Saturday, February 9, 2019

21 Designers & Makers Fireside Chats Completed over at the Tavern Chat Podcast - 22 More on the Sheet ;)

This afternoon was the 21st Designers & Makers Fireside Chat. There are 19 more scheduled between Monday, February 11th and Thursday, April 11th (and a handful more where we have to pin down a date.)

I've been extremely pleased with how the sessions have gone and I think they've gotten strong (and longer) as I've grown into the role of host, interviewer and fellow Tavern patron just chewing the fat with friends.

Here's a list with links of the Fireside Chats that have gone up on the Tavern Chat Podcast thus far:

E269 - Designers & Makers - Fireside Chat with Puddles (Strange Gods Podcast)

Published on Feb 9, 2019
Today I sat down for a fireside chat with Puddles of the Strange Gods Podcast (and soon to be released Swords & Wizardry / Blight Podcast).
We talk gaming, cops shows, free-range chickens, campaigns, TPKs and more. Oh, and I blush loud enough you should be able to hear it on the podcast. That's a first ;)

E268 - Designers & Makers Fireside Chat with SagaNick (Saga RPG)

Published on Feb 8, 2019
In today's episode of Tavern Chat, I have a virtual fireside chat with SagaNick of Saga RPG Publishing. We discuss some Kickstarter strategies, Rappan Athuk and more.

E267 - Designers & Makers - Fireside Chat with Courtney Campbell (Hack & Slash)

Published on Feb 7, 2019
With this episode, I have a fireside chat with Courtney Campbell of the Hack & Slash blog (among many other avenues of creativity.) We talk multiple income streams, creativity, love & hate, real life, drive, emotion, kickstarters, Con Man Ken, Gail, Gareth and everything under the sun. If you listen to only one episode on the Designers & Makers series of fireside chats, this might be the one to listen to.

E265 - Designers & Makers - Fireside Chat with Jerry (Frog God Games)

Published on Feb 5, 2019
Today I had a fireside chat with Jerry - Noble Herald Frog of Frog God Games. We had some technical difficulties in the beginning, but thanks to Jerry switching to his cell phone and Pexx adjusting the bitrate we recovered. Jerry is a fine example of backing into a position with a gaming company. I happen to be another example ;)

E259 - Designers & Makers - Fireside Chat with Tyson (Smunchy Games)

Published on Jan 30, 2019
In today's episode of The Tavern Chat podcast, I hang out with Tyson of Smunchy Games. I'm eagerly awaiting the board game/RPG hybrid.

E258 - Designers & Makers - Fireside Chat with Alexander Macris (Autarch/ACKS)

Published on Jan 29, 2019
In this installment of the Designers & Makers series of fireside chats I sit down with Alex Macris, the main man at Autarch publishing and best known for the Adventurer Conqueror King System (ACKS). We talk awards, projects past and present, old Commodore 64 video games and more :)

E255 - Designers & Makers - Fireside Chat with Melkor (Strange Gods Podcast)

Published on Jan 26, 2019
On today's episode, I hang out with Melkor of the Strange Gods Podcast (and the fairly soon to be released Swords & Wizardry powered and Blight setting podcast)
We talk old school, new school, OSR, Pathfinder ! & 2, 5e and more. Houserules and on the fly conversions.
We forgot to bring the beer :(

E252 - Designers & Makers - Kevin Watson/Dark Naga Games (Writer/Publisher)

Published on Jan 23, 2019
In the latest episode in the Designers & Makers series of fireside chat, I get to sit down with Kevin Watson of Dark Naga Games. We talk OSR & 5e as well as Kickstarters past, present, and future.

E251 - Designers & Makers - Fireside Chat with Elfstar (Adventure & Computer Game Designer)

Published on Jan 22, 2019
With this episode, we present the latest in the Designers & Makers series of fireside chats. This time I chat with Elfstar, adventure and computer game designer. We hit on some hexcrawl/sandbox points of interest that may be of interest to others ;)

E249 - Designers & Makers - Fireside Chat with Robert/Sizzoul (Strange Gods Podcast)

Published on Jan 20, 2019
In the latest of the Designer's & Makers series of interviews / fireside chat, I talk with Robert/Sizzoul of the Strange Gods Podcast and we learn more about the upcoming Blight/Swords & Wizardry podcast they have in the hopper ;)

E247 - Designers & Makers - Fireside Chat with Humble Joe / Izzy (Strange Gods Podcast)

Published on Jan 18, 2019
In this episode of the Tavern Chat Podcast, we continue with the Designers & Makers series of "fireside chats". This time I sit down with Humble Joe / Izzy of the Strange Gods Podcast, am actual play podcast featuring Pathfinder (and soon to include a sister podcast featuring Swords & Wizardry). Join us, won't you? :)

E245 - Designers & Makers - Fireside Chat with Skeeter Green (Bard's Gate)

Published on Jan 16, 2019
Today I sat down with Skeeter Green, formerly of Frog God Games and currently with Skeeter Green Publishing. Skeet wraps up talking about his upcoming Kickstarter. Take my money already...

