Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Hex Crawl 23 #265: Arraqa Heights and Three Notable Trees

Roles & Rules - Sat, 10/07/2023 - 18:48

 Five hexes northwest, eight north of Alakran.


These wooded highlands and lowlands are covered at their thickest with pines, while tough scrub oaks and chaparral constitute the scrublands. Woodcutters found here hail from Armakhu-Lallu; as they work, their cheerful songs ring out through the trunks. They are just as likely to be found tending the undergrowth, clearing firebreaks, or picking the rare fungi that lurk under the loam, as actually felling trees - an activity which they regulate out of care not to strip the forest. 

Local people know the location of these four trees of legend within the woods, each with a power or secret.

1. The Parliament of Owls

A half-dead twenty-foot pine in whose decaying wood twelve tawny owls have made nests. Those who can speak with them will find them possessed of uncommon wisdom, but they will only give up their facts for knowledge of equal rarity and importance.

2. The Arms of Eset

Lightning clove this short hemlock's trunk in two, and in its recovery the halves grew out, curving separately to resemble embracing arms. It is said tha who stands between the arms is safe from lightning, and even that a pinecone of this tree will absorb the force* of any lightning strike.

3. The Signpost of Treasure

An eccentric in the last generation is said to have turned this dead pine trunk, still standing but only half its twenty-foot former height, into a signpost to a great treasure, but no markings can be seen on it. In actuality, he broke four branches from it whose stumps can still be seen on the trunk. These he used as rafters of his house, now occupied by a family who fled from Dulsharna. Inside the house, the rafters can be seen, each carved with notches: 10, 24, 32, and 25, referring to paces (the "10" rafter has a measure of the man's pace carved in it to avoid error). If the rafters' ends are matched to the stumps, and the paces and compass direction of each stump are paced out in order from bottom to top, the treasure spot will be reached. Buried three feet deep in a lead casket (avoiding magical detection) are:

  •  A pair of "lucky" bone dice with a 5% extra chance of winning, but also a 1% chance per game of making suspicious giggling noises
  •  A black domino mask that, if gazed through, detects invisible undead
  • 60 gold pieces in a neck-rag
  • A large irregular chunk of lapis lazuli carved witrh an eye on each side -- not magical but worth 100 go to the curious

* Out of any number carried, one cone burns up and absorbs one die, or 5 points if no dice are involved, of the lightning damage.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Lost Shrine of Vaelor

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 10/07/2023 - 11:11
By FEI Games FEI Games OSE Levels 6-9

The local Scholar’s Guild has obtained information of a long lost temple of an abandoned god located out in the marshlands. Guildmaster RHorrell has requested your services based on your reputation that is known far and wide. The Guild’s only request is that any artifacts are to be brought back so they can document and study them. They are willing to compensate your success with 5,000gp each as well as equip you with provisions. 

This eleven page digest adventure features a temple with five rooms. It is a one page dungeon without that charm that takes up eleven pages. It reinforced my bewilderment that someone thinks these types of things are products.And the ONLY reason I’m looking at this at all is that is says the entire thing is available in the preview. Since this is a common bitch of mine I thought that maybe FEI Games had improved things. Guess whose boundless optimism was once again crushed underheel … and not by a humble ant?

The intro to this? You read the intro. It’s that little blurb up above. That’s usually the marketing blurb from an adventures DriveThru page, but, when they don’t have one there I try and snag one from the product. That’s the intro blurb from the product. And I have a few things to say about it.

First, there’s absolutely nothing else in the intro to this adventure. After that little column (this is a digest, remember) then room one starts. Nothing more. So that’s ALL you have to go on. That, and, presumably, that cover art? Is that suppose to be the temple in question? We’ll assume so. The thing just launches in to room one. Journey to get there? Is it out in the woods somewhere a day from town? Is it above ground or below ground? There is absolutely no contest to this thing. 

And that intro is one of the most generic on earth. “The local scholars guild” is boring as all fuck. “Abandoned god” is even more boring. Wasn’t their entire volume called Petty Gods?  You couldn’t just pull something from it, or make up a name? You couldn’t do ANYTHING to give this thing some kind of character? Specificity. You need specificity. That’s what brings something to life. Not long winded detail. Specificity. And this is wholly lacking in it except for naming the guildmaster. Not exactly vividly evocative. Or interesting. In any way. 

But, hey, your level nines are gonna get 5k in GP! So, take that fucking cash to bank, right man?! The dungeon, proper, has $10k more in treasure. And you need 100k in XP to gain a level. One person. I am dazzled and amazed by the hubris required to produce something like this.

