Saturday, April 14, 2018

News - Jack Vance’s Lyonesse (High Fantasy) to become a new RPG from The Design Mechanism

I must admit, I've never read any of Jack Vance's work. I guess that gives me an Appendix N demerit or something.

In any case, The Design Mechanism has secured the license to produce an RPG based on Jack Vance's Lyonesse Trilogy. It will be a stand-alone game built on the Mythras RPG, which itself is a descendant of RuneQuest 6. Then there are the Mongoose OGL versions of RuneQuest (later named Legend) that came before.

In any case, here's a bit of the press release:
Jack Vance’s high fantasy masterpiece, Lyonesse, is brought to life in a new roleplaying game by The Design Mechanism. Licensed and approved by Spatterlight Press, Lyonesse is a standalone game based on the acclaimed Mythras system.
Using The Design Mechanism’s Mythras mechanics, the Lyonesse roleplaying game is presented as a standalone game with all the rules necessary for play.
The development of the Lyonesse roleplaying game will be documented from time to time on the Design Mechanism’s website and forum. Work is well underway, and the game is anticipated to appear between late 2019 and early 2020.
You can read The Design Mechanism's blog for a larger summary here or the press release here. Or go to ENWorld, where there is a summary and no links to the source. Almost makes one think they had an exclusive...

Friday, April 13, 2018

Kickstarter - The World of Center Campaign Sourcebook fantasy RPG D&D 2e

"The World of Center Sourcebook presents players and DM’s with an extensive range of expanded material designed around the 2nd edition of the first and original Fantasy RPG. The World of Center was created to be a full campaign world where the DM and players are able to run adventures within the realms."

Here's something I don't quite get - the project creator is particular enough NOT to refer to D&D in the opening paragraph -  "designed around the 2nd edition of the first and original Fantasy RPG" and yet has D&D right there in the project title. He knows he should avoid referring to it, yet he wants it for search engine purposes. Sigh.

Alright, so what exactly is The World of Center Sourcebook? The short of it - Someone's 2e houserules and setting. The long of it:
The World of Center Sourcebook is the core reference guide providing the game features necessary to experience this expanded and augmented adventure setting. It is usable in whole or adaptable in part to any 2nd edition campaign and is adaptable to most other Fantasy RPG’s. 
The 280 page book contains expanded classes, races, spells, magic items, monsters, consolidated combat options, deities, religious orders and more. Individually, the subjects covered can easily be taken piecemeal and inserted into any campaign and collectively provide a fully fleshed framework of rulings and expansions to launch a World of Center campaign. 
I played - and ran - more 2e AD&D than I did 1e AD&D, but once the bloat of Complete Handbooks started, I longed to return to 1e. I have little desire to return to 2e at this stage in my gaming career. (come to think of it, I ran all of our D&D campaigns back in HS and College. Except for two or three sessions early on and two conventions, I only got to be a player in non-fantasy RPG campaigns)

Admittedly I find this project intriguing - price points aren't bad ($12 PDF and $25 for trade paperback print plus PDF) for 280 pages of gaming material, but 2e simply doesn't do it for me these days.

Add in this isn't just a "first created" but also "zero backed" and I'll probably pass on this one. Apparently, its all written and laid out (art included) and will ship next month. For the 2e fans, this may be of interest.

Oh, I do find the color art to be trippy ;)

Lord of the Rings (sorta) Coming to TV - Five Seasons from Amazon - Paid $250 Million for Rights - $1 Billion to Produce

This was announced a back in November but it just caught my eye today as it is recently back in the news cycle. Amazon reportedly paid $250 million for the rights to produce five seasons of a Lord of the Rings TV show for its Prime streaming service.

Looks like the bidding war between Amazon and Netflix was strong.

