Saturday, December 3, 2016

Some Thoughts on an "Organic Sandbox" Campaign

I'm itching to start up a new campaign with the old gaming group and I'm considering if I should make it an "organic sandbox" of sorts.

When I say "organic sandbox", I'm thinking a known but small starting area with requisite dungeon to kick things off, but then resorting to ample use of the following resources:

D30 Sandbox Companion

D30 DM Companion


Tome of Adventure Design

Various Dungeon, Wilderness, Urban and Village Dressing Books

Dyson's Maps

Swords & Wizardry Light

An assortment of adventures ready to roll

So, here's my idea. With the right resources at my finger tips, I don't even need to be a full step ahead of my players. I need the right maps uploaded into Roll20 that they might find useful (and i need to label them so they are easy for me to reference and know what they do) I get to start my players out with some adventure seeds early on (D30 Books and Tome of Adventure Design will come in handy) and my players will lead the way.

Of course, if they go where I think they plan on going, based on feedback, I may have a step or two on them, but even if they go in some random direction I'll have the tools to be prepared and keep the story moving.

In a way, its freeing, because you don't need to do a lot of prep for stuff they will never encounter. Its also scary, because you don't know what's going to happen next as a DM, or even "where next" actually is.

Swords & Wizardry Light will be the ruleset because:

A) I wrote the 4 pages but more importantly...

B) Since its only a handful of pages, the system gets out of the way and should allow for the play to roam freely. As I already have the rules scratched out for levels four and five as well as extra classes, its also a playtest of sorts.

Ideas? Thoughts? Share away. Did I overlook any resources? (I'n sure I did)

Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's OBS affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)

Kickstarter - Fantasy 1" Grid Dungeon Tiles for Tabletop RPGs (Flat Terrain)

Its strange. Up until this year I never really thought much about terrain or grids or battlemaps. Sure, I'd grab the latest Dwarvenite compose set, but that was more for me to play with than to use in play, if that makes any sense.

Two things chance my perspective on visual aids in game - playing in a regular, face to face, twice a month game has reminded me of the importance of visual aids AND my niece using Dwarvenite to build dungeons at the not quite age of six.

Here's my issue with terrain - its a pain in the ass to move for storage to gaming. Heck, its a PITA to store. Oh, and it isn't cheap.

Tiles, on the other hand, stack. They store easily. They are less expensive than 3 dimensional terrain and they serve the same purpose.

Which leads us to the Fantasy 1" Grid Dungeon Tiles for Tabletop RPGs Kickstarter. The only thing its missing is tokens for doors, stairs, bookshelves and the like. But since you can use wet or dry erase markers, that really isn't an issue.

The only issue I see is "how many sets do I order?" I set is 20 bucks for 30 tiles (1 set), 38 bucks for 2 sets, 54 bucks for 3 sets all the way to 104 bucks for 7 sets - yes, you get much more bang for your buck if you invest in more sets. And it is an investment, as the more you own the more use you will get from it.

Oh, and the tiles are double sided, with the obverse being a blank piece with no walls, just flooring.
Create awesome maps for your epic adventures with these beautiful 4x4" double-sided adventure tiles made of wet and dry erase compatible, high quality chip board. Each tile has walls to show a variety of hallways or room configurations on one side, and an open room with no walls on the reverse.
I'm tempted to drop in for 7 sets of Dungeon Grid Tiles. I certainly have enough unpainted minis to get use of it ;)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Raging Swan Christmas MegaBundle - $650 plus for less than $30

First things first - this is a Pathfinder bundle.

Secondly, the various "Dressing" releases - Wilderness, Dungeon, Urban, as well as the Village Backdrop series are pretty much system neutral and worth the price of admission on their own.

Third. Raging Swan produces good stuff.

Impossible to list everything in this Raging Swan Christmas MegaBundle, so not gonna try. Follow the link to see the listing.

a small selection of what is included
Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's OBS affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)

Mazes & Perils Bundle - 60% Off - Limited Tme

Yep, rules, adventures, extra classes and a book of undead - for under 10 bucks in the Mazes & Perils Bundle!
Moebius Adventures Announcement
Greetings, gamers!  
It's that time of year again when you scramble to find presents for all your gaming friends. Well, now's the time to grab the whole kit of Mazes & Perils products in time for the holidays!

