Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Red & Pleasant Land Wins 2 Gold, 2 Silver @ the ENNies and I Find Myself Agreeing With the RPG Pundit

A Red & Pleasant Land won 2 Gold & 2 Silvers at the ENnies last night. I'm not sure if that is a record, but it should be. It's great for Zak S, great for +James Raggi and awesome for the OSR. Not so awesome for Cam Banks and crew, who threw a tantrum and heckled when the first award for A Red & Pleasant Land was announced. Talk about assholes. Then the rest of the SJWs chimed in on Twitter. Well done. You showed them, didn't you? Zak might be a dick (my own opinion) but a Red & Pleasant Land was clearly the best of the five in all four categories it was nominated.

Real simple.

Or not.

+Kasimir Urbanski points out on his blog that Zak's own math showed that winning was an impossibility if folks only voted on what they had actually read.

Obviously, that didn't happen. Zak and James won 2 Golds and 2 Silvers.

What happened?

Social media happened. Ballot box stuffing happened. Cheating, legit or otherwise, happened to ensure the best product won, which just goes to show how irrelevant the ENnies are.

+Joseph Bloch said it best tho'. Wearing a "Zak S Saved D&D" t-shirt to a con with Cam Banks, Fred Hicks and the other SJWs in attendance might just be entertaining if only for their reactions. Shame they are fairly irrelevant. Or maybe that's a good thing.

Pocket Creatures - Fell Hind - (Swords & Wizardry / White Star)

Photo by Erik Tenkar
Fell Hinds are solitary creatures related to deer and virtual indistinguishable from such without a close look. Fell Hinds evolved into omnivores and have an intelligence rating in the 3-5 range, allowing them to plan attacks with almost human like ingenuity.

While quite content to live on foliage and brush they have a taste for fresh flesh and have been known to attack other animals and even humans from ambush. Their first attack is usually a headbutting charge which inflicts double damage if successful as well as requiring a Saving Throw to avoid being knocked prone. Prone targets are subject to stomp attacks in the following rounds if prone - stomp attacks are made at + 2 to hit and inflict double damage. Prone targets can come to their feet with a successful Saving Throw. Targets may attempt this Saving Throw once per round.

Fell Hind

ARMOR CLASS   4 [15]
ATTACKS   1 x 1d6 and SEE ABOVE
HDE/XP - 650


Friday, July 31, 2015

On GMs and GMing - Some Random Thoughts & Not So

Let me say this straight out of the box - Gamemastering or GMing is not for everyone. Heck, even the name is a misnomer, as it implies superior knowledge compared to mere "players." I'm beginning to think "judge" or "referee" is a more appropriate term.

Looking back at me gaming groups, I can note the following:

High School - 2 GMs, I was 1 of them

Summer Poconos Group - I was the only GM

College D&D Club - I was the only DM in a group of 12+

College / Post College Home Group - 2 GMs, I was 1

Roll20 / G+ Hangouts - of the 7 mostly regular members, everyone has run at least a session

What is it with the latest group? I think the common factor is everyone is a creative type - artists, writers or both.

We also all enjoy filling the roll of the GM or the player.

While GMing is a skill, it is also a calling. Not everyone has the desire to be a GM and that's okay. Really. At a gaming table of 3 to 8 gamers, only one can fill the roll of a GM at a time.

I'd also expect that in most groups, especially those that are composed of mostly newer players, the GM roll is filled by by one of the more experienced gamers at the table.

So, I'm going to hazard a guess that 2 out of 3 RPG gamers see themselves as primarily "players."

I do expect the poll I'm going to run will prove those numbers wrong, but I also expect that gamers active in blogs and social media are more on the GM side of the fence. 

More thoughts on this later.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pocket Creatures - Wealdlings (White Star / Swords & Wizardry)

Photo by Erik Tenkar

Wealdlings, or Creatures of the Wood, are similar in appearance to their Treant cousins. They are, however slower, more primitive and potential more dangerous.

Wealdlings have been found in groves of as much as 100 but 2 to 12 is most common. Dormant during the winter months they have been known to attack sleeping travelers, especially those that have fire burning for safety. They attack as a pack and have the intelligence of pack hunters. Creatures killed are absorbed by their roots, providing nourishment. Solid materials - weapons, armor, coins and the like are left behind at the kill location.

Wooded areas known for, or suspected to be inhabited by Wealdlings are avoided by the experienced traveler.


