Friday, July 31, 2015

On GMs and GMing - Some Random Thoughts & Not So

Let me say this straight out of the box - Gamemastering or GMing is not for everyone. Heck, even the name is a misnomer, as it implies superior knowledge compared to mere "players." I'm beginning to think "judge" or "referee" is a more appropriate term.

Looking back at me gaming groups, I can note the following:

High School - 2 GMs, I was 1 of them

Summer Poconos Group - I was the only GM

College D&D Club - I was the only DM in a group of 12+

College / Post College Home Group - 2 GMs, I was 1

Roll20 / G+ Hangouts - of the 7 mostly regular members, everyone has run at least a session

What is it with the latest group? I think the common factor is everyone is a creative type - artists, writers or both.

We also all enjoy filling the roll of the GM or the player.

While GMing is a skill, it is also a calling. Not everyone has the desire to be a GM and that's okay. Really. At a gaming table of 3 to 8 gamers, only one can fill the roll of a GM at a time.

I'd also expect that in most groups, especially those that are composed of mostly newer players, the GM roll is filled by by one of the more experienced gamers at the table.

So, I'm going to hazard a guess that 2 out of 3 RPG gamers see themselves as primarily "players."

I do expect the poll I'm going to run will prove those numbers wrong, but I also expect that gamers active in blogs and social media are more on the GM side of the fence. 

More thoughts on this later.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pocket Creatures - Wealdlings (White Star / Swords & Wizardry)

Photo by Erik Tenkar

Wealdlings, or Creatures of the Wood, are similar in appearance to their Treant cousins. They are, however slower, more primitive and potential more dangerous.

Wealdlings have been found in groves of as much as 100 but 2 to 12 is most common. Dormant during the winter months they have been known to attack sleeping travelers, especially those that have fire burning for safety. They attack as a pack and have the intelligence of pack hunters. Creatures killed are absorbed by their roots, providing nourishment. Solid materials - weapons, armor, coins and the like are left behind at the kill location.

Wooded areas known for, or suspected to be inhabited by Wealdlings are avoided by the experienced traveler.


ARMOR CLASS   3 [15]
HIT DICE   2+2 to 6+6
TOTAL HIT BONUS   +2 to + 6
ATTACKS   2 x 1d6
SPECIAL - 1/2 damage from blunt weapons / -2 save vs fire
HDE/XP - varies by HD


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

As Much Fun as a Box of Rocks. No, Really!

I apologize in advance for answering further G+ BS here at The Tavern, but as it is Zak's thread and he has me blocked, I have little choice.

This time, I answer Stacy Dellorforno.

First - I never saw you at NTRPG Con Stacy. If you saw me as often as you did, you should have introduced yourself. Rach was actually looking forward to meeting you (she knows few women in gaming) - perhaps not so much after your insult of Merle Rasmussen,

Yes, I spent much of the Con with my wife. And with Zach Glazer, Doug Kovaks, Matt Finch, Rich LeBanc, Vince Florio and his wife, David P, Mark H, Bad Mike, Doug Rhea, The Wolfes, James Aulds, Glenn Halstrom, Mike and Liz, Tim Kask, Frank Mentzer, Jeff Talanian and many others. Jeff Grubb was kind enough to ensure I'd fail my save against Gaming Greatness. I talked business with a few and bullshitted with all. I think between Wednesday Afternoon and Monday Morning we didn't have company for our meals once.

If I was having as much fun as a rock, rocks must be the life of the party.

As for the offending post that upset Stacy so much, here it is - offending post - my schtick? Women don't NEED to DM to be empowered in gaming but they do need to fly on their own. Not every player wants to be a DM.

Gamers come to gaming through the network that introduces them to gaming. If there is a dearth of women gamers in the OSR right now than the main pathway for them to be introduced to gaming is by men. Same as kids being introduced to gaming by adults. The established network brings in new blood and spouses make ideal conduits for the introduction of shared passions and hobbies. New blood will build their own networks and the face of gaming will change with it.

Back to the slight of Merle Rasmussen, the designer of the Top Secret RPG. Did you know his wife was in the room for the whole game? They introduced themselves to me at dinner after the session. Simply amazing people. I should be surprised by your rush to judgement.

Now, let me parse the logic - Old Guard game designer GM's a game for three women with his wife in the room, and it's insulting.

Zak S GM's for a group exclusively made up of women from the adult entertainment industry, and that's something you support.

I'm confused.

edit - Stacy, feel free to respond here or on G+

Zazzle has a 20% Off Sale Though Thursday - Time to Hoist a Tenkar's Tavern Tankard :)

Well, you could hoist The Tavern's Tankard (with excellent and amazing +Eric Quigley art) or buy lots of other stuff (like a mousepad or a postcard.) Seriously, the code JLYCHRISTMAS should work site wide at Zazzle.

Personally, I'm thrilled to see the stainless steel travel mug is back in stock. I'm ordering one right now for my morning tea.

I think I'll need to get the Far Away Land flavored banner on a couple of pieces too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Kickstarter - Ken Whitman Redefines Failure Yet Again - Part III - Complete Inability to Answer a Simple Yes / No Question " - Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series

Darrly Mott Jr (a columnist for Ain't It Cool News) had a simple question for Ken Whitman:

"So you are NOT claiming that this after party (that Jolly and Zombie Orpheus are putting together after Ken cancelled the one supposedly being funded by Kickstarter finds for Kickstarter backers) fulfills the backer reward from your Kickstarter? Is that correct?"

Ken's answers are all delaying tactics for a simple YES / NO question. Of course, we already know the answer.

I do hope that Ain't It Cool has a nice barbecue ready...

Screenshot from the KotDT:LAS Kickstarter comments section.

Zak S Saved D&D - Don't Believe it? Zak Say So (Rantish)

Now, I'm not sure if Zak is selling this shit or giving it away, but he has it on t-shirts. You too can be a Zak S zombie.

Hell, I'd ask what the fuck this is all about, because if Zak S saved D&D then the RPG Pundit should be offering similar shirts, as they both had the same input on the latest edition of D&D - they were "consultants." But Zak has had me blocked on G+ for years (say what you want about the RPG Pundit, but he doesn't block folks that disagree with him.) Third parties fill me in on stuff like this. I could be wrong. Maybe this isn't on a shirt. Maybe it's how Zak counts sheep when he goes to sleep at night.

Now, I would argue that the OSR saved D&D, not as a multi-media property but as an actual, playable, living RPG system. No, I'm not talking about 5e either.

Now, if Zak had shirts that said A Red & Pleasant Land is the Shit, I'd be forced to agree, It's damn good.

Kickstarter - Ken Whitman Redefines Failure Yet Again - Part II - Complete with "Guest Poster" - Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series

This really is a flaming pile of shite that's harming the gaming community as a whole. Folks that aren't deep into the whole Kickstarter for Gaming community, such as it is, only remember the train wrecks. After this fiasco calms down, I'll do a series of posts reminding folks just how good Kickstarter can be for the gaming community and the OSR in particular.