E242 - Designers & Makers - Fireside Chat with Josh Beckelheimer (Swords & Wizardry One Sheets)

Published on Jan 13, 2019
In today' s episode of the Tavern Chat Podcast, we have the latest in the series of Designers & Makers "fireside chats". That's what we are calling it now. Josh talks about his venture into gaming, his relative youth, why one sheet adventures are a passion of his and future plans.

E237 - Designers & Makers - I Hang Out with Vince Florio (Wild Games Productions)

Published on Jan 8, 2019
In the latest Designers & Makers entry, I hang out with Vince Florio, podcaster, Youtube and game designer, Vince is the main man at Wild Game Productions and is the main designer of the ENnie award-winning Mazes & Perils. He is also the man that introduced me to the world of podcasting. See, now you know who to blame ;)

E234 - Designers & Makers "Fireside Chat" with Omer Golan (Stellagama Publishing)

Published on Jan 5, 2019
In today's episode of The Tavern Chat Podcast, I hang out with Omer Golan of Stellagama Publishing. Omer has a number of releases in support Stars Without Number and White Star but is perhaps best known currently for Cepheus Light, a reworked and re-edited version of Cepheus, which is itself an OGL clone of Mongoose Traveller 1e. Come for the Traveller talk, stay for the AD&D 2e observations ;)  Above includes an affiliate link. Affiliate links keep the beer cold at all things Tavern.

E233 - Designers & Makers - I Sit Down with Ian McGarty of Silver Bulette Publishing

Published on Jan 4, 2019
Today we have the next installment in the Designers & Makers series of interviews. I am actually loathed to call them interviews at this point, as they have turned more into friendly chats than scripted interviews. This time I sit down with Ia McGarty of Silver Bulette Publishing.

E227 - Designers & Makers - I Hang With Jason Hobbs (Hobbs & Friends, Hex Talk, Random Screed)

Published on Dec 29, 2018
This morning we recorded another in a series of interviews with Designers & Makers in tabletop gaming. With this episode, I hang with Jason Hobbs, of the Ennie nominated Hobbs & Friends of the OSR, Hex Talk and Random Screed podcasts. Jason and I have been friends for a while and it was great to catch up with him :)

E218 - Designers & Makers - I Interview Douglas Cole (Gaming Ballistic)

Published on Dec 20, 2018
In this episode of the Designers & Makers series of interviews, I talk with Douglas Cole of Gaming Ballistic. We talk GURPS, OSR, Kickstarter, usable unarmed combat rules for OSR gaming, as well as Doug's current Kickstarter - Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition)

E217 - Designers & Makers - I Talk with Zach Glazar (Frog God Games)

Published on Dec 19, 2018
Today I interviewed Zach Glazar (Frog God Games). No Hawk the Slayer question, because the man has never seen the movie. Sigh

E215 - Designers & Makers - I Talk with Carl Heyl (Save or Die Podcast)

Published on Dec 17, 2018
In this installment of the Designers & Makers series of interviews, I talk with Carl Heyl of the Save or Die and The Crusader Podcast. Yes, we even talk Hawk the Slayer ;)

E213 - Designers & Makers - I Talk with Tom Knauss (Writer/Freelancer/Frog God Games)

Published on Dec 15, 2018
On today's episode of the Tavern Chat Podcast, I talk sit down across the virtual table with Tom Knauss, best known for his work as a writer for Frog God Games. We talk RPGs, art, Hawk the Slayer and more ;)

E210 - Designers & Makers #1 - Interview with Michael "BadMike" Badolato (NTRPG Con/Frog God Games)

Published on Dec 12, 2018
Today we kick off the Designers & Makers series of interviews (with about 40 interviews currently on the grid over the next three months). Michael "BadMike" Badolato has the notoriety of being our first guest in the series. BadMike is one of the main guys behind the NTRPG Con, works for Frog God Games and does his own business selling old school games on eBay. Join us as BadMike answers "Ths Five Questions" after which we free range a bit ;)

Friday, February 8, 2019

OSR Good Ol' Gaming Sale - Select Titles 75% Off - Hundreds at 15% Off or more

RPGNow is running a sale with 15% off (or more) on many OSR titles in PDF and the six pictured above are virtual "must haves" at 75% off.

Let's peek at the six titles above, shall we?

Dungeon Crawl Classics #66.5: Doom of the Savage King  $6.99  $1.75
A Level 1 Adventure 
At long last, the first adventure ever published for DCC RPG is now available! This is the updated second printing that was first released at Gary Con 2014. It features a fresh edit and several new pieces of art! 
High above the windswept moors and darksome woods, the village of Hirot is under siege. Each night, as the sun sinks beneath the western mountains and the candles burn low, a devil-beast stalks the village streets, unleashing its savage fury on the living. From warlord to pauper, crone to child, no one is safe. 
Defeating the immortal hound will require more than mere blades or even spells. To slay the beast, the characters must delve into the mysteries of the land and its Savage Kings. Only then, armed with relics forged from a bloody past, can the most cunning and courageous of adventurers challenge the hound of Hirot!
The Monster Alphabet $11.99  $2.99
An A-to-Z Reference for Classic Monster Design 
What foul beasts slosh and gibber in the furthest reaches of your skull? Unleash your demons with the Monster Alphabet, a compilation of monster design elements keyed to letters of the alphabet. 
A is for Android, B is for Breath Weapon, C is for Crossbreed! Game masters of any rule system will find inspiration for creating strange, new abominations: random tables of traits, powers, and lore; awe-inspiring illustrations by your favorite fantasy artists old and new; and rolling handfuls of dice directly on monster generation diagrams.
The entries are accompanied by fantastic art from classic fantasy illustrators and are compatible with all fantasy role playing games.  
Featuring a foreword by noted designer Frank Mentzer! 
Rules Set: Systems-neutral, designed to be used with any RPG
Malevolent and Benign $10.00  $2.50
Evoking the early days of roleplaying, Expeditious Retreat Press is pleased to release Malevolent and Benign, a new 1e monster book with 150 new creaures and more than 85 illustrations in this 128-paged tome, compatible with the first edition of the world's most popular roleplaying game!

Malevolent & Benign II $10.00  $2.50
Evoking the early days of roleplaying, Expeditious Retreat Press is pleased to release Malevolent and Benign II, a new 1e monster book with 150+ new creatures and more than 75 illustrations in this 110-paged tome, compatible with the first edition of the world's most popular roleplaying game!

Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 7th Printing $20.00  $5.00
We’ve moved to the 7th printing of the Castles & Crusades Players Handbook. A pillar of the table top RPG industry, Castles & Crusades embodies the spirit of the old-school gamer with the easy to use modern mechanics. The Players Handbook has all you need to get started in a wild ride of adventure! 
It’s easy to learn attribute-based rules system allows players to choose among 13 archetypal character classes and 7 races to create their characters. Spells, equipment, fast-paced combat rules, and all essential information needed to play a game of Castles & Crusades is in this book.

Codex of Aihrde $19.99  $5.00
The World of Aihrde, (Codex of Aihrde/map) is your storyboard. Its vibrant mythology, and an unfolding history, makes the World of Aihrde an unparalleled fantasy setting. With a wealth of playable material, Aihrde is like a tapestry unfolding, one that you can make your own! 
Rich in adventure hooks, Aihrde is like no other on the market today. It infuses character generation with an energy unique for its genre, and arms the game master with material that is both fixed and malleable. 
The world of Aihrde spins upon an earth-like axis of ancient civilizations where good and evil have struggled for countless years. It is a world that bears the markings of its past; where ancient evils slumber, stained with the power of eldritch wizardry; where gods dwell in bejeweled halls of wonderment, worshiped by men and women of all creeds; where dragons live in great dens of heaped treasure; where the new stands upon the ruins of the old in beds of ancient glory. 
The Codex of Aihrde includes everything you need to get started adventuring in one of the most expansive game settings you'll ever enjoy. 
The Codex is presented in two parts: 
Part 1 The Andanuth (roughly 102 pages): Here we learn the story of Aihrde, from its uttermost beginning to the present age. It follows the journey of All Father, the creation of the gods and the world. We learn who the gods are and how they interact long before the coming of the dwarves and man. The story covers the creation of these people and more and all their long journeys and travails from their arrival to the realms of the day. The Andanuth is generously sprinkled with stories and tales of gods and men, dwarves and goblins, war and peace. You'll not wonder what happened before...you'll know. 
Part 2 The Almanac (roughly 170 pages): In part 2 we dive into the particulars of the gods, the people, countries, places and realms of Aihrde. There are over 50 gods outlined for play, a dozen peoples including all your favorites (dwarves, elves, men, halflings, gnomes, orcs, goblins, giants, trolls, dragons and more). Each of 30 plus realms are intimately detailed with history, government, economy, military, present rulers and other specific information. Beyond that we have terrain that is detailed as well. 
Appendices: Several Appendices cover extra material such as detailed time line, calendar, weather patterns, languages, and flora of Aihrde.
There are a bunch of affiliate links above. Affiliate links keep the beer cold and the lights on here at The Tavern. I thank you in advance for your support.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Guest Post by Phil Reed - Kickstarter and Steve Jackson Games, A Response to Michael S

I'm always excited to present guest posters here at The Tavern. When that guest poster is none other than Phil Reed of Steve Jackson Games, I'm well beyond thrilled - Tenkar

Kickstarter and Steve Jackson Games, A Response to Michael S

Thank you, Erik, for sharing our recent "Kickstarter Projects Report" with your readers. We try to share as much info as we can (please see our annual Stakeholders' Report), and with Kickstarter, where so many gamers are helping us to create the things, we thought it essential to continue that transparency.