Anyhow, ComicSands.com has the article covering the costs involved.
After a battle with Netflix, Amazon won the adaption rights to J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved fantasy series. The streaming service reportedly paid $250 million for a deal that guarantees a five-season television adaption of The Lord of the Rings. Estimates indicate the series will cost Amazon around $1 billion, making it "the most expensive TV show ever," according to The Hollywood Reporter. 
The complicated contract stipulates that this new show must enter production within two years or the rights will revert back to Tolkien's heirs.
The Hollywood Reporter goes a bit deeper:
On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. With the clock ticking, Amazon must be in production within two years, according to the terms of the pact. When production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.
The Verge had the announcement back in November - I missed that one too.

From the Verge:
In the statement announcing the news, the company clarifies that the new show will “explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring,” with a potential spinoff series also included as part of the deal. That means Amazon is going to be making a prequel to the classic tale of Frodo Baggins, offering Amazon plenty of leeway to create its own characters and take on the world. If Amazon is looking for an opportunity to add the sex, violence, and soap opera drama to Tolkien’s world that have made shows like Game of Thrones so successful, this kind of approach would certainly offer the opportunity.
So, really its less Lord of the Rings and more Middle Earth. Still, interesting. I wonder if it will add to the popularity of fantasy roleplaying.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Kickstarter - Retro 1E & 5E Fantasy Mini-Adventure Set

The Retro 1E & 5E Fantasy Mini-Adventure Set Kickstarter is "a triple mini-adventure bridge from Roslof Keep to The Curse of Roslof Campaigns in both 1E & 5E gaming formats."

By now, I expect most of The Tavern's readers know about "The Folio" - a series of adventures written for both 1e & 5e D&D. See, I can say that even if the Kickstarter can't ;)
What is the Folio? The Folio is a OSR inspired adventure path that incorporates both 1E and 5E Dungeons & Dragons mechanics. Currently, three full campaigns exist within its volumes including the six part Roslof Keep Campaign, the twin trilogies of The Complete Cities of Sorcery, and the six part island adventure campaign of The Complete White Ship.  That's 19 full Folio adventure and dozens of mini-adventures in three huge PDF super adventure volumes.  That's a lot of gaming!
So, what is this "Mini-Adventure Set"?
What are in the mini-adventures? Each mini-adventure is roughly 10 encounter points in a scenario that blends in with the main Folio adventure it corresponds to (in this case, the pre-adventure for the beginning of The Curse of Roslof Keep super-campaign). This includes maps, and statistics in both classic AD&D and 5th Edition D&D. However, these can also easily work as stand alone encounters for other ongoing campaigns.  They are designed for 4-6 characters from levels 10+. 
There are two days left in this seven day Kickstarter. It's about $400 short of its $3k goal. It's $15 for the trio of adventures in PDF, $40 for Print plus PDF. want it all - 18 prior releases and the 3 mini-adventures in PDF? 90 bucks. The price points aren't bad and the prior releases are high quality.

So, How Much Bat Guano for a Fireball?

Its technically spring, so today was spent at a nursery buying stuff for the garden.

Low and behold, what do I find? Bat Guano.

I guess that means I should be asking: who uses spell components in their campaigns? More importantly, was this a good deal for Bat Guano?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern - Ah, Dear Kenny - How Sweet That You've Been Served

Today is a Wednesday. Tonight is a Wednesday Night. Today is the day @ConManKen was served. Ah, what a night it will be ;)

Seriously, Wednesday Nights at 9 PM Eastern is when The Tavern's Community gathers in The Tavern's Discord Server and talks gaming - news, thoughts, rules, geek stuff - whatever comes to mind. Somehow, I expect @ConManKen will be a strong topic tonight.

Tavern Chat is mostly a voice chat hangout. You can hangout out in the Open Bar Voice Channel and lurk if you don't feel like talking. The additional chat takes place in the Tavern Chat Text Channel, but most of the activity is certainly on the vice side.

Voice chat is set for "push to talk" with very few exceptions.

Join us. You literally never know who will be popping in.