Onward to +Christopher Stogdill 's (The Frugal DM - Woot! He hit 500 posts today!) guest post on the Whitman Shit Storm.

I know I have my own blog where I can post crap, but Tenkar’s Tavern has a bit of a history with Kicksnarking, and frankly a larger audience to share important details. Sharing a brief update here is, at a minimum, a public service announcement.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, this “update” is regarding the Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series (KoDT: LAS) Kickstarter…..well, no it isn’t. This is about Ken Whitman, serial Kickstarter and all-around leech to multiple RPG fandoms. Please assume that any colorful descriptions or metaphors regarding Mr. Whitman are not only willfully derogatory, but clearly biased. I would love it if you blatantly assume I’m against Mr. Whitman and that everything I state is an outright lie……I know Ken is! Look at my previous post here at The Tavern, follow some of the links, and make your own decisions. A HUGE part of the problem is too many people have known about Ken Whitman’s fuckery and NOT spoken out about it.

Ken Whitman is behind 7 “current” Kickstarters that have raised over $171,000. This week, in a matter of days, three of these Kickstarters are to have big “premieres” at GenCon. The creative cycle so far on these projects seems to have been a detailed eight-step process:

1.       1) Take Money

2.       2) Make Promises

3.       3) Silence

4.       4) Let Complaints Build Up

5.       5) Do Stupid Stuff Online

6.       6) Let MORE Complaints Build Up

7.       7) Cycle Through Steps 2 through 5

8.       8) Shift Blame and Try to Raise More Money

I am certain there is another step or three in there about spending the money on personal stuff, but for me to state that clearly would be an absolute lie…….but if you assume I’m already lying (Paging Ken Whitman…you know he has a Google Alert set up) does that mean this is the truth?

Now I only have experience with the KoDT:LAS, but an often overlooked aspect is that there are two other “movie premieres” schedule for next Thursday. With the KoDT: LAS Ken has had an frustratingly stalwart ally of Jolly Blackburn. Jolly has been spending a good portion of the last year running interference for Mr. Whitman, trying to keep the fans (and backers) informed, and generally putting a positive spin on everything. I know 1st hand that this project…..Ken’s project…is important to Jolly. This is the 25th Anniversary of the Knights of the Dinner Table and even though this Kickstartered project is a KenzerCo license (i.e. Not something being done by KenzerCo). Jolly is emotionally invested in the outcome of the movie, not just because the Knights are his “baby”, but because so many of his friends and family have directly invested in seeing the KoDT:LAS movie.
You could easily head over to the Kickstarter comments to read the history yourself, but the summation is the eight-step process I outlined above. Promises were made to send out premiere tickets to those who paid for them. Promises were also made to be more communicative with the backers. Instead Mr. Whitman decides to spend his time working out, posting Facebook memes, and anything else but work on these movies. As the date gets closer Jolly keep reaching out for details and there is nothing but silence……

…..until Ken decides that Jolly is…..a liability. Evidently wanting backers to get their tickets and their reserved seats is too much a strain on Ken. Expecting to see the episodes to give creative feedback isn’t appropriate. Way out of line is hoping to receive the money and names/details of those who bought KenzerCo products through the Kickstarter campaign. I know that behind the scenes (don’t believe me, I’m full of it…remember) Ken has already blamed Barbara Blackburn for the delay of product and Jolly for his “inability to raise money online”.

Overtly Ken has shut the Blackburns out of the KoDT:LAS Facebook group, which has since been deleted(?). This was after Ken stole a paragraph of text off of Urban Dictionary
and posted it on his wall.

Was Ken referring to Jolly……his actions would lead me to “yes”. A hilarious….well, I found it hilarious, older meme was generated that works better than any I’ve seen in that same vein.

I don’t know what Ken Whitman is thinking, but before you start throwing stones at one of the kindest, most respected people in the industry (one of the 51 people in the GAMA Hall of Fame ) you might want to make sure you got your shit together….please ask someone else, because it is apparent you think you do have it all together.


Ken Whitman should never be allowed to make another dime in the RPG industry again.

addendum - +Christopher Stogdill sent me this just a bit ago:

This morning's hasty video announcement and accompanying post where Ken claims to be involved with the scramble to fill the void he left when he cancelled the after-party is just a whitewash. I don't assume everyone, much less anyone, will go through all of the comments on all of the Kickstarters, much less the other bits and bobs floating around the internet, but this is part of Ken's pattern. Silence and blame followed up by more promises. I'd posture that only the reason he did a video is because his brand of persuasion check has to be face-to-face to gain any significant modifier to the encounter and this is the best he can do to get the best bonus possible.

This is just the same MO......nothing has changed except now he's willing to not only continue his lies, but take credit for other people's work. He knows that this close to GenCon people are busy going to GenCon and if he can slip this in there those that are out driving and flying don't have enough time to properly countermand his bullshit. All he needs to do is try and sow enough confusion and deceit to take some of the heat off. He probably thinks if he can take credit that he won't be on the hook (in a real legal and financial sense) for taking people's money for the Premier and After-Party.

Nope...this is all just part of the same cycle he's been riding since day 1.

edit - Ken also implies that he is working with Jolly on getting the afterparty organized - the same party he canceled with the same actors he couldn't afford to fly out:

Monday, July 27, 2015

Kickstarter - Ken Whitman Redefines Failure Yet Again - Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series (You Know All that Shit he Promised the $450 Backers? Fuck Em!)

Where to start?

Holy shit, this is one hell of a train wreck.

I give Nystul credit for admitting where and when he fucked up. Ken? Douchbaggery and then some.

Need examples? I'm going to quote from the KotDT Live Action Series Kickstarter comments:

(From Josh who plays the role of Brian in KODTLAS. Ken was supposed to fly Josh to GenCon to be at the premiere but broke that promise.) 
--So this is what I just got from Ken.....-- 
Ken: J.Hey Josh, yeah. I could not raise the money. Jolly has pretty much fucked me from making money. It's a total fuckery. Anyway, I'm sorry, I thought I could pull out of this one and make it happen. Sorry brother (Notice how Ken tries to scumbag Jolly? 
This was my response.... 
Josh: I have to disagree man. I don't see how Jolly made you squander that money and screw us all out of this project. I really hope that if future episodes get made, we don't get recast because of our association to the fuckery that was last summer's shoot. I really hope you can get those 3 episodes to him. The fans and backers that have put so much into this project deserve it. There's two ways out of this mess. You man up and give what you've got to the fans so that Jolly and Barb aren't left holding the bag and save some face or you tuck tail and run. I would highly advise against the latter. The people who believed in you and supported you are owed more respect than ignored messages. The fans deserve the first three episodes and the actors who want nothing more than to bring this project to life, deserve the first three episodes. I'm really hurt at the way you're treating them. It's not right man. I know you have your own side to the story, but you have to get it together. You made a promise. Stick to it. I'm not talking about flying me up. I'm talking about the episodes. Release them for Gen Con. You had a gift the fans gave you and you wasted it on looking good or making big promises. Real art isn't about that man. Film making is not about that. It's about the work. It's about creating something and not getting caught up in the money. They didn't give you that money to buy a chrysler 300 M so you could look like a producer. They gave you that money so you could create something. It's the only right thing to do. We deserve better! 
--Feel free to post that response!--
Nice little inside peek at the mind of the man who admitted that he does serial Kickstarters because he squanders the money from the previous ones.

