Thursday, April 30, 2015
James has been nice enough to share some peeks on his G+ feed and I'm sharing them here.
I'm hoping to shake James down for a copy to give away to The Tavern's readers ;)
James has a very thorough post at his blog Halfling's Luck
White Star is based off of Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox:
How does White Star relate to Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox?
White Star is based on the Open Gaming License material found in Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox and uses the same mechanics in play. All classes have d6 hit dice, gain levels, earn experience points, can use descending or ascending armor class and have a single saving throw. In short, White Star is 100% compatible with Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox, with no conversion necessary. A fighter from WhiteBox could blast off in a star cruiser, taking your campaign from the dungeon to the stars in an instant.
Game for Nepal is an OSR Bundle where the proceeds go to CareNepal.
Here's the skinny:
GAME FOR NEPAL
The most comprehensive OSR Oriental Adventures compilation ever with about everything the OSR has created for Asian-themed games so far.
EVERYTHING ASIAN FROM THE OSR
All the profits of this charity bundle, save a 5% maintenance fee that will go to the distributor, will go to CARE Nepal, which is raising funds to help alleviate the sufferings of the Nepalese.
Arrows of Indra
Crypts, Tombs & Catacombs Cut-Up Sections
Mad Monks of Kwantoom
Red Tide: Campaign Sourcebook and Sandbox Toolkit
Ruins & Ronin
VA1 Valley of the Five Fires
All for just 15 bucks. I have all but one of these or else I've be over it like a fly to honey...
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Should adventures have a "power slider?"
What I mean by "power slider" is should the adventure should be written with a certain level spread primarily in mind but include suggestions and options to decrease or increase the challenges presented within?
Basically, ways to beef up or tone down the traps, adversaries and even rewards depending on the DM's actual campaign and the party of PCs it will be used with. If nothing else, these would be examples for the end user to refer to as they make their own tweaks.
And yes, still have congestion from hell...
On a side note, my seasonal allergies from hell are quickly transitioning into a cold from the Ninth Level of Hell. I'm glad I did the writing I needed to get done over the weekend - if I waited till now, I'd have been screwed.
Consider yourself warned ;)
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
This thought occurred to me as I was finishing up my piece for +Michael Desing 's Saga of the Splinter Realm megadungeon Vault of the Goblin - do adventures need creatures with levels? Should they even have creatures with levels? Should it all be dependent upon what the DM needs for his campaign?
When I sent Mike my completed piece, I told him to stat out the creatures at the level needed to suit where he was plugging it in to the larger adventure. I told him how to balance "A" in regards to "B", but little more.
Which got me thinking? Would adventures be more useful if they indicated relative power level to the PCs instead of being written for a specific range of levels?
Of course, this could be the decongestants speaking...
Kickstarter - Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall - Third Stretch Goal Hit and it is Short (Tim Shorts ;)
Look at the above list.
+James Spahn ? Check
+Jason Paul McCartan ? Check
+Tim Shorts ? Check
Now, admittedly, I am six stretch goals deep at his point, but +Taskboy Games and +Timothy Brannan are within immediate reach.
I have to say, the list of creators that +Pete Spahn put together is damn impressive.
Monday, April 27, 2015
On this side of the pond we would call these "beer coasters". Mats, coasters - whatever. Geomorphic Beermats is damn cool.
I can see myself doodling on these at the local pub. I'm sure I'd get some interesting comments.
15 Pounds for 125 is probably the sweet spot. If you are in the UK it's a no brainer, as it includes free shipping.
In the US, I'm not sure the shipping, but I'm in. Shit, this place is called Tenkar's Tavern after all!
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Between blog posts and some work I owed +Michael Desing I wrote over 2500 words today (this post will inch it higher.)
I was lucky today. There were minimal distractions once I sat down to work (Rach has been catching up with her work documentation and my son was out of the house.) Heck, if it wasn't for the dog deciding she needed attention and a minimal amount of yard work, I would have been emulating my hero, +James Spahn ;)
Seriously, I have no idea how James does what he does. For everyone that thinks my blog posting is impressive, what James accomplishes blows me away. James called me a "sprinter", but he is a championship marathon runner.
Now, I did twist James' arm just a wee bit tonight to get him to agree to allowing me to preview something from his upcoming White Star release. Well, he needs to send me the preview, and it will be shortly before release, but I'm chomping at the bit for this one. I've seen peeks, and it is all I might want and more.
So, next up is a piece for +Johua De Santo . Then if folks help +Pete Spahn 's Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall hit a few more stretch goals, yet another.
Fuck, I might actually have to become a "creator" in addition to "content sharer" :)
+Jim Magnusson is THE man! I really love this piece.
I've spent a good part of the weekend rewriting a piece I owe +Michael Desing for his megadungeon Kickstarter.
Things changed for me when this damn image kept coming to me when I was stuck on where I wanted to take everything. So, of course it is all being rewritten. The undead dwarves were inspired by the above Undead Dwarven Barkeep. (sure, Jim called him something else, but I see him as a barkeep)
In the meantime, let me stat our friend up for S&W, FAL and T&T ;)
The Undead Dwarven Barkeep (BUD)
The Undead Dwarven Barkeep, otherwise known as Barkeep, Undead Dwarven or BUD, is the result of a wizardly curse. The geas obliges the dwarven barkeep to continue serving stouts, ales, bitters and port until the caster dies a natural death. Sadly, in this case, the caster died prematurely from an unnatural death due to insufficient breathable air (poison gas.) Thus BUD is cursed to search for patrons to serve his ware to, whether they desire it or not.
BUD will attempt to ply his potential patrons with sour, stale and potential poisonous libations (any that drink his offerings must save vs. poison or suffer 3d6 damage as well as vomiting for a like number of rounds.)
In combat, BUD fights with a tankard and serving tray.