ARMOR CLASS   3 [15]
HIT DICE   2+2 to 6+6
TOTAL HIT BONUS   +2 to + 6
ATTACKS   2 x 1d6
SPECIAL - 1/2 damage from blunt weapons / -2 save vs fire
HDE/XP - varies by HD


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

As Much Fun as a Box of Rocks. No, Really!

I apologize in advance for answering further G+ BS here at The Tavern, but as it is Zak's thread and he has me blocked, I have little choice.

This time, I answer Stacy Dellorforno.

First - I never saw you at NTRPG Con Stacy. If you saw me as often as you did, you should have introduced yourself. Rach was actually looking forward to meeting you (she knows few women in gaming) - perhaps not so much after your insult of Merle Rasmussen,

Yes, I spent much of the Con with my wife. And with Zach Glazer, Doug Kovaks, Matt Finch, Rich LeBanc, Vince Florio and his wife, David P, Mark H, Bad Mike, Doug Rhea, The Wolfes, James Aulds, Glenn Halstrom, Mike and Liz, Tim Kask, Frank Mentzer, Jeff Talanian and many others. Jeff Grubb was kind enough to ensure I'd fail my save against Gaming Greatness. I talked business with a few and bullshitted with all. I think between Wednesday Afternoon and Monday Morning we didn't have company for our meals once.

If I was having as much fun as a rock, rocks must be the life of the party.

As for the offending post that upset Stacy so much, here it is - offending post - my schtick? Women don't NEED to DM to be empowered in gaming but they do need to fly on their own. Not every player wants to be a DM.

Gamers come to gaming through the network that introduces them to gaming. If there is a dearth of women gamers in the OSR right now than the main pathway for them to be introduced to gaming is by men. Same as kids being introduced to gaming by adults. The established network brings in new blood and spouses make ideal conduits for the introduction of shared passions and hobbies. New blood will build their own networks and the face of gaming will change with it.

Back to the slight of Merle Rasmussen, the designer of the Top Secret RPG. Did you know his wife was in the room for the whole game? They introduced themselves to me at dinner after the session. Simply amazing people. I should be surprised by your rush to judgement.

Now, let me parse the logic - Old Guard game designer GM's a game for three women with his wife in the room, and it's insulting.

Zak S GM's for a group exclusively made up of women from the adult entertainment industry, and that's something you support.

I'm confused.

edit - Stacy, feel free to respond here or on G+

Zazzle has a 20% Off Sale Though Thursday - Time to Hoist a Tenkar's Tavern Tankard :)

Well, you could hoist The Tavern's Tankard (with excellent and amazing +Eric Quigley art) or buy lots of other stuff (like a mousepad or a postcard.) Seriously, the code JLYCHRISTMAS should work site wide at Zazzle.

Personally, I'm thrilled to see the stainless steel travel mug is back in stock. I'm ordering one right now for my morning tea.

I think I'll need to get the Far Away Land flavored banner on a couple of pieces too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Kickstarter - Ken Whitman Redefines Failure Yet Again - Part III - Complete Inability to Answer a Simple Yes / No Question " - Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series

Darrly Mott Jr (a columnist for Ain't It Cool News) had a simple question for Ken Whitman:

"So you are NOT claiming that this after party (that Jolly and Zombie Orpheus are putting together after Ken cancelled the one supposedly being funded by Kickstarter finds for Kickstarter backers) fulfills the backer reward from your Kickstarter? Is that correct?"

Ken's answers are all delaying tactics for a simple YES / NO question. Of course, we already know the answer.

I do hope that Ain't It Cool has a nice barbecue ready...

Screenshot from the KotDT:LAS Kickstarter comments section.

Zak S Saved D&D - Don't Believe it? Zak Say So (Rantish)

Now, I'm not sure if Zak is selling this shit or giving it away, but he has it on t-shirts. You too can be a Zak S zombie.

Hell, I'd ask what the fuck this is all about, because if Zak S saved D&D then the RPG Pundit should be offering similar shirts, as they both had the same input on the latest edition of D&D - they were "consultants." But Zak has had me blocked on G+ for years (say what you want about the RPG Pundit, but he doesn't block folks that disagree with him.) Third parties fill me in on stuff like this. I could be wrong. Maybe this isn't on a shirt. Maybe it's how Zak counts sheep when he goes to sleep at night.

