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Sunday, March 31, 2019

No April Foolin' - April 1st (Tomorrow) is the Last Day for Google+

Farewell Google+. You had your share of the limelight, but you grew much dimmer in recent years. In the end, you were but a shade of your former self. I wish I could say you will be missed, but in there recent months you seemed like you weren't really there.

Let's all do a Google Wave. Wait, they killed that too. Years ago.

Ah well, we had some good times, but now I hang my hat elsewhere:

https://www.tenkarstavern.com/ The Blog

https://anchor.fm/tavernchat The Podcast

https://www.facebook.com/tenkarstaverncommunity The Facebook Page

https://mewe.com/group/5bbbeb719b97560bb884a669 The MeWe Group

https://discord.gg/fReGmuD The Discord Server



Saturday, March 30, 2019

Frog God Games April Fools Sale - 5e



This popped up in my Facebook feed this morning. I wonder how easy to would be to convert The Book of Lost Spells to Swords & Wizardry...
April Foes Day Sale 
Frog God Games is offering both Fifth Edition Foes and Book of Lost Spells (Fifth Edition) at 50% off, exclusively to our social media followers, now through April Fool's Day! 
Fifth Edition Foes features 260 pages of monstrous mayhem drawn from our classic Tome of Horror I - IV series, plus a plethora of perlious predators inspired by classic monsters harkening back to First Edition! 
Fear not, brave and foolish players! You'll have the Book of Lost Spells to defend yourself! With over 137 pages of new spells for the discerning and desperate spellcaster, you're sure to survive the new and dangerous adversaries coming your way... hopefully. 
Fifth Edition Foes for $9.99 (normally 19.99): https://www.rpgnow.com/browse.php?discount=97dc569007&affiliate_id=1446
Book of Lost Spells for $12.49 (normally 25.00): https://www.rpgnow.com/browse.php?discount=97df1aed1a&affiliate_id=1446
Yeah, it says its for Frog God Games social media followers, but I'm their "Convention Coordinator" and you are following me, so the degrees of separation are small ;)

Those are affiliate links above. Help yourself and The Tavern too by shopping with our affiliate links.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Kickstarter - The City of Great Lunden (Midderlands)


I'm a sucker for settings. Even more so, I'm a huge sucker for city settings, because I can never wrap my head around it enough to properly write one up on my own.

Monkeyblood does amazing maps. His Midderlands setting is probably one of the best EVER in the hobby. With The City of Great Lunden, Glynn gives us a city set in the Midderlands. Awesome!
The City of Great Lunden is a city setting for use with old school roleplaying games. It is designed to be used alongside The Midderlands setting and hence is 'The Midderlands Compatible'. Game stats are presented for use with Swords & Wizardry Complete, which means they are easily adopted for old school games/retroclones. Much of the content is designed to be as system-neutral as possible, so feel free to use it with any fantasy game system you like. 
This book DOES NOT require The Midderlands setting, but it is greatly enhanced with it. There might be references to things found in the other books.
The book itself will be 224 pages of great, city-based, game-juice, all in glorious, high specification, hardback and/or digital format. Here's how the current content is looking: 
  • Introduction - includes a short story focused on the pre-generated characters.
  • The City of Great Lunden - A touch of history, details of the inner wards, outer wards, and beyond the outer wards.
  • The streets, law and order, defences, waste, etc.
  • 22 detailed structures comprising a full page elevation view art piece, a page of floorplans/maps, and a page of information about the structure.
  • The Great Thameswater river
  • Beneath the city (sewers)
  • Above the streets (rooftops) - Includes rules for rooftop adventures
  • Oddities - more magic items, spells, flora, and fauna.
  • Bestiary
  • Some factions, guilds and institutions and notable NPCs
  • Adventure hooks and a short heist adventure
  • Appendices
16 bucks for the PDFs of the following:

Print plus PDF is 59 bucks

 I'm in as a Guild Member :)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

A Critical Look at the Ernest Gary Gygax Jr.'s Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter Kickstarter



Kickstarter has changed over the years. What was considered acceptable project preparation at the time Far West kickstarted in 2011 (ideas and dreams over a written project before launch) is no longer acceptable by the Kickstarter Community. Ernest Gary Gygax Jr.'s Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter Kickstarter (hereafter referred to as the Marmoreal Tomb) fell into the "ideas and dreams" when it launched and by many measurements, hasn't progressed much over the few years.

The Marmoreal Tomb funded on September 2, 2015. It was expected to ship in March of 2016. It basically had 7 months after funding to complete, print and ship. Not by any stretch of the imagination was it a realistic turnaround for a project that was not written when the project launched.

As a side note, right after this funded, in November of 2015, Gail Gygax offered me dirt on The Marmoreal Tomb and I declined to receive it, suspecting it was offered to encourage me to cease digging into the GMF. Heh. I probably should have listened ;)

Let's look at stretch goals. 31 stretch goals were hit. Additional content was offered, as was an in print GM screen. Not just time sinks here, but money sinks too.

How about the funding? 1284 backers for a total of $126,109 USC. The average backer is in for $98.22. Of that total, approximately 15% goes to payment processing and Kickstarter itself. So, about $107k was left before taxes. My understanding is taxes are paid the year money comes in and there were little of any expenses up front to offset the income. We'll lowball and say 15% for taxes leaving the LLC with approximately $91k, which is roughly the amount I saw on the bank statement that Ernie showed me at Gary Con in 2017. According to Ernie's latest update "the funds... sit at about 78K now (lots of art and other original business expenses, as well as an expensive worthless accountant to start with)."

Remember, the number you see on Kickstarter after funding completes is not what the creator walks away with.

Now let's look at how the Marmoreal Tomb updates. Simply put, it's poorly updated. But why, you might say, as Benoist is often posting about it on Facebook? Simply because the method of updating backers is expected to be on Kickstarter, according to Kickstarter's own terms.

https://www.kickstarter.com/help/handbook/updates
Throughout your project, you’ll be communicating with backers and keeping them informed of your progress. Project updates, your spotlight page, Kickstarter Live, and our messaging system will help you keep backers in the loop.
Facebook is not the proper venue to post project updates at the exclusion of Kickstarter itself. Not all of your backers will be on Facebook and many of those that are will not know to look there. If I can point out one of the larger failures of this project, its lack of proper communication with backers, who on average, invested 100 bucks each to see this project come to life.

