Saturday, February 13, 2021

ZineQuest - Lands of Legend experienced the Horrors of the Sepulchre on the Desert Moon of Karth

And we are back to ZineQuest! 

Zines, zines everywhere, and all the shelves doth creak! Zines, zines everywhere, with one I even peeked - with sincere apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Tenkar

Lands of Legends - SIX Zines for #ZineQuest3 - An OSR toolkit in SIX zines to spark your fantasy sandbox with 500 unique areas and 500 special encounters, in five different flavors! I think I was hooked at "OSR toolkit" :) Seriously, Giuseppe Rotondo gave me a peek behind the veil, or rather, a sneak peek of Lands of Legends and I was, and still am, duly impressed. If you like running sandboxes, hex crawls, or need some inspiration for the setting you are prepping, you really can't go wrong with the Lands of Legend Kickstarter - Tenkar

I'm backing at the POD plus PDF level :)

Lands of Legends is a collection of five zines, each of which is a unique tool to craft and enrich your fantasy sandbox and adventures with unique areas, locales, encounters, and events.

And it's SIX zines, actually: thanks to the awesome community that is backing our project, Lands of Legends now is a set of SIX zines! See the Catch-Up Goals below to find out what the sixth zine is about!

It can be used with most fantasy RPGs, and occasionally refers to the basic concepts of the world's most popular role-playing game (things like Armor Class, Hit Dice, and so on), so it is readily usable with the vast majority of OSR rulesets.

Horrors of the Sepulchre - An old-school RPG zine adventure - Steve C (short for Canadian perhaps), Matt (The Humble Mapper) Jackson and Del (I actually own some of your original artwork before you became huge) Tiegler have combined to put together a new "Tomb of Horrors" for lower levels. Yep, you can abuse your party before they can abuse you ;) Tenkar

Horrors of the Sepulchre is an old-school RPG zine adventure created in the tradition of the classic module Tomb of Horrors, but it's made for the B/X "sweet spot" of player character levels 4-7. 

So what does Horrors of the Sepulchre have within its evil pages?

  • One-page Introduction? Check.
  • Wicked traps to avoid? Check.
  • A fearsome bad guy? Check. 
  • Monsters to hack or outsmart? Check
  • Awesome treasures? Hell yeah!
  • A chance for glory or infamy? Most definitely!

But you mentioned THAT module above. Is there even any hope of survival? 

Of course there is! Be smart about it. This is OLD-SCHOOL, you gotta step up your game! Horrors of the Sepulchre gives you the glorious opportunity to take on a deathtrap dungeon with menacing monsters and substantial reward. 

Are you daring enough? Or are you gonna slink back to Ye Olde Tavern in town like some pansy-ass bard and sing grand tales of what OTHER adventurers do?

Desert Moon of Karth - A space western sandbox on a tiny moon for Mothership RPG. Harvest the ossified corpses of coral beings and live forever - I'm a huge fan of westerns & SciFi, and even wrote some stuff for White Star that was heavily influenced by Firefly & Spaghetti Westerns. So, offering a space western sandbox is right up my alley, and yet another addition to the Zines of ZineQuest 3 that I've added as notches to my belt - Tenkar

Saturday, 2/13/21 I'll be doing a Livestream with Joel Hines. Join us at YouTube.com/ErikTenkar

Desert Moon of Karth is a space western sandbox adventure zine for the Mothership Sci-Fi Horror RPG. 

Karth is a tiny mesa studded moon on the galaxy's edge. The only way down is an antique space elevator to the lawless boomtown of Larstown; a place surrounded by even greater danger and strangeness in the wastes beyond. Survival or salvation is not guaranteed, partner.

Harvest ossified coral corpses to live forever. Become an involuntary organ donor. Dodge ancient orbital defenses. Explore sand blown ruins. Hunt the fearsome sandsquid. Ride camels through the dunes. Drink whisky until you’ve forgotten your own name.

Karth's inspirations include Dune, Firefly, Alien, John Carter of Mars, Cowboy Bebop, The Dark Tower, spaghetti westerns, and modern adventures like Hot Springs Island, A Pound of Flesh, Ultraviolet Grasslands, and Slumbering Ursine Dunes.

