8–14 July 2019: Paid Gaming; LGBT Representation; Awards Season

Featured Image: Cover Art for Demigods by Jason Mills. Artist: Minerva Fox

We’re in that eye of the storm before Gen Con, and this week is a fairly quiet one — apart, of course, from Twitter.

The Twitter debates we’ve noticed this week have been around two particular articles: Bloomberg on the subject of professional game masters, and Geek & Sundry on LGBT inclusion in Dungeons & Dragons. And, yeah, there’s quite a lot to pick apart in both cases.

We’re also heading towards the award announcements at Gen Con, with news this week from the ENnies, the Diana Jones Award, and the Indie Groundbreaker Awards.

There’s also a travel show featuring Satine Phoenix, an attack blog’s own goal, gods, demigods, and bad Anime stereotypes.

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Hot Takes All Round

Bloomberg raises the controversial topic of paid GMing

A Bloomberg article discusses the rise of Game Mastering for hire, and other ways in which gamers are turning the hobby into a profession that pays.

There has been a weird amount of heat surrounding this article online, with a lot of debate on whether professional game mastering is a good or bad thing (we’re on opposite sides of that debate). It’s worth noting, though, that the article does contain a number of errors, not the least of which is the claim that 40 million people play Dungeons & Dragons annually. This figure has been liberally repeated by other news sources, but Wizards of the Coast have clarified that this is the number of people who have played since the game’s first publication in 1974, and not an annual figure.

D&D article raises ire over WotC’s late LGBT inclusion

Geek & Sundry talks about LGBT Representation in Dungeons & Dragons.

Oh boy, did this article get some anger on Twitter — and not without reason. It was probably intended as a well-meaning celebration of the strides D&D has taken in the past few years (we’ll give Geek & Sundry the benefit of the doubt there). But, it comes across as a puff piece rewriting the history of a company and a game that resisted inclusion for a long time. We’ve been delighted by the inroads Wizards has made in recent years, but other games took these steps decades before D&D did, and D&D did it at a time when it was financially expedient to do so. As we said last month, we need a queer history of gaming.

Adam Koebel on queerness and gaming

Gaymer Magazine interviews Dungeon World co-creator, Adam Koebel, on tabletop gaming, queerness, and LGBT inclusion in the industry.

Koebel’s point, that the real work on inclusion is being done “by people who are seizing the space and pushing the hobby into new places, because that space isn’t being handed to them” resonates in response to the WotC piece.

The Guardian thinks we’re cool

The Guardian talks about D&D in a Castle, and how Dungeons & Dragons is now cool.

James informs me that once the Guardian thinks something is cool, it is no longer cool, so that’s it guys, wrap it up, back to the basement with all of us! — Amy

End(?) to some bad takes as anonymous blog outs author

Anonymous RPG attack blog, YourRPGIsShit, has shut down after its author accidentally outed themselves in a screenshot.

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Gaming Awards

The Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming is running a little late this year: the shortlist was expected in Spring, with the winner to be announced in the week before Gen Con. Judge Matt Forbeck tells us that an announcement regarding the awards is likely coming this week.

The Indie Gamer Developer Network announces the nominees for the Indie Groundbreaker Awards, which will be announced at Gen Con next month.

Voting for the ENnie awards is open. Winners will be announced at Gen Con next month.

Gaming History

Brittannia Games’ Andy Staples reflects on the historical and thematic connections between their Chivalry & Sorcery and Chaosium’s RuneQuest.

EN World’s Mike Tresca interviews Darren Watts (president of Hero Games and Indie Press Revolution) about his gaming career, the history of Superhero games, and playtesting.

Tor reflects on the Dragonlance novels.

It’s not strictly clear from this article, but for those readers unfamiliar with Dragonlance, the setting and novels were developed in the 1980s for TSR (publishers of Dungeons & Dragons).

Bundles & Deals

Bundle of Holding offers two bundles of Modiphius’ Conan RPG products.

Upcoming Products

In the run-up to the release of Pathfinder 2nd Edition, Paizo is hosting a series of discussions with the game’s designers.

Paizo gives us a preview of Pathfinder 2nd Edition’s gameplay.

Modiphius gives details about their forthcoming products for Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition, and announces that an Organised Play campaign is coming.

ICV2 releases details on the upcoming Savage Worlds Adventure Edition.

Catalyst Game Labs gives a preview of the magic system in Shadowrun 6th Edition.

Modiphius announces a number of new products for the John Carter of Mars RPG.

Crowdfunding News

Closing Soon

A Touch More Class: 9 New 5th Edition Classes has currently raised almost £70,000 from over 1,800 backers. This is the second book of 5e classes that EN Publishing have produced and this project will also be funding a revised edition of A Touch of Class as well as a hardcover compilation of both volumes. Ends July 19th.

Fateforge: a 5th Edition Role-Playing Game has currently raised almost $90,000 from over 1,200 backers. It’s a very attractive package with a strong pedigree in the form of the designers of Shadows of Esteren, with the added attraction of the books being published almost immediately — attendees of GenCon this year will be able to get their books there, while most other backers will have their books sent in September. Ends July 18th.

Fantasy 5e & Pathfinder

Gods and Goddesses: Redux: A revised and expanded version of an earlier supplement on deities for D&D 5e, by Jetpack7 (Legendary Dragons, Masters and Minions) — July 20th

Anime

BESM Fourth Edition (Big Eyes, Small Mouth RPG): The fourth edition of the anime and manga RPG, by Japanime Games (Tanto Cuore, Sword Art Online Board Game) — August 9th

We can’t let this pass without again mentioning the controversy surrounding the collapse of BESM 3e and the Guardians of Order, Mark MacKinnon’s previous company which left a number of unpaid debts. Also, with my retailer hat on, calling the “gateway” edition of your game a “Naked” edition and featuring semi-naked characters on its cover? Ugh. It would be nice to move on from these stereotypes that hinder the roleplaying and anime communities, not lean into them. I find it a baffling decision for a product expressly designed to attract a new audience. — James

Urban Fantasy / Horror 

Demigods: A Powered by the Apocalypse game in which you play the children of gods in a modern setting, walking the line between the mythic and the mundane, Jason Mills — August 8th

Loving the art on this one. — James

Loving the concept on this one. — Amy

Accessories

Dungeon Craft: Build your own battle maps!: A book of cut-out terrain pieces for fantasy roleplaying games, by 1985 Games — August 23rd

Film, TV and Animation

Destination Fantastic! A travel show starring Satine Phoenix about the locations that inspired the fantasy genre and the origins of D&D, by Destination Fantastic — August 9th

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24 June–7 July 2019: Race, Orcs, Hasbro, 80s Nostalgia

Well, we’re back, and this is a bumper, two-week special issue. Twice the news! Twice the Kickstarters! Three times the speculation!

