Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Five Terribe Cultclassic Eghties Sword, Sorcery, & Science Fantasy Films That We Love

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 19:52
If your into Sword & Sorcery flicks there's a certain how shall we say this level that the gets crossed right after 1985's Red Sonja film. In the desperate quest to find films that the players haven't heard of there was a line that used to get crossed by old school dungeon masters who came into the video store I worked in back in the 90's in Boston. Those poor desperate souls who went Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


Cryptozoic - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 17:04

Pre Order Site Live NOW! Don’t miss out on your chance to own all three limited-edition Golden Goddess DC Bombshells vinyl figures made for San Diego Comic-Con 2017!...

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

David Sutherland Day

Zenopus Archives - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 16:30
 Sutherland's art from the title page of the Basic rulebook
Originally posted in 2013

Today marks the birthday of my favorite TSR artist, the late David C. Sutherland III (aka DCSIII), who passed away too young (age 56) in 2005. I've designated April 4th as "David Sutherland Day". Dave's work defines the look of D&D in 1977, when his art graced the cover of the Holmes Basic Set and first AD&D hardback, The Monster Manual. His work also defined the look of Holmes Basic, being used for the both the cover, the title page (posted above) and foreword (the lizard rider that graces the title of my blog). He was also responsible for most of the artwork for the first Basic module, B1 In Search of the Unknown.

Tome of Treasures has a page with an extensive listing of his TSR credits.

In 2012 his Basic Set artwork was featured in a line of retro t-shirts from WOTC. And in 2013 his original painting was recovered from a crate at the WOTC offices.

Please post a comment on what your favorite work(s) of his.

Here are a few somewhat obscure pieces from Swords & Spells (1976) that are very much in the same style as the Holmes title page piece:

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Some Notes & Commentary On U2 Danger At Dunwater

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 15:11
The little fishing town of Saltmarsh is threatened! Why are lizard men gathering force nearby and why have they been buying large quantities of weapons? A party of bold adventurers must answer these questions or the people of Saltmarsh will never live in peace! Apparently Saltmarsh can't live in peace at all. U2 is one of the most interesting and yet sparse in the U series of modules. "Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Can You Map the OSR by "The Politics of Personalities?"

Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 03:34

Here we are, a week after my return from Gary Con and I find I'm still playing catch up, this time with blog reading.

It's funny that I didn't cut my hair for nearly 11 months in the hopes of growing a ponytail - hint: it never got long enough so I cut it short right before the con. I almost went hipster ;)

Anyhow, I find it interesting that instead of focusing on actual blog content or community building, Patrick Stewart instead focused on things like politics and geography.

Really, when it comes down to it, what does politics have to do with gaming or the OSR? Does it matter who at what publisher voted for who (because yes, even publishers have questions about their political leanings)

As for geography, the internet and VTTs blur the line of distance and location, so it seems pointless to even attempt to do so. It is literally making assumptions based on little, if any, facts.

As for the OSR being driven by personalities, no more so than any other hobby. I'm fairly sure the majority of old school gamers have no idea who I am, not do they care to do so. (case in point, NTRPG 2015, where my wife Rach was astounded that someone as the Con had no clue who I was ;)

You can read more at the False Machine Blog
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Thinking About Time Travel RPGs

19th Level - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 02:09

It occurs to me that one of the genres I've not gamed in for years is that of time travel. I'm pretty certain I've had the occasional time travel adventure but I'm thinking more a game dedicated around time travel. I had a Star Trek game about a starship that bounced from one parallel universe to another that was rather fun, but that was in the late 1990s/early 2000s - nothing since then as far as I can recall.

That's a bit surprising, as I love both the time travel genre and history in general. I think one of the things that makes it challenging is how to handle such things as paradox. The game I'm most familiar with as far as handling situations like this is Pelgrane Press' Timewatch which makes paradox a gameable mechanic. It's in your best interests to avoid outright paradox while dancing around it. For example, if your characters were to be imprisoned, it would be quite the paradox to have your characters just vanish from their prison cell. On the other hand, if your characters were to happen to find a key that been hidden by your future selves... Well, still a paradox perhaps, but not as bad.

