Tabletop Gaming Feeds


Gamer Goggles - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 11:52

REDMOND, WA (June 13, 2017): Paizo Inc., publisher of the award-winning Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, is proud to return to Free RPG Day as a Platinum-level sponsor with Starfinder: First Contact, an exclusive first look at more than a dozen creatures from the highly anticipated forthcoming science fantasy RPG Starfinder. More than 10,500 Starfinder: First Contact manuals have been provided to friendly local game stores participating in Free RPG Day and will be available June 17, while supplies last.

The Starfinder Roleplaying Game releases in August 2017, but the first aliens will land on Free RPG Day in Starfinder: First Contact, a 16-page manual previewing otherworldly foes, from the asteroid-dwelling sarcesians who ride solar winds on wings of light, to technomagical undead horrors capable of ruling forever as the sinister Bone Sages of Eox. Starfinder: First Contact includes:

  • A dozen alien creatures from throughout Golarion’s solar system.
  • Player-race information to let players be the alien, from the atrophied psychic creatures called contemplatives to the bug-like haan who float across gas giants on balloons of spun webbing.
  • Instructions for easily converting Starfinder creatures into Pathfinder.
  • Sneak previews of some of the new abilities and rules systems featured in Starfinder.

For more information about Starfinder, visit

About Paizo Inc.
Paizo Inc. is publisher of the award-winning Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Tales novels, as well as board games and accessories. The Pathfinder world, in which players take on the role of brave adventurers fighting to survive in a world beset by magic and evil, is currently translated into eight languages, and has been licensed for comic book series, graphic novels, toys, and apparel. is also a leading online hobby retail store, offering tens of thousands of products from a variety of publishers to customers all over the world.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Putting Together a List of "Old School Gaming Friendly" Conventions and I Need YOUR Help!

Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 03:49
Remember, we can't call you, so you have to call us...

Wait, that was Apex Tech.

I'm looking to put together a list of Old School Gaming Friendly Conventions. Big, small, regional or what not.

Some of you have already been sending in suggestions, but please, repost them in the comments below.

What we need:

- Name of the Convention

- Dates the Convention is running

- City and State it is located in

- Website for the convention

The plan is twofold:

- The Tavern will put up a post listing all said conventions with info provided

- There will be a link list of conventions on the left sidebar of The Tavern

I'll make a post at the beginning of each month with an updated list of conventions and a call to add what is missing.

Note - "Old School Gaming Friendly" is simply that. A convention that is 90% VtM or LARPing doesn't really qualify. It does not need to be dedicated to Old School Gaming to the extent that NTRPG or Gary Con is.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

I Was Interviewed By Erik Jensen - The Crate, SWL, Press Releases and More - Come for the Drama, Stay for the Beer :)

Tenkar's Tavern - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 19:25

So, Sunday afternoon I was interviewed by +Erik Jensen . Not to give away any spoilers, but the press release for the Tenkar's Tavern Crate ruffled some feathers. Having served as a liaison between two city agencies for years, I have a hyperbole filter that I tend to ignore such stuff. It was good though, because it resulted in the following interview.

As I say in the post heading - Come for the Drama, Stay for the Beer :)

Note - I corrected my typos as i found them. I don't think ER had any. Damn him!

Q = Erik Jenson

A = Erik Tenkar

Q - Perhaps we can start with the logistics of the crate.  The signups for the first month of the Tenkar's Tavern Crate are about to end (and will have ended by the time I get this interview up maybe).  Would you describe the crate's contents as a "Tenkar-curated collection"?  What's your vision for the product, and how is it maybe different from its "sister-crate" Mythoard, and any other rpg crates out there?

A - The contents of the Crate are definitely "Tenkar Curated" - it was the only way I would do it. My reputation means something to me. Whether you love me, hate me or dont give a damn you should know that when I recommend something, that I think it has value. You may disagree with me on the value of something, but not the value of my word. And if its gaming material in the Crate, its something I recommend.

Personally, I want to explore some of the older products of the OSR - such as Blackmarsh, which is often overlooked and hardly ever grabbed in print. Or some of Matt Finch’s early work. I also want to explore some of the up and comers that are creating content, like Thom Wilson and Jason Hobbs. Then maybe surprise folks and throw in some Venger Santanis. Yes, I do “shake hands and make friends” fairly well. Actually, I hope Ven goes to Gamehole Con this fall so we can repeat our Gary Con breakfast.

