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Cthulhu Dark Kickstarter and Impressions

19th Level - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 22:56


Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu is probably my favorite RPG. It has a system very well matched for its genre and it realizes its genre fantastically well.

It's definitely an old-school game - in many ways it is a living fossil - you could take an adventure for its 1st edition from the 1980s and very easily use it with the most recent 7th edition, converting things on the fly. If you come from a D&D background, the rules are pretty easy to pick up (I'd argue that Call of Cthulhu is easier to pick up than D&D).

But there are other ways to play a game of Lovecraftian horror, and reasons you'd want to go in that direction, depending on what you are looking for in a game. Call of Cthulhu is very traditional, giving players minimal narrative control. Pelgrane Press' Trail of Cthulhu injects a laser focus on investigation, insuring that no game comes to a halt because of a failed skill roll. One can see that Trail had an influence on the 7th edition of Call of Cthulhu.

Graham Walmsley has written a number of adventures for Trail of Cthulhu, written in the "purist" mode - games where achieving survival and sanity are extremely unlikely. They're fantastic adventures, filled with great atmosphere. My own tastes lean a little pulpier - less pulp than Pulp Cthulhu, more like your "Dunwich Horror" where some form of victory is possible if the investigators are careful and lucky.

He's also written Stealing Cthulhu, a system-less sourcebook on using various themes from Lovecraft and remixing them. My own games have benefited tremendously from this thin volume. I really enjoy Walmsley's style - it's a sort of "let's chat, here's an idea to consider - if you don't go with it that's fine, just give it some thought". I've read blogs and books filled with "one true way" to game that will condemn your BadWrongFun. Stealing Cthulhu is nothing like that - and my occasional interactions with Walmsley online have all been extremely pleasant and informative.

The last few pages of Stealing Cthulhu had the rules for Cthulhu Dark, a 2 page RPG for playing Lovecraftian horror. Your investigator has two statistics - a textual occupation and an INsight score . When you perform a task you roll at least one six-sided die - your "human" die. If your occupation is applicable you roll a second die. And if you want to risk your sanity you roll an insight die. Your highest die roll determines how well you succeed (or how awfully you fail if everyone things failure is more interesting). It's a very loose process - a roll of "1" isn't allowed to block the game - if you are investigating something you find the bare minimum needed to move the plot forward. If you jump out a window to escape you make a huge racket and everyone sees you.

There's a few catches though. If you rolled an Insight die and it is your highest roll, you have to make an Insight check. If you rolled a 6 on any die you have to make an Insight check. When you make an Insight check you roll a die and if it is higher than your current Insight (starting at 1) your Insight goes up by 1. If it hits 6...
When your Insight reaches 6, you understand the full horror behind the Universe and leave everyday life behind. To the outside world, you appear insane. This is a special moment: everyone focusses on your character’s last moments of lucidity. Go out however you want: fight, scream, run, collapse or go eerily silent.Cthulhu Dark is a really simple game. I've not had an opportunity to play it yet but my read of it is that it could do a lot of stuff really well. If you're looking for detail on how you fight cultists or want skill checks, it won't work - and truthfully, that is often what I do want. Nevertheless, I can see how one could really have a blast going for a moody, dark scenario. Or even a campaign in such a style. It could, for example, do a fantastic job with The Case of Charles Dexter Ward or The Shadow Over Innsmouth.

You don't have a lot of guidance on how to handle combat - the idea is if you fight a Mythos horror you die. So you should run. However, I do regret a little not having much for a fight with your cultist foe, though admittedly that is more a function of how I game and not particularly Lovecrafitan. (Confession time - I'm a huge Clark Ashton Smith fan whose stories have protagonists who are a bit more resilient - and that definitely impacts how I run Cthulhu games.) But it doesn't seem difficult to add, for example, a "Body" score to go with your "Insight" one, to represent risks to your physical well-being as well as your mental.

I do like the fact that Cthulhu Dark stays clear of detailed insanity - having dealt with mental health issues, both in myself and with family, I'm a bit sensitive to seeing things like "OCD" appearing on a random table. Indeed your investigator might not be insane - he might just understand what it is he is witnessing.

I also like the way in which your Insight score will go up rapidly at first and then slow down, though you'll reach a point where a single roll will have a 1-in-6 chance of taking you out.

As far as the Kickstarter goes, you can check it out here: Cthulhu Dark. It seems odd to have a Kickstarter for a two-page set of rules (which you can download from the Kickstarter page) but the Kickstarter also brings you lots of player and keeper (GM) advice on using the rules and crafting scenarios, along with various settings for Cthulhu Dark. Based on the quality of Walmsley's previous work (and the preview material at the Kickstarter page) I'm really looking forward to it. Even if I never play a game of Cthulhu Dark (which writing this has really filled me with an urge to try out) I'm certain I'll be getting my money's worth from this one.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

