Saturday, May 9, 2015

Further Thoughts on Pocket Settings for White Star - Splitting Players' and GMs Info

Obviously this is all in a state of flux, as the brainstorming for the White Star Pocket Settings is continuing and nothing is nailed down yet. I've truly appreciated all of the feedback and suggestions.

I do like +Dennis Higgins Pocket Player's Guide and Pocket Gamemaster's Guide idea, but I'd run with some changes:

1. Map (Sector / System / Space Station / Urban)
2. Class / Starship / Robot Variant
3. Setting Info
4. Equipment

1. Deeper Setting Info / Secrets players should not know / Rumor Table
2. NPCs
3. Adversaries / Creatures / Alien technology
4. Adventure Seeds

Four pages each, so eight pages with each release. I'd aim to be monthly. It would be worked out on the blogside as a series of posts. A quick and dirty free PDF to all supporters  of The Tavern's Patreon (and possibly a print version at a certain support level) and probably a release on RPGNow every 4 to 6 months - 32 to 48 pages per compilation.

I'm also toying with the idea of drilling deeper with the releases - each set of four releases going from space sector to solar system to planet to urban / space station. May be more trouble than it's worth. Might try it down the line.

For the sector maps, I see Hexographer allows one to do space maps, but damned if I can figure that part out. I need to look deeper.

Beware the creative bartender, as he just may poison you by mistake ;)

You Too can Sing the Song to White Star (tip of the hat to Bill Murray)

All you need do is play the video above and insert the following lyrics for the text above:

White Star Lyrics

This is Tenkar's Tavern and I do the blogging, thank you
Let's open up with something really hot for these folks
A big hit out of the OSR

Aww... White Star, nothing but White Star
Give me that White Star
Don't let it end

Oh White Star
It rocked the OSR
You can play White Star today!

Oh hey!
How 'bout that nutty White Star badger?
Can you deny all the layout in there

And Hey!
Erik Tenkar with that drunk and smelly beard
Does he scare you as much as he scares me?

White Star, nothing but White Star
My ten millionth blog for
White Star!

(words by +James Spahn )

you can listen to Bill Murray's version below:

Thoughts on "Pocket Settings" for White Star

I was chatting with one of the regular Tavern readers last night and while talking about White Star the thought occurred to me - what I would like to see for White Star (and Swords & Wizardry and the like, but for today's post I'm going to focus on White Star) is a series of "Pocket Settings" - 4 pages meant to be printed out at 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" inches. Yep, a letter sized piece of paper folded in half and printed on both sides.

Scale could vary. For some, it might be a sector of space, a solar system, a space station, a planet, a city - whatever. Large enough to be it's own setting and sandbox.

First (front page) would be the map.

Second page would be a new class for White Star - because that makes the setting useful to folks that don't want to use the setting. Besides, new classes are cool.

Third page would describe the setting itself. Yep, you don't have much space for this so make it count.

Fourth page would be a series of adventure hooks.

My goal would be to give GMs enough to run with and be inspired by, but not so much it ties their hands. It should become THEIR setting and the setting of their players. It grows with them it ways I'd never have dreamed.

So, the question becomes - do I do this here on the blog? Do I publish it as a series of small PDFs at RPGNow? Even if I published it on RPGNow, bit and pieces would definitely appear at The Tavern - it just fits my style and method of writing.

Very much in the germination phase right now, so input would be appreciated ;)

Oh, and a big "Fuck You!" to +James Spahn . What, you think I don't have enough time sinks as it is? It's all your fault James. It's all your fault ;)

You can blame James too at a discount if you want to. Just don't blame me, I'm just the messenger.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Rikenne - The Four Armed Abomination for White Star (and S&W White Box Too)

Rikenne is a four armed Alien Mystic of a long dead race. He is rumored to buy slaves to experiment upon (or kidnap innocents depending on current funding situation). Whether these experiments are mystical or scientific (or a mongrelization of the two) is anyone's guess. None yet have survived the experiments to tell the tale.

