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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mike Drops "Nystul" - The Wandering Wizard Wants Your Patronage on Patreon



A tip of the hat to +Dyson Logos (and +Joseph Bloch ) for bringing one of my favorite serial Kickstarter failures back to my attention.

Mike Nystul (as he is wisely trying to distance himself from none other than himself) is looking to raise backing on Patreon to support his creation of new games. Nowhere does he mention using the monies raised to actually produce the games he has already been paid for via his Trifecta of Kickstarter Failures.

Now, I have to give the Wandering Wizard credit where credit is due - he doesn't allow the fact that he blew over $75,000 (less fees) from three Kickstarters on a Dwarf Con and a failed business venture (not spent on the Kickstarters themselves) keep him from fleecing more people. He did it with Nystul's Castle over at Indiegogo and now he's trying to use Patreon.

edit - here's the link directly - Mike does his best to not use Nystul anywhere in the pitch, but it's in the link itself - poor Mike - https://www.patreon.com/nystul?ty=h 

Well played Mike. By the time the new folks realize what kinda fucking flake you are, you'll be moving to your next scam.

Is it safe to assume that Nystul's Aura no longer serves it's purpose for you?

ENnies had a Mass Effect - How Legit ARE the ENNies as an Industry Award?


+Christopher Helton has an excellent article on the copyright infringing Mass Effect "Powered by FATE" RPG reaching the ENnies finals. Go read it and then come back. We'll wait for you.

Waiting...

There we go.

Interesting, right?

Now, I'm not sure which is more surprising:

1 - That the writer of a copyright infringing RPG supplement, who actually submitted this very work to two other RPG award panels, thought that somehow this would not get flagged. Oh, and that getting attention to his work would somehow escape the attention of the powers that be (Bioware) is basically stupid.

2 - That the ENnies didn't flag this before passing it one to it's esteemed panel of self nominated judges. Wait, you knew that, right? Not only do publishers have to self nominate (and send hard copies of their work if it's in print - 1 copy per judge) but the panel is self nominated and pretty much voted on by their social media popularity.

So, what kind of vetting process goes on before passing on the material to the ENnie judges? Ignore that question, as the answer is obvious.

It didn't just get nominated in one category either. It got nominated in three: Best Electronic Book, Best Free Product and Product of The Year. Yes, product of the year.

Now, even if there wasn't a review of the entries before they were passed on to the self nominated judges, you think it would have been done after the five finalists per category were submitted, but apparently the answer is "no."

Maybe the folks behind the ENnies could add the IPIAs - Intellectual Property Infringement Awards. It would make for some interesting internet drama if nothing else.

Overall, it just shows how the relevance of the ENNies is decreasing each year, especially if they can't police their own award process.

There is an interesting thread on this whole issue at ENWorld. It makes for an entertaining read.

Empire of the Petal Throne - Back on the Shelf


When I picked up my copy of Empire of the Petal Throne on eBay a few years back I got it for a very good price - around $125 or so - and although the box was slightly crushed it was still in it's original wrap. Yes, my copy was unopened - for about 5 minutes after it arrived.

I opened it and marveled at the pristine contents of the box, much as I did yesterday when I came across it while reorganizing my game collection. I must confess, I've yet to read the game itself, but I do love the presentation. The cover art for the box is top notch and a true eye catcher.


The maps are vibrant, even 40 years after printing, and the paper is thicker than I would expect. I could easily find myself using these maps with other RPGs if it weren't for the fact that they are so damn collectible. Ah well.


There are 2 sets of reference sheets included in my box. One is slightly discolored, as i suspect it was the one constantly rubbing the rulebook or maps whenever the box was moved (and especially in shipping.)

The rulebook, which I forgot to take a picture of, use comb binding. I'm not sure how well the pages would stand up to repeated use, but it looks like it would make for a pleasurable reading experience.

Ah well, back to the shelf for another year or two...

Monday, June 29, 2015

How Many RPG System Rules Do You Actually Play?

I've spent the better part of the day today going through piles of gaming shit stuff that just doesn't fit where it's supposed to. I have accumulated RPG systems and their supplements for so many years I literally have my gaming material in 2 states, not to mention storage, the basement and a closet in another room besides my "gaming area."

One day I'll catalogue what I actually have, but it occurred to me me that not only have I forgotten many of the rpg system rules of the games I used to play and run (RoleMaster / SpaceMaster / MERPS, WFRP, the Pacesetter System, RuneQuest, Traveller, CoC, Gamma World, GURPS, Champions, Rifts and other systems that escape me at the moment) but I have a ton of systems I just never learned.

Then we look at the more recent acquisitions and with few exceptions they just aren't being played. Most of the OSR stuff can be considered a single system, just with different tweaks, so my preference for Swords & Wizardry means I can still grab adventures from Castles & Crusades right on through Dungeon Crawl Classics and over a dozen systems in between - but I generally only run S&W as my OSR system of choice and convert from other OSR systems on the fly.

Tunnels & Trolls is simple enough (once you get past the horrible organization of T&T 5e) that I can run it without referring much to the book. Far Away Land is the ONLY recently published rule system that I grokked right away and can run with minimal if any rules searching.

That's it. D&D derivatives, T&T and FAL. Three systems that I can grok these days. Dozens if not hundreds that I own and will never play - either for the first time or the first time in 20 years.

How many systems do you actually play compared to owning?

Kickstarter - The Thin Blue Line: A Detroit Police Story (Savage Worlds Modern Horror Setting)


The Thin Blue Line: A Detroit Police Story Kickstarter is a setting book for Savage Worlds (Horror Supplement required - don't say you weren't warned ;)

As you can probably suspect, I bring my biases to the table here. I've yet to see a well done RPG ruleset or setting that handles police work well. Notice I didn't say handled it accurately, because that would include a load of boring shit with occasional pieces or heart stopping adrenaline rushes. You want to stress the later and push the mundane to the background. So, making a police heavy setting into a horror setting is an excellent way to focus on the exciting.

I liked the video. Short and to the point. Less is certainly more when it comes to Kickstarter videos, and this video explains just enough. I'm not sure if the little girls who pipes in an answer was a plant or not, but it worked well.
Melior Via successfully ran and fulfilled a Kickstarter for Accursed (a dark fantasy RPG setting for Savage Worlds) in 2013. We learned a great deal from the project, and we are using the lessons learned in undertaking this one.
They also took a 2 year break more or less between the two Kickstarters, so I suspect they'll be ready for this one.

That being said, there is only one Kickstarter in their history. Amazingly, it was pretty much on time. With this Kickstarter, print copies are at cost via OneBookShelf, which is probably the way for all but the big boys to do core physical rewards these days.

Did I mention Rach loved the video pitch?

I'll probably be backing this, even if I can't fully wrap my head around Savage Worlds as a game system.





Kickstarter - Age Past Dungeon Keep RPG Set


Where to start on Age Past Dungeon Keep RPG Set?

I guess the video. News flash - video of bacon cooking cutting into the rest of the video isn't "cool" or "hip" - it's fucking annoying. Oh, and the video is over 10 minutes long. No one cares enough to watch the whole thing. Really. If you go past 2 minutes for the hook video you've lost your fish.