Then there was the latest update made via Kickstarter. I've read comments that it is tone deaf. I simply find it disrespectful to the backers on a whole.

I'll repost it below:
No Amount of Outside Energy Will Speed This Up 
Posted by Ernest Gary Gygax Jr (Creator)   
As of this time the whole project status is waiting for Benoist to complete the writing of the creations we generated together. Then he will pass them on to me and days later we will on video chat finish cleaning the material up. He has no desire to hear or see any comments on the KS page since it fires him up to defend the LATE status instead of working on it at all. He is a finicky artist and will not release parts of anything until it is completed. 
He does not have access to the funds and they sit at about 78K now (lots of art and other original business expenses, as well as an expensive worthless accountant to start with). As soon as the project fulfills I will be closing down the LLC and Ben somehow wishes to keep a company somehow, I do not.  
I playtested the Marmoreal Tomb on three of the four games I ran at Gary Con XI and I will be running some more games at NTRPG con in June. I don't have the finished level 2 or the level 3 Caves of Chaos although some of the monsters and ideas I generated for them are lots of fun and Mark Allen has a fantastic bit of art on my favorite creature of Chaos. 
I don't respond to these statements for the same reason I don't get into blogs and all that. If you want to talk to me about something send me a facebook message: Ernest Gary Gygax Jr
In summary - we won't communicate via Kickstarter because we don't like negative feedback on our lateness. On Facebook we can control negative feedback. Ben has to finish writing (and mapping) the ideas we brainstormed together. Levels 2 and 3 aren't complete yet.

Yeah, the attitude is piss poor in that update. But hey, first update since July of 2018.

I think what we have is two individuals that went into this project we excitement and ideas and very little practical knowledge of the amount of work that would go into a project of this size (because stretch goals did not help). Did I mention the increased cost to ship the completed project to backers which is now three years late? Yeah, that will be another bite in the ass.

Little if anything was written at launch. Unrealistic estimated shipping date. A rabbit hole full of stretch goals. This should have had warning signs on it from the start.

I suspect it will fulfill to some extent at some point. We are not dealing with Ken or Gareth. We have two individuals that had good intentions, unrealistic expectations, and a very poor ability to contain an ever-expanding project. We don't need perfection as consumers, we need a completed project that comes close in value to what we backed for. Hopefully, we get there, sooner than later.




Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern



Yes, I am still playing catch up. Heh

In any case, tonight is Tavern Chat at 9 PM Eastern

Possible topics? Book burnings in China and the Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter Kickstarter.

Where?

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

Jump into the Speakeasy voice chat room at 9 PM Eastern tonight. You never know who may pop in.


Kickstarter - Secrets of the World Harvesters (DCC RPG Adventure)


"A 1st Level DCC-compatible Adventure and Setting Guide"

Let me get this out of the way - I consider Scott Swift, the creator of this particular project, a friend. Scott also edited Swords & Wizardry Light.

Doesn't make Secrets of the World Harvesters any less awesome :)

So, what does Scott offer us?
The Secrets of the World Harvesters is a standalone, level 1 DCC-compatible adventure and setting guide that blends fantasy and science fiction as the players unravel the mysteries of their planet’s past.  
We are ready for print. The writing, editing, layout, and art are all complete (except for the senior crewmembers page). 
The adventure leads the players to an ancient ruin unearthed by receding glaciers as the planet thaws from a millennia-long ice age. Beneath the ruins, an even older piece to the puzzle of their forgotten past awaits discovery. 
The adventure section details the history of the players’ homeworld, including regional, village, and dungeon maps, and hooks for further adventures, if desired. 
The World Harvesters setting presents a storyline that, at the conclusion of the adventure, allows the Judge to seamlessly transition players to new worlds and genres. Create your own world, choose from the many beloved existing DCC settings, or watch for Purple Pirates Games’ next offering in the series.  
Every page has a beautiful border, hand drawn by our professional artists. There are no "white spaces" in the book; original art fills those spaces thanks to the lead artist doing the layout. Part adventure, part campaign setting, part artist sketch book, I think you will love this book. 
The book: 
  • 60 saddle-stitch pages on 8 ½ x 11 premium silk paper.
  • Glossy coated color cover.
  • 45 pieces of original art, including 6 full-page pieces plus numerous nearly-full page pieces, and 9 hand-drawn maps.
  • A 10-page patron write up of Takisaka, the Mother of Serpents, by Daniel J. Bishop (prolific RPG author for DCC) including a full page illustration, 3 new spells, Invoke Patron table, Patron Taint table, and a Shedding Your Skin random table (a situation that happens to followers of the deity).
Wow. Ready to go to print BEFORE funding. When does that happen on Kickstarter? Not fucking often is the answer.

8 bucks for the PDF, 20 for the Print and 25 for the Print plus PDF. Ships US only - PDF anywhere.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Kickstarter - Books Burned in China - China Censors Burn an Entire Kickstarter Print Run of Call of Chtulhu Sourcebooks


As reported on BoingBoing, Chinese censors have destroyed an entire print run of The Sassoon Files, a sourcebook for Call of Chtulhu that was funded via Kickstarter.

Update from the project page:
We have suffered an unfortunate and unexpected setback with the off-set print run. On March 20th, the Chinese government ordered the destruction of our books. Although the printer returned our deposit, we need to find another printer and this will result in a delay in fulfillment. We are committed to completing the print run and fulfillment. 
There is a Youtube video explaining more in depth below.


A Chinese government inspector must review and approve all print runs, even exported books according to the video.

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Tavern Chat Podcast - 100k Total Plays - Thank You!!!

We did it. Thanks to listeners like you, The Tavern Chat Podcast has 100k Total Plays. If you aren't a listener, why not? ;)

The Tavern Chat Podcast has a series of Fireside Chats (35 so far) with Designers & Makers from the OSR and beyond, a weekly Talking Crit with Erik & Mike (Bad Mike) and shorter pieces with gaming news and thoughts. There is a new episode every day.

