Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Kickstarter - Rappan Athuk: Reborn for Fifth Edition! Go down the Well! (New content for S&W and PF)

I know folks have been waiting for this and its finally here - Rappan Athuk: Reborn for Fifth Edition! Now, that's exciting for the 5e players (its an excellent megadungeon) as they get additional new content and brand new color art.

But that's not what I've been waiting on. I've been waiting on the new content for Swords & Wizardry and that will be published as its own, stand alone book. Woot! (oh, and Pathfinder too for those interested)

Just as exciting to me is ability to get the redrawn Rappan Athuk maps as JPEG files for use with VTTs.

Then there is the add on for 3D Printer Files from Fat Dragon games including the very handsome entrance to the Mouth of Doom. If you like dungeon terrain and have a 3d printer, this is huge!

I may need to kick off a new Rappan Athuk campaign for SWL this fall.

The Kickstarter has been live for 2 hours as I type this and its already passed 19k of a 30k goal. Damns!

At the moment, the Frogs are casting live on Facebook. If you drop in, tell them The Tavern sent you :)

This is How a Kickstarter Video Should Look - Rappan Athuk 5e

Rappan Athuk 5e Kickstarter launches at 9 PM Eastern tonight.

Awesome video. Just 2 minutes longnd no dirty socks ;)

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - There Might be Frogs - 9 PM Eastern

So, today is a Wednesday and tonight is a Wednesday Night, and that means Tavern Chat at 9 PM Eastern.

Likely Topics:

#ConManKen's latest hits

The Robotech Kickstarter Implosion

The Rappan Athuk 5e (with S&W expansions and VTT maps) launch at 9pm tonight (there might be some associated Frog appearances)

The re-awarding of The Tenkar's Tavern Monthly (more or less) Box of Hopefully Not Crap (greyhawk bard has until 9 pm easter tonight to claim his gift)



Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Palladium Games has Lost the Robotech License - Robotech KS Backers PISSED! (no more Palladium Robotech RPG either)

You know the saying "adding insult to injury"? Well, after all of the drama and angry backers upset with the long delay in getting Robotech Tactics Wave 2 backers their shit (and Wave 1 backers complaining about the quality of the minis / models) Palladium has LOST its license to the Robotech IP. No more Robotech Tactics and no more Robotech RPG (at lest not from Kevin and company)

Did I mention the Robotech Tactics KS took in over $1.4 MILLION?

edit: following update offers Wave 2 backers a chance for Wave 1 products, but backers have to pay for the shipping. This is product that would have to be destroyed ANYWAY!

What follows is the update explaining thing's from Kevin's side. Feel free to read the various comments on the Robotech Tactics Kickstarter comments page.

Robotech® RPG Tactics™ Announcement from Kevin Siembieda, President of Palladium Books®

When the Robotech® RPG Tactics (RRT) Kickstarter funded in May 2013, we cheered, hugged and actually danced down the halls at the Palladium office. Not just because of the amount of money raised thanks to your pledges, but because it meant the realization of our dreams for Robotech®. For Palladium Books, it signified bringing Robotech fans – ourselves among them – something new and exciting to the beloved Robotech® universe.

So it is with sadness and tremendous heartbreak that I announce that, despite our best efforts, we are unable to produce the Robotech® RPG Tactics Wave Two rewards. Moreover, after proudly carrying the legacy of Robotech® in the role-playing games medium for 30 years, our license has expired and is not being renewed.

Palladium’s Business Manager, Scott Gibbons, intended to write this post, but I thought it should come from me. I have spent the better part of a week trying to find the words to explain what happened and express to you how sorry we are that it has come to this. In the end, we decided it best to keep it simple and share with you the broad strokes of how things unfolded without getting too deep into the weeds or violating any Non-Disclosure Agreements.

When Palladium saw the opportunity to do Robotech® miniatures as game pieces, we knew the fans would love it. Even cooler, we wanted to create a whole new RPG with an emphasis on the miniatures, combat and tactics. Something different and exciting.

So, we decided to contract with another company with a good reputation and experience in all the areas where we lacked direct experience ourselves. We considered a few companies, and decided upon Ninja Division/Soda Pop Miniatures. We liked what they had to say, they were knowledgeable, enthusiastic and confident, had been working with Cool Mini or Not, Games Workshop and other top-flight companies, and had been involved in 8 or 9 successful Kickstarters. Plus, they had a hit game of their own, Super Dungeon Explore, as well as having been involved with the creation of other games. When we inquired about the company, industry people spoke very highly of them and the products they had worked on.

Ninja Division was brought on to do the heavy lifting: Build and run the Kickstarter, select the manufacturer/broker in China, choose the manufacturing process, choose the type of plastic, provide Palladium with the cost estimates, handle logistics and deal with all the ins and outs and many, many nuisances of manufacturing in China. Ninja Division was also to create the game and hire talented sculptors and artists to create the 3D sculpts, cards, design elements, packaging, and essentially create the game and the Kickstarter from the ground up, or as they liked to say in those early days, “handle 90% of everything.”

At Palladium Books, our primary role was using our extensive knowledge of the Robotech® I.P. to ensure the accuracy of the 3D sculpts, artwork, design elements, and overall look and feel of the game. Palladium provided Ninja Division’s sculptors and artists with all kinds of reference materials, artwork, model sheets, screen shots, and copious notes and communications to get it all just right. This was no small task, as there were many game pieces and most required a vast amount of our time and input to capture all the proper details we knew fans expected. We also handled the approval process with Harmony Gold.

Palladium eventually became more directly involved in the creative process in terms of developing the game rules. We brought in a long-time Palladium freelance writer, Robotech® uber-fan and game designer to assist. We approached it as if we were looking at Robotech® with fresh eyes, re-watched all of Robotech®: Macross, and set out to simulate the action, speed and power of the mecha as seen in the TV show. We used some of Ninja Division’s material as a starting point and built on it from there. Then we worked with them to help with the fine-tuning and number crunching. Ninja Division managed and oversaw the widespread play-testing, and the response from our scores of play-testers was overwhelmingly positive.

