Saturday, November 28, 2015

Kickstarter - RuneQuest: Classic Edition - RQ2 is BACK!

Sometimes what is old is new again. Sometimes old is simply better than new.

Much like with Dungeons & Dragons, there is a certain charm and simplicity to RuneQuest's earlier editions. RQ2 (Chaosium)is what I cut my RuneQuest teeth on back in the day even if technically RQ3 (Avalon Hill Edition) was my first encounter with RuneQuest.

Ducks! You have to have ducks!

In just over a day the Kickstarter to bring RuneQuest 2 back into print has raised over $65k. In just over a day. Holy shit. It's knocking over stretch goals like they're bowling pins (unless I'm the one bowling - I have a knack for gutter balls)

Pavis and Big Rubble might just see their first use by me in nearly 30 years this spring...

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Closer Look at the Gygax Memorial Fund - Some Questions for Gail Gygax

+Gail Gygax has kindly agreed to answer questions posed by the gaming community regarding the Gygax Memorial Fund. I've done my best to present those questions in a coherent manner. The questions are being presented to the gaming community via this blog post as I concurrently pass them on to Gail. I appreciate the time that Gail will need to set aside to answer these questions and look forward to the responses and the opportunity to present the community with an updated post with said answers.

-As of the end of 2013 there was $222k in the Gygax Memorial Trust Fund according to the Tax Filing. What is the current asset total of the Memorial Fund? How much more is needed before work on the memorial can commence?

-When will the 2013 and 2014 tax returns for the fund be linked on the Memorial Fund's website?

-How much was donated by WotC / Hasbro from their sales of the AD&D 1e reprints? What year(s) did the fund receive those monies?

-What, if any, legal expenses have been incurred by the fund?

-How much money has the Memorial Fund spent on things not directly related to the creation of the memorial (salaries, litigation, auto expenses, etc)?

-While 5 hours a week, as reported on the tax returns, may not seem like much, time, that is still 260 hours a year or 6.5 full work weeks. In that time per year, what HAS been accomplished versus what has not?

-How many bricks will be sold and at what cost to the buyer? What is the expected margin on the bricks that will go to the Memorial Fund?

-What is the hard-line number needed to make the memorial a reality and how far is the fund from achieving that number?

-The Gygax Memorial Fund is a 501 (c) (3) organization under Wisconsin Law. When was the last time the Board met? (it must meet at least once per year) Where can we view copies of the minutes of previous board meetings? (this is a public record) Yearly audits of the fund's expenses and income must be made. Again, these are public records. How can one obtain copies of these audits?

-Is this the actual listing of the current board members. I've been told by multiple sources that Jim Ward has never been informed that he is no longer on the board. Board members must be elected on a yearly basis. Who votes for the board members?

-Apparently Tim Hutchings had no idea he was the Memorial Fund's "Audio Visual Engineer" and hasn't been contacted by the fund in years. Ryan Browning says he didn't design the logo, just took the old shield and turned it into vector drawings. Is the page currently displaying those listed as affiliated with the fund accurate to the best of your knowledge? When was the last time this web page was updated?

-What is the current state of the project?

-Have you considered a more modest monument?

-Is there more planned than just the monument?

Again, I would like to thank Gail Gygax for agreeing to take the time to answer the community's questions regarding the Gygax Memorial Fund. If I may make an observation of my own, I think some of these questions would have been answered on the fund's website if it was updated more often (monthly perhaps?) Hopefully the fund's website will see more regular updates in the future.

Thanks again to all who submitted questions.

-Erik Tenkar

RPGNow Deal of the Day - Castle of the Mad Archmage

Today's RPGNow Deal of the Day is Castle of the Mad Archmage by +Joseph Bloch .The Adventure Book is on sale in PDF for a mere $4.97.

I ran this once a month for about a year before work threw it's ugly head into the gears of my gaming time. It was loads of fun. Watch out for the sloping halls ;)

The legendary megadungeon is here at last! 

More than thirteen levels and over 1,500 keyed encounters of perils, monsters, traps, and treasure to bedevil your players. Find levels of warring humanoids, the deadly Arena, ancient artifacts, lost temples, portals to other worlds, and the ultimate secret of the dungeons... the Mad Archmage himself.

Originally released as a free electronic book in serial format, the Castle of the Mad Archmage has been completely revised, expanded, and updated. It is a complete adventuring environment, from the surface ruins to the deepest caves and caverns. 

You and your players could literally spend years exploring the dungeons beneath the Castle and still not discover everything. It can accomodate characters from first to fifteenth experience level and beyond.

Castle of the Mad Archmage is written using the Adventures Dark and Deep™ rules, and is compatible with most Old School type rules with little or no conversion needed.

Note: You must also purchase the Map Book and the Illustration Book in order to run this adventure (due to a technical limitation of the site, you need to add each to your cart separately).

