Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dachshunds... In... Space!!! (Magnusson Does Sci-Fi Canines)

When I suggested to +Jim Magnusson that he do a sci-fi version of his humanoid dachshund hybrid, I never expected to actually see it, let alone so quickly.

I'm going to try and work on racial write ups for both Swords & Wizardry and White Star. Jim is simply an inspiration machine for me :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How Do Adventurers Track Time in a Dungeon?

I got to thinking about how time passes in a dungeon as my work hours changed - and changed again. Sleep cycles are strange things. I work overnights 5 days a week and am in bed by 7 am when I return from work, but the two nights that I don't work, my body wants to sleep like a "normal" person. This is with the help of clocks and alarms to keep track of time.

Just how well do adventurers keep track of time in a dungeon or the like? Perhaps by burning torches or lanterns, but that often get's replaced by the light of magic swords and such. How does the spell caster know he spent 8 hours resting and can now memorize new spells? I don't see the party bringing along a water clock just for the occasion ;)

I'm not saying these thoughts keep me awake at night, but they certainly make me think.

Monday, September 28, 2015

More Magnificent Magnusson - Canine Warrior - The Deucheragh

+Jim Magnusson is quite simply amazing. I've got the workup of a new race for Swords & Wizardry bouncing around my head now because of him. All because of the man's Patreon page (when he refers to "The King", that's me ;)

Jim, if you have any more in you, how about a sci-fi outfitted Deuchheragh? (hint hint)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

What Do You Get When You Cross a Dachshund with a Bugbear?

What do you get when you cross a Dachshund with a Bugbear? According to +Jim Magnusson , you get the following ;)

edit: (I back Jim's Paetreon and have influenced a number of Jim's releases - and I'm damn proud of it)

Surprisingly, Jim captured the essence of our Dachshund "Danke" perfectly. I know I've posted a few pics of her on G+, but I doubt Jim used them for reference. Yes, even Rachel approves.

I really like this pic (and the other one that Jim is releasing to his Patreon backers - I'll post that up soon.) One of my favorite things from Palladium Fantasy was the Wolfen. I'd love to do a Swords & Wizardry work up of a canine interpretation of such.

Where I Return to Podcasting - The Grievances Podcast

It's been a while since I've sat down and recorded a podcast. I've recorded them in the Poconos, I've recorded them on my commute home from work. Working the evening shift was the major hiccup. It really limited my ability to match up my hours with other hosts. Strangely enough, working the overnights has made podcasting workable again.

Roll For Initiative has a sub-podcast for supporters of the Wild Games Productions Patreon Program. So far there are two episodes in the bag hosted by +Vincent Florio and Sal ( +Ordo Monstrum ) and I should be coming on board with either the 3rd or 4th episode. I'm excited. Vince, Sal and I have an excellent chemistry and I am looking forward to working with them again.

So, what is The Grievances Podcast like?
Each show we take a topic and explore that topic from the DM’s point of view and air our the “grievances” about how we believe it should go down and what MOST DM’s think. 
Will it be a bitchfest? Sure 
Will it be funny? We think so. 
Don’t like it? We don’t care.
Yeah, it should be fun :)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mini Review - GM's Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing (System Neutral Edition)

Tables. It seems like everyone is publishing tables these days. 101 Names for the Tavern Keeper's Wife is probably on sale somewhere. I like tables but they need to be useful. GM's Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing (System Neutral Edition) is extremely useful, especially if you like to run sandboxes as a DM.

See the sample above? The full table is 100 entries. How many tables are there? Here's the Table of Contents:

That's a sandboxing DMs treasure trove of content. Hell, the Folks section alone is giving me about a half dozen hooks I'd like to use and that's from just a quick read.

There's lots of stuff to love here if you are on the improvising side of the gaming table.

Much of this has appeared previously in individual releases. GM's Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing (System Neutral Edition) is a compilation of those releases and some new content, but if you have the prior releases the added value might not be enough to justify the complied purchase.

GM's Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing (System Neutral Edition) is currently $8.39 in PDF.

Kickstarter - Small Dungeon Maps (Map Tiles for Your FtF Game)

I must say, even though I have absolutely no use for the product of the Small Dungeon Maps Kickstarter (I game via Roll20 these days, and moving virtual map pieces together is not my thing) the quality appears to be high and best of all - it's all print at home and play.

No shipping costs or delay.

Unlimited number of copies for the home user.

Extremely low buy in (first set is a mere 3 bucks)

If you use minis at home in your games this might just be for you.

