Saturday, August 31, 2019

Kickstarter - Bloodstone Dice RPG Dice Set

That's it. I'm done with dice Kickstarters. Why? Because there is nothing left that's new. I'm pretty sure I've gotten dice just like this somewhere in my hoard of dice.

No mas overpriced dice that offer nothing new.

Bloodstone Dice, you were the straw that broke this camel's back.
After meeting some dice companies at GenCon 2018 I was inspired to try my hand at designing some RPG Dice and these Bloodstones are the first of many I want to retail out to consumers.
Unlike most Dice Kickstarters I want this one to be straight forward, short and to the point. 
This is Kickstarter is for a 7 die set of Bloodstones. That's is. No hidden stretch goals locked away under a crazy high price, no 101 sets to choose from, no hidden strings. 
These dice have a Bloody Red font and have tiny particles of crimson glitter to help the color POP! 

Friday, August 30, 2019

James Raggi offers an Update on the LotFP Ref Book - Its Not What One Expects

I'm offering this without comment here on the blog. My commentary is offered on the accompanying Tavern Chat podcast episode  

OK everyone! ACTUAL NEWS! It took a little longer than planned to get going after Gen Con, but I have a major update. 
I have reached an agreement with a freelancer, Göran Stahl, to be a consultant/taskmaster to get this damn thing done. He is a lifelong RPG fan with knowledge that reaches from the 1974 OD&D boxed set to the latest indie obscurities, he's into horror movies and heavy metal, and he is quite familiar with LotFP. 
We had a long session this week discussing RPG writing and LotFP's approach to it, my personal style and how it is that I work, and how that relates into the hows and whys of this project being so damn delayed. I think we've found a way forward. 
The issue identified, and this is a good chunk of the problem, is that I'm using existing GM guides in the industry as a format guide, and then what I've been attempting to do for years is sit down and attempt to express my ideas in a format that I don't really believe in. That I actively hate when reading it from other games. "If I just come up with the right turns of phrase then it'll all be great!" But there aren't enough genius turns of phrase to make that format any good, and I've known it for a long long time, and that's why I've been writing and trashing so much over these years, never happy with anything. Even when I was making what I thought was major progress over the winter, revisiting that now is sterile as all fuck. 
But when I talk about any of the subjects that the Ref book will contain, I'm a motormouth. I can go on rants about how things should be done, and the failures that occur in games when things aren't done right. There is energy and flow that just dies instantly when I sit down on try to communicate that in written form. 
So I had the idea that I'll just talk about everything that needs to be in the book and record it all. Stahl is onboard, and will act as producer-interviewer-facilitator (his official title will be "Consultant") to the process, and had great ideas about how to go about the whole thing. Our meeting made me have dreams that the final product will be to regular RPG GM books as METAL's Reborn Through Hate issue, or ISTEN's Mädchen issue are to the usual music magazine format... 
I know that referencing metal fanzines from 1997 and 2001 means exactly zero of you know what I'm talking about, but that's kind of the point. The presentation of this book can not be the same old presentation that's always been used, or it will never get done. With the added bonus that if it's done right, it'll be on its own an engaging read and be a valuable addition to the RPG canon. 
So I'm basically going to ghostwrite my own book. He'll prepare his questions and bullet points, and I'll have my own notes and bullet points from all the work I've already done. When we have the recordings, I will hire someone to transcribe them. Then I will work with an editor (maybe this will be Stahl, maybe it won't) to determine how much verbal cruft needs to be taken out to make everything readable, and whether the conversational format serves the book. If not, we edit it down to something that does, and how that's done may change section to section. Whatever best communicates what needs to be communicated at the moment. 
The key at this point is that everything going forward is collaborative and not just people waiting for me to get something done alone in front of my computer. 
I will be traveling to Stahl's location for the first two sessions next week. After we see how those go, we'll figure out the schedule moving forward. When he's available, I'm available, until we're done. 
I'll update at the end of next week on how things went.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

New Release - Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome

For those that did not back the Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy Kickstarter, you can now pick up the Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome in PDF for 19.99 at DriveThruRPG. 
Old-School Essentials is an adventure role-playing game of exploration, danger, monsters, and magic. The game is intentionally rules-light, putting the focus of play on imagination, improvisation, and fun. The rules are optimised for ease of use at the table, with meticulous attention to wording and layout clarity. What's more, Old-School Essentials is 100% compatible with the classic Basic/Expert game from 1981, meaning that decades of adventure are at your fingertips! 
A Complete Game All in One Book 
Old-School Essentials is a modular game where the core rules of the game are extended by additional "rules modules" which add content for different genres of fantastic adventure. The Old-School Essentials Rules Tome is a compilation of the core rules plus four rules modules, forming a complete game for Classic Fantasy adventures:
Core Rules: Rules for character creation and advancement, adventuring in dungeons, the wilderness, and at sea, magic and combat. 
  • Classic Fantasy: Genre Rules: Seven classic classes (cleric, dwarf, elf, fighter, halfling, magic-user, thief), complete lists of weapons and adventuring gear, extensive lists of vehicles, mounts, and vessels, mercenaries and specialists for hire, rules for stronghold construction.
  • Classic Fantasy: Cleric and Magic-User Spells: The complete set of 34 cleric spells (from 1st to 5th level) and 72 magic-user spells (from 1st to 6th level), for use by players or cleric, elf, and magic-user characters.
  • Classic Fantasy: Monsters: A selection of over 200 classic monsters to challenge adventurers of all levels.
  • Classic Fantasy: Treasures: A hoard of over 150 wondrous magic items.
The material in this book forms a complete clone of the classic Basic/Expert game, including all rules, classes, spells, monsters, and magic items.
Yep, that is an affiliate link above. Using The Tavern's affiliate links keep the taps flowing and the beer cold. 

