Saturday, March 31, 2018

Last Gasp of the Palladium Robotech RPG - Once its Gone its Gone (Unless your FLGS Has it in Stock)

Well, today is either the last day or tomorrow is, depending on the sentence:

Seems like Kevin can't get his hype right.

I'm guessing The Macross Saga Sourcebook is somehow in great demand and will sell out at 20% off while the other books are 50 to 60%. Right...

Oh, and there is still a ton of Robotech Tactics Minis just waiting for a new home:

Did I mention the email doesn't link to the Palladium webstore?

It does link to DriveThruRPG though.

Not linking to either ;)

Kickstarter - The Living Dead: Table Top RPG (Just Like D&D...)

First, let's be clear - there is no way on God's green earth that The Living Dead: Table Top RPG Kickstarter will fund. Now that we have that out of the way, let's use this as a force for good - what NOT to do when setting up your first Kickstarter.

Video - I know everyone says you need a video. That isn't true, especially if your presentation is boring. If all you are going to give us is a talking head, don't do it.

D&D - Don't mention "it" by name, just use the edition. This applies especially to project names and the project pitch:

Need to add - understand the OGL if you are going to go that route.

Preparedness - Have something written. Have an art sample. Edit your  Kickstarter copy for God's sake. This does not cut it as it tells nothing about the setting. Isn/t Walking / Living / Listing Dead all about the setting?

"The game takes place in modern society as the world has fallen to the dead. The cause is unknown and the military has disappeared.Similar to D&D 5e."

"There are currently 7 classes, 25+ backgrounds, companions, details on how to build a safe haven, how to turn your safe haven into a major faction. Vehicles in the land air and sea variety. Zombies currently just slow walking zombies (plan on adding verity as an option). Hunger, thirst, and Humanity system. Feats that are special combat abilities. Large selection of guns,and melee weapons (plan to expand it more) Special ammo such as Armour piercing and incendiary rounds, gun attachments such as suppressors, and fore grips (plan to expand even further) guns (not all) have firing modes for single, burst, and automatic, cover system for combat. apocalypse stages system and infection."

Risks - The risks with this project are not the ones spelled out in the "Risks" section: "The risks are not getting things done on time witch is why the current date is set to end of 2020. That is not the planed date a timeline will be shown once the goal is reached. Those are there for worst case scenarios. It also is to make a game that fans of D&D can enjoy. As a guy who recently has just recently come to light of this world I will need play testers to help me balance it. I'm merely one man and I can't find very error or fluke on my own. "

I see risks associated with how the "risks" are detailed.

Pricing: This is a two-pronged situation - You need to set your pledge levels at a point that you entice backers while still making some money from each pledge AND you need to set a funding goal that raises enough money to go forward while still being attainable.

$25 for early access to the rules - basically, you're playing to playtest.

$50 for a special thank you in the book - and the playtest rules.

$75 to create a faction or background, plus the special thanks and playtest. Actually, as written, background backers also get to create a faction.

$100 to get a copy of the book "and all previous award". Doesn't mention if that is a physical copy or not.

That's asking for a sizable investment from potential backers with little given back in return.

Good thing the funding goal is $10k.

Before anyone complains that I'm "picking on a kid", he's 19 and studying Criminology. He can vote. Hopefully, he doesn't ;)

Thoughts on Adding Some Meat to Swords & Wizardry Monstrosities

Last night as +James Spahn and I were talking about things related to Swords & Wizardry it suddenly struck me - each entry for Swords & Wizardry Monstrosities (currently only in PDF at the FGG store) has an event or encounter linked to it. What if we (James & I) were to do a regular posting (weekly? bi-weekly?) expanding upon some of those encounters, turning a "one and done" to a full night's adventuring?

Yeah, I get ideas like that on occasions.

The great thing about the Monstrosities book is that the content is 100% OGL, including the encounters.

It is in the brainstorming process thus far. No idea when the first post will come, but if you have ideas for creatures you'd like to see in the mix, drop a comment below and we'll see what we can do.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Humble Bundle Book Bundle: Tales From the Worlds of Warhammer

I've always enjoyed Warhammer and Warhammer 40k fiction, and I'm just now realizing its been a few years since I've delved into such. Looks like I have some catching up to do with the Humble Bundle Book Bundle: Tales From the Worlds of Warhammer. Even if you just grab the 1 buck level, its a heck of a lot of reading.

Yep, I'll be loading these up on my Kindle Oasis.

