Saturday, May 21, 2016

Gathering of Fools 2016 - Young at Heart 30 Years Later

The sixth member of our group, who was a peripheral member of the group in our high school days and returned to the fold over the past few years, took the above shot at dinner earlier today.

I've known the other four members of the group pictured above for over 30 years. I was the only one in the above picture that (A) never learned to play an instrument useful in a heavy metal band or otherwise and (B) never had long, heavy metal hair when I gamed back in high school and college.

We've helped each other move (some multiple times), been at each other's weddings, supported each other in bad times and helped celebrate the good times. Three of the four were also working at the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks, and the fact that we only lost one friend (whose picture can be found on the table shown in tonight's prior post) is probably a small miracle, but we would have preferred a larger one.

I just need to convince them that playing once a month via Roll20 is not only viable but damn close to what we had going back in our younger days of gaming. Well, without the practice jokes (hard to replicate the classic Easy Cheese Randomly Squeezed Into the Group's Ring Ding Supply at a virtual table ;)

Gaming, it does a soul good :)

Gathering of Fools - 2016 - Annual College Era Gaming Group Get Together

Each spring, sometime around May 21st, my old college era gaming group (which has it's roots in my high school era gaming group) does a get together in the memory of the friend and gamer that we lost on 9-11. Paul, we miss you every year, you live in our hearts and our gamer war stories forever.

Sadly, it took the loss of Paul to remind us of the need to renew out bonds every year, but every year we do have a blast. This year, copies of deluxe Tunnels & Trolls were given out as well as some duplicates from my gaming collection that were diced for. Fun times.

Name the movie pictured for a fabulous Marvel "No Prize". Thankfully, I successfully convinced the others to watch Deadpool instead.

I wore Thor socks then found our host, Brian had a Thor glass. Needless to say that was my glass for the day.

I feel tired but recharged emotionally after 2 long weeks, emotionally, mentally and physically. Tomorrow we record a podcast and I finish matching up prize receivers with those that are receiving prizes. Monday I get back to where I had planned to be this past Monday, which is somewhat caught up and on track.

Thanks for your patience, kind words and good thoughts. It's certainly helped with my stress levels these past 2 weeks.

Friday, May 20, 2016

RPGNow Deal of the Day - Trolls of Mistwood - DCC RPG Adventure

Real quick post, as my time seated is still limited (but better than it had been)

Today's RPGNow Deal of the Day is Trolls of Mistwood for the DCC RPG. It's by +David Fisher , who also did most of the art. It's a fine piece of work and a steal at $2.99.

There's about 12 hours left in the sale, so you know what to do...

Buckaroo Banzai Series Coming to TV - So Gareth, What About Those Preorders for the RPG from 2011?

Yep, Buckaroo Banzai is going to be a TV series. Strange, aint that? A pretty shitty movie generating a TV series. Wouldn't it be even stranger is it spawned an RPG? Wait, it did - kinda.

Buckaroo Banzai the RPG took preorders back in July of 2011. It was announced by Adamant Entertainment. Who's that, you may ask? None other than Gareth - the man who is 4 1/2 years late on the Far West RPG Kickstarter - but hey, you're paying for the process, not the product with a Kickstarter - at least, that's what certain folks like to say.

It was due out in Spring of 2012, but that never happened. But we do have a kickass cover. Gareth is really good at doing covers. Delivering products paid for in advance by his customers? Not so good.

Now, with increased attention on the Buckaroo Banzai Franchise, I expect many of those preorders are going to be saying to themselves:

"Shit - I preordered the Buckaroo Banzai RPG like a fucking half decade ago. Where is it? Is there at least a PDF?"

Alas, no PDF, but don't worry, I'm sure Gareth will get right on it when he finishes Far West at the end of the month. Which month? Why ask?

How about refunds?

Gareth is now happily unemployed. He is no longer fulfilling Kickstarter refunds, as that money is long gone. And while backers MAY see a PDF at some point, I don't expect any white knights to pony up cash to let him print the books the backers are owed. So, if he has no money for Far West refunds, he has no money for Buckaroo Banzai refunds.