Want a free peek?
A 56-page, art-free sample of the basic rules of the game required by players is available here:
  • The full introduction and character creation rules.
  • The four core human classes: cleric, fighter, magic-user, thief.
  • Full lists of adventuring equipment, weapons, and armour.
  • The rules for dungeon adventures, encounters, and combat.
  • The full rules for spell casting and the complete set of 1st level spells.

Bundle of Holding - Goodman Gems

Looking at the Goodman Gems Bundle of Holding I realize I have everything listed above except for the DM Campaign Tracker. If owning everything else isn't high praise I don't know what else I can say ;)
Adventurer! This Goodman Gems Bundle assembles the crown jewels of Goodman Games: The Dungeon Alphabet and other system-neutral supplements and sourcebooks for fantasy tabletop roleplaying games. Entertaining and inspirational, these key works of the Old School Revival enhance any fantasy campaign with new character backgrounds, locations, setting elements, monsters, a yearlong calendar, and two alphabetic compendia that help you rethink your OSR games at a fundamental level. 
For just US$9.95 you get all four titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $37) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including The Adventurer's Almanac, a calendar of events to fill your campaign world's year; the handy DM Campaign Tracker; and two collections of tips and tricks for players and gamemasters, PC Pearls and GM Gems
And if you pay more than the threshold price of $25.73, you'll level up and also get our entire Bonus Collection with six more titles worth an additional $61, including the latest edition of the famous Dungeon Alphabet, along with its sequel The Monster Alphabet; two collections of fantasy world settings, Points of Light and Points of Light 2: The Sunrise Sea; The Random Esoteric Creature Generator; and the popular treatise How to Write Adventure Modules That Don't Suck.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Kickstarter - Tales From the Sorcerer Under the Mountain (OSR / 5e)

"A rulebook/adventure for OSR/5th editions inspired by 80s British Fantasy Roleplaying Games."

A few quick notes: I really enjoy everything Newt / D101 Games has put out. Be it Crypts & Things (his S&W Swords & Sorcery hack), Openquest and all of the related adventures. Simply immensely playable. Newt's Kickstarters are pretty much on point each time and his track record is quite good.

Which should make it obvious that I'm backing the Tales From the Sorcerer Under the Mountain Kickstarter ;) Seriously, I can't get my fill of Swords & Wizardry hacks, and Newt has done it well in the past.

There are two books you can back in this Kickstarter:
Tales from the Sorcerer Under the Mountain, an A5 hardback OSR rule book, which as well as a concise version of the Swords & Wizardry rules, with a chapter which holds the House Rules I use in my games, and contains the adventure with OSR stats. Overall it weighs in about 230 pages, with black and white art throughout, cover by Jon Hodgson.
as well as:
The Sorcerer Under the Mountain, 5th Edition Adventure module in 8″ by 11″ format, black and white art throughout. 
The 5e adventure is $10 for the Print plus PDF. Shipping extra.

The OSR book in at cost POD plus PDF is 12.27 (as of right now ;)  Obviously, you pay for the cost of the printing and shipping after the Kickstarter funds.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Flying Buffalo Update - The Loss of Rick and What now?

(this has already been shared via Kickstarter and Facebook)

By Steve Crompton

Loss of our friend: By now many of you may have heard the sad news that Rick Loomis, President of Flying Buffalo and a gaming industry legend, passed away on Aug 23rd, just a few hours before his 72nd birthday.  Rick created and ran Flying Buffalo for almost 50 years, and was also President of GAMA (Gaming Manufacturers of America) on several occasions.

Rick's loss leaves a huge hole in our hearts and Flying Buffalo.  Rick was our mentor, our friend (a brother for his sisters) and the intermediary between the high-flying goals of the creative team and the real world. He helped us stay on track and reminded us of the limits of our budgets. Rick also made sure that whatever we created would be something that players would want.  And many, many times he made suggestions that made a game more playable or an adventure more usable. We will miss Rick every single day, and we plan to honor his wishes and hopes for the future of Flying Buffalo going forward.

So What Happens now?: While Rick was fighting cancer and was unable to attend to his work on processing the Kickstarter orders, he did manage to teach me how to do that, and I have been doing so since early July.  (Rick did everything before then.) 

Rick's sisters and the entire Buffalo team are committed to continuing to process and ship out your Kickstarter orders.  In fact just today I did another 25 orders and they are now in shipping, ready to be packaged up. And tomorrow we'll be taking 40 finished orders to the post office. As of now, we only have about MSPE 175 orders left to ship out of the original 675 we started with.  And we will continue to ship out your orders until all of them have gone out.  We have everything in from the printers and everything that Mike was supposed to sign has been signed, so its just a matter of continuing until we are done.

Down the road there will also be new products for T&T, MSPE, Nuclear War, and Catalyst books like new Traps and Citybooks. They may not come as quickly as we'd like right now, as there is a lot to do in regards to taking care of Rick's estate and Flying Buffalo. But rest assured, we are soldiering onward.  That's what Rick wanted us to do - and we plan to do just that. So you don't need to worry - your items will be shipped out.

Please feel free to  post you comments below and if you want to contribute to help with Rick's Medial bills, funeral arrangements and other outstanding bills that have accrued due to Rick's illness you can contribute to his Gofundme campaign.

Thank you all for your concern, your patience and your belief in Rick's dream - Flying Buffalo.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Kickstarter - The Lost Depths of the Ageless (Systemless)

"A System Neutral dungeon adventure in PDF designed using a sensory descriptive style approach. Less text, more clues, maximum fun!"

