Tabletop Gaming Feeds

We Are at GameHole - Time to Sign and Number

Tenkar's Tavern - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 14:59

Well, at least I don't plan on returning with any copies. 50 signed and number copies of Swords & Wizardry Continual Light will be on sale at the Frog God Games booth during the con. As you can see, I've signed and number half thus far.

Rach told me I can only buy as much stuff as the space the original 50 copies took in my luggage ;)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Cryptozoic and Warner Bros. Consumer Products Announce Release of Arrow Trading Cards Season 4

Cryptozoic - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 13:00

Cryptozoic Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, on behalf of DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television (WBTV), today announced the November 15 release of Arrow Trading Cards Season 4. This is the first set for the popular WBTV series to include Autograph Cards signed by Stephen Amell, who stars as Oliver Queen/The Green Arrow. Based on the fourth season of Arrow, it features a 72-card Base Set, three Chase Sets with variants, randomly inserted Sketch, Autograph, Wardrobe, and Prop Cards, and Redemption Cards that can be redeemed for actual props used on the show.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Attending AthensCon Dec. 2 &3

Lake Geneva Original Campaign - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 11:02
I am a special guest for AthensCon, December 2 & 3, a convention which last year had 15,000 attendees.  My duties/events include (besides having fun and eating gyros):

Running a two-hour RPG workshop:  The Genius of Original Dungeons & Dragons:  Leaping Outside the Box of Design History.
Participating in a large panel discussion on board game design.
DMing two sessions of my redesigned Lake Level from Castle El Raja Key, a level Gary Gygax cut his teeth on during the play-tests of D&D in 1973 and which was later incorporated into Castle Greyhawk as the "Black Reservoir." I have greatly expanded it to two maps with the commensurate encounters and added a back history and living depth to it.  Should be a riot! 

Here's the link to my appearance:

See you there?  C'mon, everyone likes gyros with gaming!  :)
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Bundle of Holding Old School Revival + 5

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 11:00
A new Old School Revival Bundle of Holding has dropped and it is a doozy. Check out the two levels:

I personally own everything in the first block (and I wrote one of them!) and most of the stuff in the second, and I can say they are well worth full price, but to get them all together at such a discounted rate is not to be passed up.

As always ten percent of the payment goes to charity--in this case Human Rights Watch, so you can pruchase guilt free. You've got 19 days to pick it up, but why wait?

November Campaign Design I - Rough Map, Broad Concepts

Greyhawk Grognard - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 21:00
In my first installment in my NaCaCrMo series, I have a quick sketch of a map done, a big concept for the campaign, and a few details that occurred to me as I was contemplating the whole thing. Here is the map I came up with, along with marginalia which I'll transcribe below (click to embiggen):

One of the core ideas of starting off an adventuring party is to have them come from somewhere else to the place where the adventure is, to give a reasonable explanation for why they wouldn't intimately know the terrain, NPCs, local secrets, and so forth. In the original DMG, Gary Gygax gave some excellent advice on the subject:
As background you inform them (the players) that they are from some nearby place where they were apprentices learning their respective professions, that they met by chance in an inn or tavern and resolved to journey together to seek their fortunes in the dangerous environment, and that, beyond the knowledge common to the area (speech, alignments, races, and the like), they know nothing of the world. Placing these new participants in a small settlement means that you need do only minimal work describing the place and its inhabitants. -- AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide, p. 87So here's where my first concept for the setting comes from. The whole thing is a recently-colonized island, or subcontinent, or continent. The kingdoms doing the colonizing have only been at it for a century or so, there's a multiple-month lag in getting there from the homeland, and the settlements are still very early in the process of becoming secure. There are only a handful of actual towns, settlers are coming over and clearing land, a few intrepid explorers have mapped out some of what's out there, but there's a huge frontier, mostly unexplored, filled with mountains, forests, monsters, and mystery.

That gives a perfect excuse for the PCs to be fresh off the boat (literally!), almost completely unfamiliar with their new home, and with a built-in excuse to go off exploring. Perhaps there's even a bounty on bringing back new and better maps, locations of valuable resources, and so forth.

In order to do this, I looked to the European settlement of North America. The map above doesn't have a scale, intentionally. When I did some back-of-the-envelope calculations based on the colonies from New England down to Virginia, a population of 100,000 after a hundred years of settlement activity wasn't excessive, and a scale of about 400 miles long and 200 miles wide would be about right, if I'm aiming for a 1720's scope.

