Tabletop Gaming Feeds

State of The Tavern Keeper - I've got Chills, They're Multiplying...

Tenkar's Tavern - 14 hours 52 min ago
This afternoon I got hit with a nice chill. Now, I'm the type of guy that wears short sleeves 12 months a year and wears shorts in the house year round. My usual normal temp is 98.2 not 98.6.

I'm running 97.0 today.

Fuck me. If I was running a Kickstarter I'd demand a 5 year reprieve. I haven't been myself for the last 2 weeks.

Ah well, my miserable fuckery will continue I guess...


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

November Campaign Design X - Local Color

Greyhawk Grognard - Sun, 11/19/2017 - 22:00
In the previous post in the series, I sketched out the small area the PCs will be operating in at the start of the campaign. Now I'd like to add a little more detail by laying out some encounters, both fixed and wandering. The stats below are for 1st edition AD&D, but they're very minimal and could be used with just about any OSR rules. Here is the map, now with encounter areas marked in red (you'll have to click to zoom to see the numbers):


ENCOUNTER KEY

  1. Hermit. A small wooden hut is home to Father Georg, a hermit in self-imposed exile, soured by the politics within the church (C7, 30 hp, AC 9 (but owns chainmail and shield for AC 3), align LG, usually unarmed but owns a mace +2; spells usually memorized bless x2, cure light wounds x2, purify food and drink, augury, chant, slow poison, speak with animals x2, create food and water, cure disease, prayer, cure serious wounds). He has only a few coins at any given time; whatever wealth he comes across he gives away to those few he encounters. He finds he vastly prefers the contemplative life, and gets along with the Spinebreaker orcs, who sometimes come to him for healing when their own shamans are unable to work the required miracles. He will be friendly towards visitors, but if they show up regularly, he will politely ask them to respect his desire for solitude. He knows where the three orc villages are at any given time, but will not share this information if he thinks it will be used to attack them.
  2. Bandits. A group of 35 bandits has made camp only a hundred yards off the road. They are taking advantage of the confusion caused by two contradictory boundary stones; they are in the disputed area claimed by both Jenstein and Greitzberg, and have agents in both towns stirring up feelings about the strip of land. Thus, neither will risk a full incursion to root out the bandits, lest the other take it as an attempt to seize the area by force. The bandits are led by Gregor Ostoff (F8, 55 hp, AC 5 (chainmail), battleaxe +1, ring of invisibility). His lieutenant is also his lover, Wulende (F7, 39 hp, AC 5 (chainmail), longsword, dagger +1). There are 6 second level fighters (AC 7 (leather + shield), armed with longsword), 20 1st level fighters (AC 7, (leather + shield) armed with longsword), and 15 1st level fighters (AC 8 (leather), armed with light crossbow and hand axe). They have amassed a small fortune including 7,000 sp, 950 gp, 6 pieces of jewelry, and two potions of healing. The majority of the treasure is buried in the woods where only Gregor and Wulende know, but the men have 20 sp and 3 gp each, out of the total.
  3. Hippogriffs. A family of about a dozen hippogriffs nests here in the crags of a steep rock face. They will often kill from the herds and flocks of Lirberg when they are set out in the hills to graze.
  4. Vampire Tomb. Here is the tomb of the vampire that originally turned the baron of Lirberg into the undead; an early Valaisian explorer named Jean Rochon, although he styles himself Sieur Rochon d'Montrose (hp 45, formerly a T9, so has all the relevant thief abilities in addition to his vampiric powers). The tomb is built into a natural cave, and consists of a pair of rooms. During the day the vampire is guarded by a pair of trolls who live in the outer chamber and who are completely under the vampire's thrall (32, 30 hp). He is quite urbane and gracious, and will not attack unless pressed. He has designs on the whole of the district, and although his plans in Lirberg were thwarted, he has learned to be more subtle and is looking for agents he can either charm or whose loyalty can be bought with the promise of wealth and power. 
  5. Goblins. A group of goblin mercenaries have deserted, and have set up a temporary camp on the banks of this river. They have no plan, and are being harried both by the orcs and by troops sent into the forested mountains to track them down. They are extremely suspicious of outsiders, given the fact that they are surrounded by enemies. The company of 32 (down from 60) spearmen is led by a bugbear hauptmann (captain) named Rogran (15 hp) armed with battleaxe and shield, and 3 hobgoblin feldwebel (sergeants - 9, 9, 8 hp) armed with morning stars. The goblins have 1d3 sp each, while Rogran has their remaining wealth in a chest in his tent (24 gp, 112 sp). At the moment Rogran is laying low, hoping for some opportunity to come their way to get them out of their current predicament. Orc attacks are regular occurrences. 
  6. Ruined Town. This is the ruined Artanian town, now left to rubble and overgrown with plants. This is a detailed encounter area that will have to be laid out in detail with its own map and key. Might not get to it in November, but designing specific encounter areas is out of scope for NaCaCrMo, so I'm not worried.
  7. Dryad Grove. A group of 4 dryads live here. They currently have a captive; Rolf Tardor (F5, 31 hp, AC 10, Align NG, unarmed). Rolf was a woodsman who dwelt in Jenstein and disappeared 2 years ago. He was presumed killed by the Spinebreaker orcs, and his wife has since remarried. Each dryad has 6 gp and the group collectively has 3 gems. 
  8. Hill Giants. A clan of 6 adult male hill giants dwells in a large cave here (hp 40, 36, 34, 34, 32, 30). There are also 2 females (treat as 6 HD ogres; hp 27, 26) and 2 young (older 6 HD, 28 hp; younger 4 HD, 16 hp). A pair of dire wolves act as pets and watchdogs (15 hp each). The giants occasionally raid Melheim, and have amassed 2,000 gp worth of supplies; 750 gp in furs, 250 gp in wine, 500 gp in copper ingots (weight 1000#), and the rest in coins - 300 gp, 2,000 sp, and 20,000 cp). They also have a longsword +1 that one of the giants uses as a dagger.
  9. Obelisk. This curious structure is incredibly ancient; it predates the Artanian civilization by thousands of years. It is made of granite, but has been worn down by the passage of time, so that the once-sharp inscriptions can barely be seen at all now. It radiates powerful magic, and if the right magical incantation is spoken, it will open up a gate to another plane. This spell can be found in the ruined town in encounter 6.
  10. Ettercaps. Although the Spiderwood is thick with monstrous spiders of all sizes, at the heart is a pair of ettercaps (25, 24 hp). Tangled in the webs and strangling nooses of their lair are 2 pieces of jewelry and a potion of heroism.
  11. Wereboars. A trio of wereboars lives in the heart of the Trotterwood (25, 23, 22 hp), who have a treasure of 2,200 sp and 870 gp, in addition to potions of hill giant control, fire breathing, and extra healing. The wereboars originally came from Sendenow, but they have adopted the boars and giant boars of the wood as their own family, and deeply resent the villagers and their regular hunts. There is another wereboar in the village whose existence has not been discovered, who gives them intelligence on the upcoming hunts, so they can warn the boars and sabotage the hunters. 
  12. Criosphinx. This creature (42 hp) is well-known to the villagers from Jenstein who take their granite down the river to the ford, where it is loaded onto carts bound for Osttur. He will often be seen on the banks of the river, and is of a friendly disposition. He will sometimes ask riddles of the boatmen as they travel downstream. He has an arrangement with the owners of the granite mines, who pay him a regular stipend for his protection and promise not to interfere with the shipments through his territory. He has grown fat and lazy, finding this infinitely easier than harassing each boat as it passes. He has amassed 900 gp so far, but the arrangement does work out well for all concerned, since he also chases off any bandits or other creatures that would interfere with his cozy arrangement.


