Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Misdeeds, High Weirdness, & A Fourth of July Actual Play Report For Tegel Manor

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 07/04/2017 - 06:12
Tonight's adventure saw our party of Saturday night special Hyperborean adventurers astrally teleporting into Tegel Village after recovering several items from a local pawn broker/jeweler in Brigand's Bay. The Saturday night party upgraded weapons, went up a level, & got some of the skinny on the manor & the other adventuring party along with a bit more about Sir Tristan. They learned a Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Happy Independence Day

Greyhawk Grognard - Tue, 07/04/2017 - 04:01

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Figure Forge 91: Rathor From the Wrath of Kings Starter

Gamer Goggles - Tue, 07/04/2017 - 03:37

Watch Matt assemble Rathor from the Wrath of Kings two player starter. This model is super easy to assemble and even cooler looking.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

So far this set has been a lot of fun and I can’t wait to play.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Colonial Gothic July 2017 Bundle of Holding

19th Level - Tue, 07/04/2017 - 02:42

I don't think I've ever pitched a Bundle of Holding before but I'd encourage people to check out the Colonial Gothic Bundle of Holding, valid for the next 15 or so days. Richard Iorio II, owner of Rogue Games, is donating 100% of his proceeds, to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Richard lost three friends in succession to suicide in 2015. Having dealt with mental health issues and a daughter dealing with depression and suicidal ideation it is a cause quite dear to my heart.

Colonial Gothic is a great reference for gaming in Colonial America in the period of and around the American Revolution (with expansions covering other periods). Even if the rules don't grab you it provides a massive amount of information and inspiration for gaming in the period. The rules and supplements cover Native American and colonist characters, French North America, British North America, the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, etc. And of course there's a supplement if you want to add Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos to your game - a logical addition, given works by Lovecraft having connections to the period (see for example "Dreams in the Witch House" and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward).

A Colonial-era game has long been on my "some day" list of games to play - it's a great deal to get all of the books at a low price and help a worthy cause.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Deal of the Day - Kobold Guide to Magic

Tenkar's Tavern - Mon, 07/03/2017 - 22:25

Today's Deal of the Day is the Kobold Guide to Magic. Normally $14.99 in PDF, until tomorrow morning it is on sale for $4.99.
I have only the highest regards for the Kobold Guides series of releases. This is one I do not have - time to rectify that.

As an aside, it is system neutral.

Remember, 5% of sales made through The Tavern's affiliate links go to support The Tavern.
The popular and wildly useful Kobold Guide series tackles the biggest subject in fantasy: Magic! What makes a fantasy fantastic? Magic, of course! Whether it’s unearthly beasts, scheming sorcerers, legendary swords or locales that defy logic and physics, a compelling fantasy story needs magical elements. The tricky part is that in order for the story to work, you have to get your reader or player to believe the unbelievable. The Kobold Guide to Magictakes you behind the scenes to learn the secrets of designing and writing about magic from 20 top fantasy authors and game designers. Find out how to create more compelling, more interesting, and more playable magic at your table or in your stories—with the word from some of the most talented creators working today.
The topics are wide-ranging, from the secrets of Irish magic to tricks of impractical magic, from how to generate a sense of wonder at the gaming table to how to rejigger the teleport spell for stronger adventures tohow to sell a character's soul and how to run a game with visions and prophecies. There's even sections on the magic of J.R.R. Tolkien and the tools available to a game master for making magic their own. The Essential Guide to Magic in Fiction and Games This essential companion for fantasy gamers and readers alike feature essays by: Wolfgang Baur
Clinton Boomer
David Chart
David "Zeb" Cook
James Enge
Ed Greenwood
Jeff Grubb
Kenneth Hite
James Jacobs
Colin McComb
Richard Pett
Tim Pratt
John Rateliff
Thomas Reid
Aaron Rosenberg
Ken Scholes
F. Wesley Schneider
Amber E. Scott
Willie Walsh
Martha Wells
Steve Winter This latest volume in the best-selling and award-winning series of Kobold Guides tackles the mystery at the heart of the fantasy genre. Improve your game and expand your magical power with the Kobold Guide to Magic!
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

