Saturday, October 10, 2020

Deals of the Day - SURVIVE THIS!! Fantasy - Core Rules AND Sandy Petersen's Field Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors

Today you get not one but TWO Deals of the Day thanks to our fine friends at DriveThruRPG. Alright, technically second pick is being offered via DriveThruFiction but really, OneBookShelf is the parent of both storefronts and they are BOTH excellent RPG resources for the Old School Gamer.

SURVIVE THIS!! Fantasy - Core Rules brings the Survive This! ruleset back to its inspirational beginnings - fantasy gaming. I own the three prior releases (SURVIVE THIS!! Zombies!, a zombie apocalypse horror RPG, SURVIVE THIS!! was then utilized for a 1980s setting in Dark Places & Demogorgons and a street-level superhero setting in Vigilante City) that use the ruleset and I'm thrilled to be adding fantasy to the genre collection. Besides, it has resources that work well with any OSR ruleset.

Normally 9.99 in PDF, until tomorrow morning SURVIVE THIS!! Fantasy is on sale for 4.99

Our second Deal of the Day is Sandy Petersen's Field Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors. I own this in hardcover as Rach bought it for me for my birthday in the summer of 2019. My God, this is pure inspiration for an RPG horror game using any ruleset.

Normally 17.96 in PDF, until tomorrow morning Sandy Petersen's Field Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors is on sale for a mere 5.39

Additional material beyond what you find here at The Tavern and the Tavern Chat Podcast can be found at YouTube.com/ErikTenkar. Subscribe to the Channel to support The Tavern

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Friday, October 9, 2020

Bundle - Mithgarthr 2e (5e Old School)

There's much to say about the Mithgathr RPG. While built off the 5e rules engine, it makes its statement with old school sensibility. Although I am not comfortable, let alone confident enough, to run a 5e RPG session, give me an hour to prep time and I'm pretty sure I could run Mithgarthr. More importantly, I'd WANT to run Mythgarthr. It's dark in all the right places...

Mithgarthr 2e was recently released in PDF and is being offered with a campaign starter in a bundle for 7.49. The rules by themselves are normally 9.99. Seriously, this is good stuff.

Core Book

Enter a rich, original world inspired by Norse and Germanic culture. Explore the dark places where Gooblitts and Dýrverr roam. Battle against the treacherous forces of Chaos led by Orcus and The Thrir. Die horribly at the hands of Greenskins while trying to get rich quick with your friends!

Mithgarthr takes its mechanics from the fifth edition of the world's most popular role-playing game, but molds them against its grim setting. Characters start at zero level with just the skills they have from their mundane profession (of which there are nine to choose from) and a desire to make a better life for themselves. Players may choose from seven races including the murine Ratten and the winged, hawk-like Fjothr. Life is cheap and death comes often, but those adventurers who survive long enough to attain first level have eight iconic classes to choose from. Magic is cast using a point system, and is less common than usual. Monsters have their own magic system, drawing their power from Orcus.

Included in this core rulebook is everything you need to play a campaign in the land of Mithgarthr. Character creation rules, combat, adventuring, equipment, magic, monsters, world and setting information including a completely detailed large city, and also a fully fleshed out town and surrounding area including an introductory adventure to begin your journey into the realm of Mithgarthr!

 The Northderry Mining Guild

The town of Northderry, nestled in the foothills of the Tralaberg Mountains to the west of Riverton, is a picturesque mining community that proudly exports over half of the copper used throughout the entire kingdom of Karak.

Bandrem Ironfinger, from the Northderry Mining Guild, has recently learned of the existence of map which leads to a rich gold vein, and he must have it. If only there were townsfolk willing to take on the mantle of adventurer to retrieve it...

The Northderry Mining Guild is an introductory campaign for the second edition of the Mithgarthr Role-Playing Game that picks up where the adventure in the back of the Mithgarthr rulebook left off, and takes your characters from level 1 up to level 3. Featuring a large, multi-level dungeon main adventure, multiple side-quests, new magic items, and new monsters, this campaign provides many sessions’ worth of adventure to kick off a new second edition Mithgarthian campaign!

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 8, 2020

We'll Be Adding YouTube Videos to The Tavern's Mix Next Week

Yep, The Tavern has a YouTube Channel and it's fairly easy to remember the URL: YouTube.com/ErikTenkar

At the moment its some old videos and a reposting of The Tavern Chat Podcast, but starting next week (or sooner) I'll be adding regular, exclusive material. Games From the Basement, a series of posts here at The Tavern, known for highlighting RPGs and other tabletop games that have been in my collection since the 1980s, will return as a video series. Its a visual thing, so the podcast doesn't work so well, but its also sentimental, which doesn't always convey well with the written word.

Additionally, the initial plan is to record two episodes of the Tavern Chat Podcast each week, live-streamed via YouTube, for real-time feedback and interaction from the viewers. I'll announce days / times shortly. Afterwards, it will then be uploaded to the podcast feed. Additionally, I'd like to move future Fireside Chats / Interviews to a Livestream format. Again, this will allow for more immediate feedback and interaction from the viewers.

