Saturday, August 21, 2021

Bundle of Holding - Metamorphosis Alpha 1e

There is a game that is widely regarded as the first fantastical/scifi/post-apoc game, and that game is Metamorphosis Alpha.

Adventurer! This Metamorphosis Alpha Bundle from Goodman Games features the vintage 1976 First Edition of Metamorphosis Alpha, the tabletop roleplaying game created by James M. Ward of mutants and monstrosities on a colossal generation starship. In 2290 humanity launched its first colonization ship, the Warden. A radiation storm in deep space struck and crippled the gigantic starship. The ship's human crew died -- the few survivors mutated and formed primitive civilizations -- tribes struggled against a world they could not comprehend. Generations later, as a human, mutant, or robot on the Warden, you fight to survive, unaware even that your irradiated world is a spaceship. Can you uncover the secrets of the Warden and steer it back on course, or will you simply try to live another day?

Yep. Before Gamma World, before Giantlands, James Ward created Metamorphosis Alpha. The First Edition of MA is like a snapshot in time, a waypoint in gaming history, and something that every old-school gamer should read at some point.

For 9.95 the Metamorphosis Alpha Bundle snags you Metamorphosis Alpha 1E, 3 Metamorphosis Alpha sourcebooks, and Death Ziggurat & Warden Adventures.

For approximately 26 bucks, you can add in Doom on the Warden, Epsilon City, and 4 Warden adventures.


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You can catch the daily Tavern Chat podcast on AnchorYouTube or wherever you listen to your podcast collection. - Tenkar  

Friday, August 20, 2021

Kickstarter - The Complete Folio Black Label Collection (1e&5e)

If you are a regular reader of The Tavern, you'll know that I am a huge fan of Scott Taylor's The Folio series of adventures. Strong stories, amazing art, and high production quality mean you should expect to get your money's worth. Did I mention that Scott is very skilled at fulfilling on time, a rarity amongst Kickstarter creators it often seems.

Folio Black Label has been a series for The Folio with darker themes. The Complete Folio Black Label Hardcover is an orange spined book containing the original six adventures in The Folio Black Series statted for AD&D 1e and D&D 5e rule systems.

The Complete Folio Black Label Collection is available in PDF for 10 bucks, or in print plus PDF for 40 bucks. A bargain in either case.

What is within these pages? This book will contain two complete adventure trilogy campaigns in both 2D ‘blue’ hex maps, as well as full 3D  artistic rendering, and is complete with 6 full size modules. You will find new monsters, deadly  NPCs, and all manner of dungeon crawling wickedness, all for lower level characters, and rendered mechanically in both 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons and classic Advanced Dungeons & Dragons formats.

Who’s it for? ALL gamers, both new gamers and   old school gamers as it is easily expandable or playable as is,  although the design itself is a low to middle level campaign for experience  player characters levels 3 to 5. Each trilogy introduces the characters to a new 'micro-setting' adaptable to most sandbox worlds, and gives the characters good opportunities to explore and dungeon delve. The base mechanic will be for 1st Edition with 5th Edition stat blocks in grey.

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You can catch the daily Tavern Chat podcast on AnchorYouTube or wherever you listen to your podcast collection. - Tenkar  

Thursday, August 19, 2021

TSR3 Abandons "Blackmoor" Trademark After Publication

About once a week or so, I check on the status of the various trademarks TSR3 has filed for. The abandonment of the Blackmoor trademark caught me by surprise, and I can't for the life of me, think of a single reason why it would be abandoned after publication unless there was pressure from WotC/Hasbro. Filing for a trademark has an associated cost, and once you've hit the publication step, you've sunk your cost and approval is all you are waiting for.

It's kinda like making your way through a dungeon, defeating the BBEG, then walking away from the treasure.

Anyone else interested in filing for a trademark they can later abandon? Blackmoor is up for grabs...

https://www.trademarkelite.com/trademark/trademark-detail/90276510/BLACKMOOR



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You can catch the daily Tavern Chat podcast on AnchorYouTube or wherever you listen to your podcast collection. - Tenkar   



Wednesday, August 18, 2021

GoFundMe for Steve Perrin's Wife's Medical Expenses - The Tavern Will Match the First $250 Raised by The Tavern's Community

It was brought to my attention that Steve Perrin had started a GoFundMe for his wife's medical expenses for at-home hospice care. Steve passed last week, and I suspect his wife will need more support than was initially planned for.

As such, The Tavern will match up to the first $250 raised by The Tavern's community. All you need to do is mention the amount you donated and under what name/handle. You can post it as a comment here, on the YouTube video linked below, or if you wish to do so in private, you can email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing with "Steve Perrin" in the subject line.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/care-for-the-phoenix

If you can't afford to give, and many can't, spreading the word is just as valuable.

