Saturday, March 14, 2020

New - Castle Amber is the 5th Volume In the Goodman Games Original Adventures Reincarnated Line

Somehow I missed the announcement of the 4th volume in the OriginalAdventures Reincarnated Line (The Lost City) - Tenkar

You’ve speculated. You’ve wondered. You’ve waited. Now you get an answer.

Coming this September, Goodman Games will release Original Adventures Reincarnated #5: Castle Amber.

Intended for levels 3 through 7, Castle Amber was the adventure that launched the Mystara campaign setting and was the second adventure for the D&D Expert Set.

Here’s some text from the back cover:

They fled from the far-flung land of Averoigne: the Amber family, a bloodline of wizards and warriors persecuted for their dark sorcery and occult crimes. In their new world, they built a lavish manor for themselves, the fabulous Castle Amber. For a time, the Ambers flourished, their magical and military might having little equal. Then, however, jealousy and murder struck the heart of the family and the Curse of Stephen Amber descended upon the castle like a fell and heavy hand. Now, the Ambers dwell beyond space and time, imprisoned with their monstrously transformed servants and suffering under the family’s dead patriarch’s death-sent doom.

It is into this mad manor that the party awakens, plucked from their homeworld and imprisoned in the heart of Castle Amber. To escape, the heroes must negotiate a path through the insane Amber family home, overcoming the clan’s machinations, dangerous servants, cunning traps, and bizarre phenomena. Only by finding a way to break the Curse of Stephen Amber will the party be able to return home. Failure means a lifetime of imprisonment in Castle Amber, a place where lifetimes can be very short indeed…

Within its pages, you will find high-quality scans of the original first edition adventure module, plus commentary by renowned contemporary game designers and writers. A full fifth edition conversion of the original adventure is included, as well as brand new additional adventure encounters and an expanded Castle Amber.

The 5E translation is an homage to the original module X2: Castle Amber, as converted by Michael Curtis and Tim Wadzinski. The original module was written by beloved game designer Tom Molday in 1981 and partially inspired by the writings of acclaimed weird fiction author Clark Ashton Smith. Both the original module and OAR #5 feature cover artwork by Erol Otus.

This is the perfect old-school “funhouse dungeon” given new life for the fifth edition era. Won’t you please come in? The doors to OAR #5: Castle Amber open up in September.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Your Bartender is Corona Virus 19 Free - Time to Drink... later

Yep, the test results are in and I am Corona Virus 19 free.

Holy shit.

Still have viral & bacterial pneumonia, so expect me to be operating and less than usual energy levels for the near and intermediate future.

NEWS - Gary Con XII CANCELLED Due to the Increased Risks of COVID-19

From the Gary Con website:

As I said yesterday in a post about the public health emergency in Wisconsin, I would be posting an update within the next 24 hours. Gary Con is more than just a gaming convention, it is a celebration of the life and works of my Gary Gygax and his love of gaming.  The spirit that permeates Gary Con is one of close-knit camaraderie.  And it's that intimate atmosphere that has helped us grow so rapidly over the past years as more and more of you bring your friends and family to celebrate with us in the beautiful little resort town of Lake Geneva. As most of you know, this was my birthplace as well as the place where Dungeons & Dragons was created, in my first home on 330 Center Street. 

As I was saying, Gary Con attendees are our larger gaming family. And our highest priority has to be taking care of people and especially our family. The incredible staff, volunteers, and game masters, Gary Con has been proud to host the celebration of Gary’s life with a continued emphasis on creating fun, friendly and high-quality gaming experiences for our attendees. It is with that priority in mind that we have decided, after many hours of internal deliberation and consultation with the Grand Geneva leadership, that we should cancel this year’s event.  We decided that the health and well-being of our gaming family come first. We continued planning and did everything in our power to make Gary Con run as normal, we are convinced that following both government guidance and our own judgment concerning the COVID-19 virus is the best course of action.  I know this is very disappointing to all of you, as it is to us. We have invested hundreds of hours into bringing this celebration to life, and we will not see all of you at the Grand Geneva with smiles on your faces, rolling dice and forging friendships.  That is our real payment for the efforts put in between each Gary Con. We understand that this will impact all of you. You have taken vacation, made travel arrangements, prepared games and are looking forward to seeing your friends.  It also impacts our exhibitors, staff, the entire staff at the Grand Geneva, and the local community. It is not a decision we have made lightly; it is a decision based entirely on keeping people safe and healthy. We all wish that there was a viable option that allowed us to celebrate together as we have for the past 11 years.

