Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Gygax Memorial Fund is a Hive of Activity these Days (Assuming a Small Hive in Winter)

I'm guessing someone pointed out to Gail that a website and proposed memorial devoted to her late husband should actually showcase her late husband and not her posing in a gaudy tunnel.

And look, there's even a link to the Variety Magazine story. That's the first legit update of news on this site since December 8th of 2014.

I may need a drink just to steady my nerves.

Notice the July 28th Written Tribute. That's not July 28, 2016. The last tribute was added on January 25, 2013.

I see why they leave the year off.

I'm going to make a suggestion that I'm sure won't be listened to. Delete the useless Tower of Gygax, FAQ and Online Store tabs. They've been dead links since forever. You can always add them back if they actually link to something aside from "Coming Soon!"

Now about that promised audit...

I Have Met With the Cabal of Oldschool Gaming - Plans are in Motion for Old School Recognition Awards

Last night I sat down with the mysterious Cabal of Oldschool Gaming - henceforth referred to as COGs, and we discussed the idea of a series of Old School Gaming awards.

True, we have the Three Castles Award, but that is a design award and in the end only applies to one release in the 12 month period.

Then there are the ENnies, which prices out most old school products simply based on the expense of mailing physical products worldwide to judges. We are largely comprised of self publishers who aren't making much scratch on their releases in the first place.

Oh, and the Diana Jones Award, which doesn't even seem to follow it's own rules for nominating. But they have a secret cabal, so they're kinda cool.

Discussions covered everything from the name of the award, how to nominate products, selection of judges, prizes, timing and a whole bunch more. It was a very productive use of our time.

It's more than a planning stage and less then set in stone. It will happen. When the rest of the COGs reveal themselves, you will see that we are on solid footing.

Yes, yesterday's post was said in jest (sadly I may need to use a disclaimer in the future) but more so for the unbalanced method that ENnies are chosen than the choices folks have made. It's important to us that the awards are open to all that consider themselves part of the old school gaming movement and they aren't priced out of the process by physical review copies. PDFs for the judges are going to be the main distribution route we aim to take.

The COGs are open to input from The Tavern's Community and beyond. Categories, nomination process, type of awards (we're toying with a few), whatever you think may be of import. They will read your comments as will I.

Recognizing what our community produces is important, not just to the COGs but the community itself. Great products often slip off the radar. The community will be a huge part of the process, as well they should be.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Dungeons & Dragons article in the New York Daily News - Stranger Things brings D&D back into Focus

There is a D&D article in the New York Daily News, talking about how the Netflix series Stranger Things is bringing the game back into the light:
Dungeons & Dragons is rampaging across pop culture like a fearsome Demogorgon.
The quintessential game for geeks is resurging 42 years after it was first published. It’s a central plot device in the Netflix summer hit “Stranger Things.” It plays heavily in “The Dwarvenaut” documentary hitting VOD on Friday, about a Brooklyn artist who crafts dungeon models and figurines. And “Divergent’s” Ansel Elgort is in talks to conjure himself into a live-action D&D film. 
“We’re going through a renaissance here. It’s just so much fun to play,” says Stefan Pokorny, the D&D addict who is ready for his closeup in “The Dwarvenaut.” “The kids in the 80s, the 12 and 13-year-olds who were playing, the outcasts who were told they were nerds — now we’re 40 and 50 years old like, ‘Screw you guys — I still love this game!’”
Which is all fine and good, but it's the next paragraph that I find most interesting:
If you’ve been too cool to crack open a Dungeon Master’s guide or roll a 12-sided die, you’re becoming the odd man out. Or odd woman out, as role-playing games have expanded their gender roles. While Wizards of the Coast, which manages the D&D franchise, won't share sales figures, reps tell the Daily News that Millennials (ages 25 to 34) presently make up the largest group of D&D players, followed closely by those aged 35 to 44 and 18 to 24 — and up to 30% of these gamers are girls.
So, up to 30% of current D&D players are girls. About what I would have pegged it back in High School and College - 20 to 25%, and almost all brought in by their significant others. So, the percentage of female gamers hasn't changed much, but the age group is skewing higher, and older gamers generally have more disposable income, which is good for the market.

