Tabletop Gaming Feeds

The Tavern Goes Live in June - Facebook Live That Is

Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 13:13

After yesterday's comment about how a certain Kickstarter was charging 500 bucks to converse with the project's creator, I quipped that folks could talk with me for free.

Which got me thinking. Now that Facebook has finally added it's "Live" feature to my account, why couldn't I go live and talk with people?

Now, besides the chat box, I was wondering if a Google Number (Google Voice) would allow for live call ins. I really need to test this before North Texas but this could be an awesome thing.

I figure one day a week at different times to accommodate the Taverners around the world. I'd post the schedule for the current and coming month in The Tavern's FB community. I'll probably kick this off in about a month.

Why not Hangouts? Because Google is doing a fine job killing it and from what I've seen, Facebook Live runs with few issues.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Cryptozoic to Demo Games at ACD Distribution’s Games Day 2017

Cryptozoic - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 13:00

Cryptozoic Entertainment, leading creator of board games, trading cards, and collectibles, today announced that it will be demoing games at ACD Distribution’s Games Day 2017.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


Gamer Goggles - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 12:07

REDMOND, WA (May 16, 2017): Paizo Inc., publisher of the award-winning Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, announces today the line-up of gaming activities for 2017 UK Games Expo, taking place in Birmingham, UK June 2 – 4, 2017.

As a first-time Associate Sponsor of the convention, Paizo is hosting game demos in the Exhibition Hall.  Come join staffers as they present the Mummy’s Mask Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and the highly anticipated forthcoming Starfinder Roleplaying Game, a science-fantasy adventure set in the far future of the Pathfinder universe. Explore new worlds, pilot spacecraft, and meet the alien races of Starfinder. Game demos will take place in the trade hall daily at Paizo booth #B4.

In addition, Pathfinder Society, the world’s largest organized play program with more than 70,000 players, returns to UK Games Expo. The schedule includes nearly 90 Pathfinder gaming events, including the European premiere of the multi-table modular special scenario 8-99A: The Solstice Scar (version A) on Saturday evening.  All Pathfinder Society events take place in the Westminister Suite.

“I’m excited Paizo is coming to UK Games Expo. Through panels, Pathfinder Society games, and booth demonstrations, I’m looking forward to sharing Paizo’s games with Expo attendees,” says Tonya Woldridge, Pathfinder Society Organized Play coordinator.

Woldridge and Starfinder developer Amanda Hamon Kunz join an all-star adventuring party in Syrinscape’s fast and fun Live RPG Plus gaming experience, a live game where the audience dictates the action. Tickets are now available from UKGE.

Paizo will also be hosting the following panels:

Pathfinder 101 Friday 12:00pm 1:00pm Toute Suite Starfinder Friday 2:00pm 3:00pm Pavillion Pathfinder 101 Friday 4:00pm 5:30pm Piazza 1 Ask the Paizo GM’s Saturday 12:00pm 1:00pm Piazza 1 Starfinder Saturday 2:00pm 3:00pm Pavillion Paizo 2017 and beyond Sunday 2:00pm 3:00pm Toute Suite

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

Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 11:18

By Joseph D. Salvador
North Wind Adventures
Levels 5-7

More than a month ago, your party found itself in Port Zangerios, where you heard of an Esquimaux thief selling a treasure map. Low on wealth but high in courage, you sought him out. The man turned out to be a fearful ex-slave who had “acquired” the map from his Ixian master. The map is incomplete but shews the Isle of the Serpent in far-off Lemuria, where rests a fabulous treasure called the Feathered Crown of Nanasa (or so thought the Ixian). Pooling your money to purchase the unfinished map, you bought passage on an Amazonian trade ship. After passing through tempests and torrential rains that shimmered with auroral light, you have come to the great city of Jhaman Ket. Now you must seek out the location of the Isle of the Serpent.

This is a sixty page hexcrawl/lost temple adventure on a jungle island with dinosaurs. It has a short eight page section on Lemuria, ten pages of new monsters appendices, etc, and the main hex crawl and titular temple in thirty four pages. It follows an “expansive minimally keyed format”, falling in to some of the usual traps with expansive text. The snake temple map is interesting enough, looking like a “main hallway with room s off of it” design but offering multiple entrances and the “Conan hole” in the ceiling. It comes off as bland.