If slain, BUD will rise at the following dawn, cursed to wonder the world, serving libations to whomever he comes across.
Swords & Wizardry
Attacks: Tankard 1(2d6)
Saving Throw: 13
Special: Will offer poisonous libations to PCs before engaging them in combat. Two consecutive successful attacks on the same target means BUD forces someone to drink from the tankard. Save vs Poison or suffer as detailed above)
Challenge Level: 9 / 1,100 xp
Tunnels & Trolls
Monster Rating: 60
Combat Dice: 7D6 +30
Special Damage: 3/ - Tankard contents spill in ones mouth. Extra 2d6 poison damage
Far Away Land
HP: 17, AC: 1, ACT: 6
BRT: 4, DEX: 2, WIT: 1
Tankard does 2d6 damage
Last night's weekly Blood Island session ( +Joe D 's heavily modified LotFP WF) was a no go, as we didn't have enough players to have a decent change of surviving what was in store. The closest thing we had to a tank / fighter was my magic user. He has access to the Illusionist spell of Phantom Plate Armor from UA - it gives him the best AC in the party, and with the 4 HP bump from the armor, I also had the best HP in last night's potential party. Oh, and we had no healer. Oopsie!
Instead, +David B offered to run a short session of D&D 5e for the group.
About 20 minutes later, we had a human bard, a thiefling magic-user and a dwarven cleric ready to go (anyone want to guess on the dwarven cleric's player?) Those 20 minutes included rolling abilities, as none of us are big on using standard arrays and the like.
Gameplay itself was short, probably less than 2 hours.
It played closer to the classic editions of D&D than 3e or 4e did.
Now, we didn't play a long session and it's only the single session thus far, but I think I like it. It isn't love, like S&W Complete is for me, but I'd certainly play it again as a player.
I'll know more once I get a chance to play it more.
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Yes, that's right. Time to Draw Boobs: Vol. II is SUSPENDED. Much like the boobs being drawn.
Yeah, I'll let that hang for a moment.
Don't tell me. I'm such a boob. I know.
I'm not sure I'd want stretch goals associated with a Boobie themed Kickstarter.
Yes, shit like this is just asking for poor puns. I can't help myself.
Hey, this looks nothing like the nuns in Far Away Land!
I'm not sure I's want this up on Kickstarter, but I've seen more offensive projects. Not offensive sexually, just to my senses. I really wish Kickstarter did more upfront screening.
BTW, much of the Kickstarter page would be considered NSFW by many employers. Maybe that's the line crossed here.
Small Niche Games (and +Pete Spahn ) are putting together an OSR Sandbox Sourcebook - Guidebook to the Duchy of of Vainwall. If you don't know +Pete Spahn 's previous work, download the free PDF of his last OSR Kickstarter, Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay.
Here's what is currently in store for the new guidebook:
The Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall is packed full of usable content. All descriptions are painted in broad strokes and are designed to be easily adapted to your campaign. All NPC entries are fully statted for the Labyrinth Lord™ system. I'm estimating approximately 100-120 pages total, but that may increase significantly if the Stretch Goals are met.
The current book includes:
1. History of the Duchy of Valnwall
2. Overview of the Government (Banner, Power Structure, Military, etc.)
3. Overview of the People (Social Classes, Religion, Customs and Attitudes, etc.)
4. Overview of the Geography including Descriptions of:
-Earldoms and Baronies
-Cities and other Major Settlements
-Details on the nearby Elven, Dwarven, and Halfling realms
-Details on the local Nonhuman Tribes and their Goals
-Interesting Locales (Ruins, Castles, Temples, etc.)
-Major Factions and NPCs of Note
-Random Encounters (fully statted)
-Numerous Plot Hooks, Conflicts, and Adventure Ideas
I can't think of a better cause than St Jude Children's Hospital.
PWYW, but please, pay something for the Charity Module. The list of those involved is pretty much a who's who of the OSR :)
Friday, April 24, 2015
Great plan until Rach couldn't get off Friday. No biggie, I'd pick her up from work and head up Friday evening - still plenty of time to get gaming in on Saturday. Then I was notified I had the late coverage for Friday night - I'll be at work until 930 or so tonight. Yeah, ain't happening.
So, instead I'll be writing up the rewrite of my piece of a project I owe someone. Undead dwarves and goblins, a magic gem and the possibility for the players to upset a delicate balance. Rach will be packing the 2 $50 Patreon boxes for the month of April.
I guess not going to the con has some benefits.
We will, however, be at NTRPG Con in June. Hotel room is reserved (and we got the discount this year - woot!), games are registered for and airline tickets will be researched this weekend.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
As an OSR gamer, the RPGNow Deals of the Day are kinda hit or miss, but when they hit the OSR sweet spot, they hit it well.
Dyson's Delves II gives you a campaign worth of dungeon maps and inspiration for a mere 4 bucks - at least until the price goes back up tomorrow.
This is what you get:
More adventures and maps set under the earth for old-school fantasy roleplaying games (OSR games).
Dyson's Delves II contains over 140 pages of maps and adventures featuring the unique mapping style of Dyson Logos.
Seven full adventures fill out the beginning of the book, followed by 44 additional dungeon maps each with a page for the GM to key and make notes about each dungeon.
The adventures in this volume are:
Trouble at Imp Brucke - strange goblins and stranger things challenge characters of levels 6-7
The Screams From Jedder's Hole - something has started screaming from under the main temple in town in this adventure for levels 4-5
Cavanaugh's Hall - a small site-based encounter around old ruins for levels 7-8
The Ruins of Corvel on the Mount - a science-fantasy delve for levels 6-7
Goblin Gully - a true classic adventure with one hell of a final bite for levels 1-2
Atarin's Delve - a dungeon turned into the headquarters of a team of unusual bandits for level 4
Valley of the Red Apes - a collection of 5 smaller site-based encounter / adventures set in a valley overrun with carnivorous red apes including:
Ziggurat of Rhissel the Morning Lord (level 6-8)
The Secret of Jen's Hall (level 5-6)
The Cliffside Stronghold (level 5-7)
A Devourer Most Foul (level 5-7)
The Silver Obelisk
It's been a busy week. Between work and some gaming related obligations, I've fallen behind on some things blog related.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Random Facebook Dude:
Greets Eric, how goes it?