RANDOM ENCOUNTERS
Slate Mountains
  1. Orcs. A warband of the Spinebreaker orc tribe. 30 warriors armed with halberds, with 1 captain and 3 lieutenants (8 hp each) armed with battle axes and short bows. 
  2. Wolves. A pack of 1d6+6 wolves.
  3. Woodsmen. 1d6 woodsmen from the nearest human village (F2, AC 7 (studded leather + shield), patroling for orcs or other unusual activity.
  4. Brown bears. 1d4 brown bears plus 1d2 cubs.
  5. Giant snake. Giant constrictor snake will drop on a party member from the trees above (25 hp).
  6. Set encounter. The nearest creature from the encounter key above or a human village is met in the woods, on some mission. 
Roads
  1. Merchants. A small caravan of 1d6 carts is traveling towards the nearest village. 
  2. Farmer. A farmer is taking a load of foodstuff to the nearest village.
  3. Itinerant priests. A group of clerics (C5, C3 ,C3, C2) is on a mission to reinforce the faith within the district. The first time they are encountered, they come from Osttur and are relatively new. If re-encountered, they will be the same group; they will visit a village, stay at the local temple for a week or so, and organize a special service with the blessing of the local priest. They are led by Father Max, who has extreme views on the virtues of poverty.
  4. Margot the Magnificent. A wandering magic-user (MU6, 15 hp), Margot comes from Valais and sells her magical powers to the locals, as well as putting on shows for free at the local taverns. She makes a decent living this way, and is well-liked by most. She is accompanied by a pair of "assistants" (F3, 18, 17 hp, AC 7 (studded leather + shield), armed with spears and light crossbows). 
  5. Mr. Wurno. A wandering tinker (gnome, T8, 23 hp) who sells a huge variety of trinkets and gadgets from his overstuffed cart. He always seems to have exactly what a customer needs. He has been around for as long as anyone can remember.
  6. Patrol. A mounted patrol of local militia from the nearest village, led by one or two of their ritters, will ask the PCs their business. If they seem legitimate they will be allowed to pass, but if they are heavily armed without some sort of letter of marque or other authorization, they may be questioned more closely.
Note that encounters along the roads are meant to be repetitive. It should be very natural for the PCs to get to know most of the potential encounters in as small an area as the district. They should get used to seeing Father Max, Margot, etc. This can be used to the DM's advantage; if Mr. Wurno suddenly stops being seen on the road, it may lead them to investigate, leading to some adventure. These NPCs can also be used to further some plot down the road, if the DM has need of a spy or somesuch later on. As the game goes on, I might add others, to keep things fresh, but the continuity of familiar faces is important.
Plains (more than 1/2 mile from the road)
  1. Badgers. 1d4+1 badgers.
  2. Wild dogs. A pack of 4d4 wild dogs.
  3. Patrol. See the road encounter table above.
  4. Herd. Cattle or sheep from a nearby farm. A shepherd will be nearby.
Spiderwood
  1. Giant spiders. 1d8 giant spiders.
  2. Huge spiders. 1d12 huge spiders.
  3. Large spiders. 2d10 large spiders.
  4. Ettercaps. 1 (50% chance) or both of the ettercaps from #10 above.
Trotterwood
  1. Wild boar. 2d6 wild boar. 15% chance of being accompanied by 1 of the wereboars from #11.
  2. Giant boar. 2d4 giant boar.
  3. Wereboar. 1 (50% chance) or both of the wereboars from #11 above.

