Saturday, January 13, 2018

OldSchool Counterpoint - Benoist and I are Looking for Topics

Yesterday's OldSchool Counterpoint LiveStream went very well. Benoist and I are going to make it a fairly regular "thing" - we had a fun time and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

So, we need topics.

Some suggestions that have been made thus far are:

Gnomes - yeay or nay
Variable weapon damage or not
Level Drain

Add your ideas to the mix. Comment below. If we use yours, we'll give you credit on the Livestream ;)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Wizards Updates Terms and Conditions for WPN Store Owners - Background Checks of Store Staff now Included

So, that post from the weekend here at The Tavern talking about how stores can protect your children while they participate in the hobby, a post that I made due to a story circulating in social media. Well, it looks like the story that was circulating got Wizards to do something. WPN is Wizards Play Network.

Here's a quote from Vice President of Global Brand Strategy Elaine Chase:
Recently, a few former judges and players had their sex offender registries posted to social media. In accordance with our policy, the majority had already had their access to Magic organized play suspended indefinitely, and are not active in the Magic community. 
We learned, however, that an individual reported to the Judge Conduct Committee was inadvertently not decertified by Magic Judges nor reported to Wizards. You can read more about that here. However, once this was brought to our attention, Wizards immediately coordinated with Magic Judges—an independent community-run organization that operates and manages the judge community and its Judge Conduct Committee—to address the situation. That individual has now been indefinitely suspended as a player and the Magic Judges decertified the individual’s status as a Magic judge. When Wizards learns that a DCI member or a Wizards Play Network (WPN) retailer is on a sex offender registry, we take immediate action to remove them from organized play and our promotional programs. We have a zero-tolerance policy. Sex offenders have no place in the Magic community. 
As part of our commitment to safe and inclusive spaces, tournament organizers and retailers will be explicitly required to conduct background checks for all staff (as permitted by applicable law). This includes CFB Events' Grand Prix, local store events like Friday Night Magic, and professional events like the Pro Tour and World Magic Cup as well as convention play run by Wizards. 
We remain committed to working with tournament organizers, local game stores, and the Magic community to foster safe and inclusive environments. The proper channels for reporting misconduct are as follows: report judge misconduct to the Judge Conduct Committee at magicjudgefeedback@gmail.com, and retailer or player misconduct to investigations@wizards.com.
I give Wizards credit for getting ahead of the narrative in this situation. Ir can only make gaming a safer environment for all.

Old School Counterpoint - Livestream - NOW - Secret Doors - Loath them or Love Them

Here's the link for the first Old School Counterpoint Livestream - Secret Doors, Loth them or Love them.

Yep, we started a thing ;)
"Conversation between Erik Tenkar of Tenkar's Tavern and Benoist Poire of GP Adventures regarding Secret Doors in Old School Gaming and D&D variants. Pros and cons, their usage, purpose, and how they affect game play in various ways. "

Old School Counterpoint - Secret Doors - Livestream - 5PM Eastern - Benoist Poire and Tenkar

+Benoist Poiré and myself are trying out something which may very well become a regular feature - Old School Counterpoint - where we discuss a topic within the Old School realm with differing views.

Today at 5 PM Eastern the topic will be Secret Doors - overused or the perfect obstacle? We know where I stand (overused) and we know where Benoist stands, but do we know where we'll be at the end of the discussion?

I'll put up a new post with the link to the livestream when we are closer to 5 pm so you can join us. This very well be the start of a "new thing" ;)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Frog God Clearance Sale - Cyclopean Deeps - Vol I & II - $14.99 each or $24.99 set (S&W and PF)

The Frog God Clearance Sale keeps rolling along. Added to the mix earlier today, Cyclopean Deeps Volumes I & II in Hardcover (with free PDFs) for $14.99 each or $24.99 for the pair. Choose between Swords & Wizardry and Pathfinder (like there's any sort of choice if you are a Tavern Regular ;)

Here's the link for the Frog God Hardcover Clearance Sale. You'll find a few other goodies there that might tempt you.

