Saturday, October 13, 2018

State of The Tavern - Tavern 3.0?

Yeah, I know there have been a number of State of the Tavern updates the past week or so, but it's for good reason. We are simply trying to make The Tavern, in all of its realities and versions, better for you, the community as a whole.

The crash and mostly (yet partial) recovery of The Tavern's blog page has made me think. We are expanding the hosted hours of chat each week on The Tavern's Discord Server. We have expanded into MeWe.com. What else can we do?

At this point, who knows how long Blogger as a blogging service will be around? Will it go the way of Google Plus, given a 10 month to live life sentence and put off to pasture?

I'm strongly considering moving TenkarsTavern.com to SquareSpace. Import all of the prior posts for the past 9 years and start at a new home. One that will embrace the hosting of OSR and other gaming blogs under the Tenkar's Tavern banner. Your own feeds for your own blogs, but hosted at Tenkar's Tavern. Color me intrigued.

I've been looking into it and it looks promising. Sure, the downtime for The Tavern is a crapshot, with quotes of 1 to 15 days, but it may just be what we need as a community.

I'd love to hear some feedback on using Squarespace as a host from members of the community. Let me know your thoughts?

The Tavern Chat Podcast - E150 - Would You Groo?

150 episodes? Where did the time go? And how did I get distracted by Groo?
Voicemails, emails and Groo talk. What better way to celebrate 150 episodes of Tavern Chat?
Link to Episode 150 - https://anchor.fm/tavernchat/episodes/E150---Would-You-Groo-e2d131

Tenkar's Tavern Voicemail Number - (347) 509-5168

Friday, October 12, 2018

Announcement - Vale Greg Stafford (1948 - 2018) - Deceased

From the latest Chaosium Newsletter:

The shock and grief the Chaosium family felt at the news of the passing of our beloved and revered company founder, Greg Stafford, cannot be measured. Greg died yesterday in his sweat lodge at his home in Arcata, CA. Mercifully, his passing was painless and quick. He died as he lived, on a spiritual quest of enlightenment.

As one of the greatest game designers of all time; winner of too many awards to count; and a friend, mentor, guide, and inspiration to generations of gamers, “the Grand Shaman of Gaming” influenced the universe of tabletop gaming beyond measure.

Greg founded The Chaosium in 1975, and from the outset (to quote his own words) “was never content to imitate, but instead published games that were original in their style of play, content and design”. Under his leadership, the company quickly became renowned for its originality and creativity and was responsible for introducing numerous things to the hobby that are standards today. As John Wick (7th Sea, Legend of the Five Rings) memorably said, “The older I get, the more I hear young RPG designers say ‘Never been done before!’ And then I just point at something Greg Stafford did a few decades ago.”

Greg’s work in roleplaying games, board games, and fiction have been acclaimed as some of the most engaging and innovative of all time. There will doubtless be many valedictory messages over the coming days from the countless many that Greg inspired and enthused across his many interests and passions - Glorantha, Oaxaca, King Arthur, shamanism, mythology and more.

For now, we leave you with the words of the Myth maker himself, speaking at the 2018 ENnies Awards ceremony, his last public engagement. Greg was immensely proud of the work Chaosium had done in recent years, particularly since his return as chair of the board in 2015. Ultimately, on reflection, he recognized that everyone’s success in the gaming industry was down to the enthusiasm and support of the fans. We at Chaosium recognize that countless RPG fans are fans (including us!) because of Greg Stafford and what he achieved.

Our heartfelt condolences to Greg’s wife Suzanne, and his children Noah, Alisha, Jason, and their families.

Vale Greg—from the team at Chaosium

Condolence Thread at BRP Central

We have created a special Condolence Thread at BRP Central - The Chaosium Forums for messages from the gaming community of condolence, and remembrance, and celebration, about Greg Stafford.
If you would like to show your appreciation for his life and legacy, or express your feelings, or pay your respects, please feel free to leave a note there. Greg's wife Suzanne and his family know that he was greatly loved, respected and revered in the gaming community all over the world, and they have the link to this thread to read your posts when they are ready. Greg's family request that you respect their privacy in this time of grief.

