Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Gygax Memorial Fund - Nearly 2 Years After The Tavern Started Digging - Still Little to Show

Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 01:28

I really started picking over the carcass of the Gygax Memorial Fund nearly two years ago - November 25th, 2015 to be exact. What, too damning a description? Perhaps. But if it ain't dead yet, its certainly dying.

Halfway through November of 2017 and we STILL don't have the 2016 tax returns posted. Nor do we have the promised audit (the promise has since been deleted but I've shared the screenshot on previous posts)

Now, why would that be? If I were a betting man, I'd surmise that the promised audit revealed some issues that had to be corrected and / or brought up other interesting questions that have been posed at The Tavern already - such as why the funds - over $200k last we checked, haven't earned a penny of interest in the last seven years of tax returns. That much money sitting in ANY account would earn some sort of minimal return - monies that could offset office costs or fund that scholarship mentioned on the Fund's site. Not earning any sort of interest seems fiscally irresponsible when every penny counts.

Did I mention that the Fund's assets are heading in a negative direction?

2013  $222,165

2014  $220,449

2015  $217,042

2016  ? Note - 2016 is expected to have some significant expenses. or was that 2017?

What about the cash cow of selling "bricks?" What ever happened to that?

Now, Alex Gygax was added to the GMF Board in August of this year:
Or maybe he wasn't. Four months later and the listing of the board members hasn't changed.



As for Coordinator of Educational Programs and Special Projects - Dianne Curtis - what has she done in this regard? Wonderful title but I can't find ANYTHING educational done by the Fund.

I guess Busness Manager (gotta love the typo that I never caught until now) is in charge of shipping shirts and pencils. Anyone buy them? Can you speak on the quality?


And what ever happened with this?


Sadly, the Fund and other related projects don't ever seem to move forward. Its almost like an extremely late unfulfilled Kickstarter - actual completion makes everything come due so best to just punt the ball time and time again and never actually get to the end.

Wow. Yeah, being sick is making me one heck of an ass ;)
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Appendix 'N' Commentary - The Eternal Battles of The Worm Ouroboros By E. R. Eddison For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 01:00
Life works in strange & mysterious ways, last night I had wicked migraines, these are something that I've had since I was a kid. I know what causes them & their nothing to be concerned about but my work schedule has been a bit scattered & hectic to say the least. But in my travels up at the wilds of the wild & wholly Litchfield hills of my home I came across not one but two treasures Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Announcement - Frog God Games sponsored Extra-Life Team broadcast is Live - For the Children

Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 00:12
My apologies, as I lost track of when this when happening only to realize it started an hour ago. Still 23 hours left ;)
Here's the Frog God Games Press Release / Reminder. I'll be popping in later tonight to enjoy the festivities:
Hate Children? Think their hospitals for them a waste of space? Then you are a bad person, like this fellow...


If you, on the other hand, support Children's Hospitals, please tune-in for the Frog God Games sponsored Extra-Life Team broadcast beginning at 6 PM EST.

https://www.twitch.tv/froggodgames

It is guided by Edwin Nagy, conversion specialist and all around good guy.

Please donate and spread the word. For Children! If you cannot watch you can still donate by going here...

https://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&teamID=33395

Seriously, its a good cause and a fun time. I'll see you all after yoga. No, not my yoga - I pisk up Rach from HER yoga. Damn these sinus headaches!
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

November Campaign Design IX - Campaign Map

Greyhawk Grognard - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 22:00
In the previous installment of this series, I laid out the starting scenario for the PCs. They will be starting in the area indicated by the box on the map below:

For me, the maps are where things really come alive. I took the area on the large-scale map, and blew it up to a scale of 2 miles per inch. This allows me to show individual features like mountains, the extent of hills and forests, villages, minor rivers, tracks, and even individual farms. Here is my hand-drawn map of the area that will serve as my primary wilderness map when DMing:

I haven't noted the locations of individual monsters yet. Since that's something that will change over time, I'll make a copy of this map and stock it with an initial load of creatures. As they get killed off or driven away, I'll gradually restock the place. Most of the monsters will be in the wooded mountains, of course, but the Spider Wood is an obvious haunt of giant spiders, and I have a vague idea that the Trotterwood would be a good place for giant boar and wereboars.

