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Monday, July 31, 2017

Spahn!!! New Project - Clan & Hammer - Dwarven RPG / Setting Powered by Swords & Wizardry Continual Light

another great piece by +Craig Brasco 

Yep, I squarely placed the blame on +James Spahn . He challenged me yesterday, on my 50th birthday, to attempt a project that I'd have difficulty saying no to. A Dwarven RPG using the Swords & Wizardry White Box rules. I scoffed at the idea. Obviously I'd have to use the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light rules as my base rule set as SWL is my precious. By then, I realized I'd already said yes.

Damn you Spaaahhhnnnn!!!

Shortly thereafter we were brainstorming Clan & Hammer.

James threw Rune-Caster, Brewmeister, Troubleshooter and Axe-Thain into the pool of classes.

I responded with Teutatle (a paladin sort) and Skald.

Then it hit me - the dwarves we see in our weekly games, they are the outcasts that have left the rock behind.

Dwarves, the ones deep in the mountains, mining for gold, gems and other items of wealth as is their nature, those of long lived lineages and ancient underground cities, are an insular race and do nearly all of their trade with dwarven outcasts. They have little understanding of surface dwellers and surface dweller know even lass about them.

It suddenly became a setting that could be dropped into, or rather - under - pretty much any fantasy campaign world. The idea is that the classes should be able to plug into any SWL / SWCL campaign (and will probably also get S&W Complete write ups here at The Tavern)

I've broadly sketched out two 16 page books for this project already. The first, a reworking of SWCL for Clan & Hammer, this will be the "crunch" side of the project.

The second will the background, setting, monsters, artifacts, gods and adventure hooks. Please don't call it "fluff." I prefer "flavor."

If you are a regular reader of The Tavern, expect pieces to appear here in their primordial form as they are written.

Dare I say it? I already have a tavern half written up for this. The Axe & Anvil, owned by The Wandering Gray Wizard, Sage of Unearthed Arcana and on the run from debt collectors from the surface. No, really. I think this tavern practically writes itself ;)

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. Damn you Spaaahhhnnnnnn!

We Have the Cover for the First Issue of Torchlight Magazine (Craig Brasco)


When I asked +Craig Brasco if he would be interested in doing the cover for the first issue of Torchlight, I really hoped he would say yes. Craig is an amazing artist and a friend and I've followed his work for years (its even used on my profile pic on G plus)

Obviously, Craig said yes. When he asked me what I wanted on the cover, I said there needs to be a torch. The rest is up to you.

I think I can say this for all my readers: "Holy Shit!" My God man, but this is beyond amazing.

More examples of Craig's art can be found here.

There will be an announcement about Torchlight submissions in the next day or so.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

State of the Tavern Keeper - Fifty Years Old - What a Glorious, Horrible Milestone (and a challenge)



Yep, I turn 50 years old today. Which is glorious, as I thought for sure at least twice prior (9-11 and latter with Hodgkin's Lymphoma) there was a good chance I wouldn't see 40, let alone 50. Ah glorious 50!

Then it hits me. I'm fucking 50. Time to sign up for AARP and senior discounts. Except that shit, I've already been offered senior discounts! Damn it. I don't want to get old.

Well, except that the alternative to not getting old is simply dying and that's an option I'd like to defer as long as possible. I've got stuff to accomplish.

Now, in the midst of all this, +James Spahn decides to offer me a challenge. Something that will require focus and regular writing (that isnt blog writing - or it may be that too) and in the end should result in something unique for the community.
And so it came to pass that Spahn offered a distraction to the old beard and it was good. With said distraction came responsibility and an end goal, one that, should it be achieved, would be very satisfying. Such it came to be on the thirtieth day of our Fathers in the month of Heyannir thirty-seven years after the old beard's eyes were opened.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Wayward Kickstarter - Appendix N Adventure Toolkits (DCC RPG Modules) - Five Years and Counting


Its July, 2017 and that means that Appendix N Adventure Toolkits is now at the FIVE years past due mark and still not fully fulfilled.

That's just part of the last update. Anyhow, YEARS ago I got my copies of the first two adventures. Someone told John it would be wise to get me mine, to keep me "on the good side." I guess it did, and John sure has gone through some genuine tragedies over the past five years (con crud not being one of them.) Still, lets take a look at where we are at:

- Five years later and folks are still waiting on the first two adventures. There are four more promised via stretch goals and a digest sized game box. All in print. All shipping NOT together. Anyone else see the problem here?

- Folks that got the first 2 adventures after the initial shipments got bonus material. Why? I have no idea but there are still folks that haven't gotten the items promised in the initial Kickstarter offering.

- Did I mention in the midst of all this there were complaints that the initial releases were showing up in stores with backers (years later) still out of luck?

- I was idealistically stupid. I backed for $101 at 5 of each offering (the more to give away) and that included shipping. Any idea how much shipping has increased over the last FIVE years?

- Read this about International Shipping


Yes, a fool and his Kickstarter are doomed for failure.