So, subscribe to The Tavern's Official YouTube Chanel at YouTube.com/ErikTenkar to never miss an episode.

As we get closer to Christmas, I suspect that OSR Christmas will intersect with The Tavern's YouTube Channel. I heard it from some elf that was talking to this dwarf...

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.

More info here at The Tavern Chat Podcast

Deal of the Day - Willow (S&W Micro Setting)

I prefer small settings to kick a campaign off. They are easier to digest and absorb without worrying about regions hundreds if not thousands of miles away. I guess you could say I like my sandboxes small but expandable.

Willow is a micro setting, a town, and an adventure all rolled into one. Normally 6 bucks in PDF, for the next 24 hours (more or less) Willow is on sale for 4.20.

Willow is a grim backwater micro setting made for the Swords and Wizardry rule system, but can easily be used with other old-school systems or even 5E.

Willow is a town that can be dropped into your campaign setting. Focused on game-able content and being easy to use at the table, It is graphic and art heavy. Structured as a mini hexcrawl, players will have to work together to investigate a mystery to move on from a damp backwater town to bigger, brighter places.

The Setting

Deep in a vast wood, a town called Willow sits beside the Lake of Tears. The lake is framed by weeping willow trees, their vines pouring into the lake’s dark green shores. Willow is not what one would call an upbeat town. The rains here are relentless and the grey skies loom low like a giant cage. Travelers do not linger here long; one night in the Blue Brew Inn is enough to make most jump on the ferry and move on. But recently the ferries have stopped running as something terrible has taken up residence on the river. Meanwhile, the town folk will not talk about the noises echoing up from the staircase that descends below the lake, nor the broken stone circle on the hill at the edge of town. The town's leader, a witch named Morose Morgan, is a recluse and refuses to leave her island.

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 7, 2020

Deal of the Day - Grand History of the Realms (Forgotten Realms - System Neutral)

The Grand History of the Realms is actually a fan-written project that was picked up by WotC because of its high quality.

I've always enjoyed the Forgotten Realms since the early gray boxed set, but the timeline has gotten horribly unwieldy and I'd pretty much given up on following it by the end of the 3.5 era. Grand History of the Realms is something I hadn't seen until now.

Grand History of the Realms is systemless, so no matter which version of the D&D rules you are running with you'll find it to be a handy resource for the Realms. Normally 9.99 in PDF, until tomorrow morning Grand History of the Realms is on sale for 5.99.

All of Toril, and especially Faerûn, is rich in history. As the eons have passed, empires have risen and fallen all around the world. This chronology presents the history of the FORGOTTEN REALMS setting in all its glory. We’ve brought together information from dozens of sources to provide the definitive chronicle. 

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 Anchor, YouTube, or wherever you listen to your podcast collection.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Kickstarter - Maximum HP #4 - Undead for 5e

I've been a reader of Maximum HP since the first issue. Initially written for OSRIC and other OSR systems, Issue #4 delves into 5e. Maybe going forward Lloyd can look at the releases from Art of the Genre and do a hybrid OSR/5e format. Literally the best of all worlds.

Maximum HP #4 is an issue centered on the Undead, a timely topic for the month of October. I've got a soft spot for the undead, and I and Glen Halstrom have talked about doing a Swords & Wizardry monster book for over a year. Any lack of progress on the said theoretical project is my responsibility alone.

You can back the Maximum HP #4 Kickstarter for as little as 5 bucks for the PDF. Print copies are 10 bucks plus shipping.

Full disclosure. I've known Lloyd for years. The first time his work came to my attention was with the Whisper & Venom boxed set Kickstarter where he was the lead artist. His work was great then and he's only gotten better with age ;)

Welcome to issue #004 of MaximumHP - Undead! This project is creating the fourth Maximum HP RPG 'zine with the theme of the Undead. Within its pages you will find adventure, magic, monsters, and more for your 5E game! this is our premiere edition with content for the Fifth Edition of the world's favorite roleplaying game!

 Creatures not living, but not aloud to expire. Haunt, torment, laugh, and cry the souls of the night and the stuff of dreams and night mares arise. Not only in the darkness of the night, but the darkness of our mind do the undead reside.

In this issue we journey into the unsettling world of unnatural things. Don't let your player explore just another crypt with tiresome skeletons and zombies. Bring the unexpected, bring MAXIMUM HP!

Monday, October 5, 2020

D&D Care Bear Errata - 5e Removes Racial Stat Penalties

I will confess. I've never played 5e, but as the rising tide that lifts all ships, I've followed 5e. It's close enough to the OSR rulesets that I can convert adventures and settings if needed.

It was also sold as a balanced RPG system.

I'm guessing that balance is no longer important to the powers that be.