The thing is, Kickstarter is not a preorder system, as we are told by the fuck ups so many times. Conversely, preorders are not crowdfunding, they have certain protections under the law. You can demand your money back for a preorder. Federal law requires that you be refunded and refunded promptly.

So, if you're waiting on your Buckaroo Banzai preorder to arrive, know full well it's at LEAST 4 years out, as that seems to be the minimal amount of time it takes Gareth to produce an RPG these days. That's after he's already sat on your money, interest free, for 5 years.

Think it's time to ask for a refund?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Far West Promises Yet ANOTHER End of the Month Delivery Date - Which Month? Keep Guessing...

Gareth is simply amazing. I really mean that. Only one so full of themselves and blind to their own failings would promise YET ANOTHER end of the month delivery date for the phantom known as Far West.

BTW, when you make an update on your Kickstarter project, don't fault people for not getting updates via social media or the comments section of the Kickstarter. It's your responsibility to get the word out as to the progress (or lack there of) of your project. It IS NOT the backers responsibility to follow your fucking tweets about politics and your other shit, although this one is pretty accurate:

Yep, Gareth Skarka, making up Far West release dates since 2011...

So, without further comment (who the fuck am I kidding, there WILL be Grumpy Dwarf commenting) here's the latest Far West update.

Update #225 (imagine 225 updates and so many lies buried within)

May 18 2016 (I'm late with this post - I know)

Hey folks --

A lot of this information is repeated from stuff I've posted in the Comments section at Kickstarter, and on Twitter -- but I know that a lot of you don't keep up with that stuff, so I'm doing sort of a summary here. (really, why would anyone keep up with such stuff - it's your responsibility to update those of us that gave you money for a product that's gone down Kickstarter hell, it is not our responsibility to read your political posts in an effort to find the next Far West lies)

My teaching gig is over -- the institute is folding it's Game Design program, with the graduation of the current seniors.  I enjoyed my time there (and the ability it afforded me to take care of my lingering medical bills from my 2014 crisis), but if I'm being honest, the most recent semester, where I switched over to a full course load, was a mistake. (not for nothing, but if the program is being folded, I suspect there were a lot of mistakes) My work outside of class (including FAR WEST) was severely impacted (no it wasn't, it wasn't happening in any case - there's always been a reason or person to blame for the failure to produce, and taking responsibility instead of passing blame would be a first) and trying to keep up resulted in me working seven-day weeks, which isn't sustainable at all.  Bluntly, it kicked my ass, and I still didn't get things done.   So, in the end, I'm glad that I'm done with teaching, as I know can give all of my concentration to my work. (we've heard this story for the last 4 1/2 years. Nothings changed except the blame)

I was invited as a guest to ChupacabraCon last weekend (in Round Rock, Texas -- just outside of Austin), and getting to spend the weekend with a bunch of my game-industry colleagues and a bunch of enthusiastic gamers really recharged my batteries, and served as a nice transition back to "Game Designer" from "Teacher."   I'm back at work as of this morning (after a loooooong drive on I-35, and some much-needed sleep). (so, just how fast can you write a game that is past due and "almost done" for the last 4 1.2 years?)

With the ability to concentrate solely on what remains for FAR WEST, I'm expecting digital delivery somewhere around the end of the month. (Holy fucking shit! Really? Like "an angel got his wings" for real?)  Somewhere near the same time, you can also expect regular content updates to resume on the FAR WEST website. (you can't resume what never was)

A last, quick note on refunds:  Over the past few months, I've taken care of the folks to whom that was a priority.  Now that my teaching job has ended, I am no longer going to have the discretionary income to do so, without risking the ability to get everything done for everyone else.  So I'm putting a hold on any further refunds until after this is done -- and if anybody still feels strongly about it, we can talk further before physical shipment occurs.  (Which means the Kickstarter monies are all long spent, so don't expect physical copies anytime soon - or late)

As always, I'm available via comments, email, twitter, carrier pigeon and smoke signal.  I'm looking forward to finally being able to geek-out with you about the completed core book!