Did I mention the six hit die shadows? Or the nine hit die crypt keeper? The shadows should be an automatic destroy and the crypt keeper an automatic turn, if memory serves me correctly? Perfect. A perfect design job.

Let’s see here … the art implies the temple is above ground. So, you know, we don’t go through the front door in such cases. We go through the roofs, or tear down the walls. Seems chill to me. Maybe some divination to figure out which room has the loot and then bring out the sledgehammer to knock the back wall to it down? We could use a wizard spell, but, that seems like overkill. Look, I know, but, fuck man, you have to invest SOME effort in design, don’t you? And that clearly was not done here.

Let’s see here. Fiv rooms. Two pages (pffft!) Two riddles, maybe some shadows if you riddle wrong. A crypt thing. A guardian thing and some six HD “strangler vines”. Oooh! Scary scary! Nothing here. Just garbage. One of the riddle is on a bridge crossing a chasm. If you answer correctly you get some magic stones to cross the chasm. The chasm is 10 feet across, sigint diagonal in a room that’s thirty by fifty. Seriously. Ten feet. Maybe, just, step across it?

Room one, titles The Entrance, starts with “This entrance chamber … great, we’re already padding. And then it continues “As your party enters”, so, we’ve got some second person shit going on also. Great. ITS NOT EVEN READ-ALOUD. It’s just there the DM text is formatted like that. Fucking wonderful. How about The Crypt room, eh? Let’s talk a look at that one: “This chamber [more padding!] is filled with ancient sarcophagus. [not specific!]] In the center of the room is a sarcophagus that is partially open. Suddenly a menacing guardian, a Crypt Keeper, rises to protect the temple’s treasures.” That’s all you get for the room. Nothing more. Enjoy that shit. 

You get what you give, that much is true. 

This is Pay What You Want at DriveThru with a suggested price of $.50. The whole thing is available in the preview. That may be the best part of the adventure.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Free OSR - Melee (The Fantasy Trip)

Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 10/07/2023 - 02:08

I've agreed to run a session of the Fantasy Trip at NTRPG 2024 in June of next year, so I need to tighten up my rules knowledge. Well, color me surprised to find Melee, the combat rules of The Fantasy Trip for Free at DTRPG in PDF. Woot!

A classic game of fantasy combat. Create characters in just a few minutes – then send them into the arena. Winners become stronger and faster for the next battle. Losers die.

Each counter in this fast-moving game is a single warrior. Players choose weapons and tactics for their fighters, and send them into combat against men, beasts, or monsters – to victory, or death.

This is the basic combat system for The Fantasy Trip For the basic magic system, pick up Wizard. For ready-to-use adventures perfect for solo or group play, check out Death Test. And for 40 – yes, forty! – postcard adventures, download The Fantasy Trip 2019 Postcard Contest collection absolutely FREE!


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

WGR1 Greyhawk Ruins (2e) By Timothy B. Brown, & Blake Mobley With The Castles & Crusades rpg - Updated

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 10/06/2023 - 21:15
  "Enter the infamous ruins of Castle Greyhawk, the most formidable and expansive dungeon on Oerth. Its mazes and catacombs have drawn hundreds of adventurers from around the Flanaess. They are intrigued by tales of its riches, undaunted by its reputation for death in countless unspeakable ways. Getting there is no trick-it's a well-traveled path. The trick is getting in and out again with your Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Review & Commentary On Earth By Paul Elliot From Zozer Games For The Hostile Rpg

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 10/06/2023 - 18:59
 " "I've spent my career exploring Hostile worlds. It didn't prepare me for Earth: the dust zones, the overcrowded megacities, the shortages of food and water... and the corporations extracting profits from everything around them. No wonder the off-world movement is so popular...""Earth is a worldbook for the gritty sci-fi Hostile RPG, set in 2225. Two economic collapses have reshaped the world, Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Hex Crawl 23 #264: The Farms of Armakhu-Lallu

Roles & Rules - Fri, 10/06/2023 - 08:18

Four hexes northwest, nune north of Alakran.


Another irrigated farming district of the east, this one has a population of over 1,000 scattered about its extent. Each house icon represents a clanhold, a small cluster of large dwellings with about 100 dwellers. The farm-only hexes have scattered single-family houses and each of these square miles has about 10 of them.

The district is called Armakhu-Lallu, or "plentiful wood" owing to its closeness to the forested heights of Arraqa. Indeed, about a hundred citizens are employed as cutters, shapers, and transporters of wood, which they husband carefully -- a previous generation denuded the hills directly to the south, which still bear an evil superstition about them. The rest farm grains and garden produce with the carefully diverted waters of the stream Muttanbitu.