10 Buck Bundle at The Frogs - Tome of Adventure Design, Book of Dirty Tricks and More - S&W Legion has the Code

Tenkar's Tavern - Mon, 07/03/2017 - 15:47

First things first - Tome of Adventure Design is easily worth more than 10 bucks in PDF on its own. With the coupon you can get at the Swords & Wizardry Legion Facebook page (membership has its privileges), you get TOAD, Bill Webb's Book of Dirty Tricks and S&W Treasure Deck 1 in PDF.

For every 10 sales of the bundle at the Frog God Website, the following will be added retroactively (they will be added for all after the sale has completed):
For $10! And for each 10 bundles sold we add another S&W Design Deck: Encounter Deck I
Encounter Deck II
Equipment Deck
Hireling Deck
Spell Deck I And once we hit that goal. we'll think of something else! Who wants Bill to stay in Europe for the entire summer???
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Commentary On The Midderlands - An OSR Mini-Setting & Bestiary Kickstarter For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 07/03/2017 - 14:18
The Midderlands is a strange OSR beast, its one that has echoes in the grim fantasy of the 1st edition Warhmammer fantasy rpg but one that has its roots firmly in the OSR. Its part setting, part fantasy bestiary, and all from the twisted mind of Glynn Seal of Monkey blood design. They've got a Kickstarter going on right now & yes I know, 'Not another OSR Kickstarter'?!? Look this is from Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Appendix N is out in Hardback!

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Mon, 07/03/2017 - 12:42

People have hounded me about this for months. When, Jeffro? When?! When is APPENDIX N going to be out in some kind of honest to goodness book format.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve approached complete strangers in order to wax eloquent on the brilliance of my literary exploits only to find out that there of mass quantities of people out there that will not read anything unless it is real. No, an ebook reader will not do! It’s gotta be old-fashioned wood pulp. It’s got to be something nice that would make for a touching gift or something uber-cool that would look good on the coffee table.

But I tell ya, it’s the pleading that really got to me– the people that came to me, desperate to read my book, begging for me to do anything I could to facilitate the process of it being transformed into a real world artifact. And they wouldn’t take no for an answer, but rather they’d just keep coming, asking over and over and over. Each time I’d say, “not yet”, they looked just a little bit dimmer. The pain of not being able to read my book as a manifestation of elements of the prime material plane was actually causing them to disencorporate!

So people, when I tell you that I know how difficult these past few months have been, what I mean by that is that I know how difficult these past few months have been. But those days are gone! A new one is dawning. One in which not only do people begin to play classic fantasy role-playing games the way they were designed to be played, but also in which the face of fantasy and science fiction genre is transformed by a return to the sort of heady elements that transfixed countless generations before us.

This is quite simply the most influential book I have ever written. Buy a copy today. Buy two. Buy several to give away. You know how betrayed you felt as read author after mind-blowing author, wondering why it was that nobody told you how great they were until now. It’s up to you now to be the change that you wish you’d encountered decades ago.

There’s never been a better time to get on the right side of history. And it’s never been more hilarious that the backstory of everybody’s favorite games have turned out to be the key to that.

APPENDIX N. In hardback. Buy it!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

10’+1: The Flooded Temple

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 07/03/2017 - 11:14

Welcome to Tenfootpole +1. Today you can expect the same old vitriol from Bryce, as well as a dose in the form of another review of the same adventure from The Pretty Girl. Lucky You!

We Begin!

By M. Greis
Greis Games
Levels 1-3

In the flooded temple is hidden a great treasure, and the adventures are in race to get there first, but the ancient temple is the home of Death’s Messenger and several cults each with their own agenda. Will the adventurers survive or be dragged off to the lands of the dead?