Was wondering if you wanted to cross promote your blog with our event by being a part of our supporters program. Please let me know if this sounds like something that might interest you OK?
Thanks man. :)So, a few questions and observations:
Point The First - What event?
Point The Second - What supporters program?
Point The Third - It is most likely The Tavern's reach is a bit greater than Random Facebook Dude and
Point the Fourth - Random Facebook Dude wants me to put The Tavern's reputation behind his mystery event. Why the fuck would I do that without knowing ANYTHING about it?
Point the Fifth - That middle paragraph? Doesn't even mention the blog by name. I suspect it was a cut and paste that was sent to others. Damn it! I might not be special :(
Point the Sixth - On closer look, he appears to be a Kickstarter promoter of sorts. I guess he doesn't read The Tavern.
I have no problem helping creators and publishers in the OSR and beyond. This shit just pisses me off.
So, 830 tonight, NYC time.
I'll be there. Will you?
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Previous posts are HERE and HERE and HERE.
I was informed by someone with knowledge of the whole fiasco that Center Stage recently filed for bankruptcy. I thought they had filed back in November, but apparently the official petition was filed last week.
706 creditors. Ouch.
Kickstarter. Success can be a killer.
It's Official - Pinnacle will be pubishing Rifts for Savage Worlds - "Savage Rifts" in Time for Christmas
Rifts is Coming for Savage Worlds!
News from Pinnacle Entertainment Group
For Immediate Release--April 21, 2015
Pinnacle Entertainment Group announced today the development of Rifts for Savage Worlds, their award-winning tabletop roleplaying game system.
Pinnacle released a mock cover, using art from Palladium’s 2005 Rifts Ultimate Edition with permission. The cover artist for the book was Scott Johnson.
“We are thrilled to follow up Kevin’s post with this announcement that we do, indeed, have the license to develop Rifts for Savage Worlds,” said Savage Worlds creator Shane Hensley. “We are early in the process, but anticipate having a core rulebook for the setting released in time for Christmas.”
The Palladium Books Weekly Update--April 19, 2015, written by Kevin Siembieda, recently made mention of a new roleplaying game system for the beloved setting:
“In an effort to truly expand Rifts® across the Megaverse®, in cooperation with Palladium Books, another role-playing game company is currently adapting the Rifts® Earth setting to that company’s RPG system of rules, as well as producing adventure sourcebooks.”
Rifts is an exciting multi-genre post-apocalypse game that began publishing in 1990. Featuring elements of everything from cyberpunk and fantasy to mecha and mythology, Rifts has always been Siembieda's vision of a game with everything for everyone, tied together with a strong narrative.
"I'm really excited to see what Rifts will look like in the Savage Worlds system," said Siembieda. "The Savage fans are great folks, and I think Rifts is going to be an amazing amount of fun for them, letting them explore all the possibilities of both the system and the setting."
Savage Worlds was created by Shane Lacy Hensley. Savage Worlds and the Pinnacle logo are all trademarks of Pinnacle Entertainment Group. For more information, visit www.peginc.com or contact Jodi Black, Marketing Manager for Pinnacle, at PEGJodi@gmail.com. More about Palladium and the Rifts setting can be found on their website here: http://www.palladiumbooks.com/.
I've got two undead races, each mostly on it's own level. They are cursed with a sort of Raganarok effect - perpetual war where each side's fallen arise again at the start of the new day. When not at war, they are desperately mining for a magical gem that can release them form this curse - but each morning, their mining efforts are also reset.
So, the idea is now, to determine what state the "dungeon" is in when the PCs arrive. Is one undead race or the other waging war, thereby leaving one level mostly underpopulated and the other in a chaotic state of battle? Are they peacefully mining and apt to ignore PCs that are leaving them alone? Can the status change in the middle of the PCs exploration? Can the PCs actions tip the tide of battle and allow the winning side the time to finally recover the gem they are looking for?
Probably won't play out the same for any two groups. Is that good or bad? Damned if I know...
I need to write this out in a coherent fashion ;)
Monday, April 20, 2015
There's a lot that can be said about LotFP Weird Fantasy. Some like the niches carved out for each class, some lament the lack of combat advancement for any class but fighters. In my eyes, the D6 skill system for Specialists is one of the best things it brought to the OSR, eclipsed only by the Referee Book.
I've spoken highly about the Ref Book in the past and was disappointed when it was not released as a free PDF when the core rules for WF Grindhouse were released to the masses. Disappointment no more.
The new printing of the LotFP Referee book is taking way longer than expected (surprise), so with no in-print Referee book the geniuses over at LotFP thought that maybe some sort of Ref information should be available. So here, free of charge, is the Referee book that was included in the Grindhouse set.
Keep in mind that LotFP is a living game and this PDF here is four years old. The next printing of the Ref book will be a complete rewrite and expansion (will be at least three times this size), new layout and graphic design, all new artwork, etc.The advice contained within the pages of the LotFP Weird Fantasy Referee Book is applicable to any OSR game. Heck, much of it fits well no matter what system you are running, OSR or not. Pick and choose what works for you.
The price is free. The reward itself is priceless.
Rifts Setting to be Published Under License by a (as of now) Unannounced Third Party and a Different Game Engine
Rifts® is heating up
There has been a flurry of interest in Rifts® by third parties these past few months. Nothing big like a Walt Disney movie yet (waaahh, are they ever going to make a Rifts® movie?!), but a few things we think you’ll find fun and exciting.
