Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Humble Bundle - Warhammer FRP 2e - Even if Just for a Buck - You NEED This!

Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 23:36

My God! One of my favorite RPGs of all time, available for a measly buck. And if you put in 20, they include a PDF of WFRP 1e! Humble Bundle for the win!

Here's the 1 dollar:


Now for the 8 buck level:


How about 15 bucks?


Last, but certainly far from least, you add the following at the 20 dollar level:


Holy shit. I may be in gaming heaven...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Tonight is Tavern Chat - Join Us at 9 PM Eastern for Text / 930 PM for Voice

Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 22:00


Ah, today is a beautiful day! Great news regarding Rach's health, so I'm walking on air a bit :)

Anyhow, tonight at 9 PM Eastern is Tavern Chat. We use The Tavern's Discord Channel these days, so please join us if you haven't before:

https://discord.gg/GYMSZX

We kick off the Text Chat at 9 PM and it runs until 11 PM or later.

We kick off the Voice Chat at 930 PM and it runs until 11 PM or later.

You want topics? If you've been following the OSR this week, we'll have plenty of topics :)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Tomb of Annihilation: Cinema Treasure Inspiration

Ultanya - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 18:39
Ta Prohm Temples of AngkorWith Tomb of Annihilation being released, many adventurers will be braving the dangers of Chult. For the uninitiated, Chult is part of the Forgotten Realms setting. It’s a land of savage monsters, poisonous flora and fauna, and trackless jungles. As a setting, jungles have long been a favorite to explore by authors. Just to name a few inspirational ones:

Arthur Conan Doyle: The Lost World (1912)
Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Land That Time Forgot (1918)
Michael Crichton: Congo (1980)

The jungle is a perfect backdrop for a Dungeons & Dragons adventure. Under the great canopy there is little light, everything is mysterious, the heat and humidity oppressive, danger lurks in the shadows, and the unknown is ubiquitous. In terms of taking the players (and their characters) out of their comfort zone, a jungle setting certainly delivers.

Over the years there have been plenty of cinema experiences also that used the jungle. Below I have picked three with fun treasure inspiration for your Tomb of Annihilation campaign. After all, what would a jungle based adventure be without ancient ruins, deadly traps, and legendary treasures!

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Can you hear the theme song yet? When you think of jungle adventurers, Indiana Jones is right at the top. The Golden Idol and the resulting consequences of looting it remain one of favorite cinema moments. The idol is a believed to be based on the Aztec goddess, Tlazolteotl. Her domains were interesting and  covered purification, fertility, and filth. That said, this sounds like something perfect for a place such as Chult. Perhaps the idol can cure or minimize disease, but at great cost. Maybe there is a nasty curse associated with the idol? Replicas are available online from many different vendors and makes for a great table prop.

Romancing the Stone (1984)

In this story, the adventurers are seeking a massive emerald named El Corazón ("The Heart"). The map and gemstone are perfect examples of easy table props. Players love handouts and a crystal gem such as this can be purchased at your local craft store. Gemstones are usually associated with fantastical treasure hunts, which are perfect for a Dungeons & Dragons game. Something like El Corazón would almost definitely come with curse, but also may be the key to something. In the very least the temptation of unearthing a massive gemstone makes for a wonderful side quest in the jungles of Chult.

Jumanji (1995)

How fitting, a movie about a boy who is trapped in a board game! One of the things I always thought was cool were the actual Jumanji game pieces. The four animal shaped tokens include an elephant, crocodile, rhinoceros, and monkey. I think these would make perfect Figurines of Wondrous Power! The characters could find an old copy of Jumanji, or alternatively some other Chultan game during their travels. For added coolness replicas of the figurines are available online to use as game props.

In closing remember there is inspiration all around you. With a published adventure such as the Tomb of Annihilation, one of the best things you can do is make it your own. Borrow, steal, and use material from other sources liberally. The insertion of favorite moments from cinema and story makes for memorable Easter eggs at the game table. If your group is the type that appreciates inside jokes and nostalgic moments, got for it! Besides what DM does not want to unleash a giant boulder trap on the PCs? Pro Tip: Use a D100 and knock over the miniatures for added effect!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

DC Bombshells Trading Cards - Sketch Card Previews, Part 11

Cryptozoic - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 17:00

Please enjoy the eleventh installment of our DC Bombshells Trading Cards Sketch Card previews, hand-drawn by our talented artists. Links to contact the artists can be found below the images of their Sketch Cards.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Prince Of T1-4 Temple Of Elemental By Frank Mentzer and Gary Gygax