No affiliate links. Just damn good shit at awesome pricing.

State of The Tavern (Keeper) - Its (s)not Nice...

I'm under the weather. If you heard me in Tavern Chat last night my voice was a bit hoarse. Well, maybe a lot hoarse. Now I've got that dopey congestion fog. Started on Saturday. Yeah for me!

I'm still playing catch up with reviews and such here at The Tavern.

I know, vitamins and bed rest. Working on it. Uncle duties have been heavy this week and I have them again today. I'll try and mold Pinky into the gamer she wants to be anyway.

Alright, back tonight. I'm trying to put together a list of all of the Community Content Storefronts at OBS. Just noticed there is one now for Call of Cthulhu 7e. Holy shit but that's cool :)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern - It's NOT Hidden Behind a Secret Door ;)

Tavern Chat is tonight, 9 PM Eastern. Fair warning, your bartender is suffering from a cold from hell. I might sound like shit but thankfully germs aren't spread through Discord ;)

Where? Simply follow the invite. Open Bar is where the voice chat is. You can lurk - we don't mind...


Tavern Chat has been likened to a live podcast, unscripted with random guests and unrecorded - if you aren't listening you've lost your chance ;)

Kickstarter - Folio #1 1E & 5E Adventure Reprint

The Folio is one of the most successful, serialized gaming supplements available today and probably the only one that dual stats for both OSR systems and 5e.

If you missed out on the start of the series, the Folio #1 1E & 5E Adventure Reprint is your chance to grab a reprint of the first issue, which is also the first part of the Roslof Campaign.

Hurry though - just over two days left in the funding period.
Three years ago I started the Folio series with a dream of creating OSR inspired adventures that also fit into today's gaming styles.  My first adventure was entitled 'Beneath Roslof Keep'.  At the time, I had no idea that The Folio would become a 'thing', or that so many fans the world over would enjoy the exploits of this particular dungeon delve. So, as I ring in 2018, I wanted to once again touch base with Roslof Keep, and try to allow new players who might have missed this long out of print module the opportunity to lay hands on it.  As it was the first module ever produced by Art of the Genre, I also wanted to have a chance to go back in, modify the content and presentation to match what later became out standard Folio process, and also add-in content not included on first publication.  
So, if you've ever wanted to own a Folio, start a new campaign, or just want to see what we do here are Art of the Genre, this is a perfect opportunity to get in on the ground floor, or should I say, Beneath Roslof Keep.  
My Project: The Folio is a 1st Edition & 5th Edition gaming module. It will be produced as an 8x11”, removable cover [11x17" once removed], adventure with mostly b/w interior artwork. The final size is roughly 32 pages of content. 
Who’s it for? ALL gamers, both new gamers and old gamers as it is easily expandable or playable as is.The concept is to allow gamers a starting point for adventure that can be modified to their liking while providing excellent reference content and framework.The base mechanic will be for 1st Edition AD&D, while having 'grey block' stat blocks for 5th Edition D&D, but I’ve designed it to be readily modified to any fantasy game. 
What’s in it? It has been written by myself and my OSR compatriot Mark Timm, with incredible cover art from old school masters and interior artwork by skilled black and white illustrators Travis Hanson and Michael Wilson, and even a bit of Jim Holloway because I can never get enough Holloway. We are intent on providing a polished and modern design with creatively nostalgic content that transcends a particular age. The Folio will contain a 3-D map, a Gazetteer, a monster section, a new monster unique to the setting, DM’s notes and guides, and a full adventure.

Kickstarter - Castle of the Mad Archmage: Musicland (OSR)

Its time to catch up on some Kickstarters, both old and new (or a bit of both)

Castle of the Mad Archmage: Musicland is the latest Kickstarter by +Joseph Bloch . Technically an add on or expansion to CotMA it should be playable as a stand alone adventure, simply because its a parallel dimension. Makes me think of some classic Gygax adventures. Imagine that...

