Monday, November 30, 2020

DTRPG Cyber Monday Door Busters are Live

Wow. Thanksgiving weekend really left me worn out. My niece was over for the weekend (certified Covid free :) and it was an awesome weekend, but uncle felt a need to nap the weekend away this afternoon ;) Thus we ALMOST missed out on some deep discount doorbusters over at DTRPG.

Here's the link to the DTRPG Cyber Monday Door Busters



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Sunday, November 29, 2020

That One Time I Expected my PC to Die

 

That One Time I Expected my PC to Die
I've mentioned that my favorite game was 4th Edition HackMaster, which is definitely a crunchy game and arguably the very 1st OSR retro-clone. I especially liked how the game had a big fan base that allowed for an organized play group where you could bring your home character to a convention and play an adventure with said character with a new group/new table.

Of course there has to be all sorts of rules and conditions to make this possible and fair to the whole group of players. One of those rules had to do with rationing magic items. Magic items had an experience point value and PCs had magic item value caps based on level. You generally needed to be at your level cap so you had the stuff you'd need to survive a tournament adventure.

Actually this is all just a little backstory 'cause I was thinking about what was probably the most fun/exciting tournament game I ever had......

Get Out of PC Story, Free Card

Ok, at this point I'm thinking there is at least one eye roll and "OMG, he's going to tell us another fricken PC story!" At this point you're probably wondering if you have access to one of those Get out of PC Story, Free cards. For your trouble, you can print one of these off....

I made these up as business cards for me and my ex-wife, based on the "originals" that the KenzerCo crew had. Our contact info was on the flip side, along with our pictures done up in similar fashion....

Listen to my PC Story
.....but there was a catch, which you've clearly noticed by now. Assuming you had the Get out of PC Story, Free card I could counter with my card, which was the lesser-seen Listen to my PC Story.

So now we've virtually swapped cards, even though I provided both cards, and now you're going to listen to my PC story, but don't sweat it because I'm not going to get anally-specific and droning on about the fine details (like at my age I can remember the fine details anyway...).  A story, at least one worth listening to, has some point and I'll not bury the lead....

The absolute best games are those where you are expecting to lose your PC but manage to survive to continue playing....

The party was hired to investigate some strange goings-on in part of a neighboring kingdom that the ruler was unable to get details on. Armed scouts, scrying, spying....nothing worked. The party was to be stripped of anything magic and sold as slaves to a group none to provide slaves to the area where the trouble was brewing......basically that was the extent of the knowledge. Now, for a group of 5th to 7th level PCs....well we have a LOT of magic stuff and going into an adventure blind and unarmed, is not a promising proposition.

My 7th level Double-Specialist Invoker is already Paranoid and having to forgo all his stuff, including having his Gold Tooth of Purify Beverage, was painful. At least I was able to tweak my memorized spells to take advantage of spell components I could be expected to find. HackMaster is crunchy, so keeping track of actual spell components is a thing.

The first round of the tournament adventure was basically just gaining our freedom and trying to bust out, re-arm, and start investigating. What we discover in the first round was that a Red Dragon, along with some allies, had taken a Gold Dragon hostage and was forcing her to lay eggs and then was using magic to alter the eggs and create some humanoid-dragon monstrosities (think the Draconians from Dragonlance). We get in to the second round and we get most of the way through the second adventure, just shy of freeing the Gold Dragon and taking on the Red Dragon.

Now another thing to know about HackMaster tournaments is that they are limited to a four hour time limit. This is kind of a good thing because if you're on the losing side of the Big Boss Battle and time runs out, instead of your PC dying you get to go home. It's not a win, but it's not a loss/death either.

So what we have is a bunch of players who ran out of time with that Big Boss Battle still looming. We've been beaten & battered and the players are pretty certain it's a toss-up if any of us could survive the final battle. Facing a likely TPK (Total Party Kill) with characters we've all spent years playing & building up, not fun...

.....but it WAS FUN. We all wanted to finish the adventure. Luckily the convention gave us our own HackMaster room for the weekend, so if we could convince the GM to continue..... which we did. After taking a quick break we were able to spend a good hour fighting the good fight. One of our party, a BattleMage, was tapped out spell-wise, so we made him the Designated Survivor and even though we could use his help, somebody needed to let the King know what was going on in case we failed. Since we had discovered a Teleportation scroll, we were able to send him off immediately. At least our impending deaths won't be in vain. As a group, the remaining party members took on the Red Dragon and during the battle we managed to secure the magical key that would allow us to free the Gold Dragon, which ultimately is what kept us from a TPK. We did lose one guy and the thief lost an arm, but the rest of us made it through with single-digit HP.

The entire battle, we all stood around the game table. Nobody could sit still for this epic clash. I think if we went one more round without the Gold Dragon's help that would have TPK'd us. During the lead up to this BBG Battle we did manage to acquired a lot of magical items, but we had to use almost everything for the fight. Still, loot wasn't lacking, but probably not nearly as much as expected for the level of difficulty of the adventure.

I think I ended up getting a couple of spells out of the deal and a new staff. As a reward from the Gold Dragon I was allowed to make a request as far as my reward and I asked for one of the Red Dragon's bones to fashion into a new staff. Even though it came from an evil Dragon, a Dragon-bone weapon probably wouldn't be seen favorably by a good-aligned Dragon, and my PC was smart enough to realize this. As part of my boon I was able to get in inscribed in multiple languages to denote not only where this bone came from, but who gifted it, which allegedly would give my PC a pass of sorts.

Urddas Nerthol, DS Invoker

I've had a couple of my PC's immortalized by commissioning a portrait by the wonderful Fraim Brothers, who have done a lot of art for KenzerCo/Knights of the Dinner Table/HackMaster. I try not to be too specific in what I'm looking for in a Character Portrait and just briefly describe the character. In this case I mentioned he was a magic-user who carried a crossbow, spellbook, and had a Dragon-bone staff with runes on it. I know I mentioned he kept a mask on and I think I added the amulet around his neck. Whatever the Bros. come up with I knew I was going to like....and I did.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Tech Picks for Gamers - Amazon 10" Tablet for 80 Bucks and More Goodies

So, if you are like me you've been accumulating your share of PDFs. I prefer to read in bed or my recliner than at my desk, so a tablet is a must. Not everyone has the cash for an iPad (nor does everyone like Apple products, but Amazon has its Fire HD 10 Tablet (10.1" 1080p full HD display, 32 GB) on sale from 149.99 down to 79.99. Amazon's Fire HD 8 Tablet, 8" HD display, 32 GB is marked down from 89.99 to 54.99. There's even a 7" option, but that isn't really suitable for PDF reading. 

I'd personally go with the 10" Fire.

Now, for the young kids in the family, you might consider the Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet, 7" Display, 16 GB, Blue Kid-Proof Case. I bought this for my niece 2 years ago. It broke and Amazon replaced it without a fuss.

Additionally, you might want a multi-charger if you have more than one device to charge at a time, like a phone and your tablet. Oh, and a portable battery back up just in case your phone is about to die and you're not home. Maybe even something with international plug adaptors. And what about that wireless charging your phone can do? Look no further:

High-capacity 6700 mAh power bank w/LCD for 39.99 less 10.00 - 29.99! fits in any book bag or even your pocket, doubling as a standard wall adapter. It is also compatible with all Qi-enabled devices (see list) – such as iPhone 8, 8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Note 9, S8, S8 Plus, S9, S9 Plus, Google Pixel & more! And can quickly charge your smaller MacBooks, iPhone, Samsung, and many more devices either at home or on the road! (C-type Charging for Smaller Macbooks Only) Normally $79.99, SALE Price $39.99. But wait. We have a $10 coupon: use 10FREEBUCKS - Note, I own this and it works as advertised. I am happy with it, may need to buy a second at this price. For 30 bucks with the coupon, it is a steal (Not from Amazon - Decibel Electronics)

It's the World of Covid. Contactless Thermometers are the in thing. Grab yours for 16 bucks (13 Deals - Again, not Amazon)

Bonus Pick: RPG Dice, a buck a set. 2 dozen 7 dice sets for 24 bucks plus shipping. To NYC it was 35 bucks shipped for 24 sets. Random colors. Free delivery if you do in-store pick up. Great for game clubs, libraries, giveaways, conventions, and simply for gaming. If the dice don't cooperate, throw them away ;) (Dollar Tree)


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Free RPG - CARBON 2185 | A Cyberpunk RPG Core Rulebook - Free PDF Through Monday 11/30/2020

I haven't delved into the CARBON 2185 rulebook yet, but if the rules are OGL based, so they should feel fairly comfortable for most of us. You simply can't beat the price and the art throughout looks truly awesome.

Grab your copy of CARBON 2185 for free thru Monday, 11/30/2020. Normally 20 British Pounds otherwise.

Play as a Cyberpunk, a rebel refusing to live life by the rules of the oppressive megacorporations that rule San Francisco in this PDF version of the high action tabletop roleplaying game by Robert Marriner-Dodds.

Carbon 2185 gives you the chance to play in the cyberpunk worlds you've seen in movies, television shows, and video games.

The Core Rulebook is the only thing you need to run and play hundreds of hours of games in the world of Carbon 2185.

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Don't forget to subscribe to The Tavern's weekly Newsletter! We currently have 157 subscribers.              When we hit 200 subscribers, I'll award 2 random subscribers a $10 DTRPG Gift Certificate. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Black Friday Sales on DriveThruRPG Are Live - WFRP Latest Edition 75% off - Other Titles 20-40% off

DriveThruRPG is running its annual Black Friday Sale, with nearly everything running at 20-40% off in PDF.

Some 40% off picks include:

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay First Edition Core Rulebook, 9.99 down to 5.99

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Fourth Edition Rulebook (this is the current entition) from 29.99 to 7.50! (Dorbuster mabe?)

Swords & Wizardry Continual Light, 3.00 to 1.80

The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting, 19.85 down to 11.91

Dark Places & Demogorgons - Survive This!! - Core Rule Book - 4.99 to 2.99

And of course, Frog God Games has nearly every title for Swords & Wizardry, Pathfinder 1e, and D&D 5e at 70% off

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.

Don't forget to subscribe to The Tavern's weekly Newsletter! We currently have 156 subscribers. When we hit 200 subscribers, I'll award 2 random subscribers a $10 DTRPG Gift Certificate. 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Humble Bundle - Campaign Cartographer Mapping & Royalty Free Music

Ah, two diverse Humble Bundles, but both are damn good values.

First off is the Campaign Cartographer Bundle. Let me get right to the price point-unless you already own the software, you really need to be in at 30 bucks. But those 30 bucks gets you:

Campaign Cartographer 3+ Lifetime License, Floorplan Collection, Tome of Ultimate Mapping, Perspectives 3, City Designer 3, and Dungeon Designer 3 and more.

Sigh. And it looks like I can run all of this using Crossover on my Mac...

Guess I'll be diving into CC and Dungeon Designer in December :)

The second bundle that caught my eye was Big Royalty-Free Music. Royalty-free music is simply an awesome resource for podcasters and Youtubers. 25 bucks get you 26 albums and over 400 tracks. The samples sound real good, and I can see myself using some to change out the music for the podcast. Heck, I'm not even talking about using it in-game sessions for atmosphere, where it would also rock. You can grab it for as little as a buck for 5 albums and 100 tracks, which probably would suffice for most ;)

Royalty-free music and sound effects to be used in video game development, live streaming, movies, YouTube, content creation and more! Get 26 albums and over 400 tracks, which include .wav, .mp3, and seamless premium licenses for music such as Shadows guild, Superheroes, Dreamagination, and Slasher. 

 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.

Don't forget to subscribe to The Tavern's weekly Newsletter! We currently have 156 subscribers. When we hit 200 subscribers, I'll award 2 random subscribers a $10 DTRPG Gift Certificate. 

News - Paizo Licenses its Adventure Paths to Pinnacle for use with Savage Worlds

I seriously did NOT see this coming. Sure, Paizo converted one of its previous projects to 5e, and yes, Pinnacle has licensed Rifts from Palladium, but Pathfinder Adventure Paths to Savage Worlds? Damn. I actually have the first 2 or 3 adventure paths from Paizo. They made for a good read.

I may need to give my Savage Worlds ruleset another look. I never really grokked their spells and powers...

Press Release

It’s Thanksgiving here in the United States. For our international friends, that’s a time when we come together as friends and family and tell everyone what we’re thankful for.

Today, Pinnacle Entertainment Group is INCREDIBLY thankful to our good friends at Paizo for letting us play in their amazing world of Golarion, setting of the phenomenally successful Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!

Following the incredible reception we had with Kevin Siembieda’s phenomenal world of Rifts®, we’re bringing Pathfinder’s fantastic Adventure Paths to the Savage Worlds™ system, starting with the best-selling Rise of the Runelords™!  

The Kickstarter begins mid-January, 2021, and will feature the Savage Pathfinder core rules, a boxed set with all the usual Savage Worlds accessories, AND the Rise of the Runelords boxed set with all six books of the Adventure Path and other deluxe accessories!

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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Don't forget to subscribe to The Tavern's weekly Newsletter! We currently have 155 subscribers. When we hit 200 subscribers, I'll award 2 random subscribers a $10 DTRPG Gift Certificate.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

RPG Black Friday Sales - Buy 2 (at a discount), Get 1 Free and More Goodies

So, last week I highlighted that Amazon was offering some deep discounts on the WotC 5e titles. Well, those deep discounts are stacking with a Buy 2, Get 1 Free promotion. Holy Crap. Tasha's Cauldron of Everything is 23.33 after coupon (not part of the buy 2, get 1 promo)

The Conan Board Game from Asmode - usually around 110 bucks on sale for 77.01 - might be worth it for the minis alone.

Age of Conan board game. Normally  89.90. Now, 30 bucks.

I know I pick on Starfinder, but it's 26.66 with coupon. I know somebody out there wants it ;)

Pacesetter Games and Simulations - 50% off Print and PDF. I just picked up the four Swords & Wizardry Light adventures and the BX RPG System Boxed Set at half off.

Fire HD 10 Tablet (10.1" 1080p full HD display, 32 GB) - We all need a tablet to read our numerous PDFs in bed. Here's a very affordable option.

Did I mention Tim Shorts has a Mystery Box of Adventures for sale for 50 bucks? The Mystery Box of Adventures consists of 25 items from Tim's warehouse. All randomly packed by Whisk. Inside each box, all of these are possible: Micro-Adventures, small and zine-sized, Micro-Locations, small and also zine-sized, NPC Cards, Mini Manor Zines, Issues of the Manor, Hunters in Death, and other surprises.

That's all for today. For those waiting on the Talking Crit podcast from Bad Mike and myself, Anchor's site is currently offline, so it will (hopefully) go up tomorrow.

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.

Don't forget to subscribe to The Tavern's weekly Newsletter! We currently have 155 subscribers. When we hit 200 subscribers, I'll award 2 random subscribers a $10 DTRPG Gift Certificate.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Frog God Games - 70% of Nearly All PDFs - Swords & Wizardry Picks Below

It's the most, wonderful time, of the year. Alright, maybe not with Covid, but for those looking for RPGs on sales, it certainly is the right time of the year.

This year, Frog God Games is running a 70% off sale on nearly all of its PDFs. Why "nearly all"? Because I'm sure a handful of titles slipped through the cracks.

I will give some Tenkar's Tavern Swords & Wizardry Picks below. Remember, I am associated with The Frogs, I wrote Swords & Wizardry Light and Frog God publishes it and in a non-Covid year, I'd be running the Frog God booth at many cons. So, there are like zero degrees of separation ;)

Sale prices should run through Tuesday, Dec 1st, at 11:00 am.

Monstrosities - 4.50 - Possibly THE monster bok for the OSR. Every creature has a plot hook or an encounter with it. Yep, there are many campaigns of improvised gaming within these pages. I can't recommend it enough.

Tome of Horrors Complete - 5.40 - Need MORE monsters with plot hook or encounters? Here ya go. More monsters is more better :)


The Lost City of Barakus - 6.00
- A complete campaign for levels 1 to 6. There's even a dragon. It's a blast.


MCMLXXV (1975) - 1.50
- Bill Webb rocks 1975 :) Introductory adventure -Snazzy updated version 2.40

Island of Sorrow - 2.70 - I don't have this one. Shit. Levels 3-5 with ship travel rules.

Hall of Bones - 0.90 - Yep, less than a buck for more Bill Webb. Introductory adventure.

Isle of the Angry Apes - 1.80 - An isle of ape for levels 5 to 8.

Rogues in Remballo - 0.18 - an introductory adventure from Matt Finch set in the Lost Lands for less than the price of a quarter gumball. Don't be a fool, grab this!


Bard's Gate - The Riot Act - 1.43
- a 2nd level city adventure from James Spahn, Mister White Box himself.

Feast of the Gobbler - 1.44 - A Thanksgiving adventure at an amazing price. 

How Orcus Stole Christmas - 1.44 - Just in time for Christmas, James Spahn brings us an adventure with Orcus, Christmas, and characters of levels 3 to 5.

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.

Don't forget to subscribe to The Tavern's weekly Newsletter! We currently have 155 subscribers. When we hit 200 subscribers, I'll award 2 random subscribers a $10 DTRPG Gift Certificate.  

Monday, November 23, 2020

Kickstarter - The Bats of Saint Abbans - An OSR Adventure (Swords & Wizardry)


Glynn Seal / Monkeyblood Designs is quite simply one of my favorite creators of setting material and adventures in the OSR. Period. He has never, in my experience, released anything that was less than excellent in quality. I expect nothing less from his latest Kickstarter - The Bats of Saint Abbans

Set in the Midderlands (but usable in pretty much any OSR setting) The Bats of Saint Abbans is a low-level adventure written for Swords & Wizardry (but suitable for any OSR system of your choice).

The adventure contains:

  • Details about the town of Saint Abbans, some of its useful NPCs, the Abbess and the monks that reside at the abbey-cathedral.
  • A random generator for creating additional abbey monks.
  • Adventure Flow and NPC Relationship charts.
  • Details of the abbey locations.
  • 4x Handouts, 15x pages worth of maps
  • Appendices of Ecclesiastical Time and all the encounters that could happen during those times.
  • New class, spells, and items. 8 New creatures, including a Church Bat Generator.
  • NPC and Creature quick reference tables, NPC Gallery
  • Books 1 to 3 are fully indexed. Play Notes

Seven bucks for the PDF version, 20 for at-cost POD with PDFs, and 40 bucks for Special Edition print with PDFs. Note, the cost for physical copies does not include shipping.  

I'm in at 40. Glynn, take my money bro! :)

You can use the links above to visit the Kickstsarter page are the link here: https://tenkars-tavern.games/SaintAbbans

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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or wherever you listen to your podcast collection.

Don't forget to subscribe to The Tavern's weekly Newsletter! We currently have 154 subscribers. When we hit 200 subscribers, I'll award 2 random subscribers a $10 DTRPG Gift Certificate.  

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Hostage for the Holidays

 

Hostage for the Holidays
Here we are, less than a week before Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the disruption to normal life that is the Christmas season.

Bah Humbug.

Actually I'm not against the idea of Christmas, but the execution is usually not that much fun for me. I spent far too long working retail and let's be honest: in general people suck and the stress of the season all too often brings out the worst in them.

I'm no longer in retail (and hope I never have to go back), so that holiday stressor isn't gone. As an alleged adult I don't care if I get Christmas presents or not and I generally don't buy presents for friends and family. Sure I'll set-aside stuff as I see it throughout the year, but I don't get bothered if I don't find something to buy for someone simply for the fact that I have to.....basically I decided that I don't have to anymore.

What I do....do (I know I typed doodoo) is try and make Christmas presents for my immediate coworkers and my family if I know I'll be home for the holidays. Usually it's a food-related "thing" and I put my own spin on it. I enjoy the entire process, well except maybe spending the money because I always go a bit overboard, and sometimes Christmas is more of an excuse to try something out.....

.....I have to admit that I don't always succeed when "trying something out". I still remember the year I thought it'd be cool to make up a bunch of dice bags for my home group and my other gaming friends. That was a HUGE fail. So many felt "squares" went unsewn that year. I think I'd have have been better off just buying everyone a set of dice.....

I'm not sure what I want to do gaming gift-wise for my current home group, but it has to be digital since I'm not in the mood to mail stuff out. I have an idea or two, but I might need some more time to think about that.

Gift giving is just part of the holidays and depending on the point of view it might be the better part. On the flip side, and the part I dislike the most, is that...at least for me, but I suspect a few others here are in the same boat, the holiday season negatively impacts one's ability to game. With all the traditional obligations comes the inevitable stresses and depletion of resources, mostly time and energy.

My group had to cancel our last session....well the GM and a few players were still down to sling dice, but I felt a bit bad doing so without the rest of the group. A big portion of my group are educators and they had online testing and grading to do for their students before the holiday break. I'm not faulting them or the GM (to be fair we could have done a side-quest, but that still felt iffy to me at least), it's just par for the course.

Clearly I'm not a fan of the holidays encroaching into dice time and I'm sure there are plenty of players who are fine with that....doesn't mean I'm any better/worse than they are, no judgement here. Clearly I'm already a bit biased against the season and this is just one other thing to add to the list.....

As the pressures of the season ramp up, and your ability to meet with your gaming family decreases, I hope that you manage to set-aside some time to deal with the pressure and keep connected to your hobby and your fellow players. Maybe chill by reading some RPG-appropriate Appendix N books, or have a short gaming-group Xmas party. 

Whatever you do, keep those dice warm! The sad truth of this season is that there is going to be at least one gamer reading this who has to go a long stretch of not gaming during this holiday and maybe doesn't get back to it for an additional few weeks/months/years. Don't let this be you! Don't become a hostage for the holidays....and beyond!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Humble RPG Bundle - Cyberpunk by R. Talsorian Games

Ah, Cyberpunk was THE GAME in my earlier journey through the gaming hobby. The one you owned, and read, and then read all the cyberpunk related fiction, and then in my case, succumbed to the realization that no matter what campaign you ran, it would never reach the expectations you set for yourself.

But damn, the setting was magical and concepts overflowed into other RPGs we did play, and Cyberpunk was always there as a reference.

Now, with the Cyberpunk by R. Talsorian Games Humble RPG Bundle, I can fill that collection I failed to fill in my earlier years and see where the setting is going now. The sweet point is probably at 8 bucks for those new to the system, but I'm in for the full 15 bucks. I want it all :)

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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                             We currently have 153 subscribers. When we hit 200 subscribers, I'll award 2 random subscribers a $10 DTRPG Gift Certificate.  

Friday, November 20, 2020

Sale - D&D 5e Core Books, Adventures & More - Up to 50% Off at Amazon

Black Friday comes early for 5e players in seems :)

A huge tip of the hat to the Taverner that left me the tip of Amazon's Dungeons & Dragons 5e Sale this morning, as the discounts cut deep.

What prices are we looking at?

Player's Handbook, the DMG, Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden, Waterdeep Dragon Heist, Explorer's Guide to Wildemount,  Dungeons & Dragons Ghosts of Saltmarsh, Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, Eberron: Rising from the Last War, Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica are priced at  50% off 

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, Mythic Odysseys of Theros, Xanathar's Guide to Everything, Monster Manual, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, Tales From the Yawning Portal, Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus are priced at 40% (or more) off

There are some additional titles that range from 20-35% off. All can be found at the following link: Tenkar's Tavern D&D Amazon Storefront. Same link as above.

Remember, a portion of your purchase price goes to support The Tavern, its projects, and the gaming community.

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.

Don't forget to subscribe to The Tavern's weekly Newsletter! We currently have 150 subscribers. When we hit 200 subscribers, I'll award 2 random subscribers a $10 DTRPG Gift Certificate.  

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Update - Gale Force 9 Sues WotC in Excess of $950k - Text of Legal Filing

There are 51 pages to the lawsuit filed by Gale Force 9 in it's lawsuit against WotC. I am not sharing screenshots of all 51 pages below (which includes the original licensing agreement) - as it is simply too huge. I will, however, copy and paste the core of the filing.

Note: None of this would be possible without the help of members of The Tavern's Community. As always, I can't thank you enough - Tenkar

And now on to the show:

I. PARTIES

1. Plaintiff Gale Force Nine, LLC (“GF9”) is a Virginia Limited Liability Corporation with its principal place of business in Earlysville, Virginia. GF9 is wholly owned by Battlefront Miniatures Ltd. a New Zealand corporation with its principal place of business in Auckland, New Zealand. Battlefront New Zealand Ltd. is owned by John Paul Brisigotti a British citizen with his current residence in Virginia and Peter Simunovich a New Zealand citizen with his current residence in Auckland, New Zealand.

2. Defendant Wizards of the Coast LLC (“Wizards”) is a Delaware Limited Liability Company with its primary place of business located at 1600 Lind Avenue Southwest, Suite 400, Renton, Washington 98057.

II. JURISDICTION AND VENUE

3. This court has jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. GF9 and Wizards are diverse citizens and the amount in controversy, exclusive of costs and interest, exceeds seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000.00).

4. This Court also has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action for declaratory relief under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202.

5. Venue is proper in this Judicial District pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a) and (c) in that Defendant Wizards resides in this Judicial District and the parties have stipulated to venue in Washington State by contract, a true and correct copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit A.

III. FACTS

6. GF9 is a manufacturer and distributor of figurines, board games, cards, books, and other products associated with sci-fi and fantasy titles and/or brands such as Dungeons & Dragons, Dr Who, Dune, Star Trek, and other similar titles.

7. Wizards is the owner of the Dungeons & Dragons brand and trademark. Wizards is a subsidiary of, and wholly owned by, Hasbro, Inc.

8. This dispute arises out of a Merchandise Licensing Agreement (“2017 Agreement”), entered into between Wizards and GF9 on February 22, 2017, relating to the translation and distribution in foreign markets of Dungeons & Dragons brand products and books. A true and correct copy of the 2017 Agreement is attached hereto as Exhibit A.

9. The 2017 Agreement was amended on or about May 1, 2018, to among other items, extend the term of the 2017 Agreement from February 7, 2021 to December 31, 2021.

10. The parties also entered into a Merchandising Licensing Agreement on May 1, 2008 (“2008 Agreement”) for the manufacture and worldwide distribution of Dungeons & Dragons brand products. A true and correct copy of the 2008 Agreement is attached hereto as Exhibit B.

A. Wizards Failure to Approve Products Previously Agreed Upon for Release

11. Under to the 2017 Agreement, products planned for translation and release in the different foreign markets for the coming calendar year are agreed upon between Wizards and GF9 in December of the then current calendar year (sometimes bleeding into the beginning of the next calendar year) and a product release schedule is established. Based off this release schedule, GF9, through its translation and distribution subcontractors in their respective foreign markets, plan for and begin translation and production of the products several months before the scheduled release date.

12. Products scheduled for release in the coming year are then added to the Wizards’ approval platform prior to the planned release date and Wizards gives the final approval for the distribution subcontractor to release the product for sale.

13. From the inception of the 2017 Agreement to June 2020, all the products which were included on the approved release schedule were subsequently approved by Wizards through its approval platform without comment or correction. Wizards has occasionally taken longer than the designated approval process time to provide its approval, but prior to June 2020, had never declined to approve a product that had been included on the agreed upon release schedule.

14. The 2020 release schedule for products licensed under the 2017 Agreement was approved by Wizards and GF9 in December of 2019.

15. Subsequent revisions to the release schedule were made each month in January, February, March, and April, primarily to show delay to planned product release dates that were being affected by the COVID 19 pandemic.

16. On or about May 18, 2020, Wizards communicated to GF9 its desire to end the 2017 Agreement and the 2008 Agreement one year early – on December 31, 2020 rather than the planned expiration date of December 31, 2021.

17. The parties communicated over the next several months in an attempt to strike a compromise; however, no agreement has been reached.

18. During the discussions regarding Wizards’ requested early end to the 2017 and 2008 Agreements, Wizards informed GF9 that certain products licensed under the 2017 Agreement, which were included in the parties’ agreed to release schedule, were not going to be approved.

19. Wizards did not note any issue with the products, yet declined to approve the products for release.

20. All of the products Wizards declined to approve were listed on the approved release schedule and updates. These unapproved products are not wholly new products, but rather new translations of previously approved and released products – in English and other languages – planned for release by Wizards approved translation and distribution subcontractors in Wizards approved foreign markets.

21. From June 2020 to October 2020, GF9 repeatedly communicated with Wizards to continue to seek approval of the products, but Wizards continued to decline to approve the products and would not provide any rationale for its failure to do so.

22. GF9 and its foreign translation and distribution subcontractors spent significant time and money translating and preparing the products included on the release schedule.

23. The course of dealing between Wizards and GF9 established that GF9 and the foreign subcontractors could rely on the mutually agreed upon release schedule to plan for and begin translation and production of products.

24. On November 9, 2020, GF9 sent a letter to Wizards notifying it that GF9 considered Wizards’ failure to approve submitted products was a breach of the 2017 Agreement and demanded that Wizards’ cure its breach. As of today, Wizards has not done so.

B. Wizards Allegation of Breach of Contract by GF9

25. On November 9, 2020, Wizards sent to GF9 a notice of breach of the 2017 Agreement.

26. Wizards’ breach notice alleged two breaches of the 2017 Agreement by GF9 through the actions of two of GF9’s foreign translation and distribution subcontractors.

27. First, Wizards alleged that GF9 breached the 2017 Agreement through the actions of TRPG Club (GF9’s Korean translation and distribution subcontractor). Wizards alleged that certain unidentified products translated into Korean and distributed by TRPG Club were of low quality, including translations that were poorly done and included inaccurate, missing, and offensive translations. Wizards breach notice went on to further allege that TRPG Club failed to provide adequate customer service to consumers of Dungeons & Dragons materials.

28. Second, Wizards alleged a breach of the 2017 Agreement due to the actions of Black Book Editions FR (“BBE”). Wizards alleged that after BBE translated certain Dungeons & Dragons books into French, it republished certain portions of the translated product under its own brand “Heros & Dragons.”

29. Wizards’ notice of breach states that it intends to terminate of the 2017 Agreement, unless GF9 remedies its breach to Wizards’ satisfaction within the applicable time periods for cure. 30. However, the products translated and distributed by TRPG Club, which are the subject of Wizards’ allegation of breach, were submitted in their final translated form to Wizards and approved by Wizards for release. Wizards informed GF9 that it had reviewers on its staff who were fluent in Korean who reviewed the product as translated and did not note a single correction or issue.

31. GF9 disputes that the TRPG Club translation was of a poor quality, and TRPG Club provided a report stating the adequacy of its translation that was subsequently provided to Wizards, on November 12, 2019.

32. When the translation quality issue was brought to the attention of GF9 and Wizards, GF9 sought direction from Wizards on the action necessary to rectify the alleged translation issue. Although GF9 and TRPG Club disputed that any significant deficiency in the translation was present in the products, GF9 offered to remove the products from the market. However, Wizards directed GF9 to leave the products in the market and to not renew its contract with TRPG Club or submit any additional products for approval.

33. Acting on Wizards direction, GF9 did not take any further action related to the translated products, informed TRPG Club that its contract would not be renewed, and has not submitted any additional TRPG Club products for approval or release.

34. GF9 cured any breach of the 2017 Agreement it may have committed related to the alleged poor translation when it enacted the actions directed by Wizards.

35. Wizards’ breach notice further alleged a breach of the 2017 Agreement by the actions of TRPG Club for customer complaints about damaged books and orders that never arrived. 36. GF9 is aware of very few customer complaints related to TRPG Club produced products all of which occurred in fall 2019 (one year before the breach notice). Customer complaints stem largely from products being damaged in transit. The amount of products for which customers complained is extremely minimal and within the expected threshold of transit damaged products experienced in all other markets (including the US market).

37. GF9 worked with TRPG Club to ensure that each of the customer complaints TRPG Club received were rectified by either providing replacement products or a refund as requested by the respective customer.

38. GF9 and TRPG Club rectified each of the customer issues and therefore no breach exists. Even said breach did occur, it has since been cured.

39. GF9 disputes that it breached the 2017 Agreement due to the alleged actions of BBE in utilizing Wizards’ intellectual property for its own benefit.

40. GF9 does not have an obligation under the 2017 Agreement to prosecute and defend Wizards intellectual property from use by the translation and distribution subcontractors. The 2017 Agreement provides Wizards the sole right to determine whether or not any action shall be taken on account of an intellectual property infringement and GF9 is required to assist Wizards in this defense, if requested to do so.

41. On information and belief, Wizards has not instituted an action against BBE.

42. However, even if GF9 may have some responsibility under the 2017 Agreement for

BBE alleged infringement, BBE did not utilize Wizards’ intellectual property gained through its relationship with GF9. BBE produced and distributed for sale its Heros & Dragons product in the fall of 2016, approximately ten months before it entered into the contract with GF9 to translate and distribute Dungeons & Dragons products. BBE’s Heros & Dragons product utilized text previously translated under a Dungeons & Dragons open gaming license, which permits the Dungeons & Dragons core rules and mechanics of game play to be used by others.

43. Upon information and belief, Wizards was aware of the Heros & Dragons products already in the market prior to GF9’s agreement with BBE to translate and distribute Dungeons & Dragons products in the French market. Wizards approved BBE as the French partner with knowledge that Heroes & Dragons already existed in the market.

44. Under its contract with GF9, when BBE translated the Dungeons & Dragons products, it utilized the same translated text it had previously translated and used in its Heros & Dragons products (i.e. the open gaming license core rules and game play mechanics). BBE did not use intellectual property gained through its contractual relationship with GF9 for its Heros & Dragons products, instead when translating the Dungeons & Dragons products it used translated text it already possessed before the contract with GF9 to expedite the translation process.

45. Upon Wizards informing GF9 of its belief that BBE was utilizing Wizards’ intellectual property in its Heros & Dragons products, GF9 entered into discussions with BBE to terminate the existing translation and distribution agreement between BBE and GF9, to purchase all outstanding stock of Heros & Dragons at GF9’s expense, to pull all existing Heros & Dragons products from the market, and to destroy all product purchased.

46. Agreement between GF9 and BBE was reached to accomplish the above stated objectives, and GF9 informed Wizards of the agreement. After reaching agreement with BBE and informing Wizards, Wizards required that BBE sign an admission of liability indicating that it had improperly utilized Wizards’ intellectual property. BBE refused to sign the admission of liability that Wizards demanded and the deal between GF9 and BBE was not completed.

47. Because BBE refused to sign the admission of liability demanded by Wizards, and upon the request of Wizards, in November 2019, GF9 terminated BBE for breach of its agreements with GF9 for failure to timely pay its royalties. The termination of BBE and settlement of outstanding claims was concluded fully in May 2020, with full agreement on termination and settlement from Wizards. A new French partner was approved and the market became active again in February 2020.

48. GF9 has no control over BBE after termination of its agreement with BBE and therefore, cannot cure any breach that Wizards has alleged relating to BBE’s continued use of intellectual property in BBE’s Heros & Dragons product.

IV. FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION – BREACH OF CONTRACT

49. GF9 incorporates by this reference each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 48 as though fully set forth herein.

50. Wizards and GF9 entered into the 2017 Agreement on February 22, 2017.

51. The 2017 Agreement provides that “...[GF9] will have the right to translate and the exclusive rights to manufacture, publish, market, sell and distribute physical translated versions of the Dungeons & Dragons’ Starter Set, Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual (and at [Wizards’] sole discretion, other Dungeons & Dragons products as provided to [GF9] by [Wizards].” (Emphasis in original).

52. Wizards provided approval to GF9 to translate, manufacture, and distribute in foreign markets certain other Dungeons & Dragons products.

53. After being provided Wizards approval for other products, GF9 and Wizards agreed in the 2020 release schedule to release these previously approved products in certain approved markets.

54. Wizards actions in failing to approve products under the 2017 Agreement, despite the products being included on the mutually agreed upon release schedule, is a breach of the 2017 Agreement.

55. As a direct and proximate result of Wizards’ breach of contract GF9 suffered and will continue to suffer damages in an amount to be proven at trial, and which on information and belief, is in excess of $950,000.00.

V. SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION – BREACH OF IMPLIED DUTY OF GOOD FAITH AND FAIR DEALING

56. GF9 incorporates by this reference each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 55 as though fully set forth herein.

57. The 2017 Agreement between Wizards and GF9 contained an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by and between the parties, which prohibits them from engaging in any activity or conduct that would prevent the other party from receiving the benefit of the contract.

58. Wizards actions in declining to approve products under the 2017 Agreement, despite the products being included on the mutually agreed upon release schedule, is contrary to the established course of dealing between the parties and a breach of Wizards’ duty of good faith and fair dealing.

59. Wizards actions in declining to approve products included on the release schedule deprived GF9 and its translation and distribution subcontractors of the benefit of the contract and had the effect of interfering with and destroying the value of the 2017 Agreement.

60. As a direct and proximate result of Wizards’ breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing GF9 suffered and will continue to suffer damages in an amount to be proven at trial, and which on information and belief, is in excess of $950,000.00.

VI. THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION – DECLARATORY RELIEF AND TEMPORARY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

61. GF9 incorporates by this reference each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 60 as though fully set forth herein.

62. Wizards sent to GF9 a notice of breach on November 9, 2020, alleging breach of contract by GF9 for the actions of its prior translation and distribution subcontractors – TRPG Club and BBE.

63. Wizards’ breach notice states that it will terminate the 2017 Agreement, if the breaches alleged by Wizards are not cured the full satisfaction of Wizards within the respective cure period provided in the 2017 Agreement.

64. Wizards’ accusations are without merit, because (1) Wizards approved for release the TRPG Clubs’ final translation of the product it now alleges to have been poorly translated; (2) TRPG Club’s translation was not of poor quality; (3) GF9 and TRPG Club adequately and appropriately resolved any customer complaints about damaged or incomplete products; (4) GF9 followed the direction of Wizards in leaving the complained of products in the Korean market, not renewing TRPG Club’s contract, and not approving any additional products for release by TRPG Club; (5) GF9 is not responsible under the 2017 Agreement for the alleged improper use of Wizards’ intellectual property by BBE; (6) BBE used open gaming license content (core rules and game play mechanics) that Wizards permitted to be utilized by the public; and (7) BBE’s Heros & Dragons product(s) were published in the fall of 2016, ten months before BBE and GF9 entered into contract for translation and distribution of Dungeons & Dragons products and Wizards knew of the BBE’s Heros & Dragons product and the use of open gaming license content prior to GF9 entering into contract with BBE.

65. GF9 herein seeks a determination by the court that GF9 is not in breach of the 2017 Agreement, such that any termination by Wizards would be wrongful.

66. Absent injunctive relief, GF9 will be irreparably harmed if Wizards is allowed to terminate the 2017 Agreement on the basis of the alleged breach of contract. As such, GF9 herein seeks to enjoin Wizards from terminating the 2017 Agreement based on the alleged breaches in its November 9, 2020 Notice.

67. Under the 2008 and 2017 Agreements, if there is a default and termination under one of them, it automatically causes a default (and likely termination) of the other. As such, Wizards is expected to terminate the 2017 Agreement, based on the meritless reasons set forth in its November 9, 2020 letter, which will then lead to the termination of the 2008 Agreement. The loss of both these Agreements will cause devastating, irreparable harm to GF9.

68. If wrongfully terminated, GF9 will be forced to lay off a significant amount of its work force – as the Dungeons & Dragons products account for a substantial portion of GF9’s yearly revenue. GF9 will suffer significant impacts to its reputation in the industry – with distribution partners to whom GF9 supplies the manufactured products and licensors of other products with whom GF9 currently works and desires to work. Further, GF9’s manufacturing partners with whom GF9 has contracted to manufacture Dungeons & Dragons and other products – will be significantly harmed, as GF9 will be forced to terminate its foreign translation and distribution subcontractors and face legal challenges in numerous jurisdictions worldwide. Finally, GF9 will lose the continued revenue expected to be earned under the 2017 Agreement for the remainder of its term.

69. If Wizards is permitted to terminate the 2017 Agreement, GF9 is required to immediately cease production of any additional products and very shortly thereafter either sell to Wizards the products it has already produced or destroy the entirety of its remaining stock of produced products.

70. If Wizards termination of the 2017 Agreement is allowed to proceed, GF9 will face significant hardships as described above.

VII. PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Gale Force Nine, LLC, having set forth the above fact and having alleged the above first through third causes of action, prays for judgment against Defendant Wizards of the Coast LLC as follows:

1. Judgement for monetary damages against Wizards in an amount to be proven at trial, and which on information and belief, is in excess of $950,000.00;

2. An award of attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by GF9 in prosecuting the foregoing claims against Wizards;

3. For declaratory relief finding that GF9 has not breached the 2017 Agreement for the breaches alleged by Wizards in its November 9, 2020 notice of breach;

4. For permanent injunctive relief restraining Wizards from:

    a. Terminating the 2017 Agreement for the breach of contract alleged in its November 9, 2020 notice of breach;

5. For any other costs, including interest, authorized by law; and 

6. For such other relief as the court may deem just and equitable.

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

 Plaintiff hereby demands a jury trial of all issues in the Complaint that are triable to a jury.

DATED THIS 17th day of November, 2020.

OLES MORRISON RINKER & BAKER LLP

/s/ Eric P. Forner

Thomas R. Krider, WSBA #29490 

Eric P. Former, WSBA #49264


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