It's already funded (it's goal was $90 Canadian) and is a low risk / high potential Kickstarter.

Heck, for 3 bucks (Canadian) I may just add to the tip jar myself.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Kickstarter - Mermaids VS Zombies (a visual novel rpg hybrid - err?)

13 year old me would be all over this. The mermaid pictured above, not the game itself. Or is it a novel. Mermaid's VS Zombies is something, but I'm not even sure the creator knows what it is.

Why do I say that? Because their goal, which has been reached, is only $250.

So, what is the game about:
Mermaids vs. Zombies is about the underwater apocalypse. In short it's essentially about you and your cousin princess Bubbles, trying to find a way to end the zombie apocalypse, that's infecting Mertopia. It's an rpg visual novel hybrid.  The visual novel portions are almost all completed, however the rpg elements have yet to be implemented due to a lack of budget. (this is a huge flag, because wouldn't the RPG elements be the story itself?) 
Right now the most of the budget raised here will go into three categories. (finding a way to spilt that $250 goal equitably should be interesting) Advertisement. Programming and the main one, the Art resources (wait, I thought the visual novel parts were almost completed).  Right now I'm hesitant to show any game footage due to the game not being fully polished (not confidence instilling) . Shall I get requests from backers I'd be more then happy to show off what we have so far, but the reason I have yet to do so independently is because it's not fully polished.
But wait, there's more:
The programming aspect I have mostly covered. However I would like to recruit at least two more programmers so I'm not as swamped with work as I have been. (and pay them with what? there is no budget to speak of even with this being funded) 
Lastly Advertisement: shall we make it over three hundred I will do my best to not only get this game on consoles, but also on platforms such as Steam. Steam alone cost's around 100$ for you to even be considered. (well, there goes the ability to even buy those two programers lunch) 
Budget aside I plan to have this game, be very diverse. With characters across the board in marginalized groups. Right now the game has a racially diverse cast, with one or two disabled characters, and lgbtqia+ characters as well. Princess Bubbles, and the player are both Black, Zib and Pilo are asian, Zib is agender and visualy impaired, and Billino is bisexual. The only one not in some sort of marginalized group is Jerins, and he's...kind of a joke as a character.  (The creator self identifies as transgender, so I understand where it is coming from, but the only "non marginalized" character is the comic relief?)

Then we have the Risks and Challenges section. I'm just going to opt for the screen shot and avoid commenting. It really speaks for itself.

Red Tide on Sale for $4.79 in PDF This Weekend Only

You know about +Kevin Crawford 's Red Tide I hope. It does for fantasy OSR sandbox play what Stars Without Number did for sci-fi OSR sandbox play. It's one of the resources that sits on my desk, waiting to be used at a moment's notice. 

It's on sale for this weekend at $4.79 in PDF.
In this book a Labyrinth Lord will find all that is required to run a sandbox game of adventure in the Sunset Isles. In addition to the races, classes, and sorcery of this savage land, a referee will find special tools and resources for creating shadowed courts of quarreling nobility, cities rife with struggle, wild border settlements that cry out for the help of heroes, and dark places in the earth known only to the dead and the damned. These tools will aid not only campaigns in the Sunset Isles, but also those games set in other lands of savage mystery and bloodstained blades. 
Expanding on the tag system found in the free Stars Without Number sci-fi role-playing game, Red Tide includes more than fifty new tags for fantasy cities and borderland settlements, along with more than 25 pages of GM resources including culture-specific name and place lists, unkeyed blank maps for quick sandbox use, four pages of room dressing and treasure possibilities, and a new "diagram dungeon" method of quick dungeon generation with a worked example.
And if you are looking for something that would work directly with Stars Without Number - Suns of Gold is a merchant sourcebook for Stars Without Number. Suns of Gold is also 40% off for the weekend, coming in at $5.99 in PDF.

Did I mention Stars Without Number is free?

Pocket Creatures - Simareans - Ghost Walkers (Swords & Wizardry / White Star)

Art by Sidney Sime - Public Domain
"They swarmed like locusts yet seemed t' have a "hive mind" like ants. With barely a sound they descended upon Kraven's Hamlet, devouring the living, leaving just gnawed upon bones.  We seen them only when the sun went down. Don't know where these "Ghost Walkers" came from. Some called them the undead, but they lacked the weaknesses of those foul creatures. No, these are the Un-Living, as our priest soon learned. He was the first of us to fall. I am not proud that I abandoned my companions, but I am alive. They, sadly, are not."   Rathman Breckt, Manipulator of the Magical and Mechanical Arts, sole survivor of The Gathering of Fools adventuring party.

