and more time. Please. Nothing happened as a result of bad faith or any intentional scheme to defraud you. It was all a matter of my mismanaging the PG Kickstarter. It's a beautiful book, but dammit, it was my undoing!

Another factor of my undoing was not communicating enough. I was embarrassed. Add in the hate mail and hate comments, and running away from the updates and comments was the only way I could avoid having a nervous breakdown (therefore, I will wait 10 months before updating again). You may or may not know this, but I have two small children. I can't let them see me fall apart over this.

My next update will include the GMG pdf and an update on how many additional shipments I was able to send out (obviously, there were 10 months without additional shipments). I will also set up a new dedicated email address to start fresh with everyone. The other email addresses are filled with vileness. I hope we can just start over, with a new email, and have some better dialogue. I probably will not read the comments here so that I can try to focus on what's ahead, but I will update you more frequently (or not.)

Well, that's it - the entire ugly truth. I'm still here and still dedicated. I have the right mindset now to get this done and I will get this done!!

Wow! Excuses and than some. But don't worry, last month, Tom gave us an amazing update:

Update on PG and GMG (February 4th, 2015)

Hi All,

I just wanted to post an update, albeit terribly overdue, to let you know things are back on track as of January 19th, the day I was able to secure some loan money and earmark personal funds to complete the GMG project and to ensure that all orders are fulfilled. It was senseless to update you during the process of securing the funds (so those 10 months of silence? you got that for free. Silence has no cost), since it was a total roller coaster and I had no idea what to expect.

Player's Guide Domestic Shipping: I shipped all domestic orders via priority mail and although only a few came back to me, most show a confirmed delivery and some do not. I want to make sure that everyone receives their books (NO ONE posted about receiving their USPS shipping notices and tracking numbers until this week - what a load of fucking shit)

If you did not receive your PG order, something happened (apparently I never sent it! ha ha! go fuck yourselves.)  Either I did not have your correct address or something else got screwed up. I just set up a new email address to ensure I have your most up-to-date information. If you did not get your book(s), please send me your name, backer level and updated address. Use the following email: nhgaddressupdate@gmail.com.

Please limit the email to the information I need so that I can stay organized.

Once I receive an email from you, I'll check the USPS tracking. If the tracking does not confirm delivery for whatever reason, I'll reship and then respond to your email with a tracking number (ah, see, these mystery shipments weren't given tracking numbers, only if you failed to receive your books - which was everyone still waiting to receive their books.)  Don't worry if you don't receive a response email from me right away. To stay organized, I will respond only once with the tracking information. (Much, much easier to keep track of the emails that way.)

International Backers: The limited funds I had only allowed me to send out a fraction of the international orders. I have earmarked a bit of the shoestring budget to get some more out. Those of you that are also GMG backers will be happy to know that the book is almost done and it is my intention to combine the books into one shipping. That will lessen the sting and get the books out to you as fast as humanly possible.

Please follow the instructions above in the domestic shipping paragraph and email the address with your name, backer level and current address so I have that information.

All Backers: Here is an art-free PDF of the Game Master's Guide for all of you, even if you are not a GMG backer.  The GMG backers will get their own update, attaching a PDF with the monster art included, as well as a schedule. The additional art is 75% done as of this morning. It's shaping up to be an awesome book. I want you to have this so you can see that, although silent, we're working to get this done.

Sorry again for the constant blackout periods, but we're now tackling the obstacles and will complete the campaigns.


You literally can't make this shit up.

Only a lawyer, and a piss poor one at that, would even attempt this type of shit. Obviously, shipping didn't happen until this week (well, might have happened this week - time will tell), as now is when folks are getting emailed their shipping info.

Damn shame, as the ruleset is a good one...

The Failed Lich (Swords & Wizardry, Tunnels & Trolls and Far Away Lands) - Part 1, The "Fluff"

Nichole Cardiff

The Failed Lich is pretty much what is says on the tin. When a high level wizard attempts to grab nigh infinite power and undying life, their chance for true success is minimal. Blinded by thoughts of what may happen they fail to take into account what probably will happen.

Burned to a cinder with their soul shredded and shared by devils and demons alike is a far better failure than ending up as a Failed Lich, so close to success that is now forever out of their grasp.

Unable to rest, forever seeking a state of existence denied to them, the Failed Lich is obsessed with extinguishing life. They hope that with every life they take they'll be closer to either Lichdom or oblivion, but their curse is that lives lost at their hands heal them by absorbing some of their victims souls. 

If they are defeated, they will rise again in 1d6 days if their skull is not crushed under the heal of a hero. What defines a "hero" is open to much debate.
Far Away Land-ified by Reid San Filippo

Friday, March 20, 2015

Why You Should Watch The Brainstorm Podcast when we Record Live Via Google +

Pictures Speak a Thousand Words - Put we give Pics with Words ;)
Tonight I had planned to run some Castle of the Mad Archmage with the "B" Team, but back pain and headache kinda killed that.

