Sunday, May 31, 2015

Far West isn't Late (Well, Yes it is but...) There's Still May 2016

To be honest, I don't think ANYONE expected a May 2015 release date for Far West. May 2016? Perhaps. Considering Far West is already 3 1/2 years late, what does one more day, week, month, year mean at this point anyway?

Far West has stood up more gaming nerds when it comes to dates than the 1980s ever did.

If I had a girlfriend who missed this many "release dates" it would be too late to consider an abortion.

Far West is approaching TWICE the gestation period of an African Elephant, and that's only counting the days it's late.

I fly into Dallas on Wednesday and boy, will my arms be tired.

Try the fish!

Second Session of Far Away Land in the Bag - Scything & Dicing

Last night was the second session of the Temple of Zoko, my Saturday Night group's introduction to Far Away Land and a testing of the system / gameplay prior to me running a session or two at NTRPG Con later this week.

My four player group survived without a casualty. That was due to smart play on the part of my players.

As far as I know (as I didn't see them in the FAL Quickstart and I didn't have time to refer back to The Tome of Awesome) there are no disarm / weapon grabbing rules for FAL. Well, one of my players, whose character was skilled in unarmed combat, decided he want to take away the BBEG's apparently magic scythe. The two wrestled over the scythe for two rounds, and the player's character gained control on the second round, which changed the dynamics of that final encounter. I'll post my house rule later.

Far Away Land is a big hit in my group, a grumpy set of grognards one and all. It's nothing like D&D and yet plays out very much like D&D. It also seems to encourage me to "ham it up" just a bit, which has gotten my wife laughing from the next room and entertained my players to no end.

We've pretty much agreed FAL is going to be the game we play to take breaks from ongoing campaigns, as the change of pace should keep everything fresh.

All I need to do is print up a dozen or so Far Away Land Quickstarts for NTRPG Con.

Now I'm going to sneak in yet another giveaway, also open until June 8th. On June 9th I'll pick a winner and mail them the self printed copy of the Far Away Land Quickstart that I used for the last 2 sessions (the very one pictured above). And yes, I'll mail it anywhere in the world on the following weekend.

All you need to do to enter is comment on this post :)

6 Years / 5k Posts Giveaway - City of Dolmvay - Print Copy (US Only)

A while back +Pete Spahn sent me an print extra copy of the Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay, an excellent OSR City supported and backed by members of the OSR on Kickstarter. I vowed to give away the 2nd copy, but an opportunity never availed itself. This is that opportunity.

How do you get a chance to win that copy of the Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay?

Make a comment below before I return from NTRPG Con. We fly back on the Monday after the con, June 8th. On June 9th I'll pick a winner and mail their copy out the following weekend.

In the meantime, grab a copy of the Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay PDF for yourself. It's priced at PWYW pricing, so there is no reason not to pick up a copy.

(Today marks 6 years of posting and we are 13 posts away from 5k)

Today Makes Six Years of Posting at The Tavern - It's Been one Hell of a Ride!

As I sit here at type this, I find it amazing that I've been doing this "blog thing" for six years. Six years of writing, reviewing, learning and more learning. Blogging is equal parts craft and art. It's finding one's writing voice and falling flat on one's face more often than not, at least in the beginning.

In the early days of Tenkar's Tavern, I think at least half of my page views was me opening up the blog and reading what I wrote for the umpteenth time. The first truly notable traffic spike was my review of +James Raggi 's The Grinding Gear . I think that got somewhere around 60 views in those first 24 hours, nearly tripling my average traffic. Two years later, the Pathfinder Beginner Box unboxing went viral on Facebook and I had over 1000 views in 24 hours.

I wouldn't still be doing this - posting 2, 3 or 4 or more times in a day if it wasn't for the community that has formed around The Tavern. This is as much your blog as it is mine. Without you - the readers, the commenters, guest posters, Patreon backers, fellow bloggers, publishers and more - there would be no need for The Tavern. As I've stated before, I am forever in your debt.

What does the future hold for The Tavern? I can't say for certain (even as we come up on the 5,000 post later on this week) because this blog seems to take on a life of it's own. I can say this - the immediate future should hold more new gaming content in addition to the usual assortment of blog posts. I expect next year around this time there will be some major changes - both with The Tavern and some other side projects. More free time means more stuff to fill that time.

Later on today I plan to do a small giveaway. US only - as it is print, but as the week goes on I hope to be able to get some smaller print and / or PDF items to giveaway.

For those that have been along for the ride since the beginning ( +Joe D I know has been a regular at The Tavern since before the taps were installed ;) I hope you've enjoyed the growth and changes (which were, for the most part, for the better I think.) Those that are recent arrivals, I hope that you'll stay for the next six years and then some.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Little Notebooks - Big Thoughts

As Rach and I were going out to lunch earlier, our mailman arrived with the above. Not the cat, but the little notebooks. The blue covered one is hex lined, the black covered one is unlined.

These were sent to me curtesy of Wombat's Workshop.

They really are the perfect size to slip in a pocket for the times inspiration strikes.

I plan to bring them with me to NTRPG Con next week. Feel free to hit me up for a peek at them.

Pocket Creatures - The Four Armed Squatch - For Swords & Wizardry and White Star

I love the point blank shot to the head myself ;)

There is little more amoral or disgusting in the known world (or known universe for that matter) than the Four Armed Squatch (what they call themselves is unknown). These green, 6' tall and obviously four armed creatures communicate exclusively via a form of telepathy. They are known as slavers, and make the average slaver compare favorably to a Star Knight or Paladin of old.

They rarely use weapons, preferring to use a form of psychic blast to stun their opponent, as dead new slaves are fairly worthless (except to feed other slaves - waste not, want not.) The lifespan of the average slave of a Four Armed Squatch is counted in weeks and therefore recruitment of new slaves is an ongoing concern.

Physically weak, nearly everything in Squatch society has been built by, prepared by, cooked by, moved by, carried by, etc - slave labor. There have been few slave rebellions and none successful. The last rebellion resulted in the recycling of over 90% of the slave population, the remainder being used to clean up and process the bodies of the former.

Four Armed Squatch

ARMOR CLASS   5 [14]
HIT DICE   2+2
ATTACKS   2 x Fists (1d6-2) or Psychic Blast
SPECIAL - Psychic Blast - Range 6" - Save or sleep 1d6 rounds
HDE/XP 4/340

For use with White Star (discount link - link expires in 3 days - use it if you want it) and Swords and Wizardry White Box (free download link)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Dungeon Crawl or Sandbox Styled Adventure for a Con - What Say You?