Simerians, often referred to as Ghost Walkers, are a dangerous site to see. Much like locusts, they come from seemingly nowhere, descend upon a location, devour all they can and leave. They aren't a conquering force, nor one of destruction, as buildings and such are left more or less intact in their wake. If it weren't for the bones left behind, no one would be able to guess the fate of the prior inhabitants.

It appears that the Ghost Walkers have a 7 year cycle of inactivity, followed by a month or so of feeding, following by 7 more years of no signs, no nothing. Where they are between feeding cycles, no one know but it is assumed that they are either in some form of stasis or another dimension all together. No Ghost Walker has been found alone, in stasis or captured alive so it is all conjecture.

Ghost Walker swarms number from 50 to 500, with the usual number in the 100 to 150 range. Ghost Walker bodies rot quickly in sunlight and few dead specimens have been recovered to study. Apparently needing neither water nor air and immune to extreme temperatures, small swarms have been known to attach themselves to starships for interstellar travel.

Simareans / Ghost Walkers

ARMOR CLASS   4 [14]
ATTACKS   2 x 1d6 (Claws)
SAVING THROW 17 (immune to fire / cold attacks)
SPECIAL - Hypnotic eyes. Instead of attacking, may use eyes to stun opponent. Save or no actions for 1 round. Save every round after first round until successful to negate effect.
MOVEMENT - 15 Ground


(I'm hoping to get the first Pocket Creature Collection in PDF to Patreon Backers this weekend, with another following in 2 weeks or so. Print copies to the high end backers next weekend if all goes well. Slowly adjusting to my overnight tours ;)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Is That DCC on My Beer? Perhaps...

Tip of the hat to +Harley Stroh and props to +Jeff Sipko for the find and the pic.

Beer & The OSR. Those are my passions. It's rare that they intersect so perfectly, but Dragon Lady Doppelbock Beer from Rinkuskiai Brewery at first glance is that intersection. DCC RPG art on an imported doppelbock beer? I'm in heaven. Or I would be if it were a legal use of the art.

Yep, it appears Caldwell's art is being used without the artist's permission. This isn't some home brewer slapping labels on beer he's handing out to his friends. Nor is it some fan writer using a commercial RPG setting for her own stories.

Rinkuskiai is one of the top 5 breweries in Lithuania. Sure, that's like being one of the top five breweries in the NYC borough of Queens, but they are a legitimate company that's been brewing beer since the 1990s.

Using art without a license? That's something I wouldn't expect from a company located in the EU.

Aiko is the US Importer. I wonder if they would be responsible in the US for the unlicensed use of Caldwell's art. From what I can gather, the beer released two years ago. It looks like they've already gotten decent mileage from the art. Maybe they could just cut Caldwell a check and make it all legal.

Shame that this beer / OSR intersection isn't all it seemed at first glance.

Tavern Chat Tonight - 9PM to 11PM Eastern

Yes, I finally fixed the heading for the Tavern Chat app with the new day and times.

Will I be distracted by the Giants game in the background? If they play like the last two Sunday's I'll probably be all in the chat ;)

Come by and say hello.

Looking forward to seeing y'all there. Er, here. Whatever...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Going Down the Sidney Sime Rabbit Hole (Public Domain Art)

Strange how something can just grab you from behind and choke the shit out of you. Such it is with Sidney Sime's art.

I'm going to blame +Eric Diaz and his post over at the Methods & Madness blog which in turn links to the Monster Brains blog which led me to +Aeron Alfrey 's Flickr collection of Sidney Sime art.

Holy shit.

I've been in a creative "black hole" of sorts recently. My work hours have literally changed around the clock (overnight shift is the latest and I hope it sticks until retirement in March.) I owe pieces of creative work not just to readers of this blog but to others but the well has been dry this summer. I suspect the well is no longer going to be as dry as it was.

I'm not quite sure what is going on above, but I suspect the d30 Sandbox Companion will tell me - this just screams for use of the Cult Generation table.

There is so much going on in this piece the adventure nearly can write itself. Color me inspired. I may print a piece or three out to throw in my work bag and reference during downtime for creative productivity :)

RPGNow Deal of the Day - The Graveyard at Lus (White Star)

Looking for a high end hex crawl for your White Star campaign at bargain basement pricing? Act fast, because The Graveyard at Lus is the RPGNow Deal of the Day for the next 20 hours or so (I would have posted this earlier, but I was still sleeping.)