This one’s a political edition: controversy around a game writers views on race science; a biting article on the racism of Orcs in D&D; the suspension of tariffs on RPGs; and cyberpunk as (IMHO outdated) political commentary.

We can also see some changes in the industry: the waves of Hasbro’s new interest in its D&D brand; GMing as a paid service; Game writing as art.

Oh goodness, what else? Gen Con goes green; D&D for visually impaired readers; Dice to open rifts in the multiverse; 80s nostalgia —

Oh hell, just read it!

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RPGs, Race, Politics

Pelgrane disavows 13th Age co-creator’s views on race science

Pelgrane Press have issued a statement distancing themselves from 13th Age co-creator, Jonathan Tweet, clarifying that he no longer works on 13th Age and does not receive royalties on Pelgrane’s 13th Age products:

This appears to be in response to the controversy surrounding a number of statements Tweet himself has made regarding race science, as well as sharing a tweet on the legalisation of cannabis by the far-right politician and comedian Mark Meechan (aka “Count Dankula”).

Some of these statements, including the retweet, have now been deleted, although he has since made a number of similar comments on the topic of race.

Responding to the Pelgrane statement, Tweet has now placed an extensive comment on RPG.net. In it, he claims that he has had political differences over “semantics, strategy, and science” with the company for some time.

We missed this story when it actually started: 13th Age distanced themselves from Tweet in May.

Mendez on Orcs and Racism in gaming

James Mendez Hodes releases part two of his discussion of the racism of orcs and other races in Dungeons & Dragons and its descendants.

Mendez is a brilliant and compelling writer on the fraught and urgent subject of racism in RPGs. We strongly recommend following his work. That goes twice for us white gamers.

Tariff increase on RPGs suspended

The proposed tariff increase on board games and toys, which would affect RPG products, has been suspended for the present.

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Cyberpunk and Politics

Mike Pondsmith of Cyberpunk publishers, R. Talsorian, talks about the politics of the Cyberpunk RPG games.

I’ve been feeling pretty underwhelmed by the politics of the cyberpunk genre lately, especially with the controversy surrounding transphobia in the computer game adaptation. This article fell short of its intent to me, particularly around its discussion of technology — especially YouTube — as a “leveller” of power structures, something which does not feel true today in the way it felt 10 years ago. — Amy

Our Changing Industry

The Essentials Kit launches, and why Wizards might be partnering with Target

The Dungeons & Dragons Essentials Kit launched in stores at Target. The product will release elsewhere on September 3rd.

The choice to release this product at Target first is notable. Earlier this year, Wizards announced that it would no longer be releasing its books early at brick and mortar hobby shops, so that fans wouldn’t have the confusion of multiple release dates. Then, shortly afterwards, they announced a product with multiple release dates, this time benefiting a massive national retailer, instead of small businesses. This feels like something that may have come down from Wizards’ parent company, Hasbro. I’m speculating, but I’d bet that Hasbro is courting Target (and other big retailers) after being hit so hard by the closure of Toys R Us.

A new executive role at Wizards of the Coast

Wizards of the Coast is looking for an “Executive Producer” for D&D. This appears to be a brand new role, focused on the business side of Dungeons & Dragons.

Again, I wonder if we aren’t seeing the Hasbro influence here: as the parent company pays more attention to the value of the Dungeons & Dragons brand, I’m sure we’ll see them try to optimise that value. Not necessarily a bad thing.

Remembering industry veterans we’ve lost

Lee Garvin, creator of Tales from the Floating Vagabond, has passed away. RPG historian, Shannon Appelcline offers an obituary for Garvin, as well as for Larry DiTillio and James Mathe, both of whom passed away this year.

Game Mastering as a paid service

Tessera Guild interviews Kenny Mahan about the time he spent GMing for tips at a game store.

This is the first I’ve heard of GMing for tips, but it has been interesting to see lately the rise of, for instance, paid games on Roll20, and luxury paid games like D&D in a Castle. There is a market for GMs to provide a service and be paid for it.

Game writing as art

Game writer, Sangjun (aka Magister Ludi), reflects on the art of “No-Player” RPGs.

I adore this genre of using game rules as a medium to create art, as well as (or instead of) games. Here’s my favourite. — Amy

The end of the Solomon Kane RPG

Savage Worlds creators, Pinnacle Entertainment Group, will lose the license to the Solomon Kane IP at the end of this year.

On the new wave of computer adaptations of tabletop RPGs

PC Gamer talks to the makers of Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, and Baldur’s Gate 3 about the complexities of adapting a tabletop RPG to the computer.

Origins sees growing attendance figures

The Game Manufacturers’ Association have announced that they saw an 11% increase in attendance this year.

More thoughts on Free RPG Day

ICV2’s Rolling for Initiative discusses this year’s Free RPG Day.

Some Positive Steps

D&D book available for visually impaired gamers

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has made the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook available in navigable audio form, and the other core rulebooks are coming soon.

This service is primarily made available for US Residents and Citizens living abroad, but we understand that it may be available in some other countries under the Marrakesh Treaty. If any of our readers know more about this, we’d be curious to hear.

Gen Con going greener

Gen Con announces plans to make the convention more environmentally sustainable.

The ENnie Awards

EN World reports on changes that have been made to its process of judging the ENnies, particularly with regards to improving transparency.

The nominations for the 2019 ENnie Awards have been announced.

Ummm… Wait… Is that my name? What? It appears that a Pathfinder fanzine that Brendan Ward and I contributed a small article to has been nominated. — Amy

D&D Lore and 80s Nostalgia

RPG Site interviews Larian Studios’ Swen Vincke and Dungeons & Dragons’ Mike Mearls about the upcoming Baldur’s Gate 3. It’s pretty focused on the game, but it was interesting to see D&D’s Creative Directors’ attitude to adaptation and canon.

SYFY Wire talks about the history of Dungeons & Dragons’ Demogorgon, of Stranger Things fame.

Polygon talks about the secret lore and continuity of the Forgotten Realms and the rest of Dungeons & Dragons.

In what feels to this 90s kid like peak 80s nostalgia, D&D is bringing back a character based on a 1983 action figure.