Now, I would argue that the OSR saved D&D, not as a multi-media property but as an actual, playable, living RPG system. No, I'm not talking about 5e either.

Now, if Zak had shirts that said A Red & Pleasant Land is the Shit, I'd be forced to agree, It's damn good.

Kickstarter - Ken Whitman Redefines Failure Yet Again - Part II - Complete with "Guest Poster" - Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series

This really is a flaming pile of shite that's harming the gaming community as a whole. Folks that aren't deep into the whole Kickstarter for Gaming community, such as it is, only remember the train wrecks. After this fiasco calms down, I'll do a series of posts reminding folks just how good Kickstarter can be for the gaming community and the OSR in particular.

Onward to +Christopher Stogdill 's (The Frugal DM - Woot! He hit 500 posts today!) guest post on the Whitman Shit Storm.

I know I have my own blog where I can post crap, but Tenkar’s Tavern has a bit of a history with Kicksnarking, and frankly a larger audience to share important details. Sharing a brief update here is, at a minimum, a public service announcement.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, this “update” is regarding the Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series (KoDT: LAS) Kickstarter…..well, no it isn’t. This is about Ken Whitman, serial Kickstarter and all-around leech to multiple RPG fandoms. Please assume that any colorful descriptions or metaphors regarding Mr. Whitman are not only willfully derogatory, but clearly biased. I would love it if you blatantly assume I’m against Mr. Whitman and that everything I state is an outright lie……I know Ken is! Look at my previous post here at The Tavern, follow some of the links, and make your own decisions. A HUGE part of the problem is too many people have known about Ken Whitman’s fuckery and NOT spoken out about it.

Ken Whitman is behind 7 “current” Kickstarters that have raised over $171,000. This week, in a matter of days, three of these Kickstarters are to have big “premieres” at GenCon. The creative cycle so far on these projects seems to have been a detailed eight-step process:

1.       1) Take Money

2.       2) Make Promises

3.       3) Silence

4.       4) Let Complaints Build Up

5.       5) Do Stupid Stuff Online

6.       6) Let MORE Complaints Build Up

7.       7) Cycle Through Steps 2 through 5

8.       8) Shift Blame and Try to Raise More Money

I am certain there is another step or three in there about spending the money on personal stuff, but for me to state that clearly would be an absolute lie…….but if you assume I’m already lying (Paging Ken Whitman…you know he has a Google Alert set up) does that mean this is the truth?

Now I only have experience with the KoDT:LAS, but an often overlooked aspect is that there are two other “movie premieres” schedule for next Thursday. With the KoDT: LAS Ken has had an frustratingly stalwart ally of Jolly Blackburn. Jolly has been spending a good portion of the last year running interference for Mr. Whitman, trying to keep the fans (and backers) informed, and generally putting a positive spin on everything. I know 1st hand that this project…..Ken’s project…is important to Jolly. This is the 25th Anniversary of the Knights of the Dinner Table and even though this Kickstartered project is a KenzerCo license (i.e. Not something being done by KenzerCo). Jolly is emotionally invested in the outcome of the movie, not just because the Knights are his “baby”, but because so many of his friends and family have directly invested in seeing the KoDT:LAS movie.
You could easily head over to the Kickstarter comments to read the history yourself, but the summation is the eight-step process I outlined above. Promises were made to send out premiere tickets to those who paid for them. Promises were also made to be more communicative with the backers. Instead Mr. Whitman decides to spend his time working out, posting Facebook memes, and anything else but work on these movies. As the date gets closer Jolly keep reaching out for details and there is nothing but silence……

…..until Ken decides that Jolly is…..a liability. Evidently wanting backers to get their tickets and their reserved seats is too much a strain on Ken. Expecting to see the episodes to give creative feedback isn’t appropriate. Way out of line is hoping to receive the money and names/details of those who bought KenzerCo products through the Kickstarter campaign. I know that behind the scenes (don’t believe me, I’m full of it…remember) Ken has already blamed Barbara Blackburn for the delay of product and Jolly for his “inability to raise money online”.

Overtly Ken has shut the Blackburns out of the KoDT:LAS Facebook group, which has since been deleted(?). This was after Ken stole a paragraph of text off of Urban Dictionary
and posted it on his wall.

Was Ken referring to Jolly……his actions would lead me to “yes”. A hilarious….well, I found it hilarious, older meme was generated that works better than any I’ve seen in that same vein.