Through the end of the year, you can grab every Mazes & Perils product for a huge discount. How big? Well, how about less than $10 for everything we've released so far? That's 60% off the cover price! 
That's right - for the entire month of December we're giving you everything you need to kick off an epic campaign of OSR goodness. The main M&P book, two adventures, two extra classes, and a book full of undead critters to keep things interesting!
Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's OBS affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)

Star Trek ™ Adventures Living Playtest Launches - and I'm not in it :(

Yesterday Modiphius announced the kick off of the Star Trek Adventures playtest, with 5k players in the initial pool. That's actually a pretty impressive number of playtesters. Just as impressive is the pool of writers they have working on this game - many of whom are mentioned in the press release (I know of at least one that isn't listed.)

There are still playtest openings available for those interested.

Press release follows:

Hi guys we have some fantastic news today of the awesome writing team putting together Star Trek Adventures™


Written and Developed By Famed Star Trek Novelists and Game Designers, Players Will Make Star Trek History as the Course is Plotted for Exploration and Adventure

LONDON, ENGLAND (December 1, 2016): Modiphius Entertainment, publisher of the Achtung! Cthulhu, Mutant Chronicles, Conan, Infinity and John Carter of Mars roleplaying games, announces the missions for the Star Trek Adventures™ living campaign playtest, to develop the first official Star Trek RPG in more than a decade, are now live with more than 5,000 players and counting. To join the campaign, visit www.modiphius.com/star-trek.

Thousands of players around the world will adventure through the Star Trek universe like never before in an epic storyline written by New York Times Bestselling Star Trek author Dayton Ward and Scott Pearson (Star Trek novellas: The More Things Change, Among the Clouds, Terra Tonight), developed by Nathan Dowdell (Black Crusade, Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition, Corvus Belli's Infinity: The Roleplaying Game and Robert E Howard's Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of) and lead writer David F Chapman (Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space Roleplaying Game, Conspiracy X 2.0, Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG). Joining them are an interstellar line-up including writers from all previous editions of the Star Trek roleplaying game, as well as big names from across the tabletop gaming industry including:

Shawn Merwin (Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition: War of Everlasting Darkness, Halls of Undermountain, Dungeon Delve), Jim Johnson (Lord of the Rings RPG, Mage: The Awakening, Shadowrun Augmentation), Jacob Ross (Legend of the Five Rings, Mongoose Traveller, Kaigaku), Patrick Goodman (Shadowrun: Fifth Edition, Shadowrun: Street Legends, Shadowrun: Storm Front), Ross Isaacs (Line Developer Star Trek RPG (Decipher) and Star Trek: The Next Generation Roleplaying Game (Last Unicorn Games), Ian Lemke (Changeling: The Dreaming, White Wolf Publishing, Earth Down), John Snead (Mindjammer: Traveller, Eclipse Phase, Star Trek Next Generation RPG Last Unicorn Games.), Dan Taylor (IDW Publishing's Star Trek comics), Bill Maxwell (Fading Suns, Star Trek Roleplaying Game, Mage: The Awakening), Tim Beach (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (Red Steel, Maztica Campaign Set, Hail the Heroes, Dungeons of Mastery, City of Delights) and Andrew Peregrine (Doctor Who, 7th Sea, Victoriana).

As well as Aaron Pollyea (Battletech), Oz Mills (Fantasy AGE Bestiary, Dragon Age: Faces of Thedas), Ade Smith (Mutants and Masterminds: Atlas of Earth Prime - Northern Europe, Rogue Gallery. Fainting Goat Games: Extreme Earth), Chris Huff (Mutants & Masterminds Freedom's Most Wanted, DC Adventures RPG Heroes & Villains Volume 1, DC Adventures RPG Heroes & Villains Volume 2), John Kennedy (Ninja Crusade 2E, Infinity Tabletop Roleplaying Game, Myth Board Game), Kevin Mickelson (Mask of Death, A Learning Time, A Frightful Time, A Miraculous Time), Ryan Schoon (Fragged Empire, Edara: The Steampunk Renaissance, Baby Bestiary) and Chris Huff (DC Adventures, Mutants & Masterminds, Pathfinder).

The playtest gives fans of the legendary television series and films the opportunity to contribute to the development of the game; to sit in the captain's chair, seek out new life and new civilizations, give all they've got to a warp core breach, or explore their own adventures in the Star Trek universe.

The living campaign begins with playtest missions and will continue with the release of the core rulebook in the summer of 2017. The living campaign takes place in the Shackleton Expanse, an area of space vastly unexplored by both the Federation and the Klingons. Starbase 364, Narendra Station, named after the battle of Narendra III where the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-C was destroyed, serves as the keep on the borderlands for excursions out into the frontier of space.