You can use any of the following links to listen, or even better yet, subscribe!

Anchor
https://anchor.fm/tavernchat

Apple Podcasts
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tavern-chat/id1386740882?mt=2

Google Podcasts
https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy80MjA2MWZjL3BvZGNhc3QvcnNz

Spotify
https://open.spotify.com/show/5PrKxXwIrfRm6SXPrEiqBq

Breaker
https://www.breaker.audio/tavern-chat

Castbox
https://castbox.fm/channel/id1290778

Google Play Music
https://play.google.com/music/listen?t%3DTavern_Chat%26pcampaignid%3DMKT-na-all-co-pr-mu-pod-16&u=0#/ps/Iduziflps4q5tz5inee5ghtfw3e

Overcast
https://overcast.fm/itunes1386740882

Pocket Casts
https://pca.st/zYQe

PodBean
https://www.podbean.com/podcast-detail/7jmfh-6e8bb/Tavern-Chat-Podcast

RadioPublic
https://play.radiopublic.com/tavern-chat-WezkVJ

Stitcher
https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/anchor-podcasts/tavern-chat

TuneIn
https://tunein.com/podcasts/Sports--Recreation-Podcasts/Tavern-Chat-p1145738/

Kickstarter - Wraith Recon - A Fantasy RPG of Covert Operations and War

You are a member of Wraith Recon - trained in covert operations to protect the people of Dardarrick against threats.



I'm partial to settings that are available in a "system neutral" format. Believe it or not, the less system crunch in my commercial settings, the better, as I own a plethora of RPG systems but pretty much only run OSR games. I don't need crunch to use a setting. What I need is engaging fluff.

Wraith Recon comes in a system neutral option. It also comes in Savage Worlds, 5e and FeralEngine flavors, but system neutral is where I hang my hat.

So what is the premise of Wraith Recon?
You play as legendary Wraith Recon teams, dedicated special forces trained and equipped to operate deep within hostile territory. Entrusted with the direst of missions, the Wraiths are capable of overcoming almost any obstacle. Armed with the latest in Dardarrick Magick, and kept informed by the mysterious SpellCom system, Wraith Recon units are tasked with assassinations, raids, reconnaissance, and hostage rescue missions, in the name of truth, liberty, and justice. 
As a member of Wraith Recon Four - a team of special covert operatives in a world beset by magic, wars, and mystery - you will soon be called to serve king and country. You will be sent to the four corners of Nuera to make Dandarrick safe for its people; risking your life under a blanket of secrecy to keep a population free and blissful in a world that does its damnedest to rob them of it at every turn.
Hmmm, seems like your party certainly has a reason to adventure, with set goals and such. Shouldn't be much trouble generating adventure seeds. Might even be a restraint on the usual "murder hoboing" ;)

33 bucks seem to be the sweet spot with PDF and at cost Print on Demand.

Now, if only I could find players that could actually play a campaign under such conditions...

Neither The Tavern nor myself receive compensation for Kickstarter coverage or Kickstarter posts. Some Kickstarters are brought to the attention of The Tavern by their creators. Such communication does not guarantee coverage here at The Tavern. I do not back every Kickstarter I highlight as my wallet's contents are not limitless but I do find all highlighted Kickstarters interesting for one or more reasons - Erik Tenkar

Sunday, March 24, 2019

We Went Down in a Blaze of Glory in the First Session (self inflicted), and it Was Awesome!


First time as a player in over a year and a half, and we had a TPK 90 minutes into it.

Let me back up for a sec. James Spahn is out DM for a Swords and Wizardry Complete campaign that kicked off in Bard's Gate. The other players are Skeeter Green, Jim Wampler and Rocky & Ian from Silver Bulette Publishing. The presence of the Frog God was strong.

In any case, we were exploring Matt Finch's Tomb of the Iron God and we came across a black ooze. Closed the door and decided to come back later. Found embalming fluid and decided to return.

We had a good plan. We had devastating results.

We doused the ooze in elbalming fluid. It retreated. Woot. We lit the embalming fluid. Actually, embalming fluid isn't flammable, the gases it gives off IS, however.

Boom!

And you thought first level characters couldn't cast a fireball.

Black ooze - dead.

Party - Dead.

We have two weeks before the next session. Time to reroll.

This was the best TPK ever! I love the OSR :)


That is an affiliate link above - affiliate links keep the lights on and the taps flowing at The Tavern.

Kickstarter - Wizard Burial Ground: A Dungeon-Punk RPG Book (Zine Quest)



"5e compatible Prog Rock inspired Dungeon-Punk resource book full of plot hooks, monsters, NPCs, and magic items (Zine Quest)"

It might not be OSR, but it sure feels OSR ;)

So, what's in the Wizard Burial Ground: A Dungeon-Punk RPG Book?

It's a resource book full of cool stuff to add some Dungeon-Punk spice to your tabletop games. What kind of cool stuff? Glad you asked! We have a whole bunch of weird crap to add some grimy and gritty nonsense to your world. 
NPC's for your players to interact with: 
  • A Hedge Witch with a "thing" for Lycanthropes
  • The  butcher's son who is... not a werewolf. Why? Who told you that, what do you know?!
  • Hillbilly Hobgoblins who've been cooking up some Crystal Magic-amphetamine
  • A one-eyed gnomish Alchemist who's been brewing potions in his bathtub
  • A mysterious drifter who just rolled into town
Plot Hooks to awaken your players' sense of adventure: 
  • What happens when a rival gang tries to muscle in on the Hobgoblins and unseat them from their place as kingpins of the local Crystal Mage trade?
  • Is the bartender at the local tavern undead or just suuuuper goth?
  • They say the dreams of a Beholder can shape reality. What happens when a Beholder gets sick and starts having fever dreams? What if the Beholder starts to dissociate?!
  • If you think the Hedge Witch and the butcher's son don't have something going on, you must be high on Crystal Mage
  • Kinda burying the lede with this one, but a cult of evil necromancers have defiled a local temple (the titular Wizard Burial Ground) and your party needs to cleanse the place.
Monsters & Mooks (complete with art & stat blocks) 
  • Necromancers and Liches and Undead, oh my!
  • Can you make a zombie out of a mechanical construct? Well when a mommy Necromancer and a daddy Artificer love each other very much...
  • A swarm of giant vampire bats that also teleport. 
  • Inside-Out Kobolds. Oh no, why? Why are they like that?!
  • Is that a Bearsharktopus? Are you kidding me?
  • You know what a "rat king" is? Okay. So that, but made of Dire Rats. A Dire Rat King.  Is that freaky enough for ya?
  • Just wait til you meet the Rag and Bone Man.
Maps (with at least one dank ass dungeon)
How dank? I mean, it's subterranean. It's super dank.  
Magic Items (all homebrew, probably weird) For example: 
  • Hot Peppers of Fire Breathing
  • Psychotropic Potions 
  • Magic Wand that is also a Spork
  • Boom-sticks (it's probably what you think it is)
  • Cursed Weapons. All the cursed weapons.
I'm in for 10 bucks - Print plus PDF (including shipping in the US)

