Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Black Hack RPG Licensing Guidelines Have Been Offered to the Community by David Black

+David Black reached out to me earlier today to let me know that he has posted guidelines for the community to follow if they wish to indicate that a supplement or rules set uses The Black Hack as it's basis. 

I'm going to repeat David's post here with his permission as well as link to today's post on his blog.
3RD Party TBH 
There's been a tonne of really creative and inventive uses of TBH as an 'engine' which i'm really digging and totally happy about. People have been kindly emailing me their drafts, and enquiring about what they want to do - but some haven't (which isn't an issue, mind you). But it prompts me to think now is a good time to publicly make everyone aware of how I want to approach 3rd party content that wants to reference TBH
The TBH rules are OGL, so you can totally use them for whatever purpose you want. The name 'The Black Hack' and the Hand logo aren't, however. But having said that, in the spirit of DIY gaming I want you to modify, create supplements and spawn spinoffs. Its what its all about. So if you want to create a supplement/module/hack, and if you want to use the name 'The Black Hack' - here's how you should go about it: 
Email me at david@8bitfactory.co.uk for a set of high resolution hand logos. Freebies?!? Kinda. 
If it's a supplement (ie you need TBH to use it), somewhere on the cover you need the hand logo and the text 'For use with The Black Hack
If it's a standalone product (The opposite of above), somewhere on the cover you need the hand logo and the text 'Made using The Black Hack
 Any questions just get in touch! 

Contessa Needs a Technically Skilled Volunteer - Males MAY Apply

It's long been known that men in perceived positions of authority or influence are unwelcome at Contessa. Well, that's apparently changed and I'm glad to see it.

Stacey is looking for some technical help with the Contessa website and I'm happy to add to the bandwidth. No, I was not asked directly, but I figure with something as positive as this is, I can put aside personal issues momentarily. I know many of my readers are technically inclined, and The Tavern is very much male appendage heavy, so it's doubtful many of you have seen the Facebook announcement previously (I was asked by a reader to share and share I will):

Almost all the volunteer help I've gotten for ConTessa is in the administrative/event growing/marketing/promotional help category, which is great and needed, but for them to do that stuff, I have to be able to provide them with stuff to work with.  
I've been spending so much time doing the nitty gritty, I'm failing on the higher level organizational tasks. I'm overwhelmed and juggling too much. I need help, and I'm ready to admit I can't be picky about gender. All the women with tech experience I know have so much going on they can't help out, and none of the women who have graciously volunteered to help have the skillset necessary.  
What I need help with:  
- Updating pages on the website. (Squarespace)  
- Adding new pages to the website for new events, promotions, and most especially for fundraising help. (Squarespace as well, this requires some design knowledge to take text and make it into a designed web experience.) 
- Prepping text and images for social media. (We use both raster and vector graphics, and have an inventory of purchased stock art).  
- Graphic design. (I enjoy doing this a LOT, but maybe do it too much) 
- Social media. (G+, Facebook, Twitter) 
So, this is to everyone - guys and girls - who's told me before they want to help. If you can fill some of these holes, it'd keep me from drowning. You should have technical knowledge in doing these things, and the time to donate I'd say no more than 5-10 hours a week.  
I can not stress enough that I need someone who is technical. We may well get into the nitty gritty of building our our own events app, and just from a day-to-day standpoint, I need someone who understands how to use CSS at the very least. It's also best if you have experience with Squarespace (or are confident enough you can learn it on your own), as I don't have time to train anyone.  
I need someone who can take direction, but who's also willing to offer their own creative insights. I'm very picky about how ConTessa is portrayed, and will often ask for several revisions on projects until I find what I like.  
Inquire within, or shoot me an email at stacy@contessa.rocks.

Before you know it, Contessa may actually allow male GMs...

State of The Tavern - Sometimes the Simple Life Ain't so Simple - Update

So, the extended family stuff I alluded to earlier in the week? Mostly resolved, at least for now.

