Thursday, September 30, 2021

Kickstarter - Arcane Scrollworks: Ascension

There are few Kickstarters that catch my attention for doing something different and interesting. The Arcane Scrollworks: Ascension Kickstarter falls into that category. I'm not sure what I'd actually use these scrolls for, but that doesn't matter.

This Kickstarter is simply FUCKING cool! What will I use it for, I'm not sure, but damn, it will certainly bring a different level of gameplay to my table. I'll let the pictures talk.

Greeting aficionados of the arcane, welcome to the next level in SkeletonKey Games’ series of bespoke scrolls. Arcane Scrollworks: Ascension brings some of the most iconic spells from fantasy gaming into reality as hand-finished props. This campaign focuses on both 5th and 6th level spells and brings in a series of scrolls inspired by Mörk Borg thanks to their third-party license. Use these scrolls to bring depth and detail to your RPG or LARP by adding them to your character or next treasure haul, gifting them to spell casting players, or decorating your game room with them.

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

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

A Breakdown of the Relevant Parts of the Turbo/Servotronics Lawsuit and the Mentions of Luke Gygax and Gary Con



I've been asked by multiple people over the last few days as to when I was going to address the Servotronics / Kenneth Trbovich lawsuit. Well, here we go...

I became aware of the "Turbo" lawsuit Saturday morning when a friend messaged me the PDF telling me I'd be interested. I started to read it, wondering why it would be of any concern to me when I started seeing "Gary Con", "Gygax" and "Luke Gygax" get mentioned in the filing - multiple times. A lot.

It then dawned on me that Kenneth Trbovich was "Turbo" from Gary Con. I now realized I had 104 pages of a dumpster fire. Really. You can snag your own copy of the Trbo Lawsuit at this link. I dare you to call it anything but a dumpster fire.

The allegations detailed within are beyond belief and fall along the lines of "throw everything into your lawsuit and see what sticks". More, literally, is more. 

It reads like the script to a Porky's reimagining. If only 10% is accurate, Turbo is a pretty shitty person. The thing is, there are exact dates given. Which likely means the plaintiff was documenting events as they happened. Leaving out the personal drama, it shows a dysfunctional business environment.

There are, however, some parts that are relevant. One allegation states that: "Trbovich’s compensation began to balloon, particularly after Gygax was appointed Chair of the Compensation Committee." (page 47) Turbo's compensation jumped 70% from 2019 to 2020Luke was appointed Chair of the Company's Independent Directors Committee and is also a member of the Company's Audit Committee. As Turbo and Luke are/were friends, and Turbo participated as either staff or as a volunteer at Gary Con for a number of years, this part doesn't look particularly great for Luke.

Yep, Luke was paid $85k a year as an Independent Director in 2020 by Servotronics.


Nor does Luke and Turbo going on a trip to Eastern Europe together, which kinda strains the idea of an "independent director must be completely independent and they cannot receive any compensation of any kind outside of Board stipends and reimbursement for legitimate Company expenses (such as travel to Board meetings)."(page 50)

Gary Con gets its first mention with: "Gary Con was (and is) a gaming convention owned and operated by Gygax, the “independent” director and the Chair of the Compensation Committee and Audit Committee Member." (page 52) It appears Servotronics employees were sent to the con on company time and compensation.

Then we apparently have a book written by Turbo and Luke: "In March 2019, Trbovich revealed to Pirrone that he (Trbovich) had co-authored with “independent” director Gygax a book for Gary Con. Trbovich used his nickname “Turbo” as a pen name. Trbovich implied to Pirrone that he used his pen name in an effort to conceal his identity from the Board, shareholders, and anyone else with an interest in the Trbovich Companies." (page 53). The book/module in question is Knight Fall, and yes, Turbo is credited along with Luke and Chris Clark.

Pages 60-61 give us: "Trbovich mentioned, for the first time, that he knew his travel with Luke Gygax was brought into question by the Whistleblower Complaint, as well as his spending on Noura Ibrahim." and "Specifically, Pirrone reported his concerns of corporate waste, fraud, dereliction of fiduciary duties, as well as other unlawful and unethical conduct, including, without limitation: (1) Trbovich’s Company-funded all-expenses-paid trips to Prague and Gary Con with “independent” director Luke Gygax, the Chair of the Company’s Compensation Committee; (2) Trbovich’s use of Company funds to support Gygax’s personal business ventures that are not legitimately related to the Company or the Company’s business interests; (3) Pirrone’s suspicion that Trbovich is a silent part-owner of Iron Wind (Mike Noe’s company) and Monster Fight Cub (Gygax’s company); and (4) information about Trbovich’s use of Company funds for trips and plane tickets for Servotronics contractors with whom Trbovich had admitted having a sexual relationship, quid pro quo, including Noura Ibrahim.

Page 65: "On November 15, 2019, CFO Bencel approached Pirrone to discuss the Company-funded business trips to Gary Con, involving Gygax, Grayson, and Redd. Pirrone shared dates and photographs from social media. Pirrone also reported to CFO Bencel the cross- country “business trip” involving Grayson and the aforementioned Candace (“Candy”) Miller."