I plan to run a session or two of Far Away Land at NTRPG Con next week. I'm currently running the Temple of Zoko for my Saturday Night group. We do a lot of BSing during our game sessions, so it should take about 2 sessions to play and it's fairly sandboxie. I estimate at a con that would convert to 3 hrs or a tad more of game play. Well, depending on number of beers, that may significantly increase the time to complete.

Or I could run Isle of the Rat Wizard. Sure, it's in the quickstart, but I can always leave it out of the copies I print for the con. It's a bit of a sandbox and a bit of a dungeon crawl.


Either will okay quick enough to generate characters and run the adventure.

In general, I suspect a dungeon crawl workds better than a sandbox in a convention environment. It's also probably the only time most players won't violently rebel a railroad.

What are your thoughts?

Prepping for NTRPG Con and "Yes, there will be a Tavern Chat next Wednesday from the Con"

When I leave work this afternoon I'll be kicking off a week long vacation. I thought I'd have plenty of time for con prep, but Sunday thru Tuesday I'll be in the Poconos. Yes, very full vacation.

I'll be printing out about a dozen copies of the Far Away Land Quickstart tomorrow and maybe 2 or 3 copies of Pocket Monsters, Creatures & NPCs for the con.

Need to grab the right dice - need to like enough to want to use but be okay if I lose one or two ;)

Rach wants to be prepared for all of her games this year - she is taking her second con very seriously. I told her to relax and have fun, but she's been bit by the RPG bug it  seems.

Next Wednesday night I'll be hosting Tavern Chat from the hotel bar. If you have questions for any attendees, it will be a perfect time to ask. If they aren't around at question time, I'll track them down later at the con and post the info here at The Tavern. If you arrive early for the con, search Rachel and me out :)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pocket Creatures - Muelitoad - Swords & Wizardry and White Star

Really, what can be said about the Muelitoad race that hasn't been said prior? The fact that they all seem to be female, with wart covered breasts and the frame of an ogre? Perhaps the small stalks that protrude from the eyes and ears that appear to have no useful purpose? Or maybe that they are drawn to the females of intelligent races - for what nefarious purpose we know not yet.

I suspect you didn't realize that they spit poison at their adversaries, for if you did the wad of spittle oozing down your face would cause you no small amount of alarm.

Ah, never mind. You are experiencing such knowledge first hand right now. What a lovely shade of blue. I shall take your leave now if you don't mind. I wonder what will happen to your woman?


ARMOR CLASS   4 [15]
HIT DICE   4+1
ATTACKS   Fists (1d6) or Spit (1d6-3) and Save or Die
SAVING THROW 10 (save bonus due to thick skin)
SPECIAL - Poisonous spit - Range 3"
HDE/XP 5/600

Kickstarter - Murderous Monsters Bestiary for Old School Tabletop RPGs

Murderous Monsters Bestiary for Old School Tabletop RPGs is a Kickstarter to fund a bestiary for multiple "old school" fantasy RPGs. On just that hook, it's an interesting project by +Brent Newhall .

Know what makes it damn near irresistible for me? The +Eric Quigley art.

Know what  puts it over the top? Eric's art is going released under a Creative Commons license, allowing it to be freely used in other commercial projects.

I backed last night.

Did I mention that the "giant rat" gets added at the $4k stretch goal? Every tavern needs some rats and maybe a hoard of coppers ;)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Further Thoughts on "Four Page Pocket Projects"

So, the first "Four Page Pocket Project" to release on Patreon will be Pocket Monsters, Creatures and NPCs - Ashcan #1. I call it an "Ashcan" because the plan to to rerelease it later in a more professional format consolidating at least three to four releases. I'll cross that bridge when it gets there ;)

The goal is to release 1 to 2 four page pocket projects a month, get feedback and tweak as needed.

Now, I'm also thinking of adding a Four Page Pocket Treasures into the mix, which would include magic items, tech items and all the stuff inbetween. As always, they will be posted at The Tavern first.

The fun part is I get to splurge on some stock art. I'll be like a kid in a candy store :)

Oh, got my mailing envelopes for the printed Four Pagers.

And no. No zine on the horizon. Need to crawl before I can even walk ;)

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight 830 PM Eastern

Yep, it's another Wednesday, and that means another Tavern Chat.

I'll gladly answer questions about the forthcoming Pocket Monsters, Creatures and NPCs as well as the Pocket Settings. However, if all goes as usual, I suspect the conversation will take care of itself ;)

Weather as the Adversary - Can it be a Heroic Opponent?

Whenever weather goes extreme and is in the news every day (2 feet of snow in /nyc, flooding in Texas, tsunamis and the like) it always makes me think about integrating such into an RPG adventure. Instead of heroic acts killing the bad guys, it's heroic acts saving the common folk.

Now, part of the problem with implementing that is that earlier editions of D&D and it's clones really stressed combat. Sure, and argument can and will be made that ealry editions were all about the money and the expo and avoiding combat was usually more effective than engaging in it. While that might be true, I've never played in or run a session for a group that wasn't eager to engage in combat. Stealth be damned, half the group is usually wearing chain mail or better anyhow.

Of course, since D&D has it's roots in wargaming, none of this is a surprise.

With all that out of the way, how would you integrate weather as an adversary in your campaign? How do you make them heroic without the incentive of gold and combat? Fight the ogre tribe or rescue peasants from flood waters?

I know you can use extreme weather as obstacle, but my desire is use it as something that will bring out noble, or at least, decent deeds from the PCs.

Throw some thoughts my way.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Playing Around with the 4 Page Pocket Format - Monsters, Creatures and NPCs

I'm pretty happy with the 4 Page Pocket Format that I've been playing around with. Each piece fits pretty nicely on the page with the 4 page Pocket Monsters, Creatures and NPCs. I need to add the White Star and Swords & Wizardry logos, but that's not a big deal. OGL would have to be on a half sheet insert for the printed version - for the PDF I'll just add a page.

Sure, it's basic, but this is as much a way to reward my backers as it is for me to learn new skills. Layout, formatting and the like aren't learned overnite. One only learns from doing.

I want to thank all my Patreon backers - today you pushed the total monthly backing of The Tavern to over $200 a month. If that isn't humbling, I don't know what is.