Frog God 40% Off Black Friday Sale (Print & PDF) and 50% off Lesser Gnome in PDF

I expect there will be a lot of posts going up among the gaming community of various Black Friday Sales.

This one is huge, as 40% off Frog God products may even make purchases affordable-ish for those on the other side of the pond (damn that shipping.) This is a one day sale

Lesser Gnome has put it's PDF releases at 50% or more off. Whisper & Venom for $5 in PDF isn't a bargain - it's a steal! These prices are in effect until Christmas, which is good as RPGNow is suffering from high traffic at the time I type this.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

OSR Release - The Golden Scroll of Justice (Chinese Themed OSR Supplement)

I am WAY behind on announcing recent OSR releases. I thought this week of vacation would lead to some catch up time, but "uncle duties" ran from 10 AM Sunday through 7 PM Tuesday. "Pinky" was awesome but this uncle is exhausted. It is now Thanksgiving, catch up commences NOW.

The Golden Scroll of Justice is an interesting release. Most Asian themed RPG supplements I've read or seen in the past seem to make a hodgepodge of various Asian cultures, histories and mythology and churn out something that is less than the sum of it's parts. +Joseph Bloch went the other way, bringing "your old-school RPG into a whole new world of wuxia/kung fu action based on Chinese mythology, history, and folklore."

Sticking to a single culture and making it true is probably the best thing your can do to make it come to life. The Pundit ( +Kasimir Urbanski ) did such with Arrows of Indra and his recent Dark Albion: The Rose War

Two things that never clicked with me as far as RPGs go have been superhero games and Asian settings. The Golden Scroll of Justice is temping enough to make me want to invest the time in it to see if it clicks.

From the blurb:

The Golden Scroll of Justice lets you bring your old-school RPG into a whole new world of wuxia/kung fu action based on Chinese mythology, history, and folklore. The book contains:

Two new PC races: the shanxiao (monkey-man) and gouren (dog-man)
Two new character classes: the wu and the fangshi, along with guidelines on how to use your existing classes in a mythic China setting
Hundreds of new spells
Rules for kung fu that fit seemlessly into the existing combat and skill system, but still allows for cool "cinematic" moves
New weapons and armor
New magic items
New monsters
And much more!
The rules are designed to be completely modular; take what you like, leave what you don't. Want fangshi and gouren but not the kung fu system? No problem. Everything will still work fine.

Note that this is not a complete game! This is a supplement intended for use with your existing old-school role-playing game

Tavern Update - Gobble Gobble!

Yep, it's Turkey Day here in the states. For some it is Ham day. If I had time before heading to my sis's I'd stop in the pub for a few and make it a Tavern Day ;)

It's been busy the past few days. Planning for the 12 Days of OSR Christmas. Gygaxian (not yet a trademarked) Drama. Catching up just never seemed to happen.

I plan to submit the list of questions regarding the Gygax Memorial Fund to Gail Gygax on Friday (tomorrow.) I'll post the questions here at The Tavern so you have access to the same list of questions Gail will be answering. When I have the answers I'll post them with their questions again here at The Tavern.

Gail is promising full transparency. Hopefully this will resolve questions folks have regarding the Gygax Memorial Fund.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Batman vs Darth Vader - Possibly the Best Fan Film I've Seen

Just watch it.

A Closer Look at the Gygax Memorial Fund - Looking for Questions to Ask Gail Gygax in Regards

Gail Gygax has taken an interest in my previous post (you can read her comments over at Facebook.) I told her I'd have questions to ask her about the Gygax Memorial Fund. She stated she's "looking forward" to the post in question.

So, I'm throwing a net far and wide in search of questions to ask Gail Gygax with the intention of posting / asking on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

Simple rule - the questions must pertain to the Gygax Memorial Fund. Questions about trademarks, family, Gygax magazine and TSR, Gary's old properties like Lejendary Adventures and Castles & Crusades work that he did and wasn't released and the like are for another day.

Keep your questions to the topic at hand - the Gygax Memorial Fund.

Alright - lets get 'er done!

A Closer Look at the Gygax Memorial Fund - Why Does it Seem to be Spinning Its Wheels?

With yesterday's news that Gail Gygax was asserting her rights to the Gygax name (and pushing the Gygax sons from the new TSR board) it got me thinking about the Gygax Memorial Fund. It's strange how Gail and her legal legal team can be so involved in protecting the Gygax name when it's used by family but there has been little if any recent movement on the side of the Gygax Memorial Fund.

What do I mean?

The Fund's website is rarely updated, so I went to Facebook. On the Fund's Facebook page, we have this update from nearly a year ago:

So, the sale of bricks is going to help fund the memorial. How many brinks? There has to be a low end number. It's nearly a year later. No footprint has been finalized?