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Friday, February 12, 2021

ZineQuest - The Haunted Hamlet - and other hexes

Hexes.

Nothing but hexes.

Let us present you with - The Haunted Hamlet - and other hexes.

ZineQuest has turned the month of February into "empty Tenkar's wallet month." I'm not complaining, ZineQuest has had some amazing content. I've covered many projects here on the blog and I've been doing daily Fireside Chats over at YouTube.com/ErikTenkar with various zine creators.

At the moment I'm looking at The Haunted Hamlet. From the creator of Willow and Woodfall, we now have a chance to back Shane Walshe's latest zine / mini-setting / OSR goodness.

The Haunted Hamlet and other hexes is a zine detailing four unique modular locations for your game. 

Made for old school essentials, but can easily be used with other old-school systems or even 5E. All in a compact zine format.

The four locations detailed in the zine focus on gameable content and being easy to use at the table. The locations are not connected to one another and can be sprinkled onto your campaign map however you like, or run as one shots. The zine is graphic and art heavy and utilizes a lot of random tables and other tools to make it easier for GMs to run in a pinch.

Each hex location has its own tone and scenario and they are not related to each other. They each are complete with hooks for your players, timelines of events to keep the pace of the game moving, as well as unique monsters and NPCs. The hexes are designed to be low-prep to run with a focus on what information is needed at the table.

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Thursday, February 11, 2021

Noble Dwarf - Print on Demand Canvas, NOT Beholders & More - 30% off Sitewide Through Tomorrow

Stepping away from the ZineQuest coverage for a brief moment (but you can grab more ZineQuest Fireside Chats at either YouTube.com/ErikTenkar or anchor.fm/tavernchat depending on how you consume your content)

I'd heard of Noble Dwarf in the past as a patron of Allyssa Fayen's Patreon but hadn't had the opportunity to peruse its wares, so to speak. Then a friend told me earlier today that there was a 30% off sitewide sale expiring end of the day tomorrow, so I figured it was time to take a closer look. I am glad I did.

3d printed minis, print on demand canvas prints (my God, some are simply gorgeous looking - I ordered the Whisper & Venom map as I simply love the boxed set and all the art and maps), mugs, apparel, challenge coins (they need more challenge coins - I think we need a Tenkar's Tavern challenge coin ;) and more.

So, this is the map I ordered at 14" x 18". It came out to less than 20 bucks shipped (with tax and delivery included). I'll be more than happy to report on its quality when I receive it.

As stated above, the 30% off sale expires end of the day tomorrow, so peek now before the sale is over, and maybe if you have some cash leftover from all of the ZineQuest shopping you'll find yourself with a new wall hanging or beholder. Or more :)

Oh yeah, Beholders! Alright, technically most certainly NOT Beholders, but Beholders are in the eyes of the beholder ;)

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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Deal of the Day - Edge of the Wilds - 100+ scenarios for rural adventures! (System Neutral)

Stepping away - briefly - from ZineQuest 3 coverage - I'm taking a peek at today's Deal of the Day. Sometimes, all you need is the seed for an adventure, the spark that sets of your own imagination, and it looks like Edge of the Wilds - 100+ scenarios for rural adventures! may just be that. I love adding tools to my DM's toolkit, and this looks to be a nice fit.

Normally 4.73 in PDF, until tomorrow morning, Edge of the Wilds is on sale for a mere 2.31.

This book contains dozens and dozens of scenarios and scenario ideas for adventures in rural settings, suited for nearly all imaginable kinds of fantasy RPGs. If your game has villages and towns surrounded by wilderness, you will be able to run these scenarios!

Our plothooks and storyseeds (around half a page in length each) are ideas: a collection of lawless gangs, rampaging beasts, rivaling settlements, incarnate powers of nature and much much more. A few adventures are straightforward, but many come with a twist, designed to lead to more trouble and more action for your average adventuring party!

Each adventure introduces the basic story: a villain's plan, the most important NPCs and how things might develop once our heroes become involved.

Use these scenarios as they are written, or let them inspire you and grow your own, custom adventure from the sprouting seed of our story!

Most of the scenarios are written with a medieval-ish fantasy setting in mind, but are easily adaptable to ancient, victorian or even more modern rural settings.