25 Posts From 5k - 5 Days to 6 Years of Posting

Strange when the stars line up unexpectedly.

We are 25 posts from 5k. I expect to hit that next week while at NTRPG Con.

We are 5 days from 6 years of posting here at The Tavern.

Trying to think of a unique way to celebrate all that. Failing that, I'll settle for a fun way.

Thank you all.

Your Tavern Keeper :)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Kicking it Forward on Patreon - at 28%

As I updated my Patreon page I decided to see where my pledges to other content creators currently stood.

$43.34 and the month isn't over yet.

I have some amazing folks that currently back me for $153 a month, so if nothing changes I'm kicking forward at 28%. Actually, after fees, it's probably about 33% of what I net for the month and I'm damn happy with that.

We (not just me) are literally backing an exciting list of OSR and other RPG creators (as well as a few musicians.)


+Dyson Logos , +Tim Shorts , +Jim Magnusson , +matt jackson , +James Spahn and a bunch of others. You can see the list here.

Thank you for being generous not just to me, but all those that are in turn backed by your favorite grumpy bartender.


Just Because I Now Have a "Long-Arm Stapler" It Does NOT Mean I'll be Producing Zines - Really

I must say, now that I have a new laser printer (PHEW! PHEW!) printing stuff out at home is a pleasure. I just added a long-arm stapler (Sparco Long Reach Stapler, 20 Sheet Capacity - $5.99 at Amazon) at a price I couldn't resist. It will make it easy-peasy to put together 10 or 12 Far Away Land Quickstarts for NTRPG Con.

As tempting as it may be, I don't plan to do any sort of regular zine at this point. A monthly 4 pages Pocket Setting or Pocket Creature Collection is probably my limit right now. I'm not saying a highly irregular zine might not pop up in the future, but that future is not immediate.

Now I need to wait on the heaver printer paper to print the the covers for the Quickstart. It's looking like I may run 2 1/2 to 3 hr sessions. I suspect one will be Sunday Morning while Rachel is in the "all girls" Top Secret game, and since Rach insists she is playing in a session, I'm probably running another earlier in the con.

Morath Ogre for White Star by Jim Magnusson

For the write up and stats for the Morath Ogre, see this previous post.

Art by +Jim Magnusson

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Playing Around with "Ascan" Pocket Monsters, Creatures and NPCs

So, in addition to the Pocket Settings I've been working on, I've also been writing up monsters, creatures and NPCs for the use with White Star and Swords & Wizardry. I've been trying to think of a reward for my backers on the Patreon side of things, and I think I've found a fun way to do it.

Backers at $1.50 or higher will get at least one four page PDF each month - it will be either Pocket Monsters, Creatures and NPCs or a Pocket Setting of four or eight pages. Backers at $4.50 or higher will get a printed copy mailed to them each month (it will be a booklet sized one-sheet - 4 pages on one folded sheet - I need to check on international shipping and may need to add 50 cents or a dollar to the print level for those outside the states.)

Sure, the above layout sucks - but it will only get better as I practice ;)

Everything in the "Pocket" series of ashcans will have been posted previously at The Tavern. I'm just making it easier to refer to for those that toss a few coppers in the tip jar.

I'm considering releasing a a low cost PDF collecting the "Pocket" whatevers one or twice a year, but I'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Consider the above screenshot to be a placer for now. I need to ask +Jim Magnusson if I can use it in this way ;)

We Are Exactly a Week Away From The Tavern's Six Year Anniversary - Time to Plan

I can't believe I've been doing this "blog thing" for nearly 6 years.

Now, I need to figure out how to celebrate this with my friends and virtual family here at "The Tavern." I've got some ideas and more than happy to take the ideas of others into account. What started as a mere blog has turned into a strong community, so it's something we all should be celebrating - I couldn't have done any of this without all of you.

The Patreon rewards will be changing a bit come June. Good stuff only. $4.50 and above will be getting some limited "ashcan" printed material - monsters and / or pocket settings mailed to them once a month. I'm still finalizing the logistics but it is exciting. I suspect it will look fairly poor early on, but I promise to get better with practice ;)

Alright, enough blather. Dinner needs to be made.

First Session of Far Away Land Completed - And it was DAMN Good!

You know how sometimes an RPG reads really well and then falls down in actual play? Far Away Land reads really well, almost intuitively, but I hadn't had a chance to run it until tonight (we've been having a blast playing in +Joe D 's Blood Island game.)

With the recent release of the Far Away Land Quick Start rules, I figured now was a good time to get back behind the virtual GM screen and get a session or two of Far Away Land in before I run it at NTRPG Con in two weeks.

It went smoother than I could have ever hoped for.

Most of my group hadn't even read the Quick Start before we started the session, which was disappointing on one level but excellent on another - I got to experience how long it will take to go from "here's the rules" to "create a character" to "lets roll." The answer to that is about 20 minutes. Hot damn. So, as I had originally planed, my players at NTRPG Con will be creating characters at the beginning of the session using copies of the FAL Quick Start rules.

Combat went very smoothly. A bit swingy at times, but it wasn't so swingy that they were turned off by it. If anything, it kept the combat exciting. While none of the PCs were knocked out or killed, there were moments of "oh shit, one more hit and you could be dead." Leveling won't change that much, as +1 HP per level is going to keep the damage receiving potential of the PCs in check.

Magic use was pretty intuitive and the players grocked it right away, which was nice to see. I didn't see a rule in the quick start for shooting into melee, so I'll need to search the Tome of Awesomeness. If not, as a group we've pretty much come up with a decent houserule.

I ran Temple of Zoko and the players managed to reach the island with the temple about 3 hrs after we started our session. They created characters, spoke to a witch and answered some riddles (and got some answers to their questions), surprised their own ambushers in the forest, beat up some goats, killed a cyclops and recovered a neat sword, killed some elven pirates and avoided getting possessed by Lake Phantoms while still making it to the island.

My group was enthusiastic about the FAL system. Some random (paraphrased) quotes:

"D&D for drunks that can't do math!"

"Plays fast and lose and the rules get out of the way."

"Take it to the pub with your non-gaming friends. They can raid their kids' board games for the D6s."

"This is a good place to stop. Pick up from here next week?"

"You ran this before, right? No? Could'a fooled me."

"This system plays really well."