Q - So we shouldn't expect that Illusionist stumbles across a shipping container full of Dragon Dice and all of a sudden it's Tenkar-recommended.

A - Lol - I actually bought myself a hoard of them last year to give my niece, 5 years old at the time something to play with

But no - no Dragon Dice

Also, the OSR isn’t limited to D&D clones either. There’s Traveller, RuneQuest, Tunnels & Trolls and other games that have been around 35 years or more. They are old school. Then there are games like Polyhedral Dungeon and Far Away Land, that aren’t cloning an old school game but have obvious old school roots.

Q - The OSR focus makes sense to me, although one has to wonder how deep the catalog can go; I suppose it's all dependent on what's available to you, rights-wise, and who you can partner with.   Sounds like we can expect a broad swath of stuff.  That can be both good and bad -- as a Mythoard subscriber but not a Traveller guy, there's been plenty of JG Traveller stuff in there that didn't do it for me, but that's the nature of a crate.   Did Illusionist come to you, or vice versa?

A - They came to me. Jarrod from Mythoard recommended me to them and I respect Jarrod immensely - if he recommended me to them it was also recommending them to me in a way.

As an aside, i'd love to get some long out of print GURPS Sourcbooks in the crate. A man can dream I suppose 

Q - Couldn't hurt to ask Steve Jackson, I guess!  Jarrod's recent appearance on Drink Spin Run was interesting, hearing him talk about Mythoard on the business end.  I'd be curious to see what the Illusionist folks have to say as well.  Here's an obvious question on the Tavern Crate: the price point is a good bit higher than that on 'classic' Mythoard.  Is there a canned answer on why that might be so?  Seems a logical thing for customers to wonder.

A - No canned answer. We are looking to put more value in the crate, which means a higher price point. We'll see what the market bears. I will say this, tangentially (is that the right word?) - the OSR is an underserved market. I can see that with my affiliate reports from the current OSR Extravaganza Sale at RPGNow. Its been eye opening to me.

Q - The Tavern must have respectable amounts of traffic, I can imagine.  And surely Illusionist thought you brought audience with you as part of the equation there, so much so they apparently called you the "Voice of the OSR Market" in the press release.  What's your current vision statement on the blog, and do you see yourself as some kind of voice of the OSR?

A - Its a press release. Need I say more? I wrote the bit I was quoted on. Nothing more. I am but one standard bearer in a field of hundreds, if not thousands. I may have greater reach than most due to my soapbox *Tenkar’s Tavern”, but I openly solicit guest posters to use said sandbox. I have yet to turn anyone away. The OSR is a community of peers.

Q - It's a press release, but it's got your name stapled to it.  People can be pretty sensitive about indications that someone in a scene is claiming to speak on behalf of that scene, but even beyond that, I can see why someone might read that assertion and kind of tilt their head in a "Rooby-Roo?" kind of way.  That's why I wanted to bring it up.   

A - Understandable. I've spent my prior career reading (and occasionally writing) such stuff. Believe it or not, its part of government work, even law endorsement. Painting a Picture, so to speak. I never put much value in such but have always considered it part and parcel with marketing. 

Q - I don't think there's any question it's marketing, the question is how hyperbolic is it, is it worth the potential blowback, etc.  Tenkar's Tavern is primarily a news blog, or so it seems to me - product announcements, industry gossip, occasionally peppered with Tenkar-as-DM type posts.  Do you think that's a fair characterization, that it's chiefly an industry news blog?

A - Its chiefly "whatever comes to my mind to post" type of blog. News? Sure. Gaming posts? yep Gaming content? when I can. Kickstarters? Certainly. Hounding the... wait, I don't want #ConManKen to threaten to sue me again - I maintain a vigilant eye on those that may not be fulfilling their obligations. All that being said, I make no claim to be a news site. I leave that for other gaming sites to claim.

Q - Okay, that's fair, I think "news site" probably gives the impression that we're talking about flipping press releases or something; the Tavern is definitely a personality-driven opinion blog.  I suppose I meant that the majority of your posts are industry-focused, rather than gameable-content-focused; some blogs are the inverse of that.  Surely the Kickstarter stuff is high on the list of "things Tenkar's known for".  Do you expect that to continue with new "cases", or are we just going to hear about Far West and Whitman because they've become legacy subjects for the blog?