The households are harmonious, governed by consensus and council, in fact a bit boring. Adventurers will seek their rest here and quickly move on most of the time. It is said that the Armakhi are as bland as their characteristic dish, a barley-flour custard mixed with sheep's milk and the eggs of the hens that most hourseholds keep. This dish is known as khud-libbi, or simply translated, contentment.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kickstarter - Gamefold: The First Folding Table Designed For Gaming

Tenkar's Tavern - Fri, 10/06/2023 - 02:35

I must say, I really like this gaming table. Versatile, storable, portable, and affordable - starting at $250 USC. If I had an in-person gaming group, I'd snag this. 

Sadly, all my gaming is at cons and via VTT. But if you play in someone's living room, this table and a few folding chairs and you will be golden!

What is Gamefold?

Gamefold is an innovative, premium folding gaming table that combines affordability with versatility. Its rock-solid design, dice-friendly lip, and 6x3 feet size make it perfect for various indoor and outdoor activities, from board games to puzzles. Gamefold's standout feature is its built-in rail, allowing for easy customization with add-ons.

Gamefold is a versatile gaming table that can be folded up for easy storage. It features a built-in 360° rail system with three separate rails (triple rails) around the table, allowing users to attach, customize, and even slide various accessories for an enhanced gaming experience.

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

The Phraint in Rifts and Aliens Unlimited

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Thu, 10/05/2023 - 21:54

Alignment: Any
Attributes: I.Q. 4D6, M.E. 3D6, M.A. 2D6, P.S. 2D6, P.P. 5D6, P.E. 4D6, P.B. 1D6, Spd. 4D6+20
Hit Points: Standard, P.E. plus 1D6 per level of experience
Light Armor Exoskeleton: A.R. 13, 100 S.D.C. [130 M.D.C. in Rifts]
Horror Factor: 12
Height: 6 feet plus 4D6 inches
Weight: 100 plus 2D6x10 pounds
Average Life Span: 75 years.
P.P.E.: 1D6

Super Abilities: Phraints with one or more unmodified I.Q., M.E, or M.A of 16 or higher may have psionics abilities. Their base chance of having them equals 1 + 2.5 per point of I.Q. above 16 + 1.5 per point of M.E. above 16 + .5 for each point of M.A. above 16. Multiply the base chance by three and roll percentile dice. If the amount is equal to or less than this product, the Phraint has psionics. Roll a d6. On a 1-3 the are a minor psionic and on 4-5 they are a major psionic per page 289 of Rifts Ultimate edition. On a 6 they are Heroes Unlimited psionic, but not the adjustments for Rifts on page 63 of Rifts Conversion Book One.

Natural Abilities: All the features of the compound eye and antennae; no chemical secretion. They are also instinctive climbers 90%/80%, swimmers 80% and are resistant to heat and fire (half damage). They also gain an additional ability based on their caste which they can either select or roll randomly for:

01-20 Warrior caste: Phrainth of the warrior caste have natural weapons; a Bite (2d6) and 2 Claw (2d4) attacks. They gain an additional +10 to speed, four addition weapon proficiencies, and are +2 on initiative, +1 to roll with punch, +5 to save vs Horror Factor. Phrainth of this caste tend to be red, orange or yellow, with blazing coloration patterns.

21-30 Assassin caste: Phrainth of the Assassin caste have a Sting attack; (the victim must roll to save vs lethal poison every melee round for 10 round. Each failed roll means the character takes 2D6 damage directly to Hit Points) and gain a +20% bonus to Prowl, Camouflage, Concealment, and Detect Ambush skill checks. Assassin caste phrainth have dark blue, black or purple chitin, with tiger-stripe-like patterns.

31-40 Guardian caste: Phrainth of the Guardian caste have natural armor of A.R. 16, 200 S.D.C. [240 M.D.C. in Rifts] and also gain +3 on initiative, +2 to pull punch, +2 to roll with impact or fall, paired weapons, +6 to save vs Horror. They are green, blue or yellow, with large, bold spotted patterns.

41-50 Overseer caste: Phrainth of the Overseer caste are immune to fear and similar effects, +1 to save vs all psionic attacks, +2 to save vs possession, and +1 to save vs magic illusions and mind control, +1 to save vs all psionic attacks, +2 to save vs possession, and + 1 to save vs magic illusions and mind control. Their carapaces range from grey to silvery or even ashy black, with tiny speckled patterns of white, yellow and red.