So, it looks like my "Tales of the Ratcatcher" campaign for White Star will be pushed back just a wee bit ;)

P.S. As an aside, I ran this will just the Far Away Land Quick Start Rules and the Temple of Zoko, both offered as PWYW. I referred to the Tome of Awesome once, for a rule that WAS in the quickstart but somehow I had missed. There is a lot of gameplay available with little or no "out of pocket" risk.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tonight, the Saturday Nighters Will Seek "The Temple of Zoko" (Far Away Land)

Tonight my Saturday Night group will be taking their first stab at Far Away Land. We'll be using nothing more than the FAL Quick Start Rules and A7 - Temple of Zoko. Both are available at PWYW pricing and print out amazingly well in booklet format (three cheers for the new laser printer.)

We'll follow this up with a session recap tomorrow. In the meantime I'm very excited, as Temple of Zoko makes for a fine sandbox to kick things off with.

Morath Ogre - A Creature for Swords & Wizardry and White Star

Morath Ogres are bred to be walking watchtowers, allowing watchmen an extended view of an otherwise visually obstructed urban environment. Their hands are wrapped in hide and leather while their arms are extra long, serving as a second set of legs and offering a steadier ride for the watchman stationed above. Their mouths are covered by what is effectively a barred mouth brace. Morath Ogres with unwrapped hands and unbraced mouths have been known to snatch random creatures and pop them quickly into their mouths for a meal. Their are especially found of sentient "teenaged" or pubescent creatures, as the raging hormones add to the flavor of the meal.

Morath Ogres stand 12 to 14 feet tall at their shoulders and are believed to be a crossbreed of standard ogres and cloud giants, but they have the intelligence of neither. To cut down on their innate aggression, all male Morath Ogres that are not used for breeding are gelded as early as possible. Morath Ogres do not like heavy rain, as it causes the leather wrap around their hands to constrict which imparts pain on them that they rarely feel. They have been known to panic and lash out in prolonged, heavy rains.

The watchman stationed on a Morarth Ogre lights a green lantern on his tower post from dusk to dawn. This light allows the populace to know that a watchman is nearby.

Morath Ogres are fairly common in the more populate cities of low tech worlds.

For use with White Star (discount link) and Swords and Wizardry White Box (free download link)

Morath Ogre

ARMOR CLASS   1 [18]
HIT DICE   8+1
ATTACKS   Fists (2d6 +2) 
SAVING THROW 10 (save bonus due to thick skin)
SPECIAL - none
HDE/XP 8/1,100

Prepping for NTRPG Con - Printing the Far Away Land Quickstart Booklets

North Texas RPG Con kicks off in less than 2 weeks and like others, I have found it is time to get ready. I'll be running a session of Far Away Land off the grid, probably in the hotel bar. Time and day still need to be nailed down.

I just installed my Brother Laser Printer and it does an excellent job printing in booklet form. I'll have about 8 copies or so of the quickstart for my players to refer to during the game.

All I need now is a long arm stapler and I could start publishing zines...

Nope ;)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Jim Magnusson's Morath Ogre

I asked +Jim Magnusson to come up with something with a "law enforcement" theme to it. Damn did Jim do good!

I'll stat this out tomorrow for Swords & Wizardry and White Star - yes, I see it fitting well in both :)

Experience Points - Does Gold Still Have the Same Weight as the Early Days of Gaming?

Back in the early days, when the "Dungeons" part of D&D defined much of the gameplay, giving expo primarily based on Gold Piece value made sense. Even if you think it doesn't make sense, it's understandable - it was an easy short cut that kept things simple. And just think of the difficulty in removing that heavy hoard of coin.

Later, when "the wilderness" was initially introduced, much was hand waved and adventuring was still primarily in dungeon environments. Conducting home invasions of dungeon denizens was still the primary source of income and expo.

At some point the "sandbox" became a thing, even if it wasn't called such at the time. Exploration and the wilderness came to the forefront but the method of awarding expo did not change. At 10 gold coins to the pound, how did anyone travel with money? (gems, of course)

Sandbox play damn near requires a rethinking of the method to award expo. Do you give points for each 6 mile hex explored? Double the xp from monster kills? Gold and the like is much rarer in the wilds.

By it's very nature, sci-fi roleplaying is very sandboxie - no one plays scifi on a single world, they want the universe. Can credits in lieu of gold really be sufficient as a source of expo? Doesn't this hamper the viability of a Space Marine themed campaign, where killing xenomorphs doesn't lead to the recovery of credits?

What, if any, alternate methods of xp awarding do you use? Do you change methods depending on the type of adventure? Is gold = XP an OSR sacred cow?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Stirring Sh!t and Taking Names

Apparently I stir shit. Maybe +Tim Shorts didn't call it such exactly, but I got his meaning ;)

Settings or Rules or Both and Why Not, Another Giveaway - enter for the giveaway - it's good shit.

Innovation: settings, rules, or... what? - give +Joseph Bloch a piece of your mind

If stirring shit means driving conversation, I've done did good :)

I'll be (along with my wife Rachel) at NTRPG Con in less than 2 weeks. I've already agreed to have my hair cut that Tuesday and shave before flying that Wednesday. I will not be "scruffy." If you see me, feel free to say "hi!" I don't bite and may even buy youra beer ;)

How Big a Role Does Alignment Play in Your Campaign? Is it Even Needed?

Assuming your system of choice includes alignment in anywhere from three to nine flavors, how big a role does alignment play in your campaign?

Back in my High School years, I used to plot that out on a grid for each PC, much like the DMG suggested. What a fucking waste of time. With the exception of any Paladins in the party, the average PC could at best be defined as Chaotic Selfish. Paladins were Lawful Stupid, Deaf and Blind.

These days I mostly hand wave it "So, you take the Orc hostage, put him tied up in a mining cart, pour oil on him, light him and send him screaming and flaming down the tracks? Neutral Good you say you are? You gave him a choice: talk and live or stay silent and burn and the choice was his? This would have been fair game on 24 with Jack Baur? Sigh. Lets move on to the mobile flaming orc."

Do we need alignment? Is good and evil a matter of perspective? Should alignment be kept but redefined?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Where Should the Innovation in the OSR Be - Rules or Settings?

+Michael S made some good points at The Tavern earlier today and it made me think - where should
the innovation in the OSR be - rules or settings?

Mike specific brought up Empire of the Petal Throne and Blackmoor.