Review 1 – Bryce Lynch

This is a seventeen page adventure in a three level abandoned temple with about 25 rooms. There are multiple factions, puzzle-like things, weird monsters, an evocative environment, a moderately interesting map and MOSTLY terse text, at least for the DM notes. This is a good adventure. As I told The Pretty Girl yesterday: if all adventures were at least this good then I probably wouldn’t be reviewing adventures.

There’s this old almost forgotten temple in a canyon. Think of a slot canyon, like in Zion, or Petra. At the end of it is a temple, carved in to the soft rock. There’s a small stream running in the narrow canyons, and it flows in through a large crack, flooding the lower level to two feet. Inside are kobolds, at deaths door, victims of plague, they come here to die as a part of their death rituals. There are lizardmen, fishing. There are bugbear teens, undergoing their adulthood rites. None are hostile. The kobolds want to be left in peace to die. Filled with puss-filled bubos, they represent more of a trap (the plague) that is solved by roleplaying, sicne they are too weak to fight. The bugbears assume other people in the temple are undergoing their adulthood rites also. They tell ghost stories and boast by their campfire. The lixardmen would really like the other two groups gone, and will pay 1sp a head for kobolds. Then, in to this mix come some Dragon cultists looking for the PRETEXT. Again, not necessarily hostile .. but perhaps the parties pretext is to find the object first? IN which case it might be the party instigating.

Multiple factions are supplemented by a map that really allows for more complex explorations. There are, I think, like six staircases in the place, in addition to an open three-level area with balconies around it. This allows for stealth and a hunted/hunter thing to go on with any of the factions or the cult, once the party turns hostile. I think I counted four or five ways to get in to the temple besides the front door: a hole in the roof, the stream crack, a couple of windows … really nice sandbox design that allows for the exploratory and strategic play styles.

The faction monsters all allow for roleplay … that can then potentially end in combat, usually with the party instigating for some reason. In addition they all have a little detail, tersely communicated, and then some extra bits which are GREAT. It’s not just kobolds. They are dying/near death. And not just near death but from from plague. And not just plague but with bubos full of pus. Likewise the bugbears. Who are are on a adulthood rite. Who have ritually painted faces described. Who tell ghost stories at night around their fire. It’s just an extra sentence but it add SO much to the adventure. It’s what I’m referring to when I say things lie “plant an evocative seed in the DM’s head.” That’s the sort of content I want to pay for. Not reams and reams of text. Not railroady or dictatorial. One extra sentence that brings the adventure alive.

Puzzles, roleplaying, tactical options via the map, a timeline/order of battle for the cult that enters the temple. It’s all great and it’s clear it was written by someone who UNDERSTANDS how D&D works. This is further cemented by notes. XP for Gold notes. XP for rooms explored, and how it can push the party deeper in to a dungeon. The guy gets it.

Monsters are either book, such as the kobolds, lizardmen, bugbears, or new ones with the new ones being mostly of the tentacle-monster variety. As I noted earlier, the humanoids have something about them to bring them to life, while the new ones have great little combat powers that can really help mae combat evocative without being a drag. This is generally supplemented by some rooms have terrain effects; things under the water, etc, to spice up combat. 4e did this a lot but it felt forced, like a wargame. This does it in such a way that it feels natural. The new magic items are great and have a ”effects front” style. What does it do, then some brief mechanics. A Frogs Breath vial, that when uncorked has a greenish mist that flows out and can ID magic items … but then you need to recapture the mist. Great! A little twist to make things fresh and fun again … with just a hint of folklore.