There's also the ruins of the Artanian town at the northern edge of the map. As indicated in the last post, this is where the locals believe most of their troubles are emanating. They're partially right; there will certainly be some beasties in there. There's also an orc tribe in those woods, too; the Spinebreaker tribe, who worship Dispater, lord of the second plane of Hell. Their exact home is unknown, but they are known to have several villages throughout the mountains, as they are semi-nomadic. They cause no end of trouble to the settlers, and thwarting them would be a great service.

The whole is known as the Greitzberg District.

The eight villages in the District are mostly agricultural in nature, with the four on the plains surrounded by well-tended fields. Each is centered around a fortified manor house, and ruled by a baron. The exception is the village of Greitzberg, which is ruled by a Freiherr, which means he is not a vassal of the Markgraf in Osttur, and enjoys a great deal more independence than the other villages in the district. This causes no small amount of ill-feelings, as the barons are jealous of his independent status. All of the villagers have the right to appeal a baron's justice to the Markgraf, but the Freiherr's rulings in judicial matters cannot be appealed. Each baron maintains a number of ritters (knights) to lead the defense of the village.

The mountain villages each have a small population of half-orcs, who are treated as second-class citizens. They are barely tolerated by the humans, but driven out by the orcs. On rare occasions, such half-orcs will return to the tribe after years of being raised in the human communities and treated so poorly. Such renegades assist the Spinebreakers in planning their raids.

Lirberg is primarily a dairy cattle-herding village, ruled by Baron Ludwig Erchendag. He is married to the daughter of the Freiherr of Greitzberg, so the two are on good terms. Several years ago the previous baron was turned into a vampire, but was eventually destroyed and his manor house abandoned and sealed. Ever since then, however, there are said to be more unusual happenings in the vicinity than can easily be accounted for. Population 330, 2 ritters, 66 militia.

Greitzberg is also a cattle-herding village, but supplements this with logging in the forest across the river. It is ruled by Freiherr Erwin Stadtler. His title comes from the fact that his village was founded prior to the Markgraf being granted his own title. The Markgraf thinks the world of him, however, and treats him like an honored guest whenever the Freiherr visits Osttur. The Markgraf will stay in Greitzberg on visits, and the two nobles will hunt together in the woods. Population 700, 4 ritters, 140 militia.

Jenstein is a logging town, but also sports a stone quarry that provides high-quality blocks of granite to the rest of the district and Osttur. It is ruled by Baron Krieg Lustorf. There is a dispute between Jenstein and Greitzberg, however, on where exactly the border between the two lies. It turns out there are two boundary stones, a half-mile apart, each claiming to mark the border. A group of bandits has taken advantage of the confusion and sometimes strikes in the disputed zone. Population 400, 3 ritters, 80 militia.

Melheim's economy is centered on a pair of copper mines nearby. The ingots are difficult to transport, however, making full exploitation of the resource difficult. The village is ruled by Baron Karl Urfein. They recently built a palisade wall to protect the village against constant raids by the orcs. The baron is experimenting with embracing the half-orcs in his community, organizing them into a militia unit specifically to deal with orc raids. Its success is yet to be determined. Population 370, 2 ritters, 78 militia.

Graufort is situated on a ford across the river, and is surrounded by extensive acres of farmland where mostly wheat and rye are grown. The current ruler is Baroness Ursula Megendorf, a young widow whose husband was killed in an orc raid. Graufort is also home to the largest temple of the Holy Family in the district, which gives the baron no little pride. Population 560, 4 ritters, 130 militia.

Lunz is a small farming village ruled by baron Josef Kreiten. He himself is an accomplished magic-user, and hopes to start a school for the mystical arts in the village. He has attracted a few students already. Population 300, 2 ritters, 60 militia.

Oeltorf is a small farming community ruled by Baroness Suzanne Woldkopf. She is an ancient matriarch of her clan, and the family or its relatives own half the farmland surrounding the village. She herself has 8 children, 23 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren. It is said she has a touch of elven blood. Population 450, 3 ritters, 90 militia.