Normally $4.99 on PDF, The Graveyard at Lus is currently on sale for $2.99. Heck, the softcover is $9.99 with the PDF. That pricing is hard to beat.
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's come looking 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 rules for targeting/repairing specific systems
-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 creatures, 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.
-Worksheets and sample hexmaps at the rear of the book to help with generation of 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. This material will not be included in the core book, but as separate products. The first of these will be the release of all of the silhouettes 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. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Crawl Fanzine #11 is Here - Nautical Madness (DCC RPG)

Well, alright. Maybe not "Nautical Madness." Crawl #11 is certainly nautically themed. Alright, technically it's "The Seafaring Issue."

It's Crawl!, so you know it's gonna be quality. It's also fairly easy to port most of this issue over to other OSR rulesets, either directly or as inspiration. Very cool.

What's inside?
-Naval Warfare for Ocean Crawlers
-Nautical Mighty Deeds
-Fantastic Forms of Sea Ship Propulsion
-The Deep Elders - Deep sea servants of Dagon
-Life Aboard - Ship morale and on-board events
All that for $2.99

Kickstarter - Far West - Where Progress is Moving Backwards

Last December (in the year of delayed Kickstarters 2014 - we need to count years with Far West) Gareth started laying out Chapter XII. Yes, layout. As in, it was written and it was done.

He has still laying out Chapter XII in February of this year.

Today we were told he is now working on laying out Chapter IX

Just how long does it take to layout a book?

Just how many chapters are laid out? He's not going in order so it's impossible to tell. Is Chapter XII truly done?

This was from the August 25th update, The 4th Year of Far West, Year 2015 Common era

So, Chapter XII is NOT done...

Kickstarter - Hawk the Hunter (Hawk the Slayer sequel)

Hawk the Slayer sequel? Check!

Original actor that shot the bow like a machine gun has a role in the sequel? Check!

Original director is back? Checkity check check!

$4.5 million of $5 million needed already raised from sources other than Kickstarter? Oh my yes check!

Less than $25k of the $500k still needed raised on Kickstarter with 8 days to go? Errr... Uhmmm... Ah shit...

Hawk the Hunter. Hawk the I'll Still be Looking for that Final $500k.

I have fond memories of the original which surprisingly don't match my rematching of the original...

Monday, September 21, 2015

White Star Release - Star Gods Help Us (New Class / Race Combos)

The "Other Spahn" ( +Pete Spahn ) has officially stepped into the White Star universe with Small Niche Games release of Star Gods Help Us.

Now, while Pete describes Star Gods Help Us as "a lighthearted collection of new White Star classes for that one player who just has to be different. It contains twelve (12) quirky race/class combinations including giant cockroach junkers, spiritual mammoths, living oozes, malfunctioning lawbots, zombie crewmen, and other bizarre creatures that will leave you shaking your head." I see it in a slightly different light.

Quite simply it's 12 unique NPCs that a DM can pull out of his ass at a moments notice. These race / class combos have enough depth and individuality right out of the box that they simply ooze "sandbox" play.

Imagine throwing in a Gloop when the party needs some repairs to their ship:
Gloops are a race of intelligent purple oozes with a "face" that consists of white "googly eyes" and a wide mouth. A Gloop typically appears as a shifting blob that stands 4' tall, but can flatten itself out to a height of 6". A Gloop's overall mass weighs approximately 160- 300 pounds. A Gloop is capable of forming up to six pseudopods in order to wield weapons or manipulate small objects. A Gloop can move its "face" to any of these pseudopods in just one round. 
Gloops are asexual, but some adopt male or female traits and preferences in order to fit in with other races. Gloops are vegetarians that feed through osmosis. They love spicy plants, but these plants often give them gas. 
MECHANICAL UNDERSTANDING: Gloops have a natural understanding of all things technical and mechanical, and their ability to creep into narrow places makes them excellent mechanics. At the Referee's discretion, they may receive bonuses or increased chances of success when dealing with vehicles, starships, and other large machinery.  
Thats just a small piece of the Gloop's write up. Just think, there are eleven other race / class write ups included.

All that for $2.99. Simply a bargain for those looking to add some surprises to their White Star campaigns.

Only thing that annoys me is that I won't have the time to kick off my own White Star campaign for about six months. Ah well, six more months of source material releases to pick through before then ;)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Open Call for More Tavern Header Art - This is a Paid Gig

Now that The Tavern's blog header is rotating, what I'd like to do is ad more blog headers / banners to the rotation.


