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Commentary On An OSR Combination of B10 Night's Dark Terror, & I6 Ravenloft As Fodder For Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 04/16/2017 - 06:20
So I was talking with a friend of mine whose home for the Easter holiday today. He's a dungeon master of some experience & with an old school background. He was talking about using B10 Night's Dark Terror as the fodder for the lands surrounding the AD&D 1st edition classic I6 Ravenloft. This gives the over all campaign the look and feel of a wild Hammer style pseudo Russian or old world countryNeedles
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Lake Geneva Original RPG Campaign: Dave Arneson's True Genius Published

Lord of the Green Dragons - Sun, 04/16/2017 - 03:50
Lake Geneva Original RPG Campaign: Dave Arneson's True Genius Published: Hot off the press and already steamrolling ahead! What is Dave Arneson’s True Genius?? Well...  It kinda starts below... ...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dave Arneson's True Genius Published

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Sun, 04/16/2017 - 03:46
Hot off the press and already steamrolling ahead!

What is Dave Arneson’s True Genius??
Well...  It kinda starts below...

...and then by leaps and bounds...
Breaks the sound barrier of game design history by 2,000 years...
Join us in a giant step into the past that re-opens a future doorway David L. Arneson created and gifted to us!
From the awarding-winning game designer and author Robert J. Kuntz
Available From:

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Thoughts on Hacking Swords & Wizardry Continual Light for Other Genres

Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 04/15/2017 - 23:56
Next Saturday, April 22 (Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day) should see the release of Swords & Wizardry Continual Light, moving the S&W Light rules to 7 levels (and about 16 pages) Now I find myself thinking ahead to future "hacks"

Why? Because the rules are lite enough to be hacked without risking being broken.

Sure, some sort of White Star Light has already crossed my mind, but so have a western hack (thinking Aces & Eights or Deadlands or Man with No Name) or some Light modern rules or Cthulhuian inspired or post apoc or...

There are so many directions to go in. Heck, the above barely scratches the surface of the ideas twittering around my head. Just need to keep them each at 20 pages or under, as if they get bigger, they really aren't "Light" anymore.

Might not have a game tonight, so after watching some TV with Rach I may just start outlining one or three of these.

Fun times.

Oh hey, before I forget, throw an entry into the Wand of Wonder post. You never know ;)

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I've Got my Schedule for NTRPG Con 2017

Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 04/15/2017 - 19:13

My Registration is done for NTRPG 2017. The only thing Rach and I missed out on was getting into one of +Doug Kovacs DCC RPG sessions - we've been lucky three years running up to this. That being said, we've played pick up game with Doug in the past and may just have to again this year :)

I'm running two sessions of Swords & Wizardry Light this year. The Thursday afternoon session is full but the Friday afternoon session still has a few slots open.

Rappan Athak is being run by +Skeeter Green and Mythus Tower is being run by +Bill Webb . What a coincidence, Rach and I are playing in TWO Swords & Wizardry games. Sunday we're in Merle Rasmussen's Top Secret: New World Order game. Rach and I play tested it last year and Sunday should be a blast.

If we're not gaming, we'll either be by The Frogs' Table, the bar or making our rounds around the Con.

I do so love NTRPG Con.

As an aside, I'm not sure if I'm going to allow Rach by the pool this year. She gets into feisty discussions with gamers that have no clue who I am when she hands out by the pool...

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Deadly Dreams now on sale - Happy Easter!

Two Hour Wargames - Sat, 04/15/2017 - 18:44
Deadly Dreams now on sale!Happy Easter everyone and Sweet Dreams!More info
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

5150 Spaceships on Kickstarter!

Two Hour Wargames - Sat, 04/15/2017 - 18:08

I cut a deal with Travis that will allow me to use his very cool new spaceships in the 5150 Universe. I'll be doing a Bat Rep soon using them as he was kind enough to give me some. That means the ships can be produced quickly! Check it out and grab some before the Kickstarter finishes and prices go up to normal!