I won’t cover the Lemuria fluff. Fluff is fluff and you either like it or you don’t. It does an ok job describing the general region of Lemuria, politics, towns, etc. It tends to the historical and overly specific “Round shields of iron and bronze are both in use …” I like my fluff different, driving action and all full of mystery.

For the main adventure, comparisons to Isle of Dread are inevitable. Be they inspired by the same Appendix N texts or simply hitting on the same themes, Dread was the first hex crawl many saw, it was on a jungle island, and had a ruined temple. Combine those elements, as this adventure does, and Dread comparisons are inevitable. The island hex crawls are, essentially, the same. Dinos, jungle, etc. There’s no friendly villagers and the temple at the center of the island, on a plateau, is more organized and less abandoned. Otherwise, you hex crawl through the jungle, see dinos, and try to not die.

The wandering monsters are rolled once an hour on a d6, with a 1 indicating a monster. That’s four encounters a day, on average. Certainly not EVERYTHING is hostile, there are some herbivore dinos, for example, but the rate is high, it seems to me. The island IS only 3 miles across, with six hexes to the mile, so a party with their ass in gear should mitigate most of that. Camping is going to be a bitch though.

There are heat rules. I have an ancient enmity with environmental rules. They always sound great but they tend to be cumbersome in practice. In this, every two hours you need to make a CON text or be exhausted and rest an hour, if you are encumbered or wearing metal armor. That’s one way to get people out of their armor: tedium. I don’t disagree with the theming, just the tedium required to get to the end result. Which brings up an interesting point. Given the focus on the wanderers every hour, and the heat checks every two hours, it seems unusual that movement rates are not covered. Each hex being 275 yards, it seems natural that a movement rate chart would be included on, say, the island hex map. Movement, and what you can see from your hex, are key elements in a good hex crawl that are missing here.

I think we can all agree Dread was minimally keyed and tersely written, except perhaps for sections dealing the customs of the villagers. I think the adventure here is also minimally keyed, but in contrast to Dread it’s verbosely written. Common elements are expanded upon in at text style that emphasizes plain factual data. Some North Wind adventures have a very tortured writing style that feels forced. I’m a fan of esoteric words and larger vocabulary in adventures, but I’ve come to expect to see this implemented in a cumbersome way in the usual North Wind adventure. This one has the opposite problem. The descriptions are plain to the point of being a killjoy … but the text goes on forever. The wandering monster table is three and half pages long, each monster getting its own stat block and short description. “Weighing up to 500 pounds, these seven- foot-long chamæleonic amphibians catch prey with their sticky tongues and can swallow a full-grown man whole.” Uh huh. You mean exactly what’s included in the stat block below that description? Occasionally there is a bright point like “giant ticks drop from trees”, but it’s generally this kind of non-useful text. It doesn’t really drive the adventure anywhere.

Similarly, there is an emphasis, in places, on historic uses for rooms. “This room USED to be used for …” or “In antediluvian times there were runes here …” These don’t help. They instead obfuscate other words which MIGHT help run the adventure. Now. Right Now. What’s of use to a DM running a party in the room RIGHT. NOW. A room that says “Study: Sometimes Bob used to read books here.” is not useful. That’s what a study is, a place where you hang out and perform study-like activities. We know that from the room name.

The encounters can be LONG, to little effect. Room three of the temple is a normal guardroom. Nothing really special. Snake-man pictograms on the ceiling. The text is a column long. An intro paragraph telling us the room is 20×30 (which we know from the map) and it’s got a 15’ ceiling (irrelevant to the adventure and doesn’t really set a mood at all) and then three GIANT stat blocks that look like they came straight out of the bad old days of 3e and/or Pathfinder. It ends with another paragraph telling us where the exits lead to which, again, we already know from the map. A column of text. This sort of expansive use of text for “normal” things is perhaps the adventures greatest fault. The temple has interesting layout for what is, essentially, a linear hallway, but the emphasis is on the mundane instead of the unusual. There’s a giant jeweled idol in one area, the kind every adventurer dreams of prying the jeweled scales off of. We’re told that desecrating the idol should causes curses and misfortunes as the DM sees fit. But, THAT’S what the fuck we’re paying the designer for! We’re not paying to be told that a room is 30×20 feet. We can see that from the fucking map. We’re paying for the unusual, the interesting, the imaginative. A constructed world of interlocking parts. We’re not paying to be told to roll for our treasure or make out own snake-god themed curses. A cult village doesn’t need to have gonzo elements to be good. But it doesn’t need five pages, as this one does, if all you’re going to tell us is the mundane. Placing an emphasis on how the party will interact is where the effort should have been spent. Guards. Patrols. Things to thwart sneaking around. To get to the temple, and so on.