Quite simple actually - I want to be able to highlight and display art from the various artists in the OSR community, both professional and amateur. I REALLY like art, probably because I have no talent in that direction ;)

If you are looking to gan some visibility in the OSR as an artist there are few places more visible than Tenkar's Tavern. I'll be working on a page of links at The Tavern to showcase the various artists works.

What's the requirement? It needs to showcase a tavern of sorts. Fantasy, sci-fi, horror - you name it, but it needs the tavern theme. Thanks to the programing wizardry of+Tony Bravo the banner's width will resize. So long as the banner is wider that it s high, we should be okay.

Free submissions are welcome but if you are looking to get paid we'll negotiate. Artists are vastly underpaid in the realm of RPGs in my opinion and I'm happy to pay a fair price.

Send you inquiries and / or submissions to tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing.

Thanks in advance, your proprietor, Mr. Tenkar :)

Free DCC RPG Tournament Adventure from Goodman Games - Dungeon Crawl Classics RC2: Death by Nexus

I saw Dungeon Crawl Classics RC2: Death by Nexus highlighted at the Frugal GM blog last week and wanted to add to the bandwidth. It's a free tournament adventure from Goodman Games but I'm fairly sure it could be tweaked into a nice, lethal funnel with a little work. Just looking a the writers involved is a Who's Who in the DCC universe of creators.

Even if you don't use it as is the magic items at the end are simply inspirational for any OSR game.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Mounts - Where Do They Go When You Go in the Dungeon?

I had this thought last night after our party killed a half starved and recently unchained hippogryph (at least I THINK it was a hippogryph.) After toying with the idea of finding hippo eggs (nope) it occurred to me that mounts, especially the special ones, are mostly hand waved away when not in use (my personal experience going back to the early 80s)

Paladin's warhorse? Leave it at the dungeon entrance and he'll be there when you get back.

Flying mount? Let it graze or hunt until your return.

Regular horses? Occasionally missing upon the party's return, but for the most part their presence (or lack there of) is hand waved.

In many ways, mounts are like strict encumbrance rules - off screen and not thought of until they impact the adventure.

What's your experience with mounts? Integral elements or mostly off stage and an afterthought?

Talk Like a Pirate - Razor Coast Titles 50% Off Today Only

Damn. Never ending day of sales today. Good thing I already have everything thus far or I'd be going broke ;)

Frog God is offering all of their Razor Coast titles at 50% off, today only. Swords & Wizardry and Pathfinder flavors.

Use the coupon code: PIRATE-DAY

Alright, nap time before tonight's shift ;)

White Star 40% Off in PDF This Weekend Only!

Perhaps you live on the far side of the moon and missed the earlier release of White Star.

Or maybe you've been waiting for White Star to go on sale so you can see how well the OSR can cover Sci-fi gaming of differing tropes.

In any case, for one weekend only, White Star is 40% off in PDF. Yep, you can jump on the White Star bandwagon for a mere $5.99.

Do it. You players will thank you ;)

Venger (Kort'thalis Publishing) is Running a 50% Off Sale on PDFs This Weekend

If nothing else, +Venger Satanis puts out some beautiful products. The art may be a bit risque but it certainly is top notch.

This weekend Kort'thalis Publishing is running a 50% off sale on it's entire PDF catalogue (well, some releases are already free.)

Looking for some picks from the bunch? The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence (on sale for $6 in PDF) and Liberation of the Demon Slayer (on sale for $3.50.) Both are excellent (if disturbing) choices for some OSR gaming fun.

Note: POD versions are also reduced in price, just not 50%.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Wizards of the Coast Announces Closing of It Community Forums - Is There Anyone Left to Watch as the Light Gets Turned Off?

Wizards of the Coast recently announced the closing of their Community Forums. I haven't read their forums in years and rarely go to forums in general, but there are folks that just use forums for their gaming news and interactions with other gamers.

Even if, as WotC says, that the majority of the community conversation is taking place elsewhere, I suspect a sizable amount of it was happening on the company's forums. This is simply cost cutting, plain and simple, but I suspect part of the cost will be a loss of traffic to the WotC site.

Instead of trying to build a community, they'd rather cut it loose.

I know few if any of The Tavern's readers frequented the WotC forums, but it's still a shame to see them shut down.

When they should be looking to build up their loyal gaming community, they end it.

Technology in Gaming (Guest Poster Eric Hoffman)

Tonight we have a guest post from +Eric Hoffman - I remember getting my father to photocopy the old Goldenrod Character Sheets at his job.