Something new and exciting. In an effort to truly expand Rifts® across the Megaverse®, in cooperation with Palladium Books, another role-playing game company is currently adapting the Rifts® Earth setting to that company’s RPG system of rules, as well as producing adventure sourcebooks. This is only the second time in Palladium’s history that an outside company will create new game material under a different set of rules.
Rumor Squashing: No, Palladium is NOT going to stop publishing Rifts®, nor change to a completely different set of rules. Far from it. In fact, Palladium expects to release six new Rifts® titles in 2015 and 98% of all Rifts® titles are in stock and available for purchase right now! The idea is that by offering Rifts® via another game company’s set of popular rules it creates a parallel dimension of gaming enjoyment. An expanding Megaverse®, if you will. This is a bit of an experiment, but we are excited to see how it all unfolds.
A few steps toward Rifts® comic books? First, there is Imaginos Plus #1 created by Palladium artist and pal, Mark Dudley. It is a full color, 32 page, anthology comic book that features four 8 page “teasers” for different comic book titles created by Dudley and the Imaginos crew — including Rifts®: The Adventures of Young Erin Tarn™. I was impressed by the work in Imaginos Plus #1 and the Erin Tarn story is just a glimpse at a potential 12 issue comic book series. All 12 issues are completely plotted out and the first six issues are completely scripted. By the way, Imaginos Plus #1 is available from Palladium Books for $3.99 plus shipping.
Second, Palladium Books has recently agreed to a one-shot deal with a notable independent comic book company to publish Ramon K. Perez’s Rifts® Machinations of Doom as a full color graphic novel. If the graphic novel does well . . . who knows what might follow?
I apologize that I cannot reveal who these partners are or when you can expect their products, at least not yet. These other companies will make the big, full announcements when they are ready; probably sometime over the next 4-10 months. When they do, I’ll be sure to let you know and provide more details.So, who is the mysterious company? What is the system that's going to be used?
Here's my guesses and non-guesses:
- It's not D20 OGL, D6 OGL, FATE, Traveller, Legend or any other "open license" system. See all those "®" above? Kevin does not like open. Kevin is serious about his trademarks.
- I doubt it is MWP and any flavor of Cortex. They license media properties, not other RPGs.
- HERO? I don't see it and it's not known for licensing properties (even if it did license back Champions.)
- GURPS? Probably the most likely of the bunch. SJG has licensed everything from Conan, The Horseclans, Discworld, Vampire the Masquerade, Werewolf, Traveler,
Savage Worlds? It's a possibility. Pinnacle has done licensed products (Solomon Kane comes directly to mind.)
It will be interesting to find out who got the license.
Big Purple has a discussion thread here.
You can read the announcement on the Palladium site here.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Hat tip to +James Aulds ;)
Labyrinth Lord - The Computer Game - kinda has a ring to it.
Sadly, there's little more.
Lets be honest, the old computer RPGs many of us cut our teeth on in the mid and late 80s had their charm, but even if one were to recreate it today, your audience would expect more. Just like the retroclones allow us to play the older systems but with rewritten wording and cleaner presentation, I'd expect similar for a game looking to recreate SSI Gold Box games, or the Bard's Tale, or whatever.
Actually, I've played similar clones on my iPad and Android tables, and quickly put them to the side. It's not like folks have stopped producing such clones. I just find that the ones produced these days do not come anywhere near the depth of the stories that were present in the games of old.
I'd gladly play the game pictured here if it were well written as many of the titles of old. Regretfully, there is no mention of the underlying story or hooks in Labyrinth Lord - The Computer Game. The graphics themselves are 30 years old. The tactics are 30 years old. If Pete can present something as engaging as The Bard's Tale, the SSI Gold Box Series, Ultima and the like I'd gladly back this.
The above games were always more then their graphics, mechanics and combat options. I'm not sure Pete understands this. If he does, he doesn't indicate it in his pitch.
Color me surprised when I noticed Lankmar: City of Thieves released for Savage Worlds. The only Lankmar releases I knew were forthcoming were for the DCC RPG.
Needless to say I plunked down my $9.99 for the Lankmar Savage Worlds sourcebook in PDF and eagerly await to devour it in the week to come. Today I record a podcast for Far Away Land and after celebrate my 8 year old nephew's birthday, so I doubt I'll get much time to look at it today.
Exciting times for Lankmar fans like myself.
We gave away a Tenkar's Tavern Tankard in honor of Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day this year and now it's time to award the fine drinking vessel.
May the gods of random generation shine upon thee!
The winner is:
Wayne, email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing and we'll place your order :)
Thanks to all that commentred.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Still, there are some pretty useless magic items - or at least, items that have a very singular and obscure purpose (these are often found in adventures instead of core rulebooks.)
Going the other direction, there are items, such as the Wand of Wonder, that no one in their right mind would ever use in the midst of combat unless all was already lost, as the potential to screw is greater than that of a positive result (I really should do another crowd sourced Wand of Wonder effects post - it has been a number of years since I did that previously.)
Here's an example I wrote a few years back. Maybe not useless, but not all that useful either:
Beer Bear - This appears to be a child's stuffed bear of smallish size. If one tilts the bear's head back and makes a poring motion with the bear, cold beer (up to the amount of a pint) flows forth. The type of beer that the bear dispenses depends on the color of the bear. Black bears dispense stout and brown bears dispense a pilsner. The bear will dispense beer up to 8 times in a single day.
Hard to beat the image of one of the PCs going to sleep in a dungeon, holding his Beer Bear tight to him, out of fear another party member may take off with it ;)So, what is the most useless magic item you have come across in an RPG campaign?