I noticed that Michael S commented on your share of our report and wanted to answer as best we can. In the comment, Michael wrote:

"I would really enjoy hearing how they manage their KS projects from the inside. Do they have dedicated KS staff? How much of the item is completed before they run a KS? How do they manage all their stretch goals?"

Taking each question one at a time:

* "Do they have dedicated KS staff?" We do not. In most instances in the past, Steve and our marketing staff handled constructing and managing active/ongoing campaigns. Since the Munchkin Unicorns project last summer, I've taken on a large percentage of the Kickstarter management -- including outlining and planning -- with assistance from Steve, Susan, and others as appropriate. (Andrew Hackard, for example, is involved in each Munchkin project.)

* "How much of the item is completed before they run a KS?" That varies from project to project, but we try to have the majority of the work done before even launching a Kickstarter project these days. That both provides us will more info to share -- in Munchkin Steampunk: Girl Genius, for example, the team finished all of the cards and prepared them for final review before the campaign launched -- and helps us to avoid the temptation to over-complicate a project.

We don't always have the work completed before going to Kickstarter -- the Hexagram zine project, for example, is still being created -- but we try to have a lot finished. This makes it more likely that we can deliver on schedule . . . or at least close to on schedule.

* "How do they manage all their stretch goals?" Just like everyone else: A mix of marketing and magery. Stretch goals serve to maintain excitement as a campaign unfolds and to improve the final product. The trick is in balancing momentum while, more importantly, not transforming a financial success into a failure.

The majority of our stretch goals are written down and planned before we push the "launch" button -- here is where it helps that most of the work is also done at this time -- but then we're flexible with positioning those stretch goals in the project. We know roughly how much each one adds to the project's expense, so we can shift them around as necessary in reaction to a campaign's performance.

Additionally, some stretch goals are "we must do this," so we try and push those to the front of the campaign. The last thing we ever want to see is that one of our "we really want this to happen" stretch goals fails to unlock. That would lead to more crying than we've seen since the Ogre Designer's Edition project.

Michael, I'm not sure if this properly answers your questions, but I hope that we've provided you with a little more info that helps you to better understand how we approach Kickstarter.

Thanks, Erik, for allowing me to share this with your readers, and for sharing our Kickstarter campaigns on your site! -Phil Reed

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Interesting Exchange I had With a Reporter About Gail Gygax - Soon to Be a "Story" I am Sure

I woke to the following on Thursday, sent to my Facebook Page:

Thursday morning

Hi Erik. I'm a reporter with MAJOR GEEK WEBSITE who covers Dungeons & Dragons. I hope you're well.

I'm reaching out because I'm reporting a story about Gary Gygax's legacy and Gail Gygax. I was hoping we could set up a time for an interview sometime in the next week--I know this is a topic you follow closely. Let me know what you think. My e-mail is REPORTER@MAJORGEEKWEBSITE

(I was wary from the start, as a quick Google search of REPORTER didn't show a preponderance of balanced articles and as a retired law enforcement officer, I have an innate distrust of reporters and lawyers. But I was willing to be open-minded)

My initial email to REPORTER

Before I agree to be interviewed I'd like to know the method of the interview (email, phone, skype, discord, etc) as well as some details of the direction of the questions if not the questions themselves in advance.

For what its worth, the EGG Revocable Trust and the Gygax Memorial Fund are two vastly separate entities - the first controls the IP and is in Gail's hands and is a private matter between Gail and whoever she may license the IP to. The GMF is a Not For Profit and is subject to public scrutiny. Gail gets testy when folks forget the difference.

My focus of interest has been on the GMF.

Erik Tenkar

(The above distinctions were important for me to make. Many folks discuss the Trust and the Fund as if they are sibling entities and governed by similar rules. Gail was insistent in our early discussions to remind folks of the difference and I did. The IP is controlled by Gail via the Trust. End of story)


Thanks so much for getting back. I'd be grateful if we could speak over the phone. My questions will regard your blog, Gen Con, the Gygax Memorial Fund, the legacy of Gary's IP and Gail. Hope that helps! Are you available at all today or Monday?

Very best,

(Why Gen Con? I haven't been to Gen Con in over 25 years. Notice how the deeper I dig, the greater the number of topics to be discussed)

Fri, Feb 1, 8:17 PM (5 days ago)

I don't see how I can add anything to the conversation that hasn't already been shared on the blog.

I haven't been to Gen Con in 25 years, don't post about Gary's IP aside from what's in the news (licensing & lawsuits) and my posts on the GMF and conversations with Gail are available on the blog for all to read.

I'll have to politely decline the offer to be interviewed. It would be a waste of time for both of us.

I do wish you luck with your article.

Erik Tenkar

(My first attempt to decline to be interviewed. REPORTER is insistent and to be honest, I was curious about the rabbit hole this would lead.)

Mon, Feb 4, 10:27 AM (2 days ago)
to me

Thanks for getting back, Erik. I do have some specific questions to ask you because I will be referencing you and your blog in the article a couple of times. Also, I apologize, but I misspoke--I have questions about Gary Con, not Gen Con. I'd be so grateful for just fifteen or thirty minutes of your time sometime today or tomorrow.


(AH, Gary Con, not Gen Con. Could be a simple mistake or intentional misdirection. She mentions she'll be quoting The Tavern. Now I need to know more. Still leaning towards declining to be interviewed, but can't make such decisions without full knowledge. My response follows)

Feb 4, 2019, 6:19 PM (2 days ago)

Before I agree to be interviewed I would like a list of the questions to be asked as well as links to the blog posts you intend to reference.

There are nearly 8,000 posts at tenkarstavern.com and it will be impossible for me to discuss specific posts that you may refer to without prior knowledge of said posts.

I'd like a list of questions up front so I can properly prepare for an interview that is expected to last as long as half an hour.

I thank you in advance,


Feb 5, 2019, 3:20 PM (20 hours ago)
to me

Sure, no problem. Here's a list of blog posts containing information I may reference:  thisthisthisthisthisthisthisthis and this. You've been very, very diligent!

As for questions, here's what I'll be asking you:

- General questions about your background and interest in role-playing games.
- What inspired you to start reporting on Gary's legacy?
- What initially sparked your skepticism about the way Gail is handling Gary's legacy?
- Asking you generally about your insight into Gary's children's initial plans for handling Gary's legacy.
- Asking you generally about Gary Con and your experiences of it.
- What are your views on the way the memorial statue project has been handled?
- What are your views on Gail discontinuing the publication of some of Gary's IP?
- What are your views on the Fig video game initiative?
- What are your views on Gygax magazine and its closing?
- What are your views on Tom DeSanto's lawsuit?

I hope this helps. If a half hour is too long for you, I can keep things brief, but I do find that phone interviews are far superior to text interviews when it comes to discerning a source's exact meaning and fact-checking.

Thanks again.

Very best,

("Legacy" is defined as "an amount of money or property left to someone in a will." This is what Gary left to Gail via the Trust. Again, the rights to Gary's unpublished works are controlled by Gail. That was Gary's wishes. The Fund is a not-for-profit and is open to public scrutiny and is NOT Gary's legacy.)

Feb 5, 2019, 8:04 PM (16 hours ago)

I won't be able to answer your questions as I don't report on Gary's legacy. His legacy is his IP, and except when it comes up in the news I don't mention it. Gary left it to Gail via the Trust and that is that.

I have no insights into Gary's children and their plans for their father's legacy. Again, the IP was left solely to Gail.

My thoughts on the memorial you've already read. There is nothing for me to add.

I respectfully decline to be interviewed.

Erik Tenkar

9:34 AM (2 hours ago)
to me

Got it. Because we'll be referring to you and characterizing your blog in our article, I will be reaching out for comment at a later date with specific questions, to which I hope you will respond.

Very best,

("Characterizing your blog in our article". Interesting. Let's look at the definition of "Characterizing": "to describe the distinctive nature or features of" - interesting, huh? So, The Tavern is going to be labeled as __________ fill in the blank.

It appears obvious to me that the story in question is less about Gary and his "legacy" and more about Gail Gygax. Judging from the reporter's past work, I doubt it will be critiquing Gail all that much. Gee, wonder hat the angle could be? Add your thoughts below.)

Spotify Buys Anchor - Seeks to Become Netflix of Audio

What interesting times we live in. Anchor, the home to many OSR and RPG podcasts due in large part to its ease of use, was just bought by Spotify.

Spotify CEO lays out his plan to become the Netflix of audio as the stock drops on earnings

Spotify made a major step in building up its original content on Wednesday, announcing plans to acquire privately held podcast producers Gimlet Media and Anchor. The move is just the next step in Spotify's ambitions to become the Netflix of audio by accelerating its spending on original content.