Note that this does not mean I'm going for a 1720's level of technology. I'm just looking for historical patterns of colonization, exploration, and population growth. Fast forward 100 years from Plymouth Colony, and we get about that number of people and area of development. Still all very rough and dangerous and unexplored, though. Just what I'm going for.

There are three competing powers who have established colonies here; the colonies are Aedgaria (split into north and south), Lippegen, and New Valais. I envision them as (very roughly) English, German, and French. Aedgaria is the latecomer with the worst pickings, as both Lippegen and New Valais have solid routs to the interior, while North Aedgaria is stuck with a more northern route, with worse climate. Stretching the American colonies idea, North Aedgaria is New England, Lippegen is New York/Pennsylvania, South Aedgaria is the mid-Atlantic states, and New Valais is Virginia. Again, these parallels are more for scale than anything thematic, except for South Aedgaria being cut off from the interior.

It's also worth noting that setting up the campaign this way makes it much easier to head towards the AD&D "endgame" of clearing land, building a castle, and ruling over peasants.

Transcribing my margin notes on the map above (just stuff that occurred to me as I was contemplating the map):

Goblinoids - mercenaries brought over by Lippegen and New Valais. Many deserted, now deserted/feral.
Orcs - Natives. Unknown in Hanar-across-the-Sea

Native Wild Elves.
Other elves/dwarves/etc. brought w/Hanarians [I seem to have settled on "Hanar" as the name of the continent whence all the settlers are coming]
Most elves - Valais
Most dwarves - Lippegen
Most halflings - Aedgaria
Native druegar

Former big empire, suddenly destroyed. Why?? Ruins.

Secret - There were two civilizations, one much earlier. Not obvious. High Tech (steam-magic)

Valais - Druids
Aedgaria - Clerics
Lippegen - ???

Pop approx 130k

That took about an hour. Can't wait to see where this leads me!
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Heading to Gamehole Today - You Might be on Your Own Tonight with Tavern Chat

Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 17:28

Rach and I are heading to Madison, Wisconsin today to attend the Gamehole convention.

Most likely, I will not be in Tavern Chat tonight. If I do make it, I suspect the visit will be short.

Carry on without me ;)

When? 9PM Eastern

Where? The Tenkar's Tavern Discord Channel
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

OSR Review & Commentary On Flower Liches of the Dragonboat Festival From Kabuki Kaiser For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 14:59
"When omens portend ill fortune for the city, the priests call upon a Dragonboat Festival: a racing competition gathering swift boatmen from all over the continent. Their ancient chants call forth the powers of the undying, waking the Flower Liches from their distant graves. For a week, the liches roam the city freely, and oversee the race, taking the losing crews as tributes and Needles
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New Release - The Witch for Swords & Wizardry Continual Light

Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 14:54

If you follow +Timothy Brannan 's The Other Side blog you've seen Tim's affinity to witches. I'm extremely happy to see Tim add his witch's touch to Swords & Wizardry Continual Light with the The Witch for Swords & Wizardry Continual Light.

Heck, it just released at its already sitting at #3 on the Hottest Small Press releases at RPGNow. You can snag a copy of The Witch for Swords & Wizardry Complete for 1.49 in PDF.
The Witch. This is a spellcaster that blends both divine and arcane practices. Whether she is the helpful local healing woman or the evil wicked hag of legends is up to the player. Designed to be used with the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light game. This class adds three new Witch Traditions, new spells, and new magic items to the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light game. Yep, those are affiliate links above. Affiliate links keep the lights burning at the taps running here at The Tavern.
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Cryptozoic and Cartoon Network Enterprises Announce Release of Rick and Morty: Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind Deck-Building Game

Cryptozoic - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 13:00

Cryptozoic Entertainment and Cartoon Network Enterprises today announced the November 15 release of Rick and Morty: Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind Deck-Building Game. Based on the Season 1 episode of Adult Swim’s hit series Rick and Morty that features a multitude of Ricks and Mortys from different realities, the deck-building game allows 2-5 players to become various versions of Rick as they try to take down the Council of Ricks and Evil Rick. This competitive game utilizes Cryptozoic’s popular Cerberus Engine in new ways, as players use Portal Guns to access the otherworldly Location deck, which includes many of the bizarre places Rick and Morty visit in the fan-favorite TV series.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Wednesday Comics: Nocturnals: Sinister Path

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 11:00

Ignore the calendar. Halloween doesn't have to be over yet, not when there's a new Nocturnals graphic novel out. I backed the Kickstarter for Dan Brereton's Sinster Path, so I first mentioned it back in July, but now the nonbacker public can get it. The Kindle/Comixology versions are available, as is the soft cover, through sellers on Amazon.

