This is an odd issue of d100, with a peculiar mix of serious & silly.
The biggest news of the week: Wil Wheaton is suing geek media producer, Geek & Sundry over the revenue of the Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana actual play series. It’s a jarring story, and a sharp reminder of the business behind our hobby.
Of course, we’ve also got #RPGaDay still on-going, and we have had some fantastic responses from you, including a brilliant list of the most obscure games our readers have played.
And then there’s some weird stuff: a groundbreaking but forgotten 80s RPG, a map of hell, magic systems, horror ponies, and (forgive us) 30–50 feral hogs.
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The Business End
Wil Wheaton, host of TableTop and Titansgrave, has filed a lawsuit against Geek & Sundry for allegedly failing to pay his share of revenues from the Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana web series.
Two observations here. Firstly, this goes some way to explain why we never saw another season of Titansgrave, and why we haven’t seen any more TableTop. Secondly, and more personally, this story gave me a bit of a jolt. While I know on a conscious level that Geek & Sundry, Critical Role, and other tabletop-related media outfits, are all companies with corporate concerns, there’s still a part of me that views them as the punk projects of groups of friends. We (I) probably need to get better about seeing them for what they are. — Amy
Fred Hicks of Evil Hat Publishing gives us a look at the publisher’s distribution figures since 2010, focusing on how successful the Dresden Files IP has been for the company.
Gen Con officials announce that a record of nearly 70,000 people attended this year’s convention.
Game Designer, DC, compiles a Q&A about marketing for RPGs.
Fandom Entertainment profiles the Dungeons & Dragons community in a documentary:
Green Ronin Publishing is looking for writers for the recently announced Broken Earth Trilogy RPG.
Warners Group is looking for a Head of Content for Tabletop Gaming magazine.
Steve Perrin, the lead designer behind the first editions of RuneQuest, returns to Chaosium as a creative consultant.
This Reddit thread summarises all the new product announcements made by Paizo at this year’s Gen Con.
There are a lot of new game options coming out. It’s a clear indication of what Paizo thinks Pathfinder offers that Dungeons & Dragons doesn’t: a lot of choices.
Dungeons & Dragons’ Spoilers & Swag gives us some previews of images from Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Note: At time of going to print, EN World, who are hosting that preview, are going through major upgrades, and this link may be unavailable.)
Very cool images here, but I find myself weirdly disappointed that the map of Avernus isn’t a bit more Dante’s Inferno. — Amy
Onyx Path Publishing announces its next supplement for Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition: Cult of the Blood Gods.
Strange that Onyx Path has been tapped to create a product that looks to be a core part of the Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition (V5) line. We would have expected this sort of product to be in the hands of Modiphius, who took over V5 after White Wolf imploded.
Meanwhile, Renegade Game Studios are creating an “expandable” card game for Vampire: The Masquerade.
Yet another licensed product for V5 — and not the first card game. We can’t imagine how Paradox intends to coordinate the product across so many iterations. This seems dangerous given how much heat the 5th edition raised (something we’ve raised before). But raising our eyebrows sceptically at V5 has become a theme of this blog.
Onyx Path Publishing is working with DriveThruRPG to create Storypath Nexus — a community content programme for the Storypath system.
Cubicle 7 shares a preview of the Collector’s Edition of The One Ring second edition.
It’s so beautiful… *sobs* — Amy
30–50 Feral Hogs
A weird argument in favour of assault rifles led to a meme, and naturally, there were some RPG iterations, including:
- An Indie game
- A Dungeons & Dragons monster (which really should have been a swarm, IMO — Amy)
- A Warhammer Fantasy scenario
Deals & Bundles
Bundle of Holding offers a bundle of Darkfast Dungeons products, including print & play minis.
The Gauntlet’s Age of Ravens continues its History of Licensed RPGs.
Epidiah Ravachol looks back at the forgotten (but apparently groundbreaking) Rocky and Bullwinkle RPG.
We’re continuing to participate in the annual #RPGaDay event on social media! Here are some of our favourite answers from this week:
Day Five: “Space” — What’s your usual gaming space? Do you sometimes venture outside of it?
“(1) Home. (2) Board Game Cafes or Meet-ups. (3) Conventions.” — John Kovalic (Dork Tower)
“The elementary school I work at. I run a dungeon for some students there. It helps build social skills while having fun and making friends.” — @5CMcT
Day Six: “Ancient” — What historical period would you like to see more games set in?
“I’d love to see a lot more ancient and medieval African and Asian settings (preferably explored by creators from those cultures!). Give me a good, culturally rich Three Kingdoms or Hausa Empire RPG.” — @Catilinarian
“I really enjoyed the English Civil War setting and what that offers up in Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and that whole era of pan-European wars, and a bridge between the beginnings of new technology and science meeting walls of superstition and religion is ripe for more.” — Nick Hopkins
Day Seven: “Familiar” — What RPGs have you found easiest to learn? What did they do to make things easy for new players?
