Saturday, April 22, 2017

Frog God Games is Having a DEEP Discount Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Sale - Get Yours Before the Getting is Done!

Help Matt Finch celebrate with deep discounts!!

 He will not be undersold!!
 Another 6 a.m. start at the office for Matt.
Swords & Wizardry appreciation day 2017!!
We appreciate that. No one more than Swords & Wizardry creator and capitalist extraordinaire Matt Finch (pictured). In return he has a hoard of appreciation for you- in the form of savings.

Get yourself some of our Lost Lands poster maps for $5 each coupon code-  LEGION-MAP-5

Pick up three Lost Lands hardcovers! Choose between Stoneheart ValleyLost City of Barakus or Tome of Horrors 4 for only $10 each. Use coupon code-    

Need some rules on paper? How about a dark adventure underground? Get Cyclopean Deeps I or the 3rd Printing of the Swords and Wizardry rules each only $20 using coupon code- LEGION-HC-20

PLUS 25% Off all Swords & Wizardry PDFs- 
Gateway to the Legion* Sale begins now!!
*see below
Swords & Wizardry Legion
I want you!!
To join the legion!
We have begun a new project with the goal of promoting the playing of Swords & Wizardry. Michael Badolato has volunteered to manage it while I am the Frog God Partner who facilitates that.

What exactly is the Legion? Well, it's an attempt to create an appreciation society for Swords & Wizardry with a focus on the Light variant, a stripped-down-to-the-basics version of Matt Finch's retroclone, Swords & Wizardry. The system is only four pages long, uses only two dice (d6 and d20), and is the perfect blueprint for convention games, introducing newbies to RPGS in general or Swords & Wizardry in particular, or as a gateway to kids wanting a beginning RPG they can jump into without having to learn a lot of rules.

That's not to say that veteran gamers won't get a lot of fun out of Swords & Wizardry Light...they will, especially those used to old school systems where it's about the game itself and not the rules. By stripping S&W down to the basics, the rules fade into the background and the actual game play....solving puzzles, investigating ruins and dungeons, battling monsters, inter-party squabbling.....becomes the important thing.

To find out more you can contact Mike by going to the Legion's Facebook Group (Facebook Legion Group). If Facebook is not your thing than he can be contacted via his email address- mikebadolato@ntrpgcon.com.
Swords & Wizardry happens at Facebook's most notorious tavern...
Need even more Swords & Wizardry? Got a light? Or are you complete?

Either way you should come and see what is happening at the Tenkar's Tavern - a Neutral Ground

Aptly run by well-known scofflaw Erik Tenkar. The happenings in the Swords & Wizardry fan community happen even faster there. Hate Facebook? Try Tenkar's Tavern on the web.

File photo of typical 

Where is S&W Continual Light? - and Assorted S&W Appreciation Day Goodness (an adventure, a character sheet and a printer friendly SWL PDF)

Best laid plans of mice and men and all that. Final edits should be wrapping up on Swords & Wizardry Continual Light and then the new layout. I had hoped it would release today, but I work with perfectionists. That is NOT a complaint, BTW - just a remark. it will be soon though, I promise.

Instead, just after midnight I released the Elementalist Class for Swords & Wizardry Light. Personally, I like the way it came out and look forward to seeing it in play and getting play reports.

We also have some other S&W Appreciation Day Goodness that other would like me to share with you:

Dr. Dennis Sustare wrote a short adventure for SWL in honor of earth day. Preserve the Feedbank can be found in the shared SWL folder.

+Antonio Bravo has put together a S&W Character sheet that is literally an index card.

Carl Heyl has converted the full color SWL PDF to a nice and clean, printer friendly B&W 4 page PDF. You can grab it from Carl or find it in the shared SWL folder.

The Elementalist Class for Swords & Wizardry Light

Art by Brett Neufeld
"Some secrets aren't learned in books but are passed down by oral tradition. Such is the path you have chosen. The mysteries of the elements will be yours to control if you complete your trials. If you fail, mother earth will take you into her embrace. And so it begins..."

Elementalist Class for Swords & Wizardry Light

Elementalists get both spell like abilities and an elemental that can do their bidding.

Level   HD   Save   BhB  Adventures needed for Next Level
1           1        15       0       3
2           2        14       0       +4
3           2+1    13       0       +5
4           3        12      +1     +6
5           3+1    11      +1      +7
6           4        10      +2     +8
7           5          9      +2     xx

Elementalists have + 2 to Saves against fire and air bourn poisons. They can use daggers and staves, much like a magic-user.