Invite below:


Ken Whitman - You've Been SERVED!

Holy shit! Huge thanks to David Flor and his A Walk in the Dark Blog for getting @ConManKen talking and forwarding me the information shared below. Even greater thanks to Desy Louis Jr for doing what many have wanted but not have been able - serve Ken / Whit Whitman legal notice of a legal action against him. At his shop. How appropriate.

Yes, Virginia, there is a special place reserved for @ConManKen. It isn't the North Pole, either.

No Ken, you can't sue me for sharing this. You can't have me arrested for sharing this. Just finish packing up your shop, put your head between your legs and await the summary judgment as I KNOW you won't be coming to NYC to answer this.

Wish I had been there to witness the expression on your face when you were served. See, this is what happens Kenny when you fuck with people. They use the law to fuck you back.

There is a 14-page legal action against Kenny. I'm only sharing a few pages here. The rest can be found as a linked PDF file on The Tavern's Discord Server in the Common Room text channel.

Link for the Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server:

Yeah, I think I have an idea about tonight's Tavern Chat topic ;)

Tavern Tidbits - Minor Magics - Flying Stuffed Monkey (SWL / SWC)

Continuing with the revisiting and updating of some earlier magical items / creatures that have graced The Tavern.

Flying Stuffed Monkey

The Flying Stuffed Monkey is a sort of quasi-golem. It can fly (up to 60', in a straight line, screaming monkey screams the whole time), walk, fight and even die for its master, but so long as it’s master retrieves the majority of its remains from the field of battle, it will be ready to fight the following day.

Hit Dice: 2 (roll new HP each time it reforms)
Armor Class: 6 (13)
Attacks: 2 Claws (1d6-1), 1 Bite (1d6)
Saving Throw: 14
Special: Reforms 24 hrs after being defeated. 23 Points of magical fire will destroy the Flying Stuffed Monkey for good
Alignment: Neutral
Number Encountered: 1
Challenge Level/XP: 2 / 30


Quests of Doom for S&W - $30 off in Print - Frog God Games

I received the following via email early this morning:

Got Doom?

No? Well, here is a chance to get it for Swords & Wizardry at a price worthy of your wallet!

Use coupon code: DOOM-DEEP-25 and watch the price magically become $30 dollars cheaper!

(use the following link) https://www.froggodgames.com/quests-doom-pfsw

Swords and Wizardry only through Friday!!

(note - price drops from $54.99 to $24.99)

This book is packed with 18 adventures in over 250 pages, by acclaimed and award-winning authors Ed Greenwood (The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, The City of Splendors), Bill Webb (Rappan Athuk, The Lost City of Barakus), Matt Finch (Swords & Wizardry, Tome of Adventure Design), J. Collura (Caverns of Thracia Reloaded, Chaos Rising), Michael Curtis (The Dungeon Alphabet, Realms of Crawling Chaos), Casey Christofferson (The Tome of Horrors, City of Brass), Steve Winter (Tyranny of Dragons, Murder in Baldur’s Gate), James M. Ward (Gamma World, Pool of Radiance, Castle Keeper’s Guide), and Skip Williams (Axe of the Dwarvish Lords, The Rod of Seven Parts).

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

What Does the OSR Mean to You?

No, I'm not talking about what the letters that compose the OSR stand for, but what the actual OSR means to you.

To me, it means an amazingly creative community, generous with their time, happy to share their completed works with others and quick to open their wallets & purses when a member of the community is in need.

Members of the OSR are quick to help other members on their projects, offer advice, share knowledge and all that good stuff. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a strong community to produce high quality gaming material (without being a large company or part of a larger corporation).

The OSR is compossed of members that are passionate about their hobby and are enthusiastic about sharing their love for Old School Gaming with others. Some are grumpier than others, but that comes with age ;)

It is a community I am proud to be a part of.

That is what the OSR means to me. What does it mean to you?

