Saturday, January 29, 2022

Deal of the Day - Advanced Labyrinth Lord (Dragon Cover)

Labrinth Lord was my initial introduction to the "real" OSR. Those art-free PDFs were eye-opening as to what one could find in the modern market that emulated the RPGs I cut my teeth on.

For years Labyrinth Lord was the OSR system of choice, not just the original rules but the Advanced Labyrinth Lord rules, which did an effective job emulating the AD&D rules while using the B/X / LL chassis.

Today's Deal of the Day, which is on sale until tomorrow morning, Jan 30th, 2022 is Advanced Labyrinth Lord (Dragon Cover) in PDF. Normally 14.99, it is currently on sale for 8.99.

Labyrinth Lord doesn't waste precious game time.

We're older now. It's hard enough setting aside time to game.

Then you have to wrangle all your players together at the same time.

The last thing you want is your hard-fought game time wasted.

Combats in Labyrinth Lord are resolved quickly. Running adventures isn't bogged down with bloated monster stats and overcomplicated combats.

Get right into the fun stuff, squeezing the most adventure out of your time.

Play the game on your own terms. Most of us started out with the basic game, working in advanced elements without even realizing basic and advanced were supposed to be two different games. We all might have created our own Frankenstein's monster of rules in slightly different ways, but Labyrinth Lord lets you play the game the way you want it.

If you want to keep basic classes, you can, and play them right along with the advanced classes. Or just use the advanced options. Pick and choose what you want to place in your game on your own terms.

Play the game like you remember it. Feel the adventure like you remember it.

That's why I want to share Labyrinth Lord with you.


Basic and Advanced

Finally the basic and advanced game rules are in one volume!

This book combines the material originally presented in the Labyrinth Lord core rules and in the Advanced Edition Companion. Play advanced and basic characters in the same group, or choose to play one or the other.

Enter a world filled with labyrinths, magic, and monsters! Choose a basic race-class, advanced class, or even multiclass to combine the two! All of the basic and advanced options are within reach.

Labyrinth Lord is the Rosetta Stone of old-school fantasy rules.

It is easy to use basic and advanced game adventures from other publishers with these rules.

In this book you will find...

  • A complete guide to basic and advanced characters
  • All core basic and advanced monsters
  • Basic and advanced spells
  • The full repertoire of basic and advanced magic items
  • Optional rules to make your game even more advanced
  • Welcome back to old-school gameplay.

**Note that the PDF includes both the Dragon cover and Orcus Cover images.

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Friday, January 28, 2022

Quickstart - RuneQuest (Free)

I've mentioned this on The Tavern's YouTube channel, but the best campaign I ever ran was using the RuneQuest 2e rules with the Pavis and Big Rubble boxed sets over 30 years ago. We never called it a sandbox, but it was by far an open-world-style campaign and very driven by player actions.

I recently picked up the RuneQuest Starter Box directly from Chaosium for 30 bucks, and the value is amazing. I'm sure you could snag a copy on Amazon, but the instant gratification you get with the accompanying PDFs for purchasing direct is hard to beat.

Want to take the RuneQuest rules out for a test drive before plunking down a few bucks? Snag the free RuneQuest Quickstart rules.

A mythic world of mortals and gods, myths and cults, monsters and heroes. In Glorantha, the Runes permeate everything, and mastery of Runes allows astonishing feats of bravery and magic.

Glorantha is ancient, and has known many ages, but now it is at the brink of the greatest conflict it has ever known… the Hero Wars.

Glorantha is the setting of RuneQuest, one of the oldest and most influential roleplaying games ever published.

Welcome to Chaosium’s RuneQuest Quickstart Rules, a booklet that collects the essential rules for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha and presents them in abbreviated form. Use this booklet to play the new edition of RuneQuest immediately, and to discover the improvements to the system. These game rules and a new adventure—The Broken Tower—preview the new edition of RuneQuest, developed in close consultation with the original designers and creators of RuneQuest and of Glorantha.

The Broken Tower, set in the heart of the Dragon Pass, is suitable for up to 5 adventurers and one gamemaster, complete with all the rules needed to play.

I'll likely record an unboxing video of the RuneQuest Starter Box on the Tenkar's Tavern YouTube Channel this weekend.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Deal of the Day - FlexTale Solo Adventuring Toolkit (multisystem: Pathfinder, P2E, 5E, OSR, DCC)

Now, as a long-time fan, and collector, of Tunnels & Trolls, I'm no stranger to solo play. More importantly, as a DM, I tend towards loose plots with a fair amount of DM improv. I find it keeps me on my toes and lets much of the session surprise me.

Reading over the description of Today's Deal of the Day: FlexTale Solo Adventuring Toolkit I knew I had to own it. Seriously, at 4.99 (normally 9.99) until tomorrow morning, I think this needs to be in every DMs toolkit. Solo players too, I guess, but I'm always collecting DM tools ;)

This book aims to be the most complete, most comprehensive, most innovative authority on solo tabletop roleplaying game adventuring ever produced.

After more than 30 years of gaming, both old-school through to today's most popular systems, the Solo Adventuring Toolkit culminates a lifetime's passion for the hobby into a massive volume that can be instantly useful to any gaming group, in any context, using any rules system.

Although superbly complex, the FTEG SAT infinitely flexible, and can be used immediately with zero preparation or exhaustive reading beforehand.  Its hundreds of tables, tools, and techniques can be used in infinite combination, powering the creation of endless solo adventuring content.

Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, you've either dreamt of playing pen-and-paper RPGs solo, have tried to do so and found it frustrating and unsatisfying, or are blessed with an abundance of free time and friends whose schedules sync with yours.

This book will help with all but the latter situation.  :)

What is This Thing?

The FlexTale Solo Adventuring Toolkit (FTEG SAT) is over 580 pages, and contains more than a thousand rules, tools, templates, and other resources that can be used to run ANY pen-and-paper RPG as a solitary individual, without a gaming group.

Will it do everything that a traditional gaming group of 3-8 people, each with their own vision, sense of humor, creativity, and a dedicated Games/Dungeon Master make possible?  

Nope.  But it will help approximate that to such an extent that you might discover that you don't mind!

The FlexTale Solo Adventuring Difference

Unlike some "prepless" tools, the Solo Adventuring Toolkit lets GMs or solo players alike immediately jump into the action, rolling a d20 and generating a dynamic, interesting, and level-appropriate adventure with zero preparation or reading.

The Solo Adventuring Toolkit features the FlexTale approach to gaming design: the content herein supports ANY set of PCs of ANY level, and scales accordingly.  No two adventures or quests are the same.

Although the Solo Adventuring Toolkit was designed first and foremost to help solo adventurers, its powerful content tools are equally useful to help dedicated G/DMs to generate feature-rich, engaging adventures for a traditional tabletop gaming setting with zero preparation.

The majority of the book is system-agnostic, and can be used easily with any TTRPG system.  Some specific tools and elements contain rules language tailored to 5E, Pathfinder, Pathfinder Second Edition (P2E), OSR, and Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC).

What's Included

The Solo Adventuring Toolkit features:

  • Over 660 tables, each designed to make it a simple as rolling a d20 to generate dynamic adventure content.
  • Over 80 FlexTables, each one four tables in one, with different results coding and probabilities based on the circumstances.
  • Over 420 optional Rules Adjustments, from minor tweaks and house rules to game-changing capabilites that make your solo warrior a truly formidable force.  From the straightforward "use a bigger hit die for your HP each level" to rules guiding the distribution of "overkill" damage to multiple enemy targets, each rules adjustment contains a Balance Point Handicap that reflects its utility and helps guide its use in your adventuring party.
  • 28 exhausitvely-detailed Plot Templates, each with pages of custom tables, rules, and guidelines; each one can be used to create an infinite variety of quests.
  • Detailed discussions on party composition and multiclassing, both in the context of a traditional gaming environment as well as specific to a Solo Adventuring setting.
  • Hundreds of content variations recognizing the difficulty difference between OPOC (One Player, One Character) and OPMC (One Player, Multiple Characters) approaches to solo play.
  • Dozens of Generator Tables aimed at making it quick and easy to instantly generate dynamic adventure content.  From a simple Yes/No, to what direction the wind is blowing in, to what sort of environment you discover, to the social attitude of an NPC, these are the sort of generator lists that typically go for $1 apiece as indie RPG tools... but here, you'll find dozens of them bundled and organized together, and linked to the rest of the book's massive trove of content, for a huge value.
  • A complex but easy to use Balance Point / Handicap system, describing the impact of accumulating beneficial Rules Adjustments, and/or upping the challenge for better rewards by imposing Restrictions on your party.
  • Hundreds of Rewards and Penalties, and dozens of tables to drive randomization thereof, to be received or imposed as consequences for success or failure.
  • Dozens of pages of exhaustive Indexes to make finding what you want as quick and simple as possible: these reference Tables, FlexTables, Plot Templates, Rules Adjustments, and much more.
  • Simplified FlexAI rules to drive dynamic and interesting creature behavior in combat and in social interactions.
  • And much, much more!

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 the affiliate programs that support 
The Tavern.  

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

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Far West Forums are now Dead - So, Where Do We Get Our Promised Updates Now, Gareth?

And so it was, in the month of January, in the year of our Lord 2022, that the Far West Forums went offline. Our savior, Gareth Skarka, had promised over the last few years that the forums would be his salvation from the toxic comments on the Far West Kickstarter page. Now, even this latest promise is dead - From the History of the Failed Far West RPG - Iconic for a Failed Success

I'm guessing we are being set up for yet ANOTHER failed delivery date in five days.

Gareth is nothing id no dependable in his unreliability.

But hey, the twit is still on Twitter. Nothing about Far West though...

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 the affiliate programs that support 
The Tavern.  

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

Monday, January 24, 2022

State of the Tavern Keeper - OSR Christmas Catch-Up Possibly Completed - Check Your Emails

Last night I enjoyed the Bills/Chiefs game from the privacy of my own home with a large amount of caffeine ingested. Apparently, caffeine in large doses does a fine job of combating long-term Covid's brain fog. Seeing my chance, I dove into emails last night.

