Saturday, June 5, 2021

NTRPG Con Day 3 - Predators, Football, Auctions and the Devil

Dear Diary.

Today I played in a Star Wars RPG session run by James Shields. My Fallen Jedi assisted in taking down a Predator. It was a blast!

I followed that with a playtest session of Ty Beard's Football Game. It was not a simulation but was a gamified recreation of a football dynasty. It was a blast to play and I hope to see it come out commercially.

After building my failed football dynasty, I was privileged to be a part of the NTRPG Con Auction. Jim Kitchen was, by far, the best auctioneer I've seen at any convention. I was laughing constantly, learned much and thankfully was not parted from any of my money.

We followed that with an excursion for BBQ. Huge thanks to Jason S and Glen Halstrom. Rach and I were stuffed like Carne pinatas. Happy pinatas.

At midnite, the Midnite Auction will kick-off. God help us all...


Friday, June 4, 2021

NTRPG Con Day 2 - The Bonds Made will Not Break

NTRPG Con is about people. 

I've never felt this as strongly as I have this year. Sure, playing games is fun, but it's fun because of the people. You don't bond with games, you bond over games.

I go to conventions to socialize. To be with my community. To reconnect with my friends. To see the work of my friends displayed, for sale. 

Share a drink. Make new friends. Create new connections and reinforce those I've made prior.

2020 was a year of trials and tribulations. In many ways, it is the year that never was.

The old year is dead. Long live 2021!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

NTRPG Con 2021 - Day 1 - An Emotional High and the Trip I Nearly Didn't Take

In truth, I almost didn't come to NTRPG Con this year. 


Because I was afraid. Not of Covid, mind you. I was afraid of traveling outside my comfort zone with my "new normality". The medical necessity to take nine pills every morning and three every night. Of keeping an eye on my blood sugar, fluid intake, and daily weight fluctuations. The memory of my 2020 that went to shit at a hotel room, at another convention, in another state.

So, when I got my second Covid immunization shot, I immediately bought the airline tickets for Rach and me to go to NTRPG Con this June, this trip. I knew if I didn't go this year, this June, I'd likely never go to another convention again. Ever. Because fear consumes one like cancer. And if you don't fight cancer, it is sure to win. I survived cancer. I have good friends at NTRPG Con, Doug Reah and Rocky Gardner, just to name two, that have fought and are fighting their own cancer battles. I was not going to surrender to the fear.

I am so glad I am here. I'm getting to see friends and extended family that I haven't seen in over a year. Sure, social media and Discord chats help fill in some of the gaps, but nothing beats hugging the people that mean the most to you. Reconnecting with your community. I may even be physically glowing ;)

I am truly blessed.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

NTRPG Con Pre Con Show - Numerous Special Guests

Bad Mike & I did a Livestream earlier tonight at NTRPG Con, and the number of special guest appearances is astounding. In no particular order:

Bill Barsh

Ben Barsh

Jim Kitchen

Steve Marsh

The Frugal GM

Zeb Cook

Jason Braun

Bill Meinardt

Skeeter Green

and many others :)

A blast was had by all.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

News - Risus for Sale! Get Your Risus for Sale! Comes with Thousands of Dollars in Kickstarter Obligations as a Gift with Purchase!

What can you get for an untold amount of money? Untold, because we aren't given a minimum bid. Why, Risus of course. Here are some highlights:

  1. A nearly 30-year-old RPG with a community of "nearly 1,800 sales in various forms (mostly PDF sales, but also a few hundred as part of print-on-demand offerings in the past). The Companion and the game’s fan club – the IOR – are one and the same. To buy the Companion is to join the club and vice-versa. My estimate of the total fan-club membership is approximately 1,500 gamers."
  2. It's an RPG that is free to own. seriously, the rules are free.
  3. The rules expansion that makes not ONE, but TWO sales a week - on average:  "a single sale a week defined the average performance of the Risus Companion, but over the last few years that’s doubled, and seems to be still on the rise." Damn, at $6.50 or so per sale in your pocket, that's hundreds of potential dollars per year.
  4. A Risus Twitter account with 326 followers. 

