Saturday, February 6, 2016

RPG Computer Games are the Time Sink From Hell... but I Love Them ;)

Well, there goes 2 hours of potentially productive time down the drain ;)

For those that enjoy computer RPGs, Steam is running a sale and I've been making a few purchases.

The two games I picked up between last night and today can both be played on the Mac and can be played multiplayer (but aren't MMORPGs)

Last night I grabbed Sword Coast Legends. Sure, I've heard mixed reviewed (and the Mac version can be a little buggy to get started) but the bit's I played of it last night weren't bad at all. 10 bucks for the basic edition, 15 for the bells and whistles.

Today I grabbed Torchlight II. I played the shit outa Torchlight I and II is better than I. Well, maybe not, as it doesn't have the same specialness that the first version of the game had, but for 5 bucks? I will get way more than my 5 bucks worth. Way more. It's damn good.

Just over six weeks to go before I'm allowed to have regular time sinks ;)

Alright, onward to reading more of +James Spahn 's The Hero's Journey. Hopefully I can put up a good teaser post later this evening ;)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Ken Whitman Reveals the Fate of the KotDT: LAS Videos

Watch the video. 

Ken reveals all.

Wait for the GoFundMe Campaign to raise money for the ransom later this month.

Tip of the hat to +Tim Snider

OD&D Supplement I: Greyhawk $4.99 in PDF

Sure, the new cover art sucks but that's not the point

Color me surprised.

Quickly on the heels of the Original Dungeons & Dragons Boxed set releasing in PDF we now have Supplement I: Greyhawk in PDF for $4.99

What's next? Gamma World 1e?

Wait, that would be pretty cool...

Quick Draw Rules for StarSlinger

Hey gamers. It's +James Spahn here. Since StarSlinger is kinda my fault, I agreed to write the quick draw gunfighting rules for +Erik Tenkar. With his permission, I'm posting them here for your enjoyment. I wanted something that evoked the tension and feel of classic old west gunfights - something that built to a tense and climactic confrontation, but still kept it simple and quick. A gunfight in all the classic westerns was always something that was as much in the mind of the combatants as in their speed and accuracy.

 So if'n ye ain't yellah, give 'em a read.

I'm calling you out. Draw, if y' ain't yella'.”

The Quick Draw Duel
Two men. One street. The blink of an eye and the crack of a pistol. A long silence. Justice is served. In StarSlinger there are two kinds of people: the quick and the dead.

The only way to determine who is quick and who is dead is a Quick Draw Duel. But there's a lot more to this than just two intergalactic hombres steppin' into the street and skinnin' their smoke wagons. A Quick Draw Duel has several steps and its as much a test of the gunslinger's gumption as it is his speed. All bonuses to Quick Draw Initiative are cumulative.

Step One: The Call Out

A Quick Draw Duel begins with a formal challenge from one gunfighter to another. This can be as blatant as one of approaching the other and quite literally saying “I'm callin' you out,” but it's usually a bit different in each instance. The more subtle instances are simply when both gunfighters look at each other and nod – they both know the challenge has been issued and it won't be settled until one man is dead. In other cases, it's a large public display where one man insults the other in front of a crowd.

Though player characters can call out NPCs whenever they wish, the referee is the final arbiter of whether or not a formal Call Out has been issued. Once a call out has been issued, both the challenger and the challenged must make a saving throw. They may add their Wisdom modifier to this saving throw roll. Other modifiers may apply based on the classes of the challenged and challenger as well as how well the scene is role-played. If the Quick Draw Duel isn't occurring immediately, this is typically when the time and place of the fight is named.

If the saving throw is successful, both the challenged and the challenger receive a +1d6 bonus to their Quick Draw Initiative. The Quick Draw Duel then moves into Step Two: The Crowd

Step Two: The Crowd

Quick Draw Duels rarely take place privately. The occur out on the street, in the open – a public display of blood and speed. The townsfolk and witnesses to the both the Call Out and the Draw itself have a subtle impact on the Duel. If the townsfolk strongly support one gunfighter over the other, their subconscious hope in their champion's victory can actually grant him a benefit during the duel.

