Saturday, July 3, 2021

Gathering of Fools 2021 and the Possible Return of the Original Group

I no longer have PDF copies of my early releases, but one of my group had printed out copies a few years ago. I need to see if he still has the PDF files...

Today my old gaming group and I did what we've done once a year for many years - with the notable exception of 2020, not that that is a surprise - we gathered in memory of a good friend we lost when the towers came down on 9-11.

We drank good beer, ate good snacks, watch some good (and crappy videos), and did a lot of grab-ass. Well, Dave did much of the grab-assing, but that's how it is most every year ;) We topped it off with a nice dinner.

As is my usual, I came bearing gaming gifts of goodness. This year, it was copies of Basic Fantasy RPG as well as Adventure Anthologies 1 & 2 for BFRPG.

I heard something I'd never expected to hear from Dave: "These guys want me to run some 5e for them but I can't do it." They'd been talking that since 2019, and I had offered to run Swords & Wizardry or something similar, but 5e was the new shiny and they thought they could do it and I wished them luck and if they got it up and running I wouldn't mind joining in as a player. I never got the call.

This year I was told, "we'll play AD&D, Swords & Wizardy, BFRPG, or any ruleset or Erik's choosing." I'm torn between S&W and BFRPG. Once a month, scheduled a month in advance, likely using a combination of Roll20 and Discord, but the actual VTT may change. I'd like to kick it off in August, but we may need to wait till after the Labor Day holiday.

It feels good to get the band group back together ;)

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, July 2, 2021

Kickstarter - Back to BasiX Fanzine Hardcover Compilation - Issues 1-10

The Back to BasiX Fanzine - a hardcover compilation of the initial ten issues.

Thom Wilson's Back to Basix Zine is/was amazing. The initial 10 issue run was one of the more useful zines for my day-to-day gaming as a resource, but for the pure joy of reading it is second to none. Sadly, I am NOT the most organized man in the OSR (that would be my weekly partner on Wednesday Nights, Bad Mike) and my various issues are not collected in a single place. Thank you Thom for solving that issue with my poor collection of Back to Basix Issues. See what I did there? ;)

Back to BasiX is a quarterly fanzine focused on the B/X version of the world's most popular tabletop role-playing game. It was created and printed between June, 2017 and September, 2019, and was available in PDF and print. The PDFs are still accessible at DriveThruRPG.com, but print issues are becoming harder to find.

Across a ten-issue print run, it offers reviews of B/X products new and old; interviews with legendary authors and artists; and all-original content for the game.

This hardcover compilation combines all ten issues in their original format with a few tweaks to clean up layout and fix a couple of typos. Additionally, fonts were standardized throughout the book. The page size of the hardcover is slightly larger than the original digests, so the font size increased slightly (a half-point). The compilation will be printed on heavier stock paper and, of course, will be hard cover instead of saddle-stitched softcover.

The Back to Basix Fanzine Hardcover Compilation Issues 1-10 is $10 in PDF, $20 in Hardcover, and $30 for the signed Hardcover. I'm in for $30 :) 

Thursday, July 1, 2021

State of The Tavern Keeper - Why You Never Threaten The Bartender With "Legal Action"

Alright, I figure it's time to address "the elephant in the room." I've heard differing theories as to why I seem to "have a hard-on" for Justin LaNasa, ranging from jealousy over his success, to his abrasive and insulting personality, to disagreements over social and political viewpoints and beyond.

Here's a simple fact: I don't respond well to threats of legal action for asking questions and investigating events that are newsworthy in the gaming community. My first threat of legal action was from Gail Gygax, when I started digging into the fiasco known as the Gygax Memorial Fund. The threat was certainly backed by a willingness to follow through if she had indeed thought she had a case, as she had already spent over six figures litigating the Gygax TM dispute with TSR 2.0. I didn't back off and no such action was ever filed. Instead, it was a simple attempt to intimidate me.

This is why the VAST majority of threats of legal action are made. The one with potentially deeper pockets threatens the one with perceived smaller pockets for making public questions or inferences or opinions with the hopes of shutting down such actions.

These individuals also prefer to insinuate such actions, using phrases such as "you may be liable in court for your words" or "such actions may be costly in a court of law", although some have come right out and threatened to "sue your ass and take your house!" In Justin's case, it was: "Another thing their armchair lawyer you might want to be very careful you might get pulled into this very easily you know what character deformation, slander and even in some case fraud is? I suggest you stop picking sides and steering things could get costly to you to!!"

Although I take such threats seriously, especially as they have the potential to put myself and my family in financial difficulties, or worse, I do happen to understand the laws regarding slander, libel, and the like. As Frank Mentzer once told me, and I am paraphrasing: "My wife and I follow your Ken Whitman coverage closely, and she is often fearful that you'll get sued. I told her 'Tenkar knows where the line is and will gladly walk right up to it, but never cross it. I am never concerned for you'".

If you want me to draw a laser focus on you and your activities, if you want me to be the dog that bites down on your leg and won't let go, threaten me with legal action. Especially a threat that does not spell out my actual violations of the law. General, baseless threats are the most surefire way to get my unwavering attention. I've been threatened with legal action over a half dozen times and I'm still here and I've never backed down.

Justin apparently has a habit of throwing around baseless legal threats, like the ones he's been threatening the various Facebook Groups that have TSR in their name. What makes the group I highlight below extra interesting (aside from the fact they told Justin to effectively pound sand), is that Justin is claiming copyright for logos that are using the original classic era TSR logos that are still copyright by WotC. Justin had all of the logos redrawn and the new ones differ slightly from the originals. Apparently, either Justin can't tell the difference himself OR he's making yet another baseless legal claim in the hopes of gaining compliance via intimidation.

So now you know. 

Tavern Update: Blogger has Been Dumping ALL Comments Into the Spam Folder

I'm not sure how long this has been going on, but Blogger has been dumping ALL comments into the Spam Folder. I just noticed this a few minutes ago. Some are definitely spam, but most are legit comments that should have given me email notifications. They weren't.

I'll dig through more tomorrow and will look deeper to see if any settings were changed inadvertently.

I apologize to all. 

I suspect it will be a busy day tomorrow...

Edit: Somehow the email address for moderations requests was set to: nothing

My regular email addy was deleted, so no notifications went out. Likely happened during a recent blogger update. Sigh

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Kickstarter - DCC Dying Earth

A DCC RPG boxed set, officially licensed by the estate of Jack Vance. Adventure with IOUN Stones and The Excellent Prismatic Spray!

I have to admit, I've never read the work of Jack Vance. I do own a Dying Earth RPG from a number of years ago, but never read it through. I am, some might say, a poor reader of the Appendix N collection.

Jack Vance's work is universally seen as one of the inspirations of the unwritten setting for D&D, where much of the magic system finds its roots. It is, after all, referred to as Vancian Magic.

I back all of the DCC RPG Kickstarter Settings, because even if I don't run the DCC RPG, the inspiration and quality of writing of its adventures are simply second to none. Heck, I've run DCC RPG adventures for the Swords & Wizardry RPG, converting the adventures on the fly.

The DCC Dying Earth Kickstarter can be backed in PDF or Print plus PDF versions. PDF starts at 25 for the boxed set in PDF, 50 for the boxed set plus 6 adventures in PDF, 50 for the boxed set in Print plus PDF, and 110 for the boxed set, and 6 adventures in print plus PDF. Phew. I'm in at 110 :)

The Dying Earth is a fictional future set in the distant twilight of the earth, as the dim red sun sheds its last life. At the end of the world, magic is indistinguishable from technology. Bickering magicians squabble over supernatural treasures, their minds filled to bursting with as many complex magical formulations as they can memorize, and they employ the services of strange creatures to best their rivals.

What’s In the Boxed Set?

The boxed set contains three books, a map, and more.

Player's Libram: Provides information for players and judges on the setting and on creating new characters, including four new classes for DCC RPG: the magician, vat-thing, wayfarer, and witch. Plus habiliments of obvious efficacy for the discerning adventurer, thaumaturgical curios, rules for grudge tokens, and a comprehensive survey of all the aeons: notable events, personages, and places.

The Primer of Practical Magic: Details the history and use of magic in the Twenty-first Aeon and includes new rules for spell creation along with 35 new spells, 14 new curses, and extensive rules for magical campaigns: objurgations, manse-building, magical associations, equipoise and exactitudes, sandestins, demonic corruption, and more.

The Intimate Anatomy of Several Creatures and Personages of the Twenty-first Aeon: Presents new creatures, patrons, and magical instruments for use in campaigns set in the Dying Earth setting, including four new patrons and 12 new patron spells; talismans, amulets, and instruments, both minor and major; a codex of three dozen creatures monstrous and mundane; and many appendices articulating the details that make the Dying Earth so special: games of chance, provisions and viands, and more.