The four arms allow Rikenne to wield two daggers (more accurately two ritual cutting knives) as well as have a light crossbow prepared for adversaries at range. Rikenne can only engage one target in a round. In melee his BHB gets an additional plus 1 due to the dual melee weapons.

Rikenne is always accompanied by 2 Alien Brutes of 3rd level (Ogres in S&W) and prefers to allow them to engage adversaries when combat necessary.

He is a cruel individual with no guilt for what he does. If asked, it is simply his nature. Who would not wish to be true to their own nature?


Rikenne - Alien Mystic - Level 6

HP = 14

Strength          13
Intelligence     16
Wisdom           8
Constitution    10
Dexterity         14
Charisma          6

1st Level Gifts
Hold Portal
Stupor x 2 (Sleep in S&W)

2nd Level Gifts
Hold Person
Phantasmal Force

2 x Ritual Cutting Knife
Light Crossbow - 12 Bolts

Leather Vest and Helm

White Star is available here at a discounted price :)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Who Uses Electrum These Days? Apparently James Spahn Does - White Star Goes Electrum

White Star went Silver in less than 24 hrs at RPGNow (and Bronze in less than that - so quickly I missed it.)

White Star has now gone Electrum in less than 4 days. To put it in perspective in the OSR scheme of things, X-Plorers and Stars Without Number are at Silver, and they were released years ago (both do have free versions for download though, so you should definitely add them to your electronic gaming collection)

The D30 Sandbox Companion is Gold as is the Labyrinth Lord Revised Edition.

The three versions of Swords & Wizardry are all free, so they get no rankings, although over 4,100 copies of S&W Complete have been downloaded through The Tavern.

White Star Reviews:

The Other Side Blog

Die Heart

Follow Me and Die

I'm sure there are move I've missed ;)

How Walking the Dog Made Me Think About Gaming

Sunday was the first time we let my niece walk the dog on her own. Normally, Rach or I would hold part of the leash along with Shannon. On Sunday, I figured it was time to take of the training wheels.

When I told Shannon what the plan was, she was beaming (she is 4 1/2 after all) but suddenly got a very serious face: "Someone has to show me how to do it right, Uncle."

Do It Right. Is there a right was to play an RPG? Probably not. Is there a right way to introduce someone to roleplaying? Probably.

+Tim Snider did a great job handling Rach in her first group RPG session at last year's NTRPG Con. He explained the basics of the system (TimeMaster) and then said (I'm parphrasing here) "just explain your actions and I'll interpret how it fits into the mechanics of the game." After the initial instructions it was "just do it and learn from there."

With Shannon, doing it right meant wrapping the leash around her wrist multiple times so it wouldn't slip. Danke (our dog) tested her in the first few minutes before settling in to a good pace. Shannon handled the dangers of dogs, kids, kids on bikes, skateboards and such like a pro. She just did it and learned from there.

Although RPGs are in book form, it's damn hard to learn RPGs from a book. I suspect it would be hard to learn how to walk a dog for the first time from a book too.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight at 830 PM Eastern - Flash Giveaway of White Star in PDF

Real quick, as Rach wants to eat dinner ;)

Tonight is the usual Tavern Chat at 830 Eastern. At 10 PM Eastern, I'll be giving away a PDF copy of +James Spahn 's White Star RPG to one random person that participates in the chat. How's that for fun? Just make a comment in the Chat and you'll be entered.

Come on in and join the fun :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I Just Shook James Spahn Down for Some Insider Knowledge on Upcoming White Star Releases

Assuming you've been reading The Tavern or any one of a dozen or so other OSR blogs, you've heard about the amazing release of White Star, the Swords &Wizardry White Box powered scifi RPG. It made Copper on RPGNow in less than 10 hours and made Silver in less than a day. As I write this it is comfortably sitting in the number one sales spot at RPGNow.

There has been lots of talk about what's next in the White Star line. By talk, I'm referring to the new found fans of the game discussing what they want to see. So I asked +James Spahn directly - "What's coming up next with White Star?" Surprisingly enough, he answered.