- I don't think that this can ever be completed in print. The money is long gone and even if it weren't, there isn't enough raised to print and ship HALF of what is promised. I think John should release the PDFs of ALL that was promised to backers in PDF and call it a day. Fall on the sword and close your career in gaming on a quasi positive note.

All that and he's still given us more than Gareth and #ConManKen combined.

Gygax Memorial Fund - Updates and Deletions - The Good Fund Giveth and The Good Fund Taketh Away



Wait, you really expected the Gygax Memorial Fund (GMF) to provide updates? You're too funny ;)

In all seriousness, the GMF website hasn't been updated since July 27, 2016. You know, the announcement that the Transformers producer Tom DeSanto was going to do great things with Gary's IP. Yeah, hasn't happened.

But what about the Facebook feed for the GMF? Surely there are updates there. Well, the good fund giveth, and the good fund taketh away.

There were two updates on the GMF's FB page on July 27th, Gary's birthday. Apparently, Gail, Luke and Alex with be presenting Gen Con with a plaque in honor of Gen Con's 50th anniversary.

In all, that makes four updates for 2017.

2016 had one update. Wait, that's not right. It had at least three updates. They deleted two of them. Why would you delete updates from the Fund's Facebook feed?


I can easily surmise why the above update was deleted. The Gygax Memorial Fund no longer intends to release the audit that was promised 15 months ago. As for WHY they would no longer intend to release the audit, I haven't a clue. If I had to guess, I would assume it involves words such as "lawyers."

As for the "call to order", those that were on standby may now stand down.

The real shame of the deletion of the above post is that this is the most detailed explanation of what is going on with the project to date.


Strangely enough, the above post was deleted too. It talks about breaking ground for the Gygax Memorial in 2017. I'm fairly sure that isn't happening. Gail has not been before The Planning Commission nor the Lake Geneva City Council in 2016 nor 2017 thus far, so no presentation has been made and no final approval is pending. How do I know? I went to the Lake Geneva city website and scoured the minutes and meetings for this year and last year. There are only two mentions of "Gygax" during that period - both times was in reference to Alex Gygax renewing his bartender's license.

Remember, the GMF wants the memorial in a place that was not designated by Lake Geneva. So, there's still a lot in play. Rather, there is still much that needs to be resolved and it doesn't seem to be getting any closer.

Total aside, but as we are talking about updates, I was wondering why there hasn't been a new testimonial on the Gygax Memorial Fund website in over four years. Well, I figured out why:



Uhm, there is no Captcha code given, nor any place to enter it. Has it really been broken for over four years? Someone needs to tell the Webmaster.

So, what comes to fruition first? Ken Whitman's various Kickstarter scams, Gareth's Far West Fiasco or the GMF actually breaking ground? Remember, no wagering...


Friday, July 28, 2017

Argument over Magic the Gathering card game leads to Stabbing


Wow. I guess I should be glad I never understood how to play Magic the Gathering.
A 31-year-old St. Cloud man is facing assault charges after allegedly stabbing a 20-year-old man seven times over an argument during a Magic the Gathering card game early Friday morning, according to St. Cloud police. 
Around 12:06 a.m., police responded to the 1200 block of St. Germain Street E on a report of a stabbing. 
Elijia Dale Creech called 911, saying he stabbed a man at his apartment and he was dying. 
Investigators learned the two men were playing Magic the Gathering trading card game when an argument broke out.  
The discussion escalated and led to Creech hitting the man in the face with a rubber mallet and stabbing him seven times... 
Full article is at the Fox9 Website.

I can only imagine what set off the argument:

"You already tapped that land! Wait, that card was banned back in 2000!" Smack!


ICv2 Lists Top Five RPGs for Spring '17 - D&D 5e Leads the Way


ICv2 released their Top Five RPGs list this week and Dungeons & Dragons finds itself out in front. What does this mean for those of us entrenched in the OSR?

I see D&D 5e is a spiritual ally to the OSR as it certainly borrowed from the game's past to find a balance that appeals to the masses. Which really is awesome, as a rising tide lifts all ships and D&D 5e is certainly raising that tide.

My son's fiancee plays 5e (her first RPG) and has found herself interested in exploring the depths of the OSR. She can't be the only 5e player to do so ;)

Interesting that two of the top five are licensed properties with ties to blockbuster movie franchises. Sure, Adventures in Middle-Earth is licensed from the fiction books and not the movies, but the movies are definitely selling the RPG.


Deal of the Day - ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Repetitive Sales - Four "Deal of the Day" Sales in July Alone


ZWEIHÄNDER - how many times have you been the Deal of the Day at RPGNow?


Wow, six times since the end of May. Four times in July alone. Heck, it was just Deal of the Day THREE DAYS AGO!

Oh, and just so you all know, July 25th was the real sale day. Five bucks was the lowest price. Today's price is $6.50 (and art free is still PWYW)

There is a point when this becomes spammy. I think we have reached that point and jumped the shark after beating the dead horse and milking the cow...