Yep, that's an affiliate link above (and below). Your purchases made through The Tavern's affiliate links help generate some revenue and keep the taps flowing.

As a bonus, even if you aren't looking to read any of the above, Humble Bundle is giving away a free game:

Use the link below - its good for 24 hours from the time I post this:


Kickstarter - Rappan Athuk for 5e $160k Stretch Goal Revealed - Go Down The Well and Make Me a Jolly Grip!

Ah, fun times:
As stated earlier in an update the $160,00 Stretch Goal is.. 
Mystery Stretch Goal from Bill Webb free for everyone who gets a physical copy of the book- including the softcover Pathfinder & Swords & Wizardry updates. We will keep you postered on the reward as it gets closer ;) 
Well, we can now reveal that it is... 
A handsome 2-panel color poster folded for proper placement inside your books. All backers receiving a physical book in their pledge get the Poster free. Oh, yeah a free high-resolution PDF of the same is available for FREE to all backers of $5 or more.
Ah, to be a "Jolly grip" has been a lifelong dream. WTF is a "Jolly grip" anyway?

 Rappan Athuk: Reborn for Fifth Edition! Go down the Well!

9 hours left and almost at the $160k stretch goal...

News - Announcing the Wilderlands of High Fantasy Revised Editions

Note, this was originally shared at The Bat in the Attic blog and the City State of the Invincible Kickstarter by +Rob Conley . Shared with permission - Tenkar

Wilderlands of High Fantasy Announcement 

In November I promised to revisit the issue of the Wilderlands maps if nothing has been released by March for the Judges Guild's City State of the Invincible Overlord Kickstarter. I was able to work out a publishing agreement with Robert Blesdaw II to release the 18 maps I drew for the kickstarter project. In addition, I am permitted to publish a series of revised guidebooks to accompany the maps.

Each guidebook will be around 20 to 32 pages and will contain the original listings edited for known errata and corrections. To avoid the issues of cost that accompanied other releases of Wilderlands of High Fantasy, I am following the pattern of the original releases.

The maps and guidebooks will be divided into four products, the Wilderlands of High Fantasy, Fantastic Wilderlands Beyonde, Wilderlands of the Magic Realm, and the Wilderlands of the Fantastic Reaches. Unlike the original releases, Map 6 Viridistan will be included in Fantastic Wilderlands Beyonde although edited down to the format of the other four maps.

The retail cost is yet to be determined as I am testing the various print options. I am targeting $20 per bundle of printed map and guidebook. The maps will be printed as two 12” by 18” sheets. There will be five maps in Wilderlands of High Fantasy and Fantastic Wilderlands Beyonde, and four maps in Wilderlands of the Magic Realm, and Wilderlands of Fantastic Maps. The backer and retail costs will reflect the quantity of maps within a product.

The PDFs will be free to all Kickstarter backers. The printed cost to backers for all 18 maps will be slightly less than $20. The printed cost of the guidebooks for backers should be around $3 to $4 depending on which print format works out the best. I am tacking on a one dollar charge so it will count as a sale on both OBS sites, RPGNow and DrivethruRPG. There will be shipping charges from One Bookshelf.

I am doing this because as a Judges Guild licensee, the problems of this Kickstarter affect my sales of the Majestic Wilderlands along with other projects using the Judges Guild IP. The above is what I can do to help with the resources I possess. Robert Bledsaw II is aware of what is going on and has worked with me to come up with a solution to get a portion of the product you paid for into your hands.

I will have the package of the first five maps and guidebook released by mid-April as the Wilderlands of High Fantasy. I am trying to have remaining maps and guidebooks done by the end of May so I can release them for North Texas RPG Con, a convention focused on older edition gaming. But it may not be until June until I get Fantastic Reaches out. The PDFs will be done first and I will release preliminary copies as soon as I am able. Rob Conley

Thursday, March 29, 2018

First Print of Swords & Wizardry Light Nearly Gone - Second Print Will be Another 10k Run

If you were listening to last night's Tavern Chat, you would have heard Bill Webb (Frog God Games) mention that there are about 550 print copies of the first print run of Swords & Wizardry Light left in the possession of Frog God Games - from an initial print run of 10k (plus the 250 or so printed locally for Gamehole 2016). That means that over 9,500 copies have been put in the hands of gamers in less than 18 months.


Bill announced the second print run of SWL will be another 10k copies. Yep, I'm grinning to ear to ear.

Oh, it was also revealed that +Rob Conley 's sandbox for the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light update will be set in Frog God Games' Lost Lands setting. Happy dance.