51-60 Hunter caste: Phrainth of the hunter caste receive a +4 racial bonus to Spot, Listen and Survival, and a +8 on Hide checks when in leafy or forested surroundings. Hunter chitin is earthy greens, browns and blacks, in patterns that mimic natural undergrowth.

61-62 Queen caste: Phrainth of the Queen caste gain the ability to produce special pheromones, which can make her commands irresistible. All phrainth who move within 30ft of the Queen (and can smell her) are exposed to an effect identical to charm person, except that it is an alchemical effect and therefore unaffected by wards against magical compulsion (Will negates, DC 10+1/2HD+Constitution modifier). Anything the Queen says carries the same weight as a suggestion to phrainth as long as they are within 30ft and can clearly see and hear one another.

63-00 Caste-less: modern demands on phraint society have led to the creation of ‘caste-less’ phrainth, who are highly adaptable. Caste-less phrainth select 4 additional skills at first level at an additional +10% skill bonus. These skills may be outside of their Skill Program or O.C.C. specification but also gain their usual skill bonuses if they are. Additionally, caste-less phrainth gain one additional skill each time they level.

Special Weapons and Vehicles: The equivalent of most types of weapons, hover vehicles and spacecraft are available.

Preferred Armor: Due to the highly protective nature of their exoskeletons, most do not wear armor. To breathe in inhospitable atmospheres, they will wear a helmet or face mask with an air purification system and/or air supply.

Random Skill Selection
01-20 Use Alien Education and Skills table from Heroes Unlimited (page 95 of that rpg)
21-70 Use an Aliens Unlimited Galaxy Guide Skill Programs (Table I below)
71-00 Use a Mercenary O.C.C from the Rifts Mercenaries Sourcebook (Table II below)

Table I
01-04 Cyberjacker
05-14 Intergalactic Bounty Hunter ·
15-18 Information Broker·
19-30 Mercenary (Space) Soldier
21-35 Professional (Space) Combat Athlete ·
35-42 Spacecraft Mechanic
42-50 Spacecraft Pilot
51-54 Space-Fighter Pilot
55-60 Space Pirate·
61-66 Space Infantry Soldier·
67-72 Technical Scientist·
74-78 TGE Special Operative
79-83 TMC Officer
84-89 Weapons Technician
90-95 Xeno-Biologist
96-00 Xeno-Roboticist

Table II
01-14 Bounty Hunter
15-24 Forger
45-34 Freelance Spy
35-50 Master Assassin
51-60 Safecracker
61-70 Smuggler
71-80 Special Forces Soldier
81-90 Super-Spy
91-00 Thief-Professional

Note: This is a shameless mashup of material from here, from the Palladium Insectoid aliens, and from an odd corner of AD&D all adapted to the Aliens Unlimited alien writeup format. These aliens are loose in the Desert Swamp location of the #RiftBros campaign. Will probably update this if I think of anything else or if I get any good suggestions.

Rifts, Heroes Unlimited, and Aliens Unlimited are trademarks of Palladium Press. Arduin probably belongs to somebody, I dunno.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Of Chicken Legged Horrors & The Haunting of Mystara - Castles & Crusades Codex Slavorum & Baba Yaga’s Miraculous Transformation By James Mishler and Jodi Moran-Mishler.

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 10/05/2023 - 17:33
 So let's pick up with an excellent Eastern Slavic Mythological random encounter that fits right into the Chaotic lands that we were speaking about yesterday for Castles & Crusades from B10 on the blog here. And then in the middle of the wilderness the PC's run across a chicken legged hut & it's highly dangerous hag queen owner! All around the chicken legged cabin trolls feed on human and Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Thono Inn

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 10/05/2023 - 11:00

The Thono Inn and Baths are a famed, but aging attraction near the Lake of Vermilion Mists, which offer "gas baths" of the peculiar substance of the Lake itself in addition to more traditional bathing. Yrming is the eleventh generation of Thonos to run the baths, though in truth she leaves the day-to-day management to her husband, Gris Samber, while she manages the special activities for the inn's extensive festival schedule that borrows holidays liberally from diverse civic and religious calendars. So large are the baths that Thono Village has arisen nearby to support it. 
The pumps which support the unique bath offerings require the work of an expert engineer to maintain. Ormaz Halx is the current individual charged with this task. He is given to reminding anyone that questions his decisions that he once studied at the hwaopt library (true in the strictest sense). He is also given to intemperance regarding the local distilled spirit. When deep in inebriation, he has been known to speak of a mysterious cave containing crystalline columns which somehow fulfill desires. He will angrily deny every having said anything of the sort when sober.
The Thono family and their loyal employees have a historic antipathy with the Cult of the Hierodule who bring their celebratory revels to the vicinity annually. This ill-feeling is primarily financial, owing to the grubby, vagabond nature of the cult leaders and their followers, and the promiscuous ways of the cult's youthful celebrants who provide for free erotic services for which the inn's contracted, professional staff would charge.
Gris Samber takes a broad view of who one day might be a paying customer and so does not urge his staff to violence against their transients, with the probable exception of Bardo Clart, the cult's current wild-eyed and hirsute leader.  