EPT's strength is not it's ruleset, which is basically OD&D with some houserules, but it's setting. Deep and alien and multilayered while still slightly familiar.

Blackmoor brought us the first published adventure. Common now, it was a first for the fledgling hobby.

So, where should the OSR innovate?

I think it should be with the settings, using house rules to make it unique where necessary. I have enough generic fantasy settings to last me a lifetime. We need more Spears of the Dawn and Arrows of Indra (both complete games where the innovation is the setting) and less reworks of Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms - been there, have it, don't need a pale imitation.

From my own perspective, I'm working on a series of Pocket Settings for White Star. I want a fun hook for each, but I don't expect them to truly innovate on their own. 8 pages doesn't give one much room to innovate. But I have been given peeks and "elevator pitches" of what some others have in store for their White Star settings, and some may just hit the "new and not seen before" level.

I see sci-fi as a less trod and overworked field to plant than fantasy when it comes to RPGs. Hopefully White Star achieves it's goal as a toolbox for others to truly innovate. Time will tell.

What say you? Rules or settings and why?

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 830 Eastern

Pull up a chair, grab a beer and join us for the weekly chat :)

How Big a Role Do Ability Modifiers Play in Your Game?

How big a role do ability Modifiers play in your game. I ask, because the White Box range is -1, +1 where it even exists. 3d6 in order isn't a big deal in such an setting. AD&D has a range (mostly) of -4 to +4 and I see where the 4d6 drop the lowest and arrange as you will came into play, as ability modifiers greatly effect what a character can do well (or not.)

Do you prefer the lower spread of ability modifiers, the larger spread or somewhere in between?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Kickstarter - The Zine Vault (White Boxed sized Boxes for your Zines)

I have too many zines. This isn't a bad thing (and I've got a few I need to review) but finding the ones I have is often similar to an Easter Egg Hunt - they are squirreled away between game books on my shelves and other places.

Earlier tonight +Tim Shorts pointed me towards The Zine Vault Kickstarter. My first response was "why would I need this?" After thinking for a minute it became "how the fuck have I survived without this?"

So yeah, I'll be getting 8 boxes, which if I can track down all of my zines probably still won't be enough. It should cut down on the Easter Egg Hunt tho'.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Rant - Comparing What is To What You Might Have Done But Didn't Do is Just so Much Bull....

I hate when someone says: "I had the same idea 5 years ago, but back then I thought it was lame. Or I was lazy. Or uninspired. Now someone else has done it and it's hot as shit on a stick. But I thought of it first so this thing NOW is a pale imitation of this thing THEN that never was."

It's like comparing apples to... the thinking of an apple. Well, I mean thinking about an apple. Until it is an apple it doesn't exist. Thoughts are fleeting and for the most part private.

It's the person claiming credit for a screenplay of a box office smash that was never submitted but he had the idea first but never showed anyone.

Someone else striking gold on a claim that you investigated but you never bothered to claim and being bitter about it is just... sad.

Petty Gods: Revised and Expanded is Here - Free in PDF and at Cost in Print

I have seen Petty Gods, and it is good. Really. I got my advance copy of the PDF last night and holy shit it rocks.

396 pages cover to cover. I want this in hard cover for my bookshelf ;)

It's available in three ways:

First - Free Petty Gods PDF. As in "air" and "freedom" and all that jazz. Ignore what RPGNow says about there being a watermark - there ain't none. Believe me, I checked.

Second - At Cost Petty Gods in Premium Soft Cover - $13.22 - Did I mention the PDF has 396 pages cover to cover? Huge book.

Third - At Cost Petty Gods in Casewrap Hardback - $22.47 - no idea what the heck "casewrap" means, but it must be good.

While your at Lulu, you may as well add the Old School Adventures™ Accessory CC1: Creature Compendium for $7.99. An excellent value and it's keeper than paying for shipping twice ;)

Or find some more goodies at Lulu. Buy 4 and get the one of lowest cost for free. Code: TRGE15

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Looking for Advice From the Tavern's Patrons on a Laser Printer Potential Purchase

As I get closer to refining the whole Pocket Settings concept for White Star, I'm realizing that my current ink jet is not quite up to spec. I'm running through ink way to fast, including color which I don't actually use. I think there is some sort of magical drain on the color ink cartridges.

Anyhow, with the pocket settings currently being worked on, I'm considering sending print "ash can" copies to some of the higher end supporters of my Patreon as well as giving away a copy or two of each one when completed here on the blog.

So, I need a better printer. I'm looking at the Brother DCPL2540DW Wireless Compact Laser Printer on Amazon for $139. The price is right and the reviews look good, but I'd like to get opinions of others.

I'm listening, so comment away :)

Resources - Found an Excellent Resource for Detailing Star Systems (and most anything else for all RPG Genres)

Donjon. I'm sure I've heard it mentioned before, perhaps whispered of in side alleys, but this shit is the real shit. You can drill down and detail the planet itself.

If you share the "random seed", all someone has to do is input that seed on the proper page to pull up the same thing on their end. Pretty snazzy.

I do so like the Random Tavern Generator. Is anyone surprised?

Oh, and the star systems are plotted on the map - now to detail some of them.

Resource - Found an Excellent Resource for Blank Numbered Hex Maps (and other goodies)

I was trying to find a usable and numbered hex map to start working on the sector map for "Tales of the Ratcatcher" for my upcoming White Star Campaign. Finally found it at The Isomage's House. Map generation of all types, and if you do Traveller, they'll map it out in Traveller format. Damn sweet stuff.

Of course, I just need a blank map to work on, so I got that (resize to 80% if you want it to fit on a single 8 1/2 x 11 sheet.)

White Star - Pocket Settings - Tales of the Ratcatcher - New Ship - Ratcatcher

Art by Shaman's Stockart
The Ratcatcher is a modified troop transport ship. As originally designed, the bottom half of the ship can detach from the upper part, allowing the lower part of the ship to land and disembark troops while the main half remains in orbit. 18 high speed entry capsules (9 per side) would allow for space paratroopers to descent directly from the edge of the atmosphere.

As currently modified, the troop transport section is now a pressurized cargo hold for the transport of goods. Black market and restricted items are often stored in the high speed entry capsules, allowing for quick removal of illicit goods before the authorities are close enough to detect them.

It got the name Ratcatcher from it's previous Captain (and current owner), who in addition to being a legitimate merchant (and occasional black marketer) was known to take on Bounty Hunter contracts. As such, one of the 8 staterooms in the upper part of the ship is modified for gravity enhancement of up to 5 times standard, a very effective way to help ensure control of one's temporary guest.