Short story - one of my mother's cousins, suffering from many of the potential mental effects of aging and refusing family help in dealing with those, walked to her local police station Monday evening and told the police her house had been "ransacked". When they drove her back home to investigate, she admitted she threw a hissy fit because her parents (in reality long since passed) were arguing and she was upset. Key the ambulance, hospital and medical determination that she was mentally incompetent.

Now no longer able to care for herself (or her cats) and with the family being informed she will never be returning to her home, we searched her house far and wide to find all the financial documentation the nursing home (where she was admitted yesterday) would need. And found a home for the two cats. And clothes for her. And personal items to make her room seem more like home. And dealt with the hospital, nursing home, social worker and the like. All while my mother, my sister and myself were accused by her of putting her there.

If she had only taken the help offered prior, she would have been in assisted living. Now, the nursing home will be her guardian.

Fun stuff.

Emails will go out to those gifting with the info of those being gifted this weekend. I seriously lacked the opportunity to do so this week.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Kickstarter - The Folio #9 The Lost Apprentice (1e / 5e Adventure / Setting)

You know what I need to do once this "retirement thing" settles out and time becomes mine to do with as I will? Actually sit down and read my seven print issues of The Folio. The removable cover, the high quality interiors - the PDF's that I thumbed through on my tablet while on breaks at work don't do the print copies justice.

Add in the fact that these are made with 1e and 5e in mind (issue 7 was Deadlands and it's made me think of actually learning the Savage Worlds rules) and you have a line of products that cover most bases.

$15 for the print plus PDF (plus $5 shipping) really should make this an easy decision. Heck, the PDF only is just 5 bucks.

So much to read, so little time...

Here's the blurb for The Folio #9
It isn’t every day you get the opportunity to work with someone like Stefan Pokorny of Dwarven Forge on a project, especially one that combines his incredible talent for sculpting and my penchant for spinning an epic adventure. The past few months just happen to be filled with those kinds of days as Art of the Genre gets to dive into the Dwarven Forge world of Mythras and flesh out a part of Valoria, the world’s greatest city. 
This campaign blends Stefan’s already established mastery of his city with my own desire to find a particularly cool part and make it my own. The Folio #9 is the second installment in a trilogy of adventures that feature The Patina Court, a neighborhood inside Valoria. Alongside Stefan, I’ve crafted the story while also physically building encounter points using his incredible terrain. Included below are various videos of me ‘learning the ropes’, so to speak, of what a Dwarven Forge build looks like, as well as detailing exactly what I’ve used to get there. 
Now any of you that have gotten our Folios before, not to worry, we are still giving you all the goodies that have made us what we are. Adventures feature removable covers (to act as DM screens and give good views of maps), 3D maps detailed with an artist’s flair, standard OSR ‘blue’ maps so you can see exactly how big things are, a standalone Gazetteer booklet that provides features to the setting, and a standalone Adventure that will open the door to Valoria itself.

What Ever Happened to the "All Woman Team" Edition of Swords & Wizardry Announced for the Summer of 2015?

I was recently asked a question via email about the new edition of Swords & Wizardry. Now, I had totally forgotten there actually WAS a new edition of Swords & Wizardry in the works. Most likely because the person leading the project is not one I personally like much (because "issues"). Still, it is Swords & Wizardry, and it would be interesting to see an "all woman" take on the game.

The only mention I can find online of the project is at +Christopher Helton 's Dorkland Blog from April 17, 2015:
So, this summer there will be a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money for a new printing/edition of Swords & Wizardry. What makes this newsworthy is that the fact that the graphic design, layout and art direction for this new edition will be an all-woman team of artists and designers lead by Stacy Dellorfano, the founder of the online gaming convention ConTessa. The art for the new edition will also feature new iconic characters that are female and people of color. In a way, the old school is stepping into the "new" school and with this edition of Swords & Wizardry we see Frog God Games bucking the perception that OSR/old school gamers are all conservative and reactionary individuals, interested only in continuing the status quo. Good on them for that.
So, here we are over a year later and I've heard nothing since. Anyone know who's on the team of artists and designers that Stacey assembled, because I don't recall Stacey writing an RPG (or rewritting an RPG) prior to this announcement. Last April the Kickstarter was only months away - it still hasn't been announced. Is this project still in the works?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Gygax Memorial Fund announced an Interactive Museum Project 2 1/2 Years Ago - Anyone Have Any News?