They get the following abilities at each level:

Level 1: Summon Elemental (described below) Once per Day
Level 2: Gust of Wind - Can summon wind that can disperse papers, fan flames and knock over small (1/2 pound or less) objects Once per Day
Level 3: Breath Water as Air - Once per Day for 1 hr per level
Level 4: Dagger of Fire: Once per Day can summon a Magical Faming Dagger. Only the Elementalist can wield it. It lasts for 1 round per level (throwing the dagger dispels it early). The Dagger is +1 to hit per level of the Elementalist and does 1d6+3 damage.
Level 5: Ball of Mud - Once per Day as the 2nd level Magic-User Web Spell, but this is made of mud.
Level 6: Fly - Once per Day as Magic-User Spell
Level 7: Fireball - Once per Day as Magic-User Spell

Summon Elemental

The greatest gift (and most dangerous, to the Elementalist as well as his adversaries) is the elemental they can summon.

The AC for a 1 HD elemental is 9[10] and improves by 1 point per HD to 3[16] at 7 HD.

Damage is 1d6, improving to 1d6+2 at level 4 and 2d6 at level 7.

The HD of the summoned elemental can be as many as the Elementalist has levels, but less HD then the max may be chosen. Only one elemental can be summoned each day and the death of an elemental causes damage to the Elementalist equal in HP to the HD of the elemental. Example: The destruction of a 4 HD Elemental causes 4 HP of damage to the Elementalist. Elementalists often dismiss injured elementals early to avoid this danger.


AC 9 to 3

HD 1 to 7

Damage 1d6 to 2d6

Friday, April 21, 2017

Podcast - Save of Die! #134 - All About Elves

You know how I've mentioned that my podcast listening has suffered in retirement. Well, here's the kicker - Episode #134 of Save or Die! released two weeks ago and I haven't mentioned it until now - and I'm a damn host!

Seriously, I need to work on my time management skills. Heh.
DM James, DM Glen, and TM Erik talk about those pointy-eared tree huggers: Elves! The three old grogs talk about how to add a little spice to your immortal spell-slingers and go beyond the traditional Fighter/Magic-User mix-up that are basic race-as-class elves. 
From the alien mindset of elves to their unique take on magic and magic items, James, Glen, and Erik throw ideas at you about how to make your elder woodland folk something original at the gaming table.
Go! Give it a listen. You know you need more of that unmistakeable New York accent. Listen long enough and you'll be able to read The Tavern with my voice in your head. Now THAT'S a scary thought ;)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Kickstarter - Dark Naga - The City of Talos for 5th Edition

Dark Naga Adventures has had some pretty decent Kickstarter releases in the past and The City of Talos looks like it will maintain the same high quality. My main issue is that its for 9th level characters. Regardless of edition, my campaigns never rise to that level ;)

What do you get for your pledge?
  • Saddle-Stitched 32+ page adventure book 
  • Saddle-Stitched 32+ page gazetteer 
  • Detached Color cover with color maps on the interior. These maps are far too elaborate and gorgeous to produce in monochrome. 
  • 12 full-color maps 
  • 8 pages of black and white art, more when we unlock stretch goals. 
"Detachable color cover with color maps on the interior?" Le sigh ;)

Some Ideas for The Tavern's Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Post - Elementals and Elementalists

Art by Brett Neufeld

I'm sitting here thinking about what I'm going to add to the Swords & Wizardry Community this weekend, and while I'd like to say "Swords & Wizardry Continual Light" will be ready for download this Saturday, its not back yet from being proofread. Best laid plans and all that shit.

So, what is your bartender ever going to do?

Well, Dennis Sustare suggested ecological themed adventure for Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day intersecting with Earth Day, but I'm going to take that a bit further or at least in another direction.

I'll be introducing minor and lesser elementals to the SWL bestiary as well as a new class, plotted through level 7 - an Elementalist. We'll even include the optional advancement for when a SWCL class hits their cap of level 7. I suspect it will appear later in Torchlight and at that point I'll do a Swords & Wizardry Complete conversion through level 10.

Fear not! Swords & Wizardry Continual Light is nearly here ;)

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day is also Earth Day - Ecological Themed Adventures Anyone?

Dennis Sustare, he of Bunnies & Burrows fame (and known as Bunny Burroughs on FB) suggested the following yesterday:Now, if you know anything about Dennis, he doesn't just talk - he does. Last night, as I was sleeping, Dennis sent me the two page Swords & Wizardry Light adventure: Preserve the Feedbank. Actually, he labeled it a "Mini-Ecoquest", which it certainly is. Its aimed at 4 to 6 2nd level adventures.

I'll be adding it to the Swords & Wizardry Light shared Dropbox Folder for release on April 22 - this Saturday - Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day as well as Earth Day.

Have an "ecological themed" adventure squirreled away for S&W? Email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing and I'll add it to the folder.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Wayward Kickstarter - Call of Cthulhu: The Withering Dark - Playing Cards and Tarot

Lets take a look at Call of Cthulhu: The Withering Dark - Playing Cards and Tarot Kickstarter.

Estimated delivery: April, 2014.