But wait! Theres more! Buy now and you can watch how Jolly and Barbara get booted from the Facebook page of the KotDT Live Action Series for advocating for the backers of this very Kickstarter:
Jolly - Well I tried folks. Ken is not talking about the premiere at all. No invitations to the premiere have been sent out. None of the actors to my knowledge are going to be at the premiere (no fault of their own - mostly due to failure on d20 Ent's part to make proper arrangements). Ep2 and Ep3 were in very rough shape last time I saw them. No idea what's going on since Ken refuses to even give me answers. And for asking publicly his response booting me from the group and deleting my questions and those of other backers. Guess we're all going to show up at GenCon and be surprised.
Wow. Simply fucking wow.

But hey. At least the backers at $450 are going to get front row seats to the Premiere, time with the actors, a Q&A and an after party, right?
Jolly - So Ken just posted this apparently;
"All three episodes of KODT will be premiered at Gen Con in various states. They are not done, and a work in progress. (this shit was supposedly done earlier this month I thought)
We are working on having them done, and ready for download in August.
We will then produce and ship the DVDs as soon as we can.
For those of you with Premiere tickets, there will be a second line at the show for you. You will be seated first.
There will be no actors at the show and therefore no Q&A, and there will be no afterparty. Sorry for the problems."
'various states"...?
No after party?
Ken you are a coward. Face the backers and answer their questions at least face to face at the premiere.
But wait. Ken still hasn't emailed those Premiere tickets, has he?

Now, I'm not calling Ken Whitman a crook. He gets upset when folks label him.

Instead, I'm going to give y'all a textbook definition of a crook.

Crook - a dishonest person, especially a sharper, swindler, or thief.

Oh, and then there is this ;)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Never Rob a Tavern Frequented by the Watch

It's rare that I embed (or attempt to embed) a video, especially one that isn't directly gaming related, but in a way, it is.

How many times have your players robbed a merchant, trashed a tavern or just caused general mayhem? Now, imagine if the person that they messed with were connected to law enforcement. Or if the town's law enforcement had magical access to getting the word out quickly and effectively. Oh, and of course add in a 1000 GP bounty by the town on the PCs heads.

This Deputy Sheriff is definitely going to be a character in my next campaign...

RPGNow Deal of the Day - Encounter Decks 1 (Inkwell Ideas)

I'm disappointed +Joe Wetzel didn't give me a heads up on this deal as the price is damn fine and the Encounter Decks are just chuck full of inspiration. 

Here's the specifics from the blurb:
Note: In addition to today's "Deal of the Day" on this product, we're also offering our  Encounter Decks 2 and our brand new Encounter Decks 3 at a special price.  And the printed versions of each card deck have also been reduced in price. 
What would happen if you crossed the Book of Lairs (single page mini-adventures) with cards? Encounter Decks. (Deck one features black & white maps, but all the content is different from deck two.) 
Each of the 54 encounter cards helps you build a dynamic mini-adventure! Draw a card for an adventure outline. The outline includes backstory, ways to get the PCs involved, several encounter ideas, and two suggestions to wrap up or follow up. 
Draw other card(s) for a map. If it doesn't fit the story, draw another. Maps are buildings, dungeons, caves, or wilderness. Some maps are designed to connect to others and can also connect to DungeonMorph Cards. Draw other cards for trap ideas or plot twists as needed. 
If you don't like the suggestion on the card you pick, draw another. 
Tired of giving out another 100 copper pieces (edit - shouldn't that be 2,000 coppers - Tenkar)? When the situation arises, look for the "Trivial? Treasure" suggested on a card. 
Encounter Decks are perfect for stocking a hex crawl or developing a side trek on the fly!
Less than 2 bucks to get Encounter Deck 1 in PDF - less than 9 bucks for print and PDF.

Damn it. +matt jackson is one of the mappers. Take my money...

Random Thoughts - Podcasts, Podcasting and Pods

I've been in a bit of a podcasting hiatus of late. The Brainstorm Podcast wrapped up, the Far & Away Podcast went on hiatus with the theft of our producer's (and cohost's) hardware and The Badger is preparing to launch an OSR Magazine, so the relaunch of Tenkar & The Badger is being delayed further.

I have been approached by a good friend about kicking off a new podcast. The logistics may be a bit difficult, as I no longer have evenings free nor do I have Sunday afternoons. The thing is, the podcast should rock. Just need to work out some details. For those that care, the aim will be 30 minutes or so per episode - it really does seem to be the sweet spot.

Now, a thought did occur to me. What if I did some short podcasts for the blog, riffing off or expanding up certain posts? These would be 5 to 10 minutes at most, and would be behind the scenes if you will. Each would be tied to a specific post and would be bonus content. The trick would be to also have the bonus podcast pieces stand on their own. I wouldn't be surprised if these got recorded on my commutes to an from work. Garageband 6 on my Mac should do this well.

Anyhow, the last bit is mostly me thinking out loud. Not sure if it's going to happen but it could be a fun experiment. Whether it would be time well spent, thats another question ;)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Kickstarter - Nystul's Infinite Dungeon Seeks to Become Infinite Weekly Content

When I first read The Wandering Wizard's latest update at the Infinite Dungeon Kickstarter, I was very surprised. It pretty much read like a true confession at first.
I got involved with Kickstarter because I liked the idea of a way to back an idea that might not find backing elsewhere, I had ideas that had no home and this seemed to be a good way to make them a reality. In the case of the "Infinite Dungeon" project I wanted to take my shot at creating a "Mega Dungeon" 
Somewhere along the way I lost this simple motivation and saw a chance to get "back into the business". A series of catastrophically bad business decisions later and I managed to fail to deliver on all three of the Kickstarters I started. 
A few of you have asked "why not just buckle down and do this"? An excellent question. In the case of the Infinite Dungeon it is in part because it had become something other than what i originally intended. The ashcan I sent out was a "Chapter Zero" of an intended series. So for an "Infinite Dungeon" it was a campaign guide and no actual dungeon. It was also the sort of campaign that was not just as series of dungeons, I had set the bar far too high. 
I also had medical issues and then jobs that ate of enough time that I had very few creative hours left. I know some of you have scoffed at this - I maybe could have produced significant material after hours at one point in my life. I can't do that now. I tried. So, to move forward on this and on other areas of my life i have gone back to freelancing and part time work. That is why I have a Patreon account. It is one source of revenue to keep me going while I write and design as close to full time as I can manage.
Starting next week I will be posting a Dungeon level every week - probably on Friday. The Dungeons can be used alone but will also thread together to be one big Dungeon - literally the "Infinite" Dungeon I originally intended. I will post these to RPG Now as "Pay What you Want" - I will keep anything collected in a special account. When there are enough out there - maybe every 12 or so - I will gather them together into a book, add some additional material and add art if there is money in the account to buy it. I will then republish the collections and again - anything collected goes into a special account.
If there is at any point enough in the account to publish physical copies I will do so.
If there is a volunteer among you that we can all be comfortable with I will give them access to the RPG Now account and the bank account. I will also publish updates here so you all know what is going on. 
The Infinite Dungeon will be relatively system agnostic but will need mechanics and notes added for various systems. I'm currently running 5th Edition D&D (because it is awesome) so that will be covered. What else would you like to see?
God bless anyone who volunteers to manage the monies. From what I've seen with Axes & Anvils, working with Mike is not fun.