Rob also had snuck in a Wilderlands announcement - more on that tomorrow.

Kickstarter - Rappan Athuk: Reborn for Fifth Edition! Go down the Well! (28 Hours Left Reminder)

Time is running short to back the Rappan Athuk: Reborn for Fifth Edition! Go down the Well! Kickstarter. 28 hours and counting as I type this. If you are a 5e player, especially a DM, it should be a no-brainer. But what if you are a Swords & Wizardry gamer or (gasp!) Pathfinder? What's in it for you?

The sweet point is the $35 backer level for folks like us.

Now, what stretch goals are included at the $35 level?

UNLOCKED $33,000 High-Resolution Wallpaper #1 FREE

UNLOCKED $43,000 High-Resolution Wallpaper #2 FREE

UNLOCKED $45,000 New Level from Bill Webb and Tom Knauss available to all backers as a bonus (5e/SW/PF PDF only)

UNLOCKED $50,000 Player's Guide to Rappan Athuk (2012) PDF free to all backers

UNLOCKED $75,000 The First Ever Release of Rappan Athuk, The Upper Levels, for D20 becomes a free stretch goal PDF for all pledges above $5. ($3.99 value)

UNLOCKED $100,000 Adventures in Zelkor's Ferry by Alex Kammer for Fifth Edition, Swords & Wizardry or Pathfinder. Add-on $15 Softcover / $7 PDF

UNLOCKED $120,000  The second ever Rappan Athuk title, the Middle Levels, for D20 becomes a free stretch goal PDF for all pledges above $5. ($3.99 value)

UNLOCKED $140,000 The third ever Rappan Athuk title, the Lower Levels, for D20 becomes a free stretch goal PDF for all pledges above $5. ($6.38 value)

LOCKED $150,000 Mystery 3-D print file stretch goal.

LOCKED $160,000 Mystery Stretch Goal from Bill Webb free for everyone who gets a physical copy of the book- including the softcover Pathfinder & Swords & Wizardry updates. We will keep you postered on the reward as it gets closer ;)

Pledge level is just short of $144k as I type this.

Pretty good value for your 35 bucks...

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

The Umerican Survival Guide, Chase cover (DCC) is today's Deal of the Day at RPGNow. Normally $8.70 for the PDF, until tomorrow morning the price is reduced to $3.48 - a savings of 60%.
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.
Yep, that's an affiliate link above. You keep the taps flowing at The Tavern when you use our affiliate links for your purchases.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern - So Tell Me, How Can We do Better?

How can we do better? Sounds like a customer service survey ;) In all seriousness, The Tavern is looking to "up its game" and all feedback is useful, even if it doesn't necessarily appear to have an impact. Trust me, it all gets into the mix at some point.

Anyhow, today is a Wednesday and that means tonight is a Tavern Chat Night. Tavern Chat is a voice chat (with an accompanying text chat channel) that kicks off at 9 PM Eastern and continues until 11 PM and beyond. You can lurk in the voice chat - many do - and it is sort of like a live, unrecorded podcast where anyone can participate.

Here's the link:


I'll be grabbing dinner before the chat and probably large doses of caffeine. Had another doc appt today (went well if long) and I'm still recovering from last week's infected tooth / abscess draining so I might not last as long as I might want in the chat, but who knows...

Oh, for an Easter Egg, there is something on The Tavern's homepage that is new and a hint at The Tavern's future. I'll award a Marvel No-Prize to the first commenter that mentions it :)

Kickstarter - Its Not Pencil Dice, Its a Pen WITH Dice Within!

I would have missed this without one of the Taverners sending me a link to The Dice Pen (with Standard Dice and CCG Dice).

Not Pencil Dice. No, its a pen with dice within. Small d6 or micro-small d6.

Besides the fact that I probably can't read dice of this size very well, at least without picking them up to look at the number, which kinda defeats the purpose, how long will the ink actually last?

They offer a CCG Dice counter option, but not a FATE dice option. Weird.

10 bucks a pen, which is probably better priced and more useful than Pencil Dice. Thank God Ken never thought of this...

