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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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