Saturday, February 14, 2015

Lulu is Running a 28% off Coupon Through Sunday

Here I am, a day late and nearly 28% short. Yep, Lulu is running a coupon sale for 28% off print products. Damn temping.

+Tim Shorts has a fine list of recommendations over at Gothridge Manor. Regretfully, I have all but one of the picks on his list. I guess that means he's got a bunch of good picks :)

BTW, tell Ivy I said "Hi!" when you visit The Manor and make sure you comment on her decorating.

The coupon code is:


Mini Review - Crazy maze Daze (Far Away Land / PWYW)

Crazy Maze Daze is the third in the ongoing series of Far Away Land adventures. Like the ones that precede it, it's short and PWYW.

Unlike the adventures that precede it, Crazy Maze Daze is a dungeon, if not totally in the classic sense, than certainly skewed a bit in the "fun house" sense. Still, for those not fully comfortable with sandbox styled adventuring, the dungeon environment might be a good introduction for the traditional dungeon delvers and their adjustment to Far Away Land.

Crazy Maze Daze gives one traps, locked doors, magic keys, magical constructs, magical homunculus and more. If the previous two adventures were too light on combat for your players, this will give you a chance to make it up to them.

The map is done in that faux 3d style, with everything turned 90 degrees, which may may things like "we head north" or "we go west" a bit difficult for some. It is attractive and well done, so it's worth the mental adjustment if one needs to do so.

This should be a fun little dungeon romp.

Heroic and disturbing at the same time

Friday, February 13, 2015

Far Away Land - What Kind of Support are You Looking For?

Anyhow, I quickly threw together a Far Away Land Community on G+ last night, figuring I'd find myself with a dozen or so like minded individuals that would be interested in brainstorming some fun stuff to use in our (mostly forthcoming) Far Away Land game sessions.

As I type this approximately 24 hrs later, we stand at 53 members.

Talk about underestimating interest. Wow.

We already have members talking maps and adventures.

So, I figured I'd throw this to The Tavern Community at large (and cross post to the G+ community) - if you were to run a session or three (or a campaign) of Far Away Land, what kind of support would you be looking for?

Maps? Adventures? New creatures? Unique items (magical or otherwise?) New spells? Short plots? Short rules reference? A herd of cats? Two herds of cats? A robot with a blue nose?

Kickstarter Update - City State of the Invincible Overlord - Mini Overdose and More

It seems like few Kickstarters escape intact when meeting their enemy - reality.