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Rantish - My Thoughts on Gatekeeping in the OSR

There was a comment made in The Tavern's Facebook Community yesterday that got me thinking about gatekeeping in the OSR. It essentially called the OSR clones "PDF edits of the originals with minor house rules thrown in" and proceeded to talk about the virtue of learning the original D&D White Box in middle school. Essentially, the clones have no value.

edit - For clarity, the original quotes: 
"we might actually have had to play with our original D&D books instead of derivative pdf files of minor edits to the original game. The horror!" 
"hard for new players? Most of us learned to play it in middle school!
Further edit: those that don't have access to the original books at an affordable price or would prefer to read a more modern presentation - in print or PDF - are effectively dismissed. That is my interpretation. YMMV,

A month or so ago, in another Facebook Gaming Community, a different poster went on a rant about Swords & Wizardry Light, where he wrote (not quoting exactly) he didn't understand why Frog God Games was putting so much time, money and effort into SWL, "the dumbing down of an already dumbed down game."

Gatekeeping is alive and well in the OSR, or at least the mindset is.

If it isn't the original rules, it has no value.

If it's easy to learn its been dumbed down.

Which are fine attitudes to have at your own table but not the ones needed to grow the Old School Gaming Community or even keep it viable, Those of us that started with "the originals", be it OD&D, BX,  BECMI, 1e, 2e and the like - we are getting older. If we want to bring others into our love of Old School Gaming, we need to be welcoming, not excluding.

When my niece, who was 5 years old at the time, saw that I had written a 4-page Swords & Wizardry Light ruleset she exclaimed: "Uncle, you wrote a 4-page Dungeons & Dragons? You can teach me to read 4-pages. You wrote this for me!" I guess I did.

When +Bill Webb decided to publish Swords & Wizardry Light (and +Matt Finch gave me his blessings), when Frog God Games decided to print thousands of copies to give away for free at conventions and via mail, its because they understood the value of making the entry bar to the OSR and gaming in general easier for potential players to cross, not harder.

The clones don't have the same nostalgia value for me that my original 1e books have - my entry to the hobby, but when I ran a 1e game a few years back I ran it using OSRIC - the organization was better, the writing was clearer and it was all in one book. Old school gaming meets modern day presentation.

I want the OSR to not just survive, I want it to thrive. I think many 5e players will find Old School Gaming an alternative (not a substitute) for the latest release of the D&D rules for the times they want a looser playing ruleset, but that's only going to happen if we welcome them, not exclude them.

Monday, March 26, 2018

BBC News has a 3 Minute Video on the Beginnings of Games Workshop

One of The Tavern's Discord members shared the link to a recent BBC News story on the beginnings of Games Workshop. It clocks in at just under 3 minutes so it won't keep you from doing your usual responsibilities, like writing bills or cleaning the cat's pan ;)

Seriously, its 3 minutes well spent.

Here's the link to the video.


With Permission, I'm Stealing Lists & Links from Old School Gamer Radio - Now 73 Blogs Come a Callin ;)

Last night I added a link to various Old School Podcasts. This morning I yoked links to 73 Old School Blogs (I would have yoked 74, but for some reason, I couldn't get Castle Triskelion to take)

At some point, the blogs will have their own permanent page here at The Tavern where they will be listed alphabetically with descriptions (and possible commentary by yours truly).  They are currently linked below the blog posts themselves - 73 blogs listed by the most recent updates.

Why by updates? Because active blogs should be rewarded. Recent posts should be seen. Alphabetical lists favor the "A"s and hurt those that start with a letter in the middle of the alphabet, which is fine for a list, not so much for an active blogroll. 

Want to add your blog to the list? Drop me a line at tenkarsDOTtavern at that Gmail thing with a link and a description and we'll get it added.

+Matt Finch (Old School Gamer Radio) and I are working together on ideas to strengthen and grow the gaming community we both love.

Come to think of it, you've subscribed to Uncle Matt's D&D Studio Youtube Channel, right? Interviews, live play podcasts, gaming thought - the works.  Over1,100 subscribers can't be wrong ;)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

With Permission, I'm Stealing Lists & Links from Old School Gamer Radio - First Up, Podcasts

With +Matt Finch encouraging me to yoke the amazingly complete lists of podcasts, blogs, social media groups and vidcasts from the Old School Gamer Radio website and mirror them here I'd be a fool not to do so.

First up is podcasts. I've manually updated the links on the left side of this page and will be adding a permanent page where comments and suggestions for additions can be made.

We're trying to get the best bang for the buck and increase the visibility of all of these resources, and this is literally the first step of many that we've talked about.

Here's the list from Old School Gamer Radio:

PWYW - Black Pudding #4

I quite simply LOVE the Black Pudding Zine. Every issue thus far has been useful and entertaining and Black Pudding #4 is no different than its predecessors. Or it's very different than its predecessors while still being very much alike.