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 14:45
So I've been gone for a good part of the day on a sewing machine repair call. But I found some time to get in an old favorite flick of mine with my folks. Tonight my mom & dad wanted an Eighties fantasy film with some romance and heart. So we settled on Legend from Eighty Five, which has attained the status of a cultclassic film with a plot that draws heavily from the fairy tale and Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Interesting (and Entertaining) look at Harmony Gold's latest Lawsuit againt BATTLETECH

Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 14:02

Certainly not safe for work but full of bits of gaming history that was news to me. Its a fun video. Hopefully you're not too offended by excessive vulgarity ;)

Enjoy!
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Cryptozoic and Warner Bros. Consumer Products Announce Release of DC Deck-Building Game Crossover Pack 6: Birds of Prey

Cryptozoic - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 13:00

Cryptozoic Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, on behalf of DC Entertainment, today announced the release of DC Deck-Building Game Crossover Pack 6: Birds of Prey. The expansion for the popular DC Deck-Building Game series allows players to play as the popular all-female DC Super Hero team the Birds of Prey. The team utilizes a brand-new “Rotated Cards” mechanic.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Blood Pharaoh

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 11:15


By Jayson Gardner
Silver Bulettes
Swords & Wizardry
Levels 5-7

The party is hired by a caravan to guard a mysterious cargo. What can be so important to require a full group of 4th-6th level adventurers?

This is a 22 page “linear event” type adventure which has you escorting a caravan. Linear events. Nonsensical maps. Lots & lots of combat. At least there’s a lot of read-aloud? Oh … wait …

This adventure has some SERIOUS issues with making sense.

Ok, so Pharoah Bob goes to some kingdom and dies. His body gets shoved in a crate and a caravan hired to take him back home. This, then, is the very first thing in this adventure that doesn’t make sense. He appears to have no retainers and sending him home is done by … the king of the place he was visiting? Isn’t he supposed to be a living god, with lots of loyal followers? I can buy in to the dead foreign dignitary bit, but the rest of the thing makes no sense to me.

Parts of the initial timeline make no sense. You’re hired, and meet the caravan … at night .. a few hours before sunrise. You set off immediately, travel a couple of hours, and then make camp. Later, you break camp, travel a couple of hours, come across an inn, and then stop for the night at mid-morning. It just makes no sense at all!

There’s a hex crawl portion. But there’s no hex crawl map even though it’s referred to repeatedly. Other wilderness maps have no scale on them … and I think it’s clear the scale varies widely on them. You’re supposed to roll twice per hex for encounters on a small wandering table … which has a 50% chance of having an encounter. And then at night you roll at least three times, meaning encounters are assured. This seems pretty excessive, especially for an early edition game with healing issues. And the wandering table, just listing a few monsters, can’t really support this quantity of wandering play. It’s like someone through it in as an afterthought.

The encounters are linear. “Night of day one” you get to have an encounter with a wild boar running through camp. Night three a demon shows up. Day three there’s some goblins up ahead. And so it goes. The read-aloud, of which there is at times PAGES worth (night three, I’m looking at you!) assumes you kill things. No talking to the goblins, the readaloud says “I’ve never seen such combat prowess!” and then goes on for a lot more …

This is just someone writing down some combat encounters and then expanding them with a fuck ton of read-aloud. Not even the addition of NPC’s named Magic Master and Stealthy Steve can save it from itself.

It’s PWYW from DriveThru, hanging out at $1. The preview is one of those “page flippers” and it WAY too small to read at all, only giving a basic overview of the layout style.
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/220884/The-Blood-Pharaoh?manufacturers_id=11366

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Wednesday Comics: The Hanging Tower

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 11:00

The Hanging Tower is a short graphic novel (graphic novella?) by Sam Bosma. It's the story of "an old knight in search of a lost girl in a run-down fantasy world" according to the copy, but I might instead describe it as an aging adventurer facing her past (and some of her former comrades) in a world where magic is beginning to fade. The plot and the stories execution bear no small resemblance to the Western genre, an effect accentuate by the fantasyland's material culture, that's like the medieval world being quickly replaced by the turn of the (20th) century and a landscape reminiscent of the American Southwest. There's a bit of loss, a bit of regret, and a laconic over-the-hill badass with some good lines.

