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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Core Books Available for the Blind and Print Disabled

I've been involved in many discussions regarding making gaming material available for those that are blind or visually impaired. It just so happens that Rach is legally blind and as such accessible gaming material for the visually impaired has been of interest to me.

Most RPGs are available in PDF format, and thus can be read by computers or tablets and the print can be enlarged, or used by "readers" that many blind or visually impaired members of our community use, but WotC does not release any of its 5e material in PDF format, thus severely limiting the access to the world's most popular RPG.

Or so I thought. I stand corrected, as it was pointed out in the Thursday Night Hangout on The Tavern's Discord Server that there WAS a version of the 5e Player's Handbook for the visually impaired. I did a bit more research and found all three core books are available (as well as a 1980 version of D&D Basic ;)

NLS produces Dungeons & Dragons core books in navigable audio

core books in navigable audioIf you’ve ever attacked a cave full of Orcs with your Vorpol Sword, right after losing 12 Hit Points that lowered your Strength score (which you mitigated with a Cure Wounds spell), you might already know the fun of playing Dungeons & Dragons—D&D to its fans.

Because it’s a role-playing game, a shared experience between a Dungeon Master who describes events and players who describe how they want their characters to respond, D&D is an ideal game for players with visual impairments.

“At its heart, it’s about using your imagination,” said Megan McArdle, an NLS senior selection librarian. So it makes sense for NLS to make D&D books accessible for its patrons.

“I checked our holdings,” McArdle said, “and saw that even though we had not updated it since we did it back in the 1980s, the D&D Basic Rule Book by Gary Gygax still got a respectable number of downloads on BARD,” the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download website.

Clearly, the demand was there for NLS to take on a bigger D&D project to address requests from the large community of visually impaired players. So a team formed to update the D&D collection at NLS.

McArdle and Vincent Castellucci, a production control specialist, agreed that NLS should produce all three core Dungeons & Dragons books, starting with the Player’s Handbook (DB 91838).

When NLS released the fifth edition of the format this summer, D&D players were delighted.

“Fantastic to be part of a mainstream gaming community that is making their visually impaired players feel so welcome,” one wrote on the NLS Facebook page.

Another wrote, “I’m not sure I can describe how happy this makes me!”

Two other core D&D books—the Dungeon Master’s Guide (DB 91839) and the Monster Manual (DB 91840)—are also now on BARD.

The project was a complex one for producers and narrators, especially because of the difficulty of accurately replicating a print-book experience for visually impaired readers. One challenge was including descriptions of charts and graphics that are essential to game play. Another was figuring out how to correctly pronounce the name of monsters and magical items, such as the magical mini-submarine in the world of D&D, otherwise known as an Apparatus of Kwalish. For the latter, NLS went to Wizards of the Coast, D&D’s publisher. “They offered to help with pronunciations and provide other primary sources we might need during the recording process,” Castellucci said. “Wizards was very responsive, and even their franchise creative director, Mike Mearls, helped with our producers’ pronunciation questions.”

“As a player, watching these books go through the selection process and being able to add them to NLS’s collection has been very exciting,” Castellucci said.

For McArdle, there was an added bonus. “As I researched what books to get for D&D players,” she said, “it was fascinating to read about the work folks are doing in the arena of making board games accessible.”

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Friday, January 15, 2021

New Classic Print on Demand - Planescape Campaign Setting (2e)

I was a HUGE fan of the Planescape setting back in the day (the mid to late 90s ). Come to think of it, it was probably the last TSR Era setting I truly invested in, both monetarily as well as emotionally. There were just so many adventures laying in that initial boxed set, waiting for one's players to stumble across them. Ah, memories.

WotC has put the Plansecape Campaign Setting back into print as a PDF book. For 17.10 you can snag the softcover print plus PDF, or 21.47 for the hardcover print plus PDF. I may save wear and tear on my boxed set and grab the hardcover. Just a thought :)

Glory? Majesty? You don't know the dark of it!

Discover the multiverse! Enter infinite universes of infinite variety, worlds beyond the prime-material settings of the AD&D game. Explore Sigil, the City of Doors, filled with portals to every layer of every plane. All you need is the right key, including. . .

  • A Player's Guide to the Planes: A 32-page primer that introduces DMs and players alike to the grand design of the multiverse.
  • A DM's Guide to the Planes: A 64-page book of valuable information solely for the Dungeon Master.
  • Sigil and Beyond: A 96-page gazetteer that introduces Sigil and its surrounding plane as the starting point for planar adventures. From Sigil all the Outer Planes may be sampled by novice and veteran explorers alike.
  • Monstrous Supplement: a 32-page, full-color Monstrous Compendium booklet.
  • Four poster-size maps depicting the planes.
  • A four-panel DM screen designed especially for planar campaigns.

Until now, only the most powerful wizards could peek into the magnificent multiverse, but no longer! Gone are the unimaginable distances and the insurmountable obstacles that only the ultrapowerful could hope to overcome. Now even the greenest adventurer can enter the planes, though surviving long is another matter . . . .

Have at it, berk! Powers, proxies, planars, petitioners, and wondrous monsters await just beyond the portal. Step through and partake of the infinite excitement of Planescape.

