6–12 May 2019: Plagiarism, Saltmarsh, Beholder

After our scramble to keep track of the news last edition, this has been an oddly sedate week. Perhaps the RPG world is holding its breath before the weekend-long marathon of D&D Live, coming 17–19 May, along with the release of Ghosts of Saltmarsh.

Speaking of which, this week we have a few previews of Saltmarsh, along with a number of other upcoming products. We briefly had an Elder Scrolls adventure for D&D, before it turned out to have been flagrantly plagiarised. There’s also a new publisher on the scene, a D&D art documentary streaming soon, and all sorts of new releases.

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A Miscellany of News

Bethesda steals Elsweyr from elsewhere*

Bethesda, developers of the Elder Scrolls games, released a free Dungeons & Dragons adventure to celebrate the release of the Elsweyr expansion for Elder Scrolls Online. The adventure was then taken down, after it was discovered to have been plagiarised from Paige Leitman and Ben Heisler’s Adventurer’s League adventure, “The Black Road”. Ars Technica covers the story.

* Yes, I know I’m going to hell for that pun.

Andrews McMeel joins the RPG industry

Publisher and syndicator, Andrews McMeel Universal is launching a new roleplaying game line, to be led by Daniel D. Fox (Zweihander Grim & Perilous RPG).

The Stranger Things starter set and trauma

Inverse interviews Stan Brown, writer of the Stranger Things starter set adventure for Dungeons & Dragons, about how the adventure imagines the trauma of Hawkins kids. The article discusses a subject we’ve been seeing a great deal of lately: RPGs as therapy (see, for instance, this interview with Dr Megan Connell of Clinical Role).

1 Million square feet of battlemaps

Reddit user, Zatnikotel, challenged themselves to create 1 million square feet of Battlemaps, and has released them online.

Upcoming Products

Ghosts of Saltmarsh and D&D Live

This weekend (17–19 May) will see D&D Live 2019: The Descent, Wizards of the Coasts’ latest marathon streaming event, tied to the release of its latest adventure book, Ghosts of Saltmarsh.

Jared Knabenbauer (aka ProJared) has pulled out of the event in the wake of a messy, public divorce announcement, and accusations that he solicited nude photographs from underage fans.

Dungeons & Dragons’ latest “Spoilers and Swag” video hints at some new product announcements that will be made at the event.

We’re starting to see some previews from writers with advanced copies of Ghosts of Saltmarsh, including (WARNING: Spoilers abound here) Enrique Bertran (aka Newbie DM), Beth Rimmels (aka Brimmels) and Russ Morrissey (aka Morrus).

D&D Art Documentary

Eye of the Beholder: The Art of Dungeons & Dragons trailer

Eye of the Beholder: The Art of Dungeons & Dragons, a documentary about the art and artists behind D&D which won Best Documentary at Gen Con 2018, will be streaming from this week. io9 gives us an exclusive preview, while PopGeeks interviews the creators.

Shadowrun 6th Edition Lineup

Cover for "Shadowrun: The Neo-Anarchist Streetpedia"

Catalyst Game Labs details the lineup for the sixth edition of Shadowrun, featuring two sourcebooks, two campaigns, and several game aids.

Legendary Games working with Paizo on Kingmaker

Legendary Games is announced as Paizo’s partner on the forthcoming Kingmaker anniversary products, which we discussed last week.

Terror Australis launch party

Chaosium is hosting a launch party in Melbourne for its Terror Australis 2nd edition sourcebook.

Previews of upcoming books

Onyx Path gives us a preview of the upcoming game Legendlore, in which players play their fantasy alter-egos.

Fantasy Flight Games announces and previews the Gadgets and Gear sourcebook for Star Wars Roleplaying.

Geek & Sundry interviews Penny Arcade about their upcoming Acquisitions Incorporated sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons.

New Releases

Modiphius releases Conan the Monolith: a sourcebook which crosses over between their Conan roleplaying game and the Conan board game by Monolith Entertainment.

Fantasy Flight releases the Rise of the Separatists era sourcebook for Star Wars Roleplaying.

Green Ronin releases the PDF version of the Modern Age Companion.

Deals and Bundles

Bundle of Holding is offering two Sci-Fi Savage Worlds bundles: one centred on The Last Parsec, the other centred on Seven Worlds.

D&D Beyond has expanded its bundles to allow users to buy either all the site’s D&D sourcebook content or all its adventures for a reduced price. Previously both categories could be bought together in its “Legendary Bundle”.

Crowdfunding News

Noteworthy New Projects

Kingmaker 10th Anniversary: A revised version of the Kingmaker adventure path for Pathfinder 1e, 2e, and Dungeons & Dragons 5e, by Paizo Inc — May 22nd

Paizo has opted to use Game On Tabletop for this crowdfunding campaign, which has caused some controversy. The platform charges backers as soon as they pledge support, and in some cases has overcharged backers for postage. Nonetheless, it has had a strong first week, raising over $170,000 from more than 900 backers. The campaign also offers “Bestiaries” for converting the campaign to D&D 5e and Pathfinder 1e, suggesting that Paizo is attempting to cover all its bases here. No doubt they’ll be closely monitoring which system backers seem to be preferring.

Closing Soon

Odyssey of the Dragonlords is a Greek myth-inspired 5e campaign and sourcebook developed by veteran computer RPG designers. To date, it has raised over $316,000 from over 5,700 backers — May 16th

5e & Pathfinder

Spaceships & Starwyrms: A 5e Sci-Fi Game: A generic science fiction game based on D&D 5e, by Audrey Stolze — May 31st

Fearsome Foes: And Where to Fight Them: A collection of monsters and their environments for D&D 5e, intended to provide unique encounters for experienced players, by Joshua Greer — June 5th

Five Torches Deep: A game bringing roguelike, resource-focused style of play to D&D 5e, by Sigil Stone Publishing (Belly of the Beast RPG, Perseverant RPG) — June 6th


Four Perilous Journeys: New Adventures for The Fantasy Trip: Four new adventures for Steve Jackson Games’ The Fantasy Trip, by Douglas H. Cole (Dungeon Grappling) — June 9th

Urban Fantasy / Horror

The ORPHEUS Protocol: A roleplaying game of cosmic horror and paramilitary occult espionage, based on an original system developed over the course of an Actual Play, by Rob Stith — June 7th

Story Games

SPARK: The Magic of Storytelling: A game using music and images to tell collaborative stories, by Christopher Jones — May 17th

Facing the Titan: A GMless roleplaying story game about heroes fighting a Titan, and the cost of doing so, by Nicolas “Gulix” Ronvel — May 27th

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