These days the Ratcatcher is leased to a party of traders and explorers - with the option to buy if they can raise sufficient funds.

It is much like a medium transport from the core White Star rules, except as noted above. When the two halves are disengaged, the upper half has a movement of 9.

We'll be Kicking off a White Star Campaign in Two Weeks - Now I Need to Prep

Art by Shaman's Stockart

Next Saturday night I'll be putting the Far Away Land Quick Start rules through some testing before bringing them to North Texas RPG Con. I'll be running a different adventure than the one in the Quick Start.

The following Saturday I'll be kicking off a White Star Campaign. After talking with my group, I'm thinking "Tales of the Ratcatcher" (subject to change depending on player pushback ;) borrowing inspiration from Firefly, some classic LBB Traveller and using Stars Without Number to help with the sandboxing. Yes, the plan is some smuggling, plot seeds, sandboxing and more.

Looks like I'll be working on two pocket settings concurrently ;)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

AD&D 1e DMG Has a Reference to 2,000 Coppers in a Treasure Hoard - How Did I Miss This!?!

Is that 2,000 coppers in your pocket or are you
just happy to see me?
A tip of the hat to +Greg Christopher for finding this diamond in the rough ;)

From page 92 of the 1st Edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide:
Electrum will be most unusual, gold rare, and scarcer still will be a platinum piece or a small gem! Rarest of all, treasure of treasures- the magic item - is detailed hereafter (PLACEMENT OF MAGIC ITEMS). If some group of creatures actually has a treasure of 11 gold pieces, another will have 2,000 coppers and yet a third nothing save a few rusty weapons. Of course, all treasure is not in precious metals or rare or finely made substances. Is not a suit of armor of great value? What of a supply of oil? a vial of holy water? weapons? provisions? animals? The upper levels of a dungeon need not be stuffed like a piggy bank to provide meaningful treasures to the clever player character.
Now if only I could find a reference to nine giant rats in the 1e DMG my quest would be complete...

Ishstarian - New Monster for White Star and Swords & Wizardry White Box

For use with White Star (discount link) and Swords and Wizardry White Box (free download link)


ARMOR CLASS   4 [15]
HIT DICE   5+1
TOTAL HIT BONUS   +5 (+7 / +3)
ATTACKS   Pincers 1d6 (on a roll of 6, add another 1d6) 
SPECIAL move thru earth at 6, attack from surprise 1-4 on a d6, 1st attack is at +2 to hit, subsequent attacks have a -2 penalty to the hit roll
HDE/XP 5/600

Ishtarians burrow through the ground as their preferred manner of movement.  Usually hunting in packs of 3 to 8 (1d6+2) they attack their prey from below. They can sense the vibrations of movement above them and usually surprise their prey. 

Their purple leathery skin is prized in the making of handbags and boots on certain worlds, and will fetch a high price. Leather armor made from their skin sells for 5 times the normal price and offer 1 point of AC protection better than normal leather. It is also quite stylish looking.

RPGNow Deal of the Day - Barrowmaze Complete

Yeah, it's been a while since I highlighted a Deal of the Day, but this one is worth it, at least for some folks.

Barrowmaze Complete is $21 today in PDF (normally $35). Hardcover is $75 and with PDF $85. It's not cheap but there is a campaign (or two) worth of material within.

If I didn't already own this from backing the Indiegogo project I'd be grabbing the PDF today. Barrowmaze Complete is really two megadungeons in one neat package, but it's more than that. It's made so that much of the content can be used on it's own and dropped most anywhere - modularity is it's strength.

From the blurb:

Local villagers whisper of a mysterious place deep in the marsh - a place shrouded in mist and dotted with barrow mounds, ruined columns, and standing stones. The tomb-robbers who explore beneath the mounds - or rather the few who return - tell tales of labyrinthine passages, magnificent grave goods, and terrifying creatures waiting in the dark. Are you brave (or foolish) enough to enter the Barrowmaze?

Barrowmaze Complete (BMC) is a classic old school megadungeon for use with Labyrinth LordTM and other fantasy role-playing games. BMC includes everything in Barrowmaze I and II in the same book in addition to new material, art, layout, and cover art by Ex-TSR artist Erol Otus.

Barrowmaze Complete will keep your players on their toes and your campaign going strong.

BMC is brought to you by the Old School Renaissance (so don’t forget your 10’ pole).

This edition includes art by the aforementioned TSR artists Erol Otus, as well as Tim Truman, Jim Holloway. New old-school artists include Peter Pagano, Cory Hamel, Stefan Poag, Zhu Bajie, Stephan Thompson, and others.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Mini Review - Outer Space Raiders Volume 1: Classes (White Star)

White Star hasn't even been out two week and the 3rd party releases are already hitting OneBookShelf. It looks like +James Spahn will get his wish - White Star will be well supported.

Outer Space Raiders Volume 1: Classes is 16 pages of gaming material covering new classes for White Star for $1.49. It's also the first release from +Chuck Thorin 's Magic Pig Media.

First, a surprise. The Table of Contents has hyperlinks. Nicely done Chuck.

Now, on to the content linked to via the Table of Contents ;)

The Alien class is the first one we come across. Not content with just 2 options in the core book, your Alien characters can now pick 2 special abilities from a list. Yep, they can now be fairly unique.

Astromancers fit into "the world was once much more advanced than it is" type of setting. The get "Formulas" which is kinda like spells. They won't fit every setting, but for Swords & Super Science they may a good fit. There are a few pages devoted to their Formulas.

Engineers are the gadget freaks: "Highly skilled Engineers can build a laser pistol out of a rock, a magnifying glass, and some duct tape." This is my kinda class. They have a well detailed list of their abilities per level.

Lost Worlders are the barbarians of the future. If you want to kill things and break things and aren't concerned about using advanced technology, this is the class for you.

Scoundrels fit into just about any sci-fi campaign. Han Solo and Mal are just two examples I can think of off hand. They get lucky breaks and a random bonus determined at the start of each game session. Pretty neat.

Warp Ninja - a monk like character that harnesses the power of a dark star. Not going to fit in the average sci-fi setting, but might make for a good NPC bad guy.