Technology in Gaming

When I was a teenager, my gaming crowd always wanted to play games at a particular friends house more than any other.  Did he have a dedicated game room?  Lax parental oversight?  Unlocked liquor cabinet?  Attractive sisters?  No.  His dad had a photo copier in the basement.  It seems silly now in this day of fingertip technology but back then that was a BIG deal.  Even if you had a home computer (which not many people did at the time) only a few people had printers and there were no all-in-one machines.  To make copies you had to go to the library and pay for them.  With a home machine you could make copies of maps, character sheets, attack matrixes, anything you wanted right at the table.
Al Gore had barely invented the internet and the general public was largely unaware of it.  If you somehow had a modem, and knew how to use it, you had to actually pick up the telephone receiver and put it on the modem to dial up...something...

Today we have so much at our fingertips, including virtual gaming tables where you can connect with players anywhere in the world in a few keystrokes.  How do you use technology in your gaming today?

For me personally, 98% of my gaming is online.  I have been lucky enough to find a solid group of 30+ people that are awesome to game with.  Google Plus has been key to that, and if you aren't on it, you are missing out on an unbelievable OSR/DIY gaming scene.  The only limits to my gaming now are put in place by me (ok, my wife...).

State of The Tavern - Rotating Header Art, Designated Creation Time and More

Hit the refresh button on your browser. Hit it again. And Again. There are currently four pieces of artwork that are in the header rotation for the banner. Huge amount of gratitude and thanks goes to +Tony Bravo who spent hours last night making this a reality. Tony has an online adventure generator which deserves some attention - Basic & Expert RPG Generator. Give him some love.

Of course, a huge amount of thanks goes to the artists whose work is in the header rotation - +Scott Ackerman , +Far Away Land RPG (Dirk), +Jim Magnusson and of course +Eric Quigley . I'm always open to adding a new header into the rotation, so if you are interested, let me know.

The new work hours have been kicking my ass and have totally screwed my productivity on the creative front. Waiting the six months for life to return to normality simply isnt an option. Hell, I'm probably 3 to 4 weeks behind on reading emails, let alone answering them.

So, designating some creative time. Mondays and Tuesdays from 2 to 5 pm eastern and Fridays from 8 to 11 am (when I reset the clock for my weekend) that's in addition to the basic blogging time, so hopefully i can get back to making some White Star and Swords & Wizardry content (as well as getting that content into the hands of my Patreon backers.)

Remember, Tavern Chat is now THURSDAY NIGHTS from 9pm to 11pm Eastern

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tavern Chat Tonight at 9PM - I Nearly Slept Through It ;)

And here I thought I was handing the new work hours well. Slept from 730 am until 230 PM, went out for lunch and then napped from 530 PM until PM. Could have slept more too.

Tavern Chat tonight in 40 minutes!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

40% Off DungeonMorph Cards & System Neutral Ecology Creature Decks - Print & PDF

+Joe Wetzel is running a sale on some of his excellent offerings - both his DungeonMorph Cards and his System Neutral Ecology Creature Decks.

The links are below:

System Neutral Ecology Decks

DungeonMorph Cards (Dungeons & Caverns)

DungeonMorph Cards (Cities, Ruins & Villages)

Use the code “40cards” for 40% off

Looks like I'm getting Geomorph Cards ;)

Wayward Kickstarter - Far West - Someone Gets a Refund and History Gets Revised

The Red Hands of Justice

Far West released a "Backers Only" update yesterday. It is so full of excuses and misdirections I almost felt I was in an alternate reality.

Really. It was that bad.

After nearly four years of lies, misstatements and broken promises we now have revisionist history going on. Simply amazing. If it was set in a faux Western / Wuxia mash up we'd have the game written already.