Each adventure seed is focused on one or more of the four large categories of RPG scenarios: exploration, diplomacy, investigation and combat.

Many adventures are designed for low to mid level characters, but you can also find quite a few for veteran adventurers and even some for legendary champions in this collection.

Rural adventures are extremely well suited as starting points for RPG campaigns. They have their own distinct strengths and traits to capture the “flair” of this frontier environment. In this collection you will find a short guide with the most important tips on running plots in the rural setting.

Last but not least: we have included a list of 20 short encounters that can be used in any rural area and are especially well suited to be thrown into your campaign as a bit of a distraction, a small tidbit of interest that gives your player characters a little room to breathe...but at the same time holds the potential for much more!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

ZineQuest 3 - A Tangled Web leads to the Curse of the Tomb of Immolation

ZineQuest 3 is possibly the easiest way to spend money on Kickstarter. It's one-stop shopping of gaming goodness in small packages that will fill my mailbox throughout the year. Christmas in July & December? Screw that - I want that special feeling of opening gifts of gaming goodness all of the time ;)

I am doing a series of interviews with ZineQuest creators. Of the zines I'm covering with this post, Michael Harmon and his Tomb of Immolation zine will be on deck Thursday morning at 10 AM Eastern. You can catch them all at YouTube.com/ErikTenkar

A Tangled Web -Benjamin McCown - I'm a huge fan of GM resources that help the improv style of gamemastering. A Tangled Web looks to be right up my alley.

A Tangled Web is all about connecting your NPCs with one another using relationships and breathing life into your world. This zine contains 5 precreated sets of 6 NPCs each themed with a generic multi-race fantasy setting in mind (humans, dwarves, elves, and halflings.) Each set contains its own unique narrative. There will also be 3+ “Create Your Own Tangled Web” fill in the blank style worksheets (more depending on stretch goals) that will help you generate your own collection of NPCs that are actually interesting and know each other.

Each of these NPC sets exist within a web of relationships woven to bring drama, secrets, and interesting interactions to your game. Every web has an illustrative diagram showing these relationships with unique icons. NPC descriptions are kept short and sweet and are meant to spark creativity. Random tables are provided for each web to provide different flavor, motivations, and secrets every time you use the web in a new story.

For the most part these webs are kept system and setting agnostic. Volume 1 is focused on stories within cities and towns, so you won’t find any wilderness setting NPCs here. But if you’ve got a city, town, or outpost in your game, then you’re all set to use these webs in your existing stories.

Curse: The City of One Thousand Martyrs - I'm a big fan of system-neutral setting material, as I'm more interested in the fluff than the crunch. This looks to fit that bill.

Curse, The City of One Thousand Martyrs is a 24-page zine exploring the world in and around the city. The book will look at the four ancestries of people who have traveled to the city, the different factions who inhabit the city, the city's ruined wards, the surrounding lands, and the terrible monsters that inhabit Curse.

Recommended systems for Curse: The City of One Thousand Martyrs include Torchbearer, Burning Wheel, Zweihander, Hackmaster, Dungeon World, Shadow of the Demon Lord, Dungeons & Dragons, Forged in the Dark, Warhammer Fantasy, and wargames including Frostgrave and Mordheim.

Tomb of Immolation - I'm a sucker for dungeons. 5e and OSR in the same package is a win-win. Of course, I'll ignore the 5e crunch ;)

The Tomb of Immolation is a short but dense dungeon crawl with a variety of puzzles, traps, and role playing challenges to keep the players busy.

  • 70+ pages (truly, a hunk-a-burning love!)
  • Designed for a party of five 5th level characters
  • The party should have a character with the ability to turn undead 
  • The party should have a character with good disable device and lockpicking skills
  • Five new 5e and seven new OSR monsters described in the Bestiary
  • Three adventure hooks
  • Numerous new magic items described
  • Printer friendly maps and a set of five pre-generated player characters in both 5e and OSR formats provided in the appendices.

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Monday, February 8, 2021

ZineQuest 3 - Scrap Rats enter The Lair of the Manticore and find Anarchy!