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Kickstarter - Marauder Task Force Roleplaying Game (Break out the Action Figures)

    Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 11/19/2017 - 16:14


    Sometimes a Kickstarter "clicks" and sometimes it doesn't. Despite highly successful prior Kickstarters for action figures and accessories, the Marauder Task Force Roleplaying Game Kickstarter isn't clicking. Its been funding for a week and a half and hasnt even hit 25% of funding. Quite simply, its going to fail to fund or will be put out of its misery prior to that.


    Why the lack of interest?
    I think the folks that backed the prior Kickstarters for action figures did so because they were action figures - the desire to play with them with actual rules wasn't part of the equation. Someone, somewhere doesn't know their audience. Damn shame.
    But hey, you can buy customized figures directly from their webstore.





    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    5e in Exalted's Creation

    Sorcerer's Skull - Sun, 11/19/2017 - 15:00
    Art by UDONIn a rare visit to rpgnet the other day, I saw a thread about utilizing the setting for Exalted for a 5e D&D game. The easiest way to do this would be to excise the Exalted themselves to one degree or another. Their fantasy superheroics would necessitate too drastic an overall to the D&D system (or the use of something like Kevin Crawford's Godbound). Removing the Exalted drastically changes the setting, true, but I think that's part of the fun of the mashup.

    In brief for the unfamiliar, Exalted's Creation is a flat, roughly square, world with the Blessed Isle and a Holy Mountain at its center. The Mountain is the Elemental Pole of Earth, and in all other compass directions, Creation bleeds into the other Elemental Poles (Air, Water, Fire, and Wood).  Heaven is the home of the Celestial Bureaucracy and the gods that oversee the multitude of spirits in the world. Hell is something like the Greek Tartarus; it's the place of imprisonment of the overthrown and now demonic Primordals, the Titans that created the world. The Underworld, the realm of the dead, was created by the death of some Primordals during the titanomachy. Outside of Creation proper, orbits the body of a surviving Primordial, Autochthon, with people living in its Steampunkish interior.

    All of Creation was born from the chaos of the Wyld, and it still lies beyond the borders. Fey have come from it in the past and attempted to destroy the irritant of stable form and matter.

    Art by Christopher Stevens
    With that out of the way, here are a few not-fully-formed thoughts on how to adapt some things:

    There's a lot of change to basic D&D cosmological assumptions, but also some congruities to be exploited. Demons and devils get combined to the Yozis and both the Abyss and the Nine Hells can be encompassed in the hell prison of Malfeas. Tieflings would be the demon-blooded of Exalted. Warlocks fit well as their servitors.

    Conflating the elves with the Fair Folk would emphasis the Chaotic portion of their traditional Chaotic Good alignment. The Wyld would make a more alien Feywild. Many aberrations might aslo fit within the Wyld.

    The champions of the Moon, the Lunar Exalted, could be represented by Shifters and lycanthropes. Warforged could by Autochthonians. Dwarves are, of course, the Mountain Folk, and the Dragonborn take the place of the more dinosaurian Dragon Kings. The Elemental-powered Dragon-blooded could probably be placed with Genasi.

    That's just to start. I think it's an interesting thought experiment.

    'Smoke & Mirrors of Olathoë' Session Report

    Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 11/19/2017 - 07:51
    In tonight's hybrid game, the party wandered through the streets of Olathoë and made contact with the bard's guild after spending the night in the local temple of Tsathoggua.The monks of the temple were tending & helping to heal the city's soldiers who were having lots of problems with inhuman raiders in  the western wastelands of the land of Lomar. The temple is serving as a hospitalNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Basic Demographics - The Tavern, ENWorld and RPG.net

    Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 11/19/2017 - 00:13
    I was looking at The Tavern's demographics and started to wonder how similar (or different) they were to the "Big Two" RPG sites.

    Not a huge surprise that The Tavern is an older, mostly male crowd. The initial D&D / RPG community was nearly all male and nostalgia for Old School Gaming is still strong.


    How about The Tavern's Facebook Community?


    Lets look at ENWorld:



    ENWorld is a much younger community. The percentage of women is twice that of The Tavern yet still doesn't hit 8%.

    How about RPG.net?


    RPG.net hits 9% for its female audience. Much like ENWorld, it skews younger.

    I couldn't find basic demographics for Roll20, which I think would have been the most insightful.

