Saturday, March 21, 2015

Reminder - Far and Away Podcast Records It's First Episode Tomorrow 1 PM Eastern

Join Vince, Dirk and myself as we kick off the Far and Away podcast Sunday @ 1pm. We're recording using G+ Hangouts, so all are welcome to watch the unedited version get recorded live. The edited version should be available in audio form from the usual sources (iTunes and the like) about a week later, give or take.

You can go to the Hangout link here and get some Far Away Land goodness.

It should be a damn good time.

What is Your "Sweet Spot" of Level Range for Pre-Written Adventures? (Poll)

Initially I was going to phrase the question as "commercial" adventures, but that would imply it would have to have a cost and the OSR is abundant in freely available ODR adventures, many of them of high quality.

I recently rediscovered the abundant collection of freely available adventures at Dragon's Foot. I've also been readily enjoying the recent S&W White Box releases as well as other adventures in my collection.

It occurred to me that the higher the level of the adventure, the less likely I'll be able to use it without making major changes to adventures as written. Higher level play for me, at least, requires customization to the part of characters in question.

In any case, I plopped a survey in the upper right hand corner of the blog.

Vote and drop your comments and thought's here. If your answer wouldn't fit the admitedly simple poll choices, comment away.

The Kickstarter that Cried Wolf - Myth & Magic Player's Guide is Shipping - Again - and Again... (Grumpy is in the House)

Tom is obviously a lawyer, because lying comes so easy to him.

What do I mean? Tom has his own variation of "the check is in the mail."

Here, lets look at some of Tom's recent updates on the Myth & Magic Player's Guide Kickstarter (his first claims to shipping were back in 2013, but those are so obviously full of shit I'm not even going to go there.)

Well, as you can see, Tom claimed shipping was happening back in 2013.

Now, way back in April of 2014, Tom came semi-clean. He never admitted to lying about shipping, but did admit there were... issues:

Things are still moving, but...

This is going out to the backers of both Kickstarters.

I wanted to drop a much-needed update to tell you that I'm still here and still working to complete the GMG and PG shipments. You have asked multiple times for the true reason for the Kickstarter fiasco. I tried, as politically as possible, to dodge the question and to keep you all positive (well, i lied so you kind folks, the ones that gave me money, wouldn't know the kind of shit I actually was. Didn't work, did it?) Well, my attempting to keep you (and me) positive turned into untruthfulness (fucking lawyer speak for LYING) and I can't run away from the issues any longer (perhaps you backers aren't as stupid as most juries.)

The site is no longer active. In fact, NHG is no longer active. For the last few months, I have been trying to form a plan to complete the projects as quickly as possible. Part of that plan includes not funding anything outside the projects.

The first cause of all the problems is that I underestimated the cost of the Player's Guide KS, artwork for the GMG, and international PG shipments. Not having the proper business foresight, I didn't control the early spending and went overboard with quality. So, I've been self-funding the final leg of the PG shipments and everything since the first draft of the GMG; and by extension, everything to be completed moving forward is to be funded with my money. The second cause has been a lack of time outside of my work and family. I wrote this game and began marketing it before I was working. I always naively thought that I would be able to manage it all. Well, I was wrong.

The cold hard truthful reason why things have crawled to a temporary stop is that I don't have enough money stored up to quickly fuel the projects.

Now, having said all of that, I'm NOT GIVING UP. It's hard enough to think that NHG is no more, but even harder to think that I have let down the players that made the game possible. And for that reason, I vow to get this done. I have begun to look into various loan programs and for a few private reasons, I should be able to secure the necessary funds by the end of Summer. Mid-September to be exact.

A few things must happen. It doesn't cost any money to release the full art-free GMG, so I can realistically get that to the GMG backers on or before the first week of May. I will also continue to send out small quantities of books with my private money until I get the loan (I've scoured G+ for any M&M sightings - except for the Lulu versions - none). These shipments will also include the Players Guides ordered by GMG backers. As I said, any loan will most likely come through in mid-September. At that point, whatever orders are not received or needing to be re-shipped will be immediately shipped out. I would love to get all international orders shipped before the loan, but some of them are $80 to $100 a whack! I will still try though. My goal, in terms of the GMG, is to have it printed and shipped before the end of the year.