Already at 4 times its funding goal in just over a week, all physical copies are accounted for. Yep, you read that right. There were 99 limited print copies and they've all been pledged for.

5 bucks gets you Musicland in PDF. 30 bucks gets you the PDF bundle that includes all of the Castle of the Mad Archmage releases - including this one.

I had a blast running the original CotMA megadungeon with my "B-Team". We never finished it but that seems par for the course with my gaming groups, but thats okay. Its the journey, not the destination that matters most.
This is the third expansion to the Castle of the Mad Archmage megadungeon adventure. In this adventure, the characters are catapulted to a parallel dimension called Musicland where musical instruments are alive, people speak in musical notes, and the King of Instruments produces melodies that embody the Platonic ideal of music itself.  
Not only will the adventurers need to navigate this strange and deadly place, but they will need to figure out a way home, as well. But where there is great peril, there is always promise of great reward, and treasures both mundane and magical await those who enter Musicland. 
Written for Adventures Dark & Deep, Musicland should play well with most any OSR ruleset. We used Swords & Wizardry Complete with CotMA and it was seamless.

Alright, expect some Folio when I awake in the morning...

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Deal of the Day - 5e Creature Decks: Constructs, Giants, Humanoids, Undead (and more)

Today's Deal of the Day at RPGNow is 5e Creature Decks: Constructs, Giants, Humanoids, Undead from Inkwell Designs.

The PDFs are normally $5.95 a deck. Until tomorrow morning they are $1.95 a deck in PDF. Print plus PDF is $9.95 a deck. And yes, there are other decks on sale for the same pricing.

5e Creature Decks: More Dragons & Monstrosities

5e Creature Decks: More Aberrations & Fiends

5e Creature Decks: Dragons & Monstrosities

5e Creature Decks: Beasts, Oozes, & Plants

Crap. There are two more decks but I have to pick Rach up from work...

Grab the PDF Bundle of 7 decks for 10 bucks here and the print plus PDF bundle of 7 decks for less than $70 here.

Yep, affiliate links above. Keep the lamps on and the taps flowing. Heck, maybe we'll throw in a little heat here at The Tavern. Much thanks!

What The Tavern Being a Neutral Ground Means

So, there was a bit of a dust up yesterday due to Sunday night's post here at The Tavern. It had nothing to do with the topic - protecting our children - and quickly devolved thanks to a handful of people into "how dare you link to that site!' drama.

The story that was circulating this weekend was from said "offending site."

It was suggested I should have googled for other stories detailing pedophiles preying on children in the gaming hobby instead of sourcing the one that was making its way through social media over the weekend. This story was the current one, and thus the one linked.

It was also suggested I could have simply screenshot the story and have posted it without link or attribution because "they didn't want to make the site money by visiting it". Not only is that unethical, but if I were to do so for a site like, oh, i dunno - ENWorld - screenshot stories instead of linking when referring to something they've shared, there would be an uproar and rightfully so.

The Tavern is a Neutral Ground. I don't take a political stand. I am about a apolitical a gaming blogger as you will find (it might sneak in on police related topics and for that I apologize. I do acknowledge my own biases.) It is not, however, a safe space. I can not guarentee someone's sensibilities will not be offended. I can not foresee reactions.

We all live our lives with our own biases. Being a Neutral Ground, The Tavern asks that you leave your biases at the door if at all possible. If you can't, at least acknowledge to yourself that you have them. Gaming is our bond and our strength.

No one at The Tavern, especially me, has the intention of offending any of our fellow gamers. I ask that you not read intent where there was none.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Mini Review - B/X Essentials: Classes and Equipment

I was asked the other day if we really needed another presentation of B/X D&D, as that was the purpose of Labyrinth Lord - a cleaner presentation of B/X. My truthful answer is that while it wasn't needed, it is much appreciated.

Let me explain.