If you're not familiar with horror/pulp/superhero mashup The Nocturnals, you might want to read this post first.  If you are, then you know Brereton presents his tough guy underworld where super-science and magic exist in a matter of fact way, without a lot of explanation. Sinister Path continues this tradition, so no one evidences any surprise when Doc Horror and his crew head into the mansion of a deceased judge to get the files of dirt he kept on various underworld and government figures and encounter supernatural menaces. All in a days work for a werewolf/mob enforcer/scientist from a parallel dimension!

If that makes the Nocturnals sound like camp, it is not. The tone is serious for the most part, and Brereton makes his unusual concept work. His moody and lurid art probably helps.

Sinster Path could be read as a standalone, but it's probably, but best to start a little earlier so you know the relationships. It's fairly open-ended, promising more to come.

A Sneak peek at Some of the Art for the upcoming Wards & Necromancers sourcebook for SWCL

Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 04:01

So, +Glen Hallstrom and myself are working on an undead sourcebook for Swords & Wizardry Continual Light. We are calling it Wards & Necromancers. You are probably looking at a baker's dozen of undead, some familiar and some far from it, two classes - a fully fleshed out Necromancer class and we will introduce a Death Knight class, new spells, new magic items and whatever else comes to mind. All should be compatible with other versions of Swords & Wizardry (except the classes will only cover 7 levels)

Well, Glen has been burning the midnight oil recently and the art he's submitted thus far is inspirational.

Upon my return from Gamehole early next week, I'll be putting the finishing touches on the September Patron PDFs, working on the Tavern Adventure and letting Glen's artwork inspire my undead muse. Because what good is a dead muse anyway? ;)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

More Reviews for Appendix N

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 03:25

Just in the past couple of weeks there has been another spate of reviews for Appendix N pop up on Amazon:

“This is an utterly perfect nostalgic feast for Grognards. Or an archaeological wonderland for those too young to find all those books we saw in the appendix when we were kids.” — Nascendant

“A whirlwind tour through the authors and books of the famous Appendix N of the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide. Not only does author Jeffro Johnson opine on the books he reads (selecting at least one book from authors who were listed in the appendix without any example books), he also talks about their impact on the Dungeons and Dragons game (the first one, released in 1975) and subsequent versions of the game — Advanced or ‘Basic.’ Even more than that, though, Johnson deftly delivers gaming tips to prospective Dungeon Masters who can use plot elements from the books to inform their own games. A terrific work and am positively thrilled that he wants to do what I want to do: preserve literature from the last century and not bury it. Too often people think of D&D as being totally informed by Tolkien and ‘Tolkienesque’ elements when there were several other authors whose works influenced original D&D co-creators Dave Arneson and E. Gary Gygax. This will get a second read, for sure.” — Michael Gross

“Not only was this book highly informative, it is often hilarious. Jeffro Johnson does an outstanding job of breaking down and analyzing the books of Appendix N. Further, I found myself applying some of his thoughts on the matter to many of my games in ways that I never originally did with the original list. Each piece is well-written and as entertaining as the books themselves. Like an excellent critic, he brings new ideas to light about the areas he is reviewing. And while reading, I was often cracking up. His wit is excellent. I can’t recommend this book enough…not just for DnD players or DM’s but regular readers as well.” — J. Gates

This is of course very gratifying and it means a great deal. I really am astonished by this level of praise.

This doesn’t happen very often, but I actually am speechless for once. I don’t know what else to say to this except, “thank you!”

So: thank you!

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Danse Macabre Filmstrip (1963)

Zenopus Archives - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 00:30

A re-post from 2013:

For Halloween, here's something haunting that I remember watching in music class in late elementary school, around the same time I discovered D&D (1982). It's a 1963 educational filmstrip with fantastic watercolors by Harold Dexter Hoopes, set to the eerie music of Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens. It was unavailable on the web until a few years ago but now there are multiple versions on YouTube, one of which has better colors but includes a loud "filmstrip advance" beep throughout. There isn't much info available on the internet about the artist Hoopes. There was even a blog dedicated to restoring the individual frames of this filmstrip but it seems to have stalled out at frame 20.

There's also a later second edition of the filmstrip done in the mid-80s with art by David Prebenna, later an illustrator of Sesame Street/Muppet toddler books. It's cartoony and less haunting, but also worth watching.

Memories of this filmstrip led me to include "Danse Macabre" in my One Hit Point Monsters.