Trust me, I understand your frustration. You have every right to be frustrated and even angry. We all had an amazing time collaborating and creating this game. The only thing I ask for is more patience and more time. Please. Nothing happened as a result of bad faith or any intentional scheme to defraud you. It was all a matter of my mismanaging the PG Kickstarter. It's a beautiful book, but dammit, it was my undoing!

Another factor of my undoing was not communicating enough. I was embarrassed. Add in the hate mail and hate comments, and running away from the updates and comments was the only way I could avoid having a nervous breakdown (therefore, I will wait 10 months before updating again). You may or may not know this, but I have two small children. I can't let them see me fall apart over this.

My next update will include the GMG pdf and an update on how many additional shipments I was able to send out (obviously, there were 10 months without additional shipments). I will also set up a new dedicated email address to start fresh with everyone. The other email addresses are filled with vileness. I hope we can just start over, with a new email, and have some better dialogue. I probably will not read the comments here so that I can try to focus on what's ahead, but I will update you more frequently (or not.)

Well, that's it - the entire ugly truth. I'm still here and still dedicated. I have the right mindset now to get this done and I will get this done!!

Wow! Excuses and than some. But don't worry, last month, Tom gave us an amazing update:

Update on PG and GMG (February 4th, 2015)

Hi All,

I just wanted to post an update, albeit terribly overdue, to let you know things are back on track as of January 19th, the day I was able to secure some loan money and earmark personal funds to complete the GMG project and to ensure that all orders are fulfilled. It was senseless to update you during the process of securing the funds (so those 10 months of silence? you got that for free. Silence has no cost), since it was a total roller coaster and I had no idea what to expect.

Player's Guide Domestic Shipping: I shipped all domestic orders via priority mail and although only a few came back to me, most show a confirmed delivery and some do not. I want to make sure that everyone receives their books (NO ONE posted about receiving their USPS shipping notices and tracking numbers until this week - what a load of fucking shit)

If you did not receive your PG order, something happened (apparently I never sent it! ha ha! go fuck yourselves.)  Either I did not have your correct address or something else got screwed up. I just set up a new email address to ensure I have your most up-to-date information. If you did not get your book(s), please send me your name, backer level and updated address. Use the following email: nhgaddressupdate@gmail.com.

Please limit the email to the information I need so that I can stay organized.

Once I receive an email from you, I'll check the USPS tracking. If the tracking does not confirm delivery for whatever reason, I'll reship and then respond to your email with a tracking number (ah, see, these mystery shipments weren't given tracking numbers, only if you failed to receive your books - which was everyone still waiting to receive their books.)  Don't worry if you don't receive a response email from me right away. To stay organized, I will respond only once with the tracking information. (Much, much easier to keep track of the emails that way.)

International Backers: The limited funds I had only allowed me to send out a fraction of the international orders. I have earmarked a bit of the shoestring budget to get some more out. Those of you that are also GMG backers will be happy to know that the book is almost done and it is my intention to combine the books into one shipping. That will lessen the sting and get the books out to you as fast as humanly possible.

Please follow the instructions above in the domestic shipping paragraph and email the address with your name, backer level and current address so I have that information.

All Backers: Here is an art-free PDF of the Game Master's Guide for all of you, even if you are not a GMG backer.  The GMG backers will get their own update, attaching a PDF with the monster art included, as well as a schedule. The additional art is 75% done as of this morning. It's shaping up to be an awesome book. I want you to have this so you can see that, although silent, we're working to get this done.

Sorry again for the constant blackout periods, but we're now tackling the obstacles and will complete the campaigns.


You literally can't make this shit up.

