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Saturday, March 13, 2021

State of the Tavern - Update - Closed Captioning for the YouTube Channel for the Hearing Impaired and Audio Conversion of the Blog for the Visually Impaired

 


The above was asked in reference to last night's update, and I had been under the impression that YouTube videos required manual Closed Captioning, and I had neither the time nor the money to do so. I was wrong.

YouTube CAN automatically do CC, and it's pretty damn accurate. I do need to turn it on for each video manually, so it will take some time before it's available across the board, but it's begun with some of the more recent videos and livestreams.

This got me thinking. There used to be a plugin that allowed me to convert each blogpost to an audio file with a simple link, but that app went away years ago. After a little research, I found Woord, and for $60 bucks a year I can convert the blog into an audio format.

My current plan is to upload a week of the blog at a time as a podcast episode - not sure if it will be a new podcast feed or simply extra podcast episodes. Most likely a new feed / podcast.

Let me know what you think. I do care :)

Here's a sample of today's blogpost in an audio format: https://www.dropbox.com/s/8xbn1c11to4st37/16793195831615688173604d71ed159847.16965527.mp3?dl=0

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State of the Tavern - Which Comes First, The Podcast or the Livestream or YouTube? The Blog!

So, before tonight's Iron Rations LiveStream with JoetheLawyer (and Matt & Mike), Joe tossed out the idea that I should consider ditching the Tavern Chat podcast and move to just doing the Tavern's YouTube Channel. Thankfully, Joe didn't suggest that I ditch the blog ;)

Now, I understand where Joe is coming from. Four of the daily YouTube shares each week are simply reshares of the podcast, and three episodes each week are reshares of the YouTube livestreams. They are, in effect, imperfect mirrors of each other.

What I AM thinking of doing is recording Tavern Chat as a video initially, sharing it to YouTube, and then upload the audio to the podcast side of things. From the podcast side of things, little if anything would change. Same content, same show. On the YouTube side of things though, it would do away with the generic static image that is generated when the podcast gets converted to video. Instead, you would get my lovely image 7 days a week, in addition to my voice.

It would be a small amount of extra work on my end, but it might just be worth it for those that prefer using YouTube.

As an aside, I'd like to thank the recent subscribers that put the channel over 300 subs. We truly appreciate the support.

In any case, that's the current thought. If you have feedback or suggestions I'd be glad to have it.

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.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Kickstarter - Bestial Ecosystems Created by Monstrous Inhabitation


I feel like all I'm posting about is Kickstarter, but so many awesome ones have released in the last few days that I find myself highlighting another one. I apologize for the impact I'm having on everyone's wallets ;)

Hack & Slash, AKA Courtney, just went live with the Bestial Ecosystems Created by Monstrous Inhabitation Kickstarter. This is a "must back" Kickstarter for me, and I suspect it will be so for others.

What if monsters were unique and exciting? What if monsters no longer existed in solitary, but part of individual, specialized, ecosystems? What if you had the tools to make these ecosystems quickly and easily, over and over again?

What's in it?

Thousands of unique monster ideas and origins

Tools to integrate these into biomes and exploratory play

Dozens of ideas to make monsters mechanically unique

No longer will monsters feel like bags of hit points to you or your players.  Bestial Ecosystems Created by Monstrous Inhabitation includes clear guidelines for how players can come across these monsters and learn about them in a system-neutral way. This book has no statistic blocks, no repeating anything in the possibly dozens of monster books you already own. This gives every monster dozens and dozens of ideas to make it special, along with the tools and guidelines to use them in play.

What's it for?

This allows referees of fantasy tabletop games to enjoyably generate monster history, traits, and ideas. Referees can then take those monsters and integrate them into dynamic fantasy biomes, along with the tools to allow players to explore those biomes. This allows the players the opportunity to learn about these biomes and monster interactions through play!

Creating a new campaign is like raising a house frame all by yourself. This is a tool that makes something often overlooked (fantasy ecosystems) into an exciting and quick process. 