But more importantly, you also buy "obligations". What kind of obligations, you may ask? (here's where it get's interesting)

Part of the sale is adopting responsibilities related to a languishing, half-fulfilled Kickstarter from several years ago to produce some free Risus adventure scenarios in PDF form. Specifically, the Kickstarter provided enough funding to produce approximately 80 pages of adventure material (including handouts, pregens, etc. as appropriate) and only 40 or so have been published, in the form of the deluxe “showcase” module that is Toast of the Town. This means the public are still owed four additional free modules which should average about 10 pages each. In addition, approximately 50 higher-tier backers are entitled to a print-on-demand softcover collecting all five adventures (Toast of the Town, plus your four smaller modules), and some are entitled to sets of custom dice with little stick-dude faces where the 1 should be (an inexpensive custom item from Chessex; I will provide you with the master graphic), and a few are entitled to a random piece of original art from one of the modules.

Finally, Risus fandom has been promised a new edition of the Risus Companion. This could be a very minor liability: the current Companion could be spruced up to present-edition compatibility in a matter of hours and published almost as-is … or it could be a major undertaking with lots of new material, as you like. If you’re thinking of publishing a third edition of Risus itself, you might want to make it compatible with that … There must be a new Companion, but what that means will be up to you.

Depending on your own standards for design and playtest, and how much you pay your writers and production people (or if you do it all yourself), the total cost of eliminating the liabilities should run somewhere in the $300-$3k range (if you do the labor itself, the out-of-pocket expenses would be limited to shipping the POD softcovers and dice), and could be completed in just a few weeks.

If it could be completed in just a few short weeks for as little as $300, why has it been languishing for years? I call bullshit. $300 to $3000 is a huge range for potential liabilities.

Feel free, also, to ask more detailed or probing questions about the past performance of Risus titles or my projections for future revenue, the overall size and scope of the global fandom, or anything else you’d like to know … but questions unaccompanied by an offer will be given the lowest priority.

Wait, so one has to make an offer BEFORE the questions are answered? WTF? 

Risus IS its community. Or communities. Were the system to be unsupported by S. John Ross, I think it would continue just fine without him. I suspect that John is hoping a Risus True Believer overpays for a system that is already owned in many ways but its community.

BTW, Risus is free over at DTRPG and other places.

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, May 31, 2021

New Release - RC1 - The Valley of Karaccia (OSR Starter Setting/Adventure)

Mithgarthr is dead, long live Mithgarthr! - Matt Evans

Mithgarthr was a 5e hack that, IMHO, presented D&D 5e in a version that I would have been comfortable running. Streamlined and usable. Sadly, it is no longer available - so if you have it in print, it may be collectible ;)

The good news is, Matt Evans, the writer/publisher of the Mithgarthr RPG, has decided to go back to his OSR. RC1 - The Valley of Karoccia, is the first release of a promised series of OSR releases from Mithgarthr Entertainment.

Matt was kind enough to forward me a review copy of the PDF of The Valley of Karoccia. This is NOT a review. I'll try to get to that later. Instead, this is a "first look", and I'm impressed with what Matt has crammed into 25 pages.

  • Hex map, 4 miles per hex (full page)
  • Town map, 50 feet per hex (1/3 page or so)
  • Hex map centered on town, 1 mile per hex (2/3 page or so)
  • Crimson Caverns (2 level dungeon)
  • Fallsbarrow (2 level dungeon)
  • Stranglehole (cavern style dungeon)
  • Three handouts
Lots of adventure in about 20 pages. Once I give The Valley of Karoccia a solid reading I'll give a review ;) 4.99 in PDF.

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, May 30, 2021

Everyone Needs a "Backup Convention Kit"


Everyone Needs a "Backup Convention Kit"
Next week is my "main" or perhaps "only" convention of the year: North Texas RPG. I know, I've been talking about it here for a couple weeks now, Erik has been talking about it for some time, and odds are you aren't attending (Pretty sure Erik's readers.....plus my 12 13 outnumber the con attendance cap).

One thing I've personally noted online with regards to this con, and I'm going to assume it holds some truth for other conventions, is that there are a lot of people who are looking forward to attending their first convention.

First off, this is great. I think one positive aspect from COVID-19 is that more people have picked up or returned to playing RPGs and want to "delve deeper", as it was. I'm not going to spend our time together here today chatting up why you should attend a convention or what to prepare for one in general. If you've ever been on vacation AND you've played an RPG you should have a general clue. I have posted on con attendance before, so if you need some 411, I suggest doing a quick search of the site.

