Saturday, April 29, 2017

When Cats Attack - The Tenkar Official Mini Arrived and is Met by the Official Tenkar Cat

Not too long ago, +Darcy Perry asked if he could include a "Tenkar" miniature in his upcoming Kickstarter. BTW, it shipped EARLY! I was honored to say yes. We'll, my set of minis arrived this week and they are awesome. Even better, Tenkar arrived painted! Man, what an amazing and detailed paint job. The above pic does not do it justice.

Of course, Ashley had to let her opinion be known. That isn't her biting Tenkar below - she's rubbing against him. She knows her daddy, even in mini form :)

Darcy's Facebook page with more mini goodness.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Kickstarter - The Complete Cities of Sorcery (1e & 5e)

Got to love those "orange spines" - makes one think about the later AD&D printings and how easy it is to locate on the gaming shelf. This is not about "orange spins" however. Instead, it is about The Complete Cities of Sorcery (previously released in Folios 8 to 13)

So, what exactly is The Complete Cities of Sorcery (and is the cover artist really Jeff Easley?)
The Complete Cities of Sorcery Campaign hardcover is a mega-dungeon compiled from Folio’s #8-#13 in both 1st Edition & 5th Edition fantasy gaming formats. It encapsulates a duo of epic trilogies set in two distinct fantasy cites, Valoria in the Dwarven Forge world of Mythras, and Taux in the Art of the Genre world of the Nameless Realms. Six detailed adventures incapsulating grand story telling and weighty dungeons in both 3D and 2D (classic blue) maps help spin a story of struggle, martial prowess, and ingenuity.  The Hidden Valoria section takes players from 1st thru 7th level, while the Ghosts of Taux section will revolve around mid-level gaming. 
This unabridged version will be include 6 gazetteers, 6 adventures, 6 mini-adventures to flesh out the campaigns, a Valoria Places V1-2 section, and 6 Iconic characters ready to be played. 
Our goal is to replicate the 128 page format of the old TSR ‘orange bound’ AD&D series of hardcovers from the early 1980s (Stranger Things anyone?), and like those hardcovers this will be covered with beautiful swords & sorcery inspired piece of artwork by artist Jeff Easley, who did all those classic covers.
Yep - it IS Jeff Easley :)

The Folio series is a high quality production. Although I have yet to use any part of the series in whole, I have used it piecemeal and it plays well.

If you haven't been keeping up with the Folio releases, The Complete Cities of Sorcery is a fine jumping in point.

Oh, and of course The Orange Spine ;)

Defining the OSR by Identifying What it is Not (and other useless exercises of thought)

I was explaining to a teenager last night that defining the OSR was doomed to fail as each member of the OSR has their own personal definition. As that definition is personal, it generally is well defended and the thing of online battles that will never end ;)

Heck, we can't even decide what OSR stands for.

Is it Old School Revolution? Old School Resurrection? Old School Revival? Old School Renaissance?

Strange that we can't pin down what the "R" stands for but we know the "O" and "S" stand for "Old School" and not maybe "Original System" with the OSR becoming "Original System Rules"

Which is important, because if the OSR refers to Old School Rules (another possibility for the "R") then the OSR encompasses not just derivatives of the Original Dungeons & Dragons and its offspring but early RPGs such as Tunnels & Trolls, RuneQuest, Traveller, Chivalry & Sorcery, Bunnies & Burrows and so much more. Toon, GURPS, Champions (at least prior to the Hero System bloat), Rolemaster - All are 30 year old plus systems. Certainly they are Old School. (this list is far from complete - I'm not even going to make the attempt)

Or does OSR stand for "Open System Reference", as in, if it weren't for the OGL, there wouldn't be much of an OSR community. New releases certainly add life to the community.

So, what doesn't fall under the purview of the OSR? What is the cut off?

I think we can all agree that 3x and beyond of the D&D edition line of succession are outside the OSR, but then 5e tries to skim the bubble.

Are AD&D 2e's Skill & Powers releases within the purview of the OSR? I mean, 2e certainly is (I think), but what about all the splat books that bloated the system?

Looking at new systems, I see FATE and Apoc World and all their spinoffs as outside the OSR, but recent releases such as Polyhedral Dungeon and Far Away Land seem to be grounded in OSR sensibilities, even if their systems don't line up with prior Old School games.

Maybe the OSR is like an onion, with many layers. The inner layers are for the Original System Rules, then the Old School Rules, followed by an even larger layer covering the Old School Revival.

In the end, I find the OSR to be much like porn - I know it when I see it, but where I draw the line of what is and what isn't isn't the same place that others would draw it. We're all right even though our answers are different.

Yes, this was occupying my sleeping mind last night...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wayward Kickstarter - Dungeon Dive

So, I'm guessing Dungeon Dive is a D10 system type... thing? Never mind. Percentile. Welcome to Dungeon Delve.

Fuck it - lets just run with some screenshots - because I don't want to be accused of embellishing.