As the crews of the U.S.S. Venture, U.S.S. Bellerophon, U.S.S. Thunderchild, explore strange anomalies and discover new life while uncovering an ancient civilization and mysterious technologies, those aboard the U.S.S. Lexington will shape historical events for those very ships.

Assignments are still open for Captains and Officers to take their place aboard the bridge and make Star Trek gaming history. Further, local game shops organizing an in-store playtest group will receive starbase status with pre-order promotions for the game's retail release. Fans attending Dragonmeet in London on Saturday will have the final chance to receive a free Captain Kirk or Captain Picard figure when they sign up for the Star Trek Adventures playtest.

To register yourself or your group online, visit www.modiphius.com/star-trek.

To register as a retailer, visit http://www.modiphius.com/retail-support.html

Under license by CBS Consumer Products, Star Trek Adventures is slated for a Summer 2017 release and the playtest crews will be listed in the Star Trek Adventures book manifest.

™ & ©2016 CBS Studios Inc. STAR TREK and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Kickstarter - Old World - Leather Gaming Mats for RPG Metal Dice Rolling

I know what some of you are thinking: "Who the hell needs a leather mat to roll dice on?" You, my friend, do not have metal dice in your dice collection.

I love my metal dice. There is something powerful about them. The feel, the weight, the look. The huge sound as they hit the wooden table and the divots they can leave in the wood. Yeah, not always so good.

I got my metal dice, and a dice rolling tray, from Easy Roller (excellent quality BTW) but I would have opted for a leather mat instead of the tray had I know it to be an option.

Why? Because just like metal is "cool" so is leather.

Which is why I'm dropping $29 plus shipping for a 9" x 12" leather mat from the Old World Leather Gaming Mats KS. Its the right size to be nicely portable, the price isn't too bad and it just looks cool. The 12" x 19" seems like it might be a bit large to be truly portable ($49 - but it comes with a leather dice bag)

We'll see how well they do at hitting their January 2017 ship date.

Deal of the Day - Feast of the Preserver (DCC RPG Adventure)

Today's Deal of the Day at RPGNow is Feast of the Preserver by +David Fisher for the DCC RPG. If you are looking for a product that is more than a simple adventure with enough hooks to keep your party of adventurers engaged for more than a single session, Feast of the Preserver is a solid choice. The fact that its on sale makes that choice even easier.

Normally $4.99 in PDF, it's on sale for $2.99. The Print plus PDF is normally $9.99, its on sale for $7.49. edit - the Deal of the Day pricing is buggered as of 1130 PM Dec 1st Eastern time - if you paid $4.99 +David Fisher is attempting to get your account credited - ET

As I've mentioned before, I freely borrow and convert from DCC RPG adventures to Swords & Wizardry. This will be no exception.

From the blurb:
Feast of the Preserver is a survival horror adventure designed for a group of 5 to 8 characters of levels 3 to 4. 
“Welcome traveller to the quaint village of Barrowton. You’ve arrived just in time for the annual Endfast Feast!” 
Something is amiss in the isolated village of Barrowton. Only courage, skill and a lot of luck can aid the adventurers in facing the horror that has taken hold of this once idyllic place. Can the adventurers save the village from a terrible fate or will they become the Feast of the Preserver
-Mystery and excitement compatible with Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG but easily converted to other systems
-Over 40 pages of blood chilling suspense and horror
-Beautifully rendered isometric maps by Brian Van Hunsel
-New evil magic to destroy or be destroyed by

Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's OBS affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Kickstarter - 12 Days of The Folio Christmas! (1e / 5e)

Suddenly I am struck with the realization that the 12 Days of OSR Christmas are right around the God damned corner.

What brought me to this realization?

12 Days of Folio Christmas.
And not to be left out of the Christmas season, AotG is offering up the chance to grab all the various Folio back issues and mini-adventures in a 12 Days of Christmas pledge.  Not only will you get the 3 mini-adventures we want to produce, but you'll get a special PDF delivery from December 25th through January 5th!  Yep, that is a present in your email each of the 12 days of Christmas, or better yet, you can send them as a gift to a friend and fellow gamer!
Shit. Does this mean OSR Christmas should start before or after Christmas? God damn it! This requires some thought now.

Did I mention The Folio is an easy series of adventure to hack into your own campaign? Probably not, as I'm too busy worrying about OSR Christmas...

Tavern Chat Reminder - It was a November to Remember

Can you believe its Wednesday again? Does a week of time really go by so fast?

