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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