Saturday, July 2, 2016

What's Missing? A Goblin Army...

I took this pic about an hour before sunset. Catskill Mountains viewed from the Poconos.

When I look at the resulting pic, all I could think of was a goblin army moving through the field.

I need to start drinking for the night ;)

In any case, this is my best place for thinking...

Work Has Begun on the Intro Adventure for Swords & Wizardry: Light

map by +Dyson Logos 
A foul looking creature bursts forth from the storeroom of the Battered Dwarf Tavern. It holds a gnawed human arm in it's mouth as it surveys the dinner crowd. The arm drops from it's mouth as it softly states "buffet."

The bartender, an old and bearded dwarf, shouts to the assembled patrons.

"The fucker! My wife's nephew was gettin' the next cask of ale to be brought up. I'll pay the tab of any that dispatch this beast and then go down the basement and bring up the ale!  Oy, and him too I reckon, or whatever is left. Heck, I'll go so far as offer room and board for a month - but ya gotta triple up in the room, minda ya. Man's gotta make a profit still"

And so it will go from there.

No need to awkwardly set up the party - they are at the only place in town that serves hot food and beverages.

If the ghoul is too much for the party, the bartender or other patrons can assist. The small basement will lead to further adventure as they seek to discover who opened a new corridor into the basement and where did the ghoul come from.

Pocono Productivity Spell in effect ;)

As an aside, I picture the voice of the bartender to resemble that of Mr. Crabs from Spongebob Squarepants. Heh

And no, the f-bomb won't be in the final version ;)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Frog God Games 33% Off Site Wide Sale (50% off for Armed Forces Service Men and Women)

Yep, the Frogs are having a 4th of July Sale with two awesome discounts. Note, some of the more recent titles are excluded from the sale:

Link to the Frogs' Store.

Swords & Wizardry: Light - Dropping the 3D6 Optional Resolution Method - There's an App for That!

Sometimes you overthink things, especially when you want it to be "right" and cover all bases. Such was the 3d6 hack I was working on for combat and saves for Swords & Wizardry: Light. I wanted to make sure even if the gamers lacked a D20, the material would work for them.

It was going to take up space to explain it and it wasn't going to be a perfect fit, but I was aiming for "close enough"

So, leave it to my sister to come up with the obvious solution.

"There's an app for that, right? I mean, nearly everyone has a smart phone or a tablet and you're expecting folks to have computer access to print copies and distribute. So why not just use an app?"

See, there's a reason she's a published author.

Another example of not seeing the forest for the trees and needing an outsider to point things out.

Yes, there are apps for that. Free apps.

K, time to play on my Android phone ;)

Kickstarter - The Lost Lands: Bard's Gate (Complete with Tenkar's Tavern Easter Egg)

I really wish I had taken a picture of the MASSIVE map Frog God Games had hanging up at their booth of Bard's Gate at NTRPG Con. Alas, I just didn't think of it at the time. Instead, I spent a good deal of time chatting up +Skeeter Green about the various easter eggs, not just in the Bard's Gate book but the map itself.

Yes, there will be a Tenkar's Tavern in Bard's Gate (it will be recognizable and is full endorsed by your's truly). I was approached about the possibility early on in the process and would have had a hand in the relevant text myself if the wind down at work had gone smoother.

The map at NTRPG had the streets labeled and my God, there are a huge number of easter eggs to be found. Some will make you smile, some may make you snicker. Some are obvious, many are less so but from what I can gather, all will have meaning. I'm really looking forward to this release.