Doctor Who is a bit less concerned with complexities such as paradox, with the show itself less than consistent about what they involve. The modern show has been a bit more consistent than it had been in its original incarnation, embracing the idea of a "fixed point in time" - something even a Time Lord would be unable to change - though not for the Doctor's occasional attempts, such as seen in The Waters of Mars.

Timemaster from the 1980s is a clear ancestor of games like Timewatch, featuring PCs whose mission it is to preserve the timeline - as well as, if memory serves, parallel Earths' timelines as well. Though it has been ages since I read through it.

Were I to do a time travel game today I would probably discuss with my group what they were looking for - if they were more interested in the adventure aspect Doctor Who might be more appealing whereas a game which embaced things like paradox would steer me towards something like Timewatch...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

How the F' is This a Kickstarter? Really funny group of friends new to Pathfinder Tabletop RPG

Tenkar's Tavern - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 20:10
Where is the project?

What is actually being produced?

How is this literally not a cash grab?

Wouldn't this be better as a GoFundMe?
  My name is Abe and I'm a disabled Army veteran that recently floated the idea to a friend about starting up a Pathfinder RPG campaign and before we knew it had a group of 5 awesome and funny friends ready for me to be their Game Master.  Character creation is still a work in progress be so far we have an Investigator and a Magus.        The reason I'm asking for funding is because the 5 of them live roughly 85 miles away from me and I'd like to drive to their house(s) once or twice a month.  Obviously the gas prices are a burden but also any funding I have left over I wanted to spread between the group for notepads, mechanical pencils, sticky notes, dice sets, and official Piazo Pathfinder Core Rulebooks.  Our first game session will be the first week of May 2017.      I'm considering, if there are no objections in group, recording our game sessions with audio (or video if I can manage to raise enough funds) and post them online for public entertainment.  I'll post links if I do this. Some of us have TONS of video game experience, a couple have no RPG experience at all, but we are guaranteed to have fun and plenty of laughs.  I thank you in advance and greatly appreciate any and all donations.  Be sure to check out the rewards section for added incentive! Risks and challenges The adventuring party will risk their very made-up and completely fictional lives battling the forces of evil in the pursuit of fame and glory. We really risk having a good time and developing a habit of meeting on a regular basis to develop lifelong bonds and memories.
My challenges include being creative enough to fabricate an epic and intriguing tale, organizing our meetings, and getting the party involved and engaged enough to want to do this over a year or more.My God! Does Kickstarter even look at the shit that's submitted these days? I mean, the title itself should have been a warning.

Why not grab a system that's free for fuck's sake! Pathfinder is a money sink anyway.

Really funny group of friends new to Pathfinder Tabletop RPG
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kickstarter - Frog God Games Starfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible Line (Frawgs in Spaaaace!)

Tenkar's Tavern - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 16:26

God but I love the above screenshot. Its just so... so damn frog-like :)

Anyhow, Frog God Games will be supporting Paizo's soon to be released Starfinder game with their very own Frog God Games Starfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible Line. Yep, its a mouthful, so lets see what it actually entails:
Paizo, the powers behind the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, are completing the final system check on the highly anticipated release of The Starfinder Roleplaying Game. Based on the robust, yet familiar The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, The Starfinder Roleplaying Game will be taking fans of The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game forward in time and to the edge of space where familiar races, powers and creatures have been unleashed.   Now beyond the bounds of their home world they traverse and expand into the dark reaches. Where cryptic cultures, xenomorphic horrors, and merciless enemies are scattered across alien worlds. New technologies, arcana and untapped alien arcana can be discovered in the vastness of space.   Which is where we come in...   Science Fantasy Frog God Style   Frog God Games is pleased to present to you its Starfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible Line, which, with your help, will release alongside Paizo's highly anticipated Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook ™ (expected August 2017). Frog God Games is pleased to present to you its Starfinder Compatible Line, which, with your help, will release alongside the core Starfinder rules (expected August 2017). We have seen the rules and are very excited to be supporting Paizo's foray into Science Fantasy.
The Starfinder Roleplaying Game compatible releases from Frog God Games consists of 2 Full-Color, 8.5 x 11 Hardcover Books: The Planetarium and the Tome of Aliens and a folio of six poster maps all available in both print and PDF format.So, first thing to note is that it Starfinder isn't a Sci-Fi game, its Science Fantasy. I guess that means more Star Wars and less Star Trek. I actually hadn't realized it wasn't going to be Sci-Fi. Go figure.