[CAMPAIGN JOURNAL] The Inheritance #09: Bad Idea Buck

Beyond Fomalhaut - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 21:41
The patrons of the Dancing Basilisk were absorbed in conversation or having their lunch when the door opened and a ragged figure walked in.“Food!” he bellowed, and slammed a meaty fist on the counter. The stranger was a half-orc in torn black leather clothes, a mail shirt, a flail in his belt. He sneered as he looked around, but was pacified as the innkeeper brought him a plate of mutton, brined radishes, and a mug of beer. The half-orc ate ravenously, finishing his meal with a contented burp. He became more attentive as he heard bits of a conversation from one of the tables.“And I am telling you, there really is a vampire tree up in them mountains. It’s got golden apples too, if you can get them.”“Not bad. We saw a midnight goatsucker and a bush that shot arrows.”“There sure are some weird things up them valleys.
We should sell the sceptre and horn we got in the abandoned minesDrolhaf Haffnarskørung suggested to the assembled company. “Huberic could be a good buyer, and for now, he is favourably disposed towards us.”They followed the Northman’s advice and went to see Lord Huberic in his tower. They were well received, and the fat autocrat not only bought the items, he had his own tale to tell:“In truth, now that I have a son, I am also looking for a bride, and have heard news of someone suitable. It is told there is a sleeping elven princess in an enchanted field somewhere in the mountains. If she was woken, I am sure she would immediately fall in love with me. As for you, you would be handsomely rewarded.”“A wise idea!” nodded Drolhaf. “We will look into the matter.”“Until then,” Sir Huberic nodded to the dour, tall old man next to the throne. “He will escort you to the mint and ensure you are paid for these items”.
Yes, Sir, he is that bad. Could you please take him off of of my back? I beg of you—“ the innkeeper pleaded with Gadur Yir when the next day rose. “He is of your kind; maybe you can talk sense to him?”“Just because we are both half-orcs? Well... let’s see. We have to investigate that kidnapped merchant… he must still be held by the bandits in the caves.”“Yeah, let’s go to the dungeon! This guy croaks, and we bring the merchant back.”Phil the Terror of Turkeys strode up to the morose newcomer, and tugged on his clothes. “You! You there! My name is Karl, Keeper of the Flower, and you will come with us to the dungeon!”The half-orc looked back at the group, and spat.“I may come with you if the money is good. My name is Buck.”“I bet you have relatives in Bucklin” sniggered Gadur Yir.“Sooner or later, I will have relatives everywhere” grunted Buck. “Care to guess where I got this cool leather getup?”“From a corpse?” guessed Drolhaf, but Buck would neither confirm nor deny it.
***
They prepared for the next expedition. Some took a hot bath, and some (namely Buck) wallowed in the mud a little. Gadur Yir took the fish-shaped piece of metal to the armourer, who examined it, and said he could fashion a haft for it to make it work as a spear. At last, they were ready, and approached the three cave entrances to the northwest of Haghill. There was a little trouble arranging the marching order (“I don’t want this fucker behind my back”, someone grumbled), but at last, Drolhaf Haffnarskørung and Gadur Yir agreed to go first, followed by Buck, and finally Karl, Keeper of the Flower. Unlike the last time, they chose the rightmost entrance. The passage lead to a small niche with a font of water fed by a grotesque stone head. Wind was blowing from a passage descending downwards, and stairs glistened with water. Gadur Yir shrugged, and started to descend, triggering a tripwire. There was a crack overhead as a pole gave way and an avalanche of rocks tumbled down – fortunately, everyone could avoid it.
More careful now, they continued, but halted in their tracks just as soon as they proceeded a little. A deep buzzing sound came from downwards, and swarms of bees filled the passage. In the middle of the thick clouds, there was a ragged man clad in what seemed like dirty, resin-reinforced birchbark clothes, his limbs caked with a black filth and his face covered with a thick veil. He advanced towards the company.“May the gods grant you sweet honey, Beekeeper!”The answer to Drolhaf’s greeting was only a sibilant buzzing sound, like a man imitating his bee companions. The strange apparition stared at them for an uncomfortable moment, but at last, he made another buzzing sound, and passed them on his way up, followed by the thick clouds of his bees.
The Singing Caverns: Upper LevelThe passage descended deeper and deeper, until it arrived in a garbage-strewn chamber. Two sets of stairs descended further, while to the northeast, a wooden board hung next to a tall ledge: “TRUGLAG’S TAVERN: RING FOR ADMITTANCE.” Up the ledge, dark passages disappeared in two directions.Gadur Yir ringed the bell by the sign. A snarling great lynx came forward from one of the passages, followed by two yawning orc guards carrying a ladder. Cautious at first, they became more relaxed as they saw the two half-orcs in the group.“Come on up if good food or drink is your wish – we are open!”The company followed the two orcs through tunnels smelling of smoke and sweat, by a guard room and what looked like a barracks. At last they arrived in a dimly lit tap room, where a burly orc was cleaning the counter with a rag, and a group of hooded men conversed by a round table.
Truglag – the orc by the counter – served up a row of foaming mugs, followed by platters of roast ham with honey, a ragout with mushrooms, and honey cake.“Any trail rations to sell?” asked Drolhaf.Truglag rubbed his belly “There be more hearty fare if you want it – I’ve got a leg of prime wild boar ham, cured and mossy. It will be six gold pieces, but it’ll last. The boars be munching their food down in the caverns, makes them real tasty.”Drolhaf counted out the coins, and they settled around an empty table.“To whom shall we raise our mugs?” asked Gadur Yir.“To Agak!” bellowed Buck.“To Agak indeed!” laughed Truglag, returning with a heavy leg of ham for Drolhaf.They talked some, and the barkeeper told them a few stories about the caves – there was the crazed beekeeper, a garden further within the labyrinth, a treacherous well which multiple drunken guests have fallen into, and a dangerous magic-user lived down the stairs from the tavern. When asked about the kidnapped merchant, Truglag only shrugged – he had seen or heard of nobody by that description.
***
Taking their farewells, the company delved deeper, climbing down rough-hewn stairs to a lower section of the caverns. Another set of stairs climbed back up, a collapsed barricade constructed of old barrels and crates stood to the west, and the statue of a smiling, jovial monk stood in a niche to the east. The statue was smeared with all kinds of foulness, a bottle had been smashed on its head, and someone had written “LIES!” in charcoal on the wall. Karl, Keeper of the Flower read the plaque below the statue: “BELIEVE MY WORDS, OH MY TRUE FRIEND, HERE YOU SHALL FIND YOUR HEART’S CONTENT.”“Let’s just not go this way” he suggested, and the others followed him up the stairs.Natural caverns followed, the flagstones blackened by old smoke. In a corner, the remains of a bonfire was littered with animal bones. The cavern twisted and turned, and while one passage lead to a downward stairway, the other emerged into a larger space illuminated by... rays of sunlight?
