Saturday, October 23, 2021

Humble Bundle - Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay

Alright, let me state this straight out of the box. The moment I went to the Humble Bundle Page and saw Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay was one of the bundles I bought in for 30 bucks without waiting. Yes, I have WFRP 1e, 2e, 2e, and 4e. This gives me all but the aberration of 3e as core rules in PDF and so, so, so much more. 

Have you played Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay in the past? Then you know you want this. Never played it? Then you need this. Playing WFRP 4e? You can get the Core Rules, the Starter Box and so much more. Really. I can't say enough. So I'll stop right here ;)



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Friday, October 22, 2021

Kickstarter - Beautiful Hot Female Miniature for 3D Printing - Daniela

3D printable hot female miniature STL file for RPG, Tabletop Games, DnD, D&D, Collectibles and Rolepaying. 75mm, 54mm and 32mm scale

If a picture is good for a thousand words, I guess I don't need to say much more. The idea that this can be the subject of an entire Kickstarter SHOULD surprise me, but sadly, it doesn't.

Multiple poses if you need them. More explicit visuals are on the Kickstarter page.

I won't critique the grammar and spelling beyond saying he should have used a proofreader.







Thursday, October 21, 2021

News - Paizo Releases a Statement Recognizing the United Paizo Workers Union

The original article is linked below:

https://gamingtrend.com/news/paizo-releases-a-statement-recognizing-the-united-paizo-workers/

October 21, 2021 (Redmond, WA) – Paizo is pleased to announce it has voluntarily recognized the United Paizo Workers union, which is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

“We look forward to working with the union to continue and expand our efforts to make Paizo a better place to work and to ensure that Pathfinder and Starfinder products continue to exceed gamer expectations for many years to come,” said Jeff Alvarez, President of Paizo.

The next steps will involve the United Paizo Workers (UPW) union electing their bargaining representatives and then meeting with Paizo management to negotiate terms for a collective bargaining agreement. We expect this process to take some time, but we are committed to the effort and hope to settle a contract in due course. Until an agreement is reached, the Paizo staff continues to focus on creating amazing Pathfinder and Starfinder products.

Paizo has always been about creating awesome games, and we look forward to the changes that unionization will bring to the company. Please join us on this journey by following the UPW on Twitter and stay tuned for future updates!

Interestingly enough, many of the Paizo Freelancers that were involved with the "work stoppage" were full-time Paizo employees moonlighting as freelancers to pay their bills.



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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

TSR Con 2022 is Now the Same Weekend as Gary Con - March 24-27, 2022

Late this afternoon, the above convention flyer was shared by TSR CON on the TSR CON Facebook page (and elsewhere on Facebook).

Note, the venue is no longer Horticultural Hall but the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum. This should lower expenses for the convention itself, as LaNassa owns the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum. It is unclear how much attendance will cost and the maximum occupancy of the venue is not currently stated.

Also note, the timing is no longer the 4th of July weekend (July 1-3, 2022) but the same weekend as Gary Con (March 24-27, 2022). The timing is NOT coincidental and appears to be an attempt to piggyback off of Gary Con and the convention attendees. 

I've heard rumors from multiple sources that LaNassa was attempting to get paid by Gary Con for the use of the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum and was rebuffed. I've also heard that the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum had requested that Gary Con provide free shuttle service from Gary Con to the museum and the museum was rebuffed.

As an observation, this is the first time in my recollection that a gaming convention has announced dates and a venue location to coincide with an established convention.

For reference, the original flyer with the original date is still available on the TSR CON Facebook page. It is reproduced here for ease of reference.

It appears TSR CON has gained a sponsor (Smugglers Coffee). Now, only three out of five sponsors are entities owned by Justin LaNassa.

Note, Smugglers Coffee has a website and it appears gamers are behind the brand. I'm not a coffee drinker, but maybe you are. If so, here's the link for Smugglers Coffee.



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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Astral Virtual Table Top to Cease Active Development - Cites Competitive Landscape in Near Future as a Reason

There are certainly a large number of Virtual Table Tops in the market right now. The big two are likely Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds, with Foundry and Owlbear Rodeo as the likely second tier of choices. Astral is owned by OneBookShelf, and likely had a budget that enabled it to be competitive in its offered features.

Here's the text of the announcement (with some commentary from your favorite bartender):

Astral TableTop was created by Tom Lackemann and began its life as PowerVTT in 2017 with the simple goal of creating a virtual tabletop software that was actually easy to learn and use.

Over the years, largely thanks to feedback and engagement of its community, Astral grew to become the VTT of choice for hundreds of thousands of tabletop RPG players. Unfortunately, even with the growth that Astral has experienced, it has not attracted an audience large enough to be a thriving business. With the landscape for VTT’s looking to become even more competitive in the near future, Astral’s founder Tom has decided to retire from Astral TableTop to pursue other ventures. (emphasis mine) Fear not, however – Astral TableTop will not be going away just yet. Even though it will no longer be in active development, Astral will continue to live on as it currently is into the foreseeable future (note - this "life" is not a defined length, and can change at any moment). OneBookShelf, the parent company of DriveThruRPG, partnered with Tom on Astral TableTop and will be continuing to oversee and maintain Astral’s current services even after his departure.

Should OneBookShelf need to close down the Astral TableTop service completely at some point in the future, it will provide as much notice as possible to give everyone time to close or migrate their campaigns to another platform (I'd expect minimal notification. the facvt that this is mentioned tells you they are already planning to shut down the service). The creation of something like Astral TableTop was a dream for all of the members of the team, as well as the countless community members who dedicated their time and care to help build this TTRPG platform we all love so much. We are eternally grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of your tabletop gaming adventures over these last 4 years. Forever, Your Astral Allies (edited)

There will be a few notable changes:

Astral’s Marketplace will be closing so no new items will be able to be purchased, but you will still have access to all items already in your Astral Vault and you will continue to be able to upload assets to your Vault.

Yearly Subscription options will be removed and new, lower-cost Monthly Subscription options will be taking their place: - Gold Subscription - $5.99 per month - Platinum Subscription - $9.99 per month ​(no yearly subscriptions likely means the estimated life left is a year or less)

Any time remaining on prepaid subscriptions will be credited to your account and automatically rolled over into the new, lower-cost, monthly subscription plans. No action is needed on your part!

"With the landscape for VTT’s looking to become even more competitive in the near future" - I think this is a reference to the VTT WotC is rumored to be working on. If it is referring to such, I would assume an official announcement will be sooner than later.


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Monday, October 18, 2021

Can Freelancers Strike? Paizo Freelancers are Exerting a "Job Action" and withholding Submission of Projects

Paizo Freelancers started a "Job Action" in September, and 40 of them stopped submitting completed material to Paizo. At the moment, all they are asking for is recognition of the Paiz Workers Union, which WON'T be in a position to directly support them as freelancers.

Here are the tweets with the details from the Starfinder and Pathfinder's Senior Line Developer:

Today I want to shine a spotlight on UPW’s secret weapon: freelancers. Paizo’s freelancers are our ally in this fight and we’re helping each other. Here’s how:

Paizo’s business model is built on freelancers. Very few of the words in our publications are written in-house by full time employees on the clock. Instead, we outline projects, hire freelancers to execute those outlines, and develop and edit those manuscripts.

This allows a relatively small number of people (about 35, including art directors, editors, designers, developers, and more) to produce, well, everything. Have you seen our publication schedule lately? It’s LONG. And Paizo must publish new books to pay its bills.

Well, about a month ago, about 40 of Paizo’s most reliable, prolific, and skilled freelancers simply stopped working. In official parlance, this is called “concerted action.” In layman’s terms, it’s a strike without a union.

Some of these freelancers were in the middle of projects, with upcoming deadlines. Some of them had completed manuscripts they refused to turn over. Some were people we need to hire, to get scheduled books underway in time to publish. All of that FROZE.

Folks, Paizo can’t operate in that environment. We can’t just assign 10,000 word Org Play scenarios, 35,000 word SF adventures, 50,000 word P2 adventures to new, untested freelancers. And for many projects, it’s too late in the schedule to do that anyway.

Now, this group of freelancers had a specific list of demands. They wanted Paizo to hire a diversity officer, for example, and investigate recent terminations. But yesterday, they updated their demands: they’ll all come back to work if Paizo recognizes United Paizo Workers.

This is an enormous lever, and we at UPW are incredibly grateful to have it. Paizo can’t make its publication schedule without freelancers, and it can’t pay exec salaries without publications. But if they recognize our union, freelancers come back to work TOMORROW.

Sure, yes, contract negotiations will be long and trying for all involved. But Paizo will still get books out the door, it’ll be able to make its commitments and pay its bills and salaries. And during contract negotiation, we, the people who hire freelancers, can pay back.

In contract negotiation, we can fight for better pay rates for freelancers. We can get more time in the schedule, so writers have time to do their job right. We can get playtesting built into these schedules, which not only helps freelancers but creates better books.

Paizo’s freelancers and United Paizo Workers are working hand in hand. And I am so grateful, honored, and humbled to have that partnership.


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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Nobody Runs By-the-Book and You Don't Necessarily Have to Play BTB Either

Nobody Runs By-the-Book and You Don't Necessarily Have to Play BTB Either
Believe it or not I actually put some thought into these Sunday posts.....usually a couple days even. Unfortunately a lot of thought doesn't always translate into a well-written post, but I'm not looking for validation today. I mention this because it seems to me most of my posts come across as stream-of-consciousness how I think of things, and I doubt today will be much different.

Now I know that I keep coming back to my favorite RPG system being HackMaster and over the last couple of days I've been thinking that 1) my gaming friends have to be getting tired of hearing that and 2) while clearly I'm a fan, maybe I'm not being true to myself.

First off, I fully admit that I'm a big-time rules-lawyer as a player. I really try to not be a dick about it, but I'm sure there are times I am the biggest dick about it. As a rules-lawyer I'm going to gravitate to crunchier game systems. Now HackMaster 4th Edition was crunchy as fuck. Seriously, it was a nightmare at times and GMing the game could be a HUGE pain-in-the-ass. HUGE!