Sendenow is another farming village that grows barley and rye predominately, but also has a strong tradition of hunting boar in the nearby Trotterwood. The ruler is Baron Baldur Reichbach. Being the furthest from the Slate Mountains, Senenow has the least problem with raids from the Spinebreaker orcs, but between the Spider Wood to the north and the Trotterwood to the west, there are other dangers that plague the village, and so he maintains three knights and still makes sure the village militia drills weekly. Population 500, 3 ritters, 100 militia.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Some Thief Options for the Holmes Ref

Zenopus Archives - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 19:00
SPECIAL RULES FOR DWARVES, ELVES AND HOBBITS WHO WISH TO BE THIEVES

Dwarf: +5% Open Lock, +15% Remove Trap, +5% Move Silently, +5% Hide in Shadows

Elf: +5% Pick Pocket, +10% Move Silently, +15% Hide in Shadows

Hobbit: +10% Open Lock, +5% Remove Trap, +5% Pick Pocket, +10% Move Silently, +10% Hide in Shadows, Hear Noise +1

These are from the Greyhawk OD&D supplement.

SPECIALISTS

Human thieves can specialize, raising skills by lowering others by equal amounts, to a minimum of 5%. This applies to each of the five skills that increase each level other than Climb Walls and Hear Noise. This gives a pool of 50 percentage points (50%) that can be adjusted at first level.

Some specialists that are possible at first level:

Picklock: 55% Open Lock

Disarmer: 55% Remove Trap

Filcher: 55% Pick Pocket 

Sneak: 55% Move Silently

Skulker: 55% Hide in Shadows

For each of these, the other four skills are 5% each (except Climb Walls and Hear Noise)

Higher levels:
For levels 2-6, each level yields an additional 25% to be distributed among the five skills,
For levels 7-8, each level yields an additional 35% per level to be distributed, and
For levels 9-11, each level yields an additional 50% per level to be distributed.
For levels 12 and up, each level yields an additional 25% to be distributed.

This option inspired by similar rules in 2E AD&D.

DEXTERITY

As the prime requisite of thieves is dexterity, it will affect their abilities as follows:

Dexterity of 15 or more: add 10% to each thief skill except hear noise
Dexterity of 13-14: add 5%
Dexterity of 9-12: no bonus
Dexterity of 7-8: subtract 10%
Dexterity of 6 or less: subtract 20%

This option inspired by Gary's OD&D houserules, which mention a bonus for a Thief  skill based on Dex, and the Dex modifiers in 1E AD&D.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Barebones Fantasy, Death in Middle Earth, and a weekend at the Con.

Bat in the Attic - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 15:30

Barebones Fantasy
So I went to Con on the Cob over the weekend. There I met up with +Tim Shorts and +Chris C. on Friday Night. Because I just got off of work, I had just enough time to check in, unload my stuff and head to my first game. Which turned out to be a Barebone Fantasy adventure.

Barebones Fantasy is an RPG about as detailed as Swords and Wizardry Complete, Basic DnD 5e or Fantasy Age. It uses a d100 and very basic skill system. You crit (success or fail) when you roll doubles (11, 22, 66, etc). Interestingly 00 means 0 and not 100. And counts as a crit. Skills are grouped by profession. Each profession (Thief, Scout, etc) have a number of skills that the your rating applies too.

Overall the system has it own favor and the rulebook cover everything you need to get started with a fantasy campaign using it. My only issue is that I have a number of RPGs of similar complexity and ease of use. So it doesn't hold much appeal for me.While it sounding I am damning it with faint praise. I feel it quite good ... for another gamer. My own personal bias is towards 3d6 based system when not using Dungeons and Dragons. So I would use Fantasy Age over this.

However if you like to use a d100 then you should take a look at this. Like Fantasy Age, like Swords and Wizardry Complete, or the Basic Version of DnD 5th edition, it quick to read and leap into. Recommended.

Barebones Fantasy Character sheet.


I will have a followup on the result of the Adventures in Middle Earth game I ran at the convention.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Cryptozoic Announces Release of Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Melee at Murdershroom Marsh

Cryptozoic - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 14:00

Cryptozoic Entertainment today announced the November 29 release of Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Melee at Murdershroom Marsh. In the third card game in the popular Epic Spell Wars series, 2-6 players once again create Spells with up to three Components—this time with new keywords “Cantrip,” “Bad Trip,” and “Everlasting”—as they try to destroy opposing Wizards. Every aspect of the game, from the cards to the rulebook and box, is filled with the series’s trademark off-the-wall humor and mature, at times bizarre art (over 100 original illustrations). 