The Kickstarter was raw excitement. You know, you were part of it.

After the Kickstarter successfully funded, Palladium announced a Fall 2013 release and said that the game was 98% done, because in the minds of all of us here, it was 98% done. The rest was easy ... or so we thought. You take the 3D sculpts, do physical 3D prints, make the molds, run the plastic figures, dice and tokens, print the rule book, cards, and cartons, box it all up, shrinkwrap it, ship it to the USA, and we ship it to you and the stores. Easy, right? Wrong. But, because this is what we thought and because we were so anxious to bring the game to you and the gaming community, we advertised in print and online that the game would be a Fall 2013 release. In retrospect, we probably should have waited until RRT was on the boat heading to America; but we were excited, so we moved ahead.

Plastics and manufacturing
After delay after delay that we, like you, did not understand, we learned the problem stemmed from the fact that STL files, the 3D sculpts from the sculptors, were not compatible with the tooling process the manufacturer would be using.

The 3D sculpts we had all worked so hard on, and that Palladium had paid $35,000 for, and looked gorgeous, had to be completely recreated – from scratch – by the manufacturer. And Palladium and Ninja Division had to go through the creation, correction and approval process a second time for ALL of the Wave One and most of the Wave Two game pieces. A process that took MONTHS. Each delay compounding your frustration, and ours, as we would announce one revised release date – and miss it – after another.

Tooling is the engineering and making of the molds. The hard plastic used in Wave One was chosen to preserve the detail and crispness of the game pieces. Using that material requires expensive metal molds. Moreover, the plastic and the molds do not allow for undercuts, requiring the manufacturer to break the miniatures down into many, many pieces in order to manufacture them. Hence, the many parts required to build the miniatures.

The high cost of tooling/molds – $75,000 for what would become just the Wave One rewards – was unexpected. And that was in addition to the nearly $21,000 for the 3D file corrections and prototypes by the manufacturer.

Shipping. The next big cost increase came with the announcement that all freight carriers from UPS and FedEx to the United States Postal Service were implementing Dimensional Weight. In the recent past, a shipper paid by the pound to send a package. Then someone in the shipping industry came up with the idea that shippers of large but lightweight packages should pay by the size of the package, not just the weight. A formula based upon size (volume), not weight, was made standard so now you have to pay by “Dimensional Weight” after a certain point. And that point is not a very large package. Thus, you now pay by the actual weight or by “dimensional weight,” whichever is greater.

Dimensional Weight dramatically increased the anticipated shipping cost to backers. $131,843.74 for just Wave One. Another $9,016.80 for the boxes alone to ship your rewards in. And $76,401.20 to import Wave One from China into the USA.

Costs were soaring beyond the original cost projections. Ninja Division suggested splitting the Kickstarter rewards into two waves. We were reluctant at first, but ultimately came around to the idea.

The effort to make Wave Two
In theory, by making and releasing the Wave One products to the retail market, we could sell enough of them to produce Wave Two rewards. Even if Palladium saw little or no initial profit from it, we figured we would make up for it with later sales as the game line grew and found its place in the market. Not ideal, but it seemed like our best choice at the time.

But after the initial release of Wave One products, for a variety of reasons, including the high piece count to make each miniature and the delay of Wave Two which would have improved the gaming experience, sales stalled. And with sales stagnating, our ability to produce Wave Two stalled with it.

The Kickstarter money was gone with Wave One, but Palladium never gave up on Robotech® RPG Tactics. We explored every available option in order to secure more funding or bring in business partners and investors. We solicited multiple quotes and explored different manufacturing options and new production technologies for these potential partners. As you know, there was a period when we felt very confident Wave Two would see production and release. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we came up short. But we were so committed, even that did not stop us. We reached out to others. Even Harmony Gold and Palladium’s licensing agent tried to help us put deals together with third parties. We made a Herculean effort and did everything we could, right through this past Christmas and into the New Year, but without success.

The cost to produce Wave Two, estimated at $300,000-$400,000 for tooling and manufacturing, plus $65,000 to import to the USA, plus $120,000-$160,000 to ship rewards to the backers, was more than any potential investor was willing to risk.

Whenever anyone pledges support to a Kickstarter project, you never know if it will be successful or not. It is a gamble. This is true of any business venture. We are sincerely sorry this one fell short. We gave it our all, but that’s the rub about life and business, sometimes your all is not good enough. Sometimes you miss the mark despite your best efforts, good intentions, and the money you pour into it. I’m sorry that was the case with RRT.

What we can offer – Wave One Rewards for Wave Two
We know it is not what you expected, but we would like to offer you Wave One rewards in exchange for the unrealized Wave Two rewards – but you will have to pay for shipping. We estimate shipping to all 5,000+ backers around the world will cost $120,000-$160,000; and, at this point, Palladium Books just does not have the resources to cover that expense.

We will do our best to ship as inexpensively as possible, and we will only pass along our actual costs – with Palladium covering the cost of labor.

We will post the details about the reward exchange in the following update.

I would like to state that the people at Harmony Gold USA, Inc., have been wonderful partners to work with these many years. They went above and beyond the call of duty when it came to their assistance with trying to keep RRT alive. Our thanks to everyone involved.

My thanks and humble appreciation to everyone who supported Robotech® RPG Tactics. First and foremost, that includes you, our Kickstarter backers, followed by others who bought and loved RRT, everyone who had a direct hand in its creation, to play-testers, freelancers, Game Masters, and many, many others — far too many people to try to list. Literally, thousands of you. Thank you for sharing our dream. We tried our very best.

With Sincere Appreciation,
Kevin SiembiedaPresident, Palladium Books, Inc.

Adding Three Entries to the Free OSR Rulesets Fantasy Page - The Flying Swordsmen Searched the Unknown to find a Torch & Sword

More free fantasy rulesets for your OSR pleasure :)

Flying Swordsmen - "Flying Swordsmen is a game of fantasy martial arts, where characters use swords, fists, spells, and more to battle other martial artists and monsters, and seek out new techniques or magic to improve their martial skill."