The Grand Geneva Resort has been very supportive of our efforts every step of the way, and they continue to be a great partner to us.  They are releasing all rooms today at 7:30 pm without any cancellation fee.  Any reservation fees collected will be refunded and should be credited back to you within about 72 hours.  Anyone that wishes to re-book a room at the Grand for that week will be able to do so by calling the Grand Geneva.  The Gary Con room rates will be honored.

Your patience is appreciated during this time as we finalize the necessary details and logistics of how to go forward. We will have more concrete information by the end of next month. To the greatest extent possible, we currently plan to offer the following for attendees affected:

  • All attendees with a GCXII (2020) badge will receive a discount for GCXIII (2021) badges. We have to assess the financial impacts before we can tell you what the discount percentage will be for 2021.  If you bought this year’s badge via a GM credit, we will rollover your badge credit for GCXIII.
  • Gold, Platinum, and Diamond badge holders will be guaranteed first access to their current badge level. For example, if you were a gold badge this year, you will get priority registration for next year’s gold badges. We have to figure out the best way to do this so bear with us.
  • We will mail swag bags to Gold, Platinum, and Diamond level badge holders if we have an address. We are going to bring in a part of the GC Staff to work over the weekend of March 26-28 to pack and ship the items.  We will use the most economical shipping to do so, so it may be some time before packages arrive.  For this reason, we are asking all attendees to update their badge information on TTE to include their address. To do this, please log into TTE, click your name in the top right corner, scroll to click your badge for Gary Con, then click “Edit” and select “Yes” for sharing private information, then enter your address. If you have trouble with this, please fill out this form instead.
  • We will reimburse those attendees who paid additional funds for events, such as for RPEX.
  • We will get all GCXII swag up on the Bazaar by March 17th. We will have big discounts on Gary Con merchandise, so please make sure to go to the website and shop at the Bazaar.  It’s one of the ways to help us recover from the damage inflicted by the cancellation and you get cool swag.
We also would like to offer some sort of gaming experience for everyone who has the weekend off. This will take place over Virtual Gary Con, an enterprise in its second year. Badges for Virtual Gary Con are separate, but they are free and can be purchased at this link. Every single virtual player and GM will receive a virtual swag pack of materials worth $60+ donated by generous sponsors.

  • If you were scheduled to run events in person and had registered enough events to earn GM rewards, we will be evaluating options to show our appreciation.
  • If you are willing to GM over the free Roll20 platform or another platform of your choice, please look at the Virtual Gary Con getting started guide. We will be releasing a rewards structure for virtual events soon.
  • If you are interested in playing an online game, you can sign up for events at this link.
  • We are currently working with our special guests to see who would be able to run virtual gaming events over the weekend. Please keep your eye on the schedule online to see what becomes available!
  • We understand that running virtual events might be new to many attendees, so we encourage you to use the Gary Con Facebook Group Mentorship tabs, Gary Con forums, and Discord channel to support one another. If you have run virtual events before, please chime in to help others learn. We hope to have more resources up on the Virtual Gary Con TTE page soon as well.

We would also like to acknowledge that Gary Con is not the only entity affected by this decision. We have very generous sponsors and dedicated vendors. If you are planning to make gaming or art-related purchases, please consider supporting our sponsors and vendors as they will be losing significant income with all the cons that are canceling. Additionally, we will not be able to host our auction benefiting Extra Life or the Wounded Warrior Project so please consider making a donation. The Geneva Lake Museum has also just invested significant resources in an exhibit dedicated to Gary Gygax, so please consider supporting them as well.

We thank the Grand Geneva for partnering with us to work through this situation, as well as our sponsors, exhibitors, guests, and attendees.  It is important to understand that the Gary Con team remains committed to this event. With your help, we will be able to return next year to celebrate the life and works of Gary Gygax. We are determined to see Gary Con return, thrive, and run long into the future.


Luke Gygax & the Gary Con Staff

Luke Gygax Statement re: Gary Con and CV-19

Shared on Facebook

Gary Con began as a small gathering of friends and family after my father’s funeral in 2008. What was a few people playing games and swapping stories about my Dad at the American Legion has become something far greater. Gary Con brings all of us together once a year to celebrate the life and works of my father. People from around the globe travel to Lake Geneva to see where it all began. This little resort town was the place where D&D was created and the company TSR was founded- and you can actually go play D&D at my childhood home on 330 Center Street.

The close-knit atmosphere and camaraderie at Gary Con has caused us to grow rapidly over the past few years. Thanks to a dedicated and hardworking staff, lots of volunteers, GM’s and attendees- we’ve gone from a single game day on Saturday (Gary Con I) to one of the fastest-growing and most popular gaming conventions in the country. All the time we’ve remained true to what my Dad always wanted people to understand; There’s always room at the table, that strangers are friends you haven’t made yet, and our family is oftentimes more than just the people we share blood with.

All of us involved with Gary Con are concerned with the spread of the Covid-19. When I posted about it on Saturday night we didn’t know what the next few days would bring. Many of you have expressed a need to forgo coming to the show this year due to concerns and we certainly understand. For many of our international attendees, a trip outside their own country may prove to be difficult to return from. As we said on Saturday night, each attendee must assess their personal situation in regards to attending.

So where are we right now? Currently, we are still assessing the situation and working with the Grand Geneva to determine the way ahead. Our contract with the Grand Geneva is part of our reason to stay the course as canceling the show without a ban on gathering by government authority we can’t cancel without penalties. The penalties would cripple us at best, and quite possibly be the end of the road entirely.

Some of you have mentioned Adepticon, a wargaming miniatures show that takes place the same weekend of Gary Con, announced earlier today they were canceling their show. A key difference between Adepticon and Gary Con is that the state of Illinois has forbidden any gathering of more than 1000 people for the next 30 days. Wisconsin has yet to take that strong of a measure. So the Grand Geneva would be able to sue us if we cancel because Wisconsin hasn’t forbidden the gathering, just recommended against it.

If the state of Wisconsin enacts a policy forbidding a gathering of large numbers of people that then allows both parties in our contract to abide by the “force majeure” language of our contract which then nullifies our agreement due to the action of a higher power. (In this case the state of Wisconsin.)

Please know that all your concerns are being read and weighed in our thoughts on how we are going forward. We have a meeting Friday morning with the senior management of the Grand Geneva. We feel certain that the next 24 hours will see us, partnered with the leadership at the Grand Geneva, making the best decision for our attendees, our volunteers, our family, and the community. We ask you to remain patient as we make our roll for traps check, and find the best path forward.


Luke Gygax

Thursday, March 12, 2020

State of the Tavern Keeper - Released from ICU - Self Isolates awaiting CDC Test Results

I woke up in good spirits this morning, undampened by the soggy waffle I had for breakfast. What can I say, I was hungry.

Just before noon, the doc came into my room, asked a few general questions, listened to my lungs and then mentioned that patients that are asymptomatic and are waiting on CDC testing results for Corona Virus screening are sent home to self isolate while waiting for the results.

Yes, I asked if that meant I was going home. It did and I was.

When I was discharged I saw that in addition to pneumonia - both viral and bacterial, I also had acute sepsis. Phew, bullet dodged.

Tonight (Thursday, March 12, 2020) I'll be hosting a Tavern Chat Hangout on the Tavern's Discord Server at 9PM Eastern. I'm in a very good mood :)

That being said, I am beat to hell. I'll be keeping a light schedule for the next week or two.

Thanks for all of the kind thoughts, good wishes, and prayers. It all helped and is greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

State of The Tavern Keeper - In ER with Pneumonia

Title pretty much says it all.

Left lung. Awaiting results of X-rays and bloodwork.

I’ll post an update when I’m released.

I’ll never mock Con Crud again ;)

Monday, March 9, 2020

News - Free League Signs Deal to Publish RPGs in Tolkien's Middle-Earth

From the Free League website

Free League Publishing today announced a partnership with Sophisticated Games to publish tabletop roleplaying games set in Middle-earth and based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien. Francesco Nepitello, author of the game series alongside Marco Maggi, will continue as its lead designer.

"We are thrilled to be working with Sophisticated Games and Francesco Nepitello to bring to life a new edition of The One Ring and its 5E iteration. We grew up with J.R.R. Tolkien's iconic works and we're huge fans of the original version of the game. We have a very similar approach to game design as Francesco and we're convinced that we can create something truly special together," Free League’s CEO Tomas Härenstam says.

“Free League shares all our values. Values which are vital in interpreting the most extraordinary fantasy world ever created, one that is of enduring interest throughout the world in every language. Working with Free League’s highly talented team we look forward to continuing the work we began a decade ago, with the publication of The One Ring," says Sophisticated Games' MD Robert Hyde.

The agreement will go into effect from June 1, 2020. Products and release dates will be announced at a later time.

For questions and interview requests, please email to pr@frialigan.se

Sunday, March 8, 2020

News - Gary Con & Grand Geneva Actions to Mitigate Risk at GC XII

Taken directly from the Gary Con website as of March 7, 2020.

There is a lot of attention on infectious diseases this cold and flu season, including COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus), and we have addressed several attendees' questions about it.  We wanted to let everyone know publicly how we are working with the Grand Geneva staff to take actions to mitigate the risk of contracting an infectious disease while at the Grand Geneva Resort to celebrate Gary Con. 

We are currently acting based on information from the CDC as found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html 

The CDC makes the following recommendations that are good guidelines for everyone, including attendees, staff, and volunteers at Gary Con.

  • It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and the CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed. Please read these carefully and follow them.  These are relatively simple and believed to be the best defense against infectious diseases.  Good hygiene and proper hand washing are a must. 
  • Individuals and communities should familiarize themselves with recommendations to protect themselves and their communities from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like coronavirus disease 2019.
  • Older people and people with severe chronic conditions should take special precautions because they are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.
  • If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure.

In addition to those guidelines, Gary Con asks:

  • If you are exhibiting flu-like symptoms, and especially the two main, known symptoms of COVID-19, a high fever, and a dry cough, that you stay home. It is important that you not expose others to the risk of getting sick because you decided to disregard their health and safety.
  • If you live in a community where Coronavirus cases have been documented and you may have been exposed to it, we would ask you to weigh your attendance vs. possibly exposing other attendees. Be aware that people infected with the Coronavirus can be contagious with no external symptoms for an extended period of time. 
  • If you suffer from chronic conditions, possess a compromised immune system, are recovering from a major illness or hospitalization or have respiratory issues we urge you to consult with your medical provider before deciding to attend Gary Con. If you are in a higher risk category please strongly consider staying home this year.  

While attending Gary Con XII we encourage attendees to minimize physical contact with other attendees. (Shaking hands, hugs, etc.) A simple wave is a good way to greet fellow Seekers!

Please be prepared! Attendees should bring appropriate amounts of hand sanitizer, germ-killing wipes and similar materials for their unique and individual needs. Gary Con has purchased hand sanitizer for the staff and volunteers, as well as several hundred travel size bottles for Guests and GMs.  There is a high demand for hand sanitizer at retail outlets and many are sold out.  So once again it is wise to bring a sufficient personal supply to last you all four days. The steps being taken by Gary Con in partnership with the Grand Geneva are outlined below.

Attendees exhibiting flu-like symptoms may be asked to leave Gary Con if they are not taking reasonable steps to protect others such as wearing a mask to contain their cough. 

When the Coronavirus outbreak first became news, we began working on an action plan with the Grand Geneva to come up with a plan. Below is a statement from The Grand Geneva to Gary Con.

Due to the recent issues surrounding the Coronavirus, as a precaution, we have introduced enhanced prevention measures and cleaning protocols to ensure the highest safety standards. Our actions are consistent with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), best practices within the hospitality industry and our Corporate risk management team.

The CDC continues to emphasize that, at this time, the Coronavirus poses a low risk of exposure to most people in the U.S. The well-being of our guests and associates is a top priority. While we don’t foresee any issues with Gary Con, we are monitoring the situation very closely and are prepared to take additional steps as new information and best practices emerge.

Steps we have taken to date:
• Educated our managers and associates per guidelines and information provided by the
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which included:
 What You Need to Know About Coronavirus
 What to Do if You Are Sick with Coronavirus
 Stop The Spread of Germs
 Symptoms of Coronavirus

Contained within this information are reminders for associates on proper hand hygiene,
what the symptoms look like, to stay home if sick and the importance of properly
cleaning high-touch surfaces.

To support the communication of the above information, posters have been placed in all
associate areas.
• Enhanced hotel cleaning guidelines specific to Coronavirus have been created by our
partners at Ecolab which is being used to retrain staff. This includes increasing frequency
with which public areas are cleaned.
• Associates are being retrained on the proper use of personal protective equipment to
include gloves, goggles, and masks.
• Antibacterial soap has been provided in all public area bathrooms and associate locker
rooms and hand sanitizer stations have been placed in public areas.

We hope that the above measures address any concerns regarding the proper handling of the Coronavirus.

Gary Con is about family, friends and fellow game aficionados coming together to celebrate the life and works of Gary Gygax. By taking these reasonable steps we feel confident that Gary Con XII will be a great experience for everyone! We look forward to welcoming you to Gary Con in Lake Geneva in just a few days from now.
Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

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