Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Hex Crawl 23 #218: Maraku

Roles & Rules - Sun, 08/20/2023 - 07:38

Five hexes southwest, four northwest of Alakran.

The village of Maraku is large (400 people) and prosperous, surrounded by grain fields and orchards. The sexes have come to an arrangement there, by which women whocan claim three or more grandchildren join a ruling council. This governing body shuns physical coercion, but is empowered to administer a highly effective punishment in which the forehead is marked with an unwashable dye and the stigmatized individual must dwell in the wilderness for a week and forage for their own food. 

For their part, men who have three or more grandchildren  are initiated into the secret of brewing karaanu, a liquor made of calabash pulp and flavored with grains of Selim. The men drink karaanu in drab, designated tents, and shame each other about getting drunk, so that there is much left over for export.

An adventure in this village begins when, on its outskirts, you encounter a dye-marked man and woman bickering over an edible cactus. The man, Shu-Turul, has been censured for drunkenness outside the designated tent. The woman, Humusi, grew violent in a Council meeting. She will explain the worry convulsing the town. The Council has been made an offer to enter into an exclusive contract supplying the Wahatti military, breaking off their trade with Targatana to the south. This will change their diplomatic relations forever and the Council has been debating the issue for months intractably and, as Humusi laments, often violently.

Shu-Turul favors the military contract, while Humusi, because she is married to a Targatan man, is against. In town, the Wahatti side is represented by the daily visits of the dashing axe-beak cavalry officer Kadashman "The Sweet-Maned Lion," and opposingly by the basket-hatted, mysterious woman sent from the secret conspiracy, "The Obscure Stair," whose goal is Targatan independence from Wahattu. Both are willing to offer gold in the three-digit range to help get their way.

On the Council of thirty-one, three pro- and five anti-contract votes will not be changed no matter what; six pro- and four anti-contract can be changed only by threats; three pro and four anti-can be changed by persuasion or additional facts, as can the five true waverers. The true difficulty lies in bringing matters to a vote, as the motion to vote must carry by a majority; therefore, at least some of the ultimately losing faction must be lured into thinking they can win.

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OSR Commentary On The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dieties & Demigods By Robert Kuntz & James Ward - Stains Upon The Green, Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum 2nd Printing, & The Dwarven Gate

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 08/20/2023 - 06:18
 The Dwarven gods that appear within Dieties and Demigods might actually predate the Elven gods of our Greyhawk campaign that we've been talking about last time on the blog. So let's pick it up with the Fall, September is around the corner and already the chill of Autumn is in the air of August. If you've been following our posts we dive back into both classic Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Deal of the Day - Bloodshadows: Fantasy-Noir RPG (Third Edition)

Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 08/20/2023 - 01:31

I remember getting Bloodshadows in the good old days of West End Games. It was a very pulpy feeling homage to the Cthulhu Mythos, dark fantasy, and other similar fiction. Seeing the third edition of the ruleset as the Deal of the Day on DTRPG is making me want to dig my original copy out of storage - or simply buy the third edition PDF. I guess the latter will be quicker ;)

Today's Deal of the Day is Bloodshadows: Fantasy-Noir RPG (Third Edition) from Precis InterMedia. Normally 14.95 in PDF, it is on sale until tomorrow morning for 5.98.

The spellslinger upstairs conjures too loud. 

The guy down the hall drinks blood from a six-pack.

That stiff you left in the alley is walking again.

The undead factory workers are on strike.

Your client skipped town before paying.

And your landlord is looking for his rent.

"Think Harry Dresden, Cast a Deadly Spell, and The Shadow rolled into one exquisite mix, and you’re playing Bloodshadows…"

Bloodshadows combines pulp adventure with dark fantasy and noir stylings. Tough detectives in weathered trenchcoats swap biting comments with vampires in evening gowns. Humans walk the dark streets of the city alongside demonic breeds and long-dead ghouls. Magic is everywhere, even if just to light a cigarette. Death waits around every corner--undeath sometimes follows. The Wilderness holds even more danger, kept at bay only by city gates and those who patrol them. It's a dark, brooding world filled with shadows and wonders.