    In any case, those are the numbers.

    edit - this is the best I could find for Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds:




    Also, this for Roll20:


    and this for FG2


    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Expanded Ability Scores for the Holmes Ref

    Zenopus Archives - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 16:49
    EXPANDED ABILITY SCORES (OPTIONAL) 
    For all characters:

    Strength 15 or more: +1 to hit, damage and open doors7 to 14: no bonus6 or less: -1 to hit, damage and open doors

    From Gygax's OD&D House Rules, compiled here; also in line with the bonuses for NPCs mentioned in the Holmes Basic version of Keep in the Borderlands (e.g. the imprisoned Hero in the Caves of Chaos gets a +2 to hit and damage due to level and 18 strength). Also not far off from that used in Warlock, which Holmes used prior to editing the Basic rules. In Warlock Str 16+ gives a +1 to hit, and Str 13-17 gives +1 damage, 18 +2 damage.

    Intelligence11 or more: one extra language per point over 1010 or less: no extra languages

    From the rules as written
    Wisdom15 or more: +1 to saving throws versus mental attacks (charm, fear, illusion, hold, etc)7 to 14: no bonus6 or less: -1 to saving throws versus mental attacks (charm, fear, illusion, hold etc)

    Extrapolated based on the otherwise unexplained Wisdom Adj on the 1977 OD&D character sheet and the later AD&D PHB. Uses the same range as Gygax's house rules, where 15+ gains a bonus.
    Constitution18: add 3 to each hit die17: add 2 to each hit die15 to 16: add 1 to each hit die7 to 14: no bonus6 or less: subtract one from each hit die but never less than 1
    From the rules as written

    Dexterity 13 or more:  fire any missile at +19 to 12: no bonus8 or less: fire any missile at -1
    From the rules as written

    Charisma18: up to 12 followers, +4 reaction rolls16 to 17: up to 7 followers, +2 reaction rolls13 to 15: up to 5 followers, +1 reaction rolls10 to 12: up to 5 followers
    7 to 9: up to 3 followers
    5-6: up to 2 followers, -1 reaction rolls
    3-4: up to 1 follower, -2 reaction rolls
    In the Holmes Basic rulebook, page 5, Holmes writes "A character of charisma below 13 can not hire more than 5 followers, and their loyalty will be luke-warm at best — that is, if the fighting gets hot there is a good probability they will run away. On the other hand, someone with a charisma of 18 can win over a large number of followers (men or monsters) who will probably stand by him to the death." 

    This is a reference to the charisma table in OD&D Vol 1, page 11. There is a slight discrepancy as in the OD&D table a score of 10-12 gets 4 followers, not 5.

    Things get a little complicated after this. The OD&D Charisma table also has bonuses for loyalty for the these followers, which modifies a loyalty score on page 13, which in turn modifies morale, which is not explained very clearly. Holmes didn't include the rules for loyalty scores or morale, perhaps due to their complexity. 

    However, the text explaining the reaction table on page 12 of OD&D Vol 1, states that the roll is "adjust[ed] for charisma", which seems to indicate that the same charisma modifiers are also used with this table. Holmes included a reference to this in Basic on page 11, where the text explaining the reaction table there sasy "The DM should maek adjustments if the party spokesman has high charisma or offers other special inducements". Hence for our expanded table here, I've converted the loyalty bonuses to reaction adjustments. Moldvay treated this similarly in his version of Basic.
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Gygax Memorial Fund - Nearly 2 Years After The Tavern Started Digging - Still Little to Show

    Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 01:28

    I really started picking over the carcass of the Gygax Memorial Fund nearly two years ago - November 25th, 2015 to be exact. What, too damning a description? Perhaps. But if it ain't dead yet, its certainly dying.

    Halfway through November of 2017 and we STILL don't have the 2016 tax returns posted. Nor do we have the promised audit (the promise has since been deleted but I've shared the screenshot on previous posts)

    Now, why would that be? If I were a betting man, I'd surmise that the promised audit revealed some issues that had to be corrected and / or brought up other interesting questions that have been posed at The Tavern already - such as why the funds - over $200k last we checked, haven't earned a penny of interest in the last seven years of tax returns. That much money sitting in ANY account would earn some sort of minimal return - monies that could offset office costs or fund that scholarship mentioned on the Fund's site. Not earning any sort of interest seems fiscally irresponsible when every penny counts.

    Did I mention that the Fund's assets are heading in a negative direction?

    2013  $222,165

    2014  $220,449

    2015  $217,042

    2016  ? Note - 2016 is expected to have some significant expenses. or was that 2017?

    What about the cash cow of selling "bricks?" What ever happened to that?

    Now, Alex Gygax was added to the GMF Board in August of this year:
    Or maybe he wasn't. Four months later and the listing of the board members hasn't changed.



    As for Coordinator of Educational Programs and Special Projects - Dianne Curtis - what has she done in this regard? Wonderful title but I can't find ANYTHING educational done by the Fund.

    I guess Busness Manager (gotta love the typo that I never caught until now) is in charge of shipping shirts and pencils. Anyone buy them? Can you speak on the quality?


    And what ever happened with this?