So, instead, I'm listening and watching one of The Brainstorm Podcast's Youtube recordings. The stuff that doesn't hit the audio podcast is still damn funny :)

Swords & Wizardry Complete Hard Cover - $20 - One Day Only


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Most Misunderstood Rules of Your Early Gaming Years

I'm pretty sure I mentioned this before, but when my parents got me the AD&D books to fully start me on this hobby of mine, they bought me dice and the Player's Handbook and the Dungeon Master's Guide. I didn't have a Monster Manual, but really, it wasn't even needed, as the DMG had the nice monster reference in the back.

All you needed was on those charts although one thing did confuse me - why did Ogres have an HD of 4+1 - wouldn't it just be easier to show it as 5 hit points?

Yeah, I didn't know your rolled monsters HP - I assumed the number in the Hit Die column was hit points. No wonder my players blew through my adventures in those first few months. I think it was when I purchased my first module - A1 - that I realized HD and HP were different values.

So, what was your most misunderstood rule from your early days of gaming?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Corgi Tunnels & Trolls Solos - Perfect Compact Books for the T&T Player

I wasn't able to get to the post office this past weekend as I had hoped, but that didn't stop Rachel from raiding out storage room for some of my Tunnels & Trolls collection. Thankfully, she stopped at the first box ;)

Personally, I love the Corgi edition of T&T 5e. Not because they renamed a bunch of silly named spells to be less silly (but left Yessa Massa intact - go figure), but because the size of the books makes it so convenient and I'm always surprised at how well paper that is a step above newsprint has survived so well for nearly 30 years. Well, that and how well focused the character generation rules are in the solos as compared to the complete 5e rules.

I'm serious. All you need to create a T&T character is provided in the Corgi Solos books (Rogues and Wizard-Warriors are omitted, but Rogues can be explained easily by the GM if needed and WWs should be omitted in any case.)

You can get the Corgi Solos direct from Flying Buffalo. I suggest you do so, as the pricing is better than anything I've see on Ebay. The Core Rules from Corgi are a bit harder to track down, but worth it.

And the Micro Adventures Go To...

I had Rach roll some dice last night to award the two random Micro-Adventures that I'll be mailing out via snail mail. The results were posted in last night's Tavern Chat, but if you missed the chat, the winners were:

+Jim White and +Dyson Logos

I need the above to email me their snail mail addresses to tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom

Thanks to all that participated.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tavern Chat - 830 PM Eastern Time - Tonight

Tonight is the weekly Tavern Chat, using the chat box on the right side of this page.

Want to ask questions about the direction of the blog, The Brainstorm podcast or the upcoming Far Away Land focused podcast?

Looking to interact with others on the OSR?

Simply want to shoot the shit with others?

Maybe you want to see which two lucky commenters from last night's post are getting a free micro-adventure?

Tavern Chat is the place to be ;)

What is the Most Underused (A)D&D Class?

There always seems to be a class that a certain group avoids playing.

In my High School and College years, no on EVER wanted to play a cleric. If there was a cleric in the party, it was an NPC or a henchman.

I have no idea why clerics were so despised in my old gaming groups?

Have there been any verbotten classes in your groups?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Micro Quest Cards in Hand - Looking Good (and a small giveaway)

I got my Micro Quest Cards in the mail today. These are the signed and numbered ones for my collection.

+Lloyd Metcalf did some excellent work with these. Damn shame you can't buy them at his webstore.

I got mine and you can't have them!

Well, maybe you can. I also have 5 to mail out for the holidays complete with envelopes. Hmmm, does Easter count?

Three are spoken for, giving me two to giveaway here at The Tavern, so lets do it.

I'll be picking two winners, anywhere in the world, each will receive one in print micro adventure.

I'll randomly pick the names during tomorrow's Tavern Chat, which starts at 830 PM Eastern tomorrow night, so you have about 23 hrs to post a comment to this post.

Do eet!

If we add Jim Magnusson to The Tavern Art Mix, We'll have a Strong Rotation

I've mentioned I love +Jim Magnusson 's work in the past and Jim has been amazing with turning some of my ideas into amazing pieces of art that evoke the OSR (the above piece was done without any input from me - probably for the best ;)

The following was done with some input from your's truly -

So, new banner by +Eric Quigley and Ive already have twisted +Craig Brasco to also do one. I think if I add +Jim Magnusson to the mix we'll have a trifecta, or a hat trick or some such here at The Tavern.

Yes Jim, you have been officially added to the rotation ;)

Watch Tonight's Recording of the Brainstorm Podcast Right Here at 615 PM Eastern

Just think. Easy as pie to watch tonight's Brainstorm Podcast recording live.

AS it is St. Patrick's Day, I'll probably have a few pints in me. Should be entertaining ;)

Brainstorm Podcast Live Recording Tonight - Episode 50 - Where We Talk About Edition Wars

Can you believe we've hit episode 50 of The Brainstorm Podcast? Well, after tonight, it will be 51 episodes recorded, as we do two each week.

In episode 50 we are going to be talking about Edition Wars - why do we fight so strongly about editions (and probably some minor mud slinging among the hosts.)