“Apocalypse World. Every dice roll is structured according to the same pattern.” — Rob Chant
“D&D 5e! I found the language very familiar from playing video games and learned the rules by osmosis by listening to Critical Role. Also the free quick start guide is really simple and easy to understand.” — Jessica Gao
Day Eight: “Obscure” — What’s the most obscure RPG you’ve ever played?
We couldn’t pick our favourites, so here’s a list of “obscure” (or not very obscure) RPG our readers mentioned:
- Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf: A game after the incredib(ly weird) song
- Affiliates: “The Mafia’s Mafia”
- Amber: Based on Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber series
- Cyborg Commando: “This is a product that should be held up to designers as a lesson in how not to write a game.” — Cassander Tewdros
- Darkurthe Legends: Dark fantasy
- Deniable Assets: Cybercorporate villainy in the neo-80s
- Engine Heart: Robots living after the end of humanity
- Hercules & Xena Roleplaying Game: Yes, apparently, this was a thing.
- Honey Heist: Pull off a heist. You’re a bear.
- It Came From Somewhere Else: B-Movie horror
- Kingdom: A game about the decisions that shape communities
- Legendary Lives: A fantasy heartbreaker
- Lost Souls: Adventures in the afterlife
- Memoirs of a Barbarian: A map-making game about an ex-adventurer
- The Morrow Project: Rebuilding America after the apocalypse
- Phoenix Dawn Command: You have seven lives to save the world
- Poor Unfortunate Foals: My Little Pony meets Horror
- Recon: Military fiction in a Vietnam War-style setting
- SLA Industries: Cyberpunk horror in a dystopian future
- Sports Are Just Numerology: Relationships between athletes
- Tales from the Floating Vagabond: Pan-dimensional, multi-genre adventure
- Venture Forth: The whole campaign, in just a few hours
Day Nine: “Critical” — What games are the best at making critical and extraordinary successes and failures fun?
“Feng Shui was the game that introduced me to the romance and majesty of the untimely botch. I’ve never found a game that gives you quite as much margin to go over the top on a critical success. I ran a game where someone rolled an action result of 45. Great times.” — @ChthonicQueex
This thread on Rolemaster and Middle-earth Role Playing is… illuminating?
Day Ten: “Focus” — What’s your favourite magic system from any RPG?
“Yeah, I never really like magic in games til Mage: The Ascension and Unknown Armies, where it suddenly became very much about personal belief and world view. … Actually Maelstrom, years ago, might be the simplest (and most organic) magic system I’ve encountered. A simple percentile roll with difficulty ranging from coincidental (it starts raining on an overcast day) to impossible (you launch fireballs from your hands).” — Simon Brake
“…Magic should feel magical, and it almost never does… In many ways generic mechanics about highly powerful magic devalue magic. Is the power to cast Wish a big deal? Not if you acquire it by just looting enough gp.” — Chris Keating
Day Eleven: “Examine” — Which RPG books are a pleasure to read through?
“I always carry around with me Apocalypse World, and I do mean… Always! I keep reading and re-reading the damn thing.” — Hugo Barbosa
“Numenera has some excellent books. The only time I’ve read through supplements for no reason other than because they looked cool.” — @KKLeechie
BattleTech: Clan Invasion has raised over $1.6m from over 7,200 backers. Miniature Kickstarters tend to raise more per backer than book Kickstarters, but this suggests that BattleTech is well and truly back in the game after the successful launch of its rebooted starter set last year. Closes August 18th.
Out of the Box: Encounters for 5th Edition has raised over $170,000 from just under 2,700 backers thus far. 5e books come ten-a-penny these days, but Critical Role’s Matt Mercer’s endorsement has helped this project stand out from the rest. Closes August 18th.
PROJECT DEIOS – DUNGEONFOG Mapmaker Suite for Worldbuilders has raised just under €220,000 from just under 2,000 backers. There have been a string of Kickstarter for GM tools recently. This one is certainly one of the slickest looking mapmaker packages to emerge, building on the already existing Dungeonfog battlemap editor. Closes August 19th.
Fantasy 5e & Pathfinder
Kisarta, a 5e rpg setting of souls and unearthly horrors: A 5e Horror setting focused on the afterlife, by Isola Illyon Edizioni (HERO – The Adventurer’s Journal) — August 22nd
Grim Hollow: The Campaign Guide for 5th Edition: A dark fantasy setting for 5e, by Ghostfire Gaming — September 7th
City Builder: Platinum Edition: An improved release of a guide to designing cities and other settlements for RPGs, by Skirmisher Publishing LLC (‘Swords of Kos’ Fantasy Campaign Setting) — September 4th