Last update: August, 2016.

Number of Backers: 1626

Monies raised: Over $116k

Pledged by your Tavern Keeper: $72

Received by your Tavern Keeper: Jack Shit

Quality of sample art: Awesome

So, what went wrong?

Shit happened. The updates aren't backer only, so any can read, but they detail enough in the way of personal events that, should you desire to read them, you have the link but I am not going to copy and paste. My summary is this - if you don't know how to manage money, run a business and are at risk for bouts of depression, Kickstarter IS NOT for you. Great ideas with piss poor planning and implementation as well as inability to cope with the associated stress leads to shit shows like this. While I feel for the creator, eight months of radio silence since dropping the "personal baggage bomb" eats away at whatever sympathy I have.

My expectations?

Gareth is more likely to deliver. Hmm, need to check up on him now...

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight (and Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day this Saturday)

Yep, today is a Wednesday, so that means tonight is Tavern Chat Night! This Saturday is Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day, so I expect much of the conversation will be about S&W, but that can chance depending on who drops in.

You are dropping in, right?

Where: Here - using the Chatwing box on the right side of this page

When: 9 PM Eastern Time

Why: Because its a blast every week and we've been hosting this for years

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Some Thoughts on Gnomes for Swords & Wizardry Light

It came up recently in a discussion online. You know the type.


Love them or hate them, there seems to be little middle ground, at least amongst those that discuss such things. Those that don't discuss such things literally couldn't care one way or the other ;)

Still, it got me to thinking about Gnomes in Swords & Wizardry Light. They've always seemed like an afterthought, somewhere between Dwarves and Elves in the "traditional fantasy RPG" evolutionary scale.

I like them, but in 1e they could be Illusionists, and Illusionist / Thieves rocked damn it! SWL doesn't have Illusionists, not does it allow multi-classing. Whatever shall we do?

I see them as particularly skilled in disarming (not necessarily finding) traps as well as opening locks. It just seems to be a gnomish thing to do, especially as they are often portrayed as a race that likes to tinker with mechanical (and sometimes Alchemical) arts. I'd go as far as give all gnomish characters, regardless of class, a 1 in 6 chance to disarm traps - which is a 5 in 6 chance of something going "bad". Which I also see as part of gnomish culture. Which bring me to...

An innate yet random magical ability - random in that the one time per day they wish to draw upon the ability, they must roll on a table much like a Wand of Wonder (you DO have an entry for the Crowdsourced Wand of Wonder, don't you? Prizes and everything). Might be good, might be bad, might just be awkward. It should still be entertaining.

Figure limit them to the Fighter and Thief classes, because really, who wants a gnomish cleric holding your health and life in their hands? As for magic-users, I don't see them having the focus.

Ah well, just thoughts at the moment. I'll refine these later ;)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Torchlight - Cover Art Tease - Work in Progress - Craig Brasco

+Craig Brasco sent me the latest "work in progress" of the cover art for Torchlight issue #1. I hope no one get's offended when I say "holy shit!" Alright, I need to write a short adventure to go along with this art. It screams for it. Or maybe I'm hearing the screams of the adventuring party. I'm not quite sure ;)

You can view some of Craig's portfolio here: https://www.artstation.com/artist/orgosan

General Guidelines for The Tavern Community & What to Expect from Yours Truly

As I'm getting inquiries of one sort or another multiple times a day via multiple email addresses and social media platforms, I thought I'd throw out some general guidelines and suggestions on what to ask, how to ask it and expectations you may have of me. In no particular order:

1 - Kickstarter - Please, do give me links and pitches to your RPG Kickstarter, especially if it is "Old School Gaming" in nature. I do tend to have a fondness for these. I may OR may not highlight it with a post. In the end, that is up to me. I make no guarantees and you shouldn't expect one.

1a - Kickstarter - I do not have an issue looking at pre-release Kickstarter pages if you are looking for feedback. I'll try to get to it in a timely fashion, but again, no guarantees.

2 - GoFundMe - as a general rule, you MAY get one post about your fundraiser. Do not ask for more than one. If you run serial GoFundMe's or the like, do not ask me to highlight any past the first. You MAY link them in the 2,000 Coppers community at G+ or the Tenkar's Tavern Facebook community yourself, but The Tavern is not the place for serial shakedowns of the OSR Community.

3 - Reviews - if my virtual review slush pile were physical, it would probably be two feet high. I literally make NO guarantees as to if and when a review will get posted at The Tavern. If someone wants to be a reviewer at The Tavern, let me know. Its an unpaid job and the articles will be using The Tavern's affiliate links, so really, you need to be a glutton for punishment if you want the job ;)

4 - Guest posters - I love them. I embrace them. I don't get many. Topics have to be "non-political" in nature and avoid attacking others. If you have a pitch, send it to me BEFORE sending me your article.