I think I'd count the Gygax Memorial as one of those legacy subjects as well.

A - There are others that are getting long in the tooth but regularly update, so we'll see. Part of me writing posts for The Tavern is that its pretty much stream of consciousness - I don't pre-write posts days, or even hours in advance. Which probably shows with the typos. But going back to Kickstarters in particular, I get about a half dozen inquiries a week to either - look at a Kickstarter before its released to identify potential issues - or - please write about my Kickstarter, I was told if you post about it I'll make lots of money. So, some folks are learning to prevent problems and others still can't help seeing the quick bucks. I expect we'll see more hitting the highlight reel regretfully.

A little secret about the Kickstarter stuff and why its a burr on my ass. I finished my career as a Sergeant in Internal Affairs, and hated seeing the vast majority of good cops soiled by the bad ones. If I can scare future Kickstarter creators straight, so much the better.

Q - Those regular, rapid updates give the blog a newsroom type quality I think, and I suppose people shouldn't let that fool them into thinking it's unbiased or journalistic!  It sounds like you expect to continue your "ombudsman" type role when it comes to rpg Kickstarters.  Do you think that conflicts at all with your newer role as a content creator with S&W Light?  Can you critique the industry from inside it, and will that impact the Tenkar image?  Or am I presuming a semblance of aloof neutrality vis-a-vis the Kickstarter stuff that isn't there, and the question's moot?

A - I don’t think anyone that creates content is outside the community and I’ve been creating content for years. I’ve had adventures appear in two different KSs as well as three supplements for S&W from 2 different publishers over the years in addition to my recent releases re: SWL. I think the secret is being fair and honest, and knowing when you are at risk of bias. My relationship with Frog God is well known. My friendships are well known. I don’t hide them. I know my biases and will highlight such when i mention products (such as) from my good friend James Spahn. Now, when James puts out a turd, that's when I'll have to question my integrity for calling it as it is. He has yet to put me in that position and I don't expect him to.

Q - Since we've come to Frog God, let me ask about the drama some time back with Contessa and Stacy Dellorfano.  Now that you're both doing work for Frog God, have you two buried the hatchet and moved on, or should we not hold our breath for a future collaboration?

A - Stacy and I have never actually conversed directly. My understanding is she was brought in for a particular project which she successfully completed. At this point, SWL is an an ongoing project. I don't expect our paths will cross.

Q - That's a diplomatic answer and I'm sure it's accurate even if it didn't give me what I wanted there, Erik.  Safe to assume, then, that while there may be lingering beef there, nobody's interested in dredging it up moving forward.

A - I did say there may be some disappointment to this interview 

Q - I'm just asking the people's questions, man!    So no future snark re Contessa from the Tenkar then.

A - The Tavern is a stream of consciousness blog, as I said earlier. There are currently no plans to bring up stacey beyond posting this interview.

Q - Fair enough.  You mentioned James Spahn earlier - could you talk a little about Save or Die: Expert Edition, and how that shift came about?  I don't recall seeing anybody talk about the 'why' behind the transition.  As a semi-regular listener, I had assumed the previous hosts were stepping back to take a break, but then we got Save For Half.  Is there a story there?

A - Creative differences? That's just a guess, but Liz and Mike have moved on to Save for Half on a new network and are doing real well for themselves. They need to bring back Jim after the Dark Master gives him a reprieve from MCC

Q - I'm sure Corbett will be glad to hear you say that LOL

A - LOL! I think there's room for four over there 

Q  - I'll chalk it up to "network issues" until I hear otherwise, I suppose.  Between the blog and the podcast and the crate, it looks like Tenkar has a pretty loud megaphone pointed at OSR-heads, moving forward.  What do you want to do with all that?  Is there a grand vision, or are you just enjoying yourself and saying "yes" to stuff that looks fun?

A - A "grand vision" assumes a lot :) I want to be busy enough in this hobby of ours that Rach isn't tempted to find me "real work" in my retirement. I'm having fun "working" in my hobby. It was my dream 30 years ago and now I'm doing it. Could I live on it without my pension? Hell no! God bless them with the skill and tenacity to do so. But I'm happy making content and writing and talking and... its pretty damn cool.