This is a danish translation and it shows sometimes. A few of the puzzles are not formatted in the best way and you feel like you have to fight a text a bit in those more complex areas in order to figure out what is going on. There is some awkwardness in wording in a few other places, but it doesn’t distract enough to matter and overall it’s a testament to the translator. I might note, as well, that the word choice in places relies on conclusions. A smell is “foul”. I get what they are going for, but, that’s a conclusion. Describe the thing and then let the party make the determination that its foul. The readaloud is best when it’s not describing room dimensions but being evocative, and the DM text is thankfully short in most places. The introduction text is long, describing the factions, etc, but, read once, it does a great job of cementing the flavor in to your head, painting a picture so you grok it and need never look at it again. Which is exactly what the hell that shit should do. The boat captain mentioned in the “journey to the temple” section could have used a one or two word personality, as well as what happens to him/the boat when the cultists show up. But that’s really nitpicky of me.

As I look through my notes it seems like I made several notations on each page about little things the designer did right. If I were doing a second pass on this I might clean up the readaloud by making it shorter and a little more evocative and cleaning up the language and formatting in the more complex puzzle rooms. It’s system neutral, with no monster stats, which is LAME. Just stick in some LabLord stats for christs sake. If the designer had done that then this would be a GREAT adventure with almost zero prep. Read it once in 15 minutes and run it. As it is now you gotta state everything.

This is $2 on DriveThru and I think that’s a bargain for the adventure you are getting. The preview is six pages long, about a third of the adventure. It will show you those designer notes on xp for hold, some decent hooks (standard stuff, but well supported for the DM without being too verbose), faction information on page three (listed as page four) and in the last two pages a good sample of the adventure text. I really like what you are getting here: a classic exploratory adventure with some great roleplay and simple timeline elements to spice things up, with evocative descriptions.–an-OSR-adventure



Review A – The Pretty Girl

The Flooded Temple
By M. Greis
Greis Games
Total Score: 13


Optimal Applications Experienced GM Able to role-play NPC’s, take advantage of creative ques, and comfortable generating stats for their chosen game system easily. Moderately Experienced player group Must understand how to play and enjoy non-combat encounter


Rating Breakdown GM Complexity 5 Player Amusement 5 Graphics 0 Language 1 Maps 2

Ratings Meanings

Optimal Application – Circumstance where this module would provide maximum benefit. All scores assume that the module is with the group most likely to enjoy and benefit from it

GM Complexity – Degree of effort required to generate a delightful game in optimal application of the material:

  • 6 – GM could open the document with no preparation and run a delightful game
  • 5 – GM would need to read through the campaign and expect to spend 1-2 hours preparing for each 4 hours of game play
  • 4 – GM would be required to reorganize campaign somewhat and smooth over some shortcomings spending 3-4 hours preparing for each 4 hours of game play
  • 1 – There are some innovative sections (encounters) that could be inserted into a different campaign, or linked together in a fully original way, but the material in its entirety cannot be utilized as is without investing a significant degree of GM effort and creativity
  • 0 – Material provides no more value than a random encounter table while presenting such an arduous unraveling it would be foolish to attempt running

Player Amusement – Quality of material presented that has the possibility to delight the optimal player group

  • 5 – Thoughtful pacing and ample opportunities to feel immersed in the game world, “Better than “Cats”, going to see it again and again”
  • 2 – It’s fine
  • 0 – Relationships between players and patients with the game itself will be challenged. Material creates multiple opportunities for rule quibbling and general discord



  • 4 – Usable during the game to share with players
  • 2 – Useful only to GM
  • 1 – No graphics
  • 0 – Of no discernable purpose and in the way – crowds space



  • 4 – Succinct and evocative
  • 2 – Conversational but clear
  • 1 – You should have hired an English Major to edit this
  • 0 – Very wordy/ incomprehensible



  • 3 – It’s a shame that you are trying to keep some information a surprise as the maps are so delightful you want to hang them on the wall and show them off
  • 2 – There are maps, they are legible
  • 1 – There are no maps
  • 0 – The included maps create logical inconsistencies with the written material that are difficult to catch
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Strange Encounters in the Boundless Sea

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 07/03/2017 - 11:00
Here's a short random table of unusual encounters in the Boundless Sea west of the Land of Azurth. Some of these are likely to appear in the upcoming Azurth Adventures Digest:

Roll d8:
1 - Zoobian Pleasure Barque - Storm-damaged and adrift, 1d4 winsome, green-haired maidens in silken veils cry out for succor. They claim to be brides to be on their way to the harem of a Zoobian potentate. They are actually harpies looking for a meal.
2 - Brazen Devil - With a screeching of rusty hinges, a brass gargoyle, corroded green and white, its wings festooned with seaweed, claws its way aboard. With determined spite--and mutterings of “Trifling jackanapes!” and “I’ll not be the butt of your japery. Not I!"-- it will stalk and kill everyone aboard, if it can.*
3 - Lovelorn Sea Serpent  - The beast begins following in the ship’s wake, occasionally moving close enough to gently nuzzle the vessel’s stern suggestively. Its head and neck are above water at times, and its expression is comically lovestruck. It will place sea creature carcasses on the deck at night as tokens of affection.
4 -  Iceberg - It drifts on the current. A frozen Viking longship and crew can be seen inside.5 - Eight-Armed Bandit - An immense octopus demands to be giving all the gold aboard, hinting at some dire consequence if its demand is not satisfied. 6 - War Party - A double-hulled war canoe of the Gator Folk attacks. They wield spears and alligator-toothed war-clubs.7 - Professorial Sea Cows - A pair of large and apparently quite learned Steller's sea cows can be heard conversing about metaphysics and the nature of the universe. Eavesdropping might well illicit useful information for magical research into spells related to other planes, but attempts to enter into the conversation or even requests to clarification or elucidation will lead them to either give disinformation out of spite or simply submerge (50% of either).**8 - Strange Shipwreck Survivors - 3 former ship's crew, adrift on debris of their smashed vessel, cry out weakly for rescue. Each offers a different account of the destruction of their ship--and each tale is more terrifying and apocalyptic than the last. They wail and sob hysterically if question about these contradictions.**
*Inspired by a random table by GusL**Based on suggestions by Jason Sholtis  

Reviewing Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea in Preparation for a Campaign

19th Level - Mon, 07/03/2017 - 03:09

It's been a while since I've done an old school D&D style campaign. I'm in the process of prepping it, aiming to kick it off some time later this month (or early in the next).

We'll be using Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. AS&SH is awfully close to 1st edition AD&D, at least mechanically. However, there's a number of key differences I'm keeping in mind:

  • The game is closely linked to the Hyperborean setting. This is strongly inspired by Clark Ashton Smith's Hyperborean stories (no real surprise there), with some good does of Robert E. Howard, HP Lovecraft, and Fritz Leiber (among others). It wouldn't be impossible to pull from the setting, but the setting is a great old school setting, one which on its own is very flexible and easily fine-tuneable by the GM.
  • All the characters are human, though there are different human ethnicities or races.
  • Like the Holmes edition of D&D, there are five, not three or nine alignments. They are Lawful Good, Chaotic Good, Neutral, Lawful Evil, and Chaotic Evil. 
  • There is no multiclassing. However, the main four classes all have subclasses which simulate the most common multiclass options - it's easy to make a fighter/magic-user type for example, as well as magic-user/thief characters (good for your Grey Mouser for example).
  • While there is no skill system, the physical abilities have rules for various physical tasks. 
  • Classes like magicians and thieves are more useful at first level.
  • While combat is not as crunchy at it would be in 3.x rules, combat rules are less fuzzy than earlier editions of AD&D and D&D (this is true of a lot of rules - there is a lot of tightening up of rules).
  • Outside of potions and scrolls, no one knows how to make magic items any more. Aside from perhaps the creepy dwarfs living underground. 
  • The world is fairly small, not much more land mass than that of the "Known World" of the D&D Expert Set. You can sail to the borders of the flat realm, taking you to waterfalls dropping into infinity. This is not a good idea.
  • Winter is coming. The world's true year is actually 13 "years" long. The land exists as if it is north of the Arctic Circle. As a result one out of every thirteen years is dark all the time. And one year out of every thirteen is daylight all the time. I initially wasn't too crazy about this, finding the idea of a year-long winter makes suspending my disbelief difficult, but I'm starting to get some interesting ideas from this.
  • The world is only now beginning to recover from a plague that wiped out perhaps 90% of humanity. This is rather handy for ruins, partially empty cities, etc.
  • While it is a world of magic, there are also traces of long-lost super-science.
So how do I plan on using this? Perhaps the most important thing is it is "close enough" to traditional D&D that most old adventures will work just fine with it, albeit with some modifications. For example, I could see using classics like In Search of the Unknown and Against the Slave Lords adventures in Hyperborea. This is especially handy with grad school starting up again soon for me. Five more classes to go.
However, I do have some ideas germinating to take advantage of the setting. There's got to be some people on Hyperborea who want to return it to Earth. That could make for some interesting adventures - I wonder what year it is on Earth? Having just watched Peter Capaldi's last two regular Doctor Who episodes (just a Christmas special to come), I've got Cybermen on my mind. I wonder what some mad scientist or sorcerer might cook up to make his people better able to survive Hyperborea's brutal winters? Cybermen and zombies! 
I also enjoy the literary aspects that AS&SH emulates. While I'm not too up on Robert E. Howard, I greatly enjoy the tales of Leiber, Lovecraft, and Smith and will do my best to integrate their ideas into the game.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