B/X is a great if poorly organized system of rules over multiple vloumes. Labyrinth Lord rewrote it and presented it as a much more organized single volume of rules. The B/X Essentials series is doing much the same, but split among what will be five volumes - Core (the rule mechanics), Classes & Equipment (what I'm looking at now), Spells, Monsters and finally Adventures & Treasures.

Which method is better? All in one or five volumes. That's up to you, the consumer.

As for B/X Essentials: Classes and Equipment - The presentation is easy to read, the layout is clean and easy to read, art ranges from fine to exceptional, the table of contents is hyperlinked, the classes and equipment are what you would expect and the water transportation section I may yoke for my own campaigns regardless of system

B/X Essentials: Classes and Equipment is exactly what it says on the tin. Yes, you've seen it before but this is probably the cleanest and clearest presentation yet.

B/X Essentials: Classes and Equipment with all of the bells & whistles is $4.99 for the PDF. Print plus PDF is a very reasonable $7.99 for a standard color paper softcover ($9.99 if you want heavier paper and staple bound instead of perfect bound)

Plain "vanilla" text version is free - perfect for a living houserules document. Also, a great way to try before you buy.

You can find the Core Rules here.
The B/X Essentials line is a restatement of the classic Basic/Expert fantasy adventure gaming rule set, given a fresh, new presentation focused on usability:
  • Basic and Expert rules seamlessly combined.
  • Streamlined presentation optimised for ease of reference during play.
  • Meticulously researched; a guaranteed 100% accurate rendition of the classic rules of yesteryear.
  • Carefully clarified, ironing out ambiguities in the original rules.
This second book lays out the standard classes of adventurer and the ways in which characters can spend their hard-earned treasure, including: arms, adventuring gear, mounts, sea vessels, mercenaries, specialists, and (eventually!) castles and strongholds.
44 pages 
I was comped a PDF copy for review purposes. Yes, there are affiliate links above. Keep the taps flowing and the lights burning at The Tavern. Thank you :)

On Secret Doors and Why I Detest Them

Secret doors. Almost every dungeon has them. I simply detest them.

It was recently asked why there were no mechanics for secret doors in Swords & Wizardry Light / Continual Light and the simple answer is it never even occurred to me. That is how much I dislike them. It wasn't even a conscious omission ;)

I find secret doors to be an overused obstacle. Just how many does a single dungeon level need?

My problem with secret doors is that they are a potential show stopper that even with good play from your players, the dice can decide the door is never found. What lies behind? For all intents and purposes it never existed if the dice decide it was never found

Concealed doors? Now THAT is something I can get behind. Look behind that armoire. Why are there curtains on this wall? What's under this rug? Good play will reveal with concealed doors what dice may otherwise steal with secret doors.

Besides, I never understood elves uncanny ability to see secret doors when others can't...

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sex Offenders and the Gaming Youth - Wherein I Comment on the Current Story

You can't miss the headline - Magic: The Gathering Has a Pedophile Problem That No One Wants to Acknowledge. Now, I know it's Milo's website, so I expect sensationalism, but the reality is there is NOTHING in the article that surprises me.

Where underage children are hanging out, those that prey on underage children will be hunting. When I was a kid, pedophiles hung out in arcades. Heck, some worked in arcades. These days, its gaming stores.

Some common sense would help store owners and Hasbro and the gaming communities they serve.

First, every state has a sex offender registry. Whether its a new employee or some volunteer organizer, get their basic info and check your state's sex offender registry. Ground ball. Its not going to catch all, but it will catch many.

Do a google search for news stories using the basic info you've already gathered. Need to be careful with this one, as you may get false hits, especially with more common names.

Most states allow you to check their correctional system records online for those that have served prior time. Personally, I wouldnt want a convicted felon interacting with children, but if the time was served for a sexual or violent offense you really can't allow it IMHO.

If children are the future of our hobby, we need to do all that we can to protect them from those that will use the hobby to abuse them.

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