If the Quick Draw Duel isn't occurring immediately after the Call Out, both challenger and challenged can attempt to sway the witnesses to their side. This is done through roleplaying and thematic actions. A heroic gunfighter might try to convince the townsfolk that the time has come to end the rule of a villainous murderer, while a dastardly gunslinger might bribe or intimidate the town into supporting him.

Just before Step Three: Staredown begins each gunfighter makes a Charisma saving throw. Based on their actions they may receive anywhere from a -2 to a +2 modifier to this saving throw. If it is successful, then the gunfighter adds +1d6 to their Quick Draw Initiative.

Step Three: Staredown

The Quick Draw Duel is fought in the mind as much as with the hand. When the two gunfighters face off in the street, they often spend moments staring at one another. They size up their foe or trade hard words before blood is shed. Each gunfighter makes a saving throw, adding his level to the roll. If the saving throw is successful the gunfighter adds +2d6 to their Quick Draw Initiative.

Step Four: Draw!

Finally, the moment of truth comes and lead leaves leather. The moment of truth has come. Each gunfighter rolls their Initiative, applying both their Dexterity bonus and any Quick Draw Initiative dice they have earned. So a gunfighter who succeeded in the saving throws for all three steps would roll 5d6 (1d6 base, 1d6 call out, 1d6 townfolk, 2d6 staredown), plus their Dexterity modifier.

The winner has drawn and fired first. He then makes an attack roll against an AC of 9 [10]. His target is, after all standing still and unprotected. If the attack is successful the winning gunfighter rolls his weapon damage PLUS the total of the initiative roll and inflicts that much damage on his opponent – likely killing him.

If the loser is not dead, he can return fire – but he receives no bonus from his initiative roll. Combat proceeds normally from this point with one exception. If both gunfighters roll the exact same number on their initiative then both draw and fire at the exact same moment and both of them add their initiative total to the damage rolled. In all likelihood, this will leave both of them dead.

House Rule: Quick or Dead
If the referee wants to reinforce the climactic tension and deadly nature of the Quick Draw Duel, he can forgo the attack roll made during Step Four: Draw! and assume that the winner of initiative automatically hits with their attack.

House Rule: Hot Lead, Burning Laser

If the winner of the Quick Draw Duel rolls an unmodified, natural 20 on their attack roll, the damage for both the weapon and the added damage dice from initiative are all doubled - almost guaranteeing a lethal attack.This House Rule cannot be combined with the Quick or Dead House Rule.

So, there you have it. It ain't all sunshine and gold panning in StarSlinger - so be quick, or be dead.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern

Almost for got to post the reminder.

It's been that kind of a week.

See ya 'all in just over an hour.

BTW, BIG announcement should be coming this weekend. I'm only a messenger. Lips sealed beyond this small hint ;)

RPGNow Deal of the Day - 2015 Dodecahedron Cartographic Review (Dyson Maps)

You know the quality of Dyson's maps. You might not know it's his maps when you see them, but you should. Heck, his blog Dyson's Dodecahedron, is a virtual sampler of the work he does. And it is good. Damn good.

Until 1059 AM Eastern, tomorrow morning, Dyson's latest release, the 2015 Dodecahedron Cartographic Review is on sale for $3.75 (normally $7.50) in PDF. This makes it perfect for use in the various VTTs.

Need to know more about the 2015 Dodecahedron Cartographic Review?
The 2015 Dodecahedron Cartographic Review is an 88-page curated collection of most of the maps and descriptions thereof that appeared on Dyson's Dodecahedron throughout 2015. Designed to be a letter-sized spiral bound book, this digital edition also includes a second version of the book where many of the maps have been resized (larger) to better fit the page once all the text has been removed. 
Unlike the maps of Dyson's Delves I and Dyson's Delves II, the maps I drew for the Dodecahedron in 2015 were predominantly drawn on letter-sized paper, so a different format of map book was needed for this review of the year's cartography. The PDF edition of these maps is provided as a convenience for readers of the blog and fans of RPG cartography and contains no exclusive content - everything in this PDF can be hunted down on the Dyson's Dodecahedron blog and downloaded at high resolution. What this collection gives you, however, is that material collected in one place, sequenced, and annotated from the notes on the blog.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Kickstarter - Myth & Magic Player's Guide - 2E Reviled with No More Updates!!! (One Year Later)

Myth & Magic Player's Guide - alas, we had so much hope. We saw pictures of books, and knew they existed, but now?

