Monday, August 31, 2015

How Not to Handle an Upset Customer Base via Twitter (and other observations)

Apparently I wasn't the only one offended by the Tournament of Rapists release over the weekend. The author knew what he was doing with both his release time and description of the product - released on a Friday to ensure reactions would be over the weekend when the OBS staff are off and a description that was meant to troll as evidenced by his "just download the free preview to see what it's really about" line.

Now, if OBS couldn't address the issue right away (they first removed the Pathfinder tag and put it behind the Mature virtual wall at OBS) they probably should have avoided social media. Remember, every social media post or comment has been saved by someone, somewhere.

Jessica Price (a project manager at Paizo - her post on this matter is linked and is worthwhile reading) reached out to OBS via, of all things, Twitter. OBS's owner should never have stepped into the conversation which was, up to now, the usual customer service non answer.

Steve, you don't mock your customers. It leave a very bad taste in their mouth. (there's more to this conversation here)

The whole situation was poorly handled by OBS, although the product in question is no longer hosted at OBS.

BTW, none of this is a free speech issue. It's a business / consumer issue. OBS can host / sell whatever they want with whatever publishers they desire. Publishers can deal with them or not (although they are the PDF / POD gorilla, and avoiding OBS is likely avoiding sales.) Consumers can shop there or not.

See, it's a free MARKET. In the end, dollars talk. I suspect it's in the best interest of OBS to get a handle on issues like this to prevent the walking away of dollars, as they gained nothing from this fiasco.

As an aside, I'm not saying Tournament of Rapists should be banned. Self publish and self distribute all you want. I personally don't feel it belongs on the OBS site.

The thing is, instances like this are bad for OBS's reputation. And the social media response? Someone should cancel Steve's Twitter account.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I'm Guest Posting Over at the Frugal GM Blog

+Christopher Stogdill asked me to make a guest post or two over at the Frugal GM blog and I'm happy to oblige him. Chris has guest posted here at The Tavern a number of times and it's about time I return the favor.

Join us at the Frugal GM as we talk about Go To GM Resources.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

White Star "Proof" in Hand - Auction Monies Going to Jim Ward's Medical Bills

I won the auction for the marked up soft cover proof copy of +James Spahn 's White Star (it was for a damn good cause, and my $250 bid along with my matching The Tavern's Community Donations at $250 hopefully has helped Jim Ward with his medical bills. You can still donate here )

The above copy was waiting when Rach and I returned from our visit to the Finback Brewery (yumm!)

How do I know it's authentic? The ever faint smell of pipe tobacco ;)

This one is going up on the display shelf shortly. The moment the POD is live I'll be buying a hardcover for use at the game table.

Far Away Land strikes it's Own Claim - New FAL Store With Lower Prices

Most of you know how I feel about Far Away Land. It's the one game I'm able to comfortably run that doesn't have heavy roots in the OSR (it does, however, have deep roots in the OSR which shows itself at different points.)

The one complaint I've heard is the price of the books in PDF, especially the Tome of Awesome, which is really 4 books in one (not the monthly adventure releases, which have been PWYW as well as high quality.

Now Dirk is no longer just using RPGNow to sell his products and the new FAL store comes with lower prices.

At the moment, the new store is just selling digital versions but print is in the works.

Some price comparisons:

Far Away Land Core Rules -              RPGNow PDF $8     FAL Store PDF $5

Far Away Land Tome of Awesome - RPGNow PDF $25   FAL Store PDF $15

If you haven't checked out Far Away Land, now is the time to do so.

Of course, you can always sample the free FAL Quickstart first.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Frog God Does Right by Those Screwed by Center Stage Miniatures

+Matt Finch posted this on his blog Wednesday evening. I saw it yesterday afternoon right before heading to work, so this is my first opportunity to share it. 

As a quick summary, Frog God Games is stepping up to help right the wrong created when Center Stage Miniatures went bankrupt. Yes, this was one of the more stellar Kickstarter fails and it's nice to see an attempt to make things right - or at least not as screwed up - for those that got caught up in this mess. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Frog God is a stand up company.

I'm just adding to the bandwidth and giving credit where credit is due:

Frog God Games re: Center Stage Miniatures

Okay, this is long, but it's the Frog God Games Apology-Giveaway for the fiasco with the Center Stage Minatures Kickstarters that we licensed our monster images to. Bottom line, free pdfs dollar for dollar on your loss to the CSM Kickstarters.

Frog God Games is well aware of the disappointment, frustration, and monetary loss suffered by backers of the two Centre Stage Miniatures Kickstarters, Tome of Horrors Complete and Tome of Horrors Complete II, for which we had licensed monster images to CSM. Lots of our most loyal fans bought miniatures because they have our monster books and wanted miniatures for monsters from those books. When those Kickstarters did not deliver their products we watched in dismay as backers were left with nothing to show for their support of the Kickstarter campaigns. While Frog God Games did not run the Kickstarters, have control of the manufacture or delivery of its products, nor have any affiliation with Centre Stage Miniatures beyond the licensing of our art properties for the purposes of the Kickstarters, they did involve our licensed materials, and we did publicly support the Kickstarter campaigns. Since that time we have been looking for a way to lessen the blow suffered by the backers of the campaigns in a show of good will to our fans and those who might have supported the campaigns because they saw our name associated with it.

In recent dialogue on public forums with some of the backers of these Kickstarters, it was suggested to us that maybe we could offer free pdfs from our own product catalogue to backers of those Kickstarters so they could at least have something to show for their support. This was something we had considered doing at the time when the Kickstarters first seemed to have failed in their promised delivery of miniatures. At the time we thought an offer like that might be seen as adding insult to injury for trying to somehow diminish the severity of the loss suffered by the backers or otherwise wholly inadequate and inappropriate for the occasion. However, from our recent discussions with backers, we have learned that some would be receptive to such an offer as a way to at least ease their frustration.

We’ve spent the last few days talking about the logistics of how to do this because we’re a company of part-time gamers, not very automated, and lots of backers are involved here. Unquestionably there are going to be a lot of glitches and delays as we get a handle on the process. There’s also got to be an absolute time limit on this program to not only limit the consumption of our already-limited technical resources but also to protect us from a potentially years-long process of receiving, processing, verifying, and tracking these orders—a task of no small measure for our technical limitations.

As a result of this process, for the next 6 months Frog God Games is opening the pdf catalogue of our online store at froggodgames.com and will give store credit for pdf purchases to match dollar-for-dollar the amount that a backer paid to the Tome of Horrors Complete and/or Tome of Horrors Complete II Kickstarters from Centre Stage Miniatures. Obviously there are some difficult logistics involved in this both to verify backers for the issuance of the credit and to handle the resulting online transactions. To try and create a smooth process and save the sanity of our web master and keep him from being overrun with countless details to keep track of, we will initiate the following processes:

1. If you were a backer of either the Tome of Horrors Complete or Tome of Horrors Complete II Kickstarters from Centre Stage Miniatures, please send an email to Chris at froggodgamesfreepdf@gmail.com. In the subject line of your email include the name under which you pledged to either or both Kickstarters, indicate whether it was one or both Kickstarters, and include the total amount you pledged to both of them combined (Example subject line: Joe Backer, TOH and TOH2, $375). Include in the body of the email any screenshots, emails, or other documentation you have to show your support as a backer and the amount of the Kickstarter pledges that you made. (We’re not looking for some kind of legal standard of evidence here; we just need to be able to see that you were in fact a supporter of the Kickstarters and for what amount to help us sift out any unscrupulous opportunists who were otherwise unassociated with these Kickstarters and just see this as an opportunity to take advantage of our offer for free products.)