How important Bard's Gate to the Lost Lands setting? I'll give you +Bill Webb in his own words:
Ok, so Bard’s Gate and the pitch. Those of you who know the Lost Lands know the name Bard’s Gate. It’s basically the hub centerpiece city of both the wilds of Akados and the Sinnar Coast. This place is integrally linked to Rappan Athuk, The Sword of Air, Stoneheart Valley, The Borderlands, Barakus, The Sundered Kingdoms and about a dozen of the Quests of Doom adventures. Heck, it’s the starting point for Sword of Air. Anyone playing in the Lost Lands will benefit greatly from this book. 
If you don’t play in the Lost Lands, but just need a city, it works for that as well. Ok, time to do a Grognard check—how many over 40’s used the City State booklet for every city in every area of their game world? The best part about a book like Bard’s Gate is that you can grab bits and pieces of it for use as a city adventure or you can use the whole as canon material—your choice. After all, who doesn’t want to visit Tenkar’s Tavern or Thilo’s Scriptorium? There are Easter Eggs galore throughout the city, and dozens of side quests and adventures that can be tailored for low, medium and high level player characters at the GM’s discretion. 
Skeeter and Casey have done a wonderful job of expanding and re-imagining the work that Clark Peterson and I produced back in 2003-2004—this city is much bigger and better than it was before—this is not just a window dressing of the existing material. We have modified most of it and added over 120,000 words of new material. 
We designed this book to be used, not to sit on the shelf (ok, the metal one is designed to sit on the shelf, it weighs too much to use at a table I fear). Care was taken to make it so you as the GM can easily read, find and follow plot lines and connections within the book and thereby maximize its utility. After all, since the player characters need to return to a city after killing the dragon and rescuing the princess, you might as well have something waiting for them that wants to kill them! 
So that’s about it, except for one final note about the giant maps—these are an experiment, and literally can be used as a table cloth or shower curtain. I know they are pricy, but as we are unlikely to make many of them, our costs are fairly high. They are made of cloth and are quite durable. We had one prototype in Dallas last month, and about 20 folks wanted to buy it from us. I can say that one will be going on my wall (and used as a table mat when the party enters the City). Again, we focused this on utility. It makes it very easy to tell where folks are if the party decides to split, where one goes to the armor shop and another goes to the sewers to visit a certain guild. While not quite to miniature scale (it would have been 14 feet long), this still may be the coolest map I have ever seen (ok, geek mode off). 
Thank you all again for your patronage of FGG, and I hope we continue to delight you with our books and other products. 
30 JUN 16
Crap. I really want one of those giant maps. No idea as to where I'd put it. Hmmm, maybe I can get my son to move out sooner than later and turn his room into my man cave. Damn, and Rach's yoga room. Still, she loved the map hanging at NTRPG Con too...

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Kickstarter - The Bogey of Brindle - 5E adventure

Just a quick note. +Lloyd Metcalf has a new Kickstarter out there, and not only did it fund in just a few hours, it's nearly doubled it's $1,200 goal in the first 24 hours.

Lloyd does what he does very well.

Does The Bogey of Brindle sound familiar?
This is NOT a simple re-do. The original Bogey of Swindle was a short digest one-sitting adventure. As a first attempt at adventure writing, and a first attempt at condensed adventures you can imagine that it likely had some short-comings. The original was also written for 1E/OSRIC and never contained very many details about the Goblin town of Swindle (Now Brindle) as everything was focused on a Lesser Gnome setting. 
"They say the first time ain't the greatest, but if I had a chance to do all again"... well we DO have a chance to do it all again, and this time there have been many lessons learned since that first effort! 
The ENTIRE town of Brindle has been added with HAND DRAWN over-land, dungeon and town maps and illustrations, with NPCs who have story hooks that could lead to many sessions of gaming within Brindle. 
Personally, I'm in at $50 for the original pen and ink drawing.

Can't have enough original art.

BTW, no stretch goes. Go figure. It can be done successfully...

Thief Class WILL be in Swords & Wizardry: Light - Skill Preview Follows

So, the feedback was overwhelming that a Thief class is needed for the initial 4 pages of Swords & Wizardry: Light. Of course, part of the issue is simplification and part of it is space concerns. That damn skill chart takes up some major page space.

With the input of some of the regulars during last night's Tavern Chat, I think we have a playable and elegant solution.

Climb Walls will convert to a 5 in 6 chance. All other skills will roll into on singular "Thieve's Skills Package". Chance of success is 1 in 6 at 1st level, 2 in 6 at 3rd level, 3 in 6 at 5th level, 4 in 6 at 7th level at 5 in 6 at 9th level. At 12th level, the chance for all thief abilities would be 6 in 6 - if you roll a 6, roll again and if another 6 comes up, you failed.