I don’t know what Ken Whitman is thinking, but before you start throwing stones at one of the kindest, most respected people in the industry (one of the 51 people in the GAMA Hall of Fame ) you might want to make sure you got your shit together….please ask someone else, because it is apparent you think you do have it all together.


Ken Whitman should never be allowed to make another dime in the RPG industry again.

addendum - +Christopher Stogdill sent me this just a bit ago:

This morning's hasty video announcement and accompanying post where Ken claims to be involved with the scramble to fill the void he left when he cancelled the after-party is just a whitewash. I don't assume everyone, much less anyone, will go through all of the comments on all of the Kickstarters, much less the other bits and bobs floating around the internet, but this is part of Ken's pattern. Silence and blame followed up by more promises. I'd posture that only the reason he did a video is because his brand of persuasion check has to be face-to-face to gain any significant modifier to the encounter and this is the best he can do to get the best bonus possible.

This is just the same MO......nothing has changed except now he's willing to not only continue his lies, but take credit for other people's work. He knows that this close to GenCon people are busy going to GenCon and if he can slip this in there those that are out driving and flying don't have enough time to properly countermand his bullshit. All he needs to do is try and sow enough confusion and deceit to take some of the heat off. He probably thinks if he can take credit that he won't be on the hook (in a real legal and financial sense) for taking people's money for the Premier and After-Party.

Nope...this is all just part of the same cycle he's been riding since day 1.

edit - Ken also implies that he is working with Jolly on getting the afterparty organized - the same party he canceled with the same actors he couldn't afford to fly out:

Monday, July 27, 2015

Kickstarter - Ken Whitman Redefines Failure Yet Again - Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series (You Know All that Shit he Promised the $450 Backers? Fuck Em!)

Where to start?

Holy shit, this is one hell of a train wreck.

I give Nystul credit for admitting where and when he fucked up. Ken? Douchbaggery and then some.

Need examples? I'm going to quote from the KotDT Live Action Series Kickstarter comments:

(From Josh who plays the role of Brian in KODTLAS. Ken was supposed to fly Josh to GenCon to be at the premiere but broke that promise.) 
--So this is what I just got from Ken.....-- 
Ken: J.Hey Josh, yeah. I could not raise the money. Jolly has pretty much fucked me from making money. It's a total fuckery. Anyway, I'm sorry, I thought I could pull out of this one and make it happen. Sorry brother (Notice how Ken tries to scumbag Jolly? 
This was my response.... 
Josh: I have to disagree man. I don't see how Jolly made you squander that money and screw us all out of this project. I really hope that if future episodes get made, we don't get recast because of our association to the fuckery that was last summer's shoot. I really hope you can get those 3 episodes to him. The fans and backers that have put so much into this project deserve it. There's two ways out of this mess. You man up and give what you've got to the fans so that Jolly and Barb aren't left holding the bag and save some face or you tuck tail and run. I would highly advise against the latter. The people who believed in you and supported you are owed more respect than ignored messages. The fans deserve the first three episodes and the actors who want nothing more than to bring this project to life, deserve the first three episodes. I'm really hurt at the way you're treating them. It's not right man. I know you have your own side to the story, but you have to get it together. You made a promise. Stick to it. I'm not talking about flying me up. I'm talking about the episodes. Release them for Gen Con. You had a gift the fans gave you and you wasted it on looking good or making big promises. Real art isn't about that man. Film making is not about that. It's about the work. It's about creating something and not getting caught up in the money. They didn't give you that money to buy a chrysler 300 M so you could look like a producer. They gave you that money so you could create something. It's the only right thing to do. We deserve better! 
--Feel free to post that response!--
Nice little inside peek at the mind of the man who admitted that he does serial Kickstarters because he squanders the money from the previous ones.

But wait! Theres more! Buy now and you can watch how Jolly and Barbara get booted from the Facebook page of the KotDT Live Action Series for advocating for the backers of this very Kickstarter:
Jolly - Well I tried folks. Ken is not talking about the premiere at all. No invitations to the premiere have been sent out. None of the actors to my knowledge are going to be at the premiere (no fault of their own - mostly due to failure on d20 Ent's part to make proper arrangements). Ep2 and Ep3 were in very rough shape last time I saw them. No idea what's going on since Ken refuses to even give me answers. And for asking publicly his response booting me from the group and deleting my questions and those of other backers. Guess we're all going to show up at GenCon and be surprised.
Wow. Simply fucking wow.