2. Chris has prepared coupons to the froggodgames.com web store in increments of $25, $50, $100, $150, $200, $250, $300, $350, $400, $450, $500, $600, $700, $800, $900, and $1,000. He will respond to your email with one of these web store coupons in the full amount of your documented pledges, rounded up to the nearest coupon increment. For example, if you pledged $200 between the two Kickstarters, you will receive a froggodgames.com coupon in the amount of $200. However, if your pledges total $201 you will receive coupons totaling $250, so Chris will not have to worry about creating hundreds of different coupons unique to individual backers. As a small game company, that sort of thing is frankly beyond the capacity of our personnel and online resources to handle. (Please note that if your pledge total was in excess of $1,000, Chris will issue multiple coupons in increments to get you closest to your pledge rounded up.)

3. In addition to the above offer, we are aware that due to hard drive crashes, loss of email accounts, and various and sundry other reasons all backers may not have documentation of their backing of the Tome of Horrors Kickstarters or may not be able to show the amount by which they backed one or both of the Kickstarters. To reasonably account for this we make this additional offer. If you cannot show us documentation of your support of one or both of the Kickstarters, send us an email at the above address and in the subject line state your name, the name of the Kickstarter(s) you backed, and write “No Documentation” (Example subject line: Joe Computercrash, TOH and TOH2, No Documentation). There is no need to include any information in the body of the email. In these cases we will take your word for it and will issue a coupon to you in the amount of $25. We apologize for being unable to honor higher dollar values in these instances, as we will already be opening ourselves to considerable exposure to illegitimate claimants, however we will honor emails sent to us in this manner, no questions asked. Please be advised, though, we will not issue more than one of these coupons to a single individual.

4. Please be sure that the email account through which you have sent these emails is one that Chris can reply to with the attached coupons and will not be sent to a spam folder or otherwise lost. This process is already going to be putting a great deal of stress on a part-time employee, and we are not going to be able to spend additional resources in tracking down email errors and hiccups, so please help us to get these right on the first try.

Important Note 1: This offer has an absolute time limit of 6 months. After March 1, 2016, Frog God Games will no longer honor any claims for backers seeking to receive coupons. Emails from backers received on or prior to March 1, 2016 will be honored even if we are not able to issue the coupons until after that date due to any backlog in processing. Coupons issued under this offer do not expire on March 1, 2016 and will be good until their normal expiration date of September 1, 2016.

Important Note 2: Please note that the store credit coupons are for pdf purchases only. They will not work for the purchase of physical product or in combination with purchase of such products. If you wish to purchase physical products, you will need to do so as a separate transaction so that our fulfillment process will not get messed up. Thank you for your cooperation in this.

Important Note 3: This doesn’t affect any of the above but is intended as an FYI to anyone that is intending to buy a physical product as well. All purchases of a Frog God Games physical book include the pdf of that book for free as well, so don’t use your coupons to buy the pdf of a book that you were already going to buy the physical copy of anyway.

Disclaimer (because we legally have make sure this stuff is clearly stated): Frog God Games is not affiliated with Centre Stage Miniatures or any of its principles and is not serving in any agency capacity for these entities. This offer of free pdfs is not considered or intended as a release of any claims or rights enjoyed by the backers in relation to the above-mentioned Kickstarters, and the claim or use of these pdf coupons is not intended to be considered as binding to the recipient for any legal purposes. Furthermore, in creating this pdf-coupon redemption offer Frog God Games is not making any statement or claim in regards to the Kickstarters, their outcomes, their hosts, their backers, or any pending claims or legal matters in regards to the Kickstarters or related entities.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

WTF Were They Thinking? Tournament of Rapists (OGL)

I'm assuming Tournament of Rapists is OGL and not Pathfinder because the Pathfinder must have some minimal moral code attached to it. This reminds me of F.A.T.A.L. but with a far more disturbing title.

I know what you're thinking. "Tenkar is taking this all out of context."

Here's the publisher putting it into context:
The Tournament of Rapists details the sadistic Rape Pure Fight circuit, expanding on what you’ve seen already and introducing dangerous new sexual predators. This sadistic bloodsport takes place in abandoned office buildings and atop Tokyo rooftops. An assortment of superhumanly powerful and inhumanly misogynistic men, and even worse women, step into impromptu fighting arenas, killing and raping the weaker in search of a multi-billion yen fight purse provided by a half-oni billionaire in thrall to dark impulses.
I'm not sure what disturbs me more - that someone wrote this or that the someone that wrote this sees a market for this.

We, as a hobby, truly are our worst enemy at times.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Is Safe Water and Sanitation a Concern in Your Campaign?

The default fantasy world is pretty much built off of an idealized middle ages / medieval Europe, but we tend not to see the open sewers and open pits for refuse and other personal waste that was common in those urban environments.

Is it avoided out of convenience? Is it assumed that there are magical ways to remove the refuse and the potential illnesses associated with it? How clean is the water in these urban areas? Are the churches and temples constantly casting purify water and cure disease to keep these environments running?

Beer may (or may not) have been the alternative to clean water back in those days, but it wasn't nearly as strong as the beer we know.

Do we just assume that in our magical worlds, refuse and water don't mix and refuse and open sewers do not lead to illness and disease?

Hand wave or magic or make it real? What's you take on it?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls Exists - Seven Soft Cover Copies in Hand

Yes, Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls is huge. Those seven copies are quite heavy. My copies took a little wear on the edges as there was no packing on the top inside of the box to keep them from sliding around and the box was made for 11 copies (so the side of the box says). There were some inserts included. Some were folded over but in truth that doesn't matter much. I doubt I'd find myself hanging Fellowship of the Troll posters on my walls at the ripe old age of 48 ;)

I'm still waiting on my hardcover copy (which may not be back from the printers) and three more softcover copies. I'm going to assume they were (will be?) shipped separately, as it was over 16 bucks in postage just to get me these seven copies.

So yes, it looks like we can just about stop the clock on this project. Let me know in the comments of this page if you got your copies...

Far West Funded Four Years Ago Today - Another Month Nears an End and Still No Book - Another Successful Failure

+Eric Franklin over in the G+ Kicksnarker Community was nice enough to point out that Far West, the albatross of RPG Kickstarters, funded today. Add 2 weeks before Gareth got the funds and hopefully he invested the money well. Yeah, probably not. We all know how much postal rates have gone up in the last 4 years. Maybe Gareth can do a Pencil Dice Kickstarter to fund shipping the books - assuming there's funds left to print the books - which assumes the book is ever completed.