Now, look at the absolute clutter in the pic above. Not a good pic. It does point one important thing out - lack of grid or scale. If you want lightweight WITH scale, you have Blue Dungeon Tiles. Laminate that can be written on with dry erase. Basically, coated paper with a grid.
There has always been a disconnect.  RPGs are paper products, essentially always apart from the tabletop aspect of the game, and most accessories are made from physical materials such as plastic and metal.  The same people making one are not usually great at making the other.  We have seen many solutions, some good, some bad, and many are very expensive.  We need something new.  Something that works.  Something that anyone can take anywhere he goes... but, it has to be elegant and sleek, and it has to work.  Something totally bacon.
What the fuck is it with "bacon?" I love bacon. I don't refer to non-bacon products as bacon. Is this something regional?

close up doesn't look any less cluttered
 Hey. Look, for 10 bucks you can get and Age Past RPG which isnt mentioned anywhere else on the page except the rewards (it was the previous Kickstarter tho.) Talking about the rewards - how many choices? Too many. It's confusing.

Listen, I'm no going to bother with the vetting here. If for some reason you want laser woodburning to map out your dungeons on your table, this is your choice. Probably your only one. There are better choices for the rest of us.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sometimes We Forget the Echo Chamber We "Social Media" In

I like to do a reality check at times. It's needed to be properly grounded in all things, but especially in social media, including blogging.

The reality is that a very large portion of gamers, if not the vast majority, do not do social media. They don't blog or read blogs, don't do Facebook or G+, don't read or post at Dragon's Foot or the Arcanum. They play games with the same group they always game with, or show up at the game store every Saturday Night and just play.

They don't care about editions wars. OGL or GSL or CC. Race as class or multi-classing. They don't know The Tavern from The Manor from The Pundit from the Greyhawk Grognard. They don't give a shit, and wouldn't in all probability even if they did suddenly know about the social media going on behind the games they play.

The play is the thing.

Sometimes, events get caught up in social media to the point where we forget what we are actually posting about - games. Why do we post about games? Because we are passionate enough to do so. Can we drive trends? Sure. Some of that influence may even trickle outside our little echo chamber. Still, we are an echo chamber. To ourselves our voices may sound really loud and influential at times. For the most part, it is a pleasant illusion.

Alright, time for me to get back to my hallucination of being the writer of a popular gaming blog...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Some Thoughts on Women In Gaming (and some NTRPG Con Observations)

First things first - this is not a rant. I have many rants, and this is not one of them ;)

Some background.

When I was dating my wife, she was very supportive of my efforts to get back into roleplaying. She didn't understand it, but giving me every other Saturday night to do something that was important to me was important to her.

Flash forward a little bit, and she was brave enough to let me run her through a Tunnels & Trolls adventure. I figured the d6s would make the 1st session just a bit less confusing, and I was right. Still, that was her first and last RPG session until NTRPG Con 2014. Yep, she decided to join me at the Con and wanted to play in some of the games. After all, she listens in to one side of my Roll 20 sessions most every Saturday night ;)

My thought last year was that her first RPG session should be a game very few would have a handle on, so I chose Time Master run by none other than +Tim Snider . Tim did what you should do with most game sessions, but especially those with new players and / or those unfamiliar with the system - put the game mechanics in the background and have the players describe what their characters are actually doing.

It went so well Rach wanted me to dig the original rules out of storage and by the next night she was telling me we were returning in 2015 (we did.)

This year, in addition to playing DCC, SWN and Victorious for the first time (as well as some LL) Rach got to play in Merle Rausmussen's All Girls Top Secret session. Now, this is pretty much the opposite of what I generally hear about when it comes to "empowering women in gaming", as the assumption is usually that the woman needs to run the game in order to be empowered. Not according to my wife. She had more fun in Merle's game than any of the others (and she loved them all), possibly because it was her first session without me as a crutch. It was also the rare event with three women at the table (although we did have two women at our table - including Rach - three times this year.)

Let's be honest. More women are brought into gaming by the men in their life than the other way around. The secret to empowering women in gaming isn't to exclude men from sitting behind the GM's screen but giving women an opportunity to play without their crutch - the man that brought them into gaming. It's scary to remove the training wheels but so rewarding when you realize you are riding on your own.

Of course, the next step for Rach WILL be to find a session run by a woman, because she wants to see if there is any difference in the experience. I don't think Rach will be running a session anytime soon, as she doesn't have the desire to do so, but that's true for many players.

(for those wondering, Rachel was actively involved in the writing of this post. I'm hoping to get a post or two out of her where she writes about her gaming experiences directly - I'll twist her arm a bit this summer ;) 






Catch Up Starts NOW!

I'm on vacation.

No more overtime.

No more barely able to scratch out a post or two a day.

Content.

Reviews.

Beer...

Oh, and spring cleaning at home. I have my assignments. Sure, it's summer, but who's counting?

K, back to the fun work :)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Bundle of Holding - Traveller (Classic LBBs)



Traveller was my third RPG, after AD&D and Gamma World. I didn't have the three Little Black Books (LBBs) Edition - I had the Starter Edition, which reedited the 3 LBBs into one Black Book.

I so remember my characters occasionally dying during character generation :)

So, all I can say about the Traveller Bundle of Holding is this:

If you don't have Classic Traveller - GET THIS NOW!

If you have Classic Traveller, but don't have all the books in the bundle (Starter Collection at $6.95 or Bonus Collection which is currently under 15 bucks) GET THIS NOW!

If you have all the Classic Traveller any breathing roleplayer would ever want but don't have it in PDF, GET THIS NOW! Well, alright, you do have 12 days to make the purchase, but I'd hate to see you forget.

Shit, enough of this. Jumping in for the Bonus Collection. There is stuff here I don't have. Now I want to play Classic Traveller again (but I'd make the ship computers MUCH SMALLER, just so you know ;)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Big Bang - Small Packages - Miniaturized Items in RPGs


So, my mother was going through some of my grandmother's stuff and she found this one shot firearm that was worn like a charm. My grandmother got it in Tahiti back around 1914 or so on her honeymoon. There was also an article about a cop removing this from a drunk driver who had worn it around his neck, cocked. Cop shot himself in his finger. Ouch!

It got me thinking - what could still work miniaturized in D&D? Wands are the most obvious choice. Wear one around your neck and no one would be the wiser until you broke it out and mini-fireballed someone's ass. Or mini magic missiled. Actually, the effect does not have to be miniaturized in D&D, just the item itself, although a DM could easily rule either way.

Miniaturized potions could be held between cheek and gum, ready to be bit down on much like a spy's poison pill, but this could hold a healing potion or invisibility.

Maybe a magical 1" long crossbow still fires a bolt that does full damage.

Or maybe it's just 4 pints speaking to me. Or is it thru me ;)

Racial Level Caps - Hard, Soft or Not At All?

We're had some pretty good discussions about experience points in D&D and it's offspring the last few days, so I figured why not keep a good them going ;)

Level caps for demi-humans is pretty common in the earlier editions of D&D. Halflings capping at 4th level is always the thing that comes to mind for me as well as the work around of giving thieves unlimited  advancement in AD&D.