My wife Luise Perenne, known as Luise of the Phoenix in the early days of the SCA, an artist in both dance and illustration, is going into hospice care after a very close call from a heart attack and pneumonia. She is extremely weak and at age 76 needs more help than I (at age 74) can provide. She starts hospice care at home on Monday. We need a caretaker to come in a couple of hours a day to help Luise, take care of her personal needs, and so forth. The usual charge is $25.00 an hour. Assuming 2 hours a day for a caretaker,  that's $1500 a 30-day month, and I am  asking for more  to cover extra time or other emergencies.  After the 1st month we will have a better idea of what is needed and I will do another GFM. 

Offers to physically help from local friends are always appreciated.

        Steve Perrin 



Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Caravan! Reviewish - A Boardgame/5e Hack That is Less than the Sum of It's Parts

"This RPG hex crawl/ board game hybrid is compatible with the 5E fantasy rule set—and can be adapted to other game systems with a little conversion."

What does the above sentence actually mean? 

Well, for one thing, Caravan! is NOT a hex crawl as any old-school gamer would describe it, as there are no decisions to be made about choosing a direction or a hex to explore. Instead, you roll 2d6 and go around the board, and land on a square hex.

Start: Play Starts at the Gull’s Nest hex. Your mercenaries now leave the town, guarding these precious resources as you bring them to foreign markets. Let the first mercenary roll 2d6 to move.

Below is a sample of said board (1/8th of the board to be exact).

So yeah, definitely not a hex crawl. Certainly, a board game that uses D&D 5e as its engine.

What about the conversion to other systems, like more classic editions of D&D and its clones?

Here's the issue - many of these "hexes" require skill checks. I simply don't see it converting well to a simpler ruleset without some heavy-handed finagling. 

Below are some possibilities if you "land" on the Port of Gull's Nest.
5.) Adventure! The Temple of Neptus (God of the Sea) asks characters to assist with the destruction of marine ghouls prowling the sedges by the old Fishery. Under the shadow of night, the party mercenaries encounter 2–5 (d4+1) marine ghouls. If defeated, the group gains experience points and a 2% chance to find a Magical Armament (see Appendix A).

6.) Huge Banana Cargo Load! “What are you going to do with all of these bananas?” Drop off Cargo before landing on or passing Gulls Nest a subsequent time (before the bananas rot) and gain 100 gold coins in banana sales! If a mercenary has Brewer’s Tools or Alchemist’s Tools, a DC 12 (using Intelligence as the ability) can turn a portion of the bananas into rum, tripling the reward to 300 gold coins.

Here is a sample of other squares hexes on the board:

Brutal Winds: Great winds blow the caravan apart! Make a DC 15 Group Check, using each member’s best ability from the following: Strength, Wisdom (Survival), or Intelligence (Nature). Failure causes the group to be knocked back d6 squares. 

Caves of Dor: d6 giant hyenas attack from 30’– 60’ away (d4 x 10’ + 20’). Upon defeat of these beasts, roll d100. 2% chance of a magical armament (see Appendix A) discovered in their bone-strewn lair.

Desolate Canyons: Party is stranded here until an Intelligence (Nature) or Wisdom (Survival) DC 15 is rolled. Three fails brings an attacking harpy. 

Foreboding Mountains: Party is stranded here until an Intelligence (Nature) or Wisdom (Survival) DC 15 is rolled. Three failures bring d4 dire wolves. 2% chance of finding a magical armament (see Appendix A), lying on the altar of a hidden Elder Gods’ shrine.

Then, of course, there are the conversion notes for other systems:

Caravan! may be used with other rule sets and game systems, with a little bit of conversion. For example, let’s say we wanted to run Caravan! for the old-school B/X game system. Here are a few suggestions and changes:

Skills: Players must roll their ability score or less on a d20. See the following modifications:

  • If the DC is 10, give the player a -5 bonus on the d20 roll.
  • If the DC is 15, let the player roll with no bonus or penalty.
  • If the DC is 20, give the player a +5 penalty on the d20 roll.
  • If the DC is 25, give the player a +10 penalty to the d20 roll.
  • A roll of 20 is always successful and a roll of 1 always fails.

That's it. I guess it works, but the text refers to advantage/disadvantage, a concept foreign to many old-school gamers and not explained.

Would this work as a board game? I guess so, but as a DM I'd never allow my players to level up their PCs using what is essentially a board game. 

It likely could be run as a solo diversion, but its replayability would be minimal, and the price ($15) is beyond excessive in my opinion. Priced at 5 bucks, it could be an acceptable diversion for a night when you are missing some players and yet what remains of the group still wants to roll some "D&D Dice" and kill things and take their stuff. Just so long as it was understood that nothing that happened would actually carry over to the regular campaign, as this is, quite literally a board game. If the hexes were drawn as squares, one wouldn't even be able to make the illusionary claim it was a hex-crawl.

As a final note, there is this quote from page 4:

EXPANDING THE HEX CRAWL: There is no wandering off the board. Yes, this is a role-playing game, but if your players decide they want to explore the deepest reaches of the Jildaan Verge, discover the abominations slumbering deep in the Foreboding Mountains, or raid the Lighthouse Mage’s tower in Gull’s Nest, you can take note of this, perhaps incorporating these elements into your personal RPG campaign in the future; for the nonce, however, your players are engaged in a more-structured adventure. Think of board movement as an old school hex crawl, with pre-set encounters. (emphasis mine)

This is NOT how an old-school hex crawl is run, and one certainly does not roll 2d6 to determine your next random hex. It is, however, an attempt to hit some notes of old-school nostalgia, without actually including any old school in the mix.