Random Humanoid Species Appearance Charts - want to make sure that all of your humanoid races don't look like straight up humans? These charts are for you. I'm a big advocate of less is more, so I'd probably only roll on one or two charts per species but they do make for great inspiration.

Pretty good value for a buck fifty and an excellent first product for Magic Pig Media.

Free - Far Away Land Quick Start

It's here!

Far Away Land (FAL) is a fantasy heartbreaker-esque role-playing game set in a strange and bizarre fantasy heartbreaker-esque world. Players take on the role of a character and adventure and explore in a medieval fantasy world created by the Game Master (GM). The world is quirky and weird and strange and sportive. The mechanics are sandboxy, open, and lite in both form and spirit. And now they are available... for free.

Here they are, the Far Away Land RPG: Quick Start Rules! Get into the epic world fantasy world of Far Away Land right now. The Quick Start Rules contain...

Conflict Resolution to get you playing in minutes.
Character Creation
Experience and Levels
Magic and Spells
Combat Rules
Character Sheet
and the FAL adventure module Isle of the Rat Wizard

The Quick Start Rules are a no-risk way for you to pick up and play FAL right now. What are you waiting for?

Mini Rant - Apparently I'm Not Negative Enough...

Let's see.

I really like Swords & Wizardry. Scroll down the right side of this page and you'll find a quote from me about that very topic.

I REALLY like White Star. Is that a secret?

Apparently I REALLY like it because +James Spahn is my friend. Therefore, the posts about White Star Pocket Settings and the work I'm putting into it are for James' benefit and not because I'm fucking enthused to the point that I lie in bed brainstorming at night.

Here's a little secret. I enjoy writing about stuff that I like much more than I do stuff that I don't like. Imagine that.

White Star hits those special gaming pleasure zones for me. Ready to play out of the box and extremely easy to house rule without breaking. Oh, I really like to house rule. Ask any of my players. I don't do "by the book" very well.

So, if you are offended by my "Bully Pulpit" because I don't post the "right" posts (but you read The Tavern every day anyhow), go fuck yourself and get your own.

(negative enough for ya?)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Far Away Land - Quick Start - New Art and All You Need to Play the PWYW Adventures - Coming May 15th

Tomorrow you'll be getting the nuts and bolts of the Far Away Land system for free with the Quick Start.

I'll try and run a pick up session in late June or early July via Roll20 (as well as run a session or two at NTRPG Con the first week of June.

White Star - Pocket Settings - Sailing Upon the Sea of Black - New Class - High Programmer

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic...

Thus we have High Programmers, humans cybernetically enhanced with matter and energy manipulation protocols that "execute programs" powerful enough to violate the laws of reality as understood by the common man.

High Programmers are the only ones that can work the more advanced technology from the Age of the Imperium. Almost a secret society, High Programmers do not share their knowledge with outsiders, although they will work with outsiders to recover ancient technology.

They use the magic-user class from S&W White Box with the following basic changes:

They start with four programs (spells) of 1st level and learn two new spells with each level of advancement of a programming level they can access. Programs are rarely found otherwise. (i may tweak the list)

They do not need to prepare programs in advance. So long as they have available programming (spell) slots of the appropriate level, they can execute the program.

They can only use primitive weaponry, as the energy fields of high powered technology weaponry disrupts their cybernetic energy field.

The replacement of one eyeball with a cybernetic replacement results in a -2 adjustment on all ranged attacks. In exchange, they can "see" heat signatures within 10'.

(work in progress - but a good idea  on where I see it going as a White Star class)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Coming Soon to RPGNow - Far Away Lands Quick Start Rules


Very soon.

Assimilation countdown starts now...

Elevator Pitch - White Star Pocket Settings - Sailing Upon the Sea of Black (Piitch #1)

(I'm going to be doing a series of "elevator pitches" for the White Star Pocket Settings series of posts. Let me know what you think of them.)

Sailing Upon the Sea of Black

In a planetary system of eleven inhabited planets (and an assortment of moons) ships sail the Sea of Black using solar winds. Pirates and privateers, emperors and bandit kings, magic and technology - all vie for supremacy amongst the scattered ruins of the Imperium.

Search for artifacts from the Age of the Imperium, make your fame and fortune under the color of your letter of marquis and perhaps claim a moon of your very own.

Uses both the White Star rules and the Swords & Wizardry White Box rules

The Poll Has Spoken - The White Star Pocket Settings will be (mostly) Unconnected

The poll on the Pocket Settings closed last night, and the vote (with nearly 50 votes counted) was 2 to 1 in favor of independent settings. Which it will be, mostly. There may be times where I have an idea that fits well with a previously posted setting and I won't avoid that, but I'll try to make the linked setting pretty stand alone at the same time.

I've been brainstorming ideas, and some are pretty much sci-fantasy in nature. With the straight up compatibility of White Star and S&W White Box, that shouldn't be a huge surprise. Consider yourself warned in advance.

If all goes well I'll have some "elevator pitches" ready to be posted in the next few days.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Thoughts on Random Encounters - How Random is Random?

If an encounter, of any of the possible types, will happen six times in six chances, is it really random? Sure, the event chosen is random, but the chance of there being an event isn't - there WILL be some kind of encounter or event each time.

That's my main issue with Star Temple of Saturgalia.

But lets take it in another direction. What is to prevent a GM from rolling the random encounters ahead of time? Not the chance for an encounter to happen, which should always be it's own roll, but the actual encounters itself.

Say, for example, your encounter / event table is as follows:

Roll 2d4

2 - 2d4 orcs
3 - 3d4 giant rats
4 - 3d6 coins scattered cross floor
5 - random piece of writing on wall
6 - 1d2 ogres
7 - 1d4 giant spiders
8 - 3d4 goblins

Now, you plan on rolling a 1 in 6 chance for an encounter / event every turn (10 minutes) and again when they make significant noise (smashing doors, fighting, etc)

You guess that 6 or so random encounters will happen during the game session and you decide to roll them in order in advance. It's still random, but rolled prior to the session, giving you time as a GM to make them somewhat special. I have 2d4 right now, so lets make this a live experiment.

I roll 2, 4, 3, 8, 6 and 5.

So, the first random encounter will be 2d4 orcs. I roll a 3. 3 orcs wielding spears and shields. They are moving fast, as if they are fleeing from something.

Second encounter / event is 3d6 coins. 11. I figure 4 coppers, 6 silvers and 1 gold along with a coin purse they spilled from.

