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Saturday, January 30, 2021

Kickstarter - Neon Blood (OSR Cyberpunk)

I know that I've said this before, but I love when OSR engined RPGs step into less-used genres. Neon Blood is an OSR Cyberpunk RPG, and I don't think I've seen that before. Very cool :)

Neon Blood is an OSR/DIY (we call our work Dirty-OSR) inspired cyberpunk game set in a version of the world in 2035. We don't need to go very far into the future to see how culture, tech, and politics might shape the future of humanity. It is dystopian, but all hope is not lost for ye who enter here.

The goal of this game is to take the OSR-based RPG system and roughen up the edges, throw in some chrome, pump it full of HiCap neon, and light it on fire. The rules start with the d20, but we make a firefight feel like a frenetic two-way range where your decisions and training will be a matter of life and death. And hacking will never be boring or the side gig; it easily occurs in real-time alongside a firefight without disruption to either team.

The combat is brutal and deadly, and death is one bullet or NovaWire away. Zero hit points isn't the end, but neither is it a handful of chances to not experience what comes for everyone. Even hackers aren't safe; play hacking games, win deadly prizes. As awesome as this sounds, combat is full of player-facing choices to keep your character alive and gunning. But everything comes at a cost in Neon Blood.

10 bucks get you the PDF and digital soundtrack (yes, soundtrack). 30 bucks add in a softcover book of the rules.

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Friday, January 29, 2021

Free OSR - White Lies (S&W White Box)


Swords & Wizardry White Box has become the preferred ruleset of many looking to hack an OSR ruleset into different genres. Sci-fi, Cthulhu mythos, and others have hacked the rules. Heck, my own Swords & Wizardry Light was itself a teardown of the White Box Rules.

White Lies takes the S&W White Box rules and brings it to the spy genre. Think James Bond, the Man From Uncle, Secret Agent Man, and more.

And now White Lies is Free in PDF (and damn cheap in print)

Based on Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox, White Lies brings all the simple elegance of WhiteBox out of the dungeon and into the realm of espionage and paramilitary action and adventure! The digital purchase includes character sheets (both class-specific and blank) and a small Admin toolkit called Echo Team, containing a team of pre-generated level 1 agents for you to use as NPCs or quick players characters.

This product is not affiliated with Covert Ops, our d00lite espionage RPG, though it captures much of the same feel and has some of the researched and developed content repeated or adapted from that product.

Tip of the hat to the Taverner that emailed me the above heads up :) 

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.  

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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Kickstarter - Welcome To Eastwood (MCC/DCC RPG)

Continuing with my Kickstarter catchup :)

Today we are looking at the Welcome To Eastwood Kickstarter for the MCC/DCC RPGs. It looks to be a "funhouse" sandbox-style local setting/adventure that seems perfect for dropping into a campaign. I'm a sucker for setting material, and sandboxing just adds points ;)

Welcome to Eastwood is a 28pp MCC or DCC sandbox adventure for 1st or 2nd level characters. While it is made for Dungeon Crawl Classics or Mutant Crawl Classics, it could be adapted to almost any RPG world/system. 

The Village of Eastwood

Eastwood is the ultimate vacation theme park. Its "wild west" veneer conceals the techno wizardry of a powerful temporal field. After weeks (or months) at the resort, visitors could re-enter life moments after leaving for vacation, and never miss a day’s work. But neglect of its systems sends the entire park bouncing into distant pasts and futures. 

The adventure begins as the PCs stumble upon a strange “village” that mysteriously appears overnight. Getting into Eastwood is simple, but escaping proves to be a deadly challenge.

The art looks perfect for the described adventure, and it's a low-level adventure, so it should be easy enough to convert to the OSR system of your choice (which is what I do with DCC RPG adventures in any case) 

The PDF is 5 bucks (a bargain), print is 9 bucks plus shipping and print plus PDF is 13 bucks (plus shipping).

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.  