Now, to point out the issues, I need to quote from the update.
As some of you are aware, I’ve issued a partial refund (from their original level, down to the digital-only level, to reflect that they’ve been receiving digital copies of the rewards (last we were told there's a few more chapters to be worked on))to a backer who filed a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General’s office. I wanted to talk about that in more detail. 
The sole reason I went ahead and did this, rather than defend myself under the original Kickstarter terms we had funded FAR WEST under (which clearly stated that demonstrating good-faith progress towards completion [wrong - here's the section in question - Project Creators agree to make a good faith attempt to fulfill each reward by its Estimated Delivery Date.] was an indication that I was fulfilling my obligations) (https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012) is simply because I did the math and realized that I could not afford to secure legal representation in Washington. It was cheaper to simply issue the refund. 
Since the backer in question went public with this news, though, I’ve had a handful of additional requests — and that’s what brings me to this update. I’m going to go ahead and talk about the stuff which I’ve previously refused to detail, preferring that it remain confidential. But maintain that confidentiality prevents you from understanding my situation, so I’m discarding it. Even so, I would please ask that the information in this backer-only update be kept between us. (sorry - no can do - misstatements of the truth must be addressed)
In 2013 (May 8th, 2013 was the announcement -  The FAR WEST Adventure Game core rulebook will be released this Summer, first to backers of the 2011 FAR WEST Kickstarter, and then to distribution world-wide. Additional releases in the FAR WEST game line will be announced soon), I signed a contract with the UK game company (Cubicle 7) I was working with, where they agreed to fund production beyond what I’d already paid for, and to distribute the game not only to you backers, but as a game line under their imprint. 
In 2014, as you all know, I fell very ill (but he told Cubicle 7 it would be ready for release in Summer of 2013 - mere months after signing the contract), and spent about half of the year in and out of the hospital. Confident in that contract, I paid my medical bills. However, during my recovery, the company cancelled our contract -- leaving me with almost no funds to continue, or to hire an attorney in the UK to take up the breach of contract issue. I was, as you can imagine, devastated by this news. (as I am sure Cubicle 7 was when each month they were told "it will be done at the end of next week")
wait - here's an update from 2 years ago:

Look at the amazing progress. We were what, 2 weeks from digital delivery in November 2013 and then this:

Two months later and only the first 5 chapters are ready. 20 months after the January 16, 2014 update and we still have a few chapters to go. Who breached what contract?
Now thankfully, in the year since, I have secured several private investors who have made the offer to fund the physical production -- although via this arrangement, I will make no money on the commercial sales of the core rulebook. (wait - didn't the Kickstarter for Far West raise nearly $50,000? Where did all that money go?) That's fine with me -- as long as you backers get what was promised, I have no problem with earning nothing for the core book. (again, you earned nearly $50,000 less payment and Kickstarter fees - you WERE paid and have returned with a project yet to be complete 4 years later) It is my hope that the supplemental releases will push the project into the black.
 Now, I’m going to get back to work. I’ve got to finish these last few chapters. 
Up is down and left is right. I backed this train wreck for 150 bucks. I'll never get value for my money so I may as well keep my readers informed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"d20 System" Sale at RPGNow - 15% Off Select Titles in PDF - OSR Included

I thought the "d20 License" was dead. Not the OGL, but the actual d20 License and graphic. I was under the impression it couldn't be used anymore. (did some further research - apparently it's alive but no sane publisher would use it these days.) Maybe OBS knows something I don't. Maybe WotC gave them the OK to use the graphic. The thing is, even if the titles are OGL, none of these are technically "d20 System."

Anyhow, +Joseph Bloch 's excellent Castle of The Mad Archmage is 15% off in PDF as are +Kevin Crawford 's various Sine Nomine releases such as Silent Legion, Red Tide and others. White Star is NOT included, even if it is part of the graphic. Strange. Maybe on a future weekend sale.

The main link for the sale is here.

The plan is that over the weekend (weekend being Thursday / Friday for me and my overnight hours) I'll try and pick some OSR diamonds out of the "d20 System" chaff ;)

Monday, September 14, 2015

ENWorld Article - Is the OSR Dead? (It Ain't Quite Dead Yet!)

An article went up on ENWorld earlier today titled "Is the OSR Dead?"

It's fairly long and the sources quoted aren't necessarily "authoritative" in my opinion (the Four Year Cycle attributed to Ken Hite for example is one I'd never heard of before and doesn't represent the experiences of myself or most of the gamers I know) but it does raise some interesting points. Read it in full at the link above.

The most interesting quote from the article in my opinion is below:
OSR-style games currently capture over 9 percent of the RPG market according to ENWorld's Hot Role-playing Games. If you consider the Fifth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons to be part of that movement, it's nearly 70 percent of the entire RPG market.  
The OSR has gone mainstream. If the OSR stands for Old School Renaissance, it seems the Renaissance is over: D&D, in all of its previous editions, is now how most of us play our role-playing.
As was pointed out in the comments section of the article, the numbers quoted are based on discussions at ENWorld, not actual sales. ENWorld has a higher % of D&D players than the hobby over all, as it is by it's history and nature primarily a D&D site. I think Paizo may disagree a bit with the market share assumed above. I also take issue with lumping 5e in with the OSR but maybe thats just me.

Now, if we look at Roll20's 1st Quarter usage numbers, we get the following:

See how 5e has more games but less players than Pathfinder? I suspect that's due to "New Game Excitement" effect.