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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Kickstarter - Dwarrowdeep - Greg Gillespie (OSR & 5e)


Barrowmaze
is probably the gold standard of megadungeons. It broke new grounds when it was published and established Greg Gillespie as one of the OSR's premier adventure creators, as he followed Barrowmaze with Barrowmaze II (which were then joined in Barrowmaze Complete) Highfell, & The Forbidden Caverns of the Archaia

Today, Greg launched the Kickstarter for Barrowmaze: Dwarrowdeep (OSR and 5E). It funded in an hour and has already surpassed 275 backers. I should know, I'm one of them ;)

Tonight at 8 PM Eastern, Greg will be the guest of Bad Mike & I on the Talking Crit Livestream. Join us and pepper Greg with questions. Or watch later and simply listen to the answers to the questions of others. Oh, and events in the hobby we all love. We ALWAYS touch upon such news ;)

This Kickstarter campaign is designed to support the creation of a new megadungeon adventure for the Old School Renaissance and the Fifth Edition of the World's Most Popular Role-Playing Game. Dwarrowdeep represents the fourth in a massive six-part megadungeon adventure series never before undertaken in the history of fantasy role-playing games.

The OSR Labyrinth Lord edition can be played with any TSR rule-set from the 70s/80s/90s, or inspired by them, such as Original Edition, B/X, First or Second Edition, OSRIC, Old School Essentials, or Swords and Wizardry without conversion. The adventure is designed to support low-to-high level play within a medieval fantasy campaign lasting months and years.

I estimate the final draft to be between 260-290 pages and approximately 500-600 encounter areas. If you are familiar with Barrowmaze Complete, that project was 259 pages in a two-column format (cover to cover). The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia my follow-up project, was 293 pages. Like my other megadungeons, Dwarrowdeep will provide PDF poster maps in both black and Old School blue.

Dwarrowdeep begins with a gazetteer that outlines the region in which the adventure takes place. This includes a cultural history of the dwarves as well as detailing the town of Hamelet - the base of operations for the campaign. The dungeon proper will be levelled in a traditional style, albeit with twists and surprises. You can expect new spells and magic items, special monsters, pregenerated characters, new races, and rival adventuring parties. Dwarrowdeep merges my own unique vision (one that has never been realized in a dwarven-themed adventure) with inspiration drawn from J.R.R. Tolkien and classic adventures like Shrine of the Kuo-Toa and The Night Below.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Kickstarter - SCIENTIFIC BARBARIAN No.3 (post-apocalyptic)

I'm pretty fond of the Mutant Crawl Classics RPG. To hamfist a quote inspired by Spinal Tap: "This Gamma World Clone goes to Eleven!" Note, no drummers were killed creating this RPG ;)

So, what is SCIENTIFIC BARBARIAN No.3? According to the Kickstarter page, "Bigger and better than a fanzine, not quite as fancy as a magazine, SCIENTIFIC BARBARIAN No.3 is a megazine. It’s 6” x 9” in size, with 64+ pages of professional gaming content created and produced by industry veterans. Our megazines are also perfect-bound with a spine, so they stand up nicely on a shelf as you collect them! This is an exciting new format we here at Mudpuppy Games are proud to pioneer, and we can’t wait to see how many others adopt what we think is a pretty handy format for jamming a publication straight into your game bag or your backpack."

So, a zine that goes to Eleven! Cool :)

Does that mean that SCIENTIFIC BARBARIAN No.3 is specifically written for the MCC RPG? No, but it will certainly fit very well with MCC, Gamma World, Mutant Future, and the like. Heck, even fits with your OSR fantasy rules if you want to push your campaign in different directions.


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Monday, March 8, 2021

Kickstarter - Folio #27 - Lair of the Serpents (1E & 5E - Get the PDF for a buck!)

I've been following Scott Taylor and his Folio series of adventures since the first one he published. Amazing art, quality writing, and adventures that are ripe for using, by piece or whole cloth for your own campaign.

If you haven't checked out The Folio yet, Scott's latest Kickstarter is a great opportunity to do so, as you can get the PDF of Folio #27, Lair of the Serpents Gaming Adventure! for just a buck. Even better, you can grab all 30 of The Folio releases in PDF for 30 bucks. Many campaigns worth of gaming material for D&D 1e and 5e for less than the cost of the 5e Player's Handbook.