Happy All Hallow's Evening!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

1st Edition Paladin Spells (Part 2)

Greyhawk Grognard - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 22:41
Following up on the previous post, here are the remaining paladin-specific spells, converted from 5E
to 1E format. The 5E paladin spell list goes up to 5th level, but in 1E paladins can only cast up to 4th level spells, thus this list is a little smaller than the total list of paladin spells in 5th edition.

Third Level
Aura of Vitality

Level: 3
Components: V
Range: Self (3" radius)
Casting Time: 3 segments
Duration: 1 turn
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: Neg.

This spell fills you with healing energy. One time during the duration of the spell, you can cure wounds on any individual within 30 feet of your position, causing them to regain 2d6 hit points. If cast on an unwilling subject, they are entitled to a saving throw to avoid the spell's effect.

Blinding Smite
Level: 3
Components: V
Range: Self
Casting Time: 3 segments
Duration: 1 turn
Area of Effect: 1 weapon
Saving Throw: None

This spell will create a special field in any single weapon you hold. The next time the weapon hits an enemy before the end of the spell, it will ring with a thunderous clap, inflicting an additional 3d8 h.p. of damage. In addition, unless it is able to make a saving throw vs. spells, it will be blinded for the duration of the spell, with a -4 penalty "to hit". If the weapon does not hit, the spell effect wears off at the end of the spell's effect. Only one target will be affected by the weapon.

Crusader's Mantle

Level: 3
Components: V
Range: Self
Casting Time: 3 segments
Duration: 1 turn
Area of Effect: 30' radius
Saving Throw: None

This spell creates an aura around you that inspires all friendly creatures within 30' of you to greater feats of martial skill. For the duration of the spell, all friendly creatures inflict an additional 1d4 h.p. of damage when they hit. The radius of effect moves with you.

Elemental Weapon

Level: 3
Components: V, S
Range: Touch
Casting Time: 3 segments
Duration: 1 hour
Area of Effect: 1 weapon
Saving Throw: None

This spell allows you to temporarily imbue a single weapon with a +1 bonus for both "to hit" and an additional 1d4 h.p. to damage inflicted. If you are 13th level, the weapon will have a +2 bonus to hit, and if you are 15th level or higher, the weapon will have a +3 bonus to hit.

Fourth Level
Aura of Life

Level: 4
Components: V
Range: Self
Casting Time: 3 segments
Duration: 1 hour
Area of Effect: 30' radius
Saving Throw: None

This spell infuses you with positive energy, which radiates out from you in a 30' radius and moves with you. All friendly creatures in the area of effect get a +4 bonus to all saving throws when attacked by undead creatures or creatures native to the negative material plane. If any friendly creature within the area of effect starts a round with 0 or fewer hit points and is still alive, that creature will be increased by 1 additional hit point.

Aura of Purity

Level: 4
Components: V, S
Range: Self
Casting Time: 4 segments
Duration: 1 hour
Area of Effect: 30' radius
Saving Throw: Neg.

This spell surrounds you with an aura that protects against disease and other conditions. For the duration of the spell, all non-hostile creatures within 30' of you will be immune to all diseases, including mummy rot, but already-existing diseases are unaffected. In addition, they will have a +4 bonus to all saving throws vs. poison, petrification, fear, blindness, deafness, and paralysis. Finally, they will also take half damage from any non-fatal poison. The aura moves as you do.

Staggering Smite

Level: 4
Components: V
Range: Self
Casting Time: 4 segments
Duration: 1 turn
Area of Effect: 1 weapon
Saving Throw: Neg.

This spell will create a special field in any single weapon you hold. The next time the weapon hits an enemy before the end of the spell, it will cut through into their mind itself, inflicting an additional 4d6 h.p. of damage. In addition, unless it is able to make a saving throw vs. spells, it will be stunned and suffer a -4 penalty to all "to hit" rolls, saving throws for the next 1d4 rounds. If the weapon does not hit, the spell effect wears off at the end of the spell's effect. Only one target will be affected by the weapon.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

November Campaign Design

Greyhawk Grognard - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 21:00

I'm declaring November to be NaCaCrMo.

Sodium-Calcium-Chromium-Molybdenum for the win!

Oh, wait. No. With all the national month of this or that or the other thing in November, I thought I might turn my own attentions to creating a campaign setting in a month, both to see if I can do it, and to share my own process for doing so with you all. I'm calling it NAtional CAmpaign CReation MOnth. Because those sorts of semi-acronyms are all the rage nowadays, apparently. Maybe it's not "national", but I'll give it a try anyway.