5 - Advice - I get direct inquiries asking for advice more times than you might expect. I am happy to give such, but remember, I am not an expert on ANYTHING. I have built my "Bully Pulpit" and it is nice, but my opinions and advice are not the be all and end all.

6 - "Investigative Reporting" - Note that I put that in quotation marks. There are certain topics / events / personalities / etc that strike me in a certain way and I find myself relying upon my experience gained in the last 12 years "on the job" supervising detectives and investigations. Can't always help myself - hobby and career do intersect at times, Now, just because you have found a topic / event / personality / etc something you might want to get the "investigative touch" does not mean I have any interest in it. By all means, send me your tips, but I investigate what I decide to investigate. As a general rule, I avoid politics and social justice - I'm not blowing you off when I don't follow up, I just don't have a desire to look into such.

7 - OSR Edition Wars - while I obviously have my system of choice, I embrace the whole of the OSR. Evangelize the systems you love but don't demonize the systems you don't. Unless its Pathfinder or 4e ;)

8 - Communications - as Dyson has told me repeatedly, I have too many email addresses. Well, add in G+, Hangouts, Slack, Facebook and Facebook Messenger and you have doubled the manners in which to contact me. If you don't get a response within 24 hours you may want to try a second method of communication. FB Messenger is infamous for not notifying my of initial requests to communicate.

9 - Comments - Just to note, I don't delete the comments of those that disagree with me, argue with me or even, God forbid, call me names. Hell, I hardly moderate the comments to posts at all, with the exception of deleting spammers. If you think I deleted or removed your comment without cause, reach out to me. There's about a 99% chance that you got mistakenly caught by Blogger's Spambot. If that's the case, I'll fix it. If I DID moderate your comment, I'll explain why.

The Tavern's Community is literally the reason I do what I do. Without each and every one of you, The Tavern would not be the success that it is. I post every day. In general, I post two or more times a day. It is time consuming but well worth it.

Thanks again to all of you!

Deal of the Day - Starships & Spacemen 2e

Looking for an OSR powered clone of Star Trek: The Original Series? Look no further - Starships & Spacemen Second Edition is today's Deal of the Day at RPGNow.

Normally $6.45 in PDF, for the next 24 hours Starships & Spacemen will be on sale for $3.87 - 40% off.
Boldly explore the galaxy in search of alien civilizations! You take the role of a Military Officer, Technical Officer, Science Officer, or Enlisted Man in the Galactic Confederation. Travel in a starship under your command, on missions of first contact, rescue, exploration, and more in a galaxy full of hostile aliens. Try to maintain the tenuous truce with the militaristic Zangid, and fight the Videni who may look like your Tauran allies, but do not adhere to a philosophy of peace and logic. 
Design alien humanoids with either "original series" or "next generation" sensibilites, or blend the two approaches! There are 100 forehead shapes that may be randomly rolled when a new alien race is encountered. 
This book contains:
Eight player races
Three main classes, with several subclasses
Rules for spaceships and exploration
many alien creatures
...and more!
Remember, 5% of all purchases at RPGNow go to fund The Tavern. Tip your bartender ;)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Create Using the OSR Rules 'You Know" and Your Audience Will Find You

Over in The Tavern's Facebook Community, a discussion asking about the size of the Swords & Wizardry Community and whether it was a viable community to create for, slid in the direction of system preference (or more exactly in this case, system dislike)

Here's how I see it - all things being equal (size and activity of the various gaming communities, commitment of the publisher to support the material and the communities' support of the systems in question) write for the OSR system you know the best.

Not that surprising, it it?

Obviously for me that means writing my material for Swords & Wizardry Light and Complete. For +Pete Spahn that would likely be Labyrinth Lord. For +joseph browning it would likely be OSRIC. For +Chris Gonnerman it would be likely be  Basic Fantasy RPG+James Spahn S&W White Box or White Star. The list goes on.

The truth is, any DM worth their salt is going to convert adventures from one OSR system to the ruleset of their choice, with little difficulty and often on the fly, just was many of us used Basic and Expert adventures in AD&D back in the day and I do with DCC RPG Adventures to Swords & Wizardry today.

Some will say writing for the "hot" system of the day can help sales and I'm sure it did with White Star and third party publishers. I'm just not so sure that system loyalty is a driving point among the majority of the OSR community.

The question then becomes, is there an OSR system that is a sort of Rosetta Stone between the various clones. I'd suggest Swords & Wizardry Core for this, but it's more about the ascending / descending AC and perhaps single save than in being "Swords & Wizardry". Adventures written for S&W don't need an AC adjustment to be used with the other clones or original systems, but in truth, you could write an adventure for ANY clone and include ascending and descending AC in the stats and be 100% compatible with every OSR system.

There is a reason that the OSR graphic is popular to place on OSR products - its the OSR damn it!
Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
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

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition