Saturday, October 31, 2020

RPGNow Deal of the Day - Warlock! (Old School British RPG)

Today's Deal of the Day at DTRPG is Warlock!

If you are like me, you might react WTF is Warlock!? Well, it appears to have its roots in the Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, which I always thought of as solo adventures (and greatly enjoyed) but apparently make a decent tabletop RPG too. The system is light, which I like, and revolves around D6s, which always aids in bringing in new players. I'm looking forward to digging through my copy and using the rules with my 10-year-old niece :)

Normally selling for 6.99 in PDF, until tomorrow morning Warlock! is on sale for 3.49. Hell, it's practically worth it for the cover art alone :)

The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are the affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  

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Friday, October 30, 2020

Tenkar's Tavern Community Newsletter - Mail Call for News!

The second issue of the Tenkar's Tavern Newsletter is coming in two days. If you have gaming news to add to it, email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that Gmail thing. It aims to be your one-stop shopping for weekly OSR news and beyond, but it needs YOUR help to achieve such.

Not subscribed yet? Why not? It's free! 


We currently have 73 subscribers. When we hit 100 subscribers, one random subscriber will receive a $10 DTRPG Gift Certificate. Woot!

The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are the affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  

You can catch the daily Tavern Chat podcast on AnchorYouTube, or wherever you listen to your podcast collection.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Open Call for Topics for Bad Mike & Tenkar to Talk Crit about

Mike & I are digging in and getting ready to do our Talking Crit Live on Wednesday Nights @ 8 PM Eastern, afterwards the audio will get uploaded to the Tavern Chat Podcast.

Our usual "go-to", WotC doing something stupid, was fine when we were doing Talking Crit once or twice a month, but we can't rely on WotC fucking up often enough for us to Talk Crit on a weekly basis - so we are putting our crit talking into your hands.

While we plan on doing an episode on some of the bigger Funded & Failed Kickstarter Creators (a list that is sadly, far too long) we need more and varied topics, and that where you come in.

What do you want us to talk about? Some sample ideas are:

  • The best, and worst, of each of the D&D / AD&D editions
  • The best, and worst, of the early RPGs (pre-1980)
  • The Gygax Memorial Fund - an overview
Comment below, because we want to hear from you!

You can watch Talking Crit live via Facebook or YouTube each Wednesday Night @ 8PM Eastern, but if you want to comment during the podcast and be sure we get a chance to read it, we recommend you watch via YouTube, as the Facebook commenting is iffy.

The link to The Tavern's YouTube Channel is YouTube.com/ErikTenkar

You can watch the last two episodes of Talking Crit at the above link.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

OSR Christmas 2020 - Time to Start Making the Lists (Blog, Mailing, Podcast & YouTube)

It's that time of year again. Days are getting shorter. Leaves are falling along with the temperatures. OSR Christmas is in the air :)

This year, we are going to do things a bit differently. As always, we are looking for publishers to offer gifts, both in print and PDF (electronic). Those gifts will be gifted through this website, TenkarTavern.com unless you ask otherwise.

 If you can donate gifts this year, please email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that Gmail thing with "OSR Christmas" in the subject line. and let me know what you plan to gift, how many copies, physical and/or PDF, and if physical, where it does, and does not ship to.

In addition to the gifts you all know and love that are gifted via The Tavern Website, I will be gifting AT LEAST $500 worth of DTRPG Gift Certificates, but it WON'T be via the blog. Instead, it will be gifted to readers of The Tavern's Mailing List, callers to the Tavern Chat Podcast, and subscribers and commenters of The Tavern's Youtube Channel. Yes, we have a presence in more media than just the website and all members of The Tavern Community should have the opportunity to be gifted.

Subscribe to The Tavern's Mailing List and to our YouTube Channel, and listen to the Tavern Chat Podcast starting in late November to increase your opportunities to be gifted. I will remind folks when the season officially kicks off ;)

Note: Bad Mike and & are recording an episode of Talking Crit live tonight at 8 PM Eastern @ YouTube.com/ErikTenkar

Another note: I've been told for some The Tavern's Newsletter is landing in your Spam Folder. It was emailed on Sunday. If it hasn't shown up in you IN Box, check your Spam Folder - Tenkar

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Deal of the Day - Trilemma Adventures Compendium Volume I (System Neutral)

If you are looking for "oomph" for your gaming buck, look o further than today's DTRPG Deal of the Day - Trilemma Adventures Compendium Volume I. It's a system-neutral compendium of 55 adventure sites, regions, and settlements. Literally a campaign or more of material for your gaming sandbox laid out for perfect use on your computer screen or tablet - with hyperlinks. Trilemma Adventures Compendium Volume I was worth some of my admittedly limited gaming dollars and should be in every DM's toolbox for inspiration.

Note, there is a systemless bestiary PDF included. The bestiary is also available in B/X and 5e flavors at additional cost.

(For more "oomph" for your gaming buck, see last night's DCC RPG Humble Bundle post - less than a buck an adventure)

Each location is written to be usable separately, perfect for one-shot sessions, side quests, or to help populate your home grown campaign setting.

All have been lavishly illustrated and laid out to make them easy to run, straight from the book.

This book is packed with caverns, castles, underworld cities, labyrinths, mansions, flying tombs, hidden temples, and fallen shrines.

Also inside is more than 60 pages of new material:

an illustrated bestiary

an appendix of magical items

ten solid pages of hooks, rumors and secret lore

six regional gazetteers tying the adventure locations into a ready-to-use campaign setting

a full-color regional map, in GM and player versions

a complete index

a bonus location, set in the aftermath of the Kickstarter invasion scenario

This compendium is an essential part of your GM kit!

The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are the affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  

You can catch the daily Tavern Chat podcast on AnchorYouTube, or wherever you listen to your podcast collection.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Humble Bundle - Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) RPG (Goodman Games)

Certainly NOT expected but very exciting to see, the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Humble Bundle is live! Holy shit, I'm about to have a crapton of DCC adventures to read and inspire me.

I LOVE DCC RPG adventures. They ooze with style and are perfect for one-shots and episodic play. A few years ago, I ran a bunch of DCC RPG adventures using the Swords & Wizardry rules, converting on the fly. We had a blast. 

Although I have more than a few in this collection, it's still an unbelievable bargain to get the DCC Rules, 21 adventures, the GM screen, and tokens for as little as 8 bucks. 17 more adventures for a total of 15 bucks. Plus 2 annuals.

God damn!

The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are the affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  

You can catch the daily Tavern Chat podcast on AnchorYouTube, or wherever you listen to your podcast collection.

Gareth Sharka tells Dying Man that Far West is Expected to Deliver by the End of This Year


I have no idea how I missed this back in September. 

Oh wait, that's right. All Far West updates are via a forum for which new sign-ups are broken and Gareth never posts on.

Until now.

Here's the direct link to the thread in the Far West Forums

Darq has been asking about progress on Far West since 2014. I hope and pray Darq doesn't truly have a terminal illness, but if he does and Gareth has made yet another promise he can't keep it will be a new low, even for him.

I'm at a loss for words.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Deal of the Day - Mythic World of Oldskull - Oldskull Warriors (OSR)

I've enjoyed the various Oldskull releases I've snagged over the years. High quality and useful in your old school gaming, the prices aren't those that will break the bank. At a buck, Mythic World of Oldskull - Oldskull Warriors is less than a cup of coffee at the corner bodega. That's my kind of pricing. Note, you have until 11 AM Eastern, October 26th, 2020 to grab this special pricing.

This detailed volume features the fully refined and corrected classes of the warrior archetype: the doughty Fighter (with clarified rules for weapon specialization), the revised Oldskull Barbarian, the intrepid Hunter, and the deadly Ranger of Queen’s Cambria. All classes have been fully integrated with world mythology, folklore, weird fiction, and detailed campaign notes from the author’s campaign that will bring your warrior characters alive in the World of Oldskull. All of the classes and rules have been reimagined and updated throughout with extensive sagely advice along with out-of-print magazine and newszine errata, supplemented by notes and musings derived from E. Gary Gygax in accordance with his vision for his never-attained Advanced Second Edition.

Twenty of the new elements and systems you will find herein include: extensive themes and evocative level titles for all classes, social standing guidelines by level, freehold guidelines for fighter lords, fighter command ranks, fighter morale and loyalty effects on soldiers, corrected and more intuitive weapon specialization, jumping rules, non-thief climbing rules, rebalanced barbarian role-playing guidelines, 11 iconic Oldskull barbarian tribes (the Amazons, Cimmerians, Stygians, etc.), full barbarian skills based on Gygax’s hunter notes, snare setting rules, wound binding rules, full hunter skills, beast mastery rules, spirit hounds for high-level hunters, free-from-problematic-IP background lore for the ranger class, fully corrected and justified ranger spell casting rules for druidic and magical powers, corrected tracking rules (following from the Unearthed paradigm), and rebalanced and fairer thematic disadvantages for the ranger class.

The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are the affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  

You can catch the daily Tavern Chat podcast on AnchorYouTube, or wherever you listen to your podcast collection.

A Little Bit of Impromptu Show & Tell


A Little Bit of Impromptu Show & Tell
I'm going to start this week's Not Erik post (I don't know why I find the Not Erik tag funny, but I do.....) with a bit of a confession: I'm something like 1/2 a hoarder, but please be nice and refer to my problem with the adjective "collector".

I collect things. I cannot help it, it is in my blood. My father's a collector, I moved around a lot as a kid and the only two constants for me were my brother (and then only up through High School) and my stuff. I'm not going to necessarily say I really enjoy having "stuff", but as a collector I love the hunt. I enjoy searching for things and get a bit of a thrill when I find that thing I've been looking for....and sometimes I admit I didn't even know I was looking for it!

I've mentioned a few things before, like my growing Appendix N collection and probably my Gamescience dice, but I have a bunch of other potentially cool things that I've picked up over the years. Not necessarily part of some larger collection, because face it......one piece of a larger collection probably doesn't hold a lot of meaning, but it can. I pretty much buy every used copy of Lawrence Watt-Evans' The Misenchanted Sword I come across in the wild. I only have the one copy at home, but those other copies get given away rather quickly.

Anyway, my point is I have some gaming "things" I've picked up over the years that I enjoy which aren't part of a collection per se and I thought I'd share them with you today. My inspiration for doing so is one of the items that I have hanging over my TV so it overlooks where I play my every-other-weekly-Saturday-Night-OSR-game. When looking for a picture of it I came across this one I took four years ago and I realized pretty much everything in the shot has some story or some such behind it:

A modified picture of my one display case

Now this picture has been quickly photoshopped to remove the reflection of my ugly mug from the empty top right quadrant of the display case. This was a well-built case discarded from one of the liquor stores I was working at. It was missing shelves, but nothing I couldn't throw together.

In no particular order (except for the last show & tell item):

KoDT Resin Busts
A buddy of mine, along with his brother, got a license from Kenzer & Company to produce these resin busts of Knights of the Dinner Table Characters. KenzerCo got some cash and some figurines for themselves and they sold some on behalf of the brothers. I cannot recall if it was Origins or GenCon, probably Origins, where I had been volunteering running GMs/Tables/Games everyday and hanging out helping with the booth in the vendor hall when there wasn't a game. My (ex)wife and I would do this every year and help tear down/pack the booth. Technically a big no-no as we usually had regular attendee badges, but if you hide your badge and work like you're getting paid for it, con staff/security can be cool about it. Anyway, I had decided I was going to buy the set of the Knights at the con, IF there were any left when the con closed on Sunday. We made the drive from Boise to SLC regularly enough that we could purchase them directly easily enough. Sure enough there was a complete set left at the end of the con so I bought them......only to find out we got set #3! Sets 1 & 2 went to the brother's home group and we weren't looking to get a low-numbered set, but nobody had really gone through them so we just lucked out. Knowing we had set #3, when the other seven figures came out I was allowed dibs on the #3's. I enjoyed picking up the Blank Hands and later Gary & Squirrely. 

Munchkin Bobble-Head

After 2009's GenCon....I was again helping tear down the booth the the guys from the Steve Jackson Games were nearby tearing down their booth and they brought out the Munchkin costume. For some reason I HAD TO try it on and after some hard-core convincing they let me try it on. They knew it was disgustingly wet with sweat, but it was still better than spending a few hours in MOPP4 gear (I know a couple of you get that reference...and felt that pain!). I got a picture of me wearing it and the next year I was able to show John Kovalic the picture and get him to draw me wearing it on a blank Go Up a Level card. You can't see the card, but it's with the bobble-head I purchased as part of the transaction (was more a buy something and get something signed kind of thing....those Steve Jackson Games guys know how to sell).

Stone Carving

Harder to see is this stone carving of a dragon and village scene. It's pretty cool and I practically stole it for something like $5, maybe $10 at the CONduit convention in SLC. This is the convention I first got to play HackMaster. We used to go every year until we realized we were paying $$$ to basically sit in a room and play HackMaster with our friends. Everything else we did at the convention was free: the dealer's hall and the art show/auction. We eventually transitioned to playing at our hotel and visiting the convention afterwards. The convention would have this silent auction every year for a bunch of cool art, with the proceeds going to the conventions literacy charity. As expected, most of the art was traditional prints/painting, but there were sometimes things like painting on silk, carvings, sculpture, etc. I would make a point of bidding on these commonly-overlooked items and in this case I got my item on the low opening bid. It's actually pretty cool, and definitely took some skill, but just not what the masses wanted I guess.

Lewd Beholder Miniature

The next three items all come from the same source, but I'll go over each individually. This mini is a bit on the delicate side so it doesn't go in with my regular minis. It's of a "Lecherous Beholder" and was painted/gifted by Jolly Blackburn. He's a rather generous guy and just thought I'd like this when I was over for a visit. He was right. I wasn't able to get one of these and the eyes are delicate enough I'm pretty sure I would still have it in a blister pack had I managed to get one. I have a metric butt-ton of KenzerCo minis, but very few have been painted, so this unique one gets a place in the shelf.


How many of you can legitimately claim to have an actual Callie from the Origins Awards? I've had two now, both were ones that Jolly had won/earned. This is the second one which was actually gifted to me by Jolly.....more on that later. The first one was straight-up stolen, not by me mind you, but filched at the big party we all had after the awards ceremony (there were several Callies at the party). It was given to me, I think, by the thief himself/herself and we decided it would be cool to turn it into a travelling trophy of sorts for the fans. I took a bunch of pictures and even started a blog of Callie's adventures. It was more a "letters home" kind of thing and the blog had pictures of the letters (in original Greek, mind you) and then the translation. Callie went from Ohio to Illinois to Idaho and then was sent to Canada, or was it Australia? Either way the whole affair got cut short when she got lost in customs. So not cool.

This second Callie was gifted as part of a joke. Jolly thought it'd be funny to cram it in my suitcase so either I'd be surprised when I got home or strip searched at the airport when I unintentionally lied about my bag being packed by me and being aware of all its contents. I'm going to assume the former, but the latter is funnier in my opinion. I travelled enough to know what 50 pounds feels like and I noticed the bag was a couple pounds off (I used to travel a LOT), so the ruse was discovered before we even left the house, but I told him I'm keeping it....so I did.

Knights of the Dinner Table Poster

The biggest thing, and probably one of my most precious gaming "things" is this large hand-drawn & colored "poster" of the Knights done by Jolly as a gift. He's probably done a few more by now, but at the time this was the second one he had ever done, the first being for a charity auction. I was unemployed and at the time money wasn't terribly tight, but only because I was draining my 401K. Jolly did this drawing up and gave it to me with the intention that I could put it up on eBay and get maybe $300 for it. I was touched by the sentiment, but I'd sell a kidney (I don't know if that' actually a thing) before letting something this sentimental go. It looks good (much better than the picture implies) on the wall and reminds me daily of the friendships I've made over so many different gaming tables. It is a heartfelt message that brings back a lot of memories....and promises of more memories to be made.

That concludes this particular entry of Not Erik Show & Tell.

Bonus Pics:
2009 GenCon
Frugal Munchkin
Frugal Munchkin

2010 Origins (Staged)
Callie #1 the Morning After
Next Morning w/Callie

Saturday, October 24, 2020

State of The Tavern - 10/24/2020 (Blog, Podcast, Newsletter, Projects, More)

Here we are, nearing the end of October, and I THINK things are finally settling down. 2020 has been an epic ride of the type I'd rather not repeat. A week ago Thursday Rach and I put our 14-year-old cat Ashley to sleep due to serious and recent health issues due to newly diagnosed cancer. So, just when I thought I was caught up on 2020 life issues, I kinda got derailed again.

So, here's where things stand on various Tavern projects and platforms:

Torchlight - I spoke with Jeff, our layout artist, and my partner on this endeavor, and we agreed (after Jeff suggested) that we have the material for two issues in hand before we announce the next issue. Work on my end commences this coming Monday (or tomorrow night, depending on how the newsletter comes together). I'd like to get an issue out by Thanksgiving, but no promises.

The Town Watch Project - likely on hold until 2021. Too much to juggle and I need to get some focus on the project aims and expectations so I can focus on the creators' strengths.

This Blog - As always, huge thanks to the Frugal GM, not just for his weekly Sunday columns but for stepping in when I've been hospitalized. I still don't understand how I was capable of 3 to 6 posts daily WHILE I was working...

The Tavern Chat Podcast - Bad Mike and I decided to fold the more or less weekly Talking Crit Podcast back into Tavern Chat as a regular feature. Listenership for the Tavern Chat Podcast has nearly tripled over the last few weeks. Yes, blows my mind too. Truly, I can't thank you all enough for spreading the love and spreading the word.

YouTube (Live and Other) - Talking Crit (most Wednesday Nights at 8 pm eastern) and all Fireside Chats/guests for the Tavern Chat Podcast will be recorded live via Facebook and YouTube. We will read your comments during the show and certainly appreciate the audience participation. Join The Tavern's YouTube Channel and never miss a live show :)

Discord Server - Lively discussion and the place where we host the Tavern Chat Live hangout Thursday. Nights from 9 pm eastern until...

Weekly Newsletter/Mailing List - I'll be working on it tonight for a send out tomorrow. It's free to join and free to submit content. Join the list here and send news and the like to tenkarsDOTtavern at that Gmail thing.

Alright, time to make dinner for Rach and me :)

The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are the affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  

You can catch the daily Tavern Chat podcast on AnchorYouTube, or wherever you listen to your podcast collection.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Death Notice - Len Lakofka has Passed

And a horrible year continues to be horrible. It has been said on Facebook that Len Lakofka, writer of the "L" series of modules and inspiration of the Lendore Isles in the Greyhawk Setting has passed. L2 was one of the first modules I ran.

From Wikipedia

Lenard "Len" Lakofka (1944-2020) was an American writer of material for the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. Although never a formal TSR staff member, the company that published Dungeons & Dragons, he was an influential voice in the development of the game.[1] He was one of the playtesters of the game as it was being developed, an editor of early manuscripts, wrote a widely-read monthly D&D magazine column and two official D&D adventures, and had his home campaign setting of the Lendore Isles incorporated into Gary Gygax's World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Humble Bundle - Voices of Warhammer 2020 by Black Library

My days of sitting down and reading novels are long past. My attention span just isn't what it was prior to chemo over a dozen years ago, and physically reading a book means I can't multitask. But audiobooks? That I can do. As for Warhammer audiobooks? They are like listening to audio plays. It brings an already amazing setting to life. I am listening to the first chapter of Trollslayer as I type this ;)

Humble Bundle is offering Voices of Warhammer 2020 by Black Library, a selection of Warhammer audiobook fiction for a little as a buck. I'm in for 18 bucks, less than a buck a book. Huzzah!

The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are the affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  

You can catch the daily Tavern Chat podcast on AnchorYouTube, or wherever you listen to your podcast collection.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Introducing the Weekly Tenkar's Tavern Community Mailing List

Actually, the link is later in this post and permanently above the post ;)

As a community, the OSR lacks a comprehensive news site. Sure, The Tavern covers some news stories, but much of the ongoing events, interesting posts, amazing podcasts, and the like simply do not get seen by all the eyes or heard by all the ears they should be. Especially from those that are part of the larger Tavern Community.

This is my idea to address that omission.

I'll be putting together an email list that is free to join and free to contibute to. Quite simply, if you have a new blog post, fresh podcast episode, vidcast share, new OSR release, current Kickstarter, upcoming convention, zine or the like, email me at tenkarsDOTtavern @ that gmail thing. Use "Mailing List" in the subject line. Include a link and a short two sentence levator pitch / summary of your content. If you have new content you'll want to email weekly.

Yep, weekly. I'm hoping this will be relatively timely. Entries in by Saturday will be in the mailing that goes out the following Sunday / Monday.

Want to subscribe? Here's the link to the Weekly Tenkar's Tavern Community Mailing List.

I won't sell or rent your email address to anyone. It will soley be used for this mailing list.

Recruiting players for your Swords & Wizardry (or Labyrinth Lord, or 1E, etc) VTT Game? Send an email with your 2 sentence pitch and contact info and we'll put it into the weekly update.

The possibilities are endless.

The more that participate the successful the list will be. Join us!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

DTRPG Halloween Sale - OSR Picks - Part the First

It's that time of the year again, where you dig through the bowels of DTRPG looking for jack-o-lanterns in the hopes of finding free shit. It's also the time of the annual DTRPG Halloween Sale, with 25% off a large selection of releases.  This post will be highlighting some of the OSR releases that are on sale right now and will be for the next 2 weeks. More posts will be forthcoming.

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (Compleat Second Edition) -ASTONISHING SWORDSMEN & SORCERERS of HYPERBOREA™ is sword-and-sorcery role-playing at its pinnacle. Play an Amazon fighter, Atlantean magician, Esquimaux shaman, Hyperborean warlock, Ixian necromancer, Keltic barbarian, Kimmerian cataphract, Pictish thief, Viking berserker, or one of many other possibilities. Normally 19.00, on sale for 14.25

The Blackest Space - An Interstellar Sci-Fi Survival Roleplaying GameThere are 15 Classes represented:  Bounty Hunter, Captain. Communications Commander, Ebontear Endbringer, Ebontear Necrojudge, Emerald Champion, Medical Officer, Meta-Psych, Pilot, Pirate, Science Officer, Security Director, Shock Marine, Smuggler and Technician. 12 Playable Races: The Apparatus, Arpi, Asaluss, Cymyrs, Gnargfang, Gronslag, Harkfey, Humans, Lanerians. Mirewhips, Qu’fer and Zygaq. Normally 9.99, it's on sale for 7.49

Hubris: A World of Visceral Adventure Hubris is a weird fantasy setting that uses the awesome Dungeon Crawl Classics rules!  In this book you will find 10 territories filled with tables and charts to generate interesting locations and encounters, new occupations, 4 new classes, 5 new playable races, 3 new spells, 4 new patrons, including 3 patrons spells for each, 11 new and terrible gods, 14 tables and charts for a GM to use to aid them in their game or create interesting/fun situations, two new adventures to kick off a campaign, and 51 new enemies. Normally 9.99, it's on sale for 7.49

Dark Streets & Darker Secrets - Dark Streets & Darker Secrets is a Street & Sorcery Rules Light Role-Playing Game with an Old School spirit, just like its predecessors: Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells and Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. It’s a game about modern adventures in the world we live today, only with a layer of supernatural weirdness and horror. Characters are people who have found out about the mysteries and horrors that exist in the world and have decided to do something about it, be it battle it, join it, or simply explore its possibilities in any way they see fit. They will battle evil cultists, corrupted ghosts, bloodsucking vampires, and frenzied werewolves, or maybe they will be the horrors of others. This edition of the game assumes the reader knows the principles of what role-playing games are and how they are played. Normally 9.99, it's on sale for 7.49