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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The Humble RPG Book Bundle: 5th Edition Dungeon Extravaganza (includes some System Neutral Sourcebooks)

Looks like we have another RPG Bundle over at Humble Bundle. Although this one is labeled for 5e, as I've stated before, just about any GM can convert from 5e to the OSR will little effort, and many can do so on the fly with little to no prep. Additionally, this bundle has some system-neutral setting pieces that I highly recommend: the regional sourcebook The Duchy of Reme and the Lost Lands Setting book. Both come with rules addendums for 5e, but the sourcebooks themselves are system neutral, and the Lost Lands Setting Book comes with a license for other publishers to publish in the Lost Worlds Setting and reference locations and add to the lore. Now THAT is fucking cool.

Did I mention it includes The Book of Taverns, Volumes I and II? I kinda like taverns, go figure ;)

The Humble RPG Book Bundle: 5th Edition Dungeon Extravaganza comes in at three price points: $1, $8, and $15. The Duchy of Reme is included at the $8 level and The Lost Lands Setting book is included at the $15 price point.

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
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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Zine - Black Lung (Charity Zine)

Cancer is some scary shit. I should know, I'm a cancer survivor, and my health issues in 2020 were directly related to cancer treatment over a dozen years ago (congestive heart failure and the occluded left carotid were likely due to radiation treatment.) Yep, cancer is the gift that potentially keeps on giving to survivors, even years down the line.

2020 is also the year that Rocky found out that he had lung cancer. See, we didn't need Covid to make 2020 a truly shitty year, cancer and its lasting effects did a fine job fucking 2020 up on its own. When I found out Rocky had cancer, I literally teared up immediately. Rocky isn't just a good friend, but a damn good person, and he didn't deserve this. No one ever deserves this.

Rocky's battle is ongoing and he could certainly use your support. More importantly, his family needs it. Rocky is a husband and father of three young boys. 

Black Lung, the Charity Zine is being distributed by Frog God Games and is available in PDF format with variable pricing. All proceeds go to assist Rocky and his family, Frog God Games is merely facilitating distribution. Donations range from $15 to $150. The Tavern will be donating at the $150 mark.

Black Lung is a charity ‘zine to support an RPG designer and his family during their fight with cancer.

Authors include: Casey Christofferson, Levi Combs, Jack Cull, Alyssa Faden, Ala Fedorova, Skeeter Green, Greg Gillespie, Keelan Halvorrsen, Brendan LaSalle, Ian McGarty, Gabe Rotberg, James Michael Spahn, and Jim Wampler 

What is Black Lung?

This ’zine is a collection of pieces from a wide swath of the RPG community. Why did all of these authors and artists offer their time? To help a friend in need. And that is what this ‘zine is, people doing what they love for someone they love.

Is this a fundraiser?

All proceeds from this venture will directly benefit the family of RPG author, layout mastermind, father, and husband, Rocky Gardner as they combat the lung cancer that laid him low.

What is inside? 

Inside, you will find adventures, monsters, magic, and technology for a variety of game systems including adventures compatible with Shadowrun, Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, Swords and Wizardry, Dungeon and Mutant Crawl Classics, and Labyrinth Lord. There is something for everyone between these covers. 


 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.  

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Monday, January 25, 2021

News - Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman to Publish a New Series Based on Classic Dragonlance

I suspected something was in the works when they had their lawsuit against WotC dismissed - Tenkar

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman to Publish a New Series Based on Classic Dragonlance - https://www.facebook.com/trhickman

Wilmington, NC – January 25, 2021 – Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman are pleased to announce a multi-year licensing agreement with Wizards of the Coast to produce a new, three book series of Classic Dragonlance novels.

The new trilogy will return fans to the most beloved characters from the original novels along with introducing a new strong protagonist. The books will be published by Del Rey Books, an

imprint of Penguin Random House. Although a publishing date has not yet been formally set, they anticipate announcing when the first book will be released later this year.

“We couldn’t be happier to be returning to the world we love,” says Margaret Weis. “Dragonlance is what brought Tracy and I together so many years ago. We’re thrilled to be able to do this for existing lovers of Krynn while bringing our beloved characters to a new generation of readers.”

The first Classic Dragonlance novel, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, was written by Weis and Hickman and published in 1984. Since that time, more than 190 novels have been published in the setting. Weis and Hickman have collaborated on numerous series over the last 30 years including projects set within the world of Classic Dragonlance and outside of it. Two notable series are The Death Gate Cycle and The Darksword Series, both published by Penguin

Random House.

