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:


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...

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