    Sadly, the Fund and other related projects don't ever seem to move forward. Its almost like an extremely late unfulfilled Kickstarter - actual completion makes everything come due so best to just punt the ball time and time again and never actually get to the end.

    Wow. Yeah, being sick is making me one heck of an ass ;)
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Appendix 'N' Commentary - The Eternal Battles of The Worm Ouroboros By E. R. Eddison For Your Old School Campaigns

    Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 01:00
    Life works in strange & mysterious ways, last night I had wicked migraines, these are something that I've had since I was a kid. I know what causes them & their nothing to be concerned about but my work schedule has been a bit scattered & hectic to say the least. But in my travels up at the wilds of the wild & wholly Litchfield hills of my home I came across not one but two treasures Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Announcement - Frog God Games sponsored Extra-Life Team broadcast is Live - For the Children

    Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 00:12
    My apologies, as I lost track of when this when happening only to realize it started an hour ago. Still 23 hours left ;)
    Here's the Frog God Games Press Release / Reminder. I'll be popping in later tonight to enjoy the festivities:
    Hate Children? Think their hospitals for them a waste of space? Then you are a bad person, like this fellow...


    If you, on the other hand, support Children's Hospitals, please tune-in for the Frog God Games sponsored Extra-Life Team broadcast beginning at 6 PM EST.

    https://www.twitch.tv/froggodgames

    It is guided by Edwin Nagy, conversion specialist and all around good guy.

    Please donate and spread the word. For Children! If you cannot watch you can still donate by going here...

    https://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&teamID=33395

    Seriously, its a good cause and a fun time. I'll see you all after yoga. No, not my yoga - I pisk up Rach from HER yoga. Damn these sinus headaches!
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    November Campaign Design IX - Campaign Map

    Greyhawk Grognard - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 22:00
    In the previous installment of this series, I laid out the starting scenario for the PCs. They will be starting in the area indicated by the box on the map below:

    For me, the maps are where things really come alive. I took the area on the large-scale map, and blew it up to a scale of 2 miles per inch. This allows me to show individual features like mountains, the extent of hills and forests, villages, minor rivers, tracks, and even individual farms. Here is my hand-drawn map of the area that will serve as my primary wilderness map when DMing:

    I haven't noted the locations of individual monsters yet. Since that's something that will change over time, I'll make a copy of this map and stock it with an initial load of creatures. As they get killed off or driven away, I'll gradually restock the place. Most of the monsters will be in the wooded mountains, of course, but the Spider Wood is an obvious haunt of giant spiders, and I have a vague idea that the Trotterwood would be a good place for giant boar and wereboars.

    There's also the ruins of the Artanian town at the northern edge of the map. As indicated in the last post, this is where the locals believe most of their troubles are emanating. They're partially right; there will certainly be some beasties in there. There's also an orc tribe in those woods, too; the Spinebreaker tribe, who worship Dispater, lord of the second plane of Hell. Their exact home is unknown, but they are known to have several villages throughout the mountains, as they are semi-nomadic. They cause no end of trouble to the settlers, and thwarting them would be a great service.

    The whole is known as the Greitzberg District.

    The eight villages in the District are mostly agricultural in nature, with the four on the plains surrounded by well-tended fields. Each is centered around a fortified manor house, and ruled by a baron. The exception is the village of Greitzberg, which is ruled by a Freiherr, which means he is not a vassal of the Markgraf in Osttur, and enjoys a great deal more independence than the other villages in the district. This causes no small amount of ill-feelings, as the barons are jealous of his independent status. All of the villagers have the right to appeal a baron's justice to the Markgraf, but the Freiherr's rulings in judicial matters cannot be appealed. Each baron maintains a number of ritters (knights) to lead the defense of the village.

    The mountain villages each have a small population of half-orcs, who are treated as second-class citizens. They are barely tolerated by the humans, but driven out by the orcs. On rare occasions, such half-orcs will return to the tribe after years of being raised in the human communities and treated so poorly. Such renegades assist the Spinebreakers in planning their raids.

    Lirberg is primarily a dairy cattle-herding village, ruled by Baron Ludwig Erchendag. He is married to the daughter of the Freiherr of Greitzberg, so the two are on good terms. Several years ago the previous baron was turned into a vampire, but was eventually destroyed and his manor house abandoned and sealed. Ever since then, however, there are said to be more unusual happenings in the vicinity than can easily be accounted for. Population 330, 2 ritters, 66 militia.

    Greitzberg is also a cattle-herding village, but supplements this with logging in the forest across the river. It is ruled by Freiherr Erwin Stadtler. His title comes from the fact that his village was founded prior to the Markgraf being granted his own title. The Markgraf thinks the world of him, however, and treats him like an honored guest whenever the Freiherr visits Osttur. The Markgraf will stay in Greitzberg on visits, and the two nobles will hunt together in the woods. Population 700, 4 ritters, 140 militia.

    Jenstein is a logging town, but also sports a stone quarry that provides high-quality blocks of granite to the rest of the district and Osttur. It is ruled by Baron Krieg Lustorf. There is a dispute between Jenstein and Greitzberg, however, on where exactly the border between the two lies. It turns out there are two boundary stones, a half-mile apart, each claiming to mark the border. A group of bandits has taken advantage of the confusion and sometimes strikes in the disputed zone. Population 400, 3 ritters, 80 militia.