In any case, November was the "official" "soft" launch of Swords & Wizardry Light. Its also the month I found out I would be going to NTRPG Con 2017 "on the arm" (NYPD speak for "free"). Did I mention its the strongest month EVER for RPGNow affiliate sales? The Tavern's FB group surpassed not just 1,000 members this month, its surpassed 1,100 members. Of course that means live video streaming come December. Oh, and of course there is that little event, hardly worth mentioning, of the release of TSR Era releases coming to Print on Demand.

Yeah, November would have been perfect if it wasn't for the small, health related issues that threw a monkey wrench into certain plans. Ah well, December is usually allergy free for me. Cold and flus are a whole 'nother issue though ;)

So, Tavern Chat. Tonight. 9 PM Eastern. Here. In the chat box on the right.

Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

State of the Tavern - To 1,100 and Beyond

Earlier tonight The Tavern's Facebook Community added its 1,100th member. For a community that didn't come into existence until November 29th of last year (yep a year ago exactly) that is a HUGE number.

Its an active community and will only get more so, so if you read The Tavern with any frequency and you have a Facebook account, drop by and introduce yourself. You'll find yourself surrounded by friends.

We'll be kicking off livestream video chats in December. More on that closer to launch.

Next year looks like it will be a year of more than one convention for your humble barkeep. Frog God Games is paying my con bill for NTRPG Con 2017 - I nearly fell out of my seat when I was told (I just have to get myself and Rach there) which means we plan to attend GameHole 2017 too. Details for a possible third con are in the works. I'm looking forward to meeting as many members of The Tavern's Community face to face as I can.

As many will tell you, I try to be as available to members of the community as I possibly can. If you have questions about SWL, want to bounce something off me or just want to say hello, probably the easiest way to do so is via Facebook Chat. Google Hangouts work too, but the notification doesn't pop up on my phone and if I miss the initial "ding" I may never notice.

Did I mention I spent the weekend in the Poconos? Our friend made an appearance Monday morning as I was packing the car to return to NYC.

Alright, I have work for one of the Spahns that needs to be completed. Or is it both Spahns? I forget these days...

Classic TSR Tuesday - New Print on Demand and New PDF Releases

The above are the latest TSR Era POD releases. Mines of Bloodstone Pass (9.99 Print) and D2 Shire of the Kuo-Toa (7.99 print)are the ones that bring back memories for me.

These are the latest PDF releases- Personally, I'm all over Guide to the Savage Frontier. The Monstrous Compendiums aren't bad though.

Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's OBS affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)

Monday, November 28, 2016

A PWYW Release You MUST Download - Black Pudding #1 (LL) - Do Eet Now!

Oh my fucking God! I thought I had seen every type of zine under the sun. Heck, I'm even working on one to support Swords & Wizardry Light.

Black Pudding #1 blows them all away. If any zine in the OSR has the right to say "This zine goes to Eleven!" this is the one. It has attitude. It has art. It has... it has the OSR by the balls ;)

It's PWYW, but trust me, you will want to pay.

Just download Black Pudding. It is, dare I say it? - fucking awesome!

Here's a piece of one of the OSR styled character sheets. Want the full thing? Download it!

From the blurb:

Glorping and shlorping along, the Black Pudding zlorts upon your party! What do you do? Read it, of course. This is an OSR-style zine of RPG goodies rendered in a highly visual style. Within these 24 ooze-soaked pages you'll find magic swords that make cuts no one can heal, monsters that shoot gold pieces, black knights, catgirls, chainmail chicks, and evil temples!


2 character sheets

7 character classes

2 one-page dungeons

9 monsters

1 book of new spells

8 NPCs

House rules and tons of art!

Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's OBS affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)

Last Chance to Snag RPGNow Black Friday / Cyber Monday Deals

As I type this there are just over 13 hours left in RPGNow's Black Friday / Cyber Monday Sale. If you have stuff on your virtual wishlist, it is now or never.

Here's some last minute ideas:

OpenQuest 2 Deluxe - $12.75 - Built of the OGL of Mongoose RQ (later Legends) this seems very reminiscent of Chaosium RQ2 if you ask me, and that's a good thing.

OpenQuest 2 Basic Edition - Free - try before you buy, this is a stripped down but fully playable version of the above.

Call of Cthulhu 6th edition - $16.34 - do I really need to explain what this game is about? It isn't whether you go insane, its how soon...

Numenera - $16.99 - might actually be playable if you have someone clean up the watermarking for you.

Starships & Spacemen 2e - $5.48 - Star Trek Classic Series w/o the serial numbers.