Actually, this very article says there's going to be about 250 bricks. The maintenance fund requires $25k (as per the linked article). Do the math at home...

The following is from November 6th, 2013. Its from the Lake Geneva Board of Parks Commissioners Minutes.

and from December 4th, 2014

Gail's been talking bricks for 2 years now. The footprint is 10x10. Sure, some space is going to be covered by the base of the statue but how many bricks does she expect to sell?  How much is the statue? (actually, in the above article Gail estimates the statue / memorial at $250k)

Holy shit! $250k for the piece pictured above? Someone is getting robbed. I guess those bricks will need to be priced using "new math."

How much money does the fund currently have? Damned if I know. The last tax return posted on the Fund's website is for 2012 and it lists $129,162 in net assets. $123,196 was raised in 2012 alone, which means it carried over less than $6k from 2011. Why the huge bump in funds? Safe to assume it's from the sale of the AD&D 1e reprints by WotC. No, wait, that can't be right. The reprints went on sale in 2013 so that huge shot in the arm was from elsewhere. The fund must be sitting in mountains of money after WotC donated a portion of the proceeds from the sales of the reprints.

In 2012 Gen Con had a Gygax Memorial Fund Auction. That must be where the 2012 donations came from, right?

Nope, just a drop in the bucket.

Anyhow, why no posted tax returns for 2013 and 2014?

Laziness? Perhaps. There doesn't seem to be much effort to get eyes on the Gygax Memorial Fund website. The last update on the website appears to be from June 12th of this year.

Incompetence? Not likely. Certainly not if the same legal team is helping with the fund that is steering Gail's iron grip on the Gygax legacy.

Something else? Perhaps. Earlier this morning I sent the Gygax Memorial Fund a request for the Tax Documents related to 2013 and 2014. Those tax returns are supposed to be available to the public.

See, if 2013 and 2014 were posted on the Fund's website, I wouldn't have to make such a request.

I'll post more as I dig more. At the moment I can't figure out why the sale of bricks hasn't happened yet. If and when I get the tax returns I'll post that info also.

Earlier article from April 10th, 2014 for those interested:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gygax Magazine All Out of Gygaxes - Ernie and Luke Leave to Settle Suit with Gail Gygax

Remember how the new TSR arose out of the ashes of... well, nothing really. It was just three letters and it was grabbed for nostalgia purposes.

Same as Gygax Magazine - named and laid out to evoke nostalgia of Dragon Magazine in the mid 80s but not aimed at the D&D player, old or new. Instead, it's a shotgun aimed at pretty much all RPGs. Which means it's value to the old school gamer is fairly lacking.

Well, it seems that Gail Gygax had a lawsuit against the new TSR for using the Gygax name (I wouldnt be surprised if trade dress was also an issue.) The suit is now settled. TSR has non-exclusive rights to use the name Gygax and in the process Luke and Ernie Gygax have left the new TSR. That leaves Tim Kask as the only true heir to the Gygax legacy at TSR.

You can read the article over at ENWorld, as Gail sent the notice to +Russ Morrissey

In the end, I doubt this will have much of an effect on the viability of Gygax Magazine. The content is too scattered to appeal to many and I suspect the initial excitement of Dragon nostalgia has worn off for the grognards. A friend just predicted Gygax won't make it past issue #10. Even if it does, I doubt few will notice.

Now, any updates on the Gygax Memorial, or has that become a forgotten project?

New Podcast Coming to the OSR...

No, not the solo Tavern Chat OSR News one that I'm working on.

This one is different.

But possibly familiar, and least in chatter if not topic.

We may just bring the old party back together.

Which party is that?

Can't tell you just yet ;)

I can say I will be the host on occasions, not just a cohost.

Did I just scare you?

Stay tuned for further announcements...

Monday, November 23, 2015

Holy Crap! - DC's Legends of Tomorrow (Justice League?) Coming to the CW in January

Who needs to read comics these days? The best of the superhero genre is on TV or at the movies.

This looks pretty damn good.

Kickstarter - The Lost Lands: The Blight - Richard Pett's Crooked City (Frog God Games)

You know how The Lost Lands: Borderland Provinces Kickstarter was billed as Frog God at an affordable price?

Forget all that. It's done and over.

The Lost Lands: The Blight - Richard Pett's Crooked City is clocking in at 900 pages (I believe that is the Pathfinder version page count, Swords & Wizardry should be a bit shorter)

Yep, you know that is going to cost.

$50 for the PDF, $135 for Print plus PDF.

It's also a long ticking Kickstarter with 55 days left on the clock as I type this.

A friend of mine termed The Blight as "Planescape meets Ravenloft"

Just don't drop it, you may break a foot.