Oh yeah, and Sam Bosma's art:

Guest Poster - R.J. Thompson wants YOU at U-Con this November!

Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 03:42


Hi Folks. This is R.J. (Ryan) Thompson.

Most folks here probably best know me for writing the Gamers & Grognards Blog, taking over the running of Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day and/or as the current owner of the Swords & Wizardry Community on G+. Something that you might not know, is that I am also the OSR Event Coordinator for U-Con, a mid size gaming convening in Ypsilanti Michigan. We run in November every year, though the weekend varies. We are pretty close to Gamehole Con every year. This year we are running Nov. 17th-19th. Maybe you can't make Gamehole because it is a bit farther or pricier than you can manage, or maybe you would just prefer to run/play in a smaller, quieter atmosphere. Maybe, you do have the time and funds and want more convention gaming in the fall. Well, we have you covered there. Being that this is an OSR based blog, we also have you covered.

Additionally, if you are fan of Tekumel, we have an extra treat for you. Since U-Con's beginnings on the campus of U of M, we have given a home to a Tekumel specific track and pull Tekumel fans from around the world yearly. In recent years the numbers on this track have dwindled. As OSR Coordinator, I have a historical interest in growing our Tekumel track again.

I always have an interest in growing the OSR track. Last year we boasted more than 60 OSR events, including an annual roundtable panel that is always recorded and hosted on an OSR centric podcast. The first two years of this +Jim Wampler recorded us on Save or Die! Last year we were recorded by Drink, Spin, Run! The panel features the track's guest of honor and other guests. In the past this has included Jim Wampler, Bill Webb, Bill Barsh, Doug Kovacs, Brendan LaSalle and Tim Snider.

This year the OSR Track's Guests will include Doug Kovacs and Brendan LaSalle.

This year we need more GMs. Not just on the OSR and Tekumel Tracks either (though I will gladly take more events on either of those tracks.) We need GMs for Minis Games, Board Games, RPGs... the whole enchilada. So, if you want to run anything, here is a link to my own website, with all of the information that you might need!

http://gamersandgrognards.blogspot.com/2017/09/u-con-event-submission-extension-submit.html
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Bat in the Attic replies to Frank Mentzer

Bat in the Attic - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 01:36
For those of you who haven't heard Frank Mentzer is hard at work organizing things to publish material for the Empyrea setting that is part of Oerth the world where Greyhawk can be found. Mr. Mentzer is the primary author of the BECMI edition of Dungeon and Dragons as well the author of numerous other works for TSR and Dungeons and Dragons.

Over on Tenkar's Tavern, Erik Tenker shares this interesting bit from a conversation he had with Frank Mentzer.
A common characteristic of most Old-School sites is adherence to one specific point in the Past, generally out-of-print game systems. Very cool. Nothing wrong with that, most systems have value to many. But of all the tabletop RPG fans, the OSR buys the fewest New Products. This is fine I want to give things away... strongly preferred in these circles of course. Culturally the OSR is unique and priceless, and I applaud it. But they have chosen to be irrelevant to the current market.I am sure there are lot of people in this industry that would agree with Mr. Mentzer especially the last sentence. I am not one of them. Why? For several reasons.

The first thing that people need to keep in mind about what the Old School Renaissance is the reason why it exists. It is the interaction of several things. First a continuing interest in the classic editions of Dungeons and Dragons from the 1974 Boxed set to the ADnD 2nd Edition. Second the ability to leverage open content to support these classic editions with new works that can be shared or sold commercially. Third, a radical reduction in the cost of creating, and distributing written works and graphics (like maps).

These three facts are the foundation of everything that we see in the OSR today.

Of the three it is the use of open content that caused the diversity of the OSR to explode. Once Matt Finch, Stuart Marshall, and Chris Gonnerman demonstrated how the d20 SRD could be used to create near clones of classic D&D in the form of OSRIC and Basic Fantasy. The gates were flung open for anybody to realize their particular vision of what classic DnD can be.

Just as important this use of open content wasn't limited to specific editions of classic DnD. It also enabled the creation of hybrids or the adaptions of classic DnD mechanics to new genres. Freed from the artificial constraints on creativity imposed by intellectual property the use of open content flowered into full bloom in the publishing world of the OSR. Resulting in the bewildering range of works we see being shared and published.

What drives all this are the whims of the individuals involved. So in a sense Mr. Mentzer is right that there is a choice involved. A choice that for some doesn't take into account what is marketable but rather what one individual or a small group thinks ought to be published. And let the market be damned!

