Saturday, September 21, 2019

ShireCon 2019 Recap - Voice Lost - Amazing Time

I'm in the process of losing my voice it seems. But that's okay because I had an amazing time at ShireCon.

Slept in till about 7 am. Left the house with Rach shortly after 8 am. We got to Falls Village / ShireCon around 1030.

Hung out and yapped with friends till about Noon, and then an excellent lunch. Ran Demonic Dungeon of the Bone Dreamer for Swords & Wizardry Light from 1 pm until approximately 430. It was a blast. I never sat down - but then I rarely do when GMing at conventions.

Of course, Joe Bloch picked my pocket - multiple times ;) Jeff Talanian would have, but I already owned everything.

I'd give shout outs to everyone I spoke with, hugged and hung out with, but I'm sure I'd miss a name or two. Suffice to say, it was great to meet friends, both old and new. As Rach and I discussed on the drive home, ShireCon, although small and only one day it already has the feel of NTRPG Con. That simply is amazing and no higher compliment can be made.

Thom, you did a great job, but we expected nothing less. Sign us up for next year!

(forgot to take photos this year, damn it!)

Friday, September 20, 2019

News - Cortex RPG System Acquired by Fandom

Full announcement below:

Bringing the award-winning RPG system back to the table, with digital support like never before.

We are excited to announce that Fandom has acquired the Cortex roleplaying game rules system from Margaret Weis Productions. The Cortex system was previously used in award-winning games in the universes of Marvel, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, and more. Additionally, Fandom has brought Cam Banks, lead designer and developer of recent versions of the system, on board to guide the future of Cortex.

An updated version of the system—called Cortex Prime—was successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2017. Fandom will fulfill all the commitments of the Kickstarter, plus integrate full digital support—like we have done for Dungeons & Dragons with D&D Beyond—to enhance the experience. Cortex Prime will become the first time digital tools are built-in from the ground up to augment gameplay.

“This new and exciting direction for Cortex really checks all the boxes for me,” said Cam Banks, Creative Director of Cortex Prime at Fandom. “First-class digital support, worldwide remote play opportunities, a way to connect thousands of fans of Cortex, and of course the tremendous team at Fandom all make this the best of all possible worlds for the system.”

Cortex Prime handles multiple genres from books, television, movies, and video games—almost any genre you can imagine can be represented with the system. It has been used in the past for science fiction, steampunk, fantasy, space opera, prime time drama, super heroes, crime capers, and supernatural action. It works best for genres that emphasize a cast of interesting and interconnected characters in settings that let them show off their talents, personalities, and relationships.

Cortex Prime is built to be modular, not a single fixed set of rules. It could be considered as a toolkit, or a big box of building bricks. From a central system of dice and descriptive traits, you can assemble your own game from modular parts to best suit the way you and your friends like to play. You include only those parts that suit your preferences and leave out those that you aren’t as excited by. This process will be easy to undertake through the digital game building tools that will be a core part of the Cortex Prime service.

With Cortex Prime, the tools and resources to create your own custom-built game from a myriad of switches and dials are now yours.

“Cortex Prime will give creators and fans a unique way to participate in shared storytelling,” said Adam Bradford, General Manager of Cortex Prime/DDB. “Tabletop roleplaying games typically integrate the benefits of technology to enhance gameplay after the game is created, resulting in the digital offerings feeling tacked onto it. We are leveraging those benefits from the ground up with Cortex Prime to make the most of a flexible ruleset that props up a wide variety of roleplaying experiences for fans of any genre. This is the kind of thing I have personally wanted to see for years.”

In addition to giving fans a toolkit to create their own types of games, Fandom plans to publish our own games in the future using the Cortex system, including bespoke roleplaying experiences for some of the most popular entertainment franchises in the world today. We will share more about these exciting opportunities soon!

Special Note:
As part of this transition, all sales of legacy Cortex products on DriveThruRPG.com will end on September 30th. Between now and then, you can pick up those products there if you would like to own them in PDF format. Any PDF you purchase in this way will be available for download in your library on DriveThruRPG going forward as usual.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Kickstarter - Star Hat Miniatures for DuckQuest Fantasy Role Playing Games

When is a miniatures Kickstarter not simply a miniatures Kickstarter? When its the Star Hat Miniatures for DuckQuest Fantasy Role Playing Games Kickstarter. Because all backers, thanks to stretch goals, can receive the DuckQuest Role Playing Game ruleset in PDF for backing at any level.

Oh, and the minis look damn good too.

Less than 24 hours to go.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Humble Bundle - Old School Fantasy Roleplaying Bundle (Everything PLUS the Kitchen Sink)

This is probably the best and greatest Old School bunde anywhere - forget Bundle of Holding - the Humble Bundle - Old School Fantasy Roleplaying Bundle is what you want to grab!

Why? Well, if a picture says a thousand words, I've got a couple of thousand words for you ;)

Let's look at the One Dollar level. You get all the following for a buck:

All the above plus the following for Eight Bucks:

All the above and the following for 18 bucks:

I dare you to find more old school gaming value for your gaming dollar.

Yes, that's an affiliate link above. When you shop using The Tavern's affiliate links, a small portion of sales made go to support The Tavern. Huzzah! for beer ;)

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Kickstarter - The North Road - A Fantasy RPG Campaign BOOK and PDF (System Neutral)

Sometimes I look at a Kickstarter project and all I can think of is what an Administrative Judge said to me at my first traffic court appearance as a rookie. I wrote a ticket for someone that rolled through a stop sign. At court, I testified and the judge said "Officer, you are 'this close' to the gold ring. Review your testimony and give me the missing piece." I had no clue and the summons was dismissed.

The North Road - A Fantasy RPG Campaign BOOK and PDF is probably NOT going to fund. Which is a shame, because it's an interesting looking project. There are a few issues that I have with it.

  • The intro video is too damn long. Apparently, the guys behind the project are Youtubes, and the video is certainly well-produced, but no one who stumbles upon your Kickstarter page wants to watch an 8 minute plus video. Put it further down on the page. Keep the introduction to 90 seconds or less.
  • Page count. We don't know what the page count is. Sure, it may change with layout, but give us a ballpark number. It's part of how we, potential backers, decide on the potential value of your offering.
  • Pricing. 30 bucks for a PDF of unknown pages is steep. Hell, 30 bucks for any PDF seems steep. Softcover is 46, but if you want PDFs with that, it's 57. Normally, I prefer to see PDFs included with the Printed offering for free.
From the Risks and Challenges:

To avoid complexity we have kept this Kickstarter as simple as we can. All content, artwork and photography have already been completed. What remains is finalising the layout for the book and PDF. Most of the layout exists already for the PDF versions of each module, however, we will be reworking these for print (and adding some extra details).
You would think they could give an estimate on the number of pages. Awesome that it's already written. Not so awesome that you can't put a number to it.

Ah well. Not quite halfway to goal with less than half the funding period left. Maybe a cheaper option to just get the first few adventures in PDF could help. Or not.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Saving Throw fundraiser fanzine for James D. Kramer (of Usherwood Publishing)

James Kramer is probably best known for Usherwood Publishing, the most recent publisher of OSRIC.

Saving Throw — a fundraiser fanzine to help James D. Kramer

You may know Jim Kramer from his Usherwood Publishing modules & supplements, or his work helping produce works like OSRIC and Knockspell. You probably didn’t know Jim had multiple brain surgeries to remove tumors, and the battle has gotten much harder. To help Jim and his family during this difficult time, a group of his friends, collaborators, and first edition enthusiasts banded together to make this fundraiser fanzine, where all royalties go directly to Jim and his family.

This 60+ page issue of Saving Throw contains:

  • Introduction by Ron Redmond
  • Island Tables - random generation and inspiration tool by Steve Smith aka “EOTB”
  • Sorcerer’s Stone - dungeon level by Keith Sloan
  • Trolls of the Simpolo Swamps - leech-mated trollish variations by Joseph Browning
  • Perladon Manor - adventure module by Gabor Lux
  • By The Runes - fiction by Dan Rasaiah
  • Magic Item Intrinsic Material Values - variant magic item value rules by Guy Fullerton
  • Goblin Garbug Cavalry - new monster by Andrew Hamilton
  • The Tiled Labyrinth - mini-dungeon by Guy Fullerton
  • Lotus Blossoms - magical and special properties of these exotic flora by Keith Sloan
  • Burly the Baker - ready-to-use NPC and cantrips by Gary Francisco
  • Darkworld Troll - new monster by Bryan Fazekas
  • Offig’s Tomb - treasure map by Steve Smith aka “EOTB”
  • Lizard Man Lair - outdoor module and new monsters by Steve Smith aka "EOTB"
  • Mephitic Geysers of the Intaglio Rift - treasure map by Allan T. Grohe, Jr. (“grodog")
  • The Mere Beneath - dungeon level by Guy Fullerton, Allan T. Grohe, Jr. (“grodog"), and Henry A. Grohe
  • Sarendra’s Crew & Kelurrin’s Crew - ready-to-use NPC parties by Allan T. Grohe, Jr. (“grodog")
  • Rescue from the Sanctuary of the Leopard Goddess - dungeon module by Matthew Riedel

Featuring illustrations by Jimm Johnson, James D. Kramer, Wind Lothamer, Gabor Lux, Denis McCarthy, Peter Szmer (soon), Del Teigeler, and Alex Zisch.

For the lucky price of $13, you get two treasure maps, three referee tools, five new spells, six modules, at least nine new monsters, twelve ready-to-use NPCs, and more. Plus the knowledge that your purchase helps a family during a difficult time.

Thank you!

Note: We plan to make a print version available soon. When it becomes available, will send drivethru coupon codes to everyone who purchased the pdf so they can get a print version at a discount.

Note #2: We are still in the process of gathering artwork for some of the articles, so don't be surprised by any of the blank spots. We will notify everybody when we update the pdf with new art, and you can download the latest version from your library.

Yes, there is an affiliate link above. Affiliate links keep The Tavern's lights on and will not affect the amount of monies that will go to the publisher and James.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Kickstarter - The Book of Unusual Potions, for use with Fantasy RPGs (Phil Reed)

Holy shit I nearly missed this. The Kickstarter for The Book of Unusual Potions, for use with Fantasy RPGs by Phil Reed has less than 24 hours in its funding period as I write this but damn it looks good!
Alongside scrolls, magic potions are one of those ubiquitous magic items that many of us don’t give a second thought. Potions can heal, boost character attributes, and generally serve as a quick fix and a tool to overcome in-game complications and obstacles. Some game systems apply limits to the power of potions, while others disregard “game balance” and approach potions as more of a video game-style instant enhancement. How you personally prefer to treat potions in your campaign is far more important than what the game’s rules may say. 
Over the years, I’ve tried to make potions more than just a simple “drink this and gain Y benefit” item. I don’t feel as if I’ve quite succeeded in the past, though, in adding mystery and wonder to the magic potions that I’ve detailed in my work. 
That’s where The Book of Unusual Potions comes into frame. This is a dedicated tome in which I try to give potions more twists, turns, and strangeness than in my earlier projects, an attempt at making these potions as entertaining in terms of flavor as they are in-game bonuses.
The sample pages look sweet too!

3 bucks in PDF, 10 bucks for the Print plus PDF. You know you want it. Nearly 1,400 backers can't be wrong :)
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