Now, the golden comment was the following:
I'd like to see, in descending order of preference:
A) Everything I'm supposed to get from backing at $100
B) My $100 back
C) You in prison
D) Your crap plan using Pathfinder rules
To which Mike responded:
Pathfinder it is : )  
Now, my fear was that Mike was going to use this as "content" posts over on Patreon, but my fears might have been misplaced. From the Patreon Page:
Starting next Friday I will be posting a Dungeon a week. They can be used independently but will be designed so they can be threaded together into one big complex.

This is part of my attempt to make good on a long overdue Kickstarter obligation. One of the reasons I went back to full time design is to give me the freedom to do this. I am having to be very careful about  time management because of the nature of Patreon. The weirdness is this - Patreon is a big part of what will help me keep working but the Infinite Dungeon has been paid for by the Kickstarter.

My answer is this - I will not "charge" for the Infinite Dungeon posts (emphasis mine) Patron support is part of what allows me to do them but I wouldn't be comfortable accepting anything for them. If you find yourself liking them and you want to pitch in you will be able to download them from RPG Now and "Pay What You Want" - any monies collected through that avenue goes into a fund for buying art and eventually printing collections for the Kickstarter backers.

The map above is a player handout for the first Dungeon which will be posted next week. Could also be useful if you need a store map.

If there is interest I may start running the weekly Dungeons on Roll20 
Do I believe any of this will play out like Mike states? Not really. Does Mike believe it? Probably. And so the Infinite Nystul Sage continues..

Friday, July 24, 2015

Jeff Dee Retains / Regains the Legal Right to Publish Villains & Vigilantes

Looks like +Jeff Dee has the rights to publish Villains &Vigilantes and Scott Bizar does not.

Here's the posting from Jeff's V&V Facebook page:
Update on the Legal Battle 
We stated in a previous post that we expected it to take at least 3 months for the courts to issue a ruling on the appeals surrounding our victory in the lawsuit over the publication rights to V&V. 
Well, it didn't take 3 months. We have the court's ruling in hand. The appeals court is sending the case back down to Arizona to re-visit several issues. But on one particular issue - the one that's most central to our case - the judges were absolutely clear. Quoting from their ruling: 
"Reviewing de novo, Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1131 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc), we hold that summary judgment in favor of Dee and Herman was proper on the copyright claims. The 1979 contract granted to FGU, Inc., publication rights to the 1979 Villains and Vigilantes Rulebook. The parties’ course of conduct extended the contract to apply to the 1982 Rulebook, as well. But the contract expressly provided that the agreement would terminate by operation of law if FGU, Inc., ceased to do business for any reason. The agreement also prohibited the assignment of any rights under the contract without the written consent of the other parties. By the terms of the agreement, when FGU, Inc., was dissolved in 1991, all rights to the 1979 and 1982 Rulebooks reverted to Dee and Herman. Accordingly, all sales after the 1991 dissolution of FGU, Inc., of the 1979 or 1982 Rulebooks were infringing acts." 
In plain English: we have the legal right to publish our superhero role-playing game, and Scott Bizar does not. 
As we said, the judges sent several other issues - most notably, the question of the trademark - back down to the Arizona courts. We remain confident that all of our rights will ultimately be upheld. 
Thanks for your continued support! 
-Jeff Dee & Jack Herman

Christmas in July - The OSR Picks - Part 3

There really are a great number of OSR companies participating in RPGNow's Christmas in July Sale. This is the third post in the series highlighting some good picks for The Tavern's Patrons. You can find all the previous links by going here.

ZEROBarrier - Who's this? None other than +Dyson Logos and his excellent Dyson's Delves

Sine Nomine Publishing - Stars Without Number, Scarlet Heroes, Silent Legions and many others

Purple Duck -Excellent DCC RPG releases and some amazingly affordable stock art (even more affordable at 25% off)

Splintered Realms Publishing - I have a small piece in the Saga of the Splintered Realms Adventures book - and that's Pay What You Want, so go grab a copy

Goblinoid Games - Labyrinth Lord, Crypt World, Rot World, Starships & Spacemen - the list goes on

Genius Loci Games - 2 Page Adventures and more

Brave Halfing - Here's your link for the X-plorers RPG

Mongoose - Legend (RQ with the serial numbers stripped off it), Traveller and others

Christmas in July - The OSR Picks - Part 2

More Christmas in July OSR Picks have been brought to my attention.


Goodman Games - DCC RPG releases, including the Chained Coffin, Peril on the Purple Planet and DCC Lankhmar: Through Ningauble's Cave in PDF, are 25% off

Grognardia Games - James Ma's Thousand Suns

Troll Lord Games - Castles & Crusades anyone?

North Wind Adventures - Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - 'nuff said

Monte Cook Games - Numenera - Alright, not OSR, but folks still like it apparently

Thick Skull Adventures - More DCC goodness

Serpent King Games - Dragon Warriors - the best game I never owned as a teen gamer

Mythic Bull Games - yet more DCC goodness

I'm sure there'll be even more picks brought to my attention as the day goes on. I'll add another post in the evening. In the meantime, all the Christmas in July posts can be found here.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Christmas in July - The OSR Picks

So, I asked in the OSR G+ Community for some help with identifying the OSR publishers with applicable Christmas in July Sales.

Thus far I am happy with the results :)

Barrel Rider Games has put nearly all of it's catalogue on sale (exceptions being this week's releases) - White Star, White Box, Labyrinth Lord - it's all here,

d101 Games - OpenQuest, OSR Adventures and the like - OpenQuest Basic is free as always and an excellent pick up. I have much of this in print myself.

BRW Games - Adventures Dark & Deep as well as Castle of the Mad Archmage and other. What can I say, I have most of this catalogue in print.

Savage AfterWorld - maybe Mutant Future IS the future.

Violent Media - Murder Hobos? Oh my!

Antherwyck Hosue Games - DragonQuest+The Padre did you catch this?