May 25th

June 23rd

July 10th 
July 17th


July 25th

July 28th


All purchases made via The Tavern's affiliate links forwards a small portion of the purchase price to The Tavern. Spend more! The Dark Ones agree!

Kickstarter - Marathon of Heroes - A 5E Adventure (Fail Squad Games)



I don't cover much in the way of D&D 5e. I probably should if I want to increase The Tavern's readership (and 5e is not a bad system at all) but I write about that which interests and excited me.

Well, here's a 5e project that interests and excites me.

Marathon of Heroes - A 5E Adventure is a Kickstarter project from Fail Squad Games+Lloyd Metcalf . Lloyd is, quite simply, one of those people who know how to run Kickstarter projects. He ships on time (if not early), doesn't get caught up in the dangerous world of Kickstarter physical stretch goals and has the project written already when the Kickstarter goes live.

Simply put, Lloyd's mark on a Kickstarter is the Gold Standard.
Marathon of Heroes is a 36-38 page adventure module for the Fifth Edition of the world's favorite roleplaying game for 4-6 Level 5 characters based in the Lands of Lunacy setting from Fail Squad Games. It can be played in any setting with minimal adjustment. Marathon of Heroes is intended to be played over multiple sessions (Typically 4) but may run longer if used with "interlude" side quests.
As for Lloyd's record:
This is Fail Squad Games TENTH Kickstarter of its' kind. That's right TEN successful Kickstarters to print adventure modules.   
We have found reliable printers, reliable shipping methods, we have PROVEN that we can handle budgets for projects of this type. The writing is done, 98% of the illustration is complete. We need your help to take this adventure to print.
PDF is $7. Print is $13

You know you want to ;)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

What Gygax Day Means to Me



Gary's birthday is three days before my own (I turn 50 on the 30th - AARP here I come ;) To be honest, I've done my best NOT to think of birthdays this summer, so I almost missed Gary's this time around.

Simply put, much of who I am today is due to what Gary first published in 1974. Without Gary and the hobby that formed around Dungeons & Dragons, I would be a lesser man.

  • Dungeons & Dragons helped spawn friendships that I've maintained since my mid teens - 35 years and counting. No other friendships of mine have lasted as long.
  • The OSR has spawned some of the tightest friendships I have made in my adult life. Scratch that - THE tightest friendships in my adult life. Without Gary and his work, I'd have a much smaller circle of friends.
  • I never would have become a cop without my background in Dungeons & Dragons. Simply put, there were times I had to roleplay being a cop over my 20 year career and it worked amazingly well.
  • My current success, albeit small, as a blogger and occasional content producer I owe to Gary and all those that came after his own success.
Gary, I tip my glass to you. You gave me an open invite to game on your porch, and although I was never able to take you up on that offer, just the fact that you made the offer means the world to me.

May you rest eternal doing that what you enjoy.

Reminder -Three Days Left to Fund The Midderlands - An OSR Mini-Setting & Bestiary Kickstarter

Sample Town
There's about 3 days left to support The Midderlands - An OSR Mini-Setting & Bestiary. It still needs about $3,700 to succeed. If you haven't yet peeked at this Old School setting and monster book, time is running short. It will only fund with your help. You, not him! Sheesh! ;)

Seriously, if Dyson Logos and Matt Jackson are the premiere OSR dungeon cartographers, Glynn Seal is one of the top two setting cartographers and certainly one of the most prolific. This is a setting book that Glynn is Writing (Setting & some Bestiary), doing Artwork (Setting & Bestiary), Cartography, Layout, and is the Project Manager. Sure, there are others on the team (Edwin Nagy and +Jim Magnusson are friends of mine) but this is Glynn's vision and I'm looking forward to seeing what comes from his (slightly) warped mind.

Did I mention that the default ruleset referenced is Swords & Wizardry Complete?
"Situated in the middle of Havenland is an area known by the ancestors as the Middle Havenlands. They don’t use that name much any more, preferring to talk lazily, and skip letters. 
In strange accents, often misheard and little understood by those outside of the central region - they call it “The Midderlands”, and themselves “Midfolk” or “Midderlanders”. 
There are many peculiar folk that call these Midderlands home. Generally mistrusting of outsiders, they suspiciously eye strangers, close doors, bar windows and scurry in opposite directions. Maybe the area has had a troubled history and that is why the folk behave the way they do. 
All that aside, there are good folk too. These folk just want to subsist peacefully and not have interference or “goings on” in their lives. Nothing is ever that simple. 
As well as the people of the area, there are the places. The towns and hamlets, the woods and hills, the lakes and the rivers. Amongst all these places are stranger locales too; circles of stones, strange towers, castles and burial grounds. 
Everywhere, the Midderlands is tainted by a green-hued menace that rises from the deep and affects nature and order, sometimes subtly and sometimes catastrophically. It rises from the mysterious subterranean realm known as Middergloom. Often described as hell bathed in green fire and flames. Green-tinged slime, noxious vapours, and miasmas creep upwards, amongst them viridian-coloured demons, lime-green tentacles and other malachite horrors claw their way to the surface to wreak havoc. The Lords of the land are always working to keep things at bay. The realm of Middergloom is deliberately nebulous and mysterious, and left for you to develop as needed to suit your campaign. 
The vileness that lurks below taints the skies above the land too, known as The Drab. The atmosphere is a hint of green rather than blue. The colour can shift between turquoise and sickly yellow-green in a short space of time. When night comes and the Drab clears, the midfolk can see the constellations surrounded by wispy green nebulae, strange wandering stars and comets, and a single many-cratered moon. 
There are many things to keep the inquisitive minds of treasure seekers amused. There are also many things to keep the treasures where they are. 
Things stir in this viridian-hued landscape. Evil eyes blink and watch. Teeth and claws scratch and sharpen. Gaping maws slobber and drool.
All is not content in the Midderlands."