You could house rule the following:

All thieve's skills take 1 minute to perform. If you devote 10 minutes to the activity, you increase your chance of success by 1 in 6. If you rush and devote only 10 seconds to the task, your chance of success is lowered by 1 in 6.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tell Me Why You Want a Thief Class in Swords & Wizardry: Light

There's been one oft requested addition to the Swords & Wizardry: Light Rules (which are themselves a distillation of the Swords & Wizardry: White Box Rules - folks simply want a thief class, and not the one presented in Swords & Wizardry: Core.

Now, as I've mentioned before, in an effort to keep things simple and to make the natural progression of the experience to be going from the Light rules to the White Box rules and due to the constraints of only having 4 pages to work with, a thief class will not be in the 4 page S&W: Light rules. However, I plan on releasing a 4 page Deadly Machinations (GM's options and advice) to go right along with it and a thief class could certainly appear there. Obviously, it would only cover the first three levels, but I could expand the class fully here at The Tavern.

All that being said - tell me why you'd like a thief class for Swords & Wizardry: Light. I've got some ideas on how to make it different then the Core version but I'm open to other ideas.

Reminder - Tavern Chat - Tonight - 9PM Eastern

It's Wednesday and that means another Tavern Chat.


The topics are always random and always interesting.

It kicks off officially at 9PM Eastern, but some folks do arrive early.

Now if I could only move the cat from in front of my keyboard I could get some more Tavern Cards on their way...

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ladies Night at The Tavern - Opening The Tavern to Female Posters as a Regular Feature

Last night I mentioned to Rach: "You know, you really should make a post or two at The Tavern. Not only can you write from the perspective of a female in gaming, but with your career in social work, you'd bring a different perspective to gaming than many would expect."

Rach thought about it and remarked:"Like when Merle's wife laughed out loud when I inquired if the terrorist was armed, and when he said he was, I said 'I blow him away!' I don't think she expected me to be so blood thirsty ;)"

Of course, neither did I. And this is my wife we are talking about. The director of a substance abuse treatment clinic.

And that's the key. Rach see's gaming from a different perspective than I do, and I've said it before and I'll repeat it forever: The Tavern belongs to the community and it needs more than just my voice.

Earlier this afternoon, I mentioned the plan to have Rach post once a week or so come the end of the summer to a mutual friend of ours, and he said: "Why not have a Ladies Night or some such once a week. Open The Tavern up for women in the Old School Gaming Community as a platform for them to post their thoughts, ideas, observations."

And so here we are.

There are no requirements. No "do's & don'ts" aside from "please avoid personal attacks". Write reviews, observations, house rules - whatever. Rach is brainstorming something on substance abuse as an underlining theme in an adventure, so it's really an open platform.

Ladies, if you have thoughts for a post or a series of posts, email me at trublunite AT that gmail thing with your ideas. The goal is to get this up and running by the end of the summer. It won't happen without you.

The New D&D Movie has it's Title - Hands of Chaos

I know you are all looking forward to the future blockbuster titled Dungeons & Dragons: Hands of Chaos, right?

Ain't it Cool has what details there are. It will star Ansel Elgort (who?) as Raven Hightower.

Sigh. Maybe it will be as entertaining as the first Police Academy movie was.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Tavern Cards Have Started Their Journeys - May the USPS Be a Kind Benefactor

I have a bad habit of adding projects in the midst of projects. Swords & Wizardry: Light drew me away from adding everything to the spreadsheet and getting the cards out, and the surprise overwhelming reaction to the Tavern Cards interrupted me in the midst of matching up the last half of gifters and gift receivers for Chucks fundraising.

Anyhow, today a batch of cards went out. It is a bit time consuming, as I'm adding to the spreadsheet and addressing the envelopes by hand. Ah well, keeps me outa trouble, right? I'm going to try and set a minimum of 20 cards a day, hopefully more, in addition to the rest of the stuff on the plate (the upcoming 3 day weekend is NOT included in those numbers). I decided NOT to put names or nicknames on the card - you will need to do that on your end. Signing the cards, dating them and numbering them I can do without making a mistake, but the names are not mine and while practicing on scratch paper, that is where I saw mistakes (and potentially wasted cards).

