RPGNow

Monday, November 30, 2015

It Appears Ken Whitman's Old D20 Entertainment Website Has Gone Rogue

Priceless.

Here is the actually link:

http://d20entertainment.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Screen-Shot-2015-11-29-at-6.44.52-PM1.jpg


Gail Gygax Responds to the Community's Questions Regarding the Gygax Memorial Fund

Gail Gygax has responded to the questions posed by the gaming community and previously posted here at The Tavern.

I am posting her responses as screenshots below. You can read the questions asked at this previous Tavern post.



Sunday, November 29, 2015

Tavern Update - Christmas Time and All That Jazz

You can tell it's the holiday season. The days have gotten shorter, the air is crisp and folks at work are piling up on annual vacation - yep, it means overtime for me ;)

I'm hoping to get out the master list for OSR Christmas 2016 tomorrow. I was going to attempt it today, but stayed late this morning, head in early tonight and stay late at the end (tomorrow morning.) The list is huge and full of awesomeness and generosity. It's going to be lots of fun to watch this take off.

Yes, I'm still playing catch up as certain issues and events took priority at The Tavern and the community at large. Hopefully we'll have some answers about the state of the Gygax Memorial Fund by the end of the week. The questions posed by the community were well thought out and many are probably questions that need more that a sentence or two to answer.

Alright, time to get my shit together for tonight's shit...

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Kickstarter - RuneQuest: Classic Edition - RQ2 is BACK!



Sometimes what is old is new again. Sometimes old is simply better than new.

Much like with Dungeons & Dragons, there is a certain charm and simplicity to RuneQuest's earlier editions. RQ2 (Chaosium)is what I cut my RuneQuest teeth on back in the day even if technically RQ3 (Avalon Hill Edition) was my first encounter with RuneQuest.

Ducks! You have to have ducks!

In just over a day the Kickstarter to bring RuneQuest 2 back into print has raised over $65k. In just over a day. Holy shit. It's knocking over stretch goals like they're bowling pins (unless I'm the one bowling - I have a knack for gutter balls)

Pavis and Big Rubble might just see their first use by me in nearly 30 years this spring...


Friday, November 27, 2015

A Closer Look at the Gygax Memorial Fund - Some Questions for Gail Gygax



+Gail Gygax has kindly agreed to answer questions posed by the gaming community regarding the Gygax Memorial Fund. I've done my best to present those questions in a coherent manner. The questions are being presented to the gaming community via this blog post as I concurrently pass them on to Gail. I appreciate the time that Gail will need to set aside to answer these questions and look forward to the responses and the opportunity to present the community with an updated post with said answers.

-As of the end of 2013 there was $222k in the Gygax Memorial Trust Fund according to the Tax Filing. What is the current asset total of the Memorial Fund? How much more is needed before work on the memorial can commence?

-When will the 2013 and 2014 tax returns for the fund be linked on the Memorial Fund's website?

-How much was donated by WotC / Hasbro from their sales of the AD&D 1e reprints? What year(s) did the fund receive those monies?

-What, if any, legal expenses have been incurred by the fund?

-How much money has the Memorial Fund spent on things not directly related to the creation of the memorial (salaries, litigation, auto expenses, etc)?

-While 5 hours a week, as reported on the tax returns, may not seem like much, time, that is still 260 hours a year or 6.5 full work weeks. In that time per year, what HAS been accomplished versus what has not?

-How many bricks will be sold and at what cost to the buyer? What is the expected margin on the bricks that will go to the Memorial Fund?

-What is the hard-line number needed to make the memorial a reality and how far is the fund from achieving that number?

-The Gygax Memorial Fund is a 501 (c) (3) organization under Wisconsin Law. When was the last time the Board met? (it must meet at least once per year) Where can we view copies of the minutes of previous board meetings? (this is a public record) Yearly audits of the fund's expenses and income must be made. Again, these are public records. How can one obtain copies of these audits?

-Is this the actual listing of the current board members. I've been told by multiple sources that Jim Ward has never been informed that he is no longer on the board. Board members must be elected on a yearly basis. Who votes for the board members?


-Apparently Tim Hutchings had no idea he was the Memorial Fund's "Audio Visual Engineer" and hasn't been contacted by the fund in years. Ryan Browning says he didn't design the logo, just took the old shield and turned it into vector drawings. Is the page currently displaying those listed as affiliated with the fund accurate to the best of your knowledge? When was the last time this web page was updated?

-What is the current state of the project?

-Have you considered a more modest monument?

-Is there more planned than just the monument?

Again, I would like to thank Gail Gygax for agreeing to take the time to answer the community's questions regarding the Gygax Memorial Fund. If I may make an observation of my own, I think some of these questions would have been answered on the fund's website if it was updated more often (monthly perhaps?) Hopefully the fund's website will see more regular updates in the future.

Thanks again to all who submitted questions.

-Erik Tenkar











RPGNow Deal of the Day - Castle of the Mad Archmage



Today's RPGNow Deal of the Day is Castle of the Mad Archmage by +Joseph Bloch .The Adventure Book is on sale in PDF for a mere $4.97.

I ran this once a month for about a year before work threw it's ugly head into the gears of my gaming time. It was loads of fun. Watch out for the sloping halls ;)

The legendary megadungeon is here at last! 

More than thirteen levels and over 1,500 keyed encounters of perils, monsters, traps, and treasure to bedevil your players. Find levels of warring humanoids, the deadly Arena, ancient artifacts, lost temples, portals to other worlds, and the ultimate secret of the dungeons... the Mad Archmage himself.