To celebrate its 1000th episode, BBC’s Click, a weekly technology news programme, created an interactive episode inspired by Games Workshop’s 1980s Fighting Fantasy adventure books.

Dice!

Google has updated its dice widget to roll polyhedrals, including bonuses.

This dice is everything from a d2 to a d100, and I presume also bends space-time.

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Upcoming Products

Paizo previews the character creation system for Pathfinder Second Edition.

Pelgrane Press gives a great overview of the various games in the GUMSHOE system.

Renegade Game Studios announces the Teens in Space RPG (it’s what it says on the tin), powered by their Kids on Bikes system.

EN World interviews Free League’s Tomas Härenstam on the publisher’s forthcoming ALIEN RPG.

Polyhedron Collider interviews Modiphius’ Chris Birch about the Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms miniatures game. There’s a brief discussion of the possibility of an Elder Scrolls roleplaying game: it’s not in the works, but Birch doesn’t rule it out either.

Modiphius is teaming up with Black Void Games to distribute their Kickstarter funded game, Black Void.

The second series of the Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins comic series starts July 10th.

Bundles and Deals

Bundle of Holding is offering a bundle of Paranoia books as well as a bundle of TinyD6/Tiny Dungeon books.

Crowdfunding News

Fantasy 5e & Pathfinder

Fateforge: a 5th Edition Role-Playing Game: A colourful, sword-and-sorcery campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons 5e, by Jim Searcy/Studio 2 Publishing (Shadows of Esteren) — July 18th

Tome of Delving: A specialised notebook designed to replace 5e character sheets, by Dungeon Notebook — July 19th

The Blood Queen’s Defiance: A DM-less adventure book featuring 3 5th Edition 3 adventures, by Limitless Adventures (Limitless Encounters, 5th Evolution: New Genres for Your 5E Game!) — August 1st

Modern/Sci-fi 5e & Starfinder

The Spy Game: 5th Edition Action/Espionage Roleplaying Game: A 5e-powered espionage action RPG, written by the developer of Star Trek: Adventures, by Black Cats Gaming — August 9th

General Fantasy

Zafir: Tactical Roleplaying Game: A fantasy RPG set in a 1930s-style world of airships and magic, by Zafir Games — July 13th

Fragged RPG | Regions: Three new region books for Fragged Empire, by Wade Dyer (Fragged Empire) — July 27th

Chivalry & Sorcery – the Medieval Role Playing Game: A new edition of the classic medieval fantasy RPG, by Steve Turner, Brittannia Game Designs — July 31st

Superheroes

Trinity Continuum: Aberrant: A new edition of the 1990s superheroes game, Aberrant, by Richard Thomas/Onyx Path (so many things) — July 30th

Sci-fi & Cyberpunk

Torg Eternity – Aysle: The continuation of Torg Eternity, which is something, I don’t know man, there are so many Kickstarters in this issue I can’t research all of them, I guess if you’re interested in this you already know what Torg Eternity is, according to James it’s because I’m too young, have a good day, by Ulysses Spiele (Torg Eternity, The Dark Eye) — July 30th

Urban Fantasy/Horror

Innsmouth ’86 for Call of Cthulhu 7th edition: An adventure and setting book for Call of Cthulhu 7th edition, featuring teen investigators in the ’80s, by Stygian Fox Publishing (Fear’s Sharp Little Needles, Occam’s Razor) — August 1st

Storygames

moonflower: a story game of impossible journeys: A zero-prep, GM-less tabletop role-playing game featuring tarot cards, by magister ludi — July 23rd

Accessories

Jon Hodgson Map Tiles: Modular battlemap tiles, by Jon Hodgson (The Forest Dragon Card Game) — July 9th

We’re both big fans of Jon Hodgson’s artwork (mainly via The One Ring) and have backed this.

Mimic’s Grid: The Infinitely Customizable D&D Adventure Tile: A modular magnetic game tile set, by Cursed Crypt — July 13th

RPG Minimalist Creature Dice & Status / Condition Markers: Minimalist cubes to take the place of tokens and condition markers, by quEmpire Gaming (The Dice Pen with Standard, CCG, Fate, Backgammon & 5mm Dice) — July 18th

Tale Spire: A 3D online tabletop system, by Bouncyrock — August 8th

Cover Image: Wizards of the Coast

17–23 June 2019: Fair Pay; Board Meetings; A Wish for a Queer History

This week, we’re talking business: with calls for better rates for freelancers and controversial company board meetings being our biggest stories.

There’s a gorgeous interview with DIE writer, Kieron Gillen about writing a critique of roleplaying games during their zenith.

We’ve also got Acquisitions Incorporated, Pathfinder 2nd Edition, body horror, French revolutionaries, and lots of lava.

Want to help us build an office out of Dwarven Forge terrain keep this site online? Support us on Ko-fi.

A Short Rest

There will be no news round-up next week as Amy will be galavanting around Canterbury with her family. We’ll be back with double the news on 8 July.

RPG Industry News

A call for fair pay

Brie Beau Sheldon has released an article calling for game publishers to pay creators better — and for creators (particularly creators who don’t need the money) to charge fair rates for their labour. It includes the results of a survey of a number of creators about their experience of rates and negotiations.

The rates paid for creative work in the industry has been a regular topic of late. Anecdotally, this subject came up during our research on the tariff increase, with one publisher citing a push for fairer wages as a key reason why RPG prices could (and should) rise in the near future.

Game Manufacturers’ Association elections

The Game Manufacturers’ Association held its elections at Origins, electing a handful of new directors and officers, and re-electing its president, Stephan Brissaud. Brissaud is a somewhat controversial figure: he was ejected from Gen Con in 2018 for assaulting a security guard, and two board members have cited the handling of an inquiry into the incident, and his continued presidency, among their reasons for resigning from the board.

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Chaosium board elects new members

Chaosium held the first meeting of its board of directors since the death of its founder, Greg Stafford, in October last year. Creative Director, Jeff Richard, takes up the position of chair, Stafford’s wife, Suzanne Stafford, takes up the position of vice chair, and his daughter, Alisha Hammer, joins the board.

Queer representation in Dungeons & Dragons

“Kiss the Girl” — Critical Role Fan Art | Artist: Aviv Or

The Mary Sue talks about Queerness in Dungeons & Dragons, both in terms of the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters in the game’s setting material, and in terms of queer-friendly spaces opening up for players of the game.

The title of this piece — “How Dungeons and Dragons Became So Wonderfully Gay” — is a little misleading. While it’s a lovely article on the importance of queer representation and spaces, I would love to see an answer to the question that title poses. For instance, I’m fairly confident that queer representation in D&D owes much to the earlier push for representation in Pathfinder, and that surely was not the genesis of the movement. I for one would love a queer history of RPGs.

Two Great Interviews

DIE writer on critiquing Dungeons & Dragons

Shut Up & Sit Down interviews Kieron Gillen about his dark RPG-themed comic, DIE, and the RPG based on it.

I can’t recommend the DIE comics enough. They’re beautiful and heartrending. I was especially struck in this article by Gillen’s invitation to us to be genuinely critical about our hobby, particularly in its present state of mainstream acceptability: “Geek culture won. It doesn’t need to fight its persecutors any more. As such, it means we can be a bit more honest with ourselves, and talk openly.”

Satine Phoenix on Dungeons & Dragons and streaming

Comicbook.com interviews Satine Phoenix about D&D and her production studio, Gilding Light.

New Releases

Image: Wizards Play Network | Artist: Mike Krahulik

Acquisitions Incorporated, the Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook based on the hit Penny Arcade actual play, has launched.

Our particular congratulations to d100 friend, Aviv Or, who contributed interior art to this book.

Modiphius launches Liminal, a game set on the fringes of a hidden, supernatural world in the modern United Kingdom.

The latest issue of Dragon+ magazine drops, with coverage of D&D Live and previews of upcoming products.

Upcoming Products

EN World gives us a look at the upcoming Pathfinder 2nd Edition release, including a deluxe edition.

Osprey Games, makers of (primarily) miniature war games, are launching a line of roleplaying games, beginning with Romance of the Perilous Land, set in mythic Britain, and Paleomythic, set in a fantasy stone age.

A second edition of the 1990s RPG, SLA Industries, will be Kickstarting in September.

Rowan, Rook and Decard announce Heart, a game of body horror and dungeon crawling, set in the world of Spire. Grant Howitt, co-creator of Spire, was hinting in March at a new game using its system.

There was a bit of confusion after a Kotaku article suggested that the D&D Ranger was going to change. Wizards have clarified that they are only considering optional rules for the class, which will likely be released through Wizards playtesting framework, Unearthed Arcana.

Deals & Bundles

Bundle of Holding offers two bundles of Advanced Fighting Fantasy RPG books.

Crowdfunding

Closing Soon

Remarkable Shops & Their Wares has nearly 1,700 backers and has raised over €55,000. A largely systemless book (with some items written up with “5e-ish rules” apparently), it’s popularity seem to lie in it having entry point (with physical rewards starting at just €20), an attractive overall package, an unusual theme in a crowded market of modules and monster manuals and a publisher with a credible track record. Ends July 4th.

Fantastic Adventures: Ruins of the Grendleroot for 5e has raised nearly $26,000 from over 1,000 backers. Again, this campaign seems to have benefited from a publisher with a strong track record and slick production values. Ends July 3rd.

Fantasy 5e & Pathfinder

The Decks of Adventurer’s Allurement: A collection of magic items based around the 12 core classes of D&D 5e, by Ralph Levi Clark (The Tome of Magical Mystery, Deck of Magical — July 11th

The Assorted Magical Items Deck: A collection of unique items for D&D 5e, in the form of reference cards, by James Gifford — July 14th

A Touch More Class: 9 New 5th Edition Classes: A collection of new classes for D&D 5e, by Morrus/EN Publishing (Judge Dredd, A Touch of Class) — July 19th

World of Revilo Campaign Setting & Bestiary for 5E DND: A campaign setting for D&D 5e, featuring some wild-looking character races, by Creature Curation (RPG Pins & Patches) — July 20th

General Fantasy

Adventures in Austerion: Tunnels of the Kingdom: A game using a combination of RPG rules and boardgame mechanics, by De Architecturart (The ART of De Architecturart) — June 29th

The King of Dungeons: A fantasy adventuring RPG based on a stripped down version of the system behind 13th Age, by Baz Stevens — July 16th

Micronomicon: A Compendium of Magic for Tiny Dungeon 2e: A compendium of spells, magic items, and potions for Tiny Dungeon 2e, by John D. Payne — July 19th

Story Games

Hearts of Magic: Threads Entangled: A narrative RPG about the fraught relationships between spellcasters in a magical city, by Erika Shepherd (Exodus) — July 14th

Bleak Spirit: A story game in which players alternate roles to tell the story of a wanderer in a strange land, and how they leave it changed, by Chris Longhurst (Pigsmoke) — July 18th

Definitely sounds like an interesting game to play with the right, intense group. Not really being a computer game player, some of the references go over my head but the basic mechanics sound quite interesting so I’m declaring this to be my pick of the week. — James

Red Carnations on a Black Grave: A roleplaying game about the revolutionary Paris Commune of 1871, by Catherine Ramen — July 18th

Accessories

Hellscape – Modular Lava Terrain from Dwarven Forge: Modular tiles to create a molten lava landscape for RPGs, available painted. (Dwarven Forge’s Game Tiles: Revolutionary Miniature Terrain, Dwarven Forge’s Caverns-Dwarvenite Game Tiles Terrain) — July 2nd

Discbound On Demand: Printable pages for the Mischief & Adventure campaign diary, by RavenRook Publishing (The Far Traveler’s Collection, Mischief & Misadventure Campaign Planner and Diary) — July 14th

10–16 June 2019: Origins Awards; Free RPG Day; RPGs Shape Us

And 2019 has passed the halfway mark!

This week’s update includes a number of moving pieces on gaming and the games industry, including a moving tribute to the late James Mathe, and Jim Zub’s reflections on how gaming shaped his life.

This weekend past saw the Origins Game Fair, and with it the Origins Awards. Saturday was also Free RPG Day, and James gives us some insights into how it went from the perspective of our FLGS.

There’s also a defamation suit, a Stargate RPG, a queer post-apocalypse, and more on the trade war.

Want to help us form a queer collective to safeguard us through the dust-covered wasteland of the future? Support us on Ko-fi.

How gaming shapes us

We are saddened to learn that James Mathe, founder of RPG digital platform, RPGNow, has passed away. Steve Wieck, offers a tribute to him.

Comic book creator, Jim Zub, gives a TEDx lecture on how Dungeons & Dragons shaped his relationship with his older brother, and allowed him to find his courage and creativity.