Dungeons & Dragons players will no longer have a negative ability score modifier when building a character of a certain race. Last week, Dungeons & Dragons officially released updated errata for a number of their sourcebooks and adventures. The Volo's Guide to Monsters errata was particularly important in that it removed the negative ability score modifiers for playable kobolds and orcs. While kobolds originally had a -2 modifier to their Strength score, and orcs had a -2 modifier to their Intelligence, the updated rules remove those modifiers entirely from the game. Additionally, the errata also removes the orc's "Menacing" trait with the "Primal Intuition" trait, which grants players proficiency in two of the following options - Animal Handling, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, and Survival.

A few things to note:

This isn't errata, its a rules change not to fix and balance, but to make imaginary "races" politically correct.

So, my Kobold can be as strong as any other race. Same for my orc's intelligence. 

Because, you know, orcs are highly intelligent and Kobolds are amazingly strong - not scrawny in the least.

Are we removing bonuses that were balanced by the penalties? Er, no.

At least orcs are still "menacing", right? Nope.

they’re trying to remove “racially insensitive language” this errata also includes an update to Orc’s inborn “Menacing” has been swapped for Primal Intuition which gives a choice of skill proficiencies

Might as well make all the races the same, with just fluff to differentiate. Shit, WotC might be reading this ;)

Further thoughts on The Tavern Chat Podcast.

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Sunday, October 4, 2020

How do you Treasure?


How do you Treasure?
Last night my bi-weekly online OSR game started off with all the players looking at a massive treasure loot list assembled from the almost four levels (for my Magic-User at least) worth of adventuring.

It was an odd moment for me because while I was pretty content with my character and what I'd earned/had been given, there was a LOT of treasure and the argument could easily be made that I hadn't gotten "my fair share".

Again, since I know some of my group occasionally reads Tavern posts, I need to be clear I was content well before the start of last night's session......it was just a moment where I was able to mentally "pull back" and compare/contrast this group to others I have played with before. There is also the difference in general between a more free-flowing OSR game and a crunchy rules-heavy game like my beloved HackMaster.

.....and no, this isn't a segue to a HackMaster discussion. You're safe today.

My current group is a LOT like every group I've playing in that as we come across magical items the group is quick to initially hand out stuff to those that can make the best use of it during the current adventure. When my 1st level Magic User joined, they handed me a bunch of scrolls, potions, and a few wands right off the bat to make me as useful as possible. Of course I used the scrolls to pad my spellbook where I could, again.....to be useful. As we adventured and came across magic-user "stuff", there was no discussion......it was handed off to my PC, and those items didn't really get added to the treasure list. Now I didn't necessarily consider everything "mine", but I'm sure I can point out a few items that I definitely do.

In previous groups, those quickly-divvied items are usually added to the total loot list and then at the end of the adventure formally awarded to party members. I've seen magic items priced out and factored in to the shares calculations and I've seen them simply counted as "1 item" and the players pick which items they want in some sort of selection process.

Now I think the idea of permanently dividing up magic items at the end of adventure is a good idea IF your group is fluid or if each PC needs to take care of their own affairs. If my Magic User had a homestead to see to, or floated between groups (like if we had a pool of PCs playing together under multiple GMs) then I'd want my share of coins and treasure after each adventure....and "my" loot would be at risk for loss when I'm off doing murder-hobo stuff.

Adding even more crunch you might have an actual party charter that already establishes how treasure is to be divided and has allocations made for party expenses. Usually those things have treasure priced out and then divided into a specific number of shares. If your PC wants an item you'll have to pay for it with coin, either directly or indirectly by having that amount of gold deducted from your award of shares.

There's no wrong way to divide treasure, unless it drives a wedge between players. I've had that happen, but really there were other problems and the division of treasure was just another opportunity to highlight those problems.

Now along the lines of magic items and loot division, I've seen a LOT of difference between players and GMs when it comes to identifying magic items. Now I'm a big fan of not telling the players that an item is magical without being identified, but as a GM....what a total pain in the ass. Give the players a +1 sword and do you want to keep track of that PC missing by one or adding a hidden +1 to damage with that weapon? If there is a secondary effect, what do you tell the players or just describe what they see? Maybe magic items just don't work unless identified? 

That doesn't make sense to me. If it's something obvious, like a +1 Sword that does an extra 1d4 of fire damage, it seems easy enough to just tell the players, unless the fire effect requires some sort of activation. Then I'd tell the players about the +1 and unless the party has the item formally identified, they'll never find out. Ideally the party has a standard operating procedure (SOP) of getting all the treasure spread out and scanned with a Detect Magic spell. Good way of catching hidden magical jewelry, or determining that there is more to that simple +1 Sword.......

Now what I've done in the past as a GM is use a index card system for treasure, but my party liked to divvy up items immediately after each adventure. Each item got a white card with a code on it and a quick description and rough GP value. If the item is magical I have a red note card on standby with that code and the same item description, but there is an additional note as to rough power level and new rough GP value. Lastly there is a similar blue notecard like the red card, but it has the full effects of the item and the official GP value. It's a little more prep work, but not a whole lot and a simple note card file box keeps shit organized.

Anyway, all these thoughts stemmed from an initial look at how my current party handles their treasure. Of course I only have my own experience to go off of, which leads me to ask, how does your group handle treasure?

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