I'm in NYC, so I'm hopeful the international cards will ship faster than they might otherwise have done so. We literally have worldwide requests, from every continent aside from Antartica. When the database is complete, I'll do a breakdown by general location and post it up.

I'm hoping to start playtesting the Swords & Wizardry: Light rules in about 2 weeks time, but that is not set in stone. Playtesters will be initially drawn from my current gaming group, but will expand as the summer grows and the project gets closer to completion. I suspect the initial call will go out over the Tavern's Google Group Community before opening up as a post here at The Tavern.

Dragonwars of Trayth, Now With 3d Gaming Boards

Dragonwars of Trayth. Remember it? The classic meltdown that was witnessed here at The Tavern. It seems like it was yesterday.

Well, I gotta give credit where credit is due. They are still working on their epic 25 episode adventure path.

Heck, they even have 3d gaming boards that they'll lug to stores or even cons (more on the cons later)

From their website it looks like the first 6 adventures are written. So, 19 to go?

Screenshot of a sample page of the first adventure in the Adventure Path
I fully expect a threat if I don't take this down immediately
Anyhow, they really love their YouTube videos.

This is the one from May where they show off their handmade gaming boards:

And then here is the one from today, which tells you they will be at GaryCon next year and you can reserve a gaming board for your game:

BTW, it's the exact same video, same music, different subtitles.

I also failed to find the link mentioned to download the digital maps. Of course, that could be my fault.

I find it strange that a 25 part adventure path for Pathfinder (oh, and OSRIC, but they don't seem to be available in OSRIC stats yet) is aiming it's marketing at Gary Con. Adventure paths are generally not what one thinks of when one thinks of old school gaming these days (nor is Pathfinder for that matter) And yes, I do remember Dragonlance. I suspect the folks behind Dragonwars of Trayth remember it too.

After reviewing the Kickstarter in question, they offered the same 6 adventures in the Kickstarter. I guess they were building 3d game boards over the last 20 months.

Anyhow, here's the pitch (note, nothing in this post should be construed as a threat to Epic Quest Publishing's IP, Trademarks, Copyright or any such nonsense. Really. It's a gaming related newsworthy post. So let's just skip the legal threats all together this time around)

I thought Dragonlance... never mind.

Props to the Taverner that brought this to my attention.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Swords & Wizardry: Light - Choosing Some Dyson Maps for the First Four Page Adventure

Every ruleset needs a kick ass adventure to go with it right from the beginning, and there is no better selection of adventure maps than those offered up by +Dyson Logos . I've been backing Dyson's Patreon since forever and it is because of that Patreon that the following maps are offered with a free commercial license.

We need to start with a Tavern, right? Hell, it might even be run by a surly dwarf. Cenkar Talishun or some such nonsense. And we know there are going to be rats in the basement. Maybe even coppers ;)

Then, after the party gets their feet wet in the basement of the tavern, they can move on to bigger and more rewarding dangers:

At the moment I'm hoping to have the S&W: Light rules, the GM's pamphlet (Deadly Machinations) and the first 4 page adventure all ready around the same time. All free to DL with permission to print and distribute.

Far West - Late May to Late June is Yet ANOTHER Missed Release Date

Far West. It's getting to the point that I no longer care about seeing the project reach completion. Now, it's all about "how many more excuses and missed delivery dates does Gareth have left in him before he finally admits he has nothing?"

He's about to "wiggle" himself out of the month of June.

This is what I'm supposed to get for my $150:

Now, I MAY at some point see a PDF out of this. Maybe.

Limited Edition hardcover? Please! With what money? Same goes for T-shirt and Art Prints. The money has been spent long ago on none Kickstarter related expenses.

My suspicion? Gareth does not want to release the PDF because then more than 420 folks will be looking for their hardcovers not to mention the more than 460 that will be demanding their t-shirts. Oh, and the art prints.

After nearly 5 years of this shit, I'm beginning to consider my $150 investment a lifetime investment in the drama machine known as Far West, The Gareth Sharka Kickstarter Lifetime Movie Event of the Half Decade.

edit: maybe I could get a Producer credit...

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