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Justice League is Finally Here

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 12:00
Justice League is, by and large, the Justice League movie fan complaints about Man of Steel and Batman v Superman suggest they have been waiting for. It is more uneven and rough-edged than Wonder Woman, but it does put the DC cinematic universe on firm footing.

I would say the negativity in most of the critical reviews is a bit of a puzzlement to me, except that it isn't entirely. The polish and ready humor (bordering on outright comedy at times) of the Marvel films have set the yardstick by which these things are judged. Warner hasn't understood the memo (particularly Snyder) and the only thing to be done is to keep reading it to them until they do.

There was a time when superhero product wasn't so slick and by-the-numbers. Iron Man was original at one time, and it's follow-up reverted a bit to tried and true superhero film formula. Dark Knight is often considered the best superhero film ever, but it is completely bereft of comedy relief CGI characters that now seem a standard element at least of the Guardians of the Galaxy style Marvel films. The earlier Snyder films certainly have their faults, but as others have argued the dislike directed against them seems to have less to do with their cinematic failings than their approach to the characters.

Justice League responds to many of those complaints. We have heroes being heroic--and heroes finding their way to heroism after being lost in some way. There is humor, particularly from the Flash, who is different from his tv and comic incarnations to a degree, but has enough to charm to win you over. Momoa's Aquaman seemed like he might be tedious and one-note from the trailers, but I didn't find that to be the case. Though their on-screen development is necessarily limited, every one of the characters gets a bit of an arc that takes off and lands nicely (unlike say Valkyrie's disappearing alcoholism in Thor: Ragnarok). Much of the humor is kind of at Batman's expense, which serves to undercut any grimness or  the "hypercompetent Batman" that sometimes plagues the comics.

The setup of the film is very comic book like in structure. It establishes and moves on. This might feel choppy to some viewers and those not familiar with the characters and the universe might feel some things are under-explained. Atlanteans just are, as are Mother Boxes. The movie doesn't spend any time trying to make you accept either or give you more than the story-essential backstory.

The last two thirds of the film have more conventional pacing and cutting and fall into problem solving and fisticuffs. Superhero fights in film have gotten a bit tired by now, I think, and this film doesn't do anything to make me rethink that assessment, though it is far from the worst example. Flash's speed effect winds up being similar to Quicksilver's but it's utilized in a different enough way that it doesn't seem derivative. Wonder Woman is a badass, Aquaman is sort of reckless, Batman is out of his depth, but smart. Cyborg is lacking in confidence, but the key to defeating the villain.

The film has it's problems of course. Its villain continues the superhero film trend of being not terribly interesting. He's better realized than Wonder Woman's antagonist, at least. The CGI is strangely dodgy in spots, particularly in a sort of prologue (don't let that brief scene sour you on it). The color palette is still darker than ideal.

But you know what [and this is a SPOILER so you are warned]...


The mid-credits sequence is Flash challenging Superman to a race. It made me smile for comic book nostalgia reasons, which it as been a while since a Marvel film did that.

Wayward Kickstarter - City State of the Invincible Overlord - Full of Excuses and Not So Invincible

Tenkar's Tavern - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 04:08

Hard to believe its been nearly a year since I last shed light on the fiasco known as the City State of the Invincible Overlord Kickstarter. No, really. Here's my last post on this train wreck.

Now, let me forewarn you. I'm high on decongestants and fighting a sinus headache. I'm in no mood to be nice.

CSIO is nearly 3 years late. While not quite at the level of Far West in that category, the excuses are an embarrassment. We know all of the maps are done and have been done for ages. All we need now is to finish layout. Well, and money to print and ship.

Say what?

Just like Far West is financially bankrupt (and likely refuses to complete the PDF as there will be a demand for physical product that there is no money to either print or ship) I suspect most if not all of the $85k raised by CSIO has been long lost. Again, finishing the PDF will put demands on physical product and associated shipping costs - shipping costs that have had three years to increase. Yeah, the picture isnt pretty.

