Beer & Pretzels 2012 – Bean!

Having had a splendid time on the previous day trying to get to grips with Jason Mills’ Stone Dragon Solstice adventure, today was left for the joys of the D2 role-playing chaos that is Bean!

Bean! The D2 Role-Playing System

Bean! The D2 Role-Playing System – front cover

Unfortunately, The aforementioned Jason Mills and his compatriot Andy ‘Boozer’ Holmes had to return home but that still left Andy James (‘Dekh’ from Trollhalla) along with my son, William, and an old friend from TrollCon 2010, Toby to set forth on the quest for Krang’s Helm.

Failure to bow at the name of the Great Gardener could lead to a little rain falling – courtesy of the Beanmaster, of course!

Although I didn’t employ gimmicks in the numbers seen on the previous day, I had one trick up my sleeve that seemed to keep the players on their toes – or ducking for cover! Exploring the Master’s Maze involved lots of strange encounters, the odd puzzle and some good old fashioned combat in just about equal measure before the merry band of adventurers got to the middle of the labyrinth and discovered the true meaning of their quest. All the characters survived and came away wiser and just a little bit wetter.

At lunchtime, we all trooped off to Spirit Games and enjoyed the better part of an hour; the time flew by, exploring this fantastic little shop. I must take this opportunity to thank Phil and Sally for their continued organisation of this splendid gaming event. Long may it continue. Oh, and we did treat ourselves to some new dice, Zombie Dice 2 and Martian Dice – good job my wife won’t be reading this! (Martian Dice come from Tasty Minstrel Games– an unrelated ‘TMG’!)

Running a Bean! adventure can be hard work.


We were even lucky enough to bump into some people who we’ve seen before at Beer & Pretzels and played some Bean! with; namely, Chrissie, Peter, Will and Aidan who came to this Autumn event in November last year. Hopefully, more fun will be available in the Spring with this most joyous of games.

Sid Orpin

Beer ‘n’ Pretzels Autumn 2012!

Beer 'n' Pretzels Autumn 2012 ticket

Beer ‘n’ Pretzels Autumn 2012 ticket: event hosted by Spirit Games.

As I write, this gaming weekend is still ongoing, though not all the TMG crew could make the second day. Sid Orpin is running an adventure using Jeff Freels‘ excellent and charming role-playing system, Bean!

Beer 'n' Pretzels Autumn 2012

Tavernmaster Games visit Beer ‘n’ Pretzels Autumn 2012 in the splendid town hall of Burton On Trent.

Yesterday, however, it was time for Tunnels & Trolls! I ran my new dungeon, Stone Dragon Solstice, for Simon, Sid, both Andys and Guy, a passer-by who joined in. It’s an adventure with plenty of fun gimmicks and it went very well, with many laughs and surprises along the way. I won’t give details, as the adventure will soon be available on this site as a freebie download, so some readers might end up playing it and need to be kept in the dark! But special praise must go to Guy for being an incredibly good sport under trying circumstances inflicted on him by an evil Game-Master. Here he is at the end of his 6-hour ordeal – still smiling:

Guy triumphant!

Guy triumphant after a series of difficult trials…

A few more snaps from the day:

GM Rampant

The Game-Master adopts the position.

Beer and Pretzels

It ain’t called Beer ‘n’ Pretzels for nothing…

Character sheet

Vital statistics. Fortunately, Andy H is NOT one of our resident artists.


Ah, the old Tridentine…


The players will try anything to read the scroll…

A Busy Table

Gamers love clutter…

An interesting surprise was a passing visit from a fellow who turned out to be John Harrington, who older readers might know as the erstwhile editor of the T&T-oriented fanzine Take That You Fiend! And by offering copies of my book of Tunnels & Trolls limericks we collected a few pounds in donations for Jeff’s Transplant Fund – please give if you can.

Here’s the whole crew. Maybe next year we’ll see you there too!

The delvers!

Guy, Simon, Jason (yours truly), Andy H, Sid and Andy J.

Tavernmaster Games, a history.

Welcome, gentle reader, to our first blog post, wherein our origins are revealed to a curious world.

Back in the Bronze Age, some among us were sucked into role-playing games and were lucky enough to stumble on Tunnels & Trolls, a pleasingly simple system that encouraged fun and hassle-free fantasy gaming. In the 1980s the field was flourishing and we played many other systems too. Then somebody invented the abacus, and before you knew it computer games had taken over the world. Although we each retained affection for RPGs and played when we could, we believed that the high days of T&T were past. By the mid-90s, the stream of official material had dried up and the fortunes of the game appeared moribund.

But then those computers that had squashed the hobby with their bleeps and fancy graphics turned into our friends again. The world wide web appeared, and slowly but surely gaming sites popped up and user-generated material began to be available. Gradually, as players were able to connect with each other across the world, evidence of continued enthusiasm for Tunnels & Trolls arose. Forums such as Trollhalla and Trollbridge were launched; websites offered solo and multi-player adventures; variant rules and character generators proliferated. Eventually, there were even new editions of the rules and print magazines.

In the midst of all this, your heroes were delighted to find a small but appreciative audience for their own work, and published solos, dungeons and artwork. Initially we used our own websites, with the odd foray into eBay; but here and there we hooked up with other outlets, in arrangements that brought some of us into mutual contact and happily expanded our clientèle. Andy Holmes and Jason Mills had been gaming together since their schooldays. Andy stumbled across Simon Tranter on an Australian website, whilst Jeff was picked up on Trollhalla. Sid was searching for a hollow-point drill (or was it bullet?) on eBay when he made an L3SR on LK and came across Andy’s adventure Tilford’s Hollow, which serendipitously revived his long-dormant interest in the game. Nobody knows how Andy James arrived: rumour has it that he came from somewhere in the dark, frozen north.

After a few years of fiddling around here and there, doing this and that, we looked at our assembly of talents and saw that it was good; and so we decided to launch a single collective outlet for our work, collaborating in the production process to perfect our creations. Thus, Tavernmaster Games was born.

What with busy lives, preparations and the creation of material, it was many months before our project was launched upon the world, with the first incarnation of our website. We put emphasis on getting things right from the start, and Simon, along with M. E. Volmar, put great effort into ensuring presentational quality. Our first products were Sid’s solos Formication and Devotion to Duty, and Tavern by the Sea, an adventure created by Andy Holmes in collaboration with Ken St Andre himself. Recently Andy’s Sideshow (designed for both solo and multi-player use) and Sid’s Rapscallion hit the shelves, only to be snapped up by enthusiastic customers. All these adventures featured splendid illustrations from our resident artists, Simon and Jeff.

In the summer of 2012, the UK contingent of Tavernmaster Games gathered for a weekend at the Beer ‘n’ Pretzels gaming convention, some of us meeting for the first time. This enjoyable socialising energised our creativity, and we have numerous ideas in the pipeline.

Tunnels & Trolls remains a small fish in a big pond, and we would be foolish to expect our creations to make us rich! You can be assured that we are in this for the love of it. We aim to produce the best and most rewarding material that we possibly can, and we sincerely hope you will enjoy playing our adventures even more than we enjoyed creating them.