Starting on November 1st, I'll go from a bare concept to (hopefully) a finished, ready-to-play campaign setting that could last many years of play.

My only self-imposed limitations:
  • It'll be written for some form of D&D or OSR game (or more than one)
  • It'll have at least one complete map and accompanying descriptive text
  • It'll be in final, playable (not necessarily publishable - formatting and layout is not required) form by November 30
  • It'll have at least one unique twist to set it apart from most other campaign settings
So there we go. Hope this works out as well as my NaGaDeMon experience a few years ago!
Illustration from Ed Greenwood's excellent "Plan Before You Play" article in Dragon Magazine 63.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

New Release - FrontierSpace Referee's Handbook

Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 15:22

The FrontierSpace Referee's Handbook just released (its the companion book to the FrontierSpace Player's Handbook). If FrontierSpace brings you the warm fuzzy feelings of classic Star Frontiers, its meant to. Its not so much a clone as a homage, presented with the care of folks that truly do love and respect the source material.

So, what do you get in the FrontierSapce Referee's Handbook that you don't get in the Player's Handbook? Well, if the player's book gives you the nuts and bolts of the system, the ref's book shows you how to put it all together for campaign play.
A Referee is many things: host, writer, actor, and judge. While players play, you have to do everything else. It’s almost like work, and isn’t for everyone. But you’re different; you LIKE the job. It’s a big job to do, and your toolkit should stack up to the size of your job.The Referee’s Handbook is the essential toolkit for the FrontierSpace roleplaying game. While it does contain rules for action, adventure, and combat – it is full of so much more. A wealth of game preparation tools accompany this rulebook.Inspiration is contained herein. Add psionics to your games. Design security systems and corporate installations to infiltrate. Customize characters, weapons, robots, vehicles, and starships. Design your own species and creatures. Build a campaign setting of your own, or flesh out the one provided. Generate star systems and planets to explore. You just add imagination!The Referee's Handbook is the essential toolkit for every FrontierSpace Referee. Contained in this book you'll find all the rules you need for running the game. This is a companion volume to the Player's Handbook, available here.FrontierSpace is built upon the foundation of the d00lite system, the same game engine used to power BareBones Fantasy and Covert Ops roleplaying games. Years of feedback and continued game system development has evolved this product into something that flows at the game table while getting out of the way of a good story.The FrontierSpace Referee's Handbook is 9.99 in PDF. The FrontierSpace Player's Handbook is also 9.99 in PDF, but 17.99 gets you the rules in softcover and PDF.

I've been impressed with the FSPH. I'll need to catch up on the FSRH after I return from GameHole next week.

Those are affiliate links above. Affiliate links keep the lights burning at The Tavern.
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A free Harn Kingdom sampler.

Bat in the Attic - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 12:18
Columbia Games has released a free 60 page page article about one of the larger kingdoms of Harn, Kaldor. If you want to see what all the hoopla is about concerning Harn. You can go here to download a free copy. The only downside is that you will have to create a Columbia Games account. This is handled during checkout.

The PDF has the following excerpts

Kingdom of Kaldor, City of Tashal (the capital of Kaldor), The Town of  Kiban, Manor (a set of rules for running a medieval manor, similar in complexity to running a Mongoose Traveller starship), and the Manor of Roganter.

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Box Breaking 225:Sell Swords Olympus From Level 99 Games

Gamer Goggles - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 02:32

In this Box Breaking Matt takes a look at Sell Swords Olympus, the sequel to the smash hit Sell Swords from Level 99 Games.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

Sell Swords is by far one of my favorite two-player games out there, and I look forward to more in the future.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Issue 14 is in final layout!

& Magazine - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 01:57

We are pleased to announce that Issue 14 — Animal Companions — is in final layout. Our artists have sent in their final art and we are in the process of inserting another thirty items into the magazine!

The current estimate to complete is about two weeks!  Stay tuned!

To help whet the anticipation, here’s the cover art — by Robin Irwin!


& Magazine Issue 14 cover art

The post Issue 14 is in final layout! appeared first on & Magazine.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

New OSR Monster - Giant Alien Skeleton Warriors For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 00:45
" "Did you hear that?", The city guard captain spoke quietly to his fellow guardsmen "Hear what?", the second guard had only seen something out of the corner of his eye for a moment. 'I don't know it sounded like wings or something',the captain was skeptical at best. That's when the first skull faced freak mounted the wall & blew a cloud of candy coloured gas into the city guard's faceNeedles
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