Neither The Tavern nor myself receive compensation for Kickstarter coverage or Kickstarter posts. Some Kickstarters are brought to the attention of The Tavern by their creators. Such communication does not guarantee coverage here at The Tavern. I do not back every Kickstarter I highlight as my wallet's contents are not limitless but I do find all highlighted Kickstarters interesting for one or more reasons - Erik Tenkar

Saturday, March 23, 2019

I'm Back! Back in the Player's Saddle Again! X 2


I've had a bit of a dry spell in my non-convention gaming. Saturday nights used to be my gaming night but my niece has been staying weekends an awful lot (no complaints - heh) and my weekends have gotten hectic with interviews and such.

So what happened recently? Tim Shorts invited me to a Monday Night B/X Essentials game. Players include Jason Hobbs, JoeTheLawyer, Matt Jackson and others. My cleric is ready to roll in two days.

You can guess what happened next. James Spahn asked if I was interested in playing in a biweekly Sunday Night Swords & Wizardry Complete game with Jim Wampler, Skeeter Green and Rocky & Ian from Silver Bulette Publishing. Damn! I think I've maxed out my gaming opportunities over the better course of a week and a half :)

No, we don't plan to record the sessions. Most of these fine folks are still gainfully employed ;)

Expect session recaps Monday / Tuesday.

I'm a bit giddy...


Kickstarter - Draugr & Draculas: An old-school RPG zine about undead vikings and vampires



Sometimes you just have to look at something that might seem crazy and realize it's so crazy it might just work. Draugr & Draculas is that for me. This is so crazy it might just work ;)

So, what is Draugr & Draculas?
Draugr & Draculas is a one-off zine for old-stye/OSR roleplaying adventure games. Dr&Dr focuses on vampires, undead, and spooky horror magic for use in your own fantasy RPG campaigns. The zine will be entirely written and illustrated by me, Josh Burnett. In accordance with the Zine Quest guidelines, Draugr & Draculas will be a 5.5” x 8.5” zine, staple-bound and printed in black-and-white. I estimate it should clock in at around 24-32 pages.  
What's in the zine? 
  • Count Dracula himself, as well as his origins and current motivations
  • Details on Dracula's lesser servants
  • Dracula's deadly rival, Elizabeth Bathory
  • Draugr—northern undead of varying degrees of power
  • The Draugr class
  • Rules for magic users striking a deal with the Devil
  • New magical items of perilous power
  • Pagan's Well, a small dungeon full of traps and treasure
  • And whatever else I can fit in this thing.   
5 bucks for the PDF, 10 bucks (plus a buck shipping in the US) for the print plus PDF. I'm in at 11 ;)

Neither The Tavern nor myself receive compensation for Kickstarter coverage or Kickstarter posts. Some Kickstarters are brought to the attention of The Tavern by their creators. Such communication does not guarantee coverage here at The Tavern. I do not back every Kickstarter I highlight as my wallet's contents are not limitless but I do find all highlighted Kickstarters interesting for one or more reasons - Erik Tenkar

Friday, March 22, 2019

Kickstarter - The Folio: Black Label #1 - (AD&D & 5e)



The Folio goes adult. maybe that isn't quite right. Instead, maybe I should say, it now aims for a more "mature" audience ;)

The quality on the various Folio releases has always been top notch with excellent art at presentation. So, why "Black Label?"
A fantasy adventure for a more refined RPG gamer in both classic AD&D and 5th Edition D&D formats.
The Folio: Black Label #1 is a digital-only release at 10 bucks, so let's get some details:
The Folio: Black Label is going to have a more adult edge than is found in the standard Folio, and yes, there might be some nudity, and maybe some horror, and maybe a twisted quality here or there, but at the base its really just about the unfettered fun of hacking and slashing your way through a pulp style adventure with blatant evil doers, magical treasures, and exposed flesh.   
What does the adventure for The Sins of the Three Sisters revolve around? Well, this will be a standard swords & sorcery based adventure that is based around a corrupted swamp with three old temples that are plaguing the lands with undead, monsters, and dark magic.  The initial adventure will include 1 temple for exploration, but additional stretch goals (which have been reached!) can also provide temple #2 and temple #3, thus make the 'three sisters'.  

Kickstarter Update - Ernest Gary Gygax Jr.'s Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter



The latest update for Ernest Gary Gygax Jr.'s Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter. Offered without comment.

No Amount of Outside Energy Will Speed This Up

Ernest Gary Gygax Jr

Mar 21, 2019

As of this time the whole project status is waiting for Benoist to complete the writing of the creations we generated together. Then he will pass them on to me and days later we will on video chat finish cleaning the material up. He has no desire to hear or see any comments on the KS page since it fires him up to defend the LATE status instead of working on it at all. He is a finicky artist and will not release parts of anything until it is completed.

He does not have access to the funds and they sit at about 78K now (lots of art and other original business expenses, as well as an expensive worthless accountant to start with). As soon as the project fulfills I will be closing down the LLC and Ben somehow wishes to keep a company somehow, I do not.