The light shone from a great hole in the ceiling where the hill had caved in. Dark earth covered the floor, and lush plants exhaled a misty fragrance. A great oak tree encircled by berry-laden vines stood in the middle of this wondrous glade, and mossy old statues stood guard at multiple points around it. Bees were buzzing among the blooming flowers. To the north, the cavern opened into a chasm, spanned by a rickety wooden bridge – deep down, there was a cavern with more plants. The place seemed beautiful and serene… perhaps too serene.
The buzzing of the bees started to grow louder and louder, until they collected into large black swarms and hurled themselves at the company. Drolhaf Haffnarskørung quickly retreated to the adjoining cavern to the west. The bees proved very resistant to swords, but torches and smoke worked fine, and a dust devil spell by Buck eventually scattered them. Meanwhile, Drolhaf was also in trouble: in the other cavern, he was quickly ambushed by a horde of rats, while the rest of the company had to face a swarm of vampire bats coming from the lower cavern, attracted to the warm bodies in the meadow. Drained and tired, at last they were standing over a mound of slain enemies.“Anything else?” Gadur Yir asked as he beheaded a green serpent which tried to climb up his leg.Finding no more opposition, the half-orc climbed the tree and tried to go higher on the vines clinging to the side of the hole in the ceiling, but found them too loose to continue.
Instead of lingering longer, they explored the western cave. A stream was running through the place, feeding a pool filled with blind albino cave newts, but there was also something else. Someone had excavated a hole in the ground, and scattered pickaxes and shovels were still laying around the place. On the bottom, they found a curious relic: a life-sized, red clay statue of a naked woman. There were scraps of ancient sacks, and five ancient, crude electrum pieces left in the depression. Lifting the statue from its resting place and restoring it to an upright position, they heard a resonant sound, silent in the caverns but clear and loud within their heads:“BURIED DEEP AND PLUNDERED THE WORLD LIES FRAYED AND DEFILED / A NEW SPRING IT BRINGS AND RESTORED TO STRENGTH IT ADMIRES ITS OWN SIGHT”…then, the primitive image was silent once more. Finding nothing more of value here, the company continued to the north, and descended another stairway into the lower caverns.
***
The stairs lead to a larger, long chamber branching off into multiple smaller tunnels. Steps and lights came from the south, and a group of a dozen men came into view. Dressed in buckskin and green, they bore bows and long swords. Their leader hailed the company and inquired about their purpose here. Hearing they were explorers, the men became less tense, and told they were in the same business – they were investigating a series of old burial sites, but had found no valuables so far except the statues of olden kings. At last – while Buck was trying to estimate their numbers and strength – they left towards the north, while the company stayed around and investigated the side caverns. Each of the chambers lead to a small room, decorated with bas-reliefs of old warriors, and the standing statues of warriors. Runic incriptions told of forgotten names. ILLONAR, RADERGUND and KAZZODORIC. Illonar’s statue had an empty niche in its base, long looted; Radergund’s statue was toppled, and Kazzodoric’s bore a rusty helmet. The end of the hall to the west was collapsed, but a pile of rubble to the east hid a small crawlway.
Considering their chances, Drolhaf Haffnarskørung and Karl the Keeper of the Flower crawled inside with a lantern, while the two half-orcs waited outside. While the others were exploring, footsteps came from the east, and Gadur Yir and Buck found themselves in a ring of drawn scimitars.“Agak is the greatest!” grinned Buck as he held up the symbol of the orc god, a satanic star encircling a clawed hand – the newcomers were a company of ten orcs.“Agak is the greatest!” the orcs shouted in greeting. “What do you seek here? We came to search these caverns for treasures.”Buck looked over them and snarled: “There are human worms in these passages – they will be easy prey if you just go north.”“Lead us, and we shall take them together” came the answer.“So be it! Come and be quick!”Gadur Yir stayed behind as Buck and the orcs raced through the narrow passages, emerging into a vast cavern filled with mounds of rubble and teeming plant life – the bottom of the chasm seen from the underground glade, right under the bridge.“Forward! To victoryyyy!” Buck urged the orcs, who thundered through the cavern, while the shadowy cleric ducked into a shadow and returned to the hall of the kings.
The Singing Caverns: Lower Level...meanwhile, Drolhaf and Karl emerged into a small round chamber like the others. Water had collected on the muddy floor, and thick roots hung from the wet ceiling. The statue of king ADALRIC held an old spear in its hands, the head stuck among the roots and green stalks of the low ceiling. Drolhaf imagined he had heard a faint chanting, but wasn’t sure about it.“Well?”“This is just a spear” shrugged the hobbit.Drolhaf was not so sure. “No… it would have rotted if it was a common weapon. Stay back if you want.”Karl retreated to the tunnel as the Northman applied soap to the spear’s haft, and with one move, pulled it from the statue’s hands. “Yes... this looks extraordinarily well balanced.”Gadur Yir and Buck were still in a heated discussion when they returned, but eventually, Gadur Yir shrugged, and they continued cautiously to the large cavern. There were sounds of battle coming from the north, and observing from a safe place, they saw the few remaining orcs scatter and flee in panic.“Cowards!” Buck growled, mostly to himself.“Do you know them?” asked Drolhaf.“It was a passing acquaintance.
***
Instead of going north and confronting whatever it was the orcs had run into, they went south, and found a long stairway down and another up. Figuring the latter would return them near the underground glade, they descended until they heard murmuring and chanting. A dirty leather curtain closed off an opening in the wall of the passage before a new set of stairs descended even further. An unclean and repulsive smell came from behind, and only Gadur Yir was brave enough to step inside. In a small chamber with roots hanging from the ceiling, a filthy old hermit was sitting cross-legged and murmuring its chants. The man was a wreck, his wild hair and unkempt beard shot through with fungi and moss, his nails encrusted with revolting filth, his eyes replaced by sightless gemstones. In a croaking sound, the hermit spoke.“Welcome, foolish interloper. Twenty gold coins you shall count out before me, and you shall go freely, avoiding the weight of my curse.”Gadur Yir opened his purse and paid his dues. “Here you are, old man. Now can you tell me where these stairs lead?”“It is a forbidden place, yes... it is said the Beekeper had been down there, once, before he was the Beekeeper… and I had looked when I had eyes to see… The mysteries of the old world are buried underneath – stay away!”Thanking the hermit and sharing the information with his companions, Gadur Yir was interested in continuing, while Karl seemed more cautious.“The Beekeeper was also there, and he is cuckoo insane like this guy. Let’s just follow the warning and get the hell out. We are looking for the kidnapped merchant, not any ‘old world’ foolishness.”But Drolhaf’s interest was picqued. “The old world?Sounds like something worth investigating.”Gadur Yir made his decision “I follow the god of heroism – stay if you want, but we are going.