“We credit the fans of Dragonlance for making this journey possible,” says Tracy Hickman. “We wrote this series out of our thanks to them for this amazing life-long journey...and from our wish that they join us once more on the road to Solace.”

The license for the series was secured by Weis & Hickman in 2018. Their recent dispute with Wizards of the Coast was resolved at the end of 2020, with all parties pleased to have come to agreement on how best to move forward with the trilogy. All are focused on 

producing the best series possible and will not comment on the past dispute other than to say it has been resolved.

Watch for additional news from Weis and Hickman about Classic Dragonlance and other projects on the horizon in the coming months

Sunday, January 24, 2021

"Painful" Lesson Regarding System Differences

 

Just a head's-up that today's post is something like 96-103% PC storytime and if that's a turn-off consider this your warning to just come back to the Tavern tomorrow. Also, kind of adult content, possible trigger? Adult content as in Porky's, not as in serious adult content ;)

I've mentioned before that I had a HUGE gaming dry spell between 1996 and 2003, or so.....not that other years were bountiful, just better. I had picked up HackMaster on my honeymoon in late 2002 and we started hitting the FLGS (Favorite Local Game Store) the next year. One friend I made through the FLGS was Rob.

Rob was a medically retired Army vet who happened to be stationed in the same place I was....at the same time even. He was just in the next barracks over and in another unit so out paths just didn't cross "back in the day". Of course we hit it off playing many games at the FLGS and I eventually got into his gaming group. Ugh, that group was painful with Rob as a GM, way too social and mental for my tastes. We'd have entire sessions where no dice were slung. Not my style of game. We used to joke that Rob had his detail settings set too high...he could tell you exactly how many field mice were f*&king in a specific pasture 3 counties over.

Some of us ended up getting together for another, "looser" game that Rob wanted to run for us and this would be my real intro to D&D 3.5 since I could start from scratch with my PC, and I had finally gotten a PHB. I probably should have spent more time reading said PHB, but if I had then the rest of this story never would've happened.....

Anyway, I have a habit of running a very specific type PC whenever I start a new fantasy RPG in that I try to make the absolute best Archer that I can. This time I went with some sort of Elven Cleric of a gawd (I know, but "gawd" is an old HackMaster habit I'm not keen to drop) that had a bow as a preferred weapon. One casting (I hope I remember the spell name right) of True Strike and I'm pretty much guarantied to hit my target, especially after I multi-class a bit into Fighter.

I end up naming this PC BALADAR (yes, it is capitalized!) after a big joke we had while creating PCs. The bit was some back-and-forth about two gamers who get married and have a kid they decide to raise as a self-aware PC. BALADAR was the name we came up with for this poor bastard kid. 1st Day of Kindergarten BALADAR.....btw he speaks of himself in third-person....is sent to school with a pinned note showing his stats "My Intelligence is a 7!" and that 1st day is rough. "BALADAR wants a juice-box! BALADAR wants a nap!" After describing BALADARs various foibles, and laughing for a good half hour at this piece of group fiction, I HAD to name my next PC BALADAR.

We started this new game as 1st level nobodies in a desert seaport. As a group we decided that we didn't want an "urban" campaign and would rather get out of BFE (if you don't know this one......consider yourself fortunate to not have lived there). We didn't have much money between us and figured that it would be much better to get paid to travel to somewhere else instead of the alternative. Working as a caravan guard seemed easy enough, all we had to do was secure employment. BALADAR took off with our Sorcerer.....basically our most Charismatic PC to go find a caravan merchant that needed more muscle.

After some effort we finally find a group that could use more manpower but there's a hitch. The caravan matron, a large attractive-forty-years-ago-maybe, woman has her pick of new guards and why should we be picked up instead of another group? The Sorcerer pitches our abilities.....having a Cleric and Sorcerer as well as a couple of fighters (one was actually a thief, but why mention that?) could prove useful, but to no avail. In what I'm sure is a bit of the GM fucking with the player, the Matron would much rather get a little kick-back in the form of being "serviced", by the Sorcerer. The desert can get cold and lonely at night, after all......

