Saturday, August 24, 2019

Announcement - Rick Loomis (Flying Buffalo) Has Passed

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

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

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

You can still give at this link.

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

But for the grace of God go I.


Bundle of Holding - CATALYST Collection (Flying Buffalo)

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 23, 2019

Kickstarter - Star Hat Miniatures for DuckQuest Fantasy Role Playing Games

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

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

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

Reminder, minis come unpainted.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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

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

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

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

Kickstarter - Dungeon Craft: Build your own battle maps!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 19, 2019

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

artwork copyright Daniel F. Walthall, used with permission

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, August 18, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, I'm in for 2 sets.

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