But note my use of some, because it not true for all. Many OSR publishers, including myself do take a hard look at what we think people and the market want. People like Kevin Crawford, James Raggi,  have put a lot of hours in publishing works that are not only have great content but a great presentation. And from conversations I had with both, they put considerable thought into how to make this happen. In short they each have a business plan for realizing their vision. And they both adjust things as circumstances change. There are others like Frog God Games, and Goodman Games. Some are individuals like my friend Tim Shorts at Gothridge Manor.

Doesn't sound much different than what traditional publishers do.

Keep in mind that the freedom of open content doesn't just mean that you get to realize your vision. It means that everybody gets to realize their vision. For some that means preservation. Places like Knights and Knaves, Aceaum, Piazza, Ruins of Mirkhill, ODnD Discussion Forum, and Dragonsfoot are devoted to preserving specific editions of classic DnD.

And while some criticism of these sites have merit, the one I find unfair is that they are backwards or resistant to new things. It easy to make material for these groups. You just have to target the exact editions they are interested in. Not something close, not some hybrid, but the exact edition as close as you legally can with whatever quirks and nuances it possesses. And if you are not willing or unable to do that then they are not your audience.

Last there been some recent drama associated with one of these sites in particular and Mr. Mentzer. It sad that it occurred but I am not interested in who is right or wrong. I will say that if you ever want to "win" an argument in the OSR the best reply is always to write your idea up, do the work to make it usable by others and release either to share or for sale.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Frank Mentzer Follows Up With The Tavernkeeper

Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 21:53
Frank Mentzer Facebooked me via personal messages earlier today about his upcoming Kickstarter and other recent events. It was a personal conversation, but one piece in particular was pointed out by Frank to be something I could share with The Tavern's Community. It is screen shotted for authenticity below:
"A common characteristic of most Old-School sites is adherence to one specific point in the Past, generally out-of-print game systems. Very cool. Nothing wrong with that, most systems have value to many. But of all the tabletop RPG fans, the OSR buys the fewest New Products. This is fine I want to give things away... strongly preferred in these circles of course. Culturally the OSR is unique and priceless, and I applaud it. But they have chosen to be irrelevant to the current market." -FM I'm withholding comment until I can spend more time thinking on this, but it may very well be relevant to the recent issues over at Dragonsfoot.

Here's the source:


As I said, the rest of the conversation is private so I've only shared the piece that Frank specifically mentioned I could quote.


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Tales of Peril - Dust Jacket Flaps

Zenopus Archives - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 20:27

In the previous post, we looked at the cover art for Tales of Peril. 
Moving inside, here are the contents from the dust jacket flaps:

Front Flap, upper: Quote from the Maze of Peril, Chapter 9, "Visible and Invisible", providing a preview of the battle against the Dagonites.

Front Flap, lower: List of contents. Focuses on highlights, and is more explanatory than the table of contents.

Back Flap, upper: Two paragraph biography of Holmes, different than the one that appeared at the back of the 1986 publication of Maze of Peril. It mentions his medical career, his Korean War service (which I don't think is well known), and gives an overview of his writing career.

Back Flap, lower: Photo of Holmes gaming. I've included a larger version of this photo above. Photo by Steve Pyryeztov. This photo is from the same session as the one near the front of Holmes' book Fantasy Role-Playing Games (1981).

In these photos we see Holmes running a game at his chalk board table in his basement. In his book, Holmes wrote "My own gaming table is spray-painted with "chalk board paint" so that the green surface can be marked with chalk and then, when the characters move on, a new set of doors and walls can be drawn around them. In this way, the little figures never move off the table, they only move to new positions as the scenery shifts around them" (pg 93). 

An earlier photo of Holmes at this same table can be see in the post, Holmes' Little Metal People Take II.

Looking at the above photo in more detail, we see chalked dungeon corridors, and Holmes pointing at a battle occurring at an intersection of these corridors. 

The wizard with staff held aloft vertically appears to be "ME4 Wizard" from Minifigs' Mythical Earth line. Thanks to Tony at the Cryptic Archivist for posting a picture of this figure in the Holmes Basic group recently. I'm sure some of our readers will ID some of the other minis.



Under Holmes' arms are visible at least three of the dime-store Hong Kong-manufactured monsters that inspired the Bulette of D&D. See this post by Tony DiTerlizzi, a former TSR artist, for more history and photos of these toys. I had several sets of these myself as a child. 

An AD&D Players Handbook rests on the table under the elbow of one player, so at this point (1980-81?) they were using the AD&D rules.

Behind the players are shelves of boxes filled with comic books. Each box has a comic, or just the cover, attached to it to show the contents. Between this picture and the one in the book, I can make out one cover for the Incredible Hulk Special 2 (1969). In this picture it's the barely visible box with the "K" to the right of the player with glasses. In the book, the Hulk is clearly visible on the cover.

This post is part of the Tales of Peril Book Club.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

OSR Commentary As We Enter The World of 'Manos der Dämonenjäger" For Your Old School Campaigns Part I

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 16:14
A prince wanders the wastelands of another world facing down monsters, menaces, and evils beyond the pale of man? Sounds like a familiar barbarian poster boy of Sword & Sorcery? Well how about instead of the usual movie barbarian warrior we have heroes, who had to use their courage and brains instead of muscles in the face of a danger. Well your about to hear the story of another barbarian Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Cryptozoic and Warner Bros. Consumer Products Announce Release of DC Deck-Building Game Multiverse Box

Cryptozoic - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 13:00

Cryptozoic Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, on behalf of DC Entertainment, today announced the release of the DC Deck-Building Game Multiverse Box. The storage box holds all the different sets that have been released for the popular DC Deck-Building Game, utilizing set dividers and foam inserts to keep all the cards organized, and has extra room for expansions to come. It comes exclusively with the Multiverse Crossover Pack, which draws from the “Convergence” comic book storyline and offers an experience that takes advantage of a DC Deck-Building Game fan’s entire box of cards.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Why Dungeons & Dragons Players Don’t Love Sandboxes as Much as They Think

DM David - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 11:30

Many role-playing gamers set sandbox adventures as an ideal. We all agree that railroads make bad adventures, so do sandboxes offer all the virtues that railroads lack?

In role-playing adventures, sandboxes and railroads fall on ends of a spectrum. Railroads offer players no options. Sandboxes allow complete freedom, including freedom to choose a goal. If a character favors a bartending in Barovia over vampire hunting, they still get a place in the campaign.

Boxes of sand let kids choose their own goals. They can make sand castles, bake sand cakes, anything. And when they grow up, they can stage miniature battles.

Some games deliver all the freedom of a box of sand. Minecraft lets you play a survival game, but it owes its success to all the other things you can do: Some players build forts or replicas of the seven wonders. Some create a circuits from redstone. Players make their own goal.

D&D used to force a goal on characters

Original Dungeons & Dragons never started as pure sandbox, because the rules included a goal: Take treasure from dungeons and the wilderness. By rule, characters who won treasure gained experience and power. They won D&D. See The fun and realism of unrealistically awarding experience points for gold.

When the original D&D characters reached high, name level, the game turned into a sandbox where players chose a new goal for their characters. Stronghold building offered fighting men an obvious goal, but some other classes lacked anything as clear. What do you want for your bard or druid? Should a wizard build a tower or start a school? Apparently, many high-level wizards go mad and build dungeons. Where else could the living-chess puzzles and reverse-gravity rooms come from? Endless possibilities await!

Instead of embracing the freedom of a high-level sandbox, players returned to dungeons.

Sandboxes can overwhelm players with choices

In Why Dungeons & Dragons (and Role Playing) Took Years to Leave the Dungeon and How the dungeon crawl’s advantages propelled Dungeons & Dragons to success, I described the attraction of dungeons. Among other advantages, dungeons limit the characters’ options. This doesn’t just help dungeon masters prepare, it helps players.

Common wisdom suggests there is no such thing as too many choices, but psychologists conclude that people flooded with options become paralyzed by them.

When dungeon masters offer a true sandbox and come willing to improvise any course their players choose, they confound players. Once the players stop wondering what they’re supposed to do, they struggle to choose from boundless possibilities. Whatever they finally decide, they leave the table with a nagging feeling that they chose wrong.

The value of limited options

In D&D, dungeons, patrons, and hooks all limit the options that players’ face. Such tropes give players direction. A little direction improves the game.

Make no mistake. Players still want options. Every game session should leave players wondering what might have happened if they followed a different course. Mike “Sly Flourish” Shea recommends that giving players three plus infinite choices. DMs should offer three known options that take characters closer to their goal, while being open to anything players want to try.

Many sources of DM advice suggest seeding a sandbox setting with hooks—opportunities for players to land in stories of their choosing. Exactly. Those hooks help players narrow all the options of an open world to a sweet spot of three plus infinite choices. They nudge the game a bit closer to the railroad end of the dial. Some railroad-phobics might even argue that such hooks show a DM working too hard to push players through a story. Their ideal game only works with perfectly spherical, frictionless players. The real players at your table want hooks.

The sandbox dungeon

D&D’s mega-dungeons limited players’ choices, but many fans still tout multi-level dungeons as sandboxes. Sure, characters need to adopt the goal of seeking treasure, but they never need to dutifully follow a story arc planned by a DM. Plus, players could chose a difficulty level by deciding how deep they dared to delve. A few D&D players still favor that style of play.

Embracing story and fewer options

Despite the freedom of a dungeon sandbox, most D&D players craved story and deeper motivations. The D&D game changed to provide. When Tracy and Laura Hickman penned a series of classic modules including Ravenloft and the Desert of Desolation trilogy, they led the change. Their introduction to a self-published version of Pharoah gives D&D adventures four, new requirements:

  1. A player objective more worthwhile than pillaging and killing.
  2. An intriguing story that is intricately woven into the play itself.
  3. Dungeons with some sort of architectural sense.
  4. An attainable and honorable end within one or two sessions of playing time.

When characters explore Castle Ravenloft, they quest for more than loot. They aim to free the land from the menace of Lord Strahd. Adopting the goal of a story takes a measure of freedom from players. Now the their options narrow to the choices that lead to the magic items that will help defeat Strahd. Few players mind. They see clear options that take them closer to achieving their characters’ aims. As the adventure progresses, the players’ paths narrow to a railroad that leads to a final confrontation.

Of course, at any time, the characters could leave the railroad and open a tavern in Barovia, but that never happens. Partly because D&D players like doing D&D things such as smiting evil and winning treasure. Partly because players follow D&D’s social contract by honoring the DM’s preparation. Mostly because players enjoy stories in D&D and they willingly abandon the freedom of a sandbox to foster them.

Too often, D&D fans tout sandboxes as the pinnacle of adventure design. Dungeon masters and adventure authors aim for the freedom of a sandbox, but just leave players feeling adrift. Players enjoy D&D most when they see a few, clear options that take them closer to achieving their characters’ aims.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Fitness Answers

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 04:48

Okay, I’m thinking I’m starting to get this. But it’s not easy.

There’s basically no one whose job it is to help me figure this out. The chiropractor thinks the spine has all the answers. But not one of them ever thought to tell me that working out could help me hold an adjustment to the point where I don’t need their services so much. At the gym, the physical trainer is quick to say, “I’m not a doctor.” And the doctor…? I’m just glad she had the sense to throw me at a physical therapist. Because some of her direction was just plain wrong.

I write down everything I do. Every type of exercise. Everything that hurts. When it hurts. How it hurts. How long. I get out these papers and start talking and they tune out. Most of these people, they have a lot of patients to serve. The system is to get as many people in and out as quickly as possible. Thinking and listening isn’t so much on the agenda.

So the answers come from comparing notes from people that are genuinely into fitness. The medical type people… they can confirm this sort of common sense stuff… but they never really get the idea that it would be a good thing to convey it to anyone. (Your mileage may vary. And I hope it does.)

So here’s the problem. I go on a fitness kick… end up working my way up to doing five mile run. I do three in a week… but we’re going hiking. In my head, hiking doesn’t count as “real” exercise. So I go on this hike the same day as I do a five mile run. And I find out that rapid elevation changes can make even a four mile hike into a killer. I wipe myself out and end up hurting my knee.

Then after doing some physical therapy a while… I end up run/walking about three miles. (Longer than I expected.) I stretch. I ice it down. I don’t hurt it all… until the next day. Muscles in my leg start spazzing out…!

Then I switch to biking more. (It’s not as hard on my knee.) Again, a lot of what I do doesn’t register in my brain as being “real” exercise. I don’t count my commute as exercise. It’s just “activity” in my head. I bike to the gym, work out, and bike home. Then later that afternoon I do this 20 mile bike ride and my knee ends up complaining for the last six miles of it.

Maybe you already see the problem. Good!

So I ask a trainer how she trains for a marathon. She does 40 minutes on the treadmill on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Saturdays she runs only one mile. Sundays she does her “big” run… steadily increasing it up until the event.

Here’s another clue: if Vox Day has a big soccer game, he doesn’t do a huge workout the day before.

This sort of planning real athletes take for granted has not been on my agenda at all. And another thing. My approach to fitness is to pick one activity, and then do more and more until I injure myself. All of my assumptions about how to work out are setting me up to find these breaking points. Like… if I was training for a marathon, I’m the sort that would do two in one week. (I know, it doesn’t make any sense. But that’s the gist of my “method”.)

So I know what my limits are– five mile runs and twenty mile bike rides are right about where my reach is right now. The physical trainers have evened out the muscles in my legs. (I’m symmetrical now. Long story.) And I know it’s worth my time to go get some real running shoes from people that know what works.

But my plan now is something more like this:

  • Gym workouts Monday, Wednesday, Friday… but I don’t do leg stuff on Fridays.
  • Four mile bike rides to and from work on week days.
  • The big bike ride on Saturdays. Working up from 12 to 15 to 17 to 20 miles… hopefully with no knee weirdness.

If that goes well, I’ll cool it. Maybe switch to some jogging to make sure I can get back to those one and two mile runs I used to do all the time. Take a break… and then maybe plan out how to hit that 30 mile mark in a completely separate plan.

(The strength training at the gym is what makes going beyond the limits possible. Especially the running can take its toll. Cranking that up arbitrarily doesn’t do anything for my health. I really like running for some reason. But mainly… it’s most useful as a test to prove that I’ve gone beyond wherever I was physically three months ago.)

But yeah, I suppose picking reasonable goals, changing things up, and leveraging your rest periods is just common sense. I’m just glad it only took ten weeks for me to piece this together.


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

TSR luminary Frank Mentzer Booted from Dragonsfoot

Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 01:05
Its been a weird couple of days over on the Dragonsfoot Forum. I wish I could explain it, but in all seriousness, I can't. I strongly suspect there were some very strongly worded PMs going back and fourth between Frank and the admin of Dragonsfoot.

We'll start with the end because sometimes stories make more sense that way. Not that this makes much sense as written:


Wow! Like, damn Wow!

So, lets follow what we can, shall we?


Not quite goodbye yet but damn close to it.


I have no words after reading the above. Or rather, I have words but I'm not sure how to put them into coherent sentences. I will say this - in June the launch date was late July. Now we'll know "by October" which doesn't mean an October launch. I'm curious as all hell but it looks like Dragonsfoot won't be a source for the info.


Obviously I should have been spending more time on Dragonsfoot.


Which leads to Frank's removal at the front of this post. Its obvious that there's more going on than meets the eye, but this is what we have. I'm withholding my opinion until there's more info to form one.

Can someone shed light on the harassment of the game designers over on Dragonsfoot? Links would be useful.

Here's another link to the thread.

edit - I left this out by mistake - not sure exactly how it fits but included for completeness:


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Box Breaking 219: Shadow Run Zero Day from Catalyst Game Labs

Gamer Goggles - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 22:21

In this Box Breaking Matt takes a look at Shadowrun Zero Day. The game that allows you to play as the contagion that can bring the mega corporations to their knees. Each players goal is to hack in to the corporations and bypass the system.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

This game features some great art, and is super easy to learn.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Claiming Authorship to Something that Isn't Yours - Oh, and Wyrms Footnotes Returns!

Tenkar's Tavern - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 20:11



Ever get that feeling of Deja Vu? Where you know you've seen something before but simply can't place it? Well, I'm feeling that now.

Above is an article from the ENWorld homepage. I'll link to it directly, which ENWorld seems to have an issue doing itself. Note, neither of the links in the above article go to the original article.

So, why does that look familiar?

Right. Exactly. Bet you didn't know it was a copy and paste of Michael O'Brien's original post. No link to the original post either. You MIGHT even think it was an interview conducted by ENWorld.

Same happened with +Frank Mentzer original announcement of his forthcoming KS. ENWorld's article lifted it all from Frank's Facebook post with no links or mention that it was from Facebook. (For Frank's FB feed, see here)

I do like ENWorld for the news they post, but perhaps linking to the actual sources instead of making the illusion that an interview took place would serve the community better.

Note, when I source a press release - or ENWorld or any other site, I show it as a quotation and link to the source. Should I fail to do so, please call my ass out on it.

Oh, and awesome news about Wyrms Footnotes! Can't have too much RuneQuest!


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

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