Want to watch Scott talk about The Folio and more? I had a FireSide Chat with Scott a few weeks back: 

Join the adventure as Art of the Genre continues to add content to its first new mega-dungeon in over three years!  This second part of a six-phase mega-campaign is based around 1st-3rd level characters in a completely revolutionary setting.  I've specially designed the dungeon to breathe new life into those adventuring levels while allowing the DM the ability to create incredible story arcs with old favorite monsters like lizardmen, giant serpents, huge toads, and even early fantasy RPG video game monsters inspired by classic crawls like Wizardry and Bard's Tale!

The Virgin Mine setting revolves around an adventuring company moving into the ruins of the wild jungle around the Imperial Capital city of Nextyaria. Here, they will match wits against other treasure-seeking adventuring companies as well as the intelligent dungeon that hosts relic treasures with nearly unlimited power.

Folio #27 will introduce characters to the next section of the massive Virgin Mine Dungeon, the Lair of the Serpents!.  Unlike normal dungeons, this one carries various mysteries and wrinkles that 'bend' the rules of character advancement, and strategy will need to be employed as the party learns the ropes within the Virgin Mine Dungeon setting.  Dungeon details include 2D standard hex maps as well as fully 3D renderings of The Lair of the Serpents section of The Virgin Mine.  A gazetteer section will give background on the new rules and the exterior camps and companies.  Several new monsters lurk within as well as new magical treasure.  It also features a fully removable and stand-alone cover in perfect OSR tradition!

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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Doing Something "Nice" for my Players.....and the Unintended Consequences

 

Doing Something "Nice" for my Players.....and the Unintended Consequences
This is my second attempt at a post because my earlier almost-finished post.......I thought it was a bit much as it had some adult content about the time one of my player's PCs was kidnapped to be sacrificed to an evil deity....the method of sacrifice was the "adult" part.

I was inspired to tell that story initially because I found the printed out (huge, like most of the table big) map I had mounted and laminated. This encounter had a couple of possible outcomes, from the straight-up gruesome (for that one PC) to a TPK, or even just a complete bloodbath. It ended up going the bloodbath route, but that happens when you have three women (players and PCs) facing off against a deviant murderous cult that happened to also abduct the orphan the party had taken a liking to........

If given the opportunity I like to have really nice maps to play on, but coming up with nice maps....even if you're just finding and using other people's maps, takes a lot of resources (mostly time). I usually just end up with some props and a good set of Staedtler markers and Chessex Battlemat. If I'm running a bunch of tables, like when I'm head GM, I'll maybe splurge on some clear acetate you can buy at the fabric store. I can easily draw out one map and then make copies and hand out the maps for GMs to plop down quickly on an empty battlemat. Works for me!

If I expect a big battle, especially a challenging (i.e. potential PC death or TPK) encounter I'll more likely go all out. If I'm fortunate enough to find someone else's map (like something from Dyson Logos) I'll take and get it printed up, preferably at the UPS Store or FedEx Kinkos, but I'm not above printing it at home and piecing it together. Mount that map on some foam core and cover it with lamination......good to go, though if I'm really lucky and have the time, I'm not above creating a 3d model using Hirst Arts bricks or insulation foam.

Of course, as a GM, creating terrain pieces for table-top play is not just fun, but a means of me continuing or pre-planning the fun outside of the normal game-time. Generally speaking if I think the players might get their PCs killed, more than just the normal dangers of a game session, I like to treat them to some thing "extra". Of course if you do this enough then you can establish a pattern....

...and as a GM I love establishing patterns. Nothing like being able to mess with your players at the table using Out Of Character (OOC) knowledge. If they get used to potentially ugly battles being preceded by the GM whipping out a custom laminated map....then I can mess with their heads, and expectations, by whipping out a nice map for a mundane encounter. I once had the party spend a good 20', table-top time, checking the room five times for a secret or hidden door because there HAD to be something beyond the walls if I had bothered to slap down a full-color & laminated map.....

Good times.

Makes me wonder what "special things" other GMs do for their players that are outside of the norms. Also, how do other GMs mess with their players (aside from making them do surprise random rolls for no reason....) the former, by all means comment here, but if you have some juicy (but not too mean) ways to mess with players, hit me up outside of the Tavern....too many eyes in here!

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