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern



Yep, its another Wednesday and that means another Tavern Chat tonight at 9 PM Eastern until 11ish.

You literally never know who will pop in (I never know until they do ;P

Use the Tavern Chat / Chatwing Widget on the right side of this page. Log in with the social media platform of your choice.

Look forward to chatting you up ;)


Mini Review - Merchants & Markets



I've really failed to keep up on the reviewing side of The Tavern. Just so much to do, and so little actual time in the day to do it. So, with all of that said, I'm doing a short review today for Merchants & Markets by Throwi Games.

Merchants & Markets is an amazing city / town resource. No, its not a bunch of maps. Instead, its a bunch of tables for various types of merchants. Now, each store that the PCs visit can actually be unique.

As I am kicking off a new Swords & Wizardry Light campaign in September, this will be a Godsend. I like to DM loosely, generally prepared but giving the party freedom to go anywhere and screw with what I have planned. Merchants & Markets will fill my needs perfectly.

No longer will I have to default to my "generic" blacksmith - now each vendor the party visits will be unique in about a minute of rolling.

Did I mention its System Neutral? OSR to 5e to GURPS Fantasy and beyond. This is where System Neutral really shines.

The following screenshot is just a small sample of the section on Blacksmiths, to give you an idea of the type of detail you have access to.


The following is the Table of Contents:


As you can see, you get a lot of value for your $7.50. You should never be caught una-wares again! ("wares" - because you sell "wares" - its a bad attempt at humor, I will admit)

This is going into my "must bring to the gaming table when I DM" list.
As game masters, we've all spent time designing our dungeon adventures to the fullest detail only to see our players spend a considerable amount of time in the local shops looking for goodies.  We don't always plan out those parts of our adventure and usually have to improvise.  What if we had a few generic or named shops with details on inventory, the shopkeeper and even a few side quest adventure hooks sitting off to the side for those occasions?  That's where this book comes in! 
Merchants & Markets is a system neutral, fantasy roleplaying supplement, designed for GMs who need to add more depth to their village, town and city designs. Over 100 merchants, markets and caravans are found within these pages, including blacksmiths, fortune tellers, herbalists, magic shops, potions shops, weapon dealers and several unique vendors. This book also includes a page of basic floor plans and five mini-adventures!
Throwi Games gave me a free PDF of the rules for me to use as I see fit. I would have backed the Kickstarter, but it somehow escaped me. Purchases made via The Tavern's affiliate links help keep your bartender in fresh beer via the 5% of the purchase price returned to The Tavern.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Which is More Dangerous to a Campaign - Over Planning or Lack of Planning?



Which is worse?

The meticulously planned campaign that has details for every obscure NPC or the one where the local towns don't even have a name until the players inquire?

I tend towards the latter but I've heard arguments in favor of both. I'm interested in hearing what The Taverners have to say.

So, what say you?

RPGNow Deal of the Day - ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - 5 Bucks / Full Art (WFRP Clone)



A few days ago I mentioned that the art free version of the ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG was available as PWYW (link to the post is here). Well, today the full art version is the Deal of the Day.

Until tomorrow 11 AM eastern, you can get the ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG in its full art version for 5 bucks. Not a bad deal, especially when you can grab the PWYW without the art to see if it is the right fit for you.
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG is an OSR Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay loveletter/retroclone/heartbreaker released under Creative Commons License Share-Alike. It is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game, one where adventurers will: 
Live in a gritty, ‘realistic’ fantasy world
Make morally grey decisions & enact vicious reprisals
Uncover insidious plots & political intrigue
Desperately fight in clandestine & open field combat
Defend themselves from injuries, madness & mutations
Take part in heart-pumping chase scenes
Venture into the wilderness & survive its perils
Encounter sanity-blasting creatures & their minions 
Using the classical D100 system, you will create grim characters, write perilous adventures and build low fantasy & dark fantasy campaigns. These rules are perfectly suitable to run Renaissance and medieval-styled adventures, too. You can also use this book to craft homebrew stories set in the works of Andrzej Sapkowski, George R.R. Martin, Glen Cook, Scott Lynch and other ‘grimdark’-inspired worlds. 
This all-in-one game includes most of what you need to play: a character creation guide, game mastery rules and a bestiary brimming with creatures both fair & foul. All that’s left to gather are a few friends, pencils and a handful of dice.
Purchases made via The Tavern's affiliate links forward a portion of the purchase monies to support The Tavern.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition now available in PDF at RPGNow



