Saturday, May 1, 2021

Humble Comic Bundle - Heavy Metal's Heaviest Metal

Heavy Metal was THE edgy comic book when I was younger. At Humble Bundle pricing, the amount of quality and potentially edgy graphic reading material in the Humble Comic Bundle - Heavy Metal's Heaviest Metal is impossible for me to pass up. I'm in for 25 bucks.

There is also a Dungeons & Dragons Comic Book Bundle and a Warhammer 40k Fiction Bundle

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, April 30, 2021

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 3rd Edition FAQ

The following was originally shared by Jeff Talanian here:

What makes it a Third Edition?

Posted by Ghul 

Greetings HYPERBOREA friends,

This list is intended to provide you with a decent idea of what is different about the Third Edition of HYPERBOREA. This list is not intended to be exhaustive; rather, it's a sort of highlights list of what is being changed. I plan to update this post as time allows. I won't for example, list things like a spell's range changed from 30 feet to 60 feet. This list is intended to show the more significant alterations; the Cliffs Notes version if you would.

Physical Changes

- Two hardback set (same Smyth sewn binding, high-quality paper)

- Possibly a slipcase as an add-on. It's being quoted for.

- Map reworked by Glynn Seal and to be presented in atlas format and special poster version.

- New layout, fonts, etc.

- Indexes in both books.


- Simplifying the branding and naming to HYPERBOREA, but "Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea" remains part of the scheme and is shown as a back cover subtitle.


- The game has been revised by the author.

- Editing by George Sedgwick.

- New cover art painted by Charles Lang (both books).

- Interior colour plates by Charles Lang, David Miller, Peter Mullen, and Val Semeiks (with Daisey Bingham)

- 26 new character illustrations by Diogo Nogueira.

- Chapter frame art by Del Teigeler.

- Gynn Seal has recoloured the map.

- More to be announced!


- Cataphract new ability: shield sacrifice.

- Huntsman new ability: harvest venom.

- Paladin: Introduction of the fell paladin, LE version of the paladin. Also, cleric scroll reading ability at 7th level. High wisdom now grants bonus spells.

- Ranger now has scroll reading ability at 7th level. High wisdom now grants bonus druid spells cast per day, high intelligence grants bonus magician spells cast per day. 

- Illusionist new ability: coloured globe.

- Witch brew decoction ability simplified and expanded. Also, certain detection spells can be cast through familiar.

- Monk has a decent overhaul to the entire class. It is the most changed class for 3E.

- Shaman new ability: harvest venom. Also, spells per day slightly improved.

- Assassin new ability: harvest venom.

- Bard spells per day slightly improved.

- Scout new abilities: disguise (like assassin) and run (like monk).

- 12 new playable character races (Anglo-Saxon, Carolingian Frank, Esquimaux-Ixian, Greek, Lapp, Lemurian, Moor, Mu, Oon, Roman, Tlingit, Yakut).

- Languages: More available languages available.

- Several new spells.

- Sorcerer types can learn a known spell from another caster type’s spellbook, so long as it is on their list of learnable spells. For example, an illusionist can copy an invisibility spell from a magician’s spellbook, but he can’t copy a magic missile spell, because that contains proprietary language. However, we separate thaumaturgical sorcery from ecclesiastical sorcery. So, a druid can copy a detect magic spell from a cleric’s prayer book, but he can’t do the same from a witch’s spellbook. 

- Characters need not memorize the regular spell or its reversed form; rather, they can decide at the last moment to invert the incantation and thus cast its reversible form. We have so many examples of spells in which the caster is deciding which version of the spell is being cast, and I realize resource management is part of the allure of a game like this, but I don’t see why a cleric can’t elect to use cause moderate wounds on a whim instead of cure moderate wounds, and so forth. 

- Scroll-using characters can now invoke a scroll that is on their spell list, as long as it was not created by one who practices the opposite form of magic, which we are defining as thaumaturgic sorcery (magicians and subclasses) and ecclesiastic sorcery (clerics and druids), so a magician can indeed use a fireball scroll created by a pyromancer, and vice versa.

- Streamlined combat system (no more phases).

- New monsters.

- New magic items.

- And more!

All of the above shows you why it is a "3E" yet the game remains backwards compatible. I'll be revealing more in the coming weeks. Thanks for your interest!

- Jeffrey Talanian

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, April 29, 2021

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 3rd Edition is Coming in June to Kickstarter (The Talking Crit Livestream)

Neither Bad Mike nor myself were informed of any of the following in advance. When Jeff announced that Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea's 3rd edition was not only currently in the works but likely Kickstarting in early June, we were as surprised as our Talking Crit live audience.