I playtested the Marmoreal Tomb on three of the four games I ran at Gary Con XI and I will be running some more games at NTRPG con in June. I don't have the finished level 2 or the level 3 Caves of Chaos although some of the monsters and ideas I generated for them are lots of fun and Mark Allen has a fantastic bit of art on my favorite creature of Chaos.

I don't respond to these statements for the same reason I don't get into blogs and all that. If you want to talk to me about something send me a facebook message: Ernest Gary Gygax Jr

  ffered without comment:

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Patreon - Alyssa Faden is creating Hand-Drawn City & Town Fantasy Maps



I back a large number of creators on Patreon. I back people that create content for our gaming community and beyond (I also support some musicians) I believe it is important to support those whose work you enjoy and creators that you respect.

I'm proud to call Alyssa Faden a friend, and not just because of her amazing cartography, but fuck me if her maps aren't some of the best available in our hobby, or is "hobby" the wrong word to use with her talent. Probably the wrong word. Heh

For as little as a buck a month you can support Alyssa via her Patreon and you could get access to the following (and the perks only get better with the higher support levels):
Follow my (Alyssa's) work and become part of the conversation and creation process.  At this level you won't receive the final hires digital maps I create, but you will be part of their creation, get to see how I do it,  and will have access to my hints, tips, and training guides. 
- Access to the mapping discussions: see the drawing in progress, get hints and tips, and influence the design through Patreon-only discussion and polls! 
- Access to the patreon-only video streams; watch me work, talk to me as I do it.
At the highest support level, you even get commercial access to certain maps. 

Current map project:




Kickstarter - Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad Zine Returns! (DCC RPG)



"Four years in the making, the original Metal Gods team returns for three more issues of metal-fueled mayhem for the DCC RPG."

I had no idea it had been four years since the last issue of the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad Zine. I'm going to need to dig through my gaming shelves and pull them out.

Metal Gods read like some sort of vaguely acid-induced trip through some alternate DCC  RPG setting. It was, and is, awesome. Sigh, more money leaving my wallet.
Issue #4: Time of Crisis!
Like any other multiversal hyper-megalopolis, Ur-Hadad is no stranger to calamity. In fact, crisis is one of the First City's defining features! This issue provides a whole slew of tools for Judges to use to spin up their campaigns from small adventures into city-wide, culture-shaking phenomena! Including profiles of Ur-Hadad's most notorious crises and their causes (along with special rules introduced by each) and a Crisis Generator, this issue is all about turning your game up to 11!
This issue is almost completely written and will be ready for art & layout soon. 
Issue #5: Murder Gangs of Ur-Hadad
First, we gave you Street Kids of Ur-Hadad. Then we gave you The Heist! Metal Gods has always focused on urban adventures and now we're taking them one step beyond! In Murder Gangs of Ur-Hadad, we'll present a system for running a thieves guild, assassins coven, coterie of smugglers or however your criminal taste run. This unique system builds on some trends already out there in the greater DCC-o-sphere, bringing them together in a tight, cohesive package. You'll also get to know the seedy underbelly of the First City, including profiles on some of her most notorious gangs.
This issue is currently in playtesting and is expected to be finished by mid-Summer and Doug Kovacs has signed on to do the cover!  
Issue #6: Mysterious Gods of Ur-Hadad
From the Avenue of One Thousand Gods to the Gloaming Deeps beneath the city's docks, cults and mystery faiths permeate Hadadi society. In this issue, we'll explore some of the First City's stranger religions and sects, from the austere followers of the God of Blackened Skies to the debaucherous Last Adherents of the Sensate, we'll profile these bizarre faiths and how to use them in your game. We'll also include rules to integrate cults into your Murder Gangs of Ur-Hadad game, whether as foes or as your PCs' crew! 
I think the sweet spot is 15 bucks - issues 4, 5 and 6 in print and all 6 issues in PDF.

Neither The Tavern nor myself receive compensation for Kickstarter coverage or Kickstarter posts. Some Kickstarters are brought to the attention of The Tavern by their creators. Such communication does not guarantee coverage here at The Tavern. I do not back every Kickstarter I highlight as my wallet's contents are not limitless but I do find all highlighted Kickstarters interesting for one or more reasons - Erik Tenkar

When an RPG Kickstarter Gets Suspended for IP Violation by WotC, Has the Sleeping Bear Been Awakened?



I've been very happy with the various projects Fail Squad Games has produced via Kickstarter. Lloyd is an amazing artist and a strong adventure writer. I was surprised to find his latest project, The Ruins of Mistmere - a 5e adventure, was canceled for IP violation. At least, I was surprised until I followed the conversation on Facebook.

Before we get to that, here's the notice on Kickstarter:


Obviously, the paralegal got the source of the IP partially wrong, especially considering the Ruins of Mistmere isn't even an adventure in the 1983 Red Box but rather more of a hypothetical adventure referred to in the text. Still, it was, and still is, WotC IP.

If you read the admittedly rather long conversation that resulted from Lloyd's Facebook posting, you see the project was created and submitted with the "potential of poking the bear."

Some highlights: 

https://www.facebook.com/Sprattoo March 19, 2019
Lloyd Metcalf I think I did in saying that it was inspired by the "Your first adventure" in the video and ads. I also accidentally had the phrase Dungeons & Dragons in the text of one of my ads... or something. (how one does this "accidentally" is beyond plausibility)I was in a rush to pack for Gary Con and already tired at launch. lol.
Lloyd Metcalf To be fair - WOTC and TSR never released any product called "Ruins of Mistamere" - it was a paragraph title in the red box DMG titled - "Your First Group Adventure"
James Lowder This Kickstarter is very clearly using that as the springboard. It's not the rules that got you in trouble, but using their copyrighted content--characters, plot, etc. "This adventure is inspired by, and is a revisit of, the first 'Group Adventure' in a certain Red Box set of the world’s favorite basic roleplaying game." and "Borgle is well known in many original adventures and legends; many report that his name was spelled with an “a” in place of the “o”." The last is screaming "we just changed an A to an O but it is the copyrighted content."