Probably the longest non D&D / OSR campaign I have run was Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay from Games Workshop, what is now WFRP 1e. and the Enemy Within Campaign. I just loved the setting and the system, the mix of horror and dark humor, it was simply a blast to run. Until the campaign went down in flames - literally (our wizard, strapped down with a bandolier of oil flasks fumbled his fireball and it imploded with him as ground zero - most of the party were fatalities)

When Green Ronin released Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition I grabbed much of the line even though I wasn't actively gaming at the time. It was still great to read.

Now that Cubicle 7 has the rights to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition (we shall not name the edition bypassed) which will draw upon 1e and 2e, they apparently also got the rights to republish WFRP 2e, at least in PDF.

And guess what? Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition is part of the Christmas in July Sale at RPGNow. Yep, time to see which of the 25 releases I'm missing in print and fill it with a PDF or three.

All purchases made via The Tavern's RPGNow Affiliate Links helps to support The Tavern. Won't you please buy your bartender another drink? ;)

Monday, July 24, 2017

I'll Be Kicking off a Swords & Wizardry Light Campaign at my FLGS - Need Tables for My DM screen


Come September I'll be kicking off a Swords & Wizardry Light / Continual Light campaign at Legendary Realms in Plainview, NY. First and third Thursday of the month, 6 PM till 930 or so. If you live in the area, consider joining us.

Over the next few days I'll be reviewing some of the accessories I plan to use - (DM screen, Hexers, folding game board, dungeon tiles and such).

What I need now are suggestions for tables for the DM screen - I want to run a very loose campaign with a few hooks and let the players decide on the direction.

What four tables - any products that are OSR or System Neutral - commercial, free, on blogs - would you suggest? I have four panels on the DM's side of the screen (normal orientation), so that's why I'm asking for four tables.

Lets get some feedback, as you'll be helping more than just me with your answers...

Kickstarter - Reminder - Top Secret: New World Order - the espionage roleplaying game - 3 Days Left in Funding Period


I am so excited to get my boxed set of Top Secret: New World Order before the end of the year. (I do have a PDF copy of the rules and the system is slick - then again, I've playtested it the last 2 years at NTRPG Con)

The plan was to post a transcript of the interview I conducted with Merle - isn't happening. While the app recorded my end of the conversation fine, Merle's side of the conversation is mostly inaudible through the fault of no one. Instead, I'm going to direct you to the Save for Half Podcast, where they have an excellent interview with Merle. Give it a listen. It is well worth your time.

Then there was the play test with my regular group. Hasn't happened. The curse of summer gaming as an adult. Next to impossible to gather all of the cats at one time. I'm as guilty as any if not more. Its simply been a busy summer.

Top Secret: NWO has already surpassed 100k in funding. Its a huge success and I'm looking forward to seeing future releases in the line. There are plans for Top Secret, even if some of those plans are by necessity, Top Secret.

1,580 backers can't be wrong :)


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Tavern Picks for the Christmas in July Sale - Part the Second

Yep, its time for some more Tavern Picks from for the Christmas in July Sale over at RPGNow. Lets see what we shall find, shall we?

(Previous picks are here. The direct link to the Christmas in July Sale is here)


Extrastellar Set One: Space Adventurers - Okumarts Games - Minis. I seem to never have enough and yet I never paint them. Then of course there is the space to store, the weight while traveling if you want to bring a bunch. Or just print them out in full color on some heavier paper. As many times as you want. Perfect for the youngins that keep losing stuff and you don't need to worry about them sucking on those old lead minis of yours ;) - "Extrastellar Set One: Space Adventurers is jam-packed full of retro sci-fi goodness inspired by movies and pop culture of the 1970s and 1980s. Designed for role playing with such games such as Traveller or White Star RPG. Explore the universe in style with this set of dynamic paper miniatures."  2.45  1.84


Scarlet Heroes - Sine Nomine Publishing - Alright, I chose Scarlet Heroes because its an awesome OSR ruleset for smaller groups and I love what Kevin did with it, but the reality is I could have picked just about anything from the Sine Nomine catalogue of releases and it would have been an excellent choice. Seriously, give it all a look. Much of it is free - "Scarlet Heroes can be used both as a stand-alone RPG and as an overlay over your favorite old-school game to make its adventures playable for single PCs or very small groups. It shares the same classic statistics and basic game mechanisms as these old-school favorites, but by changing the interpretation of these numbers it Scarlet Heroes, a GM can pull out a favorite module, grab a convenient friend, and a have a full night's adventure with no tweaking, alteration, or adjustment of the material needed."  14.99  11.24

WWII: Operation WhiteBox - Small Niche Games - You want some gritty rules for WW II and related roleplaying while still using an OSR ruleset that's familiar to you? Look no further than Operation WhiteBox. Pete Spahn did some amazing work with this game and the support of the system with new releases is nothing but stellar. Oh, and it looks like Small Niche Games has included the Print copies at a hefty discount too. - "In WWII: Operation WhiteBox, the player characters (PCs) play the role of WWII special forces operatives. They may be formally trained and part of an officially designated special forces unit such as the SAS or U.S. Army Airborne, or they may simply be guerilla fighters dedicated to making life hard for the German Army. They may also be covert agents working for organizations such as the SOE or OSS. Whatever their affiliation, their job is to complete missions behind enemy lines, paving the way for the next Allied advance."  7.99  5.99

White Box Gothic - Barrel Rider Games - Wait, a second Swords & Wizardry White Box pick? Well, its an excellent ruleset to hack and they just happen to be excellent choices. White Box Gothic from "The Other Spahn" is, quite simply, what I've wanted in an OSR styled set of horror rules for a long time and just never found. I always liked what Ravenloft could have been other than what it was. Now, if someone just added a setting for this it would be golden ;) - "White Box Gothic brings gothic horror to your Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox campaign! Inside this terrible tome you'll find a horde of horrors! Six New Classes: From the deadly Monster Hunter to the damned Dhampir. Thirty New Spells: Speak with the dead, defile the land, and bind spirits to your service! Twenty-Five New Magic Items: Draw undead servants from your Bag of Bones, learn the secrets of the Book of the Damned, and draw hope from the Symbol of Piety! Fifteen New Monsters: The lowly Cultist, the mysterious Breath Stealer, to the powerful Vampire Lord! Optional Rules: Corruption, Dread, and laying Curses!"  4.99  3.74

Victorious the Role Playing Game - Troll Lord Games - Steampunk superheroes. Really, need I say more? It scratches that itch you never knew you had :) - "Gaslight street lamps pour fitful illumination through the fog-shrouded streets of Victorian cities. Menacing figures lurk in darkened alleyways. Desperate men with nothing to lose and the determination to take what they can from others plot. This is an RPG where masked vigilantes pit their fantastic powers against all the evil that settled in the darkened streets of a Victorian past that both was and was not! Victorious, the newest core game powered by Troll Lord Games' celebrated SIEGE engine, allows you to create a wild assortment of heroes, from the wickedly smart to the inhumanly powerful! Victorious can be scaled to meet adventure with investigators of crime, defenders of society against evil monsters, and even mad scientists foiled by masked superheroes." 20.99 15.74

When you use The Tavern's affiliate links (which puts a small percentage of your purchase monies into The Tavern's coffers) you are helping to support The Tavern and the Tavernmaster in all that they do. Thank you - Tenkar AKA Poo Poo Head - Narf!

RPGNow Deal of the Day - The Wreckers of Windward Isle From Roan Studio

Today's RPGNow Deal of the Day is The Wreckers of Windward Isle. So, what actually is The Wreckers of Windward Isle, as the boilerplate doesn't say much:
Sitting at the entrance to the Bay of Spirits is an imposing rocky island that has been a hazard to ships and seafarers since the early years of exploration in the region. The weather, rough seas, pirates and the damnable Wreckers make ocean voyage in the area perilous at best. The land itself can be just as dangerous with adventure and intrigue around every corner. 
Yeah, doesn't really tell squat. Good news is that I ponied up my $1.79 (as it is 40% off of the usual $2.99) so I can tell you what it is. It is an OSR setting with adventure hooks and such. Maybe it is more accurately a micro-setting as it covers all of about 1.75 square miles.

I'm actually less interested in that than the locations and personalities within the setting, as they are generally the easiest to port to your own campaign, and stuff looks highly portable. Well laid out with pleasing art, this is well worth your 3 bucks, let alone a buck seventy nine. If I have a complaint, and its a fairly common one, the NPCs have too much magic. But that's my perspective and it may not be yours.

OSR non denominational, it should fit the ruleset of your choice with relative ease.

Normally $2.99, The Wreckers of Windward Isle is on sale until tomorrow morning for $1.79.

Remember, The Tavern gets paid a small amount from every purchase that uses affiliate links like the ones above. Please remember to tip your barman.


PWYW - ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG (WFRP Clone-ish)



Some background on my end. I ran Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (hereafter referred to as WFRP 1e) pretty much from release until the campaign ended when the party's aspiring mage fumbled a fireball as he wore a bandolier of flasks of oil. It was certainly a way to end a campaign on a fiery note.

When WFRP 2e was releases by Green Ronin, I grabbed much of that line. When FFG releases WFRP 3e, I picked up the boxed rules and realized the latest edition of WFRP was not for me. Cubicle 7 is releasing a 4th edition, which will harken back to 1st and 2nd edition.

So, where does that put Zweihander? Its pretty much a house ruled WFRP 1e with many of the serial numbers scratched off. It has the right feel even if much of the WFRP tropes aren't accessible due to trademarks and the like.

Oh, and its big. 631 pages big. The PWYW version is sans art and called "early access" but really, its the full game. The full art, finalized version is available for 20 bucks in PDF.

Do you have fond memories of WFRP? Never played it and want a glimpse of what it was before the horrors of 3rd edition? Here's you chance at no risk.
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG is a bloodier, grimmer and grittier version of classic tabletop role-playing games you may already familiar with. The community calls this style of gaming the “pathetic aesthetic”, but we simply call it grim & perilous gaming. 
WHAT IS ZWEIHÄNDER
ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG is an OSR Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay loveletter/retroclone/heartbreaker released under Creative Commons License Share-Alike. It is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game, one where adventurers will: 
Live in a gritty, ‘realistic’ fantasy world
Make morally grey decisions & enact vicious reprisals
Uncover insidious plots & political intrigue
Desperately fight in clandestine & open field combat
Defend themselves from injuries, madness & mutations
Take part in heart-pumping chase scenes
Venture into the wilderness & survive its perils
Encounter sanity-blasting creatures & their minions 
Using the classical D100 system, you will create grim characters, write perilous adventures and build low fantasy & dark fantasy campaigns. These rules are perfectly suitable to run Renaissance and medieval-styled adventures, too. You can also use this book to craft homebrew stories set in the works of Andrzej Sapkowski, George R.R. Martin, Glen Cook, Scott Lynch and other ‘grimdark’-inspired worlds. 
This all-in-one game includes most of what you need to play: a character creation guide, game mastery rules and a bestiary brimming with creatures both fair & foul. All that’s left to gather are a few friends, pencils and a handful of dice.
A percentage of sales made through The Tavern's RPGNow affiliate links are returned to The Tavern. We appreciate your support. We'll keep the doors open late...

Kickstarter - Dungeons of Doom 3 - Dragon Slayers - Star Hat Miniatures


Darcy Perry does some really fine sculpts. In his last Kickstarter, Darcy did a sculpt of Tenkar the Dwarf, and holy shit, was it on target. He sent me a painted version of Tenkar and I keep it dearly - there is magic there.

Anyhow, Darcy has a new Kickstarter with new sculpts and they look damn fine.

So, here's my suggestion. Back Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom III and ask if you can add Tenkar as an add on. The mini really is awesome. I'm so glad I said yes when asked ;)

Oh, yes, I'll be backing the latest Kickstarter from Darcy. Simply put, the man does amazing work and even if I haven't gotten around to painting minis after a year in retirement, you never know ;)



Saturday, July 22, 2017

Youtube - Tim Kask on TSR - From GaryCon 2016


This video popped up in my NTRPG Con Facebok feed yesterday and it shocked me that I hadn't seen it before. Tim Kask talks about the early days of TSR and more.

Its 2 hours long and I haven't finished it yet.

Still, here's to you Tim! Cheers!

PWYW - Orb of Undying Light (Swords & Wizardry Light)


Last night Orb of Undying Light popped up on my RPGNow.com Hottest Items widget on the left side of the page here at The Tavern. Its cycled off now, but I captured it when it was up.

Orb of Undying Light is Ian McGarty's second one-sheet adventure for Swords & Wizardry Light. One sheet, two pages, pay what you want. Really, what can go wrong>

BTW, printed out it fits right into the snazzy SWL rules folder...

Remember boys & girls, purchases made via The Tavern's RPGNow affiliate links return a portion of the monies paid to The Tavern. Keep a man in beer. Good beer. Mmmmmm.

Bundle of Holding - Rifts (Believe it or Not)


I did a double take when I noticed Rifts was one of the offers at Bundle of Holding. I don't see Kevin as one offering discounts that often. Then I saw the discount and I was less impressed.

$17.95 for the Starter Collection? It should be half that in my opinion. The idea is to bring people in with a nice discount and 18 bucks for the core rules a sourcebook and a fairly worthless GM kit doesn't quite do it in my eyes.

The Bonus Collection comes in at a hair under $27. While its a better value than just opting for the Starter Collection, I don't see it as all that great a value.

How the hell is "Sourcebook One" and "Ultimate Edition" trademarks? At least they aren't claiming a trademark for "Game Master Kit." Yet.

Ah well, Kevin is true to his usual self:




Friday, July 21, 2017

Tavern Picks for the Christmas in July Sale - Part the First

So, go figure. I was able to filter the Christmas in July Sale to show the Hottest OSR releases that are on sale. Damn, but that's extremely useful.

Here's the link for the Hottest on Sale OSR releases.