Thank you, as always, for your support and your patience.


Polyhedral Dungeon Released and is Sitting at #1 on the RPGNow Sales Charts - See What Happens When Your Bartender is Bedridden?

You know what sucks about being bedridden for 2 1/2 days (besides the obvious "bedridden" part)? Not being able to keep up with the pulse of the OSR, Kickstarter and beyond. I was getting updates about game releases and even Far West non-sightings and there was nothing I could do. Posting from your tablet, in bed while lying on your side? It ain't easy, let me tell you.

So, what do I find in my reviewer inbox? A comp copy of Polyhedral Dungeon. Of course, I don't know my RPGNow password, which is saved on my desktop but not my tablet. What a painful pain in the ass it was to download on my desktop, drop into Dropbox and pull it up on my tablet.

Oh what a joy it was to start reading it. Then the codeine kicked in and I dreamt polyhedral dreams.

Seriously, D4's wearing swords and a D20 warmachine running people down like the Arneson D&D module cover. What does any of this have to do with Polyhedral Dungeon by The Badger / Infinibadger Press / +Jason Paul McCartan ? No idea. It was my trip, not his.

What follows is Jason's trip...

POLYHEDRAL DUNGEON is an ultralight modern take on old school roleplaying. Using the new and simple to use and extend POLYHEDRAL SYSTEM, you can have countless hours of fun delving into dungeons and stealing dragon's hoards.

Features of the game include:

-Create new characters for play in about 5-10 minutes.
-Choose from the classic old school character tropes, but with slight twists. Play classic dungeon crawls with a flexible unified system that’s easy to learn and extend - make up your own content, or use any of the official Expansions, including The Advanced Rules which provides many new options for play, The Book of Monsters which expands and explores the Monsters in the game, The Book of -Loot for more complete treasure and loot options, including many unique items, and The Book of Magic, which expands Talents and rules for magical and divine characters.
-Designed for quick pick-up play as well as to handle large groups of players who have little experience in tabletop roleplaying - a perfect beginner’s game and still fun for experts.
-Pocket-sized, so that you can take it wherever you’re going.
-Includes dice printed in the page margins in case you forget your own, or if you need to make a secret roll as the Judge!
-Includes a Giant Badger!
-The book comes in a fully layered and bookmarked digital version, in both color and grayscale formats. Full sized character sheets are available in both formats too.

A sample adventure, The Crypts of Bes-Amat will be made available for free shortly, showcasing how simple it is to create and run adventures for the game and system.

Both Polyhedral Dungeon and the Polyhedral System are also going to be released under an open license soon, allowing third parties to create and release content for it. Details on that are still being finalized, but as soon as they are, the product will be updated to reflect it and details will be listed on our website.

Back to your bartender - I'm always looking for simplified yet deep old school feel rules, as my wife Rach pretty much stops reading gamebooks after about 5 pages and just wants to know "what do I need to roll, when do I need to roll and lets kill shit!" Before I dozed of and started tripping, I showed Rach that the ability score were actually dice and it was all about rolling high. She liked that. She liked it a lot.

State of the Tavern Keeper, Thursday May 19th, 2016 - Game On!

And so it was, that upon awaking in the morning, that the Tavern Keeper felt significantly less discomfort. He then noticed what appeared to be a crime scene on his side of the bed, one to rival this one from 19 years ago.

Off to Urgent Care to make sure the wound is clean and then... posting!

Holy shit I have catching up to do.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

State of the Tavern Keeper, Wednesday May 18th, 2016 - And so it Was That Codine was Added to the Mix

Woke up today in more pain and with swelling around the abscess area. It appears the infection was penicillin resistant and caused cellulitis in the surrounding tissue. Still not ready to draim and oh so fucking painful.