Originally released as a free electronic book in serial format, the Castle of the Mad Archmage has been completely revised, expanded, and updated. It is a complete adventuring environment, from the surface ruins to the deepest caves and caverns. 

You and your players could literally spend years exploring the dungeons beneath the Castle and still not discover everything. It can accomodate characters from first to fifteenth experience level and beyond.

Castle of the Mad Archmage is written using the Adventures Dark and Deep™ rules, and is compatible with most Old School type rules with little or no conversion needed.

Note: You must also purchase the Map Book and the Illustration Book in order to run this adventure (due to a technical limitation of the site, you need to add each to your cart separately).

Frog God 40% Off Black Friday Sale (Print & PDF) and 50% off Lesser Gnome in PDF

I expect there will be a lot of posts going up among the gaming community of various Black Friday Sales.

This one is huge, as 40% off Frog God products may even make purchases affordable-ish for those on the other side of the pond (damn that shipping.) This is a one day sale

Lesser Gnome has put it's PDF releases at 50% or more off. Whisper & Venom for $5 in PDF isn't a bargain - it's a steal! These prices are in effect until Christmas, which is good as RPGNow is suffering from high traffic at the time I type this.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

OSR Release - The Golden Scroll of Justice (Chinese Themed OSR Supplement)



I am WAY behind on announcing recent OSR releases. I thought this week of vacation would lead to some catch up time, but "uncle duties" ran from 10 AM Sunday through 7 PM Tuesday. "Pinky" was awesome but this uncle is exhausted. It is now Thanksgiving, catch up commences NOW.

The Golden Scroll of Justice is an interesting release. Most Asian themed RPG supplements I've read or seen in the past seem to make a hodgepodge of various Asian cultures, histories and mythology and churn out something that is less than the sum of it's parts. +Joseph Bloch went the other way, bringing "your old-school RPG into a whole new world of wuxia/kung fu action based on Chinese mythology, history, and folklore."

Sticking to a single culture and making it true is probably the best thing your can do to make it come to life. The Pundit ( +Kasimir Urbanski ) did such with Arrows of Indra and his recent Dark Albion: The Rose War

Two things that never clicked with me as far as RPGs go have been superhero games and Asian settings. The Golden Scroll of Justice is temping enough to make me want to invest the time in it to see if it clicks.

From the blurb:

The Golden Scroll of Justice lets you bring your old-school RPG into a whole new world of wuxia/kung fu action based on Chinese mythology, history, and folklore. The book contains:

Two new PC races: the shanxiao (monkey-man) and gouren (dog-man)
Two new character classes: the wu and the fangshi, along with guidelines on how to use your existing classes in a mythic China setting
Hundreds of new spells
Rules for kung fu that fit seemlessly into the existing combat and skill system, but still allows for cool "cinematic" moves
New weapons and armor
New magic items
New monsters
And much more!
The rules are designed to be completely modular; take what you like, leave what you don't. Want fangshi and gouren but not the kung fu system? No problem. Everything will still work fine.

Note that this is not a complete game! This is a supplement intended for use with your existing old-school role-playing game

Tavern Update - Gobble Gobble!

Yep, it's Turkey Day here in the states. For some it is Ham day. If I had time before heading to my sis's I'd stop in the pub for a few and make it a Tavern Day ;)

It's been busy the past few days. Planning for the 12 Days of OSR Christmas. Gygaxian (not yet a trademarked) Drama. Catching up just never seemed to happen.

I plan to submit the list of questions regarding the Gygax Memorial Fund to Gail Gygax on Friday (tomorrow.) I'll post the questions here at The Tavern so you have access to the same list of questions Gail will be answering. When I have the answers I'll post them with their questions again here at The Tavern.

Gail is promising full transparency. Hopefully this will resolve questions folks have regarding the Gygax Memorial Fund.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Batman vs Darth Vader - Possibly the Best Fan Film I've Seen


Just watch it.

A Closer Look at the Gygax Memorial Fund - Looking for Questions to Ask Gail Gygax in Regards



Gail Gygax has taken an interest in my previous post (you can read her comments over at Facebook.) I told her I'd have questions to ask her about the Gygax Memorial Fund. She stated she's "looking forward" to the post in question.

So, I'm throwing a net far and wide in search of questions to ask Gail Gygax with the intention of posting / asking on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

Simple rule - the questions must pertain to the Gygax Memorial Fund. Questions about trademarks, family, Gygax magazine and TSR, Gary's old properties like Lejendary Adventures and Castles & Crusades work that he did and wasn't released and the like are for another day.

Keep your questions to the topic at hand - the Gygax Memorial Fund.

Alright - lets get 'er done!

A Closer Look at the Gygax Memorial Fund - Why Does it Seem to be Spinning Its Wheels?



With yesterday's news that Gail Gygax was asserting her rights to the Gygax name (and pushing the Gygax sons from the new TSR board) it got me thinking about the Gygax Memorial Fund. It's strange how Gail and her legal legal team can be so involved in protecting the Gygax name when it's used by family but there has been little if any recent movement on the side of the Gygax Memorial Fund.

What do I mean?

The Fund's website is rarely updated, so I went to Facebook. On the Fund's Facebook page, we have this update from nearly a year ago:


So, the sale of bricks is going to help fund the memorial. How many brinks? There has to be a low end number. It's nearly a year later. No footprint has been finalized?

Actually, this very article says there's going to be about 250 bricks. The maintenance fund requires $25k (as per the linked article). Do the math at home...