You'll see when you read it.

What's in it?
In this issue you get new classes, a double helping of Meatshields, and a 15 page OSR play book, complete with the basic classes, rules, and Black Pudding flavor to enhance or replace your current play book. For use with dice of funny sides. Inspired by games such as Labyrinth Lord, The Black Hack, and Swords & Wizardry White Box.
The playbook is awesome, with lots of little bits I'm considering stealing for my own SWCL games.

Did I mention it just released this morning?

The price is right at PWYW, so peek and throw a few coppers later if that's how you roll, but certainly peek. Black Pudding #4 is oozing with OSR goodness (see what I did there? ;)

Yep, that's an affiliate link above. Help keep the lights on and the taps flowing at The Tavern with your patronage.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Strange Machine Games to offer Two Robotech Board Games

Well, now we know where the Robotech license went - Strange Machine Games. In addition to board games, they also publish RPGs. It makes you wonder...

Anyhow, here are the two games:

Robotech® – Attack on the SDF-1:  Play as the venerable SDF-1’s crew in this exciting and action packed full cooperative game.  Launch and pilot Veritech fighters, control Destroids, engage Zentraedi Pods, control the SDF-1, and fire the power reflex cannon!  It is up to you.  Can you protect the SDF-1 and Macross City from destruction?  Can you make it back home to Earth?] 
Players: 1-6 
Time: 120 minutes per Scenario 
Ages: 12+
Robotech® – Ace Pilot:  The Zentraedi are attacking!  Quick, grab the nearest crew member and destroy the enemy.  Using luck and skill you can become the SDF-1’s Ace Pilot.  Ace Pilot is a small area, fast playing, competitive dice-based game.  The game takes minutes to learn and can be played almost anywhere.  Your favorite Robotech® heroes help you destroy the Zentraedi Threat. 
 Players: 2-4 
Time: 25 minutes 
Ages: 8+

Friday, March 23, 2018

Video - Ol' Man Grognard Reviews 79 - The Midderlands

I really can't say enough good stuff about The Midderlands by +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal). Trust me, I've tried, but when I start, I find it hard to stop.

So why don't you listen to +Glen Hallstrom instead :)

Seriously, Glen covers it very well.

Yep, that's an affiliate link above. Keep the lights going strong at The Tavern.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

State of The Tavern Keeper - I've Been Drained - No Level Loss but I See More Light!

Well, I survived the afternoon in the ER. Good news is, I found an efficient and dare I say pleasant (all things considered) ER so I'm filing that away for future reference. The oral abscess is drained and I'm feeling somewhat better. I expect more pain to set in as the night goes on. Head back tomorrow to have the dental drain/stitch removed. Joy.

In the meantime, the team has been building itself organically behind the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light Revised Edition. Yes, the 2.0 reference was a joke. The Revised Edition will be 100% compatible with the current edition. Some rules might get more thorough explanations but what you currently have in your hand is "the rules". It's not changing.

What we are doing is "adding". Rob Conley will be providing a sandbox setting and we've confirmed six authors thus far for the 7+ adventures we intend to include - in no particular order: James Spahn (White Star / Barrel Rider Games), Pete Spahn (WWII: Operation White Box / Small Niche Games), Tim Shorts (Gothridge Manor / GM Games), Skeeter Green (Frog God Games / Editor / Project Manager) and Rocky Gardner & Ian McGarty of Silver Bulette Publishing (The Silvery Moon Tavern). I have multiple offers to provide a more professional layout that is compatible with the major POD services (I'll address this over the weekend when I've recovered a bit more from today's activities). This truly is a community project, by the community and for the community. I am honored to be a part of this.

There is an off chance we may hit the magic number (48 pages) for a hardcover release in addition to softcover. As for a digest-sized version, while not part of the initial release the plan is to offer such afterward.

When will this be ready? While the PDF MIGHT release in time for NTRPG Con in June, I don't foresee time enough for proofs and related revisions. So, don't look or it unless you are told otherwise.

Alright - time to med up and go sleepy-bye...

Kickstarter - Self-Standing Leather - Lite Dice Bags (One dice bag to Rule them all!)

