Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Kickstarter: Next Level Miniatures: Dragon's Hoard Miniatures Vol. 1



Not to be the one that is a negative ninny, but miniatures and Frog God Games do not go well together. Not due to any fault of Frog God Games, mind you, just a general statement based on past experience.

One should also note that I swim in the Frog God Pond, and wrote Swords & Wizardry Light for the Frogs. The simple truth, for good or ill.

Next Level Miniatures has launched a licensed Kickstarter to release miniatures from the Rappan Athuk IP of Frog God Games: Next Level Miniatures: Dragon's Hoard Miniatures Vol. 1

I'd love to copy and paste the details, but the Kickstarter as presented does not allow such, thus I give you the following screenshot: 


40 bucks get you 30 minis plus the unlocked stretch goals. Not a bad deal.

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Monday, August 30, 2021

Humble Bundle - Audio Drama Bundle - Fantasy and Science Fiction

Back in the Way Back, before retirement, when I had a daily commute of 30-45 minutes in each direction, I found myself listening to podcasts and audiobooks / audio dramas. It kept me from listening to the oh-so-many commercials on terrestrial radio, and it kept me clueless to the events of the day, allowing me to commute in blissful peace. 

I'm retired now, and my commute is from bed to my desk and back again, so I don't listen to nearly as many podcasts or audiobooks / audio dramas as I used to, but I always find the theatre of the mind's eye to be more vivid than any movie or even a binge-worthy on-demand series. 

The Audio Drama Bundle - Fantasy and Science Fiction, currently being offered on Humble Bundle would have been my commuting delight. 22 audio dramas for 18 bucks, or get 3 for as little as a buck. 

I'm in for the full boat at 18, because even if I no longer have commutes, I do have dog walks, and escapism isn't limited to the driver's seat ;)



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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Some Thoughts on Alignment in RPGs

Some Thoughts on Alignment in RPGs
(Special Note: I'm going to assume that my ramblings will come off as a product pitch, at least to someone, but said product is a PWYW item at DTRPG, so if you're interested just get it for free and we'll be good.)

Lately I've been thinking about the concept of alignment in RPGs, and my opinion is quickly coming to the conclusion that the concept generally sucks. Nothing is going to truly work because it is not just an abstraction, but an abstraction that doesn't necessarily fit in well with not just other abstractions, but also the motivations (and mechanizations) of the players sitting around the table.

In general.....I don't think alignment matters too much to the average player or PC, and the more generic things are, the easier it is to incorporate, which is just common sense. The gambit of RPG alignment systems run from the simple duality of Law vs. Chaos to the more complex nine-position matrix of Law/Chaos and Goodness/Neutrality/Evil. In a lot of games, at least from my experience, a PC's alignment doesn't matter much unless you happen to find an intelligent weapon of opposing alignment or you want to play a Paladin, or the like.

I have also played (I know, bear with me) games of HackMaster where alignment needed to be "accurately" played or there would be penalties. In HackMaster 4th edition there was a huge, rather crunchy, chart of actions and bonuses/penalties (experience IIRC) based on alignments. In the games I participated in (played, ran, watched) that chart did help bring alignment as a driving force for some in-game actions. Problem was that these "actions" tended to just become Standard Operating Procedures for HackMaster PCs.

Now the newer version of HackMaster is a little simpler, and honestly I dig it.....but clearly I'm biased. As part of the Honor mechanic the GM gets to essentially rate the PC's adherence to alignment, without specifically listing actions that reinforce alignments. It's a judgement call from the GM, which might be an issue in and of itself.

My biggest problem with alignment is that just about ANY system is inherently flawed because I think the primary axis of alignment is one of order/selflessness and chaos/selfishness, and while you could argue that some "chaotic or evil" PCs only align with a party to further their own agenda, I also think that's pretty much bullshit. The simple fact that in-game we assemble as a group to "adventure" or "murderhobo" tends to skew everything towards the order/law/selflessness side of things.

"Well what about orcs? They're chaotic but they still organize...are you saying they are now lawful or selfless?"

Yes. In BX they are Chaotic and in later editions Lawful Evil, so that fits. I wouldn't really think of orcs as selfless, but in order to have any type of society there has to be a level of order & selflessness.

No, the real problem with alignments, as I see it, is that we naturally conclude that we are able to deduce a PC's alignments from the actions of said PCs, which is a judgement call to begin with, when really the alignment should be a motivation for actions, which is not only another judgment call, but an internalized one (to the player). So what we end up with is one judgment call on top of another. That is the recipe for problems. I really don't want to have to have a motivations discussion at the table.