Here is the link: https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/8417-greg-stafford-condolence-thread

The Tavern Chat Podcast - E149 - Followup to E148 - Delving into the Preface of the AD&D 1e DMG - Comments & a Phone Call

I received a phone call from Chris Clark last night because of yesterday's podcast. I guess being right for the wrong reasons is better than simply be wrong ;)
There was a lot of feedback to E148 was passionate. Three comments on the blogside and a phone call from Chris Clark himself. Guess I need a Google Number for longer voicemails :) I respond to all.
Link to Episode #149 - https://anchor.fm/tavernchat/episodes/E149---Followup-to-E148---Delving-into-the-Preface-of-the-ADD-1e-DMG---Comments--a-Phone-Call-e2crfb

State of The Tavern - Crash, Boom, and Back - with a Calendar Added

You ever have one of those nights? You know, the type that simply blindsides you with panic? That was me, earlier tonight when I went to add a Google Calendar Widget here on the blogside. Boom! There goes all of the text from The Tavern's posts!

I could still edit the posts, and they still showed on mobile, but somehow the blog template I used dropped the html that embedded the actual blog posts. I panicked for a bit, then played around and used a new template and lo and behold, the posts were back - and the layout was buggered.

I've spent the rest of the night cleaning things up.

In any case, we now have a Google Calendar at the bottom of the blog page. It seemed needed, as we've added a second night of hosted voice chat on The Tavern's Discord Server - Frog Chat, 9PM Eastern on Tuesday Nights. Believe it or not, we are working on adding two or more regular weekly hosted chats (more on that later) and I simply felt that a Calendar of Tavern related events was useful.

Did I mention we are looking to add some moderators to the Discord Server? I'm thinking of calling them Serving Menches :)

a person of integrity and honor

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Tonight - 7 PM Eastern - Matt Finch LIVE with Jason Hardy, MeWe's Product Director

Looks like MeWe wants to accommodate gamers on its platform.

I'll (Matt Finch) have Jason Hardy, MeWe's Product Director talking with me on my youtube channel tonight at 6PM Central time (7 PM Eastern). In last night's panel-discussion show I assembled a set of questions and comments from the live chat, but if there is a topic you would like me to address with Jason on tonight's show, feel free to post it. The live chat will also be enabled during the show tonight. This is our chance to give MeWe an organized presentation of what the G+ gaming community wants and needs from MeWe if they are going to become the go-to location for tabletop gaming communities. 

The Tavern Chat Podcast - E148 - Delving into the Preface of the AD&D 1e DMG

In last night's Tavern Chat, the AD&D 1e DMG came up in the discussion. It was noted that, except for the combat and saving throw tables, it was the least needed of the three core books.
Fourth time is the charm ;) I delve into the preface of the AD&D 1e DMG, an interesting read, even if it appears a bit contradictory.
Link to Episode 148https://anchor.fm/tavernchat/episodes/E148---Delving-into-the-Preface-of-the-ADD-1e-DMG-e2clu2

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

State of The Tavern - God, I Need a Drink - Discord & More

Pexx and I sat down today to discuss all things Tavern. For those that don't know, Pexx is my right-hand man on The Tenkar's Tavern's Discord Server since we merged the Frog God Games Server into it, and he's probably the best thing to happen to it, and The Tavern in general, since we opened up our doors many moons ago.

We talked for two hours. Two VERY productive hours (and we left with even more to discuss in two weeks.) Some changes you will see in the coming days, weeks, and months were probably initiated today. Some quick highlights:

We've merged the Publishers Group and the Content Creators Group on The Tavern's Discord Server into a single new group - Designers & Makers. If you publish, create, blog, podcast, vidcast, etc in our corner of the hobby, this is where you can snag your own channel for announcements and discussion of your creations. If you have a channel already, please, use it. It is there for you. If you don't yet have a channel, message Pexx or myself on Discord and we'll be happy to set you up. We currently have 29 channels in the Designers & Makers Group and are always happy to add more.