I did, however, quickly open up Pages on my desktop and took a few quick notes. Further details are, needless to say, in the Livestream.

Here's the summary I was able to make:

ASSH to likely be renamed Hyperborea. Simpler name. Easier branding. Tastes great. Less filling ;)

The new edition will be split into 2 core books.

There will be a new cover and new interior art, including full-color plates. A number of artists were mentioned. Val Semeiks & Del Tiegler were two names I recall, but there were many others.

There will be 26 new class illustrations - 4 core classes and 22 subclasses.

New chapter frames/art

The goal is an early June Kickstarter, but this is subject to change.

1st level adventure by David Prada (add on available on the Kickstarter)

Future projects:

2 other adventures - one written by Johnathan Bingham and the other by Ben Ball , who also wrote Beneath the Comet)

Again, further details are in the video below. Jeff also spoke about Castle Zagyg (and working with Gary Gygax), how AS&SH came to be, heavy metal, Conan, H.P. Lovecraft, and more. 

The Talking Crit Livestream is every Wednesday Night at 8 PM Eastern.

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, April 28, 2021

Deal of the Day - Sly Flourish's Fantastic Locations (System Neutral)

I've been intrigued by the Sly Flourish line of supplements for a while now. I used to think they were all about the hype, but I've had a number of old school (and newer school) gaming friends speak highly of the various releases in the line. And while "going Platinum" doesn't guarantee a quality product, coupled with good word of mouth, I think I'll be picking up Sly Flourish's Fantastic Locations in PDF as a resource to use at my gaming table. Normally 15 bucks in PDF, until tomorrow morning Sly Flourish's Fantastic Locations in PDF is a mere 6 bucks.

We RPG game masters have a lot of tools to help us run our roleplaying games. Our monster books and bestiaries give us piles of foes to throw at our adventurers. The various guides for game masters often give us non-player characters, treasures, and story-building tips.

One of the hardest parts of game mastering, however, is coming up with interesting adventure locations for our characters to explore. These locations need to be fantastic, detailed places that capture the minds of our players every session we run. Good locations are hard to improvise and often hard to strip out of a fully-fleshed-out adventure.

Sly Flourish’s Fantastic Locations is a book, available in PDF and print-on-demand, that gives you twenty system-agnostic locations to drop into your favorite fantasy roleplaying game. Each location builds on a fantastic theme, such as a mysterious ancient structure under the ice, a cursed castle of a mad king, a fallen celestial fortress, and a dwarven mine that cracked into the tomb of a dead god. Each location includes artwork by Brian Patterson of D20Monkey. Sometimes this artwork takes the form of maps. Sometimes it's an overlook of a specific location.

These sites and structures aren’t full adventures. Instead, you and your players build your own stories in these fantastic locations, then you populate them with the monsters that fit your story.

Thanks to the support of 779 backers on Kickstarter this book was expanded to include a total of twenty locations each with full color artwork.

This book is system agnostic. You can use it in just about any fantasy roleplaying game.

Please note that this book does not contain maps for these locations. This was done on purpose to give you greater flexibility choosing the chambers you wanted to use for shorter or longer games. If you want to tie these locations to maps, I highly recommend the free maps available by Dyson Logos. He has thousands of maps available, many of which fit the themes of the locations in this book.


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, April 27, 2021

I Legitimately Rolled 2 18's on 3d6 on Saturday Night - If You Call Roll20 "Legitimate" ;)

I've heard it said there is something not quite "kosher" with the Roll20 Diceroller. I do recall many a Roll20 session where Tim Shorts, he of Gothridge Manor, couldn't stop rolling 1's, be it on a D20 or a D6. It was so bad it was comical. Sorry, Tim ;)

This past Saturday night I was involved in a playtest of Greg Christopher's Ambition & Avarice 2nd Edition RPG. It's very much OSR and I still have my first edition printing of the rules, but I digress. Due to my serious lack of planning as I headed to The Poconos for the weekend, I didn't have the proper charger for my laptop, and I knew my time in session would be limited.

Rolled my first character. His total modifiers were negative 3 (with only one positive modifier), and by the rulebook, he was not a keeper.

Rolled my second character. No stats with a bonus, the total modifier was negative 1. Greg told me to reroll.

Right out of the gate I knew something was different:

17, 15, 18, 18, 16, 8

On 3d6 

I could have taken the rolls in order and Charisma would have been my dump stat, but as I was playing a Ranger, I figured I needed some kind of handicap, and as many of the Ranger's talents are Wisdom based, that is where the 8 went.

