Saturday, June 10, 2017

Hung With My Old Gaming Group Today and Look What We Found

As I've mentioned before, Tenkar was a henchman in one of my old campaigns that became moreso as time went on.

I never retained a copy of the character sheet of Tenkar, the Dwarven Fighter that was a henchman for Paul (who dropped out for the group for a bit and is the reason we gather each year, as Paul was lost on 9-11) before Tenkar moved on to Brian - who made this character sheet.

Tenkar later returned as my Dwarven Paladin in EverQuest shortly after launch and became my online name when I started blogging (to keep "the job" and "the blog" is separate worlds)

Anyhow, an excellent time with friends I've known for over 30 years. Gaming bonds are often life long bonds.

Just Over 2 Days Left on the OSR Extravaganza Sale at RPGNow

The OSR Extravaganza Sale is coming to close in a hair over 2 days - 10 AM Eastern Monday morning.

If you have a wish list or somehow have missed it, now is the time to grab what you want. If you haven't checked out the bundles, you really can't beat the deals.

Follow the following link for Tavern posts and picks for the sale:

Tenkar's Tavern OSR Sale 2017 Picks

Remember, 5% off all purchases made through The Tavern's affiliate links goes to support The Tavern. We thank you for your generous support over the years.

Friday, June 9, 2017

More Thoughts on a "Creature Archipelago" for Swords & Wizardry Light

Sidney Sime

So, the list has become something like this:

  • Indigenous player races: lizardmen will be decedents of the long lost ancient race living in scattered tribes across the island - i'm thinking natural leather AC but no matter class, can't wear armor - +1 HP per level regardless of class - fighter, ranger, barbarian, thief, shaman (new class) - goblins - more recent settlers, they've staked out an island for themselves - fighter, thief, witch doctor (new class)
  • Multiple Islands. It allows for diverse and localized settings.
  • The Ancients had science / magic capabilities and are the original creators of the giant creatures on the island. Their artifacts are often sought and rarely found. Ruins, big and small, are scattered throughout the islands.
  • One island is relatively safe. That will be the PCs home base / starting point. Might as well place a Tenkar's Tavern there. The home base will also have a smattering of lizard folks and goblins. Neither race is inherently evil. Oh, and of course its a port. Multiple nations and other power players have reps in town looking to hire adventurers to recover items and knowledge.
  • I like the idea of a mostly blank PC map, to be filled in as they explore the islands. Isolated hex crawls to some extent.
  • New creatures - large and giant sized "normal" creatures and magical hybrids. I'm figuring two dozen or so at least.
  • Need to commission an artist to draw the islands - this is beyond my paltry mapping abilities :)
Right. So, I think I'll write the races first, then the two new classes. That should give me time to find an artist for the Archipelago.

Tomorrow - Assemble new grill before next week's heatwave, yearly gathering with old gaming group and follow up with a night of gaming with my current group.

Sunday - Uncle duties followed by interview. After which, we shall work on this ;)

I Just saw Kong: Skull Island Today - Totally Thinking a "Monster Island" setting for SWL would Rock!

Kong: Skull Island was simply a great ride. Not saying it was a classic, but my time was spent enjoying it.

Of course, as the title of this post shows, I was thinking pretty much from the moment they reached the island how cool a setting it was.

And it is.

Ancient ruins. Ancient people. Geography larger than life. Fauna that is larger than life. Add in some flora with medicinal purposes and have those ruins conceal ancient treasures and you have the recipe for some true excitement.

So I'm thinking - expand a bit on the ranger and barbarian classes in SWCL, add a tribal casting class (with some new spells), adjustments for small races fighting giant creatures, give elves some wilderness stealth, lots of new monsters and creatures, a map of said island, a scattering of ruins big and small (and some history for the now deceased ancient culture) and maybe an isolated port just off the island where adventurers can have a home base. PCs could be a mixture of classic "civilized" races and classes as well as ones native to the island.

The ruins can each be their own one-sheet. Wandering creature tables by general region. Not level appropriate for the PCs. A sandbox with lots of "Oh Shit! Run!"

Phew. Yeah, that's a full plate. Heh.

Anyone know of a stock art map that might fit the bill? Or do I simply use one of my mapping programs and stumble around to I get what I need?

I'll start my outline tonight and post pieces to the blog when stuff gets done. A full plate this weekend of family, fun and being the subject of a Sunday afternoon interview. Whee!

ConManKen - Catch me for Two Seconds on the Screen - Tupac Bioptic

Quick! Don't blink or you might miss #ConManKen!

So, what exactly is the going rate for a background extra that isn't allowed to speak in any of his appearances?

Is it enough to pay to fulfill his outstanding Kickstarters?

How about the lady in Georgia you bilked out of $50k?

Ah Ken, never the dream, always the nightmare.