Not sure I've mentioned this at the Tavern before, but generally speaking whenever I play a new rules-system I make my first character an archer. Not a fighter, but specifically an archer. I'm sure this probably goes all the way back to my 1E days, but it gives me a basis of comparison.

Now in HackMaster 4E if your wanted to be a Longbow Archer you kind of sucked compared to ANY other missile weapon specialist, and if you wanted to fire into combat, the best way to do it went like this: You'd tell the GM that you wanted to specifically shoot your (melee) engaged party member's left pinkie toe. The GM would calculate the odds of you targeting your ally (who the arrow would hit if the attack was successful) and if successful, then all the penalties for trying to hit that left pinkie toe would come into play and odds are you'd never make the shot.....but if you did a crit and managed to actually land the shot.....bye-bye pinkie. If the GM determined you weren't going to hit your ally, then those penalties didn't apply.

Now I was able to re-write that bit of the rules as a successful submission to Hackjournal, but that's a different story.

After thinking a lot about not just HackMaster, but how I like to play I have come to the realization that I like the crunchy details, not necessarily the rules. HackMaster just happens to have hit my sweet spot, but I don't actually sit around in other games wishing I was playing HackMaster instead. My favorite game is pretty much whatever game I can get into. Sure, I have had issues with some systems....D&D 3.5 only bugged me with the book-of-the-month club and that I felt like I *had* to have my character's mid and higher levels already figured out before I picked my skills and feats or I'd be behind the power curve, as it was. Now my main D&D 3.5 GM was the real problem I had with that game, but again....another story (some of which I've shared already).

I've liked playing DCC, MCC, CoC, and a bunch of odd one-offs.....and I'm coming around to the idea that pretty much every game is some kind of "one-off", even if it runs into a multi-year campaign. Think about it, there seems to be about a million variations of B/X floating out there: Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, Old School Essentials, Pacesetter's BX RPG, etc.....I'm assuming that pretty much every GM runs their very own version of the game, especially when it comes to retro-clones, which is why there are so many versions out in the wild.

Outside of HackMaster I've yet run into a GM running a game 100% by the book. My current home game is a B/X game where the GM runs all kind of home-brew rules. I can't really comment one way or another on the quality of the home-brew, but I haven't really seen anything that I didn't think worked. To be honest, I don't always pay attention to the GM explaining his rules and even though I've read some of them I actively try to "forget" stuff that doesn't apply directly to my PC.

This game has really been a bit of a paradigm shift for me as a player. I'm used to knowing all of the rules and figuring out the best way of doing X, Y, or Z. That was fun for me, but there was no mystery, just an exercise in trying to be the smartest guy at the table (which doesn't happen much, but it's the attempt that's important) and trying to roll well, which can be important in a competitive tournament. I'm not playing in tournaments and don't plan on doing so in the future. I've had much more fun sitting back and figuring shit out in the moment and generally rolling with the game as it is presented. It helps that my GM runs a lot of custom monsters and tries out new rules on us before he commits them for publication.

Of course this particular style of playing is a lot more laid-back than I'm used to and despite my best efforts I'm sometimes jonesing for a bit more crunch. The thing is, and this has been an evolving concept, I don't necessarily need my GM to provide that crunch on a plate for me. In my game I'm playing a Magic User and the GM is happy enough knowing I have a spell book. According to my PC sheet my spellbook is a Guild Duodecimo: 4 5/8" x 7 1/2" in size and 9" thick. It has 92 parchment pages and a calfskin cover. The whole thing weighs 1.5 pounds (encumbrance is 45 coins). My spells are:

  • Read/Write Magic (Pages 1-2)
  • Read Languages (Page 3)
  • Sleep (Pages 4-7)
  • Magic Missile (Page 8)
  • Hold Portal (Pages 9-12)
  • Ventriloquism (Pages 13-15)
  • Protection from Evil (Pages 16-19)
  • Magic Mirror (Pages 20-21)
  • Knock (Pages 22-25)
  • Condone (Pages 26-28)
  • Web (Pages 29-35)
Now I really need a travel/secondary spellbook, but I'll take care of that when we have some downtime in-game. I also have a captured spellbook I need to figure out as well....

Yeah, so it just now occurred to me that while clearly I don't mind doing a little extra on my end to enhance my enjoyment of the game, I don't want to be "that guy". You know "that guy", you might have met him/her once or thrice, maybe in a pickup game...probably not in your regular gaming/friend group, but you never know. If for some reason you don't know who I'm talking about, count yourself lucky. "That guy" gets a little too deep into their PC, which is ok (I guess) until they present the GM with a 15 page backstory of their PC, complete with motivations, aspirations, and extended friends & family list.

If you want to add a bit to your game, go nuts, just don't...well go "nuts" and become "that guy". I don't expect my GM to care what's on page 13 of my spellbook, but if he asks I can push up my glasses, adopt a nerdish lisp, and tell him.

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