Lloyd Metcalf Yeah - i know.... Again, I knew I was stepping up to the line in trying to bring the flavor of this adventure to 5E. I COMPLETELY knew I was rolling some dice on the idea.
James Lowder ... the mention of D&D probably got the project onto an automatic notification list. "Other people got away with similar" as a defense will just mean WotC (rightly) expands its notifications list, so that, say, RPG + "red box" are alerts. This project is clearly intended as a copyright violation. It announces itself as such. It is not a shock it got stopped. That's a much bigger issue than mentioning D&D.
James Lowder voices my fear. Now that the bear has been awakened, it may decide to defend its territory. WotC has mostly played nice with the OSR and publishers of material for the current edition of D&D, even those projects and publications that may have entered and perhaps gone beyond any kind of grey area in the use of WotC IP and trademarks. This may have more of a longterm effect than Lloyd or anyone else may have initially expected.

Time will tell.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Kickstarter - Mercenaries Spies & Private Eyes RPG by Michael Stackpole



Mercenaries Spies & Private Eyes is an RPG I've owned for years and I've always wanted to find a group to play it but being out of print finding others that owned it has been damn near impossible. Now that Flying Buffalo is putting it back in print I may be able to find that elusive MSPE gaming group ;)
Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes RPG was first published in 1983 by Flying Buffalo Inc. MSPE (as it came to be known) allowed players to run rpg adventures from the 1800's all the way to the modern era, ranging from Victorian steampunk, and crime noir, to super spy thrilllers in the cold war. Michael Stackpole wrote the MSPE role playing game, using the Tunnels & Trolls framework as a jumping off point.  
In 1986, Flying Buffalo took a hit from an unrelated disaster, and sold the rights of MSPE to Sleuth Publications. They came out with an edition that had a black & white cover, and they left out a few things that Buffalo had included, and inserted a few new things that weren't in the Buffalo edition. The last existing copies of the Sleuth edition have sold out, so now Flying Buffalo is printing a third (Combined Edition of MSPE) which includes all the material that was in both editions!  
The Combined Edition: What's in it? The new edition will contain all the original text and art from the Flying Buffalo and Sleuth editions.  From the Buffalo edition, we will use the amazing painted cover and will include the Tunnels & Thompsons section (which was not in the Sleuth edition) along with some missing art. We have also made various corrections to the rules text that have been found by players and fans over the years.
Shit, looks like even I need the new edition.

18 bucks for the print plus PDF (free shipping in the US), 25 if you want a signed edition. Decisions decisions...

But it damn it! I want to play some MSPE!

edit - in for the Hardcover at 55

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern


Today is a Wednesday, so tonight is Tavern Chat.

9 PM Eastern

Hang out in voice chat with other RPG gamers from the OSR and beyond.

Here's your handy link:

https://discord.gg/fReGmuD

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Kickstarter - Xboat: a Traveller RPG 'zine



I played a lot of Traveller back in high school and college. Character generation was a game unto itself. Although my desire to play Traveller these days has waned I truly enjoy reading the various support material.

I find Xboat: a Traveller RPG 'zine to be a tempting pick up, but I may wait for it to release on DriveThru - my wallet is rapidly emptying with the various Kickstarters I've been looking at.
This is a true FanZine, with most of the material produced by Fans who are participating in the Traveller5 initiative. It's about discussion, example, and bold ideas rather than finished product. So, these issues are "non-canon", although content *could* be re-used in later publications.  
Each issue is at least 16 printed half-pages (5.5 x 8.5) in a saddle-stitched booklet format. I'll mail the issues out in flat envelopes.
While the Fifth Edition is directly supported, these resources typically work with any version of Traveller, or science fiction role-playing games in general.  
Neither The Tavern nor myself receive compensation for Kickstarter coverage or Kickstarter posts. Some Kickstarters are brought to the attention of The Tavern by their creators. Such communication does not guarantee coverage here at The Tavern. I do not back every Kickstarter I highlight as my wallet's contents are not limitless but I do find all highlighted Kickstarters interesting for one or more reasons - Erik Tenkar

Kickstarter - The Isle of The Amazons - RPG Zine for #ZineQuest

I'm falling behind on the cool Kickstarter I want to highlight, and with 14 still in the hopper and with folks sending me links to cool shit I missed, this may never end ;)


So, what is The Isle of The Amazons?
(It's a) 2 issue Setting for Untold Adventure and other White Box based OSR RPGs.
Ok. Let's dig a bit deeper.
The Isle of The Amazons (TIOTA) is an optional setting designed specifically for Untold Adventures by Ennie Award winning author and designer, James M. Spahn.  However, as such TIOTA, is compatible with Swords & Wizardry and really any White Box based game as well as easily convertible to be used with all OSR RPG games. 
TIOTA showcases the island paradise of Elencia, the home of the Amazons.  It also features Amazon City, the Amazons ways, their history, other inhabitants of Elencia, dangerous locations and monsters and much more.   
TIOTA details the 7 new playable classes:  The Aristocrat, Disciple of the High Priestess, Guard, Muse, Psion, Sorceress & Sungia.
 
Not a secret but it needs to be mentioned. James is a good friend of mine. Almost like a brother but without the family baggage ;) That being said, he does amazing work and I'm backing this in a heartbeat!

10 for the PDF, 15 for the POD plus PDF and 25 for "both issues of The Isle of The Amazons Setting Guide. These zines will be printed A5 with B&W Interior and High Quality Color Covers." shipping included.

I'm in a 25.

Neither The Tavern nor myself receive compensation for Kickstarter coverage or Kickstarter posts. Some Kickstarters are brought to the attention of The Tavern by their creators. Such communication does not guarantee coverage here at The Tavern. I do not back every Kickstarter I highlight as my wallet's contents are not limitless but I do find all highlighted Kickstarters interesting for one or more reasons - Erik Tenkar
 

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Origins of Swords & Wizardry Light or Ain't Retirement Grand?