The Atlantic spotlights a group of friends who have been playing the same Dungeons & Dragons campaigns since the early 90s.

Inverse talks about D&D Live, and Dungeons & Dragons’ popularity.

An editorial in the New York Review of Science Fiction discusses the Glorantha setting from the RuneQuest family of games.

More on the Trade War

RPG historian, Shannon Appelcline writes about how tariffs arising out of the US-China trade war will affect tabletop gaming, answering a number of questions and objections that have been raised. (We’re also cited, which is cool!)

ICV2’s Rolling for Initiative discusses the tariffs from the perspective of publishers.

The Origins Awards

This weekend saw the Origins Game Fair, at which the Origins awards were given. The RPG winners are:

  • Best Roleplaying Game: Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition (Judges & Fan Favourite)
  • Best Role-Playing Game Supplement: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes (Judges & Fan Favourite)

You can see the full list of winners here.

Free RPG Day

This weekend saw Free RPG Day, an annual event where game stores showcase RPGs with games and free products from publishers. James gives us a view on the day from our friendly local game store, Leisure Games:

It was a somewhat muted Free RPG Day this year, although I’m sure other shops’ experience will have varied.

The lack of buzz surrounding this year’s event is presumably linked to the fact that in March the event was bought from Impression’s Aldo Ghiozzi by Gaming Days LLC, a new company set up specifically for the purpose of promoting Free RPG Day. So we’re in a bit of an interregnum period. Hopefully the new owners can revive the event to ensure that it comes back bigger and better next year.

A number of the publishers who regularly participate in the event did not do so this year, and unlike previous years, there wasn’t that one item in the bundle that has people scrambling for a copy. Locally, the day has tended to be dominated by Paizo but this year the apparent lack of interest in Pathfinder 2nd Edition appears to have affected interest in the day.

Free RPG Day came about in response to the popularity of Free Comic Book Day, an event which takes place every May. Comic book publishers have become quite adept at using that event to promote all their upcoming books and storylines, hyping their giveaways months in advance.

But ultimately, roleplaying games aren’t comics. Whereas comic book publishers churn out multiple books on a monthly basis, most roleplaying publishers release just 1–6 new books over the course of each year and operate with much smaller teams, and much smaller budgets. So, roleplaying publishers wanting to make the most of the event need to think much more strategically about how to make the most of the day.

Threats from Zak S.

OSR designer, Zak S., who has been credibly accused of abuse and harassment on multiple occasions, has filed a defamation claim against one of his accusers, and threatened to sue those who repeat those claims.

We covered some of these accusations in February, but we are not going to link to the blog post in which Zak made these threats. They do not belong on this site.

Upcoming & New Products

Harper’s Tale is a series of adventures in aid of Friends of Kids with Cancer, which will be crowdfunding in September.

There is an RPG based on the Stargate TV series coming.

Free League’s Things from the Flood sourcebook for the award-winning Tales from the Loop is now available.

There is a Chinese-language edition of Call of Cthulhu coming.

Death on the Reik, the second volume in Cubicle 7’s revised Enemy Within campaign for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, is coming in October.

Geek Native interviews Free League’s Tomas Härenstam about the upcoming Alien RPG.

Cubicle 7 is releasing Erebor Adventures for Adventures in Middle-earth in September.

Atlas Games interviews Jonathan Tweet about the latest edition of Over the Edge.

A note on upcoming computer RPG products

A great deal of ink has been spilt this week about Cyberpunk 2077, Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2, Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory, and Baldur’s Gate III. In fact, there has been so much news lately regarding computer RPG adaptations of tabletop RPGs, that we’re worried we might be losing our focus. Going forward we’re going to try to slim down our coverage: we may occasionally note big announcements in this area, but we’re not going to get into the minutiae as we have in the past.

Bundles & Deals

Bundle of Holding is offering a bundle of books based in the Tékumel setting.

Monte Cook Games are having a sale on their books.

Crowdfunding News

Fantasy 5e & Pathfinder

Ultimate Kingdoms: A sourcebook for D&D 5e and Pathfinder 1st Edition, covering kingdom-building and war, by Legendary Games (Alien Bestiary, Forest Kingdom Campaign Compendium) — July 4th

Sci-fi 5e & Starfinder

Rocket Age RPG for 5e: A pulp action sci-fi system and setting, adapted to the 5e rules, by Why Not Games (Imperial Jupiter) — July 4th

Fantasy

Earthdawn 4th Edition – The Adept’s Journey: Mystic Paths: A sourcebook for Earthdawn, featuring magical organisations and disciplines, by FASA Corporation (1879, Earthdawn 4th Edition) — July 10th

Dust Wardens: A queer RPG about magic-users finding safety and community in a post-apocalyptic world, by Nora Blake — June 24th

Historical

King for a Day: Revised: An update of the system-neutral, semi-historic campaign set in a c. 800 A.D. England, by Postworldgames/Jim Pinto (Bloodwraith, Protocol Fantasy Game Omnibus) — June 27th

Forged in the Dark

Wicked Ones: Described by the creators as “Dungeon Keeper meets Blades in the Dark,” in this game you play monsters raiding human lands, by B-Design.io — July 10th

Accessories

The Roleplayer’s Guide To Heists: A system- and setting-neutral guide to heists, featuring maps, essays, and a collection of heists for various games, by San Jenaro Co-Op — July 15th

Story games

Sleepaway: A Tabletop RPG: A horror game based on the Belonging Outside Belonging system, about camp guarding their wards against nightmarish monsters, by Jay Dragon — July 5th

I’m intrigued to see how the Belonging Outside Belonging system, originally developed for Avery Alder’s Dream Askew, will work as a horror game. It’s a GM-less and diceless system (although Sleepaway does apparently involve cards as a randomizer). It’s just such a shame that physical books aren’t available outside of the US… — James

Although I’m not nearly as much of a fan of story games as James is, I’m intrigued by the rich emotional landscape suggested by this concept. Not my kind of game, but definitely my kind of story. — Amy

Cover Image: Simon Stålenhag, from Things from the Flood

3–9 June 2019: Baldur’s Gate 3; Keanu Reeves; Yet more Vampire

Well, it’s another week, and oh, boy, is it an exciting one for the computer RPG fans! Mindflayers! Keanu Reeves! Another Vampire: The Masquerade game, or wait, is this one of the ones we’ve spoken about before honestly I can’t tell any more there are approximately three thousand now!