Tavern Tidbits EXTRA - Minor Magics - Tenkar's Traveling Tavern (James Spahn / System Neutral)

James Spahn posted the following as a comment to last night's Tenkar's Robe of Serving post. I felt this deserved a post of its own :)

Legends also speak of Tenkar's Traveling Tavern, a tiny wooden box carved with intricate dwarven runes, save for a single door wood burnt into one side of the fist-sized cube. Once per month, or on any dwarvish holiday, the owner can speak the command word and cast the cube onto the ground. It will grow into a sprawling tavern that is 30 feet wide, 50 feet long, and stand a full two stories. Inside, a combination of enchantments conjures forth a spectral dwarven innkeeper and trio of human servers. A spectral halfling also appears in one corner of the tavern interior and performs tunes both merry and calming.

Tenkar's Traveling Tavern remains in this form for a full 12 hours, after which it returns to its original form of a wooden cube. Up to a dozen patrons may enter the tavern during this twelve hours where they will feast on the finest food, perfectly crafted ale, and find relaxing beds on the second floor. Such a wonderful celebration heals them of 1d6+1 hit points and provides +2 to all saving throws made to resist fear effects for twenty-four hours after leaving the tavern.

If anyone fails to exit the tavern before its 12-hour enchantment ends, they awaken unharmed on the ground where the tavern once stood, but have a terrible hangover. They suffer a -1 penalty to all to-hit rolls and saving throws for the next twenty-four hours and spellcasters must make a saving throw (with a +4 bonus) whenever they attempt to cast a spell to concentrate through their pounding headache. In addition, the dejected individuals find that they no longer have Tenkar's Traveling Tavern in their possession. Instead, the enchanted box is transported within one mile of the nearest dwarf.

Only a single Tenkar's Traveling Tavern exists and it is regarded as a holy artifact to many dwarves. If discovered and returned to dwarven settlements, there will undoubtedly be great rewards. However, should non-dwarves discover Tenkar's Traveling Tavern and attempt to abuse its power they will draw the ire of any bearded folk who discover this transgression.

Tenkar's Traveling Tavern is priceless and would likely fetch over 100,000 gold pieces if the proper buyer were ever discovered. - James Spahn

Monday, April 9, 2018

Tavern Tidbits - Minor Magics - Tenkar's Robe of Serving (Any OSR Ruleset)

I'll be revisiting some of the magic items and creatures I first created five years ago. Some made it into Minor Magiks & Miscellaneous Arcana Volume I, a release from a now-defunct third-party publisher. I figure with five additional years under my belt I can improve on some of this ;)

Tenkar's Robe of Serving

Tenkar's Robe of Serving is similar in many ways to a Robe of Useful Items, but it is geared more towards delivering a fine pub experience on the go. The robe is often found with a bartender's apron of non-magical quality.

The following pockets have a limited number of uses - when the item in question is pulled from the robe, one of the uses is gone. All items are permanent unless consumed or destroyed (or spoiled by time) and cannot be returned to the pocket they came from.

Table and Six Stools, Wooden - three uses
Bench, Wooden (seats four) - two uses
Serving Tray, Pewter - three uses
Wine Glasses, Six - two uses
Lute, low quality - four uses

The following have a limited number of uses per day:

Wine Cask, 1 Gallon - once per day
Beer Barrel, 2 Gallons - once per day (must choose dark or pilsner)
Mugs, Wooden (holds 3 cups of liquid) - six times per day
Candle, Wax - twice per day (it is lit when removed from the robe's pocket)
Pan Fried Bread Chips ("Crisps") - twice per day, six servings (each serving equals one standard ration)

An additional feature of the robe is the ability to make change. Putting a gold coin in one pocket allows one to retrieve 10 silver pieces, or 8 silver pieces and 20 coppers, etc. Note, the original coin disappears when the new coinage appears. One can not change coins in the other direct - 10 silvers cannot be turned into a single gold piece. This feature can be accessed five times per day, maximum 10 gold pieces in value per use.


link to art - CC0 - https://pixabay.com/en/robe-hooded-anonymous-cape-coat-154808/

Kicking Off the Week - Kickstarter RoundUp for April 9, 2018 -D.A.M.N. The Heretical Dragon is with Beasts & Cannibals!