Picture a medieval world with two opposing cosmic forces locked in battle -- the Godwar. As their armies dwindle, new soldiers are called into the fight via magical constructs and exotic species summoned from other planes of existence. Then the war comes to an end as if its leaders abandoned the battlefield. The perversions of the war flee to the Wilderness, while Humans shelter in cities, the two avoiding each other as much as possible.

Almost a millennium later, Humans run the civilized cities and guard against the Wilderness. Some Unnatural breeds, undead, and shifters have been accepted by the Humans, though not as equals in most cases. Some, like Vampires and Succubi, hunt Humans and are able to freely roam the cities as long as their true natures are hidden. Others, like the garbage-eating Gris and fast but smelly Skethspawn, often conduct their seedy business in the shadows. Then there are the Taxims, demons who inhabit the bodies of the dead in order to indulge in all manner of vices. Man walks beside them in the streets of the cities, but often unaware of their true natures. Humans and Unnaturals share one common trait--they simply want to live their lives. Indeed, this is what drives some Humans and Unnaturals to work together for a common goal.

Now picture these cities as they would appear in film-noir. Combine violence and ambiguous morals with a dark and brooding world. Envision cities built on magic, but limited by the status quo imposed by the Big Rich or others in charge. Law and crime is a microcosm of a greater struggle between order and chaos that has been reborn after centuries of relative inactivity -- a new Godwar brews. Magic is everywhere. Some know enough to light a cigarette, while others like Spellslingers, can animate the dead or create portals to other locations.

Combine elements of Noir, Pulp, Fantasy, and Horror and you have the world of Marl. The dead struggle for the same rights as the living. Unnaturals compete for the scraps of civilization. Magic rules, but only so long as it doesn't blow your head off. And you'd be lucky to end up dead in the Wilderness, for the other options may not be so pleasant.

The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. The Tavern DOES NOT do "Paid For" Articles and discloses personal connections to products and creators written about when applicable.

DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  You can catch the daily Tavern Chat cast on AnchorYouTube or wherever you listen to your podcast collection. - Tenkar   

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

In happier news...

The Splintered Realm - Sat, 08/19/2023 - 22:43

James V. West, who frequents different parts of the Internet than I do, so our paths don't often converge (although we both go back to the same roots in mini comics publishing in the 90s), reached out recently and said some very kind things about my original Army Ants RPG... and he did this awesome drawing which is probably more 'Army Ants' than anything I've ever drawn. His inking work is next level. It made my day, which is saying a lot since intellectual theft was really killing the mood around here. I love when cool people do cool stuff. It makes me want to make a 1978 style Our Army At War Army Ants RPG now. :)

Hex Crawl 23 #217: Homesteads at the Targatan Fringe

Roles & Rules - Sat, 08/19/2023 - 22:41

Five hexes southwest, four northwest of Alakran.


Perhaps the same quirks of climate or Earth-spirit that ensure the greenness of Zigmunus also make the provice of Targatana more fertile than the surrounding wastes. From this ridge of hills overgrown with grass and low shrubs, southward for twenty-five miles or so, is a relatively well-watered land. The Targatan people who dwell therein are almost a separate nation to the Wahatti, with their straw hats like flattened cones, apparel with bright dyed stripes at the hem, and punitively-spiced cuisine of which it is said "one dish stings and the next one stinks."

But along these low hills are four homesteads, each with its extended family of 15-30 souls as well as farmhands from further south paying off various debts. Milch gnus, long-haired wool goats, and egg-laying emus are some of the unusual husbandry they practice, and their gardens produce peppers and asafoetida for the cook pot.

The funny thing is, despite their habits of dress and speech, these folk are not seen in the south as true Targatans, because of their habit of going to corrupting, Wahatti, Gesshed. They and other northern villagers are referred to as the "fraying fringe." It is said of them, for instance, that they frighten more camels than they coax emus, that their sandals have more dust than crushed grass on them, and that they see more salt than mud (there is a famous mudflat to the west in Targatana.) It is also undeniable that they do business with, well, the Wahatti Army -- the Spearpoints of Dawn are right nearby.