In truth, level caps haven't been an issue in my gaming, mostly because few of my campaigns, as a player of a DM have ever reached the level where they would come into play.

From my perspective, I'd rather give a racial XP penalty (depending on the strength of the races default abilities) than hit them with a hard cap. It comes closer to accomplishing the balance that level caps supposedly are there for than the caps themselves.

So, where do  you stand? Hard caps, soft caps or no caps at all?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tavern Chat - 830 PM Eastern - Tonight (30 minutes from now)

Sorry for the late Tavern Chat reminder. Didn't get home until after 7 tonight.

Anyhow, see you all in 30 minutes :)

What Alternative Methods of Awarding Experience Points Do You Use?

Building upon yesterday's conversation about experience point bonuses, I thought I'd mention some alternative methods I've experimented with to award expo.

For my "B Team" that is going through Castle of the Mad Archmage, I want to encourage exploration of the dungeon and discourage the "rest and repeat" that was so common in the dungeon crawling of my earlier days of gaming. Each room or encounter area explored without resting has an increasing bonus. I've constantly experimented with the numbers.

Room explored squared x 10  -  ex: 5th room without resting would be worth 5x5x10 = 250 expo to be split by the party.

Room explored added to previous  -  ex: 5th room without resting would be worth (1+2+3+4+5) x 10 = 150 expo to be split by the party. This is usually multiplied by the dungeon level.

Yes, I'm still tweaking.

I tend to award less GP than is expected by classic versions of the rules.

I also award a 10% bonus to expo for write ups on blogs or campaign forum or the like. Helps me better remember the previous sessions highlights ;)

So, what alternative methods of awarding experience points do you use?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Purple Duck PDFs Are 50% Off Through Canada Day (Some Excellent DCC RPG Picks)



I had to ask myself: "When the fuck is Canada Day?" Thankfully I didn't ask "what" instead, as that would have disrespected our Northern Neighbors ;)

The answer is - July 1st.

Purple Duck is putting their entire catalogue of electronic releases on sale at 50% off right through July 1st. There's Pathfinder stuff, 4e stuff, Icons and more.

Most importantly for folks like me there is some excellent DCC RPG stuff and some very affordable stock art. Heck, the stock art was reasonably priced before - this is simply a steal.

So, go to Purple Duck's page at RPGNow and browse. Oh, and tell The Duck "Tenkar sent ya." ;)

Experience Bonus for High Ability Scores - Shouldn't it Be the Other Way Around?

I was stuck on overtime yesterday afternoon, and probably will be the rest of the week. It's what happens when work needs to get done and the overtime budget was underspent the past 11 1/2 months.

In any case, as it tends to do, my mind started to wander. That often happens after the 11th hour when sitting at a desk signing off on electronic worksheets. The wandering went something like this:

High ability scores already give player characters a bonus, especially in AD&D and later versions / clones of D&D. This bonus is to the chance to hit, to damage, lowering the chance to be hit, more hit points, more languages, better chance to know spells and the ability to know more spells, cast more spells, improve NPC morale, more potential henchmen, open up those stuck doors, bend those bars... I'm sure I missed a few.

With all those potential bonuses, do we really need to add expo to the mix? They do things better naturally but it doesn't mean they learn faster. Maybe, just maybe, the weaker fighter has to learn faster just to make up for his physical deficits.

Maybe those high scores should be an expo penalty and the low ones should be bonuses.

Just a thought...

Monday, June 22, 2015

Kickstarter - Baby Bestiary 2016 Calendar


These is just something about the art. The use of colors. The lack of stark line art. The expressions...

Shit, where was I?

Oh, yeah. The Baby Bestiary 2016 Calendar.

Did I mention I love the art and your girlfriend / wife and / or both will probably love it too? Always a good selling point for fantasy art. They tend to not appreciate chainmail bikinis and blood and entrails adorning one's refrigerator door.

Backers can even vote on the monster babies included on the calendar.

So, there's lots to like. Heck, there's a lot I DO like.

There is a potential pitfall (file this under vetting), at least if you are focusing on the calendar and not so much the Baby Bestiary Handbook -
If you missed the Baby Bestiary Kickstarter, it is an adorable book about the your favorite fantasy beasts, how they reproduce and how to rear them if you so want to find one and train it :) The book features 32 baby beasts within each with amazing artwork done by Conceptopolis, including the eyebeasts, owlbears and phase cats. 
When this kickstarter ends I can send off your PDF immediately, and the books are printing as you read this. 
The official release of the Baby Bestiary Handbook is during GenCon (July 29th) but you will be getting your copy before then :D 
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/metalweavedesigns/the-baby-bestiary/description

Sorry, got distracted again. Oh, yes. Calendars are time sensitive. The estimated delivery date is September 2015, but if it slips (as it did with the original Baby Bestiary Calendar) you miss out on some of the very use you are backing for. It does seem Andreas has recognized this:
Looking at last year, I was personally disappointed in myself with the calendars, they were late to market, the images didn't perfectly fit and there some obvious editorial errors that were in it that were a result of being rushed getting the thing to print. And I don't want to repeat those mistakes. 
This year the calendar will be Illustrated by Domenico Nezart, and artist of whom you may recognize his work in the introduction of the Baby Bestiary.
One project wrapping up, one looking to be on target for November or earlier and one about to run late (nothing new for a Kickstarter.) Andreas has multiple balls in the air, with most of it depending on art that appears to be progressing well across the Kickstarters (updates are full of art pieces.)

I think Rachel wants the calendar ;)

Playing Swag Catch Up - NTRPG Con Swag Goes to...


I've been busy since getting back from NTRPG Con - much busier than I expected. I'm playing catch up in many ways. Thankfully, I'm on vacation next week. Damn, but that came fast.

Tonight we're awarding a NTRPG Con swag bag. There may be more to this swag than pictured - I need to inventory all the goodies I returned with.

So, who gets this swag?

None other than...

+James Stanton

James, email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing with your snail mail and we'll get this out to you. Well, I'll get this out to you :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Free OSR "Kitchen Sink" - From The Vats (Free RPG Day Alternative Picks - Post VI)


As is my usual, I try to find some free RPGs in PDF to highlight for folks that don't have a FLGS participating in Free RPG Day. Or maybe you're like me and just not all that impressed with this years offerings.

I literally just refreshed my RPGNow homepage, saw for the first time and have just downloaded From the Vats.

Holy crap, but there is a lot of old school goodness crammed in here:
54 pages of community-created, bio-sorcery weirdness. 
Contains: 
One full adventure: The Submerged Spire of Sarpedon the Shaper, by Ben Laurence.
Two one-page adventures by Alex Schröder and Anders Hedenbjörk Lager.
25 new monsters.
7 new magic items.
6 new spells.
Even some art by my friend +Jim Magnusson

The price is right. This sucker is free. You know you want it.

Free OSR Adventure - RL1 - The Craft Dungeon of Reynaldo Lazendry (Free RPG Day Alternative Picks - Post V)


As is my usual, I try to find some free RPGs in PDF to highlight for folks that don't have a FLGS participating in Free RPG Day. Or maybe you're like me and just not all that impressed with this years offerings.

RL1 - The Craft Dungeon of Reynaldo Lazendry is an adventure module for older versions of the world's first (and still most popular) fantasy role-playing game. It is meant to be a begining adventure and is purely a dungeon crawl, with no plot or story, where the PCs explore the ruins of a dungeon (nearly 80 rooms) where a retired wizard pursued his hobbies.

Also comes with a small village meant to serve as a home base, though this can easily be discarded.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Free OSR RPG - Saga of the Splintered Realm Book 1: Core Rules (Free RPG Day Alternative Picks - Post IV)



As is my usual, I try to find some free RPGs in PDF to highlight for folks that don't have a FLGS participating in Free RPG Day. Or maybe you're like me and just not all that impressed with this years offerings.

I actually did some work on the Saga of the Splintered Realm Kickstarter - I have a small piece of the mega dungeon. It's a solid system that draws heavily on D&D while taking on it's own strengths.

Best part? It's PWYW.

While you're at it, grab Book 2: Adventures and the Map Book. Well worth your time and again, the price is right.

Frog God Sale - 35% Off All Weekend Long for Father's Day



If I didn't already own just about every Frog God Games Swords & Wizardry release in print and / or PDF already, I'd be all over this:

To celebrate all of the awesome Gamer Dads out there we are happy to offer:

35% Off Site Wide for the next 3 days!

Use this coupon code during checkout:

FATHERS-DAY-3309

Frog God Games linky

Offer expires Midnight on Monday! (PST)

Free RPG - Far Away Land QuickStart - and lots of PWYW Adventures (Free RPG Day Alternative Picks - Post III)



As is my usual, I try to find some free RPGs in PDF to highlight for folks that don't have a FLGS participating in Free RPG Day. Or maybe you're like me and just not all that impressed with this years offerings.

I know. It's almost like I can't stop talking about Far Away Land. Let me put it this way - I've run 4 sessions of FAL with 2 groups and just using the Quickstart, and it has all you need for many evenings of adventure without spending a cent. Even better, if your printer supports duplex and booklet format, you can have your own print copies for the cost of paper and toner.

Dirk does great stuff and the fact that the Far Away Land QuickStart rules includes rules for leveling as well as the first adventure in the series is awesome. Give the FAL rules a try. My groups and I love 'em.

Free OSR RPG - RuneQuest Essentials PDF (Free RPG Day Alternative Picks - Post II)



As is my usual, I try to find some free RPGs in PDF to highlight for folks that don't have a FLGS participating in Free RPG Day. Or maybe you're like me and just not all that impressed with this years offerings.

This time I'm highlighting RuneQuest Essentials, the stripped down version of RuneQuest 6. RuneQuest was one of the early alternatives to Dungeons & Dragons and has gone through nearly as many versions as D&D. BTW, I may call RuneQuest Essentials "stripped down" but it still comes in at over 200 pages for the PDF.

The full version of the RuneQuest 6 rules are 40% off this weekend only, but certainly grab the Essentials version. Can't beat the price.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Free OSR RPG - Iron Falcon (It's Free RPG Day Eve)


As is my usual, I try to find some free RPGs in PDF to highlight for folks that don't have a FLGS participating in Free RPG Day. Or maybe you're like me and just not all that impressed with this years offerings.

Tonight I'm highlighting Iron Falcon by none other than +Chris Gonnerman (of Basic Fantasy RPG Fame)

What is Iron Falcon?
The earliest fantasy campaigns grew directly out of wargames. There was a point in the development of the first commercial role-playing game when the rules shed most of their wargame roots and assumed a form familiar to generations of players to come. Iron Falcon aims to be that game, reproducing its mechanics and style in all its raw and innovative glory, as it was before the advent of more "advanced" rules.
The rules are free in PDF and damn inexpensive in print.

My copy arrives from Amazon on Sunday ;)
 

Thoughts on a NYC Area "PubCon"

+Joe D and I have been discussing the possibility of a NYC Area "PubCon" for more than two years now. Today, we hung for a bit both in Manhattan and Queens. While I would love to game in a pub with 40+ tap lines (Rattle & Hum) the place just isn't large enough and doesn't need our business.

Joe finally got to see the pub out by me today and although it only has a mere 10 tap lines, it also has a catering side that could probably hold 70 folks or so gaming comfortably.

We are considering holding an informal gathering in the fall or next spring (preferably a Saturday evening or afternoon) - reserved table or three and pay for your own grub and beer - to judge the interest and feasibility. Location would be near the subway and bus lines (because we wouldn't want to encourage drinking and driving.) If there was enough interest, we would work on organizing a more formal PubCon. Or, it might turn into a seasonal and informal Old School Gathering at a friendly pub. Depends on the interest shown.

Consider this post an attempt to judge interest on the informal gathering to judge interest ;)

(I've already told Rachel I'll be spending her B-Day tomorrow posting Post 5k / NTRPG Con gift recipients - and she didn't kill me)

Thank You All for Keeping it Civil - Yesterday Was a Busy Day at The Tavern

Two posts yesterday.

Fifty-four comments on those posts thus far, including twenty-nine on the polarizing "OGL and Fair Use" rant.

You've all kept it civil.

I really appreciate it.

With the exception of the occasional piece of spam that slips through, I moderate a handful of comments a year, if that. This year, I've had to moderate exactly zero.

Without you, readers and commenters and guest posters, there would be no Tavern.

On that note, a piece of entertaining spam:
ALL THANKS TO OLUMBA SPELLCASTER 
i was married for 6 years and we were living happily together until he traveled to France for a business trip, where he met this girl and since then he ma treat me and the kids and love her only. Any time my husband comes back from work,he said he does not want to see me and my kids ever again and he drove us out of the house.he was always going to France to see the other woman.i moved my kids to my mother's house out of frustration. we were not well treated due to the fact that my mother remarried,i was so confused that i started searching for solution from every angle until one fateful day, i was browsing with my computer when i saw a testimony about olumba spell caster testimonies shared on the internet by a lady and it impressed me so much that i decided to give it a try. At first i was scared but when i thought of what myself and my kids were passing through i contacted him via mail at olumbaspellcaster@gmail.com and he told me to stay calm for just 24 hours that my husband will come back to me and to my greatest surprise i received a call from my husband on the second day asking after the kids and i called Dr olumba and he said your problems are solved my child. so that was how i got my family back together after our long break up. please i want everyone on this forum to join me to say a huge thanks to Dr olumba and i will also advice for any one with this similar problem or any kind of problem to contact him. via email olumbaspellcaster@ notmyfuckingemail.com he is the solution to all your problems and predicaments in life. He is the best in casting of spell of the following: 1) If you want your ex back. (2) if you always have bad dreams. (3) You want to be promoted in your office. (4) You want women/men to run after you. (5) If you want a child. (6) You want to be rich. (7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever. (8) If you need financial assistance. (9) How you been scammed and you want to recover you lost money. (10)if you want to stop your divorce. (11)if you want to divorce your husband. (12)if you want your wishes to be granted. (13) Pregnancy spell to conceive baby (14)Guarantee you win the troubling court cases & divorce no matter how what stage (15)Stop your marriage or relationship from breaking apart,(16)If you have HIV AIDS, E.T.C once again the email address is olumbaspellcaster@notmyfuckingemail.com or phone +99nevermind contact him immediately

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Wherein I Rant about the OGL, Compatibility Logo and Fair Use - If you Don't Understand Them, Don't Use Them



There's been a bit of a kerfuffle over at the White Star G+ Community. I won't bore you with needless details - you can get that and more at the original source.