On a side note, I'm enjoying the A&A playtest, uber stats not-withstanding. ;)

It is very much a sandbox-style game, and I plan to do a session report after my next session of play, when my dying laptop won't be giving me an untimely end to my game session...

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, April 26, 2021

Tenkar's Tavern YouTube Channel Recap for the Week of April 18th -April 24th, 2021

As there has been an interest in a recap of the Tenkar Tavern's YouTube Channel for the blog-side, this will be the first of what should be a weekly roundup of seven days worth of YouTube episodes. Note, these are not transcripts, merely a paragraph or so summary, and if you desire a deeper delve, the relevant video episode will be linked below. Hopefully, the information included herein will suffice for some. If you do watch any of the videos, I kindly ask that you subscribe to the channel. It helps more than your know. - Tenkar

April 18th, 2021 - Far West Fiasco - Gareth Skarka, Icon of Lies, Deception & Broken Promises

I missed a Far West Kickstarter update from February 2021, not on the Kickstarter page, but on the Far West website. Suffice to say, more words, with nothing to back them up. Nearly two years since there was an official update on the Far West Kickstarter page. Covered in large part at this blog post from the same day here at The Tavern.

April 19th, 2021 - Was D&D 50 Years Old on April 17? Maybe...

"According to Dave Arneson's Corner of the Table newsletter, Vol. III, #4"

"There will be a medevil "BRAUNSTEIN" April 17, 1971 at the home of David Arneson from 1500 hrs to 2400 hrs with refreshments being available on the usual basis. Players may come at any time and any number are welcome to attend what should prove to be an exciting time.  It will feature mythical creatures and a poker game under the Troll's bridge between sunup and sundown."

There have been people lining up and taking sides for years, as to whether Dungeons & Dragons owes more to Dave than to Gary, or visa-versa. My feeling is that without either, we'd never have the game, industry, or hobby that we now have. Dave had the imagination and Gary had the vision, and without both, we wouldn't have Dungeons & Dragons.

April 20th, 2021 - Ken Whitman Hit with a Copyright Claim by Ed Kramer? (Yes, THAT Ed Kramer) Say it Ain't So, Ken!

So, Ken Whitman, AKA Whit Whitman, wrote and directed a movie called The Whittler, but of course he left his name off of all promotional material. Apparently written back in 2005, there was a copyright claim filed by Ed Kramer of Dragon Con fame (and a former roommate of Ken's)

Kenny has been pushing his "creative move maker" side for a while now. With The Whittler, starring some former pro wrestler I never heard of, Kenny hit the Big Time. Sort of. Initially, The Whittler was available on Amazon video for purchase or rental, but it appears the copyright claim by Ed Kramer (a convicted child molester) led to the removal of said movie from the Amazon store.

It should be noted that in the case of The Whittler Movie Premiere in Wise Virginia Kickstarter, only $525 of the 2,576 raised (of the $2500 goal) can be accounted for from the public pledges.

April 21st, 2021 - Talking Crit LiveStream with Ben Barsh of Pacesetter Games

Bad Mike (of NTRPG Con Fame) and Tenkar are joined by Ben Barsh of Pacesetter Games. We talk in general about Kickstarters (do's and don'ts), specifically about Pacesetter's Endless Encounters: Dungeons a 5th Edition & B/X Adventure Generator, and also do some quick summaries of the latest Far West and Ken "Whit" Whitman drama.

April 22nd, 2021 - Forums Begat Blogs, Which Begat Podcasts, Which Begat Vidcasts, Which Begat...

I talk about the history of media in the digital age in the world of OSR Gaming, and specifically address how I (Tenkar) have participated in such over the years, my participation in forums, my inspiration to start The Tavern's Blog, my history of podcasting and why I kicked off the Tavern Chat solo podcast and later why I started  The Tavern's YouTube Channel.

Thus this blogpost. My attempt, of sorts, to close the circle, and ensure that all of the content from the spoken side, is available on the written side. Definitely not word for word, but at least to the point that you have enough of a summary to decide if you want to listen to the relevant episode. If not, you have the elevator pitch of a summary ;)

April 23rd, 2021 - Iron Rations with JoetheLawyer & Tenkar  

Live from Connecticut (Joe) and The Poconos of NE PA (Tenkar). Danke the Dachshund makes an appearance. They talk about Critical Role and similar types of shows, and argue over whether such shows bring new players into the gaming hobby, if the expectations the new players come in with are accurate, and more. Very much a sandbox-styled episode.

