Saturday, July 30, 2016

Far West - Far From Done, I'm Ready to Let Go of Any Last Hope

I'm ready to let go of my last hope of Far West coming to a successful conclusion, and you should too.

The last update was May 26th, moving completion from the end of May to early June. We are now at the end of July and this project isn't doing Gareth or any of us any good, because the sad truth is it will never be complete.

The above tweet was from last night (thanks to another awesome reader for brining it to my attention.)

I'm out $150. I NEVER expect to see either a finished product nor my money. Gareth should just admit the same, not just to us but to himself.

Far West is beyond late and, even if it reaches some sort of completion, the money for the print books is long gone. Hell, the cost to ship alone has gone up enough to bankrupt Gareth should he even try.

If Gareth DOES burn out so close to the finish line, so close yet so far away, he'll just punt 6 months down the road and this drama is just put on time delay.

From my POV I'm done. I'll post updates when we get them, because it's still news until Gareth throws in the towel or completes it, and neither of those is a likely conclusion to this drama. It's likely I'll be posting something similar in a year, on my 50th birthday. We're already 5 years in and 4 1/2 years late.

Time to let go...

Friday, July 29, 2016

For Those Wondering, the Deal with the Gygax Trust Was for Movies / TV Series (Don't hold your breath for the release of gaming material)

There was some wondering if the deal announced Wednesday in regards to the rights to the works held by the estate of Gary Gygax would lead to the release of his work that has not seen print since his untimely death.

After reading the quote from Newsarama, I'd say this is purely for movies / TV, which most suspected when the person names is linked to projects like the Transformers movie franchise.

"Studio or network partners that understand the global power of Gary Gygax." Just don't ask the Lake Geneva City Council for a prime park location for his memorial. They are immune to such influence and power... for now.

So, put the movie or TV series before any kind of gaming releases, if there are to be any gaming releases at all.

Again, it's all about the benjemins. There is little if any money to be made from Gary's work from the gaming market, especially at this point in the game.

I'm sure DeSanto already has something lined up.

It will be interesting to see where this all goes.

And yes, all that Gygax Castles & Crusades stuff you've been holding on to - it may just go up in value. Just imagine of some of it is used to source a setting for a movie of series...

Creativity Coupled with Fear of Critique is Doomed to Failure - Creative Writing Professor, Queens College, Spring 88

At the end of my third year of undergrad I took a Creative Writing Class at Queens College. I had always dabbled in writing stories. What gamer hasn't? My professor had a ponytail, was in his late 30s or early 40s and had a couple of works of fiction behind him. He fit the look of "a creative".

The first day of class he mentioned that the course was a "peer review" type course. We were going to read each other's works and critique them. Afterwards, he would critique both the work submitted and the critiques.

One student balked at the "peer review". He didn't like the idea that other students would be reading his work, let alone offering critique publicly in class. He signed up to have his work reviewed and edited by the professor, not other students.

The professor's response still resonates with me today:
Creativity coupled with the fear of critique is doomed to failure. If you create just for yourself and not for your audience, you may as well stay in bed each morning and masturbate. You'll find it both more satisfying and more pleasurable. Creativity finds it's spark when enjoyed by another, and it's flame when those touched by it share with others. 
Creativity often goes hand in hand with playing RPG. You create adventures, map out worlds, some even create their own rules. Then you share it with your gaming group. If you did well, they not only enjoyed it but maybe offered suggestions to make it better. Maybe not better in your eyes, but in their eyes.

The eyes of your audience.

These days I blog and write gaming material. This summer I've been working on the whole idea of a 4 page OSR system, stripping down Swords & Wizardry: White Box to what I'm currently calling Swords & Wizardry: Light. Rules, adventure, setting, my plate is full.

I'm not writing this for myself, although I have written gaming material in the past more as an exercise and less for an audience.

This project, however, has a targeted audience - The Lapsed Gamer. So, it must appeal to that audience as well as the current OSR gamer who may be looking for a ruleset that will slip into a back pocket and that can be printed on a single sheet, ready to go when needed. Tall order, as small as it is.