Third is 3d4 giant rats. We get a 9. They are charging through the corridors in search of food or prey. The party will hear their chittering as they approach.

Fourth is 3d4 goblins. There are 7 of them. They are encountered in a tight formation, nearly a circle. If the party charges them, they will flee in the opposite direction as fast as their feet can take them. If the party holds it's ground, they will throw their spears while being ready to flee if approached. If the party flees, they will chase them, screaming war cries the whole time.

Fifth encounter is 1d2 ogres. We roll a 1. The ogre is surrounded by 3 orc corpses in addition to the one he is currently gnawing on the arm of. Around his waist hang 4 dead giant rats, apparently food for later. The ogre will leave the party alone if they leave him alone. Subtract 5 HP from his HP total for prior wounds.

Number six is writing on the wall. We decide it will make reference to the giant spiders roaming the corridors - "Beware the tangled web."

Now, i am not good enough to come up with these fleshed out encounters on the spot while interacting with my players. Simple truth. So may be able to pull such off, but its not me.

So, do you prepare your random encounters in advance?

Mini Review - Star Temple of Saturgalia (WhiteStar Adventure)

You and your team have been sent, or forced to go, to the Star Temple of Saturgalia. There you hope to find the fabled Star Amulet that may turn the tide in the Space War. Ignite your Star Saber, strap on your blaster, and prepare to avoid the Imperial Customs - you're going on an adventure. Prepare to enjoy a couple of hours of FUN!!!

Uhm, maybe I missed it, but I failed to find Imperial Customs in this 4 page adventure (6 less cover and OGL.)

There is now way this adventure will last hours. Two tops. Well, unless you go along with a 5 in 6 chance for a space encounter checked for 3 times and a 6 in 6 chance of a wilderness encounter checked for twice.

I always though it was supposed to be a chance for an encounter and than a roll to see what it was. Or at least no more than a 3 in 6 chance for an encounter.

The problem with the random encounter reliance is that it puts at least half the game session on the GMs hands to improvise on the spot. It's lazy adventure design.

The adventure itself is a basic dungeon crawl, which isn't bad in and of itself, as it allows for players used to traditional dungeon play to have familiar yet different surroundings. The dungeon, while small, doesn't force a railroad on players. There are multiple choice of direction to take, which is rarer than it should be. Score points for dungeon design.

BBEG could be the start of a series of adversaries the players are always one step behind. There's potential here for long term use.

Overall? Well worth the buck the Star Temple of Saturgalia costs, but make your own random even tables.

Oh, almost forgot the Reaction Chart for Diplomacy. That might actually belong in the White Star rulebook.

Monday, May 11, 2015

New Tavern Banner - Far Away Land Style

I had to crop it to fit the banner in from the banner - er, you know what I mean. Here's the full piece of work. I'm the bartender with glasses ;)

I'll do a proper cropping job later.

Big thanks to Dirk, otherwise known as Mr +Far Away Land RPG

Sunday, May 10, 2015

White Star Pocket Setting Survey - Time for Input

This is the plan on how I'll make the presentation of the Pocket settings work.

Each month I plan to present approximately 8 pages of material for a White Star setting. Backers of The Tavern's Patreon will get a quick and dirty PDF of the material, but it will all be available freely on the blog. Every four months or so, it will be put together as an inexpensive PDF on the blog and possibly in print for some of the higher Patreon backers. Depends of feasibility.

This week I'm going to brainstorm some setting ideas. That will be a poll for a week from now more or less.

So, here's are the poll questions more or less:

Do you want an 8 page monthly pocket setting (sector / system / planet / space station every month) that isn't related to the previous month's material?

Do you want a series of monthly material on the same setting for 4 months (32 pages) but at different levels of detail (each month would be either sector / system / planet / space station / intro adventure?)

Easy peasy.

Edit - Poll gets chopped off in Chrome on my mac but looks fine using Chrome on my phone. Anyone else having issues?

White Star / X-Plorers - What's the Difference Between the Two? (Part II)

Continuing with Part II of the comparison between White Star and X-Plorers. Part I is here.

When it comes to creatures, X-Plorers is very much a "do it yourself" type of system. There are examples (3 alien races, 3 earth creatures, 3 mars creatures, etc) but they seem to lack - something. This is purely opinion time here, so take it for what it's worth. The sample creatures in White Star seem more imaginative to my eyes but the system included to create your own in X-Plorers seems fairly complete. Something useful I may borrow, although I don't have a problem "winging" my creations.

Healing in X-Plorers is quicker than White Star, which is surprising, considering that White Star draws upon Star Wars and other recent scifi for some of its tropes. I may borrow the healing rules from X-Plorers for my White Star campaign.

Space combat is very different between the two systems.
Ÿ- Determine initiative
-Ÿ Party with initiative acts first in the following
phase order and results take effect:
   1. Navigation Phase
   2. Engineering Phase
   3. Pilot Phase
   4. Gunner Phase
-Ÿ Party that lost initiative acts in the same
phase order and their results take effect
-Ÿ Once the round is complete, roll a new
initiative and start a new round if the battle
has not been resolved (either by a ship being
destroyed, incapacitated, or having
White Star 
1. Determine Initiative.
2. Starship with Initiative acts first (attacking, using items, etc.) and results
take effect.
3. Starship that lost Initiative acts, and their results take effect.
4. The round is complete; keep turn order for the next round if the battle
has not been resolved.
Actually, X-Plorers space combat reminds me a bit of what I remember from Classic Traveller. has much more complete starship descriptions and options. I THINK White Star space combat will play out closer to regular combat than X-Plorers space combat, but I'll have to playtest that or rely on the experience and feedback of others.
White Star

X-Plorers includes an optional psionics system. Again, it uses a skill system, which is either something you love in your old school games or you don't.

White Star includes some basic setting material (including a star map), some campaign themes as well as an adventure to kick things off with.

So, where does one stand at the end of this admittedly basic comparison?

X-Plorers has a no frill, art free PDF that can be had for free. If price is your only concern, the answer was made for you before I wrote a single word. That being said, at the price of free, X-Plorers is an excellent source of ideas for your White Star campaign.

If you compare the regular X-Plorers PDF at $5.95 to White Star at $9.95 (or $7.95 with my discount link) White Star is by far the more complete and ready to play out of the box product. White Star is also a tool box, so it expects you to add, change, warp and delete from the rules included. It's pretty durable and hard to break.
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