Yep, back to weekly Kickstarter RoundUp posts. Some I may have highlighted before, others this might be the first look. All are worthy of your time and attention.

D.A.M.N. Magazine - DCC RPG Magazine and News - A DCC RPG Magazine from Paul Wolfe - three adventures (two long and one short), a new patron, previews and more. Cover by David Fisher - About 85 pages, 8 1/2" x 11", color cover and B&W interior.
The Dragon Heresy Introductory Set Fantasy RPG - "Explore and conquer in a Norse-inspired land with Dragon Heresy, with modified 5E rules - In the Dragon Heresy Introductory set, you will find everything required to create your hero, play the game, and challenge fearsome foes. Go forth and stake your claim. Your saga starts here."

HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals - "Two new adventure modules for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (AS&SH) - From North Wind Adventures, creators of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea™, come two new, exciting adventure modules for the AS&SH™ game: The Anthropophagi of Xambaala™ and The Beasts of Kraggoth Manor™"

Tavern Tidbits - Monster Madness - Maracus, Grand Nephew of Orcus (SWL/SWCL/SWC)

© Denis McCarthy, 2018

Maracus, grand nephew of the infamous demon Orcus, is a minor demon of impressive appearance. Standing at just over 6' tall and usually covered head to toe in a large violet covered cloak, he often greats travelers and adventurers with the line "Do you know who my uncle is!?!" before revealing his true visage. Those who claim ignorance will be regaled with tales of horror and humor, as Maracus, while evil by heredity, simply wants to be liked and he doesn't much care who does the liking.

In truth, Maracus has been exiled to the prime material plane for the thought crime of not being evil enough. As such, he lacks many powers that most demons possess. He can fly* short distances (30' or so per "hop") and is immune to damage from non-magical weapons (although spells and spell-like powers work normally) and cast Charm Person (as the spell) once per day.

Maracus' skull topped wand can cast any 1st level spell, magic-user or cleric, once per day. It can do this once per turn. The same spell cannot be cast more than once per day. In the hands of any other than Maracus, it has the same abilities but only one spell maximum can be cast per day.

If Maracus is killed, his body reforms 24 hours later within a mile of the spot he was killed. Maracus does not hold grudges and may attempt to befriend those that have killed him at a prior encounter,

If encountered by a party of adventurers he will seek to join them, telling them that he is a skilled bard and storyteller as well as a ferocious warrior. The truth to such claims is in the eye of the beholder.

(for SWL/SWCL, ignore AL / CL and XP entries)

Maracus: HD 4; AC 4[15]; Atk 2 (1d6 or by weapon); Move 12, Fly*;  Save 13
AL C; CL/XP 5/400; Special: Immune to Non-magical weapons, Wand

Art by Denis McCarthy


Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Muse Rises Again!

I have refound my muse. If you don't know, unless you are James Spahn, your internal muse can be a very fickle beast. Well, my muse has been extremely fickle the past few months if you haven't noticed. Maybe I have more than one muse, as blog posts have kept pace, but gaming content posts have been struggling.

Earlier today I posted the Pyro-Hydra. I've got many more monsters to stat out. Magic items to describe. Dungeons to stock.

It feels good to push past the muddied darkness to find my voice.

Did I mention that Torchlight, the S&W Zine is looking to release in time for GameHole? We got plans in the works ;)

Tavern Tidbits - Monster Madness - Pyro-Hydra (SWCL & SWC)

Pyro-Hydra - Statted for Swords & Wizardry Light/Continual Light and Swords & Wizardry Complete. Based on the entry for the Hyrda in Monstrosities for Swords & Wizardry Complete.