1d15 Random Encounters Table of The Astral Raiders Of The Deep Astral & The Old Solar System For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 07/02/2017 - 17:54
Deep in the Astral seas & spaces two groups fight over the bounty of local quantum eddies & space warps in the skein of creation. Tons of space debris & asteroids tumble into the local astral space from our solar system offering raw materials that  The Astral Raiders shape & mine for their society the  flotsam & jetsom of the astral for their society, colonies, & to create their own ether Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Coming Soon - Fortunes Won and Lost

Two Hour Wargames - Sun, 07/02/2017 - 17:48

Adventures in the Age of Imperialism  -  This time it's personal.  
Buy it separate ($15) or expand your adventures and buy the bundle ($25).

Watch for more info in the next few days
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Apparently, I am a "Gainfully Employed Geek" ;)

Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 07/02/2017 - 16:17

So, we spent some time in Honesdale, PA yesterday. We had the car for a few hours and Rach wanted to hit the homemade soap shop which expanded to homemade teas, iced teas and some pastries (that's the iced tea above - yum)

Rach was already known so she introduced me to the two proprietors as her retired husband. When I explained I had been a cop neither thought I looked like one ;)

When asked what I did to keep busy, I mentioned I wrote games - Dungeons & Dragons (the universal example)

"Oh, so you are a gainfully employed geek!"


I certainly don't make enough from blogging or writing to live on but it is enough to supplement my pension with some discretionary funds.

Gainfully Employed Geek. I actually like the title...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Bandit Attack!,Giant Rats, & An Actual Play Report For Tegel Manor

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 07/02/2017 - 11:54
The party last night was bogged down in an attack by bandits trying to acquire the deed to Tegel Manor! Once again the place's reputation for bad luck proceeds it. These were no ordinary bandits however, they were quite well organized & they attacked with an almost military precision about their melee?!Who or what are these people working for? Some of the bandits armor is oddly archaic & Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Saturday Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Campaign Ho Down & Actual Play Event Catch Up

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 07/01/2017 - 15:28
So last night I was talking with a friend whom I haven't caught up with on Facebook about my Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea first edition campaign. Its been my preferred 'go to OSR game' for quite a while now. There are quite a few reasons for this: Self enclosed system I don't keep having to buy a ton of add ons or other sets because AS&SH plays well with other Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Update - Mona Dowie Cancer Fund Match Now at $500

Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 07/01/2017 - 13:44

I'd like to take a moment to thank Tom Tullus / Fat Dragon Games and Time Riley for literally doubling the matching fund for the Mona Dowie Cancer Donations.