New antibiotics with accompanying probiotics, as these new meds are strong. Also, Tylenol with codine, which takes the edge off for a bit. Beginning to regret turning down the percoset.

Typing this on my tablet. Sitting is NOT an option.

I'll try and pop into Tavern Chat via the tablet at 9pm eastern tonight.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

State of the Tavern Keeper - Tuesday May 17th, 2016 - Lots of Reading in the Immediate Future

So, I mentioned yesterday that your Tavern Keeper was feeling under the weather. Well, I went to "urgent care" this morning and yes, I'm fighting off an infection. Cephalexin 500mg 4 times a day for 7 days. Lots of bed rest for the next few days. Joy.

More details after the page break for those that want. Squeamish may wish to just stop here ;)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Blogging Advice From the Tavern Keeper - A Good Blog Builds a Community, a Great Blog Keeps It

Yesterday, I offered some small amount of blogging advice to a blogger that was seeking commentary on his new gaming blog. Since then, I've also received an inquiry on the idea of doing an irregular series of posts with blogging advice. Now, I often say that I don't know how The Tavern has gotten as successful as it has, but that isn't exactly true. For The Tavern, it's all about "building a community", because that makes your blog more than just another website, it brings a sense of life to it. It can make a virtual location on the web seem nearly real to both your readers and you, the blogger.

Now of course, the question becomes: "How do you build that community?" That's not an easy question to answer. It's an answer with many parts, and not all answers will apply to all blogs and bloggers and not all answers are equal in importance. Here are some of the answers (I suspect there will be more, either added by me later as I think on the topic more or by members of this very community who may have different insight into the process):

1 - Focus on your passion, especially in the beginning. When I first started The Tavern, my posts were all over the place. RPGs, OSR, electronic reading devices, gaming programs and various assorted crap - I was everywhere and no where and it showed. Once I focused on RPGs (the OSR in particular and certainly not only) I started to get my voice. Once you have your voice, you can expand your focus a bit.

2 - Finding your blogging voice. For some this is a persona unique to the online environment. For others, it is the same persona as they have in real life. For me, what you see at The Tavern, warts and all, that's me. Insights into my life, my (now retired from) occupation and other assorted crap - it's all legit. Now, look at the RPG Pundit and his online persona. I can guarantee it's an over the top caricature of the real person behind it, but it's consistent and recognizable. For your readers to connect to you, there has to be a "you" to connect to.

3 - Consistency in posting. Once a week, twice a week, daily, multiple times a day, whatever it is, find a schedule that not only works for you but that your readers will be able to recognize. I generally post multiple times a day and at least once a day (i think I missed one day of posting in the last 4 years or so). I am the exception to the rule. Very few bloggers can maintain my pace, and I have no idea how I did while working a full time job plus overtime I suggest posting at least once a week, as anything less it's hard to build a sense of community around.

4 - Engage the gaming community. Comment on blog posts, G+ posts, Facebook posts, forum posts and the like. Not simply a throw away comment, but add to the conversation. To build a community you need to be a part of a larger community. If posting at a forum, include a link to your blog in your signature.

5 - Remember, it's the long tail. You don't build a community overnight. I didn't, but then again, I didn't even realize I was building a community until I had one, and I am forever grateful to those that have joined me. Like many things, it's those that wait that reap the rewards. Be patient. My first true Tavern post was May 31st, 2009. We're coming up on 7 years.

6 - Do it. You will only get better at writing by writing. You will only get better at blogging by blogging. Don't do it for the wads of cash - there are none. Don't do it for the fame - any you may find is narrow, focused and fleeting. Do it because you enjoy it. In the end, that enjoyment will carry over to your readers.

K, all for now. I'll be in bed mostly today, as my stomach and bowels are an issue along with the joy that all entails...

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Black Hack and Black Hack Derived Titles Have 6 of the Top 9 Sales Spots at RPGNow

What the RPG flavor of choice for Spring of 2016?

Why, The Black Hack of course.