Here's the meat and potatoes:

- 1 page adventure contest

- one submission omits the OGL, includes the White Star compatibility graphic and uses 2 pieces of art without permission and with the statement / question "I think this counts as fair use, right?"

- submission is pointed out for it's issues

- internet drama blossoms. adventure creator locks down all relevant G+ threads he started after getting his last words in and states "to put an end to the drama I started and kept poking..." (which tells me he enjoyed the drama)

Now, on to the rant...

The OGL - love it or hate it, I really dont give a shit. Use copyright law for all I care. But if you are deriving your work from an OGL product, use the fucking OGL. Mocking the OGL while displaying a compatibility logo isn't just poor taste - it's asinine.

Compatibility logos and licenses. You get to use someone's trademark on your product. It's awesome until you fuck with it. Why are you fucking with it? Sure, this is the internet and we are all to some extent attention whores, but why piss on someone else's work that you are making a claim to appreciate?

Fair use. I wouldn't touch it with a 10' pole. If you're not sure it's fair use, assume it isn't. That sir, is a ground ball.

Oh, and blocking comments on all your threads after getting your final words in? That's just lame.

Alignment - Is It Better Left Out?

Over my commute the last 2 days I've been listening to the Save or Die podcast wherein they discuss the Basic Fantasy RPG+Chris Gonnerman is the special guest.) It's and excellent episode and very informative, but it got me thinking when it was mentioned that there is no alignment system in BFRPG.

Is alignment really needed in an RPG?

How many RPGs that aren't derived or inspired by RPGs have alignment?

Does the removal of an alignment system open up the game to moreor less defined monsters and NPCs?

If 90% of PCs are either Chaotic Selfish (or Chaotic Crazy Homicidal Murder Hobos) and the other 10% are Lawful Rules Lawyers, is the 9 point alignment chart even accurate?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

How Do You Handle Encumbrance, Especially Coinage?

I know that D&D as written was intended to be as much about resource management as anything else. Really, when you think about it, 10 coins to a pound might make for easy math, but the ability to move with your loot was practically nil. You needed 40 pounds of gold just to buy a suit of plate mail.

So, of course, encumbrance was one of the first parts of the game we houseruled in high school. Not intentionally, we never discussed it, but the sheer weight of coinage made it something we just stopped counting towards weight. Heresy, I know.

Later, bags of holding and portable holes gave us an in game reason to no longer fret about coins. Drop them into an inter-dimensional space and be done with it.

Later still, we changed it to 100 coins per pound, but even that didn't satisfy.

These days, my groups trade in coins for gems, but really, who else but a gem merchant or jeweler is ever going to cash them out?

How do you handle the heavy coins of classic D&D?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kickstarter - The Folio #3, 1E/5E format, Adventure Module!



Sure, the title of this Kickstarter - The Folio #3, 1E/5E format, Adventure Module! - doesn't quite flow from ones mouth, but that's not the driving question. The question is - does this Kickstarter provide me with quality gaming material at a fair price?

Simple answer - yes.

More in depth answer - I am lucky enough to have been forwarded PDF copies of The Folio #1 and #2 to review. They will get full reviews later, but I'll give the basics now.

Art? Excellent choices. I've always been a huge Jim Holloway fan, whether his work was for TSR or West End Games. I'm not sure where I've seen Travis Hanson's work prior, but I like it. All the artists are good in the early folios and I expect more of the same (even if the artists change) from Folio #3.

Maps? Here's a sample from Folio #1:


The writing itself? Entertaining. I like the split between gazetteer and adventure. I'd gladly run this for one of my groups, although I'd be converting to Swords & Wizardry on the fly.

Do I have any complaints? My usual, so it's not like it's pointing out the Folio series in particular, but I really hate the watermarking behind the text. Sure, it's there to make the "paper" look old, but I hate it everywhere I see it. Still, I can more than tolerate it here as the product itself rises above it.

Edit: Scott told me he removed the watermarking after Folio #1 - outstanding!

For those that may ask, no, there's no OGL attached. It really isn't needed, but that's a whole 'nother discussion ;)

Did I mention that the print copies have removable covers just like the old TSR modules? Yep.

Folios 1 and 2 shipped on time. The creator states that Folio #3 is ready to release in PDF when the Kickstarter funding wraps up. 11 previous Kickstarters (one cancelled to tweak the presentation of the Folio series.) Project has funded with 16 days to go in the funding period as this is posted. Folio #3 to ship in print in August. No stretch goals listed at this time. No distracting swag.

I'll be backing for #3 and I'm damn tempted to back to get 1-3 in print. We'll see when I get paid this Friday.


Finally Caught Up Enough to Start Playing Catch Up

Amazing what an excellent convention followed by overtime at work can do to one's posting schedule. I finally feel, a week after returning from NTRPG Con, that I'm in position to start playing catch up ;)

Among the many reviews I need to address, Westward - a western steampunk mashup - is high on the list and is literally sitting on my desk awaiting some love.

There are a handful of vetted Kickstarters I need to highlight.

Can't forget content for White Star and White Box. I've been slacking the first half of June and need to get back to it.

Oh, and can't forget to award gifts for the Post 5k / NTRPG Con celebration.

Phew!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Guidebook to The City of Dolmvay (Print) Goes to...


I got back from NTRPG Con last week and I'm finally playing catch up. Phew!

Anyhow, here goes the first gift to be given out for the Post 5k / NTRPG Con Celebration - it's a print copy of Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay:

After appealing to the Random Gods (or is that Petty Gods?):

+Allan Bray

Congrats! I'll need your snail mail address. Email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing.

(I'll be awarding one or two gifts a day until we get through the backlog - and then more gifts to give away ;)

Be Forewarned - I Hosted The Latest Brainstorm Podcast - The Episode of Hate!


I dropped an F-Bomb or two in this Brainstorm episode and I don't know if Vince took them out. I also filled the "host" role.

A fun fill in episode recording in a winter marathon.

Stuff we hate in RPGs, RPG Players and more.

edit: oh my God! once we hit midpoint it is awesome in such a bad way ;)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Adding Text to Speech Integration - The Tavern is Now Listenable via iTunes and other Podcast Apps

While at NTRPG Con last week I played in +Mike Stewart 's Victorious session. Mike runs a really entertaining game and it is easy to forget that he is visually impaired. Afterwards, a third party mentioned to me that Mike would like to read The Tavern, but he literally can't.

I've been playing catch up on my end since we got back last Monday but I've spent a good part of the day today trying to find a solution. In the end, simple is best.

Podcastomatic allows blogs to be converted to podcast feeds, so you can subscribe and listen to them via iTunes or other podcast apps. Sure, the voice is a bit robotic, but it's actually a nice solution. The podcast feed is constantly updated.

