Saturday, April 9, 2016

StarSlinger Saturday - How Big a Star or Planet Filled Sandbox?

I've been going back and forth between a sector of space with multiple systems and a single system with numerous inhabited planets and moons for the StarSlinger.

The sector of space allows for interstellar travel and potentially more nonhuman species. It's spacial footprint is huge - virtually infinite. Jump drive, hyper drive, warp drive, jump gates - you need to find a way to significantly exceed the speed of light, or go around the speed of light, to make this work.

A single planetary star system, with maybe a baker's dozen of habitable planets and moons, limits the sandbox but still allows for night infinite space, especially as ships will be traveling at less than the speed of light.

Both allow for sandbox play while the single planetary star system allows for more focus, or at least that's how I'm viewing it.

So, after long thought, I'm going with a single planetary star system.

Three planets, along with two habitable moons, will lie in the temperate belt (yep, I'm mapping this in my head like a globe of the earth) Mostly earth like with some variations amongst the three worlds, these are the core worlds. Three super powers of different values and strengths.

Two inner planets (one with a habitable moon) will default to more arid conditions, especially around the equator.

Three outer planets with one habitable moon. Temperate around the equator, traveling any distance from the equator leads to severe arctic conditions rather quickly. The moon itself is barely hospitable to life.

The three core planets are attempting to colonize the inner and outer planets, for resources and military influence. Homesteading is common place, but with the exception of military bases and the occasional high tech urban center, most colonists are doing what they can do to get by. Self sufficient and for the most part, anti government - all government for a large part. The colonists aren't drawing lines between the powers, they are drawing a line around themselves.

With three powers vying for influence and secret treaties the norm, rarely is there open conflict near any of the core worlds. Too much to risk for to little in return. Instead, the colonies are much like pieces on a chess board, occasionally sacrificed to strengthen a position elsewhere. They know the role they play and none are happy with it.

Banking is independent of these governments and can be considered a fourth power unto themselves. It is headquartered on the moon that orbits one of the three core worlds and is responsible for the transplanetary monetary credit system. It has it's own planetary defenses and authorizes the Star Marshals with their power to arrest on all worlds (Law enforcement whose jurisdiction ends at it planet's borders would be the Planetary Sheriffs

Smuggling between planetary powers is a way of life for many traders, as taxes on goods can change in the time it takes to traverse between the two ends of the trip.

(all for now)

Kickstarter - The S'rulyan Vault (Fantasy Map)

+Venger Satanis has a new Kickstarter project, and it's not what you'd expect.

This time, it's all about the maps.

+MonkeyBlood Design 's +Glynn Seal is doing the maps for The S'rulyan Vault, and the work in progress (shown above) looks damn good.

The project is for PDF copies of the map to be printed out locally by the backers at 34" x 44" (if desired) as well as a PDF of tables to flesh out the adventure.

For me, I'd use the maps in Roll20.

You want to know the real bell ringer? There's only one level of support: 5 Bucks.

Maybe that wasn't big enough. Its 5 Bucks to back!

Go back it. You know you want to.

Friday, April 8, 2016

State of the Tavern - 3 Weeks in a Row with 20+ Posts - 1st Time Since Summer of '14

21 Posts and the week isn't done yet :)

The Tavern has been very active in my "active retirement". I just need to reboot the beer blog and I'll be right on pace.

As I've stated earlier, The Tavern is going to be going through some tweaking over the next few weeks. The next large project will be turning the tabs under the header into drop down menus, which will lead to a return to the old "Good Reads" blogroll in a form that doesn't slow down page loading nor clutter the screen. As I am not an HTML programmer, nor any type of programmer since Pascal in my high school days, I'm going to go with what I find online and tweak for my usage. I'll warn before I start implementing that code, as I expect it will bork things up at first.

Smaller projects are the weekly recurring posts. There have been requests for me to restart the OSR for the Lapsed Gamer series of posts. If I do, I'd need to get a comprehensive list together with a revised timeline. With the number of current retroclones, this could go on for years, especially if I do a post a week ;)

Not to mention attacking the review slush pile that has been mostly neglected for months.

Just need to put aside more time for podcasting...

Deal of the Day - Crimson Dragon Slayer

+Venger Satanis ' Crimson Dragon Slayer is today's Deal of the Day at RPGNow, discounted from $7 in PDF to $4.20

What is Crimson Dragon Slayer?
This is my (Venger) own contribution to the OSR / fantasy heartbreaker genere of paper & pencil roleplaying games.  Crimson Dragon Slayer is heavily inspired by the 1980's. 
 The parts of it that are god-awful are god-awful on purpose (mostly).  Your adventuring party might contain a robot ranger with laser sword, infernal elf wizard with machine gun, and crystalline / pixie fairy princess hybrid brandishing a two-handed dagger, all tooling around in a Mel Gibson interceptor... looking for cyber crowns, magic items, and bodacious bimbos.  Can you bring Lord Varkon down before his crimson dragons rip Thule a new one?     
So, what's in it?  A self-contained system that's not d20, yet mostly compatible with the original fantasy roleplaying game and all the clones published since.  You roll multiple d6s, the higher the better, relying on improvisation more than defacto results.  There are several classes and many races to choose from.  Also, strange yet eerily familar spells, magic items, monsters, and the mother of all name generators! 
If all goes well, it will be like pretending you're a wizard or warrior in the backyard waving a stick around as if it was a staff or sword... put a tattered red sweatervest on the dog, maybe he can be the dragon. 
There's also an introductory adventure at the end featuring all-too-familiar 80's film characters, several arcade game monsters, and stuff that Lovecraft was too ashamed to write about.

Kickstarter - DUNGEONMANCER the next level in forged 28mm gaming terrain

Remember Girder and Panel?

I had this exact set

That's what Dungeonmancer reminds me of.


That's the part list and cost for a Double Door.

At least Girders and Panels allowed you to build multiple types of buildings with it's hundreds of pieces.

Want enough for a Game Board?

I am not putting together something with over 600 parts...

It will take more time to assemble than it will to game.

Nice concept. Not practical from my POV.

Oh, and that tag line? Nice reference to Dwarven Forge...

(325 pieces could build an airport. 79 pieces? A double door)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Zak S has a New Book - Maze of the Blue Medusa - $50+ HC Preorder - $5+ "Simple PDF"

Yep, Zak S has a new RPG product out called Maze of the Blue Medusa, created with Patrick Stuart.

Now, what's with the pricing indicated in the title of this post?

It's not yet available in Hard Cover. Heck, it's not yet available in "Deluxe PDF" (hyperlinks and such)

The pricing is PWYW with minimal buy ins, so basically anything above the prices listed is a donation.

I purchased the "Simple PDF" earlier today ("Deluxe PDF" will be $10 or a $5 upgrade from "Simple") I have yet to read it BUT I will say it has two annoying features:

- it's a two page spread in layout, so you will not be reading this on your phone or tablet without lots of zooming and moving. Hell, let's be honest, you won't be reading this on anything but a large, wide screen monitor. I'm not sure what the font size used is, but my old eyes are straining at points.

sample 2 page spread for review purposes

- it has these dead RED hyperlinks throughout: more ▶ 

sample for review purposes
Room entries start with a spread offering an overview of each area—room descriptions too long to fit on that spread are marked “more ▶” and have longer descriptions on the following pages.
Annoying and distracting. I guess when the "Deluxe PDF" is released, I will upgrade - assuming it is released as a standard 1-page spread. I really feel like I purchased some form of RPG "Crippleware." $5 for a PDF is pretty much an impulse buy for me but I would have been much happier with a $10 purchase that was easier to use and reference.

Onward to the pricing (review will be down the line, as this is about 250 pages of content.)

There is a whole breakdown of the costs involved in printing this book, which is why (I assume) it is going the preorder route:
For Maze of the Blue Medusa, Zak was paid an advance of $2000. Once the costs of the print run (around $28,600), designer payments ($3000), and Zak's advance are recouped, Zak and Patrick will receive 23% royalties on print and digital copies sold, and its designer (Anton Khodakovsky) will receive a 4% royalty on print and digital copies sold. 
The publisher is a not for profit. I'm assuming (dangerous word here) that the $28,600 for the print run must be raised by print preorders and PDF sales. You'll need about 600 pre-orders to go to print. Or 6,000 sales of the "Simple PDF". Or 3,000 sales of the "Deluxe PDF". Or a combination of the three. I expect it will be a while before it goes to print.

In many ways, this is a crowdfunded project without a funding end date or an estimate on delivery.

I can't recommend the "Simple PDF" unless you have a widescreen monitor to read it on. Thankfully, I do and will try and do a proper review of the contents of the Maze of the Blue Medusa in the near future.

Troll Lords is Running a 99 Cent Sale for PDF Adventures (about 40 different adventures)

Remember yesterday's 99 cent Print sale from Troll Lord Games?

Pretty much same sale, but now in PDF

About 40 titles in all. The pic is just a sample.

So, if you missed out on yesterday's Print sale, here's the PDF sale in all of its glory.

Tenkar's Tavern Mid-Week Roundup for Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mid-week roundup is something I'm going to experiment with. I'm guessing it will move to Wednesday's in the future but who knows. Still trying to adjust to "free time" and the day of the week doesn't have as much importance as it used to ;)

What is the mid-week roundup?

It is events and interesting posts from our corner of the OSR. Could be links to previous posts here at The Tavern or from other blogs in my "I read their blogs" circle or other stuff that strikes my fancy. Just call me "Mr. Fancypants"

There's Charcoal in Them Thar Hills - +Tim Shorts gives us The Charcoaler's Ransom: A Mix of History and Gaming. I love Tim's color maps and they are even nicer when printed and laminated. Follow the link to Tim's Patreon to download the adventure for free and consider supporting his Patreon.

Martial Elf Ranger of the 1st Forest+Fabio Milito Pagliara , of the Castelli & Chimere - Castles & Chimeras blog gives us an ACKS write up of an AD&D 1e type ranger. Nice and solid, it should fit in fairly well with an OSR game with little tweaking needed.

If its Free, its For Me! - the Frugal GM, aka +Christopher Stogdill has a smorgasbord of free goodies linked on his site. It easier just to go there and grab some free shit than it is for me to tell you about the free shit ;)

One Page, Many Dead Adventurers - One Page Dungeon 2016 is taking entries. You have until May 1st, 2016 to get your entry in. If you aren't looking to enter, enjoy the labors of others from previous years.

The Moon Spire+matt jackson gives us the Moon Spire over at his msjx blog. Matt is a skilled and prolific mapper and has a Patreon to support his ongoing work.

Alright, that's it for this week's Mid-Week Roundup. Check out more old school blogs at The Tavern's Patreon Backers Blogroll on the right side of this page and at The Common Room's Blog Forum.

Kickstarter - The Dungeons Keep, Wood Dice Cases for RPG tabletop gaming!

What do you get for the gamer who has everything?

Game books? Got that.

More dice? Dice are nice but very personal.

Something to store your dice in? Maybe.

Made to order wooden diced cases? You might be on to something...

I'm in for a medium (3 dice set) red oak with a light blue felt and lightning effect. Shit, I feel like a kid in a candy store. The prices are reasonable too: medium red oak is 30 bucks, lightning effect for another 5 and felt for another 3 - $38 bucks and shipping makes $44.

Hell, I'll be able to roll dice on my desk without loosing any with the dice tray ;)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Update - Troll Lords is Running a 99 Cent Sale for Print Adventures - Shipping is Fixed - Run, Don't Walk!

Earlier this afternoon I noticed that Troll Lord Games was running a 99 cent sale on about 40 of their Castles & Crusades adventures. I dropped 27 adventures in my virtual shopping cart and shipping came to over 40 bucks. I was stunned, and posted so.

Well, the shipping has now been fixed. 23 items (some dropped out of my cart) came to 6 bucks and change. I then went back and ordered another dozen adventures or so (ones that were mistakenly "out of stock" were also fixed.) Shipping on the 2nd order was 4 bucks and change.

Even if you don't play Castles & Crusades, everything is easy enough to convert to the OSR game of your choice.

There's lots of gaming goodness to be had at a very fair price.

Here's the link. Prices are only in effect until midday tomorrow and stock is limited.

Troll Lords is Running a 99 Cent Sale for Print Adventures - Shipping Kills the Deal

I got this email. It looked too good to be true, and it was:
We've updated our online store to match the rest of our websites and to celebrate that, we have put select adventures -- in print -- at only .99 cents in our SPECIALS section!  40 of our adventures are on sale for one day only!  Some reduced as much as 80%!  Act fast as this special offer expires in 24 hours (Thursday at noon).
The Troll Lords!
27 12 to 16 page adventures in the basket.

$26.73 for the adventures. $43.22 to ship.

I probably would have gone along at $15 to ship, but this is ridiculous. You can probably stick them all in a priority mail box and send it for 12 bucks and the US Postal Service even pays for the box.

Ah well. Didn't really need them anyhow.

edit - shipping appears to have been fixed - 6 bucks and change for 23 items (lost some from the cart in the hours between this post and getting back on the computer)

heres the options:

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9PM Eastern

Yep, we're doing Wednesday Nights for Tavern Chat. So it was in the beginning, so it is now ;)

Join us. Tell me what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong.

Post links to bad youtube videos.

Chat with others in the Old School Gaming Sphere of Influence (that's a 5th level spell BTW)

Generally, shoot the shit and have a good time.

See you then :)

Death of a Blog Roll (and other tweaks)

Yep, today we are nuking a blog roll.


I'm trying to speed up Tavern load time and killing the second blog roll is one way to do so.

So, "Good Reads" will be gone shortly. The "Patreon Backers Blog Roll" is staying. Having the two repeated a large number of blogs and with the addition of The Common Room Forum and the Blog Forum located therein I think we'll still have fairly good coverage of the various gaming blogs.

I've also received a singular request to check The Tavern's RSS feed. It does appear that I had changed to setting from "full post" to "short." I'm going to change that to "page break." I RARELY have used page breaks in the past but again, in an effort to speed up load times, I'll be using page breaks in the future for longer (or heavy art posts) as well as some of the gaming content posts. So, few will notice any difference, the blog should load quicker and most posts will still fully load in the various feed readers in full.

Did I mention The Tavern's Facebook Community surpassed 300 members earlier this morning? Or that three new backers are supporting The Tavern via Patreon since this past weekend? I feel all warm and fuzzy :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Wherein I Rant About Bad Wrong Fun and Keeping Your Hands to Yourself

I'm sitting here, staring at my screen, not because I don't know what to say, but because I know saying it will bring me the ire of certain members of the gaming community whose mission has turned into an agenda.

I'm going to say it anyway.

Enough with the Bad Wrong Fun. It's tiring. If you don't like it when some of the original members of the gaming community (who happen to be males) run games that are "women only" at certain Old School Gaming Cons, present alternatives. Don't label the games as sexist, offer something qualitatively better. Less whining, more doing.

Folks like Frank, Tim, James, Merle and others aren't running these sessions to hold some kind of power over female gamers, they are doing it to empower female gamers. If it's not your chosen method in which to have female gamers empowered - don't participate. This "my way or the highway" shit has to end at some point. Again, enough with the Bad Wrong Fun. Rach had more fun in Merle's Top Secret "All Ladies" game than any other gaming session she played in (possible exception made for +Tim Snider 's Timemaster session in June of 2014)

Note to any members of the gaming community that prey on female members of our community - you better hope I'm not at the gaming table if your unwanted advances turn into anything resembling criminal activity, because I will hold you for local law enforcement. I'm not talking the stumbling ass that doesn't know how to approach a woman, I'm taking the tard that thinks unwanted physical contact is cool. I've never seen it myself, but I do know it happens, so consider yourself warned.

As an a side, to any that will be at NTRPG Con this year, feel free to say hello, shake hands, share some beers, tell me that The Tavern sucks, why you hate cops - whatever. I like to think I'm approachable. If I don't recognize you, introduce yourself. Part of the reason I became a cop nearly 20 years ago was that everyone in my department wore name tags in uniform and I suck with putting names to faces.

Wow. I may have written this without cursing. That's a first. Wait, I used "shit". Is that technically still a curse these days?

Sell Me on "Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures"

Alright, in truth, you don't need to sell me. +James Spahn already did, and I ordered the 3 books for Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures in hard cover already.

The thing is, I love the idea of a low prep campaign, and this seems to be the OSR flavored RPG to do it.

So, tell me: have you run or played in a Beyond the Wall campaign? Pros? Cons?

Let me know as I scan (with my eyes) the PDF of the core rules in preparation of the books to arrive in print...

Did I mention that the third book in the Beyond the Wall series, Heroes Young and Old, is PWYW? Yes, even the print version, but you do have to cover the cost to print.

DMs Guild Programs for ALL the RPG Systems! - DriveThruRPG’s Community Content Program adds Cortex Plus

As I surmised when Monte Cook Games announced their creator program in the image of WotC's DMs Guild, Margaret Weis Productions has just announced their program in conjunction with DriveThruRPG.

Before I share the press release, I'd like to make my own observations.

RPG publishers are looking to make a steady cash flow from their creations with little to no effort on their part. If it follows the DMs Guild set up, the writer of the content that is added to the "Community Content Program" get's 50 cents on the dollar (instead of the usual 65 or 70 cents depending on exclusivity) and you won't have control over the content you actually write.

Where does that other 20% go to? The publisher running the Community Content Program. They get 20% for doing nothing.

If you think it was hard to be a freelancer working for an RPG publisher before, wait until the year is out. Community Content Programs are going to be the wave of the future for any publisher with a halfway successful RPG system and a fairly active fan base and the future is now.

That is all.

Announcing Cortex Plus Creator Studio™ 
 Published: Saturday, 02 April 2016 08:16 
Margaret Weis Productions Jumps into DriveThruRPG’s Community Content Program with the announcement of the Cortex Plus Creator Studio™ 
Margaret Weis Productions (MWP) and DriveThruRPG are thrilled to announce a partnership that will offer third party game designers the opportunity to publish Cortex Plus RPG supplements through the Cortex Plus Creator Studio. 
This program will take the place of MWP’s existing Cortex Plus Fan Product and Cortex Plus Official Licensed Product once it launches. The Cortex Plus Creator Studio, which is planned for this Spring, will give creators a chance to share their hacks, settings, and vision using the system outlined in the Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide, as well as the upcoming Cortex Plus Heroic and Cortex Plus Action core rulebooks. 
Standing alongside Wizards of the Coast’s DMsGuild (which is run by DriveThruRPG) and Monte Cook Games’ just announced Cypher System Creator program, Margaret Weis Productions will allow publishers of any size to offer Cortex Plus RPG supplements for sale on DriveThruRPG.com. Creators will set the price for their work, or may offer their release for free. Individual, small, or large publishers are all welcome under the Cortex Plus Creator Studio parameters. Details of the terms and conditions including royalties, commissions, and revenue shares will be released prior to the formal launch of the program. 
Margaret Weis has this to say - “I believe role-playing game companies are stronger when standing together. We’re thrilled to be joining DriveThruRPG in this program that’s all about those who play our games. We have always listened to our fans, and their feedback and ideas have been incorporated into what we produce. We can’t wait to see what the community creates and how they expand on the characters, adventures, settings and rules through the Cortex Plus Creator Studio.” 
Matt McElroy, Director of Publishing for DriveThruRPG, stated,”The Cortex Plus fanbase have created their own worlds and system hacks for years. This new program will offer opportunities for creators to share their work with other Cortex Plus fans around the world, and help support this beloved system.”

About Margaret Weis Productions: Margaret Weis Productions (MWP) is an award-winning publisher of tabletop roleplaying games. We are perhaps best known for our licensed games created from the worlds of Dragonlance, Serenity, Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica, Smallville, Leverage, Marvel and Firefly RPGs. Based in Wisconsin, MWP has been bringing games to fans since 2005. 
The Cortex Plus Creator Studio will launch in Spring 2016.
Notice it allows the use of the system, not any of the licensed settings.

Monstrous Mondays - Bonus - Gelamorphous Cube - White Star / White Box

Art by Denis McCarthy - © Denis McCarthy, 2016
Aye, we've all heard of the Gelatinous Cube. Some may have seen one. It's the ones that ain't seen that's the problem. But have ya heard of the Gelamorphous Cube? I didna think so. They look exact as their cousins until they consume their prey. Then the fun starts. They take the basic shape of their last meal, some of it's abilities, memories and worst of all - intelligence. When they be morphed they are the most cunning of dangers in the dungeon.

Gelamorphous Cube
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 5 (plus 1/2 last meal's maximum HP)
Attacks: Envelope (2d6) 
Special: Takes on characteristics of it's last prey eaten for 
2d6 days, including basic shape, movement speed, powers 
and / or spells of 3rd level or less, special class abilities, 
cunnning and intelligence. paralysis, lighting and cold immunity
Move: 3/X
HDE/XP: 6/400

When in the shape of their last prey Gelamorphous Cubes are very dangerous. Hit Points are boosted, movement speed is greater and they have many of the abilities (and some memories) that belonged to their last meal while retaining their ability to paralyze new prey. When morphed they have the cunning of an animal hunter. Needing neither air nor water to survive, they have been found in deep dungeons and abandoned starships.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Monstrous Mondays - Osseinian Horror - White Star / White Box

Publisher's Choice Quality Stock Art©Rick Hershey/Fat Goblin Games

Some say they're humans cursed by the gods to wear their bones on the outside. Other's claim the devil himself made 'em in his image. What the truth is, none can say for certain except this - ya' see one of them Bone Boys commin' your way, ya better run fast or strike hard. They ain't the fastest but their bones is like armor covering from head to toe. Get past that bones tho' and a good blow should take them down. Just don't get caught in it's claws as the tail will whip around with it's poisoned barb. Yep, best stay clear if ya can, that's fer sure.

Osseinian Horror
Armor Class: 0 [19]
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: claw x2 (1d6)
Special: If both claws hit same target in same round, target is clutched.
Roll tail attack at + 4 hit. Damage is 1d6 and save vs poison at +2 or be
paralyzed for 2d6 rounds.
Move: 6
HDE/XP: 4/120

Osseinian Horrors, or Bone Boys as the common folks call them, are humanoids that wear their bones on the outside, giving them a relatively high AC and relatively low HP. They do not appear to breath and the only sustenance they needs is the bone marrow of their victims. Bone Boys rarely travel in large groups, but every 30 years or so they swarm a population center like a swarm of locusts, destroying all life therein before returning to their separate paths.

Fat Goblin Games Stock Art at RPGNow

Content Posts to Return to the Tavern - Monstrous Mondays and StarSlinger Saturdays

The Muse is awakening. That, and I have a shit-ton of stock art that I really should highlight. Oh, and I owe gaming content to The Tavern readers.

So, we are starting Monstrous Mondays and StarSlinger Saturdays. Days where I present The Tavern readers with gaming content (which will trickle down to Paetreon Backers as semi-professional laid out 4 page PDFs and print outs (if you really think they will look professional, you must be expecting someone besides me to lay them out ;)

Monstrous Mondays should start this evening...

Free RPG Product - GM’s Monthly Miscellany: April 2016

Now that I have the time, I'm going to try and highlight free items that are useful and well worth your time to download and read.

I've been remiss when it comes to Raging Swan Press. Although primarily a Pathfinder publisher, they also publish "system neutral" versions of many of their products, and even the Pathfinder products are easy enough to use with any OSR game with minimal work. When it comes to Raging Swan, you are looking for inspiration, not stats, and their products are high on the inspiration scale.

Case in point, today's free RPG product - GM’s Monthly Miscellany: April 2016. While nominally a Pathfinder product there is much of value in here for the OSR GM.

- Four Things Modern Dungeons Lack - This might as well have been written by an OSR old-timer. Main points? Nothing changes, no wandering monsters, no empty space and level inappropriate encounters. Really, it's pretty much "how to make your dungeons more old school".

- Silver Bluff - A village complete with history,demographics, notable folk, notable locations, village lore, rumors and professionally drawn map. This is pretty much read and drop where needed.

- Looting the Cleric's Body: Pouch Contents - Pretty much what it says on the tin. d100 table to add flavor to the bloody mess your party made of that evil cleric.

- Marsh Town: Sights & Sounds - Another d100 table, this time for sights and sounds in a marsh town. Shit, there are publishers that charge 99 cents for a table like this.

- Marsh Town: Businesses - Yep, another d100 table for exactly what it says on the tin.

- What's the Point (In Gaming)? - Short editorial / article.

Just how much is the GM’s Monthly Miscellany: April 2016? Free.

Monday Morning Kickstarter Update - Classic Quests in the Far West for Pencil Toolkits

One thing I'm guilty of is highlighting Kickstarters, good or bad, and then never returning them to the spotlight, which I think is a shame. Most of the good ones deserve a second look and some of the bad ones certainly have more sacrifices to make to the community on our behalf. The Monday Morning Kickstarter Update is a weekly feature (although the title itself is subject to change).

Without further ado...

Classic Edition GM Screen - already funded - 4hrs left as I type this. you know what to do. Go!

Quests of Doom 3 - more adventures for Swords & Wizardry and D&D 5e from your friendly Frawgs. PDF is $15, HC + PDF is $35

WHAT!? Pencil Dice - not pencils that can be used as dice but dice with little pencils drawn on them. The ultimate "Fuck you Ken!" gag gift.

Far West - Gareth promised we'd be pleasantly surprised by the end of March. Nada. Neither pleasant nor a surprise. The man simply can not help himself. There is a word for this. It starts with the letter "P" and is certainly not logical.

Appendix N Adventure Toolkits - say what you will, but years later John is still slowly shipping and still slowly releasing PDFs. Not that anyone is happy with the slow progress, but unlike Far West above THERE IS progress.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Reminder - Classic Edition GM Screen - Less than 20 hours Left to Back

Normally I'd give this a mention with the weekly Kickstarter Roundup, but as the clock is ticking it's time for me to send a reminder. I've held the prototype (last June) and it was good. It's also a testament to the amount of time put into getting this project right. Remember, you can back for everything in PDF for as little as 7 bucks - Tenkar

+Richard LeBlanc is one of my favorite creators in the OSR corner of the hobby. His D30 Sandbox Companion is THE go to product on my gaming shelf when I'm short on adventure ideas. Rich knows his gaming stuff, knows his art, knows his layout... yes, he simply knows his shit and it shows.

Rich's New Big Dragon Games Unlimited is running a Kickstarter for a Classic Edition GM ScreenIt's what you see above. I actually got to handle a beta version of the screen last June at NTRPG Con and I was very impressed. I can only imagine how much nicer it is with 8 more months of development.

But wait. Your not just getting 2 3-panel GM screens:

6-panel (12-page) BX Game Masters Screen (in two 3-panel pieces) 

This is the most comprehensive GM screen ever created for BX editions of the original RPG and comparable retro-clones. The inside and outside faces of each screen will be printed on 15 pt. cover stock, and glued together to create 30 pt. thickness!!! Additionally, the entire screen will be protected with a UV coating for resistance to abrasion and staining. The exterior of this 6-panel (12-page) screen features artwork by the legendary artist Arthur Rackham, and content panels include all the pertinent information any Classic (BX/LL) GM needs to run their game, including:

-Experience point & spell level progressions for each character class
-Class-based combat & saving throw tables
-Class abilities & attribute adjustments
-Tables for Clerical turning and Thieves' abilities
-Variable damage by weapon; missile fire ranges; AC by armor type
-Step-by-step outlines for both turn sequence & combat sequence
-A simplified Treasure Types table
-Comprehensive cost lists for weapons, equipment, and animals
-Complete movement information (including dungeon, wilderness, airborne, and encumbered movement)
-Henchmen/hirelings, mercenaries & specialists (recruitment, requirements, salaries, and abilities)
-8-page GM Table Reference Document: This 8-page letter-sized piece includes all of the tables from the GM screens in a handle table-ready format. Features additional cover art by Arthur Rackham. Printed on a 60# uncoated cover stock and saddle-stitched.

8 Individual Card Stock Master Character Sheets (1 Generic Sheet + 7 Class-specific Sheets): Each of the 7 class-specific character record sheet contains the most pertinent information each player needs (e.g., notes on which types of weapons & armor may be used by the class, additional experience earned based on prime requisites, and special abilities like clerics' turning and thieves' abilities). In addition to the 7 classic character class sheets (cleric, dwarf, elf, fighter, halfling, magic-user, and thief), an 8th "generic" sheet is usable by any character class. Printed on an 80# uncoated cover stock.

Spells Record Sheet: This record sheet is usable by any spellcasting PC, and includes places to list each known spell's name, range, duration, and area of effect, as well as other pertinent notes. Printed on an 80# uncoated cover stock.

Character Record Log: This record sheet provides a place to write the information a GM needs for up to 6 PCs or NPCs, including the basics (name, class, hp, level, AC, etc.) as well as ability scores, saving throws, equipment/inventory, and other notes. Printed on an 80# uncoated cover stock.

4-page Cleric Spell Handout: The cover of this digest-sized piece notes spells gained by level, and the inside includes all the key information (e.g., range, duration, spell notes, etc.) for all the cleric spells contained in the classic red and blue rule books (plus a few additional core spells from other early editions). Printed on a 60# uncoated cover stock.

8-page Magic-user Spell Handout: The cover of this digest-sized piece notes spells gained by level, and the inside includes all the key information (e.g., range, duration, spell notes, etc.) for all the magic-user spells contained in the classic red and blue rule books (plus a few additional core spells from other early editions). Printed on a 60# uncoated cover stock and saddle-stitched.

That's a lot of stuff for your $43 investment and you get it all in PDF too. If print isn't your preferred media (or if your budget is tight) you can get the total package in PDF for a mere 7 bucks.

Did I mention I love the art used?

Mini Review - The Carnival of the Damned (DCC RPG - Tournament or Funnel Adventure)

First, let me apologize to +Jon Marr and +David Baity . Jon put a prerelease copy of The Carnival of the Damned in my virtual hands in early January and I never got around to reviewing it. The last few months were certainly hectic, but now that time is slowly becoming my friend, Ive been playing catch up. Which is where we are at right now ;)

The Carnival of the Damned can be played either as a Tournament adventure, in which case players play until their character dies and then a new player jumps in OR as a 0-level funnel. If used as a funnel, it has the ability to be used multiple times, as you'll probably only use a half dozen or so of the encounters (and maybe one or two of the random encounters) in a session. As you can see already, you get lots of gaming material for your money.

Now obviously, if there's a carnival, there has to be clowns. And when I think of evil clowns, Killer Klowns from Outer Space comes to mind. So, sidetracked. Anyhow, the artwork in CoD isn't the cute but disturbing art that Jon Marr is known for and that's because Jonn didn't do the art in this one. +Doug Kovacs did the cover and David Baity, Todd McGowan, Danny Prescott, Stan Reed, Simon Todd did the interiors and what interiors they are.

Right. Encounters. There's a gawd damn Whack-A-Mole encounter. How awesome is that? More awesome than you can imagine, but I'm not giving it away. Yep, even a Petting Zoo. Bet you won't see what's coming in this encounter. Heck, you wont see what've coming in nearly all the encounters.
They aren't curve balls and they make their own kinda sense, but your players won't find themselves in familiar territory.

Cop nightmares are
made of this
If you are running this for your home group, once the 0-level survivors reach 1st level you could easily keep the Carnival running for another session or three. In it's own way, it's a contained sandbox and there is a mystery for the PCs to solve (and souls to save - maybe even their own). If I get a chance to run this, it's how I would want things to work out. Multiple sessions with the group whittling down and the survivors getting enough experience (a level or two) to solve the mystery.

Which is a great thing about The Carnival of the Damned. There's a ton of fun content. It would be a shame not to get the most out of it.

Oh, before I forget to mention it again. The art. Flat out awesome.
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