I've rejiggered the goals on the Tenkar's Tavern Patreon, which currently has 47 patrons. At 50 patrons, we add a monthly, off hours, Tavern Chat for our overseas community. This would probably be in the AM here on the East Coast, so the evening on the flip side of the world. Almost there.

Pexx and I will organize a virtual gaming con (TenCon?) once we hit 75 patrons (it was 150, and that was simply too far off). We'll use The Tavern's Discord Server to host voice & chat, and probably use Roll20 and of Fantasy Grounds for the VTTs. Add in some panels and "Ask Me Anything" and all you'll be missing is the unwashed masses. It's closer than you think ;)

We plan on hosting more interviews for The Tavern Chat Podcast, using a voice channel (for listening live) and a text channel (for commenting live) on the Discord Server, preferably in the evening hours, to make it more accessible to the majority of the community.

On a side note, I'm going to look into uploading The Tavern Chat Podcast onto YouTube. It should lead to more visibility (doh) and it would allow the use of automatic closed captioning. It won't be perfect, but for those with hearing disabilities, it should help them access the podcast material.

We discussed A LOT MORE. It was, after all, a two-hour discussion. This is stuff that is of the more immediate nature. We are sneaking up on 1,100 members and we want to make sure the community is not just engaged but listened to. I'll touch on that with a later update.

Oh, we are considering adding a few moderators to the mix on The Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server. If you are active in the Discord side of the community and wish to help out, reach out to Pexx or me on Discord.

Onward to tonight's Tavern Chat!

Link to The Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server - https://discord.gg/fReGmuD

Reminder - Tavern Chat - The Great MeWe Exodus - 9 PM Eastern

Google announced the impending end of Google+ earlier this week, and the migration has been to MeWe.com. I expect much of tonight's conversation will be related to such.

Tavern Chat on The Tavern's Discord Server - https://discord.gg/fReGmuD

"It's like a live podcast, but with audience participation and no recording ;)"

The Tavern Chat Podcast -E147 - Kickstarter Roundup for October 10, 2018 - Dice, Wands, Bunnies, Airships, Mutants, Oh My

Better late than never, right? This week's Kickstarter Roundup is a day late, Damn you Google+ and your newsworthiness!
Our Kickstarter Roundup is a day late, so we cover not five, not six, but seven current Kickstarters: Bunnies and Burrows, Phantasmagoria #1, Dragon-Slayer: RPG & Cosplay Wands, Dragon Scales - Dual Drake Metal Gaming Dice, Calidar "On Wings of Darkness", Mutant Mayhem Minis, and "Table Breakers" - Super Heavy Solid Metal Poly Dice Set. 
Link to Episode 147https://anchor.fm/tavernchat/episodes/E147---Kickstarter-Roundup-for-October-10--2018---Dice--Wands--Bunnies--Airships--Mutants--Oh-My-e2cdcf

Links to mentioned Kickstarters:








Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Announcing the Frog God Games and the Official Swords & Wizardry Communities on MeWe

As the mass migration of gamers from Google+ to MeWe continues, I thought I'd announce some new communities that might interest The Tavern's readers.

The Frog God Games Group - the official presence of Frog God Games on the MeWe social media platform.

The Official Swords & Wizardry Group - there may be more than one, but this group will be maintained by the Frogs. Can't get more official than that ;)

Of course, the Tenkar's Tavern Group went live last night, and if you are looking for your humble bartender on MeWe, here's a handy link.

As a dev actually dropped into a group chat to get feedback from the influx of Google+ RPG refugees earlier today, I'm pretty enthusiastic about the move. :)

(Evan Edwards has been putting together a comprehensive list of tabletop RPG groups on MeWe. With his kind permission, I'll be posting such here at The Tavern in a day or so.)

My Seven Year Old Niece Schools Me on Dungeon Design

The video is short, but my God, she understands what goes into designing a challenging dungeon.

Trick rooms, false treasure, lave, traps, bad guys, wizards, and limited access. All in just over a minute.