    Melheim's economy is centered on a pair of copper mines nearby. The ingots are difficult to transport, however, making full exploitation of the resource difficult. The village is ruled by Baron Karl Urfein. They recently built a palisade wall to protect the village against constant raids by the orcs. The baron is experimenting with embracing the half-orcs in his community, organizing them into a militia unit specifically to deal with orc raids. Its success is yet to be determined. Population 370, 2 ritters, 78 militia.

    Graufort is situated on a ford across the river, and is surrounded by extensive acres of farmland where mostly wheat and rye are grown. The current ruler is Baroness Ursula Megendorf, a young widow whose husband was killed in an orc raid. Graufort is also home to the largest temple of the Holy Family in the district, which gives the baron no little pride. Population 560, 4 ritters, 130 militia.

    Lunz is a small farming village ruled by baron Josef Kreiten. He himself is an accomplished magic-user, and hopes to start a school for the mystical arts in the village. He has attracted a few students already. Population 300, 2 ritters, 60 militia.

    Oeltorf is a small farming community ruled by Baroness Suzanne Woldkopf. She is an ancient matriarch of her clan, and the family or its relatives own half the farmland surrounding the village. She herself has 8 children, 23 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren. It is said she has a touch of elven blood. Population 450, 3 ritters, 90 militia.

    Sendenow is another farming village that grows barley and rye predominately, but also has a strong tradition of hunting boar in the nearby Trotterwood. The ruler is Baron Baldur Reichbach. Being the furthest from the Slate Mountains, Senenow has the least problem with raids from the Spinebreaker orcs, but between the Spider Wood to the north and the Trotterwood to the west, there are other dangers that plague the village, and so he maintains three knights and still makes sure the village militia drills weekly. Population 500, 3 ritters, 100 militia.
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Some Thief Options for the Holmes Ref

    Zenopus Archives - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 19:00
    SPECIAL RULES FOR DWARVES, ELVES AND HOBBITS WHO WISH TO BE THIEVES

    Dwarf: +5% Open Lock, +15% Remove Trap, +5% Move Silently, +5% Hide in Shadows

    Elf: +5% Pick Pocket, +10% Move Silently, +15% Hide in Shadows

    Hobbit: +10% Open Lock, +5% Remove Trap, +5% Pick Pocket, +10% Move Silently, +10% Hide in Shadows, Hear Noise +1

    These are from the Greyhawk OD&D supplement.

    SPECIALISTS

    Human thieves can specialize, raising skills by lowering others by equal amounts, to a minimum of 5%. This applies to each of the five skills that increase each level other than Climb Walls and Hear Noise. This gives a pool of 50 percentage points (50%) that can be adjusted at first level.

    Some specialists that are possible at first level:

    Picklock: 55% Open Lock

    Disarmer: 55% Remove Trap

    Filcher: 55% Pick Pocket 

    Sneak: 55% Move Silently

    Skulker: 55% Hide in Shadows

    For each of these, the other four skills are 5% each (except Climb Walls and Hear Noise)

    Higher levels:
    For levels 2-6, each level yields an additional 25% to be distributed among the five skills,
    For levels 7-8, each level yields an additional 35% per level to be distributed, and
    For levels 9-11, each level yields an additional 50% per level to be distributed.
    For levels 12 and up, each level yields an additional 25% to be distributed.

    This option inspired by similar rules in 2E AD&D.

    DEXTERITY

    As the prime requisite of thieves is dexterity, it will affect their abilities as follows:

    Dexterity of 15 or more: add 10% to each thief skill except hear noise
    Dexterity of 13-14: add 5%
    Dexterity of 9-12: no bonus
    Dexterity of 7-8: subtract 10%
    Dexterity of 6 or less: subtract 20%

    This option inspired by Gary's OD&D houserules, which mention a bonus for a Thief  skill based on Dex, and the Dex modifiers in 1E AD&D.
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Barebones Fantasy, Death in Middle Earth, and a weekend at the Con.

    Bat in the Attic - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 15:30

    Barebones Fantasy
    So I went to Con on the Cob over the weekend. There I met up with +Tim Shorts and +Chris C. on Friday Night. Because I just got off of work, I had just enough time to check in, unload my stuff and head to my first game. Which turned out to be a Barebone Fantasy adventure.

    Barebones Fantasy is an RPG about as detailed as Swords and Wizardry Complete, Basic DnD 5e or Fantasy Age. It uses a d100 and very basic skill system. You crit (success or fail) when you roll doubles (11, 22, 66, etc). Interestingly 00 means 0 and not 100. And counts as a crit. Skills are grouped by profession. Each profession (Thief, Scout, etc) have a number of skills that the your rating applies too.

    Overall the system has it own favor and the rulebook cover everything you need to get started with a fantasy campaign using it. My only issue is that I have a number of RPGs of similar complexity and ease of use. So it doesn't hold much appeal for me.While it sounding I am damning it with faint praise. I feel it quite good ... for another gamer. My own personal bias is towards 3d6 based system when not using Dungeons and Dragons. So I would use Fantasy Age over this.