Hex Crawl 23 #263: Punishment Fortress of the Fifth Maniple

Roles & Rules - Thu, 10/05/2023 - 08:13

Three hexes northwest, ten north of Alakran.


Another of the manipular legions of the Wahatti Army is stationed nearby, but this small brick oblong with only one watchtower is not its main fortress. This place is known only as Siptu, "Punishment," and holds five spearmen and five archers detached from the main garrison, along with a sergeant (fighter-3), the fearful ox-strong taskmaster Berabaku (barbarian-5), and four savage war dogs who obey only Berabaku. 

The twenty-odd prisoners are a mixture of disciplinary cases from all the maniples, and civilian malfeasors who stumbled into military justice. In Wahattu the military units are allowed to capture and try any criminal they cantch in teh act, with a judge borrowed from the civil courts. Wandering do-gooders may try to rescue these wretched ones from their daily diet of hard and pointless labor on the rocky slopes -- carrying rocks up, then rolling them down again. But they will find that most of the jailbirds are hardened and black-hearted ingrates, with only two or three good men among them.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kickstarter - Gammalitic Age: Future Warrior World Book (FAST RPG)

Tenkar's Tavern - Thu, 10/05/2023 - 02:56

Post-Apocalyptic setting for the FAST Core RPG gaming system

If it seems like I'm a Kickstarter kick recently, I guess I am. There are simply a number of interesting Kickstarters, and my wallet has been getting lighter ;)

Gammalitic Age: Future Warrior World Book is a post-apocalyptic setting for the FAST RPG. It's brought to you by R Scott Taylor, probably best known for The Folio series of releases. If you've seen Scott's prior Kickstarter projects, you know the quality of his work - simply top-notch.

Welcome to the world of Gammalitic Age: Future Warrior!  This is a dream project from Art of the Genre, as this setting has been 'kicking around' since roughly 1985 when I decided to create my own RPG, entitled 'Future Warrior'.  While the system at the time was basically a rough rip-off of OSR D&D mechanics, I, and my cousin, Greg Lovell, had a blast spending our summer making this post-apocalyptic world based around the worldview of the time with movies like The Road Warrior, The Day After, Threads, and of course those incredible adds I kept seeing in Dragon Magazines for the Aftermath RPG. Still, life moves on, and all those fun supplements we created on graph paper were stored away, never to be seen again (or so I thought), until, almost 40 years later, I created the FAST Core RPG and became close to artist Luiz Prado (who also did work on the RPG for me).  Luiz had been a lifelong fan of post-apocalyptic settings, mostly through classic video games like Fallout and Wasteland, so when we started talking about the setting I was motivated to dig out my old game and look at what it would take to convert it into the FAST Core system. 

The rest, you might say, is 'history', as we began building the world through weekly chats on Discord and putting together a Patreon to roll out some of our ideas.  Still, nothing fully manifested as a true gaming supplement until this year when the success of the FAST Compendium Volume 1 showed that small digital supplements for the core game were desired by fans.  This brings us to today, as I sit here writing this Kickstarter page with a smile as I think about the years of work that have gone into the recreation of my ancient game, and how we would love to roll it out to all of you.  It is our hope that we'll see great support for this, and if so, we can achieve stretch goals that will help us create Luiz's ultimate dream of creating this project as a 300+ page physical book absolutely FILLED with his incredible post-apocalyptic ideas that have languished, unfulfilled, on pages and pages of rough artwork and warm-up sketches.   

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

The Drowning Temple

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 10/04/2023 - 11:11
By Dan Homer Myriad Heroes Pathfinder/3.5 Level 2

Something stirs beneath the holy temple, tremors rock its foundations and a mysterious evil rises within the dark waters threatening the consecrated halls. Heroes are called upon to save the site in a race against time.