The preview, on DriveThru, is only four pages long. It doesn’t really show you anything of the text you’re likely to encounter in the adventure. That’s not a very effective preview. It does include the table of contents, which is helpful, such that it is.

I’m disappointed with this adventure. Thus far, I’m pretty sure that the best AS&SH adventure I’ve seen has been the Crypts & Things adventure Blood of the Dragon. If you know of a better one then stick it in the comments. I don’t feel like anything I’ve seen so far lives up to the potential of AS&SH and I’d like to make sure I’m giving it a fair shake.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Chaosium at UK Games Expo

Gamer Goggles - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 11:17

For the second year, Chaosium offers Games Expo UK attendees a Cthulhu workshop, games, and a glimpse at Glorantha. Plus the latest releases at the Chaosium Booth, including Pulp Cthulhu, The Two Headed Serpent and H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu for Beginning Readers.

Friday 12.00pm (SEM2957) in Piazza 1.

Chaosium’s Rick Meints and Michael O’Brien reveal secrets about the forthcoming return of RuneQuest, the epic tabletop roleplaying game set in Greg Stafford’s world of Glorantha.

Saturday 1.00pm (SEM3009) in PIazza 1.  Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu RPG Line Editor, Mike Mason (Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition, Dark Heresy 1st Edition) leads a workshop on constructing terrifying horror adventures. Mike will be joined by Lynne Hardy (Achtung! Cthulhu, Cogs, Cakes & Swordsticks) to run an informal session about designing and writing horror scenarios, as well as answering questions on writing for the gaming industry in general. Cult of Chaos     Members of Chaosium’s volunteer game masters’ programme, the Cult of Chaos, are running a variety of Call of Cthulhu and HeroQuest Glorantha games throughout the convention. More than a dozen of these games will be Call of Cthulhu. Although no spaces remain for “Force of Will”, Sunday morning’s exclusive and unpublished scenario run by Mike Mason, attendees can check for available spaces to pre-book a spot via

To find out more about the mythic worlds Chaosium has to offer, drop by Stand C5 (NEC Hall 1) at National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham  2-4 June, or visit

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Wednesday Minicomic: KIng of Castle Grayskull

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 11:00

Taking a break from Storm, let's consider the second Masters of the Universe minicomic packaged with the first wave of toys in 1982. The comic, like the rest, was written by Donald Glut and drawn by Alfredo Alcala.

We open on He-Man and Battle-Cat happening by Castle Grayskull. He-Man tells his mount that the castle was "built by unknown hands before the Great Wars" and "whoever controls the castle controls the universe!" He-Man doesn't know it but he's being spied on from a parapet by Skeletor, who apparently scaled the outside of the castle to get there because he's got no way inside.

Skeletor uses his mystic blade to spy on the doings inside the castle as well. He see's Teela (the warrior-goddess) summoned by the Spirit of Castle Grayskull to be its guardian. The Spirit tells her that one day a king will come claim the castle's throne, but only after he finds and unites the two halves of the Power Sword. Not knowing it's being eavesdropped on, the Spirit reveals the location of the halves.

Skeletor, feels like kingship would suit him. He comes to the highest peak of Eternia, the home of Stratos, and melts one half free from rock. Next, Skeletor takes Mer-Man with him to surprise He-Man at his homestead, and before the hero can grab his super-strength outfit, they blast him. They get the other half of the sword from the rock his house is built on. Given how easy these halves were to find and the fact that two heroic warriors lived close by them, one wonders why they weren't found before?

