This was set to be a quiet little update, with some lovely selfies, a Washington dragon, and yet more computer and board game adaptations. At the last minute, however, the ugly business of harassment in the industry raised its head again.
A Peculiar Response to Harassment
Content Warning: Links mentioned in this story contain some discussion of sexual harassment. While they are not especially graphic, links and comments within them may be or become distressing.
Steve Jackson Games have taken the peculiar stance of offering partial refunds after backers of The Fantasy Trip expressed concerns that the company had teamed up with Bill Webb and Frog God Games. Webb is a controversial figure, at the centre of a harassment scandal in 2017. While the company is offering refunds to backers who object to the partnership on ethical grounds, Steve Jackson himself nevertheless claims that they have no intention of terminating that partnership.
Editor’s Note: We became aware of this story (which seems to have been brewing for a few days) very shortly before publishing this update. The subject of how industry leaders should respond to harassment is a complicated, and vital, and we do not feel it has been treated rigorously enough in the sources we’ve given here. There has not, however, been much time for us to be especially rigorous ourselves. We hope to provide more on this story next week, and in the meantime urge you to read critically.
D&D in the Wide World
After an SNL sketch fell back on a pretty outdated portrayal of D&D fans as socially awkward, bespectacled white cis-men, fans responded with #DnDselfies showing the diversity of the hobby.
Dungeons & Dragons wins an award for the Stream of Many Eyes. The three-day streaming event to announce showcase new releases is set to become a repeat event, with “D&D Live 2019: The Descent” coming in May.
Renton, Washington, home of Wizards of the Coast, gets a massive dragon installation.
“Creepy isn’t a crime. Neither is D&D.”
D&D Beyond releases stats on the most-used spells in Dungeons & Dragons.
Chaosium announces that it is teaming up once more with Focus Home, who last year published the Call of Cthulhu computer game (to mediocre reviews), to produce a series of computer games based on the Call of Cthulhu RPG. Focus Home announces “an exclusive agreement for video game adaptations of [Call of Cthulhu] for the next ten years”. (So while we are still waiting for details of what Focus Home might be bringing us, we can be sure no one else is going to be working on the IP.) Focus Home’s 2018 Call of Cthulhu title will shortly be coming to Nintendo Switch.
The latest Vampire: The Masquerade gets yet another adaptation as Everything Epic announces a megagame based on the product. We’re already expecting a new computer game and a legacy board game based on the White Wolf RPG.
Cubicle 7 is hiring freelance writers for The One Ring and Adventures in Middle-earth.
Bundles & Deals
Bundle of Holding gives us two bundles of Rifts products.
Onyx Path are running a sale on their 20th Anniversary World of Darkness books.
Onyx Path releases Gods & Monsters for Mage: The Awakening 20th Anniversary Edition.
The delayed RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha Slipcase arrived.
Check out other New Releases at our FLGS, Leisure Games!
Lancer: Lancer is a Mecha RPG combining rules-light narrative play with gritty tactical combat, by Massif Press (first project) — May 11th
Lancer has had a huge first week, raising over $200,000 from nearly 4,500 backers – presumably in part due to Tom Parkinson Morgan’s success as artist and writer of Image Comics’ Kill Six Billion Demons. The project also boasts a large number of cartoonist and illustrators working on it, including Callum Alexander Watt who has just been announced as a costume designer for Star Wars Episode IX.
Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special: An animated show based on the first campaign of the world’s most popular actual play, by Critical Role (first project) — April 19th
Critical Role’s phenomenal Kickstarter ends this week after breaking records and shattering expectations. The animated special is no longer a one-off special but a whole series based on the hugely successful D&D live-stream. With a few days to go the project has raised nearly $10,000,000 from over 72,000 backers. It is currently the sixth biggest Kickstarter project of all time. It will be interesting to see, given the considerable interest this project has demonstrated, whether a streaming service or TV channel picks up the project. (Or perhaps the real question is, which?)
Picks of the Week
James picks Relics: A Game of Angels: I’m intrigued by a new game using the Fugue system, following on from Alas Vegas, and this looks like a good match for setting and system.
Relics: A Game of Angels: An RPG in which players play angels lost on earth, seeking meaning in a world without God (first project) — May 10th
Amy picks Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special: I know we can’t shut up about this one, but it is still absolutely incredible to me than an animated show based on a live-stream of a D&D game raised nearly $10 million in funding from a global community of fans.
5e & Pathfinder
Ultimate Bestiary: The Dreaded Accursed for 5th Edition! A bestiary of undead and cursed monsters for D&D 5e, by Nord Games (Ultimate Bestiary: Revenge of the Horde!) — May 3rd
Reroll: Visual Character Sheet App for 5e DnD: A digital character sheet app featuring a pixel art character generator, by Team Reroll (first project) — May 21st
The Umerican Road Atlas and Umerica Unnatural: Two sourcebooks for the gonzo post-apocalyptic Dungeon Crawl Classics setting, Umerica, by Reid San Filippo (The Umerican Survival Guide) — May 7th
For the Dungeon! A comedy RPG in which you play the hapless minions of a dungeon, by Jordan (first project) — May 10th