April 24th, 2021 - Gamer's Health with Rach & Tenkar

Rach and I are back with another weekly livestream, this time from The Poconos. We discuss the importance of weekend getaways for one's mental health, the emotions I felt simply after shopping at Walmart, the challenges one faces when on vacation and trying to maintain good eating and exercise habits, and more.

Yep, we use "adult language" on The Tavern's Youtube Channel. Go figure ;)

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

Sunday, April 25, 2021

I've Discovered my Spiritual Successor to Baldur's Gate

I've Discovered my Spiritual Successor to Baldur's Gate
Confession time: Like a lot of grown-ass men, I'm not a lot of fun when I'm not feeling well and Friday I got my 2nd Covid-19 shot. The side effects are there, I am cognizant of this, and I'll try not to be a whiny bitch this week.

That being said, I'm mildly annoyed with the community after my post a month ago about computer RPG games. Since this is largely an OSR community here at the Tavern I get it though.......this will make sense in a hot minute.

So I mentioned that I've bought Baldur's Gate a couple times now, most recently on Xbox One. I've played it for maybe an hour and I'll just say it: I think the Xbox port sucks major donkey dick. I think some of my veteran brothers know that "major donkey dick" is a quantifiable measurement. I was an idiot and bought this when it 1st came out and now at the price of $18 for BG1 & BG2......I'm not sure it's worthwhile at that price. Now maybe with a keyboard and mouse.....but with a controller? Nope.

Since I knew I was likely to be sick for a couple days I figured I'd hit up the Gamestop to see what I could find and I came across a copy of the "Definitive Edition" of Pathfinder Kingmaker. OK, so it isn't D&D, much less anything close to OSR, BUT it is a surprisingly good table-top RPG on a console. I'm really digging it and finding it so much more enjoyable than Baldur's Gate on the Xbox.

Now, of course the interface is not perfect. There are some occasional things, like group movement changing where I'm trying to figure out what button combo I accidentally pressed to change things. Overall though, it's freaking fantastic. I love, love, LOVE how you can basically create a bunch of hotkeys for each character. Want to use a spell, ability, or even have some equipment at your virtual fingertips....easy-peasy.

After five hours of gameplay....and by five I mean probably more like 25 since time freaking flies while gaming online.....I have lost count of the number of times I was thinking, "I wish these guys would use this engine on Baldur's Gate." Many times I forgot I was playing Pathfinder and the ruleset stuff wasn't as big of a deal. I don't know the Pathfinder rules and my experience in D&D 3.5 was limited, so the rules weren't really that big of a barrier for me.

Pathfinder Kingmaker Screenshot

Yes, I did have to spend much more time reading things to figure out ruleset stuff, but again this is where the interface shined. If I needed a bit of an info-dump it was usually a button click away.

Now I'm only in the beginning of the game with level 4 PCs. I know there is going to be some kingdom-building "stuff" in the game I may or may not like. I was thinking how much it'd suck if I didn't like this aspect of the game, but after looking at the in-game options I can have that stuff automated and concentrate on the adventuring aspects. Actually, there are a TON of options as far as gameplay goes, much more than just tweaking difficulty settings.

The biggest is that you can have real-time combat and traditional turn-based, so you can be more like a "regular" computer game and a "regular" Pathfinder table-top game. Feel free to let the AI run the other PCs and concentrate on your one (main) guy. I haven't tried the AI option yet and try to control everything on my own, which takes up more time. One HUGE improvement over Baldur's Gate is that you can toggle on and off PC auto following, and you can tweak your party formation really easy.

One think I HATED with BG was pausing the game so I could direct each PC to take a specific action and then when you un-pause they do that one thing and then go all Leroy Jenkins on your ass. Ugh. This means I'm always having to pause and un-pause to keep my guys from running off stupid (even when I've tweaked the AI). While I can pause the Pathfinder Kingmaker game, when I do it's usually by accident. Since I'm playing turn-based those PCs move when I tell them to (in combat) and they will keep in formation when out of combat. Unlink the PC movement and I can put each PC where I want and *gasp* THEY STAY THERE!

Clearly I'm enjoying this game and I wanted to share this with the other patrons because....well because this is a game I would have normally passed on by and I'm willing to bet the average OSR-focused Tavern patron would as well. Honestly the biggest reason I picked it up was the fact that Deep Silver worked on it and I've liked every Deep Silver game I've played. Just consider this post a PSA of sorts. 

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and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

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