I don't expect you readers to remember, but there was this time a while back where my Lawful Magic-User cold-cocked one of the party thieves in the face and almost killed him. On the surface it could easily have been seen as a Chaotic/Evil/Selfish act. I'd argue it was the exact opposite as it not only seemed like a logical thing to do, if unexpected...but the unexpectedness was an important factor, but actually a Good act and definitely Selfless since the penalty for failure could well have been my PCs death. The thing is I sure AF didn't want to have a long debate at the game table about motivations, so I posted about it here instead....

So wtf do we do about alignments?

From a role-playing perspective I do think there is a place for alignments and I think it is important, but how important....that is open for debate. You'd think that for PCs like Paladins alignment is über-important, but I'm starting to be of the opinion of not really. I still think Paladins should be "good" but what really matters is how they adhere to their deity's desires & spheres of influence.

As a (well, it has been a while) GM I just don't get too worked up about PC's alignments. One thing I do not do is make a player decide their PCs alignment for at least their 1st level. Let them play the PC for a level and then see what fits based on how they internalized that PC's. Now if the character's class requires a specific alignment I'll give the player a bit of a pass for the first level and guide a bit here & there as to my interpretation of their interpretation, based on the PCs actions.

I'm also going to assume that all PCs are generally good-lawful aligned and that chaotic or evil PCs are "relatively" chaotic or evil. Instead of a hard and fast interpretation to some moral absolutes, it's a relative position to a societal norm. Hell, if you came from a society where back-stabbing and buddy-fucking to get ahead was the expected norm and you were selfless and caring, wouldn't any "good" actions be relatively "evil"? Just a thought to stick with you there.....

Now personally, when I play NPCs as a GM I use a d30 Personality Generator that I created. I don't really have to think too hard about it, just try to use these personality traits as the motivating factors on how to run the NPC. I haven't tried to use this for running my PC...yet.

My d30 table is really just a partial answer, for me at least, to the underlying alignment problem. I think that the real answer is largely dropping alignment altogether. Keep it as a thing, I guess, but deemphasize it to something that only matters to the player. For those things that matter, like the Paladin, make it applicable to adherence to societal norms or specific behaviors, like a defined code. Drop the judgement call on top of judgement call and reduce it to a selection of desired actions, not too unlike how HackMaster 4th edition did things.....but only for these rare PCs. I don't find it terrible, or even unexpected, if a Paladin follows some specific role-playing guidance to the point where it seems more like a SOP.

The only other alignment-based consideration I can think of is the aligned intelligent weapons, or loot that changes alignment. In those cases, just assign some of the aforementioned personality traits. Instead of (assuming your RPG system makes this a thing) having a diametrically opposed alignment weapon do damage when held, have it strike out against the wielder the first time the PC wielding/carrying it performs an action opposed to its personality.  A "Lawful Good" PC wielding a "Friendly, Witty & Cerebral" Longsword says something crude, mean, and low-brow to someone else....oh yeah, he's getting a smack from that sword, or a magical shock for 1d6...something to show displeasure.

Just my 2 cp.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Deal of the Day - Alone Against the Dark (CoC Solo Adventure)

If ever there was a game designed for solo play, it is Call of Cthulhu. I hear some of you disagreeing most vehemently, but in my experience, character death and solo adventures go hand in hand. Character death (and insanity) also go hand in hand with Call of Cthulhu. You see, there's symmetry ;)

Alone Against the Dark is a classic solo adventure for CoC written by Matthew Costello and updated for use with the 7th edition of the Call of Cthulhu rules (and the adventure is hyperlinked - woot!). Originally 6.95, Alone Against the Dark is currently on sale for 2.78.

While the adventure calls for the full 7th edition Call of Cthulhu ruleset, I do believe the Call of Cthulhu Starter Set should suffice, and it is an amazing value at 24.99 at Amazon. The Call of Cthulhu Starter Set is also on sale in PDF at DTRPG for 7.59.

Oh, and if you just want to kick the tires for free, grab the CoC 7th Edition Quickstart rules and the free CoC solo Alone Against the Flames. You won't regret it.

A solo play Call of Cthulhu mini campaign. No Keeper is needed as you guide yourself through the adventure.

Alone Against The Dark is an adventure for one player, set in the fall of 1931. Your goal is to solve strange disappearances and to forestall a calamity about to beset the world. You will journey from New York City to Greece, Egypt, Germany, and Antarctica.

Inside a Pyramid

Beginning with the theft of a priceless relic, four friends are drawn one by one into a dark web of mystery and horror. As the darkness grows, only you can hold out against the dying of the light. The fate of the world is in your hands.