This 22 page adventure uses six pages to describe six rooms. This appears to be by a designer who never made the jump to 4e, even though they should have, given their tactics heavy style. It’s got some wordiness issues here and there in the DM text, but the score of the descriptions are ok. Too bad absolutely nothing is going on except a hack.

Check out that cover man! Pretty fucking hot! And that’s entirely the reason I bought this. I’m sure not all Pathfinder/3.5 adventures are bad, right? And that cover IS pretty sweet!

The last sentence of the first paragraph of the adventure is “A race against time!” THis caused all of my wonder and optimism to fade away. This time A Race Against Time means that every 3d6 ROUNDS inside the ruined temple  there’s an earth tremor and you get to take 1d6 damage, save for half. So, you know, that kind of shit is loads of fun. Also, if you search rooms or explore “the upper temple” then there are one or two more purple worm things in the basement, instead of the one present if you just do a speedy job, I guess. Race against time. Pffft.

Ok, so, the race against time wasn’t exactly the FIRST sign that this was going to be a shit adventure. That was the page that showed the maps. Without keys. I fucking hate this shit Just put a fucking map key on it. Number the fucking thing. Does Heralds Hall come before or after Santum in your writings? How the fuck should I know. But i know that “2” comes before “3.” Fucking asshats. USE A KEY. Sure, there are times when you don’t need to use a key. Or, even, when you SHOULDNT use a key. But this isn’t one of them. Then to add to the fun, there are rooms to explore not shown on the map. Uh huh. The “Upper Temple” has a robing room and a study for you to explore. No map provided. Just a notation that behind a set of double doors i The Upper Temple, with the rooms described in a couple of paragraphs in the Vestibule (which is room one) entry. Why the fuck you do this man? You never seen an adventure before? You never used one before? I guess it doesn’t matter, the adventure is almost entirely linear. yeah me

Somehow you make your way to this temple, understanding that they need help. Outside you see one priestess. “Oh, help us brave adventurer!” shit goes down … you’re to go in and kill the shit and/or save the relics so they don’t get buried when the temple collapses from the earthquakes. In you go. She fails to mention the traps on the doors inside. Or the animated armour that attacks. Murder Hobos help those who help themselves and I’d like to note that the omission of information IS lying. But, whatever. I assume this is some kind of Cant Kill Intelligent Shit stuff that is going on. Once your past the animated armor you get to fight some vines. Exciting, I know! Then you go downstairs and fight a hag in a room partially flooded by water. She’s got a one-eyed salamander. That’s the cover art. Inside the room is a chasm, unseen because of the water, to the room below the reliquary that has the giant worms in it hat are eating the foundation, causing the earthquakes. The underwater chasm is a cute idea.

Whatever. It’s just one fight after another with long tactics sections. Sometimes you get to roll a skill check to get some kind of useless information. There’s nothing really of interest in terms of NPCs or exploration. 4e at its finest.

The descriptions for the rooms are ok.  “Pillars on either side of the chamber support a high, arched ceiling. Dust motes swirl amid shafts of light cast from tall windows, illuminating an altar with a pale, 12’ tall statue of a winged angel standing behind it.” That’s not too bad, and most of them fall in to that sort of thing. Of course, you also get monster and room background in the DM text. And the descriptions of things are thrown around in the room descriptions all willy nilly … who knows where you’ll find a pertinent description that you need/want!

22 pages for six rooms. That’s kind of rough even for Pathfinder. The sweetest revenge is a well lived life, and not having to pay for shit like this.

This is Pay What You Want at DriveThru with a suggested price of $1. The preview will show you a few rooms, so I guess it’s a decent preview.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Wednesday Comics: DC, January 1983 (week 1)

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 10/04/2023 - 11:00
I'm reading DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! Today, I'm looking at the comics at newsstands on the week of October 7, 1982. 

Arak Son of Thunder #17: Arak and Valda are almost able to fight their way out of the palace of the Emperor, but Aetius, counselor to the emperor, uses sleeping sand to knock them out aided by the untimely arrival of Haakon, an emissary from White Cathay, trying to curry favor with the Emperor. They wind up in the dungeon, but Irene, mother to the Emperor, visits the dungeons and offers Arak a deal for his freedom. It seems she doesn't trust Haakon and believes he is there to steal the secret of Greek fire. her suspicions prove correct, as Haakon tries just that at a demonstration that day, but she didn't reckon on Aetius being in cahoots. Arak is knocked out and kidnapped and the villains are about to set fire to a boat with Valda, Irene, and the Emperor on board.
In the backup, the Thomases and Gonzales/Alcala give Valda and Maligigi a city (mis)adventure As the cross paths with the thief Brunello who they believe is going to steal the remains of St. Denys which are kept in a jeweled reliquary. Then it turns out the theft has already occurred. Greeramada, the supposed friend of Malgigi, unleashes demons. She demands that the sorcerer provide her with the spell which will cause the beheaded saint to rise again.

