Tabletop Gaming Feeds

OSR Commentary On B1 In Search of The Unknown By Mike Carr For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 05:54
" In Search of the Unknown is a module for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, designed for use with the Basic Set of rules. It was written by game designer Mike Carr and was first published in 1979 by TSR, Inc. The module details a hidden complex known as the Caverns of Quasqueton. Reviewers considered it a good quality introduction to the game that was written in the so-called Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

How to Have a Comment that You Believe Infringes on Your Intellectual Property Rights, Copyright and the Like Removed From The Tavern

Tenkar's Tavern - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 03:23
Lets cut to the chase, shall we? I do NOT read every comment posted here, at The Tavern nor every comment in The Tavern's Facebook Community. If I did, I'd never have the time to post. There are thousands of Tavern Readers (many of them commenters) and the Facebook Community is closing in on 1900 very active members.

So, it is certainly possible somebody commenting here or in the The Tavern's Facebook Community may link to or copy-paste material that "you" feel infringes on your intellectual property rights.

Know what you do? Messege me the moment you notice it.

How? This very page has an email feature on the right hand side. Or Facebook PM. Or Google Hangouts PM (not a Google Plus mention, as I miss that shit constantly)

What should you say? Identify the comment that you feels infringes on your intellectual property rights (or misstates information that you feel is actionable - yes, I mean you Gail) and tell me how it does so. I can pretty much guarentee I'll take down the offending material in as timely a manner as I am able to do so.

What should you not say? Legal threats, direct or implied, do not help. Seriously, all you are doing is burning bridges where none need to be burned. This is, of course, totally up to you. The offending comment gets deleted in either case. Relationships suffer with the second option.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Weekend Wonders - Azak's Waterskin (Swords & Wizardry / OSR)

Tenkar's Tavern - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 00:13

Azak's Waterskin looks like many other waterskins until one realizes the "yellow cord" is truly made of gold. Like a normal waterskin, it holds a quart of water, but once per day when the command word is spoken, coins pour forth instead of water. Roll on the table below to find out which coins pour forth:

Roll 1d6
1 -   3d6 copper pieces
2 -   5d6 copper pieces
3 - 10d6 copper pieces
4 -   2d6 silver pieces
5 -   5d6 silver pieces
6 -   1d6 gold pieces

Note - these coins come from somewhere and someone will not be happy to find their wealth is being pilfered. Maybe it comes from a dragon's hoard, a town's treasury or the drunk sitting next to you in a bar's coin purse. Nothing in life is truly free.

Publisher's Choice Quality Stock Art Copyright Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games

Thanks to The Tavern's supporters at both The Tavern's Patreon and directly through Paypal, we have a monthly backing of over $150. This means 4 to 5 monsters for Swords & Wizardry Light / OSR per month, 4 to 5 Swords & Wizardry Light / OSR magic / wondrous items per month AND backers at $1.50 a month or higher via Patreon will get a collected PDF of the prior month's releases emailed to them. Paypal backers will need to email me in the middle of October to receive theirs. This is the third release for the month of October.

Layout for September's postings will commence this week. Swords & Wizardry Continual Light should be released on RPGNow this week in PDF and (crossing fingers) Amazon for POD.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kickstarter - Dark Naga - Confronting Hastur for 5th Edition

Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 18:52

I enjoyed Dark Naga's first Kickstarter release, The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil which was released for 5e / OSR. It was simply a strong adventure release, regardless of system. Dark Naga's latest Kickstarter is Confronting Hastur for 5th Edition.

As I type this, the project is just $173 short of its 2k goal for funding. If it hits 5k, we get an OSR edition in digital (and Pathfinder too for those that care. I think 5k is well within reach.

I'm looking forward to seeing this and future Dark Naga releases in OSR flavors ;)

Digital buy in is 10 bucks, print is 20 bucks.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

'Echoes Of A Distant Manor' - Actual Play Session Event

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 16:40
Lomar as a campaign destination hit a bit of a snag when the player's PC's turned back into Tegel Manor. But this isn't so much a problem as the problem itself presents the solution. Last night's Tegel Manor game went weirder then normal, the house continued its journey after the players took a wrong turn and completely muffed up my plans or did they? The adventure in Tegel Manor has taken Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Only Rebel Can Save Comics

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 04:51

Not sure what it is about this character that gets so many people’s panties in a bunch, but it’s real. Me? I can’t get enough of her. She’s just so danged fun!

And yeah, you can go read the pulps for yourselves and see all the things that could be taken for granted as normal back then that are utterly beyond the capacity of creators today to make. Chief among my favorites would be John Carter of Mars, the Confederate cavalryman whose increased strength at ability to leap prodigiously would provide the template for the rationale of Superman’s abilities.

It does strike be as being more than a bit odd: the number of things that are unthinkable grows every day. Far from the spirit of the “dangerous visions” of seventies science fiction, everything from Gone With the Wind to the Dukes of Hazzard is suddenly supposed to be across the line. This is a world where Apple and Amazon will ban historical wargames that utilize the Confederate flag.

Utterly asinine.

This sort of weird cultural aggression is not just dangerous and creepy. The sort of limitations on expression it embodies is absolute death to creativity and imagination. Sure, people are going to line up to explain that you really shouldn’t go out of your way to violate the demands of today’s commissars of correctness or the “normies” that live in fear of accidentally offending them. I would argue that those days are gone. There simply isn’t a whole lot of space to fall back on at this point. They’ve already called us every bad name they can think of. And far from being the sort that can simply live and let live, they can’t even be appeased.

The fact that something that would have been completely unexceptional forty years ago causes them to literally start shaking isn’t really my problem. But if that’s the way they want it, that’s the way they’re going to get it.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Chill 1st Edition First Impressions

19th Level - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 02:56

It's very strange doing a "first impressions" type of review of a game from 1984 but Chill was one of those games that I never managed to get ahold of when it first game out. I remember the numerous advertisements in Dragon magazine at the time for Pacesetter Ltd. RPGs - they all looked interesting to me but alas, my middle and high school funds to did not allow me to pick them up. Though for some reason I was sorely tempted to splurge on Chill so I could get the Elvira adventure compilation. I suspect puberty may have had something to do with that...

I've recently had the opportunity go through the original game. It's definitely an old-school game, based around percentile-based ability scores and skills. There are two types of task rolls, general and specific checks. A general check is a straight percentile roll, looking to roll equal to or below your stat. With a specific roll you do a lookup on a table to see how well you did, using your margin of success to determine your row and your column being somewhat variable. In combat the defender would actually roll a d10 to determine the column, with higher being more advantageous to the defender. See below for the Action Table included in the game:
It definitely reminded me of the old Marvel Superheroes RPG from TSR - and I'm not quite certain which came out first - they both have 1984 copyright dates.
Characters have two pools to be concerned with - a Stamina pool which is used to track physical damage and a Willpower pool which can be lost on fear checks the characters might be forced to roll - a bit like Sanity in Call of Cthulhu.
As can be seen from the table, damage is independent of weapon type, much like original D&D. Weapon types do matter for range, attack rates, special qualities, etc. 
Moving a bit away from the technical aspects to the nature of gameplay, Chill characters work for an organization of good guys, dedicated to fighting the supernatural baddies of the world. This organization is S.A.V.E. - the Societas Argenti Viae Eternitata. Reading through the book, I get a feel of classic horrors - Dracula of both literature and film fits in well in this setting - indeed Dracula has been featured in the adventure Vengeance of Dracula, very much in keeping with Bram Stoker's incarnation of the vampire. The game assumes one of two main era - the late Victorian era or the "modern" day (which, when published, was the mid-1980s). Rules-wise, there is no real difference between the two eras.
Chill seems to occupy an interesting middle ground between your cosmic horror of Call of Cthulhu and your monster hunting of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Humanity is not necessarily doomed but it is very much threatened. Our heroes may have some mystical ability in "the Art", but no one is going to be hurling fireballs. The suggested reading gives an idea as to the tone of the game:
  • Bloch, Robert. Psycho
  • Bradbury, Ray. Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • Haggard, H. Rider. She
  • King, Stephen. Night Shift
  • Jackson, Shirley. Stories, The Haunting of Hill House
  • Lovecraft, H.P. Stories
  • Poe, Edgar Allan. Stories
  • Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein
  • Stoker, Bram. Dracula
I have a very vague recollection of a friend GM-ing a one-on-one Chill adventure for me - I was Jonathan Harker in Dracula's castle. I got to be dinner for Dracula's brides. I didn't do so well but I remember it being fun. Looking at the rules today, they definitely reflect their era - a lot of specific tables for various tasks the characters might perform. That said, it's very much the kind of game that one could be given pregenerated characters and be able to play with the briefest of rules explanations. Like early versions of Call of Cthulhu, it has no real concept of difficulty modifiers outside of combat. It's the sort of thing that seems awfully easy to house rule should one wish to. 
I'm aware there's two "successors" to Chill. A 3rd edition of Chill was put out a few years ago by Growling Door Games. I don't know much about it, though some quick internet searching shows it has its share of controversy, with some loving the new game, some despising it. (Mayfair put out a 2nd edition of Chill for a time after Pacesetter ceased operations). Goblinoid Games, with rights to the Pacesetter name and rules, has published a kind of retroclone of Chill 1st edition named Cryptworld. Alas, there is no legal PDF version one might purchase for the 1st edition. 
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Midweek Monster Mayhem - Giant Armored Slug (Swords & Wizardry Light / OSR)

Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 00:44
Giant Armored Slugs are rarely found in the wild. Instead, they are often used as minions for powerful wizards and priests. Standing nearly 4' tall and possessing a minimum of reasoning ability, Giant Armored Slugs - often referred to as Sluggards - can understand the common tongue of man and are able to converse in three to four word sentences. Although they lack hands, their tentacled limbs allow them to wield weapons with some proficiency.Their skin forms a chitinous sort of armor but perhaps their best defense is their trail of slime, which radiates in a 5' circle around them and has been known to cause many an attacker grief.

Giant Armored Slug 
AC: 2[17]    HD: 4   Attacks: By Weapon or Bite (1d6+1) Move: 3
Special: Slime - Anyone standing within 5' of a Sluggard must make a save or be at -2 to attacks due to poor footing. Leaving the 5' radius ends the effect.

Art copyright James Shields

Midweek Monster Mayhem is brought to you by the generosity of The Tavern's Patreon Backers.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Update to State of The Tavern - Createspace Has ACCEPTED the Submitted Files for Swords & Wizardry Continual Light

Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 14:44

Color me surprised. Createspace, like others, flat out said you needed embedded text in your submitted PDF and I had none. Woke up this morning to an email stating they had corrected any issues and I could order proofs!

Sweet. I've ordered five copies. It cost more to ship that to print the proofs. If the cost doesn't change when Swords & Wizardry Continual Light goes POD at Amazon I expect the retail price will be under 4 bucks, possibly $3.50.

Now just waiting on notification from OneBookShelf that the PDF of SWCL is live ;)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dungeon Magazine Summary: Issues 126-150

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 11:13

Again, if I don’t list an issue it’s because there was nothing too notable about it.

Dungeon 128
Shut-In is a delightful little urban adventure. Guarding a little old ladies house, the thing has more atmosphere than, say, every Ravenloft adventure ever, combined. The Swan Street Slicer. Mute halfling. A town working itself in to a frenzy over the escaped murderer. A bitter old woman in a wheelchair. Good stuff. This thing would have me, as a player, bouncing up and down in my chair in anticipation.

Dungeon 129
Murder in Oakbridge is a murder mystery that, while overwrought with text, gets most of the organization right for an adventure of this type.

Dungeon 130
Within the Circle has a nice intro & wilderness section, but fails utterly in the dungeon that’s supposed to be the focus.

Dungeon 133
Ill Made Graves has a viking theme and “feels” right. Lots of callbacks to classic tropes, like chucking things in lava crows, shattered remains of a dead kings magic sword …

Dungeon 134
Home Under the Range is a farce about herding giant beetles, cattle-style, through the underdark. Linear set pieces, but short and allows for stupid plans to be designed and executed.

Dungeon 136
Both Tensions Rising and And Madness Followed have good things to reccomend them, from factions to sandbox play, but ruin it with WAY too much text. More than usual. Which is saying something.

Dungeon 139
Urban Decay has a gritty vibe going on with meat pies made of rats. It’s event/lair based but has some nice gritty urban imagery.

Dungeon 140
The Fall of Graymalkin Academy is kind of like the Battle of Hogwarts, with factions. Nice magic school vibe, but could be rewritten to provide a more evocative atmosphere.

Dungeon 142
I was fond of Masque of Dreams, a ball that gets attacked, but it needs more structure to make it worthwhile.

If you like set-pieces then Here There Be Monsters has some good classic trope ones. It’s linear as all hell, but good for that.

Dungeon 144
Lightless Depths had a great alternative underdark thing going on, but was IMPOSSIBLY long otherwise.

Dungeon 145
The Distraction wants to be a sandbox but fails in almost every way.

Dungeon 146
Escape the Meenlock Prison is only interesting in that is crosses a line, morally. You’re hired to go to a black prison and escort two prisoners to another location. Weird.

Dungeon 147
The Aundairian Job is a sandbox bank heist. It’s a little moderny for my tastes, but that can be handled with some on the fly retheming.

