Saturday, February 16, 2019

Kickstarter - Ghostlike Crime: An RPG Zine of Modern Weirdness (Zine Quest)

Another zine for Zine QuestGhostlike Crime: An RPG Zine of Modern Weirdness.
An RPG zine series bringing magical realism, the paranormal, and cryptid terrors to a modern day setting. Compatible with DCC RPG.
Catchy elevator pitch, but what's the actual skinny?
Ghostlike Crime is a tabletop role-playing game zine bringing magical realism, the paranormal, and cryptid terrors to a modern day dystopia using Dungeon Crawl Classics rules. It expands and hacks the original rule set to place it in a familiar yet darkly skewed setting. The intention is not to unnecessarily complicate the rules or bore you with voluminous background fluff, but to hand the players some quirky character options and throw them into conflict with things that go bump in the night. Imagine the Alpha-team facing off against a family of yeti or Ghosthunters trying to figure out how to keep the local for-profit coroner from continuing to resurrect a mass murdering slasher. 
The adventurers are monster hunters and defenders of humanity from paranormal threats. They are not a part of any government program, but an autonomous and clandestine group that also works to keep power out of the hands of oppressors. They are the nail that sticks up. This parallel reality is a dystopia where magic exists, but open practitioners are unheard of. Wealth hoards power and these usurpers who cannot wield it enslave those who do. Ghostlike Crime is set up to be as grim or gonzo as you like.
As for contents:

  • Modified Classes for The Warrior, The Thief, and The Halfling
  • New Class: The Scrapper - Like the whiskey hiding in the corner of a bottle in the recycle bin, forgotten enchantments linger on objects left out on a curb. The Scrapper can see the aura of these enchantments, more importantly they can wield them as a weapon.
  • New Class: The Paratechnologist - An artificer of weird science devices. They jury-rig everything from tethers for the incorporeal to anti-matter silver bullets.
  • Equipment: Weapons, paratechnological items, and trash artifacts
  • Adventuring party archetypes for the modern hero
  • A collection of adversaries from the Cabals of the Corporatocracy to the Unstoppable Killing Machine
  • Two full adventures ready to put your players through the paces of weird sci-fi horror gaming.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Roll20 Security Breach - They Were Hacked

Here's the direct link to the announcement: https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/7209691/roll20-security-breach

Here's the full text:
Steve K. Roll20 Team
Earlier today, Roll20 was named in a report as one of several victims of an attack by cybercriminals. While we can confirm a breach did occur, we are currently focused on finding out all the facts. For now, it’s important to note the report makes clear that no financial data was included in the breach.  
Our security teams work tirelessly to fix potential weaknesses in our systems, and we take seriously our responsibility to safeguard our users’ personal information.
Here’s how we do that: 
Roll20 only maintains the following personal information: users’ name, email address, hashed password, last login IP and time of login, and the last 4 credit card digits.
We use Stripe and PayPal to process transactions; all billing information is handled by them and never touches our servers.  
We utilize bcrypt for password hashing, which means that it cannot be reverse-engineered for utilization with other sites or to access Roll20. 
We know it’s frustrating to not have all the facts, and we’re working to uncover the full extent of this breach. We will be continuously updating our members with information as our investigation continues.

Thanks to Vince Florio for the tip: https://www.theevildm.com/2019/02/reporting-news-roll20net-data-breach.html?fbclid=IwAR2cHya_uOtgpQhls_jp2BnjTbovQPYzY2OFXwiZDUpOY8zTmXSj-3MXCdk

Link to report: https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/14/hacker-strikes-again/

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Looking for Contributors for The Tankard Zine by the Designers & Makers on the Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server

Didn't think I'd be making this announcement so soon but the team of Designers & Makers at the Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server behind The Tankard Zine are chomping at the bit.

What is The Tankard Zine? We expect it to be a showcase for writers, artists, and mappers - both established and new. We are working with various publishers to allow access to their IP for use in the zine.

What kind of content? Maps, articles, adventures, magic items, spaceship designs, etc. While some may be system specific, much will not be restricted to any particular system or genre.

Pricing? Free in PDF. We want it to be read and shared for the greatest exposure. There is talk about a yearly POD compilation. We'll cross that bridge if and when we get there.

Looking for - an Editor in Chief as well as contributors of content. None of these are paying gigs, at least not out of the box. If / when we get some advertising within the pages we'll revisit that.

Want to know more or participate in the conversation that will help form the direction of The Tankard? Join the Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server: https://discord.gg/fReGmuD

For what it is worth, @Pexx and I will be acting as co-publishers in a mostly "hands-off" status (there is a ton of stuff in the works for all things Tavern and we simply don't have the time to "monkey up the works ;) Whoever becomes Editor-In-Cheif of The Tankard will be very influential in the final product.

Damn it! We need some official Tankard art...

Kickstarter - Check This Artifact - More Deadly Artifacts for Your Mutant Crawling Game (by Jim Wampler)

Simply put, Jim Wampler writes good stuff. Heck, he's the author of Mutant Crawl Classics, a game that DCC RPG-ified a world full of gamma radiation. See what I did there? ;)

Check This Artifact is along those lines:
Clocking in at over 56 pages and crammed with content, Check This Artifact contains 30 brand-new artifacts of the Ancient Makers, plus a brand-new godlike AI, all for use in your mutant crawling or other post-apocalyptic role playing game. Penned by the creator of Mutant Crawl Classics RPG and published by Mudpuppy Games, these powerful technological treasures are more than mere artifacts, because each item in this book is a plot hook and a potential mini-adventure in the making. 
Check This Artifact presents artifacts for your players to attempt to track down, tame, and temper — including weapons, armor, robots, AIs, and those extra-special items that are the sole purview of far-future fiction. Just check out the contents page. 

So, how much is the buy-in? 10 bucks for the PDF. 15 bucks for the softcover plus PDF (shipping not included). I think I'm in for the softcover :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern - I Suspect Zak S will be a Topic of Discussion

Even today, three days later, there are further personalities in the gaming sphere doing their best to put distance between themselves and Zak S. Its almost comical. Yes, I'm sure it will be one of a number of topics in tonight's Tavern Chat :)

Where? The Tenkar's Tavern Discord Serverhttps://discord.gg/fReGmuD

Voice Chat Room - Speakeasy

See you then :)

News - Stranger Things' Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set coming May 1st, 2019

ComicBook.com has an article about the upcoming Stranger Things' Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set. It comes with two, yes two Demogorgon figures. Pretty cool.

Now, I find it interesting that the article says: "At New York Toy Fair 2019, Hasbro / Wizards of the Coast unveiled something that we should have seen coming - a Stranger Things-themed Dungeons & Dragons starter set!" Why is the statement interesting? Because the New York Toy Fair runs from February 16-19, 2019. Today is February 13th. Ask Phil Reed how I know ;P

Here's the link to preorder the Stranger Thing' Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set at Amazon for 24.99  https://amzn.to/2SRUS4o   (this is an affiliate link - a small portion of your purchase will help support The Tavern)

Here are some details from the Amazon webpage:

  • Stranger things themed of Dungeons & Dragons: embark on an exciting dungeon & Dragons adventure, hunt for the thessalhydra, "created" By the character Mike from the Netflix original series, stranger things
  • Great game for new dungeon & Dragons players: whether players are new to D&D, or looking for a new adventure, this stranger things themed roleplaying game includes everything a group needs to PLAY
  • Detailed rules, adventure book and game dice: The exciting adventure book and colorful rulebook contain tons of information on how to play the game, strategy, and tips for players to advance a character beyond the Fifth level, plus 6 Polyhedral dice so you're ready to play
  • Stranger things character sheets: play as a favorite stranger things character
  • Includes 2 Demogorgon figures: the game includes 2 Demogorgon figures, one that players can paint and customize

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

DriveThruRPG Bans All Future Titles Associated With Zak Smith

Oh boy. Its been a busy couple of days since Mandy Morbid accused Zak Smith of some fairly disturbing actions. You can read Mandy's post at the following link:


Since that post went live a number of folks in the gaming industry have distanced themselves from interacting with Zak, professionally and personally, moving forward. 

Then this got posted today on the DriveThruRPG Blog:

Tuesday, 12 February 2019
DriveThruRPG Responds to Current Industry News 
Thanks to everyone for your patience as we deliberated on the situation that has unfolded regarding Zak Smith (aka Zak Sabbath). At DriveThruRPG, we want to do our part to keep bad actors out of the roleplaying community, and we don’t want business relationships with such people. As such, you’d think there wouldn’t be much deliberation needed on our part. However, the situation posed a number of challenges for us to consider in terms of precedent and collateral impact on other parties. 
I have decided that we will not accept future titles for sale on DriveThruRPG (or our other marketplaces) if Zak is a contributor on the title. If any publisher has a title-in-process to which Zak is a contributor and this policy would impact you financially, then we’d ask that you please reach out to us via the publisher services link to have a dialogue about that title. 
For titles currently on our marketplace in which Zak is listed as a contributor, we have checked those publisher accounts, and none of these titles have us paying money directly to Zak. While it is likely that Zak does earn a royalty on some titles sold on DriveThruRPG, any such royalties would be paid directly by the publisher of the title, not by DriveThruRPG.  
Further, whatever royalty Zak might get from any publisher on our store is unlikely to be the entirety of what we pay that publisher. We do not feel it’s fair to penalize financially those who worked with Zak in the past, including both publishers and possibly other contributors earning income from these titles. Therefore, we expect publishers to make their own decision to continue selling these titles or not, presumably after consulting with all other contributors. 
For our part, we will be identifying all titles to which Zak contributed and diverting all of the revenue shares that DriveThruRPG might make from sales of these titles as a donation to RAINN (https://www.rainn.org/). 
I’ll try to pre-emptively answer other possible questions below.

When this happened, why did you not suspend sale of Zak’s titles while you deliberated? 
When we expect that it will take us a few days to deliberate on a title reported for offensive content, our policy is to temporarily suspend sales of that title. In this case, though, it was not the content of any particular title under discussion, and we did not find any titles where we directly paid Zak for ongoing sales during our deliberation. 
So DriveThruRPG is now banning certain creators? Will whoever the “outrage brigade” complains about next be banned as well? 
We all share a responsibility for the health of our hobby. Any demographic measure we’ve ever seen on the roleplaying hobby shows women are under-represented. Things won’t improve if people shirk the responsibility to make our hobby inclusive. 
Zak Smith has a long and well-documented history of behaviors antithetical to a healthy community. In light of recent allegations, which we find credible, we think our business and our hobby is better off without him, so we’re doing our part. 
We already have a small list of other bad actors in the industry with whom we refuse to do business: people who have repeatedly abused crowdfunding platforms for personal enrichment, who repeatedly engaged in IP violations, who have repeatedly treated our staff or customers in unacceptably unprofessional ways, and so on. If you repeatedly act like a jerk (or worse, a predator), we won’t wait for other people to complain about you. We’ll just quietly stop doing business with you.  
Why are you not banning his existing titles?
Because we don’t want to hurt other people who also contributed to those same titles just to diminish Zak. Banning those existing titles risks doing just that.  
Steve Wieck
OneBookShelf / DriveThruRPG

Indiegogo - With a 5 Year, 3 Month Window to Complete on Time, the LOTFP Weird Fantasy Referee Book is Late

Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it? The LotFP Weird Fantasy Referee Book funded on October 17, 2013 and James Raggi gave himself a due date of January 2019. Five years and three months time. And still, he has failed to deliver on time.

Why January 2019? Here's James in his own words:
Being honest... a great many crowdfunding campaigns greatly underestimate the time it takes to get the projects together and to the backers and end up being late. LotFP still has some stuff outstanding that's past deadline. Guessing a "real" date seems like a losing proposition. 
Because there is no real deadline for the book. 
But the Ref book is essential to LotFP as a game and as a business, and the company is basically in neutral gear until it's done. So it's in everyone's interest to get it done in as timely manner as possible. And we will do our best not to drag our butts. But we won't cut corners. 
Layout for the Rules & Magic book took longer than expected, but the same template will be used for this book so who knows how that will affect things. We might hit some of the stretch goals that affect the book's content (more art, color layout, developmental editing), and those will add unknown amounts of time to the project. Someone pointed out in the run-up to this campaign that "You mean if 50 people add on commentary by Zak, he's going to write 5000 words?" and if that happens to one (or more...! One can dream...) of the commentators, that might add more time in. 
While all of these things add time to the project, they also make the book better. And I hope they happen and will push for them to happen, but at the end of the day the people doing most of this stuff are freelancers who will need to fit this book into their schedules at the time it's ready for them. 
So the actual delivery date is "When it's done." That isn't an option to enter into IndieGoGo for a delivery date though, and any reasonable guess is still pretty much blindly throwing darts. So why not January 2019 and poke fun at myself and others who have failed to correctly divine past completion dates? 
So... You either want the book, or you don't. You either trust that it'll get done, or you don't. 
If you don't want the book or don't trust that it'll get done, then backing this project is a bad idea no matter what date we stamp on it. 
If you do want the book and do trust that it'll get done, we've put together some incentives to get you to back now instead of waiting until it's properly released.
It's up to you to decide whether those incentives are effective.

Five plus years is a long time to develop any project. Earlier tonight, Ken Hite stated: "I will, however, not work with Zak on any future projects, knowingly share a credits page with him on any future projects, or increase his social media reach." That's going to be an interesting conflict.

Last update on the project's page was in July of 2018.

I see on the comments section that the requests for refunds have begun.

Maybe, just maybe, an update would be in order...

Monday, February 11, 2019

When I'm Asked "Why Swords & Wizardry Light?" THIS Will Be My Answer

I've been asked "Why Swords & Wizardry Light?" more than once. I've been told it wasn't needed, dumbs down the game and basically has assailed the senses of a handful of Grognards.

I wrote the four pages in question to help ease lapsed gamers back into the hobby, introduce other gamers to the OSR, bring new players into tabletop roleplaying, but even more importantly as a lowered entry bar to RPGs that kids would not feel intimidated by.

My niece was just a month short of her sixth birthday when I showed her an early copy of the Swords & Wizardry Light rules. Her response? "Uncle, did you write this for me? Its only four pages. You can teach me to read four pages and then I can play D&D!"

The above picture was shared by Carl Heyl (podcaster at Save or Die, an active member of the Tenkar's Tavern Discord Server and apparently a skilled ambassador to younger gamers.)

To quote Carl: "How's this for cool Erik Tenkar? Gave a kid a copy of Swords & Wizardry Light last week at our gaming group and this week he came on with his own mapped out dungeons."

This. This is why Swords & Wizardry Light exists. Sure, it's a great ruleset to run at conventions. That's a bonus. The kids, that's where it's at. They are the future, both in our gaming and in life beyond.

I'm stoked and all smiley. Can you tell? heh

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Kickstarter - RPG Zine Challenge: The Compleat Beastman (OSR / 5e))

So, RPG Zine Challenge: The Compleat Beastman is part of Zine Quest Month on Kickstarter. Let's see what we get with this one.
Every issue has at least one full character class, compatible with the various OSR rules systems, Multiple generic NPCs, one or more named NPCs with adventure hooks, history, culture, and societal notes to make these species come to life in your games. 
Each issue is a small, black and white zine that also contains pin up art pieces of different varieties of the highlighted species. Here's something awesome that you don't get with other zines- every backer gets FREE ART with a commercial license to use in your own products! 
Additionally, I'm releasing them with 100% open content. Use this stuff in your own books. ALL OF IT! 
The material is setting- and even genre- neutral. Each of the beastmen societies gets presented as a a living culture, with notes not only on traditional fantasy themes, but also notes on how they colonize and fight in space. Yes, fantasy and sci-fi gonzo goodness.
Size? Small

Page count? Unknown

How about pledge levels?
The basic $10 pledge includes a PDF of every issue that we produce from this campaign, as well as stock art. The @25 level gets you the discount print code for each issue, as well as discounted minis.
If it only produces a single issue of unknown page count, that becomes fairly expensive for a small PDF. "Print code" I am guessing means POD through DTRPG at cost. That's a significant chunk of change for potentially a single issue in print (plus POD cost and shipping). Yes, you get access to the art as future stock art, but that is only an incentive if you plan to do some self-publishing yourself.

I'm giving this a soft pass. Further details on page count and printed size of the zine might change that. Hitting stretch goals will also make this more attractive, but it has to hit critical mass before that starts to open up.

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lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

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