So, how about some of the excuses:



Yep, weekly updates six weeks apart. Weekly updates since the end of March have been monthly at best.

Oh, and nearly two months since the last update. I guess monthly isn't working out either.

Progress? Please! Layout isn't going at a page a day or a page a week. Maybe 2 to 3 pages a month?

But wait! Look at that! A hint of a better future!

Its an illusion though. If there were a better future we wouldn't be without an update nearly two months later. What is this in reference to? There've been rumors that Kickstarter fulfillment had been shopped to two or three of the more sizable old school publishers in the hobby. Aside from the goodwill of the backers there is little upside to such a deal for any publisher - the cost to fulfill would be on them and profits (as well as costs associated will making the Kickstarter backers whole) would rely on a retail market that is geared to 5e these days and not so much Pathfinder.

Where does that leave us? I do mean "us", as I'm in for $145 myself. I fear we are left with little hope without a "white knight" publisher coming to the rescue and I fear that the costs associated with such a rescue are cost prohibitive for most.

Not the legacy Judges Guild wished to leave us with but a legacy none the less.

Yep, I'm a fuck when I'm sick.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Far West - Soon to be SIX YEARS Late - You Won't Hear from Gareth Again until Delivery Time - Unless You Read his Daily Twitter Feed

Tenkar's Tavern - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 16:25


Ah, Far West. Still no closer to completion. How do we know that? Because Gareth isn't updating the Kickstarter page until there is "something concrete to deliver."

Next month will put the project in the SIX FUCKING YEARS LATE category. I don't think ANY Kickstarter creator has outright lied to their backers about the state of their project as much as Gareth has. Six years is a lot of time to lie.

Which actually makes sense as to why Gareth is maintaining radio silence. Pretty much every update he's made over the past six years has been full of misstatements, falsehoods and outright lies. In order not to make new lies he needs to keep his virtual lips from moving.

I still think if Gareth could have figured out a way to write Far West at 140 characters a clip we'd have a completed project already. Oh course, it would have to be scraped off Twitter, which is where our friend seems to spend all of his waking hours these days.


Just think, all I have to show for my $150 is:


It was days away in May... of 2016

See, he never said what "year" this "June" was in.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dice of the Gods

Zenopus Archives - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 14:36
POLYHEDRA DICE by CREATIVE PUBLICATIONS (photo source)

A suited man juggles five polyhedra dice - is this an early DM? No, more likely it is supposed to be a math teacher.

These photos were posted to the Acaeum recently (see this thread), and show a set of dice found with a OD&D White Box set. The dice themselves are the standard Polyhedra Dice sold by TSR in the '70s, which per Jon Peterson were sourced from a California company, Creative Publications. But the packaging they are in is something I've never seen before. The title, Polyhedra Dice, is identical to the title TSR used in their catalogs and product lists of the era (follow link to see an example). While the dice obscure some of the text, I can make out the letters "CREAT..." near the green 8-sider, indicating the original packaging was indeed supplied by Creative Publications, not TSR or another company.

Most of these dice that I've seen are ones from the Holmes Basic set, where they came in small sealed bag without a paper insert. The set was also sold separately (see catalog link above), and I had assumed these were sold in the same form. But possibly at some point TSR re-sold sets with the original CP packaging, or possibly this set was ordered directly from CP.

The back of the insert begins with the following paragraph:

"To the ancient Greeks the five regular solids (tetrahedron - 4 faces, hexhedron - 6 faces, octahedron - 8 faces, dodecahedron - 12 faces, icosahedron - 20 faces) were known as the "dice of the gods". They were prized for their beauty and believed to have strange, cosmic meanings"

Following this is a list of suggestions for using the dice, which are mostly obscured by the dice themselves.

See also: 
The Marked 20-sided Die
TSR Percentile Dice in the '70s


The dice set together with Men & Magic. Photo source same as above.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

In the Vicinity of Gyrfalcon, Everybody Has Their Hand Out

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 12:00
This week we had the second session of our GURPS Dungeon Fantasy campaign, "the Dungeons of Zyrd." It found the PCs bribing the snooty butler of the vintner and crime boss, Pnathfrem Lloigor, to gain access. They offered Lloigor their services for--well, something.