Comments - WTF is a "light novel"? Same question about "Dungeon Control." Can someone show this person how to use the "shift key" to capitalize?" That sentence about magic? Color me clueless.

How about the Risks and Challenges?

Right. Nothing to do with risks here. Is English proficiency really that bad in The Land Down Under?

How about the Pledge Levels?

So, $25 gives you nothing. $50 gets you a signed PDF - just how does that work? $150 for the physical reward for a game that has not been written yet.

Did I mention the goal is $25k Australian? Seriously.

Put a fork in it. This is over before it even starts.

Guest Post by Kabuki Kaiser - Playtime

My first box was the blue box from Holmes, with a typed French translation which came on stapled sheets. It was a birthday present, you know, something suitable for an 8-years old kid. Yes, I have been called «the midget» in all the clubs I went to for about 8 more years after that, we should create a new word for this, «ageism» maybe. Anyway, that was bad. Especially since I was all about Dungeon Mastering, and designing my own adventures, which I won't show you — ever. Turns out adults rarely like having a kid DM them badly.

You found the blue box in game stores. There weren't any hobby stores back then, and in game stores, you found Chess, checkers, 2-3 wargames, and a couple of card games. You had to look for players then, your neighbors, and classmates are a-okay, but if you wanted to find people as passionate as you were about it, you had to go to clubs. Roleplaying games started in clubs. We all know how they (possibly) came as either a spin-off or a discovery in the Wargaming community, and found their audience there.

In clubs, you found scores of people, all wanting to join your game, and eager to spend 12+ hours playing it. That explains why you needed megadungeons, and the blurb on Metamorphosis Alpha that says «for 2 to 24» players [http://www.headinjurytheater.com/gammaworld.htm]. You needed it to last, and to cater for a small crowd. I've ran high level AD&D adventures for 16 players during 14 hours, that was common.

In a second phase, people took it to the Family & Friends zone, and started to play with smaller groups, and for shorter duration. That's where your average «5 players, 8 hours» comes from. Because of this, the adventures' format had to change as well. A challenge for 16 players is a death trap for 5, and a megadungeon of 300 keyed locations, and more, is something you'll never finish exploring, leaving you unsatisfied. We all have dozens of characters in our drawers, who will never get to know the end of the campaign. The reason we have them is that we've kept on playing adventures that have been designed for another format, and game culture, and sometimes because shit happens, like moving places or being not friends with people anymore. Oddly, the RPG productions did not adapt very well to the new format at first. I can't think of a single RPG (counter-examples welcome) with mechanics telling you what to do with those lost characters, or when moving houses. But they did adapt eventually, and adventures came divided into smaller, more manageable chunks. From D&D3 onwards, everything is designed for your average «5 players, 8 hours», and caters to the Adventure of the Week format.

We're now getting in a third phase, where people have even less time, and smaller groups. We get old, and have kids, and jobs, and stuff to do. Everybody's busy with something, and the internet, as well as the rise of MMORPGs has taken a heavy toll on the average gamer's time. Some people play online, others at the office after hours or with the good old friends who haven't moved houses, so that the average format is rather «3 to 4 players, 4 hours». The problem with the format, and I think that's the main reason why major publishers keep pretending that the former is still on, is that you can't shove a lot of narrative content in 4 hours, especially when combats take up 2/3 of this time. It's a paradox but the solutions all come from the founding phase, the clubs' era: sandboxes are perfect for this, you can join, and drop them anytime. Goodman Games [http://goodman-games.com] have rebooted the 2 to 24 players paradigm with the Funnel [http://goodman-games.com/dungeon-crawl-classics-rpg], that lets you have 24 characters at the game table with 6 players. No wonder the funnel is so successful, and has inspired many, including myself [http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/168001/Seven-at-One-Blow]. That's what I did as well in Castle Gargantua [http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/149190/Castle-Gargantua]. You know this megadungeon you'll never get to complete? Well, it's a sandbox now so don't worry, you just keep on playing, and there's not much of an upkeep.

What we don't have yet, and is becoming necessary, is narrative arcs, and adventures divided in chunks of 4 hours, side treks, and mini-dungeons weaved together meaningfully so that they bring a sense of fulfillment, a story arc, and fun bit after bit. We don't have them in New School systems such as D&D5 because the mechanics take too much time, and get in the way, and we don't have them in the Old School Renaissance because everybody, including people who want to do new, and different stuff, still think with the game culture of the clubs' era, and seem keen to publish massive things nobody will ever play as is. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is what we play, and it's about time we adjust the games we design to what our lives have become.

Kabuki Kaiser

As stated in the past, The Tavern is open to guest posts and guest posters. Play on!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

SoundPad by Tabletop Audio - An App to makes you go "Holy Shit!"

Yes, I cursed in the title to this post. Forgive me, but it was worth it.