Now, on to the picks ;)

Class Compendium - Barrel Rider Games - James' quality and production speed simply can't be matched. If you are looking for class options for your B/X / Labyrinth Lord game this is simply, off the shelf goodness. Most of this will also work off the shelf with Swords & Wizardry and other OSR games although you will need to use the occasional tweak. "Class Compendium compiles the best classes from four years of material previously released by barrel rider games into a single tome – and a whole lot of extras! New art, rules for firearms and weapon mastery, new equipment, and three never before released classes! Top it off with an indexed spell compendium featuring every spell used by every class found in these pages, and you've got it all in one package!" Over 50 new classes.  9.99  7.49


Dyson's Delves - ZERO Barrier - Dyson does maps. Period. Wait, that doesn't explain much, does it? Dyson is one of the premiere mappers in the OSR or the hobby as a whole. His work, showcased at his Dyson's Dodecahedron are simply amazing and the style is uniquely his own. With the support of his Patreon backers, Dyson releases maps every month for free commercial use. You want maps? Dyson does maps. "Adventures and maps set under the earth for old-school fantasy roleplaying games (OSR games). Dyson's Delves contains over 140 pages of maps and adventures featuring the unique mapping style of Dyson Logos. Five full adventures fill out the beginning of the book, followed by 44 additional dungeon maps each with a page for the GM to key and make notes about each dungeon.  9.99  7.49


Tome of Horrors Complete - Swords and Wizardry Edition - Frog God Games - True story, I used to keep the hardcover of ToHC right next to my desk. My cat, Ashley, who sees my desk as her own playground, knocked a glass of water partial on ToHC because I wasn't giving her enough attention. Ah well. This book has been my go to for a number of years. Its worth it for the encounters alone. "Monsters from the aberrant to the yellow musk zombie appear in this book, and everything in between-that's over 700 monsters. But it's more than just that, because the entire compilation has also been updated to the Swords & Wizardry rules for release as another version of the volume. And in this version, the space freed up by the smaller stat blocks is filled by sample monster lairs and encounters with the hundreds of different monster types featured in the tome.  So you've got the monsters-both from the original edition of the game and new-the templates, the multiple appendices on rules, planes, and the n'gathau, and a truckload of sample encounters and lairs to throw at your players, all together in one easy-to-use book. That's why we call it The Tome of Horrors Complete!"  29.99  22.49

Sorrowblight Fields- A Swords & Wizardry Mini-Dungeon - Creation's Edge Games - Notice a trend here? Yeah, its no surprise that I am a HUGE Swords & Wizardry fan. I also like things that are small and yet still packed with options (thus Swords & Wizardry Light) Well, Snowblight Fields is that - 11 pages of OSR adventure written for S&W characters of levels 1 to 3. Heck, seems a perfect fit for SWL ;) "A strange disease is spreading quickly across the farmlands, devastating the local crops. And now there’s news of goblins being spotted in the hills to the west. Is there some connection between the goblins and this blight? Sorrowblight Fields is the first of a series of mini-dungeons designed to drop into existing adventures or campaigns. Use them as side quests or a way of getting in a quick adventure when you’re short on time." 1.50  1.13

Amazing Adventures! - Troll Lord Games - Looking for some Pulp in your OSR gaming? Swords & sorcery in the roaring 20s? Well, this might be the pick you've been waiting for. Its a good game built off of the Castles & Crusades Siege Engine and often overlooked. "Amazing Adventures: The RPG of science, sorcery, pugilistic pummeling, gun-toting, sword-wielding, B17-flying, gadget carrying adventure! Whether your game is 1920's, 30's, 40's, 50's or modern, Amazing Adventures will get you there! Complete rules to create and run games, character creation, combat, secret societies, a rogue's gallery and an attribute check system that allows the game master and player to pummel any challenge to a pulp! Amazing Adventures! It’s yours! Take it!" 20.00  15.00

Alright, those are my picks for tonight. Remember, purchases made via The Tavern's RPGNow affiliate links goes to support The Tavern. Show Rach that in my retirement, blogging and writing is better than some part time gig ;)

Christmas in July Sale at RPGNow - 25% off Many PDFs - Tavern Picks will be Forthcoming


Yep, its that time of the year again - its Christmas in July at RPGNow, with a whole swatch of PDFs at 25% off.

I'll be going through some of the offerings and highlighting those that may be of interest to The Tavern's readers. There are 1,530 products under the OSR label that are on sale for Christmas in July (and a whole bunch more that aren't yet labeled OSR I'm sure, so digging will be needed)

In the meantime, Black Pudding #3 just released in PDF. +James V West has done an amazing job yet again. It PWYW, so there is no excuse for you not to grab a copy. Trust me on this. You WANT this. (You also want issues #1 and #2 if you haven't snagged them yet)

Now THIS is a Christmas in July Gift :)


Remember, all purchases made with The Tavern's RPGNow affiliate links return a small portion of the purchase price to The Tavern. As always, we appreciate your support.
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