Moebius Adventures - OSR and generic. Grab what fit's your needs.

Kort'thalis Publishing - Crimson Dragons, Purple GM's and other madness ;)

If I get more links to add, I'll add them :)

Christmas in July at RPGNow - Up to 25% Off (or more)

What's that you say?

There that white stuff in July? There sure is - White Star is 25% off!


Actually, there's lots of stuff on sale at RPGNow for the Christmas in July Sale. I'l try and highlight some good picks when I get home from work tonight.

Wayward Kickstarter - Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series - At Whit's End

So, Ken Whitman said he emailed the invited to the Gen Con Premier of the Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series a week ago - as of yesterday, it appears folks are still waiting on theirs.

Here's Jolly Blackburn's latest take on the situation (comments section of the Kickstarter):
Jolly Blackburn 1 day ago 
Ken it's really unfair that you haven't sent out those invitations to the premiere as promised. Especially when you squeezed extras money out of those backers who already pledged for the premiere (basically the paid twice). It's very late in the game. GenCon is in a week. Folks will be hitting the road soon and won't have access to email. You are adding to their frustrations and worries and for no reason. If you can post memes all night on Facebook why can't you take a few minutes and send out those invitations? And why can't you answer your email, messages or update folks here (or on your other five kickstarters which are piling up with complaints). WE get you blew through all the money. You're broke. You say you're struggling to raise more money to fulfill your obligations. That's great. But silence and refusing to just be honest and telling folks that is adding to the problem. You're leaving folks guessing and assuming the worse. A lot of people are betting you'll come down with an excuse a the last hour and not even show up for GenCon to face backers and present your 3 film projects. Or that you'll send a proxy. I have no idea. As you've said many times this is YOUR project not mine (or KenzerCo's). But it's our base and our IP you've been milking for money for over 18 months and now that backers have questions you have no time for them. NONE. You do a drive by 'update' with broken promises and dates every few months and that's about it. You told me the other day I was 'sabotaging' you by ruining our ability to 'raise money' on the internet by my 'insistent complaining'. Actually, I've been simply letting our readers know that they shouldn't be throwing good money after bad. I have no idea where all the money went. That's your business as you say. My 'complaining' if you ever bothered to read the comments here has been about your lack of communication. As in NO communication. Also the lying. Why tell backers you have shipped their books only to have them learn weeks later that you didn't? I just don't get the logic. Call me crazy but I think honest answers are always better than a lie. I look forward to seeing the three episodes at GenCon next week. (two of which we had here at KenzerCo has little or no opportunity to see, let alone provide creative feedback on as promised). I REALLY hope you show up Ken. It's going take a lot of courage. And I hope you come with some real answers - even if it's just to deliver some bad news. (product will be months late or whatever). I will never personally work with you again. I can handle someone who makes mistakes and owns up to them and makes an effort to improve. I can't work with someone who makes mistakes and then blames others for his failures.

I don't personally know Jolly, but I've been told by those that know him well he is a kind, patient person. It seems Ken's pushed Jolly (and others) to their breaking point.

I don't personally know Ken, but from what I've seen from his serial Kickstarters and inability to balance a budget (and basically saying in his own words, he uses subsequent Kickstarter Project funds to try and complete previous Kickstarters) I wouldn't give him another dollar. Actually, I never have, and I consider myself lucky for dodging this one.

It's the old saying - Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame one me. D20 Entertainment alone has fooled folks six times under his management. It's making Castle Nystul appear to be a valid investment in comparison.

Seven Unique Magic Sword Attributes

Yep, still trying to squeeze in some creativity with the new work hours...

Alright, here's 7 Unique Magic Sword Attributes / Abilities:

1 - Wounds inflicted by the sword only heal for half when magical healing is used (spells, wands, potions, etc.) Non magical healing works as normal.

2 - Each consecutive miss against the same target adds a cumulative + 1 to hit until a successful hit is landed, at which point the bonus is reset. Note, the bonus to hit is also added to the damage roll if and when the successful hit is made.

3 - Swords Whistles While it Works - The whistling effect distracts nearby foes, resulting in a - 2 to their attack rolls (no save.) The resulting noise requires a random encounter check every third consecutive round the sword is wielded.

4 - Sword Crackles with Electrical Energy - Sword inflicts + 2 damage to foes wearing metal armosr and wielder's hair stands on end.

5 - Sword acts as Feather Fall Spell When Held - Due to lighter effective weight damage rolls are made at -1.

6 - Sword is Extremely Dense - -1 to hit rolls due to weird balance but + 2 to damage rolls due to extra weight.

7 - Sword Channels Negative Energy - Each successful hit by the sword on a foe causes a cumulative - 1 hit penalty for the foe. This penalty lessens at a rate of 1 per day

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tavern Chat Tonight - 830 PM EST

Tonight is another weekly Tavern Chat.

I was absent last week but will try to pop in via the app on my phone, at least for a bit.

It was nice to see a lively chat was had even in my absence.

Be there or be not!

White Star - Stunner Pistol - Set Phasers to Stun!

Monday night while jotting down random gaming thoughts, I thought about Star Trek and it's "Phasers on Stun!" schtick and how to incorporate that into White Star.

What follows is the result ;)

Art by Jeshields - Used with permission

Stunner Pistol     Damage  1-2 plus Special       ROF 1    Range 30'     Weight 2.5      Cost 100 

        *Special When hit by a Stunner Pistol, the Target must potentially make TWO Saving Throws (saving throws against a stunner pistol are adjusted by Constitution bonus or penalty if any.)

        - If the first Save is failed, the target suffers a -2 penalty to all rolls except Saves for 1d6 rounds and is required to make a second saving throw. If the Save is made, nothing happens to the target.

        - If the second save is failed, the target is put to sleep for 2d6 rounds and can not be woken prior without a medical kit of some sort being used. If the second save is failed, the target simply suffers the results from the first failed save.

       Note - Stunner Pistols are rare and are usually found in the hands of prison guards and slavers. They hold a maximum charge of 2 shots before needing to reload / recharge. They are viewed with suspicion when in the hands of civilians.

OGL Link

Unique Magic Items - How Important Are They to Your Campaigns?

I started gaming with AD&D 1e. We didn't use unique or home grown magic items, we just used the DMG and let the dice fall as they may.

As I got older, I saw a value to unique magic items. My players, all of whom new the DMG front to back, back to front, side to side and all manners in between, needed to be surprised and challenged.

So, I started to tweak magic items, to keep my players guessing.

Years later, I even wrote a product or two with some of my creations.

My question to you is - do you design unique magic items, do you source them from others places or do you stick to the book?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mini Review - White Box Options - Psychic Talents (Swords & Wizardry)

Note - I'm in the midst of reading a handful of longer products for review purposes - White Box Options are a nice, short, change of pace from the rest of my reading - other reviews will be forthcoming - it HAS been a while.