There are a couple of things planned out in different stages at the moment, not the least of which is a new setting book (by new, I mean separate from the setting in the core White Star book.) I've been sworn to secrecy, so I can say no more, but what James has told me has me chomping at the bit.

Folks want encounter charts / tables. The community has spoken and it shall be so. It will be one of the earlier releases.

For those that want a peek before buying in completely, James is working on a Quickstart / Fastplay edition of the White Star rules. Perfect for the GM that wants to keep some parts of the core book away from players' prying eyes during the game session.

What else? Vehicles. There are some forthcoming. All I know. I know nuthink! ;)

Discount code is still active as I post this. Grab White Star for 20% off.

Some Thoughts on "Encounter Tables" for White Star

Something I've seen mentioned a couple of times in different places is a desire for "Encounter Tables" for the White Star RPG.

Questions to those that are requesting such:

Are you looking for "Encounter Tables" or "Event Tables?" I ask, because in my mind, events are more likely in the depths of space than encounters, although an event table would by necessity include encounters.

Would you expect your Encounter / Event tables to be setting / region specific? I would, and the default setting is by deign fairly sparse. Would the setting need to be detailed further before tables could be designed?

Encounter tables by worlds I would expect to be specific to that world. Again, would that not require a fleshing out of the relevant worlds? Or would it be enough to design tables by relative tech level?

If someone were to design a specific setting for use with White Star, would you expect encounter / event tables, and if so, how in depth would you want them?

Just some thoughts in the hopes of getting feedback. I know of 2 or 3 publishers already working on settings for White Star and the answers to these questions would be helpful to all.

What Supplements Do You Want to See First for White Star?

We all know +James Spahn is the White Box Work Horse, so I'm looking for ideas to get him and others working on some White Star supplements.

I could (and probably should) put up a poll with this. Maybe later today, after we get some initial feedback.

Anyhow, ideas include:


New Classes

New Creatures (something I'm working on at The Tavern)

Setting / Campaign seeds

Encounter seeds

Tech Manual

more stuff not listed

Remember, anyone can play in the White Star sandbox. It's ripe for other publishers to expand upon and take in their own directions.

Give us some feedback.

If you haven't grabbed your copy of White Star yes, you can get a discounted copy of White Star at this link.

Monday, May 4, 2015

White Star Goes "Silver" at RPGNow in Less Than 24 Hours!

Quick and dirty.

White Star, the SciFi reimagining of Swords and Wizardry White Box by +James Spahn , Mr White Box himself, has hit Silver at RPGNow in less than 24 hours.

If that's not a record, I don't know what is.

If you haven't grabbed your copy yes, you can grab it at a discounted price in PDF at this link. Dead tree copies should be available in a few weeks from what I understand.

James, I salute you (and The Badger too ;)

Cyctile - New Monster for White Star and Swords & Wizardry White Box

Now isn't this an inspirational cover?

For use with White Star (discount link) and Swords and Wizardry White Box (free download link)


ARMOR CLASS   2 [17]
HIT DICE   6+3
TOTAL HIT BONUS   +6 / +4 when throwing
ATTACKS   Fists (2d6) or Thrown (2d6)
SPECIAL Ranged Attack (as above) / 1/2 Damage from blunt weapons / Regenerate 1 HP per round until dead
HDE/XP 7/1,100

Cyctiles are one eyed gigantic humanoid reptiles. They stand between 12 and 20 feet tall and are usually found as a single specimen except during mating season, when two may be found together.

Cyctiles live to destroy technology and will attack vehicles before other being if given a choice. They attack with their fists or with a held item, such as a bolder or steel beam. Cyctiles have been known to throw large object at their targets but they do not get their full to hit adjustment when doing so, as their single eye prevents them from properly judging distance.

Cyctiles have a thick, leathery skin that is highly resistant to blunt trauma. They also have an accelerated healing factor. They will rarely fight to the death as they know a simple rest will heal them fully, whereas death is permanent. Their intellect is marginally higher than that of a beast.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

White Star is NOW! Get it at a Discounted Price here at The Tavern!