ZineQuest 3 is possibly the easiest way to spend money on Kickstarter. It's one-stop shopping of gaming goodness in small packages that will fill my mailbox throughout the year. Christmas in July & December? Screw that - I want that special feeling of opening gifts of gaming goodness all of the time ;)

Today I'm covering three more ZinesThe first on I sat down for a Fireside Chat with this morning, the next I am sitting down with tonight, and the third I am sitting down with tomorrow morning. Livestreams for the win at YouTube.com/ErikTenkar! Subscribe and you won't miss a notification.

Scrap Rats - Zak Goins - A zero level sci-fi RPG that uses the D&D 5th edition rules as its engine, then jettisons all of the bloat? I think I'm in love :) Catch the Fireside Chat and watch me swoon ;)

There's a lot of different game types and themes you'll be able to draw from during play, but here's where we think Scrap Rats excels:

Horror|Thriller // Playing as level-0 characters, there are a plethora of things that can kill your party. Heck, even a feral cat can mess you up if things sour quickly. Putting your players up against something that can surely spell their doom is a great way to incite panic and make for a memorable session.

Suspense // Level-0 salvagers aren't exactly "skilled", but they do possess a certain set of skills. Sometimes it’ll require quick thinking and an out-of-the-box mindset to survive. There can be many times in your party’s career that they’re faced with “do or die” situations.

Pulpy Action // Not everything has to be dour. Some can be raucous, ridiculous good fun. Of course it’ll also be dangerous, but that’s just part of living!

Comedy // If your table is anything like ours, this one hardly needs to be said. Any time a group gets together, hijinks may ensue. The over-the-top artifacts and bizarre denizens can become excellent fodder for the confetti cannon.

Anarchy! - James Carpio - Sometimes you just need to let your hair down, or spike it up or shave it off. Anarchy! appears to be that kind of game. Somewhere in heaven, Joey Ramone is rolling some dice... Watch the Fireside Chat


Oi! It’s the year 1983, and the world is gone! Well gone… You see, the big three (Reagan, Brezhnev, and Thatcher) decided that it was a great fucking idea to start poking bombs at each other, and then BOOM! One day in October, it all goes to shite! It was nothing like that late-night movie said it would be. The radiation brought about something they call Dark Mana; it was worse than anything we could imagine. You think a bunch of yuppie fascists were bad when they were swilling imported beer, try imbuing them with dark magic, then all hell breaks loose, literally!

Now they try to rebuild their capitalistic utopias with fanatical cults, CEO demons, and a well-armed police state trying to oppress our music and freedoms. Well, not if we can help it! The underground is alive and fighting back. We have also gathered the power of this dark corruption to throw it back in their faces. They call us the Anarchists, those of us who have sworn to fight the power in a whole new way. They may have the armies of the damned at their side, but we fight back with our music, courage, and anarchy!

The Lair of the Manticore - Frank Tufler - An adventure, a mini-setting, and fantastical diseases? This is an example of why I blew through my $250 ZineQuest 3 budget and haven't even looked back. Good stuff!

A Micro-Dungeon Adventure and mini-campaign setting for Savage Worlds, 5e, Swords & Wizardry, and Tiny D6

"Lair of the Manticore!" began as a free black and white map designed as an adventure starter for a short one-page adventure. It has since grown and expanded to 24 pages and continues to grow. 

It still retains the charm of a one-page adventure and is designed to be quick and easy to run with very little prep, but now includes a mini-setting, the Keep on the Barrow Lands, and some new challenges for players, such as The Dark Flower Sickness which also includes optional disease rules.

I'll be back with more ZineQuest picks on Monday - as well as two ZineQuest Livestreams on Monday and two more on Tuesday. Seriously, subscribe to YouTube.com/ErikTenkar so you don't miss any of them :)

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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Sunday, February 7, 2021

Thinking About my Last Couple Campaigns

 

Thinking About my Last Couple Campaigns
Unfortunately for me I haven't had a game for a couple of weeks, which happens, but it's given me some time to think more about my own game...specifically starting up a new campaign.

It's been a while since I had a bona fide campaign. The odd one-off or short string of games, yes.....campaign, not so much. After a recent discussion about my old GM buddy Rob I thought a lot about campaigns in general, and then my own in specifics.