I'm surprised Rach didn't get on me to do this earlier. Her vision defines her a "legally blind" and issues like this are important to her. Don't feel bad if you met her at NTRPG and never realized - there is a reason we found her oversized dice ;)

Here's the Tenkar's Tavern podcast link.

+Elizabeth Stewart I apologize to Mike for not thinking of this before and encourage other bloggers to do the same. It's simple and it works.

Adding a Little Vetting on the Kickstarters I Highlight - As Folks Tend to Not Do So On Their Own



I did a lot of talking about Kickstarters while at NTRPG Con. I know some of what's coming up, heard details about what's currently available and shared horror stories of the failures and the nearly so. Some of what I heard was surprising and some not so much.

One thing was clear though. Few backers or potential backers do even the most basic vetting of Kickstarters they may be potentially backing. They like it and the price looks good (and look at all the pretty pictures of awesomeness) and they're all in. Few look deeper. I'm going to try and attempt that slightly deeper look.

It isn't going to be an in depth vetting. I'll point out previous projects by the creator (if any) and look for the general feedback on quality and timeliness for them. I'll look at how many projects the creator has back and over what amount of time (did he just back a dozen to fill in his profile) and I'll give my opinion on the viability of stretch goals if any. If they are a known publisher, that will also factor into the vetting.

It's not a lot, but still more than most. I'm not going to give a letter or number grade. Just a simple opinion. Heck, my opinion of the project as a consumer may be different than the paragraph I'll come to when I do the vetting. Actually, I suspect that will happen more often than one might initially imagine.

The vetting I'll be doing isn't the be all and end all, but I'm hoping it will encourage others to take a closer look at the Kickstarters they are interested in backing and maybe increase the odds of skipping the ones with potentially major issues.

Last night's PEDION Kickstarter highlight included a very basic vetting. I hope to get a bit more in depth as I do it more often.

Feedback on this idea is of course welcome.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Kickstarter - PEDION Modular Prepainted Terrain System for RPGs & Wargames - If I Only had a Use for It


PEDION looks amazing. I am so tempted to pick this up. I only have two problems:

1 - I don't play wargames. This shit would rock Warhammer and the like.

2 - With the exception of conventions, I do all of my RPGing via Roll20 / G+ Hangouts.

Sigh.

Watch the video. Try to resist. If I had a face to face group I'd probably be all in.


It all looks really good and it's funded and hitting stretch goals.

Note - this is the creator's first project, but he's backed 163 projects. He should have an idea about the Kickstarter process. Stretch goals do not appear to be money or time sinks.

Where Job and Hobby Intertwine - Saturday Knight Special - Is It Time to Return to It?


A few years ago, I experimented with another blog. While not gaming related directly, an observant member of the gaming hobby can identify instances where the skills I learned as a gamer and roleplayer enabled me to do my job better. With less hassle. With some people skills.

I haven't posted to Saturday Knight Special in over three years. It's pieces of stories of my early years as a cop in the South Bronx in the late 90s. The winding down of the "crack years."

It took work to keep it updated, as the vast majority of the posts were written, rewritten and then written again, all trying to find the right voice. It was fun but work. Then work became lots of work, and I stopped the writing and focused on The Tavern.

I was surprised my the number of inquiries I had at NTRPG Con as to when there would be more Saturday Knight Special. Not a lot of inquiries, just a half dozen, but for a blog I haven't updated in over three years, significant on it's own.

I'll have lots of free time in about eight months, but does this deserve some attention now?

Damn, that reminds me I owe someone an historical police themed piece for their zine...

How Much of an Overlap is There Between OSR Blogs, OSR G+ Communities and OSR Forums?

A funny thing happened at the hotel of the NTRPG Con the afternoon before the Con officially kicked off. My wife Rachel and I met another con goer at the hotel pool. I introduced myself, he returned a black stare, and Rach proceeded with: "Erik Tenkar. You know, Tenkar's Tavern blog?"

He never heard of it nor me. I realized immediately what was going on and asked him: "Which forum do you post on?" and his response was Dragon's Foot.

Now, for the most part, I don't post on forums these days although I am registered at a few - ENWorld and Dragon's Foot are the main ones. Screen name? Tenkar. Not a surprise I hope.

I'm not sure how far a divide we have between blogs and forums in the OSR, and I strongly believe G+ falls along the side of blogs. I'd post a poll, but if you just do forums, we'll never get your input. Hmm, although the lack of input would certainly show a divide exists.

Just a curious observation on my end.

What do you think? Do most gamers in the OSR, assuming they get their info from the internet, favor blogs or forums over one or the other? Is there some mutual exclusivity going on?

Last Night the "B" Team Was Exposed to Far Away Land - No One Died - Damn Shame ;)


I'm disappointed I never got to run Far Away Land at NTRPG Con, but even though I didn't pack my schedule to the brim like last year, I still found my time filled. Damn but there were good folks to socialize with. I did give away Quickstarts to semi random folks. Hopefully over the coming months I'll get some feedback.

I did get to run Far Away Land last night with the "B" Team: +Douglas Cole , +Peter V. Dell'Orto , +Tim Shorts and +Joe D . Joe had played the first half of the adventure the Saturday before the con. He's also the one with the quote "This is a great game to play drunk and still understand the rules." Yes, Joe's character made a great guide for the others: "We gotta do something here - or specifically NOT do something here - I don't remember which." It worked so well ;)

Tim has a recap of sorts up at his blog Gothridge Manor of the party's mission to the Temple of Zoko. It's written better than I ever could do for y'all, so go there, read the recap and come back. Make Tim earn those extra 2 XP :)

Edit: Doug has an update at his blog Gaming Ballistic and Pete has his at Dungeon Fantastic

I changed things up from the original module to account for the previous group's actions and I think it worked well. Far Away Land does well as a sandbox because the resolution system is dead simple, but deeper than it initially looks. I was able to run things without referring to the Tome of Awesome more than once or twice, which is on par with me running Swords & Wizardry. As I've been playing S&W for years and running FAL for a few weeks, that speaks volumes.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Tomorrow is Always a Day Away - Weekend Catch Up Time

Rach has plans for my free time this weekend. Little does she know how little of it I actually have ;)

Tonight we finally get the "B" Team back together for a romp thru Far Away Land. Should be a blast. I'm sorry I never got a session going at NTRPG Con, but I can't sat it's because I had nothing to do.

This weekend I will FINALLY award the giveaways. If I'm lucky, I may even mail some out. Actually, the smaller items will get mailed quickly as I now have a postal scale and about 50 bucks in stamps handy.

I'm also going to mail out stuff for the higher backers at Patreon and get the PDF in order for most of the other backers. Oh, and get back to creating some more White Box and White Star content.

Busy times. Good times. Huzzah!


Thursday, June 11, 2015

It's Been That Kind of Week - Gifts to be Awarded Friday / Saturday

Got back to work early Tuesday morning (after the fiasco now known as Escape From Dallas) with one of those projects that is a smoking pile of poop. Got to work at 730 am Tuesday. Project landed last Friday. My staff told me at 930 am Tuesday. God bless them.