As Louis Grunewald, a quiet linguistics professor from the Miskatonic University, you will confound the forces of darkness before time runs out—but should Professor Grunewald be eliminated for some reason, you can successively assume the identity of a new investigator. There are four ready-made investigators provided for this purpose, enabling you to take on differing roles as circumstances change in your search for the truth: Louis Grunewald, a linguistics professor from the Miskatonic University, Lydia Lau, a story-seeking reporter for the New York Sun, Devon Wilson, a sailor on leave from the US Navy, and Ernest Holt, a wealthy industrialist.

This adventure is guaranteed dangerous. But, no matter how skillfully you avoid death or madness, your investigators will fail if they do not prevent the turning of the world and the freeing of the City of the Old Ones from the ice.

Armed with a copy of the Call of Cthulhu Keepers Rulebook, a pencil, and some roleplaying dice you are all set for the twists and turns of this epic world spanning adventure. Sit back, get comfy, and prepare to be Alone Against The Dark!

First released over thirty years ago, this new edition has been completely revised and updated for Call of Cthulhu 7th edition, with new illustrations and player aids.

 

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Friday, August 27, 2021

Deal of the Day - Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome


The essential old-school game of fantastic adventure, monsters, and magic!

All of the cool kids are talking about Old School Essentials. Well, maybe all of the cool "gamer" kids. And in truth, they aren't kids, and many are likely grognards, and as such, it is quite possible they already own OSE. But in the off chance that YOU do not, and by not owning you potentially could miss out on being a "cool grognard", I'm happy to post that the Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy: Rules Tome is today's Deal of the Day at 8 bucks in PDF (normally clocking in at 20) for the next 12 hours or so as I post this.

A Complete Game All in One Book

  • This book contains everything a referee needs: the complete game rules, full guidelines for creating and running adventures, 7 fantastic character classes, full equipment lists, over 100 classic spells, over 200 fearsome monsters, and over 150 wondrous magic items.
  • Simple rules let imagination and fast-paced action take the spotlight.
  • Clear, modern presentation makes the game easy to learn and quick to reference.
  • Compatible with decades of classic adventures and supplements.

 

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

Thursday, August 26, 2021

We Will Be Losing Doug Rhea - NTRPG Con

Mike (Bad Mike) Badolato posted the following on the NTRPG Con Facebook page.

I have been talking to Doug this week, he had to go back into the hospital briefly due to some issues with his liver. Unfortunately, the issues are ones that cannot be fixed. He's going back home today for hospice care, and now that we have a final timeline Doug was pretty upbeat and talked to Gary and I a lot about what is coming next.  The cancer spread to his liver, and at this point there is nothing that can be done to prolong his life. His attitude was upbeat and we had a lot of laughs on the phone. Doug is the toughest guy I've ever known and he beat this for four years.  I'm going to try to spend as much time as he has left with him the next few weeks at his house. At his home he'll get end of life care from a nurse and be surrounded by family and friends, much better than being in the hospital. 

The con is going to continue and it's going to be a living memorial to Doug and all he's done for others and all he's stood for in the years I've known him. The con was and is very important to him so that's why I mention it here and rest assured we are going to do his memory right in the future, with the help of all of you guys. I told him everything is in good hands. 

If you wanted to talk to Doug, I'm going to see if Gary and he can set up the Zoom on his computer so you can pop in during certain times. I talked to him a few times over the past few weeks using Zoom and it worked really well. I know he'd like to hear from many of you in the next few weeks, so we'll let you know when this is set up.


 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Kickstarter - J. Halk Games Presents: The World of Durmin (OSRIC)


The World of Durmin: A campaign setting for Old-School Roleplaying Games

Consider this a weakness of mine, my Achilles Heel, if you will, but I love fantasy settings. Sure, the plethora of settings was probably the downfall of 2nd Edition, but damn they put out some fun stuff. I don't even play the DCC RPG these days, but I certainly back every setting they Kickstart.

The World of Durmin is a Kickstarter for a boxed setting using the OSRIC rules, and it looks to be hitting many of the notes I like to see in the settings I enjoy. A familiar ruleset - OSRIC - essentially 1st Edition presented with modern sensibilities. New classes, something I always enjoy (even if I may not let them in my own campaign). New playable races (again, I may not use them as such, but having the option to do so in this setting, or ported to another setting, is excellent). New equipment. New monsters. Simply put, even if I never use the setting "as written", there is much I can use.

Oh, and it comes in a box. Just like my settings of old, and my DCC RPG settings of new.

50 bucks get you the core boxed set of the World of Durmin. I'm actually backing for 100, because I like bells and whistles, and there is simply never too much content when it comes to a setting. Even if I may never use 90% of it. I'm talking about nearly every setting I own ;)



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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Humble Bundle - Mutant Chronicles (Core Rules for a Buck)

This is going to be short and to the point. I've never played, let alone read, Mutant Chronicles. For a buck, I will be able to say I own the core rules in PDF and if nothing else I'll read the quickstart rules.