The neverending stairs descended downwards and downwards, deep into the silent depths of the earth. The half-orc and the Northman passed multiple rests with crude stone benches, until at last they arrived at a stone arch held by the statues of two dwarves. They peered through the opening into a vast underground cavern, dark but shining with a weird non-light that allowed them to see in odd and unnatural hues. There were plants in the cavern, and the great stone blocks of an upside-down stone circle on the ceiling. This was the seat of something strange and powerful, and there was a feeling of tension in the air.Drolhaf’s voice broke the heavy silence: “If we go through the arch – the Beekeper had been here, and lost his mind.”Gadur Yir countered: “He survived.”Dolhaf, again: “This is not a civilised place. Not the right kind of civilisation, anyway.”Gadur Yir thought for a while, looking at the arch, but didn’t step through. At last he sighed, and they turned back to return to their companions.
***
Once again in the large cavern, the coast seemed clear, so they went north to investigate the battle site. Broken orc bodies lie everywhere, mangled and smashed by something strong. Looting the corpses resulted in some loot, but it was all slim pickings. Continuing to the northwest, then north, they entered a passage which lead to a cavern filled filled with tall man-sized mushrooms. Something lumbered among the fleshy pods and caps. A living statue, its hands still bloodied, came at them, but went down under a series of strikes. Drolhaf Haffnarskørung tried out his new spear, and it seemed to pierce stone as well as it would pierce a man. A magical weapon! With the stone guardian slain, Karl the Keeper of the Flower investigated the mushroom patches, collecting a handful of edible specimens, and a few more which carried a strong poison. Meanwhile, the others had discovered another passage to the north, leading out of the cave system and into the dense woods around Haghill. Noting its location, they turned back to the south, bypassing a pool of water to return to the battle site with the dead orcs.
…only to run into the band of nine green-clad men again, who were now busy stripping the dead orcs of their remaining valuables. They hailed each other, and the men turned back to their tasks, but Buck, who had spotted a fat purse on one of the men, had a different idea. He started to chant, speaking the words of a hold person spell. Three men froze in motion, while someone cried --“Treachery!”Blades were drawn and blows were exchanged, and in a quick, one-sided and terrible massacre, most of the men were cut down where they stood, except two slingers, who dropped their weapons and begged for mercy.“Kneel!” barked Buck as he rifled the corpses. He led the two unfortunates to a side cavern, taking out his rage and evil nature on the hapless robbers while the rest of the company waited uneasily outside. When the broken robbers emerged, they begged to be left alive, and promised to tell anything just to escape with their lives.“Where are the captives? Where is the kidnapped merchant?” cried Buck.“They…” the men whimpered.“Answer or die, dogs!”“Please no! They are... they are at Truglag’s! Please let us go!”Buck suggested using them as human shields, but nobody liked the idea, and the others were still shaken by the revelation of his debased nature. In the end, Drolhaf untied their ropes, and pointed to the north--“Go along this passage until you reach an exit. I don’t want to see you again near Haghill!”The two survivors, still shocked, left as quickly as they could, leaving the company to their dark thoughts.
After exploring more of the nearby caverns – trying to solve the mystery of a weird statue and pacifying a group of wild boars with Karl’s freshly picked mushrooms – they decided to return to the upper level. Tired, they climbed up the stairs and made for the underground glade, but again found themselves in company. A group of dejected and tired orcs were sitting around the tree, some nursing wounds, some just staring morosely. They looked up, and one shouted, pointing at Buck: “There he is! The traitor!”A melee developed around the tree and near the ledge, everyone against multiple enemies. At last, Drolhaf Haffnarskørung, who had kept his orcs away easily, had enough.“Go for the cleric and we will leave you alive!” he snapped at the pitiful orcs, pointing at Buck. The orcs turned and fell on Buck, who was now fighting for his life as Drolhaf watched.“Him! Take him!” he shrieked and pointed, and as if compelled by magic, the orcs turned away from him and fell on Gadur Yir. They had almost brought him down, but the half-orc was too tough, and eventually slew his assailants.
In the end, they were standing wounded and panting over a pile of orc bodies. Buck and Gadur Yir were heavily wounded, and Drolhaf and Karl were also close to being spent. They glared at each other, while fat bats started descending on the slain orcs to drink their blood. Buck spat. Drolhaf, his weapon still raised, broke the silence. “Buck, we did not know you yet properly this morning, only that the innkeeper asked us to bring you with us just to get rid of you. We did you no harm, but you seem to have an orc army here, and you had first send them to their death, and then against Gadur Yir to save your skin. We still don’t know you, but we don’t like what we are seeing. What do you have to say about this?”“I almost died!” protested Gadur Yir.Buck only shrugged. “We are all pretty worn down. What use is it? Let’s get going, and if you want, we can discuss it outside. It is getting dark outside anyway.
Returning to the forest exit, they made for Haghill to raise the militia and have them surround and smoke out the bandits’ nest in Truglag’s Tavern. Armed men with torches gathered to prepare for the assault on the caverns, and riders were dispatched to block off the alternate exit. Meanwhile, Buck was gorging himself with the Dancing Basilisk’s mushroom salad, and enjoying the attentions of the cooking lady, whom he had invited upstairs for a quick romp. But something was broken between him and the other members of the company, who had all come back in a foul mood. The next morning, Buck was gone with unpaid bills, and he was never seen in Haghill again.
(Session date 1 May 2017).
***
Notable quotes:
Drolhaf: “You let them die for nothing – they were your own kin.”Buck: “So?”Drolhaf: “But you are a follower of Agak, not Ayn Rand!
Drolhaf: “We can go home now – mission accomplished, we got the half-orc out of the pub.
GM: “The orcs have some treasure on them.”Buck, satisfied: “They didn’t die in vain.
***
Referee’s notes: That escalated quickly. After a long and mostly enjoyable dungeon expedition, the conclusion had kind of a bitter tinge to it. Buck had not just angered the rest of the company and wasted orc lives, he had also screwed up the main goal: the confessions he had extracted from the bandits were false. As things go with torture, captives tend to say whatever they think will get them released, and the men, shocked by what they had just gone through and afraid for their lives, lied. Bramerlic the mineral dealer was never found; not by the party and not by Huberic’s men – by the time they assaulted the dungeon, the bandits and their captive were long gone.