Friday, April 17, 2015
You heard it right. We're giving away a Tenkar's Tavern Tankard in honor of Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day. There is a catch however. It will only ship within the US. So, if we randomly pick a non US address, we will send that person a $20 RPGNow Gift Certificate. Spend it on some of the excellent Swords & Wizardry goodness.
You know the speil - add a comment on this very post before 9pm Eastern tomorrow night (Saturday, April 18th.)
Best of luck to all :)
"I’m not a hundred percent comfortable right now (with the Digital Tools)" - Nathan Stewart, Brand Director for Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast
Are you comfortable with where you are in terms of digital tools and accessories for the tabletop game?
I’m not a hundred percent comfortable right now, because I felt like we took a great step backwards. We had a partner who seemed like they were on track to bring out some digital aids that were gonna be good for players, but now we’re looking for different people to bring that forward. We’ve got some opportunities, but I don’t think we have anything concrete right now that serves the main purpose of actually making the tabletop play better.
One of the missing components that we still need to deliver is technology actually aiding the tabletop play in a way that encourages more eye-to-eye contact. I don’t want the game to be three or four guys sitting at a table looking at their computers and not talking. I want the digital tools help create more talking, more story-telling, more role-playing in the role-playing game. We’ve got a couple different options that we’re looking at right now and we do have some opportunities there but we’re a little behind where I’d like to be in terms of delivering that.A few things.
You know what digital tool most folks want more than any other?
PDFs of the core rulebooks. Flat out simple. Put them on my tablet and I no longer need to carry a stack of books. This is the digital tool most requested and the one least likely to be seen anytime soon.
You know what digital tool is missing from the answer quoted above?
Fantasy Grounds. Yep, the VTT that got the license to see D&D 5e officially for use with their software. I thought it was fairly big news. I guess I was wrong. Could the article have been written and the interview done prior to the announcement? Sure, but there is no hint of upcoming excitement in the "digital tool" world in the above answer.
Codename: Morningstar - the remains of the micro transaction virtual printing press that WotC was banking on couldn't even cut it as a Kickstarter, although asking for $425k might have been a bit much. Of course, this is why there are no PDFs for 5e. They were banking on the micro transactions from The Project That Would Become Morningstar, much like 4e was banking on a VTT subscription service to pay it's way.
Interesting how that works out. In the days of 4e, WoW was the king of MMORPGs and folks played a monthly fee to play. These days, most MMORPGs are subscription free - they make their money on micro transactions.
It's April 17th! In Honor of Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day we are having a sale on EVERYTHING in the Swords & Wizardry format!
Use the following coupon code at checkout to get 33% off of everything in the Swords & Wizardry format:
(offer expires Midnight on April 17, 2015)
Thursday, April 16, 2015
One of The Tavern's generous readers was lucky enough to receive 2 copies of Quests of Doom for 5e and now he is giving it away to a lucky tavern reader.
Just who will that reader be?
Grabbing a bucket of dice, as we have over 100 entries ;)
The Lucky Reader is:
Joel, email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing and I'll pass your snail mail info on.
Congrats and thanks to all :)
"Dungeons and Dragons stopped being a tabletop game years or decades ago" - Nathan Stewart, Brand Director for Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast
Q - One of the big goals of fifth edition was to revitalize the brand overall –to make Dungeons & Dragons associated with stuff like video games, board games, books, and comics as much as it is with tabletop RPGs. Is the brand where you wanted it to be at this point?
A - Is it where we wanted it to be? Let me back up a little bit and say that for the first part of your question, we obviously had big goals for the in shoring up the core of the brand –the tabletop RPG fifth edition and the playtest, that was the heavy lifting done behind the scenes. Wizards is publishing the spiritual core of the brand.
But yeah, on the whole, Dungeons and Dragons stopped being a tabletop game years or decades ago. I mean, we’ve been a powerhouse in video games, for years now, and we’ve had movies –whether you like them or not, we still had them– tons of novels, comics, apparel, table top minies, just a lot of stuff across the board. So I will say that in terms of the 40th anniversary, I thought it was a tremendous year to celebrate all things D&D. We saw people coming back in waves, we’re seeing tastemakers and celebrities continue to devote their love of D&D publicly, and I think that’s a sign that culturally, you’re hitting the marks that you want.D&D stopped being a tabletop game decades ago? That would mean at least back to 1995.
Dungeons & Dragons was a viable tabletop game in the 3x era. 4e is where it dropped much of it's tabletop luster, and that was in 2008.
Still, if there were any doubt that those migrating to D&D 5e are already playing a dead system...
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
|This is my copy. There are many like it, but this one is mine.|
Thanks to the generosity of one of The Tavern's regulars (and the inadvertent generosity of Frog God Games, who mailed said Tavern regular an extra copy and said give it away) we are giving away a print copy of Quests of Doom for D&D 5e. Yes, it's a hard cover print copy. As such, this give away is open only to US mailing addresses. Sorry to those elsewhere :(
What do you need to do to enter and have a chance of snagging this fine book?
Just make a comment on this very post before 10 PM eastern, tomorrow, April 16th, 2015.
Do it! You know you want to :)
FYI, Rach and I got mostly what we wanted, and in any case we are in game sessions that we are really looking forward to. Less than 2 months to go.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Last year's NTRPG Con was a 22 year gap between gaming cons, as my last was GenCon of 92. I remember filling every available moment with gaming goodness and seminars. Yes, plural for seminars, as I also attended the fiction seminar for TSR and have the notes to prove it (but I won't bore you with them unless requested.)
I took off tomorrow (remembering last year's registration hiccup) and I'll be registering myself and Rachel (two browsers in effect.) At least this year I was smart enough to reserve our hotel room early enough to get the Con rates. It is a significant savings. More money to spend on games and art ;)
There will be an unscheduled Tavern Chat commencing at 1130 PM tonight. It will probably last at least until 130 AM. The regular weekly Tavern Chat will be tomorrow night at 830 PM as usual.