Mutant Future: Revised Edition - $5.91 - Gamma World clone

Bloodshadows: Fantasy-Noir RPG (Third Edition) -$ 12.71 - pulp adventure with dark fantasy and noir stylings

Bloodshadows (OpenD6) - $8.46 - see above

Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's OBS affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)

Astonishing Sorcerers & Swordsmen of Hyperboria - Original Boxed Set - $40

From +Jeff Talanian 's announcement:

The original boxed set for AS&SH is nearly sold out! Our supplies for this set are limited, and they have been moving quick since Friday. This is the cheapest you will ever get this award-nominated RPG! Only $40! (normally $50) Limit two per customer, while supplies last. Today is the LAST DAY!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fat Goblin Games - The Hoarde's Hoard Bundle! - $464 Worth for $30

Fat Goblin Games has a HUGE bundle good through tomorrow.

How huge?

$464 worth.

How much?

30 Bucks

The Hoarde's Hoard Bundle! Take a peek and see if there is anything you like...

RPGNow Cyber Monday Doorbusters are Live!

What is picture above is the second set of RPGNow Doorbusters for the weekend. I can only speak from experience for Traveller and Stars Without Number: Core Edition. Both are great sci-fi releases in the old school framework. As for Amethyst: Quintessence (5e) I have the 3x / Pathfinder compatible version. The setting was intriguing but the system is was for use with was too crunch for my taste. 5e is less crunch, so this might fit better. Tempting.

As a side note, Stars Without Number is available in a free edition, so you can try before you buy.

Remember, all purchases using The Tavern's OBS affiliate links puts 5% of your purchase price into The Tavern's coffers. Don't leave that money on the table for the greedy corps! Tip your barman!  ;)

Stock Art Deals - Rick Hershey & Denis McCarthy

Stock art deals:

Publisher's Choice -Equipment Subscription - +Rick Hershey 

Current price $49.95 - on Tuesday the price will go up to $95.95 and stay that price.
We only have a handful of releases before this subscription comes to an end, so those interested in getting it 1/2 off need to act now before the change.

Current Equipment Sets Include:

Bottles & Jars
Witch Tools
Bracers & Gauntlets
Exotic Blades
Musical Instruments
Adventure Gear
Tribal Weapons
Wizard Kit

Publisher's Choice - Creatures A to Z: Subscription

Current price is $95.95 - on Tuesday the price will go up to $295.95 and stay that price.

We have started work on dragons, creatures I get a lot of requests to do and will be covering all kinds (from all the colors to fairy dragons, to wyverns and the like) so if you want it at this price you need to act now.

Current Creatures Include:

Blink Dog
Chaos Beast
Demon: Babau
Demon: Balor
Demon: Dretch
Demon: Hezrou
Demon: Glabrezu
Demon: Marilith
Demon: Nalfeshnee
Demon: Succubus
Demon: Vrock
Devil: Barbed Devil
Devil: Bearded Devil
Devil: Bone Devil
Dire Ape
Dire Boar
Etheral Maurader
Night Hag
Purple Worm
Rust Monster
Dragon: Black

For the true bargain hunter, the following simply can not be passed up.

+Denis McCarthy 's publisher, Aegis Studios, has put Denis' stock art at 80% off through tomorrow. Stock art collections for as low as 30 cents!

Mythoard - Holiday Hoard Gift Pack (and discount for subscribers)

The Holiday Hoard Prize Pack from Mythoard includes:

Advanced Adventures Compendiums 1,2 and 3 from Expeditious Retreat Press, Giant's Rapture from Troll Lord Games, The Slumbering Tsar Saga Activity book from Frog God Games, The Age of Shadow RPG from Crooked Staff Publishing,  Dungeon Crawl Classics Artists Choice Cover Sailors of the Starless Sea from Goodman Games, For Rent, Lease or Conquest from AAW Games, The First Sentinel from Lesser Gnome, False Promises (Mythoard Edition) from Throwi Games, The Dungeon of Demon Strata from 6d6, Malevolent and Benign from Expeditious Retreat Press, Everything is Dolphins from The Hutchingsonian Presents, Retribution from Raging Swan Press, The Dig from Shoreless Skies Publishing, White Star from Barrel Rider Games, Ancient Odysseys: Treasure Awaits! RPG from Precis Intermedia, Bizarre Tales and Age of Undying (Mythoard Exclusive items) from Moon Dice Games, Two Creature Card Decks and 5 Dungeon Morph Dice from Inkwell Ideas, and 1 full set of dice from Koplow Games...

How do you get a chance to get in on it? Make a purchase of a sample box or subscribe before the end of the day tomorrow at Mythoard.

Now, to make subscribing just a wee bit more attractive, use the code: MYTHMANIA and you will save 10% on that first box.

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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

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