She has never played D&D or any of its variants yet. She has played some of the Dungeon boardgame and two sessions of No Thank You Evil!

I suspect she will be a natural :)

So, with the children in your family circles, are you leading them into the corrupted future of "fantasy roleplaying?" ;)

The Tavern Chat Podcast - E146 - Google to Shut Down G+ After Exposing User Info - OSR Migration has Started to MeWe

I blogged about this yesterday and the migration to MeWe is real. Over 400 new members in the MeWe OSR Community and 125 in The Tavern's MeWe Community in less than 24 hours.
What do you do if you expose the user info of half a million of your users? Shut down the service, that's what. Google has given G+ users a 10-month warning that its social media platform is going the way of the dodo. Most migration in the OSR Community appears to be heading towards MeWe.

Link to Episode 146 - https://anchor.fm/tavernchat/episodes/E146---Google-to-Shut-Down-G-After-Exposing-User-Info---OSR-Migration-has-Started-to-MeWe-e2c4m3



Monday, October 8, 2018

The Mass Migration of the OSR from Google+ has Begun

Yep, Google+ was given a notice today than in 10 months, Google will be pulling the life support plug on their social media platform. The OSR is strong on Google+, or it was. What is the point of staying with a dying social media platform? Who wants to be the one tasked with turning off the lights and locking the door?

Facebook is an option, but not all want to do Facebook. I understand that. The Tavern has a Facebook Community which can be reached at https://www.facebook.com/groups/849179298513223/

But what if you don't want to do Facebook? Or what if you simply want more options?

Discord is certainly an option. There is an OSR server which can be reached here: https://discord.gg/36Hfr2

There is also a Tenkar's Tavern server which does double duty as the Official Frog God Games Discord Community. Its active day and night, 24/7. You can join with this link:

But you know what is on fire today? MeWe.com. Seriously, it seems to be a very viable Google+ alternative. There is an OSR Group (I am one of the admins) as well as a new, as of 2 hours ago as I type this, Tenkar's Tavern Group. Huzzah! Join us on the non-Google+ / non-Facebook alternative!

MeWe OSR Group - www.mewe.com/join/osr1

MeWe Tenkar's Tavern Group - www.mewe.com/join/tenkars_tavern

edit - if you want to "friend" me on MeWe, here's the link:  www.mewe.com/i/erik.tenkar

Google Plus to Come to an End August 2019 - Will the World of Social Media Even Notice? Will the OSR Move On?

Rob Conley gave me the heads up earlier this afternoon - Google Plus will be ending as we know it in 10 months (Enterprise users may have a version going forward). Rob blogs about the announcement at his Bat in the Attic blog.

Strangely, it's almost a non-announcement.
This review crystallized what we’ve known for a while: that while our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps. The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds. 
Our review showed that our Google+ APIs, and the associated controls for consumers, are challenging to develop and maintain. Underlining this, as part of our Project Strobe audit, we discovered a bug in one of the Google+ People APIs:

Users can grant access to their Profile data, and the public Profile information of their friends, to Google+ apps, via the API. 
The bug meant that apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public.   
This data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age. (See the full list on our developer site.) It does not include any other data you may have posted or connected to Google+ or any other service, like Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers or G Suite content. 
We discovered and immediately patched this bug in March 2018. We believe it occurred after launch as a result of the API’s interaction with a subsequent Google+ code change.
We made Google+ with privacy in mind and therefore keep this API’s log data for only two weeks. That means we cannot confirm which users were impacted by this bug. 
However, we ran a detailed analysis over the two weeks prior to patching the bug, and from that analysis, the Profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were potentially affected. Our analysis showed that up to 438 applications may have used this API. 
We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused. 
Every year, we send millions of notifications to users about privacy and security bugs and issues. Whenever user data may have been affected, we go beyond our legal requirements and apply several criteria focused on our users in determining whether to provide notice. 
Our Privacy & Data Protection Office reviewed this issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response. None of these thresholds were met in this instance. 
The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers’ expectations. Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+. 
To give people a full opportunity to transition, we will implement this wind-down over a 10-month period, slated for completion by the end of next August. Over the coming months, we will provide consumers with additional information, including ways they can download and migrate their data. 
At the same time, we have many enterprise customers who are finding great value in using Google+ within their companies. Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network. Enterprise customers can set common access rules, and use central controls, for their entire organization. We’ve decided to focus on our enterprise efforts and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses. We will share more information in the coming days.  
Cheaper to shut down than to fix...