Plus there are six new adventure modules. Pledge now to receive copies with Kickstarter-exclusive foil title printing at a special early supporter discount!

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, June 29, 2021

Kickstarter - Book of Lost Lore & Book of Lost Beasts (OSR)

Two books with optional rules, character classes and races, magic, and monsters for old-school tabletop fantasy role-playing games.

I'm a big fan of BRW Games / AKA Joe Bloch / AKA The Greyhawk Grognard. Joe has been putting out quality OSR releases for years, not the least of which is his Adventures Dark and Deep, a what-if AD&D 2e retro-clone. Seriously good stuff.

Joe's latest project is a pair of books: Book of Lost Lore & Book of Lost Beasts.

Book of Lost Lore looks to be Joe's version of AD&Dc 1e's Unearthed Arcana. Book of Lost Beasts sounds like a Monster Manual II. Good stuff.

The idea of these two new books is to give people who are already happy with their 1st Edition, C&C, S&W, LL, or similar games to be able to pick and choose from a wide variety of options and plug them in to their existing game as they want. There are new classes like the bard, jester, skald, blackguard, savant, mystic, and mountebank. Tons of new spells and magic items. An alternative combat system, and two alternative treasure systems. A skill system that's amazingly versatile and so much better than "Non-Weapon Proficiencies", and a system for social encounters. Rules for weather and much, much more. Everything is modular, so you can pick and choose which elements you want to include in your game.

If this sounds familiar, the very first RPG book I did nine years ago was A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore, which had a lot of the "new stuff" that is now included in my game Adventures Dark and Deep; new classes, races, spells, etc. All of that was based on Gary Gygax's announced plans for his own expansion of AD&D in the mid-1980's. But over the years Adventures Dark and Deep has grown beyond the original scope, much more material has been added in various other places, errata have been made, and I've gotten a much better feel for what folks think will be useful. These new books have all that and more.

My intention is to include enough brand-new material to make it worthwhile for people who already have the original book to add these to their collection; each of the two books is as long as the original was, so we're literally talking double the amount of stuff in the original. But it's also intended to be incredibly useful and valuable to people who have never heard of Adventures Dark and Deep, and just want to have a bunch of alternatives at their fingertips to add to their old-school fantasy games.

 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, June 28, 2021

LaNasa - Playing with the OSR Since at Least October, 2020

For those that think the current TSR drama is something new, I picked this gem from The Tavern vaults (original post here from October 17th, 2020)

Notice that LaNasa never answers the question about whether or not the museum is a Not-For-Profit. He does say that the donation idea is a "very good idea". 

Very good idea,Anyone can pay money to game anywhere and everyone does to some extent.The whole purpose here is to allow DMS to make money for their skills.Conventions pay nothing and at most gives out free rooms an snacks. We are different and secondly we are the original TSR dungeon hobby shop location The only one in the whole world. To game in Gary’s very office is a bucket list item to some. But if you can’t afford it like old Tenkar you might want to befriend a old TSR employee so you can game free !

He lets the reader draw their own conclusions, much like he's doing with TSR right now. He throws out just enough that the reader unwittingly fills in the blanks.

Then, he accuses me of editing his comment. 

I just had the Tenkar edit my response what a joke he is. I said if you can’t afford gaming at the DHS like Tenkar obviously can’t . You might want to make a TSR employee as friend to get you into the game for free!!

Blogger does not give that option to site owners, but I could delete his comments. Obviously, I did neither. But the accusation is important along with the mocking of yours truly because it's simply a distraction from the question being asked: Is the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum a not-for-profit?

I ask the question yet again. His response is pure classic LaNasa (as we've recently seen on social media as TSR and/or Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum):

It’s ok Tenkar keep throwing stones. It really shows how jealous you really are it’s ok keep it up very becoming of you. Do you know how many people can’t stand to listen to you anymore.Your ship is sinking and I understand now it’s you screaming for help.

Avoidance. Distraction. Insults. But never answers. It's literally LaNasa's Method of Operation. I'm not making it up. Ignore the insults, the labels, and the dismissiveness he has shown to the gaming community over the past two weeks and look for what's missing. Answers. Simply Answers. Justin has none, so he throws up some flack to rile people up and fight amongst themselves and they forget what they were there for initially.

Answers. Simply. Answers.

The Emperor has no clothes. That is the simple answer.

The arguing back on forth on whether or not TSR is toxic is a distraction from the simple fact that TSR has nothing to offer but rebranded Dollar Tree Dice, empty promises, and abandoned TMs

Note: Rezoning of the Museum's location is on the agenda for the Lake Geneva City council at 6 PM CDT. You can view the meeting virtually:


MONDAY, JUNE 28, 2021 6:00 P.M.



Mayor Charlene Klein, Council President, Rich Hedlund, Council Vice President, John Halverson, 

Alderpersons: Tim Dunn, Mary Jo Fesenmaier, Cindy Flower, Ken Howell, Shari Straube, and Joan Yunker




1. Links to the City of Lake Geneva’s live video stream can be found at www.cityoflakegeneva.com/video

2. Television: Watch live broadcast of the meeting on Spectrum Cable Channel 25

3. Listen to audio via phone: (602) 333-2017 (Long distance rates may apply) (888) 204-5987 (Toll Free) Access Code: 9746153

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Solicitation of Ideas for my Next PC Sheet/Booklet

Solicitation of Ideas for my Next PC Sheet/Booklet

[I had a topic for today that was, well topical, but it occurred to me that by opening my mouth...no matter what I write.....I'm just wrong. Having been recently threatened with violence by a noted persona in this industry (and cohorts) for advocating a position of non-violence with regards to......does it fucking matter? I'm (now) just not willing to engage with extremists regardless of their position, which is hella ironic. I had the post 50% typed out, but nope.]

Unless this is your first time reading my drivel here at the Tavern you'll know I was a big fan of HackMaster 4th Edition, which is a rather "crunchy" game. Even in less crunchy games I am a huge fan of a rather detailed character sheet, so much that I usually have to make my own PC sheets because invariably the ones available don't have enough detail.

OSE Sheet Mod
Modified OSE Sheet Front

Now lately I've been using a modified Old School Essentials PC Sheet. I got permission to share the modified sheet (which you can find here) as long as attached my name to it. Now I've been using that sheet for a year now and while it works pretty good for my needs......it isn't working as well as I want.

What I want is a bit overkill for the GM, but a bit closer to the old HackMaster Character Booklets. Since almost all of my gaming is a variation of B/X or maybe 1st Edition AD&D I'm thinking if I design it right I could conceivably make myself...and this would be "all me" even if I ended up sharing the thing for others to use, a PC sheet to end PC sheets....as it were. OK, that's a bit much because if you've seen the 21 page HackMaster Character Booklet I don't think I need a page showing where my ion stones are and a map of the traps for my personal stronghold, but my Last Will and Testament.....maybe.

Now I'm just in the early phase of this "personal project", which is mostly the "big picture" type idea stuff. Normally I'd be open to a good old-fashioned brainstorming session, but since I've been kicking the idea around for a while so some basic design elements have already been figured out:

  • Booklet format (as opposed to loose sheets)
  • Roughly A5 or Digest Sized
  • Softcover......well has an actual cover
  • Available as a PDF with printed hardcopy

OSE Sheet Mod
Modified OSE Sheet Back

I have a PC Sheet I made for the current version of HackMaster that is a bit of a booklet and made for tablet use, but prints out well. There is one PDF error on the wounds section I never did fix, but since I haven't received a single comment/complaint in the 8 years it's been available....yeah not a priority.

Now I'm fully cognizant that could just take my OSE sheet and turn it into a booklet format, which is probably what I'll do in the short term. As things change I can just re-write the contents from one page in the booklet to another and then I'll have basically a documentation of changes as the PC advances in levels.

I'm thinking though that I might make some aspects a bit generic and allow the user (me!) to enter the details in the PDF for printing. Things like not having the stats listed......then I can enter the stats used in the order they are given for the game system being used. Oh, you use an ascending AC....this sheet can deal with that as well.

As much as I'd like to add a spellbook, the fact that Id have to ass spells as I went along might be a bit much, but a spell planner seems doable.

I have to thank you, dear reader, for making it to this point of the post because you've probably been thinking, "That's great Face, but why the F**k should I give a rat's ass about your PC Sheet booklet?" Well, first off....do you kiss your mother with that mouth? Second, while I'm wanting to do this for my own benefit, I'm not above sharing (ie. I will be putting it up PWYW on DTRPG). Thirdly, there's a greater than 0% chance that one of you has a great idea that I'd be kind of PO'd that I didn't come up with myself, much less include.

So if you have any ideas, not that I'm definitely going to use, but will definitely consider, please share them. Here as a comment is preferred in case anyone else wants to do the same, or in case it gives someone else a good idea as well. Alternatively just shoot me an gmail (FrugalGM).

Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
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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