I know I've posted about the origins of Swords & Wizardry Light in the past but there comes a time when you need to address certain falsehoods in the narrative making the rounds. So, here we are, back to the beginning. Strangely enough, the origins go back nearly three years to the day. Hold my beer, I need two hands to type ;)

Three years ago on St Patrick's Day, 2016, I signed out from work for the final time at 605 AM. I would run accumulated time and terminal leave for nearly four months, but for all effects and purposes, I was retired.

Retirement hits different people in different ways. A common theme is a need for a replacement time sink to work. You wouldn't think this would be needed. Not having to work is awesome! Work does, however, give one a purpose and I found myself in search of such purpose and lots of free time on my hands. Pub lunches and naps can only take one so far ;)

I started toying with the idea of a guerilla marketing ruleset for OSR gaming. Something that could be printed on a single sheet - both sides - and left in libraries, community centers, game stores and the like. I brainstormed that idea for a while. Bought legal sized paper for my printer, as I thought I might need the extra space of a larger sheet of paper. I had lots of ideas, and that was good. I found something to do in retirement.

Sometime in the late spring, I shared my idea with Zach Glazar (Frog God Games). We are friends and often use the other as a sounding board. Ideas that may sound good to oneself may not survive the intense gaze of another's more critical - and less biased - thinking.

I expected some ideas for layout, general feedback on rules to include or exclude. I hadn't even settled on a ruleset to strip down. I half expected to build one from the ground up of my own, using the various existing rulesets for inspiration. Instead, Zach told me my vision was lacking. I had a great idea - an awesome idea - but I was thinking too small. He then told me to hold that thought and he would get back to me.

Before I knew it, instead of some throwaway sheet of paper that would probably never fit enough rules to be playable (or if it did, the font would be too small to be readable), what if I had four pages, professionally laid out with high-quality art, using the Swords & Wizardry rules and stripping them down to the bare bones (and even whittled away at some of those bones) and Frog God Games would publish - both in print (to give away for free) and in PDF. Oh, and it would be called Swords & Wizardry Light.

Without Zach, without Frog God Games, there would be no Swords & Wizardry Light. There might be some hacked out ruleset, barely playable but certainly loved by its creator, hoping to be found in some random libraries, but its impact would have been minimal.

Swords & Wizardry Light was never the work of one person. It was a team effort from the moment we named it. Zach doing layout and feedback, Scott Swift on editing, James Spahn on smoothing out the rules and all of us trying to save space, one character (note: not "player character") at a time. All while thanking Matt Finch and Bill Webb for even allowing us to do what we did to the house ruleset of Frog God Games.

As a ruleset, Swords & Wizardry Light was intended to lower the entry bar to old school style roleplaying and RPGs in general. To feel comfortable and familiar to lapsed gamers and non-intimidating to new players, young and old. Oh, and since it is built on the bones of Swords & Wizardry, its a perfect marketing tool for Swords & Wizardry Complete. It is meant to complement the larger ruleset, not compete with it. It only covers three levels, and that is by design (and space consideration)

The rest pretty much is history. It debuted at GameHole Con in 2016 and has been given away at cons, via snail mail, with Frog God orders, PDF and more - thousands upon thousands of times. It's a perfect ruleset to run at conventions and works well for pick up games. It gives just enough of the fuller rules to bring folks back to the Frog God booth at conventions asking for more Swords & Wizardry. More OSR.

I do believe it accomplishes the goals we set out for it and more.

So, there you have it. The true story of the origins of Swords & Wizardry Light. Less exciting then some narratives and dramaless, unless you include the period where I was trying to emulate a d20 with 3d6...


Kickstarter - Powered by GURPS: Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 & Game Reprint



I like GURPS. Well, I love the sourcebooks and used to run some GURPS back in my college days. It just seemed a bit heavy for my gaming tastes.

Now, I really like the GURPS: Dungeon Fantasy boxed set. The rules focus on what I focus on - fantasy gaming - and without the need to cover every genre the rules seem more approachable. I could see myself running this. I certainly could see myself playing it.

The Powered by GURPS: Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 & Game Reprint Kickstarter puts the relatively small print run associated with the original Dungeon Fantasy Kickstarter back in print. More copies - more circulation - more players - more support material. Isn't that how it works?
With your support, we're going to bring back the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game with a second printing and, more importantly, expand the line with a new book: Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2! This companion to Dungeon Fantasy Monsters introduces even more foes to the dungeon, giving the GM new tools to use when designing adventures and the players more beasties to slay and loot.   
If you already have the Dungeon Fantasy boxed set, the Monsters 2 book is 20 bucks in print plus PDF.

If you need the Dungeon Fantasy boxed set (along with Monsters 2), print plus PDF is 95 bucks.

Dungeon Fantasy is a really sweet ruleset :)

Neither The Tavern nor myself receive compensation for Kickstarter coverage or Kickstarter posts. Some Kickstarters are brought to the attention of The Tavern by their creators. Such communication does not guarantee coverage here at The Tavern. I do not back every Kickstarter I highlight as my wallet's contents are not limitless but I do find all highlighted Kickstarters interesting for one or more reasons - Erik Tenkar


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Kickstarter - Strange New World Gazetteer: Weird Colonial Roleplaying Zine (OSR)


