Saturday, September 16, 2017

Free RPG Day PDF Release - The Spire of the Hunting Sound Quickstart Adventure (Monte Cook's Numenra)

I've never played Numenera. I backed the Kickstarter way back when and I've heard good things about the setting and the system but I've never had the time to give it a proper read. Maybe with the The Spire of the Hunting Sound Quickstart Adventure for Numenera I might find a reason to pull the core book off the shelf. Heck, for the price of free I may be tempted to run this.
A roiling green desert haunted by invisible beasts. A game that consumes those that play. Faceless automatons from another world, and a tower of living sound. The characters have survived the hijacking of the airship Aelestrian, but can they survive the unknown reaches of the Ninth World in which they find themselves? 
The Spire of the Hunting Sound is a complete adventure—plus complete quickstart rules—for novice and veteran Numenera players. If you’ve never played Numenera, or don’t even own the game rules, you’ll find everything you need (except dice!) to learn, run, and play the adventure. And experienced players will love the adventure itself. It even comes with a set of five characters, fully pregenerated and formatted to make it easy to learn Numenera. 
The Spire of the Hunting Sound includes: 
A complete Numenera adventure, filled with the splendor and wonder of the Ninth World. 
Quick-start rules to get you going, even if you’ve never played Numenera or the Cypher System. 
A set of five pre-generated characters in a beautiful and handy format that’s great for novice players as well as Numenera veterans. 
A mini-bestiary with all the details on the creatures encountered in this adventure. 
The Spire of the Hunting Sound was the 2017 Free RPG Day adventure for Numenera
Note: The total page count of 47 pages includes the 19-page adventure and 13-page quickstart rules, plus five double-sided pre-generated characters and a five-page mini-bestiary.

OSR Picks for the RPGNow September Setting Sale - 33% off select PDFs - Part I

RPGNow is running a September Setting Sale with thousands of titles in the mix. That's a lot to sort through. I'm going to try to pick out some of my personal favorites that are OSR or system neutral over a small series of posts (although one or two may creep in from outside those parameters ;)

Strange Stars OSR Rule Book - "STRANGE STARS is a setting where modern transhuman science fiction meets classic 70s space opera. Now you can explore the STRANGE STARS universe in Sine Nomine Publishing's acclaimed Stars Without Number or similar Old School Rennaissance-derived games! Join a salvage mission to steal ancient tech from the wreck of a deranged sophont warship. Scavange parts from giant ancient robots on Gogmagog. Cross swords with a Zao Pirate in hard vacuum. Experience a galaxy of adventure with STRANGE STARS OSR!" 5.55  3.72

The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence - "This is a weird, science fantasy, gonzo campaign setting and wilderness hex-crawl for old school fantasy roleplaying games.  The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence is a guide for helping you run crazy sandbox scenarios in a lost world of Snake-Men, dinosaurs, and mutant sorcerers... an exotic and deadly region possessed by a demonic, purple-hued god of ruin and consumption. If you're into the OSR or just want some strange 5e flavoring, give this a try. It's not your usual adventuring environment, but it will be memorable!"
10.00  6.70

Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall Special Edition - Note - I have a small adventure inside this book - "The Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall (Special Edition) is a Labyrinth Lord™ supplement that expands on the critically acclaimed Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay and details the people, layout, and government of the Duchy of Valnwall. The Duchy is presented in broad strokes and is open to customization. It was specifically designed to give Labyrinth Lords a convenient and familiar fantasy setting to place their adventures. The Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall (Special Edition) is largely open content. Small Niche Games would like to encourage professional and amateur publishers to use the Guidebook as a shared fantasy setting and set their commercial adventures within the Duchy of Valnwall. Labyrinth Lords (and publishers) should feel free to change, add, or remove any of the information in this book to better suit his or her own game." 6.99  4.68

Points of Light - "War horns wail and perilous realms cry out for heroes! Four settings, each detailed and mapped, ideal for novices launching their first campaign, or veteran GMs looking to challenge
their players with terrible foes and foreign lands...  Wildland:The fall of the Bright Empire left warring factions in its wake. As savage barbarians and wicked humanoids roam the land, the last bastions of civilization cower behind their crumbling city walls. A dark age has come, and none may live to tell the tale. Southland: On the frontiers of the Great Kingdom, the nations of men, elves and dwarves join together against the wicked elves of Nighportal Keep and the Orcs of the Bloody Fist. A realm is yours for the taking, if you can carve it from the wilderness.  Borderland: Two factions clash over war-torn fields, battling for dominance in a civil war that that has torn a once-mighty empire in two. When brother strives against brother, and blood runs in the streets, who will emerge to unify the broken land—and at what cost, peace?  The Swamps of Acheron: In the Outer Planes, amid fetid swamplands and ice-choked mountains, the fell god Sarrath holds court. In a realm where gods stalk the earth, will you dare to take a stand, or will you succumb to evil." 7.99  5.35

Red Tide: Campaign Sourcebook and Sandbox Toolkit - In this book a Labyrinth Lord will find all that is required to run a sandbox game of adventure in the Sunset Isles. In addition to the races, classes, and sorcery of this savage land, a referee will find special tools and resources for creating shadowed courts of quarreling nobility, cities rife with struggle, wild border settlements that cry out for the help of heroes, and dark places in the earth known only to the dead and the damned. These tools will aid not only campaigns in the Sunset Isles, but also those games set in other lands of savage mystery and bloodstained blades. Expanding on the tag system found in the free Stars Without Number sci-fi role-playing game, Red Tide includes more than fifty new tags for fantasy cities and borderland settlements, along with more than 25 pages of GM resources including culture-specific name and place lists, unkeyed blank maps for quick sandbox use, four pages of room dressing and treasure possibilities, and a new "diagram dungeon" method of quick dungeon generation with a worked example.  7.99  5.35

Remember, all purchases made via The Tavern's affiliate links helps to support The Tavern. I appreciate every purchase our readers make. Thank you.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Want a Chance to Receive a PDF Copy of The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia Megadungeon?

Thanks to the generosity of +Greg Gillespie , he of Barrowmaze fame, The Tavern is offering you a an opportunity to receive a PDF copy of The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia, Greg's latest release. Its a megadungon composed of a sandbox setting and multiple dungeons and it is without a doubt, a campaign worth of gaming and then some.

So, how do you get entered for a chance to be gifted with such an amazing OSR release?

Its really simple - name and describe a bartender that may be found in a fantasy tavern. Use two to three sentences for your description. On Monday morning, 9/18 at 11 AM I will chose one random commenter to receive the The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia Megadungeon PDF. A second commenter will receive a $10 RPGNow Gift Certificate for "Best Bartender." Best Bartender is totally subjective to my whims ;)
A new megadungeon from Barrowmaze author Dr. Greg Gillespie! 
The lost city of Archaia - an ancient ruin sunken into the earth - lies deep in the badlands. In recent years, caravans from Eastdale have come under attack from orcs, goblins, and worse. Some say these blood-thirsty warbands have made lairs in the deep caves and ruins. Sill others say the ancient halls are filled with magnificent treasures left by the Archaians. Are you brave (or foolish) enough to delve The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia? 
THe Forbidden Caverns of Archaia (FCoA) is a 296-page classic old school megadungeon for use with Labyrinth LordTM and other fantasy role-playing games. THe pages of Forbidden Caverns are crammed full with new material, maps, amazing art (including special surprizes by former TSR artists), as well as an amazing colour cover art by Ex-TSR artist Erol Otus that matches Barrowmaze Complete as a sister-book.
The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia will keep your players on their toes and your campaign going strong for years. 
FCoA is brought to you by the Old School Renaissance (so don’t forget your 10’ pole).
Remember, purchases made via The Tavern's affiliate links enable us to offer gifts back to the community - and keep your bartender in fresh, cold beer ;)

Announcement - Uncle Matt's D&D Studio Launches Tonight 830 Eastern / 730 Central (Matt Finch Livestream)

Yep, tonight Uncle +Matt Finch is launching his new Youtube channel, Uncle Matt's D&D Studio. The opening piece is above.

Its been a heavy week in the OSR and Matt plans to lift some spirits. Additionally, there will be the announcement of a new project from Matt which I am excitedly looking forward to. The project that is, cause I know what it is and I'm trilled to be able to do what I can for it and the OSR at large. How's that for stirring some interest?

In any case, here the link to Matt's new channel - click it and subscribe!


edit - Matt will be fielding questions over at The Tavern's Discord server on the uncle-matts-dnd-studio text channel

here's the link: https://discord.gg/Cm4mBS

Kickstarter - Artifices of Quartztoil Tower - a 5E Adventure

I've been pleased with Nord Games previous releases. Heck, the dungeon tiles were raided by Pinkie so she could build her dungeons "Anywhere Uncle! I can even take it to school!" I'm expect that inevitable phone call from my sister of "Do you know what you God-daughter did in school today?"

Anyhow, the latest Nord Games Kickstarter is Artifices of Quartztoil Tower. It a 5th Edition adventure scaling for variable levels. Yep, it tweak between low, medium and high. I'm interested in seeing how well that works. Oh, and yes its for 5e, but since I've converted PF and DCC to S&W on the fly, 5e should be an even smoother fit.

5 bucks for PDF, 10 bucks for print and 13 bucks for print plus PDF. Thats for 50 t0 60 full color pages and 3 to 5 sessions of gameplay. The value offered is sizable.

State of The Tavern - What a Wednesday Night We Had - Discord is Good

Wednesday night was the weekly Tavern Chat. Its moved to The Tavern's Discord server with OVERWHELMING success. I can't say for certain how any were logged into the chat channel, but the voice channel his 22 people logged in at one time. Damn!

Voice kicked off sometime before 930 PM and lasted until 115 in the morning. I kid you not. Nearly for hours of lively discussion. Mostly about the OSR but also veering into topics like "moderating" and the size of the RPG market. Did I mention we have over 175 members signed up for the Tavern's Discord seerver?

Did I also mention I was also happy as a pig in shit, as Rach had her surgery consultation earlier in the afternoon and the mass that was to be removed? Gone. Yep, simply gone. Happy happy joy joy.

The past few days have been extremely active both on the blogside and the Facebook community. I have one of the lightest moderation hands I know of, and I'm happy I only needed to put my mod hat on a handful of times for slight corrections in direction.

I owe some midweek monster content (and a magic item this weekend) and have way too many posts waiting in the hopper - time for me to get working!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

James Kramer is Looking for a Home for Usherwood Publishing and its Titles

This has been a tough week in the OSR. First we lost James Koti to cancer over the weekend. Wednesday night we lost Mona Dowie to cancer. Now, James Kramer, owner of Usherwood Publishing is fighting an inoperable brain tumor.

James is looking for a new home for his Usherwood releases. I suspect the best known release is the A5 trim of the OSRIC rules, released in conjunction with Blackblade Publishing.

He posted about it at Knights & Knaves:

Its funny. I've always followed the Usherwood releases and have the "pocket" edition of OSRIC on my desk and yet I never associated James with it. Never too late to learn.

If you have a serious offer please email James with it.

The PM that got Frank Mentzer Banned from Dragonsfoot

I'm posting this with minimal comment. It was originally posted at the Knights and Knaves forum. Thread link is here: http://knights-n-knaves.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=14851

I have verified the contents of the PM with multiple sources with knowledge of the situation that wish to remain anonymous. I do believe this screenshot to be true (the redaction is contributor names)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Humble Bundle - Warhammer FRP 2e - Even if Just for a Buck - You NEED This!

My God! One of my favorite RPGs of all time, available for a measly buck. And if you put in 20, they include a PDF of WFRP 1e! Humble Bundle for the win!

Here's the 1 dollar:

Now for the 8 buck level:

How about 15 bucks?

Last, but certainly far from least, you add the following at the 20 dollar level:

Holy shit. I may be in gaming heaven...

Tonight is Tavern Chat - Join Us at 9 PM Eastern for Text / 930 PM for Voice

Ah, today is a beautiful day! Great news regarding Rach's health, so I'm walking on air a bit :)

Anyhow, tonight at 9 PM Eastern is Tavern Chat. We use The Tavern's Discord Channel these days, so please join us if you haven't before:


We kick off the Text Chat at 9 PM and it runs until 11 PM or later.

We kick off the Voice Chat at 930 PM and it runs until 11 PM or later.

You want topics? If you've been following the OSR this week, we'll have plenty of topics :)

Interesting (and Entertaining) look at Harmony Gold's latest Lawsuit againt BATTLETECH

Certainly not safe for work but full of bits of gaming history that was news to me. Its a fun video. Hopefully you're not too offended by excessive vulgarity ;)


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Guest Poster - R.J. Thompson wants YOU at U-Con this November!

Hi Folks. This is R.J. (Ryan) Thompson.

Most folks here probably best know me for writing the Gamers & Grognards Blog, taking over the running of Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day and/or as the current owner of the Swords & Wizardry Community on G+. Something that you might not know, is that I am also the OSR Event Coordinator for U-Con, a mid size gaming convening in Ypsilanti Michigan. We run in November every year, though the weekend varies. We are pretty close to Gamehole Con every year. This year we are running Nov. 17th-19th. Maybe you can't make Gamehole because it is a bit farther or pricier than you can manage, or maybe you would just prefer to run/play in a smaller, quieter atmosphere. Maybe, you do have the time and funds and want more convention gaming in the fall. Well, we have you covered there. Being that this is an OSR based blog, we also have you covered.

Additionally, if you are fan of Tekumel, we have an extra treat for you. Since U-Con's beginnings on the campus of U of M, we have given a home to a Tekumel specific track and pull Tekumel fans from around the world yearly. In recent years the numbers on this track have dwindled. As OSR Coordinator, I have a historical interest in growing our Tekumel track again.

I always have an interest in growing the OSR track. Last year we boasted more than 60 OSR events, including an annual roundtable panel that is always recorded and hosted on an OSR centric podcast. The first two years of this +Jim Wampler recorded us on Save or Die! Last year we were recorded by Drink, Spin, Run! The panel features the track's guest of honor and other guests. In the past this has included Jim Wampler, Bill Webb, Bill Barsh, Doug Kovacs, Brendan LaSalle and Tim Snider.

This year the OSR Track's Guests will include Doug Kovacs and Brendan LaSalle.

This year we need more GMs. Not just on the OSR and Tekumel Tracks either (though I will gladly take more events on either of those tracks.) We need GMs for Minis Games, Board Games, RPGs... the whole enchilada. So, if you want to run anything, here is a link to my own website, with all of the information that you might need!


Frank Mentzer Follows Up With The Tavernkeeper

Frank Mentzer Facebooked me via personal messages earlier today about his upcoming Kickstarter and other recent events. It was a personal conversation, but one piece in particular was pointed out by Frank to be something I could share with The Tavern's Community. It is screen shotted for authenticity below:
"A common characteristic of most Old-School sites is adherence to one specific point in the Past, generally out-of-print game systems. Very cool. Nothing wrong with that, most systems have value to many. But of all the tabletop RPG fans, the OSR buys the fewest New Products. This is fine I want to give things away... strongly preferred in these circles of course. Culturally the OSR is unique and priceless, and I applaud it. But they have chosen to be irrelevant to the current market." -FM 
I'm withholding comment until I can spend more time thinking on this, but it may very well be relevant to the recent issues over at Dragonsfoot.

Here's the source:

As I said, the rest of the conversation is private so I've only shared the piece that Frank specifically mentioned I could quote.

Monday, September 11, 2017

TSR luminary Frank Mentzer Booted from Dragonsfoot

Its been a weird couple of days over on the Dragonsfoot Forum. I wish I could explain it, but in all seriousness, I can't. I strongly suspect there were some very strongly worded PMs going back and fourth between Frank and the admin of Dragonsfoot.

We'll start with the end because sometimes stories make more sense that way. Not that this makes much sense as written:

Wow! Like, damn Wow!

So, lets follow what we can, shall we?

Not quite goodbye yet but damn close to it.

I have no words after reading the above. Or rather, I have words but I'm not sure how to put them into coherent sentences. I will say this - in June the launch date was late July. Now we'll know "by October" which doesn't mean an October launch. I'm curious as all hell but it looks like Dragonsfoot won't be a source for the info.

Obviously I should have been spending more time on Dragonsfoot.

Which leads to Frank's removal at the front of this post. Its obvious that there's more going on than meets the eye, but this is what we have. I'm withholding my opinion until there's more info to form one.

Can someone shed light on the harassment of the game designers over on Dragonsfoot? Links would be useful.

Here's another link to the thread.

edit - I left this out by mistake - not sure exactly how it fits but included for completeness:

Claiming Authorship to Something that Isn't Yours - Oh, and Wyrms Footnotes Returns!

Ever get that feeling of Deja Vu? Where you know you've seen something before but simply can't place it? Well, I'm feeling that now.

Above is an article from the ENWorld homepage. I'll link to it directly, which ENWorld seems to have an issue doing itself. Note, neither of the links in the above article go to the original article.

So, why does that look familiar?

Right. Exactly. Bet you didn't know it was a copy and paste of Michael O'Brien's original post. No link to the original post either. You MIGHT even think it was an interview conducted by ENWorld.

Same happened with +Frank Mentzer original announcement of his forthcoming KS. ENWorld's article lifted it all from Frank's Facebook post with no links or mention that it was from Facebook. (For Frank's FB feed, see here)

I do like ENWorld for the news they post, but perhaps linking to the actual sources instead of making the illusion that an interview took place would serve the community better.

Note, when I source a press release - or ENWorld or any other site, I show it as a quotation and link to the source. Should I fail to do so, please call my ass out on it.

Oh, and awesome news about Wyrms Footnotes! Can't have too much RuneQuest!

Evil Hat has Applied for the Star Frontiers Trademark

Evil Hat's application for the now abandoned Star Frontiers trademark was all over the net last week (not that I noticed). It reminds me when I found out that the TSR trademark had been snagged - it was an obvious attempt at nostalgia. Is it the same with Evil Hat?

Although the Star Frontiers rules are freely available online - and I'm not linking as I am unsure of the legalities - I'm surprised its a game that has never been cloned (to the best of my knowledge)

Could you clone a game and then use the revived trademark to reissue it?

No idea what plans Fred "Blue Haired" Hicks has planned for Star Frontiers, but it certainly makes for a fun thought experiment ;)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

James Koti Has Passed

Strange how things come back to you. When I started seeing that James Koti had passed via multiple threads on Facebook, it took me a few seconds before it clicked. I remember James from my early days exploring the OSR and then he faded off the radar. Now I understand why. Cancer is a horrible foe.

Many folks that knew James much better than I have shared their thoughts and prayers on Facebook. You can read many of them here.

His wife, Rhonda has posted the viewing arrangements, which will be this Tuesday.

Rest in peace James. You fought the good fight.

OSR Video Collection - Adventure Design Part 1: Meaningful choices in D&D (and other RPG) adventures (Matt Finch)

There are plans in the works to do much more than I'm starting to do (not my plans mind you), but I'd like to start highlighting Youtube videos (and other videos) that would be of interest to regulars of The Tavern and the OSR at large. Feel free to add links in the comments of this post.

I've shared links to +Matt Finch 's videos before, but Matt's latest kicks off a new series - Adventure Design.

Matt makes some very good points about meaningful choices when designing adventures - commercially or for your personal table. It made me feel good that I was already following most Matt's advice when I put together Beneath the Battered Dwarf Tavern.

The link to Matt's Youtube channel is here.

You can chat and / or talk about Matt's videos at the Official Frog God Games Discord Server - https://discord.gg/kXjt3J Its also the official home for Swords & Wizardry on Discord.

Looking to yap about Swords & Wizardry Light or just general OSR chat? Drop into The Tavern's Discord Server - https://discord.gg/fReGmuD

We don't bite and neither do the Frogs ;)

Deal of the Day - Tome of Adventure Design (Matt Finch / Frog God Games)

Talk about a deal! The Tome of Adventure Design is literally my go to reference when I'm looking to create a new adventure. I have it load on my desktop, my laptop, my tablet, my phone and I own two hardcovers. Yes, I really like this book - a lot!

Normally $21.00 in PDF, until 11 AM tomorrow it is on sale for $8.40
A fantasy adventure game, at its very heart, is about developing an open-ended "story" of the characters. The referee is in charge of the fantasy world, and the players direct the actions of their characters in that fantasy world. Neither the referee nor the group of players has complete control over what's going to happen, and the result is an evolving set of surprises for both the referee and the players. Unlike the players, as the referee and creator of the game world, most of your "work" is done ahead of time. To some degree or other, you have to create the groundwork for the adventure before the game starts. Even though no battle plan survives contact with the enemy - and if you're an experienced referee you know exactly what I mean - the game has to start ... with a starting point. This might just be a vague set of ideas, or it might be as complex as a set of maps with a detailed key and well thought-out encounters for the players to run into. 
The Tome of Adventure Design is organized as a series of "books," each one providing resources at every step of the way. The vast majority of the content of each book is made up of random generation tables that we created over a quarter of a century (sigh) for our own use. It shoud be said up front that these are tables for deep design - in other words, most of them are too long, and contain too many unusual or contradictory entries, for use on the spot at the gaming table. There are already many excellent books of tables for use on the fly; the tables in these books are different. They work best as a tool for preparation beforehand, providing relatively vast creative resources for browsing and gathering, rather than quick-use tables designed to provide broad, fast brushstrokes. Our shorter tables tend to deliver cryptic results designed to shock the reader's creativity into filling in the gaps, whereas the longer tables are unusably vast for easy random generation, being designed to shock the reader's creativity into operation by presenting a sea of possibilities.
Purchases made via The Tavern's affiliate links help fund the various projects The Tavern is involved with. We are on pace with the current affiliate monies raised to see a small adventure posted here at The Tavern in October. If we do hit $300 in affiliate monies for the month September I'll use the Tome of Adventure Design in the adventure writing process :)

Weekend Wonders - Haskent's Ring of Poison Survival (SWL / SWC)

Haskent's Ring of Poison Survival is considered a cursed item by some, a blessed item by others. Then there are those without an opinion, those that have put on the ring and died due to their actions.

Upon fitting the ring on one's finger, four saves vs poison must be made. Each failed save results in 1d6 poison damage (successful saves result in half damage) Should the wearer survive, they will receive a + 4 bonus to poison saves going forward (and no damage on successful saves) so long as they do not remove the ring from their finger. Should the ring be removed and worn again, the entire process must be repeated.


I'm in the process of revamping The Tavern's Patreon, but that doesn't mean I can't start posting material applicable to the revamp. Weekend Wonders will be a more or less regular feature at The Tavern, dealing with magic items and magical spells for use in Swords & Wizardry Light and / or Swords & Wizardry Complete. Some posts will find their way into the Torchlight Magazine. Others may get collected and placed on sale at OBS. All Patreon Backers will get a quarterly PDF with the prior 3 months of material. Backers at $10 or more will get it in print.

Note - The pictured ring is from the Publisher's Choice Quality Stock Art Collection Copyright Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games.

Yep, that's an affiliate link above. Rick offers some high quality stock art. Purchases made via The Tavern's affiliate links help support The Tavern

New PWYW Release - Daughter of the Dunes (Swords & Wizardry Adventure)

Silver Bulette, publisher of fine Swords & Wizardry adventures, has just released their latest - Daughter of the Dunes. Its an adventure for levels 3 to 5.

Daughter of the Dunes is a bit of sandboxing, a dash of dungeon crawling and a whole lotta TPK potential. I wonder if there are any deserts near either location my current groups are in ;)

Priced at Pay What You Want pricing, there's no reason not to add Daughter of the Dunes to your PDF gaming collection.

All purchases made via The Tavern's affiliate links add a small percentage of the purchase price to The Tavern's coffers. If things continue to trend as they are now, I may just be writing a small adventure for The Tavern's readers in October.

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

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