We can see some industry booms and busts in the form of a spotlight on rising (risen?) star Modiphius, the bankruptcy of Clockwork Publishing, and recurring fears about the impact of tariffs.

Also featuring: Third Edition history! Literary criticism! Business networking social media platforms! Luxury yachts!*

* My accountant informs me that we cannot afford a luxury yacht. If you would like to help us get one (and more importantly, keep making this site), please support us on Ko-fi.

Computer Game News

As was hinted at last week, Larian Studios, creators of Divinity: Original Sin, announces Baldur’s Gate 3, the long-awaited third title in the famous Dungeons & Dragons computer RPG series, this time based on 5th Edition rules. Larian also gave us a very grizzly trailer for the game.

Content warning: Gruesome body horror. Hide your kids and/or boss.

The Cyberpunk 2077 computer game cinematic trailer is out, and it features… Keanu Reeves?

There’s also news on two World of Darkness computer game adaptations, but we’ll get to that below.

The World of Darkness continues to spread

Primer for new readers: The World of Darkness is a line of RPGs originally developed in the 90s, featuring (primarily) horror in a modern setting. Of those games, Vampire: The Masquerade is easily the most famous, followed by Werewolf: The Apocalypse. The company who developed the game, White Wolf, were dissolved by parent company, Paradox Interactive, after a series of controversies related to Vampire’s 5th (and latest) edition.

Geek Pride interviews Matthew Dawkins (a.k.a. The Gentleman Gamer) about Vampire: The Masquerade 5th edition, and Onyx Path Games’ role now that Modiphius has taken over the game’s core production.

Image: Draw Distance

There is yet another Vampire: The Masquerade computer game coming, this time a Telltale-style story game.

This is a new one, right? Honestly, there have been so many new Vampire products announced in the past few months, that I have lost track. At some point, we’ll need to do a roundup of all the upcoming products set in the World of Darkness. As I intimated last month, I am somewhat sceptical of how Paradox Interactive intends to make good on its promise to keep better control of the IP when it has been licensed to so many different companies.

Variety gives us details on the forthcoming Werewolf: The Apocalypse computer game from Bigben and Cyanide.

This blog post talks about reading the various iterations of Vampire: The Masquerade as social commentary, particularly on capitalism.

The state of the industry

ICV2 interviews Chris Birch, CEO of RPG publisher and distributor, Modiphius, about the company’s history, its present scope, and the state of the industry. If you read one article on the industry this week, it should be this one.

Board game and RPG designer, Mike Selinker, writes about how the US-China trade war will affect the board games industry.

ICV2’s Rolling for Initiative talks about how tariff increases in Canada impacted a game store in Ottawa: perhaps a warning regarding how the present protectionist climate could affect hobby shops.

The UK Games Expo reports an 18% increase in attendance for 2019, and maintains its position as the world’s third-largest tabletop gaming convention (although with Origins this weekend, we could see that change).

Dark Conspiracy publisher, Clockwork Publishing, has gone bankrupt.

Meredith Gerber and Joseph Carriker have compiled a list of LGBTQ+ creators in the RPG industry.

RPG History

The Gauntlet continues its history of licensed RPGs.

Ars Magica and 13th Age co-designer, Jonathan Tweet, begins a series of monthly columns on EN World with a history of how the Third Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, for which he was the lead designer, came about.

The nature of roleplaying games

Paste Magazine reflects on the differences between Dungeons & Dragons as streamed, and Dungeons & Dragons as played, and what this new era of game-as-performance means for the hobby.

SyFy Wire talks to Mike Mearls about how Dungeons & Dragons incorporates monsters from folklore into the game.

LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffman, talks about what Dungeons & Dragons and RuneQuest taught him about strategy.

Upcoming Products & New Releases

R. Talsorian have announced a delay on the release of Cyberpunk Red, but also announce a Jumpstart Kit for the game.

Onyx Path releases Scion 2nd Edition.

A French-language edition of RuneQuest is crowdfunding soon.

Kieron Gillen, author of the grim fantasy RPG comic, DIE, launches an open beta for the game’s own RPG.

Jobs

Pelgrane Press is looking for an Administrative Assistant.

Deals & Bundles

Bundle of Holding launches a bundle of Mutant Epoch books.

Crowdfunding News

Fantasy 5e & Pathfinder

Fantastic Adventures: Ruins of the Grendleroot for 5e: A set of ten underground adventures for 5e, by Mike Shea (Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master, Sly Flourish’s Fantastic Adventures for 5e) — July 3rd

Fearsome Foes: And Where to Fight Them Relaunch: A collection of unusual, high CR monsters for 5e, by Joshua Greer — July 8th.

This is a relaunch of a project which did not meet its funding target. The new project has half the funding goal, the reduced cost being due to them no longer printing physical copies of the book, which instead will be an optional extra. It will be interesting to see if this approach is successful.

Sci-fi 5e & Starfinder

Amazing Adventures 5E RPG: A set of 5e-based rules for playing RPGs in multiple genres, including modern fantasy, pulp adventure, and science-fiction genres, by Stephen Chenault/Troll Lord Games (Castles & Crusades, 5th Edition Players’ Guide to Aihrde) — July 2nd

General Fantasy

The StoryMaster’s Tales “Weirding Woods”: A hybrid RPG, adventure game and board game, in a dark fairytale setting, by Oliver McNeil (Cthulhu & Horror Soundscapes, Fantasy Soundscapes) — June 30th

Remarkable Shops & Their Wares: A systemless guide to creating shops in fantasy RPGs, by LoreSmyth (Remarkable Inns & Their Drinks, Dungeon Discoveries) — July 4th

This has had the biggest launch of the week, with nearly 900 backers raising almost €29,000. Not bad for a systemless book about shopping! It looks to be a very attractive book to be fair, and is building off of the back of LoreSmyth’s previous book about inns. — James

James may be surprised, but I’m not. I reckon you could draw a direct connection between the existence of Pumat Sol and the success of this Kickstarter. Everyone loves a good shopping episode. — Amy

27 May–2 June 2019: UK Games Expo; Unsafe Gaming; RPGs on screen

Welcome to Pride month, everybody! From our queer hearts to yours, we hope you have a safe and happy one.

This past weekend was the UK Games Expo, the largest gaming convention in the UK. Unfortunately, the big news coming out of the con is an incident involving distressing content in one of the con games.

There’s a lot of news this week about RPGs on TV and in computer games, with a few histories of old adaptations, and a few announcements of new ones.

And as always, there’s also some RPG history, some sneak peeks, a bundle of books, and a bunch of new kickstarters.