The Searchers of the Unknown - "Searchers of the Unknown is a one-page roleplaying game where player characters are entirely defined by a minimalist old school Dungeons & Dragons one line tat block (e.g. "AC 7, MV 9, HD 2, hp 9, #AT 1, D 1d8 mace") something like monster stat blocks in early editions of D&D. All actions are based on those stats."

Torch & Sword - "What are the design priorities of Torch & Sword? Minimalism and fidelity. By establishing a minimalistic framework, give referees a scaffoldaround which to build. It’s easier to add wanted complexity than remove unwanted complexity. The ambiguities and omissions in the original three booklets are important. What is unclear or unwritten is a feature of the rules. Those gaps give referees room to make their own creative rulings. As to fidelity, Torch & Sword hews as closely to the 1974 rules as necessary to make the play experience true to the original."

Monday, February 26, 2018

#ConManKen - Assistant US Attorney Suggests Making Complaints to the FBI For Wire Fraud

You know you are blessed when an Assistant US Attorney reaches out to you with another idea to LEGALLY put pressure on #ConManKen to complete his LEGAL obligations to his backers.

Long story short, the sheer number of #ConManKen's unfinished Kickstarters suggest that #ConManKen is, in fact, engaged in fraud.

As such, I am directing #ConManKen's backers of his various Kickstarters to the following link at the FBI to file a complaint at their discretion:


The link make an FTC complaint is:


You can email me as anonymously as you want if you want at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing so we can keep a tally. 15 FTC complaints thus far.

Kickstarter - Far Away Land Tabletop Role-Playing Game

This is the Kickstarter for the Far Away Land (Revised) RPG. I've been waiting for this one since it was first hinted at months ago.

I'm a huge fan of Far Away Land. It has simple yet satisfying mechanics and amazing depth to its setting and flavor. The art? To die for.

Its the only game without direct roots to D&D that I've run since returning to gaming 10 years ago. Of, and the roots might not be direct to D&D, but the indirect roots are certainly there ;)

Back this Kickstarter. You won't be sorry if you do, but you will probably be disappointed with yourself if you don't...

What Makes Far Away Land Unique?  
Far Away Land (FAL) is a rules-lite fantasy science fiction weird gonzo lighthearted setting that incorporates simple mechanics, colorful artwork, and pop culture into a unique tabletop rpg with an old school feel. 
The Setting of the FAL Universe   
FAL is quirky, lighthearted, and highly imaginative. The color artwork, although sometimes humorous, hides a dark and malevolent world. While there are some classic fantasy tropes, much of it is unique and specific to FAL. For example, Soracans are giant floating construct heads that shoot lazers and speak dubstep. Angry telepathic nuns riding grizzly bears battle interdimensional Abraham Lincoln clones. A race of symbiotic sideburn sporting, jumpsuit wearing humanoids soar into battle atop giant three-eyed birds. Wizards and necromancers seek power and knowledge. Heroes try not to die. Villains are evil. Far Away Land is a world twisted by an ancient war. The effects of that old war and the portals it opened continue to shape the world.  
FAL Game Mechanics  
FAL uses a simple d6 mechanic. Players roll a handful of dice and take the high roll. That roll is then compared to target numbers or opposed rolls to resolve conflicts. The core of the game is basic and optional rules allow the core mechanics to be expanded as GMs and players see fit. Character creation takes only a few minutes. Combat is brutal and death is always on the horizon. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

I Plan on Doing a Bunch of 5 Minute Audio Interviews at Gary Con X

I picked up a Zoom ZH1 H1 Handy Portable Digital Recorder with the intention of seeking out members of the OSR Community (known and less known) for a series of 5 minute interviews. Now, it sounds really good in theory but 5 minutes can be really long of the conversation doesn't flow.

That's where you, The Tavern's Readers, come in. I need some general questions I can refer to get the interviews flowing. Add your questions to the comments below. Tuesday night around 9 PM Eastern I'll pick two random commenters. They'll each receive a $5 RPGNow Gift Certificate.

I'll print out the list of questions and bring it with my to Gary Con.

When I return back to New York it may go up as a special episode of the Hero's Brew podcast.

What are you waiting for? ;)

Adding an Entry to the Free OSR Rulesets Fantasy Page - 1pot

1pot - "for low level OSR style play across your game or retroclone of choice. 1pot is a collection of optional modular rules, house rules, and ideas that can bring a grittier feel to other, especially old-school style, roleplaying games - but that in itself also describes a complete simple, abbreviated and rules-lite RPG. The goal is to extend the risky, one-roll-away-from-death, feel of low level play whilst providing more interesting routes for classes progression to replace 'leveling' - to enjoy finding out what a character might become if you're smart enough to keep them alive."

Adding an Entry to the Free OSR Rulesets Fantasy Page - Sabres & Witchery

Sabres & Witchery (S&W) - "Sabres & Witchery is a role-playing game nominally set in Europe (although it could be elsewhere) from the end of the English Civil War through to approximately the Napoleonic Wars era. It is based on a set of ‘old school’ fantasy role playing rules, which itself was based on the first fantasy role-playing game."

This puts the list of Free OSR Rulesets - Fantasy at 40. Wow. Work continues on the Free Fantasy Rulesets - Other.

Thieves Guilds & Megadungeons Debate - Matt Finch & Alex Kammer - Noon Central / 1PM Eastern Today (Sunday, Jan 25th)

Two lawyers enter but only one will reign supreme! heh heh

At Noon Central / 1 PM +Matt Finch (Frog God Games) and Alex Kammer (Gamehole Con) will debate all things Thieves Guild & Megadungeonery:
Sunday at noon central, two attorney-gamers with different opinions about the two vital topics of thieves guilds and megadungeons, head to head, live. Alex Kammer has terribly wrong opinions on thieves guilds (he thinks they don't make sense) and megadungeons (he's against them in some way). 
Abuse then both in Live Chat ;)

Adding an Entry to the Free OSR Rulesets Fantasy Page - Swords & Six-Siders

Adding an entry to the Free OSR Rulesets - Fantasy Page:

Swords & Six-Siders - Swords & Six-Siders (S&SS) is an ultra rules-lite fantasy roleplaying game inspired by the earliest of tabletop RPGs (0E, BX, and T&T). Unlike typical OSR (Old School Renaissance) games, it relies on a single six-sided die (1d6). It is great for both new roleplayers and old-schoolers alike who are looking to get more gaming done in less time.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

There is Video Review of Swords & Wizardry Continual Light at RPG Crawler's Youtube Channel

This review went up in early January and I had no clue. Long story short - he gets it :)

The video comes in at 12 minutes - its worth the time to watch.