I'm not surprised by the announcement. I am surprised that Google took this long to make such an announcement. Facebook drives over three times the traffic that Google Plus does for me at this time, despite 9,453 having me in their circles on G Plus and a hair over 2,000 friends on Facebook.

I know the OSR as a community is heavily invested in G Plus. Where will they move now?

G Plus has been the red-headed stepchild of Google for years. They never really knew what to do with it, and now it follows Google Wave and Feedburner onto the trash heap. I can only wonder if Blogger itself is close behind.

Other articles:




The Tavern Chat Podcast - E145 - Level Draining - Is It the Result of an Overwrought & Drunk DM or Something More Sinister?

Level draining undead. See them and see how I run ;)
Level Drain - never liked it, never will. In today's episode, I discuss some alternatives to the classic level drain threat.
Link to Episode 145https://anchor.fm/tavernchat/episodes/E145---Level-Draining---Is-It-the-Result-of-an-Overwrought--Drunk-DM-or-Something-More-Sinister-e2bv37

Free Map Mondays - Dalgenar's Tomb

Its the second Monday of Free Map Mondays here at The Tavern. Today, we have what I have called Dalgenar's Tomb.

Lower right is the false tomb. There is a partially collapsed corridor which may or may not lead to more dungeons. Mid right is the old area for church services for the builders of the tomb. Upper right are caves that were uncovered when the tomb was dug. They are partially flooded.

Upper left was a barracks that also uncovered caves. The caves will lead above ground and may be inhabited.

Lower left is the actual tomb, hidden behind a secret door. A short set of stairs leads to the main tomb. Three coffins, two magic altars, and an altar occupy this room. To the north are the hastily stacked coffins of the workers that were killed after the tomb was built. The south room is the treasure room.

This tomb may have been raided prior, partially or fully. Parts may be occupied, but undead, bandits or adventurers.

This map is released under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ / Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0). Enjoy :)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Kickstarter - Phantasmagoria #1: A Sword and Planet Zine for DCC RPG

I love RPG Zines. I'm a huge fan of the Sword & Planet genre. Mix them together in a DCC RPG Zine and you have me hooked. Phantasmagoria #1: A Sword and Planet Zine for DCC RPG Kickstarter has me on the hook.
The first issue of Phantasmagoria will contain: 
Five new classes:
The Automaton: an independent robot discarded by its creator
The Captain: an inspiring leader and great duelist
The Gremlin: a tricksy demihuman with technical and magical skills
The Jovian: an exiled native of a gas giant
The Star Prince: the final, humanoid stage of a star's life cycle 
And additional material for playing in a science fantasy setting:
New equipment and weapons
New 0-level occupations
Rules for creating spaceships
Looks like I'll be using more DCC RPG material to inspire my Swords & Wizardry games :)

PDF is 4 bucks, Print plus PDF is 8 bucks plus shipping. I'm in for a Print copy myself.

The Tavern Chat Podcast - E144 - Social Norms, Unexpected Actions & Freedom to Do What You Want at the Table - Where's the Line?

My niece is staying the night, so I try to avoid the F-bombs in this episode. Didn't stop the S-bomb though. I'm a bad uncle ;)
I try to avoid the F-bombs today. No idea if I succeeded ;)  
I talk about unexpected actions, thinking out of the box, freedom to do what you want and social norms at the game table.
Link to Episode 144https://anchor.fm/tavernchat/episodes/E144---Social-Norms--Unexpected-Actions--Freedom-to-Do-What-U-want-at-the-Table---Wheres-the-Line-e2brfr
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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