Now, Tom sent enough copies to silence the more vocal (and more visible) critics. Yes, even I got my copy, nearly 2 years ago. Sure, Tom posted my shipping info in the comments section and Kickstarter had to promptly remove the info upon my request, but I received my copy and it wasn't soaked in urine.

Still, here we are, 3 1/2 years after the project was supposed to ship, and Tom has gone all turtle on us. Folks are still waiting on their copies - years after all were supposedly shipped. Last update? A year ago tomorrow - February 4th, 2015.

Apparently "back on track" means different things to Tom than the rest of us in the real world. Last update on the GM's Guide was July of 2015. I don't have access to that but I'd sure love to know the stroke job Tom gave in that update.

here's the rest of the update:

Safe to assume most international backers are still waiting on theirs. BTW, "constant blackout periods" does not do Tom justice.

Update 62 - December 5th, 2013

Update 63 - April 22nd, 2014

Update 64 - February 4th, 2015

We're at a new record of silence from Tom.

Well done sir, well done!

Actually -no. Not well done, but not unexpected. Another fine example of Kickstarter success resulting in a larger failure than one could have ever done on their own and the lies used to attempt to hide that fact. I empathize with Tom and the hole he has dug himself. Easier to come clean at this point and admit failure and move on. Josh did so with the Quantum RPG KS, and while it isn't a satisfying resolution for anyone it does allow for closure.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Wayward Kickstarter - Ant Simulator "Consultants" Spent Money on Bars and Strippers (Hookers and Blow was a Stretch Goal)

There a story making the rounds about an Ant Simulator video game indie publisher's consultants spending the funding on bars and strippers. Of course, they deny it. Instead, it was on restaurants and bars.

Er, whatever.

The fact remains that success can lead the the worst failures and there is nothing worse than being the entity stuck holding the bag when others have control of the money (Dwimmermount anyone?)

Quote of the day:
Now Ant Simulator is cancelled, because his business partners and ex-best-friends spent the "overwhelming majority" of money from both sources on alcohol, strippers and other activities not really related to making a good videogame.
Read the story over at PC Games N, including the update with the denial:
"It’s completely false. I don’t know why he’s painting that picture, but the reality is that anything that was spent in a bar or restaurant was very reasonable in nature when you look at any business, including video game companies. It was part of our operating budget, it’s not anything that was excessive. It was all reported to the IRS. The picture he’s painting about that is 100 percent bull****."
What a bar or restaurant has to do with creating a video game, I have no idea.

Oh, listen to the video announcement of the cancelation of the project.

BTW, the Kickstarter (Ultimate GameDev Tutorials) itself raised just over $4,400. How the fuck is there a restaurant and bar budget in that? Shit, there's barely Dominos and that's stiffing the driver on his tip...

Monday, February 1, 2016

Kickstarter - Lair of the Black Dragon (A DM-less, systemless adventure module for any level character?)

One of the great things about Kickstarter are the things that make you go "hmmmm"

One of the worst things about Kickstarter are the things that make you go "hmmmm"

Lair of the Black Dragon is both.

I understand very well how DM-less, whether solo or for group play, work. Usually, it's a hidden flow chart with lots of "if this, then go to section 43", etc. I am, after all, a Tunnels & Trolls player.

I understand how systemless adventures work. There is usually a lot of weight pulled by the GM to put in the appropriate mechanical balance for the system in question.

I understand how adventures work that are level adjustable, within reason. It requires changing the adversaries power level based on the system you are using.