Want a dice bag that holds approximately 400 standard sized dice? Look no further, as these Self-Standing Leather - Lite Dice Bags do just that. I could take my overflow dice collection out of their pickle jar ;)
We are producing a series of high quality, self-standing leather-lite dice bags that will make you drool. 
We call this material Leather-Lite and we're enhancing them by adding our original graphics, many that were used to create our dice trays prior to this. This material is man-made and holds images extremely well .  The material is also very durable and light weight.This is a similar material that we use to wrap our dice trays with, but in a rich brown color.  These awesome dice bags are sure to be a hit at your gaming table!   
Size: Each bag measures 7x5x5 inches and holds approx. 400 16mm polyhedral dice with ease.
Practically guaranteed to get your carryon pulled for further inspection by the TSA next time you leave Gary Con.

Seriously, that's a large dice bag.

19 Bucks a bag plus 5 to ship in the states.

In for one :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 Eastern - Lets Talk SWCL 2.0

Tonight is a Wednesday Night and that means Tavern Chat. Now, I'm going to warn you all, my abscessed tooth and gum means my speech is not as clear as it usually is - and being and being a New Yorker it probably isn't all that clear in the first place ;)

We will have a topic tonight - Swords & Wizardry Continual Light 2.0  No rules changes, but new, more professional layout, a sandbox setting by none other than our own +Rob Conley and seven adventures by myself, +James Spahn and players to be named later. The adventures will be 2 to 3 pages long (Rob's sandbox about 4 pages). Not going to venture a guess yet on total pages for the new version.

Where is Tavern Chat? Its held every Wednesday Night on The Tavern's Discord Server.

Use this link: https://discord.gg/fReGmuD

We mostly use voice on Wednesday Nights (with additional conversation in the Tavern Chat Text Channel)  Throughout the week the main text channel is hopping on a daily basis.

Swords & Wizardry Continual Light 2.0 - Er, Say What!?!

There was a survey and discussion over at the S&W Continual Light Google Plus Community about what folks would like to see in the future for SWCL. Overwhelmingly folks what to see a better, more professional laid out version.

I wholeheartedly agree. I am not a layout guy. It is not one of my skill sets. While the layout of the current version of SWCL is certainly serviceable, it doesn't have that "pop".

Additionally, a new layout would probably have embedded fonts, allowing for print copies at RPGNow and Lulu, not just Amazon.

In truth though, I want more than just a better layout. So the plan is to include seven two to three page adventures in the back of the rules, one for each level of SWCL. This should bring the page count to about 32 to 36 pages or so.

I've got 2 adventures in hand and a good idea of who to ping for the rest.

I'm guessing the PDF cost goes up to $2.95 with current owners of the PDF getting a free update of the PDF.

Now to track down a layout guy / gal / wizard ;)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

State of the Tavern - Ho Ho, More Snow and Still an Infected Tooth

There is stuff that needs to get done and this week has pretty much been a lot of wheel spinning.

WTC Health appointment took most of yesterday afternoon. Today, the afternoon was spent at the dentist, then referred to an oral surgeon and finally left at 6PM still owning an infected tooth and the accompanying annoying abscess.

Apparently being a type 2 diabetic and having had 23 radiation treatments that radiated the same side of your face as the tooth infection is enough of a variable to refer you to be a walk in at an ER room. Time to dig out the anti-biotics stash and wait the latest Noreaster out.

So, I have stuff to mail. If you are waiting for me to mail stuff it may take a few days before we are dug out on my end.

Calling for a foot or more of snow here in the city that never sleeps. I'll be sleeping thank you very much ;)

Oh, might have a Swords & Wizardry Continual Light question or two to ask our readers in a day or so based on feedback from a survey that's been up in the S&W Continual Light Community on Google Plus.

Kickstarter - Operation: Deep Freeze - A Top Secret: NWO Adventure

I've been playtesting the rules that became Top Secret: New World at NTRPG Con for the past few years. I like the rules because they are light yet full, allowing the game to take place without constantly referring to the rules.

Operation: Deep Freeze - A Top Secret: NWO Adventure looks to be a nice fit for the game engine:
A Top Secret Soviet lab located just outside a small town in Latvia. Secrets put in Deep Freeze that should not have been. Secrets that leaked out in the dead of winter. Secrets of things that should never have been.
Perfect for episodic play, and isn't that why spy games are all about?

The sweet point seems to be 18 bucks for the Print plus PDF.

As for the publisher, New Comet Games, they've been good at getting projects delivered on time for various RPG systems: D&D, C&C as well as Paranoia. I look forward to reading and running their latest venture.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Follow Up - Giving Away a Bakers Dozen of MegaHeroes Priority ID Cards (Upcoming Frog God / Jim Wampler KS for Late 2018)

We were giving out MegaHeroes Priority Identification Cards at the Frog God Booth at Gary Con and we had a few left, so I "liberated" them.