Here's the latest update from the City State of the Invincible Overlord Kickstarter. I'll comment at the end.
Update #49CSIO Maps, Minis, and some Bad NewsPosted by Judges Guild 
Hello Backers,
There going to be a lot to this update, so I apologize for that. This is going to be visible to anyone (the last few have been for Backers only) so I want to bring everyone up to speed. 
Campaign Map Progress: For those that don't know, the first 10 maps have been released electronically. We have the first 5 or so in print. We've had to halt progress on the maps until February because not enough people bought into the Miniatures (we lost about $16k on those) (emphasis mine). We didn't realize this until it was too late due to waiting for all enough of the survey responses to come in. We're still waiting on some final number crunching to give the go-ahead to continue the Campaign Maps.
***Please let me know if you still have yet to receive PDF versions of the Maps*** 
Miniatures Progress:
The Miniatures are brilliant. We had a sample to bring to Gen Con last year. Everybody loved them. The quality is really superb. Despite the hit we took on them, we are still happy that they were made. Mick Leach with Eastern Front Studios has confirmed that a number of them have been received already from the casters mid-December. I'm awaiting word from Mick as to when the rest of the models will come in so we can start shipping those with the maps, etc. 
CSIO Book Progress:
Murphy's Law: "Everything that can go wrong will go wrong." In July, we basically needed to do the finished layout with all the art. We still had a good 3 months to get this to the printers, and 4-5 months to fulfill, so we thought it would be great to bring in James Mishler, a walking encyclopedia of Wilderlands knowledge (seriously, his knowledge (Wilderlands) skill is +18), to collaborate with Bob III on expanding even more of all four parts to this book: the City State, Wraith Overlord, Thunderhold, and Modron. 
We knew we were taking a gamble. Everyone was willing to support this if it meant getting a nice, polished, expanded expansion of Wilderlands goodness. We jumped in with both feet and were off to a great start. In September, James' wife had to have surgery. It took her a good 6 weeks to recover and for James' to be back in a position to press on. We've since had to push back the deliver date twice. Which brings us up to today. 
A Word from James:  
It’s never easy to admit to defeat; it is more than doubly-so when one has failed twice at the same endeavor, as I have with working with the City State of the Invincible Overlord and the Wilderlands of High Fantasy. 
But at this point I have to admit to defeat, in the case of re-writing the City State of the Invincible Overlord for the Judges Guild CSIO 2014 Kickstarter. I have tendered my regrets and apologies to the Bledsaws at Judges Guild, and wish to do so now to you, the fans and supporters of the Kickstarter. 
There are all sorts of reasons I could mention here; all explanations rather than excuses. Suffice to say that my days of working with Judges Guild, the Wilderlands, and the City State in my past should have remained there, in the past. 
Unfortunately, I thought I could return to those glorious days when I published under Adventure Games Publishing; sadly, the truth was I needed an exorcist to rid me of the haunting ghosts of failures past, rather than a resurrectionist to dredge up the bodies of the unquiet dead. Every attempt to go further with the manuscript resulted in an avalanche of dreadful memories and unpleasant thoughts, and brought all advancement to a screeching halt. My joyful expectations were overwhelmed by the potent recollections of previous failures. 
And so, after a brief if glorious surge of creativity, my ability to work on the manuscript died a hideous, ignominious death. In fact, my desire to do much of anything with gaming sunk to lows I’d not experienced since the end of AGP. 
Once my wife recovered from her operation, and I’d gotten new, regular hours at work, I’d hoped things would change… and though I was able to write once again, every time I turned back to the CSIO manuscript, the whole world crashed in again, and turned hope to ashes. 
I have delayed the inevitable long enough. 
I wish Judges Guild nothing but the best of luck, in this and all future endeavors.
To the fans and supporters of the Kickstarter I say, nil desperandum! Do not despair! One small man’s failures do not bring down the whole, not when there are heroes ready to leap into the breach. Though there will be further delays, I am sure that the City State of the Invincible Overlord Kickstarter will complete, and Judges Guild will go on to even greater things. And as the maps that have already shipped have proven, their new works will awe and amaze you. 
As the works of Bob Bledsaw and Bill Owen once did for a previous generation… 
James Mishler
So, yeah. That happened.
This has completely taken us by complete surprise. In fact, we are still at a loss for words. We are going to have a meeting this weekend to revise our action plan and divvy up some additional responsibilities among Bob II, Bob III, and some of the other family members here. We are too far into this to let yet another stumbling block cause us to fail. As requested by backers, we are definitely going to be making the PDF version of the CSIO book available ASAP. We will add a spreadsheet on Google Docs to allow you all to add any corrections you find on each page (brilliant idea Bevan Anderson!). Tentatively, we have not decided to push back the deadline further. Once we convene on an action plan this weekend, we will update all to that effect.
There's a whole shitload to digest in that, but the one thing that really stands out to me is that they lost $16k on the miniatures. Holy shit! That is a huge loss that should have been run as their own Kickstarter. I'm not sure if that's $16k worth of lead that can possibly sell down the line or if it's $16k pissed away in the wind and all over one's pants leg.

As for James leaving the project, his wife's health issues were / are significant. Her recovery is ongoing. It's a hell of a load to bear, and the Mishler's are in my prayers.

Looking at the lateness of the Kickstarter itself, it's barely a month and a half late, which in Kickstarter terms means it isn't even expected yet, especially with all of the stretch goals hit.