Only a lawyer, and a piss poor one at that, would even attempt this type of shit. Obviously, shipping didn't happen until this week (well, might have happened this week - time will tell), as now is when folks are getting emailed their shipping info.

Damn shame, as the ruleset is a good one...

The Failed Lich (Swords & Wizardry, Tunnels & Trolls and Far Away Lands) - Part 1, The "Fluff"

Nichole Cardiff

The Failed Lich is pretty much what is says on the tin. When a high level wizard attempts to grab nigh infinite power and undying life, their chance for true success is minimal. Blinded by thoughts of what may happen they fail to take into account what probably will happen.

Burned to a cinder with their soul shredded and shared by devils and demons alike is a far better failure than ending up as a Failed Lich, so close to success that is now forever out of their grasp.

Unable to rest, forever seeking a state of existence denied to them, the Failed Lich is obsessed with extinguishing life. They hope that with every life they take they'll be closer to either Lichdom or oblivion, but their curse is that lives lost at their hands heal them by absorbing some of their victims souls. 

If they are defeated, they will rise again in 1d6 days if their skull is not crushed under the heal of a hero. What defines a "hero" is open to much debate.
Far Away Land-ified by Reid San Filippo

Friday, March 20, 2015

Why You Should Watch The Brainstorm Podcast when we Record Live Via Google +

Pictures Speak a Thousand Words - Put we give Pics with Words ;)
Tonight I had planned to run some Castle of the Mad Archmage with the "B" Team, but back pain and headache kinda killed that.

So, instead, I'm listening and watching one of The Brainstorm Podcast's Youtube recordings. The stuff that doesn't hit the audio podcast is still damn funny :)

Swords & Wizardry Complete Hard Cover - $20 - One Day Only


Today's Daily Deal:
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Offer expires Midnight Tonight! (PST)

Most Misunderstood Rules of Your Early Gaming Years

I'm pretty sure I mentioned this before, but when my parents got me the AD&D books to fully start me on this hobby of mine, they bought me dice and the Player's Handbook and the Dungeon Master's Guide. I didn't have a Monster Manual, but really, it wasn't even needed, as the DMG had the nice monster reference in the back.

All you needed was on those charts although one thing did confuse me - why did Ogres have an HD of 4+1 - wouldn't it just be easier to show it as 5 hit points?

Yeah, I didn't know your rolled monsters HP - I assumed the number in the Hit Die column was hit points. No wonder my players blew through my adventures in those first few months. I think it was when I purchased my first module - A1 - that I realized HD and HP were different values.

So, what was your most misunderstood rule from your early days of gaming?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Corgi Tunnels & Trolls Solos - Perfect Compact Books for the T&T Player

I wasn't able to get to the post office this past weekend as I had hoped, but that didn't stop Rachel from raiding out storage room for some of my Tunnels & Trolls collection. Thankfully, she stopped at the first box ;)

Personally, I love the Corgi edition of T&T 5e. Not because they renamed a bunch of silly named spells to be less silly (but left Yessa Massa intact - go figure), but because the size of the books makes it so convenient and I'm always surprised at how well paper that is a step above newsprint has survived so well for nearly 30 years. Well, that and how well focused the character generation rules are in the solos as compared to the complete 5e rules.

I'm serious. All you need to create a T&T character is provided in the Corgi Solos books (Rogues and Wizard-Warriors are omitted, but Rogues can be explained easily by the GM if needed and WWs should be omitted in any case.)

You can get the Corgi Solos direct from Flying Buffalo. I suggest you do so, as the pricing is better than anything I've see on Ebay. The Core Rules from Corgi are a bit harder to track down, but worth it.

And the Micro Adventures Go To...

I had Rach roll some dice last night to award the two random Micro-Adventures that I'll be mailing out via snail mail. The results were posted in last night's Tavern Chat, but if you missed the chat, the winners were:

+Jim White and +Dyson Logos

I need the above to email me their snail mail addresses to tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom

Thanks to all that participated.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tavern Chat - 830 PM Eastern Time - Tonight

Tonight is the weekly Tavern Chat, using the chat box on the right side of this page.