Far West was the third successfully funded Kickstarter that I backed. The fifth was Quantum, which was a total crash and burn - the project is abandoned. The tenth was Dwimmermount - oh the drama, but it did complete and ship. In total I've backed 162 successfully funded projects. The failures and partial failures are famous (Nystul, Myth & Magic, Appendix N Adventures, Champions of Zed, Whitman) but less than I would have guessed, and certainly less than my perception of it.

Strange how brightly failure shines in comparison to a sea of success.

Happy anniversary to Far West, the gift that keeps on giving to the Kickstarter community. Another fine example of a successful failure, for even if if finally comes to a successful completion as a product, the ship has long sailed for it to ever be a successful product on the market.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tenkar's Tap Room - The New Blog about Beer

Don't even say it. I'll say it for you:

"How the fuck are you going to find the time to run another blog!?!"

Better now?

The truth is, even though I'm getting hammered by work in the hear and now, the near future holds a
very pleasant retirement. One of the things I plan to do in retirement is explore my other hobby a bit more fully. The other hobby is "beer."

I've homebrewed in the past (and will again in the future) but Rach and I have decided to start a "brewery crawl" of sorts this coming weekend. There is simply a huge amount of craft beer being brewed in the NYC metropolitan area and we plan to explore what we can. The initial plan is to visit 2 breweries a month as well as exploring craft beers from around the world.

So, if we are going to have all that fun, why not blog about it?

That's where Tenkar's Tap Room comes in. It's an old blog from my early blogging days that hadn't seen a post in 5 years which should now see 4 to 5 posts a week. Posts about beer, breweries and beer related things. Guest posts are welcome, as we can't have a community without you.

I'm also hopeful that one of these small and local breweries would host a small PubCon, thereby mixing my two hobbies in one chocolate and peanut butter mess ;)

Join Rach and I as we go down the craft beer rabbit hole

Kickstarter - Carolina Game Tables

I've seen many game tables come and go, but the Carolina Game Table is the first one that I could see myself actually owning. Why? Because it serves as both a game table and a dining room table and looks classy both ways.

It's not a cheap table at $1500, but quality dining room tables aren't cheap. I've already convinced Rachel that if my son moves out (like every 22 year old threatens to do) we are ordering this table. For now it is too big for the available space we have.

Did I mention Clint Black is behind this? Yep, the same man whose name you see attached to many Save Worlds projects. Apparently his family is in the furniture business.

From the page:
You might know us already—Clint and Jodi Black—from our work with Savage Worlds and Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Clint and his family have made furniture for three generations in Hickory, NC, furniture capital of the world. We think we're uniquely qualified to bring you a classic looking table suitable for everyday dining and Game Night. 
We've designed the Carolina Game Table for roleplaying games, board games, and puzzle enthusiasts.  
There is a wide edge for leaning on (or placing a character sheet, game tokens, or puzzle pieces) with most of the play area in easy reach. The 32" x 50" play area is 3 inches deep and covered in burgundy cloth. 
The overall table is 4 feet wide and 6 feet long, and designed to seat six people comfortably. 
The classically styled table looks and works like any dining room table. The table top fits securely over the play area, covering it and extending to the table's edge.  There are no gaps or spaces, so spills and crumbs don't end up in your play area.  
The finish is called "French Couture" and is a nice medium brown finish falling between light and dark wood stains to be complementary with both. The finish also has red undertones so it pairs well with cherry or mahogany hues as well. We want it to look good with your existing furniture, no matter what shade you have. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Free - Lesser Gnome's Creature Catalogue (new monsters for your game)

Looking to add some new monsters to your campaign? Have all the Lesser Gnome products and want all the new creatures in one place? Do you like professionally released OSR products that are offered for free?

+Zach Glazar has you covered with the Lesser Gnome's Creature Catalogue.

Here's the details of this FREE (as in air) product:

Free compendium of creature descriptions from products released through 2015. 

The majority have their own original illustrations by Lloyd Metcalf

Includes creature sections from- 

Whisper & Venom
Bird of a Feather
The First Sentinel
Includes bookmarks, layers and interactive navigation buttons.

All creatures are presented in Labyrinth Lord style stats and description.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Kickstarter - RPG Coasters (exactly what it says on the tin)

You know what? With my old desk I didn't really care what spilled or condensed on my desk - it was formica and shed water like a duck. My new desk, while spacious, has a cheap laminate topper that suck up moisture like a dry sponge.

This has gotten me to use my Beer Mats with hex grids for something other than mapping.

So, what do I stumble across on Kickstarter? RPG Coasters. Wooden. Engraved. Custom engraving if you so desire.

Five coasters would cover my old gaming group exactly. This would be awesome for the yearly Gathering of Fools. Actually, we'd need to add one for the group member we lost on 9-11. Easily doable.

Would I use the coaster as a coaster? I don't know, but I think these coasters are cool.

New work hours suck, but the night differential and extra overtime makes decisions like this so much easier ;)

New Major White Star Release - The Graveyard at Lus (More Sandbox for Your Campaign)

This summer has kicked my gaming ability solidly in the ass. I haven't played, let alone read, nearly as much as I would have liked to. So what does +Jason Paul McCartan and his InfiniBadger Press decide to do?  Release a nearly 60 page hexcrawl supplement for White Star - The Graveyard at Lus. It's massive. It has tables. It makes me want to jump in and use it right away. I still don't have the time to do so and this book just doesn't care.

I've barely scratched the surface of The Graveyard at Lus and it has me chomping at the bit.

Here's the description:
Space Graveyards - what's left behind when battles are fought among the points of light that map out the universe. Sometimes there's good salvage to be had there. There's always danger, though. Not everything is dead in a Graveyard, and you're not the only one that come's lookng for the good stuff. And that's not even mentioning the radiation and debris left behind, or the dangerous creatures that end up finding their way there like graveworms and ... the undead. 
A comprehensive toolkit for creating space Graveyards - the result of battles between forces at war in the stars 
Multiple tables for the creation of starship damage, system damage, and crew survivorship 
An event table to ensure that exploration is dynamic during sandbox play
New rules for Cinematic and Realitic space combat 
New starship technology including sensors and targeting/repairing specific systmes
Additional rules for space-based phenomena, space-based explosions, and boarding other starships 
Four new alien races for your White Star RPG campaigns 
Updated starship usage for four of the core alien races in the main game 
Five new creatues, including The Unquiet, a horriffic form of undead 
Use the pregenerated Graveyard At Lus for your own games, or as a guide to create your own Graveyards. 
Designed for use with the White Star RPG, but easy to convert for other OSR sci-fi systems. 
The Graveyard at Lus will be continually supported by the release of FREE expansion material that includes additional rules and other content, including new races, creatures, and tables to help support additional sandbox usage of the product beyond the core book here. The first of these will be the release of all of the silhouetts of the starships in the book (and many more) for use in creation of your own counters for table-based play or use with a VTT. 
The POD version of the product will be available soon in 6x9 format. Those who purchase the PDF version will receive a discount of the full price against the print version. 
There is an update coming that will include bookmarks for tables to make the product easier to use, as well as to correct some layering issues for the sample map, and some small corrections to readibility. 
It's $4.99 in PDF and when it goes to print those that bought the PDF get a $4.99 discount on the dead tree version. Damn close to a no brainer.