Anyway, Skeletor rubs some gray clay on his face to disguise it and opens the jawbridge with the united power sword. Teela might have been a poor choice as guardian because a little gray facepaint has her totally fooled. She welcomes Skeletor as the King. No sooner has he sat in the throne, than he triggers the trapdoor and drops Teela into the dungeon. Skeletor marvels at all the weapons and computers and what not and boasts the secrets of the universe are his to command.

Meanwhile, this all apparently happened so quick that Mer-Man is still fighting He-Man (apparently He-Man's house is next door to Castle Grayskull), who has now managed to get his force field suit on. He-Man suits up again to increase his strength and heads out to get Skeletor.

Skeletor sees him coming on a viewscreen. When He-Man arrives, Skeletor punks him by causing the jawbridge to flip him inside. He-Man confronts Skeletor in his throne room, but in the face of his threats Skeletor calls "oafish" and zaps him with energy.

He-Man wakes up some time later in the dungeon with Teela. He tells her "Skeletor has gone insane!' Given that this is the sort of shenanigans we've seen the Lord of Destruction get up to in the first mini-comic, one wonders what He-Man is passing that opinion on. Maybe it's that Skeletor didn't strip him of his super-powered duds, which clearly was a dumb move as He-Man rips the door off the cell.

Skeletor notes their escape and sends animated suits of armor to stop them. Our heroes keep smashing them, but more keep coming. Skeletor moves in to watch the victory he is sure is coming up close--and Teela knocks the Power Sword from his hand.

Skeletor figures its time to beat a hasty retreat. He runs to the roof with the heroes on his heels. He tries to blast them with the laser cannon, but then:

Both hero and villain survive the fall. Skeletor gets chased off by Battle-Cat before he can blast He-Man with his energy blade.

The Spirit of Castle Grayskull again takes possession of the Power Sword and, maybe realizing its previous hiding places left something to be desired, now sends one half into another dimension. He tells the heroes that it maybe centuries before the true King of Castle Grayskull comes to claim it. He calls them Masters of the Universe and bids them go fight evil. In a spoiler heedless moment, we are told the Spirit smiles as they ride away because he knows He-Man will one day become the King of Castle Grayskull.

1d20 Random Encounters Table For The Guardians Of The Passageways of the Underworld For Your Old School Games

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 05:50
When the old world passed away & the billions of Old Earth souls passed on many were transformed by the forces of the Outer Darkness into demons or worse. There are still millions of souls trapped & transfixed between the spaces of dimensions by the Boreas winds that howl with strange radiations around Hyperborea. There were other spirits of the dead plucked from the orbits of dead stars whereNeedles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Pacesetter Games Releases Four Adventures for Swords & Wizardry Light (Print & PDF)

Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 03:21

Pacesetter Games has just released four adventures for Swords & Wizardry Light (and fully compatible with Swords & Wizardry Complete from my perusal of the adventures)

PDFs are $3 a pop, Print plus PDF is $5 each.

I'll review them once I get a chance to start reading them straight through (I've just scanned through them at this point) Pacesetter Games has had some really nice releases and I expect these will be no different.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

All You Need to Get into Star Army - 28mm Minis for Sale

Two Hour Wargames - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 00:02
I have the following minis for sale, I don't know the manufacturer, but they can be used for:

 Star Army $30
 Hishen $25
 Exo-Armor Star Army  $25
PDF or Free Company Mercs  $35
Take all 56 for $95 and get a free PDF of Star Army or Star Marine. Shipping is extra.
Email me at
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Shining some Continual Light on the status of the Torchlight Mag

Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 23:41

I've been asked what the status of the Torchlight Magazine is and the simplest answer is "Delayed for a good reason".

Actually, there are multiple reasons. All good.

First is that I'm currently focused on a project that will be announced in two weeks. To the day. I'm very excited and also fairly distracted.

Second. Swords & Wizardry Continual Light is getting the full Frog God Treatment. So, instead of 20 some odd pages printed on my laser printer with some basic layout, it is currently in the hands of the Frogs for a nice layout and second editing run. SWCL will be available free in PDF and free in Print, just like the four page folder of SWL is.