After the game, everyone in the group agreed that Buck would just have to go. He had passed the dividing line between adorable rascal and loathsome fuckwit. Nobody liked him (actually, not even his player), and he will not be missed.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Fight at Sea - Great Hall Burning Bat Rep

Two Hour Wargames - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 18:25
Great Hall Burning is about action. Just as we don't waste time measuring the units as they move along the table, the same thing happens when at sea. You're in  command of the force, not piloting every ship. We assume that each ship's Captain will do their job and get their vessel along side of the enemy you want them to. Quicker into the action the more games you can play in the same day.
***************************************Rolf sets sail in the longship provided by the Captain. It's a small Class 1 ship (lowest of 3 Classes) with a Capacity of 8 figures (ships have a Capacity of 8, 12 or 16) . The good thing is it is highly maneuverable - Maneuver Rating 3 (ships have a Maneuver Rating of 1, 2 or 3).

Not long out at sea  an Anglo Saxon ships comes into view. It's a Class 2 with 12 figures on board. Rolf goes to the attack!










After the fight casualties are rolled for. The Freeman goes to Valhalla. 6 of the Anglo Saxons survive. 5 are ransomed at 1 Fame Point each, but the 6th isn't. Rolf offers him a chance to join the band. He accepts.
Rolf gains a total of 9 Fame points after the battle and now has his own ship  - a Class 2 ship with a larger capacity. He now has 20 Fame Points, his Social Standing increase to 4, and can now command 2 units.*************************************Here's a picture of the actual counters used in the game. These are free and can be downloaded on the Great Hall Burning page when the ruels go on sale. For small combat there are individual counters, for ship battles the counters are numbered so each unit can fit on the ship card.











Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Appendix N Essential Reading Clark Ashton Smith Reading Material For Your Old School Sword & Sorcery Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 15:30
I've had a wicked head cold over the last day or so but I've taken the time to do a bit of delving into the more estoreric nature of the background of the mythology of Clark Ashton Smith's Hyperborea. This cycle of Smith's directly ties in with the Lovecraftian mythos. "In a letter to August Derleth dated 26 July 1944, Smith wrote: "In common with other weird tales writers, I have ... made Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Great Tenkar's Crate Jimmy! We have Nearly a Dozen Publishers Interested in Jumping in The Crate

Tenkar's Tavern - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 14:44


Yesterday was a day that went by in a whirl. By the time we got back to the hotel room I barely had the energy to put up a late night post. I was excited, as a couple of my friends in the industry were at the con early and expressed interest in having their products in the monthly Tenkar's Tavern Crate (of OSR Goodness)

Then I opened my tenkarsDOTtavern email, and saw the inquiries from other publishers. If the current OSR Extravaganza Sale at RPGNow is any indication of the potential strength of the OSR market, the emails I read have shown me this monthly box of OSR goodies will be filled with some of the best products an old school gamer would want to get their hands on.

If you emailed me about participating in Tenkar's Tavern Crate I have read your email. I'll try to respond later today and will forward your information on to those that do the real work behind the scenes.

Damn. I want to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming :)


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Tales of Peril in print!

Zenopus Archives - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 11:35
Tales of Peril at the Black Blade booth. Photo by Allan Grohe.
Tales of Peril: the Complete Boinger & Zereth Stories of John Eric Holmes is in print! 

This long-awaited compilation is making its debut this week at the North Texas RPG Con, where it is available at the booth of the publisher, Black Blade Publishing. Above is a photo of the books taken by Allan Grohe, the book's editor. After the con it will be available for mail order, per Allan here.

Until that time you can view a series of previews of the book that Allan has posted on his new blog, From Kuroth's Quill:

Tales of Peril - Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and sample art: Wereshark by Chris Holmes

Back Cover Art by Ian Baggley

Front Cover Art by Ian Baggley
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Jump Down, Spin Around, Shake Another Hand - Jump Down, Spin Around, Meet Another Friend...

Tenkar's Tavern - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 05:04
There is Goodness here in TexasTo say that Wednesday Night, the NTRPG Precon Night, has been a bit overwhelming is an understatement.

So far, I have met with, in no particular order: Kevin, Chuck, Glenn, Denis, Steve, Chris, Thom, Stephen, Guppy, Chrissy,James, James, Jeff, Doug, Mike, Skeeter, Doug, David, Melissa, Rich, David, Paul, Jon, Jason, Zach, and too many others whose names escape me at this advanced time of night.

Holy shit! The con hasn't even officially started.

Tomorrow I think I will need drink...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

What makes a megadungeon?

Greyhawk Grognard - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 02:10
It's big, but is it mega?There's been a lot of chatter in my own little corner of the OSR web lately about megadungeons, and this is a thing that I both enjoy and encourage. For obvious reasons, I've got quite a few opinions about the megadungeon concept and execution, and I'm not afraid to share.

But I think in order to properly frame the discussion, we need to get a bit of definition around what, exactly, a megadungeon is.

Quite a few people subscribe to the "mythic underworld" interpretation of the megadungeon, where it represents a place where the normal rules of the world no longer apply, and wherein fantastical and abnormal things can be encountered. Indeed, Philotomy's Musings (a well-traveled booklet in certain circles) gives a length discourse on the megadungeon as mythic underworld, and in addition provides the following criteria for the mythic underworld/megadungeon (which he significantly uses interchangeably):

  1. It's big, and has many levels; in fact, it may be endless
  2. It follows its own ecological and physical rules
  3. It is not static; the inhabitants and even the layout may grow or change over time
  4. It is not linear; there are many possible paths and interconnections
  5. There are many ways to move up and down through the levels.
  6. Its purpose is mysterious or shrouded in legend
  7. It's inimical to those exploring it
  8. Deeper or farther levels are more dangerous
  9. It's a (the?) central feature of the campaign 

Personally, I'm not a fan of the mythic underworld interpretation, if for no other reason that in what has become the default style of FRPG campaign, there really is no distinction between the laws of reality in the dungeon, as compared to the town or inn. In a Campbellian sense, there's no definitive transition between the normal world and the world of fairy tales wherein one can encounter orcs, and vampires, and find magic rings. You could very well be attacked by a vampire while staying in your (supposedly) safe space.

Now, certainly, this is not the only approach to setting up a FRPG campaign, and something like the Western Marches campaign (seriously, if you've not read that yet, go do so immediately; it's brilliant) does in fact make the distinction. The town is safe, the lands to the west of the town are not. But when compared to "most" FRPG campaigns, that's the exception.

But more to the point, it fails to distinguish between a "regular" dungeon (one that can be "finished" in one or more sessions and play) and a megadungeon. For instance, I would argue that Philotomy's criteria 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 could apply to all sorts of different adventures and not just a megadungeon. I would also argue that 2 doesn't even necessarily apply to a megadungeon, although it could (and I would argue could apply to certain sorts of adventures, such as extra-planar excursions, more than it does to a megadungeon).

For instance, let's take one of my favorite modules, B1: In Search of the Unknown.

Certainly, it's big, and has many levels. It's not linear (although Dyson Logos made an effort to make it moreso); has several interconnections between levels; is certainly shrouded in legend as a general thing, even though its purpose is pretty straightforward (to act as a base for Zelligar and Rohgan); and it's definitely inimical to explorers (what dungeon isn't?). While it doesn't necessarily get harder as one goes from the surface, the second level certainly seems to be more deadly than the first, and 9 is not relevant because it can be plugged into any campaign (by design) and could certainly serve as a campaign tentpole (I used it in just such a way once, and it was a great success).

But I don't think anyone would argue it is a megadungeon.