Page 72: "For example, on January 28, 2020, Pirrone reported to CFO Bencel that he had found a link to a “streamed game event” from Gary Con where Beast Grayson (who was present on the Company’s dime and, in fact, reimbursed for his travel and lodging), participated in a live stream “celebrity” game with Gygax. Pirrone reported this information and suggested that these events are required by law to be referenced in the independence questionnaires for the Board. A short while later, HR Director Zechman emailed Pirrone, out of nowhere, requesting verification and additional information about the paid leave Pirrone had taken back in 2017."

Pages 73-74: "Reminder that when Ken had Luke Gygax and Jason Bear appointed to the board he had me punch up their resumes to make the case for their appointment. In the case of Jason, I believe, he also had me punch up the resume of Mike Noe, the president of Iron Wind Metals, which I suspect Ken of co-owning as the result of that fraudulent trip to Ohio where he forced me to be one of his "seconds" in a bonding ceremony with his mistress and then had me guard his tent while he was having sex with her. Ken used Mike's resume as "another candidate for consideration" to contrast against Jason. Basically radar chaff."

From Page 99 - This one I can personally attest to: "giving away hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars in OKC samples to gaming convention attendees—Trbovich’s friends—who had nothing to do with the Trbovich Companies;" Back in 2016 (17?) someone came to the booth with a bunch of knives and said "these are for you guys!" I had no clue who was giving it to us at the time, but now I do. Go figure.

Also page 99: "funneling corporate funds into Monster Fight Club and other businesses owned and/or operated by Officers and/or “Independent” Directors on the Board, which are wholly unrelated to Servotronics or OKC;"

Finally from page 100: "approving full reimbursement for massively lavish all-expenses-paid “business trips” taken by Trbovich and others, including Gygax, Grayson, and Redd, as well as contractors and friends of Trbovich, some of whom he had an ongoing personal and/or sexual relationship, including, without limitation, Candace Miller and Noura Ibrahim."

Phew. That's a lot of mentions.

Perhaps the most disturbing revelation is that Turbo was/is still using an AOL email account. I can't wrap my head around it ;)

In any case, these are simply allegations at the moment, and Luke and Gary Con are not named defendants in the lawsuit.

Luke reached out to me on Monday and explained that Turbo stepped in when Gary Con's operations manager left after being caught taking from the till and had volunteered to help the con through 2019 and that Turbo hasn't been involved with the Con in recent years. (Edit 9/30/21): For those inquiring, Dale Leonard WAS NOT the individual in question and left Gary Con Staff the year prior. Thank you Dale for the clarification.)

Luke has also offered to answer any questions I may have, but I'm leaving the questions to you, my readers. Add your questions to the comments below, or email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing. I'll put it all together and get them out to Luke

A special thank you to The Taverners that went above and beyond to provide me with clarifying details and links. Much appreciated.

Quick note, this will likely be a topic on tonight's Tavern Chat Livestream. It will fall under the This Week in Gaming Stupid segment ;)

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  

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Kickstarter - Aeon: Ancient Greece Vol#1 (DCC RPG)



I know everyone thinks that a video is a "must-have" to run a successful Kickstarter, and while it can certainly help, few people want to slog through a 38-minute video about a project they may or may not have an interest in.

My unsolicited advice: keep your initial pitch to 5 minutes or less, and put the relevant info in the first 2 to 3 minutes. If you want to do a longer video, that's fine, link it further down pm the Kickstarter page. It shouldn't be your "pitch video."

Now that all of that is out of the way, Aeon: Ancient Greece Vol#1 for the DCC RPG looks interesting. I may be biased in its favor, as I'm currently beta testing JoetheLawyer's Bronze Age Fantasy Heartbreaker, but the setting and time frame is ripe for a playable setting.

You can snag a PDF copy for 5 bucks, or the Print plus PDF for 8 bucks plus shipping - in the US, a grand total of 11 bucks.

This first issue in the series includes everything you need to create 0-level Ancient Greek characters as well as a 0-level adventure funnel filled with lethal traps, death-dealing encounters, plus, memorable role-playing scenes even Homer would be proud to share and tell others.

You'll need all your wits and the luck of the dice gods (and maybe a few others) to survive and make it through to the end to claim your reward!

Here's just a taste of what you'll find inside AEON: Ancient Greece Zine Issue #1:

  •  Complete 0-level character creation rules! From Athlete, Basketweaver and Charioteer to Hoplite or Sailor - Over 40 professions and their starting equipment to roll up randomly. Plus…
  • Includes a full list and rules for bronze age equipment, weapons and armor…
  •  Attention Judges! Run your friends' newly created characters through the deadly Labyrinth of Daedalus - a 0-level funnel filled with DCC inspired mayhem, trickery and death (Hades will love you for adding to his empire)!
  • Over 100 ancient Greek names - Female and Male!
  • Hittite... Minoan... Phoenician... Discover the ancient languages your character might know…
  • You’ll also get 4 custom created, Greek themed blank character sheets (see the add-on below for a pic). Plus…
  • Includes pre-generated 0-level characters so you and your friends can jump right into the action!
  • Fully immerse and inspire yourself in the exciting history of Ancient Greece with an 'Appendix N' for your reading and viewing pleasure…
  • Enjoy unique, Ancient Greek themed and inspired artwork spread throughout the entire zine…
  • And more!

 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  

Monday, September 27, 2021

D&D 5e to Get a "Revision" in 2024 - Backwards Compatible


I know, I know. Since Tenkar doesn't even play D&D 5e, why is he posting about its revision THREE Years in the future? 

Quite simply, Dungeons & Dragons is the engine that drives the RPG hobby, and even if I don't use the rules, I appreciate the importance it holds.

The most important takeaway? 

Backwards compatibility, which I've been predicting. WotC has seen what Paizo did to its core business by releasing a version of Pathfinder that was not backwards compatible with its prior edition. 

From Reddit:

They used the words "new evolution" and "new version", but not "new edition". They also confirmed that it's going to be backwards compatible with 5e.

Now, things may change. Remember, when Monte was the lead designer for code name D&D Next, his goal was a group where: "your White Box character could play in the same session as the BX character and be joined by a 1e character and a 4e character" yadda yadda. That never happened. Pretend it was never mentioned.

The relevant part starts at the 8 hours and 10 minutes mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxb8xiDU5Kw

More info at ENWorld.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

The Time to Start is Now!

The Time to Start is Now!
I'm going to post something probably a bit unpopular here, for readily apparent reasons, but bear with me: you should be starting to think about your gaming group and Christmas, like now.

I now, I know.....some of you are probably going, it isn't even fall yet! *SPOILER ALERT* It is! Fall started last week even though its still in so much of this country clearly Summer or Summer-ish.

Now I spent too many years in retail and I can tell you that even if you don't see it, odds are there are Christmas items in your local store. This week I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, Christmas ornaments on a wing panel at my local store. That's not a big deal as sometimes those go up as early as July, but seeing as October starts next week, a lot of stores are going to have Halloween stuff up (if they haven't already) and might have an "Early Christmas" section as well. Most of the larger chains will backfill in Halloween season items with Christmas stuff as they can, but this post isn't about retail, well not directly.

December 2021

You may or may not realize that Christmas falls on a Saturday this year, which means at least one weekend is shot for gaming because most of you have families and such. That leaves three weekends in December before the big day, and even if you game every single weekend (lucky SOBs), you know damn well that you'll have at least one, if not seven, Christmas parties to attempt to attend between those three weekends. Work,, Church, neighborhood, clubs, etc......it will probably feel like everyone is vying for your otherwise prime gaming time in December.

When you couple this with all the other holiday shit you have to get done I'm just saying it is probably a good idea to write off December when it comes to gaming or getting together with your regular group. I know a lot of you will manage it anyway....but for planning purposes, best to assume otherwise.

Now if you want to get your fellow gamers anything for the holidays that means you're effectively down to two months. No problem if you just plan on buying some stuff off of Amazon or at a local store. Plenty of time to grab some dice or what you think is a good unpainted mini for their favorite character, but if you prefer to build vs. buy...well two months might not be a lot of time.

Clearly we're all different so I can only speak for myself on this, but I'm a grown-ass man with no kids and no local family. I make a decent enough wage. Pretty much everyday is Christmas so I'm 110% happy not getting Christmas gifts period, much less from my fellow gamers. I do enjoy a little bit of gift-giving though, but usually only if I make something. I really enjoy the creative process and Christmas is sometimes more an excuse to take on projects that don't make a lot of sense if it's just for me.

Anyway, I already have an idea for this year and two months might be a little tight, but we'll see. I've got my main idea for "everybody" which might translate well for my gaming group but I have some other ideas that...well again we'll see.

What kicked all this off was a quick side-stop to my local hobby store and I thought, "Hey, what if I make XXX for my group this year. Is this something they'd like?" I went to check on some supplies I'd normally make instead of purchase and found out that the store put out a whole bunch of stuff I could use on clearance for 75% off. I may or may not have bought out that entire store and driven the hour down to Wichita Falls to buy out the other store as well.......

Now in retrospect the idea I had won't be a good one for my group since we play virtually, but I can still use the supplies so anything I did pick up would be worth the expense.

My entire point is that Christmas is kind of around the corner and if, like me, you want to create gifts for your gaming group, you might not have nearly as much time as you think. Between planning, prepping, and creating, you have essentially two months, tops.

 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Orr Report / Roll 20 for 2nd Quarter 2021 is Here - The Rise of Cthulhu!

Alright, I'm not sure how accurate the numbers graphic is, as they don't match the numbers in the chart. I will say, I'm surprised by the share of campaigns Call of Cthulhu has snared, and sadly not surprised to see Pathfinder / Paizo is still languishing.

It will be interesting to see if Paizo / Pathfinder takes a hit in the going forward after the PR fiasco they recently suffered.

You can read the original Orr Report here.



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  


Friday, September 24, 2021

Deal of the Day - The Waking of Willowby Hall (OSR)

I used to be a "featured reviewer" but then I became a "publisher", so I no longer get notifications of nearly everything that is released on DTRPG. If I were still getting review copies, there is no way The Waking of Willowby Hall would have escaped my attention until now. Ben Milton has a top-notch rep as a creative, and this would have been on my "must review list".

Until tomorrow morning, The Waking of Willowby Hall is marked down from 7.50 in PDF to 3.75. I just snagged my copy as I wrote this post, but a review will be a few days away at the very least.

The Waking of Willowby Hall is a dense, highly interactive RPG adventure set in a ruined manor beset by a rampaging giant, roving bands of restless dead, and a very angry goose.

  • Suitable for PCs of approximately 3rd level.
  • Features a highly interactive environment that rewards clever play.
  • Perfect for one-shots or for dropping into an existing campaign.
  • Contains "One Page Dungeon" maps that allow the DM to run much of the adventure at a glance.
  • Uses bullet points and control-panel layout for maximum ease of use.
  • Statted for Knave, but easily usable with any old-school fantasy RPG.
  • Writing, layout, and cartography by two-time ENnie Award winner Ben Milton, author of Maze Rats, Knave, and Jim Henson's Labyrinth: The Adventure Game.
  • Lavishly illustrated by Sam Mameli.The Waking of Willowby Hall is a dense, highly interactive RPG adventure set in a ruined manor beset by a rampaging giant, roving bands of restless dead, and a very angry goose.

 

 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, September 23, 2021

Humble Bundle - Tomes of Lost Magic for 5e (Frog God Games and Others)

Good gaming material is effectively systemless. While I don't play 5e, I can easily convert 5e adventures to S&W on the fly (although I strongly suspect going in the other direction would be much more difficult).

The Tomes of Lost Magic for 5e Humble Bundle has quite a few highlights. If you ARE a 5e player, you can buy in for a physical copy of Book of Lost Spells Hardcover and a boatload of PDFs for 38 bucks. If you AREN'T a 5e player, 18 bucks gives you everything in PDF, along with 30% off coupons for Frog God Games and Nord Games, as well as a coupon for World Anvil. Heck, if you don't want to convert from 5e, buy-in for a buck and you still get the coupons, and you can buy your Swords & Wizardry stuff from Frog God at 30% off.




The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are 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  

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Deal of the Day - Terror Australis - 2e (CoC)


Aussies and Call of Cthulhu would seem to be like peanut butter and chocolate. Not necessarily something you would think of on your own, but put together it becomes an amazing combination.

"You call that a shoggoths? This 'ere is a shoggoths!"

Well, maybe not quite like that, but I could see my current gaming group rolling up a Crocodile Dundee-styled character for Terror Australis. I'm not sure if that is good or bad though.

Halloween is just over a month away, and until tomorrow morning Terror Australis 2e for CoC is available in PDF for 8.36 - half off of its regular price of 16.71. "Put another Mi-go on the barbie!"

  Australians

Here we focus on the history of Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders, as well as the white population, and contrast life in the urban and life in the rural environments. Special focus is given to Australian investigators, with new skills and occupations appropriate to for Aboriginal and white Australians. We round things out with brief biographies of some key Australians of the post-Great War period, who might be encountered by wandering investigators.

  Resources for 1920s Australia

This chapter provides a toolkit of historical subjects, usable by Keepers, for running games in Australia. Topics include law enforcement, transport, mounting expeditions into the Outback, communications, and sources for research.

  Australian Cities

Provides an in depth look at some of Australia’s key cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, and Brisbane. Maps are provide for each city, as well as details on notable mysteries or events, and suggestions concerning cults in thrall to the gods and horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos.

  Alcheringa

Known to some as “the Dreaming” or “Dreamtime,” the Alcheringa chapter focuses on how to incorporate the wisdom and learning stemming from Aboriginal cultural traditions into games, and features special rules and mechanics for running “dream quests” to gather important information to solve dire situations facing the investigators, as well as the rewards for “solving” a “Song-Line.” The stages of a Song-Line are discussed and presented with examples, such as the Story of Bigibila, which can be played as a scenario introduction to Alcheringa. Topics such as Aboriginal sorcery and artifacts are also discussed.

  The Mythos in Australia

Here, the book looks at the dark conspiracies and taint of the Cthulhu Mythos upon the Australian soil, with particular reference to the legacy of the Great Race, the Flying Polyps, and to the elusive and mysteries Sand Dwellers. A range of Mythos cults are presented, ready for the Keeper to incorporate into games, as well as featuring some of the other Mythos monsters that could be found lurking in dark shadows.

  Scenarios

The book is rounded out with two large scenarios and appendices.

Long Way From Home: the investigators look into a series of odd and unexplained meteor showers and are drawn into a web of intrigue involving some ancient foes. Presented as a sandbox with multiple entry points, the scenario features a range of plots and encounters set in the remote region of Paralana.