The game that most of us cut our teeth on is named Dungeons & Dragons, but how many dragons have you actually encountered in game (dungeons is generally countless)?
Sure, back in my early days of gaming, when every dungeon map was filled like it belonged to the old Bard's Tale computer game, finding an ancient red dragon in a 10' x 10' room was nothing special. Heck, his neighbor was probably Asmodeus.
I don't think I've used a dragon in a game session in over 25 years - maybe 30.
How about you? How big a place do dragons old in your "Dungeons & Dragons?"
Monday, April 13, 2015
Mr +Far Away Land RPG himself announced in the Far Away Land G+ Community that the Far Away Land Quickstart is nearly ready to be released upon the masses:
So, with the help of +Vincent Florio "The Evil GM" (who is actually the fire under this project), we will be releasing an FAL Quick Start set of rules... for PWYW. It's basically the mechanics of the game and PC creation. The Quick Start Rules will be their own beast and will contain some new artwork and a custom cover, as well as some pre-made characters and the Isle of the Rat Wizard adventure tossed in to get folks started. I'm hoping to get this hammered out by next month (as the text is pretty much done - thanks Vincent!).When it does release I'll offer to run two sessions of FAL via G+ Hangouts - one open for the Patreon backers of The Tavern and one open for all of the readers of The Tavern. I'll make recruitment posts when the time comes. The sessions will probably fall in the evening, NYC time. I expect I'll limit each session to six players. For those attending NTRPG Con, I'll be running a session off the grid, probably in the outskirts of the hotel bar. I'll figure out the time / day of the con session once I know my con schedule ;)
As I mentioned in an earlier post today, I've been changing up Castle of the Mad Archmage to suit my group (and me.) In some cases, that may mean adding a Hill Giant where there was none previously, and in others it may mean turning a room full of rat dung into "two fucking feet deep with rat dung!" It all comes down to knowing your players, the challenges they need and basicaly fucking with them.
I do little if any changing of the adventure (besides system conversion) when running DCC RPG adventures, but even there I tune challenges up or down depending on the party that shows up to play.
The one time I ran a large prewritten adventure "as written" was Dwimmermount, back when it was still being play tested but after the Kickstarter had funded. That session is rather (in)famous. Suffice to say, I am an advocate of making adventures fit the party instead of making the party fit the adventure.
Now, if you are one of those fine folks that have an abundance of time and energy to write all of your own adventures, more power to you. The following question does not apply to you ;)
Do you adjust or rewrite commercial or pre-written adventures to better suit your group or do you prefer to run as written, or perhaps somewhere in between?
Sunday, April 12, 2015
It had been a couple of months since we had a session of the mostly once a month foray into the depths of The Castle of the Mad Archmage (CotMA.) Pretty much my fault for the lapse, as work has been a busy bugger of late.
As I've mentioned before, I'm extremely generous with the expo with the "B Team" due in large part to the infrequency of the sessions. This has led to a bit of a conundrum - the level the party is currently exploring is no longer a challenge as written, but they are having such a good time exploring it I don't want to push them on before they are ready. What is a DM to do?
Simple. "Turn it up to 11"
Not everywhere, of course. There were still some encounters that were a challenge to a party of 2 6th level fighters and a 5/5 cleric / magic-user, but those challenges were going to be few and far between.
I didn't remove anything - I just added. The orc tribe, complete with women and children? They were now led by a small hill giant and his two ogre bodyguards. Yep, that was so perfectly balanced that two out of the three PCs were dropped before the hill giant fell, and that last standing fighter was a hit away from dropping himself.
Yep. Balanced it just a bit too closely perhaps. If the fireball hadn't taken out a bunch of orcs and weakened the big bads it may very well have been a TPK. Actually, maybe it was balanced just fine, as everyone was on the edge of their seats.
You can read two session recaps thus far: +Douglas Cole 's at The Gaming Ballistic Blog and +Peter V. Dell'Orto 's at Dungeon Fantastic Blog.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
RPGNow's Deal of the Day has been a bit hit or miss, but when it hits, it hits well.
CryptWorld is a clone of the old Pacesetter Chill game. It's well written by Dan Proctor and +Tim Snider . Tim knows the Pacesetter system very well, and it comes through in CryptWorld.
It's on sale until tomorrow morning for $3.22 in PDF. If you haven't checked it out yet, now is a perfect time to try.
CRYPTWORLD is a horror role-playing game in which you investigate and hunt the forces of the unexplained. The Crypt Master may design any world of horror he desires.
Classic horror, slasher horror, alien menaces from the stars and interdimensional monsters. These horrors and more may greet you in CRYPTWORLD!
CRYPTWORLD is a role-playing game complete in one volume.
In this book you will find:
Rules for character generation
Optional paranormal talents
Creatures covering multiple horror genres
Advice for running horror games
An introductory adventure
+Richard LeBlanc was nice enough to give me a PDF copy of his latest release, the Creature Compendium, to give away to one of The Tavern's lucky patrons.
What do you need to "be in to win?" Add a comment to this post before 10 AM Sunday morning (April 12th for those counting.)
While you are at it, you can snag a print copy of the Creature Compendium at Lulu for $7.99. If you use the coupon code:APRIL30 you get an additional 30% off.
Code should be good through Sunday, bringing the print price to $5.60.
Friday, April 10, 2015
There is so much I want to say about +Richard LeBlanc 's new Creature Compendium, but words fail me. Instead, I'll let Rich's words speak for both of us:
Stats for 0e/1e and BX? 199 more monsters? All for 2 bucks?
So good. So cool.
Why the hell are you still here? Grab a copy already!
To me, it's not the number of pages in an adventure that is the yardstick but how concise the textual descriptions are. The more verbose a room description is, the less useful I find it. If I cant tell what's in the room at a quick glance, it does me no good. Mini adventure or mega dungeon, keep the room descriptions short and concise.