It has been my experience that most GMs....well maybe half of GMs, don't really have a solid campaign. They may have a string of themed adventures here and there, but an over-arching campaign....not so much. My buddy Topher (Hey Topher!) probably does the best job at a campaign I've ever seen. He actually polls his players on what kind of game they want to be playing in, and I've got a copy of one of his player questionnaires you can look at here


Questionnaire Page 1

I know of three of Topher's campaigns: One based on the Icelandic Sagas, another on the fall of Constantinople (1453), and another loosely based on Hogwarts, where all the players were different types of Magic Users where every level was a year of school. Of course, these are broad strokes of remembering and I while I have played a session or two at his table when in the area for work, I don't personally recall any first-hand particulars.

Now I mentioned Rob's campaign where we joked he could tell you how many field mice were screwing in a particular farmer's field three counties away. As much as I liked Rob, his campaign...or at least that one, felt like a railroad storytelling session where we occasionally rolled dice.

Questionnaire Page 2

Personally I like to have an overall campaign theme and have a few initial ideas, and stuff that will happen in the background regardless of player intervention, or even notice. I try to keep things running on three levels...you could think nationally, regionally, and locally, but that's more a geopolitical hierarchy. I like to think of it as big ideas, small ideas, and something in between.

For example, my last campaign (I had a blog for it, but it was far too much work to do everything I was trying to do) the overall campaign idea was history repeating itself in that a Charismatic Half-Orc was going to unite the orc tribes and invade the region where the party members grew up. Of course they didn't know that was the "thing". The campaign world was magic-lite because magic had been gone for 10,000 years and was just re-emerging. With the return of magic came the slow return of the gods, as they are tied together.

Most of the players secretly had some measure of clerical power in the form of being able to cast one spell a day. Generally the good-aligned gods spread their power out through a number of individuals while the evil gods concentrated them in one person.

I basically drew an outline, well more a future timeline, of how the campaign's BBG would progress. When & where does he appear and how he builds his power base. The players were free to adventure as they saw fit. I mapped out logical decision points and setup some adventure seeds. I also had a hip-pocket mini adventure or three set aside in case the party went somewhere I completely couldn't fathom....as they sometimes do. I let the players pretty much determine their direction and in doing so the "small ideas" I had seeded here & there. Depending on how things played out I took the repercussions of the "small ideas" and stepped them logically to the "something in between".

In this low-magic campaign the players started off with their secret powers and they did a good job keeping those secrets, well at least initially, from the NPCs. They ended up setting themselves up as troubleshooters for the community. On one "mission" from the village Elder they came across someone else that had broken into an old tomb and come across some magic and some undead, which of course killed some PCs and freaked the one survivor out, bad enough that he broke some severe social taboos. The party caught the guy and turned him over to the Elders, who branded the guy and banished him from home....which is a big deal since few humans have been more than a few miles from home.

Now in the background the future BBG has also discovered his powers and has been using it to consolidate his power base and start raiding far earlier than expected. The party doesn't know this, of course, nor do they know that they had made an enemy of the brandished/banished guy, who migrated East and would be a future villain.....had they ever travelled East.

Instead they party decided to go West to the closest city where on the way they ran into some Halflings, which were essentially the world's travelling merchants, and discovered a network of Halfling campsites and they start learning more about this world outside of "home". There was a Goblin attack they easily repelled, but they didn't figure out the Goblins were pushed out ahead of the raiding Orcs. The party had some other adventures and eventually came back in time to discover the Orcs raiding early, which they duly reported.

While the party was doing their thing, the world was turning...with and without them. Eventually a new player stepped in and chose to be a Cleric.......and boy did that campaign change once her secret got out! The players did have an initial run-in with the BBG, but the group broke-up shortly after this initial contact.

I could go on with another campaign, but my main point is that I like to have an idea for an overall campaign, an idea that isn't necessarily communicated to the players up-front. Instead of having a scripted plan that gets checked off at the player's speed, I want things to happen regardless of PC interaction. They can interact or react as things progress, but they do have a lot of agency in the campaign. I'm not going to railroad them, but instead let them go off and "do their thing" and then adjudicate how that works into the overall story and how it helps fill in the game world.

I'm hoping this makes sense.....obviously whatever works for you and your players....well, works, but I think there is a lot to be said for having a campaign that exists with and without your players interaction.

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