Six of the top nine sales spots at RPGNow are The Black Hack related. That is simply amazing. It looks like +David Black really gave us something special.

I also see that many of the titles have already opted to use The Black Hack RPG Free License that was posted about yesterday.

Nicely done, one and all.

Free - Harn Region Map - PDF (Columbia Games)

Harn products are not cheap, even in PDF.

That being said, the Harn Region Map went free in PDF earlier this year for "a limited time only." How long is that limited time? Your guess is as good as mine.

I was a fan of Harn back when it first released in my early days of gaming, and probably bought the Harn setting back in 84 or 85. You could literally spend a fortune getting everything that is released for it, but the free map shows you the attention to detail that is part and parcel of the setting.

Any Wandering Wizard / Mike Nystul Sightings? Last Axes & Anvils Update was May 17, 2015 - Last Infinite Dungeon was August 17, 2015

Yep, the Wandering Wizard appears to have wandered off.

Best as I can tell, he's gone from Facebook.

Last update on the Axes & Anvils Kickstarter was May 17, 2015, and that was from +Andrew Shields (who is still working on the Axes & Anvils rules over at the Axes & Anvils blog)

Last update on Nystul's Infinite Dungeon was August 17, 2015, where he gives us this sample of the dungeon he was working on (not a backer only update, all can find this file link - https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxgyrXrUYkx-YjVZY1JHMGRYTEk/view?usp=sharing

There are some interesting quotes attributed to Mike on the Infinite Dungeon KS comments section. I'm sharing here for the sake of completeness, such as it is.:
on March 16, 2016 
Here's a post from Mike, he essentially just proved my point. Based off of all he has said, what he recently posted has no merit. In essence he is just looking for more money.
"Off of Mike's page an hour ago:  
"Gamer friends - I am organizing a big book of interesting dungeon rooms that I will be offering KS backers. Many of you have offered to help. This is the time and this is the way. If you are interested in becoming part of "Mike Aid" send me a message describing what you can contribute. I would welcome art, design, editing and people who can check mechanics. I would like to offer rules for Pathfinder, D&D 5th and Old School D&D. 
Any contribution will help. I would like to do this quickly. It would make a great birthday present for me. I can't offer payment but will give you credit and will send everyone a copy of the PDF. If this PDF is ever sold all proceeds will go to KS refunds. Thanks for your time and support!"
July 1, 2015
Now he's attempting to collect more money from people:
Here's his take on his obligations to us (which, from his own words, shows that he has no intention on making good on his debt to us):  
So Chris, here is the thing. The Kickstarter thing was a disaster on many levels. One of the problems is once it failed and my personal as well as professional finances were trashed I had no resources to do much of anything to move forward. I lost everything. Not asking for sympathy here because it was the result of my bad decisions and miscalculations but i had nothing left and at one point was literally homeless. I pulled down that Indiegogo campaign you mentioned not long after it went up (I collected nothing). It would have been going down that same road, a profoundly bad idea (and in some ways in bad taste). Patreon is a different beast entirely. First, it is meant to be used to support a creator not a specific project. If you like what I'm doing - awesome! Become a Patron and we are both happy! If you don't - don't. The other thing is I went with the "only collect anything when I post" model rather than straight monthly. That way, if i produce nothing - nothing gets collected. There is no way for me to "fleece" anyone. The Patrons have complete control over things like monthly limits and I encourage them to use them. Going back to your original issue, yes, the Kickstarter issues were huge and horrible and I am very very sorry about them. They do not represent my entire career though and my choices were never do this kind of work again or find a way to do it as above boards as i can. People will forgive me for the failed projects and accept the arrangements I was able to make to try to make good or they will not. At this point all I ca do is do better, yes?
I don't think Mike's Patreon is doing much for him these days.

So, any Wandering Wizard sightings? Is he still doing improv in Houston? Driving around in the Wandering Wizard Van exploring the South West? Standing on the side of the road with a sign "Will write games for food and a hot shower"?

Inquiring minds want to know...
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