The Lost Depths of the Ageless is the latest Kickstarter from Thom Wilson. Instead of collections of one and two-page adventures, this project is a single adventure - starting at 8 pages and increasing with stretch goals.
A minimum* 8-page adventure in PDF designed for any fantasy RPG system. Each standard letter-sized page will be filled with encounter details in a style that is geared toward character senses: "What do I see? What do I smell? What do I hear?" Instead of walls of text to parse through, GMs can quickly look at the details by sense to get the answers to the players' questions. 
For those that prefer to craft their own backstories and would rather not use pre-written read-aloud text, this adventure is for you. You'll get a couple of short paragraphs of background before the book delves right into encounter areas. It is up to the GM to develop adventure hooks and detailed reasons for the Lost Depths to be what they are and why they exist.  
The adventure is designed as System Neutral. This means that empty stat blocks for foes, treasure, traps, and other system-specific points will be provided for the GM. The GM can add the stats for their preferred system into the space provided. Since this is a PDF, it can be printed out several times to be run for different systems!  
*Minimum 8 pages; likely more with project funding total stretch goals 
Here are the stretch goals:

The funding period is very short - just five days. The basic backer level is 3 bucks. Want your name as a supporter in the PDF? 5 bucks. That's my kinda Kickstarter ;)

Sunday, August 25, 2019

State of The Tavern - August 25th, 2019 - Thank You!

As I posted yesterday, Rick Loomis has succumbed to cancer. A truly sad outcome. I am hugely proud of this community. You gave over $500 to assist Rick and his family with related expenses (which will now include funeral expenses). The GoFundMe has raised over $39k to date. I offered to match the first $200 raised by our community (I'll make that donation tonight) and another donor who promised to match a second $200 raised by The Tavern's Community. You can and do make a difference.

There is something else I want to thank the community for - The Tavern's Alexa Ranking. We've been on fire this summer, and that's all because of you:

The past six weeks have been insane.

For comparison:

I am humbled by all of you. Again, thank you.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Announcement - Rick Loomis (Flying Buffalo) Has Passed

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that Rick Loomis, best known for being the man behind Flying Buffalo, has passed.

I'm quoting Steve Crompton below:
Fate is a strange mistress. For today is August 24th and that is Rick's Birthday. Unfortunately today is also the sad, sad day that I have to tell you all that Rick Loomis passed away, just seven hours before his birthday of complications of his cancer. 
Rick was an amazing person. He had the ability to inspire and nurture talented people to be more talented than they thought they could be. He had the ability to give his people the freedom to develop their own solutions to problems and then he would calmly guide them. He did this in every facet of his life, whether it was in gaming or management or even his church softball league. Maybe that's one of the reasons why so many people loved Rick and loved working with and for him and why he attracted so many talented people like Mike Stackpole, Larry Ditillio, Liz Danforth, Jennifer Roberson, Ken St Andre and so many others who went on to create entire worlds and realms -- Rick encouraged that in a way few do. 
Rick sacrificed his life for a dream. A dream of wonderful, fun games and worlds of adventure. Games that inspired creativity and fun. Rick' s games were always in the end, about fun - not winning. Rick's dream will live on and we who he has left behind will do our part to carry that dream forward. 
And we will never forget what he taught us - patience, persistence, fun and kindness. 
That is what Rick stood for. His loss will leave a hole in our community, our industry and our hearts - but I urge you to remember to be kind to each other, be patient with each other and don't let go of your dreams. Rick never did.
The world is lessened by your absence Rick, and you are missed...
I'm literally at a loss for words. Cancer is such a fucking horror. For a civilized word to be no closer to a cure today pisses me off. Not at the world. Not at science. But fucking cancer.

The Tavern's Community raised well over $400 for Rick's cancer-related expenses. I offered to match the first $200 raised and we have an anonymous donor who offered to match another $200. I'll be putting The Tavern's match in before the weekend is out.

You can still give at this link.

Prayers and tears for Rick's family and friends. The tears may be mixed with survivor's guilt.

But for the grace of God go I.


Bundle of Holding - CATALYST Collection (Flying Buffalo)

Some of the best systemless RPG supplements ever published were from the CityBooks line of releases from Flying Buffalo. As for traps, few were as entertaining as the Grimtooth's Traps Collection.

You can get CityBooks I-III, Grimtooth's Traps I and II as well as a book on unique magic items in the Catalyst Bundle of Holding for just 7.95. That is a bargain and a half.

If you step up to about 23 bucks, you add the following:

  • CityBooks IV-VII: Four more sets of people and places you can easily drop into any city adventure -- IV: On the Road, V: Sideshow, VI: Up Town, and VII: King's River Bridge.
  • Grimtooth's Traps 3-4: Titled Fore and Ate (don't ask us why), these two books give you hundreds more traps to waylay dungeon delvers.
  • NEW IN THIS REVIVAL! City of the Gods Map Pack: The wondrous place built by all the pantheons of Earth after they left this world behind.
  • Mercenaries Spies & Private Eyes: Michael Stackpole's classic action/espionage RPG inspired by Tunnels & Trolls. Includes the Adventure of the Jade Jaguar solo adventure. (Both were also part of our September 2018 Tunnels & Trolls Bundle.)
  • NEW! Mugshots No. 1 - The Case of the Pacific Clipper: A high-flying pulp-era solo adventure for MSPE written by Dungeons & Dragons co-designer Dave Arneson.
Personally, I love Mercenaries Spies & Private Eyes (just got my Kickstarter hardcover of the rules delivered yesterday). All that said, the seven CityBooks are worth the extra money on their own.

The usual 10% donation from Bundle of Holding is being given to Rick Loomis to help offset expenses related to his current cancer treatment.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Kickstarter - Star Hat Miniatures for DuckQuest Fantasy Role Playing Games

I'm a longtime fan of RuneQuest, having found it first with Avalon Hill's RuneQuest III, but then went back and found Chaosium's RuneQuest II, complete with Ducks. I was in love :)

All that means is that I am seriously predisposed to like Star Hat Miniatures for DuckQuest Fantasy Role Playing Games Kickstarter. It doesn't hurt that Darcy also did a limited run miniature of your favorite dwarven barkeep in the past. Heh

I must say, the Kiwi Dollar conversion to USC greatly favors the US.

Reminder, minis come unpainted.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Tenkar's Alternate Incantations - 5 More First Level Magic-User Spells for Swords & Wizardry

Talking with Mike Badolato on Tuesday night inspired me to write up the 5 first-level Magic-user spells for Swords & Wizardry. Well, my writing up those 5 spells inspired Mike to write up 5 more spells. We are taking on this project together. This is only the beginning :)

Change Self
Spell Level: M-U 1
Range: Caster
Duration: 1 turn + 2 rds lvl

     This spell enables the wizard to alter the appearance of his form (including clothing and equipment) to appear as any human, humanoid, or other generally man-shaped bipedal creature. The form taken must be within 1 foot in height and 50 lbs in weight of the caster. The caster cannot duplicate a specific individual.

Burning Hands
Spell Level: M-U 1
Range: 5’
Duration: Instant

     When the wizard casts this spell, a jet of searing flame shoots from his fingertips. The burning hands send out flame jets of five-foot length in a horizontal arc of about 120 degrees in front of the wizard. Any creature in the area of the flames suffers 2 hit points of damage, plus 2 points for each level of experience of the spellcaster, to a maximum of 2+20 points of fire damage. Those with a successful saving throw receive half damage. Flammable materials touched by the fire are set on fire and must be extinguished or they are consumed by the flames.

Spell Level: M-U 1
Range: 30 yds
Duration: Permanent

     The erase spell removes writings of either magical or mundane nature from a scroll or from one page of paper, parchment, or similar surface. It also removes magical runes, glyphs, sigils, and marks.  Nonmagical writings are automatically erased. Magical writings are only 30% likely to be erased, plus 5% per caster level, to a maximum of 90%.

Shocking Grasp
Spell Level: M-U 1
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 round a level

     When the wizard casts this spell, he develops a powerful electrical charge that gives a jolt to the creature touched. The spell remains in effect for one round per level of the caster or until it is discharged by the caster intentionally touching another creature (to hit roll required during combat).
The shocking grasp delivers 1d8 points of damage, plus 1 point per level of the wizard. If the opponent is wearing metal armor or using a metal shield, the caster receives a +5 bonus to hit.

Wall of Fog
Spell Level: M-U 1
Range: 30 yds
Duration: 1 turn + 1 rd lvl

     By casting this spell, the wizard creates a billowing wall of misty vapors in any area within the spell range, in a rough cube shape covering ’20 x ’10 ft. The wall of fog obscures all sight, normal and infravision, beyond two feet. The wall must be roughly cubic or rectangular and at least 10 ft wide.
The misty vapors persist for the duration of the spell unless blown away by a strong wind (which can remove the wall in a single round).


Art used with permission. Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art © Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games. Publisher's Choice - Black & White: Filler Art

Note, immediately above is an affiliate link. Affiliate links keep the beer cold and the lights on at The Tavern.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

50% off Barrel Rider Games Through August 28th - PDF Only

I'm going to be right upfront with you, my reader. James Spahn, the man behind Barrel Rider Games, is a damn good friend of mine. Dare I say it, I consider him my brother. In addition, James rights some damn good shit. White Star? That's James. Hero's Journey? Yet again. How about all of the White Box releases for Swords & Wizardry? Yes again. Class Compendium for Labyrinth Lord? Yep, and so much more.

All, and I mean ALL of James' Barrel Rider Games releases are 50% off in PDF through August 28th, 2019. Well, except for the ones that are already Pay What You Want.

What are you waiting for? Go forth and shop! ;)

Yep, that is an affiliate link above. Affiliate links keep your bartender in pants. Wait, that doesn't sound right...

Tenkar's Alternate Incantations - 5 First Level Magic-User Spells for Swords & Wizardry

Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art © Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games

I was reminded of something in last night's Frog Chat - the Swords & Wizardry spell lists are pretty light. I figured I'd start writing some new spells to add as GM's feel fit to do. Note, not all are inspired by earlier editions of "the one true game" but some certainly are. These spells are suitable for all OSR games, usable at the GM's discretion. Tenkar's Alternate Incantations will be an irregular feature here at The Tavern. Here are five First Level Magic-User Spells.

Spell Level: M-U 1
Range: 10' radius per level
Duration: 2 hours

     This spell protects an area of the size described above. Should anything of note enter the said area during the duration of the spell, the caster is made instantly aware.

Feather Fall
Spell Level: M-U 1
Range: 10'
Duration: 1 round
     This spell makes the target as light as a feather. Note, this spell, when memorized, can be cast instantaneously - for example, in response to suddenly falling off a cliff or into a pit. It can be cast on others. Unwilling recipients get a Saving Throw.

Spell Level: M-U 1
Range: Touch
Duration: Instantaneous

     This spell allows for the identification of the properties of magic items. When the spell is cast, the caster must hold the item to be identified. The spell will then randomly reveal one magic property of the item (some items only have one property). If the caster makes a Saving Throw, the item will reveal a second random property. This process can continue to a Saving Throw is failed or there are no more properties to reveal.

Imbue Weapon
Spell Level: M-U 1
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 hour

     This spell places a temporary enchantment on a weapon of the casters choosing. Although the weapon gains no bonuses for the purposes of to hit or damage rolls, the weapon is considered magical for the purpose of striking creatures that are immune to non-magical weapons

Spell Level: M-U 1
Range: 30 feet
Duration: 1 round

     This spell sends a spark of electricity at 1 (2 targets at level 5, 3 targets at level 9) target. The target must make a Saving Throw or take 1 point of damage. If the first save was failed, the target must make a second Saving Throw or be stunned for one round, losing all actions.


Art used with permission. Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art © Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games. Publisher's Choice - Black & White: Filler Art

Note, immediately above is an affiliate link. Affiliate links keep the beer cold and the lights on at The Tavern.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Kickstarter - On Downtime and Demesnes (OSR & 5e)

Back this Kickstarter. Now. On Downtime & Demesnes. I'll wait. If you aren't sure, back for a buck and download the art-free pre-stretch-goals book. Read it. I'll still be waiting for you as you up your pledge.

Seriously, Hack & Slash may have outdone himself with Downtime & Demesnes. It is simply that good, and you rarely hear me say that.
Do you sometimes wish you didn't have to put in so much effort into engaging your players? Wouldn't it be nice if they couldn't wait to play around in your world? If they were pushing you to spend more time in the land you create? 
That's why I developed these downtime procedures over decades of play and now I can share it with you! 
What's in it?  
  • Systems that motivate players
  • Simple usable procedures that work
  • Creativity and inspiration for adventure
No longer will your players wonder what their characters should do with all their gold. It includes clear, common-sense rules for everything from starting a cult, making sacrifices to gods, to hiring mercenaries and building vehicles and castles. 
Going to an arena fight? Take seconds to determine the purse, peruse mechanics to handle the arena crowd, pick some ideas for interesting arenas, and select an opponent like the Necrourge: a master of the dark arts of necrourgy, who raises the bodies of traitors or other criminals after they have been forced to fight in the arena and died.
I've got a vision of usable downtime procedures that motivate players and provide inspiration to Dungeon Masters collected in a published volume. I want one for my table. But I don't have the funds to hire a cover artist. So I'm Kickstarting this to pay Skullfungus ("I draw dungeons, their inhabitants and everything in between") to create a beautiful cover. The book is written, layout is effectively complete, and nearly all of the interior art is finished.  
What's it for? 
The downtime goals give agency to players, and let them build a dynasty. Imagine a group eager to explore your world because they have their own plans! These objective procedures give players tools that fire a desire to dive into your creative world, discover its detailed history, and make their mark on it. 
It gives your players the tools to make their wildest ideas come to life, without breaking your campaign or your suspension of disbelief, all the while driving them to adventure in your world. On Downtime and Demesnes is filled with tools that work. Build a flying ship, enchant it; or build a wizards tower and raise fortifications in the surrounding lands. All with simple, scalable, rules.  
This is a book used in every game you run. Your next campaign, the one after that, the one after that. . . Not one wasted word. Every page is crammed with content and creativity. No filler. Tools that let players build castles and control land, without disassociated mechanics. This is the stronghold book you've been looking for. 
15 bucks for the PDF, 20 bucks for the POD (plus cost and shipping) with PDF.

Back this. Back it now. Already funded and well beyond.

Kickstarter - Dungeon Craft: Build your own battle maps!

"A book that has over 1,000 terrain pieces for you to use in Dungeons & Dragons."

Terrain for RPGs is all the rage these days. Whether it's Dwarvern Forge or 3d printed at home, it isn't always the price that is the issue - its storage space. Where do you store all of these pieces when not in use?

This brings us to the Dungeon Craft: Build your own battle maps! Kickstarter. Over 1k terrain pieces delivered in the size of an 8 1/2 x 11 spiral-bound notebook. What's that? You are not impressed? Well, open your eyes because this Kickstarter has already raised over $200k with just over 2 days left to fund.

Actually, that's $208k and over 3200 backers. Not bad for a first time Kickstarter creator.

Why the huge numbers? Because for 30 bucks (plus shipping - 40 bucks shipped) you get all of this potential terrain to use. What do you get for 30 bucks of Dwarvenite? Maybe an unwalled hallway?

But this isn't as simple as it seems. The terrain isn't cut out for you, nor is it punched. Instead, you need to cut it out yourself. Better get some quality scissors or an Exacto knife and a cutting board.

The pieces are double-sided, which maximizes usability but does mean there are potentially pieces that will not be usable together, as they are on opposite sides of the cutout terrain piece.

They use 12 point paper, but it still means the terrain will move easier, and therefore, unintentionally, more so than traditional terrain. Not for outdoor use, I would guess.

I want to see a usable, affordable Colorforms like terrain set. I've seen attempts in the past, but none have impressed me.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Tenkar's Terrible Theurgy - Wrath - for Swords & Wizardry

artwork copyright Daniel F. Walthall, used with permission

Hit Dice: 2+2
Armor Class: 2 [17] / 6 [13] *see below
Attacks: Attacks 3 - (2) Claw (1d3) / (1) Bite 1d6
Saving Throw: 14
Special: If both claws hit, bite automatically hits / bite heals Wrath for the same amount as bite damage
Move: 15
Alignment: Chaotic
Challenge Level/XP: 4/120

Wraths are semi-corporal creatures. Not quite dead and not quite living, they are cursed to exist in a world between. Always in pain, always suffering, they attack the living on sight with no quarter given. They have a cunning intelligence but do not appear to be able to communicate. They are usually found alone, occasionally in pairs.

Extremely fast, Wraths appear to float over the ground. While not truly flying, they can cross calm waters (ponds, small lakes and the like) with ease.

The bite of a Wrath drains life essence from the victim. This will heal the Wrath for the same amount as the damage the bite inflicted. Additionally, the damage taken by the victim can only be effectively healed by rest. Magical healing does a mere 1 point of healing per spell or item used. Do not roll.

The life essence of the Wrath, such as it is, is held within a small gemstone hidden within its ribcage. These gemstones are each worth 30 to 180 coins of the realm. 1 in 6 such gemstones are permanently imbued with stolen life essence. These stones heal the bearer 1 hit point per day on top of other factors, such as rest and magical healing.

* use the lower (harder to hit) AC for non-magicsal weapons. use the higher (easier to hit) AC with magical weapons


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Kickstarter - HandyMaps - Town & Village A5 Card Handouts for RPGs (Glynn Seal)

"Double-sided, A5 town & village map card handouts by Gold ENnie award-winning cartographer, Glynn Seal. For all role-playing games."

Glynn Seal AKA Monkeyblood is one of my favorite, if not my actual favorite, independent producers of Old School Gaming content. The Midderlands is my favorite setting and Glynn's maps are simply spot-on perfection.

So, imagine my joy when I saw Glynn was making a Kickstarter simply to showcase his maps. Yep, I fond the Handymaps Kickstarter. Is it wrong to want to frame these?

12 bucks plus shipping for the print plus PDF. Note, the printed maps are double-sided. 22 bucks for 2 copies, so I - er, I mean, you, can display all of them at once.

You get a set of ten, double-sided A5 (5.85" wide x 8.27" high) map cards to be used as player handouts for quick village and town layouts for Game Masters.

Yeah, I'm in for 2 sets.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

GoFundMe - Rick Loomis - Lymphatic Cancer (Flying Buffalo) - Gamer in Need

I know I've said this before, but cancer is the great equalizer. It doesn't play favorites, rich or poor, young or old, it doesn't care and you can't predict the outcome. The treatment is almost universally to poison your body and possibly irradiate it. Treatment sucks. Seriously. I know, cause I'm a survivor of Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a form of Lymphatic cancer.

To see someone else in our gaming community come down with cancer strikes home for me every time. Recently, it was Tim Kask (in remission). Currently, it is Doug Reah (NTRPG Con) and Ernie Gygax (also Hodgkin's Lymphoma).

Now, Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo is suffering from Lymphatic Cancer. Truly, it seems like cancer is striking many of those we hold dear in the gaming community.

Rick and his family need our help. If you can donate to the fund, that is awesome. If you can't, simply share this post and hopefully, others will be able to.

The Tavern will match the first $200 raised by The Tavern's Community. Simply note your donation here as a comment or send me an email to tenkarsDOTtavern AT that gmail thing and let me know the amount you donated. When we hit $200 The Tavern will add its donation to the mix. Please DON'T stop donating when we hit $200 - Rick and his family are in great need.

From the GoFundMe page:
Rick Loomis has been an important part of the game industry for almost 50 years, and now he is in the fight of his life with cancer. Even though he is a US army veteran and qualifies for medicare, Rick's share of the medical bills are now in the tens of thousands of dollars. Please help his family through this terrible time and help keep the  legacy of Flying Buffalo going strong. 
Rick was one of the founding members of the Game Manufacturing Association and served as its President several times when they needed him. He started Flying Buffalo Games back in 1970 and was one of the first people to ever run a Play-by Mail game on a dedicated computer. He has traveled the world to promote role-playing and card games and over the years Rick has befriended hundreds (thousands!) of people at conventions from his Flying Buffalo Games booth and company.  He published Tunnels & Trolls, the Nuclear War Card Game, Grimtooth's Traps and so much more. Rick truly is a legend.  But being a legend doesn't mean you are wealthy, it just means that some people have respect for your accomplishments. 
Now Rick is 72, and in February he found out he has lymphatic cancer. Rick's biggest worry is not himself, but for his two sisters that live with him and the legacy of his company, Flying Buffalo. 
Both his sisters (Nancy and Laura) have been trying to help Rick as best they can, but he has needed specialized medical care in a rehabilitation facility.  Rick was recently sent back to the hospital and the bills have been overwhelming. They need some help taking care of the medical bills and catching up with other expenses that Rick usually took care, of but has been unable to, due to his illness.  
Rick has helped his church and the gaming industry for many years, now we are asking you to give a little help to Rick and his family during this very difficult time. Anything you can pledge will be greatly appreciated.
Maybe Rick was your camp councilor, or he  got you started in the gaming industry. Maybe he  helped you get a booth for Origins after the deadline or you played in one of his PBM games. Maybe he was just nice to you. If you feel a debt of gratitude for Rick and how he helped you or the game industry - now is the time to show your gratitude.  Help spread the word that a gaming legend and his family need some help.. 
If you can't afford anything - thank you for your time, your prayers and well wishes.  If you can help, we are eternally grateful for your contribution!

Deal of the Day - Advanced Labyrinth Lord

Today's Deal of the Day is Advanced Labyrinth Lord. Normally 14.99 in PDF, until tomorrow morning it's on sale for 8.99.
Finally, the basic and advanced game rules are in one volume! 
This book combines the material originally presented in the Labyrinth Lord core rules and in the Advanced Edition Companion. Play advanced and basic characters in the same group, or choose to play one or the other. 
Enter a world filled with labyrinths, magic, and monsters! Choose a basic race-class, advanced class, or even multiclass to combine the two! All of the basic and advanced options are within reach. 
Labyrinth Lord is the Rosetta Stone of old-school fantasy rules. 
It is easy to use basic and advanced game adventures from other publishers with these rules.  
In this book you will find...
  • A complete guide to basic and advanced characters
  • All core basic and advanced monsters
  • Basic and advanced spells
  • The full repertoire of basic and advanced magic items
  • Optional rules to make your game even more advanced
  • Welcome back to old-school gameplay.
**Note that the PDF includes both the Dragon cover and Orcus Cover images.
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Friday, August 16, 2019

Kickstarter - The Lost City of Gaxmoor 5E

"The Lost City of Gaxmoor 5E beckons brave adventurers to explore its ruins and crypts, to vanquish the chaos and evil that lies within."

The original The Lost City of Gaxmoor was a pretty popular Troll Lord Games release. A 5e conversion is a no brainer, especially with the history the Trolls already have converting some of their prior C&C releases to 5e.
The Lost City of Gaxmoor 5E is a sandbox adventure we are converting to the 5th Edition of the world's most popular role playing game. Designed for characters that range from 1st to 10th level. It is the brain child of and written by Ernie and Luke Gygax, the sons of the legendary co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons Gary Gygax. If this campaign is successful, The Lost City of Gaxmoor 5E will be released in a Full Color, 128+ page book that includes a fold out map of the city that retails for $39.99. 
  • The Lost City of Gaxmoor includes the following:
  • 59 Fully Developed Encounter Areas outside the city walls
  • 70 Fully Developed Encounter Areas inside the city walls
  • The Labyrinth beneath the city proper
  • 70 Magical Statues, Pools and Areas of Interests fully developed for campaign play
  • an overarching objective for those who desire campaign style play
  • over a dozen maps of all the relevant areas
  • NPCs and Areas of Refuge
  • New Monsters
  • New Magic Items 
Stretch goals are falling, and the latest stretch goal adds an encounter by Jeffrey Talanian (AS&SH).

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Humble Bundle - Humble RPG Book Bundle: Warhammer 40,000 Dark Heresy by Cubicle 7

My first time playing on Fantasy Grounds, heck, my first time playing an RPG in nearly 10 years, was the Warhammer 40k: Dark Heresy. It felt familiar enough system-wise as a long time WFRPG fan and the setting was to die for - literally ;)

Now you can get your Warhammer 40k: Dark Heresy RPG fix for as low as a buck on Humble Bundle ;)

I'm in at 18 bucks myself. Just sayin' :)

There's an affiliate link above. Affiliate links keep the beers cold and the taps flowing here at The Tavern. I thank you in advance.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

"New" TSR Release on DTRPG - S1-4 Realms of Horror (1e)

I never realized that TSR re-released S1-4 as Realms of Horror back in the day. Now it pops up on the DTRPG page. Go figure. 10 bucks for the 4 modules isn't bad at all, but can anyone tell me how the "new editing" treated the adventures?
Tomb of Horrors, White Plume Mountain, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, and The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. . . four modules that are already classics in the AD&D® game system. 
In this module you will find those four adventures in a newly-revised format, re-edited for ease of use in a gung-ho, let's-do-it-all-at-once campaign for your intermediate level characters. This product contains an 80-page adventure booklet, a 48-page illustration booklet, and a 16 page map and inscription booklet. 
If you've played these in the past, and want to do so again, you'll have the pleasure of re-living the first-time thrills. If you're new to the AD&D game, and want an all-in-one campaign, this is the one. 
Open the book, open your minds, and let the adventures  begin!
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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A "WTF are they Thinking?!?" Kickstarter - Role Playing Games Television (Funds at $800k)

"A grand showcase of production and performance, with table top miniature photography and role playing dramatized by actors."

You know how I point out some projects on Kickstarter have no clue what Kickstarter is and how it works? Well, the Role Playing Games Television Kickstarter certainly knows what Kickstarter is for - printing money - $8,000 bills at a time. What do I mean? There is only one backer level:

Now, you get a % of the company. How much a percentage, he doesn't say. But to fund, we'll need 100 backers at 8k apiece. And you though Destination Fantastic had lofty goals.

Then there is the video. Beyond listening to just how smart the project creator is, we get horrible jump cuts, uncertainty over the stock offering (with all of the jump cuts why not edit this piece?) and a shirt that is much too tight at the belly button. I was simply fascinated with what appeared to be a belly button outside his shirt. Why the hell did he have to spotlight this?

The Youtube channel mentioned? It has 8 subscribers:


Role Playing Games Television Kickstarter is a product of hubris, delusions, psychosis or perhaps all of the above.
While we are aiming to produce Television Shows using former famous Dungeons and Dragons modules produced by TSR (currently owned by Hasbro and managed by Wizards of the Coast), new properties are encouraged and have been developed. More ROI can be garnered by producing newly minted RPG settings, providing a income for new developers and writers. 
Whether it can contract for popular licenses from Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast, is to be determined over 5 months. It is not essential to get other properties but the fastest track to profit is to get licenses to famous Dungeons and Dragons modules from Hasbro/Wizard of the Coast.  
I have never done that, but it is just a matter of the right price?  
The process uses modules to develop storylines and characters, and previously famous modules SHOULD BE produced as movies and TV. They will be! 
The second round of funding will be the affirmation of the proof of concept as a showcase for developing properties, so a second round of investment may come from Wizards of the Coast, and this company would be continuing to develop properties and also developing movies from Wizard of the Coast Dungeons and Dragons modules. 
I thought the D&D movie license was subject to an ongoing lawsuit. I'm glad I was corrected. ;)

Thankfully it's not a product that will see the light of day at this rate...

Monday, August 12, 2019

Wayward Kickstarter - Enchanted Oasis Soap

"Handcrafted soap that is inspired by my favorite fantasy RPG. My soaps are made with plant based oils and goats milk."

I know, I'm apparently in a Wayward Kickstarter frame of mind recently, but I came across the Enchanted Oasis Soap Kickstarter and I simply had to share it.

Rach loves buying handcrafted soap at flea markets and boutique shops. I have to admit, there are some scented bars that I actually like. Well, guess what? This Kickstarter doesn't let you choose your scent. Heck, it doesn't even tell you which scents you might get. You do get to chose your wrapper, which lets you pick your race or race and class, depending on your backer level

I haven't even mentioned its 10 bucks a bar of soap. Well, at least if you back for 4 bars, you get a discount:

Errrr? What?

