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.

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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.

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.


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


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

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