He admitted to doing a bit of trade in counterfeit world stones. These he acquires from the dwarf excisemen encamped near the Tower of Might in Castle Zyrd. Another group of adventures had gone to secure more forged jewels from the dwarves, but that party (led by the Brothers Salasius) were late in returning. They agreed to complete the task. They were to make contact with a dwarf named Rogov.

Setting out, they paid a flatboatman to take them across the Broad River and to wait for their return. A mile up the road, they found the way blocked by a group of hobgoblins who demanded tribute. The price was rather steep (every coin they had), so the party entered combat rather than negotiate with such an unreasonable group of humanoids.

Art by Iain McCaigThe hobgoblins had been neglectful in securing distance weapons, and this cost them. A rain of javelins, sling shot, arrows, and magical fire dropped two of them quickly and sent the other three running for the woods. Fearing reprisals from a larger hobgoblin band, the party pursued them, and cut them down in the forest.

That unpleasant business out of the way, they continued on toward Castle Zyrd.

Treasure: None; Deaths: 5 Hobgoblins.

Thoughts on Thouls,the Throghrin,& Old School Monster Ecology For Your Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 02:42
I've been thumbing through the B/X Dungeons & Dragons rule book today on my lunch break; we've been incredibly busy at work today. Hence the late posting on my blog but whist zipping around the monster section I noticed the Thoul. They've been a favorite of mine since I was a kid.I love using Thouls because their Sword & Sorcery weird feel I began to want to use them for my next up Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kickstarter - Critical Hit & Fumble Dice

Tenkar's Tavern - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 00:10

I like dice. I like them - a lot.

The Critical Hit & Fumble Dice Kickstarter by New Comet Games is all about putting critical and fumble dice into your hands.

I waffle back and fourth on using criticals and fumbles in the RPG campaigns I run. And when I do use them, it can be anything as simple as double damage or full on tables. These dice certainly simplify the use while still giving a nice variation of results.

Buy in on the Critical Hit & Fumble Dice Kickstarter is as little as 10 bucks a set plus shipping. Hell, that's nearly an impulse buy ;)


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

November Campaign Design VIII - Fresh Off the Boat

Greyhawk Grognard - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 22:00
Part of the conceits of the Lost Artanis campaign setting is the idea that it so easily fits the "classic" campaign set-up, as a consciously inherent aspect of its design. That is, the PCs can literally enter the setting fresh off a ship from Hanar-Across-the-Sea, into a land they only have the vaguest knowledge of. Thus I don't have to worry about why the PCs don't already know a bunch of people (although I can still pull out the "someone you met on the ship" card if I need to introduce an NPC whom they can probably trust).

However, details as to what they see when they step off that ship are lacking.

First, I have to decide what the best landing point is. Do I want to start a party in Aedgaria, Lippegen, or New Valais? All have different opportunities for a band of adventurers. I choose Lippegen, specifically Osttur.

The PCs arrive in the port at Durst, and then are taken by coach to Osttur in a week, where the promise of employment by petty landowners to the northeast of the town has drawn them. They are to serve as a force of warders to "supplement" the soldiery of the Markgraf and protect the settlers. In reality, the Markgraf's soldiers never venture more than twenty miles from the town gates, so they're on their own, along with several other similar bands of warders who act in semi-competition. To complicate matters, there is a ruined Artanian town in the woodlands, and it is thought that many of the creatures that are making life hard for the settlers are coming from there. After five years, they are to be rewarded with homesteads of their own, but it's a dangerous job, and few live or stick around long enough to collect that reward.

Naturally, nothing says they all must come from the Dual Kingdom of Grott-Heimburg. The good folk of Lippegen are more than happy to get their employees from Valais, Wynnland, or elsewhere. Thus, if someone wants to play a ranger or a halfling, they have options that fit into this setup.

Next step: some small-scale maps of the area the PCs will be operating in, Osttur itself, and the ruined Artanian town.

The map is mostly unchanged, but I did add a few more
Artanian ruins, including the one in the woods northeast
of Osttur.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Reminder - Tavern Chat - Tonight - 9 PM Eastern - I'll be the Snotty One

Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 20:19

Tonight is a Wednesday Night and that means Tavern Chat.