So, I was poking around Facebook for updates on the Gygax Memorial Fund and stumbled across this announcement from November of 2013 - GYGAX MEMORIAL FUND ANNOUNCES INTERACTIVE MUSEUM PROJECT WITH GAMES LEARNING SOCIETY'S MIKE BEALL AND TEAM. Interesting that there is no mention of this on the Fund's actual website, but with the way it's been updated, maybe that isn't a surprise.

Except for some reshares, I can find nothing else on this "project". For those asking "who is Dianne Carpenter Curtis?" - she is one of the three board members on the GMF and the Fund's "Coordinator of Educational Programs and Special Projects".

The Games Learning Society doesn't make mention of the project either.

So, anyone know something about this? I don't see any monies leaving the fund on relation to this project on the 2013 and 2014 tax returns and it doesn't seem to have been mentioned with any of the Fund's or Gail Gygax's most recent updates. It could be funded by Gygax Games, but I don't see Gygax Games or the Gygax Memorial Fund listed as partners at the Games Learning Society.

It is 2 1/2 years later. There has to have been some progress, right? Er...

Troll Lord Games is Having a Scratch & Dent Sale - Up to 75% Off

Sure the email from the Troll says up to 60% off in the title (and more than 60% off in the body of the email - it is the Trolls after all) but the truth is some titles are up to 75% off. Obviously all of these are dead tree editions.

Below is just a sample of what's on sale at the Troll's Scratch & Dent Sale

Tenkar's Tavern Mid-Week Roundup for Thursday, May 12, 2016

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"

Probably the largest discussion taking place in gaming this week was in answer to +Christopher Helton 's article on ENWord. I had my own words to say on the topic, which can be read here. It's all about what games are worth. In does fall into living wage discussions over in the ENWorld thread, but there is some good discussion to be found if you look hard enough. Just avoid the whole "living wage" trap and you'll do okay ;)

+Timothy Brannan addresses an RPGnet thread, about of all things, the "Much Maligned" 5th edition of D&D over at The Other Side Blog. If we were talking about early versions of the D&D Next Playtest, yeah, it was a mess at points. While the final version of 5e isn't everything I might have wanted it to be, neither is Swords & Wizardry, my usual go to game. Oh, as a bonus, The Pundit chimes in.

+matt jackson has released his Cartological Review, series 2015, volume 1 as a free download from his blog. Grab it, print it out and run with it. Without scissors please...

Earlier this week I received my monthly micro adventures offering from +Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor fame. Want to see what you're missing? Go to the link.

+Rob Conley has an interesting breakdown on what the Traveller's Aid Society offers to small publishers (and what it doesn't). I missed this earlier (it's from May 2) but it's well worth the read.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tavern Chat - Tonight - 9PM Eastern - Your Host Will NOT be Present

Lads and Ladies, I will not be in Tavern Chat tonight. I'll be celebrating the promotions of two of my Police Officers to the rank of Detective as well as cleaning out my locker.

Behave yourselves ;)

Ray, may sure you load up a video or two...

Kickstarter - Far West - Let's Set a NEW Completion Date for Shits and Giggles

Last time Gareth actually posted an update on the Kickstarter side? January 29th.

It's not that Gareth isn't making comments. He occasionally does pop up in the Far West Kickstarter comments. Like here, where he explains why he stopped doing updates (but does do Twitter - figure that shit out)

He's right, his medical "stuff" is nobody's business - except that he's used it as an excuse in the past and now in the present.

So yes, if you want Far West updates you need to slog through Gareth's Twitter feed.

Not that I expect to actually see anything this year.

The Tenkar's Tavern Facebook Community has Hit the 400 Members Mark

Yep, The Tavern's Facebook Community has hit 400 members. Not too shabby for 5 months or so of existence.

Now I need to think of something special to celebrate.