So, where do fall? Concise? Verbose? Midling?
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Issue #8 of Oubliette released nearly 3 years ago. It is very nice to see it's return.
My micro-print copy of Oubliette #9 arrived with my "Works" package of mapping goodness earlier this afternoon. It goes for sale Sunday, April 12th.
I quite simply love the cover.
You can get the the PDFs of 1-8 for $12.50 at RPGNow.
I'll take pics of the mapping goodness I received over the weekend.
So it is Written, So it Shall be Done - We'll be Giving Away a Tenkar's Tavern Tankard for Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day
Curse you +James Spahn !
It looks like your suggestion will be put into effect - The Tavern will give away a Tenkar's Tavern Tankard for Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day.
The tankard will only ship in the US, but entries will be open to all. If the lucky person is outside the US, I'll send them a $20 RPGNow Gift Certificate instead of the tankard..
So, look for the post next week as we celebrate Swords & Wizardry.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
I will not be at tonight's Tavern Chat. Instead, I will be in the bowels of The Bronx playing with firearms (we have to requalify twice a year.)
There is a distant possibility I may be able to drop in for a few minutes around 10 ish. Depends on the drive home.
Behave yourselves and clean up afterwards ;)
Now it all makes sense.
Yesterday I received 3 enquiries about Fantasy Grounds, anything from "where can a get a spoofed key?" (can't help you) to "how does it play compared to Roll20?" (FG has a heavier load for the GM to lift in prep, at least last time I checked.) Today, I woke up to an email letting me know that Dungeons & Dragons 5e had been officially licensed by Smiteworks for use with Fantasy Grounds.
Holy shit. It looks like WotC figured out a way to associate a viable VTT with their product.
We are proud to announce that we are officially licensed to sell D&D source material and content inside of Fantasy Grounds! This is the beginning of a great new partnership between SmiteWorks and Wizards of the Coast that will benefit gamers worldwide.
You can purchase the D&D Complete Core Class Pack with all the class, feats, spells and equipment or you can purchase individual classes only. You can also buy the monsters in packs or as the D&D Complete Core Monster Pack. These products have been converted to work really tightly with Fantasy Grounds to give you the best possible gaming experience - we know you're going to love them. They contain all the great artwork and content from the official products and all the smarts and integration to work with Fantasy Grounds. Not only will you get the same content that can be found in print, but you also get an exciting new Fifth Edition theme, adventures and content customized specifically for ease of play inside of Fantasy Grounds.
For Dungeon Masters and players on a budget, you might pick up a Player Customization Pack and one or two Class Packs of your choice. Dungeon Masters can often get by with just the Adventure of their choice and one or two Monster Packs.
Don't forget that players can gift purchases through Steam for Dungeon Masters who have linked their license on Steam.
To read up a little more on Fantasy Grounds and the different license options available for the core software product, please follo w this link to take a tour.
See all the Wizards of the Coasts products available in the Store
D&D Complete Core Class Pack (49.99) In this module, you get all twelve core character classes converted for play in Fantasy Grounds. You get the class description, special features, spells and abilities used by your class and general character customization options such as equipment and feats. You also get:
328 Character Portraits
Players Handbook custom themeAin't cheap. The Basic Rules however, are $2.99.
All feats from the PHB fully configured for Fantasy Grounds
Equipment tables fully configured for Fantasy Grounds
Weapons lists fully configured for Fantasy Grounds
All Spells from the PHB fully configured for Fantasy Grounds
Automatic addition of new class features when you drag class links to your character's level summary
You get all of this and much more
D&D Complete Core Monster Pack (49.99) The entire collection of core monsters from the D&D Monster Manual is now at your fingertips. Dungeon Masters can use this module to create encounters and combats within their campaigns. NPC records have been lovingly entered and organized for ease of use and reference during play. This pack includes:
273 monster images to share with your players
366 monster tokens for use on tactical combat maps
Full descriptions for all monsters in the D&D Monster Manual
Full stats for all monsters in the D&D Monster Manual
The complete reference material from the D&D Monster Manual
Searchable monster indexes by CR, type and in alphabetical order
You get all of this and much more - [ read more ]
D&D Lost Mine of Phandelver (19.99) Lost Mine of Phandelver is an adventure for four to five characters of 1st level. During the course of the adventure, the characters will advance to 5th level. The adventure is set a short distance from the city of Neverwinter in the Sword Coast region of the Forgotten Realms setting. The Sword Coast is part of the North--a vast realm of free settlements surrounded by wilderness and adventure. This product includes:
the entire contents of the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure
image handouts that can be shared with players
5 pregen characters to get you going quickly
maps containing Dungeon Master (DM) information with all locations pre-linked to story entries, boxed text, encounters, images and treasure parcels
player and tactical combat maps
You get all of this and much more
* The content from this module is included in the Complete Core Class Pack
Set in a medieval fantasy world, D&D allows you to experience stories and adventures full of endless possibilities and amazing surprises. The Basic Rules for Dungeons & Dragons is a PDF that covers the core of the tabletop game.
As Mike Mearls explained in Legends & Lore, the Basic Rules for Dungeons & Dragons is converted from the PDF (over 100 pages, in fact) that covers the core of the game. It runs from levels 1 to 20 and covers the cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard, presenting what we view as the essential subclass for each. It also provides the dwarf, elf, halfling, and human as race options; in addition, the rules contain 120 spells, 5 backgrounds, and character sheets. All of these features have been compiled into modules specifically formatted for ease of play on Fantasy Grounds at the table or over the Internet.
The PDF that this product was based on is available for free from the Wizards of the Coast website.
This purchase includes the following items:
-A custom theme derived in the same style as the Player's Handbook
-Random tables for rolling background bonds, flaws, ideals, origins, etc.