The following is from November 6th, 2013. Its from the Lake Geneva Board of Parks Commissioners Minutes.


and from December 4th, 2014



Gail's been talking bricks for 2 years now. The footprint is 10x10. Sure, some space is going to be covered by the base of the statue but how many bricks does she expect to sell?  How much is the statue? (actually, in the above article Gail estimates the statue / memorial at $250k)

Holy shit! $250k for the piece pictured above? Someone is getting robbed. I guess those bricks will need to be priced using "new math."

How much money does the fund currently have? Damned if I know. The last tax return posted on the Fund's website is for 2012 and it lists $129,162 in net assets. $123,196 was raised in 2012 alone, which means it carried over less than $6k from 2011. Why the huge bump in funds? Safe to assume it's from the sale of the AD&D 1e reprints by WotC. No, wait, that can't be right. The reprints went on sale in 2013 so that huge shot in the arm was from elsewhere. The fund must be sitting in mountains of money after WotC donated a portion of the proceeds from the sales of the reprints.

In 2012 Gen Con had a Gygax Memorial Fund Auction. That must be where the 2012 donations came from, right?


Nope, just a drop in the bucket.

Anyhow, why no posted tax returns for 2013 and 2014?

Laziness? Perhaps. There doesn't seem to be much effort to get eyes on the Gygax Memorial Fund website. The last update on the website appears to be from June 12th of this year.

Incompetence? Not likely. Certainly not if the same legal team is helping with the fund that is steering Gail's iron grip on the Gygax legacy.

Something else? Perhaps. Earlier this morning I sent the Gygax Memorial Fund a request for the Tax Documents related to 2013 and 2014. Those tax returns are supposed to be available to the public.


See, if 2013 and 2014 were posted on the Fund's website, I wouldn't have to make such a request.

I'll post more as I dig more. At the moment I can't figure out why the sale of bricks hasn't happened yet. If and when I get the tax returns I'll post that info also.

Earlier article from April 10th, 2014 for those interested:




Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gygax Magazine All Out of Gygaxes - Ernie and Luke Leave to Settle Suit with Gail Gygax



Remember how the new TSR arose out of the ashes of... well, nothing really. It was just three letters and it was grabbed for nostalgia purposes.

Same as Gygax Magazine - named and laid out to evoke nostalgia of Dragon Magazine in the mid 80s but not aimed at the D&D player, old or new. Instead, it's a shotgun aimed at pretty much all RPGs. Which means it's value to the old school gamer is fairly lacking.

Well, it seems that Gail Gygax had a lawsuit against the new TSR for using the Gygax name (I wouldnt be surprised if trade dress was also an issue.) The suit is now settled. TSR has non-exclusive rights to use the name Gygax and in the process Luke and Ernie Gygax have left the new TSR. That leaves Tim Kask as the only true heir to the Gygax legacy at TSR.

You can read the article over at ENWorld, as Gail sent the notice to +Russ Morrissey

In the end, I doubt this will have much of an effect on the viability of Gygax Magazine. The content is too scattered to appeal to many and I suspect the initial excitement of Dragon nostalgia has worn off for the grognards. A friend just predicted Gygax won't make it past issue #10. Even if it does, I doubt few will notice.

Now, any updates on the Gygax Memorial, or has that become a forgotten project?

New Podcast Coming to the OSR...



No, not the solo Tavern Chat OSR News one that I'm working on.

This one is different.

But possibly familiar, and least in chatter if not topic.

We may just bring the old party back together.

Which party is that?

Can't tell you just yet ;)

I can say I will be the host on occasions, not just a cohost.

Did I just scare you?

Stay tuned for further announcements...


Monday, November 23, 2015

Holy Crap! - DC's Legends of Tomorrow (Justice League?) Coming to the CW in January


Who needs to read comics these days? The best of the superhero genre is on TV or at the movies.

This looks pretty damn good.


Kickstarter - The Lost Lands: The Blight - Richard Pett's Crooked City (Frog God Games)



You know how The Lost Lands: Borderland Provinces Kickstarter was billed as Frog God at an affordable price?

Forget all that. It's done and over.

The Lost Lands: The Blight - Richard Pett's Crooked City is clocking in at 900 pages (I believe that is the Pathfinder version page count, Swords & Wizardry should be a bit shorter)

Yep, you know that is going to cost.

$50 for the PDF, $135 for Print plus PDF.

It's also a long ticking Kickstarter with 55 days left on the clock as I type this.

A friend of mine termed The Blight as "Planescape meets Ravenloft"

Just don't drop it, you may break a foot.

From the blurb:

What exactly is The Blight, you ask? The Blight is a lot of different things to a lot of people. At its most basic level, it is the next portion of the Lost Lands campaign setting to be revealed by Frog God Games, a darkly medieval, urban horror setting that crouches on the western coast of Akados far from the other lands revealed in the Lost Lands so far--an ugly, misshapen twin who glares across the continent at its sibling on the opposite side with envy and hatred in its eyes...and not a little bit of madness. 
The Blight is a Campaign Setting and Adventure Path for Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry 
The Blight is a mega-campaign book and adventure path along the lines of Frog God Games releases like Sword of Air, The Slumbering Tsar Saga, The Northlands Saga Complete, and Cults of the Sundered Kingdoms. And like those books it includes both a vast compendium of gazetteer information about the area it covers as well as adventure, adventure, adventure!! Clocking in at over 550,000 words, The Blight is also the single-largest print product ever produced by Frog God Games...surpassing even the might of the The Slumbering Tsar Saga in its magnitude. Though it has not been through layout yet, so that a page count is an estimate at best, we anticipate that this book will be at or around 900 pages in length. 
The Blight is two books in one with the first half devoted to a campaign guide with a complete history, timeline, and overview of the city as well as new classes, players options*, and races, along with a detailed gazetteer of each of the city's 13 districts. The last half comprises the adventure path, Levee, a campaign set within the rotten and degenerate urban confines of the city, where the PCs must scratch and claw their way to survival starting at 1st level and continuing through 9 adventures -- each one highlighting a different city district -- all the way to 10th level and above. The book also includes a player-friendly, full-color poster map of the city to enhance everyone's enjoyment of the place. 
*No new classes for the Swords & Wizardry version: Matt said "no." 
As is the Frog God Games norm, the book will be produced in both Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Swords & Wizardry versions. However, departing from the FGG standard for the Pathfinder version, the adventure path uses the Slow Advancement Track for experience points allowing the GM to create a slow build among the horror and urban sprawl of the city with no easy means of escape for the players through high-level spells or mere virtue of skill at arms. The book itself also supports Medium Advancement Track play, as do the ancillary adventure products mentioned below, but we wanted to provide this unique opportunity for players and GMs alike to really have the chance to stew amid the filth and stench of an urban nightmare like The Blight, where escape is never as easy as it sounds. 
Oh, and one more thing, The Blight is dark...so very dark. A landscape of desperation and depravity, The Blight takes the usual no-holds-barred gritty adventure style of Frog God Games and cranks it up another notch. The Blight does not violate the restrictions of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility License and never abandons good taste, but it is gruesome and it does not paint a rosy picture. Not everything is black and white (the players frequently encountering ever darker shades of gray), the good guys may not always win (the good guys may not always be evident), and there are no guarantees of a happy ending. In the Blight, sometimes survival alone with mind and body intact (or mostly intact) is reward enough. Though don't be fooled, opportunities for heroics and great reward abound; there's just not always a simple and clear path laid at the feet of the players to choose from. Consequently the materials of The Blight may not be suitable for some audiences below the age of 13. Forewarned is forearmed, and we always advocate that game products be purchased wisely and age-appropriately.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

"12 Days of OSR Christmas 2016" Recruitment of Gifters (and some changes from last year)


Alright, we are now officially in The Week of Thanksgiving (US) which means the annual 12 Days of OSR Christmas will be sneaking up before you know it. For those that are gifting and those that are hoping to score a gift or two, things are being changed up ever so slightly.

Where possible, if the gifter has a blog, website or forum that allows comments, the actual "gifting" will take place at the gifter's site. Here's what I mean:

  • OSR John Smith, and OSR publisher, wants to donate 1 print copy and 2 PDF copies of his latest release, OSR Beasts & Bellies
  • OSR John Smith lets me know what he wants to donate, either as a comment on this post and / or as an email to tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom
  • I'll compile at list of gifters and the gifts they want to gift and work out a schedule for the gift posts
  • Gifts and their respective gifters will be posted here at The Tavern and those hoping to score a gift will be directed to the gifter's blog, website or forum to make their comments there
  • Closing date and time for comments will be announced at The Tavern and the gifter's website
  • This should help generate some traffic for the gifter's website and get some fresh eyes on different sites
  • The current gift giving site / sites will be listed in the sidebar on the right side of this page
  • It should also keep me a bit saner with my current work hours. Hell, it will keep me saner no matter what my work hours might be ;)
  • Gift receivers would be announced at The Tavern and at the gifting site. The gifting site would be responsible for awarding their prizes
  • Some days may have more that one gift giver
I plan on gifting some RPGNow gift certificates and a small amount of print items (print will be US only as shipping outside the states probably costs more than the gifts.  Physical gifts will include an 8 GB Remix Mini as well as a slightly water damaged in transit Swords & Wizardry White Box Hard Cover.

Hoping to Kick things off next week :)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Noble Knight Does Something Amazingly Classy - And Gives Ken Whitman a Big "Fuck You!" at the Same Time

There is class and then there is Noble Knight. I need to make some more purchases at their website this week to thank them.

Also a huge "thank you" to all those that have raised their voices to point out the low life piece of scum Ken Whitman is (allegedly ;)


AltspaceVR - A Virtual Reality Virtual Table Top Licensed for D&D 5e - You Can WTF AFTER Watching the Videos ;)


Alright, I saw a short article on this over at ENWorld. My reaction to the promo video linked there was literally "WTF?"

So I moved on to the company's actual website at AltVR.com It appears that this is an actually licensed "something" for Dungeon & Dragons 5e.


I'm head scratching at the moment. How this is more like playing at a "real" table instead of using Roll20 or the like is beyond me. I guess we need virtual avatars to more virtual pieces.

Layers upon layers of virtual reality...




Kickstarter - Car Wars Drives up a Month Early


The Car Wars Arenas Kickstarter arrived earlier this week. I would have posted it earlier, but more pressing current news and events took precedence. I am to play so catch up today ;)

Estimated delivery date? December 2015.

Well done.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Wandering Wizard Lives! (Mike Nystul has a Good Sense of Humor)


Tonight I received my immensely huge and over stuff Death & Taxes Boxed Set (more on that later.) Inside the shipping box was the above.

Now, the wait for the Infinite Dungeon Kickstarter to complete might be infinite itself, but this is just damn cool. I tip my hat to Mike Nystul or to whoever forged this for him :)

Thank you +Zach Glazar . A better gnome would be hard to find. Even a lesser one ;)

White Box Thoughts - How to do Subclasses Without Doing Subclasses - Kinda Sorta...