AD&D / OD&D / OSR adds up to 16.49 % of players (obviously folks can vote for more than one game / category) - AD&D on it's own is over 11.5%. As for the share of games run, the numbers only add up to 3.19%.

Only in the RPG hobby would one consider success as death. Or dismiss something because another game borrowed from it. The OSR is less about the rules and more about the products you use those rules with. Until 5e goes OGL or some such, the OSR is where the real innovations will lie.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

RPGNow Deal of the Day - Mischievous Monsters (ACKS / OSR Adventure)

Forgive me if this post seems rushed - I leave for work in 30 minutes and nearly missed this altogether.

Mischievous Monsters is today's Deal of the Day at RPGNow. The OSR selections are infrequent and I'd hate to miss any. Glad I didn't miss this one. With writing by +Simon Forster and art by +Jim Magnusson I'd be kicking myself if I had.

$1.96 until tomorrow morning in PDF, $7.70 in Print + PDF.
Several leagues off the main road
is a portal to the realm of fairy; a
ring of standing stones resting in
a clearing surrounded by ancient
trees. Once a year, from the full
moon to the next full moon, this
portal opens and allows the
fairies to cross over, to wreck
havoc and cause mischief in the
mortal realm. 
This adventure pits the characters
against a group ofmischievous
fairies, who raid the inn the
characters (henceforth, the Party)
are staying at and steal the goods
of a wealthy trader. The trader
hires the Party to track the
thieves down and recover his
goods, and awards them
handsomely to do so. 

Some Random Thoughts on the OSR Going Off the RPGNow Grid

There has been some recent talk about starting a new online RPG distributor of PDFs and Print on Demand for the OSR to avoid the perceived threat of censorship by RPGNow on products that "push the edge."

Personally, I think competition is good. If RPGNow / OneBookShelf had any sort of true competition, the site itself would run faster with less down time, better site security and I suspect more responsive customer service.

The thing is, OBS is THE distributor of RPGs in digital and on demand services. There is little competition.

YourGamesNow is long gone. The d20pfsrd Store is a horror to navigate and doesn't have POD as far as I know. Paizo sells third party PDFs as a supplement to it's core business (and is more likely to censor than OBS ever will), Indie Press Revolution doesn't have the size and Lulu is even worse than d20pfsrd to navigate.

Building a competitor from scratch is cost prohibitive, especially if you are hoping for POD. Although the OSR certainly packs a punch far outside it's weight class, it is still just a small piece of a relatively small hobby.

You'd also be fighting RPGNow's market share and ability to cut into their own profits to undersell your price points on any new distribution service. In many ways, RPGNow is free advertisement for it's releases.

The DriveThruRPG site (the half of OBS that the OSR tends to ignore) does significantly more traffic than ENWorld. RPGNow trails ENWorld but it's fairly close. How do you compete with inertia like that as a start up?

You can't. Not without investing and losing money for years up front.

What you could do for little cost (but I suspect lots of man hours) is put together a central site that links to all the above, allowing shoppers to find the product no matter where it's hosted (and compare prices at the different online stores.) Use what is already out there instead of creating new. Use the marketing strength of all the available services to ensure that if a product is not carried at one source buyers can easily find it at other sources.

Eh, maybe my idea isn't as simple as it appears to me, but it has to be cheaper and easier and more effective than trying to compete directly.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

RAINN RPG Benefit Bundle (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

RPGNow is offering a huge bundle of RPGs to benefit RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

For 25 bucks, you get the following in PDF (there are also fiction {$15}and comic book {$25} bundles):

Friday, September 11, 2015

Some Thoughts on Dyson's Creative Commons Released Maps (Go Patreon!)

As I've mentioned before, the new work hours are putting some major hurt on my creativity. Sliding into bed at 645 in the morning (or later) just runs roughshod over any kind of real life scheduling.

Which means I'm looking for inspiration, and +Dyson Logos has inspiration in spades.

On the chance you don't already know, Dyson has a Patreon campaign where, if enough money is raised each month, the maps that he draws and posts on his blog are released for free to be used personally or commercially. Here's the link to the free maps. Heck, you don't even need to be a backer to benefit from this but the more backers the more maps potentially released into the gaming wilds.

Anyhow, here's two that I'm currently looking at to inspire some of those drowsy braincells...

I figure the above would make for a nice city to kick off a S&W campaign when I finally get back behind the screen next March.

This would be just the right size to kick off a dungeon, and the river might even lead the players elsewhere.

Plenty of time for me to work on this but the fact that i want to work on this is pleasantly surprising. I may be awaking the inner muse ;)
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