The Band of Bronze never went to Targatana, and we won't either, but among the rumored adventures there are a shuttered and haunted mine; a strange society of people who wear taller straw hats than normal and gather in the evening on the southern ridge; and a cult of Khilan lizard-folk in the western badlands who worship some kind of worm.

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OSR Review & Commentary On The Red Room's Shadows Over Olisipo For The Wretched Epogue rpg Or Other OSR Horror Rpg's.

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 08/19/2023 - 21:34
 " Shadows Over Olisipo is a campaign setting sourcebook for Wretched Époque (or other investigative horror games) set in Portugal of the late 19th century. With elements of gothic horror, weird occultism, and investigative tension, the campaign aims to bring 19th century Portugal to chilling life. The style emphasises brooding atmosphere, mounting dread, and strange phenomena to drive an Needles
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'The Raid on The Simon's Farm' - Gamma World Second Edition - GW2 Famine in Far Go By Michael Price Side Quest - Session Report

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 08/19/2023 - 17:54
 We got together this morning in the local dinner & then ordered the 'usual'. And we did a character workshop between coffee and breakfast. And then it was over to Steve's house for a bit of Gamma World action. And in this case we were using events of GW2 Famine in Far Go. And the effects of the local famine on the surrounding countryside. The PC's after completing thier time in the 'forrest of Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Help Me Internet (You're My Only Hope)

The Splintered Realm - Sat, 08/19/2023 - 15:25

So, this morning I became aware of this...

and this...

Um. So, like Badge Quest is a complete ripoff of my game, right? I mean, it's not even TRYING to pretend it didn't. It's stealing the same images and the same characters in the same poses. It's just, exactly my game, but by someone else. I mean, the dude stole the hair buns. I perused the rules, and the mechanics are straight out of my game. It's not even remotely trying to pretend it's not.


If you are me, what do you do? I put a copyright notice in this in 2018. That has to mean SOMETHING, right?

Wicked Little Delves – Vol 1

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 08/19/2023 - 11:11
By Joseph R. Lewis Dungeon Age Adventures OSE Levels 1-3

These are three one-shot dungeon delves. Each delve features nine rooms or locations full of challenges and interactivity. Each delve has only one type of monster, but they are complex, and there are lots of them!

This 22page adventure features three little dungeon, each with none rooms. A cellar with spiders, a little prison with Boom Hounds, and a little sea cave with crabs. Lewis is a master of the craft, with great descriptions, interactivity, and organization. These are a little small for me to get completely behind, but, for an evenings entertainment as a stand-alone, I thin they set the standard.

A feel like I’m coming off of writing a thousand shitty little reviews that don’t go in to much detail about what is bad and why. I just say “they’re garbage” and move on. Now, I think, I have the opposite problem. I’m faced with something decent and all I can say is “Hey, it’s pretty good.” But, let us endeavor to persevere! (Also, it’s the Friday morning of GenCon and I’m finishing this up before heading downtown to the con, so, you know …)

Lewis knows what’s he’s doing. In every way. He consistently pops out decent product. He understands D&D, he understands writing, and he understands what is needed in formatting to tie things together. This particular product, a compilation of three short adventures, exemplifies his ability. I’m only regerting it because they ARE a little short for me I know its unfair, but, also, I think these set the standard baseline for what to expect from an adventure. If you’re not at least this tall then perhaps hone things up by writing for 5e or something. If I wanted to grab an adventure to run tonight I wouldn’t hesitate to use one of these as a filler. 