It's nice to see The Dwarvenaut also get some attention.

What if there Were Game Industry Awards for What Really Matters to the Old School Gamer?

The ENnies are tonight.

I know, may the excitement never end.

But what if there were gaming awards for stuff that REALLY mattered to the "Old School Gamer"?

After some brainstorming last night with my usual, unnamed partner in crime we came up with The ORC Awards - Old Roleplaying Crap Awards.

So what would WE, your secret cabal of judges award prizes (Pewter and Lead) for?

  • Best Kickstarter Drama 
  • Most likely to not actually be used
  • Most likely to have its OGL content ripped word for word
  • Most reused piece of stock art
  • Worst layout by a professional
  • Most likely to stir dirty thoughts (pre Internet porn era)
  • Worst pre ogl D&D ripoff 
  • Best Maps with Worst Setting Support
  • Worst binding 
  • Excellence in Chain mail Bikini Art
  • Worst DTRPG product: free and for money
  • Most derivative concept
  • Most irrelevant commenter (and RPG blog or forum commenter)
  • Stupidest dice innovation
  • Least necessary PC race Or class
  • Most overworked mechanic to solve problem no one has
  • Worst con game title
  • Most respectful use of 'fuck' in a gaming publication
  • Least respectful in same
  • Special category: White Knight Comment Enabling Award

So, what say you? Do we request nominations for the ORC Awards?

Edit - We're open to doing legit awards too ;)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Just When You Thought it Was Safe - Dungeons & Dragons Teams Up with My Little Pony - For Realz

Yep, apparently for World Friendship Day (another made up holiday I never heard of prior) My Little Pony's ponies are going on an adventure. Actually, I might grab this shirt for my 5 y/o niece.
Dungeons & Dragons partners with My Little Pony to create an exclusive charity shirt highlighting what is at the heart of both brands: Friendship & Magic.
In celebration of Friendship Day, Dungeons & Dragons has partnered with My Little Pony to create an exclusive charity shirt highlighting what is at the heart of both brands: Friendship & Magic. Hasbro will be donating the net profits from the sale of these shirts to generationOn, so order one for all the My Little Pony and D&D fans in your life! This shirt will be available to order on our campaign page until August 19th. 
Join the adventuring party of Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and of course Pinkie Pie, for the most pony-riffic celebration of friendship this side of the Forgotten Realms!
Just looked up World Friendship Day. It's held on July 30th, my birthday. Nope, doesn't make me feel friendlier...

Deal of the Day - White Star (S&W White Box SciFi RPG)

My love of White Star is well known. If you are a long time reader of The Tavern you've watched me sing it's praises (and that of +James Spahn )

Well, if for some forsaken reason you haven't yet picked up White Star, here's your chance to grab the PDF at 50% off - just $4.99

What are you waiting for, a signed invitation? Go! Get your copy and be one of the cool kids :)
Whether a noble Star Knight protecting the universe from galactic tyranny, a hot shot pilot in the cockpit of the fastest stunt fighter in space, or an enigmatic Alien Mystic, classic science fiction adventure awaits you with White Star: White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying
Based on Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox, White Star brings all the simple elegance  of WhiteBox out of the dungeon and into the stars! This complete roleplaying game includes seven new classes as well as rules for advanced technology, laser weaponry, space combat, and so much more! 
So ready your star sword and fire up your faster-than-light drive! A galaxy full of thrilling heroics is at your fingertips with White Star: White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying.

30 Bucks for Over $325 Worth of Stock Art - Publisher's Choice Premier Collection [BUNDLE - Fat Goblin Games)

+Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games is offering a bundle of over $325 worth of Stock Art for 30 bucks. If you are a publisher (or plan to be one) this is hard to beat and impossible to pass up.