What does that leave us? Simple.
3. It is not static; the inhabitants and even the layout may grow or change over timeThat, to me, is the key. That's what makes something a megadungeon, rather than a regular dungeon. Any tomb or fortress or magic vault can be deadly, or get harder as you go further from the entrance, or whatever else.

But what makes a megadungeon special is that it is literally impossible to "clear".

Part of this is because of its size. You might be able to clear out a level (indeed, some of the PCs in the original Greyhawk campaign did just that, for a while, and claimed it for their own), but you'll never clear the dungeon. It's just not possible. Because while you're off exploring level 8, the orcs on level 3 are tunneling into a side level, and the myconids in that cavern in level 7 are spawning new warriors, and the Mad Archmage at the bottom is busy forming gates to new demi-planes.

Speaking of which, Wayne at Initiative One is entirely right. A megadungeon doesn't have a "boss" that can be defeated. If that were the case, doing so would "clear" the dungeon, which is exactly what can't be done to megadungeon. Certainly, individual levels can have bosses. Absolutely! But even Zagyg at level 13 of Castle Greyhawk, and the Mad Archmage at the bottom of Castle of the Mad Archmage, aren't bosses in that sense. They're not there to be defeated. They're there to open up yet another aspect of play. Certainly, meeting them can be viewed as a victory of sorts, but when you take the slide to China, you haven't defeated the dungeon. You just have farther to walk to go back to exploring it. Because the Greyhawk Construction Company just opened up a new side level on level 4 that wasn't there the last time.

In fact, we can infer exactly this from the racial abilities built into 1E. Detecting new construction makes absolutely no sense in a game sense unless there's new construction to detect.

So where does this leave us? It's not size (although size is important from a practical standpoint). It's not deadliness, because any dungeon worth its salt is deadly. It's all about replayability. The state of being wherein the PCs could, if they wished, keep going back into the dungeon over and over and over and over, and never, ever, not have something new to explore. (They might not find it, but that doesn't mean it's not there.) And that isn't limited to physical construction, either; demi-planes and other extra-dimensional gates, time portals, cursed scrolls taking PCs to the Starship Warden; they all count as part of the megadungeon.

Without that element of infinite replayability, you don't have a megadungeon. You just have a large dungeon, which is a very different thing.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

We Have Arrived - Time to Run Naked Through the Halls!

Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 21:50
Wait! That's been done already. Ah Well.


This is our room. Those are Rach's feet.


This is our view. That cloud hides and adventure.

Alright, time to explore the new hotel :)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Great Hall Burning - Carousing in Skoro

Two Hour Wargames - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 16:32
Part One

Rolf has decided he will go down to the Docks and attempt to recruit more men for his unit. To do this we use the Carousing Encounter. Here's how easy it is.
  1. You can take some of your existing unit with you if you want. How many? Roll 1/2d6 and subtract that from your rating. In this case Rolf could have 2 figures in his group, including himself.
  2. You will have three contacts with NPCs - the first outside on the street and the other two inside a building.
  3. Roll 2d6 on the NPCs Location Table under the correct area.  Rolf has met Warriors outside of a Tavern. You can choose any building you want.
  4. Roll 1d6 on the How Many of Them Table - NPCs. Rolf scores a 4 - he has met two Warriors.
  5. Rolling on the Viking Army List Rolf has met a Rep 4 AC 2 Freeman and a Rep 3 AC 2 Freeman.
    Rolf can now interact with them. Each Class has its own NPC Interaction Table. Rolf rolls 2d6 versus Rep and the Leader of the two Warriors rolls the same. Rolf could Sweet Talk them but at the cost of one Fame Point. He decides not to. Both pass 2d6 - The Warriors acknowledge Rolf, but that's it.
    Once inside you get two more contacts. Following the same procedure Rolf meets:



    1 Huscarl (Rep 5) with 1 Archer (Rep 4) and 1 Freeman (Rep 4). This could be interesting. Time to Interact and Rolf sweetens the deal by spending 2 Fame points and will now roll 4d6.  Rolf passes 4d6 the Huscarl 2d6. Rolf's Fame drops to 10. Rolf does gain 1 Fame point for the successful Interaction. The good news is the Freeman and Archer will join the group, the Huscarl will not.Rolf tells the two to meet him at the longship later this month.
    Time for the third and final contact. Rolf meets two more Warriors, another Huscarl and a Freeman. He chooses to roll 2d6 and is not successful in recruiting anyone else. Rolf now has the following:
    Rolf Rep 5 0 Social Standing 3 Fame 11.5 Huscarls Rep 51 Freeman Rep 41 Archer Rep 4
    The unit is mixed with different Classes and Reps, but that doesn't matter as Great Hall Burning takes this into account for melee, shooting, movement, and morale. On to the ship! 

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Skoro - The pre-generated town in Great Hall Burning.

    Two Hour Wargames - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 16:32
    After the Stand Up Fight, Rolf's Huscarl unit was reduced from eight to six figures. He has the use of a longship, but needs to recruit more men to take full advantage of it. How do you do that? Go Carousing in the town of Skoro, included in Great Hall Burning.


    Skoro is the Viking Town in Danish Mercia where your RPG Lite adventures will take place. If you want to you can also use it for another Viking Town, ruled by a different King or even tweak it for the other countries. It’s your game so play it like you want!
    Skoro has four areas for you to visit. Here’s how we do it: ·        Each month, instead of a Battle, you can choose to visit one or more areas of Skoro, but never twice in the same month.   ·        There is no map, so just decide where and in what order you visit the town.Skoro is divided into the following four areas:·        Docks.·        Great Hall.·        Homes.·        The Market.
    Each area has it's own table for generating the Non-Player Grunts you can meet - from the King down to Civilians. Rolf chooses to return to the Docks hoping to recruit some soldiers. In  Great  Hall Burning you can choose to build your unit from the different Classes - Melee and Missile. Rolf is hoping for Huscarls, but will settle for anyone he can recruit.
    The Carousing Encounter lets you do this. Follow the link and see what happened.
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Commentary & Review Of Stairway of V'dreen For Crimson Dragon Slayer Or Your Favorite Retroclone System

    Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 15:09
    "Find a place to hide! Luckily, such a place happens to be nearby.Approximately 50' away from where the adventurers currently stand is a half-buried hunk of metal the size of a small village. Various metallic parts of the thing are halfway sunk into the ground. The large metal structure is tilted slightly downward."The PC's find a mad scientist Dr. Ebzub in the middle of an   experiment Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Off To NTRPG Con We Go!

    Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 12:15


    Rach and I have a noon flight to Dallas today. NTRPG Con here we come!

    In case you missed it, last night we announced the launch of Tenkar's Tavern Crate, a monthly mailing of OSR goodness. I've already have publishers asking to be involved in the project and I'll be talking with others at NTRPG Con. I just realized, that makes this year's Con something that might actually involve work ;)

    If you are at NTRPG this weekend, please, don't hesitate to introduce yourself. I don't bite and I am a tad more fun than a rock (inside joke there ;) Be warned, get me talking and I may be hard to shut up - heh.

    I'll announce Tavern Chat's status for tonight after I settle in to NT/



    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    The Dwarves of Copper Gulch

    Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 11:13


    By Ian McGarty
    Silver Bulette
    Swords & Wizardry
    Level 1-3

    The Dwarves of Copper Gulch have returned! They seem to be a bit less industrious than before and you will have to figure out why.

    This is an eleven page adventure in a small dwarven hold with around 28 rooms on two levels. It’s been taken over by goblins, who think they are dwarves. If I’m being generous, then the content is marginal. From layout to encounters to the core elements, there’s just not much thought.

    Most of the adventure takes place in five pages, with two more for maps. You find a journal, or heard a rumor in a tavern, or find a map. All centering around hearing about an old dwarf hold that is rumored to be full of treasure if you can get past the traps and labyrinth of rooms. There is no labyrinth of rooms or even any traps. Instead there are goblins who think they are dwarves. Quick to anger, quick to laugh, and able to be reasoned with.

    The formatting changes from one column to two. The rooms all run up against each other with no paragraph break between rooms, or bolding of their titles, making it difficult to pick out the individual rooms. The wandering monster table intro implies multiple creatures … but the table has one entry, labeled “1.” The front door is, evidently, locked with a puzzle lock. It’s not clear. There’s a handout with letters and numbers on it, but no indication of what the handout represents. There’s just this handout titled “Door Puzzle handout” that is a matrix of letters and numbers.

    The treasure is all +1 axes and shields and so on, with no effort to describe or make unique. The final room has a silver statue of a bulette in it, with full stats. Does it do something? Does it come to life? Is it underneath the pit in the throne room? Absolutely no indication of any of it.

    In summary: an “adventure” with no real efforts at hooks, no real efforts at formatting (Fuck man, just spend 15 minutes more on the layout to bold some room names and stick in some whitespace!) The “adventure” consists of, essentially, looting the place without getting caught by the “dwarves” …I guess? There’s just nothing here. A few monsters, some boring old room descriptions … nothing. It’s almost incoherent.

    It’s Pay What You Want on DriveThru, with most of the adventure available in the preview. Page two shows the wandering monster table .. with one entry, while the bottom of the page shows the puzzle door with handout following. Page five is a GREAT example of the formatting. Whitespace on the previous page, none on this one and everything running together.
    http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/210391/Dwarves-of-Copper-Gulch-a-Swords-and-Wizardry-Compatible-Adventure

    It’s 9:12am and I need a fucking drink after this.

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Wednesday Mini-Comics: The Battle in the Clouds

    Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 11:00

    This is the third mini-comic released with the Masters of the Universe toys. Like the rest, it was written by Don Glut and written by Alfredo Alcala.

    We open on Eternia's tallest peak where Stratos is somehow able to hear the sounds of battle far below. He flies down and finds He-Man riding the Battle Ram is putting a beating on Skeletor near Castle Grayskull. Somehow, now Castle Grayskull is near the ocean, because He-Man is able to toss a defeated Skeletor into it.


    As He-Man and Stratos fly away, Mer-Man  pulls Skeletor from the water and offers to make a deal with him. He'll help Skeletor defeat defeat his foe in exchange for He-Man's weapons. The two villains start blasting away at He-Man,

    Stratos swoops in and gives He-Man a lift to get him out of danger quicker, but a "great gust of wind" knocks He-Man off the Battle Ram, he he falls--only his super-garment protects him. He's just knocked unconscious. Stratos doesn't realize He-Man's gone. He just keeps flying.


    Skeletor and Mer-Man see He-Man's fall go. In order to get up the mountain to where he fell to snatch his gear, the evil warriors steal Teela's horse.

    Mer-Man gets to He-Man just as he's waking up. He's able to over-power him and steal his super-strength suit. His next stop: the Battle Ram.


    He-Man plans to stop him. He goes to the edge of the forest and calls Battle Cat. The two head over to He-Man's place to get his force field suit (Apparently separate from his super-strength suit. Pretty inconvenient.), then to Man-At-Arms' cabin. They decide to fly the Wind Raider up to where Stratos took the Battle Ram and thwart Mer-Man.

    He-Man is impatient with the speed the Wind Raider is making and grumbles he could have climbed up himself if he only had his super-strength suit. Man-At-Arms opines that "brute strength must sometimes give way to science" and opens it up full-throttle, shutting up He-Man pretty quick.


    Meanwhile, Mer-Man has found the Battle Ram. When the Wind Raider reaches the peak, he attacks them with a volley of ray blasts. Man-At-Arms falls out, and only his armor saves him from dying in the fall. Battle Ram and Wind Raider hit each other head on.  Stratos strikes the decisive blow, though:


    The battle in the clouds won, He-Man and Stratos fly off to get back the super-strength suit from the defeated Mer-Man and then rescue Man-At-Arms and Teela.

    Announcing the Tenkar's Tavern Monthly Crate of OSR Goodness - I Kid You Not!

    Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 03:33


    Here's the official press release announcing the Tenkar's Tavern OSR Crate (I told you there was something special coming on the 8th Anniversary of The TavernIllusionist Investment Group Partners with Tenkar’s Tavern Erik Tenkar, the populist old school roleplaying (OSR) commentator and blogger, has granted theexclusive monthly subscription box license to the Illusionist Investment Group entertainment collective. Houston, TX, May 30, 2017 (www.illusioni.st) - Monthly subscription services are key to the growth of the Illusionist Investment Group (IIG). IIG brings scale, corporate business support, capital, technology resources, marketing specialists, and strategic relationships to key celebrities and creative studios within the tabletop game industry. “Tenkar’s Tavern brings a bold and edgy commentary to the adventure trade with blogs, social media, convention appearances, and brand licensing across many verticals,” said Jared Nielsen, Principal Investor of IIG. “We believe that with additional investment the Tenkar’s Tavern brand and IIG can mutually grow together.” When asked what appealed to him about bring involved with a monthly crate, Erik Tenkar responded: “To be honest, I love getting monthly surprises in the mail, especially those related to RPGs. An offer to help curate a monthly crate of OSR goodies was something I just couldn't pass on." About Illusionist Investment Group LLC The Illusionist Investment Group is a woman-owned, Houston-based company focused on developing entertainment properties within the tabletop game industry that includes board games, card games, roleplaying games, miniatures, web games, mobile apps and augmented reality games. About Tenkar’s Tavern Tenkar’s Tavern is a cutting edge network of blogs, events, social media and convention
    appearances led by its namesake, Erik Tenkar. Over time Erik has become the voice of the old school roleplaying market with his edgy humor and incisive wit. An avid gamer, Erik not only comments on the games he reviews, but he creates his own content and inspires and assists other small press publishers using his podium as a megaphone. He is respected by old school grognards and newbies alike for his fairness and transparency with industry reporting and game information. About Tenkar’s Tavern Crate The Tenkar’s Tavern crate is a monthly subscription box filled with a mystery selection of OSR gaming products. Products range from RPG books, scenarios, adventure modules, dice, tabletop game accessories, miniatures and much more. With a changing selection each month this crate aims to satisfy collectors in the old school roleplaying market segment.Media Contacts:
    Trina Burns
    Illusionist Investment Group
    (832) 664-7993
    trina@illusioni.st
    www.illusioni.st So, what does this mean for you?

    Well, if you are a gamer I hope to present you with a deep selection of OSR goodness. You've been loyal readers for years, some of your for the full eight years, and this is part of me paying you back. Seriously, I love getting my Loot Crate and Mythoard every month, but the idea of a monthly shipment of OSR picks landing on my doorstep is simply awesome. If you've been following the current OSR Extravaganza Sale at RPGNow, you know the waters of the OSR are deep and full of life. Its time to take a swim in those waters.

    If you are a publisher of OSR or System Neutral products, rulebooks, adventures, accessories, settings, etc and you would like to be part of the Tenkar's Tavern Crate I need to talk with you. Email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing. Put "Tenkar's Crate" in the email heading. We'll talk gaming and TPKs before getting down to the nitty gritty.

    If you are a publisher and will be at NTRPG Con this week, we WILL talk. Trust me on this :)

    As if you can't tell, I'm extremely excited to be a part of this. I've been dying to talk about this for weeks!

    Doh! Sign up is on the right side of this page! DO spread the word! The more folks that sign up for the crate the better the crates are for everyone. Now to put my Tenkar's Tavern Crate Wishlist together...

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    OSR Extravaganza Sale - The Picks - The Witch Queen's Lair was in the Lost City of the Dwarves beneath the Frozen Fortress of the Winter Lord

    Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 21:39
    The OSR Extravaganza Sale is in full swing. Its time for The Tavern to make some picks and the occasional "deep track" ;)

    Saga of the Witch Queen - Lets look back to the Summer of 2007, when Goodman Games released Saga of the Witch Queen at Gen Con. A 1e adventure for AD&D 1e, it is one of +Harley Stroh 's earlier works. Conversion by +Jon Hershberger - "Drawn into a series of adventures spanning the north, the heroes take up arms against the sinister machinations of Kyleth, the Witch Queen. Beginning in the miserable bog known as the Great Swamp, the heroes are called to thwart Kyleth’s plot to create sinister artifacts of unholy blight. But the Witch Queen is a tenacious foe, protected by wicked dweomers and ancient rites. Running their prey to ground, the heroes must navigate the perilous halls and torturous caverns of the Lost Passage of the Drow. Their epic quest comes to a head in a battle that stretches across the icy reaches of the Northlands and to the stygian demesne of Baba Yazoth herself!"  $9.99  $8.49

    Frozen Fortress of the Winter Warlord - This time we only are going back to 2014. Amazing cover +James Spahn -  "Cold Be Hand and Heart and Bone!and written by none other than our very own Frozen Fortress of the Winter Warlord is an adventure module for 4 - 6 characters of 9th - 12th level for Labyrinth Lord and other old school fantasy role-playing games. Utilizing rules in both the Labyrinth Lord core rules and the Advanced Edition Companion, this huge adventure pits the characters against foes of undead and ice!"

    In addition to the adventure Frozen Fortress of the Winter Warlord includes...

    -A complete dossier on the village of Winterhome, an adventuring location that can easily be inserted into any fantasy campaign - including NPCs and a rumor table!
    -Seven new magic items
    -Ten original monsters for use in any old school fantasy role-playing game
    -Optional rules for frigid temperatures and how to survive them

    This adventure is suitable for several weeks of gaming, with over 100 unique locations!  $4.95  $4.21

    Lost City of the Dwarves Part 1:Discovery - They had me with Dwarves. Really. Slam dunk - "The first book in the Path of Legends gaming book series which allows you to choose the path of your adventure while using a dice-rolling combat system. The refined OSRIC-compatible adventure system (old school d20 RPG) has a minimal learning time but covers the most used aspects of old school gaming. In no time you’ll be hunting for enchanted items, battling goblins, rat-men and other creatures, enhancing your combat with a variety of potions and solving puzzles with deadly traps. Best of all, the character that you create, level up and spend time building in this adventure can be used continually in all of the Path of Legends books as you travel the path to becoming a living legend."  $5.99  $5.09

    For the complete Tenkar's Tavern series of posts highlighting the notable picks of the OSR Extravaganza Sale, follow this link. New posts added daily.

    Remember, your use of The Tavern's affiliate links helps keep the candles burning and the taps flowing at The Tavern. As always, we thank you.
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    DC's The Joker Calling Card Statue – “Bloody Noir” Edition (Comic-Con Exclusive)

    Cryptozoic - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 20:36

    Cryptozoic’s latest San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive is here! Don’t miss your chance to own DC’s The Joker Calling Card Statue – “Bloody Noir” Edition, made for San Diego Comic-Con 2017! Can’t make it to Comic-Con during the frenzied opening hours? This pre-order makes it possible for you to get this killer version of The Joker before it sells out!

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Adventure Campaign Construction Using X1 Isle of Dread With Dark Albion

    Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 19:46
    'The appearance of the Isle of Dread has been foretold from the mists of legend. A place from the 'other world' whose shores are the realm of monsters. There beasts walk as men & the jungles are full of all types of horrors but there are riches there for the taking!' Part of the appeal of X1 Isle of Dread is the incredible mutability & inventiveness that this old school module allows. It can Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

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