Q - Let me ask you as a commentator then - where do you think this 'OSR' thing is headed next, and where _should_ it go?  I ask only because I'm told you're the Voice of the OSR Market, you see.

A - Heh. Zing! Alright, I see the OSR as an underserved market that deserves more respect. 5e is huge for the OSR because writing product for 5e and converting to the OSR is much easier than going from 4e or Pathfinder. There is synergy between 5e and the OSR. Some folks want to see new clones - I want to see new hacks. Hack SWL or the Black Hack or some other OSR game and give us a western, supers, space opera, sci-fantasy, godzilla monsters - whatever! I think the future of the OSR is finding new genres and not new systems. Or I could be totally wrong. But I think the OSR is just going to grow in the number of players at this point and we have 5e to thank for it.

Q - Underserved?  Huh, I don't think that's a word I would've used to describe the OSR market; I often wonder how much 'product' the OSR market can actually bear.  I'm not sure it's all that much.  But perhaps that's a discussion for another time.  Thank you for taking the time to chat with me regarding the questions that came up the other day in a G+ thread.  Everybody has opinions, and I don't know if anyone will have their opinion changed or vetted based on this interview, but data is data.  Always better to ask than assume.

A - My pleasure Erik. 

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Clark Ashton Smith's Gorgon & Some Monster Ecology For You Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 16:31
I'm a bit of a haunter after a strange precode horror comics especially when it comes one of my favorite OD&D & AD&D style monsters the Medusa.Well get to those comic books in a moment. Medusa in my campaigns are not simply dungeon lurkers.  These agents of chaos are a perfect monster to throw into a campaign mix as NPC's. I've used them them as harbingers, next workers, & agents working inNeedles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Time for a Monday Morning Tavern Update - Interviews, Content and Sales - Oh My!

Tenkar's Tavern - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 14:25

Some quick things:

- I was interviewed by +Erik Jensen yesterday afternoon. I assume he'll be posting it on his G+ feed tonight. I'll be sharing it as a post later today. Come for the drama! Stay for the beer! ;)

- I'm going to be ass deep in content creation the next week or so. If I seem distant, I'm doing it for you. Or maybe your buddy. Who knows, maybe you won't like the stuff. As usual, Works in Progress (WIP) to be posted here at The Tavern.

- The OSR Extravaganza Sale at RPGNow wrapped up today. If you made a purchase (or purchases) through The Tavern's affiliate links, I personally thank you. The response to the sale was HUGE! Over $8k in sales were made through The Tavern's affiliate links of which 5% went to support the work of The Tavern.

- When I say "the OSR is an underserved market" (and I do say it, you will read it) it is. Maybe not in number of products but by being recognized as a viable and vibrant community that publishers, large and small should be looking at. Not to mention distributors / online market places like RPGNow. As consumers, we are (generally speaking) older, with jobs and more discretionary income. Show us some respect and you may just sell us some product.

- As a total aside, Frog God Games will be assisting me with various expenses associated with attending cons. Yes, my cardboard sign should state "Will work on SWL for Room, Food and lots of Booze!" - Look for me at The Frogs booth at Gamehole, Gary Con, NTRPG and where various Frogs are known to be in attendance. I look forward to meeting as many of The Tavern's Community as I can. Please tell me the name you comment under when we meet :)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Trail of Stone and Sorrow

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 11:14

By Zzarchov Kowolski
Neoclassical Geek Revival/OSR
Level 1-3

Something wicked has emerged from the mountains and begun turning things to stone. The villagers are scared and have begun casting a suspicious eye towards a foreign wizard.

This is a rather short adventure, at eight pages (with three being title page filler), and focuses on the blurb: something is turning things to stone and there’s this wizard nearby … It s good little adventure for tossing in to a one-night party, with strong social elements for the party to roleplay and a mystery for the party to look in to that should not lose the party. The text could be formatted better for information transfer, but, it’s also only four pages long and is a decent little adventure for that size.

The wizard is rich, he’s foreign, and he’s a wizard; three strikes and the Salt of the Earth point their finger at you. Following the breadcrumbs, with the wizard or one of the other clues related by the villagers, leads to a trail or crushed vegetation, hoofprints, and/or stoned creatures. Following the rail leads to the creature. There are notes to convert to OSR, which is easily done on the fly.