I guess I should start with the formatting. H’es using a three-column style, with one room per column. We get a little room name and the dimensions, a little door and light summary, then a little section hat could be read-aloud or a summary for the DM. A few words are underlined. Those are expanded upon below in bullets with their own descriptions in more detail, notes about interactivity and so on. There are cross-references to other pages where needed, and monsters noted in red to stand out. Bolding and underlining some in to play. In other adventures I could bitch about almost all of this. Room dimensions? It’s on the map! Light and doors? Pfft. But, he integrates them in to the text easily, not wasting space but instead using ALL of his whitespace to effect. The room name is short, so he puts the dimensions right after that. No wasted whitespace after the room name and the ability to insert the dimension without impact to the text. A billion different types of formatting? That can be confusing. But not here. He knows why and how to format to get his point across without it feeling like it so over the top tha the text is now confusing to read, distracting. Three rooms per page?! Heresy! But, his rooms are stuffed with interactivity. The column and bullet format makes it easy to run the room and find what you need. It doesn’t FEEL like a wall of text or useless trivia but rather that the room is stuffed with shit to interact with … and also without it seeming like it is useless interaction. It’s his format, he owns it, figuratively, and shows he’s the master of it.

He understands the dungeon interactivity. His anderers do something interesting, allowing the DM to brng some life to an otherwise what could be boring wanderer. It’s not overblow. It’s just a few words, but they are FOCUSED words. Spiders “sleeping in a flooded sinkhole in the floor, releasing bubbles.” You can run that as an interesting encounter, even though its just a wanderer. And he does this in entry after entry. Just a little, and enough to riff on and findf fun with the players. 

His treasure is great. A compass, a black leather tricorn hat, a silver cutlass. Gold-red coins … whose scent attracts predators! ANd likewise the magic items. A crystal goblet that purifies an liquid placed in it. Powerful. Not presented mechanically. It has wonder. And yet, it’s crystal, so, you really carrying it around the dungeon with you? People trip and fall all the time in the dungeon. A magic rabbits foot. You can reroll a save. But one of your items vanishes in a puff of rabbit fur and muted screams. Groovy! It’s short and oh so wonderful for adding colour to your games!

In one adventure, a sea cave full of crabs, you have the opportunity to get the blessing of the shark goddess. At least, the person who has killed themost crabs gets the opportunity. And if so then you might become a were-shark. And, in one room: “When a were-shark touches the skeleton, it whispers, “Who dares disturb my slumber?” If the were-shark speaks nobly and mentions the crabs, then the ghost of the giant shark appears and slaughters all crabs nearby.” Fucking groovy, right?! Not really hidden depth, but just below the surface and ready to go. These don’t exist all over the place, it’s not set piece after set piece or gonzo after gonzo.; There’s just shit to explore in the rooms and fuck with and it FEELs like you’re exploring. 

Lewis knows what he’s doing. Like I said, I’m being a little unfair here, because of the length of them. But, also, like I said, these are perfect little things for dropping in on a random night where you want a one and done and don’t need something overly involved. I wish all of those shitty little adventures I review were as good as these.

This is $4 at DriveThru. Preview is none pages, which gets you a look at the first adventure, the spiders in the basement. That’s more than enough to get a good idea of what you are buying and see what he does well.

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GameFound - Fighting Fantasy Adventures: The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain And Other Stories

Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 08/19/2023 - 02:01

I have some very fond memories of the original Fighting Fantasy books. It was like endless quest books with random elements, hit points, and combat. It added a certain depth that one didn't get from most of the "choose your own adventure" style of fiction gaming (is that a thing?).

To bring back Fighting Fantasy as a Solo and Co-Operative card game is unexpected, but on many levels, makes sense, as it might be the next natural progression for games like Fighting Fantasy Adventures.

Fighting Fantasy Adventures is 30 bucks for the basic box, and 60 with all the bells and whistles. Not bad pricing at all.

A bit in the game play:

Here I'd like to share some of Martin's notes about each adventure as well as some thoughts about the nature of the game.

So this is one box, with 5 (actually 6) games inside it. They have an overarching storyline and you carry items and abilities forward with you. Each one of these adventures will take between 60-180 minutes to play, depending on your dice rolls and choices. So there are some elements that you will know if you play again (just like a regular Choose Your Own Adventure book) but there are also things you may not find on your first pass, you might hit a dead end and fail, you might have TERRIBLE (I promise you, you will!) dice rolls and die and need to restart.