Today kicks off a week of vacation (well, after waking at noon yesterday I was kinda on vacation, but I had "uncle duty" so not sure it counts ;) and my mind has already turned heavily in the direction of all things gaming.

I laid in bed last night thinking of Swords & Wizardry White Box and how easy it is to house rule. That simplicity is also a trap, as you can house rule things to be way more complicated than White Box needs.

I want barbarians, paladins, rangers and "expert treasure finders" in my campaign (and maybe various types of clerics and magic-users) but I don't want the class bloat. So, this is what I'm toying with.

- Let's take Fighters. At 2nd level, a fighter has to make a choice. They choose a path for lack of a better phrase:

  • Most fighters in the campaign (at least NPCs) would choose the Path of the Warrior. Warriors would receive + 1 and + 1 damage with a single chosen weapon type - ex. long sword, short sword, battle axe, long bow, etc)
  • Some fighters would choose the Path of the Barbarian. Barbarians would get to enrage once per day for 5 rounds and receive + 2 hit and + 2 damage with any hand held or thrown weapons when enraged.
  • Others may choose the Path of the Ranger. They would get + 1 to hit against ogres, orcs, goblins and kobolds (certain campaigns may add or subtract to this list.) They would also track outdoors on a 4 in 6 chance and indoors on a 2 in 6 chance (dwarven rangers would reverse those numbers.)
  • The Path of the Paladin requires a "just cause" to follow. Laying of Hands would heal for up to 2 HP per level per day, distributed as the Paladin wishes. He could heal 2 wounded companions for 1 HP each after a battle or 1 companion for 2 points. Or heal 1 companion for 1 HP and save the other point for later in the day.
  • The Path of the Expert Treasure Hunter requires a choice of specialization of sorts. Lock Expert or Trap Expert. Expertise gives a 4 in 6 chance of success with normal locks and traps. The non-chosen specialization would have a 2 in 6 chance. Most locks and traps would be of normal difficulty, but some may be simple or more difficult and as such would adjust the chance of success up or down by 1 in 6)
I'm happy to take feedback, criticisms and such. I believe the above is broadly balanced but what the heck do I know?




Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ken Whitman - 25K In Debt by his Own Account - "I'll Gladly Refund You - In Six More Months"


Thanks to my anonymous source who who forwarded me this email chain. There were four previous email requests for a refund dating back to April 3 that went unanswered.

I think the above speaks for itself...

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 930 PM Eastern

Yep. Another week, another Tavern Chat.

We've had a few sizable releases in the OSR in the last week so there should be plenty to discuss.

I am on "Uncle Duty", so I may be a few minutes late ;)

Now to work on yet ANOTHER Ken Whitman post...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Free OSR Adventure - Vault of the Faceless Giants (New Big Dragon Games)


Vault of the Faceless Giants is +Richard LeBlanc 's (New Big Dragon Games) free release for use with their Basic Psionics Handbook, which is itself a supplement to Labyrinth Lord (but usable with just about any classic / OSR ruleset with minimal work.)

Vault of the Faceless Giants isn't in it's final state, therefore it's considered a "beta" and is currently free. If you grab it when it's free, you'll get all the updates to the file, even the final ones. So, the "free" part is time limited. Grab it while you can ;)

Although designed for use with the Basic Psionics Handbook, it can be used without with minor modifications. Vault of the Faceless Giants is a solid, low level adventure.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

More Ken Whitless / Ken Whitman / Whit Whitman Dishonesty - Unloads Undelivered Kickstarter Stock at Noble Knight While Backers Still Wait for Thiers


The man who has put the "thief" back in the "rogue" class, Ken Whitman / Whitless / Whit Whitman (he has many names) has outdone himself again.

The books that the backers of the KotDT Live Action Series have been waiting for forever (it's in the mail - right, Ken?) have been found - at Noble Knight. Backers aren't getting theirs, but you can get your own copy at Noble Knight.


Way to go Ken!

So, how that movie career going for ya?

edit: I have it on good authority that Noble Knight had no idea and they are sending the books back to Ken

Monday, November 16, 2015

Swords of the Petal Throne - Kevin Crawford Does Tekumel


+Kevin Crawford , he of Stars Without Number fame and many other OSR releases, has thrown down the gauntlet and has produced an OSR ruleset for Tekumel, aka Empire of the Petal Throne.

Yes, that Tekumel.

While the current release is just a beta and not official, Kevin would like to see a free 128 page PDF release that includes his trademark adventure generator system. It might come to pass, too:


You can grab the Swords of the Petal Throne beta here.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Kickstarter Update - The Lost Lands: Borderland Provinces - Less Than 10 Hours Left (Frog God Games)



The Lost Lands: Borderland Provinces Kickstarter has been picking up speed in it's final days and now it's in it's final hours. I posted about it earlier here and I'm not going to go into full details a second time, but Frog God is putting out a campaign setting for their adventures and you can get in for as little as $35 in print for the campaign OR adventure book, $70 if you want both. It comes in Pathfinder, 5e and Swords & Wizardry flavors.

It's hit a number of stretch goals. I'm just going to highlight the ones that add more content.

$46,000 Walls of Broch Tarna: Free short-story fiction, set in the Borderlands. “The Walls of Broch Tarna” by Nathan Shank.

$48,000 Alternative Wilderness Tables (Basic tables): Region-Level Wilderness Encounter Tables as further described below.

$50,000 Stretch Goal #3:   Perilous Places #1. Specific encounter tables for those foolhardy enough to venture into the Forest of Hope or (even worse) the Creeping Mire in Keston Province.