I'm stuck wondering why they even offered miniatures in the first place? Didn't Reaper Bones I & II produce enough inexpensive plastic to saturate the market?

D&D Rules Cyclopedia is now 5 Bucks in PDF at RPGNow (other D&D titles 15% off)

Has it really been 2 years since WotC returned to the PDF fold, reissuing many of their classic titles in PDF?

I remember the uproar when they initially pulled their stuff down and the near tears of joy when they started to return them.

Now, of course, 3e and 4e are also considered classics I guess. Go figure. The "new" old ;)

From now through February 22, WotC is running a sale at RPGNow, discounting all of their PDF releases by 15% off their usual PDF price and discounting the D&D Rules Cyclopedia to $4.95 (and also have sales on the 3.5 and 4e Compendiums)

Heck, they even have some 5e PDFs on sale.

I'll try and make a few Tavern Picks over the weekend ;)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

We Now Have a Far Away Land Community on G+

I figured it's about time that Far Away Land had it's own community for sharing thoughts, ideas, hacks and houserules.

It's kinda bare at the moment, but I suspect it will fill in over time.

So, come join us if you will ("us" being "me" at the moment) for some Far Away Land discussion. Maybe we can talk about the sci-fi hack for FAL I have bouncing around my head in my spare moments ;)

This link should take you to the Far Away Land G+ Community page.

Patreon - Boon or Bane to the RPG Hobby?

For every +Dyson Logos and their amazing Patreon Project, we get someone like Elizabeth Sampas, who is putting her hand out for money while still not fulfilling her previous obligations from her Kickstarter project. All of which got me thinking about Patreon and Kickstarter.

At it's core, Patreon has more accountability than Kickstarter.

As a supporter, you get charged monthly. If you don't like what you are getting in return for your support, you can lower your pledge or cancel it totally. If you really like the results, keep your pledge or boost it.

You are supporting per something (map, post, song, etc) or per month.

Oh, and of course, your basic support is there to keep things moving in a positive direction for the creators.

I prefer it to Kickstarter for supporting content creators whose work I enjoy. In general, it seems less like a possible cash grab that Kickstarter, as poor work habits get, one would expect, poor backing.

Patreon is more about genrosity, from those that support projects and the project creators, and with the right projects everyone wins, even those that aren't supporters.

Maybe Elizabeth will surprise me and other and make her Kickstarter backers whole. Of course, there is that whole thing about flying pigs and such, but one never knows.

Overall, I think Patreon has more potential to boost the homegrown RPG hobby than any other funding source. I'd like to se it thrive and see out hobby thrive, even if there are a few rotten apples to sort through.

I've got lots to think of, as there is much I'd like to do with The Tavern that currently isn't fundable (more giveways for example) but I'd like to sit back and observe a bit more before I put my hand out to support the excessive posting I already do for free ;)

S&W Sale at Frog God - Monstrosities, GM Screen and MCMLXXV oh My

Monstrosities is an excellent resource no matter the clone or original rule set you use.

Go to the Frog God website and take a peek at the above. If you've been holding off on purchasing the Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook, now might be the time to pull the trigger.

Coupons are good until February 19th.

Wayward Kickstarter Now Patreon Project? They Became Flesh Creator Elizabeth Sampat wants More of Your Money

Lets see, Elizabeth links to some of the games she's written. Strangely enough, They Became Flesh is not mentioned. Heck, her last update on the They Became Flesh Kickstarter was in October of 2013. Latest comments on the Kickstarter? From folks still waiting for their shit.

Oh sure, her husband has steadfastly taken blame for her failures, but the Kickstarter project, just like this Patreon project, are her's and her's alone.

