Saturday, September 4, 2021

Deal of the Day - Mike's World: The Forsaken Wilderness Beyond (OSR)

What's in a name? Not an awful lot in this case. That isn't the point though. Mike's World: The Forsaken Wilderness Beyond "expands on the fantasy world first introduced in Gary Gygax's dungeon module B2: THE KEEP ON THE BORDERLANDS. If you have ever wondered what perilous lands further surround the Keep, this is the book for you." Basically, it's a setting for B2, which is pretty damn awesome an idea IMHO.

What I find even more telling is what we are told this book is not:

This world is not for collecting, not for reading, not for gazing at, and not for displaying on your coffee table. It has no art, no stylish formatting, no production values at all. If you aren't going to use and abuse this in a game, there's no reason to buy it.

Normally 2.99 in PDF, until tomorrow morning Mike's World: The Forsaken Wilderness Beyond is on sale for 1.49. At that price, it is hard to pass up.

Still wish it had a better name ;)


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

Friday, September 3, 2021

Cover Art is Inked for Swords & Wizardry Continual Light 2nd Edition - James Shields is an Amazing Artist

I couldn't be happier with the results of James Shields' work on the cover for Swords & Wizardry Continual Light 2e. I can't wait to see the color version. It looks like I may need to add some content to reflect the cover art ;)

Good times and VERY exciting!

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

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Deal of the Day - Troika! Numinous Edition



I've heard folks talk about Troika! in the past but never had the opportunity to give it a peek. Until tomorrow morning, you can snag the PDF of Troika! Numinous Edition for $5.40, normally $18.00. I guess I'll have the opportunity to give it a proper peek ;)

Troika! is a complete yet wildly open role-playing game. Players can expect to fly through mystic space, get lost in infinite cities of the gods, and meet strange & wonderful people all the while using a robust and familiar game system. ​

With just one book and a couple of six-sided dice you'll be able to provide years of adventure for you and your friends. Once you're ready for more there is an abundance of material printed by the Melsonian Arts Council and Troika!s huge number of third party publishers and fans.

Inside the book you will find:

  • A full automated character creation system that generates exciting starting points for players to build upon
  • Weighty lists of spells and enemies to encounter
  • A baked-in plane-hopping setting which draws you into the world and allows you space to build upon its sturdy foundations
  • Lavishly illustrated by Jeremy Duncan, Dirk Detweiler Leicthy, Sam Mameli, and ENnie award winning Andrew Walter


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

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Kickstarter - Crimson Escalation (OSR Combat Hack)


What if you could speed-up DnD combat while making battles more exciting, realistic, and fun? All that with a minimum of bookkeeping!

How often do you get to back a Kickstarter for a buck and get the full product? Not too often is my guess ;)

Crimson Escalation is a buck to back in PDF. There is no print option.

So, what is Crimson Escalation?

This summer, I (Venger) had an idea for a mechanic that could cut combat short by making it potentially deadlier.  I posted it on my YouTube channel for feedback.  I received a lot of comments.  Rob Couture suggested increasing the critical-hit range by one every round of combat (Rob has graciously agreed to write the foreword for Crimson Escalation). 

Yes, that's basically the entire gist!  On the 1st round of combat, critical hits are on a "natural 20".  On the 2nd round, crits are 19 and 20.  3rd round, crits are 18-20, and so on...

After giving it some thought and a quick playtest, I took that idea and ran with it. I decided to call the mechanic Crimson Escalation since I implemented it in my OSR / 5e house-rules, or "hack" as the kids say, Crimson Dragon Slayer D20, and because the idea vaguely reminded everyone of the escalation mechanic from 13th Age.

For a buck, I'm definitely backing. Even if I never use the rules as presented, I always like to see new ideas. 

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

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Kickstarter: Next Level Miniatures: Dragon's Hoard Miniatures Vol. 1



Not to be the one that is a negative ninny, but miniatures and Frog God Games do not go well together. Not due to any fault of Frog God Games, mind you, just a general statement based on past experience.

One should also note that I swim in the Frog God Pond, and wrote Swords & Wizardry Light for the Frogs. The simple truth, for good or ill.

Next Level Miniatures has launched a licensed Kickstarter to release miniatures from the Rappan Athuk IP of Frog God Games: Next Level Miniatures: Dragon's Hoard Miniatures Vol. 1

I'd love to copy and paste the details, but the Kickstarter as presented does not allow such, thus I give you the following screenshot: 


40 bucks get you 30 minis plus the unlocked stretch goals. Not a bad deal.

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


Monday, August 30, 2021

Humble Bundle - Audio Drama Bundle - Fantasy and Science Fiction

Back in the Way Back, before retirement, when I had a daily commute of 30-45 minutes in each direction, I found myself listening to podcasts and audiobooks / audio dramas. It kept me from listening to the oh-so-many commercials on terrestrial radio, and it kept me clueless to the events of the day, allowing me to commute in blissful peace. 

I'm retired now, and my commute is from bed to my desk and back again, so I don't listen to nearly as many podcasts or audiobooks / audio dramas as I used to, but I always find the theatre of the mind's eye to be more vivid than any movie or even a binge-worthy on-demand series. 

The Audio Drama Bundle - Fantasy and Science Fiction, currently being offered on Humble Bundle would have been my commuting delight. 22 audio dramas for 18 bucks, or get 3 for as little as a buck. 

I'm in for the full boat at 18, because even if I no longer have commutes, I do have dog walks, and escapism isn't limited to the driver's seat ;)



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

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Some Thoughts on Alignment in RPGs

Some Thoughts on Alignment in RPGs
(Special Note: I'm going to assume that my ramblings will come off as a product pitch, at least to someone, but said product is a PWYW item at DTRPG, so if you're interested just get it for free and we'll be good.)