Thanks to the two above, The Tavern will be matching the first $500 raised by this community and the OSR for expenses related to Mona's treatment of stage 4 cancer. I think we've raised over $400 thus far (i'll get the exact figures later today.)

I am proud and honored to be a part of this community.

Prior posts here and here.

Mona's GoFundMe is here.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dungeon Magazine #141

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 07/01/2017 - 11:16

The Sea Wyvern’s Wake
By Richard Pett
Level 5

Savage Tide adventure path, part the third: a sea voyage. This installment is hard thing to review. It’s heart is in the right place but it suffers GREATLY from the three-column Dungeon format. Combined with the word-bloat common to Dungeon it makes this thing very hard to run. But … it has great elements. The party is hired to be “ship #2” in a two-ship expedition to a colony on an island and this adventure deals with the voyage. “Ship #2” allows for the party to make their own decisions but for there to a lifeline available. Run the ship how you want and if things are too bad then ship 1 is there is bail you out. And, of course, vice versa in certain situations. There’s an allotment of NPC’s to spice things up on board, some generics to die horrible, and some locations to visit along the way. “Hey kids, Meteor Crater is right on the road to the Grand Canyon!” Linear, but not exactly a railroad! The NPC’s have decent motivations and are interesting enough to get them involved with the party. As always, they could be organized better for use during play … a typical failing. But, still, recurring folks on a three-month voyage is a great thing to have! And their detail is PLAY focused, not just generic trivia that will never come up during play. There’s too much detail in place, such a entire column of text on “securing a vessel” when much less would have sufficed in an adventure that’s a follow on to capturing a vessel. In other places a little more could have been included, such as better help in recruiting crew and provisions in town before the party leaves. Similarly, there’s a small section, a column or less, on ship combat, but it suffers from the Dungeon 3-column text block problem, making it hard to reference during play. There are a few other nits, like a priest who dies a day after getting sick to reveal a slaad … nice, but if it were dragged out a bit it would be even nicer. Also, a stowaway assassin that takes a DC30 to find if the party searches the ship … because there’s an event built around them. The players should be REWARDED for thinking of searching the hold, not punished because it’s on the DM’s ToDo list for later. The thing is full of nice little vignettes and encounters on the way to the island. In short, I think it’s a pretty damn good sea/travel adventure, one of the best I’ve seen. It needs more expansion before town is left, and reference sheets for important things like NPC’s, combat, etc, and a complete rewrite of the encounters to pull out important details … but it’s heart is in the right place. It just needs a complete reworking to be useful …

Swords of Dragonlake
By Nicolas Logue
Level 12

2p backstory
Holy fuck, what a mess. This is an investigation in to a missing person … at a theater. Ug. Fucking Magical RenFaire shit. Anyway, there re about a thousand NPC’s, each of which get almost an entire page to describe them, along with an entire section on Gather Information checks for each one. MASSIVE amounts of text and a unfocused writing style make this one a bear. “In addition to the dressing rooms, the PC’s may decide to investigate the grid-like iron catwalk and rafters above the stage from which the moving scenery pieces [long list] and heavy sandbag counterweight are suspended.” Yes, Nicolas, they might. Which is why I, the DM, and looking at the “Fly Rail and Grid” section of the fucking adventure. This kind of crap just clogs things up. Scene/Event based and a mass of text make salvaging this one a losing cause.