What I would like to post about though is a little bit of convention prep, but not the normal convention prep. In a previous life I was quite active with the Boy Scouts and their motto is "Be Prepared", and this is something I've really taken to heart in my life, but I'll only skim the surface on that here.

One easy way to simply make your overall convention experience better is to have a small "Backup Convention Kit". I really don't want to call it an emergency kit even though my personal bit of kit definitely has some emergency items in it. The way I figure it, if you can minimize the potential bad times or even just annoyances, of a convention, then the overall convention experience undoubtedly will be better.

This Backup Convention Kit really doesn't need to be very big. You could easily get away with a small pouch or zipper bag. I travel a lot for work and have a rather small "Go Bag" that is just for everyday stuff and all I have to do is toss in one or two things and I'm good......but I have to remember to toss in those extra items. If I didn't have/use this bag, then I'd get something like a small banker's bag or even a quart-sized ziplock bag (actually the ziplock bag isn't a bad idea for a first-timer. Try it out and then tweak the contents before making a better bag).

What should you keep in your bag? Well here is my starting list. You'd want to tweak things to your own personal desires and experiences, but a few things I consider 110% mandatory and will mark in bold:

  • Extra Dice (Yes, you can usually buy dice at the con if needed, but save that dice purchase for a casual want, not a current need)
  • First Aid Kit (One of those tiny ones with little more than some band-aids and one larger dressing and tape is fine. Mine is a bit more in depth and is a kit unto itself.)
  • Drugs, Legal (I recommend getting one of those weekly pill reminder boxes and using the compartments to carry doses of your prescriptions and some general OTC medications. For example I carry Motrin, Aspirin, Acetaminophen, "Benadryl", "Pepto-Bismol", and some others I cannot recall off the top of my head. Having to leave a con to find and overpay for a couple pills when you need them is the height of a "bad time" at a con.)
  • Extra pencils (Especially if you have a favorite type.)
  • Extra paper (I like to use notecards with graph paper markings. Smaller for table-side use and more multifunctional.)
  • A drinking vessel (If you have room......even a collapsible water bottle helps keep you hydrated.)
  • Flavored drink powder (Ones that will flavor a water bottle-sized amount of water. I prefer the powder to a liquid squeeze because it is less likely to make an accidental mess. I consider this essential because most cons will have free water, but if it tastes "different" you'll be more likely to run a quart low.....)
  • Money (Toss in an extra $20 and do your best to forget it is there until after the con. This is for when you can't get to an ATM or you need cash for food or drink. I would also consider keeping a couple dollars in quarters taped up together. Never know when you have access to a coins-only vending machine.)
  • Game Rules/PCs in Digital Format on a USB stick (This is just for those time you need to print out something quick. Ideally you should have your printed copy and a backup digitally on a tablet or even your phone, but if you need something for a pickup game or some such you might get to use the hotel's business printer or there is a local copy shop. Highly doubtful anything but a USB thumb drive will suffice.)
  • Your convention schedule & convention map (Don't assume you'll be able to look it up online)
  • Phone charger & battery backup (Again don't assume, this time that you'll have access to power at the convention)
  • Snack (This is just something to tide you over if you really need to have something to eat and know it'll be a couple hours until you are free, NOT as a regular table-side nosh.)

Now I'm sure that you might be able to add to this list, but these are my minimums and since I have an Everyday Carry bag, my setup isn't a small self-contained bag. You aren't going to find a $20 bill in my bag......that's tucked away in my minimalist wallet, away from the normal $ I carry. All my first aid stuff is in an external pouch and labeled. I usually don't have my stuff on a thumb drive, but I have a blank thumb drive I can transfer over files from my tablet and the get on with things.....

....again, this is my starter list that you'll want to tweak and make your own, but the thing is you have to do it in the first place, which is my recommendation. Having to run off to find something for your headache, only to find the hotel has two pills of not-what's-best-for-you medication in a travel blister for $5, but if you're willing to take a half hour to find the nearest drug store......screw that noise. Spend $1 on a pill container and even $30 of various pills (which you probably don't need to do since you have them already at home!) will be well worth the effort. I know I kind of mentioned this twice, but I've seen first-hand how much of a suck it can be. I've had friends lose most of a convention morning having to walk a mile or more to find just what they needed because the city was a ghost town on Sunday mornings.....

Trust me.....be prepared!

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