Don't worry though - we love you like a cyst. A very infected, painful, oozing cyst on the gaming community. Own it Ken. Its all you.

The "Official" #ConManKen Countdown Clock!

I have complete faith in your ability to fail Ken. Seriously. You are a sure bet to lose. Go aead, prove me wrong. You can't. Continue living in Marcus' basement.

Love ya!  :)

Swords & Wizardry Light for the Vision Impaired - Coming Soon

NTRPG Con is such a relaxed atmosphere that discussions often turn to handshakes and deals and contracts. For Patrick Pilgrim, my wife Rach and myself it turned into the realization that most RPGs just aren't user friendly for the vision impaired.

This is an important issue for Rach and I. For those that don't know, Rach is legally blind. Most of the RPG rules I have are simply too small a font for her to read so her RPG knowledge is what she's learned directly from me. When we buy her dice we look for dice that have clear numbering and / or are larger than standard.

This came up in a discussion among the three of us, There was a person with a need - Rach, a person who wrote the rules - myself, and a person who could convert those rules into formats more accessible to those with vision impairment - or no vision at all.

Anyhow, the project has the Frog God green light. Swords & Wizardry Light will be the first project to be converted with Swords & Wizardry Continual Light a possible follow up. PDF and web app are definite goes. I'd like to see a limited print run once all is up and running.

I can't think of another RPG that has gone this route but I am sure they are out there. If you know of any please add a link in the comments below.

As always, thank you for the support.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

What's in the Swords & Wizardry Light "Pipe" from The Tavern Master?

Time to just "Let Go!"
I've almost caught up from last week. I've sent contact info of publishers onto those that will be doing fulfillment on the Tenkar's Tavern Crate. I now need to reach out to all that expressed interest in being part of the Crate and let them know where we are at.

Phew. Tomorrow will be busy too I see. Who said retirement was easy? Shit! That was me at this time last year ;)

Today was an "Uncle Day" which was good. It forced me to step away from all things gaming related for most of the afternoon and a good chunk of the evening. Clearing the mind worked wonders.

So, Torchlight is about two months out, give or take. In the meantime I need to create content so I can:

A- Continue in the habit of making content

B - Learn and hone my InDesign skills

C - make millions from this hobby of ours!

Last one is a joke - obviously :)

Anyhow, here are some of the ideas I've currently outlined. Feedback is certainly appreciated.

1 - Continue with more Pocket Creatures releases. I enjoy them and they practically write themselves.

2 - Revisit Demi-Options - Classes specific tailored for the race in question. Have it in both Swords & Wizardry Light and Swords & Wizardry Complete flavors, preferably in the same package.

3 - Some unique magic items, compatible with both SWL and SWC. Another topic I've addressed in the past and enjoyed doing.

4 - Pocket Settings / Pocket Genres - Maybe a Western / Eastern mashup or some SciFi or Swords & Dinosaurs, etc. Two pages of classes and spells or powers, two pages of monsters and items and four pages of maps and settings. This is where I find out if SWL / SWCL is as easy to hack as I think it is. I've seen some hacking for Supers already and it has be all fired up.

5 - One Sheet Adventures, meant to be slipped into your SWL folder. Come on! How sweet is that!

Just think, if I write too much, just more content for Torchlight. For those asking, I'm thinking "Magic" for the first issue of Torchlight's main theme. New spells, new casting classes, new magic items and maybe even some magical traps - and of course all the other goodness that gets submitted.

There is an Article on ENWorld About the Need for More Gaming Conventions (but that's not the part I'll be talking about)

Aren't all conventions like this?
NTRPG Con 2016
Midnite Auction

I know. An ENWorld article being referenced at The Tavern. Before you bite my head off and stuff it in a NTRPG Con swag bag realize that the premise really isn't wrong. There IS a need for more RPG focused gaming conventions, especially ones that are actually focused on gaming (in other words, not Gen Con)

(you can read the article here)

Here is the part that sticks out to me:
However, that doesn't mean that a local or regional convention couldn't grow up into these facilities to be something equivalent to Origins Game Fair. According to their Wikipedia page, Origins had an attendance of 15,938 in 2015. Honestly, that isn't that high of a bar for attendance for a convention to reach, with a few years of hard work and good conventions. It surprises me that, for such a fun convention, Origins has such relatively low attendance numbers. 
This is why I think that strengthening the regional gaming convention scene is easier than people would think. Do I think that it is feasible for a gaming convention to have an attendance of 15K out of the gate? No, and I don't think that most people starting a convention can really handle those sorts of numbers right off the bat. I do think that a first year convention with an attendance of 500-1000 people is feasible to shoot for.
Actually, it is a huge bar to hit, especially for a first year con because you would need an experienced convention staff to organize and run it.  And you know what? Many folks prefer the smaller, more intimate cons like NTRPG Con and Gary Con.

So, what do you do if you are in an area that doesn't have a regional con (the NYC area has a dearth of cons, not counting two in New Jersey and they aren't Old School in nature) Barring an experienced convention management team, you grow it organically. Much like NTRPG and Gary Con. And you build the con's reputation organically. Bite off more than you can handle the first year and you might have no second year.

Of course, there is no discussion of the number of days to run that first con, because if you do more than a single day, you need a hotel to host - or have one nearby. Then there's the logistics of special guests and the cost associated with such.

Can you tell such discussions have been on my mind recently? No, I'm not organizing a local con. Even retirement has its limits ;)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Reminders - Tavern Chat Tonight 9 PM Eastern - Tenkar's Tavern OSR Crate Sign Ups for July Delivery Close June 12th

Its a two-fer Wednesday!

Its Wednesday, so that means Tavern Chat at 9 PM Eastern. I know I missed last week due to NTRPG Con (the Con of Cons if you are OSR in your leanings) I'll be here tonight. I will discuss stuff that although not "secret" is certainly not on the radar. Does it involve Swords & Wizardry Light? Most certainly :)

How do you log into tonight's chat? The chat box on the right side of this very page. Use the social media log in of your choice.

Tenkar's Tavern OSR Crate is also on the right side of this page. Get in early - meaning the first month (July) and we have something special for you. How special? Well, I'm going to do something and then professionals are going to come up behind me and make it "professional". Certainly Tavern related.

As a side note, the interest of publishers, big and small, to be involved in the Tenkar's Tavern OSR Crate has been gratifying. I've contacted those that handle fulfillment with your contact information earlier today and I'll be personally reaching out to y'all today and tomorrow.

ConManKen - Four Hours of "Uhmmms" and "Uhhhs" for Your Entertainment

Four fucking hours of #ConManKen. Recorded live. If you break the one hour mark you'll wish for death.

Give it a listen for the first 20 minutes. Count the "Uhmmms" and "Uhhhs". Post your total. Or just fucking guess. I'll award a random commenter a prize from The Tavern's prize closet. Not sure what yet. Mostly depends on how horrid the experience is.

Here's the Link

Really should make it a drinking game, but it might kill some folks...

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

ConManKen Records Yet Another Commercial - Can You Say "Uhm" Multiple Times in a Minute?

Hold the presses. World famous scam artist / bit actor #ConManKen is in yet another commercial that tries to parlay his background role in The Walking Dead into something relevant. Sadly the sale he is advertising is from last Tuesday. Ah well, he is still a classic.

Link to the video is at THIS Facebook page.

So Ken, when is the "drop dead" date of your promised Kickstarters? That's right - August 2018 2017 (keep forgetting what year this is ;) I have total faith in your inability to deliver on any of them - even the ass simple Pencil Dice.

For Those Waiting on Swords & Wizardry Continual Light and Torchlight, My Best Guesses for Release

NTRPG Con is the "Con of Cons" for OSR gamers, and although I talked with a huge amount of people over many topics, one thing came up repeatedly:

Swords & Wizardry Light

I believe both Frog God Games and the Bad Mike ran out of the 4 page rules folders. I do know that the Swords & Wizardry Legion Folders were gone by sometime on Saturday. They were popular. Heck, so popular that I talked with none other than Dr. Dennis Sustare (Bunnies & Burrows / Swordbearer until 4 am Friday Night / Saturday Morning about none other than - Swords & Wizardry Light and Continual Light.

So, what about Swords & Wizardry Continual Light, the 16 to 20 page ruleset that the Frogs are going to offer free in both PDF and Print, written by one other than Three Castles Award 2017 and Origins 2017 Nominee +James Spahn (with some input by me, but the words are all James and the results are amazing)

SWCL is right behind The Blight in Frog God Games projects being worked on, and The Blight is all hands on deck. I'm going to put the following dates out for SWCL (not written in stone - these are my best guesses and I lack true insider knowledge)- summer for the PDF and fall for the free print release.

Is that significantly later than my initial hope - April 15th? Sure, but the final result is going to be so much better and how do you beat free print copies?

Where does that put Torchlight, the magazine to support all flavors of Swords & Wizardry? About 30 to 45 days behind the release of the PDF. Work on it has slowed as putting the cart before the horse rarely works. I am proud of what has been submitted thus far. It really is an amazing community.

In the meantime, I get to practice InDesign and get some more PWYW releases into the wild :)

Far West - When a Podcast Interview is Slanted at a Right Angle, They Must be Interviewing Gareth

Wow. What shit. What slant. What purposeful ignoring of facts. Surprisingly, I'm not even talking about Gareth (as always though, still full of excuses).

What am I talking about? Minion Minute interviewed Gareth at Chupacabracon IV (May 12th through the 14th of this year - the timeframe where Gareth has been maintaining radio silence since May 2 - "serious family matters" prevent work on Far West but not, apparently, going to a Convention)

So, what crap does "Aaron", the interviewer, say?

At 3:25 - "I know things have been rocky. Don't give a fuck about that. The internet has a long memory... it will stay around forever - it doesn't matter."

So yes, the most famous thing Gareth is known for, Far West, it not going to be a topic, at east according to the interviewer. Because it "doesn't matter."

But at 13:20, Gareth brings up Far West. Its the elephant in the room, and I give Gareth credit for addressing it. Ah, but what does Aaron have to say?

"So people who don't know what Far West is beyond ridiculous blogskreets and horseshit." Hey, a call out to The Tavern. Heck, Gareth even recommends an internet search to read the posts. Well played, Gareth. Well played.

The worst offense by the interviewer in my opinion comes around 17:30 into the interview. Gareth decides to try and explain why Far West is so fucking late and Aaron tries a little misdirection:

"Mike Nystul is out there. Mike Nystul is trying to raise money. Fuck that guy!"

Holy shit! Bringing up Nystul. Might as well bring up #ConManKen too while you are at it. Heck, of the three, Nystul is the ONLY one that fell on the swords, said he was an incompetent businessman and left the fucking hobby! Aaron, you thought you were helping but all you did was make things worse.

Overall, not a bad interview on Gareth's end. He speaks well and knows how to weave a story. Aaron sounds like someone that still has a stash of Stacker 2 with ephedra while full of hero worship with blinders on. The total interview is about 38 minutes - I stopped at about 27 minutes in. For all I know there might be further gems, but really, giving up more than 30 minutes of my life to listen to Gareth and his excuses, valid or not, that I've heard for the last five years just isn't going to happen.

Monday, June 5, 2017

NTRPG Con - There and Back Again - and Better than EVER!

Rach and i arrived home earlier today. Unlike the flights that were canceled last night for others, our noon flight to LGA was delayed all but 10 minutes and still arrived on time. I am glad to be home but I'm already making plans for next year's NTRPG Con.

If for some reason you have not attended NTRPG Con, all I can say is "WTF dude (or dudette)!?!"


I was nervous that the new hotel (DFW Airport Westin) wouldn't be able to stand up to the Marriott (old venue) - I needn't have worried.  Where as the old venue had reached its physical limits, the new venue has space to grow AND maintain room for open gaming. The halls are nice and wide and allow for folks to stop for conversations without blocking others. I never knew how important this was until now. Holy shit but this is important.

I saw a lot of new faces at the con and many repeat offenders. I was happy to chat with all. Hell, if you stopped to chat with me you probably found me hard to shut up. I apologize after the fact ;)

I talked with Bad Mike on some ideas for improvement but most were already in the works for next year. Did I mention they've already signed for next year?

I really enjoyed myself at Gary Con and I'm looking forward to Gamehole Con, but if you really want an opportunity to talk with, not just shake a hand and move on, the old guard or the up and coming new guard of the OSR community, NTRPG Con is the place to be.

This was the fourth year in a row for Rach and I. By Friday afternoon of our first NTRPG, Rach was telling Mike we WERE coming back next year. My amazing wife is not a gamer by her usual nature, but ask anyone that has run a session with Rach - she becomes a bloodthirsty gaming demon when you give her dice at NTRPG Con. There literally can be no stronger endorsement :)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

NTRPG Con - Silent Auction - Deities & Demigods - Signed with Cthulhu & Melnibonean

I nearly missed the silent auction. I didn't find it until about 130 in the morning. Then I found the above. It didn't even mention it was signed.

95 bucks won the bid.

I'm a happy puppy :)

And yes, it is beat to hell, but that's fine. Its been loved...

NTRPG - The Frog God is a Kind and Benevolent God. No! Really!

The Frog God is a kind and benevolent god. Do NOT believe the rumors as they are from the unbelievers and their word can not be trusted.

Seriously. 22 characters in the party and only one PC death - and that was rectified by a Deck of Dirty Tricks card. A deck designed by the Frog God himself.

Heck, we even defeated a Balrog.

Truly his is a benevolent god ;)

Rach and I played in +Bill Webb 's Swords & Wizardry / Mythus Tower game and it was a blast. Not only did we survive to reach second level but Rach left with a Dwarven Pick of Massive Excavation.

In all seriousness, this is hands down the most fun I've had at s convention yet and I've loved the three previous NTRPG's that Rach and I attended. Sadly it raps up tomorrow.

Still, before tomorrow there is tonight's Midnight Auction. I expect many items of questionable value but numerous legacy will be up for grabs. Wish me luck...

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