The music streaming service said it plans to spend up to $500 million this year on more podcasting acquisitions. CEO Daniel Ek said in a CNBC interview with Jim Cramer and David Faber that while "the magnitude of the numbers won't be the same" as Netflix's massive spending on original content, "I don't think it's unlikely that it is a Netflix type of story," in terms of increasing investment in the area.

"It's really about expanding our mission from just being about music to being about all of audio and being the world's leading audio platform," Ek said on Squawk On the Street.

Terms of the deals with Gimlet and Anchor were not disclosed, but late last week, Recode and Vulture podcast critic Nicholas Quah reported Gimlet would sell for north of $200 million. According to Quah, those terms would make it the largest podcast industry acquisition to date.


Anchor brings a different part of the equation to Spotify with its easy-to-use podcast creation technology. Anchor serves as a platform for podcast creators to make and distribute their shows. Anchor had 15 billion hours of content on its platform in Q4, Ek said in the blog post.

Spotify wants to build a podcast empire, starts by buying Gimlet and Anchor

Spotify picked up podcast companies Gimlet and Anchor as it looks for new listeners, the streaming service said Wednesday.

"Our podcast users spend almost twice the time on the platform, and spend even more time listening to music," Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said in a statement. "We have also seen that by having unique programming, people who previously thought Spotify was not right for them will give it a try."

The announcement came as Spotify released its quarterly financial results, 

Amid the cultural shift to streaming as the most common way people listen to music, Spotify and Apple Music have emerged as the leaders in the race to dominate subscription tunes. Though Spotify remains the biggest streaming service by both subscribers and those who listen for free, Apple Music has been growing quickly and its iTunes service remains the world's de facto place to find and download podcasts.

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight at 9 PM Eastern - The Tavern's Discord Server is Now Over 1500 Strong :)

At the moment I'm typing this, the Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server has exactly 1522 members. Pretty damn good if I must say so myself ;)

Today is a Wednesday and that means tonight is a Tavern Chat Night.

When: 9 PM Eastern, 8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain and 6 PM Pacific. Unless you are in Arizona, in which case you'll need to do your own math :)

Where: https://discord.gg/fReGmuD

What: Voice chat in the "Speakeasy". Text chat in "#tavern-chat"

Topic: I dare not say. He. I have no clue, but we always have a blast!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Steve Jackson Games has Posted its Most Recent "Kickstarter Projects Report" (Transparency for the Win)

Phil Reed sent me a PM this morning to let me know he had just posted the Steve Jackson Games "Kickstarter Projects Report". Not only is it an interesting read but its a fine example for other companies that fund projects via Kickstarter. Transparency and Accountability for the win.

You can read the original here (it has the links and such) - Tenkar

We posted a report on our 2018 projects back in November, and that proved to be as valuable a tool for us as it was informative for you . . . so here we go again! With the addition of a second Kickstarter account – you're following both the Steve Jackson Games and Warehouse 23 accounts, right? – we've got more flexibility when it comes to Kickstarter and we'll continue to expand on our experience with and use of crowdfunding this year, making reports like this one more and more important as we learn.

In 2018, we ran a total of nine Kickstarter campaigns, three of which are now completely closed and added to the "done" list. So far in 2019, we've run three campaigns (two of which are active today). Here's a look at all of the open campaigns, in reverse chronological order.

Pocket Box Games of the Eighties
January 30 to March 1
861 backers as of this writing, and still collecting support
We wanted to celebrate the company's past, and what better way than with a return of several of the black plastic Pocket Box games from the 1980s? The project has met its goal and is unlocking stretch goals. Best of all, there's still time for you to join in! Car Wars, Illuminati, Ogre, and more!!!

Hexagram #1, an Old-School RPG Zine for The Fantasy Trip
February 1 to February 13
535 backers as of this writing, and still collecting support
Kickstarter is running Zine Quest this month, so we've taken the leap and have a retro-style TFT zine in the works. There's still time to participate!

The Fantasy Trip Adventures
January 2 to January 14
1,375 backers and on schedule
After releasing a couple of PDF adventures for The Fantasy Trip late last year, we realized that we could accelerate the process – and make many of you much happier – if we took the adventures to Kickstarter. Thanks to your support, the finished book will be a hardcover and include die-cut megahexes and counters. Steve, Guy, and Ben continue to work on the book and everything is still on schedule. If you missed out, you can preorder today at BackerKit.

Ogre Battlefields
December 5 to December 28
1,401 backers and on schedule
This expansion for Ogre Sixth Edition and the Ogre Designer's Edition did much better than any of us at the office anticipated, and you kept us on our toes as your support kept breaking stretch goal after stretch goal. We wrapped up our work and submitted the files to the factory before Chinese New Year, so everything is still on track to release as promised in the campaign. The only items not yet at print are the playmats, but the work is done and we'll be submitting those files in a month or so (the playmats are printed in the U.S., so we have a little more time to spare).