    However if you like to use a d100 then you should take a look at this. Like Fantasy Age, like Swords and Wizardry Complete, or the Basic Version of DnD 5th edition, it quick to read and leap into. Recommended.

    Barebones Fantasy Character sheet.


    I will have a followup on the result of the Adventures in Middle Earth game I ran at the convention.

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Cryptozoic Announces Release of Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Melee at Murdershroom Marsh

    Cryptozoic - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 14:00

    Cryptozoic Entertainment today announced the November 29 release of Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Melee at Murdershroom Marsh. In the third card game in the popular Epic Spell Wars series, 2-6 players once again create Spells with up to three Components—this time with new keywords “Cantrip,” “Bad Trip,” and “Everlasting”—as they try to destroy opposing Wizards. Every aspect of the game, from the cards to the rulebook and box, is filled with the series’s trademark off-the-wall humor and mature, at times bizarre art (over 100 original illustrations). 

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    The Justice League is Finally Here

    Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 12:00
    Justice League is, by and large, the Justice League movie fan complaints about Man of Steel and Batman v Superman suggest they have been waiting for. It is more uneven and rough-edged than Wonder Woman, but it does put the DC cinematic universe on firm footing.

    I would say the negativity in most of the critical reviews is a bit of a puzzlement to me, except that it isn't entirely. The polish and ready humor (bordering on outright comedy at times) of the Marvel films have set the yardstick by which these things are judged. Warner hasn't understood the memo (particularly Snyder) and the only thing to be done is to keep reading it to them until they do.

    There was a time when superhero product wasn't so slick and by-the-numbers. Iron Man was original at one time, and it's follow-up reverted a bit to tried and true superhero film formula. Dark Knight is often considered the best superhero film ever, but it is completely bereft of comedy relief CGI characters that now seem a standard element at least of the Guardians of the Galaxy style Marvel films. The earlier Snyder films certainly have their faults, but as others have argued the dislike directed against them seems to have less to do with their cinematic failings than their approach to the characters.

    Justice League responds to many of those complaints. We have heroes being heroic--and heroes finding their way to heroism after being lost in some way. There is humor, particularly from the Flash, who is different from his tv and comic incarnations to a degree, but has enough to charm to win you over. Momoa's Aquaman seemed like he might be tedious and one-note from the trailers, but I didn't find that to be the case. Though their on-screen development is necessarily limited, every one of the characters gets a bit of an arc that takes off and lands nicely (unlike say Valkyrie's disappearing alcoholism in Thor: Ragnarok). Much of the humor is kind of at Batman's expense, which serves to undercut any grimness or  the "hypercompetent Batman" that sometimes plagues the comics.

    The setup of the film is very comic book like in structure. It establishes and moves on. This might feel choppy to some viewers and those not familiar with the characters and the universe might feel some things are under-explained. Atlanteans just are, as are Mother Boxes. The movie doesn't spend any time trying to make you accept either or give you more than the story-essential backstory.

    The last two thirds of the film have more conventional pacing and cutting and fall into problem solving and fisticuffs. Superhero fights in film have gotten a bit tired by now, I think, and this film doesn't do anything to make me rethink that assessment, though it is far from the worst example. Flash's speed effect winds up being similar to Quicksilver's but it's utilized in a different enough way that it doesn't seem derivative. Wonder Woman is a badass, Aquaman is sort of reckless, Batman is out of his depth, but smart. Cyborg is lacking in confidence, but the key to defeating the villain.

    The film has it's problems of course. Its villain continues the superhero film trend of being not terribly interesting. He's better realized than Wonder Woman's antagonist, at least. The CGI is strangely dodgy in spots, particularly in a sort of prologue (don't let that brief scene sour you on it). The color palette is still darker than ideal.

    But you know what [and this is a SPOILER so you are warned]...


    The mid-credits sequence is Flash challenging Superman to a race. It made me smile for comic book nostalgia reasons, which it as been a while since a Marvel film did that.

    Wayward Kickstarter - City State of the Invincible Overlord - Full of Excuses and Not So Invincible

    Tenkar's Tavern - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 04:08

    Hard to believe its been nearly a year since I last shed light on the fiasco known as the City State of the Invincible Overlord Kickstarter. No, really. Here's my last post on this train wreck.

    Now, let me forewarn you. I'm high on decongestants and fighting a sinus headache. I'm in no mood to be nice.

    CSIO is nearly 3 years late. While not quite at the level of Far West in that category, the excuses are an embarrassment. We know all of the maps are done and have been done for ages. All we need now is to finish layout. Well, and money to print and ship.

    Say what?

    Just like Far West is financially bankrupt (and likely refuses to complete the PDF as there will be a demand for physical product that there is no money to either print or ship) I suspect most if not all of the $85k raised by CSIO has been long lost. Again, finishing the PDF will put demands on physical product and associated shipping costs - shipping costs that have had three years to increase. Yeah, the picture isnt pretty.

    So, how about some of the excuses:



    Yep, weekly updates six weeks apart. Weekly updates since the end of March have been monthly at best.

    Oh, and nearly two months since the last update. I guess monthly isn't working out either.

    Progress? Please! Layout isn't going at a page a day or a page a week. Maybe 2 to 3 pages a month?