$52,000 Stretch Goal #4:  Gods of the Borderland Provinces (Basic)! Pages added to the book, describing the most prominent of the region's deities. 

$54,000 Stretch Goal #6: Perilous Places #2: Specific encounter tables for the Lorremach Highhills, the Wilderland Hills, and the Duskmoon Hills. 

$56,000 Stretch Goal #8: Archeillus. The basic form of the deities appendix will contain the descriptions of Thyr, Freya, Muir, and Belon the Wise. If we unlock this stretch goal, the less-known god Archeillus is added to the appendix of Borderland deities.

$57,000 Stretch Goal #9: Yenomesh. Yenomesh is the god of glyphs and writing, and appears to be responsible for a miracle that happened in one of the towns of Suilley. He’s a good patron for wizards.

$59,000 Stretch Goal #11: Perilous Places #3. Specific encounter tables for the Forlorn Mountains, the Kal’Iugus Mountains, the Meridian Range, the Rampart Mountains, and the eerie peaks of the Cretians.

$60,000 Stretch Goal #12: Telophus. Telophus is a very commonly worshipped deity among the peasantry, a god of farming and grain. His church is becoming more active in the face of the oppression of farmers in some parts of the Borderlands, and would be an excellent patron for clerics who like to go around rescuing settlements on the edge of the wilderness. 

$62,000 Stretch Goal #13: Free adventure PDF “Vindication.” If we hit this stretch goal, we will give a free pdf of the Borderland Provinces d20 adventure Vindication to all backers. Vindication is not converted from the original d20 format, so it would require a bit of work to use it directly, but it provides tons of information about the Lorremach Highhills. It’s a very useful resource.

The Kickstarter just passed the $62 k threshold. The following stretch goals are due up next:

$63,000 Stretch Goal #14: Kamien and Dre’uain the Lame. Kamien is a goddess of the rivers, and Dre’uain the Lame is a god of industry and hard work, and his church in Keston is dedicated to re-settling the wild, depopulated lands ruined by the chaos of the Wilderland Clan Wars that took place 10 years ago. If we hit this stretch goal, Greg will do the research and writing to add details about Kamien and Dre’uain the Lame into the appendix of deities. LOCKED

$64,000 Stretch Goal #15: Spire of Iron and Crystal (paid). This module has already been published for Fifth Edition in its “Director’s Cut” format, in Quests of Doom 2. If we hit this stretch goal, we will publish the pdf of the Director’s Cut for Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry, and sell it as a $5 add-on to the Backer Kit. LOCKED

$66,000 Stretch Goal #16: free PDF of Bard’s Gate. If we hit this stretch goal, we will give a free pdf of the Bard’s Gate d20 version to all backers. This is a very large book; it is not converted from the original d20 format, so it would require a bit of work to use it directly, but it provides tons of information about one of the key cities of the campaign area. The influence of Bard’s Gate is extremely strong in the northern and western parts of the Borderland Provinces. LOCKED

$68,000 Stretch Goal #17: free PDF of Durbenford. If we hit this stretch goal, we will give a free pdf of the Borderland Provinces d20 adventure Trouble in Durbenford to all backers. This is a very large book; it is not converted from the original d20 format, so it would require a bit of work to use it directly, but it provides tons of information about the regions just to the west of the map of the Provinces. Like Vindication (Stretch Goal 13), it’s a very useful resource with many pages of Borderland goodness. LOCKED

$71,000 Stretch Goal #18: free PDF of Spire of Iron and Crystal. If we hit this stretch goal, we will give away the Fifth Edition, Pathfinder, and Swords & Wizardry PDF of Spire of Iron and Crystal to all backers. LOCKED

Lots of good stuff added already and some very attractive free PDFs potentially to be added in the next few hours.

If you haven't checked out The Lost Lands: Borderland Provinces Kickstarter, your time is running out. Frog God does some extremely high quality releases and this looks to be up there with their previous ones.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Newfound Appreciation for Swords & Wizardry White Box (from a hardcore S&W Complete Gamer)



My love of all things Swords & Wizardry is pretty well known, but until recently that affection was directed mostly at the Complete version (Core is fine, but if you are going to go Core you might just as well go Complete INHO.)

Now, White Star builds off of S&W White Box in an exceptional manner. I am drawn to S&W Complete because it comes damn close to emulating AD&D 1e as we played it - without all of the fiddly bits but White Star opened my eyes to the idea that even further simplicity opens up way more options. More options for the DM, more options for the players, more options for the campaign. Sometimes less is more.

When I decided I was interested in developing a DragonsStar / Spelljammer inspired setting for Swords & Wizardry, I knew White Star was going to be an integral part of that. So, I went deep into my collection and pulled out my beat up copy of S&W White Box in softcover (leaving the S&W White Box boxed set safely on it's display shelf - that shit aint cheap.) Yep, +James Spahn knew what he was doing when he reached for the White Box edition of S&W.

You can download S&W White Box for free at +Matt Finch 's website - SwordsAndWizardry.com

Not only is it in PDF format but there is also an MS Word Doc version that you can houserule to your heart's content.

If print is your desire, Lulu has Swords & Wizardry White Box in both hardcover and softcover flavors.

Alright, need to get ready for work. Downloaded S&W White Box to my phone for yet another reread tonight.


Kickstarter - Gemstone Dice: Holiday Edition! RPG Polyhedral and d6 Sets (Dice, Dice, Baby!)