MegaHeroes is +Jim Wampler 's upcoming supers RPG that will be Kickstarted by Frog God Games this fall.

The cards are good for 20% off at the Frog God website. Don't ask me how, look at the pic above and it should be clear ;)

That being said, there are a limited number and they were only distributed at Gary Con. We have picked 13 names and they are:

Dan Delgado
Bob Hill
Zach Sweetland
Brian Cross
Hector Cruz
Tony T
Michael Gross
Ned F
M Po

The above should email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing with MegaHeroes in the subject line. I need your snail mail address. I MAY be having a tooth pulled over the next day or two, so there MAY be a delay in getting this out. Won't know until the deed is done - or not.

News - The Fantasy Trip - Melee & Magic - 14.95 Price Points on Each

Steve Jackson Games made an announcement about The Fantasy Trip at GAMA and followed up with more info over at the Steve Jackson Games website:
At the GAMA Trade Show, just ended in Reno, we announced that the relaunch of The Fantasy Trip will start with miniboxed editions of the two combat games, Melee and Wizard, each retailing for $14.95.
The Fantasy Trip was Steve Jackson's first RPG. Its first part, Melee, was published in 1977. TFT was published by Metagaming, which went out of business about 1982, and TFT has been unsupported since then, and only available on the secondary market. 
In late 2017, Steve regained the rights to the eight TFT releases that he had written himself: Melee, Wizard, Death Test, Death Test 2, Advanced Melee, Advanced Wizard, In The Labyrinth, and Tollenkar's Lair. 
Most if not all of this material will be republished. The format is totally up in the air right now . . .
You can find more details at the link above.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Notes From the Tavern Keeper - How I Run Convention Games (YMMV)

I've now run convention games (Swords & Wizardry Light to be exact) at NTRPG 2017 and Gary Con 2018 - two sessions at each convention. At North Texas it was all "theatre of the mind". At Gary Con we had a level of Rappan Athuk in 3d dungeon terrain. It was certainly a different experience between the two, but some things for me remained consistent. Below is how "I Roll." Some of this might be useful for other GMs to consider or not. The only hard and fast rule is "Have Fun"

I roll characters at the table. With SWL clocking in at 4 pages as well as having character class cheat sheets that double as character cards, character generation shouldn't take more than 15 to 20 minutes, even with a table of 10 or so. Heck, my players expecting a 5e game adjusted to SWL with no issues and character generation went just as smoothly.

Note, I allow surviving characters to be used in follow up sessions at later conventions, so yes, your characters can "level up." Not an original idea - +Matt Finch and +Bill Webb do the same. It does allow for a bit more buy in from your players than "one and done" games do.

Keep it moving. While your home game may consist of half an hour of catching up and banter at the beginning of the session and assorted bullshitting throughout, a convention game must fit into a particular time slot. Additionally, if the pace slows you will lose the attention of your players. For most games you want a thrill ride, not a plodding place.

I embrace walk ups to my table. Generally speaking, most games expect 6 to 8 players. With the Swords & Wizardry Light rules, I expect I can handle up to a dozen. Even if the game is started we can probably fit you in (note, I'm speaking for myself here and not others - games with pregens and such are much more difficult to add a random person to the game)

Project your voice. While this wasn't much of an issue at last year's NTRPG Con, as we had a semi-private gaming space, at Gary Con we were set up in a hallway right outside the door for the majority of the wargaming going on. The table was large and I had to project to be heard. I wasn't always successful but I tried my darnedest.

Minis are used best for marching order. Even with the 3d terrain, it was difficult (if not damn impossible) to accurately show battles and digging out appropriate monsters would have been time consuming AND would slowed down the pace. Moving minis from room to room also slowed down the pace. But using them for marching order and pointing out the location the PCs were in combined theatre of the mind with a 3d dungeon seemed to work best.

Make magic special. Magic items that are unique will be remember well after the players leave the session. They don't need to be over powered to be very useful.

When your players are about to go off the map, improvise. They find the secret entrance to a lower level? Have it lead to a hidden chamber.

Embrace the metagaming. Its going to happen, especially with 3d dungeon terrain revealing secret rooms and occasional traps (doors to nowhere) - "Yep, there are two doors in this room that go nowhere. Don't blame me for what happens ;)"

The bottom line is everyone should be having fun. If folks walk away happy and energized, you did well.

