25 February–3 March 2019: Project Alpha closes, Ghosts of Saltmarsh announced, Facebook takes on Patreon

This week we see some big changes in the world of actual play streaming, some new digital platforms (the good, the bad, and the ugly) which could be relevant to gamers, and a whole host of new product announcements (including a large number from Wizards of the Coast).

Streaming

Streaming network, Project Alpha, is shutting down at the end of this month. We had predicted that Alpha would be hit hard by the loss of Critical Role, and while there’s no way to know if this impending departure influenced this decision, it seems likely.

Critical Role, which last week went independent from Geek & Sundry, will be launching a Kickstarter for an animated series based on the adventures of Vox Machina (the adventuring party from the streaming show’s first season) on March 4th. They also launched a new computer game live-stream and added D&D Beyond’s Twitch Extension to their show. We are intrigued by how this extension might point to more interactive content in the future of RPG live-streams.

Paizo will screen a live Actual Play of Pathfinder Second Edition in April.

Digital Gaming

If you’re paying attention to platforms like Patreon and Drip, where many RPG content creators are finding an alternative platform to publish their work, it’s worth noting that Facebook is planning a competitor fan subscription service and that it looks to be shockingly bad for creators, demanding a 30% cut, along with a license to use and sell creator’s content. Last month we pointed to some concerns around how Patreon’s search for growth could hurt creators. In short, it’s probably worth keeping an eye on this market, as the need for them to live up to high growth expectations could result in some changes.

We are likely to see an announcement regarding the hinted-at Paradox Interactive Vampire the Masquerade computer game at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) on March 21st.

weTabletop, a directory for finding places to play board games, launches. There are a handful of RPGs listed so far.

Two VR Developers have created an open source project to run Dungeons & Dragons using Virtual Reality technology. The project is clearly in its infancy: it will be some time before VR can run games with the efficiency of two-dimensional platforms like Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds, but it will be interesting to see going forward how Virtual Reality, and (we bet) Augmented Reality, make their way into digital tabletop gaming.

RPG Companies

Forbes reports on Wizard of the Coast’s 2018 growth.

EN World discusses Dungeons and Dragons’ relationships with toys, Magic the Gathering, and parent company Hasbro, particularly after Hasbro’s difficult financial year.

Miniatures producer, WizKids, has expanded their partnership with Hasbro to produce minis from other IPs.

Modiphius’s Chris Birch talks with EN World about the company’s present and future. Modiphius has seen astonishing growth since being founded in 2012, and now publishes a host of big names in the industry, including Star Trek Adventures, Tales from the Loop, and the Fallout miniatures game. The company also took over the management of Vampire the Masquerade after the collapse of White Wolf Publishing.

New & Upcoming

Dungeons & Dragons

Cover art for the Ghosts of Saltmarsh book for Dungeons and Dragons, featuring an adventuring party on a boat fighting a Sahuagin, while a kraken attacks a ship in the background.
Cover of Ghosts of Saltmarsh, the forthcoming spring release for Dungeons & Dragons.

Predictions that Dungeons & Dragons’ Spring release would see a return to AD&D’s Saltmarsh trilogy proved correct, as details on the book, Ghosts of Saltmarsh, coming May 31st, were announced. The book contains seven adventures from old editions of the game, updated for Fifth Edition, as well as rules for playing in a nautical setting. While the town of Saltmarsh was originally a town in the Greyhawk setting, the book is intended to be setting-neutral.

Beadle & Grimm’s, who produced a deluxe boxed edition of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, are planning a deluxe edition of Ghosts of Saltmarsh.

Greg Tito unboxes the upcoming Stranger Things Starter Set for Dungeons & Dragons. The product reached number one in pre-orders on Amazon’s toy section.

Random House is bringing out a series of Dungeons & Dragons guides aimed at children: the Young Adventurers’ Guides. There are four planned guides, with at least the first two coming July 16th. Jim Zub, lead writer, talks about the series.

Wizards of the Coast launches the much-anticipated Artificer class to its playtest program, Unearthed Arcana.