I'm really looking forward to recording this episode.

You can listen and watch live by going to the Google Plus Hangout Event tonight at 615 PM Eastern time. The link is below:

Watch as we record episodes 50 and 51 of The Brainstorm

Monday, March 16, 2015

Next Artist Expected to Make an Appearance at The Tavern - Craig Brasco

+Craig Brasco probably thought I was joking when I told him on Saturday night that I wanted him to do the next banner for The Tavern.

This is notice Craig, that I wasn't joking ;)

Ideally The Tavern will have 3 to 5 banners in rotation, highlighting some of my favorite artists in the OSR.

I guess I should tell +Jim Magnusson he should start thinking now...

New Blog Header by Eric Quigley!

Short and sweet - if you want excellent art done at reasonable prices with a quick turn around, +Eric Quigley is your man.

Holy shit!

Does the Happy Dance...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Mini Review - The Snake's Heart (S&W White Box Adventure Levels 2-3)

As if to prove you don't have to be +James Spahn to do a S&W White Box release (although as I type this I see James has released another White Box adventure - the man is undead, trust me), Moebius Adventures and Wild Game Productions have released the first in a series of White Box adventures - The Snake's Heart.

From a production standpoint, the adventure is laid out like a mix between a screenplay and a traditional "Old School" adventure. My first instinct was to rebel against such a layout, but after the first encounter I realized it was so much better than the more traditional and oh so annoying "boxed text." So yes, I like the formatting used.

As for the adventure itself, the DM needs to pay special attention to the narrator text that opens each scene. This is where the flavor is, where the spice lies for each encounter. You don't need to use it, but in avoiding it, you lose much of what makes this adventure what it is. The encounters as written can play out much like any other fantasy encounter, but the narrator text is what evokes the swords & sorcery feel. Use it to it's fullest.

Like any White Box adventure, using  this with most any other OSR ruleset is easy as pie. As far as adventures go, S&W White Box is pretty much the Rosetta Stone between the different ruleset.

At $1.99 The Snake's Heart is a fine addition to your OSR adventures collection.

Patreon Highlights - Dyson Logos and his Maps for OSR Games

When you think OSR mapping these days, two names quickly come to mind - +Dyson Logos and +matt jackson . Sure, there are others, but these two stand on top of the pile. Dyson seems to have taken it up to eleven.

+Dyson Logos seems to have been mapping forever (just look at his blog), whether it was doodling out a map or putting together many levels of dungeon mapping stocked with creatures and death for the unwary. Dyson is also the first of the OSR creators to make Patreon an integral part of the process.

Let me break down the success Dyson has had with his maps on Patreon in simple numbers:

- Number of Patrons - 256

Yes, you read that correctly. 256 members of our hobby are putting money in Dyson's virtual tip jar whenever he publishes a new map to his blog (actually, not 100% accurate, as folks can limit their monthly contribution and later maps in a given month will generally fund less that earlier maps in the same month, but you get the idea - there are a ton of folks backing him to produce content for our corner of the universe.)

- Donations per map - $351.84

Dyson says he produces 8-10 maps per month. So, ideally he could potentially make $3,518 or so per month, but remember what I mentioned above - later maps fund at a lower overall donation than earlier maps. Still, Dyson isn't just a skilled mapper, but he's a successful one too.

I look at Dyson's maps and realize I'll never come close to the skill the man has but then again, I've never been much of an artist. So color me excited when Dyson hit his milestone of $300 a map  - maps that fund at $300 or more get released under a free commercial license for anyone to use (you don't even have to be a backer, but really, you should ;) Dyson has promised me a complete and detailed breakdown of this whole "use my shit for free" scheme for his highly funded map releases (which I will share in a follow up post.) As someone that likes to write small projects for his own personal use, free use of Dyson's maps combined with the stock art that +Kevin Crawford has released from his Kickstarters gives one a hell of a head start if you want to share your creation with the public at large.

Now, if you haven't gotten your fill of maps yet, the next post in the series will take a peek at +matt jackson and his excellent maps.

Far Away Land Tome of Awesome Premium Color HC in Hand (and thoughts on a NTRPG Con Giveaway)

Yesterday I received my premium color hard cover version of the Far Away Land Tome of Awesome, and it is awesome! The color pops and the pages look great. I can't thank Dirk ( +Far Away Land RPG ) enough for sending it.

It does leave me with a bit of a situation, as I now have 2 hardcovers of the Tome of Awesome - on standard and one premium - and as my lovely wife is frequently reminding me, space for my game related stuff is at a premium.

+Michael Badolato , AKA Bad Mike of NTRPG Con fame asked me if I was going to run a session of FAL at this June's NTRPG Con. I was toying with the idea, but I am now happy to say - yes I will be running a session of FAL this June. I still need to think whether I'm going to put it on the list of games or just run it off label in the Atrium, but I will be running a session.

Don't look for me to be bringing the premium copy of FAL ToA, as I'll be bringing and giving away my standard copy after the session to one of the participants randomly. Hey, another reason for you to attend ;)
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