Second, if you look at the pledge levels, you'll notice there are some systemless options - specifically deck plans.

So, if you are an old school game whose preference is White Star or Stars Without Number, you can just snag the deck plans. Want Print plus PDF deck plans? 30 bucks.

 +Alyssa Faden deck plans for the win!

Not sure I'll be picking up Starfinder (Pathfinder has WAY to much crunch for me) but deck plans like those sampled? Hell yeah!

Now to just hack Swords & Wizardry Light for some Sci-Fi or Sci-Fantasy gaming :)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

On Memento Mori

Hack & Slash - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 14:05
Remember, you are going to die.

The messed up thing about cancer is, everything goes on. Your life is like it is right now, except you are sick all the time and have a ton of new bills.

I read on Patrick Stuart's blog the other day,

Guys with a significant impact in forming the social and interest groupings that lead into the modern OSR but so far as I know, not currently deeply engaged with online social stuff at the moment, with them concentrating on other things.Well, yes. I've been concentrating on other things. In the last three years, I've had to deal with cancer, divorce, custody arrangements, two moves, some of my best friends moving away, the death of my father, and other minor stressors aside. I know this breaks my rule about talking about myself on the blog. It's a good rule. People shouldn't do it.

I had something of an epiphany the other day.

I was hospitalized the year before this string of disasters, due to a stress-induced ischemia. For those of you that don't know, that means I have a mental disorder that gave my intestines a heart attack.

I don't ever, ever, talk about this. I think the majority of people who do talk about problems like this are attention seeking. I am on very strong medication since that medical event.

The important thing is, even though I know better, I am beset by fears of all the worst kinds. My first thought is, "What is the worst possible outcome of this situation?"

Well, let me tell you. Every single one of my fears came true. Every single one. If I were to list everything my deepest darkest fears about the future would hold—the fears that literally almost killed me and landed me in the hospital—you would find that they all came true. One after the other after the other after the other.

Aaaand, *pats self down*, I'm somehow still here. At some point something changed. Either the medicine is really working or just after responding to nightmare after nightmare my ability to respond to new disasters is just muted; I don't know. What I do know, is I've spent most of the last three years just coping instead of working because of the stress. And now, nothing has changed. Disasters still loom. I'm still fighting for custody. I'm still dealing with very serious fires.

But I don't feel like I need to spend all my time coping and recovering. What I feel like, is I want to get back to damn work making dungeons filled with green gas. So, uh, I'm going to be doing that.

This message isn't about the blog. It's about taking steps for me, moving forward in this crisis. Being less closed up and connecting with more people. So, in order to do that, instead of posting something on my blog every day in April, which is full of a lot of meaningless noise, I'm going to post something every day on my social media about my life. Sharing thoughts and pictures. Some will be about gaming. If you're interested, I'm on Facebook here, and Google + here. It's a way of moving forward.

Blogwise, some work and surprises are in store for April. I'm only going to break one rule in this post ("Don't talk about yourself") not two ("Don't talk about what you're going to do on your blog") I look forward to seeing you.