There’s a new issue of Dragon+ Magazine, featuring some previews of Ghosts of Saltmarsh, as well as a primer on the Greyhawk setting that Saltmarsh originally featured in.

Others

Fantasy Flight Games announces Winter’s Embrace, a new adventure, and Courts of Stone, a new sourcebook, for Legend of the Five Rings roleplaying.

A Polish translation of Savage Worlds Adventure Edition (that is, the second edition) is being crowdfunded by Pinnacle Entertainment licensee, GRAmel Books.

The Savage Worlds World Builder & Game Master’s Guide launched.

Monte Cook Games launched a PDF version of their deluxe boxed set game, Invisible Sun.

Modiphius is releasing three new titles for the Conan RPG.

Deals

DriveThruRPG is running its annual GM’s Day Sale.

Bundle of Holding is running two bundles of Mutant Chronicles products.

D&D Beyond co-founder Adam Bradford is offering a coupon code for a 25% discount on individual products and the Legendary Bundle (everything on the store).

Stuff We Like

James Mendez Hodes interviews Clio Yun-Su Davis on racism at RPG conventions: a funny, sad, infuriating glimpse at some of the bullshit people of colour face in gaming.

We love these random monster loot tables by Ladytiefling.

Jobs

EN World talks about in-house roles in the gaming industry.

EN Publishing is hiring a part-time administrator.

Roll20 is hiring a Graphic Designer, a Community Manager, and an Account Associate.

Alex Roberts (Star Crossed) is leaving her position as Production Coordinator at Bully Pulpit Games. Jenn Martin (Glass Ceiling, One Year) is taking over the position.

Kickstarter News

5e & Pathfinder

Rise of the Drow: Collector’s Edition: A collector’s edition of a mega-adventure for D&D 5e and Pathfinder, by AAW Games (Underworld Races & Classes, Mini-Dungeon Tome) — March 21st

The Tomb of Black Sand: A dungeon crawl zine, by Jacob Hurst (Silent Titans) — March 21st

OSR

The Bridge of the Damned: A new Torchbearer adventure by Burning Wheel (Torchbearer, Mouse Guard: Swords and Strongholds) — March 5th

DCC RPG Module: Reckoning of the Gods-Into the Shadow Realm: A booklet of two Dungeon Crawl Classics adventures, by C. Aaron Kreader (DungeonCraft: Hero versus Guardian) — March 17th

Temple of the Blood Moth: A science-fantasy horror dungeon for OSR games, by Jacob Butcher (first project) — March 18th

General Fantasy

Beneath the Canals: A system-agnostic mini-zine for generating catacombs, by Michael T Lombardi (first project) — March 12th

Horror / Mystery / Lovecraft

The Call of Cthulhu – Illustrated by Baranger: An illustrated edition of Call of Cthulhu, including a stretch goal for a roleplaying game, by Fria Ligan (Tales from the Loop, Coriolis) — March 7th

Soth: a game of cultists vs investigators: A game about playing cultists in a small town, by Steve Hickey (first project) — March 24th

Sci-fi

Xboat: a Traveller RPG ‘zine: A fanzine for the Traveller role-playing game, by Robert Eaglestone (first project) — March 23rd

Powered by the Apocalypse

The Fan Favorite: A Masks RPG Zine: A zine for Masks: A New Generation, by Linda H. Codega (first project) — March 14th

The Great American Novel, A Roleplaying Game: An RPG for emulating stories in the American literary tradition, by Christopher Grey (The Happiest Apocalypse on Earth) — March 20th

Bite Me! – a game of werewolf pack dynamics: A roleplaying game about werewolves with a focus on pack relationships, by Josh Fox and Becky Annison (Lovecraftesque, Flotsam: Life Among the Stars) – March 21st

Indie

Rosenstrasse: A game about marriages between Jewish and “Aryan” Germans during the rise of the Third Reich, by Unruly Designs (War Birds) — March 18th

Everyone is John the RPG: A new edition of the cult game in which all players control the same character, by Gamer Nation Studios (Edition Wars, The New Order 66 Podcast) — March 19th

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