Vlindarian’s Vault
By Jonathan M. Richards
Level 18

Oh man … can you accept the fact that the city has a storage facility/warehouse that has a bunch of slaadi employees? If so then do I ever have the Grimtooths adventure for you! You’re pleaded with to rescue a guys mate from a vault where she’s being held captive. There’s some nonsense about them being disguised silver dragons, but that’s irrelevant. This adventure JUMPS in to things immediately. Seriously, the keyed locations start on page 2 and I’m not sure I’ve EVER seen a Dungeon backstory/into that short! And the intro even includes a bullshit plan involving a magical shield and portable hole to smuggle the party inside the storage vault! It’ all feels a little Harry Potter/Gringotts, with a healthy dose of Grimtooth. Walls of Force that appear and disappear, teleport circles, rolling boulders. And every guard is either a slaad or devil, with the boss being a beholder. The maps a fucking disaster and needs a cross-section to clarify the confusing relationship between the levels and corridors. I’m going to forgive the abstracted treasure because the entire thing is so ridiculous. I love it! No gimping. High level. Absurd enemies and deathtraps! A glorious glorious mess! A little (lot) restatting could make this a fine low-level adventure also. Hard to recommend to seek out, but if you NEED this sort of adventure then this is IT.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

OSR Adventure Location - The Deep Astral Worldlet of Freez'rea For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 06/30/2017 - 21:15
The Destruction of Atlantis  By Nicholas Roerich  Fair Use I saw a city in a lonely land: Foursquare, it fronted upon gulfs of fire; Behind, the night of Erebus hung entire; And deserts gloomed or glimmered on each hand. The City of the Titans  (1915) by Clark Ashton Smith Deep within the astral far from the flaming head of the 'Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

White Wolf Comments on the V5 Pre-Alpha Playtest Release Reaction

Tenkar's Tavern - Fri, 06/30/2017 - 14:39

My current thoughts on the matter? (prior post here)
It was all about the publicity. Good, bad, didn't matter. So long as V5 was being talked about. Some have said they'll never come near it now and some have embraced it but many more have talked about it.

And yes, I fed the beast. I may be feeding it again today, but I feel a follow up is needed, at least as far as highlighting some of White Wolf's response. You can read the full White Wolf blog post here.
Last week we released it to the world, and we are grateful for all your survey responses, emails, social media comments, and reviews. Now we are working on the alpha playtest for GenCon 2017, but your feedback on the pre-alpha makes it clear that we need to provide some context for the playtest and for V5.Context. K.
Our oversight, for which we apologize, was not providing this context so that our players could see why and how we made these decisions. We needed to clearly state again that the material was intended for mature audiences, and to label it that way. We should have stated again that our vision for V5 brings Vampire back to its roots as a morality tale about evil, set in the darkest places of our own world. Contemporary, real-world horrors and atrocities are an important part of the setting and by extension – its characters. We’ll communicate this and other design-choices better as we go forward. We can and will make the game’s contents transparent for those who need them to be by giving you fair warning. I'm assuming you need to be 18 to download the playtest material. Or am I wrong? In any case, the genie is out of the bottle.
V5 Pre-Alpha QA We answer some of the most common questions about the V5 Pre-Alpha. Feel free to send us more questions. Q: Why is Amelina a pedophile?
A: She’s not. She has an obsession with young (recently embraced) Kindred and a feeding restriction that forces her to feed from children and young teens. Q: Why did you use the term “triggered” to describe someone easily offended on ideological grounds?
A: Because that is the common usage of the term in everyday language, no disrespect intended.  Q: Why are so many characters children (“Club Kids”)?
A: The term Club Kid (at least in Sweden) means a youngish (roughly 18-25) person who spends all their free time at clubs, often under the influence of drugs.  The first answer seems forced to me, like one of those answers thought up AFTER the question came up, but whatever.

The use of "triggered" is amusing, as I wasn't the only one to come to the conclusion that Amelina was a pedophile (there were victims of child abuse when they were younger that came to the same conclusion) so there was some "triggering" that was not part of the scenario but because of the scenario.

As for the Club Kids definition - never heard it used prior, not my social circle. Interesting that its being defined from a Swedish perspective. I guess White Wolf really is international now.

Ah well. Hopefully this puts a stake in the drama. Wait! Stakes still kill vampires, right?

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


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