Saturday, July 4, 2020

Kickstarter - Path of the Vanished: A 5e & B/X RPG Campaign

Thousands have vanished... do your heroes have what it takes to defeat the mysterious Raiders?

A little background. I've known Bill & Ben Barsh since the first NTRPG Con I attended, Ben, the younger (and taller Barsh) will be contributing to The Tavern and the Tavern Chat podcast later this summer. He also has the best hair in the OSR.

I'm a big fan of settings and campaigns. Rarely do I use them as is, but as a source of inspiration they are priceless. Path of the Vanished is 20 bucks in PDF, 45 in HC Print plus PDF.
Path of the Vanished is a campaign-style adventure that finds the adventurers on the trail of the Raiders. Produced in four distinct sections, the first part of the campaign finds the player characters traversing the ruins of an ancient city, swallowed in darkness, which is sinking into a near impenetrable swamp. Beyond the city, the player characters discover a road leading to massive building looming over a white beach and swaying palms. The building, used by the Raiders, holds a clue that leads the adventurers to the mythical, yet entirely real, floating island city of Sanctuary. Used by pirates, black market merchants, and other undesirables, the island is made of metal and segregated into seven sections. In one of those sections the Raiders have set up base from which their ships terrorize the coasts. However, thousands of people are still missing and the path forward leads to a distant island that is home to crumbling buildings of some ancient race of star-worshipers. Little else is known of the race but their ancestors, or seemingly so, prowl the island in a primal state. For what reason would the Raiders take innocent people to such a place? 
Path of the Vanished is designed for starting characters of approximately third level. It has two rule system options; the Fifth Edition (5E) version of the world's first fantasy role-playing game, and the BX Role Playing Game. The 5E version will take characters from third level to tenth level as the campaign progresses. BX characters will start at approximately third level and will most likely complete the adventure series at sixth or seventh level.
  • 120+ pages of adventure
  • Rules for the 5e or BX RPG rules system
  • Full color interior (art and maps)
  • New magic items
  • New monsters
  • And more pending stretch goals!!

Friday, July 3, 2020

State of The Tavern - The Watchmen, Tavern Chat, YouTube and More

It’s been a busy start to the summer.

Last week I put out an open call for volunteers to work on a town watch / city guard supplement for fantasy themed RPGs. The response has been overwhelming. I’m attempting to pt together a game plan, so if you are waiting for further directions, I am working on it. Slowly, but being worked on.

The Tavern Chat Podcast is on fire. For the month of June, it averaged over 430 downloads per day. A serious thank you to all for spreading the word. It is appreciated. I’ll be opening the door to paid sponsorships on a case by case basis for now. If it is well received I’ll put a more formal policy in effect. Yes, this means you can sponsor an episode or a number of episodes, to advertise your new release, kickstarter project, blog, podcast, YouTube Channel or what not. Think of it as sponsoring public radio but with f-bombs. ;)

Email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing with “Tavern Chat” in the subject for further details.

The Tavern Chat Podcast is also available on YouTube, which should allow for close captioning for those with hearing deficiencies or who simply prefer using YouTube. The link is here: https://www.youtube.com/c/ErikTenkar/

On the blog side, Chris Stogdill has been added as a regular contributor on Sundays. Later this summer, Ian and Rocky from Silver Bulette Publishing will be offering weekly content through The Tavern. We may have further surprises as the summer progresses :)

As always, you support is greatly appreciated - Tenkar

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Kickstarter - Metallic Tome: A Sourcebook for OSR Games

Metallic Tome is a sourcebook for old-school role-playing games; it's inspired by heavy metal music.

Rafael Chandler embodies the spirit of the OSR like few others. I'm thrilled the headbanger has returned to his gaming and musical roots with the Metallic Tome Kickstarter. And to think there are only 3 days left to back it! As little as 10 bucks for the PDF.
Everything that metal bands warned us about in the Eighties has come to pass: 
Pollution chokes our seas, nuclear war has destroyed our cities, and worst of all, guitars are illegal. The fanatical evangelists who run our planet created an army of robotic drones who police us with cyber-technology. Conformity is the law! Surveillance satellites monitor our every move. With no one to stop them, corporations have run wild, developing grotesque mutations that walk the streets, preying upon unsuspecting humans. 
There is only one thing that can save us: METAL. 
As radioactive pegasi soar through blood-red skies, adventurers seek glory in the Suburban Wastes and the Grim Northern Forests. Cyborg dragons bellow on top of shopping malls, and the sky is full of laser pentagrams.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Addressing Accusations Made by Gail Gygax about your Humble Bartender during her Latest Rants

Sadly, today Gail Gygax went off the rails in regards to the Will Luke Gygax recently filed in a Wisconsin Court. Apparently, Gail never filed a will when Gary passed (this was surprising) and Gail is lashing out to defend her source of income - selling Gary’s gaming collection.

In the midst of her often disjointed comments and accusations made about Luke Gygax and his siblings on Facebook yesterday, she laid the following at my feet:

and then this as a follow up:

As I’ve stated in the past, I joked that Gail would trademark the “C” word if she could. This was in reference to Gail trademarking “Gygax” and filing a legal action against the “new” TSR for publishing their gaming magazine under the Gygax name.

I never threatened to throw bricks at Gail during Garycon or at any other time. I am quite sure I made jokes about Gail and her infamous bricks (a bad joke about burning rubber bricks was one of them) that she has been threatening to sell for years - Paul Stromberg will apparently be selling bricks for the Gygax Memorial. I won’t be holding my breath.

I've never been invited to, attended, or paid to attend a VIP dinner or anything similar, at Gary Con or any other convention for that matter. I never gave or paid Gary Con, Luke, or any other Gygax family member or convention staff member $1,000. Hell, Luke and I have never conversed in person.

Oh, and the first sentence is total bullshit too. If a "counselor" thought someone was in danger to be killed and did not refer it to the police, they'd be risking their license. If it was referred to the police and they took no action, it was groundless.

Can I be an asshole? Most assuredly. Have I been a burr in Gail's ass regarding the Gygax Memorial Fund? Guilty. Have I done any of what she accuses me of above? None whatsoever.

Edit: I didn’t want to address this, as I believe Gail is unwell, but there are a number of people on Facebook and elsewhere that believe her accusations without question.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Questions Regarding Gail Gygax and the Gary Gygax Will

One of The Tavern regulars submitted the following questions regarding the Gary Gygax will Gail Gygax is disputing:

1) What does Paul Stormberg have to gain by alienating the Gygax family (minus Gail) by pushing through with these auctions?

2) It is known that Gary owned the original PHB painting and Paul Stormberg the original DMG painting. Where are these paintings now? If they were sold, who was the selling agent? (Rumor is that Australian Banker and TSR collector living in Hong Kong, Matthew Kodor owns both of these items. It is further rumored that he paid in access of $100k apiece for these paintings).

3) When Gary died Wisconsin required probate for all estates of $50k or more. There have been a number of Gygax auctions run by Paul Stormberg on Gail's behalf, was an access of $50k raised?

With the reported numbers on the animation auction running at over $40k it certainly looks like the physical assets of the estate alone (without valuing the IP) was well in excess of $50k.

4) Why does Paul Stormberg feel that these auctions need to be pushed through without pause? Is there a contract, memorandum, or letter of agreement binding him to complete these auctions?

5) If Gail has sold the original PHB painting and other, unique assets can it not be argued that her actions greatly diminish the overall value of the estate? Selling these items prevents the family from ever monetizing these items as well as diminishing Gary's legacy.

Case in point, the animation cells up for auction were hand-selected by Gary, in his very unique role with the D&D cartoon, as items to have and pass down via his estate. There is no finer single collection of animation cells from the cartoon. Is Gail acting in the best interest of the trust, Gary's legacy, or even herself?

6) Paul Stormberg has moved his auctions to his own bidding site, where there is no transparency. What other items might be up for sale that have not yet been discovered? Might this represent a final looting of Gary's estate?

The IP legacy of Gary Gygax has been squandered since his death. The longer the wait for the release of materials based on his IP, the more the value is diminished. Gary's fans are aging, and a majority of them now are in their late 40s and by the 20th anniversary of Gary's death, a large number of them will be in their 60s.

With the changing currents in the gaming industry, what will be left? What reason is there for not having released Gary's materials commercially, while squatting on trademarks and never using them?

Questions to ponder... Tenkar

Monday, June 29, 2020

Tabletop.Events acquired by BoardGameGeek

Full announcement below:

Link to the original post

So many of you helped to bring us back from the brink via the Con of Champions. Thank you! Without your support Tabletop.Events would have gone dark at the end of April.

Con of Champions allowed us to keep Tabletop.Events online, albeit at a severely reduced budget, until the end of 2020. Beyond 2020 though was always still up in the air. So much depends upon what happens with COVID-19 and the rise of virtual conventions.

All along we said we would continue to look for alternative sources of revenue, and we have. We’ve considered over a dozen different options, but found that one option made the most sense. We should hand the reigns of Tabletop.Events over to a larger entity in the tabletop world; someone who has the resources to ensure a very bright future, and BoardGameGeek (BGG) has exactly those means.

Effective immediately, BGG will assume control of Tabletop.Events. However, the Tabletop.Events staff will remain on board helping TTE to grow under new leadership. We will spend the remainder of the year transitioning technology, adding features, fixing bugs, answering questions, and hosting conventions, just like we always planned to do. But with BGG’s support, we can now confidently say that we can continue to do those things into 2021 and beyond as well!

If you run conventions using Tabletop.Events, you can now proceed with your planning knowing that TTE will be here to serve you no matter what.

If you attend conventions using Tabletop.Events, you can sign up knowing that the conventions you attend have a strong and stable platform from which to grow.

Thank you for allowing us to serve you. Thank you for loving what we created. We look forward to serving you far into a very bright future.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Not Erik Story: My 1st Kill (HackMaster 4th Edition PC Kill....I'm not a monster)

Not Erik Story: My 1st Kill (HackMaster 4th Edition PC Kill....I'm not a monster)
I'm still in my computer files trying to locate some older gaming "stuff" of mine and I came across my kill sticker sheet, or at least my old HackMaster 4th Edition kill collection.

HackMaster 4th Edition was kind of adversarial between the GM and the party, but not really. It was more of a "for show" kind of thing that was played up in not only some of the source material, but in the Knights of the Dinner Table comics.

Sure, there were definitely some "Killer GMs"  in the wild, but that really doesn't have squat to do with the game system. The game is crunchy, requires a lot of dice, and can be just as lethal or non-lethal as the next game. I think there was this implanted idea of the adversarial GM more as a tool to keep the players in line. Encumbrance was pretty important, as was not having a PC loaded down with too much magic. Knowing that their PCs could be facing an encumbrance or magic item audit, and the disastrous consequences of failing one......well that helped keep PCs in check and helped with some game balance.....

.....don't even get me started with the player coupons! Part of the joke/not a joke aspect of the game....

I think Jolly Blackburn started the tradition of keeping track of PC deaths with kill stickers on his GM shield. It was his way of rubbing failure in the faces of the rather successful (in general) development team (D-Team) at their weekly game sessions. Eventually he published his system of keeping track. Skull colors denoted perma-death or if the PC was resurrected, while the background told the methodology of demise. Strings of chained skulls meant that multiple PCs died in the same adventure/session, and eventually a couple of symbols were added to show if the death was part of a total party kill (TPK) or death at a tournament. Players would be much more likely to over-extend their PCs at a tournament, which could lead to a TPK. I think eventually most groups would do their best to designate a "sole survivor" just to deny the GM a TPK.

My old kill sticker sheet

I personally added the chicken sticker, based of of Sir Robin's shield in M.......you know, you should get it already......this was to show that somebody "bravely ran away" and quit the adventure just so I couldn't get a TPK. Deny me a kill!!!! I know I later added another symbol to denote a PC purged their honor to avoid a death (like the spineless coward they were!)

This is an older kill shield set because I redid the graphics with a more comical skull, but I doubt I have many more deaths on my most recent set....should I find it.

Color/Text Codes:
White Skull = perma-death
Blue Skull = the PC was resurrected
Red Background = PC was killed by his party (fratricide)
Black Background = Death by monster
White Background = "Miscellaneous" Death
Green Background = Death by Trap
T = Tournament Death
X = Total Party Kill

I wish I could recall the story of each death, but really it's just the 1st one I remember. My brother-in-law was playing with us and he really wasn't into playing RPGs. It was clear it was going to be his first, and last, session. He was playing a bard and it is important to note that one of my other players had a Druid with the cling quirk. It just made sense the Druid would be clingy to the most handsome (HackMaster has a Comeliness stat) and Charismatic PC in the group.

The party had done well figuring out what was stirring up the local goblins and found the evil low-level mage that was using a found wand to lord control over them. Just prior to the BBG (big bad guy, ie. Boss)  battle, when the BBG has a moment to soliloquy, the Bard just walks over and says something to the effect of, "Sounds great, I do hereby pledge my fealty to you..." I sure as hell did not see that one coming. Of course the battle kicks off immediately because the Druid attacks the Bard because, "If I can't have him, then nobody can...."

Ah.....good times. The main party did prevail, killing the Bard, the Mage, and any Goblin foolish enough to stick around....and I got my 1st kill.
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