Bits & Pieces - Updates, Kickstarters, Oh My!

Real quick roundup of recent news and events:

The Midderlands Expanded Kickstarter has hit its funding goal with 28 hours left in the funding period and there was great rejoicing. Woot!

The Rappan Athuk 5e Kickstarter is right around the corner. For the OSR it means new content and VTT maps. More info when I have - literally - more info to share.

Gary Con is in 2 weeks. And yes, I'm running some Rappan Athuk - with Swords & Wizardry, of course ;)

Mentioning Swords & Wizardry...  Swords &Wizardry Continual Light is knocking on nearly 1,100 copies sold between print and PDF. I should have a small handful of print copies available at Gary Con, maybe 10 copies. Will sign upon request.

The Tavern's Discord Server has over 375 members. Live chat with other OSR fans is 24/7.   https://discord.gg/fReGmuD

Can you believe I've still got lingering congestion from last month's upper respiratory infection?

I picked up the Rocketsmart Notebook Set last night to see if it works as well for drawing maps as I think it will. Pricing is today only. Should receive my set sometime mid week. No affiliate link, just a good deal if such stuff interests you.

Think I'll stay home and assemble bookcase shelving today. Sinus headache has spoken. Well, that and rain. Which is probably not helping with the sinus headache.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Kickstater - DCC RPG compatible adventure: Greenwood of the Fey Sovereign

Some of my favorite DCC RPG adventures are the Zero-Level funnels. Greenwood of the Fey Sovereign looks like a fun little funnel at the right price - 7 bucks for the PDF, 10 bucks for the Print copy and 15 for Print plus PDF.

I love the art...

Funding goal was $500 and its already surpassed $2500.

Soft Announcement - Sometime in Late March, The Tavern Will begin Hosting Monthly Introductory OSR Sessions

Its a soft announcement because I don't have a set date for the first session yet, but starting sometime in the last half of March I plan to start running a more or less monthly session of Swords & Wizardry Light aimed at players new to the OSR and lapsed gamers. All will be welcome, so don't let experience with the OSR turn you away.

The topic arose on The Tavern's Discord sever and it simply makes sense - there should be an avenue for players new to the OSR to get their feet wet.
was brought up in

Plan is to use Discord for voice. Roll20 will probably be used for the Virtual Table Top - or perhaps no VTT. We MAY record the voice from the Discord channel and post it as a podcast for others to listen to. Haven't decided yet.

If you are interested in joining us, I suggest joining the Swords & Wizardry Legion on Facebook and request your free Swords & Wizardry Folder, which will include a print copy of the Swords & Wizardry Light rules (among other goodies)

First session will probably be in the evening (NYC time) but I'm open for afternoons / mornings if there is enough interest.

More as we get closer to D-Day ;)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Announcing the Receiver of the Tenkar's Tavern Monthly (more or less) Box of Hopefully Not Crap for the Month of February

Last night during Tavern Chat we let The Bot roll the virtual dice to decide who would be gifted with The Tenkar's Tavern Monthly (more or less) Box of Hopefully Not Crap for the Month of February.

GreyhawkBard, you are the lucky one! Email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing and we'll get this sent out to you. We need you to respond before next Wednesday's Tavern Chat. If we don't hear from your before then, we'll pick a new person to receive the box of hopefully not crap ;)

Kickstarter - The Midderlands Expanded (OSR Setting)

Just a quick reminder for folks that are interested in The Midderlands Expanded Kickstarter - you have three days left to back it if you haven't yet.

I have the original Midderlands and its probably one of the, if not "the", best setting books I've come across in nearly 40 years of gaming. +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) and team did some amazing work and I'm expecting more of the same from The Midderlands Expanded.

Don't believe me? How about believing +Matt Finch :
“[The Midderlands] as a small area campaign supplement is the best I’ve ever seen, displacing Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor First Fantasy Campaign area, which up until now -- and that’s decades -- has been my favorite one.” - Matt Finch (Creator of Swords & Wizardry).
What is going to be in the new 'The Midderlands Expanded' book?

  • 50+ pages of content previously released in The Midderlands Additions, and The Midderlands Additions II, but as part of a glorious, high specification, hardback format.
  • Approx. 170 pages of new, previously unseen content.
  • More awesome artwork.
  • More locations.
  • More items.
  • More spells.
  • More flora and fauna.
  • More monsters.
  • More classes.
  • More adventure hooks.
  • More adventure.
  • More discovery.
  • More green-hued, dark-fantasy weirdness.
'Nuff said ;)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern - Let's See Who gets the Box of Hopefully Not Crap

Yep, its a Wednesday and that means tonight is a Tavern Chat, where various and sundry members of the OSR gather to "chew the shit" and have what has been called "an amazingly entertaining live podcast that we are very grateful is NOT recorded" ;)

Anyhow, here's the link:  https://discord.gg/fReGmuD

Tonight at 9:30ish, I'll be announcing the receiver of the Tenkar's Tavern Monthly (more or less) Gift Box of What I Hope is Not all Crap Giveaway - you can still comment on the original post until 9 PM tonight.

See you tonight :)

PS - no need to be present to be gifted - we'll announce on the blogside later tonight :)

Petition to Make Aerdy (The World of Greyhawk) Great Again

Our very own +Joseph Bloch (aka The Greyhawk Grognard) has started a petition to have WotC officially support the World of Greyhawk with the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition rules.