Now I just need to add a day or two to the 7 day week so I can do all of the cool stuff I want to do ;)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Kickstarter - The Complete "The Oracle"AD&D fanzine reprint, 1982-1983

I cut my gaming teeth in 6th grade, so that was '78 or '79. I didnt get my first gaming magazine until Dragon issue #66 in late '82 and somehow thought to stick to only "professional" gaming releases in the years later, so I missed out on fanzines and Judges Guild and all the rest in those early years.

The Complete "The Oracle"AD&D fanzine reprint, 1982-1983 is just what is says on the tin, a reprint of a fanzine from the early 80's. With 27 days to go it's already past $3400 (with a goal that was at $1500) and well on it's way to being a successful Kickstarter.

Tim Hutchings, the creator behind this Kickstarter (but not the creator of the original work) was kind enough to share the PDF with me (it also means the project is ready to print once the funding is complete) Hopefully I'll find the time to fully read it and review it before the project reaches the end of it's funding period. From my quick perusal, it is very much a product of the time it was originally published in and that fills me with nostalgia :)

If you don't know Tim, he's also the main man behind The Play Generated Map & Document Archive or plagmada.org. Spend some time exploring your childhood in the archives. It's a good place to be and doesn't get nearly enough of the attention it deserves.

In any case, The Oracle is scratching my nostalgia itch. If I only knew in my youth what I've learned over the past few decades. Alright, time to catch up with my past that could have been,,,

GoG.com releases The Forgotten Realms Archives - Collection Two (Gold Box for Windows, OSX and Linux) for $9.99

Someone put Whitman on the front line with AC8 and 15 HP?

I cut my RPG Computer Game teeth playing the Gold Box AD&D adventures on my old Commodore 64 in the late 80s. I loved them all, although I remember Hillsfar as being sub par.

Now, with The Forgotten Realms Archives, Collection 2 you can get Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, Hillsfar, Secret of the Silver Blades, Pools of Darkness, Gateway to the Savage Frontier, Treasures of the Savage Frontier and Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures for $9.99. Thats just a bit more than a buck a game.

Retirement can't come soon enough ;)

Heck, you can buy all three Forgotten Realms Archives for $25.97 - this includes Eye of the Beholder 1, 2 and 3 as well as Dungeon Hack and Menzoberranzan.

Now that's Old School :)

AD&D 1e Forgotten Realms PDFs 50% of at DnD Classics

DnD Classics is running a sale on it's AD&D 1e Forgotten Realms adventures in PDF, putting the pricing at $2.50 each, which is one heck of a bargain.

N5 Under Illefarn and N4 Treasure Hunt probably got the most use out of me, as I reused and reskinned each multiple times, sometimes for the same group but with a different campaign. The Savage Frontier was fun as a setting book and I don't recall ever reading Swords of the Iron Legion. I may have to correct that. I3 through I5 contain some fun gaming if you can get the party to a desert area.

Shadowdale, Tantras and Waterdeep are mostly forgettable, as they deal with the Time of Troubles (the switch from 1e to 2e) in a very railroadie way. Players actions and achievements meant little if anything as the worlds events happened no matter what. Still, interesting to read to see the mindset going on with the change to 2e at the time.

Sale lasts until the end of August.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Lesser Gnome releases The First Sentinel in Interactive PDF Format

Damn, but I have a bunch of gaming news posts to put up.

If you haven't guessed, I love all of the Lesser Gnome game releases. If they have an unwritten motto, it's probably "Go Big or Go Home!" or some such. I have the print version of The First Sentinel, which is still available for $25 bucks at the Lesser Gnome online store.

Today we get to see the The First Sentinel as an affordable interactive PDF version for less than 7 bucks.

So, what do you get for your 7 bucks?
Within its pages Game Masters have a complete adventure for three to six players using character levels between three and five. Characters are confronted with a small mystery involving a missing resident. Clues could offer muted warnings or, if followed closely, will bring them face to face with a vanguard of the demonic Nexid.

This digital release contains the written content from the 2014 printed edition with a few PDF extras. It has a completely new layout designed to make the PDF more than just a printout on your screen. It is meant for table-top use on a tablet or other device.

The First Sentinel Interactive Features…

No watermarking (woot!)
Separate text, art and vector layers. (yeah, I can never figure this out)
Bookmarks to important tables and maps accessible via the PDF Reader (excellent)
Hyperlinks to appendix entries and tables. (needed IMHO)
Interactive buttons for quick access to relevant pages (I like)
Image buttons that link to illustrations for players. (very cool)
Purchasing the First Sentinel on PDF will make you feel younger and more 'with it'! At least we felt that way making it

PDFs SHOULD be more than just a digital copies these days. I salute Lesser Gnome for making the PDF more than just a digital copy of the print release. 

Frog God Games Goes "Non-Kickstarter" - Preorder with Funding Goal for "Quests of Doom 2"

When is crowdfunding not crowdfunding? When it's a preorder...

You know my argument: No matter how your try and define it, Kickstarter is basically a preorder system where a minimum goal needs to be met before a project is funded.

Now, Kickstarter takes their own cut on top of the cut the credit card companies take (that second cut used to go to Amazon Payments.)

If you had the experience, visibility and presence in the hobby you could pretty much run a Kickstarter WITHOUT using Kickstarter. A preorder with a funding goal to turn on the presses. Oh, and of course, having everything already to go right from the start.

That is what Frog God Games is doing with Quests of Doom 2 for 5e.
Instead of using Kickstarter, we are raising the funds for the printing of this book on our own. 
This product is currently available for pre-order. Once we have raised enough money to print a run of hardcover copies, we will produce and ship the books.  
We have raised $3400 of our $5000 goal so far!  
When pre-ordering in hardcover or PDF format you'll receive the PDF instantly! (there is something to be said about instant gratification)
Here's the actual description:
Six Adventures for First and Second Tier! 
From the weird and terrifying interior of the Spire of Iron and Crystal (cover) to the heat-misted Jungle Ruins of Madaro-Shanti, this sequel to the two-volume Quests of Doom offers a whole new set of adventures for Fifth Edition. These adventures are all for characters level six and below, so the book isn't going to sit on the shelf and gather dust. Are your players up to the challenge of old-school First Edition style play?  Make them earn those experience points.
$25 for the Hardcover is a very fair price. I may just have to bite at this one...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tavern Chat Tonight - New Time - 10 PM to Midnight (Eastern)

As I've mentioned before, work has thrown me a curveball this summer. New days off, new working hours, new assignment - it's all made a mess of my "other stuff" time-wise.

So starting tonight and for the indeterminate future, Tavern Chat will be kicking off at 10 PM Eastern. It is most likely that I won't get to log in until about 1030 / 1045 tonight, but I know the chat doesn't need me to be lively.

Fair warning - I suspect I'll only be on for an hour tonight, as I have to be out the door by 630 in the AM tomorrow.

Of course, the doors open early, so even if you drop in at the old 830 time I suspect there will be a few people on.

Kickstarter - Support LGBT Rights & Help Create Our PC-RPG Game! (The Issues Have Little to do with the Issue)

Let me get this said right out of the gate - the issues with this Kickstarter have little to do with the issues that the project creator is attempting to address - and yet it has everything to do with how he is trying to address it. Confusing, right?

How many gamers, RPG or otherwise, are looking for a love story in their game? Probably not many. Or to be more precise, a love story based on the title of this kickstarter - "Support LGBT Rights & Help Create Our PC-RPG Game!"

Do you want to know the name of the actual game?

"The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Groves" Game - A Story of Love & War in Ancient China..."

Now THAT sells. Love AND war? Cool.

Folks that play computer games play them to have fun. I can't think of many that play them to support certain issues (although some may avoid certain titles if they feel they are associated with certain social issues - I've never purchased a GTA game although I've seen the gameplay - blowing away cops is not a storyline I'd personally enjoy)

Now this Kickstarter has 9 days to go and it's raised approximately 1% of it's goal 50K Canadian. Why? Because it put social issues before the game. I strongly suspect if it were a project named "The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Groves" Game - A Story of Love & War in Ancient China... "it would have significantly more backing. Maybe not enough to fund, but more than 1% of goal.

It almost feels like they want this project to fund based solely on folks backing it for a social issue and not for what the game itself presents, which if you read the Kickstarter page, looks like it could be a fun PC RPG to play. Sadly, as a vehicle to support LBGT rights or as an RPG, this Kickstarter has failed coming out of the gate. It's a shame.

Now, when you get to the risks and challenges you are told you are funding a playable demo, which really isn't what was being sold. Then again, I'm not sure what was actually being sold.

Ah well. I'm sure they will try again. Maybe the next time they will present it as a fun game to play FIRST as well as a game that addresses certain social issues that have become important in our time.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

One Day Only - 30% Off Lulu Print Titles

Yep, Lulu is running one of those One Day Only sales, this time for 30% off with coupon. Tip of the hat to +Newt Newport for bringing it to my attention via the D101 Games Community on G+.

The coupon code you need to snag this Print Only sale is WACKY30

Folks, now is the time to suggest to The Tavern's readers not to be missed RPG titles that can be grabbed at cheap prices. Make your suggestions in the comments below. I may make my purchase when I get home from work late in the evening and your suggestions will help in the process ;)

State of The Tavern - August 18th, 2015 - Rejigging & Adjusting

As some of you already know, this summer has been a bit of a curve ball for me. My assignment, work hours and days off have changed, which has had some benefits as well as detriments.

On the negative side, working evenings has really hurt my ability to be productive on my creative side. My creative hours historically are in the evening. This has been painful. I've tried to sneak in some creativity in the in-between moments at work, but this shit is busy ;)

It's also my prime reading time. If you've noticed a lack of reviews recently, I simply find it hard to focus in the morning hours on gaming material and by the time I get home in the evening I'm usually ready for bed. Well, that or a beer ;)

For those wondering where the podcasts are - I work Sundays now and evening hours. All the podcasting was done either in the evening hours early on in the week or Sunday afternoons. Times I'm now at work. We'll see what we can do and I am considering doing some short (5 to 10 minute) solo casts.

There's also the issue that I only have one day of the weekend for now, so all the stuff that needs to get done family wise? It's getting done on Saturdays.

I'm trying to rewire the brain to be more creative in the AM. Hasn't worked much thus far.

There are some positives, both short term and long term. The new work schedule puts $30 a day in night differential into my pocket before taxes and puts half of that into my future pension. Oh, and overtime. The new office is greatly overworked and understaffed. The better the pension, the less of a need of a part time job this time next year and more time to put toward the blog, creating, writing and all the fun stuff one wants to do.

So, what sucks now pays dividends far into the future.

As an aside and reminder, Wednesday Night Tavern Chat is moving to 10pm to Midnight Eastern Time. I won't be on until about 1045 myself but that's not stopped y'all from having a blast in the past. Tomorrow night may be a short visit for me - I have to be out of the house by 630 AM Thursday morning.

Blog Spotlight - Not Another Dime (For Ken Whitman)

I have to say, as a trained investigator myself, that the writers behind the Not Another Dime (For Ken Whitman) blog are doing some amazing digging. The great thing about the internet is that it is much like the proverbial elephant - "it never forgets."

Looking for a timeline of Ken's projects with paydays and updates mapped out? It's all there.

Wants some behind the scenes info of Ken's Rapid POD fiasco? There's some tantalizing nuggets.

How about projects that Ken was the mover and shaker behind the scenes, took his share of the cash and never did the work he was paid for? Yep, it's there.

Ken has set the high water mark for how low one can go in abusing Kickstarter and Not Another Dime is doing an excellent job in highlighting Ken's misdeeds.

I do like the way NAD(FKW) presents facts and postings it's discovered on the net. Although the goal is obvious - to keep Ken from continually screwing others, the excellent support material makes it difficult to dispute the facts that are presented.

So, put aside 30 minutes or so and read a good investigative site on the Ken Whitman drama. It will be time well spent, and knowledge is power.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Humble Bundle - Dungeons & Dragons Comics Bundle

I read some of these titles back in the 90s I think.

$12 bucks is the level I went in on, which adds even more to the bundle. Stuff to load onto my tablet for bedtime reading ;)

Humble Bundle D&D Comics Bundle link is here

Guest Poster - Let in Some Fresh Air

      (of a person, attitude, or situation) not desirable or optimistic

We've all been the above and some of us are there currently. I spent 25 years in a career where 90% of what you saw and dealt with was negative. It takes a toll on the human spirit eventually. We lose focus of what's important and things that matter the most. Then one day we awaken and those important things are gone, never to return.

Today, I think of James Ward. I don't know James personally, and have never met or talked with him. I only know his name from his contributions to a hobby that I partake in and enjoy. I started in the late 70's with the Holmes Basic Set and that game resonates still to me today.

The past few days several people have combined together to raise funds to assist Mr. Ward in his
burden of medical debt. These people I speak of are all involved in the RPG community either as
players, bloggers, small print publishers, or better yet as humans who muster the spirit of love in this
dark world we share.

I understand a lot of you are battling life events presently. Believe me, I understand. I've had quite a
few tragic life events the past three years. Enough to last the rest of my lifetime. And many years ago, I also battled the “paycheck-to-paycheck” lifestyle. So, I fully understand you don't have an extra dollar to share. I also understand and believe when you put someone else above your current needs, you will be rewarded in some way for that at some point.

My plea today is that we put “negative” in the closet and lock him away. Open that door “positive” and let some fresh air in. I encourage you give what you can to another person whose needs outweigh your own. Instead of that $5.00 specialty coffee or drive-thru meal today, go and give it to James.

Gamers Unite!

Tony T.


1 Corinthians 13:13

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Kickstarter - Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls is a Real Thing - There's Pics Even!

Pic borrowed from the Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls blog

Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls is apparently real now. I must say, even after looking at the PDF it just didn't click how thick the book actually was until I saw the actual pics. As an aside, that's +Ken St. Andre without his trademark hat ;)

I'm glad to see the books will be shipping shortly. Three pallets worth of dT&T at that. I have 20 pounds worth of softcovers coming my way it seems.

Interesting how the books got printed shortly after the Nuclear War 50th Anniversary Kickstarter completed (and timed well for the release of those funds to FBI.)

Tenkar's Tavern - The Cosmopolitan Magazine of the OSR


It's said.

Well, not initially by me, actually, but by a poster on Zak S's thread 2 weeks ago. Yep, the same thread where Stacy Dellorfano was nice enough to state that I was having as much fun as a rock at NTRPG Con. Yep, she's apparently biting at the bit to respond to my response, just as Zak S is racing to correct the injustice of blocking me for the last 4 years on G+.

But I digress.

One comment on the G+ thread was that Tenkar's Tavern was the Cosmo of the OSR. I assume they meant Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Now, if they were trying to insult me by comparing me to the most influential and most read women's magazine, they failed at a very high standard.

Millions of copies of Como are published each month. It actually had a monthly circulation of over 3 million in 2011. Assuming it's lost half of that in the last 4 years, it's still an engagement with readers I would kill for. Alright, perhaps merely maim.

Now, I DON'T ask my readers about the sexual positions enjoyed by elves or the best way to manipulate your DM using sexual innuendos or what combination of races have the best "half-races", but maybe I'm missing something. Is this something readers of The Tavern actually want or just those that follow Zak? Or is it, perhaps, something that they wish they had at The Tavern but don't, and wish The Tavern could provide?

Fuck if I know. But the comparison is accurate on one level - The Tavern IS the most read OSR blog. If the rest of you don't mind, I'm going to leave out the sex articles. If you need those, I'm sure you can find them on your own.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

After Meeting the Murderhobo, What is Your Favorite Multiclass Combination?

So, we met the Murderhobo yesterday (although written for Labyrinth Lord, he can easily be used with any OSR system to derail most any campaign ;) and it got me thinking about multiclassed characters.

For me, my favorite multiclassed characters have either been the straight up Cleric with a high strength (allowing him to be a very effective fighter up to at least mid levels) or the Magic-User / Thief. There is an awful lot of synergy between magic and thievery. Both classes tend to avoid front line (or any line) of direct combat.

Actually, if were playing with gnomes, Illusionist / Thief might have even better synergy than MU / Thief, especially if one is looking to enhance their thievery side.

Never saw much of a need for a Fighter / MU and Cleric / Anything is pretty useless, as a cleric is pretty much a spell casting fighter in any case.

So, what is your favorite multiclass combination?

Kickstarter - The Grande Temple of Jing - Releasing GenCon 2013? Oh, GenCon 2014 - er, Nope - Ah, Finally GenCon 2015

Way back in 2013 I wrote a post about The Grande Temple of Jing Kickstarter. It was to be the bestest, most amazing megadungeon ever produced - at least best of any based off of a 2001 release of a 40 page adventure for D20.

You too can turn 40 black and white pages into a 300+ page full color hard cover. It might just take 2 years longer than you expected.

In any case the new, improved The Grande Temple of Jing released at GenCon this year. Two years later than estimated (August 2013). I never backed this one so I completely forgot about it until I was poked by a reader.

Why the delay?
The Grande Temple of Jing is the dungeoncrawl that rules them all. It is a megadungeon designed in the spirit of old school games, but with modern rules and sensibilities. It is presented here for the Pathfinder system, but it can be modified to play with your favorite fantasy RPG. It is designed for levels 1-20 but if this Kickstarter reaches its first stretch goal, then we will add content for epic level characters as well. 
A part of the grande temple was originally published in 2000 as a thin, digest sized book, compatible with the d20 system. With your help we will update, upgrade, and MASSIVELY expand that book. In effect, we will make it the adventure it was always meant to be. Our goal is to create a full color hardcover tome that any roleplayer would be proud to have on their shelves. Professional production will ensure that retailers can display the book confidently on store shelves.
So yeah. The first rule of a successful Kickstarter is have 90% written before kicking. 40 pages of a 300+ page book puts it around 13% written when kicked. 12 celebrity creators and fan submissions didn't help.

Strangely enough, the deluxe Tunnels & Trolls kickstarter will also be shipping books soon. It's estimate shipping date? August 2013.

Must be something in the air...

Friday, August 14, 2015

PWYW - The Murderhobo (The name itself should be warning enough - Labyrinth Lord Class)

Ever want to play a class that reflects how many characters are actually played? Are you ready for the fall out of letting a Murderhobo in your group of murderhobos? Then this is the class for you at Pay What You Want pricing...
Now finally you can play an actual Murderhobo in your murderhobo games! This new class for Labyrinth Lord lets you hack and slash with the best of them while being able to be sneaky and sling spells! Ostensibly a multiclassed Fighter/Thief/Magic-User, this class literally gets away with and benefits from murder! 
Multiclass without needing multiclass rules! 
Kill your enemies with brute force, sneakiness, or even full-on magic to the face! 
XP bonus increases with every kill! 
Sacrifice your smarts and social skills to give yourself the edge in combat! 
Use your meatshields effectively! 
Talk your way out of all the death and destruction you leave in your wake! 
Three variants: the Low Templar, the Deathblade, and the Strider! 
WARNING TO GMS/JUDGES/REFEREES: This class isn't recommended for actual use in any game. Unless you let EVERY player use this class. And then there will be shenanigans. You've been warned.

New Time for Tavern Chat - 10PM to Midnite (Eastern) - Still Wednesday Nites

As I adjust to the new work hours I'm realizing that trying to host Tavern Chat from 830 to 10 PM on a Wednesday Night when I get off work at 1005 just isn't going to work. Yeah, it's kinda obvious, but I can be dense.

So, we're moving the hors to 10 PM to Midnite, still Wednesday nights. Now, I won't be home until about 1040 or so, but as folks tend to arrive early it should still work.

I'd also like to add in a Friday morning Tavern Chat once a month or so for those in the more distant time zones - that would be 10 AM to Noon, Eastern. More on this soon. Probably won't kick off until September.

I'm usually available in the mornings from 10 to noon if someone needs to raise me on Google Chat or Facebook Messenger.

Alright, all for now ;)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

I Apologize for Missing Last Night's Tavern Chat

These new work hours are wrecking havoc with my non work-life ;)

There are some night's where I actually get to sit down and have a meal (and therefore access my phone and Tavern Chat and the like) and other nights that are just non stop.

Such was last night.

I'd push it to 1030xMidnight if folks were agreeable or y'all can simply chat amongst yourselves. You don't need me to keep the tradition going, though I do miss it when I am absent.

So, do we more the hours later? I'd change the night, but the only free nights are Friday / Saturday and I suspect folks have stuff going on on those nights (besides, Rach might kill me)

Let me know your thoughts.

Kickstarter - Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls - Latest Update - More Gravy, Sill Waiting on Meat

In case you missed it, Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls Kickstarter had an estimated release date of August, 2013. Now, I'm I know I'm going to get flack for this but releasing the rules in PDF earlier this summer does not constitute delivery. Nor does shipping out adventures and pencils and other filler.

The latest update (just a snippet) - "Friends: During our kickstarter, we promised you all a pdf of a GM screen for Deluxe T&T. It is now done, and available from Drivethru using the following link: (link not included obviously)... The hardcopy of the GM screen is now at the printer, and those of you who paid $5 for a hardcopy will be getting it soon."

Here's the deal, at least for me. All these extras are just that - extras. What good is a hardcopy of the GM screen if the 10 copies of the softcover and 1 copy of the hardcover of dT&T I paid for are still not on the horizon? It's hard to run a game with only 1 PDF copy of it in the group (sure, I could pass it around and make copies, but that would be unethical. Maybe one code per physical copy paid for would have helped)

We missed summer of 2013 (not a surprise and wasn't really expected) and summer of 2014 (where I was hopeful) and now summer of 2015 will be passing us by.

Eh, it will still probably ship before Far West even gives a complete PDF...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Tavern's Patrons Are Amazing - $505 Raised for Jim Ward in 12 Hrs - Plus The Tavern's $250 Match

You folks are frigging awesome!

This is one hell of a community. It always humbles me in a very good way :)

$505 given by Tavern readers thus far.

Keep giving to Jim Ward folks.

There is a GoFundMe to Help with Jim Ward's Medical Bills - The Tavern Will Match the First $250 Donated by Tavern Readers

First things first - here is Jim Ward's GoFundMe Page for help with his medical bills.

This is what The Tavern is going to do.

Any Tavern Reader that donates to Jim's medical bills at the above site needs to post the amount they donated in the comments here. I'll match at least the first $250 donated by The Tavern's readers.

Each night I'll tally up the day's donations and will match that day's total up to $250 for the entire campaign. I may go beyond that, but I'll need to look at Friday's paycheck.

I know y'all are a generous bunch :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Jim Ward Needs Help with Medical Bills - White Star Printer Proofs Up for Auction

James Spahn originally shared:

Jim Ward has been an icon of gaming for almost 40 years. From Metamorphosis Alpha, to Dieties and Demigods, Greyhawk Adventures and countless other supplements - he's been there practically from the beginning.

Well, Jim's in trouble. He posted this on his Facebook today (Tuesday, August 11th, 2015)

"Got terrible news today. I need lots more hospital time with several more foot operations. How am I ever going to get work done in a situation like this. Bills are mounting and I have to be home to get much work done. I don't remember when I have been this miserable."

I want to help. I'm not a rich man - but I do have something to give. I have two print copies of White Star: White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying. They are proofs, with errors. Author's notes are in the softcover. There are literally only two copies of these books in the world and they will never exist again.

I'm auctioning them off, with 100% of the money raised going to help Jim. If you'd like to bid, simply send me an e-mail at JSpahn1978 (AT) gmail (DOT) com. Put "Jim Ward Auction" in your subject line and simply tell me your bid. Each book must be bid on individually.

The bidding will be open until Friday, August 21st, midnight Eastern Standard Time. Payment from the winner will be made via paypal. This auction IS open to international bidders, though all bids must be given in US dollars.

Let's do something great for Jim, guys.

I don't know what the bid is for the soft cover right now, but The Tavern is in at $250 for it - Tenkar

Deal of the Day - Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts (OSR by Dyson)

Now here's a Deal of the Day to take a chunk of:

Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts (just 3 bucks for the next 23 hrs or so) contains everything you need to run a spellcaster in Labyrinth Lord and other basic fantasy OSR games. For completion, this tome includes the three core spellcasting classes, and adds ten more, along with full rules for all their assorted spells.

Chapter 1 – Classes

Cleric (warrior-priests)
Wizard (classic magic-users with 10 levels of spells)
Elven Swordmage (elves from the core rules – arcane warriors)
Elven Warder (wilderness elves, guardians of their kin)
Enchanter (artists, con-men, and masters of… duh… enchantments)
Fleshcrafter (twisted magic-users that work with flesh)
Healer (compassionate and tough hearth-healers)
Inquisitor (ecclesiastic investigators and master intimidators)
Merchant Prince (elite merchants with spellcasting support)
Necromancer (you know exactly what these guys do)
Pact-Bound (magic-users who sell their souls for power)
Theurge (divine casters who learn from liturgical texts)
Unseen (thieves with an innate knack for magic)

Chapter 2 – Spells

All the spells for all these classes are included (including the core spells from Labyrinth Lord).

Chapter 3 – Magic Items

28 pages of new magic items generally aimed towards spellcasters (with a few sneak ones thrown in for the Unseen). From new and unusual potions to exotic rings and a collection of new figurines of wondrous power, this chapter also focuses on making magic items unique in your game - avoiding the pitfalls of every campaign having the same gauntlets of ogre power and rings of protection.

Chapter 4 – Creatures

Just a few monsters in this short chapter – one referenced earlier in the book and  rules for summoning & conjuring alternate types of elementals (wind, crystal, dungeon, wave, moss, thorn, smoke, zephyr and so on).

Finally there’s a short section on using this book with the Advanced Edition Companion. 99% of this book was written using only the core Labyrinth Lord rules without referencing the AEC at all, and therefore there are some suggestions for mixing these rules with the AEC ones – primarily adding AEC spells to the existing spell lists, and the revised hit dice for the various classes if using the optional AEC hit dice.

Kickstarter - Quantum Black (Ubiquity System Modern Horror)

If there is one of those new fangled RPG systems I'd like to play with, it's Ubiquity. To my aging eyes and sensibilities, it seems like a much streamlined and simplified Savage Worlds. Not that I have anything agains Savage Worlds, as it does have some excellent setting books. It just seems to me that the rules are ore complicated than they need to be. Maybe it's more accurate to say they are more complicated than I need them to be.

I've been intrigued by the Ubiquity rules ever since I stumbled across Hollow Earth Expedition. Which of course makes Quantum Black even more intriguing to me.

So, what is Quantum Black?
The Quantum Black setting is a modern day action-horror roleplaying game in a world much like ours. However, hidden supernatural threats are growing. Evil cults, horrors from beyond space and time, and other monsters all rise to terrorize the world. Someone needs to stop them. 
Are you up to the Task?  
In the Quantum Black setting, you play an employee of Quantum Integrated Technologies. You are on a secret black ops team that is out to save the world from a rising tide of unimaginable horrors. Equipped with the best weapons, cutting edge electronics, and various drones you will board the company jet to track monsters down to save the day. You are prepared for anything–or at least you think you are.  
You can have hours of fun stopping monsters and still keep your sanity intact. 
Quantum Black is a story and action driven setting that is powered by the award winning rules of Exile Game Studio’s Ubiquity Roleplaying System. The contents are compatible with other Hollow Earth, Ubiquity-powered games.
Looks damn cool.

Then I look at the support levels, and I'm left scratching my head.