Here's a listing of what you get for your 30 bucks:

5th Edition Fantasy Compatible Logo

Publisher's Choice - 15 Hammers, Axes, Maces

Publisher's Choice - 23 Bladed Weapons

Publisher's Choice - 8 Armor & Clothing

Publisher's Choice - 8 Helms and Headwear

Publisher's Choice - Basic Creature Figures (Humanoid Rats)

Publisher's Choice - Basic Fantasy Classes (Barbarian)

Publisher's Choice - Basic Fantasy Classes (Fighter)

Publisher's Choice - Basic Fantasy Classes (Ranger)

Publisher's Choice - Basic Fantasy Classes (Rogue)

Publisher's Choice - Basic Fantasy Figures (Grippli)

Publisher's Choice - Basic Fantasy Figures (Minotaurs)

Publisher's Choice - Basic Racial Portraits (Assorted Portraits)

Publisher's Choice - Basic Racial Portraits (Fantasy Males)

Publisher's Choice - Blood Throne (Page Backgrounds)

Publisher's Choice - Bloody Psycho (Cover and Interior Page Templates)

Publisher's Choice - Classic Adventure Covers (Multi-Colored Modules)

Publisher's Choice - Classic Horror Portraits

Publisher's Choice - Creature Cover

Publisher's Choice - Darkness (Page Backgrounds)

Publisher's Choice - Decorative Layout (Page Backgrounds)

Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Cast & Crew: Male Dwarves

Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Design ( Interior Backgrounds #2)

Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Design ( Interior Backgrounds)

Publisher's Choice - Fantasy InDesign Template

Publisher's Choice - Felipe Gaona (Desert Kingdom)

Publisher's Choice - Felipe Gaona (Lich Priest)

Publisher's Choice - Felipe Gaona (Old Mercenary)

Publisher's Choice - Felipe Gaona (Trapped Hallway)

Publisher's Choice - Handbook Cover

Publisher's Choice - Invisible Stalker

Publisher's Choice - Jade Master (Page Backgrounds)

Publisher's Choice - Jeff Cram (Norse Heroes)

Publisher's Choice - Jeffrey Koch (16 Fantasy Portraits)

Publisher's Choice - Joshua Gullion: Fantasy Hero

Publisher's Choice - King's Hunt (Page Backgrounds)

Publisher's Choice - King's Note (Cover and Interior Page Templates)

Publisher's Choice - LandEscapes: Stock Art Maps #1

Publisher's Choice - LandEscapes: Stock Art Maps #2: Simple Ship

Publisher's Choice - Master Illustrations (Demonic Transformations)

Publisher's Choice - Master Illustrations (Druid, Dryad, Nymph)

Publisher's Choice - Master Illustrations (Elven/Fae Girl)

Publisher's Choice - Master Illustrations (Pirate Collection)

Publisher's Choice - Master Illustrations (Pirate Cover)

Publisher's Choice - Master Illustrations (Warrior Archetypes)

Publisher's Choice - Military Exploits (Cover & Page Backgrounds)

Publisher's Choice - Modern Design (Cover & Interior Backgrounds)

Publisher's Choice -Quality Stockart Modern Heroes

Publisher's Choice - Original Game Master

Publisher's Choice: Quick Covers #1

Publisher's Choice: Quick Covers #2

Publisher's Choice: Quick Covers #3

Publisher's Choice: Quick Covers #4

Publisher's Choice: Quick Covers #5

Publisher's Choice: Quick Covers #6

Publisher's Choice: Quick Covers #7

Publisher's Choice: Quick Covers #8

Publisher's Choice: Quick Covers #9

Quick Covers- Buckled Cover

Quick Covers- Landscape Edition

Quick Covers- Vol.1: Leather and Brass

Quick Covers- Vol.2: Leather and Brass

Quick Covers- Vol.3: Stitched Hide

Quick Covers- Vol.4: Heavy Metal

Quick Covers- Vol.5: Future Tech

Quick Covers - Vol.6: Stitched Flesh

Standard Stock Art: 9 Fantasy Portraits

Standard Stock Art: Cats

Standard Stock Art: Creature Pack

Standard Stock Art: Goblin Mega-Pack

Standard Stock Art: Issue 1 - Places and Locations

Standard Stock Art: Issue 2 - World War II

Standard Stock Art: Issue 3 - Dwarves

Standard Stock Art: Issue 4 - 20th Century

Standard Stock Art: Issue 5- Orc Fighter

Standard Stock Art: Issue 6 - Vile Beasts

Standard Stock Art: Issue 7 - Humanoids, Vol. 1

Standard Stock Art: Issue 8 - Assorted Items, Vol. 1

Standard Stock Art: Issue 9 - Assorted Items, Vol. 2

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern - Do or Do Not

It's another Wednesday, which means another Tavern Chat.