If I like what I see in the Mutant Chronicles Humble Bundle's lowest entry point, I'll return and buy in at a higher dollar value, but a single dollar is certainly an amount I can afford to risk on an RPG I haven't played before.

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

Monday, August 23, 2021

Kickstarter - Marmoreal Tomb Update - 5 Weeks of Content Updates in the Bag


Great news for backers of Ernest Gary Gygax Jr.'s Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter Kickstarter. Benoist has turned in the fifth straight week of stretch goal updates.

To be honest, I didn't expect this, and I'm thrilled and joyed to be proven wrong.

UPDATE #105

Backers only

Marmoreal Tomb Update

Stephen Chenault Collaborator

August 23, 2021

Greetings from the Dens!

        My apologies for missing last week's update.  The Castles and Crusades Castle Keepers Guide refused to ship to backers so we had to beat it into submission and get all those out the the door. Now that that is done...

         Benoist did turn over Chapter 3 last week and Chapter 4 has been turned over this week. So he remains on schedule. 

          All very good news! Let us hope it continues.

Thank you all!

Steve & the Troll Lords


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

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Playing a Little Different Fantasy Game....

 

Playing a Little Different Fantasy Game....
I'm fortunate enough to be back at my old job and in position to be looking to my purchase "my" first home. Sure, I've had a house before, but my ex-wife was involved in the home choice & subsequent design/decoration decisions. This time round it's all me...

Now my "needs" in a new (to me) home are pretty simple: good A/C, decent kitchen, and I'd like a two car garage. As far as add-on wants go I'd prefer a single-level with decent storage.

That's about it. I don't care if I have a bog master bedroom with an attached bathroom, or a specific number of bedrooms/bathrooms. Me & my three cats can get along with whatever works.

Now not on my list, pretty much because I'm going to have one regardless is I want a bonafide game room. If I convert a bedroom, great...but a lot of the houses in the price range I'm looking at come with either a decent master bedroom and/or a "second living area". 

I'm still waiting for my loan pre-approval process to be wrapped up so actually looking at homes, even online, is more a fantasy than anything.....but hey, most of us play Fantasy RPGs anyway, so I can fully enjoy the fantasy of not just getting a new home, but building out my dream game room.....

So here I am brainstorming everything I want in a game room. I think I'd prefer a space I could block off from the rest of the house if need be (ie, keep the cats out) but if there was a larger second living room/area, the space might be too tempting. Ideally though, I'd try to make the space a bit multi-purpose. I'm thinking having the walls lined with shorter bookshelves to serve as a library and one wall serving as my computer station. If I could work in my future retro-game big-screen setup, even better. The game table has to dominate the center of the room, and I really want a big-assed digital tabletop.

The bookcases will be shorter so I can hang all my RPG art around the room, and I have to figure out where my minis and terrain will go, maybe in a custom pedestal base for the game table?

My paint booth for terrain & minis, as well as all my hobby supplies will be in another room/space 'cause I don't want to gunk up my gaming space with supplies.

Hmm....time to start poking around on Zillow again....

Anyway, assuming you get to choose/build out your own at-home gaming space, what do you have to have?  

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Bundle of Holding - Metamorphosis Alpha 1e

There is a game that is widely regarded as the first fantastical/scifi/post-apoc game, and that game is Metamorphosis Alpha.

Adventurer! This Metamorphosis Alpha Bundle from Goodman Games features the vintage 1976 First Edition of Metamorphosis Alpha, the tabletop roleplaying game created by James M. Ward of mutants and monstrosities on a colossal generation starship. In 2290 humanity launched its first colonization ship, the Warden. A radiation storm in deep space struck and crippled the gigantic starship. The ship's human crew died -- the few survivors mutated and formed primitive civilizations -- tribes struggled against a world they could not comprehend. Generations later, as a human, mutant, or robot on the Warden, you fight to survive, unaware even that your irradiated world is a spaceship. Can you uncover the secrets of the Warden and steer it back on course, or will you simply try to live another day?

Yep. Before Gamma World, before Giantlands, James Ward created Metamorphosis Alpha. The First Edition of MA is like a snapshot in time, a waypoint in gaming history, and something that every old-school gamer should read at some point.

For 9.95 the Metamorphosis Alpha Bundle snags you Metamorphosis Alpha 1E, 3 Metamorphosis Alpha sourcebooks, and Death Ziggurat & Warden Adventures.

For approximately 26 bucks, you can add in Doom on the Warden, Epsilon City, and 4 Warden adventures.