Psychic Powers. Psionics. Wild Talents. You either love it or hate it - or in the case of AD&D 1e, never fully understood it, as it had it's own unique rule system attached to it that had little if anything to do with the core rules.

In truth, I've always liked the concept but I have never liked it's implementation. +James Spahn may have changed my opinion as I like his implementation.

Just like in 1e, with White Box Options - Psychic Talents your chance to be psychic is totally random, with higher scores in the mental abilities increasing the chance and non-human races having a decreased chance. In all cases, the minimal chance to have a psychic talent is 1% (assuming the player wants a chance - it's all opt in.)

None of the powers are game breaking, which caused a nice sigh of relief on my part. They give options and such, but aren't overpowered. A successful save allows the power to activate. A failed save means try again in 24 hours. So, you can't depend on them but they certainly can help.

Here's two examples:
Regulate Metabolism
Duration: 24 Hours
The character is able to regulate their body to such a degree that
while this ability is active they suffer no penalties from lack of food or water.
They also receive a +1 to all saving throws made to resist poison while
Regulate Metabolism is active. Once this ability wears off, the character
immediately suffers all the effects that would be applicable from a lack of
food and water. A character who would die from such things immediately
drops dead when they reach that point, even if this talent is active.
Direction Sense
: Instant
The character who successfully activates this talent can immediately
sense which direction is North as well as sense their distance from the
ground, whether above or below it. 
Nice perks without being overpowering.

I'll be adding this to my bag of campaign tricks next time around. White Box Options - Psychic Talents is a good value at 2 bucks.

AD&D 1e Dungeon Master's Guide - Released in PDF for $9.99

The holy trilogy of AD&D 1e core books is now complete in official PDF releases - please welcome the Dungeon Master's Guide to your virtual collection.

It's $9.99 in a PDF that replicates the remastered reprint edition, including the new cover. As I've said with the other two releases, I much prefer the original covers. Still, I've heard good reports about the previous two PDF releases (Player's Handbook and Monster Manual) and it would be nice to have a clean PDF copy for my tablet.

Random Thoughts - Seven Beers, Ales and More in a Dwarven Tavern

This was part of last night's random thoughts. Strangely enough, it was the first thought.

Seven Beers, Ales and More in a Dwarven Tavern

(why 7? why not?)

1 - Angston's Angry Ale

2 - Nine Toes Lager

3 - Zezlyn's Green Apple Cider

4 - Dead Orc Port

5 - Tenkar's Ten Ton Stout

6 - Twice Brewed, Once Filtered Dwarven Stout

7 - Dark Meadows Mead

(hey, if I do enough of these, I can be an RPGNow publisher ;)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Random Thoughts & The Moments Between - Part 1, Monday Night Scattershot

So, I experimented with some creative thinking in the free moments at work. I took a legal sheet of paper, folded it so I had 8 quadrants to work with and had at it.

I used 6 quadrants, so maybe a letter sized sheet of paper will have sufficed ;)

As a side note - yes, my handwriting sucks.

I'll do the same for the next 3 nights and see what the results are.

Gonna Attempt Getting Back on the Creativity Wagon in Those Moments Between

So, the new hours at work involve playing traffic cop of sorts for complaints and incoming reports from my new desk (there are other aspects, but this is the driving force.) Which means managing both cops and calls. There's plenty of downtime, it's just not scheduled downtime, as at any moment I'm dealing with one issue or another and then dealing with nothing for an extended period of time.

I'm going to try and use those unscheduled moments of calm for creative purposes. No idea if it will work or not - or if it works how well it will work, but as I eat my meal at my desk anyway I figure the moments in between are mine to take back if I can ;)

Item write ups, monsters, random lists - lets see if I can accomplish anything...

Christmas in July? ENWorld Posts Rumors of WotC Layoffs

There was a point where WotC was good for a Christmas Purge like clockwork. That kinda stopped / slowed down as D&D Next / 5e was getting it's polish.

Now that 5e is pretty much all outsourced for it's adventures and just about everything else, should it simply be called D&D OS (for "outsource" of course ;)

Anyway, it looks like art director Mark Painter is one of the victims of the latest round of WotC layoffs.

Read the thread over at ENWorld. It actually has a good list of what WotC is outsourcing these days in the comments section.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

What Historical Time Period Would You Like to Run / Play In?

I got my softcover of Dark Albion in the mail yesterday and I'm going to need to block out some time to give it proper attention.

It did get me thinking - what time periods of history would you like to run / play in a campaign? It could certainly be a "fantasized" version of the time period, but it would be recognizable for what it is.

Me, I'd like to run a "Dark Ages" based campaign at some point but drawing heavily on Celtic and Nordic myths.

So, what would be your choice?

Thinking About Restarting the OSR for the Lapsed Gamer Series of Posts

Last year I was working on a series of posts called OSR for the Lapsed Gamer. That got derailed back in December.

I'm thinking of picking it up from where it left, which is covering the free OSR ruleset options:

Delving Deeper

LotFP Weird Fantasy

Dark Dungeons

Labyrinth Lord

Swords & Wizardry

Basic Fantasy RPG


Those are the systems already covered. I'll try and cover the rest of the free OSR RPGs before moving on to the ones that have a cost.

So, is there interest in me picking this back up? Are there systems you'd want to see covered sooner that later? I'm probably going to lose the timeline and just post as it comes to me. I'm guessing a post or two in these series a week. Probably the most I can do with the new work hours.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

What Non D&D Derived OSR Game Are You Hankering to Play?

We are getting the DCC RPG session started, which really means we are bull-shitting and yapping and tangenting all over the place.

One thing that came up is that we'd like to play a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1e game for a bit, which would be only the second Non D&D derived game for the group (Far Away Land was the first.)

We have a comfort zone, and it's based on what most of us played back in out early days of gaming. For me and a few other's in the group, we have lot's of great memories of WFRP 1e.

Is there a game, from your early days of gaming or a recent release, that you haven't played in ages (or at all) that you are hankering to play? What is it that makes it appealing to you?

Kickstarter - Starvation Cheap: Planetary Warfare for Stars Without Number

I'll start with the "due diligence." +Kevin Crawford always comes in early. Kevin always has the text ready to go before the Kickstarter downloads. One of the stretch goals has the art used available for free for personal and commercial purposes. Did I mention Kevin Crawford is running the Starvation Cheap: Planetary Warfare for Stars Without Number Kickstarter

It's simply a ground ball.

Heck, it could easily be used for other OSR style sci-fi RPG, like White Star, X-plorers and others.

I'm in.