Another "First Created, 0 Backed" dreamer who is clueless as to how Kickstarter actually works.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

A Kickstarter Post Mortem - DESTINATION FANTASTIC

There was a lot of chatter about the Destination Fantastic Kickstarter both while it was funding and immediately after it funded - right up against the clock when it did.

Simply put, this is one of the worst presentations of a Kickstarter I can recall coming across. Its got flash and one of the best video presentations I've ever seen, but the Kickstarter page itself is a horrid mess.

Let me state something right off the bat: although the perception by many was that this was a Kickstarter being run by Stefan Pokorny & Satine Phoenix, this wasn't the case. Sure, they are the stars of the show, but the KS was run by the producer of Dwarvenaut (a documentary about Stefan and available on Netflix - well worth the time to watch if you haven't already, it's entertaining). So, this is really a critique of a Kickstarter run by Ron Harbin.

The first issue, and it's a biggie, is that there is no real sense of what the average backer is getting of value for their cash.

Here's what you get for 10 bucks:
An astounding digital postcard of our Iceland adventures!
Plus a heartfelt thank you + EXCLUSIVE INFO UPDATES, behind-the-scenes access, videos, and more!
Yep, pretty much a whole lotta nothing. 3 bucks gives you the same without the digital postcard.

What does 15 bucks give you?
The HD digital edition of Episode One of Destination Fantastic, the Iceland Excursion! Follow Stefan and Satine as they climb glaciers, explore dormant volcanoes, and turn the pages of the ancient Icelandic tomes that started it all!
Destination Fantastic Episode 01
Destination Fantastic Digital Postcard
Notice it apparently lacks exclusive info updates and the rest of the goodies from the lower pledge levels. Well, probably not but shows a sloppy presentation of backer levels.

25 bucks gives you the full season, but the season only funded for 1 episode. Oh, and a Digital Storytellers Thesaurus by Troll Lord Games.

As for the rest of the backer levels, they are a mess. There are a total of 28 backer levels, which is probably 20 too many. Did I mention there was an "angel backer" right before the end of funding? It needed $100k to fund. It hit exactly $109,230. That "angel backer" jumped in for $9k right at the end. Who the fuck with $9k to drop on a KS waits until there is less than half an hour to go in the funding period?

How about that $100k funding goal? With about 48 hours left it needed about $25k. With lofty stretch goals in the millions of dollars, why did it perform so badly?

Well, aside from the poor and confusing presentation, there was the perception that backers were paying for a bunch of rich people to have fun and go on vacation, then film their fun for the non-rich people to watch.

Yep, that's a comment from an earlier post on this blog. While I don't fully agree with the perception, I certainly understand it.

Then there is the issue of funding the stretch goals themselves.

The first episode funded at $100k. So, that would seem to be your baseline breakeven cost. One assumes that also includes initial equipment purchases and the like. Also, its money already spent, as the first episode is already filmed.  Ah-ha! Now you see why the project needed to fund (KS is fund or get nothing, but I digress.)

The never-ending, far too full of explanations that I felt like my pocket was being fleeced section on Risks & Challenges states: between fees, rewards, and shipping, about 35 cents of every dollar is gone before actual projects costs. I'll accept that number.

So, if the first episode funded with $100k, and that includes initial equipment cost, that later episodes would be cheaper to produce, but you would be wrong. As the stretch goals are structured, each stretch goal episode costs between $400k and $450k to produce.

Yes, you read that right.

Here, peek for yourself.

This is where I feel that Destination Fantastic "jumped the shark." Its where many potential backers who slogged through the mess of what was already shown to them started saying "cash grab" by the producer. I know that's what I thought when I sat down and finally gave this project a thorough examination.

This project should never have funded. It should have rebooted with a clearer presentation and more reasonable stretch goals. So, although technically not a "failure to fund" it probably would have been better for all if that had been the case. As it stands now, I fully expect a Destination Fantastic Episode 2 Kickstarter in a few months. Hopefully, Ron Harbin takes the time to try a different approach when he takes his second bite at the apple.

edit: I should also note that I suspect there was a thought process that due to the huge success Stefan has had with his own Dwarven Forge Kickstarters, there would be a significant carry over to Destination Fantastic.  Obviously, that is NOT the case. Somebody failed n their Marketing Skill Roll pretty badly.

Wayward Kickstarter - The Shaven Dwarf

Let's get right to the issues of The Shaven Dwarf. There are some major ones.

  1. The Kickstarter page does not disclose where this gaming lounge/store will be located. At first glance, I thought it might be virtual. You are required to watch the video to find out where it is theoretically going to be - Brandon, Florida.
  2. $100k goal, with NO prior Kickstarters, backed or created. This is a huge red flag. I suspect he does not understand how Kickstarter works.
  3. Is there $100k worth of gamers with disposable money in the Brandon, Florida area?
  4. 60-day funding - never a good sign.
  5. Rewards that are really more like donations. Dice bags, t-shirts and thank you notes - oh my. The will have the logo on them, but there is no logo yet.
  6. From the description, I fail to see how this can make a profit - "The Shaven Dwarf will have a small retail area where we will stock all the necessities for your favorite table top game as well as food and drinks. Half of the main lobby will be a lounge area where people can hang out, play pool, video games, and enjoy the company of other gamers. The remaining space will be divided into four small rooms, two large rooms, and one tournament room." Sounds fine and dandy, but there isn't profit and sustainability written into that.
Then there is this comment: 

Yeah, this train wreck isnt going to fund, but some do. I'll be doing a post mortem on a Kickstarter that, by all rights, shouldn't have funded, in the next post or two.

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