Help us live keep the air-con lights on and the champagne water flowing by supporting us on Ko-fi.

(Un-)safe gaming

Content Warning: This story contains discussion of sexual assault as a subject in RPGs. Although we have not linked directly to any explicit content, comments and replies are upsetting in places. Browse with care. If you’d like to skip to the rest of the news, click here.

The UK Games Expo took place this weekend, and the line-up of RPGs was marred by one particular game. An RPG event, run using Free League’s Tales from the Loop (though not organised by Free League), included (without warning) a scene in which the player characters were raped, to the distress of the players.

One of those players, Anjuli (a.k.a. GeekGirlBookWorm), tweeted about the game, prompting a wide outcry, and a discussion regarding player safety at the convention, and in RPGs generally. This caught the attention of the mainstream media, and the incident was reported on (sensationally and with errors) by a handful of national newspapers.

We were able to connect with Anjuli to get some perspective on the incident. Although some steps taken by the convention to ensure safe play seem to have failed (the GM running the game in question was the room officer, and other channels for communicating issues seem to have been unclear or unavailable), Anjuli was impressed by the way the incident was handled by the Expo’s directors once they became aware of it.

The GM’s games were cancelled, and he was expelled from the convention. As a result of these events, the Expo’s directors are reviewing their game submission process, as well as their safety procedures going forward. Anjuli is hopeful that these steps will yield a safer experience for players in future.

I am taking it as read here that it is a bad thing to unexpectedly introduce sexual assault at a table, where it is likely to trigger trauma for many players. Assuming that you’re willing to acknowledge the need to play games in ways which avoid psychological harm, there are a number of tools for enabling players to communicate discomfort safely: Breakout Con has a good list of some of the more popular methods, which they use at their convention.

RPGs on Screens

There’s an animated series based on Magic: The Gathering coming to Netflix. Although this is not strictly RPG news, it will be interesting to see what this could mean for certain other Wizards of the Coast properties…

CBR gives us a history of the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, and calls for a Dungeons & Dragons TV show to replace Game of Thrones.

EN World gives us a list of RPG-themed episodes in cartoons.

Gamereactor gives us a history of the Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines computer game, and its oft-forgotten predecessor, Redemption.

Wizards of the Coast and mobile games developer, Ludia, launch Warriors of Waterdeep, a free-to-play turn-based RPG.

Laria Studios, makers of Divinity: Original Sin 2, might be hinting a new Baldur’s Gate game.

We get some details about the enhanced editions of Baldur’s Gate and other classic Dungeons & Dragons computer games coming to console later this year.

RPG History

James Ward discusses the history of the Deities and Demigods rulebook for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, a book which became the centre of a conflict over copyright for its use of material from H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos and Michael Moorcock’s Melnibonéan mythos.

Game historian, Shannon Appelcline talks about the economics of manufacture in board games, focusing on the scarcity of Elizabeth Hargrave’s Wingspan. We don’t ordinarily report on board game news, but there’s some wisdom here that’s relevant to roleplaying games, and a glimpse at the near-collapse of RPG publisher, Chaosium, in the mid 90s.

Games Awards

The UK Games Expo gave out its awards for the best games of the year. These included several RPG categories, including:

  • Best Role-playing Game: Forbidden Lands, by Free League
  • Best Role-playing Expansion: Adventures in Middle-earth Bree-land Region Guide, by Cubicle 7 Games
  • Best Role-playing Adventure: The Cthulhu Hack: Valkyrie Nine, by All Rolled Up
  • Best New Accessory: Giant Book of Battlemaps, by Loke BattleMats

Meanwhile, self-nominations are now open for judges for the 2020 ENnies. Previous panels for these awards have drawn criticism for their lack of diversity: this year, for instance, the panel is entirely male.

If you know any women, people of colour or LGBT folk who should be judging, please encourage them to apply. We desperately need better representation at the ENnies.

Upcoming Products

Comicbook.com talks to Nathan Stewart, senior director of Dungeons & Dragons, about the recently announced Essentials Kit. The discussion gives us an interesting glimpse at company strategy. By collaborating with discount department chain, Target, to sell a product designed to introduce single players to the game, the company is clearly pushing to expand the game even further into the mainstream.

Cubicle 7 gives us more details about the rules of its Warhammer: Age of Sigmar tabletop RPG, Soulbound.

Last weekend was PaizoCon, and Paizo offered some sneak previews of Pathfinder Second Edition to drum up excitement for the game’s release in August.

Cubicle 7 announces a massive, 10-book collectors edition of its revised Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign, The Enemy Within.

Shadowrun Line Developer, Jason Hardy, talks about the development of Sixth World, the game’s sixth edition.

R. Talsorian details the Jumpstart Kit for its forthcoming Cyberpunk Red.

Deals and Bundles

Bundle of Holding is offering a bundle of Fantasy Hero products.

Crowdfunding News

Closing Soon

Traveller Fifth Edition: this project has raised over $135,000 from over 1,000 backers. Led by Marc Miller, the original creator of Traveller, it is a reprint and tweak of Traveller5, which was originally published in 2013. This is not to be confused with Mongoose Publishing’s Traveller 2nd edition, which is also currently in print (after 45 years, the publishing history of a lot of the “classic” RPGs has now got extremely convoluted) — June 6th.

General Fantasy

The Dark Eye – Magic of Aventuria: A supplement for The Dark Eye, featuring new spells, as well as setting material and an adventure, by Ulisses Spiele (The Dark Eye, TORG Eternity) — June 18th

Savage Worlds

The After: A sci-fi, post-apocalyptic savage frontier setting for Savage Worlds Adventure Edition, by Jon Gibbons/Jade Monkey Studios — June 21st

Urban Fantasy / Horror

Quietus: A no-prep game of melancholic horror with rules inspired by the Forged in the Dark system, by Oli Jeffery — June 30th

This looks very interesting to me. Having just finished (paused) our latest Scum & Villainy campaign, also Forged in the Dark, I can see how the system could be skewed to a horror game. Plus, the production on this one looks very slick. — James

Film and Animation

JourneyQuest 4: The fourth season of the fantasy comedy series, by ZombieOrpheus (Attacking the Darkness, Strowlers Preludes) — July 13th

I feel a sense of nostalgic duty toward Zombie Orpheus, the production company behind amateur gamer-related cult films like Gamers: Dorkness Rising. The stuff they make is weird, low budget, kind of hammy, and a little cringeworthy at times, but I’ll probably be quoting them in my head until the day I die. Flaming hand of fiery doom. I seduce the priestess! — Amy

20–26 May 2019: The Vampire controversy; Stephen Colbert; Fus Ro Dah

This week has been a quiet one on all fronts after last week’s flurry of new game announcements. The Dragonborn is coming to the tabletop as Modiphius announces an Elder Scrolls miniatures game. Paradox Interactive talks about the controversy of Vampire: The Masquerade, and how they’re planning to avoid it in future. And we get two much-anticipated D&D videos: one starring Stephen Colbert, and one starring a Renault KWID Outsider.