So, if the Quick Play doesn't unlock (and Quick Plays are usually free in PDF but not here) you spend $10 for no reason. I see why the option has no backers.

 $20 for a PDF with no stretch goals. That's steep in my opinion.

$35 for a PDF WITH stretch goals, which may or may not be met. Yeah, er - no.

$40 for the Soft Cover, PDF and stretch goals in PDF. So, print is only 5 bucks more? Oh, and Hard Cover is just 5 bucks more than that? Oops, make that 10 bucks more now, as $45 has sold out.

Then you notice there are 51 backers and just over $6,300 in backing - that's over $120 per backer

My math only accounts for $3,330 in backing - leaving $3,000 in unaccounted for funding. Not a good sign.

Damn me and my vetting!


White Star Regains #1 Spot at RPGNow - Talk About Long (Virtual) Shelf Life

+James Spahn 's White Star RPG has crawled back to the #1 Hottest Title over at RPGNow. It's been unseated a handful of times but always seems to reagins the spot. Green Ronin's Fantasy Age (I want to call this a generic fantasy version of Dragon Age, but I suspect that is a simplification) is the most recent title to bump White Star, only to lose the #1 position to the very product it bumped.

Which reminds me. I need to do some more White Star content.

Another product with long life on the hottest sellers list is the Creature Compendium by +Richard LeBlanc , which has been hanging on since early April.

Yeah, I like to point out the OSR picks ;)

Next up - some not to be missed RPG Kickstarters (see, I can do positive Kickstarter posts )

Monday, August 10, 2015

Onebookself Servers Hacked

I just had this forwarded to me:

Subject: Security Notice Affecting DriveThruRPG.com Customers

Dear customer,

I regret to inform you that one of our servers suffered a security breach which may have compromised your credit card information.

You are receiving this email because you made a purchase (or attempted to make a purchase) on our site using a credit card between July 6th, 2015 and the morning of August 6th, 2015. There is a 50% chance that hackers were able to collect your credit card information. We recommend that you contact your credit card issuing bank and ask them to replace any cards that you used for charges on our site, and also look over your most recent statements for any suspicious charges.

Our technical team has identified the issue and has secured our servers. Our websites are once again safe to use.

Information such as your name and email address were potentially compromised as well.

Login passwords are stored encrypted with a one-way hash and cannot be decrypted. You do not need to change your account password, but you are more than welcome to do so on your Account page at any time if you wish.

We are truly sorry this incident occurred and sincerely regret the inconvenience it causes you. Navigating credit card company call center menus is no one\'s idea of a good time.

Security has always been our top concern and up until this incident we were proud of our security record at DriveThruRPG.com. We will continue to do everything we can to keep our marketplace secure going forward.

More information on this is available on this page:

Kickstarter ISN'T as Bad as Some Make it Look - Balancing the Perception

As I sit at my desk brainstorming for the article I owe Old School Quarterly on the subject of RPG Kickstarters, it occurs to me that the perception of Kickstarters in our corner of the gaming universe is defined like much of the public's perception of law enforcement is defined - by a handful of bad apples in a very large bushel.

Failures, fuckovers, pyramid schemes and the like are relatively rare in the world of Kickstarter. The vast majority of successfully funded projects ship quality products. The +Kevin Crawford s (where you get the beta PDF the moment you back), +Joseph Bloch s, Melia Valors (PDF less than 3 weeks after completion), the Reapers, the Frog God Games, the Goodman Games, the Monte Cooks, +Pete Spahn s, +Peter Regan s, the Dwarven Forges, +Lloyd Metcalf s, The Steve Jackson Games, +Newt Newport s, +Lesser Gnome s, +michael mindes, the Troll Lord Games (edit more better damn you!) and many others wouldn't be producing the quality products they are if it weren't for Kickstarter.

The Gareths, Nysuls, Whitmans, Brave Halflings and a few other bad apples each define their failures uniquely. There is no singular path to failed success.

Here at The Tavern, I certainly do hold the bad projects and project creators feet in the fire if you will, as I don't want anyone getting burned by these folks in the future. The thing is, much of the future of our hobby is linked to Kickstarter whether we wish it to be or not. There are good, skilled, honest creators and companies that wouldn't be able to produce what the do - or produce it to the higher standards that they would like - without Kickstarter. Kickstarter shifts some of the risk of a project on the consumer and away from the producer (there's an article right there come to think of it.)

In any case, the articles for OSQ will need to find a balance of exposing the bad while highlighting the good. In retrospect, I think I need to find a bit more of the balance here at The Tavern.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Wayward Kickstarters - Myth & Magic Player's and Gamemaster's Guides - A Pair of Pink Elephants?

It's been a while since I posted about Tom and the Mythical Magical Mystery known as Myth & Magic. It's actually two Kickstarters - one for the Player's Guide (which i backed) and one for the Gamemaster's Guide (which i didn't back - so, no access to updates on that side.)

So, what's new? Here's part of the Feb 4th, 2015 update (hot on the heels of the April 2014 update.)

Now, I know the guys at NTRPG Con got one copy shipped to them just prior to the 2014 Con that June. The problem is they paid for four copies. As of June 2015 the rest of their copies still hadn't shown.

But hey, we know the copies exist, right? We have a picture of the book from March 4th, 2013 and I actually received my copy (after Tom posted my shipping info in the Kickstarter comments section - bad Tom, very bad) and it didn't come with the expected anthrax or cat piss. It's actually a nice looking book that's well laid and would probably be a fun clone to play if it didn't come with all of the attached drama.

Folks are still waiting on their copies over two years later.

Now, there's an interesting tidbit in the comments section of the Player's Guide referencing the latest update for the Gamemaster's Guide (where Tom couldn't find the time to make an update for nearly 15 months, but graced the backers with the latest news on July 16th of this year.)

So, you know those unsent copies of the Player's Guide? Looks like they don't exist. If cost is a factor, why are you rolling it all into one book if you have printed copies of the PG left to send to backers? It doesn't make sense. Well, unless your initial print run was just enough to shut folks up. Makes sense why backers of multiple copies just got one copy delivered - there literally weren't enough copies to go around. I guess my hardcover copy is a collector's item now ;)

BTW, you can grab a copy of the M&M Player's Guide for $9.99 in softcover at Lulu.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Wayward Kickstarter - Champions of Zed - Have you Seen this Creator? Last Seen on Kickstarter October 28, 2014

Yep. This was the last update for Champions of Zed. See that email? It's apparently dead now. One person in the comments section reported getting their copy. Everybody else? "Where's mine?"

Now, as Daniel states above he intended to have "them all sent by the holidays" and it doesn't state which holiday or year, I guess the idea is to keep the backers guessing.

Did I mention it's estimated ship date was August of 2012? Hey, at least we know Gareth, Mike and Ken might possibly come through on some level with physical rewards. Alright, maybe not Mike, but her get's points for admitting he fucked up. Daniel? Who the hell knows.

This could be another Myth & Magic fiasco assuming a percentage of copies start arriving to random mailboxes. Actually, another M&M update post should be around the corner.

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