Blackhawk #254: In the main story, Evanier and Spiegle have the Blackhawks helping to defend the French town of West Dieppe from Nazi invasion. When Blackhawk gets a report that Professor Merson was sighted in Berne, he flies there alone. It's a trap, though, and Domino is waiting. When the rest of the team gets word of his capture, they fly to Berne and find Blackhawk tied to the front of a tank. The 'Hawks have a dilemma: destroy the tank with Blackhawk on it or die. Instead, Olaf uses the bazooka on the German infantry instead and the surprising move allows them to get Blackhawk and get away.
The backup with art by Cockrum has Chuck on a solo mission to deliver a communique. He spots the plane of Nordling, Hitler's private courier. He follows the Nazi into an abandoned building, but Nordling becomes aware of him, and Chuck is shot and wounded. Chuck manages to make it outside. When he sneaks back in later, he finds the Nazi protecting a group of stray cats. Chuck calls Stan and Chop Chop to patch him up and take Nordling into custody. 
DC Comics Presents #53: Mishkin and Swan/DeZuniga provide a seasonal story with "The Haunting Dooms of Halloween!" having Superman visit the House of Mystery. This sort of offbeat team-up has a certain charm for me, and it's the sort of thing Marvel didn't really do in their team-up books. Anyway, the villain here is Mr. Mxyzptlk who lures Supes into the House of Mystery to save Lois Lane and some transformed trick-or-treaters.

Fury of Firestorm #8: Conway and Moore/Rodriquez bring back Typhoon for some reason. Things haven't gone well for David Drake since the accident that made him Typhoon. He's been in a psychiatric hospital and gets out only to have his wife leave him. He snaps and goes looking for revenge. Meanwhile in New York City, after testing his powers under Stein's supervision, he goes to the movies with his friends and winds up beating up that jerk Cliff Carmichael. 
Typhoon arrives in New York and kills the former captain of the ship who inadvertently caused his transformation, then he goes after Stein, heaving the sea captain's corpse through his office window. Firestorm's first priority is to save innocent lives. Through trial and error, he attempts to direct people out of the path of Typhoon's fury. The villain gets the upper hand, however and delivers a blow that sends the unconscious Firestorm plummeting into the bay.

Justice League #210:  Conway and Buckler/Tanghal have Ray "the Atom" Palmer and his colleague Physicist David Dorman discover an "X-Element," a catalyst for all basic chemical reactions, which is about to decay, and thus disrupt all natural processes on Earth. As the Atom, Ray summons the Justice League, which splits up into sub-teams as they do to stave off world-wide apocalypse. Just as all seems lost, aliens calling themselves the Treasurers appear, offering to reverse the decay of the X-Element in exchange for specimens of Earth flora and fauna, including (unknown to the JLA) one human: a seemingly ordinary postal clerk named George Arthur Stuart.

Wonder Woman #298: Ed Hannigan/Dick Giordano cover on this issue. Believing Wonder Woman to be dead, Aegeus has forced Trevor to help him find Paradise Island in the Bermuda Triangle where he begins an assault. Wonder Woman, however, is still very much alive. She recovers and defeats the terrorists and Bellerophon, and heads for Paradise Island. Steve Trevor, dumped off Pegasus but caught by Queen Hippolyte, is taken to Science Island without touching ground and employs a hang-glider to try and attack Aegeus. Before his foolish heroics can lead to his death, Wonder Woman appears, takes Steve back to Science Island, and defeats Aegeus, who uses a last thunderbolt to teleport himself away to--well, not quite disappear until the Who's Who, but he doesn't have many rematches left.
In the Huntress backup by Cavalieri and Staton, Huntress looks like she may meet her end in the coils of Boa's pet constrictor but Blackwing comes to her aid. Huntress gets to hear his origin before she heads out to confront Boa and his gang, and this time, triumph over them. 

Adventure Comics #495: As usual, the only new story here is The Challengers of the Unknown by Rozakis and art this time by Toth/Gaicoia. Continuing the extended "Challengers Begin" origin story from last issue, the not-yet-Challs hang in Rocky's apartment, reading and paying bills. Professor Haley is still chewing on their as yet unsolved jet sabotage. They all have reasons to believe they might have been the target though the possibilities seem far-fetched: Native Alaskans angry about desecration of a burial ground, the allies of a deceased South American dictator, Haley's cousin Freddie hoping to gain an inheritance. That last seems the best lead, but before they can leave, Red has something else to issue.