But hey. At least the backers at $450 are going to get front row seats to the Premiere, time with the actors, a Q&A and an after party, right?
Jolly - So Ken just posted this apparently;
"All three episodes of KODT will be premiered at Gen Con in various states. They are not done, and a work in progress. (this shit was supposedly done earlier this month I thought)
We are working on having them done, and ready for download in August.
We will then produce and ship the DVDs as soon as we can.
For those of you with Premiere tickets, there will be a second line at the show for you. You will be seated first.
There will be no actors at the show and therefore no Q&A, and there will be no afterparty. Sorry for the problems."
'various states"...?
No after party?
Ken you are a coward. Face the backers and answer their questions at least face to face at the premiere.
But wait. Ken still hasn't emailed those Premiere tickets, has he?

Now, I'm not calling Ken Whitman a crook. He gets upset when folks label him.

Instead, I'm going to give y'all a textbook definition of a crook.

Crook - a dishonest person, especially a sharper, swindler, or thief.

Oh, and then there is this ;)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Never Rob a Tavern Frequented by the Watch

It's rare that I embed (or attempt to embed) a video, especially one that isn't directly gaming related, but in a way, it is.

How many times have your players robbed a merchant, trashed a tavern or just caused general mayhem? Now, imagine if the person that they messed with were connected to law enforcement. Or if the town's law enforcement had magical access to getting the word out quickly and effectively. Oh, and of course add in a 1000 GP bounty by the town on the PCs heads.

This Deputy Sheriff is definitely going to be a character in my next campaign...

RPGNow Deal of the Day - Encounter Decks 1 (Inkwell Ideas)

I'm disappointed +Joe Wetzel didn't give me a heads up on this deal as the price is damn fine and the Encounter Decks are just chuck full of inspiration. 

Here's the specifics from the blurb:
Note: In addition to today's "Deal of the Day" on this product, we're also offering our  Encounter Decks 2 and our brand new Encounter Decks 3 at a special price.  And the printed versions of each card deck have also been reduced in price. 
What would happen if you crossed the Book of Lairs (single page mini-adventures) with cards? Encounter Decks. (Deck one features black & white maps, but all the content is different from deck two.) 
Each of the 54 encounter cards helps you build a dynamic mini-adventure! Draw a card for an adventure outline. The outline includes backstory, ways to get the PCs involved, several encounter ideas, and two suggestions to wrap up or follow up. 
Draw other card(s) for a map. If it doesn't fit the story, draw another. Maps are buildings, dungeons, caves, or wilderness. Some maps are designed to connect to others and can also connect to DungeonMorph Cards. Draw other cards for trap ideas or plot twists as needed. 
If you don't like the suggestion on the card you pick, draw another. 
Tired of giving out another 100 copper pieces (edit - shouldn't that be 2,000 coppers - Tenkar)? When the situation arises, look for the "Trivial? Treasure" suggested on a card. 
Encounter Decks are perfect for stocking a hex crawl or developing a side trek on the fly!
Less than 2 bucks to get Encounter Deck 1 in PDF - less than 9 bucks for print and PDF.

Damn it. +matt jackson is one of the mappers. Take my money...

Random Thoughts - Podcasts, Podcasting and Pods

I've been in a bit of a podcasting hiatus of late. The Brainstorm Podcast wrapped up, the Far & Away Podcast went on hiatus with the theft of our producer's (and cohost's) hardware and The Badger is preparing to launch an OSR Magazine, so the relaunch of Tenkar & The Badger is being delayed further.

I have been approached by a good friend about kicking off a new podcast. The logistics may be a bit difficult, as I no longer have evenings free nor do I have Sunday afternoons. The thing is, the podcast should rock. Just need to work out some details. For those that care, the aim will be 30 minutes or so per episode - it really does seem to be the sweet spot.

Now, a thought did occur to me. What if I did some short podcasts for the blog, riffing off or expanding up certain posts? These would be 5 to 10 minutes at most, and would be behind the scenes if you will. Each would be tied to a specific post and would be bonus content. The trick would be to also have the bonus podcast pieces stand on their own. I wouldn't be surprised if these got recorded on my commutes to an from work. Garageband 6 on my Mac should do this well.

Anyhow, the last bit is mostly me thinking out loud. Not sure if it's going to happen but it could be a fun experiment. Whether it would be time well spent, thats another question ;)
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