ICv2 - Top 5 RPGs Fall 2017 - Starfinder Surpasses Pathfinder - D&D 5e Remains #1

Starfinder got the huge bump of a Gen Con release. 5e holds strong to the first position.

Star Wars traditionally holds a top 5 spot and Star Trek Adventures is a new release.

While I find the ICv2 rankings interesting, "the charts are based on interviews with retailers, distributors, and manufacturers." I prefer hard numbers. I need to find the latest ORR (Roll20) report.

And found it:

If 5e has twice the players as Pathfinder, I can see why they are rebooting to reclaim their share of the market.

Starfinder is much further down the list here...

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Kickstarter - HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals (Two AS&SH Adventures)

Some of the best OSR adventures come from +Jeff Talanian 's publishing Northwind Publishing arm. Although they are written for and labeled with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, these adventures are readily usable with the OSR ruleset of your choice. I plan on running previous adventures that Jeff has published using Swords & Wizardry. these two will get added to the list. Sweet point for Beasts & Cannibals appears to be $44 - both adventures in print plus PDF. I'm in.

Did I mention it hit and surpassed its 10k funding goal in a day? Well done +Jeff Talanian . Well done.
The Anthropophagi of Xambaala, by Corey R. Walden, is an adventure in HYPERBOREA designed for from four to six characters of 1st through 3rd level. 
Visitors to the desert city of Xambaala, beware! When the city slumbers, dæmoniacal cachinnations roll in from its outskirts, and dull totemic drumbeats rumble in the surrounding waste. Vile shrieks and noises out of nightmares bring shudders to the spines of even those who fancy themselves heroes, and when the eventide bell tolls residents lock themselves behind stout walls—for something sinister moves during the dead time. But the people of Xambaala do not speak of the hellish noises that haunt their city; only furtive whispers hint that those who trust in the safety of the inn of Aramis D’Athak oft disappear, vanishing into the unknown. And the sounds outside the city walls grow louder . . .
The Beasts of Kraggoth Manor, by Tim Callahan, is an adventure in HYPERBOREA designed for from four to six characters of 4th through 6th level.
Your party have travelled northeast from the great city of Khromarium, through the unforgiving expanse known as the Lug Wasteland. You undoubtedly seek greater riches in the north: ruined tombs secreting ancient artefacts, deep caves filled with long-lost Atlantean technology, or strange villages built atop sacred Hyperborean burial grounds that brim with pre–Green Death treasures. Finally, after having emerged from the treacherous bogs, you set up camp on a craggy outcropping that provides dry land and a modicum of protection from the crawling unknowns. Straightaway your attention is drawn by a nearby light source, a fire not more than 100 yards away. Through the cacophony of croaking frogs, buzzing insects, and hissing slimy things, a shriek of pain knifes through the air. 

News - Interesting D&D 5e Figures Releases by WotC at GAMA Earlier this Week

+Stan Shinn was at the GAMA (The Game Manufacturers Association) Trade Show earlier this week and came away with some interesting figures about D&D 5e released by WotC's Mark Price. Here's the takeaway:
— 2017 was the best year for D&D ever in terms of sales
— Year 3 of D&D sales is stronger than their first year
— Actual play streaming is a key driver of D&D’s success, with 9 million users watching D&D on Twitch
— 8.6 million Americans have played D&D in the last 12 months (they did not give stats for overseas)
Certainly stuff to think about. A rising tide lifts all ships and 5e is certainly doing more to raise that tide than any other system right now.


Friday, March 16, 2018

The Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server has Surpassed 400 Members

The Tavern's Discord Server has been lively since it kicked off last summer. Not only is the text chat active close to 24/7 but the Wednesday Night Tavern Chat (voice plus text) keeps getting better.

Case in point - this past Wednesday, March 14th, I finally bowed out at 130 AM (Eastern) with the chat still going strong with nearly a dozen members logged in. That's for a chat that kicked off at 9 PM. And we didn't have Bill Webb holding court either, it was simply an amazing chat.

We currently have 403 members at The Tavern's Discord server (I'm sure there are some duplicate accounts, but the numbers rise every day)

I want to thank everyone that participates and or lurks in the weekly chats. Its been likened to a live, multi-participant weekly podcast that DOESN'T get recorded, so its fairly unique and an awesome chance to talk with members of our corner of the gaming universe, especially if you don't get to conventions all that often - if at all.

Haven't joined yet? There's plenty of time before the next voice chat (and text chat is going on as you read this):

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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