This is not a legacy game where components are destroyed. You can enjoy the adventures multiple times, especially if you play with other people and let them make the choices the next time around. You can run this for your kids, you can lean into the RP element and act in ways that might mean you drive your other party members crazy and mean you miss important stuff. It's really fun to run this as a GM. There is a tonne of value in the box.

The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. The Tavern DOES NOT do "Paid For" Articles and discloses personal connections to products and creators written about when applicable.

DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  You can catch the daily Tavern Chat cast on AnchorYouTube or wherever you listen to your podcast collection. - Tenkar   

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

OSR Commentary On The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dieties & Demigods By Robert Kuntz & James Ward - Stains Upon The Green & The Dwarven Gate

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 08/18/2023 - 17:07
 One of the reasons why Kuntz and Ward's Dieties & Demigods is useful is because of the fact that the gods and mythologies protrayed in this Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition book sorta conform to our world. When I say sorta of some of the entries are not quite in line with the 'real world' mythology. And we're gonn pick it right up from here on the blog. And this is just fine. Why?! Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Hex Crawl 23 #216: Seeing Far

Roles & Rules - Fri, 08/18/2023 - 09:46

Four hexes southwest, five northwest of Alakran.

 How far can we see from this empty dry plain? 

On Earth things would be complicated by curvature, and the horizon would be three miles away to someone standing on the plain  (12 miles on a hill, over 100 on a mighty mountain). 

But this is Mittellus, whose surface is flat. Still, we have three things to contend with: atmospheric haze; light extinction, or the tendency of light rays to scatter and blur; and the effect of a rising or falling slope, whether shallow or steep,  to block view of the surface beyond.

All told, with clear air the line of visibility is incredibly long in our five-hex map world, 140 miles or so under good conditions in a dry climate.. Rain, heat haze, and dust are all likely to cut the maximum visibility, but on a sunny day after rain has cleared the air, our observer in this hex can look:

  • East, and see the Scarp and its protrusions that flank Alakran; 
  • South, and run against the green hills that rise five miles away
  • West, and after five miles run into jagged badlands;
  • North, and contend with the lowering of the land parallel to the northern range of the Dhuga, that hides the district of Eryptos from view;
  • Northeast, and see Sutekh's Knee standing like a shepherd over the hills of Dhuga and the Ship Rock. 

All in all, world builders might be better advised to construct their continents on a sphere that modestly hides its secrets from the explorer by curving away just beyond, approximately, the perimeter of a five mile hexagon.

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Stars Without Number Game Session One - Phaseworld & Trey Causey's Strange Stars Campaign

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 08/18/2023 - 06:28
Tonight I had to pull a campaign out of moth balls on the fly and I don't think the game session went bad at all!  Tonight's game wasn't the usual gang of players but instead we had a few older players who came into  tonight's spur of the moment Stars Without Number game. Which meant that I literally had an hour to come up with a quick campaign off the cuff. Fortunately, earlier this evening I Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Cosmic Horror Sale at DTRPG - Spotlight on the Call of Cthulhu Starter Set

Tenkar's Tavern - Fri, 08/18/2023 - 02:41

I personally would have run a Cosmic Horror Sale the first week of October, to tie it in with Halloween, but DTRPG usually does a separate Halloween promotion, so I'm guessing they didn't want to saturate the season.

There are a bunch of excellent choices for the Cosmic Horror Sale (all at 25% off in PDF), but I'll focus on what I consider to be the best value by far - The Call of Cthulhu Starter Set. Normally 9.99 in PDf (and a bargain at that price), The Call of Cthulhu Starter Set is marked down to 7.49 for this sale.

The Call of Cthulhu Starter Set contains books, dice, premade character sheets, maps, and enough content to keep a group busy for several roleplaying sessions.

This updated Starter Set also includes:

Three softcover manuals are broken into rules and scenarios to guide you in playing Call of Cthulhu. The physical boxed version also includes all the dice you need to play the game: a D4, D6, D8, D20, Percentile D10, and an extra D10 in a different color for use as a bonus/penalty die.