-Equipment tables containing items that can be dragged to character sheets, treasure parcels or NPCs for ease of reference, encumbrance calculations and ease of disbursement. The searchable lists contain all items listed in the Player's Handbook (Adventuring Gear, Tools, Armor, Weapons, Mounts, Tack and Harness, Vehicles.)
-Draggable weapons that auto-enter the inventory, weight, attack type (melee, ranged, thrown) and the damage (with damage type.)
-Reference material and artwork which is not specific to any one particular character class
-A list of spells from the D&D Basic Rules, ready to drag and drop to your character sheet
-The class description from the Player's Handbook for all 4 basic core classes: cleric, fighter, rogue and wizard
-Details and features from levels 1-20 for the 4 included classes
-Automatic addition of new class features when you drag the class link to your character's level summary
-This product is licensed from Wizards of the Coast. Dungeons & Dragons is a registered trademark. Unauthorized use or distribution is strictly prohibited.
And of course, this doesn't include the price of the Fantasy Grounds software itself. Still, for the right group, this could be an excellent option,
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
One of the guys in my "old" face to face RPG group sent the link to Doraleous & Associates, a web series about one screwed up adventuring group.
I'm addicted already.
The guys behind this are also behind the Battlefield series of web videos.
Sure, the humor is mostly immature, but it's funny as hell ;)
Remember Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day 2013? I do. It was an amazing success. More successful than I ever dreamed possible. Which is the reason I'm not anxious to jump back in those waters ;)
+R.J. Thompson has taken the helm this year, and God bless him. It's going to be April 17th this time around (a week from Friday) but RJ would like you posts links by the 16th.
You can read more about it at Gamers & Grognards.
Now what the hell am I going to do for S&W Appreciation Day at The Tavern? Time to think...
Monday, April 6, 2015
Busy days (and nights) here at The Tavern.
I have a shit ton of reviews to get to. Peril on the Purple Planet and Cast Tower of the Blood Moon Rises for the DCC RPG, Silent Legions (the latest from Sine Nomine), White Box Companion II (Barrel Rider Games) among others. Full plate and then some.
I was going to do my twice a year "playing with firearms" qualification tomorrow night, but the forecast is for rain. So, it's going to be Wednesday night instead (19 years on and 13 years in rank does have it's privileges.) Which means Tavern Chat will have to make do with my absence on April 8th. I'll try to make up for it with an open Hangout via G+ later on this month.
Oh, and still working on two projects. And need to sit down with Rachel as she raids my gaming collection for the big Patreon backers.
Aye. Busy busy ;)
Holy crap! How did +Zach Glazar NOT give me a heads up that the Whisper & Venom Compendium was going on sale for $5.20 in PDF?
Grab it and enjoy a well designed, localized sandbox.
Damn you Zach! Focus! ;)
Description from the Lesser Gnome site:
At it core, Whisper & Venom is a table-top role-playing adventure module that can be used, with an absolute minimum number of adjustments or modifications, with most any fantasy role-playing game rule set.
Whisper & Venom was designed by Zach Glazar. It is written by Zach Glazar and John Hammerle with illustrations and gameplay maps by Lloyd Metcalf. Whisper & Venom also includes contributions from well-known and talented tabletop gaming industry artists, cartographers and sculptors.
It is intentionally written to be evocative of the style of modules from the early 1980’s while utilizing modern production techniques and materials.Review by The RPG Pundit
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Wether you plan to run a Pendragon Campaign or just want an amazing sourcebook of the Arthurian Legends, King Arthur Pendragon: Edition 5.1 for $4 in PDF is a steal.
Offer is good until 11 AM Eastern, Monday, April 6th, 2016
I'm sure I've missed a few decent "Deals of the Day" as they don't seem to give any notice via email...
Anyhow, we discussed how the "meet in a bar" cliche is about as over done as all hell but is still used constantly, as it has a certain sense of familiarity to it. In a way, it's part of the common experience of many roleplayers, and even if they groan when hearing it, they still willingly go along with it.
All of which got me thinking - maybe this would make for a useful random table. Then I thought further, and I realized that there is more than just one cliche (geas, political pressure, imminent emergency and and others that have been used repeatedly) when it comes to kicking off a new campaign and introducing the player characters to each other, or at least making an excuse to put them in the same place.
So maybe a table of "how the PCs meet" cliches that then takes the cliches and gives multiple ways to play each of the cliches off - a table leading to more tables.
May be worthwhile, even if not used as a series of random tables but as a list for inspiration.
Yea? Nay? Useful? Pointless? What say you? How do characters in your campaigns meet?
What's interesting in D&D is that the resurrection of Christ would not be a resurrection under the D&D rules - it would more likely be the result of a Raise Dead spell.
Which makes me think about the use of Raise Dead and Resurrection (you died a messy death, or one a long long time ago type of spell - from the players' perspective, more likely messy death.)
In game terms, is a Raise Dead spell written as it is because the assumption is that the soul of the deceased hasn't yet reached it's final destination in the afterlife. The soul's attachment to it's mortal body is still strong, thus requiring less power (2 levels lower spell level) than a resurrection spell?
Is Resurrection (on par with a magic-user's Wish spell in power) recalling the soul from it's eternal resting place? If so, what happens if the soul recalled does not want to return?
This is what Easter does to me. Makes me think on multiple levels ;)
Saturday, April 4, 2015
Yes, I know tomorrow is Easter Sunday. That is why we moved the live recording up an hour to 12 noon Eastern. So you can listen live on G+ Hangouts while you get ready for Easter Dinner ;)
Anyhow, as always, the Far & Away podcast is listener driven. Sure, there is plenty of interesting stuff we have planned to talk about, but in all honesty, we'd rather be answering you're inquiries.
So, if you have something you'd like to ask of Dirk, Vince or myself that is Far Away Land related, ask it here and we will try to address it in tomorrow's show.
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