Maybe she should set a milestone to make good on the promises she made to her Kickstarter backers. Or would that not be personal enough?
I make games: I started in 2007 with my self-published indie roleplaying games and eventually transitioned into digital four years ago. My games are digital and tabletop, personal and searching, and occasionally win awards. A good example would be Deadbolt, an art game about personal truth that you can read about in the LA Times. I have a bunch of stuff in the works I'd like to give you a sneak peek at. 
I make waves: I'm well-known for my advocacy for women in the game industry— I was on the inaugural #1reasontobe panel at GDC, I've appeared on podcasts and traveled the country talking about how to create and support diverse companies and inclusive games. I was the one who wrote that article you read about why you shouldn't support PAX, and the one who wrote the article about Zoe Quinn, and a bunch of other articles that went viral. (I've got the hate mail to prove it.)
Again, maybe she should be advocating for the backers of her still unfulfilled Kickstarter.

Shit. I'm obviously missing the boat on this Patreon thing. $95 a month and still not making her backers complete.

DM Support Group - WotC Ad for the New DMG - Just How Shitty a DM Are You?

Yes, I understand the video is meant to be funny, so maybe I'm over reacting just a wee bit when I find it to be insulting that "one book" can cure a bad DM or a bad campaign. Not to mention that I find the caricature of the bad DM here truly insulting.

Yes, it's over the top, but so were the 4e videos trashing gnomes. Insulting your user base for a few laughs seems counterproductive to my way of thinking.

Eh, maybe I am over thinking.

Maybe it's just a funny video and not meant to sell anything.


(hat tip to +Benoist Poiré )

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Finally Have the Games Workshop release of RuneQuest 3e

I was introduced to RuneQuest with the Avalon Hill release of RuneQuest 3rd edition. I liked what I saw enough to track down a copy of RuneQuest 2nd edition. The Avalon Hill release was made to fall apart under heavy use.

The ads for the Games Workshop release of RQ3 that I recall from White Dwarf were amazing. The art spoke to me.

Now, years later I've finally tracked down the GW releases at a fair price on eBay.

So many good systems, so little time.

The Far Away Land "Play Document" is a GO!

Dirk Stanley, otherwise known as the man behind the +Far Away Land RPG , has kindly given me not just permission but any support I might need in putting together a Play Document or Quick Reference for my upcoming Far Away Land campaign. Talk about win / win :)

From the feedback I've seen not just here at The Tavern but also on G+, I suspect that the initial players in the "drop in, drop out" Far Away Land campaign will mostly have access to the rules, but I want it to be equally accessible to the FAL curious too.

I don't see this kicking off until sometime in March and I suspect sessions will be once a month or so thereafter. G+ Hangouts and Roll20 will be the platform used. I'll tap down details as it get's closer.

This does mean I have to get back to work on that FAL play document...

(as an aside, I think the Far Away Land art works as well as it does due to the excellent use of colors)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Some Near Thoughts on Far Away Land

I've been home from work these past two days, sick with an upper respiratory infection. I'll be returning to work on Friday. Needless to say, there's been lots of sleep and watching of Blake's 7 on my agenda.

There's also been some reading done. Far Away Land has been high on that list.

I'm thinking of running a once a month, drop in drop out, Far Away Land Campaign. No details yet, I need to see where I can steal the time from my already booked life. Consider this an inquiry as to the interest of others in such a campaign. Let me know in the comments.

I'll need to finish the FAL Reference Sheet before than. Not enough to run the game but enough to keep the player's questions of mechanics down to a minimum.

I've also notice there is no Far Away Land community on G+. Perhaps we should start one. That, and / or us the forums here at The Tavern to drive some discussion.

Can you tell I'm sick? heh

G4-9 by RC Pinnell Released for Free in PDF by the Roll For Initiative Podcast (1e)

Just in case folks don't remember, G4 thru G9 is a series of six adventures that pick up in spirit where the AD&D classic, G3 leaves off.

G4-9 haven't been available for a while, but thanks to +Thork Hammer and +Vincent Florio and the Roll For Initiative Podcast, these recent classics are again available for the one time only price of FREE ;)

Relive the early days of the OSR with the G4-9 Super Module and get your giant killing on!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mini Review - Whoa! Here Come the Dead - (Far Away Land - PWYW)

I was home sick from work today (doc diagnosed me with an upper respiratory infection) so I've spent much of that time watching more episodes of Blakes7 on Youtube and reading gaming material in the moments I wan't sleeping.