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

Friday, August 20, 2021

Kickstarter - The Complete Folio Black Label Collection (1e&5e)

If you are a regular reader of The Tavern, you'll know that I am a huge fan of Scott Taylor's The Folio series of adventures. Strong stories, amazing art, and high production quality mean you should expect to get your money's worth. Did I mention that Scott is very skilled at fulfilling on time, a rarity amongst Kickstarter creators it often seems.

Folio Black Label has been a series for The Folio with darker themes. The Complete Folio Black Label Hardcover is an orange spined book containing the original six adventures in The Folio Black Series statted for AD&D 1e and D&D 5e rule systems.

The Complete Folio Black Label Collection is available in PDF for 10 bucks, or in print plus PDF for 40 bucks. A bargain in either case.

What is within these pages? This book will contain two complete adventure trilogy campaigns in both 2D ‘blue’ hex maps, as well as full 3D  artistic rendering, and is complete with 6 full size modules. You will find new monsters, deadly  NPCs, and all manner of dungeon crawling wickedness, all for lower level characters, and rendered mechanically in both 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons and classic Advanced Dungeons & Dragons formats.

Who’s it for? ALL gamers, both new gamers and   old school gamers as it is easily expandable or playable as is,  although the design itself is a low to middle level campaign for experience  player characters levels 3 to 5. Each trilogy introduces the characters to a new 'micro-setting' adaptable to most sandbox worlds, and gives the characters good opportunities to explore and dungeon delve. The base mechanic will be for 1st Edition with 5th Edition stat blocks in grey.

 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 affiliate programs that support The Tavern. 

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

Thursday, August 19, 2021

TSR3 Abandons "Blackmoor" Trademark After Publication

About once a week or so, I check on the status of the various trademarks TSR3 has filed for. The abandonment of the Blackmoor trademark caught me by surprise, and I can't for the life of me, think of a single reason why it would be abandoned after publication unless there was pressure from WotC/Hasbro. Filing for a trademark has an associated cost, and once you've hit the publication step, you've sunk your cost and approval is all you are waiting for.

It's kinda like making your way through a dungeon, defeating the BBEG, then walking away from the treasure.

Anyone else interested in filing for a trademark they can later abandon? Blackmoor is up for grabs...

https://www.trademarkelite.com/trademark/trademark-detail/90276510/BLACKMOOR



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



Wednesday, August 18, 2021

GoFundMe for Steve Perrin's Wife's Medical Expenses - The Tavern Will Match the First $250 Raised by The Tavern's Community

It was brought to my attention that Steve Perrin had started a GoFundMe for his wife's medical expenses for at-home hospice care. Steve passed last week, and I suspect his wife will need more support than was initially planned for.

As such, The Tavern will match up to the first $250 raised by The Tavern's community. All you need to do is mention the amount you donated and under what name/handle. You can post it as a comment here, on the YouTube video linked below, or if you wish to do so in private, you can email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing with "Steve Perrin" in the subject line.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/care-for-the-phoenix

If you can't afford to give, and many can't, spreading the word is just as valuable.

My wife Luise Perenne, known as Luise of the Phoenix in the early days of the SCA, an artist in both dance and illustration, is going into hospice care after a very close call from a heart attack and pneumonia. She is extremely weak and at age 76 needs more help than I (at age 74) can provide. She starts hospice care at home on Monday. We need a caretaker to come in a couple of hours a day to help Luise, take care of her personal needs, and so forth. The usual charge is $25.00 an hour. Assuming 2 hours a day for a caretaker,  that's $1500 a 30-day month, and I am  asking for more  to cover extra time or other emergencies.  After the 1st month we will have a better idea of what is needed and I will do another GFM. 

Offers to physically help from local friends are always appreciated.

        Steve Perrin 



Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Caravan! Reviewish - A Boardgame/5e Hack That is Less than the Sum of It's Parts

"This RPG hex crawl/ board game hybrid is compatible with the 5E fantasy rule set—and can be adapted to other game systems with a little conversion."

What does the above sentence actually mean? 

Well, for one thing, Caravan! is NOT a hex crawl as any old-school gamer would describe it, as there are no decisions to be made about choosing a direction or a hex to explore. Instead, you roll 2d6 and go around the board, and land on a square hex.

Start: Play Starts at the Gull’s Nest hex. Your mercenaries now leave the town, guarding these precious resources as you bring them to foreign markets. Let the first mercenary roll 2d6 to move.

Below is a sample of said board (1/8th of the board to be exact).

So yeah, definitely not a hex crawl. Certainly, a board game that uses D&D 5e as its engine.

What about the conversion to other systems, like more classic editions of D&D and its clones?

Here's the issue - many of these "hexes" require skill checks. I simply don't see it converting well to a simpler ruleset without some heavy-handed finagling. 