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Step-by Step Edds Pub - Part Five - Fizzbo's First Fight

Two Hour Wargames - Sat, 04/15/2017 - 18:03
Now that the PEF was resolved as Wererats I roll them up. The Wererats List tells me the maximum AC of the Wererats - AC 4 and their Alignment - Black Moon. 
I roll 1/2d6 and add it to "2". This gives me the Rep of the Leader.
Next I roll 1d6 versus the Rep of the Leader to see what are the Reps of each Grunt, either 1 point less, or 2 points less - but never lower than 3. 
I roll for the AC, their Class.
Here's both parties.

Type Class Rep AC Align Fizzbo Caster 5 2 RS Fawn  Missile 4 2 RS Squat Missile 3 4 RS Percy Melee 4 4 RS Maconne Melee 4 4 RS

Wererats Class Rep AC Align Amlick Caster 5 2 BM Basil Healer 4 2 BM Catick Missile 4 2 BM Delk Missile 4 4 BM Esrazzz Melee 4 2 BM

And now the Interaction begins.

I played Fizzbo as a Grunt to show how the mechanics work. I was a bit surprised how the fight played out. If Fizzbo was a Star he'd have used Star Power, etc. and it may have ended differently. Right now, the Wererats have looted 4 Coins and take the two Out of the Fight Grunts - Maconne and Fawn prisoner. Squat ran off. If I resolve a Grunt Dwarf on a PEF I can always use Squat. 
More to come - Watch for Part Six.
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1d6 Random Legendary Lovecraftian Hoards Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 04/15/2017 - 15:07
Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis & the crimson shod swords of barbarian hordes cross the wastelands there were numerous treasures lost to the sands & waters of time.Some of these riches contained potent artifacts & relics in their own rights. Men & women of plunder often saw opportunity for wealth and power in these treasures or perhaps it was the darker hands of fate moving Needles
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Dungeon Magazine #130

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 04/15/2017 - 11:15

Within the Circle
By Sam Brown
Level 1

This short little adventure has a nice introduction and wilderness section combined with a rather disappointing little twelve room dungeon at the end. It’s meant to kick off a Yuan-ti themed campaign, I believe. The party, retainers of a Baron, have dinner with a man from a remote village. He tells of the village being poisoned, livestock killed, crops in disrepair, all from a goblin demanding tribute. Later, in private, the Baron tells the party the real mission: that he wants them to check out a depot nearby that he was tasked with burning down when young. He questions now, that he is wiser, how he has risen in power, and why. The villagers act like villagers, the goblin is dealt with, briefly, and information on his lair is the same as the depot, which can be learned from him or fro some ambushing lizardmen, who retreat in deference when they learn they made a mistake ambushing the party.

Up until this point the adventure is pretty good by Dungeon standards. Lots of words, and read-aloud, but the motivations make sense and nothing is really forced. Parts of what going on could have been emphasized more, with trivia deemphasized, but it’s there, somewhere in the text … and its not as bad as the usual Dungeon fair in terms of wordiness. It’s a nice little thing that doesn’t really force the players in to anything, after the initial hook .. and I can even forgive that seeing as this is meant to be a campaign kickoff.

The goblin lair has bad read-aloud and is more confusing than normal. It’s mostly linear, with a lot of background and history clogging up the text. In one room, the main entrance, there’s a trap with a bag of giant centipedes. I still have no idea which door, or side of the door, that trap is on. Most of the rooms FEEL boring, even though there are one or two goblins with some motivations other than “KILL!” A matron protects the young with a spear, warding the party away but not attacking until she is. Another goblin spies behind a table and then tries to run away. Again, very relatable motivations. The rooms, beyond the goblins, are just not very interesting. There IS a nicely integrated trap that is not meant to be a trap, and several clues as to what is going on.

Its’ decent, especially by Dungeon standards. It reminds me of something out of those more realistic settings, like Harn or the like, but with more monsters.