Personally, I'd love to see some new Greyhawk material :)

You can sign the petition at:


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bundle of Holding - Dragon Age & Fantasy Age

I bought the 1st Dragon Age Boxed Set when it released and I was impressed. It had flavor and a system I could grok. Later, Green Ronin removed the video game's IP and released Fantasy Age. Both are part of the Dragon Age & Fantasy Age Bundle.

For 10 bucks you get what is effectively a Fantasy Age starter set. For a hair over $24 you get Dragon Age and Titansgrave as well as some other material.

I'm in for at least Fantasy Age but I never followed up with the later Dragon Age releases. Hmmm... decisions, decisions.

Update - Up the River with #ConManKen - 8 Confirmed FTC Complaints Filed

As detailed in a prior post here at The Tavern, backers of the KotDT: LAS Kickstarter are able to file FTC complaints against Ken Whitman in regards to the KS.

We currently have 8 confirmed complaints against #ConManKen and probably more that haven't notified me of their complaints (so I'm unable to ensure I'm tracking the total number)

I am unable to find contact information for the woman from Atlanta that Ken fleeced for tens of thousands of dollars. If anyone has her contact info, please suggest she make a complaint at the link below:


Monday, February 19, 2018

Kickstarter - Tabletop Tokens: Premium Plastic Tokens for Tabletop RPGs

This is one of those Kickstarter projects where I say to myself - "how come no one thought of this before?" Its basically Colorforms for Tabletop RPGs.

Tabletop Tokens - Colorforms for adults!  (they can pay me later for that witty catchphrase ;)

None of the initial sets really strike me as something I need, but a Dungeon Trappings set would be awesome!

Its funded with 22 days to go.

Heck, I might still be tempted if the right sets get added as stretch goals...

Deal of the Day - Umerican Survival Guide, Chase cover (DCC)

Today's RPGNow Deal of the Day is the Umerican Survival Guide, Chase cover for the DCC RPG. Normally $9.99 in PDF, its on sale for $5.20 until tomorrow morning (Print plus PDF versions are also discounted by 3 bucks)
A Gonzo Post-Apocalyptic Campaign Setting and Sourcebook based on the articles of Crawling Under a Broken Moon 
Within this irradiated tome you will find: 
  • A dozen new or revised character class options, nine of which are unique to Umerica: Clerics of the Wasteland, The Cyborg, Feral Urchin, Fossiorian, Grays, Mutant, Petrol Head, Robot, Scavenger, Technologist, Wasteland Warrior, Wizard of the Wasteland.
  • New piecemeal armor system that incorporates damage resistance, ablatives, and armor degradation
  • An extensive, revised mutation system usable by all characters and creatures
  • An expanded vehicular creation and combat system for all of your petrolhead needs
  • A pantheon of Umerican Gods and Patrons, old and new
  • A comprehensive section on the Citadel of Scrap, a good campaign starting point for exploring Umerica
  • Dozens of random tables covering aspects of everyday wasteland life, finding salvage, and adventure creation plus much, much more!
  • All fully compatible with the Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game from Goodman Games.
That's and affiliate link above. Help keep the lights on at The Tavern :)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Kickstarter - Vagabonds of Dyfed RPG: OSR meets PbtA

"An unholy union between OSR principles and PbtA mechanics. A modern take on fantasy rpgs compatible with the classics."

Let me state this up front - I am not a fan of Apocalypse World. That being said, I am intrigued by the potential hybridization of OSR rules with Apoc World or Dungeon World promised by Vagabonds of Dyfed.
Our design goals were simple: make a game that's mechanically compatible with OSR retroclones (and their mountains of content) while leveraging the compact but non-binary PbtA system.
  • A single PbtA "move" core: 2d6 + mod, tiered results
  • Player-generated character traits instead of predefined playbooks or attributes
  • High character lethality
  • Strong GM authority
So yeah, intriguing.

How 2d6 as the core resolution check will be "mechanically compatible with OSR retroclones" should be interesting to see.

Heck, you can even download a draft of the rules now.

There is only one backer level:

Goal of $4k. Its at $4,500 with 17 days to go. Not too shabby. For 10 bucks I'll roll 2d6...

As per the Gygax Memorial Fund 2016 Federal Tax Return - Memorial to be Completed by May 25, 2018

Thanks to a Tavern Reader, I was pointed to the Gygax Memorial Fund's 2016 Federal Return, which was filed on May 25th, 2017.

The first thing that stood out to me is that the Fund raised a whole 10 bucks in 2016. That takes some special effort to have that little a return. The Fund spent over $3,300 over the same period.

But what really stood out was the Schedule O page.

Isn't that exciting? The Memorial will be completed by May 25th of this year! Just over 3 months away. I need to get my plane tickets and a hotel.

BTW, the 2015 return promised the memorial in 2 years and the 2014 promised it in 5 years. They should have stuck to the initial time frame.

Oh, notice objective "E" above? The Fund was founded in 2010. They STILL haven't started a scholarship?

Like previous years, the Fund has accomplished nothing and keeps losing money.

Another year without even minimal interest being earned. 1% interest would have covered half the expenses - and would have returned over 200 times what their fundraising did. I can see why they haven't uploaded this return to the GMF website - its embarrassing.

For those playing along at home, the year end balance of the GMF since its inception. (note - most recent tax return back to the Fund's first tax return)

2016    $213, 713

2015    $217, 042

2014    $220, 449

2013    $222,165

2012    $129,162

2011        $9,774

2010       $7,232

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Announcing the Tenkar's Tavern Monthly (more or less) Gift Box of What I Hope is Not all Crap Giveaway

So, thanks to various monthly crates, boxes, grab bags, Kickstarters and the like I have a shit ton of duplicates. Without a local gaming group to bleed off the overflow (and with a reorganization of my gaming collection revealing more of an overlap than i expected) I need to give some of this away.

Thus the announcement of the Tenkar's Tavern Monthly Gift Box of What I Hope is Not all Crap Giveaway.

What is that exactly?

Basically I stuff a Priority Mail box full of gaming shit, new and old. Some may be $100 game books, others old Judges Guild stuff, some Frog God adventures, maybe some 4e and Pathfinder, comics, cards, dice and more - listen - I need to clear space and this is what we are doing. 'Nuff said ;)

How do you get in the running for such a gift of goodness? Comment on this post by 8:59 PM Eastern time FEBRUARY 21st, 2018 (i left the date out). I'll announce the recipient on Tavern Chat around 9:30 PM Wednesday Night, February 21st, 2018. Note, I'm only shipping within the United States. Sorry, but I'm covering shipping and the goodies and International shipping is ridiculous.

I'll do this monthly so long as there are gifts to gift...

Gygax Memorial Fund - Alex Gygax Was Added to the Board in August... or Was He? (Oh, and other observations...)

So, back on August 17, 2017, the Gygax Memorial Fund announced that Alex Gygax was joining the Fund's Board of Director. You can see it announced here:

As you can see from the first screenshot, he STILL hasn't been added to the listing of the members of the board. Which says a lot about the lack of professionalism with how the GMF Page is maintained. Great way to encourage people to donate when you show you just don't care enough to update what is effectively (or ineffectively) your sales page.

So, Alex is going to help design the memorial? I guess this designed got shelved?

Are we no longer using the guy who made the Fonz statue for the memorial?

Where's the 2016 tax return? The 2015 return was posted in June of 2016. Shouldn't the Fund be filing its 2017 taxes soon? And about that audit that was promised back in 2016... wasn't that supposed to be publicly shared by now? Is the audit why we have no posting of the 2016 return? (and no, deleting posts from Facebook does NOT mean it wasn't promised - remember, we screenshot EVERYTHING)

At least they don't charge extra for "Gamer Size". I was scratching my head as to why they would include 2 #2 pencils until it was pointed out to be that The Trust probably wanted to get the Gygax Trademark on writing implements. I wonder if the Fund is paying a licensing fee to The Trust? Well, its a good way to preempt #ConManKen ;)

Gary Con is in less that three weeks...

Friday, February 16, 2018

Filing an FTC Complaint Against #ConManKen? I'd like to Keep a Tally

As the saying goes, there is strength in numbers.

Yesterday, we posted how backers of the KotDT:LAS Kickstarter could file FTC complaints against Ken Whitman as he is now legally required to refund backers. I would like to keep a tally of such complaints as they WILL result in a criminal investigation of #ConManKen.

Just to make things simple, here's the link again:


If you would be so kind as to email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that Gmail thing with "ConManKen" in the subject of the email we can get the list going.

All I ask is for your first name / pen name and backer level for tracking. I'll post a running tally as to the number of complaints made and total backer dollars of the complaints on one of The Tavern's sidebars.

There are 9 backers of $1k or more on KotDT, including one $5k+ pledge. If you can't get what you backed for in the past you can help Kenny to three hots and a cot in the future...

Edit: Kenny, just so you know. THIS is how you get legitimate federal charges filed. Not threats of imaginary FBI agents waiting at someone's door for Coffee & Donuts to investigate laws that you either made up or fail to understand. You REALLY should never have made those threats Kenny, because the threats themselves are a violation of federal law. Oh, and they pissed me off. Yes they did.

2nd Edit: No, you don't own the copyright to the above image.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

#ConManKen in Breach of Contract? Say It Ain't So!

It always a happy time to watch Ken Whitman's worst enemy be none other than... Ken Whitman!

So, let's recap, shall we?

Ken's license with KenzerCo expired at the end of 2017. Ken never met his obligations to KenzerCo over KotDT: LAS before the contract expired. How did this happen? Blame Ken.

Now, since Ken can no longer fulfill his obligations, he is ALSO in violation of Kickstarter's Terms of Service:

Quoting +Bob Brinkman 's comment at:
But, since the license has expired and Ken is no longer capable of achieving the KS, the KS terms of service do kick in at this point. 
“Yes. Kickstarter’s Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill. (This is what creators see before they launch.) We crafted these terms to create a legal requirement for creators to follow through on their projects, and to give backers a recourse if they don’t. We hope that backers will consider using this provision only in cases where they feel that a creator has not made a good faith effort to complete the project and fulfill.” 
As Ken cannot legally fulfill this particular KS project because of the expiration of the license, he needs to either issue refunds or be prepared to face possible litigation. 
Granted, most of this falls into the “small claims” category (unless there is a class action) and, in most cases, it probably isn’t worth the filing cost. But, if d20 entertainment was a single owner corp, things like corporate veil or even the protections of an LLC would likely not apply so there is a possibility of a judgement going after any and all assets of Ken’s. 
It also opens the door for criminal fraud investigation on this particular issue (which could constitute wire fraud). Where such an investigation would lead is another matter entirely but, now that Ken has no further protections on the matter of this kickstarter I’d say he should get AWFULLY helpful really quickly.
But wait! There's more!
With the expiration of his license, Ken can no longer legally fulfill the Kickstarter. With that in mind, it is time for people to start filing legal complaints if he doesn't start issuing refunds. 
The below link will take people to the FTC site so that they may report Ken to the FTC. Enough people report him and a criminal investigation will get rolling. 
Now, remember, D20 Entertainment never existed. Ken never registered the LLC anywhere. So, who is left holding the bag? Ken.

Yep. Congrats Kenny-boy! You've covered yourself in shit.

Kickstarter - The Princess Bride RPG (Powered by FUDGE)

I really don't know what to make of The Princess Bride RPG. While it was a fun movie (with a cult like following) it was never as big a deal to me (as a movie) that it was, and is, to some in my social circles.

The fact that it is powered by FUDGE (I stumbled across the rules in 96 or 97, they were first released in 93) isn't a selling point to me. Sure, the rules creator is also the one behind the Kickstarter, but that still doesn't do much for me.

Thankfully, there is a 48 page, professionally laid out quickstart of The Princess Bride rules for those that want to try before they buy, which might be wise as the low end buy-in for this 250 plus page KS ain't cheap:

$25 for the PDF is cost prohibitive in my opinion, especially when the Print plus PDF plus physical map is $50.

FAUX Leather book plus digital plus FUDGE dice plus map is $85 and a wooden box that adds Grampa Tokens is $200.

Goal is $45k and its at about half of goal in 2 days, which isn't half bad.

For those that are part of "the following" its the game they've all been waiting for. For me? Eh...

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern - I Expect I'll Be Late, Let Yourselves In ;)

Today is St Valentine's Day (as well as Ash Wednesday) and its a Wednesday, so tonight is Tavern Chat.

When? 9 PM Eastern

Where? The Tavern's Discord Server

What? Voice and text chat. Feel free to lurk.

Who? Random (and not so random) members of the OSR.


Rach is taking me to dinner at our main courting place back in the day. You guessed it, our local pub ;)

I may be a little late. Don't wait for me. The doors are unlocked. Remember, The Tavern is a BYOB establishment...

#ConManKen Responds to the Release of KotDT:LAS - But NOT at The Tavern (Cowards Gotta Hide when they Lie)

Ah, sweet hell. We all knew #ConManKen wouldn't be able to stop himself from trying to spin the release of Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series, which was released no thanks to him, into something he could take credit for in addition to casting blame at others. Classic Kenny.

His response is NOT where one might expect. Its through the A Walk in the Dark blog, which offered Ken a venue when he turned down your local bartender - wait, I mean Poo Poo Face. Ah well.

I'd suggest you leave your thoughts at both A Walk in the Dark and here. 'Cause you wouldn't want Kenny to miss a single word.

Sad thing is, Kenny lies so much he can no longer keep is lies straight. I almost pity the self diagnosed CTE sufferer. Almost.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Frank Mentzer Announces a New Game

Quietly, almost under the radar, Frank Mentzer announced a new game he his working on. I'm not going to copy Frank's posts whole cloth, just the relevant pieces (read the full Facebook posting of Frank's from today at this link and last week's posting)
Human nature produces competition everywhere. (Road rage, Food arguments, Sneaker theft, et alii). But whenever you Win, somebody else Loses. 
Can we transcend that and still find happiness?
In any role game you start with a character. But --
If you have stats, that produces competition for better stats.
If you have equipment, you compete for better stuff.
If you have combat to the death, that's the ultimate competition.
Can you leave all those out and still have fun? 
> Can a successful form of group entertainment focus on group cooperation and actively deemphasize competition?

In FTG*, play the role of a character in a medieval world with magic and monsters. 
Use the unique game mechanics to resolve events.
But spend less time on details and more on people. They're more fun.
Fairy Tale Games* Debut tour, this year at the cons. 
and from last week's posting:
Fairy Tale Games (FTG)* 
I created a new game system.
It's about storytelling, not combat.
It's for cooperation, not competition.
(Apologies to gamers who maximize your PCs and love the long, intricate combats. This isn't for you.) 
Your character is normal, not a superhero or wizard.
But you have special talents.
Your actions will develop new talents.
You can change the adventure to use your new abilities.
Compare and combine all your talents to get the best results for the whole group. 
* More to come this year at FairyTale.games and FairyTaleGames.net (currently under construction)
*Fairy Tale Games and FTG are trade marks of Loxley inc. Copyright 2017 Loxley inc. All Rights Reserved.
Not quite sure what to make of all this myself, but interesting none the less.

KotDT:LAS to Release to Backers - Ken Whitman NOT Involved - Scream Heard Around the World! ;)

Holy shit!

I knew stuff was in the works and I'm thrilled to see its official. Knights of the Dinner Table" Live Action Series will be making it into the hands of backers DESPITE the best efforts of #ConManKen. Gee Kenny, what's that I hear? A loss of a position of posturing power has lead to tears? Awww! I'm so sorry. Here, let Poo Poo Face wipe your eyes with some sandpaper. Oh, don't forget you are still on the hook for all those rewards...

You can read Jolly's Facebook Post and comments at this link.

Jolly Blackburn
1 hr · Waukegan, IL
Hey folks, I've been hinting for several weeks that some good news for KODTLAS backers was coming. Today the good news finally hit.

I'll just run the statement from Ben Dobyns (Zombie Orpheus Entertainment) we are running in Knights of the Dinner Table #252 below - but to quickly summarize, thanks to Ben the three episodes of KODTLAS are finally going to get in the hands of the backers who paid for them. More details coming. If you backed this project, check your email for information from backerkit on how to proceed.

Very stoked about this. To be very clear, Ken Whitman did not participate or help in this development. Ben Dobyns invested his own time and talents in making this happen. I want to personally thank him and Zombie Orpheus Entertainment for doing stepping in and stepping for backers making this happen. More details to follow but here is Ben's statement...

PS: I want to thank David Scott Kenzer for signing off on this.

<<Hello to the backers of Knights of the Dinner Table: The Live Action Series – My name is Ben Dobyns (CEO of Zombie Orpheus Entertainment, producer of The Gamers and JourneyQuest, etc) and with Kenzer and Company's permission and encouragement I've managed to cobble together complete edits of the three original Kickstarter-funded KODT episodes.
I used a combination of the incomplete footage on the original hard drive that Ken Whitman sent, low-resolution rough cuts from Jolly Blackburn's Dropbox, and any other resources that I could find. It's not perfect—and it probably never will be—but it's better than nothing.
With the original Kickstarter creator apparently permanently out of the picture, Kenzer and Company and I discussed whether it would be possible to at least let backers see the film project they paid for.
I reached out to BackerKit and, thanks to major technical support from their team, we were able to build a pledge fulfillment survey for all of the original KODT:LAS backers. Those surveys will soon be going out to backers!
So, if you're a backer, here's what that means: You'll be able to fill out your BackerKit survey. Then you'll receive a download of KODT:LAS -- The Reconstructed Edition
And optionally, you can order a DVD (at cost) from our print-on-demand partner
YES, it's not a complete Kickstarter fulfillment, we all get that. I don't have the funds (or responsibility) to print up all of the rewards that the original creator (Ken) promised. But I can at least give you a version of the movie.
This has been a labor of love. I'm not making any money from it. Kenzer and Company isn't making any money from it. We just want you to have a copy of the series that you paid for.
Thanks for your understanding and patience, thanks to KenzerCo for allowing this, thanks to Zombie Orpheus for hosting the resources for fulfillment, and thanks to all of you for being loyal KODT fans.
Ben Dobyns
CEO & Exec. Producer
Zombie Orpheus Entertainment>>

And here's my statement which runs along side the new issue coming out next week...

<<Four years ago this month, 795 backers raised almost $70,000 to crowd fun a live action, Knights of the Dinner Table movie. Low budget to be sure, but the cast was amazing, a script was delivered and creative control was in the hands of the KODT D-team and for everyone involved it looked to be a fun project.

Then — as most of you know, the troubles began.
I won’t retread the sad details here other to summarize that the project creator (and the man who had sole acess to the funds) failed to uphold his part of the equation and effectively abandoned the project and went silent.

Which is doubly sad since everyone else involved DID do their part. The script was delivered. The actors and crew showed up. And three episodes of KODTLAS were filmed. All that was left to do was for Ken Whtiman to edit the footage and deliver the finished DVD to backers.
Obviously they never happened.
Enter Ben Dobyns.

Ben of ZOE (Zombie Orpheous Entertainment) took it upon himself to try and salvage something from the project for those who put up their hard earned money.

You can read the detail in Ben’s release below, but basically he cobbled together the footage of KODTLAS and manged to pull together, “A best possible cut with what we have” edition.

So the good news is, if you backed the project you can finally see all three episodes. I want to thank, Ben and ZOE for their hardwork and efforts on this front. It wasn’t THEIR problem. It wasn’t their project.
I’m extremely grateful that KODT fans will finally be able to see the hard work the actors, crew and backers put in to this. They deserved better than how they were treated by the project manager. Thanks, Ben.

Jolly R. Blackburn
January 18, 2018>>

Bundle of Holding - Traveller: The New Era

My memories of Traveller: The New Era are mostly of the support material. By the time I was looking at it - late 90s - I was no longer actively gaming, and that meant I got my gaming itch scratched by reading gaming material. TNE was much of that reading.

Of course, in the intervening years, I've put most of that material into storage, so I find the current bundle highly tempting.

15 bucks is the basic buy in for Traveller: The New Era and a hair over 25 gets you the additional material. I've never run the system, so really, I can't speak on that, but the source material was a fun read.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The "Free OSR Rulesets - SciFi" Page is Done - For Now

Alright, The "Free OSR Rulesets - SciFi" Page is ready for prime time. There's only eight rulesets listed (compared to thirty or so for Fantasy) and I'm sure I'm missing some - feel free to link or mention in the comments other candidates to add to the page.

Moving on the the "Other" category next. That will be longer than SciFi I expect.

And yes, still need to add a few to the Fantasy page.

Quick Update - Added Three More Rulesets to the Free OSR Rulesets - Fantasy Page

I added three more rulesets to the Free OSR Rulesets - Fantasy page today.

They are Iron Falcon (an OD&D clone), OpenQuest Basic (a RuneQuest clone) and d6 Fantasy (fantasy rules using the West End Games Star Wars Engine)

Later today I'll be addressing the SciFi page.


Deal of the Day - Apes Victorious (Planet of the Apes / Labyrinth Lord)

Today's RPGNow Deal of the Day is Apes Victorious from Goblinoid Games. Normally $4.97 $3.73 (I believe this is stacking with a current site-wide sale) it is currently on sale in PDF for $2.24.
Apes Victorious is a roleplaying game in which you take the role of an astronaut from the 1970’s who finds himself marooned on a future Earth ruled by intelligent apes. Players may also take the role of an ape, a degenerated human, or a psi-active underdweller. Fight to survive in this post-apocalyptic future ruled by four species of apes. Or play apes who hunt humans for sport. For a different kind of campaign, play highly intelligent but insane underdwellers who have advanced technology and powerful psi powers. 
This book contains:
  • A complete game
  • A post-nuclear apocalyptic setting in which apes have become the dominant species
  • Seven player classes
  • Animals and creatures of the post-nuclear future
  • Campaign advice
  • A complete introductory adventure
  • Conversion notes for compatible games including: Labyrinth Lord, Mutant Future, Starships & Spacemen

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Map - From the Summer of 83?

I remember in my High School years I tried something different with my dungeon maps. I had read some article, likely in Dragon magazine, about the importance of "dungeon dressing." Sounds, trinkets, writings on walls and such.

It looks like I went overboard on this map, but at least I used colored pens to keep it all straight. Actually, judging from the colors I used, it looks like it was one of those 3 in 1 pens ;)

Hey, at least I wasn't filling every square of graph paper with walls and floors... heh.

Damn, I loved my irregularly shaped rooms too, didn't I?

Responding to a Suggestion - Why I Won't be Reviewing or Rating the Free OSR Rulesets - However...

I was sent an email suggesting I add small reviews (as time permits) and ratings of the Free Fantasy OSR Rulesets that I'm linking here at The Tavern.

Ain't going to happen.

First, it is WAY too time consuming for me to even attempt. Believe it or not, there are other constraints on my time beyond maintaining and updating The Tavern. Just sayin'  ;)

Second, I have my own biases. Obviously I'm a huge Swords & Wizardry fan. I don't think we need to see me comparing other rulesets to S&W. Not saying I would intentionally, but I'd fear it might happen.

Third, this is your job, and by you, I mean other Old School Bloggers. Review one of these rulesets and send me the link to your post and I'll link it from the listing page. Sure, I'm getting you to share some of the workload but its what being part of a community is all about. Oh, and if you already have done some applicable reviews, send me the links.

Feel free to link to the lists as they go live. Heck, host them on your own site if you prefer. Even swap out my affiliate links for yours if you want (if you do host on your own site, just credit the "Tenkar's Tavern Community" for compiling the lists if you would be so kind) The more use the lists gets, the more value they have not just to publishers but the community as a whole.

I've already put together a short list of updates I need to make to the Free Fantasy OSR Rulesets list before moving onto SciFi.

Alright, on to household chores for now...

PS - If someone has a better suggestion for "buttons" than what I'm using, feel free to suggest. I'm all ears.

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