Black Water, White Death: sought-after papers concerning Australia’s convict history lead the investigators to Tasmania and to a dark mystery to terrify the dreams of all concerned. What begins as a simple matter of attending an auction ends with terror and a cosmic threat.

Gathered in the appendices are some of Australia’s deadly wildlife, with game profiles provided for their use in games, as well as timelines covering Australia, and recommended further reading and viewing.

In Australia, investigators will come face-to-face with supernatural forces that have endured for longer than humanity has existed. It is a land of adventure, danger, and ageless wisdom—a perfect for setting for Call of Cthulhu!

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  

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Bundle of Holding - Mutant Crawl Classics

If you haven't experienced Mutant Crawl Classics yet, think First Edition Gamma World, turned up to 11 (insert Spinal Tap reference here). If you like the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, you'll likely love the MCC RPG. If you aren't a fan of the DCC RPG, MCC may be more hit or miss for you. But hey, that's what these bundles are for.

For a mere 9.95, you can get the core MCC RPG rulebook in PDF (as well as the MCC Referee Screen) along with the introductory MCC adventure Hive of the Overmind.

The threshold price is just about 21 bucks, which also gets you the supplement The Data Orb of Metakind (published as MCC adventure #8) and six complete adventures for character levels 0-5: #10: Seeking the Post-Humans (a level-0 "funnel" campaign starter), #2: A Fallen Star For All (for level-1 characters), #3: Incursion of the Ultradimension (level 2), #9: The Evil of the Ancients (level 3), #5: Blessings of the Vile Brotherhood (level 4), and #6: The Apocalypse Ark (level 5). That's pretty much a campaign worth of gaming right there.


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  

Monday, September 20, 2021

Death Announcement - Doug Rhea, NTRPG Con, Has Passed

Doug Rhea passed last night at approximately 9:50 PM CDT. He was best known as the founder and main force behind the NTRPG Con, he was an avid collector of games, and a huge supporter of the founding generation of RPG creators. His passing leaves a huge hole in our community.

Doug was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer over 5 years ago and had already survived past expectations and beaten the odds until now. 

Being a stubborn SOB, Doug did not go quietly into the night. He fought to the end. God, take his soul into your care and bless his family and friends in these tough and stressful times. 

I'll update this post when more details are available - Tenkar

Sunday, September 19, 2021

I Think GenCon is Not Worth It (Attend Your Local Con!)

 

I Think GenCon is Not Worth It (Attend Your Local Con!)
If you didn't already know, this weekend is GenCon 2021..and Origins 2021 is (roughly) in a couple weeks. Now I've been seeing pictures and gamer observations on Facebook and the like and it seems a bit like GenCon 2021 is a bit of a ghost town. Evidently attendance is capped at "half".....never felt like there was an attendance limit in the past, so half of "standing room only" is still a metric-buttload of people walking around.

I know that COVID-19/20/21D or whatever the current flu-scare is puts a dent in attendance, but moving the convention out of the summer (technically it is still summer...for like 3 days) and very much into the school year can't help with attendance either. It'll be harder for families to attend and moving this big con hurts other conventions. It's pretty obvious that Origins is trying to work around GenCon, and surely there are other conventions that are getting screwed over by the "Big Boys" moving their dates around.

Yes, I know that GenCon is a business and needs to make money, but it feels like...to me...that they are pushing their weight around a bit, to the detriment of others, something they've done for years to a lesser extent.

Now clearly I'm kind of biased against GenCon here, so I'm certain that I see a bit of the negative aspects of this move, but this bias has been earned, so bear with me.

Having spent a few years as a convention tournament organizer for both Origins and GenCon who also volunteered at a exhibitor booth, I got to see a little bit behind the curtain. From my experience, and perspective, Origins cares about gamers and GenCon cares about making money. 

Origins: Every year I'd have Origins staff check in on my group and make sure everything was going well. They helped me treat GMs a a valuable resource and the staff seemed to be passionate volunteers. Plenty of hotel space available unless you just had to have a room in one of the attached hotels, which I wouldn't recommend unless you want to wait forever on/in elevators for just an "ok" room.

GenCon: Having our tables double-booked was a regular event. The staff seemed to be employees and if I saw them it was for them to verify we all had badges and event tickets. Tickets and badges were all the seemed to care about. Good luck getting lodging at any nearby hotel and registering for games is an exercise in frustration.

As the years ticked by working the booth and talking to other vendors I saw a disturbing trend: many publishers have to make a decision between attending GenCon or Origins. Some of this was due to shifting dates, but lot was due to the expense of attending GenCon and since it was growing every year if you had to pick one, GenCon seemed to be it.

Now as far as the "big" cons go I'm clearly a fan of Origins, but really it's the smaller local conventions that have my attention these days. I'd rather spend a $1000 at North Texas RPG and have a great weekend experience than spend $1000 at GenCon which maybe gets me to Indy and a night or two of hotel (but no badge or event tickets!)