Learn to play in the best way possible—by playing! The special introduction “Alone Against The Flames”, a solo Call of Cthulhu scenario, teaches you the basic rules of the game and character creation as you find yourself in the rural New England town of Emberhead—but can you escape?

(Also includes) three scenarios designed for 3, 4 and up to 5 players.


The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. The Tavern DOES NOT do "Paid For" Articles and discloses personal connections to products and creators written about when applicable.

DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  You can catch the daily Tavern Chat cast on AnchorYouTube or wherever you listen to your podcast collection. - Tenkar   

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Taken in The Dark - Hostile Rpg & ATTACK SQUADRON: ROSWELL from Zozer Games Session Report Two

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 08/17/2023 - 17:27
 The September Group or Сентябрьская группа is a 'small mercenary' outfit & corporation made up of former mecha pilots and military vets. The September group handles the delicate and descreet operations of thier corporate overlords. The September Group or Сентябрьская группа uses mostly the corrupt and criminal within it's organization. These are treated to a micro implant explosive within thier Needles
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Hex Crawl 23 #214: The Obliterating Fists

Roles & Rules - Thu, 08/17/2023 - 12:03

Three hexes southwest, six northwest of Alakran.


Here, amid salt flats that might once have been the first of a string of drying lakes stretching to the northwest, sits the tower Kinkimmu. It is a square construction of yellow mud brick, with four stories bristling with crossbows and ballistas. 

Kimkimmu houses the eastern cadre of the Obliterating Company of the Leaden Fist, an elite heavy foot company dispersed in garrisons of 30 around the east and centre of the kingdom. The strongest and biggest fighters are recruited for this outfit, without concern for profession or station. They are equipped with medium armour, shield, square-ended longsword, and throwing axes. Their badge is the downward-punching fist made of lead.

The commander of the garrison, Tishpak-Nasir, is broadly built and jovial, and encourages a culture of respectful challenge among his men, Thus if a patrol of 8 soldiers is encountered outside of the tower they will be engaged in a training exercise -- running in armor, or pressing up on the hot flats. The corporal in charge will size up the party and, if any appear to be of high Strength, challenge them to some wager or contest of honor. Win by enough, and Tishpak himself will want to test and commend you in person.

The most renowned member of the Fists is Hak-Bina, a burly and imposing woman who operates under a false beard. As a protege of Tishpak-Nasir, the captain has forcefully quelled any grumblings or raillery about her gender. Indeed, Hak-Bina is now genuinely respected among the cadre. However, she is less and less in evidence at the tower. As her instincts match Tishpak's need for information and hunger for intrigue, she is given leave to go on ever wider adventures, and stops by Kinkimmu only to pick up hermonthly pay.

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Sail the Microversal Seas!

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 08/17/2023 - 11:45

Artist Jeff Nelson has imagined Marvel's Microverse from the Micronauts comic as islands in a sea. Only tangentially related, but this reminds me how the Microverse would be a good Spelljammer setting.

Humble Bundle - Tabletop RPG Resources Bundle by DiceGeeks

Tenkar's Tavern - Thu, 08/17/2023 - 02:23

Random tables are very much like dice. You either collect them, or you have the minimal number you need to run the games you GM. I am more of the collector type. For me, more dice are more better, and more random goodness is, quite frankly, more goodness at my game table.

The Tabletop RPG Resources Bundle has 32 digital books of random tables for RPGs for 18 bucks (or as low as a buck for 4 digital books)

Embrace the will of the dice gods with this bundle of gamemaster resources from Dicegeeks, designed to help you improvise fun and imaginative scenarios at the table! You’ll get more than 30 books to help quickly randomly generate content for your tabletop RPGs, including the The Great Book of Random Tables and a vast library of spin-offs, covering genres from fantasy to cyberpunk, and a multitude of scenarios, like adventure hooks, dungeons, inns and taverns, and more. Also included are titles packed with GMing guidance, like The No-Prep Gamemaster, full of practical advice for running spontaneous RPG sessions. Pay what you want for this bundle of handy GM tools, and help support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals with your purchase!