Now these little side discussions between NPCs and PCs were rather common in Rob's games to begin with, and usually not held at the table, so those not actively involved rarely pay much attention. Hell my PC isn't even actively involved....he's just "there" off to the side, but I am trying to listen in the best I can.

So here we have, in-character, some old-fashioned straight-up sexual harassment Quid Pro Quo. Can't get much worse, right? Well the Sorcerer decides instead of taking one for the team, or declining outright....., he'll go ahead and pimp out my PC instead. Wait, what?

He does the old, "My buddy at the bar wants this on his tab.....*waves at guy to get him to nod and/or wave back*" trick and this part I completely fell for 'cause I didn't hear the lead-in. The GM has me enter the conversation and explains that not only did the Sorcerer explain that BALADAR was more than happy to "service" the Matron, my acknowledgement from across the room was considered binding. 

Again....wait, what?

Of course the Sorcerer has hightailed it and BALADAR isn't going anywhere until the deed it done, as it were. This is when I had what I thought was an epiphany....BALADAR wasn't a 1st level Fighter, he was a 1st level Cleric. I have just the spell for this occasion (I hope at least one of you sees where I'm going...): Command.

Command (Enchantment/Charm)
Level: 1    Components: V   Range: 1"    Casting Time: 1 segment   Duration: 1 round    Saving Throw: Special   Area of Effect: One creature
Explanation/Description: This spell enables the cleric to issue a command of a single word. The command must be uttered in a language which the spell recipient is able to understand. The individual will obey to the best of his/her/its ability only so long as the command is absolutely clear and unequivocal, i.e. "Suicide!" could be a noun, so the creature would ignore the command. A command to "Die!" would cause the recipient to fall in a faint or cataleptic state for 1 round, but thereafter the creature would be alive and well. Typical command words are: back, halt, flee, run, stop, fall, fly, go, leave, surrender, sleep. rest, etc. Undead are not affected by a command. Creatures with intelligence of 13 or more, and creatures with 6 or more hit dice (or experience levels) are entitled to a saving throw versus magic. (Creatures with 13 or higher intelligence and 6 hit dice/levels do not get 2 saving throws!)

BALADAR casts Command: Orgasm Yeah, suck it GM! I got over on your little machinations, anc screw that other player too!

Should work, right?

Yeah......no. That spell block above...that's for 1st Edition D&D, which was what I was used to. D&D 3.5 run the spell a bit differently...d'oh!

Command

Enchantment (Compulsion) [Language-Dependent, Mind-Affecting]

Level:Clr 1
Components:V
Casting Time:standard action
Range:Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target:One living creature
Duration:1 round
Saving Throw:Will negates
Spell Resistance:Yes

You give the subject a single command, which it obeys to the best of its ability at its earliest opportunity. You may select from the following options.

Approach

On its turn, the subject moves toward you as quickly and directly as possible for 1 round. The creature may do nothing but move during its turn, and it provokes attacks of opportunity for this movement as normal.

Drop

On its turn, the subject drops whatever it is holding. It can’t pick up any dropped item until its next turn.

Fall

On its turn, the subject falls to the ground and remains prone for 1 round. It may act normally while prone but takes any appropriate penalties.

Flee

On its turn, the subject moves away from you as quickly as possible for 1 round. It may do nothing but move during its turn, and it provokes attacks of opportunity for this movement as normal.

Halt

The subject stands in place for 1 round. It may not take any actions but is not considered helpless.

If the subject can’t carry out your command on its next turn, the spell automatically fails

So now I'm fucked, literally?

We get back to the game table and the GM explains to the other players what happened and how bad I failed to thwart the Sorcerer's manipulation. Good news though! We can still take our place as caravan guards for this trip since BALADAR stayed true to his "word" and made sure the Caravan Matron was "pleased" with her hiring decision.

Yeah........not sure if I was more pissed or disappointed. I know I'm an adult and if it really bothered me I could have shot a proverbial flare up and waved the bullshit flag. I got worked over and thought I could flip the script through creative spell use, but nope. I'm not sure how this scenario was supposed to have gone, not sure how I would've gotten revenge either, but that's because it was all too much for BALADAR.

He died in out very 1st combat encounter. Since 3.5 isn't exactly thought of as an overly deadly game I'm thinking he died of shame, it just took a while for the dice to come around to do their part.

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