    But wait! Look at that! A hint of a better future!

    Its an illusion though. If there were a better future we wouldn't be without an update nearly two months later. What is this in reference to? There've been rumors that Kickstarter fulfillment had been shopped to two or three of the more sizable old school publishers in the hobby. Aside from the goodwill of the backers there is little upside to such a deal for any publisher - the cost to fulfill would be on them and profits (as well as costs associated will making the Kickstarter backers whole) would rely on a retail market that is geared to 5e these days and not so much Pathfinder.

    Where does that leave us? I do mean "us", as I'm in for $145 myself. I fear we are left with little hope without a "white knight" publisher coming to the rescue and I fear that the costs associated with such a rescue are cost prohibitive for most.

    Not the legacy Judges Guild wished to leave us with but a legacy none the less.

    Yep, I'm a fuck when I'm sick.

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Far West - Soon to be SIX YEARS Late - You Won't Hear from Gareth Again until Delivery Time - Unless You Read his Daily Twitter Feed

    Tenkar's Tavern - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 16:25


    Ah, Far West. Still no closer to completion. How do we know that? Because Gareth isn't updating the Kickstarter page until there is "something concrete to deliver."

    Next month will put the project in the SIX FUCKING YEARS LATE category. I don't think ANY Kickstarter creator has outright lied to their backers about the state of their project as much as Gareth has. Six years is a lot of time to lie.

    Which actually makes sense as to why Gareth is maintaining radio silence. Pretty much every update he's made over the past six years has been full of misstatements, falsehoods and outright lies. In order not to make new lies he needs to keep his virtual lips from moving.

    I still think if Gareth could have figured out a way to write Far West at 140 characters a clip we'd have a completed project already. Oh course, it would have to be scraped off Twitter, which is where our friend seems to spend all of his waking hours these days.


    Just think, all I have to show for my $150 is:


    It was days away in May... of 2016

    See, he never said what "year" this "June" was in.
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Dice of the Gods

    Zenopus Archives - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 14:36
    POLYHEDRA DICE by CREATIVE PUBLICATIONS (photo source)

    A suited man juggles five polyhedra dice - is this an early DM? No, more likely it is supposed to be a math teacher.

    These photos were posted to the Acaeum recently (see this thread), and show a set of dice found with a OD&D White Box set. The dice themselves are the standard Polyhedra Dice sold by TSR in the '70s, which per Jon Peterson were sourced from a California company, Creative Publications. But the packaging they are in is something I've never seen before. The title, Polyhedra Dice, is identical to the title TSR used in their catalogs and product lists of the era (follow link to see an example). While the dice obscure some of the text, I can make out the letters "CREAT..." near the green 8-sider, indicating the original packaging was indeed supplied by Creative Publications, not TSR or another company.

    Most of these dice that I've seen are ones from the Holmes Basic set, where they came in small sealed bag without a paper insert. The set was also sold separately (see catalog link above), and I had assumed these were sold in the same form. But possibly at some point TSR re-sold sets with the original CP packaging, or possibly this set was ordered directly from CP.

    The back of the insert begins with the following paragraph:

    "To the ancient Greeks the five regular solids (tetrahedron - 4 faces, hexhedron - 6 faces, octahedron - 8 faces, dodecahedron - 12 faces, icosahedron - 20 faces) were known as the "dice of the gods". They were prized for their beauty and believed to have strange, cosmic meanings"

    Following this is a list of suggestions for using the dice, which are mostly obscured by the dice themselves.

    See also: 
    The Marked 20-sided Die
    TSR Percentile Dice in the '70s


    The dice set together with Men & Magic. Photo source same as above.
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    In the Vicinity of Gyrfalcon, Everybody Has Their Hand Out

    Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 12:00
    This week we had the second session of our GURPS Dungeon Fantasy campaign, "the Dungeons of Zyrd." It found the PCs bribing the snooty butler of the vintner and crime boss, Pnathfrem Lloigor, to gain access. They offered Lloigor their services for--well, something.


    He admitted to doing a bit of trade in counterfeit world stones. These he acquires from the dwarf excisemen encamped near the Tower of Might in Castle Zyrd. Another group of adventures had gone to secure more forged jewels from the dwarves, but that party (led by the Brothers Salasius) were late in returning. They agreed to complete the task. They were to make contact with a dwarf named Rogov.

    Setting out, they paid a flatboatman to take them across the Broad River and to wait for their return. A mile up the road, they found the way blocked by a group of hobgoblins who demanded tribute. The price was rather steep (every coin they had), so the party entered combat rather than negotiate with such an unreasonable group of humanoids.

    Art by Iain McCaigThe hobgoblins had been neglectful in securing distance weapons, and this cost them. A rain of javelins, sling shot, arrows, and magical fire dropped two of them quickly and sent the other three running for the woods. Fearing reprisals from a larger hobgoblin band, the party pursued them, and cut them down in the forest.

    That unpleasant business out of the way, they continued on toward Castle Zyrd.

    Treasure: None; Deaths: 5 Hobgoblins.

    Pages

    Subscribe to Furiously Eclectic People aggregator - Tabletop Gaming Blogs