Quick notes:

  • I BELIEVE I have responded to every OSR Christmas Gift Claim submitted to tenkarsDOTtavern at that Gmail thing. If you emailed me at the above and I haven't contacted you, email me anew with OSR Christmas Day X (X=the day # in question) in the subject, and your handle you commented under, and the gift you are claiming in the body of the email and I'll try to make it right.
  • There are unclaimed gifts. No, I don't have a list of what hasn't been claimed yet. Gifts that are still unclaimed by the end of the day, January 31, 2022, will be forfeit. Gifters (donors) will have the option of adding those gifts to a supplemental gift-giving day later in February 2022.
  • Gifts being mailed by me (Torchlight and FloofQuest) should ship before the end of the week. Arduin should be shipping this week, as well as the gifts being shipped by Bad Mike.
I expect to start doing reviews before this week is out. Probably under high doses of caffeine to clear the fog.

I truly appreciate the patience from everyone involved in OSR Christmas, from the gifters, the giftees, and especially the commenters. Covid sucks ;)

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 AnchorYouTubeor wherever you listen to your podcast collection. - Tenkar 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Thinking About the Concept of Player Agency and GM Prep

Thinking About the Concept of Player Agency and GM Prep
I'm in the bit-too-painful process of purchasing a new home and moving out of my rental into the new place, and this has really occupied my waking thoughts far too much. Literally when I wake up I'm thinking about where I'm at in the process and how much, or how little, time I have to do X, Y, and Z.

Last night I had a game and I am so ashamed to admit I fell asleep during the session. I wish I could blame the GM for that, but that's 110% all me. Last night I crashed hard and then managed to get up from the computer and crawl into bed.

I cannot quite recall my dreams last night, but they were definitely game related and when I woke up this morning instead of lying there telling Google to snooze my alarm while lamenting how much packing I need to get done today, I was thinking of adventuring. The ass-end of the dream I was having wasn't so much about being in an adventure (1st person), but playing in an adventure (3rd person). Definitely not as cool, but I guess my mind was trying to make up for what I missed out on last night.

So basically I'm half-awake, half dreaming of playing a RPG and at one point the GM is giving us an option for travel, basically left or right at the fork and I'm brought out of this sweet moment by the snoozed alarm...and my cat wanting to be fed. In that sharp moment as I'm pulled out of one world and into this one I get a moment where I question the fake reality of the previous decision and wonder if the choice to travel either side of the road fork is a railroad in the making.

As a GM I can tell you all my games are freaking railroads. To a large extent the player's thinking they have a free choice in their adventures is just part of the fantasy world I'm working to create. Now don't get me wrong, I do give the players choices, and they can easily veer away from the main adventure path I've planned, but they rarely get to adventure off of one of my paths...

In my opinion, the whole idea of free choice is a bit of a misnomer to begin with, even in the "real" world. People are creatures of habit and easily 95% of our life is predetermined, and that 95% is largely created by the 5% of decisions we actually do make. Odds are you're waking up from your bed, putting on an outfit you've work countless times before, and going to the same job you've done for who-knows how long. Just because you could "chuck it all" and go off on some wild tangent, maybe move to the hills and live off of the land.......that is the fallacy of free will/choice. You aren't going to, just because you could. Even if you did, you'd just be changing routines and soon enough every new day will be 95% just like your last.....

As a GM I generally try to anticipate the player's desires and prep accordingly. I like to use a defined game-world where I have a good map and a rough history setup. I have a rough plan of the "big strokes" of what is going to happen locally/regionally and when. The PCs can affect that and hopefully will, but I spend most of my time prepping for the path/direction the players indicate they are going to go. I'll spend a little bit of time on a backup plan, and usually I'll have some (at least one) small generic encounters/dungeons that could be mopped up in a single session or so for the times the party does exercise the 5% option and forge ahead instead of taking the left or right fork.

A HUGE part of my preparations is really streamlined by managing expectations. Knowing what is generically going to happen and being able to express that to the party, and being able to (hopefully) read the players and guesstimate what they're going to want to do.....

Another big part is making the players work for that 5% "free choice" deviation from the path set out ahead of them. When the players clearly indicate they want to travel down the road to the next big city, most of my work is going to be planning on that trip and the city. To keep the party "on the path", cut down on their ability to change their minds....on a whim. The adventure may call for a wandering monster check every hour (just for this example). After every check, don't ask the players if they want to continue down the road. On a straight path this gives the party eight chances to decide to say "fuck it" and go off cross country. Instead offer opportunities at natural decision points. If the road into the city has a single crossroad four hours in, then that would be an appropriate time to see if the players want to change their travel direction. The same would go for river crossings or when the party starts up after camping overnight.

Yes, the party could decide at any point to change their collective minds and head off in another direction, but the players are creatures of habit and usually will not deviate from their own decision to travel to their desired destination. 

As I see it most players/parties are more than happy with the illusion of "free choice" where they can do anything they want. A little nudging and the players will usually make one decision and then largely travel along that path until something major comes up. As long as they feel, or even just have the option, to change their minds (even though 95% chance they won't), then they will pretty much railroad themselves. 

Make GM prep a lot easier.....

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