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

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

   Don't forget to subscribe to The Tavern's weekly Newsletter! We currently have 162 subscribers. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

(Re)New Release - Lost City of Gaxmoor Bundle (D&D 5e)


The Lost City of Gaxmoor is currently available for D&D 5e from Troll Lord Games. Yes, there is a current trend / market for the conversion of OSR releases to the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons rules. There just might be a Tavern Chat podcast episode hiding in that trend.

The main Lost City of Gaxmoor book is 19.99 in PDF. The Lost City of Gaxmoor Bundle (including the main book) is 31.99 (a 10% saving) and includes Weapons of Gaxmoor and The Long Valley.

5th Edition Lost City of Gaxmoor -- The sun sinks slowly over the desolation of the ancient and once grand Empire. In the distance, just upon the slopes of a broad cliff, lie the ruins of a city. Her alabaster walls wind their way along the rocky mesa, guarding buildings both fair and ruined. It was a great city in its day, now long since fallen to the ravages of time and war. Long ago she stood as a shining doorway to the east, a place for rest and restocking of provisions for those on the long trek into the wild lands of the barbaric frontier in the Western Empire. But all that is past for this, the ruins of the Lost City of Gaxmoor.

The Lost City of Gaxmoor, written by Ernest G. Gygax and Luke Gygax is a sandbox adventure converted to the 5th Edition of the world's most popular role playing game. Designed for characters that range from 1st to 10th level. It is a monumental city adventure where your characters are plunged into city dominated by fighting factions, monsters, demons and all manner of creatures. Use it as a stand alone, integrate it into your own world, play in the Burning Sands or the World of Aihrde.

City Map by Alyssa Faden!

Complete with a host of celebrity contributions including James M. Ward, Jeffrey Talanian, Stephen Chenault, Davis Chenault, Stefan Pokorny, Joe Goodman, Bill Webb, Satine Phoenix, Elisa Teague, Joe Manganiello, Alex Kammer, Rob Schwawlb and Stephen Radney-Macfarland!

The Lost City of Gaxmoor is a game master's dream. The setting is full to overflowing with adventures, adventure hooks, set ups and more. With almost 200 Areas of Interest and a veritable host of NPCS, as well as factions of monsters at war with each other, the NPCs and soon the characters as well, it offers countless hours of fun. Throw in the machinations of ancient gods and the rise of a demon prince and you suddenly have a campaign setting that just won't quit.

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

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

   Don't forget to subscribe to The Tavern's weekly Newsletter! We currently have 162 subscribers. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Bundle of Holding - John Carter of Mars

Maybe you aren't a fan of the 2d20 system but you are a fan of John Carter of Mars and the Sword & Planet genre. At these prices, I'm in it for the source material. I can always convert to the OSR system of my choice later ;)

For 9.95, you get the Starter Bundle for John Carter of Mars. It includes the John Carter of Mars RPG, John Carter Narrator Screen & Kit and Barsoom and Korad maps.

For about 30 bucks, you add in the Phantoms of Mars Campaign Guide; three "Era" supplements that describe different phases of the Martian sequence (Dotar Sojat Era, Jeddak of Jeddaks Era, and Prince of Helium Era); and two 52-card print-and-cut decks of artwork (Landscapes and Locations Deck and Characters and Tokens Deck).

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

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

   Don't forget to subscribe to The Tavern's weekly Newsletter! We currently have 162 subscribers.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Lankmar Area Rug for Sale (and others) - Now, If Only We Could Arrange for a Bard's Gate Rug

Teezons is a website I had not visited prior to tonight, but one of the links on BellofLostSouls led me down one hell of a rabbit hole.

You can get the above pictured Lankmar city map for as little as 70.45 at 3'x5' or 99.45 for the 5'x8' rug.

Damn, very tempting, and there are lots more maps of official Dungeons & Dragons  🐉settings available, although I am unsure of the legality of such offered items.

The wording of the item description likely indicates a non-native English speaker:


Still, a Bard's Gate or Lost Lands rug would be awesome. Or maybe the new map for The Mouth of Doom from the Rappan Athuk Map Collection. Or one of Doug Kovak's awesome DCC maps. The mind boggles :)


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

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

   Don't forget to subscribe to The Tavern's weekly Newsletter! We currently have 162 subscribers.




Monday, January 11, 2021

Diversification of Social Media is a Necessity These Days, Even as a Tabletop Gamer

Once upon a time, there was Facebook and Twitter and it was good. We'll before the once upon a time, there was MySpace, and that was bad, but now it is gone. Then Google+ made a splash, and the three were huge before Google killed Google+, and then there were two.

Or where there?

MeWe, Gab, Parlar, Instagram, Tumbler, Reddit, Discord, and more stood up, and they were noticed. And thus it was, that the social media universe got crowded, and confusing, and occasionally there were de-platforming of platforms. What is a content creator or content consumer to do?

As an avid "old school gamer", I still mourn the loss of Google+ and have yet to see a single platform replace the amount of gaming focus that was there. Maybe that is a good thing, as relying on a single social media platform can be, need I say it, dangerous. Poof, and it's gone. Much like Google+ itself. April 2nd will mark 2 years of its passing.