Pyro Hydras are theorized to be the result of magically crossbreeding a red dragon with a hydra. As such, they have multiple heads that can breathe fire much like a red dragon. On any given round, roll 1d6 per head. On a 5 or 6, that head breathes fire instead of attempting to bite. Breath attacks are aimed at one target and that target must save vs breath weapon or suffer 2d6 damage (No attack roll is needed by the Pyro Hydra. Target no damage with a successful save.) Pyro Hydras are extremely dangerous adversaries.

Like a standard hydra, each head has one hit die of its own, and when an individual head takes damage equal to the rolled hit die, that head dies. The body has as many hit dice as the total of the heads, so it is a matter of good strategy for adventurers to focus either on killing heads (when all the heads are dead the body dies) or killing the creature by attacking the body (in which case the heads die, too)

Note, weapons that do special damage to reptiles or dragons are effective against Pyro Hydras.

(for SWCL, ignore AL / CL and XP entries)

Hydra (5 headed): HD 5; AC 5[14]; Atk 5 heads (1d6); Move 9;  Save 12
AL N; CL/XP 7/800; Special: Breathes Fire

Hydra (6 headed): HD 6; AC 5[14]; Atk 6 heads (1d6); Move 9; Save 11
AL N; CL/XP 8/1100; Special: Breathes Fire

Hydra (7 headed): HD 7; AC 5[14]; Atk 7 heads (1d6); Move 9; Save 9
AL N; CL/XP 9/1400; Special: Breathes Fire

Hydra (8 headed): HD 8; AC 5[14]; Atk 8 heads (1d6); Move 9; Save 8
AL N; CL/XP 10/1700; Special: Breathes Fire

Hydra (9 headed): HD 9; AC 5[14]; Atk 9 heads (1d6); Move 9; Save 6
AL N; CL/XP 11/2000; Special: Breathes Fire

Hydra (10 headed): HD 10; AC 5[14]; Atk 10 heads (1d6); Move 9; Save 5
AL N; CL/XP 12/2300; Special: Breathes Fire

Hydra (11 headed): HD 11; AC 5[14]; Atk 11 heads (1d6); Move 9; Save 4
AL N; CL/XP 13/2600; Special: Breathes Fire

Hydra (12 headed): HD 12; AC 5[14]; Atk 12 heads (1d6); Move 9; Save 3
AL N; CL/XP 14/2900; Special: Breathes Fire

Artwork copyright Daniel F. Walthall, used with permission.


Kickstarter - Dead in the West: A Tabletop RPG set in the Mythic Old West

I have a soft spot for Old West history and mythology. It is very much the fantasy medieval age of Americana. Which puts me at an awkward juncture with the Dead in the West: A Tabletop RPG set in the Mythic Old West Kickstarter. I want it to succeed due to the subject matter, but I think it has priced itself out of successfully funding.

First, we have a lot of firsts. First Kickstarter created. One Kickstarter backed. First game written. The only thing balancing against this is the creator's passion - he certainly has faith in his project.

Second - pricing. With a goal of just over $10k in USD, it's a lot for no track record. More worrisome is the backers' levels. $25 for the rulebook in PDF and the Quickstart in PDF - and a mention on Facebook. $25 for a PDF from an unknown creator? And could someone tell me what the value of such a mention is on Facebook if the one doing the mentioning has little if any following? I mean, even WITH a following of noticeable size it has little value IMHO. Print plus PDF is $37 USD - but add in shipping and its more like $60. Oh, and we don't know the size of the book or the actual game mechanics (uses d8s if you read the FAQ)

There is a lot being asked of backers with little more than a dream presented in return. Yes, I know Kickstarter is very much about fulfilling those dreams, but this is one dream that will never come to be.

Dead in the West: A Tabletop RPG set in the Mythic Old West is at about 42% of funding with a week and a half left to fund. Short of an "Angel Back" or six, this project is going back on the shelf.
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