From the blurb:

What exactly is The Blight, you ask? The Blight is a lot of different things to a lot of people. At its most basic level, it is the next portion of the Lost Lands campaign setting to be revealed by Frog God Games, a darkly medieval, urban horror setting that crouches on the western coast of Akados far from the other lands revealed in the Lost Lands so far--an ugly, misshapen twin who glares across the continent at its sibling on the opposite side with envy and hatred in its eyes...and not a little bit of madness. 
The Blight is a Campaign Setting and Adventure Path for Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry 
The Blight is a mega-campaign book and adventure path along the lines of Frog God Games releases like Sword of Air, The Slumbering Tsar Saga, The Northlands Saga Complete, and Cults of the Sundered Kingdoms. And like those books it includes both a vast compendium of gazetteer information about the area it covers as well as adventure, adventure, adventure!! Clocking in at over 550,000 words, The Blight is also the single-largest print product ever produced by Frog God Games...surpassing even the might of the The Slumbering Tsar Saga in its magnitude. Though it has not been through layout yet, so that a page count is an estimate at best, we anticipate that this book will be at or around 900 pages in length. 
The Blight is two books in one with the first half devoted to a campaign guide with a complete history, timeline, and overview of the city as well as new classes, players options*, and races, along with a detailed gazetteer of each of the city's 13 districts. The last half comprises the adventure path, Levee, a campaign set within the rotten and degenerate urban confines of the city, where the PCs must scratch and claw their way to survival starting at 1st level and continuing through 9 adventures -- each one highlighting a different city district -- all the way to 10th level and above. The book also includes a player-friendly, full-color poster map of the city to enhance everyone's enjoyment of the place. 
*No new classes for the Swords & Wizardry version: Matt said "no." 
As is the Frog God Games norm, the book will be produced in both Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Swords & Wizardry versions. However, departing from the FGG standard for the Pathfinder version, the adventure path uses the Slow Advancement Track for experience points allowing the GM to create a slow build among the horror and urban sprawl of the city with no easy means of escape for the players through high-level spells or mere virtue of skill at arms. The book itself also supports Medium Advancement Track play, as do the ancillary adventure products mentioned below, but we wanted to provide this unique opportunity for players and GMs alike to really have the chance to stew amid the filth and stench of an urban nightmare like The Blight, where escape is never as easy as it sounds. 
Oh, and one more thing, The Blight is dark...so very dark. A landscape of desperation and depravity, The Blight takes the usual no-holds-barred gritty adventure style of Frog God Games and cranks it up another notch. The Blight does not violate the restrictions of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility License and never abandons good taste, but it is gruesome and it does not paint a rosy picture. Not everything is black and white (the players frequently encountering ever darker shades of gray), the good guys may not always win (the good guys may not always be evident), and there are no guarantees of a happy ending. In the Blight, sometimes survival alone with mind and body intact (or mostly intact) is reward enough. Though don't be fooled, opportunities for heroics and great reward abound; there's just not always a simple and clear path laid at the feet of the players to choose from. Consequently the materials of The Blight may not be suitable for some audiences below the age of 13. Forewarned is forearmed, and we always advocate that game products be purchased wisely and age-appropriately.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

"12 Days of OSR Christmas 2016" Recruitment of Gifters (and some changes from last year)

Alright, we are now officially in The Week of Thanksgiving (US) which means the annual 12 Days of OSR Christmas will be sneaking up before you know it. For those that are gifting and those that are hoping to score a gift or two, things are being changed up ever so slightly.

Where possible, if the gifter has a blog, website or forum that allows comments, the actual "gifting" will take place at the gifter's site. Here's what I mean:

  • OSR John Smith, and OSR publisher, wants to donate 1 print copy and 2 PDF copies of his latest release, OSR Beasts & Bellies
  • OSR John Smith lets me know what he wants to donate, either as a comment on this post and / or as an email to tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom
  • I'll compile at list of gifters and the gifts they want to gift and work out a schedule for the gift posts
  • Gifts and their respective gifters will be posted here at The Tavern and those hoping to score a gift will be directed to the gifter's blog, website or forum to make their comments there
  • Closing date and time for comments will be announced at The Tavern and the gifter's website
  • This should help generate some traffic for the gifter's website and get some fresh eyes on different sites
  • The current gift giving site / sites will be listed in the sidebar on the right side of this page
  • It should also keep me a bit saner with my current work hours. Hell, it will keep me saner no matter what my work hours might be ;)
  • Gift receivers would be announced at The Tavern and at the gifting site. The gifting site would be responsible for awarding their prizes
  • Some days may have more that one gift giver
I plan on gifting some RPGNow gift certificates and a small amount of print items (print will be US only as shipping outside the states probably costs more than the gifts.  Physical gifts will include an 8 GB Remix Mini as well as a slightly water damaged in transit Swords & Wizardry White Box Hard Cover.

Hoping to Kick things off next week :)
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