The Palace of Plenty
By Tito Leati
Level 10

This is an Oriental Adventures themed adventure, that seems to be derived from watching too many 1940’s and 50’s Japanese ghost story movies. Vague hooks and no wilderness journey has you in a legendary ruined paradise city. Which takes a DC 10 roll to know where it is. If you fail, there’s a map in a library. The icy ruined city is large and ruined and very sparsely keyed. After wandering about and finally figuring out where you go you get to a non-ruined place, through white fluttering butterflies, which has mostly empty rooms. This place has such exciting encounters as “Sentry Box: The entry box is unremarkable.” The whole thing is “icy ruined village theme and then ghost village theme” all with that sort haunting quietness that comes from older Japanese horror movies. It gives it a very “story game” feel. It’s also nigh incomprehensible as an adventure. Props for taking a chance. It was your editor’s job to tell you it didn’t work so well. A STRONG edit may give you a Mountain Witch-like adventure. It’s just trying too hard with too many words to be as effective as, say, Inn of Forgotten Heroes … hence the need for an edit.

The Spire of Long Shadows
By Jesse Decker
Level 13

Another in the Age of Worms adventure path. Get out your lozenges, this one is the exposition entry! Miles upon miles of read-aloud in order to relate reams of backstory to the party, either through a sage they meet or through visions they have. It starts with a meaningless combat right out of the bullshit “have a quick first encounter so the party can get some dice rolling” advice column. It then passes to a small city where the party cool their heels a bit, and then a visit to the sage who talks at them for hours (Real time.) teleport to a far away land has the party at the site of where Kyuss ascended to godhood, and a pyramid temple full of kyuss worms and room after room of guardians. These are spaced out with visions the party has about Kyuss and the prophecy of his return. There are about A MILLION of pages before you get to the temple. The rooms embed history … in a bad way. “This room represented Kyuss’ master over death …”, or “the stairs were destroyed in year blah blah blah by blah blah blah.” Meaningless trivia that does not contribute to the adventure. This “adventure” is just an excuse to talk at the party with monologues and put in some combats with worm-themed NPC’s. Boring.

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The 'pay what you want' PC Class PC11 - The OSR Warlock From Jeremy Reaban For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 22:04
I'm always looking for that edge when it comes to setting up another weird pulpy PC class that will fit into my OSR campaigns.The OSR Warlock  By Jeremy Reaban is the demonic summoning SOB villain class that  I as a DM need and want to inflict on my players. Clocking in at twelve pages of demonic or Lovecraftian entity fun machine, this class packs everything you need to inject a little bit of Needles
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Wayward Kickstarter - Its Tax Season, So Lets Look at Myth & Magic!

Tenkar's Tavern - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 19:48

Ah, Myth & Magic. How I despise you. Tom Ryan, alleged liar and alleged tax attorney and proven asshole is still stringing folks along. Because so long as you do what? Yearly updates? Somehow you are fulfilling your obligations.

Tom, the man who posted my shipping info in the comments of the Myth & Magic Player's Guide Kickstarter. BTW, that isn't "allegedly", he did so. I had to reach out to Kickstarter to have it removed.

Because, you know, Tom claimed to have shipped ALL of the Player's Guides, but many backers are still waiting and those that ordered multiple copies got but a fraction of what they paid for. Again, facts, not allegations.

I expected my copy to arrive urine soaked. Fact, it arrived fine. Color me surprised.

So, what does Tom do? He updates the M&M Gamemaster's Guide KS. That's the one where no one has gotten shit. Again, fact, not allegation. First update in nearly 13 months. Backers only, so I can't read it but something tells me it says something to the effect: "Soon! I promise!"

Tom, in my personal opinion, you are a (alleged) thief, (alleged) liar and nearly 5 years late on getting the M&M Player's Guide in the hands of people that gave you good money.