More than a side-trek and less than most adventure, this is probably a single night adventure. Roll in to the village, get hired and talk to folk, then start in a clue and follow it to the end of the trail. To its credit you can enter the adventure from many points: the wizard, the stone creatures, rumors, and the adventure is open enough that starting at site three does NOT mean that one and two are not relevant anymore. It’s more than likely that the party will revisit locations several times for what is, in essence, a social adventure.

The situations presented are pretty strong, if a little long. The villagers distrust the rich, foreign, wizard, for all three of those reasons. That’s a pretty good hook in to roleplaying them. The wizard is relatable and yet suitably wizard-like in his esoteric studies. The farmers under attack are frenzied, sobbing, in grief, and shock and horror, which again comes across well in the writing. The creature has a good little hook: it turns things to stone AND does a mind transfer from the victim in to the creature body. That’s some gaze attack!

It’s only four pages but, still, needs a highlighter. The writing gets a bit long in places, or, maybe, I want a different word. It could have been bolded or indented in places in order to make the organization of the information better. The goal, of course, being for the DM to scan the text quickly to find the important bits during play.

It’s Pay What You Want on DriveThru, currently at around $1.80. The preview shows you three of the four adventure pages (five if you count the map) so you’ll get a good idea of the adventure and the writing style.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Raiders of Estvyn's Tomb

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 11:00
Our Land of Azurth 5e game continued last night with the fifth and final session of our adaptation of X2: Castle Amber.  After a sojourn in France, the party found themselves in Estvyn's tomb.  The way to his crypt was blocked at every turn by a guardian monster of some sort. They sneaked past a sleeping azure dragon on a treasure pile in the antechamber. They suffered some burns from the claws of fire crabs in a flaming hallway. They got bowled over by a rock creature (galeb duhr) in the next connecting room.

At this point, they decided to take a long rest, before preceding. A manticore greeted them in the next room. Having a prior disliking for his kind, thanks to their experience with Mortzengersturm, they attacked with such ferocity he was dead before he got an attack! To be fair, Shade the Ranger did try to get him to back down without a fight.

Next, they were asked to chose between a room full of water and a room full of mud. After fishing with the Waylon the frogling as bait revealed at least a couple of eel hounds lurking, they went with the mud room, where they slugged (and slogged) it out with a mud golem. Dissonant whisipers ultimately hurt his feelings--to death.

The final room held a barbed devil. Here, Astra's stellar radiant blasts and the Mace of Disruption they had gotten previously really came in handy.

Finally at Estvyn's crypt, they burned the tapestry and broke the curse. The Elf mage thanked his cousin Shade for coming to his rescue. He removed the lunacy curse from Kully and Astra, and unpetrified Dagmar. Finally, the part got a magic item each for their trouble. They were deposited back in the Land of Azurth in front of a now ancient and crumbling House Perilous.

The Astral Plane As Sword & Sorcery Hyperspace To The 'Old Solar System' Campaign Setting

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 06:21
"There were many shadows in the palace of Augusthes, About the silver throne that had blackened beneath the invisible passing of ages, they fell from pillar and broken roof and fretted window in ever-shifting multiformity. Seeming the black, fantastic spectres of doom and desolation, they moved through the palace in a gradual, grave, and imperceptible dance, whose music was the change Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Creature Archipelago - Islands Map - First Attempt - SWL

Tenkar's Tavern - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 02:22

I must say, the customer service from the folks behind Other World Mapper is top notch. My download link to update had expired. Sent an email to customer service and in 12 hours my new link was active. Woot! I do love this software.

So 13 islands plus one island engulfed by a larger one. The islands are what remains of a much larger island after the mysterious ancients caused their own destruction.

The lower middle island, the small roundish one, is relatively safe. At least, the town and harbor are fortified. That will be the initial home base of the PCs.

One of the islands will be given to +Michael Badolato and the Swords & Wizardry Legion to develop. Each island will be it own little sandbox.

For scale, I am thinking 30 miles across, give or take, for the island that holds the town and harbor. Subject to change.

Next for the map will be adding some visual highlights to the islands. But before that I think I need to detail Lizardmen and Goblins as PC races for Swords & Wizardry Light.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Adam West Was My First Batman

19th Level - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 02:04

Like many, I was saddened yesterday when I read of the passing of Adam West. When I was a young child, I have to confess I never saw the 1960s Batman series as campy. I treated those zany adventures with absolute seriousness. Of course I laughed, but much as one might laugh in a modern superhero movie with its funny moments.

A large part of that had to be how much Adam West put into his role of Batman. The show itself was awesomely campy but Batman always was serious. A noble crimefighter who would make certain he contributed to the healthy development of his young ward. Who would always do the right thing.

It was popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s to rail against the old Batman show. How Batman wasn't really like that, but rather he was a grim avenger of the night. I couldn't really get into that - I love The Dark Knight Returns and similar takes on Batman but I had too fond memories of the classic 1960s show to ever speak against it. When Adam West spoke at the UConn Student Union in fall of 1989, my freshman year, I was sure to be there. It was shortly after the Michael Keaton  Batman movie had come out. He was great fun to listen to - he spoke how he'd have loved a scene where the classic Batmobile rolled out with the classic Batman driving. He did an impersonation of the wall-climbing from the old show, asking us to turn our heads to assist with the special effects.

It's hard to know how the man really felt about being typecast as Batman for the rest of his life - I hope and suspect he knew how much joy he brought to people.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A new area of the Majestic Wilderlands mapped

Bat in the Attic - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 00:21
Though out the history of the tabletop roleplaying the myth and legends of Japan has fascinated many hobbyists. For many there was a strong desire to player Samauri, and Ninjas. Have one's character wield a katana or throwing shurikens. Especially when I stated out in the late 70s and early 80s, I had numerous players wanting to play these types of character in my Majestic Wilderlands. So I carved a section called it the Karian Islands.

Flash forward 30 years, my friend +Dwayne Gillingham is running a campaign playtesting his RPG called the Crit System. He using his own take on the Majestic Wilderlands as the setting. As it so happens the campaign has taken a detour to the Karian Islands. So I thought to myself, I better make a map for it. Many characters were from there but I never had a campaign where the PCs visited it. So I looked at my notes and overview maps and started drawing.

First some background.

Karian Isles
Comprised of two archipelagos; the Silver Skein Islands to the south and the Isles of Dawn to the north. These islands were originally occupied by the Karians, humans with a culture similar to the early Japanese. They were contacted and incorporated into the Ghinorian Empire early in its expansion.

When the Empire collapsed one of the last pretenders to the title of the Imperial Prince of Ghinor fled to the islands to regroup. He married a local princess to win the loyalty of the Karian nobles. He left and was killed while trying to reclaim the throne. The princess was pregnant and gave birth to a son who was proclaimed as the new Imperial Prince.

Legends grew of the last pretender and some claimed he was the divine son of Mitra. His Karian successors adopted the legend as their own and assumed not only political leadership of the islands but religous leadership as well. Over the past thousand years their culture has grown more inward. They have developed an elaborate code of honor and social system.

Finally the main map itself. Remember each hex is 5 leagues with a league taking 1 hour to walk. A ship with average winds can make about 10 leagues (2 hexes) every four hours. Or 60 leagues (12 hexes) a day. Those of you with the Judges Guild will notices a lot of differences some due to the increased map size and other due to the different background I use.


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Sunday Science Fantasy Free Download - Castle Frankenstien Issues 19,20,21

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 06/11/2017 - 20:42
When my uncle's family in upstate New York babysat me as a kid, I'd get a chance to look into my adopted uncle's collection of Castle of Frankenstein magazines. These were a portal to old school sword & fantasy films ages before the easy access to Beta Max or VHS. So I came across a particular issue of  Castle of Frankenstein that I've been looking for sometime last night. Castle of Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Someone put Supers! in Swords & Wizardry Light! Pow! Bamn!

Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 06/11/2017 - 19:47

I expected Swords & Wizardry Light to get hacked for other genres and its exciting to see it happening now.

What am I talking about? Linneman over at the Monstrous Matters blog has been releasing free SWL compatible PDFs  with new Supers! classes for his yet to be released Light City setting - The Brawler and The Elemental.

Grab them for free.

God, this is fun stuff :)
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Adventuring During Wartime

Sorcerer's Skull - Sun, 06/11/2017 - 14:00
I watched You Can't Win Them All (1970) this weekend. It's a heist/adventure film set in Anatolia in 1922 during the Greco-Turkish War (a part of the Turkish War for Independence). While its era and location would mark its genre as "adventure film," in its plot, desert vistas, and horse caravans, it most resembles late era Westerns set in Mexico like the Wild Bunch or The Professionals. In fact, its plot is essentially a reworking of Vera Cruz (1954), with Turkey in place of Mexico, the Sultan instead of Emperor Maximilian I, and Turkish Nationalists for Juaristas.

While these sorts of heist-like films are often heavily plotted affairs with double and triple crosses, the mercenaries/adventurers in a not-too-heavy war zone seems like it would be an ideal setting for a sandbox hexcrawl or pointcrawl sort of game. (This is sort of the less post-apocalyptic cousin to the devastated city hexcrawl.) The breakdown of the previous society by Civil War provides virtually all the elements that a true Frontier has, plus it has the added wrinkle of powerful factions. Emphasis would shift a bit, so that resource management in the wilderness would take a bit of a backseat to social interaction and low level political maneuvering.

Last Day to Sign Up for the First Month of the Tenkar's Tavern OSR Crate

Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 06/11/2017 - 13:03

Yep, today is the last chance to sign up for the inaugural Tenkar's Tavern OSR Crate. If you sign up tomorrow you will be starting with the second crate and miss out on all of this month's goodies.

I've been asked what my curating philosophy is for the OSR Crate. Here's how I answer the question:
We have about 15 content creators looking to participate in the monthly crate at the moment with others interested but waiting on their new content. Personally, I want to explore some of the older products of the OSR - such as Blackmarsh, which is often overlooked and hardly ever grabbed in print. Or some of Matt Finch’s early work. I also want to explore some of the up and comers that are creating content, like Thom Wilson and Jason Hobbs. Then maybe surprise folks and throw in some Venger Santanis. The OSR isn’t limited to D&D clones either. There’s Traveller, RuneQuest, Tunnels & Trolls and other games that have been around 35 years or more. They are old school. Then there are games like Polyhedral Dungeon and Far Away Land, that aren’t cloning an old school game but have obvious old school roots.So, there you have it.

edit: Links are on the right side of this very page
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

'A Bad Case of Crab Cultists' An Astornishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Actual Play Event & A Free Appendix N Sword and Sorcery Download - Avon Fantasy Reader 14 (1950) For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 06/11/2017 - 05:48
The PC's went to get a magic item identified from a recent adventure  in tonight's game at the local temple of Mercury. They quickly became embroiled in a plot of kidnapping, intrigue, & cultists! Tonight's game was all about Crabmen in Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea game. I've moved the crew in tonight's game onto to the Hyperborean mainland.In tonight's game there was  Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Hung With My Old Gaming Group Today and Look What We Found

Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 06/11/2017 - 01:40

As I've mentioned before, Tenkar was a henchman in one of my old campaigns that became moreso as time went on.

I never retained a copy of the character sheet of Tenkar, the Dwarven Fighter that was a henchman for Paul (who dropped out for the group for a bit and is the reason we gather each year, as Paul was lost on 9-11) before Tenkar moved on to Brian - who made this character sheet.

Tenkar later returned as my Dwarven Paladin in EverQuest shortly after launch and became my online name when I started blogging (to keep "the job" and "the blog" is separate worlds)

Anyhow, an excellent time with friends I've known for over 30 years. Gaming bonds are often life long bonds.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Just Over 2 Days Left on the OSR Extravaganza Sale at RPGNow

Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 06/10/2017 - 13:08

The OSR Extravaganza Sale is coming to close in a hair over 2 days - 10 AM Eastern Monday morning.

If you have a wish list or somehow have missed it, now is the time to grab what you want. If you haven't checked out the bundles, you really can't beat the deals.

Follow the following link for Tavern posts and picks for the sale:

Tenkar's Tavern OSR Sale 2017 Picks

Remember, 5% off all purchases made through The Tavern's affiliate links goes to support The Tavern. We thank you for your generous support over the years.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dungeon Magazine #138

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 06/10/2017 - 11:19

It’s interesting, I’ve noticed another tonal change in Dungeon Magazine. The last few issues have contained adventures with a variety of styles. Linear, combat focused, more traditional styles. Accident or purpose? Who knows, but I do find the uptick in useful content refreshing. I’ve not been lothing my weekly review nearly as much.

Urban Decay
By Amber E. Scott
Level 2

Be aware: I’m fond of urban campaigns. Wererats. In sewers. Oh boy. Short & straightforward, the party learns some ratcatchers are missing. Checking in with the guild find the guild leader missing. A three room sewer reveals a wererat, which leads to a three room scow with another. End. I applaud the terseness, by Dungeon standards. This has a modicum of a low-tech/grunge feel to it, with a half-orc selling meat pies made out of rats and a “pigeon swarm” as guards in the sewers, as well as a giant cockroach. It’s nice theming. The NPC’s also fight to the death, for the usual reasons of fearing their superiors. Still, there’s room in this for roleplaying, bluffing enemies and the like. It’s getting pretty close to the platonic form of the lair-based/event adventure, but the roleplaying available and low-tech/low-life elements make it a cut above. It would make a nice little thing to dump in to an urban campaign.

The Weavers
By Richard Pett
Level 10

A long-winded linear adventure. Bob pleads with the party to stop an impending spider infestation in the city. You follow a linear trail, having fight after fight. Pretext after pretext for combat. Dude doesn’t answer his door and has a “guard drake.” Thugs don’t like people asking questions. On it goes. This is augmented by MOUNTAINS of justifying text. There has to be multiple paragraphs justifying the guard drake. Bobs mansion has a museum and there has to be a tour, to no purpose, so each room is described. The adventure goes on and on like this, as you follow the line,

The Mud Sorcerer’s Tomb
By Mike Shel
Level 14

This is the … fourth? version of this dungeon, I think? 2e (Dungeon #37), 3e (this issue), 4e and 5e. It’s a Tomb of Horrors like trap & temporal stasis dungeon full of puzzles. As I said in my d#37 review of the 2e version, the first room is a good example of what’s inside. Three names are on the front door in platinum letters. Examination reveals the letters of the last name “Elomcwe” can be depressed. Pressing “welcome” unlocks the door. By making this a Level 14 adventure it requires a pretext for gimping all of the players spells. Spells like augury, commune, contact other plane, etc were all originally used to AVOID death traps, but in this dungeon they, and others, are all gimped so the players can’t use them. This is a clear indication that the adventure is written for the wrong levels. Relying on Temporal Stasis is also a technique to disguise weak design. The puzzles, however, are top notch. A room with walls covered in eyes, all crying and moving. The tears are acid, making searching the walls for the secret door difficult. The adventure also illustrates the problem with the Search check. Previous editions had an element of player skill in the searching. The DM dropped hints in their descriptions, the players followed up and discovered things. In 3e this was abstracted to The Search Check. Just roll the dice, or take 20, and don’t bother with the more interactive portions. Rolling dice for routine resolution is boring as fuck. Once, running 4e RPGA at a con, a dude rolled his diplomacy to recruit an army of floating eyeballs from a bunch of wizards. “Uh, nope. What do you actually SAY?” I asked. “Uh, you’re one of THOSE dm’s. Can’t I just roll?” was the reply. This moment has stayed with me an excellent example of how mechanics can ruin play. Anyway, this is close enough to a clone of the D#37 adventure to be the same, except with the 3e mechanics. The 2e version, in play, should be stronger, because of the mechanics issues.

Challenge of Champions VI
By Johnathan M. Richards
Any Level

As with all of the others, it’s just a series of encounters for the players to overcome. It gets its “any level” designation because everyone in the contest gets the same stuff, provided in each room on scrolls, etc. Thus this is, essentially, a series of player challenges rather than character challenges. IE: the fun part of D&D/Combat As War. Generally the straightforward way is the worst way to tackle these situations, so ideas like “I stab it” are likely to be poorer choices than using your noggins. Creative play is encouraged. Still, I’m not really a fan of these. They require a game world with adventurers guilds with tryouts and a higher magic content than I’m comfortable with. As rooms that encourage open-ended play they are great though.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

OSR Campaign Commentary With I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City: An Adventure for Character Levels 4-7 (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons)

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 06/10/2017 - 06:12
I've lost count on the number of times I've talked about I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden  on this blog but its Saturday & I'm thumbing through this adventure again. This is one of those modules that has bit of everything awesome about AD&D first edition Sword & Sorcery adventures done right "Somewhere in the heart of the steaming jungle lies the answer to the whispered tales - rumors of a Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


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