Dungeon 148
Automatic Hound has a nice meta thing going with villagers and roleplaying. Too long, but done right this could be a great difficult social adventure with an almost LotFP ending.

Dungeon 149
The concept in War of the Wielded is nice: it takes intelligent swords to their logical extreme. Linear, but factions of intelligent swords engaged in a centuries long war with wielders as pawns is a great idea.

Twisted Night has some good imagery and a nice horror vibe. Needs a rework to make it coherent.

Dungeon 150
Kill Bargle is a nice exploration dungeon, which makes sense because it’s essentially a dungeon taken from the early days of D&D.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

OSR Commentary - Strange Lost Worlds of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition's I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City By Dave Cook

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 06:11
"Somewhere in the heart of the steaming jungle lies the answer to the whispered tales - rumors of a magnificent city and foul, horrid rituals! Here a brave party might find riches and wonders - or death! Is your party brave enough to face the terrors of the unknown and find - the Forbidden City!" Where do I really begin with I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City By David Zeb Cook? Its an Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

State of The Tavern - Let There Be LIGHT! Er, Right. Soon...

Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 02:50

Wow. Its been a busy week here at The Tavern. After stepping away from InDesign and moving back to Lucid Press, I finally got Swords & Wizardry Continual Light laid out. Earlier this evening I submitted the PDF file to OneBookShelf. As a still wet behind the ears publisher I have to wait a few days for it to get approved. Just know it's in process and around the corner.

Bad news. I found out that Lucid Press does not imbed fonts to its PDFs which means none of the online POD storefronts will take the file. Boo! So, it looks like I will need to go back to InDesign for the print files. That's okay though, as the pressure is much less ;)

In the meantime, I may simply print out a few dozen copies in digest format. I just ordered a decent paper trimmer on Amazon.

Oh, and before I forget, there is a Slasher Hack for Swords & Wizardry Light that just released by Justin Isaac for the amazing price of FREE! I love finding SWL hacks in the wilderness. You can grab Slashers & Victims Light here.

Midweek Monster Mayhem will go up tomorrow. Yeah, I'm playing catch up...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kickstarter - Aliens & Asteroids: Sci-fi Horror Roleplaying

Tenkar's Tavern - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 23:27

Its so easy to do a Kickstarter "wrong". So, what are the signs of doing one right?

Art that captures your attention? Check!

Knowing your limitations? Check!

Defined stretch goals? Check!

Setting a funding level where there will be no further stretch goals? Checkity check check...

Failsafes in place in case one or more team members can't stay with the project to the end? Nice to see this :)

Pledge levels that don't need a spread sheet to keep track of? Oh my God, yes!

Aliens & Asteroids has done a great job with the above checklist AND looks pretty cool too. Who doesn't want to play Ripley and team against the facehuggers and the brood mother? ;)

10 bucks for the PDF and all stretch goals in digital. 25 bucks for softcover rulebook, PDF and digital stretch goals. Oh yeah, keeping stretch goals in digital keeps costs down. Need to add that to the checklist.

Yep, I'm in for the dead tree level. Don't tell Rach. It will be our little secret ;)
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kickstarter - Frank Mentzer's Worlds of Empyrea Fantasy Setting to Reboot on Monday, October 16th

Tenkar's Tavern - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 13:54

Worlds of Empyrea had a fairly strong start to its funding, but compared to its lofty goal of $250k it was fairly apparent it was most likely to fall short. This, it was announced last night that the Kickstarter would be rebooting this coming Monday - 10/16/17. Strangely enough, the current Kickstarter is still open for new pledges.

Some things that need to be addressed in the reboot IMHO:

  • More details of the actual project - looking at the preview page, this has been done.
  • Actual updates - first update was the only one in a week and a half and that was last night announcing the reboot.
  • Generate excitement ON the Kickstarter page itself. Social media and interviews are fine, but a lively Kickstarter page draws in backers. This means frequent updates with meat on the bone and lively and timely responses to backers on the comments page.
  • The list of Legendary Guest Artists is impressive and extensive. What we need is some sample art from those listed.

I'm far from a Kickstarter expert. I've never run one. I do, however, follow them closely.

We'll follow up on Monday with the Reboot Announcement.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Is your D&D 5e Character Rare?

Bat in the Attic - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 12:34
Five Thirty Eight niche is using statistics to analyze sports and politics. But occasionally they turn their attention other topics. This time was the different type of DnD 5e character made with DnD Beyond, the online tool officially licensed by Wizards of the Coast. Recently Curse, the company beyond DnD Beyond supplied Gus Wezerek of FiveThirtyEight with a breakdown of the combination of class and race people were making on the service.

Looks like there quite a few folks using the tool numbering in the tens of thousands. Below is the data presented in chart form. It look like the winner is the good old Human Fighter followed by the Elven Ranger.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The World of the Glass Harmonica

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 11:00

It has been argued before, that Barbara Ninde Byfield's 1967 "Lexicon of the Fantastical," The Glass Harmonica (republished in 1973 as The Book of the Weird) was an influence on D&D. It's easy to understand why, given Byfield's atmospheric illustration and whimsical prose. While it would certainly be a variant, more fairytalish world, I think you could do a lot worse than basing a campaign on the details from the book.

Here's a few tidbits:

"If times are not propitious for battle, Berserkers tend to sink into lethargy and untidiness and show interest in little save becoming Werewolves."

"Dragons drag; they are lazy  and sluggish and prefer to live on their reputations...Like Nobility they take place names for their own."

"Dwarves own all treasure underground, and all treasure that originated underground. Dwarves do not steal; they reclaim what belonged to them in the beginning."

"Frogs live under a Monarchy."

"Gnomes have an unfortunate tendency to become transformed into toads; their King is particularly prone to this enchantment."

"[Witches and Warlocks] lead disorderly lives, hate salt, and cannot weep more than three tears."

OSR Commentary - Echoes From The Desert With The Dungeons & Dragons Advenute B4 'The Lost City' By Tom Moldvey

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 06:31
"Lost in the desert! The only hope for survival lies in a ruined city rising out of the sands. Food, water, and wealth await heroic adventures inside and ancient pyramid ruled by a strange race of masked beings"I have used & abused B4 The Lost City adventure & its inhabitants  for years now a venerable pulp  module created by Tom Moldvay.  ""The Lost City" (1982) was the first adventure Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Coming Soon - Swords & Wizardry Continual Light - PDF and POD

Tenkar's Tavern - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 02:20

I'm hoping to upload the files for Swords & Wizardry Continual Light to RPGNow and CreateSpace sometime tomorrow. If all goes well, it should be ready for download this weekend.

Pricing will be PWYW at RPGNow, both for the PDF and for the Print copy once it goes live (POD will have to wait on proof approval, so it may take a few weeks before its available). There will be a color cover version and a greyscale cover version to accommodate those that wish to print at come. Createspace will be POD and probably priced at a buck above cost.

Swords & Wizardry Continual Light is 17 pages of rules covering the four core races, four core classes (and eight optional classes), seven levels of play (with optional rules for 7+), magic items, monsters and all the goodness that you need to play - except for a handful of six-sided dice and a twenty-sided die.

Swords & Wizardry Light is 4 pages, four core races, four core classes and three levels. Join the Swords & Wizardry Legion Facebook Group and ask for a Legion folder - they will actually snail mail you a folder, SWL rules, graph paper and more for free. You know you want it :)
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Humble Bundle - Paizo / Pathfinder plus Dynamite Comics

Tenkar's Tavern - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 20:33

I am not a Pathfinder fan. No secret there. I do, however, think that the Pathfinder Beginner Box is one of the best RPG releases of this decade. Shame Paizo didn't know what to do with it.

Anyhow, you can get the Pathfinder Beginner Box, the Pathfinder Core rules, some PF adventures, maps, a bunch of comics and more in PDF for one lousy buck on Humble Bundle. Seriously.

The more you pay, the more you get, but the one buck level is hard to pass up.

Of course, if you go in for $45 they'll mail some minis to your house ;)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kickstarter - D20 / D30 RPG & DCC Dice Chain Sets -New D17, D19, D26 & D28

Tenkar's Tavern - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 14:53

I'm a sucker for dice. I think most gamers are. Each one is like a gem and we like to hoard them or at least I know I do ;)

I've backed Kickstarters from Impact! Miniatures before and I've been very happy with the results. Heres my bag of glow in the dark and teal DCC RPG Dice from a previous KS:

Damn good stuff :)

In any case, the latest KS from Impact Miniatures - D20 / D30 RPG & DCC Dice Chain Sets -New D17, D19, D26 & D28 - just launched yesterday and it has funded AND already hit its second stretch goal.

Impact Miniatures Kickstarters are all about customizing the dice you get - seriously, go to the page linked above and look at your options. I'm sure you'll find the right one for you.

Now, which set should I get this time....
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


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