Don't ask me what tonight's topic is, I haven't a clue ;)

See y'all in less than 2 hours...

D&D Expert and Companion Rules are Up in PDF at OBS $4.99 Each (BECMI / Mentzer)

For those lacking in dead tree versions or perhaps want copies they can tote around on their tablets and iPads, the Dungeons & Dragons Expert and Companion rules are now up on OneBookShelf.

Can the Master and Immortal Rules be far behind?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (For Win / OSX / Linux)

I saw this mentioned over on EnWorld and after watching the video I had to share it here: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is coming to a computer near you via Steam.

From the Steam page:
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is a tabletop adventure come to life! This fantasy solo RPG combines unique, simultaneous turn-based combat with a journey that changes based on each figurine you take into Firetop Mountain! Which hero will you take into Zagor's lair THIS time?  
The original 1982 Fighting Fantasy paperback by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson has been transformed into an epic domain, with new areas to explore, characters to meet, and of course, monsters to slay! Zagor's home builds right before your eyes as you travel deep into the belly of the mountain.  
Each character has their own motivations for being in Firetop Mountain, changing the way the gamebook is written and choices presented. Combat is fought using the digital miniatures in a simultaneous, real-time system called GridBluff, and the game includes over 100 unique hero and monster figurines to discover.  
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is currently in development. Follow here to keep up to date of upcoming news towards its release.
Minimum Reqs

OS: Windows 7 
Processor: 1.5 GHz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: Hardware Accelerated Graphics with 1GB memory
Storage: 3 GB available space

OS: Mac OS 10.10.5+ 
Processor: 1.5 GHz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: Hardware Accelerated Graphics with 1GB memory
Storage: 3 GB available space

OS: SteamOS + Linux
Processor: 1.5 GHz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: Hardware Accelerated Graphics with 1GB memory
Storage: 3 GB available space

Monday, August 1, 2016

Kickstarter - Fantasy RPG Maps: The Wilderness of the Lost Realms

I've got a ton of Kickstarters to look at still. Slowly catching up, and there are some I've backed but haven't even gotten around to posting about them.

This is one that really caught my eye, and quite literally at that: Fantasy RPG Maps: The Wilderness of the Lost Realms.

The maps are simply gorgeous, with both PDF and POD options.

Heck, you can even support at a level that makes them usable in your commercial products.

Damn, but I'm such a fan of cool maps.

I'll let the maps speak for themselves...

Jon Peterson Comments Upon the Previously Unreleased Syndicated Radio D&D Pilot

You have to give +Jon Peterson a huge amount of credit. When he goes deep into the history of Dungeons & Dragons and into it's dark, forgotten corners he often comes out with D&D Gold. This time, I'd say he hit Platinum.

You can read a bit about the previously unreleased Syndicated Radio D&D Pilot at Jon's Playing at the World blog or even better yet, listen to it and Jon's commentary on Youtube. It's worth the time to listen.

Blood & Treasure 2nd Edition Released in PDF (OSR Ruleset)

Blood & Treasure 2nd Edition was released into the PDF wilds earlier today and there was much rejoicing.

+John Stater , well known for his NOD magazine and Hex Crawls releases under the Frog God Games banner, has completed revising his OSR ruleset, Blood & Treasure, to it's 2nd edition.

Here's what John has to say:
Blood & Treasure is the fantasy role-playing game for people who want to spend less time arguing over rules and more time playing, and the new 2nd Edition continues this tradition. 
Compatible with old school games, it strives to be rules lite and options heavy.
You get ... 
  • Thirteen character classes, as well as suggested variations on the existing classes
  • The classic fantasy races
  • A streamlined and easy optional feats system
  • Hundreds of spells and magic items - you can run games for years without running out of new things to try
  • Optional scientific treasures for those who like science-fantasy
  • Quick and easy rules for exploration, combat, mass combat, naval combat, strongholds and domains and a simple task resolution system
  • Guidance on designing dungeons, wilderness, settlements and even the cosmos
  • Suggestions on converting to other old school systems and changes between the first and second edition
Blood & Treasure 2nd Edition is designed to give you years of enjoyment in just two volumes, this book and the forthcoming Blood & Treasure 2nd Edition Monster book, which features over 600 monsters to challenge players. 
Blood & Treasure doesn't want to tell you what kind of fantasy game you should enjoy, it just wants to put all the tools in your hands and let you play YOUR GAME, YOUR WAY.
The PDF is 10 bucks with a POD release in the near future.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Deal of the Day - Adventure Most Fowl (S&W / OSR Adventure)