But first, hello!

We had quite a few new readers and subscribers joining us last week, and since this has also been a light news week, we thought we’d take a moment to (finally) introduce ourselves!

I am Amy Goodenough (yep), aka. Goonwuff. My partner in crime for this site is James Graham, aka. Semajmaharg. We are London-based tabletop gamers interested in the tabletop RPG industry, and this site is where we track and chart trends.

Every week we produce a roundup of the most important news in tabletop RPGs. I cover corporate news, new releases, and upcoming products, and James covers the most notable crowdfunding projects. We also create more detailed articles focused on various aspects of the industry: last week’s focus on tariffs was the first of these.

If you like, drop us a comment below to say hi! If you like us, you can subscribe to our newsletter, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook. If you like us a lot, you can help us keep this website going by supporting us on Ko-fi.

Now, on with the news.

Paradox talks about Vampire controversy

Logo design saying "Vampire: The Masquerade" where the Q is a blade-like ankh.

Polygon interviews Paradox Interactive vice president, Shams Jorjani, about the controversy surrounding Vampire: The Masquerade 5th edition. Jorjani cites the hard borders placed between the Paradox team and the publishers, White Wolf, as one of the factors that led to the controversy. Jorjani says that Paradox intends to oversee future Vampire projects more closely, but not clamp down on creativity.

The intent to find a balance between a lack of oversight and a stranglehold is a good one, but I doubt any media company has ever intended not to strike that balance, so it doesn’t tell us much about Paradox’s strategy going forward. We have seen quite a large number of officially licensed card and board games, and Modiphius has taken over production of the tabletop RPG. With the IP scattered across several companies, oversight of the brand is going to become exponentially harder. This article is (notably) focused on the computer game products.

Polygon also gave us a spotlight on Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2.

Two (very different) D&D videos

Stephen Colbert’s played Dungeons & Dragons with Matthew Mercer in aid of Red Nose Day.

The Brazilian Renault ad featuring characters from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon officially launched, featuring Tiamat, a unicorn, and an uncanny valley Dungeon Master.

I keep thinking we’ve hit peak D&D and then something new happens. Is this peak D&D?

Upcoming Products

Asmodee, parent company of Fantasy Flight Games (along with many board game companies) is launching a gaming accessory production studio under the name Gamegenic. It’s likely that this will focus on accessories for Asmodee’s board and card games, but we could see some accessories for Fantasy Flight’s roleplaying games.

Modiphius has announced an officially licensed Elder Scrolls miniatures game, entitled The Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms.

We don’t normally cover miniatures news, but there are some folks wondering if we might not see Modiphius launch a tabletop RPG to follow, as they did with their Fallout line earlier this year. This is all idle speculation at this point, and we have no information regarding the licensing situation, and no reason to think this is true (beyond an idle hope).

Cubicle 7 gives us a preview of the rules for their forthcoming Warhammer: Age of Sigmar RPG, Soulbound.

WizKids releases info on its miniatures for Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus, Dungeons & Dragons forthcoming storyline which was announced at D&D Live earlier this month.

IDW is launching a miniseries of comics to tie in with Avernus.

Geek Native gives us a preview of Pelgrane Press’s Hideous Creatures bestiary for the Cthulhu mythos, along with an interview with co-creator, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan.

Publisher News

Lyz Liddell joins Paizo as a senior editor.

Bundles & Deals

Bundle of Holding is offering a bundle of books from the Corporation RPG.

DM’s guild is having a sale on nautical-themed products.

Crowdfunding News

Noteworthy New Projects

Grimmerspace: A Starfinder-compatible Sci-Fi Horror RPG, by Iron GM Games — June 24th

In its first week, this has raised almost $63,000 from just under 1,000 backers — no doubt in part because of the celebrity caché of having Sean Astin (The Goonies, Lord of the Rings, Stranger Things). It’s a very ambitious project, which looks like it has been in development for quite some time already. After a bit of a lull, there has been quite a lot of Starfinder and Sci-Fi 5e projects lately, so it will be interesting to see if this is a growing trend or just a coincidence.

Closing Soon

Fantasy Grounds Unity has raised almost $400,000 from over 6,700 backers. The new iteration of the successful virtual tabletop software, rebuilt using the industry-standard Unity engine, offers enhanced drawing tools and image manipulation, animated image effects and 64-bit support for enhanced performance — May 30th.

Empire of the Ghouls: A 5th Edition Campaign has raised $100,000 from almost 1,500 backers. Kobold Press is a venerable and dependable publisher of third-party Dungeons and Dragons content, so it’s no surprise to see this project doing well — May 31st.

Trilemma Adventures Compendium has raised CA$66,000 from almost 1,500 backers. A compilation of adventures, each literally centred around a beautifully illustrated black and white map, it’s perhaps the most unusual of the highly successful projects ending this week May 31st.

I have to admit, I’m tempted to back Trilemma; I’m a sucker for clean black and white artwork and this just looks great — James

5e & Pathfinder

The Deck of Many Destinies for 5e DnD: A beautifully illustrated, tarot-style Deck of Many Things prop, by Gametee (World’s Finest Wallet of Holding, Our Finest Mechanical Dice Pencil) — June 2nd

OSR

The Crypt in Cadaver Canyon & More! A collection of three Mark Bishop adventures for Dungeon Crawl Classics, by Jon Marr (Crawler’s Companion for All) — June 3rd

General Fantasy

Pirates of Pugmire – A Realms of Pugmire Tabletop RPG: A supplement for the Pugmire and Monarchies of Mau games, bringing pirates to the setting, by Richard Thomas/Onyx Path (Pugmire, Chronicles of Darkness) — June 20th

I’m pretty tempted by this one. I’ve never actually got round to playing Pugmire, but the setting’s gentle, melancholic whimsy appeals to me, and it’s high on my to-play list. Also everything’s better with pirates. — Amy