Dark Fantasy Basic - Player's Guide - Dark Fantasy Basic is an old school roleplaying game (or adventure game) that pays homage to a beloved 80's game - which is stilll, for many fans, one of the most concise, clear and well-written RPGs ever published. This book uses the same system as the world’s most popular RPGs – six abilities, classes, levels, etc. – and it is meant to be compatible with games from that era. Or any OSR game, really. It also has some modern influences, including all of the OSR and the most recent version of this game. This is a complete game (from the player's side), with five classes (fighter, cleric, thief, magic-user and hopeless), skills, feats, weapons, etc. There are no races - all PCs are human or similar - but there are notes on how to create races for your games. There are 20 different spells but each one is flexible, meaning you can choose the spell level and some of the effects as you cast them. Normally 3.99, on sale for 2.99

The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are the affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  

You can catch the daily Tavern Chat podcast on AnchorYouTube, or wherever you listen to your podcast collection.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Weis & Hickman sue Wizards of the Coast for Breach of Contract re: New DragonLance Series

Margaret Weis LLC & Tracy Hickman and suing Wizards of the Coast for Breach of Contract, Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, and Tortious Interference with Contract. The lawsuit can be read in its entirety here.

Having read the entire filing, I find the following stand out:

It appears that the controversies at Wizards of the Coast run deep and wide. If nothing else, it's a sad day for Dragonlance fans.  

The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are the affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  

You can catch the daily Tavern Chat podcast on AnchorYouTube, or wherever you listen to your podcast collection.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Armchair Legal Aid


A couple of days ago I had the dubious pleasure of watching one of Erik's initial YouTube livestreams and he was mentioning this whole Trademark issue with TSR and the Dungeon Hobby Shop. Since then I've seen some finger-pointing, name calling (well, kind of), and even a little bit of dick measuring.

Now 1st and foremost..... I am NOT a lawyer.

I do however, have degrees in Business, Information Management, and even Library Science. I know....who cares, but if you're reading this you're either looking for flaws to point out (I have many) or you're willing to give me the benefit of the doubt....either way you're still reading, right? In all three of those degrees I've had to take classes in legal issues concerning copyright and trademarks.

Now I'm not going to put myself up as an expert, much less try and train you, dear reader, up on the finer points of these issues, BUT I will take this soapbox opportunity to make a few pertinent points and I'll post appropriate links so you can actually read the important stuff on your freaking own......just think of this blog post as a guided tour.

1st of, what the fuck (we have established I can post swears, right?) is a trademark? If you're up for it, here's a short booklet from the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). Not into reading, well tough shit....this is a blog post. A trademark is "generally a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others."

Ok, I'll throw you a bone...here's a video from the USPTO that covers this info:

2nd...and how does this apply to the BS going on right now?

There are several trademarks at issue in this case and they can be looked up here, yet again at the USPTO. For the sake of this "conversation" I'm only going to reference one of the several in question out of the 76 trademarks for "TSR". This one in question, which I'm using as an example, is serial #90124839. Here's a screenshot (click to embiggen):

Now this particular trademark application was made on August 19, 2020 and covers the use of the trademark "TSR THE GAME WIZARDS" for eight specific uses, all of which are gaming related. If you poke around the database a bit you'll undoubtedly come across the "Dead" trademark of serial #73351412, which was an actual awarded trademark #1241135. The one above is just an application for the trademark, it hasn't been awarded yet.

Obligatory screenshot:

You can clearly see that both of these are essentially the same trademark, although the application in progress is planning on being used for more purposes, but still the same two main classes (IC 016 and IC 028).

Clearly the trademark owned by TSR, "died" on November 20, 1989, so this new trademark application is good-to-go, right? What seems to be the problem?

Oh boy.....this is really the meat of the matter. Did you read the pamphlet? No, no you didn't. Of course you didn't. I don't blame you. Go ahead....download it now and give it a once-over. This post isn't going anywhere......

You didn't once over it, did you? You clicked on it and went "36 pages! I'm not doing any effing homework on a Sunday! Screw that!" It's ok, I forgive you, but since you clearly have the booklet, go over to page 13 and look at the sub-section "Is federal registration of my mark required?":

"No. In the United States, parties are not required to register their marks to obtain protectable rights. You can establish “common law” rights in a mark based solely on use of the mark in commerce, without a registration.

So basically you don't have to have a (registered) trademark. Having one basically expands upon your rights and makes certain things easier......but you don't have to actually register your trademark. 