Oh, yeah, here's the blurb:
Starvation Cheap is a military campaign supplement for the free Stars Without Number sci-fi tabletop role-playing game. It's written to provide the reader with all the tools they need for building a sandbox-style military campaign focused on planetary armies and mercenary legions. Everything from the construction of wars and vital military objectives down to the gritty details of building a battlefield adventure is provided in this 100+ page book. 
While written for Stars Without Number, the great majority of the tools in this book are system-neutral, perfectly usable with the sci-fi game of your choice. Within these pages you'll find tools like... 
Details on the typical structure of a modern ground army. Ranks and roles are described, along with the pertinent details of military justice, the chain of command, and the various types of modern military units. GMs unfamiliar with military culture and flavor can use these pages to tighten up their game. 
Guides for creating planetary conflicts through War Tags, rolling up reasons for savage conflicts and assigning critical Vital Points that must be captured or overcome if a side is to be victorious. 
Building ground armies, dividing them into units, and dealing with the potential complications of sending modern laser rifles and gravtanks against spears and lostworlder jezails. Creating a mercenary legion? Everything you need is in here, too. 
Strategic mass combat rules for resolving these planetary wars with the armies and mercenary legions you've made. The rules are quick and streamlined, meant to give a fast outcome and focus on player involvement in offensive priorities and desperate defenses. 
GM tools for building battlefield missions and adventures, with the PCs thrown onto the field to achieve some grave task or die trying. These rules interface with the mass combat tools, making PC success in their objectives the crucial factor that tips a bitter defeat into a hard-won victory. 
Hardware, of course. Lots of merciless hardware, from self-propelled artillery guns to radioactive weaponry and semi-sentient landmines. The far future battlefield is a dangerous place to be.

Free Stock Art - 10 Beastman Sketches and 10 Item Sketches

I'm always on the lookout for good and low cost stock art. The more, the better, as there are times my creative juices are flowing and I need some extra inspiration.

1manstudio released some free stock art (they have further free, PWYW and low cost stock art in their RPGNow Store) yesterday and it's worth checking out if you blog, self publish or are interested in doing so.

Here's the link to the free 10 Beastman Sketches

and here's the link to the free 10 Item Sketches

Lulu 30% Off Coupon Through July 20th

Alternate Cover

I caught this in my G+ stream last night so I figured I'd share it with The Tavern's Community. Lulu has a coupon through July 20th, 2015 for 30% off of print books. Thats no small discount.

The example I saw being used on G+ was Dark Albion in Hardcover. Normally $36.66, it's currently 20% off, bringing it down to $29.24. Using the code BIGJULY brings the price down to $20.47 for a 280+ page book. Not too shabby at all.

Not that I NEED more RPG books, but I'm open to some suggestions for the Lulu sale. Make your suggestions below :)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Frog God Sale - Razor Coast Bundle 60% Off (had 80, but my math was off;)

Frog God is running a sale through Sunday. these prices are hard to beat, and impossible to beat on the Razor Coast Bundle (one day I will run this) - a $180 value for $72!

Most is available for Swords and Wizardry (Fire as She Bears is Pathfinder only.)

My highlights would be:

The Rappan Athuk add ons for 2 bucks a pop.

Cyclopian Deeps Chapters 1 and 2 for a buck a piece.

The $100 Grab Bag for $60 (each bag contains a minimum of $300 in retail product.)

The Razor Coast Bundle I mentioned above.

Stoneheart Valley for $20.

Here's the email:

I Survived a Week of Working Evenings - Tavern Chat Survived My Absence Too ;)

I'm still adjusting to the new evening hours (and considering asking to work overnights - now that's one hell of a switch) and I still haven't found a proper way to move my creative hours to the 12 hour switch around - maybe I need to brew some tea in the morning for the caffeine hit.

I'm happy to see that Wednesday Night's Tavern Chat went off ok. I tried logging into the chat from my phone but it didn't seem to sync with the chat properly. I was afraid nothing was happening. Glad to have been proven wrong.

I have stuff to ship and packing will be going on tomorrow, but I don't think I'll get a chance to hit the post office until next Friday. There is a lot to be said about working "Banker's Hours" and I'm missing the flexibility you had with certain chores and such. That being said, hitting the 24 hr supermarket at 11 pm does make for easier shopping.

There isn't one piece of gaming material that I've read more than a few pages of in the last week. I'll try tonight to get some reading in, but I had "uncle duty" today with my 4 year old niece and I'm exhausted.

Henchmen and Hirelings - Yea or Nay?

Back in my early (teenage) era of gaming, henchmen were important.  When I spend my summers in the Poconos, at best we had a group of 4 - most times it was 3, and 1 of those 3 was obviously the DM.

Initially we played with DM PCs (yes, I know how bad that is) and we quickly learned that didn't work well, especially when the DM placed treasures with his PCs in mind. Therefore, we moved to using henchmen to flesh out the party.

As this was AD&D 1e, and we were mere teenagers interpreting Gary's rules for recruiting and using henchmen as best we could (or as best we could in our favor.) Our henchmen never broke ranks and ran. Never betrayed a party member. They were fodder for the PCs quest to earn gold, magic items and expo.

My group in NYC rarely lacked players and when it did, only one member of the party sought out a henchman, who later in turn became less henchman and more NPC party member (but not DM PC.)

I can only recall one instance of party members seeking out henchmen in my return to gaming these past few years (torchbearers and hirelings have been used and abused.) We ran a funnel of sorts to see which potential henchmen would survive to be hired, but that campaign wrapped up shortly thereafter and they didn't get used.

So, from my perspective, it's "nay!" for henchmen and "eh!" for hirelings.

Where do you stand?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How the Hell Did I Miss Shane Runkle's Blog Interview of Ken Whitman? (there are some classic statements)

Sometimes you wonder what someone is thinking. I've often wondered that about Ken Whitman and his serial Kickstarters.

Well, wonder now more!

Back in June, Shane Runkle did an interview of Ken Whitman on Shane's blog. I'm just going to post one small piece. Give Shane the traffic and read the rest on his blog.

Knights of the Dinner Table Episode #1 (Somehow I missed this)

It's actually not half bad.

Of course, if you read the comments on the Knights of the Dinner Table Live Action Kickstarter page, you get this insightful piece from none other than Jolly himself:

Gee. Ken Whitman blew through all the funding? But he has six Kickstarters to fulfill. Say it isn't so!

Serial Kickstarter Projects should be curtailed by Kickstarter itself. Oh, that's right, they don't have a review process anymore.

Carry on. Nothing to see but more Nystulain Madness.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tavern Chat - Tonight - 930 PM Eastern - You're on Your Own ;)

Today is Wednesday, so that means tonight is Tavern Chat!

My work hours are temporarily buggered, but I will attempt to make an appearance via my "mobile device."

Y'all don't generally don't need me anyways ;)

For those that don't know, there is a chat box on the right side of this page. It's open for posting 24/7, but most active on Wednesday nights. You never know who is going to drop in ;)

AD&D 1e Monster Manual Releases in PDF at RPGNow

I really don't like the new covers they used on the reprints, but other than that WotC did a fine job with them.

I think I'd get more use out of the AD&D 1e Monster Manual at the gaming table these days than any other 1e book - with the potential exception of the Fiend Folio.

In any case, the Monster Manual is 10 bucks in PDF at RPGNow.