Want to ask questions about the direction of the blog, The Brainstorm podcast or the upcoming Far Away Land focused podcast?

Looking to interact with others on the OSR?

Simply want to shoot the shit with others?

Maybe you want to see which two lucky commenters from last night's post are getting a free micro-adventure?

Tavern Chat is the place to be ;)

What is the Most Underused (A)D&D Class?

There always seems to be a class that a certain group avoids playing.

In my High School and College years, no on EVER wanted to play a cleric. If there was a cleric in the party, it was an NPC or a henchman.

I have no idea why clerics were so despised in my old gaming groups?

Have there been any verbotten classes in your groups?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Micro Quest Cards in Hand - Looking Good (and a small giveaway)

I got my Micro Quest Cards in the mail today. These are the signed and numbered ones for my collection.

+Lloyd Metcalf did some excellent work with these. Damn shame you can't buy them at his webstore.

I got mine and you can't have them!

Well, maybe you can. I also have 5 to mail out for the holidays complete with envelopes. Hmmm, does Easter count?

Three are spoken for, giving me two to giveaway here at The Tavern, so lets do it.

I'll be picking two winners, anywhere in the world, each will receive one in print micro adventure.

I'll randomly pick the names during tomorrow's Tavern Chat, which starts at 830 PM Eastern tomorrow night, so you have about 23 hrs to post a comment to this post.

Do eet!

If we add Jim Magnusson to The Tavern Art Mix, We'll have a Strong Rotation

I've mentioned I love +Jim Magnusson 's work in the past and Jim has been amazing with turning some of my ideas into amazing pieces of art that evoke the OSR (the above piece was done without any input from me - probably for the best ;)

The following was done with some input from your's truly -

So, new banner by +Eric Quigley and Ive already have twisted +Craig Brasco to also do one. I think if I add +Jim Magnusson to the mix we'll have a trifecta, or a hat trick or some such here at The Tavern.

Yes Jim, you have been officially added to the rotation ;)

Watch Tonight's Recording of the Brainstorm Podcast Right Here at 615 PM Eastern

Just think. Easy as pie to watch tonight's Brainstorm Podcast recording live.

AS it is St. Patrick's Day, I'll probably have a few pints in me. Should be entertaining ;)

Brainstorm Podcast Live Recording Tonight - Episode 50 - Where We Talk About Edition Wars

Can you believe we've hit episode 50 of The Brainstorm Podcast? Well, after tonight, it will be 51 episodes recorded, as we do two each week.

In episode 50 we are going to be talking about Edition Wars - why do we fight so strongly about editions (and probably some minor mud slinging among the hosts.)

I'm really looking forward to recording this episode.

You can listen and watch live by going to the Google Plus Hangout Event tonight at 615 PM Eastern time. The link is below:

Watch as we record episodes 50 and 51 of The Brainstorm

Monday, March 16, 2015

Next Artist Expected to Make an Appearance at The Tavern - Craig Brasco

+Craig Brasco probably thought I was joking when I told him on Saturday night that I wanted him to do the next banner for The Tavern.

This is notice Craig, that I wasn't joking ;)

Ideally The Tavern will have 3 to 5 banners in rotation, highlighting some of my favorite artists in the OSR.

I guess I should tell +Jim Magnusson he should start thinking now...

New Blog Header by Eric Quigley!

Short and sweet - if you want excellent art done at reasonable prices with a quick turn around, +Eric Quigley is your man.

Holy shit!

Does the Happy Dance...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Mini Review - The Snake's Heart (S&W White Box Adventure Levels 2-3)

As if to prove you don't have to be +James Spahn to do a S&W White Box release (although as I type this I see James has released another White Box adventure - the man is undead, trust me), Moebius Adventures and Wild Game Productions have released the first in a series of White Box adventures - The Snake's Heart.