They heard all my stories of NTRPG Con (and saw the devil the pics of +Michael Badolato ) before dropping the shoe. It wasn't a pleasant show.

Overtime on Tuesday. Overtime on Wednesday. Overtime today, but I put the project to bed around 545 this afternoon.

Then Rach and I said goodbyes to our regular bartender for a month as he heads of to Ireland. Con, overtime, drinking with an Irishman - it all leads to this - barely coherent posting.

Tomorrow night the "B-Team" will explore the Far Away Lands. Saturday Night The Badger takes the reigns. The weekend is for catch up. Presents to give away. Content to create. Sleep/ Magical fucking sleep.

It will be a good weekend.

Feds Rule Against Doom That Came to Atlantic City Failed Kickstarter - Monetary Award, but no Money to Pay It



The Doom That Came to Atlantic City. Probably the best looking Kickstarter that I didn't back. Great art. Pewter minis. Enthusiastic project creator. A stroke job over a year long. Yes, this has it all.
On July 23, 2013, Chevalier canceled the project.  “After paying to form the company, for the miniature statues, moving back to Portland, getting software licenses and hiring artists to do things like rule book design and art conforming[,] the money was approaching a point of no return," he explained. The post continued: 
Suffice to say that I never gave up and always intended to get this project printed. My intentions have always been good and I've struggled with this greatly. I've spent a large amount of time pitching investors, begging banks for loans and seeking other sources of funding to fix this. Sadly I found no takers." 
FTC lawyers claim that in reality, Chevalier never hired artists and "instead used the consumers’ funds for miscellaneous personal equipment, rent for a personal residence, and licenses for a separate project." 
The settlement order imposes a $111,793.71 judgment, but it's suspended due to Chevalier's inability to pay. "The full amount will become due immediately if he is found to have misrepresented his financial condition," the FTC writes in today's statement on the case.
Full article here

Can you get blood from a stone? Money from one that can't manage his own money, let alone that of others?

There are well deserving Kickstarters, but one needs to do their due diligence before backing the next shiney. That  shine may just be obscuring a pile of shit and empty promises.

Hat tip to +Vincent Florio

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

50 - 75% off Select Chaosium Print Products - Rach is Gonna Kill Me!



Holy green poop! From the email I got a few minutes ago:

(they left out the link, so use this - Chaosium)


The Stars Are Right...
For a blow-out sale!

We’re here to sell games, and chew bubblegum. And we’re all out of bubblegum.

Over the years, our warehouse has become stuffed full of more Cthulhuy goodness than the Martense Mansion. We’re bursting at the seams and need to make room for the new things coming in!

We’ve decided to blow the doors off Cthulhu’s tomb, and close out all the “Non-Standard” items in our warehouse.

So now’s your chance to get deep discounts on Monographs, Fantasy Flight Games’ Cthulhu games, non-English language editions of our games, CDs, Magazines, The Laundry RPG, miniatures and much more!

Thus, we have 50% off the Following: All BRP and Call of Cthulhu Monographs! Novelties & Accessories! All licensed Call of Cthulhu products, including Fantasy Flight Games boardgames and miniatures, Cubicle 7 books, Golden Goblin, Arc Dreams, and more! All non-English language books! Nephilim!  (These books will not be reprinted or reordered once they’re gone!)

Also, we have 75% off all the remaining stock of Eternal Champion games and D20 Call of Cthulhu Gamemaster’s Packs! (Last chance!)

Plus, look for special bundle packs of Eternal Champion and Nephilim books!

Lastly, as an added incentive, take 10% off everything else we sell. Just because we love you so much.

Ia! Ia! Discounts Fhtagn!

(PLEASE NOTE: Discounts are not shown on the webstore catalog pages! You must add items to your shopping cart, and then the discount will be reflected in the cart.)

Post 5K / NTRPG Con Gifts Will Be Awarded Tomorrow (although one or two may sneak into tonight's Tavern Chat)

Now that I'm home I'm still playing catch up. Walked into overtime at work - I'm kinda glad my staff didn't give me a heads up, as it may have added needless stress for something I'd have no control over.

Still, things are good. I think I'm going to wear my Judges Guild golf shirt to work tomorrow. Then again, it is cotton and tomorrow is going to hit 90 or more degrees. May need to stick to a wicking fabric.

I'll be awarding the Post 5k / NTRPG Con gifts tomorrow, although if I can swing it I may get to award one or two tonight during the weekly Tavern Chat. It all depends on how well i can literally clear other stuff off my desk.

Finally got a chance to open up May's Mythoard. Nicely done! Rach already snagged the red Chessex dice. +James Spahn 's White Box Omnibous in softcover, the Dungeoneer #18 (thanks +Michael Badolato , The Blessed Hare Alehouse (perfect layout for a tavern), another monster token (my niece stole the last one), a Tombstone mini pad and a Quest Essentials deck. The deck needs a much closer look.

Mythoard is quite possibly the best value in OSR gaming.

Very full box with lots of goodness :)

Tavern Chat Tonight - 830 Eastern - NTRPG Con Recap and Other Assorted Conversations

Last week I attempted to moderate the weekly Tavern Chat from the NTRPG Con hotel bar. My results were less than stellar. Food, beer and friends sitting down next to Rach and I ere suitable distractions. Tonight, the only distraction should be Ashley's tail as she walks in front of my screen.

Looking forward to tonight. :)


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I Really Wish I Had Taken Off the Extra Day



Rach and I flew back yesterday. We were supposed to arrive in NYC from Dallas around 730 last night - instead we didn't get to the house until nearly midnight after the flight was delayed, cancelled, rebooked, delayed and finally rerouted around last night's storms.

You know that post where I considered using weather as an adversary? Fuck that noise. It's miserable, no matter how you slice it. There is no heroism in sitting at your gate for over 4 hours...

We will be going back to NTRPG Con next year. That is a guarantee. The plan is to rent one of the peripheral Trinity rooms next year. Yes, myself and a few others have plans. +Michael Badolato I also have some low to no cost ideas as to how to make them more visible / more trafficked. Yes, +Zach Glazar told me I needed to get a table for next year, but I'll be a New Yorker in Texas, and you know that everything in Texas just has to be big.

I've read nearly a dozen G+, Facebook and blog posts where folks give shout outs to all those they met or spoke to at the con - I'm not going to do that, for the simple reason that I will forgot folks that should have been mentioned but weren't.

Still, there are a few mentions that need to be made:

To the Dragon's Foot Forum poster in the hotel pool on Wednesday who didn't know who Erik Tenkar was nor of the blog Tenkar's Tavern - I've asked Rach to be less in the face of those that don't know who I am at the con (who, to be totally honest, is the vast majority.) Damn, but I married a pit bull ;)

To all those that asked about Feltothraxis, including last year's benefactor of the wooden dowel, I expect he will make an appearance next year. Maybe a podcast appearance or two before that.

To +Bill Webb 's son, who coolly beat me over the auction of cocobolo polyhedral dice, may they roll well for you. I'll remember to bring deeper pockets next year.