First Impressions - Dark Albion - The Maps

This is just a section of the Albion color map
If there is one complaint I have with many maps in rpg supplements, it's lack of scale. For some reason, it's often missing from the map (but occasionally mentioned in the product's text. That is not an issue with Dark Albion.

The Dark Albion PDF (I couldn't wait for the softcover to arrive and I was bored at work last night ;) includes 19 maps. Now, that number can be a bit misleading, as the same area may be covered by a color map and a hex map or a player map. Still, it doesn't detract from the fact that the maps are awesome by themselves.

This is about 1/4 of one of the six player regional maps - each regional map comes with a companion player's map

Shit, I don't even need the Dark Albion book to mine these maps for potential adventure inspiration.

To be honest, the maps accompanying the Dark Albion PDF could probably see as a stand alone product at RPGNow. Then again, I love maps.

The Dark Albion PDF is 285 pages long, so the review may take a bit to get to (and the bulk of the reading will await the softcover to arrive), but +Kasimir Urbanski (RPGPundit) and company put together an excellent package of maps to accompany Dark Albion.

WTF Kickstarter -The Ancient Game of SeraQetra

My God! You NEED to watch this video!

Holy shit!

Whatever he's taking, I want some ;)

Here's part of the transcript:
I am BRUCE ALMIGHTY and I am here to talk to you about the Ancient Game of SeraQerta. That's right, the Ancient Game of SeraQerta. 
Over 30 years ago, my business partner Jerry Campbell showed me a map drawn on a zebra's skin, where an ancient game was buried. We followed the map and unearthed the ancient game but, unfortunately, could not bring it with us.  
Shortly after returning, my business partnership with Jerry Campbell ended. He was selling drugs! We went our separate ways and I moved to California. 
A few years later, I got a call from a detective who told me that Jerry Campbell died. Tragically, on November 13, 1990 Jerry was murdered in his apartment in Salt Lake City, Utah. Shot once in the head. His murder has never been solved.
It just gets better from there.

Watch the video. It's some of the most entertaining 2 1/2 minutes you'll ever watch :)

Tip of the hat to +Jim White !

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kickstarter - Purgatoria: City of Angels (with 700+ diverse player techniques)

Art that simply captures the imagination

Yes, you read that right. "700+ diverse player techniques." 19 character classes. Three branching skill trees. You know how some folks say "more is better." No it's not. This seems like needless overkill that will bring even the crunchiest players to their knees.

I'd much rather see new settings for already established systems, as you have a built in audience that only has to learn the setting, not the rules, but maybe that's me.

I just figured that if a group wanted a system with "700+ diverse player techniques" they already had it - it's called Pathfinder.

And there's just two small paragraphs on the setting of Purgatoria: City of Angels, which in my mind would be the hook. The rest is vaguely about the system itself. Surprisingly, we don't get an example of the task resolution or even a hint of the dice used. It might be over at the development blog for the game, but don't you think the very basics should be on the page where you are asking for money?

Apparently the book is already written, which is good. It's also their first Kickstarter project (and possibly their first rpg project at all) so you need to keep that in mind. They talk about all of the art to be used in the project, but show none of it on the Kickstarter page. Actually, it's a pretty bland page. They are offering a 320 page hard cover for $30 - not sure if that includes shipping as shipping is not mentioned. They are not using POD but a local printer, so they will be shipping this out on their own.

Tip of the hat to +Reid San Filippo for bringing this to my attention.

Time to Retrain the Brain - Adjusting the Blog to the New Work Schedule

My most productive hours are from 7PM to 10PM. Regretfully, I'm at work 5 days out of 7 these days as summer work commitments wreck havoc with my free time.

So, I need to retrain my brain.

I'm fairly good from 6AM to 7AM, as the old drive to work usually allowed me to brainstorm.

I need to change those hours to 830AM to 11AM or so.

Yeah, complete rewiring of my brain's most productive hours.

Sadly, there will be no beer in the morning hours ;)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Least Liked Classic Demi-Human Race

We all have one. When you open up the Player's Handbook and look for a race for your latest character and go to yourself "I really don't want to be a..."

Apparently for WotC, that race was the Gnome. Often overlooked and seen as the red headed step brother of the dwarf, I've overlooked them myself.

Folks seem to love or loath halflings.

I've never fully understood the half races and wether or not they can breed amongst themselves.

But for me, the last race I'd personally choose would be an elf. Something about them just makes me want to avoid them these days. Maybe it's the amount of fighter / magic-users and fighter /magic-user / thieves I'd see in my early days of gaming.

So, what classic demi-human race do you avoid playing?

State of The Tavern - Late Hours and Other Changes

Last night was the start of my new summer hours at work - 130 pm to 10 pm with Friday and Saturday as my days off. Yeah, it's playing havoc with home life and hobby life.

On the hobby life side, it's simply buggering my creativity. The hours my brain is conditioned to create I'm now sitting at a desk at work supervising detectives and dealing with virtual fires, big and small.

I get home from that and I want to decompress, not write. So, there will be an adjustment period as my brain rewires slightly. I'm sure by the time that happens, I'll be back to my normal hours ;)

On a more exciting note, I'm lucky enough to have been chosen by The RPGPundit (as well as some good friends on G+) to receive a print copy of Dark Albion to read and review. I am stoked! Yes, this will be going right to the top of the review pile. Heck, it might not even make it to the pile as it may just snag it the moment it arrives at my doorstep.

Dark Albion has the potential to hit multiple sweet points for me as I have my BA in History with a focus on England from the Dark Ages to the Renaissance and I'm a fan of historical fiction. I suspect The Pundit is in his element with this release. The few reviews I've seen trickle in thus far have been highly positive.

Back to the creativity part - I have small three pieces for White Star written to various extents. I'm hoping to bang one or another to completion tonight or tomorrow.

Wish me luck ;)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

DCC Does NOT Stand for "Disney Crawl Classics"

We had WAY too much fun playing DCC RPG last night. Who was we? +Jason Paul McCartan in the driver's seat and +Craig Brasco (that's his art above), +Keith J Davies , +David B and myself (with +David Przybyla as an observer of sorts for the first bit.)

Some highlights of the funnel?

Craig's Jester taking a trap of nails to the face. Down for the count but survive the "rolling over the body" bit. Decided to leave the three nails right where they were, which didn't help much in the bar but boy was it entertaining.

David B's Solicitor and her "elven falcon" pet, which just had to be a vulture. My God but her non stop mouth was a running joke.

My Test Pilot, who didn't accomplish much but kill a charging dog with his pistol (generated using the Purple Planet PC Generator at Purple Sorcerer's website). When the Solicitor complained that the Test Pilot killed the dog for doing nothing, he turned to her with his gun pointed at her head and remarked "Yep, I killed the dog for doing nothing. Think about that."

There's a crapload more but the laughing was so contagious the details are hazy. Probably the most fun I've had in a single game session in years.
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