I've been silent on it recently, mainly because I haven't gotten as far with it as I would like - or had hoped. Summers are busy times and even the recently retired can find themselves stretched beyond their normal time constraints. But it is progressing. Material will be making it's way here to The Tavern over the next few weeks. At which point, you, my loyal reader, will have a responsibility.

You'll need to critique my work. In public. For all to see. And yes, even your critique may be - critiqued.

All feedback is valuable, perhaps even more so if I disagree with it. The tendency to get too attached to your creation is always a fear one rarely wishes to acknowledge, especially to oneself.

Thank you in advance and I'll thank you again when the finished product is better for the eyes put upon it.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Roll20 Announces License Deal with Wizards of the Coast (NEWS)

Here's the official press release of the announcement:

The world’s most popular tabletop RPG comes to the world’s most popular virtual tabletop.

OVERLAND PARK, KS (July 28th, 2016) Roll20 announced today a licensing deal for their online “virtual tabletop” to distribute Dungeons & Dragons content. This marks the first licensed collaboration between these two companies, which has been a major goal for Roll20 since its launch in 2012.

“While Roll20 was designed to play nearly any tabletop game, the spark that pushed us to start the product was Dungeons & Dragons,” said cofounder Riley Dutton, “Our very name, ‘Roll20’ comes from the concept of a ‘critical hit’ as popularized by D&D. For us, D&D represents an evergreen part of our gaming lives, and to be officially working with its creators and caretakers certainly feels like we’ve made a winning roll.”

The launch is beginning with sales of the introductory adventure module Lost Mine of Phandelver, which comes with pregenerated characters, image handouts, maps, and tokens prearranged in Roll20 to help Dungeon Masters avoid lengthy setup times. Other licensed products will follow, including Dungeons & Dragon’s latest upcoming adventure storyline Storm King’s Thunder, which is available in Roll20 for preorder and launches September of 2016.

Roll20 already leads the virtual tabletop category, with an overall online population of over 1.6 million users, more than 46% of which identify themselves as players of the current edition of D&D.

“We’re always looking to broaden access to Dungeons & Dragons, and Roll20 already plays a significant part of that expansion,” said Greg Tito, Communications Manager at Wizards of the Coast. “We are excited to see what the future brings.”

Roll20, owned by The Orr Group LLC, began as an effort to keep developers Riley Dutton, Richard Zayas, and Nolan T. Jones in touch via long distance tabletop gaming. Since launching via Kickstarter in 2012, it has attracted over 1.6 million users as a free service, becoming the preeminent way to play tabletop roleplaying games online and developing into a staple of in-person play. The award-winning program continues to be funded by subscribers who receive features that assist advanced gameplay.

Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS), is the leader in entertaining the lifestyle gamer. Wizards' players and fans are members of a global community bound together by their love of both digital gaming and in-­person play. The company brings to market a range of gaming experiences under powerful brand names such as MAGIC: THE GATHERING and DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. Wizards is also a publisher of fantasy series fiction with numerous New York Times best-­sellers. For more information about our world renowned brands, visit the Wizards of the Coast Web site at www.wizards.com.

Suzanne Wallace

Humble RPG Book Bundle - Vampire

Now, I know this might not be on the radar of most of my readers, but I remember when Vampire, Werewolf and Mage first came out. They were damn interesting even if I could never convince my group to play.

The value of this Humble Bundle is simply amazing, and if that buck gives you some ideas or inspiration for whatever system you are running you've more than made your money back.

The link to the Humble RPG Book Bundle - Vampire

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern - It's Gary's B-Day, Time to Speculate

Yep, it's Wednesday, so tonight is another Tavern Chat.

It was revealed today that Gail Gygax has found someone to market Gary's work. It's time to speculate on what that may be. Both the line and the format. This should be interesting.

Oh, and I'm sure there will be comments on the cover for the new printing of S&W Complete.

See y'all around 9ish :)

Gary Gygax Estate Partners With ‘Transformers’ Producer Tom DeSanto (Variety)

Tip of the hat to +Carl Pinder 

Looks like there actually IS something happening with the Gygax Estate, or more accurately the Gail C. Gygax Revocable Trust.