What is it with dice and Kickstarter recently? There seems to be more dice Kickstarters running at the same time than Ic remember happening before. I'm not complaining, just noticing.

Gemstone Dice: Holiday Edition! RPG Polyhedral and d6 Sets is a Kickstarter running to fund gemstone dice. No, not diamonds and rubies, but semi-precious gemstones.

It's actually kinda cool.

Rach is tempted to ask for the snow quartz as a gift if the stretch goal is met. Of course, they do not guarantee the dice before Christmas, so "Holiday Edition" is a bit of a misnomer. Unless your gifting holiday is Presidents Day that is.

Me? The prices seem high, but what do I know? Maybe I need some gems in my dice bag...

Friday, November 13, 2015

How Important are Nations / States / Kingdoms in You Campaigns?

I had some thoughts earlier today (later today my thoughts were all distracted.) Just how important are Nations / States / Kingdoms in your campaigns? Do borders matter? Do customs change from one location to another? Does currency source matter (is foreign currency treated as legal currency?)

I find in my campaigns that I like the idea of various nations but when the campaign kicks off, that all fades to the background.

What happens in your campaigns?

Kickstarter - Crosswell: Junction To Adventure (Generic Urban Sourcebook)


Do you remember the the old CityBooks from Flying Buffalo? I do, although I only had the first back in the day (just rectified at the FBI website) I remember they were highly thought of but the players in my group that had them.

Crosswell: Junction to Adventure is inspired by those books.

It very well be hit or miss, but there are still a handful of early backer slots for the PDF available at 4 bucks - at 4 bucks how can you go wrong?

I hope it's quality and inspires a whole line of releases. Time will tell.
Crosswell: Junction to Adventure is for use with any role-playing system. While designed with a fantasy flare, with a bit of tinkering the establishments presented here can be used for any role-playing game setting--futuristic, post-apocalyptic, etc. Since Crosswell is a generic role-playing aid, no game system-specific statistics are provided for non-player characters or situations. General descriptive terms are provided to aid game masters in determining how to best fit the provided material into their own game. 
edit: Free Preview of Crosswell at RPGNow. It covers the Ten Hearth Inn. I'm partial to Inn and Taverns myself ;)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Tavern Chat Tonight - 9PM Eastern

Another week has passed.

Which means time for another Tavern Chat :)

Drop in and hang out.

Tonight's topics are... whatever you want ;)

Two RPG Dice Kickstarters - One Great to Touch, One Hard on the Eyes - 3d Printers involved in Both

Two Kickstarters, One Post. It's a first ;)

Let's kick things off with the good stuff.



Braille RPG Dice.

Brilliant idea. Not sure if anyone thought of it earlier, but they should have. I'm backing this not because I need braille RPG dice, but because the world needs braille RPG dice.

Now, for the ugly.

The Dragon's Hoard - 3d printed RPG Dice, Campaigns & More!


They remind me vaguely of the "soap dice" I got with my Gamma World Boxed set. I think I see a dragon on the green die. No way this shit is even close to balanced, but as it's virtually unreadable, I suspect they wont be rolled much.

Don't watch the video. If you do, don't draw the conclusions I did. I watched Drugs Inc last night...

Dragon White Setting - Initial Bullet Points

Art by Stom Cook
I really like +James Mishler 's idea of multiple spheres aligned with different colored dragons, but I need a way to keep the initial number of spheres in play limited, thus the closed gates.

Anyhow, here's the initial bullet points if you will. No idea if it will survive the week, or at least, which parts will survive the week ;)

Dragon White

  • decayed and broken empire - ruled by dragons over multiple worlds - dragonkin are their face to other races
- dragonkin - humanoids with dragon blood - magically created race
- White Box Elf Variant as base model
- can drain spells from memory to power dragonships planar gates.
     -     inner stellar travel uses ships with sails that catch the solar winds
  • inter stellar travel uses planar gates - gates are paired - all gates pair with the Dragon White System - gates directly linking other systems have not been found - ex no direct link between Dragon Green and Dragon Red - think Babylon 5 for travel via gates
- dragonships have their own planar gates that can pair with any stable gate - need power and skilled navigator - rare - single digits in number
- planar gates have just recently reopened after a millennium of closure - no one is sure  
 why they have opened, or those that know aren’t talking
     - the systems / spheres are:
Dragon White - central - numerous races - a handful of inhabited moons -                
                       fragmented governments that can trace their lineage to the empire of old
Dragon Green - elf dominated - isolationist - slowly dying
Dragon Red - orcish empire - expansionist - it’s moon is a dwarven fortress
ever in resistance
     - each system / sphere is one (inhabited) planet with one or more inhabited moons
     - there are other systems / spheres - the gates have yet to be activated
     - pirates / privateers / tax officials know where the active gates are - small towns have
           sprunt up around these gates - built like endless piers with buildings / taverns /

merchants and the like - mostly lawless

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

OSR Bundle of Holding +3 - Time to Add to my reading Backlog

If it weren't for +James Raggi sending out an email via RPGNow, I'd have no idea there was an OSR Bundle + 3 running at Bundle of Holding. Heck, LotFP doesn't even have any products in the Starter Collection, but the do have a notable title in the Bonus Collection.

So, what do you get for the base $5.95 in PDF? A damn good amount of gaming.


Quick comments:

Slumbering Ursine Dunes - do not own and that's been my loss. Picking it up now.

Gnomes of Levnec - awesome, strange, awesome.

Strange Stars+trey causey 's release never made my radar. Correcting that now.