Give me time - I'll think of something ;)

Thanks to everyone that's joined and everyone that reads The Tavern. I couldn't do this without you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

State of The Tavern - Sometimes the Simple Life Ain't so Simple

Last week was busier than expected. Retirement ain't so simple.

Last night, life threw a curve ball. Extended family crap. Took up most of today and I suspect most of tomorrow.

Then tomorrow night I head to work (God forbid) to help celebrate two of my officers getting promoted to detective.

Yes, they are still mine. Retired ID doesn't change shit.

Tavern Chat may have to happen without me, or get punted a night.

Still gathering names to be forwarded to be gifted.

I hope to send out emails to gifters tomorrow...

What Are Games Worth? - A Follow Up to Chris Helton's ENWorld Article on the Need to Pay What Games are Worth

What follows are some thoughts in regards to +Christopher Helton 's ENWorld article on Why We Need To Pay What Games Are Worth, Not What We Think They Should Cost. The Tavern's link to the article is question has generated 32 comments at the time I type this and the ENWorld article has 270 comments. It's obvious that it's subject that touches on us all and I've read some great comments on G+, The Tavern and ENWorld.

I think Chris' article is misnamed, because what he is really saying is that the price of RPG products should reflect the cost involved to produce them. Cost to produce and "worth" are two wholly separate issues. It is quite possible to spend more creating something than it's actual value.

What is something worth? That is subjective. While I find Frog God Games products to be well worth my investment as gaming material, others find them to be to expensive. I've heard many a Tavern reader suggest that FGG should offer a POD option for their books to make them move affordable. They want the product but aren't willing to pay the price the Frogs are asking. Still, the Frogs seem to do well with what they publish. They have an established customer base and a quality level to their finished product that exceeds that of POD.

What something is worth or valued at is, in the end, determined by the consumer and the producer. Ask too high a price and you limit your pool of prospective buyers. Sell at too low a price and you may never make back your investment.

I remember speaking with +Doug Kovacs at NTRPG Con in 2014 and remarking at the prices for his art, especially the original art pieces. To my eyes, the prices seems low, but I assume Doug knows his market. Maybe I overvalue art, as it's a skill I lack (even if both my parents are artists) but greatly appreciate. Maybe my assessment is correct but there is less of a market for original art than there is for written RPG material.

There is a reason Kickstarter is used so successfully by the Second Tier Publishers (I'm defining First Tier Publishers as WotC and Paizo for the purpose of this post) - it allows them to control cost and get an accurate print run estimation. Frog God Games, Goodman Games, Troll Lord Games, Pinnacle and others, especially those that do NOT offer Print on Demand, need an accurate assessment of the demand for their newest releases. Bringing those projects to Kickstarter allows for that. Dead stock sitting in a warehouse is minimized and a greater share of the final price of the product goes into the hands of the publisher.

PDF and POD publishing has been a godsend to the self publisher, the vast majority of whom are writing and publishing in their spare time.

No one is getting rich off of creating RPG material. Many are supplementing their "normal" salary. A few are making a living off of it. That is the general rule of being a "creative".

My sister is a published author. Her novel, The Hollow Ground, was a best seller on Audible. Her second manuscript is making the rounds hoping for a contract. In the meantime, she work as a college professor. Would she like to be a full time author? Yes. Will she ever be? Who knows.

Again, value is set by the market. While it should reflect the "cost" of creation to some extent, no one should be guaranteed a certain ROI on their creativity just "because". Not all creative works are equal, and effort does not guarantee quality. In the end, quality work has the most worth.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Free Quick Start - Castles & Crusades: Brimstone & The Borderhounds RPG (Troll Lord Games - Siege Engine)

This one caught me by surprise. I've never read (nor previously heard of) the comic book series Brimstone & The Borderhounds. Apparently it's a new, licensed RPG coming from the Troll Lords too. As the Trolls don't release anything substantial without going the Kickstarter route, expect a new Kickstarter soon.

The Castles & Crusades: Brimstone & The Borderhounds RPG Quick Start is free. No rules for advancement, but they do suggest using Amazing Adventures to hold you over to release:
As a quick start set, this package does not include character generation rules. For those wishing a look at what kinds of characters you can play in a BBH game, check out the Amazing Adventures roleplaying game. Many of the character classes therein (including the mentalist, arcanist, gumshoe and hooligan) are quite similar to the types of characters you’ll play in a BBH game. 
Here's the blurb:

Hell is an unkind place. A sprawling megalopolis of twisted streets and ramshackle buildings piled one on top of the other, clawing their way to height’s unseen where the Lords of Hell rule. Here the harvested souls of evil labor as slaves, doomed to eternal torment. Bound to a world of suffering, always yearning for a world beyond their own. Those wicked, and who are able, seek to flee this city of the damned and do so with whatever tool they can: greed, violence, avarice. Fleeing Hell is the only goal.

But to do so, these souls must pass the Borderhounds. They are Bounty Hunters set on the edge of forever who hunt down wayward souls and throw them in, or out, of Hell. Led by grim faced Brimstone, these Borderhounds are the bane of the damned.

Now you can join the Borderhounds!!

Brimstone and the Borderhounds is a complete, standalone Role Playing Game using the tried and tested Siege Engine, crafted by veteran game designer Jason Vey. Fight devils, demons and more in your hunt to capture Hell’s wayward souls!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

It's Not Often That I Link to ENWorld, But When I Do... Chris Helton Talks About the Need to Pay What Games are Worth

It's not often that I link to a thread on ENWorld. Come to think of it, I don't recall ever linking to a discussion on ENWorld, but this one is worth reading.

+Christopher Helton wrote an article that went live earlier today titled Why We Need To Pay What Games Are Worth, Not What We Think They Should Cost. It's a good, if short article, but the discussion is at 4 pages long and growing.

It's worth the read, whether you are a publisher or consumer of gaming material.
We have a problem in the tabletop RPG business (well, honestly, we have more than one). That problem is that many people in the fan base are a bunch of cheapskates.                     - Christopher Helton 

OneBookShelf Expands the Community Content Creator Program to include the Traveller Aid Society, Cypher System and Cortex Plus

This news is a bit over a week old, but I don't think I got to it (last week was a busy one)
Big news at DriveThru this week (April 28th, 2016) as we share the launch of our newly expanded Community Content Creator Program. (page not found error as the link given in the emil is a bad one)
If you're familiar with the DMs Guild site we launched with Wizards of the Coast earlier this year, then you already understand the concept: Publishers  of popular game systems are partnering with DriveThruRPG to let you, their fans and customers, publish material for their properties. 
Starting today, three new game systems are available via our Community Creator Program
Cortex Plus (Margaret Weiss Games) 
Cypher System (Monte Cook Games) 
Traveller's Aid Society (Mongoose Publishing) 
Please check them out and let us know what you think. And don't worry: More of your favorite IPs and game systems will be added soon!
Traveller's Aid Society is interesting, as it actually gives access to clipart that one can use when publishing products via the Society.

I predicted early on that the CCCP, wait - wan't that the Soviet Union? Sorry, went off the rails for a second. I mentioned back with the DMs Guild that this type of program could be both boon and bane for self publishers and I expected t to expand. Well, not only has it expanded, but OBS has hinted there's more to come.

Kickstarter - Threadbare RPG: A stitchpunk tabletop role-playing game

"Plushie or plastic, mate?" In Threadbare RPG, you play a jury-rigged toy in a broken, stitched-together world.

Generally, I'm not big on plushies. Wait, that didn't sound right. What i man is, I'm not a huge fan of gaming with dolls. Er, that could be taken as sexist. Listen, since I've started gaming with my 5 year old niece, I'm more open to stuffed animals and dolls in my gaming. Of course, Pinky doesn't play with dolls, but I digress.

The 15 dollar buy in for print and PDF is what sold me. It's definitely at that impulse buy price point. Well, that and I think the lass will enjoy the artwork. She is a very fearless five year old that wanted to stab things in No Thank You Evil! (and then wound up sneaking) It will be interesting to see if her thoughts of violence return with plush...
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