According to Variety:
“Transformers” producer Tom DeSanto has struck a deal with the estate of Gary Gygax — co-creator of “Dungeons & Dragons” — to oversee the Gygax catalog of published and unpublished works. 
The announcement was made on Wednesday, which would have been Gygax’s 78th birthday. His widow Gail Gygax reached a deal for DeSanto to become the “guardian of the library.” 
DeSanto told Variety that he’s already discovered several potential “universe” projects among the unpublished works and expects to find a home for at least one by year’s end.
Interesting times.

I wonder how much unpublished work there actually is, and how much of a market there is for it after all these years.

Why I Sometimes Omit My Own Opinion on Posts Soliciting Yours

Yesterday's post about the cover for the upcoming printing of Swords & Wizardry Complete has garnered over 50 60 comments already (not including threads on G+ and Facebook). It's already one of this year's most commented on posts.

In it, I asked The Tavern's readers which cover they preferred, old or new, and to include why they feels as they do.

Lots of great answers. Lots of good arguments for and against both covers. I really appreciate the feedback. Keep them coming. I read each one as they are posted.

I have been asked directly what my choice would be, and there is a reason I did not include my pick in the original post and will not include it now - quite simply, I don't want to influence the feedback. If I picked one over the other, I'd get a bunch of "I agree with Tenkar" and that kinda skews the discussion in one direction or another.

It's been damn civil with no name calling or objecting to the opinions of others, and I'm grateful for that. I know there is a temptation to tell others how they are wrong but showing us how you are right is always the better choice.

There is no right answer and there is no wrong answer. It's simply your opinion. I MAY give mine when this topic has run its course, but for now, we don't want my opinion, we want yours :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

New Swords & Wizardry Complete cover Revealed!

This is the cover for the upcoming printing of Swords & Wizardry Complete. Note, the transparency might not be the final version.

For comparison, here's the old cover.

I have my preference. What is yours?

(edit: I'm going to add "and why" to the above question, just cause I'd like to know ;)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Ken Whitman Feels the Need to Zing the Blackburns's Deceased Daughter (Edited w/ Update From Ken's Feed for Context)

Ken is, if nothing else, consistent. He's referenced the Blackburn's deceased daughter in the past (never in a nice manner) and has decided to do so yet again in an effort to defend a Facebook account that a third party assumed was yet another Whit / Ken Facebook account (I can easily identify 3 but I haven't dug deep). I do NOT know if the account in question was / is an account created by Ken Whitman. We'll give the benefit of the doubt, as there is a large amount of doubt without evidence proving otherwise.

Why Ken felt the need to bring up the Blackburn's deceased daughter can only be answered by Ken himself.

(Where did someone say someone impregnated Ken's daughter?)

(Is this Ken's daughter?  If so, as a Harvard grad she should spend some time editing Ken's posts)

edit: I thank Jolly for forwarding me the following to put things in context. It's NEVER right to include a man's family in stuff there weren't and aren't a part of.

I cropped out the pic of Ken holding / hugging his daughter. Ken is a lot of things, but his family does not deserve this shit and Ryan Pitts is out of place with this. Not saying Ken's update on Kickstarter was right, nor was he right to accuse Jolly, but as a parent I can see where Ken is coming from.

New Old School Podcast in the Works and I'm Giddy as a Schoolgirl

There's a new ""Old School" podcast in the works.

I can confirm that I am involved in it, both as a host and in working out it's format.

I can not give its title (although it has a website reserved) - yet

I can not say who else might be involved in it - yet

I can say I am excited as all shit, because "Old School" is my wheelhouse and I really like the format we are talking about.

Soon, my precious. Soon.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Justice League Comic-Con Trailer / Footage


Simple wow.

Looks good. There is hope for DC yet ;)

As a bonus, here's the Wonder Woman trailer:

Another WTF Kickstarter - RPG Gaming table

If pictures can say a thousand words, this is worth about three. What The Fuck?

Notice it isn't a picture of a prototype table.

Here, let me give you the whole sales pitch for RPG Gaming table (don't worry, he has a modest goal of $8,500):

He's in Indy? Maybe he'll be at Gen Con.

Wait, I forgot to mention the rewards:

Why is the supply list and build instructions shipping 3 months AFTER the tables?
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