Why have I been writing so much about White Star? Because it's the scifi RPG that I wouldn't just play in but I'd also run with as much enthusiasm as you've seen from my postings.

With it, I can easily run a Star Wars themed game or a Firefly themed game or a Classic Traveller universe game or Star Trek-ish or Babylon 5 or that space opera setting you always wanted to run but never wanted to get bogged down in all the rules... you get the idea. It's made to be flexible.

White Star is an OSR scifi toolbox.

White Star is a scifi sandbox.

White Star is here. Now. Today.

Did I mention it's written by the White Box Workhorse+James Spahn  and builds off the work of Mr. Swords & Wizardry himself, +Matt Finch ?

Normally priced at $9.99 for the PDF, you can get White Star from this very link for $7.99. Yes, a Tavern Special. Spread the word and share the link, as you won't find it elsewhere. Well, unless it's shared. Then you might find it at the fringes of the galaxy. That would be awesome!

Ghostmen - New Creatures for the White Star RPG

Yes, I know that White Star hasn't technically released yet. No worries. It should in a few hours. Hey! First White Star support material ;)

ARMOR CLASS   7 [12]
ATTACKS   Slap (1d6 - 2)
SPECIAL Sleep, Confuse, Stealth
HDE/XP 4/185

Ghostmen are usually found in groups of 1 to 6.

Ghostmen are drawn to areas of conflict. No one know how they know where to go or how they get there, as there are no known Ghostman starships. Still, they find their way.

Ghostmen appear to draw nourishment from the conflicts of others and when found they are usually wandering a recent battlefield, meandering amongst the recent dead.

They are had to spot, even when in the open. Roll a d6 - on a 1-5, they will only be spotted if the party comes within 20" of them.

As a race, Ghostmen are mostly non-violent and will only fight to defend themselves. Their favorite tactic is to use an innate power to cause sleep. Once per day a Ghostman can cause 1d3 targets to make a saving throw or fall into a magical sleep for 2d6 rounds. This is often used to facilitate escape.

On occasions, Ghostmen have been known to use their other innate power - Confusion (as per the Level 4 Star Knight Meditation.) This has been used to stimulate small scale fights and battles where there was none before. What benefits Ghostmen gain from such conflict is currently unknown.

I've Seen the Complete White Star RPG, and it Oozes with Goodness!

No, I'm not saying this to get folks jealous, I'm letting you know because I am just that excited about White Star. How excited?

I'm going to be tweaking one of my Patreon Milestones to reflect my excitement.

Starting with this month, the month of May, I'll be posting at least 4 encounters, creatures, locations or some combination of the above plus one mini-module per month right here on the blog. They will draw inspiration from the public domain comic art I've been digging through, and at least half of the encounters, creatures or locations with be for use with White Star. Every other mini-module will be for White Star. The rest of the content will be for Swords & Wizardry, Far Away Land and / or Tunnels & Trolls. Patrons will get this all wrapped up in a PDF once a month.

I may work on my first White Star piece tonight.

Oh, talking about tonight, I should have a special post going up 15 minutes after midnight. If you want to grab White Star at a discounted price, it is a post you should look for.

K, dinner time then back to work ;)

The Prince of Mars Returns - More Public Domain Art for White Star Inspiration

+James Spahn has inadvertantly put a lot on my plate. Curse you James!


I'm finding lots of inspiring covers from the public domain comics and pulp mags from the 50's and earlier.


What kind of device is the woman in green holding?

Did she somehow summon the spider beast?

What the hell are those things by the spider beast's mouth?

If he's a "prince", does that make him an Aristocrat in the White Star rules?

More Inspiration for White Star - I'm Loving Public Domain Comic Art

There is so much going on in this piece. There is the structure, the blast, the alien choking the life out of one "PC" and the other "PC getting blasted.

Oh boy. +James Spahn , you've helped create a montster ;)
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

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition