Saturday, May 28, 2016

On Monday, The Tavern Will Have Served Beer and Sausages for 7 Years

Yep, on Memorial day, May 31st, Tenkar's Tavern will turn 7 years old. Seven years already. Holy shit.

While heavily focused on the OSR, we've also ventured into Kickstarters - the good, the bad and the downright evil. Some indie games, some random thoughts.

So, it occurred to me earlier today. With all this talk about women in gaming, just how many read The Tavern? Damn if I know. It occurred to be that The Tavern's Facebook Community page could give an idea. Lets see. 476 members. How many can I identify as women? Six, although one is the daughter of Gary himself.

Still, six women (maybe more where names are initials and the graphic gives no hint). We're looking at less than 2%. Let's assume the numbers are screwy and double them. Less than 4% (closer to 3%)

Is it me? I don't think so.

Is it the OSR? More likely. I'd say NTRPG Con comes in between 10-15% women attendees, many of them with their spouses.

Why is that? Is it that old "men are from Mars and women are from Venus" shtick? We're wired differently and enjoy different games and genres?

Apparently so. Its simply the nature of Nature.

Some women do enjoy "kicking ass" as my wife so gleefully just reminded me. Next thing I know she'll take kickboxing up again.

Women, ladies, girls, butt kicking goddesses of goodness - whatever they want to call themselves, are always welcome at The Tavern. I, and The Tavern itself, are true to our very own nature and have been for seven years.

So please, come into The Tavern for the beer and sausages, but stay for the conversation and the community.

Finally Away for an Overnight for the First Time Since Last Summer - Laptop, Tablet and DT&T Came with Me

Rach and I hadn't gotten away from the city since last summer. My change of days off and work hours, first to evenings and later to midnights, made getting away for even a weekend nigh impossible. With me retired, we no longer have the same restrictions.

We're in the Poconos thru Monday morning, then off to NTRPG Con on d Wednesday. I struggle with the gaming material I wanted to bring with me tom read, then settled on Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls along with a table full of PDFs. dT&T is a spare copy, so it will stay at my parents' house You never know when a game of T&T may suddenly break out.

Tomorrow night I'll be plying in a Polyhedral Dungeon session run by none other than The Badger ( +Jason Paul McCartan himself). Expect a review / play report with be posted prior to our heading out to Dallas.

92 degrees in the Pocono Mountains in May. I wonder if Dallas in June will be cooler?

Kickstarter - Bard's Gate - With Stretch Goals for Non-Backers Too!

Bard' s Gate is the latest Frog God Kickstarter and it comes in the usual three flavors these days - 5e, Swords & Wizardry and Pathfinder. In less than a day it's hit a third of it 75K goal, but that's not the big news. The big news is that Frog God Games is working with TableTopLibrary, the new online RPG distributor of PDF and Print gaming goodies and hopeful competitor to OBS. They have set stretch goals that will be given to ALL registered TableTopLibrary customers if the numbers are reached, whether or not the TTL customers are backers of the Bard's Gate Kickstarter or not.

That makes for a pretty good reason to check out the TableTopLibrary site if you ask me.

+Matt Finch mentioned the details on his blog and I'm going to add to the bandwidth below:
We’re excited to announce our cooperation with Frog God Games on the Bard’s Gate Kickstarter. This project funds an epic, full-color book describing the iconic fantasy city of Bard’s Gate, and the Kickstarter is already on track to a massive success. 
And we thought to ourselves -- because we do that sometimes -- “Why limit stretch goals just to people who pledge for a Kickstarter? If it does well, let’s give everybody some stuff!” 
So here’s the plan – it’s a type of cooperation that hasn’t been done before between an online retailer like us, working with a publisher like Frog God Games. If it works well, we’ll do this with other Kickstarters in the future to help boost their signals. 
For ALL registered customer here at Tabletop Library, if the Bard’s Gate Kickstarter does well, we’ve arranged with Frog God Games to put up some of their Bard’s Gate related products for free until (just after) the end of the Kickstarter. So don’t forget – if you’re not already registered as a customer at the www.tabletoplibrary.com, you should register now to be included in these goals! 
Here is our schedule of the Tabletop Library Double-Rewards for the Bard’s Gate Kickstarter: 
$25,000: Gulf of Akados Region Map. If the Bard’s Gate Kickstarter reaches $25,000 in pledges, we will put the Gulf of Akados poster map (pdf) up as a free product until just after the end of the Kickstarter. The Gulf of Akados is the region where Bard’s Gate is located. 
$45,000 Sinnar Coast Region Map. If the Kickstarter reaches $45,000 in pledges, we will put the Sinnar Coast Region poster map (pdf) up as a free product until just after the end of the Kickstarter. The Sinnar Coast Region contains the Bard’s Gate colony-cities of Eastgate and Telar Brindel. 
$75,000 Rogues in Remballo Adventure Module. If the Kickstarter reaches $75,000 in pledges, we will put all three versions of the module Rogues in Remballo (5e, PF, and S&W) up as free products until just after the end of the Kickstarter. Rogues in Remballo concerns matters involving the House of Borgandy, a banking family in Suilley that has extensive financial dealings with Bard’s Gate.

Did I mention the Bard's Gate Kickstarter is going to have some Easter Eggs of interest to members of the OSR community and gaming in general? I didn't mention it? OK... I said nothing, I know nothing...

Friday, May 27, 2016

Far West - The "Utter Bullshit" Admission - Since it's Time to Rebuild Trust, Maybe it WILL Actually Release?

Sure, I sometimes feel like I'm kicking a dead horse with Far West. It's the same ol' same ol', new release date, missed release date, new release date, missed release date.

With Gareth's latest comments on the Far West Kickstarter page, I'd ALMOST be willing to credit him for owning up to his bullshit... but I can't. Because in truth, he isn't owning up to anything.
some of the things that happened mean that things I said a while back now look like utter bullshit.
In truth, many of the things that happened (or never happened) were utter bullshit when they were announced, looks have nothing to do with it.

Since Gareth is rebooting Adamant as a publisher of gaming material, he needs to rebuild a sense of trust. Would you trust this man to pay you on time? Would you be able to give him what you promised him you would produce 4 1/2 years after the due date? Of all the places would be game writers could freelance for, would this really be a first choice?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Tenkar's Tavern Facebook Community has Hit the 453 Members Mark

It was just over 2 weeks ago that we had hit 400 members for The Tavern's Facebook Community - I just approved the 453rd member of the community a few minutes ago.

It's beyond humbling.

The transition from sworn public servant and part time tavern keeper to retired and devoting more time to what had been, up until recently, simply a hobby, hasn't been the easiest, if only because life likes to keep one on their toes. I suspect things will calm down once I get back from NTRPG Con.

Check that. Things will probably get busier, but less of that will involve the old job and more of that will involve the thing that I truly enjoy - old school gaming. Oh, and beer.

Thanks to everyone that has pulled up a stool or chair in this virtual tavern we all share.

I've mentioned this before but it's about time I remind folks - The Tavern may bear my name and I may be the barkeep, but it's your community. I welcome guest posts and guest posters. One of the many ways to contact me is on the right side of this page, but you can use Hangout Chat, Facebook IM, email - whatever you need. Email might be the slowest to get a response as it doesn't get read on a daily basis, but it does get read.

Alright, need to pack. Tomorrow I head to the Poconos for the first time since late July of last year. When we return, Rach and I will need to pack for NTRPG Con. Fun times :)

For those interested, the link to The Tavern's Facebook Community is here. If you are an old school blogger, feel free to link your posts in the community. It belongs to all of us after all.

RPGNow is Running a 25% of Selected Supers Titles

To be honest, I'm not a huge supers gamer. While I loved the comics when I was younger and I'm really enjoying what DC and Marvel are doing on TV and in the movies, supers as a gaming genre has never really bitten me.

That being said, I know superhero gaming has a sizable following.

RPGNow has a 25% sale going on for select superhero titles thru the end of May. Thankfully, no one has the license for Marvel at the moment, so the revelation that Captain America is a Hydra agent can be ignored...

Downsizing Your Game Collection? DM Cojo is Looking for Donations for a Middle School RPG Club

DM Cojo (Cory Gahsman) of THAC0s Hammer podcasting fame is a middle school teacher in Michigan. Corey recently started up a gaming club at the middle school he works in and has a GoFundMe seeking donations of cash or gaming material for the club.

I figured with the response to yesterday's post about downsizing my gaming collection, there might be a few others interested in helping the next generation of gamers transition solidly into the OSR ;)
I am a middle school teacher in Michigan.  This year, I started a club to play tabletop role playing games (RPGs) with some of my students.  What started out with two small groups at lunch has now expanded to five groups playing each week.   
I have three groups playing Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG and two groups playing D6 Star Wars, right now.  The kids in the club are having a great time, and have shown great interest in other types of RPGs.   
The club has been a fantastic experience, and many of the kids in the group are interested in continuing the experience next year.  The club has been a great social outlet for many kids who don't fit into the traditional social groups at the school, and new friendships are forming because of the game. 
Role playing games help build social interaction, collaboration, problem solving, and math skills, as well as imagination. 
Unfortunately, the school does not have resources to fund the club.  I am happy to donate my lunch time and planning period to run the games, but I would love to see the club continue to grow and expand into other games. 
My vision is to build a RPG library for the school, of both old and new types of games (and of course, dice!).  Students could then check games out and play them on their own.  
I would look to add copies of currently available games (5th edition Dungeons and Dragons, Fantasy Flight Star Wars, Rifts, Swords and Wizardry, and Labyrinth Lord to name a few) as well as classic, out of print games that can be added for a reasonable price (Marvel Super Heroes, Star Frontiers, Gamma World, Car Wars, and older versions of D&D, for example).  
The plan is for the club to continue meeting once a week during summer break, at the local library!   Every donation will help and is much appreciated!  You will be helping kids grow their imagination, make connections with other middle schoolers, and creating a library for kids to play with for years to come!
Corey gives his shipping address on the GoFundMe page, which I am not repeating here for privacy sake. Simply go to the GoFundMe page and drop a few bucks in the kitty or send a few books and bring OSR joy to a new generation of gamers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tavern Chat Tonight - 9PM Eastern - I Will be at The Pub

Tonight is a very special episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. One of the scenes was filmed at my local pub - The Grandstand. Both my usual bartender and the pub's owner, both named John, have roles are bartenders in tonight's season finale. 9PM tonight on NBC.

I'll have my phone with me, but the first hour or so I'll be at The Grandstand to celebrate our local celebrities.

Expect my participation for the first hour or so to be piss poor to say the least ;)

Time to Downsize the Game Collection - So it Has Been Said, So it Shall be Done

So Rach, hereafter to be referred to as "The Wife", as she has used her wifely prerogative on me in regards to "clutter" has told me in no uncertain terms that I need to downsize my physical gaming collection. I thought I did pretty well last Saturday when I handed out 15 gaming books to my old gaming group, but it's just a start.

In truth, The Wife has a valid point. I am a "collector", not just of old but of new and everything in between. I have more stuff than shelf space, and although it has been suggested I get another small bookshelf to place on my desk, that is merely a stop gap measure.

First thing to go will be duplicates. Do I need every printing of the Castles & Crusades Player's Handbook? I have them, sadly. Maybe first printing and most recent. I've got a bunch of doubles from the various grab bags I've picked up over the past few Christmas season and of course D20 / Pathfinder versions of stuff I also own in Swords & Wizardry versions. Print copies of games or supplements I know I'll never get around to using that I also own in PDF (does not include any Frog God Games releases, as that stuff is collectible in my humble judgement.)

I figure I'll start the downsizing mid June, giving my old gaming group first pick. After that, who knows.

I guess I didn't help my cause when I offered to clear out space a week ago Sunday in the computer room / man cave for The Wife to do her yoga. Still, it's hard to argue with truth, and The Wife is right.

I simply have "too much shit". Besides, a happy wife is a happy life. I truly do love Rach, so if this makes her happy (and there is always the far reaches of the attic ;)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

NTRPG Con 2016 - Beware The Tavern Keeper and the Selfie Stick

I've had a blast the last two NTRPG Cons. Rach and I have met with, ate with, drank with and gamed with more friends than I can ever count. So I was surprised when a fairly prominent blogger and social media butterfly accused me of having as much fun as a rock and speaking with no one but my wife. Sure, I happened to not cross paths with the person in question (although she was stalking me it seems) but I'm sure that has nothing to do with the sour grapes thrown in my direction.

To make a certain point that can only be made with pictures and to ensure I have pictographic memories for years to come, your Tavern Keeper will be armed with a selfie stick for his smart phone.

Yes, you too can be immortalized at Tenkar's Tavern for a lifetime to come.

Of course, if I happen to not actually see you, we probably won't actually converse and therefore a selfie would not happen.

So, forewarned is forearmed. I will be taking pics with friends and colleagues. These pictures will be posted at The Tavern. Because this rock needs to be immortalized in pictures ;)

Monday, May 23, 2016

State of The Tavern (Keeper) - May 23, 2016 - Moving Slowly but Moving

Thanks to all for the kind wishes. Yes, I can sit again. Sadly, I am sleeping somewhere near to 12 hours a day, thanks in large part to the antibiotics I'm on for the next week or so. I'm not complaining, as it's much better than not sleeping, sitting, shi... well, you get the idea.

I got a handful of emails out today to give gift givers the info for their gift receivers re: Chuck's GoFundMe. I had hoped to get to the rest tomorrow, but I have niece-sitting afternoon and evening and then a trip to work late at night to clear out the rest of my locker. I may need to settle on just getting a post out and doing the rest of the emails on Wednesday.

I did, however, get to read the Polyhedral Dungeon from virtual cover to virtual cover while lying in bed with the dog between naps. It's damn inspiring. While I still need to finish up StarSlinger for the White Star RPG I'm thinking of a small sandbox setting for Polyhedral Dungeon drawing upon Cthulhu influences while still being firmly grounded in fantasy. So, horror but very much not like Ravenloft and it's ilk. I'll let that run around my head until I get home from NTRPG Con in two weeks and see what comes of it.

So yes, there will be an actual review of Polyhedral Dungeon coming later this week.

Alright, time for sleep. Yes, more sleep.

First Look - Mazes & Perils Deluxe Edition (Wild Games Productions) - Part the First, I Have Class

I've had in my grubby little virtual hands the PDF of the soon to be released Deluxe Edition of Mazes & Perils for a few weeks now and I've finally gotten around to giving it a proper perusal. Don't know about Mazes & Perils? The Gold ENnie winning RPG is available for free download at RPGNow. I'm looking at the soon to be released Deluxe Edition with this post :)

First and foremost, the annoying watermarking that many publishers feel they need to make their product look special but usually winds up making the product unreadable? It's so subtle here that it actually adds to me reading experience. Not a whole lot, but it is pleasant. Well, that and it's a dungeon map or maze, so very appropriate.

Something that jumps out at me right away is that Dexterity does not adjust one's armor class, for good or ill. Interesting, as it makes armor all that much more valuable and makes the armor-less casters just that much more squishy.

The rest of the ability scores and modifiers are much as your already know, tho' the actually modifiers are a bit different from other OSR games, they are different across pretty much ALL of the OSR games. Close enough to be compatible with others, although fighting men do get the % Strength Roll if their Strength is 18.

Your classes are: Fighting Man, Magic-User, Cleric, Thief, Enchanter and Shaman

Enchanter and Shaman are new. Both have their own spell list and are easily added to the OSR game of your choice with minimal adjustments.

You have the usual four races and the maximum level any class can reach is 12 (with some classes restricted by race and most classes restricted by level by race)

I need to note that this is a five point alignment system, or is it four points plus a middle? Lawful Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Evil, Chaotic Evil and Neutral.

Alright, that's the character stuff. Onwards to Part the Second, where we'll discuss "stuff" ;)

The Gygax Memorial Fund has 5 Stated Objectives - 3 Are Not Related to the Memorial - Why Have NONE Been Implemented?

Over three weeks ago a third party who supposedly had Gail Gygax's ear told me that the audit of the Fund would be posted in the "next week or so". It's been over 3 weeks. I don't expect it anytime soon, but that's not the point of this post. It did, however, get me thinking about the stated objectives of the Gygax Memorial Fund, as they are related to it's tax exempt status.

Edit: Maybe I should have used "accomplished" instead of "implemented" - but whatever, the haven't been done

The first two objectives are related to the memorial itself. Many, if not most people following the GMF forget that there are three other objectives for the Fund to fulfill it's tax exempt purpose:

- To sponsor informational events open to the public which focus on his work - In the years of the Fund's existance, can someone point me to any of the above informational events sponsored by the Fund? Isn't this something that could be accomplished while the Memorial Itself is being finalized?

- To engage in other activities related to educating the public about his achievement - First, what does this actually mean? Second, can anyone identify actual examples?

- To establish a scholarship program in his name for students with a demonstrated need for assistance to study at an accredited college or university - Now, I know there is no scholarship program established by the Fund in Gary's name. It's been discussed prior that investing the Fund's monies at a return as little as 1% would have allowed for the establishment of a scholarship of $2,000 a year without effecting the Funds monies. It would also have shown the Fund accomplishing one of it's five stated objectives.

All of the Fund news is either about the Memorial process, donations coming in or requests for donations. I fail to see a listing of any accomplishments by the Fund. It would seem to me that objectives 3 thru 5 would be easy enough (and cheap enough) to implement throughout the years and show accomplishments by the Fund in place of the stagnation that has been the lingering impression.

Maybe the GMF has accomplished goals 3 and 4. If so, that is truly newsworthy and should be highlighted.

Again, if you can point me in the direction of ANY of these missing bits of potential news, I'll be in you debt.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Kickstarter - Solid Copper RPG Gaming Dice - Hand Stamped, Old World Style

Solid Copper RPG Gaming Dice.

I'm not so sure how well this will work out in actual gaming. Wait, I actually DO know, as I own a set of copper polyhedrals. If I don't put a towel or cloth down before rolling these fucking dice, I literally dent my desk. Found out the hard way.

Now, these are hand stamped, which is kinda cool. They are also only available as a D6 (with possible D4 and D12 variations down the line) which is, to be honest, a bit lame for the average OSR gamer.

And yes, while the picture above looks like everything is finely balanced and centered, it will not always be the case.

Two dice for $20. Five dice for $40 (with a free leather dice bag)

Maybe it's just me, but I'm not feeling it...

Adventurer Conquerer King System (ACKS) System Resource Document

During today's recording of the latest episode of the Path of Legends Podcast, the Adventurer Conquerer Kings System was brought up in regards to how it handles characters dipping down to and below zero hit points. My cohost, +Vincent Florio mentioned that ACKS had a System Resource Document (SRD). I didn't believe him at first but he found the link. Vince was right. ACKS has an SRD.

Here's the ACKS SRD link. The chapters are in plain text, it's no frills but it's definitely useful and even better, it's free ;)

Strangely enough, I was supposed to play in the first session of ACKS for my gaming group in a couple of years last night, but I was exhausted from a week of illness and an afternoon and evening of socializing with my old gaming buddies. I'll have to wait till next week.
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