P.S. Could you imagine doing a Kickstarter or something and having this happen? The added guilt of people who gave you money on the front end? It doesn't absolve anyone, but I'm glad I didn't have a situation like that.
Hack & Slash FollowGoogle +NewsletterSupportDonate to end Cancer (5 Star Rating

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Beneath the Comet

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 11:11

By Benjamin Ball
North Wind Adventures
Level 6-9

For weeks the Comet has blazed in the sky above Hyperborea, inspiring widespread superstitious dread and fear of some star-borne contagion. Under the light of this harbinger from the Black Gulf, the PCs have come to Bogrest, following a magical treasure map that reveals great wealth buried in the Lonely Heath north of the village. Finding that treasure will be no simple matter, however, for Hyperborea is a weirder and deadlier place than ever beneath the Comet

This 48 page adventure details a small wilderness scrubland area ending with a thirteen room dungeon under a barrow mound. The dungeon reminds me of a more realistic version of White Plume Mountain. You explore, collect keys, and go face the final boss. The keyed encounters, both in the wilderness and dungeon, offer a nice variety of decent ideas. The AS&SH writing style, is, however, present and a major barrier to entry/use/enjoyment. Your mileage may vary.

The party has a magic treasure map, showing the way. Generally, to some ancient mound in a scrubland. There’s a village nearby. There are four encounter locations in the scrubland, along with the main mound proper. The village takes three pages (one of which is a map) to add nothing to the adventure except a small rumor table. With a two paragraph introduction that adds nothing to the table. I’m reminded of the rumor table in Gus L’s Prison of the Hated Pretender. It’s title bar was “What the scabrous yokels in that village of broken down huts are saying:” That does at least as good a job as the three pages spent in this adventure on the village. What, pray tell, is the appeal of the “what equipment is available” fetish? This adventure spends two paragraphs telling us what the party can and can’t buy. I don’t get the appeal. All those words don’t really add anything to the adventure. There IS a “villager quirk” table that is rather nice, quirks and/or strong personalities, something to remember them by, should be a required part of every social encounter.

As indicated in just about every other AS&SH review I’ve done, I’m NOT a fan of the writing style used. I don’t think this is personal preference, at least not in the way I use that phrase. In other words, there may be multiple ways to fulfill my review standards, some of which I may prefer over others. I don’t think this is a case of the AS&SH line using a different way to get to same goal, a way that I might not prefer (personal preferences.) I think I can make a case that the adventures obfuscate data for the DM and are not evocatively written. Which is a fancy way of saying that they almost always have great ideas, but you have to work hard to get at them.

Some wandering gargoyles have strange and unsettling necklaces. The DM is elsewhere offered the advice “If the PCs make some attempt to distract or deceive the super ape-men, the referee must determine the success of their endeavour.” And in another area “the party can wash the poison off with alcohol or some other like cleaning agent.” The later two examples are, I think, examples of being too prescriptive. Of course the DM has to determine success; the DM does that about at least a hundred times in every session of D&D. Likewise the cleaning off the poison. This is something that this adventure engages in time and time again. This sort of prescriptive text add very little to the game and I would argue it detracts far more than it adds, by making the text denser for no good reason, making it harder to use during play.

The gargoyle necklace is in a different category. “Strange and unsettling” are not good descriptions. Those words are conclusions. It’s an example of using a TELL word instead of a SHOW word … and you should always SHOW instead of tell. Use different words to show me the necklace, to describe it. Then, if you’ve done a good job, the party members will conclude “ooh, that’s strange and unsettling!” This adventure engages far too much in showing instead of telling and therefore the evocative nature doesn’t come through well.

I want to spend a little time talking about the wandering table in this adventure. There are two tables, once mundane and one more fantastic. If you roll a six on the mundane table you instead roll on the fantastic table. (Which means, BTW, that the Rust Monsters in encounter six will never show up. I’m sure that wasn’t intended.) The mundane wanderers attack immediately. That’s pretty boring, I prefer slightly more pretext be offered, but, whatever. The fantastic encounters are, almost all, window dressing encounters. You meet a ghost child. Be nice to it and maybe get a combat bonus. You meet a fortune teller. Be nice and maybe get a combat bonus. You meet an X, be nice and you’ll get a combat bonus. It’s a bit of a one-trick pony. Yeah, the window dressing stuff is kind of ok, but its detachment from the rest of the adventure leaves it FEELING like it’s detached. Some effort being made to tie these in to the main adventure text would have made them come off better, as well as varying the reward a bit more. The better ones are the ones that ARE attached to other encounters, like a driverless wagon and the ones that offer variety, like a new henchman/hireling. The others feel … too samey and too detached from whats going on. They don’t LEAD to anything.

The actual encounters are pretty decent. Several of the locations in the wilderness tie together and all of them are interesting. There are a lot of things to interact with, things to do. Crossing pits on edge ledges, dodging around on moving mosaics, a two-headed pterodactyl with the usual lying/truth problem, a dude straight out of folklore who you have to REALLY hack to death, a rival NPC party to mix things up, and a decent amount more. Essentially, you get about 20 interesting “rooms” for the party to interact. They do mostly fall in to the same category of a funhouse-ish light sort of challenge/puzzle, but it’s all interactive for the players to play with and figure out, rather than just simply riddles. Closer to chessboard challenges, but not as divorced from continuity as chessboard puzzles usually are. I really like them. Maybe a little more variety, but they are nice. Plus, the lich at the end has got a GREAT short little paragraph death scene that will really make the party think they’ve accomplished something.

It’s just too bad that those encounters are hidden behind all of that text. Up until this point I would have said that Talenian has a distinctive voice. But this being a different designer I now get to generalize to: AS&SH has a distinctive voice. And it’s one I really don’t like.

The dungeon storeroom begins: “The floor of this room is stacked with funerary offerings: decorative furniture, brightly dyed textiles, wicker baskets full of grain and fruit, myriad clay pots and bowls, small idols of forgotten Hyperborean gods, teak chests filled with parchment scrolls, and more. These mundane items are amazingly well preserved by the magic of this room, but they will crumble to dust if removed from it.” So, a funerary offering storeroom with stuff that crumbles? (It does then go on to have something interesting happen, but the distinctive writing style makes the room description take up a full page.)

The preview on DriveThru is pretty useless in telling you what you will get getting, although the “Authors Note” section on the last page hints at the tortured writing style to come:

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Again, the Giants!: Sanctum of the Stone Giant Space God

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 11:00
This is the second in a series of posts riffing of the giant theme of the classic Against the Giants:

Hightlights include:
1. The kirbytech festooned inner chamber of the helf-sleeping stone god--and his powerful telepathic signal.2. Stone Giant partisans and the PCs with only the vaguest notion of what this alien conflict is about.3. Weird wandering creatures escaped from some sort of ship collection.

U1 The Sinster Secret of Salt Marsh Actual Play Event

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 05:34
Today I got my revenge on Steve & his crew by running them through UK1 The Sinister Secret of Salt Marsh using the Atonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg as the engine for today's game. There was a sword & sorcery feel today's game as the echoes of Port Greely for AS&SH's adventure were scattered through today's events. So today was U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmash adapted for Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Tavern By The Numbers - Downloads, Members and More

Tenkar's Tavern - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 02:10
Art by +Craig Brasco , Cover Artist for Issue #1 of Torchlight Magazine
Just so the paying folks know, monies spent on PWYW products released by Triumvirate Tavern Publishing go towards paying the cover artist of the  Torchlight magazine for Swords & Wizardry. So, if you like the art of +Craig Brasco , tip your barman.

Now, for the numbers relating to Pocket Creatures Volume 1 and 2. 135 downloads of Volume 1, and 76 downloads of Volume 2. I'm impressed and I thank you for the support. So far, $23.59 raised for the cover art of Torchlight but we haven't even started.

1297 members of the Tenkar's Tavern Facebook Community. Sometimes members get information minutes before it goes out on the blogside. Other times it is hours. In any case, it is an active community and certainly a place for all old school gamers to be.

Currently I'm working on a PWYW compilation / conversion / quasi-professional release of Beneath the Battered Dwarf Tavern to be released as PWYW. If we happen to hit 1300 hundred members by tomorrow, I will attempt to submit it my the end of the week to OBS. Mind you, I am learning InDesign and I can't predict my progress. I am, after all, a mere retired Civil Servant ;)

Thanks to all! You make this a sandbox worth playing in :)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

FAE Star Wars Actual Play: Gallisport Recruitment

19th Level - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 01:49

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....
Star Wars: Tales of Rebellion
Episode II: Gallisport Recruitment

Having captured the Clone Wars-era shipyard of Admiral Bayran, the Rebellion is searching for a worthy person to convert the Separatist yard to production of Rebel craft.

Reviewing intelligence data with their sponsor Bail Organa on Alderaan, our freedom fighters discover that the woman they want may be in the system they just departed - in the city of Gallisport on Shesharile 5. There, Rayne Toruna, an aging Twi'lek engineer, leads a swoop gang known as the Mynocks.

During the Clone Wars, Toruna was one of Kuat Drive Yards lead engineers, having created the Delta-7 and A-Wing fighters. She left KDY after seeing what the Empire was using her creations for. If Toruna could be persuaded to join the Rebellion, the Separatist Shipyard could soon be producing fighters for the Rebellion against the Evil Galactic Empire...

Cast of Characters:

  • R2-C4 - Rogue Imperial assassin droid
  • Gaven Stark - Idealistic former Imperial army officer
  • Marcus Doha - Veteran Clone Trooper who has lived an active life since the Clone Wars

Scene 1: Gallisport ArrivalOur heroes arrived on Gallisport in a modified Firespray-31 patrol ship, the Unseen Servant. Gallisport was not much of a port these days, with its population half of what it once was during the industrial boom years before the Clone Wars. It now had next to no Imperial presence, with the Imperial Star Destroyer Magistratus having recently been destroyed - but not before most Imperial personnel had been evacuated, in preparation for a brutal bombardment that hadn't happened. The population was nervous while waiting to see if another Star Destroyer would complete this mission.
Doha took his granddaughter with him, not wanting to leave her aboard their ship. This proved to not much safer, as their droid taxi was visited by members of one of the Mynock's rival swoop gangs, the Spiders, who attempted to collect a "toll". However, Doha recognized the poor upkeep of their swoops and convinced their leader, the cybog Zaran, they were too dangerous prey - and pointed out to them a relatively unprotected Imperial shipment that had landed shortly after they had.Scene 2: The Mynock BarOur heroes were able to find Rayne Toruna at the Mynock's Bar. She proved willing to strike a blow against the Empire, though she insisted they do something for her first. Her lieutenant, Mara Berus, had been captured trying to infiltrate the Imperial Communications and Records Tower on the outskirts of the city. The rest of the Imperial garrison had been abandoned but this tower still was occupied and she was being held at a detention block in its basement. Berus was trying to determine if the Magistratus' plans for bombardment had been ordered by the Empire or if they had been acting on their own initiative. Toruna needed that information and her lieutenant liberated.
Scene 3: The Comm TowerThough part of a garrison, the Communications and Records Tower was now largely isolated, with much of the garrison bombed and burned. Doha scaled it, climbing to the top level walkway while R2-C4 and Stark made use of jetpacks and similar accouterments. Doha was a bit more merciful in his taking out of Imperial troopers, though they did manage to retrieve the needed information - the captain of the Magistratus had been operating on his own initiative, trying to convince Governor Tarkin of how impressive he could be... 
C4 attempted to bring up the lift, an effort that did not go well, given much of its astromech circuitry had replaced by assassination protocols. With an alarm blaring, it sent a grenade down the lift shaft, destroying the stormtrooper team headed up to deal with them.
The detention block in the basement (reached by climbing down the smoking shaft) proved a dangerous destination - though they made it through a pair of bored guards who barely flinched at another explosion, beyond were well-organized stormtroopers commanded by Major Tallus, an Imperial officer who Stark had once had brought up on charges of accepting bribes - and in so doing, sabotaging his career.
R2-C4 filled the room with smoke, providing cover and the heroes made fairly short work of the stormtroopers. Tallus, a master with the force pike, proved a more difficult challenge. Though they were eventually victorious, they were quite bloodied, with Stark emerging with a shattered nose. Tallus being unconscious but not dead, they took him prisoner as they rescued Berus.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

On Zines and Readership and Monies, Oh My!

Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 04/02/2017 - 20:19
I love me a good gaming zine. Really, I do.

Whether its The Manor, Black Pudding, The Excellent Traveling Volume, Crawl, the Undercroft, Under a Broken Moon, The Wizard's Scroll or any other one that I am quite sure I've missed going off the top of my head, they are all special to me.


Because they are labors of love and they speak with the voice of the one that publishes it. They are, in some ways, intimate and personal.

You won't make a lot of money publishing a zine (or most anything else in the RPG industry) but you have the reward of loyal and vocal readership. There is nothing quite so loud as someone advocating for a zine they love.

Also, zines tend to be published irregularly. Yep, I can buy all of the above and more and not dent my wallet.

What we need is more zines. Truly. There was a time when blogs were all the rage and The Tavern is certainly a good source of gaming news with its finger on the pulse of old school gaming, but it generally can't be read on the train, the bus, while sitting in the doctor's office or taking a bath. Zines, especially those in print, are special and should be cherished.

When Torchlight releases, I want it to be but one of many RPG periodicals from self publishers that the community supports.

I Want more Zines in my Time!  ;)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

President’s 2005 Tax Returns

Gamer Goggles - Sun, 04/02/2017 - 19:48



Cheapass Games Releases President’s 2005 Tax Returns


Seattle, WA—April 1, 2017. Cheapass Games have come into possession of shocking and revelatory documents concerning their own president’s financial dealings as well as possible ties to domestic powers.

These documents are coming to light during what can only be described as a tumultuous and scandal-ridden period, James Ernest’s first 100 days of his twenty-second year as president of Cheapass Games.

Before linking to these documents, we want to let you know that what they contain is groundbreaking and shocking. And you are not going to see them anywhere else. Just here.

Take a long slow minute to think about that. Take another. That’s good. Breathe it in.

Linked here are the actual 2005 tax returns of James Ernest and family, then a jointly-owned sole proprietorship in Washington state. Using the pragmanym “John Miller,” James Ernest and his beautiful first wife Carol Monahan, according to these documents being made available for the first time today, have clearly paid no federal income taxes, a triumph which by today’s standards shows that he is a genius and is eminently qualified to be president, if only of a small tabletop game company in the Pacific Northwest.

Unreachable for comment, James Ernest nevertheless had this to say about these astounding revelations this morning, tweeting:

Although this 2005 tax return is absurdly out of date and tells us nothing of the current financial health of Cheapass Games, we hope it will nevertheless serve as a stirring reminder of the greatness of our president, and his willingness to abide by the letter of the law in order to suck hundreds of dollars in taxpayer money from the federal government.

About Cheapass Games

Cheapass Games is a small tabletop game company in the Pacific Northwest. They make small tabletop games and continue to abide by the letter of the tax code. James Ernest has been their unelected president since 1996, and vows one day to repeal and replace every game the company has ever published. So far he is 0 for 174.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


Gamer Goggles - Sun, 04/02/2017 - 19:18


Now Available for Pre-Order, Book of the Damned Takes Players from the Darkest Depths of the Demon-Haunted Abyss, to the Apocalyptic Realm of Abaddon and the Infernal Layers of Hell Itself
REDMOND, WA (March 23, 2017): Paizo Inc., publisher of the award-winning Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, announces today the forthcoming Pathfinder RPG: Book of the Damned hardcover rulebook will be released September 2017 and is now available for pre-order (MSRP $44.99).

The denizens of the evil planes of existence have long tempted, tormented, and tortured mortal life. From the lowliest imp to the mightiest demon lord, these realms are ripe with horrors and festering with threats to body, mind, and soul, and the routes to knowing these blasphemous secrets are held within the infamous pages of the Book of the Damned.

With details on demon lords and arch devils, information on the realms of Hell, Abaddon, and the Abyss, and rules for incorporating fiendish influences into the game—be they in the form of foes for heroic parties to face, or temptations for less scrupulous adventurers to consider—Pathfinder RPG: Book of the Damned explores the workings of these powerful forces of evil, focusing on the numerous demigods that influence mortal life and the countless fiends who prey upon the living and dead alike. Pathfinder RPG Book of the Damned includes:

  • Information on the sinister boons granted to worshipers of dozens of fiendish demigods drawn from the planes of Abaddon, the Abyss, and Hell, including Archdevils, Demon Lords, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
  • An exploration of the infernal realms of Hell, the sinister reaches of Abaddon, and the bottomless rifts of the Abyss.
  • New feats, spells, magic items, and prestige classes for use by characters who both fight against and serve the forces of darkness.
  • Rules for infernal contracts and sinister rituals.
  • Statistics for several never-before revealed fiends and lavishly-illustrated in-world excerpts from the pages of the notorious Book of the Damned itself.

Book of the Damned fills my dark soul with devilish delight,” says Paizo Publisher and Chief Creative Officer Erik Mona. “Demons, devils, and darkness are always popular topics around the Pathfinder game table, and Book of the Damned arms players with tools to fight against (or alongside) these paragons of evil, adding a demoniacal twist to any Pathfinder campaign. Are your players taking a trip to Hell? Don’t Satanic Panic! Book of the Damned has all the infernal answers you’re looking for!”

Book of the Damned is a dark and beautiful new hardcover tome for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. For additional information, visit Paizo.

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

Spring Sale Time!

Rebel Minis - Sun, 04/02/2017 - 19:13

It's that time again for Rebel Minis' famous Spring Sale! Everything on the site is 20% off! That's right! 20% off with coupon code Spring17!

The sale goes from now to April 16th!
Every year packs sell out, but we will keep them on the site, back order them at the discounted price, and ship them to you when they come in! You can see everything here:
Thanks! RebelMike

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A Critical Look at Contemporary Short SFF

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Sun, 04/02/2017 - 17:03

This took a crazy amount of effort, but here are five short reviews from a pulp-friendly critical frame. The stories here are ranked in order of how awesome they are:

  1. War of the Ruby by Brian K. Lowe (review here)
  2. The Thorne Legacy by J. D. Brink (review here)
  3. The Dragon’s Teeth by David Hallquist (review here)
  4. The Dreaming Wounds by Anya Ow (review here)
  5. Empty Vessels by David O’Donoghue (review here)

If you have any suggestions for more stories I should take a look at, please let me know.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kickstarter - Talislanta: The Savage Land (and No F@cking Elves!)

Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 04/02/2017 - 14:41

I remember the Talislanta ads in Dragon Magazine. The tagline was always "No Elves..."

Well, I bought a copy and although I never played it, i enjoyed reading about this fantasy world that was certain not filled with hobbits and elves and such.

Heck, even when I packed the game away for its trip to storage, ads like the one above were still burned into my synapsis.

Well, Talislanta is back and West End Games has it. Yep, another resurrection from the past, both the game and the publisher.

Talislanta: The Savage Land is the new iteration of Talislanta, coming in three flavors: revised original, D&D 5e and Open d6. Buy in for PDF versions is 5 bucks a system or all three for 10 bucks. Print for one system plus PDF for one is 40 and print for one and PDF for all three is 50.

I'm actually tempted to back for the PDF of the Open d6 version. Ah, who am I kidding? For 5 bucks, I'm backing. ;)
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


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