From a production standpoint, the adventure is laid out like a mix between a screenplay and a traditional "Old School" adventure. My first instinct was to rebel against such a layout, but after the first encounter I realized it was so much better than the more traditional and oh so annoying "boxed text." So yes, I like the formatting used.

As for the adventure itself, the DM needs to pay special attention to the narrator text that opens each scene. This is where the flavor is, where the spice lies for each encounter. You don't need to use it, but in avoiding it, you lose much of what makes this adventure what it is. The encounters as written can play out much like any other fantasy encounter, but the narrator text is what evokes the swords & sorcery feel. Use it to it's fullest.

Like any White Box adventure, using  this with most any other OSR ruleset is easy as pie. As far as adventures go, S&W White Box is pretty much the Rosetta Stone between the different ruleset.

At $1.99 The Snake's Heart is a fine addition to your OSR adventures collection.

Patreon Highlights - Dyson Logos and his Maps for OSR Games

When you think OSR mapping these days, two names quickly come to mind - +Dyson Logos and +matt jackson . Sure, there are others, but these two stand on top of the pile. Dyson seems to have taken it up to eleven.

+Dyson Logos seems to have been mapping forever (just look at his blog), whether it was doodling out a map or putting together many levels of dungeon mapping stocked with creatures and death for the unwary. Dyson is also the first of the OSR creators to make Patreon an integral part of the process.

Let me break down the success Dyson has had with his maps on Patreon in simple numbers:

- Number of Patrons - 256

Yes, you read that correctly. 256 members of our hobby are putting money in Dyson's virtual tip jar whenever he publishes a new map to his blog (actually, not 100% accurate, as folks can limit their monthly contribution and later maps in a given month will generally fund less that earlier maps in the same month, but you get the idea - there are a ton of folks backing him to produce content for our corner of the universe.)

- Donations per map - $351.84

Dyson says he produces 8-10 maps per month. So, ideally he could potentially make $3,518 or so per month, but remember what I mentioned above - later maps fund at a lower overall donation than earlier maps. Still, Dyson isn't just a skilled mapper, but he's a successful one too.

I look at Dyson's maps and realize I'll never come close to the skill the man has but then again, I've never been much of an artist. So color me excited when Dyson hit his milestone of $300 a map  - maps that fund at $300 or more get released under a free commercial license for anyone to use (you don't even have to be a backer, but really, you should ;) Dyson has promised me a complete and detailed breakdown of this whole "use my shit for free" scheme for his highly funded map releases (which I will share in a follow up post.) As someone that likes to write small projects for his own personal use, free use of Dyson's maps combined with the stock art that +Kevin Crawford has released from his Kickstarters gives one a hell of a head start if you want to share your creation with the public at large.

Now, if you haven't gotten your fill of maps yet, the next post in the series will take a peek at +matt jackson and his excellent maps.

Far Away Land Tome of Awesome Premium Color HC in Hand (and thoughts on a NTRPG Con Giveaway)

Yesterday I received my premium color hard cover version of the Far Away Land Tome of Awesome, and it is awesome! The color pops and the pages look great. I can't thank Dirk ( +Far Away Land RPG ) enough for sending it.

It does leave me with a bit of a situation, as I now have 2 hardcovers of the Tome of Awesome - on standard and one premium - and as my lovely wife is frequently reminding me, space for my game related stuff is at a premium.

+Michael Badolato , AKA Bad Mike of NTRPG Con fame asked me if I was going to run a session of FAL at this June's NTRPG Con. I was toying with the idea, but I am now happy to say - yes I will be running a session of FAL this June. I still need to think whether I'm going to put it on the list of games or just run it off label in the Atrium, but I will be running a session.

Don't look for me to be bringing the premium copy of FAL ToA, as I'll be bringing and giving away my standard copy after the session to one of the participants randomly. Hey, another reason for you to attend ;)

One Does Not Simply Cow Bell into Mordor!

Many levels of awesomeness!
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