I can't recommend Caravan! at its current pricing. Despite its claims otherwise, it is a board game masquerading as an RPG product, and it doesn't seem like it has a grasp of its own identity. I know I don't.

Aside from that, having playtesters and design staff writing reviews and glowing commentary is simply distasteful, and for that alone, I'd likely recommend folks avoid the product unless some honest playtests are posted by neutral parties. At 15 bucks, I expect those to be few and far between.

 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, August 16, 2021

"Unofficial" MYSTARA Player's Guide Released - Grab it While You Can

Yep, the Unofficial release of the Mystara Player's Guide has hit the web. No, it's not over at the DM's Guild. Instead, it's at: https://rpgmp3.com/mystara-players-guide/

Grab it while you can, as it may not be in the wild for long.

(originally shared by TheGlen)

5 years. 224 pages. Countless hours of playtesting. All original art. The Mystara Player’s Handbook is a labor of love to bring the Known World, the greatest Dungeons & Dragons setting of all time as determined by science, into the 5th edition.

Inside you will find everything you need for your players to get started adventuring in a setting rich with culture and history. Five new races, over two dozen new subclasses, countless new spells, new forms of magic in the secret crafts, runes, and the incredibly powerful but dangerous Radiance. Featuring maps by Thorfinn Tait, a list of Immortals by Marco Delmonte, art by Rubus, Mischa Cel Frumos, and many more, is everything you wanted for a new setting

Filled with the fantasy equivalence of real-world medieval nations, as well as several that are pure fantasy. Experience the world on the brink as two powerful Empires threaten to ravage the lands with open conflict while smaller nations have to deal with threats without and within. Now you can adventure in the fractured magiocracy of Glantri. Learn how to protect the caravans and fleets of the Merchant Nations with magic created through the power of capitalism. Carve out a new home for yourself in the fledgling nation of Karameikos. Take up the net and trident and make a name for yourself in the gladiatorial pits of Thyatis.

This book is free for download. If you want to help support me in future projects here’s a PayPal link so I can afford new art or be able to contract out different parts of the next book. I’m currently working on the Dungeon Master’s Guide and there’s a Monster Manual somewhere in the future but art costs money. And good art costs a lot of money. If you want to help with that or just say thank you anything would be appreciated.

 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, August 15, 2021

What Happens to Your Gaming Stuff?

 

What Happens to Your Gaming Stuff?
This week I've seen a few interesting posts on Facebook, and elsewhere, not just the notice that we've lost Steve Perrin.

Now I don't know Steve and I'm not sure if I've played anything he's written, but that is beside the point for me today. I do have friends that knew him and are feeling this loss on a personal level.

The news of Steve's passing, and again...some of the other posts I've seen here & there made me think a little bit about my own mortality and the simple fact that a lot of us grognards are aging. Estate panning is a thing and not really my focus here today, but it kind of is.

I'm sure some of you are lucky in the fact that you are part of a gaming family....as in your family actually games, maybe even together. In the other sense we're all part of a larger gaming family, but that's not what I mean.

Now my family...I don't think they get my gaming "thing" at all. I'm 95% certain that despite my repeated attempts to show, explain, and even demonstrate table-top RPGs, they think I sit in front of a TV playing Xbox. I mean, I do that, but in addition to, not instead of RPGs (unless I'm in the middle of a dry die-rolling spell).

Like many of us, I have a decent amount of RPG "stuff" and there are a few gems in my collection...and I bet you do too. For example, I saw a Facebook post this week of some guy who got a cheap core book at Half Priced Books and it ended up having Gary Gygax's signature from like GenCon X or something. All I could think about was how upset I'd be (in the rhetorical sense, clearly) if, after my death, my folks just took all my RPG "stuff" and just dumped it. Sorry, but getting $5 for a signed PHB at Half Priced Books is "dumping it" IMNSHO.

Honestly, I'd rather see my RPG collection, which is far more than just books, go to my gaming friends, or have it all sold at auction (with the proceeds donated), but really...in order for it to be, for lack of a better word, appreciated, I have to go through the effort to document my collection so my family might have a clue that white box is "special" or that those d20's in a little baggie are not loose with the rest of my dice for a reason. Yes, this piece of art is just a cheap print, but this other one is an Artist Proof, or this one is a valuable limited edition. Those old books.....they're just old-assed books. If my brother's grandkids want to pick up AD&D, by all means let them play with those books....and if they get into it, maybe don't auction off that other stuff.....

I'm currently fortunate that I have a gaming buddy who has agreed to be the Executor of my estate should something happen, but then again I do need to update my will to make that all legal and shit.

Just tossing this idea out there....I know it's a bit on the downer side, but knowing that things will be taken care of after we're gone makes collecting certain RPG "gems" a little more worthwile.

RPGNow

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