I've played with more than a few sound apps on my computer, some aimed at tabletop play, some aimed at VTTs, some aimed at podcasters. SoundPad by Tabletop Audio is the first I've experienced that simply "works."

Really. For the price of free (although both Patreon and donations are accepted in support) this is, quite simply, an amazing app.

I'm going to give it a trial run tonight with Tavern Chat.

I'll be sharing this link: http://tabletopaudio.com/tavern_sp.html?jointabletopgameid=37260370561493235284927620 EDIT link times out if not used - i'll post new link closer to chat

Everyone connected with get the sounds as I enable them. Should be a fun experiment and some nice ambiance ;)

Actually, I have some background effects going on right now...

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9PM Eastern - Where the Topic Will Be...

Damned if I know. Most weeks the chat takes a mind of its own.

Anyway, we are a mere 18 members short of 1.4k members in The Tavern's Facebook community. Wow.

Where was I? Oh yeah, chat - tonight - 9PM

Where - the Chatwing app on the right side of this page

Who - You, me and a bunch of others

Edit - Check this post out for some extra ambiance for tonight's session :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Swords & Wizardry Light Announcements - Continual & International :)

While I still hope to release the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light rules soon in PDF, the above is a behind the scenes peek as to why there is a delay. I don't think I could ever hope to have the backing of a better publisher than Frog God Games. Bill, Matt and crew are awesome :)

Now on to the "International" part of the announcement (from the Swords & Wizardry Legion Facebook Page post earlier tonight by +Michael Badolato )
Ok, we have about a dozen international Legion members, and more are showing up everyday. We'd love to send you a packet, but the overseas shipping prices are cost prohibitive ($20 in most cases). However, we have had a generous benefactor (Tenkar) offer to pay back $5 to any international member willing to pay for shipping....! So here's the deal: 
If you are overseas, or in Canada, and want a pack, just pay the amount for shipping via paypal (If interested, let me know via email, I'll send a reply with postage due amount);
I'll stuff an envelope full of goodies (more than our regular packs), up to 2lbs, and mail it out first class international; 
You'll get $5 back via paypal after I mail the package. 
We'd love to be able to send everyone a packet, but this stuff is being sent/given away for free, and we have to be responsible when it comes to our budget. Overseas members paying their own shipping will make it possible to get a packet in the UK, New Zealand, or Greece (the three that I have already sent!) and spread the enjoyment of S&WL across the globe!
Yes, I'm willing to put $5 towards the shipping of every international Swords & Wizardry Legion packet request. When you support The Tavern it enables me to give back to the community I love being a part of.

I don't make money from SWL, but I do want to get it into the hands of gamers across the world :)

Old Man Grognard (Glen Hallstrom) Does a Video Review of Swords & Wizardry Light

+Glen Hallstrom "get's it." Well, he also speaks highly of it and for that I am humbled.

What is this "it" I'm referring to? Swords & Wizardry Light.

Glen also shows a print at home preview of Swords & Wizardry Continual Light.

He likes it! Glen really likes it :)

Monday, April 24, 2017

The ConManKen Video Has Been Found - Watch and Listen at Your Own Risk

#ConManKen doesn't stop fleecing his marks, he just has a new community of marks.

Previous post here.

The was a Fleecing - er, Acting Workshop this Past Saturday - Given by Ack-Tour #ConManKen

Yeah, I had a busy weekend so this is old news. There was also a video where Ken tried to talk the money out of your wallet, but I can't access that anymore or I'd share it here.

Amazing how a throw away part in The Walking Dead is being parlayed into #ConManKen, "Ack-Tour!" ;)

Now, maybe its true that #ConManKen and Marcus are on the outs, because if Ken were still hanging around the shop you think he'd be all over what I have to show below. Or maybe he's producing, who knows?

I do love the "please start today" aspect of it. We aren't looking for skills, just someone that breathes ;)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tavern Weekend Update - Of Lists, Wands, Light, Whit and a Contract - Oh My!

Its been a busy weekend. Yesterday was Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day, and with the help of the community I am assembling the Swords & Wizardry Light releases and posts for a posting later on this week. So, that is both a List & Light :)

The Wand of Wonder will be wrapping up in the next day or two and we'll be awarding prizes. Fun times.

I've got some new and (in my eyes) amusing #ConManKen updates to share. Because if you can't shake down the gaming community you will find other communities to bilk.

I've been looking over a contract for a project that was presented to me. I am quite likely going to give my thumbs up to said contract, sign on the dotted line and have something to announce at a later time to The Tavern's Community. I find the whole thing very exciting. Yeah, I know, Vaguebooking or whatever they call it. What can I say? No details until its all said and done.

Did I mention we have a guest poster this week? Yep. I'm excited. You'll know him when you see the post and I'm excited that he's stopping by. What? More Vaguebooking? heh.

Like I said, it was a busy weekend and I was out and about for 10 hours of my day today. I'll hit the

Frog God Sale Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Sale Extended

The sale has been extended. sharing for those that thought they missed out.

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 

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