Munchkin Steampunk: Girl Genius
November 1 to November 21
2,195 backers and on schedule
Steve worked with Phil Foglio to adapt the Girl Genius comic to Munchkin Steampunk, and then you joined in and unlocked every stretch goal that we had to offer. The game went to print and is, at the moment, in the final stages of manufacturing and expected to deliver on schedule (if not a little early).

Illuminati Coins
October 9 to October 17
722 backers and on schedule
The coins have completed the manufacturing stage and are now on a ship and headed to our fulfillment warehouse. We expect to deliver the coins slightly ahead of schedule.

Ogrezine II
September 13 to September 28
843 backers and on schedule
Articles are still being posted, U.S. physical rewards have been delivered, and the international physical rewards are on their way to backers. This campaign was affected by our difficulties with international fulfillment (see Munchkin Unicorns, below, for more info).

The Fantasy Trip Legacy Edition
July 23 to August 24
3,379 backers and mostly on schedule
The game is complete and on a ship. We will start fulfillment next month, and expect U.S. backers to start seeing the rewards in the last weeks of March. International rewards will ship as soon as we can manage, but the difficulties that struck Munchkin Unicorns (see below) have affected our expectations for international fulfillment of The Fantasy Trip Legacy Edition.

Munchkin Unicorns and Friends
July 3 to July 20
2,423 backers; international delivery running late
U.S. rewards delivered on schedule and went smoothly. International rewards, unfortunately, have proven a challenge. We're a few months behind on delivering the international rewards, but expect to see everything in the hands of backers in March. What happened? Working to ship rewards from in-country to make delivery less expensive for international backers became a complex web of paperwork that caused delay after delay. How are we handling this going forward? For future campaigns, we're estimating international delivery at two to three months after U.S. rewards are delivered. This will better align with the realities of international Kickstarter fulfillment.
That's nine open Kickstarter projects, two of which are on the water, two at the factory and in manufacturing, two affected by international fulfillment delays, one in the final stages of office work, and two still funding on Kickstarter.

One thing that expanding our use of Kickstarter has done is given everyone a closer look at how the sausage is made; in addition to these nine projects, we have dozens more in various stages. For example, there are two Kickstarter projects on the water . . . plus another five on a ship. And as for those two Kickstarter projects at the factory, they're currently accompanied by another 16 active projects at the factory.

As you can tell, Kickstarter is a growing part of our plans, but traditional distribution is still the majority of our business. With the market always changing, we'll do what we have to in order to adapt and keep making games for a long, long time to come.

-- Phil Reed

Google Spells it Out - Comments Posted as Google+ Comments Cannot be Migrated to Blogger and will No Longer Appear on Your Blog

In case Google wasn't clear enough with their earlier announcement, those that log into Blogger will have this notice on the top of their page:

I am so glad my experiment with Google + comments lasted but half a day before I reverted.

My faith in Blogger as a viable platform as the continued home of The Tavern diminishes on a daily basis.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Kickstarter - Hexagram #1, an Old-School RPG Zine for The Fantasy Trip (Zine Quest)

I'm enjoying Kickstarter's Zine Quest month. More zines!

This time we are looking at Hexagram #1, an Old-School RPG Zine for The Fantasy Trip. Sure, I'm still waiting on my The Fantasy Trip boxed set, but now it will have a zine companion ;)
Welcome to Hexagram, an old-school RPG zine for The Fantasy Trip that, we hope, won't be a one-and-done project. Starting out as a 16 page (8.5-inch by 5.5-inch) B&W publication, your support has made the zine a reality and, with luck, will push the page count higher and higher as we attract more backers. 
(Later note: Up to 24 pages now, and still more than a week to grow.) 
What's inside Hexagram? Great stuff, including: 
  • "Snackromancer," by Guy McLimore. An encounter for use with The Fantasy Trip.
  • "Overloading a Treasure Chest," by Philip Reed. What goes into packing an 8+ pound roleplaying game boxed set?
  • "Rumors and Truths," by Steven Marsh.
  • "Twenty Terrible Traps," by Steve Jackson. Don't throw away your d20. We have much evil love for it.
  • A preview of our next BIG TFT campaign, with samples!
  • Plus more articles to be determined!
3 bucks for the PDF. 6 bucks plus shipping for the print copy.