This year there are like 16 September conventions, not counting GenCon & Origins. Two events that would have been during GenCon were cancelled. In 2017 there were 21 conventions during Spetember. In 2018 & 2019 there were 27 conventions during September. Now some of the difference could be COVID related, but there were more cancelled events this year. Looking back over the last several years, no table-top gaming conventions shared time with GenCon.....until this year where there were two, with one being cancelled.

I know it isn't a deep-delve in the data and just a high-level pass, but anecdotally it seemed that GenCon moving to a later date is affecting smaller gaming conventions, and not for the better. Not a fan.....

GenCon 2021 had 1312 RPG games listed, while Origins 2021 has roughly half that at 616 RPG games listed. Now both sound like a lot, but in GenCon's case it looks like roughly half of those RPG events are D&D 5th Edition (Origins far less as a percentage). Since I'm guessing that the majority of the Tavern patrons are OSR fans, this info might be relevant.

TL;DR- If you "have" to attend a big con, check out Origins, but I'd rather go to a smaller local convention.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

News - Halls of the Blood King (OSE) Wins Two Gold Ennies

I'm not much of an Ennies watcher these days, but I was happy to see that Halls of the Blood King (OSE) win Gold Ennies for Best Adventure and Best Cartography. I know Diogo Nogueira wrote the adventure but I'm not sure who the cartographer is and Glynn Seal is the cartographer.

In any case, you can snag Halls of the Blood King in print (plus PDF) for 15 bucks plus shipping at the Exalted Funeral Press website. The PDF of Halls of the Blood King is 7.50 at DTRPG.

A fantasy-horror adventure for characters of 3rd to 5th level.

  • 37 keyed areas, rumour table, loot summary, dungeon background info.
  • Keyed in a quick-reference, bullet point format.
  • Statted for Old-School Essentials (B/X), usable with any vintage adventure game.
  • Unlabelled map included for VTT use.

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Friday, September 17, 2021

Humble Bundle - Voices of Warhammer 2021 by Black Library (Audiobooks)

I'm a HUGE fan of audiobooks these days. One of the side effects of chemo some 15 years ago was a rewiring of my brain, such that I no longer have the attention span to read the written word as I used to. I've gone from reading some 50 odd books a year to one or two. I can, however, stay focused on audiobooks and audiodramas, and I literally jump on the Black Library audio bundles on Humble Bundle when they drop. I'm a huge fan of the Warhammer and Warhammer 40k universes, and getting the fiction in an audio format at a buck a book is a win-win for me :)

You can snag the Voices of Warhammer 2021 Bundle for as little as a buck for 5 books, but since you can sample them all, I advise you listen to a sample or three for free and see if the format works for you. If it does, 18 bucks get you all 19 books (although admittedly, one is a sampler). At a buck an audiobook, if you enjoy the format you simply can't go wrong.


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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Deal of the Day -Robotech: A Macross Saga RPG (SWAdE, Revised)

When I think of Robotech as an RPG, I tend to think of the Palladium RPG. I never played it, but I remember our GM brought aspects of the setting and system into Rifts back in the early and mid-90s.

I guess I really need to rewatch the originals, having only watched them in bits and pieces back in the day via pirated videotapes that were loaned to me. The quality was poor and I'm pretty sure I never watched any episodes in order.

So, Robotech was never my schtick. It was a love of many in my gaming group, and one even got the license plate Verotech. Good times.

Somehow I missed Robotech getting the Savage Worlds treatment. Shouldn't be a huge surprise after Rifts got the treatment a few years back.

Today's Deal of the Day is Robotech: A Macross Saga RPG (SWAdE, Revised). Sure, it's a mouthful, but it is marked down for $20 to $12 until tomorrow morning. 

Join us as we enter the exciting world of Robotech! Strap into your Veritech fighter and battle giant Zentraedi warriors for the fate of mankind. Defend the earth from invasion in your Destroid. Help maintain the fragile peace after the war that left most of the Earth devastated. Inside this book you will find a complete Savage Worlds setting for the Macross era of Robotech. Play as your favorite characters, Rick Hunter, Max Sterling, Linn Minmai, Breetai, Exedore and more. You can even make your own character to fight in the first Robotech War.

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

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Kickstarter -Journey Into The Madlands: A Post–Apocalyptic RPG Zine

Let me start by saying I am certainly NOT impartial when it comes to the Journey Into the Madlands Kickstarter. Jeff Jones is one of the creators behind Journey into the Madlands, and he is also the layout artist behind the Torchlight Zine and the upcoming Swords & Wizardry Continual Light Digest Sized Edition. Jeff has done some great work on the layouts I mentioned above, and we wouldn't have such projects without his participation.

As I've said in the past, when I have a connection to a project creator, I put my cards on the table. That being said, Jeff isn't just a highly skilled layout artist, but he's also a skilled content creator.

Journey Into the Madlands is Jeff's latest Kickstarter. He is joined on this journey by Buck Crutchfield (cartographer), Mark Finn (writer), and Jose Manuel Gonzalez (artist). If you frequent the RPG Zine Community on Facebook, you may recognize a name or two.

You can snag a PDF copy of Journey Into the Madlands for 12 bucks, Print plus PDF 19 plus shipping (4 bucks in the US). Personally, I'm in for Print plus PDF.