Again, I'm not a lawyer, but (and feel free to disagree with me, plenty will) if TSR actually registered a trademark, and then used it.....the use would establish "common law", then that trademark is a real thing. A real thing that followed TSR to WotC and then to Hasbro. Sure, the registration died in 1989, but the "common law" rights to that "thing" did not expire....and is still in use by Hasbro when they sell stuff branded with that "thing". Part of me says this is just common sense, but a) common sense isn't that common, and b) it's easy for me to come to that conclusion with my particular education/background. I can easily see someone else without that "common sense" just see a "dead" trademark registration and think it's fair game.

In ANY case.....what's going on now with serial #90124839 is just a registration application. Think of it like you registering for your license to drive. You've paid your $50 and taken your test, but you don't know if you've passed and the DMV hasn't given you your license yet. It's a little premature to be out on the road driving, much less selling your ride off as an Uber.....

By my quick math just the filing of this particular application was $450. Multiply that by however many applications there were (IIRC it was five, but I'll be honest in that I'm not searching through all 76 "TSR" entries to make a point) and you've easily got a couple grand, not including any attorney costs. That's a lot of dough for essentially adding your trademark to a federal list that you don't actually have to do in the first place! The USPTO basically maintains the list...they don't do much else. If you've still got that booklet open....and I know you don't, here's a list of stuff they don't do (from page 14):

  • Decide whether you have the right to use a mark (which differs from the right to register). No law requires that you federally register your mark in order to acquire rights in the mark;
  • Enforce your rights in the mark or bring legal action against a potential infringer;
  • Conduct trademark searches for the public;
  • Comment on the validity of registered marks;
  • Assist you with policing your mark against infringers;
  • Assist you with recordation of your mark with U.S. Customs and Border Protection;
  • Answer questions prior to filing on whether a particular mark or type of mark is eligible for trademark registration; or
  • Offer legal advice or opinions about common law trademark rights, state registrations, or trademark infringement claims. 
So the point a few of us have been trying to make is...well, why apply for someone else's trademark? The counter-argument is that these are "dead" trademarks.....but are they really? You don't have to have a trademark application to have a trademark as there are some "common law" protections. Since Hasbro still sells products with these trademarks, are they really dead?

Now I've dumped a lot of words in a blog post that may or may not have helped someone. If you've read the brochure, watched the video, and think you've got a grasp on the issue at hand, here's some advanced topics/information.

1st, a longer video with some good stuff:

2nd, what about the trademark for Gygax magazine? According to the USPTO "The USPTO will also refuse registration of a proposed mark for many other reasons, including if the mark is a surname"

3rd, how much of any of this matters if you get the courts and lawyers involved? If you don't want to watch the whole 41'47" video from above, check out the 16" from this start point....

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum - Membership Rates and Pay-To-Play Game Table Pricing

So, Justin LaNassa, the main individual apparently behind the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum and the one attempting to license the iconic TSR trademark images to third parties, has had some choice words to say about my prior observations and speculations over on Facebook:

As such, I am leaving the observations, speculation, and comments for the pricing scheme of the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum to my readers. I will, however, share screenshots of said pricing schemes for your convenience.

Admission & Membership:

Pay-to-Play Game Table Pricing:

Remember, I am just delivering pure facts here. Your comments are appreciated as always :) Tenkar

X5 Temple of Death & X6 Quagmire! for B/X D&D each 4.99 for POD & PDF at DTRPG

I'm not sure if these were miskeyed or not, but I've already placed my order for X5 Temple of Death & X6 Quagmire! for 4.99 each for the Print on Demand & PDF. Normally WotC would price these around 4.99 for the PDF, 9.99 for the Print version, and 10.98 for the Print plus PDF package, so this is excellent pricing. As someone who has few of the Expert series of D&D modules in my collection, this is an inexpensive way to plug some holes.

This pricing may be limited, so I wouldn't wait long if this interests you.

If you, the gentle reader, find other unexpected bargains at DTRPG or elsewhere and would like to share it with The Tavern's community, you can drop the mention as a comment below or email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing.

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