Below are some possibilities if you "land" on the Port of Gull's Nest.
5.) Adventure! The Temple of Neptus (God of the Sea) asks characters to assist with the destruction of marine ghouls prowling the sedges by the old Fishery. Under the shadow of night, the party mercenaries encounter 2–5 (d4+1) marine ghouls. If defeated, the group gains experience points and a 2% chance to find a Magical Armament (see Appendix A).

6.) Huge Banana Cargo Load! “What are you going to do with all of these bananas?” Drop off Cargo before landing on or passing Gulls Nest a subsequent time (before the bananas rot) and gain 100 gold coins in banana sales! If a mercenary has Brewer’s Tools or Alchemist’s Tools, a DC 12 (using Intelligence as the ability) can turn a portion of the bananas into rum, tripling the reward to 300 gold coins.

Here is a sample of other squares hexes on the board:

Brutal Winds: Great winds blow the caravan apart! Make a DC 15 Group Check, using each member’s best ability from the following: Strength, Wisdom (Survival), or Intelligence (Nature). Failure causes the group to be knocked back d6 squares. 

Caves of Dor: d6 giant hyenas attack from 30’– 60’ away (d4 x 10’ + 20’). Upon defeat of these beasts, roll d100. 2% chance of a magical armament (see Appendix A) discovered in their bone-strewn lair.

Desolate Canyons: Party is stranded here until an Intelligence (Nature) or Wisdom (Survival) DC 15 is rolled. Three fails brings an attacking harpy. 

Foreboding Mountains: Party is stranded here until an Intelligence (Nature) or Wisdom (Survival) DC 15 is rolled. Three failures bring d4 dire wolves. 2% chance of finding a magical armament (see Appendix A), lying on the altar of a hidden Elder Gods’ shrine.

Then, of course, there are the conversion notes for other systems:

Caravan! may be used with other rule sets and game systems, with a little bit of conversion. For example, let’s say we wanted to run Caravan! for the old-school B/X game system. Here are a few suggestions and changes:

Skills: Players must roll their ability score or less on a d20. See the following modifications:

  • If the DC is 10, give the player a -5 bonus on the d20 roll.
  • If the DC is 15, let the player roll with no bonus or penalty.
  • If the DC is 20, give the player a +5 penalty on the d20 roll.
  • If the DC is 25, give the player a +10 penalty to the d20 roll.
  • A roll of 20 is always successful and a roll of 1 always fails.

That's it. I guess it works, but the text refers to advantage/disadvantage, a concept foreign to many old-school gamers and not explained.

Would this work as a board game? I guess so, but as a DM I'd never allow my players to level up their PCs using what is essentially a board game. 

It likely could be run as a solo diversion, but its replayability would be minimal, and the price ($15) is beyond excessive in my opinion. Priced at 5 bucks, it could be an acceptable diversion for a night when you are missing some players and yet what remains of the group still wants to roll some "D&D Dice" and kill things and take their stuff. Just so long as it was understood that nothing that happened would actually carry over to the regular campaign, as this is, quite literally a board game. If the hexes were drawn as squares, one wouldn't even be able to make the illusionary claim it was a hex-crawl.

As a final note, there is this quote from page 4:

EXPANDING THE HEX CRAWL: There is no wandering off the board. Yes, this is a role-playing game, but if your players decide they want to explore the deepest reaches of the Jildaan Verge, discover the abominations slumbering deep in the Foreboding Mountains, or raid the Lighthouse Mage’s tower in Gull’s Nest, you can take note of this, perhaps incorporating these elements into your personal RPG campaign in the future; for the nonce, however, your players are engaged in a more-structured adventure. Think of board movement as an old school hex crawl, with pre-set encounters. (emphasis mine)

This is NOT how an old-school hex crawl is run, and one certainly does not roll 2d6 to determine your next random hex. It is, however, an attempt to hit some notes of old-school nostalgia, without actually including any old school in the mix.

I can't recommend Caravan! at its current pricing. Despite its claims otherwise, it is a board game masquerading as an RPG product, and it doesn't seem like it has a grasp of its own identity. I know I don't.

Aside from that, having playtesters and design staff writing reviews and glowing commentary is simply distasteful, and for that alone, I'd likely recommend folks avoid the product unless some honest playtests are posted by neutral parties. At 15 bucks, I expect those to be few and far between.

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



 

Monday, August 16, 2021

"Unofficial" MYSTARA Player's Guide Released - Grab it While You Can

Yep, the Unofficial release of the Mystara Player's Guide has hit the web. No, it's not over at the DM's Guild. Instead, it's at: https://rpgmp3.com/mystara-players-guide/

Grab it while you can, as it may not be in the wild for long.