The Tavern has a presence on more than one social media platform and uses more than one medium to reach its community.

The Tavern has a huge presence on Facebook, with The Tavern's Facebook Community having over 2,600 members. But we can't put all of our eggs in one basket, and neither should you.

The Tavern's Group over on MeWe has over 700 members. Should it be more active? Probably. MeWe's interface takes some time to adjust to after Facebook. Join us and make it more active ;)

Over on The Tavern's Discord Server, we have 2,200 members. Discord is much different than Facebook or MeWe, as conversations run in real-time, and we do a hosted voice chat every Thursday Night at 9 PM Eastern. It is a lively place to be. Be wary, as it can be a hidden time sink, and you will wonder where the hours went.

I'm also on Twitter, but that simply shares updates of the blog and podcast. I'm @tenkar on Twitter.

The YouTube Channel for The Tavern is YouTube.com/ErikTenkar. We have LiveStreams every Wednesday and Friday night. Every episode of the Tavern Chat Podcast is also shared on The Tavern's YouTube Channel. If you want to show your support to The Tavern in its various formats, please subscribe to the YouTube Channel. The more reach the podcast achieves, the greater the reach of The Tavern as a whole. Besides, we love the live feedback on our LiveStreams.

I've been asked if I'll be sharing The Tavern's video content on a platform/platforms other than YouTube. I'm looking into it, as the idea is not just valid, but probably a necessity.

Did you know that I'm an admin at the largest Dungeons & Dragons Group on MeWe? Join JoetheLawyer, Tim Shorts (fellow admins), and nearly 5,200 other D&D gamers for some very lively discussion. We've added over 200 members since this past Friday. Now THAT is growth!

There are many other gaming-based communities to be found on the various social media platforms. Do yourself a favor - make a presence for yourself on more than one platform and in more than one Group, Community, and the like. If you, like me and many others, like to avoid political discussion and related topics and drama in your social media (and the associated stress that comes with such discussion), I strongly advise that you focus your attention and energies on Groups, Communities, and the like on the various social media platforms. It's the main, general feeds that are a free-for-all of name-calling, shaming, grandstanding, chest-thumping, and worse. I have a close friend that has "unfollowed" all of his "friends" on Facebook. A genius solution to avoiding the general shitstorm that can infest social media, while still allowing for notifications of activity occurring in the groups, as well as participating in those that one is a member of.

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

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

   Don't forget to subscribe to The Tavern's weekly Newsletter! We currently have 162 subscribers



Sunday, January 10, 2021

On Minis and Convention Parties

 

On Minis and Convention Parties
Lately, for reasons, I've been a bit nostalgic about my early (non) gaming days. I remember hanging out with my one friend in middle school that had slung dice before....and more importantly, had some game catalogs he brought to rural Bumfuckistan Iowa from "the city".

I remember just pouring through those catalogs and while I cannot recall who put out the catalog I clearly remember the line-art drawings of the miniatures inside. I remember making little checklists of these Ral Partha and Grenadier minis I wanted, not that I ever got them.

Looking for these particular catalogs/graphics has been a fruitless endeavor, but I have discovered a couple of cool websites specifically for looking at these old minis, namely the Lost Minis Wiki (Minis Workshop) and DnD Lead.

When doing my quick down & dirty research I did discover that I can still get some HackMaster minis if I wanted them from Iron Wind Metals

I'm pretty sure I was at a GenCon (might have been Origins) party where Iron Wind Metals was throwing an epic room party to celebrate something.....a successful Kickstarter campaign maybe? My memory, for a couple reasons, is fuzzy, but I remember getting a few (older) Ral Partha minis, a large cup-full of loose weapons, and a kick-ass knife. Evidently one of the guys behind the party owned a knife company as well and rumor was he was something-military-that-I'd-normally-call-bullshit-on. Thing was this "thing" was a rumor about him and not something he was pushing. Anyway we're having fun, bullshitting, and he mentions he spent some time in the same bit of turf overseas that I had. After giving me a nice, way-too-expensive-for-my-taste smoky Scotch I told him in that overseas turf-language "Stop, or I'll shoot". It was a phrase we not only had to memorize, but carry around on a card.

Mine looks close to this

That got me a laugh and some more bullshitting. I had a great time and thanked my host by giving him one of my challenge coins. Actually the one from my 1st duty station 'cause that's the one I had on me. He was moved and had his girlfriend go and get "the good stuff" from his room, the good stuff being a $5K bottle of Scotch. Beautiful hand-blown bottle and hand-carved wooden carrier. Can't tell you how it tasted because I declined.......because my palate is not sophisticated enough and the Scotch would have been wasted on me. I think he understood because he got me another shot of the smoky stuff (not normally my thing, but the smell......so good) and handed me a large box of knives for me to take my pick. Not sure if it was a good idea to give someone in my state a nice knife.......but I still have it and I've been working on improving my palate.

I know I started talking about old minis and went to a Con party gift, but you know....that's what happens when you start to get all nostalgic. I kind of warned you in the 1st sentence of this post.

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