So, what is Journey Into the Madlands?

This zine started out small, but as contributions of art and writing rolled in, we realized that the traditional digest–sized format could not contain all the apocalyptic goodness. Almost overnight, the humble, little zine mutated into a “mega-zine.” We jam–packed these pages with intriguing locations, dangerous ruins, insidious enclaves, mutated monsters, and nefarious NPCs.

The locations, NPCs and creatures, while written into a mini-setting, are modular, making it easy for you to pick only the elements to fuel your game.

We don’t stop with mere write-ups of people, places and thing. We provide an abundance of plot hooks to give your game solid guidance.

Did I mention I'm a sucker for settings? 

Next Wednesday on the Talking Crit LiveStream, Jeff Jones will be our special guest. Ask him anything. Not that he'll answer everything, but you might just get lucky :)

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Deal of the Day - Krevborna: A Gothic Blood Opera (System Neutral Gothic Campaign Setting)

I've said it before and I'll say it now - I love campaign settings, even if I rarely use them as is. They are simply a huge source of inspiration. I prefer my campaign settings to be system light or system neutral, as I rarely wish to use them for the system they are written for.

I have a soft spot for Ravenloft, at least the original boxed set (less so the original module, but YMMV). I've always felt it was a setting that TSR/WotC simply couldn't get a handle on. It covered too much, and therefore it covered way too little.

Krevborna: A Gothic Blood Opera looks to hit many of my sweet points. System neutral, gothic horror, and a very solid 4.8 rating on DTRPG with 28 ratings. 

The following review is one of the reason I'm snagging my copy:

I wish there were more setting books like this on the market. Krevborna picks a theme (Gothic horror) and maintains that focus throughout. The broad outlines of cities and regions are here as well as seeds from which GM's can create all the details they want. While some people use it for 5e, Krevborna could just as easily serve as an imaginary region of a slightly-fantastical 18th-century Eastern Europe. It would work extremely well with Lamentations of the Flame Princess or For Coin & Blood. Any period from medieval to Victorian is possible because of what the author is careful not to emphasize. Of course, the other side of that coin is that GM's will need to do some work to fill-in the blanks. For my part, I'm delighted to have found a setting with big blanks exactly where I want them - Patrick Y

Normally 10 bucks in PDF, Krevborna: A Gothic Blood Opera is on sale for only 4 bucks until late tomorrow morning.

The blood moon rises above the haunted lands of Krevborna! Once a country of picturesque villages, deep forests, and sublime mountain ranges, Krevborna is now a land of Gothic ruins preyed upon by fiends, ravening beasts, and the unquiet dead. Shadows triumphantly lengthen across Krevborna; the great powers of darkness work to usher in the dread dominion of an everlasting empire of night.

Krevborna: A Gothic Blood Opera is a system-neutral campaign setting for Gothic Fantasy adventures inspired by Bloodborne, Castlevania, and Penny Dreadful. The book includes:

  1. Art by Becky Munich and Michael Gibbons. Setting map by Michael Gibbons.
  2. Details on nine locations in the setting: the corrupt city of Chancel, the Lovecraftian town of Creedhall, the witch-town of Hemlock, vampire haunted Lamashtu, the seaside horrors of Piskaro, the underworld of the Grail Tombs, the foreboding Nachtmahr Mountains, the eerie Silent Forest, and the forbidden town of Veil.
  3. Information on the people of Krevborna and their folklore.
  4. Ideas for genre-appropriate characters and the dark secrets that damn them.
  5. Thirty-four otherworldly entities to use as patrons for the faithful and the pact-bound.
  6. Eight factions and twelve NPCs to involve your players in intrigue.
  7. Advice and tools for running a fantasy RPG influenced by Gothic literature.
  8. Tools for use in game, such as copious adventure seeds, a bestiary of foes, random tables, and a comprehensive adventure generator that gives you the basis of a scenario with little prep.
  9. A full index and a separate index of the book's random tables.
  10. A design that prioritizes ease of use and speed of play. All "lore" entries are easy to scan, and make use of bullet points to draw your attention to the important bits so you can get on with your game.

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Monday, September 13, 2021

News - Michael Curtis Joins Goodman Games as Director of Product Development, DCC

I'm a few days late at sharing this, but Michael Curtis has joined Goodman Games in the capacity of Director of Product Development, Dungeon Crawl Classics. I still remember the excitement I felt when I read through Stonehell Dungeon for the first time :)

The following announcement is from the Goodman Games website, linked here:

We are very pleased to announce that Michael Curtis has joined Goodman Games on a full-time basis as Director of Product Development for the Dungeon Crawl Classics line!