(originally shared by TheGlen)

5 years. 224 pages. Countless hours of playtesting. All original art. The Mystara Player’s Handbook is a labor of love to bring the Known World, the greatest Dungeons & Dragons setting of all time as determined by science, into the 5th edition.

Inside you will find everything you need for your players to get started adventuring in a setting rich with culture and history. Five new races, over two dozen new subclasses, countless new spells, new forms of magic in the secret crafts, runes, and the incredibly powerful but dangerous Radiance. Featuring maps by Thorfinn Tait, a list of Immortals by Marco Delmonte, art by Rubus, Mischa Cel Frumos, and many more, is everything you wanted for a new setting

Filled with the fantasy equivalence of real-world medieval nations, as well as several that are pure fantasy. Experience the world on the brink as two powerful Empires threaten to ravage the lands with open conflict while smaller nations have to deal with threats without and within. Now you can adventure in the fractured magiocracy of Glantri. Learn how to protect the caravans and fleets of the Merchant Nations with magic created through the power of capitalism. Carve out a new home for yourself in the fledgling nation of Karameikos. Take up the net and trident and make a name for yourself in the gladiatorial pits of Thyatis.

This book is free for download. If you want to help support me in future projects here’s a PayPal link so I can afford new art or be able to contract out different parts of the next book. I’m currently working on the Dungeon Master’s Guide and there’s a Monster Manual somewhere in the future but art costs money. And good art costs a lot of money. If you want to help with that or just say thank you anything would be appreciated.

 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 affiliate programs that support The Tavern. 

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

 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

What Happens to Your Gaming Stuff?

 

What Happens to Your Gaming Stuff?
This week I've seen a few interesting posts on Facebook, and elsewhere, not just the notice that we've lost Steve Perrin.

Now I don't know Steve and I'm not sure if I've played anything he's written, but that is beside the point for me today. I do have friends that knew him and are feeling this loss on a personal level.

The news of Steve's passing, and again...some of the other posts I've seen here & there made me think a little bit about my own mortality and the simple fact that a lot of us grognards are aging. Estate panning is a thing and not really my focus here today, but it kind of is.

I'm sure some of you are lucky in the fact that you are part of a gaming family....as in your family actually games, maybe even together. In the other sense we're all part of a larger gaming family, but that's not what I mean.

Now my family...I don't think they get my gaming "thing" at all. I'm 95% certain that despite my repeated attempts to show, explain, and even demonstrate table-top RPGs, they think I sit in front of a TV playing Xbox. I mean, I do that, but in addition to, not instead of RPGs (unless I'm in the middle of a dry die-rolling spell).

Like many of us, I have a decent amount of RPG "stuff" and there are a few gems in my collection...and I bet you do too. For example, I saw a Facebook post this week of some guy who got a cheap core book at Half Priced Books and it ended up having Gary Gygax's signature from like GenCon X or something. All I could think about was how upset I'd be (in the rhetorical sense, clearly) if, after my death, my folks just took all my RPG "stuff" and just dumped it. Sorry, but getting $5 for a signed PHB at Half Priced Books is "dumping it" IMNSHO.

Honestly, I'd rather see my RPG collection, which is far more than just books, go to my gaming friends, or have it all sold at auction (with the proceeds donated), but really...in order for it to be, for lack of a better word, appreciated, I have to go through the effort to document my collection so my family might have a clue that white box is "special" or that those d20's in a little baggie are not loose with the rest of my dice for a reason. Yes, this piece of art is just a cheap print, but this other one is an Artist Proof, or this one is a valuable limited edition. Those old books.....they're just old-assed books. If my brother's grandkids want to pick up AD&D, by all means let them play with those books....and if they get into it, maybe don't auction off that other stuff.....

I'm currently fortunate that I have a gaming buddy who has agreed to be the Executor of my estate should something happen, but then again I do need to update my will to make that all legal and shit.

Just tossing this idea out there....I know it's a bit on the downer side, but knowing that things will be taken care of after we're gone makes collecting certain RPG "gems" a little more worthwile.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Death Notice -​ Vale and farewell, Steve Perrin (1946 - 2021)


Originally published at the Chaosium Blog: 

https://www.chaosium.com/blogvale-and-farewell-steve-perrin-1946-2021/

By Rick Meints, Chaosium President

When the world of roleplaying games was still waiting to be born, you and your closest friends conjured up the Society for Creation Anachronism (SCA) from the realms of your collective imagination. Bump, bump, bump down the stairs, indeed. Shortly thereafter Steve and his wife Luise joined the fledging Chaosium as it spread its draconic wings in the mid-1970s with White Bear & Red Moon, and a little-known RPG called RuneQuest, born on the 4th of July in 1976. 