I almost missed this one. It's nice to see +Michael Garcia back on the saddle, so to speak ;)
“Curses are like chickens; they always come home to roost”, and if these chickens aren’t found soon, the Village of Kith will be doomed! 
On the edge of the Four Counties, in a backwater village of lost souls, there is a string of robberies that cannot be explained…Farmer Phileas Filson has lost his chickens, or rather he swears that they’ve been pilfered, along with his prize-winning hen Mabel, and no one in town will lift a finger to help. 
You and your adventuring comrades, freshly minted from the forges of fame and fortune, may be his only hope… 
Adventure Most Fowl is a great way to start that new party of low-level adventurers on the path to riches and rewards! With a broad cast of interesting, unusual and perhaps dangerous rural folk, a countryside filled with sheep, squash, and hallucinogenic flora and of course the mystery of missing poultry, your players and their new characters will have a fun-filled romp through this off-color backwater village. 
There’s a terrible force trying to impose itself on the Village of Kith…and it’s up to you to discover its source and put an end to the poultry-pinching party, and the havoc that is destined to follow if your players don’t solve this ADVENTURE MOST FOWL! 
  • An OSR Module For 4–6 players level 0–1
  • Hand-Drawn maps by DYSON LOGOS!
  • 2 All-New Monsters including the Cockalorum!
  • Original Artwork by Randy Davis
  • For use with Swords & Wizardry, but easily converted and compatible with most OSR systems

edit - this ALMOST got posted to Saturday Knight Special by mistake... heh

Kickstarter - Worldographer: Hexographer 2 - Easy Map/World Creator (Happy Mapping)

I'm way behind on showcasing some of the Kickstarters that really excite me, so bear with mw over the next few posts as I attempt to catch up. Things can move fast when you don't pay attention, and I've been doing my darnedest NOT to find really cool Kickstarters. I need to budget a bit over the next few months.

Then I see that stuff like +Joe Wetzel 's Worldographer Kickstarter, where he takes Hexographer and basically turns it up to 11 (Spinal Tap anyone?)

I've had a lot of success with Hexographer. The learning curve is very small, and for someone like me that has ideas but lacks many of the technical skills to implement them, Hexographer is awesome. I'd like to call it idiot proof, but I'm sure if we look hard enough...

Anyhow, here's some the the new, key features for Worldographer:

  • A new architecture allows us to have undo/redo functionality.
  • Better "child maps." Create a world map and from that same map create a continent level map as well as a kingdom level map. It will remain one file so most changes to one level map will be reflected in the others.
  • Hexographer's rather simple "note" functionality can expand to allow you to detail each location as well as things about your world not tied to a location: religions, cultures, important NPCs, etc. It becomes an interactive Gazetteer!
  • We're adding an entirely new, more realistic icon set to the software.
  • Polygons, Lines, Ovals, etc. have more options for shadows and textures.
  • Easy drag and drop of labels and features: Most apps make this tricky, but we're improving it.
  • Icosohedral Maps have been planned into Worldographer from the beginning.
  • Configuration of new terrain, features, and textures is much easier. (Just drop files to a specific folder.)
  • The new user interface framework gives the software a cleaner look.
  • Mini-generators create details for notes about cities, castles, ruins, etc.

What's a "child map" you may ask?

I backed at $50 without giving it a thought. It really was that simple a decision.

Do you need to generate geographical maps for your campaign? Look no further.

Did I mention Joe even hangs out on the Wednesday Night Tavern Chats on occasion? Yep, he's that kinda down to earth guy. Oh, and it launched just over 2 days ago and it's nearly funded. Damn.

Now I need to get back to work ;)
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