Lately I've been thinking about the concept of alignment in RPGs, and my opinion is quickly coming to the conclusion that the concept generally sucks. Nothing is going to truly work because it is not just an abstraction, but an abstraction that doesn't necessarily fit in well with not just other abstractions, but also the motivations (and mechanizations) of the players sitting around the table.

In general.....I don't think alignment matters too much to the average player or PC, and the more generic things are, the easier it is to incorporate, which is just common sense. The gambit of RPG alignment systems run from the simple duality of Law vs. Chaos to the more complex nine-position matrix of Law/Chaos and Goodness/Neutrality/Evil. In a lot of games, at least from my experience, a PC's alignment doesn't matter much unless you happen to find an intelligent weapon of opposing alignment or you want to play a Paladin, or the like.

I have also played (I know, bear with me) games of HackMaster where alignment needed to be "accurately" played or there would be penalties. In HackMaster 4th edition there was a huge, rather crunchy, chart of actions and bonuses/penalties (experience IIRC) based on alignments. In the games I participated in (played, ran, watched) that chart did help bring alignment as a driving force for some in-game actions. Problem was that these "actions" tended to just become Standard Operating Procedures for HackMaster PCs.

Now the newer version of HackMaster is a little simpler, and honestly I dig it.....but clearly I'm biased. As part of the Honor mechanic the GM gets to essentially rate the PC's adherence to alignment, without specifically listing actions that reinforce alignments. It's a judgement call from the GM, which might be an issue in and of itself.

My biggest problem with alignment is that just about ANY system is inherently flawed because I think the primary axis of alignment is one of order/selflessness and chaos/selfishness, and while you could argue that some "chaotic or evil" PCs only align with a party to further their own agenda, I also think that's pretty much bullshit. The simple fact that in-game we assemble as a group to "adventure" or "murderhobo" tends to skew everything towards the order/law/selflessness side of things.

"Well what about orcs? They're chaotic but they still organize...are you saying they are now lawful or selfless?"

Yes. In BX they are Chaotic and in later editions Lawful Evil, so that fits. I wouldn't really think of orcs as selfless, but in order to have any type of society there has to be a level of order & selflessness.

No, the real problem with alignments, as I see it, is that we naturally conclude that we are able to deduce a PC's alignments from the actions of said PCs, which is a judgement call to begin with, when really the alignment should be a motivation for actions, which is not only another judgment call, but an internalized one (to the player). So what we end up with is one judgment call on top of another. That is the recipe for problems. I really don't want to have to have a motivations discussion at the table.

I don't expect you readers to remember, but there was this time a while back where my Lawful Magic-User cold-cocked one of the party thieves in the face and almost killed him. On the surface it could easily have been seen as a Chaotic/Evil/Selfish act. I'd argue it was the exact opposite as it not only seemed like a logical thing to do, if unexpected...but the unexpectedness was an important factor, but actually a Good act and definitely Selfless since the penalty for failure could well have been my PCs death. The thing is I sure AF didn't want to have a long debate at the game table about motivations, so I posted about it here instead....

So wtf do we do about alignments?

From a role-playing perspective I do think there is a place for alignments and I think it is important, but how important....that is open for debate. You'd think that for PCs like Paladins alignment is über-important, but I'm starting to be of the opinion of not really. I still think Paladins should be "good" but what really matters is how they adhere to their deity's desires & spheres of influence.

As a (well, it has been a while) GM I just don't get too worked up about PC's alignments. One thing I do not do is make a player decide their PCs alignment for at least their 1st level. Let them play the PC for a level and then see what fits based on how they internalized that PC's. Now if the character's class requires a specific alignment I'll give the player a bit of a pass for the first level and guide a bit here & there as to my interpretation of their interpretation, based on the PCs actions.

I'm also going to assume that all PCs are generally good-lawful aligned and that chaotic or evil PCs are "relatively" chaotic or evil. Instead of a hard and fast interpretation to some moral absolutes, it's a relative position to a societal norm. Hell, if you came from a society where back-stabbing and buddy-fucking to get ahead was the expected norm and you were selfless and caring, wouldn't any "good" actions be relatively "evil"? Just a thought to stick with you there.....

Now personally, when I play NPCs as a GM I use a d30 Personality Generator that I created. I don't really have to think too hard about it, just try to use these personality traits as the motivating factors on how to run the NPC. I haven't tried to use this for running my PC...yet.

My d30 table is really just a partial answer, for me at least, to the underlying alignment problem. I think that the real answer is largely dropping alignment altogether. Keep it as a thing, I guess, but deemphasize it to something that only matters to the player. For those things that matter, like the Paladin, make it applicable to adherence to societal norms or specific behaviors, like a defined code. Drop the judgement call on top of judgement call and reduce it to a selection of desired actions, not too unlike how HackMaster 4th edition did things.....but only for these rare PCs. I don't find it terrible, or even unexpected, if a Paladin follows some specific role-playing guidance to the point where it seems more like a SOP.

The only other alignment-based consideration I can think of is the aligned intelligent weapons, or loot that changes alignment. In those cases, just assign some of the aforementioned personality traits. Instead of (assuming your RPG system makes this a thing) having a diametrically opposed alignment weapon do damage when held, have it strike out against the wielder the first time the PC wielding/carrying it performs an action opposed to its personality.  A "Lawful Good" PC wielding a "Friendly, Witty & Cerebral" Longsword says something crude, mean, and low-brow to someone else....oh yeah, he's getting a smack from that sword, or a magical shock for 1d6...something to show displeasure.

Just my 2 cp.

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