Hex Crawl 23 #262: Giant Centipedes

Roles & Rules - Wed, 10/04/2023 - 08:08

Two hexes northwest, nine north of Alakran.


We interrupt the back-and-forth sway of this hexcrawl to hit a hex which otherwise would be missed. Dead up against the Scarp, this rocky land hosts a colony of giant centipedes, who issue forth in groups of 1d6 by day and 3d6 by night.

These creatures are similar to the terrestrial Scolopendra gigantea. That creature's venom is dangerous mainly to children. But the centipedes of Mittellus, as in many other ludonarrative universes, are larger than the one-foot-long scolopendrae of earth. They can kill instantly, though at a reduced chance, and even in kinder world-systems their poison damage can still overwhelm most beginning heroes. There is actually good eating on them, as they have well-developed muscles with which they constrict as well as bite small prey.

The insects, and the dry land of this far end of the desert, are the main reason human settlement is decidedly clustered at a healthy distance from the Centipede Rocks.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Running B10 'Night's Dark Terror' By Jim Bambra, Graeme Morris, and Phil Gallagher. With Castles & Crusades For a Mini Campaign

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 10/04/2023 - 06:07
 "Barely one day's march from Kelven, the uncharted tracts of the Dymrak forest conceal horrors enough to freeze the blood of civilized folk. Those who have ventured there tell how death comes quick to the unwary - for the woods at night are far worse than any dungeon.""But you are adventurers, veterans of many battles, and the call of the will is strong. Will you answer the call, or are you Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kickstarter - Tome of Adventure Design - Fantasy Adventure Builder

Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 10/03/2023 - 23:26

PC/Mac/tablet app for designing and creating adventures for D&D and other fantasy role-playing games AND to create your OWN generators!

Ever had an app you didn't know you needed until you saw it, and then you couldn't even think of being without it? Tome of Adventure Design - Fantasy Adventure Builder fits that definition for me. I own two copies of ToAD from the Frog God era and one copy of ToAD Revised. I REALLY like the Tome of Adventure Design if you couldn't tell ;)

The Tome of Adventure Design - Fantasy Adventure Builder (TM) is a PC/Mac/tablet software product that helps you build creative adventures for fantasy roleplaying games such as Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Swords & Wizardry, and similar games. Many tabletop gamers may already be familiar with the Tome of Adventure Design, from Mythmere Games and this software takes it to the next level.

"we are going to approach it as a multi-stage plan along with our collaborators at RPG Stories and Brave Alice. The first step is to release a two-part piece of PC/Mac software. The first part is an interactive version of the Tome of Adventure Design tables, with a few modifications and improvements. The second part is a table builder that allows you to modify the tables from Tome of Adventure Design and create and share your own generators using those tables and any new tables you make."

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

Tegel Manor - Worlds Without Number & Cities Without Number Rpg - Dragon Issue#258 - The Machine Realm - Campaign Update

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 10/03/2023 - 20:05
 So we've had about a week off from the Cities Without Numbers rpg Tegel Manor game. Really what this has done has enabled me to take a deeper look into our Cities Without Number campaign itself. And this led me down the path of Dragon Issue #258 from 1999. Picture it if you will Wizards of the Coast is on the horizon and Alternity is the new Science Fiction rpg on the blog. Bruce Cordell's Mage Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Hex Crawl 23 #261: Twin Dry Lakes

Roles & Rules - Tue, 10/03/2023 - 08:07

Three hexes northwest, nine north of Alakran.


These dry playa lakebeds are notable mainly for being twinned. In the rainy season they hold a thin layer of murky water, no more than knee-high, and no channels lead in or out of them. Then flocks of birds gather to drink, and the adventurous children of Kin-Yan who have learned the use of the sling sneak out to supplement their family's dinner. Adults, though, see the birds as beneath their dignity to hunt - a childish game in both senses of the word.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

OSR Commentary On Sabre River (CM3) By Douglas Niles Along With Bruce Nesmith & Adventurer Conqueror, King 1st edition Rpg

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 10/03/2023 - 05:47
 "You are a guest of the count, one of your allies and the strongest man in the region. Your sojourn has been pleasant, a nice change after weeks of battle. Suddenly the courtyard below your window is filled with the noise of galloping horses. More guests?""You yawn as you look out. But these people arriving look more like tax collectors than guests. You decide to give your attention to somethingNeedles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


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