I'm a sucker for settings. I really like the Colonial Gothic setting even if I don't much like the attached rule system. So color me excited when I stumbled across a zine that is both OSR AND about a New World Colonial Era setting. Strange New World Gazetteer: Weird Colonial Roleplaying Zine Kickstarter looks to be my cup of tea.
An RPG and OSR setting zine for adventuring in a strange fantasy version of colonial America. Fearsome creatures, witchcraft and weird.
The above is the elevator pitch and it calls to me. I'm sorry, but I was a history major, and American history, up to the Civil War, is one of the areas I concentrated in. Of course, that was 30 years ago, so don't expect much fact checking from me ;)
Strange New World is an OSR-compatible campaign setting set during the colonization era of North America (1600/1700's era) but set in a world where magic, monsters and, more importantly, strangeness have returned to the new world. Soldiers and monster hunters fight side by side trailblazers and mountaineers. Witches weave terrible magics while preachers vanquish chaos and shepherd the people.  
(Strange New World content is compatible with any WhiteBox / B/X / BECMI or AD&D system, we use a hacked version of Lamentations of the Flame Princess as our OSR base. SNW content could even be used with OSR-adjacent games such as Dungeon World.) 
Compared to a traditional fantasy world, the Strange New World is a points-of-light setting. Colonization of the new world has slowed and exploration in many regions has ceased after proving too risky. There are fewer settlements than there were in actual history and they are spread very thinly through the perilous frontier. The land rages against colonization, it cracks and leaks hellfire pockets of poison gas, it births powerful megafauna guardians, and summons woeful bogeys from the fey realms in efforts to protect itself. Society has instead packed itself into well-protected cities, increasing urban population above historical levels, while spending more resources on military outposts and organizations opposed to the chaos of the new world. 
This is also a world where gonzo weirdness has found a home in history. Ancient alien visitation shaped the beliefs of the native people, once-mighty and now-lost civilizations that existed thousands of years ago in the new world are there to be discovered or pillaged. This is a world where fables and folk lore are not merely cautionary tales but historical accounts. A world where the mythical Underworld is a real land of the dead that can be visited. Strange New World also exists in the meta-setting of 400 Billion Suns, where "billions and billions" of possible worlds could have interacted with each other through the magical eons. 
Monsters, magic and bedlam must be dealt with before man may progress in this Strange New World.
Even if I never use the setting, I'm going to enjoy the hell out of it :)
The Strange New World setting will be supported through a dedicated website that will function as an information hub and lore encyclopedia. 
A living, updating, OSR compatible setting guidebook will be offered online, containing core setting information and rules hacks. Each Gazetteer volume will be available in print and feature expanded setting information, lore and rules (all OSR compatible!) such as classes, magic, monsters and adventure hex-ploration sites. 
The Gazetteer will be presented as an in-universe gazette written and presented by characters from within the Strange New World itself. Such characters include Willam van Dook, renowned world explorer; Jeremiah Shagbark, famous bogey hunter with the Fang and Fur Company; Wolf-that-Sings, a Hopi warden with ties to the western world; and more!
I'm in for the signed, alternated cover plus PDF for 12 bucks shipped within the US. Huzzah!

Neither The Tavern nor myself receive compensation for Kickstarter coverage or Kickstarter posts. Some Kickstarters are brought to the attention of The Tavern by their creators. Such communication does not guarantee coverage here at The Tavern. I do not back every Kickstarter I highlight as my wallet's contents are not limitless but I do find all highlighted Kickstarters interesting for one or more reasons - Erik Tenkar

You've Been Banned! - Pexx's Experience with the OSR Discord Server

Hello, my name is Pexx as I wear many hats, but I mainly hang my hats in Tenkar's Tavern Discord and run a lot of the behind the scenes activities that go on there. My tag on the server is the Tavern Custodian because I fix things that break and take care of the little things that need working on.

So I recently I got banned from the OSR Discord server, that some of you are a part of. Let me give you some history before I got banned with direct interaction with one of their moderator James Young.
Once upon a time I tried to get Tenkar’s Tavern Blog submitted to their pinned blog roll list that we also have pinned here in Tenkar’s Tavern back when the Google+ Shut down was announced and people were flooding into Tenkar’s Tavern Discord and the OSR Discord. I followed the instructions, but it kept getting removed. I messaged the server owner Chris McDowall to clear up the confusion.




Here’s what he had to say…
Next up is my first interaction with James Young:







So not only did he lie to me my very first time talking to him, but he let his biased opinion dribble onto me to me from the get go. I honestly didn’t care, sure you can dislike someone, but why lie about it?


So that was back in October 2018. Jumping forward I didn’t really have any more interaction with him until recently when I noticed one of my servers was missing. For those of you that don’t, know when you kick or ban someone you can provide a message to the individual when you perform the action. Parting words if you will or a reason as to why you got banned or kick. There was none of that. Didn’t think much of it, I simply rejoined the OSR server.


Happened again the next day. Ok someone is screwing with me so like a good little soldier I re-joined yet again, but I wanted some answers so I messaged 2 moderators ( Xsi & Cavegirl) followed by the server owner Chris McDowall.


Xsi had this to say….
I did not receive an answer back from Xsi before James Young messaged me that he was banning me.


Cavegirl had this to say....


Another lie, there is an audit log! I’ll give Cavegirl the benefit of the doubt here, Chris may have restricted that part of the server to his mod team for whatever reason. The audit log does exist on every single Discord server, and you can view any changes (including bans and kicks) and it tells you who has done the action.


Next up Chris McDowall the server owner was messaged.




Several hrs later I get a message from Mr. James Young stating the following…




So because it was funny and he thinks I am worthless not only his community, but all others.
Thanks James! You sir, are a class act.

I forwarded James message onto Chris McDowall our server owner just before James Young got the ban off severing my contact with anyone on the OSR server unless they were on my friends list (I sent friend request to Xsi, Cavegirl, and Chris in hopes of resolving this). Mr. McDowall has been informed about James Young actions. I dunno if he will unban me and let me back into his Discord or not. It’s his server, and he can do with it what he wants to.
So what did I post over there you may be wondering? Pretty much in the link section when people from our Tenkar’s Tavern server had a kickstarter, product launch, podcast come out (including my own) I would drop a link in their OSR link section. That was pretty much it. Just sad I won’t be able to do so any longer. It’s hard enough to try and advertise on your own all I was doing was attempting to spread the word about good content for the OSR.


I have no regrets standing beside Tenkar, and I do so proudly. If that comes with me not being able to associate with certain circles within our small niche of the gaming the industry so be it. We are doing great things in The Tavern and we have even more great things in the works for everyone.


**How do I get to The Tavern Discord? Follow these Steps:**
**Step 1.)** Go here https://discordapp.com/download
**Step 2.)** Click which is best for you Windows, Mac, Android, IOS, or Linux and download it.
**Step 3.)** Once it has finished downloading click the + button surrounded by a dotted circle on the left hand side
**Step 4.)** Click the Join a Server button and copy and paste this into it https://discord.gg/GaXW2TX






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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