Tom, today is Good Friday and Sunday is Easter. Are you joining Gareth and Ken at the Church of the Deception for services? Inquiring minds want to know...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Gygax Interview in Drache #3 October 1984

Zenopus Archives - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 19:06
Cover of Drache #3, image from hereOver on the Acaeum, a poster named stebehil has been collecting and documenting all of TSR's German D&D releases in a dedicated thread. Yesterday he posted a translation of a Gygax interview from the magazine Drache, issue 3, October 1984. Drache means Dragon in German so this was the mean to be the equivalent of Dragon magazine. 

The cover of this issue is shown above, and teases the Gygax interview ("Interview mit Gary Gygax") as well a short tournament D&D Module ("D&D Turnier Modul") for a single thief character (thanks to stebehil for clarification of this info).

The wizard on the cover is very reminiscent of TSR's evil wizard Kelek (used in licensed products of the time and appearing in one episode of the D&D cartoon), particularly the color scheme and claw-like fingernails:

The interview is pretty much what you'd expect from a 1984 Gygax interview - he mentions his work in Hollywood with the D&D Entertainment Corporation - but it's fun to read a "new" one from Gygax while he was still at TSR (he left about one year later, in October 1985).

Read the Gygax interview in Drache #3 here

(Keep in mind that his answers were translated to German for the article and then back to English for this transcription, so some meaning may be garbled)

From a Holmes Basic perspective, there's one mention referring to the design of B2, so I've added that to my page Gygax on B2.

He also makes an offhand reference to an encounter that appears to be of a type he included in the Dungeon Geomorphs Set One: Basic Dungeons, which were included in the first three printings of Holmes Basic.

In the interview Gygax says:

"I also like it if you use tricks while designing a dungeon, like an illusion of a golden dragon over a basilisk, old men who are friendly the first time and deadly the second. These are fun things."

Compare with Room 1 in the Geomorph sample encounters, which are transcribed here:

1.  A rudely furnished room with an old holy man (lawful/good) who has sworn a vow of silence. He will not fight if attacked. He takes only 2 hit points. There is a pottery flask containing his drinking water in one corner; a small container near his pallet has a handful of lentils (all of his food); there are some rags hanging from a nail in the wall, and a wooden begging bowl on a rough wooded table near the door holds 1 silver piece and 3 coppers. If he is impolitely treated or his room is searched he will do nothing, but he will never aid the offenders. If so much as a single copper piece is dropped in his bowl, he will make a holy sign which will add 1 hit point permanently to all party members. After doing the latter, he will disappear when the party leaves, and he will be replaced by 1A.

a.    An insane fiend conforming generally to the description of 1. above. He will say nothing until a party is in his abode, but will then attack with two hidden daggers. He takes 12 hit points, with an armor class equal to 5 due to his 18 dexterity. He has no treasure to begin with…

I did a Google Image search of the Drache cover from above, and found that it had previously appeared on the cover of "Warte Auf Das Letzte Jahr", 1981 German 1translation of the of 1966 Philip K. Dick novel, Now Wait for Last Year. Per the ISFDB, the cover artist is Oliviero Berni. As the Kelek action figure is from 1983, this earlier date for the artwork makes me wonder if the TSR Kelek was actually influenced by this picture rather than the other way around.

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Step-by-Step Edd's Pub - Part Four - Adventures on the Other Side

Two Hour Wargames - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 15:20
Part Three
Fizzbo's Band has crossed over. Looking at the map we see that they have landed in the Woods, the only way to come and go between Talomir and the Other Side. They have to resolve 3 + 1/2d6 Possible Enemy Forces (PEFs). They will do this when they arrive for the first time and every time they choose to Stay Put in an area. 
Each of the four areas has their own Who Are They Tables to see what you have run into. When you leave an area you roll to see how many PEFs in that area must be resolved before you reach the new area. As this represents traveling to the new area you use the Who Are They table for the area you are leaving. Let's see what happens to Fizzbo.
I roll 1d6 and score a 2 - Fizzbo must resolve 5 PEFs in the Woods.  I roll 2d6 on the PEF Resolution Table versus the Rep of 4 to see what happens and pass 1d6. "Something's out there". The first PEF is resolved, but future PEFs must be resolved using 3d6. I roll again and score the same result! That's 2 PEFs resolved.
I roll a 3rd time and pass 2d6 with a 4 and 3. This means Fizzbo has met a group with 5 figures in it. The total of your 2d6 score on the Resolution Table tells you the number of NPCs you've met.
I now roll on the Woods Who Are They Table to see what I've met. Wererats!************************************Just to be clear, you roll dice a few times each Encounter because you are building the Story. Before each Encounter you don't know what you will meet and how many of them there are! This makes the games much more exciting and insures that they will never play the same.*************************************
So what now?  That'll be in Part Five, coming soon.

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NTRPG Con 2017 - I Will be Running Two Sessions of "Beneath the Battered Dwarf Tavern" for Swords & Wizardry Light

Tenkar's Tavern - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 15:08

I'm running two sessions of Beneath the Battered Dwarf Tavern at NTRPG Con 2017 using the Swords & Wizardry Light rules. The sessions will be from 3 PM to 6 PM Thursday and Friday although they may run a little shorter. The scenario isn't a long one but it should be fun :)

Copies of the Swords & Wizardry Light rules will be provided to participants as well as those sweet SWL Class cards. Heck, I just got confirmation from Bad Mike that everyone that attends will get a Swords & Wizardry Legion folder. Woot!

Characters will be rolled at the table. No experience with the Swords & Wizardry rules is necessary (that's the whole point of the "Light rules", right? )

Registration for games opens tonight at 1 AM Eastern Time. There should be seven slots per session, although Rach may jump into one. Wow, I'll get to injure my, wife's character...and it will all be legal ;P

Although I've been running games over Roll20 for the last five years or so, this will be my first time running face to face games in over 20 years. Have mercy on this old man...
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Let Me Tell You About Their Characters

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 11:00
Art by Steve LeCouilliardWith a new illustration of the gang, time to shine the spotlight on the PCs in my Land of Azurth campaign:

As has been recounted, the crew met on a keelboat on the way to seek an audience with Viola the Clockwork Princess of Yanth, each for his or her own reason.

A traveling minstrel, Kully encountered a calico Cougar Man (who ever heard of such?) in the vicinity of Mount Brawl who suggested the Princess might be able to tell him something about the hereabouts of his long-missing father. She was not, but he has since discovered the possible identity of the mysterious Cougar Man he met.

SHADE PYRALIS (Gina) Elf Ranger
Shade hails from the Aldwode and mistrusts civilization. She has since learned from her long-absent mother, Oona, that she is actually half High Elf and a child of House Perilous and the infamous, mad Sylaire family.

KAIRON (Eric) Demonlander Sorcerer
Feared and ostracized in the village where he grew up due to his Demonlander heritage. He became an adventurer to improve both his economic and social station.

WAYLON (Tug) Frox (Frogling) Thief
Named "Wi'Sdosdo" (Wailing-Moon) in his native tongue, Waylon grew up on the streets of the Shanty City of Lardafa. He was a musician in a jug band, but also a protege of the thief and con-man King Kuel.

DAGMAR (Andrea) Dwarf Cleric
Against the wishes of her family, Dagmar pursued a life in monastic service to Iolanthe, Lady of Knowledge. In her middle years, she gave up the life of scholarly hermit and sought adventure. She is currently petrified and standing in a library in House Perilous!

EREKOSE (Bob) Human Fighter
His origins obscure, Erekose is a veteran soldier and a pretty mercenary fellow. Gold is the allure in adventuring for him.

Fate Lessons #2 - Tossing Death Troopers off the Cliff

19th Level - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 02:07

In this week's Star Wars adventure, our heroes were on a mission to extract a Rebel agent who had crashed on a planet and was being pursued by the Evil Galactic Empire. It's based on the old West End Games' Stat Wars adventure "Operation: Shadowstrike" contained within Instant Adventures.

My previous post on lessons I've learned in GM-ing Fate was rather popular and I found the exercise useful for myself as well so I'm continuing that idea here.

I've had some discussions on the use of sticky notes and marking up of the map. There's one reason I do that - if not I doubt we'd be doing much with Aspects. Most of us having been gaming for a long time and are got our start with more "traditional" games. As a result, it's likely we'd totally forget what Aspects were in play - it's something I ran into playing Atomic Robo a few years back.

One encounter in our adventure wound up having a nice combination of environmental Aspects as well as created Advantages. Walking through woods our heroes spotted some Imperial death troopers before they themselves were spotted. This saw a variety of Aspects getting created by the PCs - for example, the assassin droid did not hide but rather strolled down the canyon between two low cliffs, getting the attention of one of the troopers - and creating the Aspect "droid distraction" with a free invoke.

A former clone trooper, Doha, attacked from ambush, with the Aspect "never see it coming". A former Imperial officer, Stark, took advantage of the droid distraction to slug a death trooper with a baton from behind. Seeing that he was one point of damage short of totally taking the trooper out in one hit, he spent a Fate point to invoke the Aspect "steep drop" so that the attack knocked the trooper off the cliff, the combination of the blow and killing him. Stark had intended from the start to send the trooper off the cliff - spending the Fate point added the bonus damage that resulted from this maneuver.

We definitely got a bit more traction out of environmental Aspects this adventure, something I had been hoping for. Next adventure I want to focus a bit more on Aspects being used to compel actions. We also saw how while players do get a fair amount of narrative control, danger still exists, with R2-C4 being forced to take some consequences in the battle with the death troopers.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Crowdsourcing a Unique "Wand of Wonder" for Swords & Wizardry - Light thru Complete

Tenkar's Tavern - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 23:38

I know I did this back when The Tavern was young, but I figure we now have time (and hopefully some new budding layout skills) on our side. I'm talking about crowdsourcing a Tenkar's Tavern Wand of Wonder, new and unique and fun as hell. Well, hopefully fun as hell.

Here are the rules:

1 - We are going for 120 entries (1d6 x 1d20)

2 - All effects must use a d6 and /or a d20 if a dice roll is needed (1d3 and 1d10 also work, as they are half the parent die). Any sub-tables must be 1d3, 1d6 or at most 1d10 - and d10 is pushing it.

3 - By making a comment below, you agree to add your writing to be released under the OGL. Copyright entry for the Tenkar's Tavern Wand of Wonder will be made under Erik Tenkar Stiene (see Ken, the name is out there, if only you could read...)

4 - One random entry will get a $10 RPGNow Gift Certificate. Three random entries will get $5 Gift Certificates. One final $5 Gift Certificate to the one that makes me laugh the most.

5 - A compiled version of the wand will be posted here at The Tavern on April 22, 2017 for Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day and released under the OGL. Each entry will be credited on both the blog post and the PDF version under whatever name you post under. If you want a different name used, mention it in the comment. The final PDF will be released at RPGNow as PWYW

6 - Entries must be made by midnight, April 20th. You have a week from now.

7 - Silly trumps useful. Silly and useful trumps all ;)
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Free Akados Region Map in Digital Format for Swords & Wizardry Legion Members

Tenkar's Tavern - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 19:23

The Frogs are offering free downloads of the Akados Region Map to Swords & Wizardry Legion members. Details are in the Swords & Wizardry Legion Community.

Yes, before one asks, it is currently a Facebook only community. Don't like Facebook? Use a throw away email and a fake name. Use it only for the Legion community. Seriously. I've gotten a sneak peek at the offers that Frog God Games is going to offer on Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day to Legion members and the prices are ridiculous.

I'm thoroughly enjoying the Swords & Wizardry love in the air ;)
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1d4 Random Strange & Twisted Dungeon Locations Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 15:28
Out in the wastelands there are places with all of their own personal agendas, these places have slipped between the cracks of reality & become places of torment for a wide variety of prisoners from places better off forgotten or lost. These strange adventure locations appear throughout the dimensions causing mayhem for whatever or whomever they can. They almost have a malevolent or dangerousNeedles
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