Your Tavern Master is under the weather, so if I sound like shit tonight, so be it.

When: 9 PM Eastern

Where: The Tavern's Discord Channel

https://discord.gg/fReGmuD

See you at 9 PM...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Cryptozoic and Warner Bros. Consumer Products Announce Release of DC Deck-Building Game: Confrontations

Cryptozoic - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 14:00

Cryptozoic Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, on behalf of DC Entertainment, today announced the November 29 release of DC Deck-Building Game: Confrontations. In the 2-4 player team vs. team game, each player selects a DC Super Hero (Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, or Zatanna) or DC Super-Villain (Lex Luthor, Circe, Ocean Master, or Felix Faust) and joins another player on his or her team for a clash against two opponents. The game uses Cryptozoic’s popular Cerberus Engine, which has players build up their decks with the goal of defeating one of their opponents. The new keyword “Assist” on many cards allows a player to lend some help to his or her teammate. 

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Basic Megadungeon Play and Procedures

Hack & Slash - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 13:00
A megadungeon campaign differs mechanically in several important ways from a normal campaign. This is often treated as "information everyone knows" and yet never documented (much like the actual procedure for hexcrawling). 
Sessions are objective-focused not plot-focused. Each session revolves around the completion of a specific quest. Sometimes this is a request from someone with a reward granted upon successful completion, sometimes this is the players with a specific goal, such as finding the location indicated on a treasure map. The dungeon is a puzzle (or death trap) designed to be solved, rather than a story to be completed.
Movement
Movement and turns are tracked rather strictly and in a game-like fashion. Historically turn is approximately 10 minutes, there are six turns an hour. This is not rigid, a turn means “the time it takes to complete a significant action". During a character’s turn the whole party may move,  or each character can engage in an individual action, such as picking a lock, try to bash open a door, looking for secret doors, etc.
Players may move a number of 10’ squares as indicated by their movement. An unencumbered 5th edition party may move 12 squares or 120’. Encumbrance slows this pace. A 5th edition party with an encumbered character can only move 8 squares. This is assuming careful, quiet, cautious observant movement. Players that move more quickly over unknown ground receive substantial penalties—always surprised, trips all traps, no mapping or distances given, hazard die rolled every turn, etc.
Encounters
Traditional dungeon exploration uses an encounter die that is rolled, with a 1 indicating an encounter. More modern old-school takes on this turn this die into a “hazard” die with every result indicating some sort of decay of resources. This die is traditionally rolled every other turn, or three times in an hour. Often this die is rolled additionally in response to players arguing, making noise, or wasting time. The Hazard Die for Numenhalla is as follows.
1: Encounter2: Monster Sign3: Torches Burn4: Torches & Lanterns burn, Ongoing effects, conditions, and statuses end.5: Rest or gain a level of exhaustion. 6: Dungeon Effect
EncounterI generally pre-generate 6 encounters or so, and select one randomly when this occurs. It is perfectly acceptable to generate encounters on the fly, which often happens when players exercise their agency to go anywhere in the dungeon they wish.
The encounter begins per the standard rules 20’—120’ (2d6x10 feet) away from the party as long as they are within detection range. If you roll 100’ for the distance, and the farthest visible point of dim light is 80’ away, start the encounter at 80’. If you roll 100’ and the party can see 60, but psionically detect opponents to 100’ then start the encounter at 100’. If either party is surprised, then the encounter distance is 10'—30’ away.
This will frequently require adjustment based on the layout of the immediate area!You are encouraged to use your judgement to create a reasonable scene based on what the dice tell you. If you are in a giant room, and are surprised by trolls, have them drop from the ceiling or climb out of a secret hatch in the floor, or burst through a nearby door moving to the encounter distance indicated by the die.
The combination of the randomness of the encounter and your skill at integrating it into the current action contributes significantly to the emergent gameplay of the megadungeon.
Monster SignThis is identical to an encounter roll; except the players will usually be aware of the monster somehow and the monster will be in the dungeon out of sight. Perhaps the players hear the monster or see signs of its passage. You choose a location for the monster, and when the players take a turn, the monster moves its movement in a random direction or a direction based on your judgment. They then become another entity moving around the dungeon. If the players continue to follow where it has been, then they will continue to see signs of its activity. Alternately, the players may attempt to track down the monster.
It is this cat and mouse that make the feature of empty rooms significant.
Torches BurnTorches are either brightly lit, dim, or burnt. Each time this result occurs, lit torches decay. Brightly lit torches provide 40’ of illumination, 20 feet of bright and 20 feet of dim.Dim torches provide 20’ of illumination, 10 feet of bright and 10 feet of dim.Burnt torches do not provide light. 5 torches are a significant item.
Torches and Lanterns burnLanterns are always brightly lit. A single flask of oil will survive 3 depletions. On the 4th depletion, the lantern goes out. A lantern is a significant item. A flask of oil is a significant item.
Some things to keep in mind regarding lanterns and torches. They take a hand to use. If holding a torch or lantern in your shield arm you cannot use your shield. If dropped, lanterns have a 2 in 6 chance of breaking and starting a small fire. If torches are dropped they become dim, dim torches that are dropped become burnt. It takes a move action to set a lantern down gently.
Also, variable effects such as nausea, paralysis, temporary blessings, or other limited conditions end when this result is rolled.
RestCharacters must spend this turn at rest, checking their equipment, eating, catching their breath. If they do not, they gain a level of exhaustion. Adding this to the hazard die, rather than attempting to recall when 6 turns have passed makes this easier to keep track of. Unencumbered characters may ignore this result one time.
Dungeon EffectEach area in the dungeon has certain features that help distinguish it from other areas. When this is rolled, one of the listed effects occurs. This can be anything from sounds in the distance, to monsters being released, to blessings, curses, flooding, tunnel collapse, wormsign, etc.
Doors
Doors are inimical to dungeon explorers. Unless otherwise noted, doors are stuck. Most doors have a listed difficulty. If not, they have a Strength check DC of 13 + 2 * the Dungeon level to open.
On a failure, they door does not open. The players may try again, but no matter what they roll, the door won’t open.
Once open, unless a player specifies that they are holding the door open, the door rapidly shuts. Players may choose to spike a door open, but this triggers a roll of the hazard die. Unless they are one way doors, players need not check to open an already unstuck door.
Finally, if you are unable to kick down a door, you may if the door is wooden (or rarely stone) hack the door apart. A wooden door takes 1 turn to hack apart, if reinforced by bars 2 turns. A stone door can be destroyed in 4 turns. If players are hacking down or through a door, roll for encounters 3 times each turn as nearby wanderers investigate the noise and assume all monsters in rooms within 200' are aware of the attempt. If an inappropriate non-magical weapon is used it may break. Some doors may not be destroyed.

Hack & Slash 
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Wednesday Comics: Popeye & Ghost Island

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 12:00

Bud Sagendorf began his career as E.C. Seegar's assistant on Thimble Theater (the strip that brought the world Popeye) as a teenager. In 1948, a decade after Seegar's death, Sagendorf produced Popeye stories for Dell Comics. IDW has been collecting those Dell stories in Popeye Classics.

Amid some forgettable Swee'pea one pagers, and mildly amusing comic strip-style shorts, there are two fun stories: "Death Valley" and "Ghost Island." In particular, "Ghost Island" is a certain charm with it's ghosts that look very much like people in sheets (well because--SPOILERS--they are). However, for much of the story Popeye is helpless against their mischief because he reasons fisticuffs are no good against incorporeal spirits.

Sagendorf's Popeye world is perhaps more fantasy than Segar's. Popeye seems to live on some island in an archipelago that includes other fantastical islands that appeared in the Segar strips. Here's a map Sagendorf supplies for Popeye's travels in "Ghost Island":


If your only going to read one set of Popeye reprints, I'd suggest The Segar strip reprints (particular the one with Plunder Island), but if you are interested in delving deeper, the Sagendorf stories are worth a look.

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

19th Level - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 01:56

I've put this blog on a brief hiatus. We had a bit of a health scare with one of our daughters at the end of October, requiring a hospital stay. We're past the immediate crisis. I'm playing catch-up in my life, including a research paper that I need to book some solid time on.

Hoping to resume posting in another week or two, we'll see.
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