Steve’s canny understanding of gaming mechanics and Luise’s artistic vision helped forge an iconic game still played around the world today.

But a few hours ago we learned that Steve was taken from us, even as he worried that his beloved Luise’s health situation was more dire than his. He was a loving and devoted partner to the end. 

To sum up all that Steve was to the Chaosium family cannot be typed up in a few sentences. 

He is one of our Great Old Ones. An innovative genius who helped pave the way for us to exist today, delighting gamers while they sit around a table, in person or online, exploring stories and adventures together, weaving new tales of derring-do. RuneQuest and Superworld were his children, and his imprint on so many of our other games is indelibly present.

Many of us grew up playing his games. He was the uncle we admired, envied, and listened to for his wise counsel. In the last few years, as a new edition of RuneQuest was born he was there, his wisdom and experience reminding us of the simple, pure, and wondrous origins of the magic of roleplaying. How can you say thank you for that?

We grieve with all of those who knew him, especially his family. We thought we might have been able to entice him to be with us at one more gaming convention in the near future, but now we know that gathering will have to wait. 

Saying farewell is never easy. Dear friends depart, and we remember them for all the richness they brought to our lives. We at the Chaosium cherish all the decades you sat with us at the gaming table and the stories you created with us.

Vale, and farewell, Steve.

Friday, August 13, 2021

DTRPG Sale on PDF Releases 5 Bucks and Under - Some OSR Picks

No, it doesn't include everything under 5 bucks. Heck, it doesn't even include everything from the same publisher that is under 5 bucks, which leads me to believe there is an issue with the algorithm. There are over 2,300 OSR releases that are under 5 bucks. Below, I'm highlighting a few with minimal if any commentary.

Dark Horrors & Hidden Places - 3.95  2.65 -It is the year 1884. Many places sank beneath the earth after a worldwide tremor. Strange creatures spill forth onto the streets of towns and cities, as governments struggle to keep these monstrosities a secret. The lawful and wealthy hire the bold and adventurous to fix their issues and recover their possessions from places of wonder and danger, unseen but for myths and legends. Worlds have collided and adventure awaits the brave. Imagine mixing the worlds of Jack the Ripper, H.P. Lovecraft, Hammer Horror, and old science-fiction fantasy movies like Journey to the Center of the Earth in this OSR roleplaying game of dark gothic horror.

Starfaring Exploration for Delving Deeper and OSR - 1.50  1.01 - A quick set of starfaring rules for the OSR for a buck? I'm in - Tenkar - Updated to not require Delving Deeper. More useful with other games. Since Delving Deeper has such good, simple rules for handling wilderness, seafaring, and aerial exploration, I had to make one for starfaring exploration. DD/OD&D gets starships.


Wyrms & Warlocks: Medusa's Hunger 2.75  1.84 - Sit down, strap in, grab your ankles, and prepare to kiss your butt goodbye, because Goblinoid Games is taking you on a roller coaster ride through a tunnel leading straight to that old-school feel of 80s fantasy gaming. This product is the first module in the old-school fantasy RPG supplement series, Wyrms & Warlocks, by Goblinoid Games. If you like this product, keep an eye out for further products like it in the future. “Medusa’s Hunger” is an OSRIC™ compatible adventure for characters of levels 5-7. They take a straightforward quest but find themselves in the clutches of a medusa and her conniving mate. The adventurers have been invited to dinner, but what’s on the menu?

VS1 - The Caves of Ortok - Labyrinth Lord Edition - 2.99  2.00 - Centuries ago, the great wizard Ortok broke apart his treasure vault and secreted his collection in multiple hidden caches throughout the world. Some of these caches have already been found, but many more remain undiscovered. Rumors suggest that one such cache may be found in some caves nearby. However, that is not all that the caves hold! The Caves of Ortok is one of a range of prepackaged modules that are designed to be dropped into play during existing campaigns or adventures, or even to just be used on their own, by discerning Gamesmasters everywhere.

Castle of the Mad Archmage Expansion - Level Three East - 4.95  3.32 - Confound your players with a whole new level to add to your Castle of the Mad Archmage™ adventure. Level Three East describes the wonders of the Mad Archmage’s own museum, which contains curiosities and treasures from all over the multiverse, and the challenges of the Watery Caves, which are a series of living caves connected by an underground river. This module features 74 new encounter areas and 6 new monsters, a full two-page map, plus new magic items, new rumors, an explanation of how this module fits into the whole Castle structure, and the impact it will have on the inhabitants of the central third level of the dungeon. There are also tips for game masters who would like to run this level as a stand-alone adventure. Levels in the dungeon roughly comport to suitable character levels, to this module is best suited for PCs of approximately 3rd level. However, there are (intentionally) some encounters that only more powerful characters can expect to handle.

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