Michael’s name is well known to fans of Goodman Games, especially for his work on DCC Lankhmar, and many other DCC products. He has been involved with tabletop role-playing games since he was ten years old and has been working freelance in the RPG industry for almost 15 years. During that time, Michael created the renowned megadungeon of Stonehell, wrote the award-winning gaming supplement The Dungeon Alphabet, served as lead designer on the DCC Lankhmar product line for Goodman Games (during which he located an unpublished manuscript by legendary sword-and-sorcery author Fritz Leiber), and has penned or contributed to more than 60 Goodman Games releases, including fan-favorite DCC RPG adventures Frozen in Time, The Chained Coffin, Intrigue at the Court of Chaos, and The Queen of Elfand’s Son. 

Michael has also contributed to such classic adventures as the Judges Guild reprints of Citadel of Fire, Fortress Badabaskor, and Tegel Manor, and converted and expanded the famous Dungeons & Dragons adventures Castle Amber and Expedition to the Barrier Peaks for fifth edition as part of the Original Adventures Reincarnated line. He is the co-host of the Twitch show “Keep Crawlin’ with Mike and Brendan,” and has written many of the “Adventures in Fiction” essays for the Goodman Games website, detailing the works of classic, yet often overlooked, fantasy authors from the last 100 years. 

Michael joins Chris Doyle, Director of Product Development for our 5E product line, as a leader in our design of high-quality role-playing game products. As our DCC and 5E lines continue to gain momentum, we’re excited to see where their collaboration will take us.

“I look forward to the challenges and rewards this new position with Goodman Games will bring,” said Michael. “I’m excited by the opportunities that guiding Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG into the future allows. I hope to keep true to the game’s past and the works that inspired it, while also making it accessible to new audiences around the world.” Michael is a native New Yorker and splits his time between the mountains and the sea, seeking adventures in both. 

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

Sunday, September 12, 2021

The "Most Powerful" Magic Item

 

The "Most Powerful" Magic Item
Ok patrons, quick question for y'all, but I have some framing parameters....first the Q: "What would you say is the most powerful magical item?"

Ok, so that's a real broad question so let's try to narrow it down a little bit to maybe Basic or 1st Edition AD&D, forget about Artifacts, and additionally toss out any magical items directly replicated by a spell.

Got to figure out the proper "sandbox", as it were, and Artifacts are just inherently game-breakingly powerful. Most potions have a similar spell and a Ring of Three Wishes is a no-brainer answer otherwise.....

Do you need a second to think about it?

Yes....no...

...ok, I'm going through my Holmes Edition of Basic and I totally think that the answer is the Bag of Holding.

Bag of Holding — Sack sized magic bag which will hold 10,000 gold pieces or an object up to 10 feet X 5 feet X 3 feet in size. The bag will then weigh 600 gold pieces in weight, or 300 for the gold and no more.

Now I fully expect patrons to have a different opinion on this, probably for a couple of reasons, but one is because encumbrance in D&D has always been a bit of a bother, enough that I don't think many groups really do much to track encumbrance.

Now encumbrance can really be a way-too crunchy game mechanic, but I love the crunchiness......which is one reason I liked HackMaster. I still remember geeking out prepping my PC and his pack horse for the beginning of an Against the Giants campaign. I had to figure out the weight of all the gear carried, in all the packs on the horse, and I had to make sure that not only did I have to make sure each bag/pack wasn't overloaded, but also to spread my shit er gear out across all the different packages 'cause I was sure that the GM would figure out some way for us to lose some of the gear as we trekked across the ice.

Now, that was as a player. As a GM encumbrance is one of those things that is a complete PITA.....BUT there is a good (enough) work-around: dump it off on the players! Make the players keep track of their personal encumbrance & keep track of their combat penalties for being encumbered. Just do a surprise audit once in a blue moon and if the player is caught fudging the numbers, or conveniently "forgetting" the combat penalties (there was an AC bonus is you were overloaded with too much crap!), then you hit them with a massive penalty. It's been years, so I cannot remember the penalty for failing an audit, but loss of like half XP, or immediately being placed into Dishonor sounds about right.....

Now with Basic/1st Edition.....encumbrance is in coins? Wait...what?

US Equivalent to 10 coins or 1#
This is #1 of coins

Yes there is this weird idea that a lot of times things are listed in pounds, but then referenced in gold coins, with a ratio of 10:1 (i.e. 10 coins to a pound). 10 coins to a pound? That means the generic D&D coin is basically the equivalent of 2 Eisenhower Dollars.

Just seems kind of clunky to think (in Basic), "I can put *just* enough gold coins in this here bag to pay for two light crossbows." That's 30 pounds of coinage for two light crossbows that weigh......fuuuuuuck, how much do they weigh? Hell if I know....but in 1st Edition they weigh....nope, they only have the weight of the ammo listed.

Now *this* is really what I consider a PITA.

I think I just need to grab my old KenzerCo Goods & Gear and use that to figure everything out.....the Light Crossbow weighs 7 lbs. (page 25).

Until I bother to pull my Goods & Gear out of storage (I just used my PDF copy for looking up the Light Crossbow) I think I just need to get some Bags of Holding. I'm really thinking the true power of the Bag of Holding isn't *just* that PCs can stuff their crap inside, but that if used judiciously, the whole group can pretty much just ignore the clunky encumbrance system....

......THAT is what makes it the most powerful magic item in the game!

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