Third. The Frogs are doing a full court press on The Blight readying it for release. Continual Light is waiting in the wings.

Fourth. Torchlight is a magazine for all flavors of Swords & Wizardry, but much of its initial focus is on Continual Light / Complete articles, adventures, optional rules. With the delay in the release of Continual Light it simply makes sense to delay the release of Torchlight. I'm going to guess that Torchlight will follow the PDF release of Continual Light by four to six weeks, allowing a few weeks for the rules to circulate.

So, there you have it. If it is any consolation, at least I'm getting to practice my layout skills ;)
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Ch. 4, Page 29

Castle Greyhawk - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 19:17
It was a simple spell with a quick casting time, but in those moments Ehlissa remembered her trainer, Bastro Felgosh, and his words of admonishment upon learning this spell for charming persons.

"The temptation will always be there to take advantage of others with such a spell as this," Felgosh had said with a wag of his plump finger, "The ability to charm others is potent -- but fallible. You may never know if it has taken hold on another's mind, until it is too late to avoid the consequences..."

A WTF Kickstarter - Solstice (D20 Hack)

Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 15:30

Look at that inspiring logo. Grey always helps, right?

So, what is Solstice and why am I even looking at it?

Well, Solstice is apparently a D20 Hack and I'm looking at it because one of the Taverners brought it to my attention ;)

I'm going to go with a simple screenshot of the project, because its one of the shorter (description-wise)projects that I've come across:

K - he needs to pay artists, multiple editors and multiple lawyers to get Solstice published. But wait, he also apparently needs to find a publishing company. And he plans to deliver in July. 2017. These are the "holidays" he speaks of.

But wait! There's more! You haven't seen the reward levels yet.

Now, nowhere is it discussed what exactly is in the basic rules, but that's okay - we don't know what is in the rules, either. But hey, 25 bucks gets you the intro chapter.

$125 for the entire Beta. An extra $500 gets you a conversation with the creator.

Who the hell is worth 500 for a "conversation"?

You wanna talk to me? Reach out and we'll find the time. My charge is that you are stuck listening to me yap away. I'll talk your ears off with the topic "Swords & Wizardry Light" and it won't cost you a dime, just your time.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Monsters, Monsters, & Commentary On Maximum Mayhem Dungeons: Monsters of Mayhem #1 Kickstarter For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 15:25
So my buddy +Mark Taormino  is back with a brand new Kickstarter! This time its hoards of monsters in the form of Maximum Mayhem Dungeons: Monsters of Mayhem #1!  He's got a brand new OSR loving  monster book full of monsters,mayhem, & vile beasties for your old school dungeons! So there's going to be a boat load of old school monsters to throw at your PC's including:" DEMONIA GIGANTICA, Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Asssasin In The Temple- The Islands of Purple Putresence - An Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Actual Play Event

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 05:46
The PC's have been exploring the ruins of a giant healing temple belonging to the HP Lovecraft god Nodens. It took them two weeks but they're very happy with last week's game! The PC's finally escaped the giant temple of  Nodens & managed to steal not one but two Hyperborean healing chambers from the decaying facility. This version of Nodens has many of the traits associated with the Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes now available in PDF (Tunnels & Trolls meets James Bond)

Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 01:48

If ever there was a game that I regret never having played, its Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes. I own the boxed set and I've been psyched for YEARS to play it, but alas. it simply hasn't happened. I can say the same about Tunnels & Trolls itself, but at least there are a ton of solo adventures your can use with T&T. Heck, there are a ton of solos I've soloed ;)

Still, any game written by Michael Stackpole is probably going to be good. This is no exception. Now to dig my boxed set out of storage.

The PDF of Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes is $6.95 at OBS. Print copies are available at the Flying Buffalo site for 10 bucks.

Remember kids, buying via The Tavern's RPGNow affiliate links helps keep the virtual taps flowing.

edit - there IS a MS&PE solo adventure! Need to snag it.

edit2 - MS&PE is currently the #2 best seller at RPGNow
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Basic Rules for the Majestic Fantasy RPG

Bat in the Attic - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 17:58
While writing the first book of my RPG project, The Lost Grimoire of Magic, I realized that too much of it was devoted to rules that will repeated among all the supplements. So I worked on a basic set of rules summarizing the system as a whole. So I got it down to 47 pages, and just as important should read as a coherent whole.

You can download it from the following link
Basic Rules for the Majestic Fantasy RPG.

Any comments and suggestions are appreciated, I have a forum thread opened up at this link.

Some highlights

  • Designed it be highly compatible with Swords and Wizardry
  • More generous with attribute bonuses but not as generous as the d20 SRD. Instead there a -1/+1 per three attribute points instead of per 2 like d20. 
  • Four Classses: Burglar, Cleric of Mitra, Fighter, Magic User.
  • Four Races: Dwarves, Elves, Halflings, and Man.
  • Man gets a +15% XP bonus on top of their prime requisite bonus. I played with the exact number over the years by gauging the reaction of players in choosing Man over the other races.
  • For abilities, and spells, I jettisoned situational bonuses for the most part in favor of 5th edition's advantage and disadvantage. My opinion that is much easier to grasp by players than remembering whether you get a -4, -2, +2, or +4 bonus that it worth including. Plus the original edition never been big on stacking up modifiers anyway so I feel the loss of having a +1, +2, or +4 bonus (or minus) is not a big deal.
  • Incorporated the ability system from the supplement. Basic resolution is still 15 or better on a roll of a d20.
  • Any character can do any ability just that some are better at certain abilities than others. All classes have ability bonuses they can use. Rogue classes like the Burglar are built around ability bonuses.
  • A short equipment but many pieces of equipment have one or two rules associated with their use. For example using a mace give you +1 to hit versus chainmail armor. The use of Shields have been fleshed out.
  • The ritual rule allowing clerics and magic user to cast spells as a ten minute ritual plus a cost component has been carried over from the supplement.
  • Magical Immunity works a bit differently from Magic Resistance. Basically Fireball, Lightning Bolt work as they do direct damage by creating something, Charm Person, Sleep, etc are effected by Magical Immunity. The resolution has been made into a d20 roll with the same odds as the original percentage based rolls.
  • Spells note whether they are effected by Magical Immunity or not. In addition all uses of percentages been changed to d20 rolls with the same odds. Just saying if it going to be in 5% increments make it a d20 roll. There been some tweaks to specific spells like Sleep effecting 4d4 hit dice of creature max 4 HD effected.
  • The combat system uses 1d6 individual imitative. A new wrinkle is that fighters get to add their to hit bonus.
  • I allow two actions per combat round which can be summed up as a half-move and an attack. As a side note this  is the oldest section of the rules dating all the way back form when I ran ADnD 1st in 1979, 1980. 
  • My stab at easy to use grappling rules. You successfully hit, your opponent is now grappled, if the opponent doesn't break free the next round, you have a number of options including damage.
  • Combat stunts, the general idea is that you can opt to do something else other than inflict damage with a successful to hit roll. However the downside the opponent gets a saving throw which means high level or high hit dice is likely going to save. But if you are desperate it may be the best option in that round. 
  • No Monsters or Magic Items which will be presented as part of the various supplements. However anything from any version of Swords and Wizardry will work with these rules.
  • Finally I kept an eye on how interdependent the rules are so you should be able to swap in how other handle things easily. For example initiative will work with group initiative, the combat system can be replaced with the one in the B/X rules. You can ignore my spell in favor the original edition text, etc, etc.
Hope you find this useful for your campaigns and appreciate hearing your thoughts on these rules.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil Lovecraftian Connections To Hyperborea & Beyond

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 16:54
"What began years ago with the introduction of the players to the quiet village of Hommlet and the amazing lands of Greyhawk, at last is complete. Here is the long awaited campaign adventure featuring the ruins of the Temple of Elemental Evil! Evil broods and grows beneath those blasted stones. This is your chance to drive it back and scatter its forces again."So I've been Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Frog God Games is Offering Signature Gaming Bundles - Limited Time Only

Tenkar's Tavern - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 14:37

Frog God Games is offering two Signature Gaming Bundles for a limited time only.

Matt's Swords & Wizardry Creator's GM Bundle includes the following in Print AND PDF:
Bill Webbs Book of Dirty Tricks- Regularly $10.99 (PDF $4.99)
The Tome of Adventure Design- Regularly $42.00 (PDF $21.00)$42 for the Print plus PDF Bundle / $17 for the PDF only bundle (Normally $53 in Print)

Note, although it says its for Swords & Wizardry, its really system neutral, so its  good for all.

Bill Webb's Ultimate GM's Bundle includes the two books in the Matt's Swords & Wizardry Creator's Bundle shown above and also includes the following:
All 6 Swords & Wizardry Card Decks- Regularly $12.00 Each ($72.00 total (PDF $30)​Encounter Decks I & II
Treasure Deck
Hireling Deck
Spell Deck
Equipment Deck and his most notorious release... Bill Webb's Deck of Dirty Tricks* - Regularly Previously only sold at conventions or as a Kickstarter add-on this deck includes 52 surprises that encourage player engagement and fast-play. *The Deck of Dirty Tricks is only included with the physical book bundle.Bill Webb's Ultimate GM Bundle is available separately for $136.99 (PDF $55.99) but for this 10 day special offer it is $99.99 in print and $24.99 in PDF.

Note, there is a miscoding of the PDF Bundle on the Frog's Website. Bill Webb's Ultimate GM Bundle is currently pricing at $17, the same price as the Matt Bundle above, and it includes the two books from Matt's Bundle and more. I'm sure the pricing error will be corrected shortly.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Forge of Ilmarinen

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 11:17

By Jeremy Reaban
Self Published
Levels 5-7

Ilmarinen the Eternal Hammerer was once widely worshipped by primitive people, whom he taught how to work metal. But once they had his knowledge, his worship was largely forgotten and his temple declined and was of course overrun by monsters.

This sixteen page adventure in an old “smith god” complex has sixteen encounters spread out over four pages, with another for the map and the rest of the pages being appendix material in the rear: new monsters and magic items. It is mostly a hack with only a couple of exploratory items. Nice treasure and all new monsters make this smarter than your average bear. The text has a weird thing going on where it is both to the point and padded out … a seeming contradiction.

Too many magic swords? Come on down to Big Ilmarinen’s temple and we’ll take care of it for you! We’ll destroy two of your magic swords and channel the power in to a third! The +1 sword glut can be a common game problem for some. Combined with the lust over higher ‘pluses’, the existence of a place like this temple is almost a hook unto itself. It motivates the PLAYER rather than character … and those are the best hooks of all. The actual hooks are pretty shitty: stumble across it, hired to investigate, or hear a rumor about it. Ok, the second one isn’t that bad since its related to that quality of player power envy. Just dropping a rumor, or crafting some failed expedition or some such is a decent way of introducing the place. You’ll get little help from the adventure through; the entire introduction is a column. I love a terse introduction and this one has it. Three sentences on background, three on hooks, and a short section on general dungeon conditions before the adventure keys start at the top of the second column. Perfect for an adventure like this. I might have suggested tightening it up even more, cutting the lame hooks and hook intro paragraph, and using the space freed to add a bit of color to the “tavern rumor” hook. But, still, terse and doesn’t get in the way.

The encounters are almost all straightforward hacks. Enter a room. See a monster. It attacks. There’s a place for this, but the over reliance on it detracts from adventures. All but one of the non-trivial encounters is a hack. Had the rooms been layered a bit more it would have been much better. What I mean is having additional elements in a room. If the room has monster then maybe it also has trap. Or there’s something unrlated to the monster to investigate. Or the monster attacks WHEN you do something … like fucking with the hole its living in. There are skeletons on a table in this adventure. When you come in to the room the skeleton heads detach, flame on, and then attack. That sends the wrong message. If, instead, FUCKING with the skeletons caused their heads to fly off then you’re closer to room that works better. Better yet, if you put an obvious ruby in the skeletons mouth THEN you’ve got a great situation. The players want the ruby. EVERYONE knows what’s going to happen when they fuck with that ruby. They get to make the choice. A very tempting choice to push the shiny shiny red cherry button … Madcap plans are created. D&D happens.

The writing is also a bit weird. It’s pretty fact based, which is what I think I mean when I cite it as “straightforward.” But it’s also got a pretty loose writing style that I think detracts from the adventure. Room four notes that: (bolding mine)

“Along the eastern wall are a stack of twelve kegs, three rows of four each. The curious thing is that the kegs are made out of an unusual metal, not wood. Half of the kegs are empty. The others may be opened, and if so, out comes a very skunky beer, long past its prime.

Along the western wall are two crates, both made of wood. The southern crate is opened and inside is empty, save for some straw like material. The northern crate is unopened. If opened, it will reveal 8 smaller sealed cases, each containing 50 rolls of summer sausage (1 lb. each). Amazingly, it’s still edible.”

What this entry does is describe a typical storeroom. We all know what a typical storeroom looks like. There is no significance to the crates being on the western wall, or being made of wood. There is no significance to the southern crate being open. Looking at those first three sentences, if they were replaced with a different description, or did not exist at all, the adventure would be no different. I can make a halfway decent argument for the same being true of the first two sentences of the first paragraph. If the text were removed, and it has no impact on the adventure, then the text has no impact on the adventure and should not be there in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, there is ABSOLUTELY room for painting a vivid picture in the DM’s mind (in a terse way.) That’s a legit reason for text. But bare fact-based statements seldom accomplish that. I would argue that most of the room descriptions in the adventure fall in to that category.

I do want to note the treasure and monsters in this adventure. Both are excellent. Jeremy has created an all new slew of monsters, relying on nothing from the “normal” books. Long time readers will know I love this. I love it when a party encounters something that they have to struggle with. New monsters represent the unknown, mystery. The party doesn’t know what special attacks or defences they have. There is an element of fear. There’s a place for returning favorites, but almost nothing generates anxiety like meeting some beasty with unknown abilities. The treasure is also a cut above. Room one has a bag with a mitten, stained with blood, with a gold ring inside. A monocle with a crack in it. Green troll jerky wrapped in a dirty piece of cloth. These things tell a story; they make your mind tell a story. They make you want to know what happened. There’s an eye, ripped form a gnome, that you can use for true seeing. The amount of extra work to make something more interesting than “state: 100gp” or “sword+1” is pretty small and I wish more designers would add value that way.

There are a few other misses. Two statues grab people and go jump in to lava. Great encounter! But the text refers you to the magic pool room instead of the lava pit room. Not huge, but indicative of the need for a second read through.

It’s PWYW on DriveThru. The preview on DriveThru is a good one. You can see the treasure for room one at the top of page three. The storeroom text is on the same page. In fact, the entire adventure is available in the preview.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kreature Kompendium

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 11:00

Threat N Ink Issue #7 Kreature Kompendium is a zine-size monster book compiled by Jethro D. Wall available via mail order here. It's for old school D&D mostly, but the stat blocks are variable and haphazard, and the mechanical description of special abilities nonexistent. In other words, if you're looking for a meticulously table-ready collection of creatures with novel mechanics, this isn't that book.

This, instead, is one of the inspiration fodder monster books, where the mechanical details come second to having something really interesting conceptually to throw at players. The Kreature Kompendium reminds me a lot of goofy fun bestiaries of old, like the monster book of the Field Guide to Encounters, but at times it has a more modern and knowing absurdist streak like something from the literary New Weird.

In the former category I'd put the Blignag Cocksparrer which we are told "prefer to ride sweet Nash skateboards into battle" although some "have looted BMXs from human victims or received them as gifts from relatives for Christmas." In the latter category is something like The Painting that Paints Itself and the associated random table to determine the PCs reaction.

As those descriptions might indicate, the monsters are a varied lot, other than they are all what you would call "nonstandard." A couple of my favorites: The Charming Tongued Snuggler that thinks it's the Snaggle Toothed Charmer, but its poor understanding of human frailty causing it to suffocate humans with its tongue while trying to drink their blood; and the Destroyer Bitch Goddess whose special attack generates a time loop where that attack is repeated 666d100 times.

It's a lot of fun. The artwork by various artists is evocative, sometimes crude, and always not the sort of thing that would be used in a modern, corporate monster compendium--which is exactly from what want from a book like this.

If the above sounds interesting, then you should definitely check it out.


Subscribe to Furiously Eclectic People aggregator - Tabletop Gaming Blogs