I have no fucking idea how these will all come together in a playable mesh in Lair of the Black Dragon.

It's not like you have to risk much to find out, as the the $3 offers:

Heck, estimated deliver is THIS VERY MONTH. I mean, what could go wrong? Aside from everything that is.

Here's the pitch:

As a Player, have you ever wanted to adventure but couldn’t find a DM?
As a DM, have you ever had players wanting to keep going, but you didn’t have anything prepared? 
This is a complete adventure ready to be played through in a single sitting of 2-3 hours. It can be dropped into any campaign, and is designed so it can be played in several different ways; 
What it is: This project is a system neutral, solo-play, one-shot, complete adventure module for characters of any level. 
What that means: 
System Neutral means it is not dependent on any specific rule set or edition, and can therefore be dropped into just about ANY role playing campaign world setting. If your game rules use polyhedral dice, then this will work for you. It was written primarily for the most common traditional fantasy role-playing game settings, but it can be adapted for many other worlds with just a little imagination. 
Solo-Play means it can be played by a single person without a DM. It can be played with multiple players with or without a DM as well. It has a flexible design and concept so it can be used in many different ways. Though it was designed to be played by a lone player by themselves, it can be played with a group of players and multiple characters, or even with a DM. 
One-Shot means it is able to be completed in a single 2-3 hour sitting. This is also flexible in that you can increase the level of challenge (with more or stronger monsters) to increase the length of play time, or you can decrease the number of challenges to shorten the play session. 
Complete Adventure Module means that everything you need to get through this adventure is contained in the PDF, HOWEVER, this is NOT a stand-alone game. SEE ALSO: What it is NOT: 
For Characters of Any Level means that this module is scalable. You can increase or decrease the challenge based on the experience level of your character or characters. 
What it is NOT: This is NOT a stand-alone Role Playing Game rules set. The rules and mechanics for a Role Playing Game are not part of this. This is just an add-on, like an expansion, for whatever Role Playing Game system you currently use. You will need at least the basic guidebooks for whatever Role Playing System you normally use. 
Risks and challenges
There are no risks at all. Well, let's back up. There is the risk that you may not like the content, or you may not have fun playing it, but the module is already finished! All I need is to get enough funding to support my next project and you get a module for a dollar! So there's no risk that you won't get the PDF.
So, for as little as a buck you can buy in. 3 bucks gives you the bells and whistles. I almost feel like 3 bucks will give me my entertainment back, whether this is a hot mess or not.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Kickstarter - The Folio #7 Deadlands Edition (Hell on Earth)

Savage Worlds is the game I'd love to love and I almost can grok the system at this point. My OSR wired head still gets confused with the spells and powers aspect of Savage Worlds. When I retire I'll need to get someone to give me a crash course in the system ;)

That all being said, I have some major love for the settings that have been released for it and Deadlands in no exception. I still have my copy of the the pre Savage Worlds Deadlands that was a stand along game. I also have the Savage Worlds setting for Deadlands and Deadlands: Hell on Earth and some of the other supplements. While I can't say I'm an expert on the Hell on Earth setting (or Deadlands Noir) I can say I can easily get lost for hours just reading the setting material. If any of it sneaks into my StarSlinger setting, I'm hoping it's inspiration only ;)

Imagine my surprise to find out that the same folks behind the Folio Series of OSR / 5E adventures have secured the license to release an official Savage Worlds Deadlands: Hell on Earth (Folio #7) adventure via Kickstarter.

I really enjoyed the first six releases in the Folio series, as they weren't only well written, but the art was top notch and the layout was professional. Looks like I'll be adding Folio #7 (Deadlands) to my collection.

Damn, I really need to bring that retirement date up so I can have all the time to read the things I want to and already own, let alone the stuff I'll be getting in the coming months.

Sadly I just have the original Folios in PDF, but there is a support level to get all 7 in print and PDF. Delivery estimate is March 2016. I retire at the end of March. The gods have spoken and I must obey...

From the Kickstarter page:
Art of the Genre is proud to partner with Pinnacle Entertainment Group in bringing our fans Folio #7!  After completing the Roslof Keep Campaign it seemed a perfect point to sidestep to Savage Worlds for an adventure in the Deadlands: Hell on Earth setting.  It is an absolutely fantastic setting with an award-winning mechanic that I hope all our fans will give a shot.  
With Folio #7, we will be blending the same OSR specs that our fans have grown accustomed to with the previous issues while also blending in some aspects of the Deadlands: Hell on Earth design.  I truly hope you'll have a much fun playing this adventure as my players did, and as always thanks for taking the time to check out our latest projects here on Kickstarter
And as always, Instead of making gaming anvils, I’ve drilled the artistry of the game down, found the gems of a fast-paced adventure, and delivered it in such a way that both new and old gamers alike can enjoy and play without taxing their life schedules. In the end, isn’t gaming about being fun for everyone, not just the players? The Folio’s goal is to ensure that, and always give folks the very best quality ‘lean and mean’ adventures we can.

Some of the House Rules I've Added for the StarSlinger Setting (White Star)

Part of running an OSR styled game is house ruling. Well, at least that's how it is for me. I've been adding house rules to my games since we ignored weapon speed in AD&D 1e (I think most people ignore that)

I've got a few house rules that stray from the White Star as written, but that's not surprising, as I've added a half dozen or so classes to the StarSlinger setting thus far.

  • First, I've expanded the bonuses for high stats slightly. A score of 13-16 gives a + 1 and a score of 17 or 18 gives a + 2. Nothing huge, but it can me a life saver.

  • Death is at zero HP, with the ability to save vs death  to hold on until help arrives. The roll to save is adjusted by the negative amount of HP the PC is at, so going down to - 5 means a minus 5 on the save to no die. Natural 20s always save.

  • If you want to attempt something not covered by the rules (and as this is an OSR game, it's quite likely to occur multiple times per session) such as picking a lock, hacking a computer and the like, it's a save adjusted by any relevant stat bonus and a modifier chosen by the GM (me) based on difficulty. Covers a whole lot of ground this way and does not slow down play.
Those are the main ones thus far. There are others that aren't fleshed out yet and I'm not even sure they'll come into play (or are even needed)

Initial Impressions - Depths of Felk Mor (5e Megadungeon)

+Roderic Waibel was kind enough to send me a print copy of Depths of Felk Mor, a megadungeon for D&D 5e but written with old school gaming in mind.

Now, if you know me at all, you know that I tend to look at RPG material from a Swords & Wizardry (or sometimes even an AD&D 1e) view and do this weird mental translation to make things that aren't Swords & Wizardry read like Swords & Wizardry. If that makes any sense. I think I just confused myself a bit there ;)

In any case, I'm finding that the Depths of Felk Mor is presented easy enough to do that mental translation without even thinking about it. The stat blocks are clean and it's easy to strip away the 5e-isms. Which means when it's time to review this (and that means squirreling away some free time), although it's written for 5e I'll be able to do the review justice from an OSR point of view.

Layout is easy on the eyes with sufficient white space and the art is certainly old school in feel. Yep, definitely need to put some time aside to read this thoroughly.

BTW, I do very much like the cover. I'd love to see my group run from the beast shown ;)

Tim Shorts / Chicago Jones Shot First (White Star / StarSlinger)

Thanks to +Tim Shorts we now have our third of three recaps of Friday Night's "B Team" session of White Star / Star Slinger. A virtual trifecta.

It was strange to watch Tim rolling well for a whole session of play ;)

Here's a piece of Tim's write up:
When we left the ship there were three men waiting for us.  A little guy who did the talking and two meatheads.  I used my Scoundrel skill of attacking before anyone else.  Chicago allowed the little talking man to finish his ultimatum before shooting him in the heart.  While the little gurgling man lay on the ground, the two meatheads raised their hands and walked off.
With a set up like that you know it was good ;)

Here's the rest of it at Gotheridge Manor.
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