As for add-ons, I'm grabbing these:

Sunday, February 3, 2019

How Many Blogger Hosted Blogs Are Going to be Hosed By the Impending Google + Shutdown? Judging by the Latest G + Update - Many

Here's the latest Google + Impending shutdown update. There is a part that should greatly concern bloggers that use Blogger and Google + for post comments.
Shutting down Google+ for consumer (personal) accounts on April 2, 2019 
January 30, 2019 
In December 2018, we announced our decision to shut down Google+ for consumers in April 2019 due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations. We want to thank you for being part of Google+ and provide next steps, including how to download your photos and other content. 
On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down and we will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in your Album Archive and your Google+ pages will also be deleted. You can download and save your content, just make sure to do so before April. Note that photos and videos backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted. 
The process of deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts, Google+ Pages, and Album Archive will take a few months, and content may remain through this time. For example, users may still see parts of their Google+ account via activity log and some consumer Google+ content may remain visible to G Suite users until consumer Google+ is deleted. 
As early as February 4th, you will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities or events. See the full FAQ for more details and updates leading up to the shutdown. 
If you’re a Google+ Community owner or moderator, you may download and save your data for your Google+ Community. Starting early March 2019, additional data will be available for download, including author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community. Learn more 
If you sign in to sites and apps using the Google+ Sign-in button, these buttons will stop working in the coming weeks but in some cases may be replaced by a Google Sign-in button. You’ll still be able to sign in with your Google Account wherever you see Google Sign-in buttons. Learn more 
If you’ve used Google+ for comments on your own or other sites, this feature will be removed from Blogger by February 4th and other sites by March 7th. All your Google+ comments on all sites will be deleted starting April 2, 2019.  (empasis mine) Learn more 
If you’re a G Suite customer, Google+ for your G Suite account should remain active. Contact your G Suite administrator for more details. You can also expect a new look and new features soon. Learn more
If you're a developer using Google+ APIs or Google+ Sign-in, click here to see how this will impact you. 
From all of us on the Google+ team, thank you for making Google+ such a special place. We are grateful for the talented group of artists, community builders, and thought leaders who made Google+ their home. It would not have been the same without your passion and dedication.
So, I went with the learn more link and this is what I got:

There was nothing more to learn. Some bloggers, folks like Zak Smith are going to lose years of comments. 1,000s of comments. Sure you can download the comments but what good does that do. Are you manually going to reload them as single comments streaming the whole thread? Besides, the way Google + comments worked in Blogger, you'd have different threads based upon communities where it was shared. What a fucking shit show.

Google enabled the integration of Blogger and Google + 6 years ago. A large number of Blogger bloggers made the switch and now they are fucked.

Needless to say, moving The Tavern to another host is on the short list of things to do. I suspect Blogger may be the next Google app to face the firing squad.

I've Gotten a Peek at the Far Away Land / Swords & Wizardry Mashup Playtest Rules and I'm Psyched!

Dirk Stanley sent me the latest version of the playtest rules where he converts his Far Away Lands setting from his own rule system (which is awesome in its own right) to a modified Swords & Wizardry engine, drawing some inspiration from Swords & Wizardry Continual Light.

I can not state enough how much I want to run this. Like right now! heh.

I was thinking of giving World Anvil a shot at managing my next campaign, and I was going to use The Black Isle as the setting using SWCL as the ruleset, but Dirk has severely tempted me.

As Dirk gets closer to release, I'll snag him for an interview on The Tavern Chat Podcast.

You can grab the Far Away Land Quickstart rules as PWYW to get a feel for the setting and the art here:  https://www.rpgnow.com/product/149427/Far-Away-Land-RPG-Quick-Start-Rules?affiliate_id=1446

You can download adventures for the current ruleset here as well as other the releases. The individual adventures are PWYW.  https://www.rpgnow.com/browse/pub/2832/Simian-Circle-Games?affiliate_id=1446

(Yep, there are affiliate links above Although I am highlighting PWYW items, you might make an associate purchase. Keep the beer cold and the bar warm - Tenkar :)

Some teasers:

Its Sunday Morning - RPG Breakfast Club will Stream Live at 10 AM Eastern - Mapping & Cartography is the Topic of the Day

Make some coffee (or tea), put some pop tarts in your toaster and get ready for some Sunday morning tabletop RPG talk to get your week started right. Yes, it's the RPG Breakfast Club.

Time conversions for the US and Canada: 10:00amEST//9:00amCST//8:00amMST//7:00amPST

Today's discussion topic is:

Mapping & Cartography: How to build up your world and go further with interaction and player/reader learning curve, Going pro (or semi-pro) and monetizing your worldbuilding in a crowded market, organizing your game world information, How do you structure your GM reference material, and whatever else strikes their fancy.

join our hosts:
@Pexx (Tavern Custodian and right-hand man)
@Andrew1879 (FASA)
@Todd (Hexed Press)
@joethelawyer (blogger / podcaster)
@WorldAnvil (https://www.worldanvil.com/)

You can listen live and ask questions via text by joining the Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server:


Or you can listen at your convenience at Anchor (or search for RPG Breakfast Club wherever fine podcasts are served:


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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