To Doug and Bad Mike, thanks for treating Rach and I and the rest of the NTRPG Con attendees as family. It makes the con just that much more special. I'm not sure the stories Bad Mike told Rach and I he tells to all - we probably all get our own stories to cherish about Doug and Zach and the rest :)

To those that recognized me from the podcasts I can be heard on, you do realize that 3 of the 4 hosts of the Brainstorm have New York roots - my New York accent can't stand out that much.

To everyone I gamed with, talked with, shook hands, hugged, shared a beer or a simple hello, I thank you. NTRPG Con would not have been the same without you.

So, when does early registration start?


Monday, June 8, 2015

Dallas Won't Let Us Go

As we waited in the hotel's courtesy van for our ride to the airport,  I received a text message from Delta - flight delayed three hrs and moved to a different terminal. Get to the terminal I get another update - canceled.

Two phone calls later, we are booked on a flight 15 minutes after the previous rescheduled time and with reserved seats (we paid extra for leg room and free beer, wine and soda for those seats.)

At Fridays awaiting my Long Island Iced Tea ;)

White Star returns to #1 Hottest Title on RPGNow - there Can be Only One!


+Joseph Bloch 's Castle of the Mad Archamge Expansion - Level Three East - dethroned White Star for a few days, but White Star has returned to it's prominent perch ( +Richard LeBlanc you were correct at Saturday's morning panel.) This happening prior to the print release of White Star.

It shows both the strength of CotMA (as the only product to bump White Star in the 5 weeks or so of its release) as well as the staying power of White Star. Both are excellent products.

Consistently in the top five for the past weeks has been the Creature Compendium (at $2 for the PDF this is a steal.) I had it in PDF and thought it was great, then grabbed a copy at NTRPG Con and I've upped that rating to amazing. Rich really does an excellent job with the CC and having spoken extensively with Rich about upcoming projects (both near and far) New Big Dragon may be sitting in that #1 spot before long. NBD has held stat spot prior with the D30 Sandbox Companion and others.

NTRPG Con - Day 4 Plus 1 - Packing, Packing, Packing and More Packing

Due to the generosity of many others, Rach and I are returning with 5 more shirts than we came with - actually, 6 more with the Judges Guild golf shirt Rach bought for me. Plus art (prints and an original), plaster jewelry boxes, a mug, a hat, minis, coloring books, dice bags (sorry +Michael Badolato but the unboxed Pools of Darkness for IBM is being left as part of Housekeeping's tip), con goodie bags and RPG products both for myself and to give away on the blog.

I THINK it all fits - at least I'm not coming home with 2 boxes sets like last year ;)

I'd take a pic of all the extras we are bringing back, but that would require UNPACKING at this point.

I'm not unpacking until tomorrow night...

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Village of Hommlet Walk Through Map Posted by WotC







I love the series of AD&D walk through maps that WotC has been posting, although from what I can tell it's been a bit of a break before we got The Village of Hommlet map.

The original WotC post includes the original maps for comparison, which is really sweet.

What I'd really like is T1-4 ;)

NTRPG Con - Day 4 - What I Learned at NTRPG Con 2015 - A series of observations

From +Doug Kovacs DCC Lankmar session Saturday afternoon.
There are still more NTRPG Con posts to come, as I need to share some of pics of my newly acquired loot as well as some some donated for future giveaways. Still, I learned some interesting and occasionally amazing things - some of which I'm going to actually share ;)

1 - NTRPG Con is THE PLACE to be if you want a chance to meet, great and occasionally eat with members of the old guard (and even some more recent members of the OSR guard.) Other cons may have special guests that you can wait in line to talk with for a few seconds - at NTRPG Con the old guard is running in and playing in games with you. Special guests to attendees ratio is about 10 attendees to one special guest. I'm not going to name them all, as I'm sure I'd miss a few, but they include those that I met and spoke with, like Frank Mentzer, Diesel, Janelle Jaquays, Jeff Grubb, Zeb Cook, Tim Kask and others. So many others.

2 - Doug Rhea and Bad Mike lose money on this con every year, but that isn't the point of the con. They want to present a gaming con that THEY would want to be at, and this is the one. I can't think of a better place to be the first week of June, even if it is in Dallas ;)

3 - The publishers, both big and small, are also extremely approachable. Ask them questions about their products or advice about publishing and you will get honest answers and useful advice.

4 - I didn't realize how closely some of those same publishers follow what so far is a dip of a toe by me into the world of self / small press publishing. The advice given by those such as +Matt Finch , +Richard LeBlanc , +Zach Glazar and others will be invaluable as I slowly enter the "kiddie pool" of self publishing.

5 - Friends, both old and new. I could probably spend all four days of the con without playing in a single game and still be completely happy and satisfied. That kind of an atmosphere is hard to find anywhere. That is NTRPG Con.

6. NTRPG Con is where "deals" get made. If you are a content creator for the old school - artist, writer, layout - whatever - this is where you need to be. It is such a relaxed atmosphere, you may hear verbal contracts and see handshakes at a table next to you in the hotel restaurant - just don't talk business with Frank Mentzer over breakfast - breakfast is for breakfast (not me - just a witness ;)


NTRPG Con - Day Four - And We Still Haven't Left the Hotel


Rach and I have some friends that are fairly local to NTRPG Con, but regretfully none of us were able to sync schedules. Still, not as bad as it sounds, as we've kept ourselves busy at the con.

I finally got to send some time talking with +Jeff Talanian . He currently has a Kickstarter running for three new AS&SH adventures. It's funded with 8 days to go. If you know Jeff's work, you know these are going to be "astonishing." I know, but I couldn't help myself.


Probably most of my non-art purchases were made at the Black Blade / OSR Booth. So much good stuff, and Rach even got me a Judges Guild golf shirt. Time to mess with my bosses when I get back to work on Tuesday.

I took multiple shots of the Lesser Gnome booth but I think Thopas has cursed my phone. Each shot was killed by motion. I'll try again before tear down later this afternoon.

Yesterday kicked off with a small press / indie publishers panel. Extremely well done. Extra points of you can name the entire panel.


NTRPG Con - Day Three - The Devil Went Down to Dallas Looking to Make a Deal


There was a midnight madness auction a minute after midnight. It was awesome ;)

+Michael Badolato you look marvelous!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

NTRPG Con - Day Three - Free Signed Goodies Giveaway (US Only)

Now, I say US Only, but if you are willing to pay shipping up front via Paypal, we'll make it work to most places this side of the pond and across.

+Zach Glazar and +Lloyd Metcalf were immensely generous tonight, as they both offered signed books for the kind readers of The Tavern. These books are being given away as a bundle. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.



Bird of a Feather

Roadside Respite

Yep, two signed books, to be given away to one of you fine folks.

Just comment on this post before midnite, Tuesday June 9th, 2016.

Actually all the 5k / NTRPG Con giveaways are extended to Tuesday, as I don't expect to get to awarding prizes until Wednesday ;)

Oh, and more to come...

NTRPG Con - Day Three - The Three Castles Award for 2015 Goes To...

Sure, it's a horrible shot, but it's there.
Doug, as always, looks great in purple :)
The Three Castles Award for 2015 goes to +Kevin Crawford for Scarlet Heroes. Well done Kevin. We really need to get you out to NTRPG Con in 2016 ;)


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