One thing I read today was Whoa! Here Come the Dead, the 2nd mini adventure for Far Away Land.

There are six pages between the covers of this mini-adventure-sandbox.

Something I've really enjoyed with the FAL mini-adventures is that they steer away from the railroad. Here's the hook, here's the BBEG or dramatic ending and here's a couple of ideas and adventure opportunities for the DM to use or not as the party finds their way.

As usual, a random weather chart and random encounter tables.

The village on the edge of a swamp needs the players to deal with some undead and a skelet mage. Fun times for relatively new PCs.

From the blurb:

Your party finds that they are in a swamp, and on the edge of that swamp is the village of Grove. The village has recently been plagued by a skelet mage and his undead minions who have taken up residency in the old graveyard outside of town. Several residents have already fallen victim to the skelet mage. Grove needs heroes - that means you!

Whoa! Here Come the Dead is the second in a series of Far Away Land pay what you want (or nothing at all :) series of adventures. Pick up your sword, grab a set of armor, con a wizard, and help the swampmerls get their village back.

Deal of the Day - The Lost City of Barakus PDF (D20 Version) - $2.00

The Lost City of Barakus was the first D20 era adventure that made me want to run a 3x game, even though I didn't really feel comfortable with 3x. Barakus read much like a classic adventure and it hooked me.

Frog God is offering the D20 version of The Lost City of Barakus in PDF for $2.00 for today only.

Use the link to Frog God's webstore here and use the following coupon: DD-BARAKUS-2947

Deal ends at midnite tonight.

P.S. - I really can't recommend this enough, especially at this price.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

How Lethal do you Like your RPG Campaigns?

In the last two session of +Joe D 's Blood Island (heavily houseruled LotFP Weird Fantasy) the party suffered a casualty in each. To tell the truth, I thought a TPK was certainly possible at one point.

You know the surprising part? It was exciting to think that we might suffer a TPK. Strange, I think, but there was some true fear.

Without the risk of character death, there is nothing to compare success to. There is no triumph. There is no reward.

I'm not advocating a DM should look for a TPK or to kill a character every session, but character risk must be real for the game to feel real. Joe is doing a fine job keeping the balance ;)

So, how lethal do you like your campaigns?

Haven't Watched Blake's 7 in Ages - Found it on Youtube - Thinking Thoughts Involving Far Away Land

Sure, Blake's 7 is cheese, but it is awesome cheese as only the British can do.

So, as I watch this, I'm thinking of how well Far Away Land's core system would be the perfect vehicle to play scenarios in the Blake's 7 universe. FAL's core system is simple and flexible and works just as well in a fantasy setting as a space opera sci-fi setting.

Notice I didn't say all types of sci-fi. While Fire Away Land can be lethal, it isn't a good fit in my eyes for hard sci-fi. Blake's 7 seems to be a decent fit. Heck, I suspect Red Dwarf would make an even better fit. I have the Red Dwarf RPG somewhere, so I may have to put that theory to the test.

Any Blake's 7 fans out there? Any thoughts on the idea of crossing the two?

Necromancer Games PDFs 50% Off - One Day Only

It looks like Frog God Games started their One Day Sales Promotion one day earlier than I expected. Today's sale covers all of the Necromancer Games releases in PDF, putting them at 50% off with coupon.

What's the coupon you may ask?


Do I have any picks?

City of Brass ($7.50 after coupon)

The Book of Taverns ($1.50 after coupon)

The Mother of All Treasure Tables ($10.00 after coupon)

Tomb of Abysthor ($5.00 after coupon)

Sure, they are made for 3e, but they are easy enough to convert.

For those that don't want to join the Frog God mailing list, I'll do my best to put these up each day.
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