The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. The Tavern DOES NOT do "Paid For" Articles and discloses personal connections to products and creators written about when applicable.

DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  You can catch the daily Tavern Chat cast on AnchorYouTube or wherever you listen to your podcast collection. - Tenkar   

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Grey Days - Wretched Space( Revised ) & Orbital Decay One Shot Mini Campaign - Session Two

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 08/16/2023 - 23:34
 Call me old fashioned but venturing into a deadly space going tomb is not on my agenda for a good time. The idi erm adventurers of our party had the Epic align itself with the space hulk. The 'Hercules' is particularly dangerous and dubious looking. This picks up right from here on the blog. The power came on as soon as the Epic docked with the Hercules.And it was then after the party boarded Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Tomb of the Baboon King

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 08/16/2023 - 11:11
By Sage Paoilli, Dean leonard, John R. Brennan Armored Storyteller Publishing OSE Levels 8+

The civilization that once worshipped the Baboon King no longer exists, and only a few scattered ruins remain. None remember its name. A few rare scholars and priests deciphered fragments of the ancient city- state’s history. The humidity of the region devoured most scrolls and painted images left behind. Only the stories recorded in worn stone provided a clue into the past.

This 33 page adventure details a dungeon with 24 rooms. I kept thinking I was in a 5e adventure instead of an OSR one. It’s fine, I guess, as linear dungeons go. Whatever. It’s so bland and yet polished that my eyes have glazed over in looking at it.

I don’t know why your level eights are afraid of a baboon, king or otherwise. AC0 with 101hp, I guess. Along with a 4d6 bite and two 6d6 claws. Meh. What is that, more than a huge red dragon? Or a Trex? Sure thing man. I guess  this is one of those “Bryce doesn’t know classic fantasy fiction” things again, where Conan or Elric or someone masturbated a bunch of baboons and now we have to think they are cool or something.

The map is terrible. It’s too small to read. It’s one of those full color things, with detailed floor tiles. A garish monstrosity that you can’t make out any detail in, or even the room numbers. And it’s linear. Yea, linear. So you are almost doing, like, 24 rooms all in a row, in a straight line, to make it to the end of the adventure. That is SOOOOOOO anti D&D that I don’t even know how to describe WHY it is. There’s no exploration. No choice. No unknown. No mystery.Just a boring nonstop of first this and then this happens to you. Who the fuck would want to play something like that? Room after  room in a straight line. I’m not sure I even made dungeons like that when I was eight. 

Let’s see … book magic items. A wilderness and dungeon wandering table in which 95% of the entries have a sentence or two of text that amounts to “They Attack!” Yup, we’re doing everything right it seems.

The encounters, the rooms proper, are … something. Basically it amounts to a surprise in each room. In this room your surprise is: water pours in to flood the room. In this room your surprise is: walk the CORRECT path of wisdom on the floor tiles. In this room your surprise is: poison gas drives you crazy. In this room your surprise is: wait, it’s just some monsters attacking if you open some caskets. That’s the first four rooms. Then there’s eight mummies. Then a spear trap. Then the ever-present falling portcullis and bronze golem. And then vines in the room. It’s all the same. It’s shit you have seen a thousand times before implemented in exactly the same way it’s been implemented a thousand times before. 

For each room you get a paragraph or two under the heading of What Is Noticeable and a whole lot more text, many paragraphs, under the heading of What Is Not Immediately Noticeable. Nice idea. Terrible implementation. Rooms take a page. The first room takes a page and a half for a flooded room trap. There’s a one page stat block in another room. This is just TERRIBLE. What were they thinking?! There’s three of them. Did NO ONE stop and say “Hey maybe this is a bad idea.”  

I’m just incredulous. AT level eight. In B/X. OSE is basically B/X, right? Level eight. How the fuck do you make a level eight D&D adventure boring? How do you put a challenge in every room and STILL make the adventure boring?1

GenCon is in two days. Dear baby jesus, please let me find some joy there …

This is $3 at DriveThru. The preview is four pages. You get to see that first room. It could be a longer preview, but, I guess it does show you a room.

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