Saturday, March 30, 2019

Frog God Games April Fools Sale - 5e

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

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

Friday, March 29, 2019

Kickstarter - The City of Great Lunden (Midderlands)

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

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

Print plus PDF is 59 bucks

 I'm in as a Guild Member :)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 PM Eastern

Yes, I am still playing catch up. Heh

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 25, 2019

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

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

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

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


Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts




Google Play Music


Pocket Casts





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 24, 2019

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

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

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

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

We had a good plan. We had devastating results.

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


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

Black ooze - dead.

Party - Dead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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