Weird Adventures and Strange Tails - Trey Causey again. Must be read to be believed. I should just steals bits and pieces in every campaign I run in the future.

As for the bonus collection:

A Red & Pleasant Land - love Zak S. or hate him, this is his high water mark. Simply said, it is damn good.

Owl Hoot Trail - never heard of it prior. Into the virtual reading pile it goes.

Fever-Dreaming Marlinko - heard of it but don't really know much about it. Into the reading pile. I fucking need to retire soon.

Beyond the Wall - have heard lots of awesome about this. To the top of the reading pile

You can get it all, basic and bonus, for less than $14.

Oh, and the Original OSR Bundle has been revived too.




Chaosium RuneQuest 2 Coming Back in Print? Time to Break Out Pavis and Big Rubble :)

Although RuneQuest III (Avalon Hill) was my introduction to RuneQuest, it didn't take long for me to find RuneQuest 2 and fall in love. It was my go to system after AD&D and my group spent many a Saturday afternoon exploring the ruins of Big Rubble and the manipulations of Pavis. Good times.

To see it will be coming back in print is awesome (sure, called "Classic RuneQuest, but we know the truth - anything before Avalon Hill is gold.)  I'm very excited. Now the question is - how soon? It's not mentioned yet at the Chaosium site.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Google Hangouts Getting an Upgrade - Looks Like Apps Will Miss the Cut - Roll20 Users Take Note

Engadget has a short article on Google's currently being rolled out update to Google Hangouts. Simpler interface, improved video quality, no apps. Yep, you read that right - those apps you love - and no, not the sound effects and the goofy hats, but apps like Roll20 - do not work with the new update.

Here's the relevant quote from the Engadget article:
Just be aware that you may lose some features you like -- as one early adopter notes, app support within Hangouts is currently missing. That doesn't necessarily mean that the support is gone for good, but you shouldn't count on it coming back.
 And here's Google's official statement:

The comments in the G+ thread are very interesting and there are some names many of The Tavern's readers will recognize.

Another interesting G+ thread:

In the meantime, here's the link to the old Hangouts:

http://g.co/hangouts



Monday, November 9, 2015

Dragon White - The Fantasy-SciFi White Box-Star Mashup - Inner or Inter Stellar Scale?

White Dragon by Storn Cook

Yes, I know this is going to be a project with a long gestation. Doesn't mean I can't map out the basics now so I have a direction to work in.

My quandary is this - do I go with a single solar system with a dozen and a half worlds or so (plus moons) that ships travel between OR do I go with a cluster of star systems that ships travel between.

The first lends itself more towards fantasy with some scifi and / or steampunk elements while the second seems more sci-fantasy. At least, that's how it seems to me.

I was working on the elevator pitch during training today at work (I'm surprised I didn't fall asleep in the middle of it - day two is tomorrow) and both are appealing in their own ways.

Single solar system is probably easier to tap down but the cluster of stars has many more options to play with, not least of which is the solar systems themselves.

All of which would get released in the one-sheet format I discussed months ago, but it would be modular in nature. A one-sheet for the system as an overview, a one sheet for a world overview, a one sheet for a nation / country / empire overview and a one sheet for a city / town / location of interest overview. The one-sheet system should keep things manageable.

Well, in theory in any case ;)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Ken Whitman Deleted from Wikipedia - Does That Mean He No Longer Exists?

Of course not! You can still sue Ken via your State's Attorney General. They'll find him in the Atlanta area, or so he says.


I guess all of Ken's editing of his own Wiki Page caught up with him...

Thoughts on an OSR "Dragonstar" Type Campaign - and Other Random Thoughts of a Dangerous Type

I've got training this week, so instead of being a vampire an working when the sun is down I'll be in training at 7am tomorrow. My mind is bouncing around, and lack of sleep this morning after last night's overnight shift has left me a little punch drunk. But hey, the Jets AND the Giants both won today. Football is alive and well in NYC :)

Anyhow, back in the D20 era, when I didn't game but I did collect gaming books, Dragonstar was a setting that really caught my eye and sparked my imagination. On the surface, it seemed similar to Spelljammer, but it was much darker (Spelljammer always felt "campy" to me.) Hmmm, the other D20 era setting that got my imagination going was Midnight. Must be the idea of dark in my fantasy.


Tonight I stumbled across the Dragonstar SRD, which to be honest is really just the 3.0 SRD with some minor additions. Of course, the fluff is not open, so it's not included, but it did get me thinking - how hard would it to be to take one part S&W White Box, one part White Star, add in some dragons, borrow inspiration from Spelljammer, Calidar and Dragonstar, sprinkle the decay of a multi-world evil empire, distill it down with White Box sensibility and simplicity and cook it on the stove of creativity?

Yeah, not something I should even be thinking off with my current screwed up work hours. But wait! I've decided to run some of the comp time I've accumulated (and vacation time I've banked) to give myself a four day weekend every other week before I hand in my shield in the Spring. If I block out some creative time I may have something usable before I retire. With some work, it may even be usable by others too ;)

I think I'm going to bring a notebook to training tomorrow. 8 hrs of lectures by folks that don't and can't, so therefore they teach. I'll look attentive, taking notes and such while I'm really mapping out universe of White Dragon (or whatever it's going to be called - for now, it's code name "White Dragon".)

The secret to anything White Box is less is more. So I need to think big and execute small.

Alright, time for sleep. I have to be at work an hour before I'd normally be heading for home. Sleep won't come easy...





Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow, and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the lights on and the taps flowing - Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server Events - link - https://discord.gg/fReGmuD - Click to embiggen

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition