4–10 November 2019: Brand Partnerships, Sales Numbers, The Inevitability of Monopoly

Roleplaying’s time in the spotlight continues this week! We learn that Critical Role is partnering with Amazon Prime to extend and host their cartoon based on the popular D&D livestream. Meanwhile, EN World looks at the past few years of brands creating RPG content as a marketing ploy.

We see some RPG history: RPGs after the fall of civilisation and sales figures before the fall of TSR.

Also: Millennials, tentacles, superheroes, space westerns, tentacles, short stories, cursed families, tentacles…

Featured Image: Art for The Legend of Vox Machina Kickstarter campaign

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Brand Partnerships

Critical Role’s The Legend of Vox Machina animated TV show is coming to Amazon Prime. Amazon is partnering with the show to produce a second season, and extend the first season to 12 episodes. Season 1 will be available to backers, but the second season will be available exclusively through Amazon Prime.

Another step forward into the weird frontier of gaming, or perhaps just a return to the days of the old D&D cartoon.

EN World’s Michael Tresca looks at three recent cases of brands releasing D&D 5e products as marketing campaigns.

RPG History

The Gauntlet’s Age of Ravens column begins a history of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs.

Benjamin Riggs compares the sales numbers for various iterations of Dungeons & Dragons in the ’80s and ’90s.

New & Upcoming Releases

Fantasy Flight Games announces Starships and Speeders for Star Wars Roleplaying, and previews Path of Waves for the Legend of the Five Rings RPG and the Expanded Players Guide for Genesys.

Wizards of the Coast releases variant features for all classes in this month’s Unearthed Arcana.

We’ve been sporadic in our coverage of Unearthed Arcana — WotC’s playtest program for Dungeons & Dragons. It is usually only interesting to more hardcore D&D fans. But this release is unusual, and shows WotC looking more fundamentally at the core rules: I expect we will see a new player-focused supplement in the near future. — Amy

Hasbro releases a Dungeons & Dragons-themed game of CLUE.

This made us realise with a sinking dread that somewhere in the bowels of Hasbro, someone is inevitably making D&D Monopoly.



Bundles & Deals

DriveThruComics is running a bundle of comic book RPGs in aid of Contessa.

Crowdfunding News

Kickstarter United

Kickstarter has begun proceedings to ballot all members of staff on whether or not to recognise a union of workers. The following Kickstarters which are mentioned this issue have also stated their position on this issue:

The Curse of the House of Rockwood: Nerdy Pup Games supports Kickstarter United!

Fish in the Post One-Page Dungeon Collection: I support Kickstarter workers’ right to unionize. Kickstarter United is NOT calling for boycott and it appears that the BEST way to support the organization’s efforts is to launch projects and support the platform.  If anything changes in the ongoing organization efforts, then this campaign will change to comport to the desires of Kickstarter United.

Vaesen: Free League Publishing supports the Kickstarter workers’ efforts to organize a union, and we encourage the Kickstarter management to support this effort as well. We have communicated our stance to Kickstarter management, and we are following the matter closely. Currently we do not believe in a boycott however, and this is also not something that the Kickstarter workers themselves recommend. However, should you prefer an alternative method to support this project, we offer the possibility to make a late pledge via Pledge Manager after the Kickstarter ends. To be notified when the late pledges open, sign up for our newsletter and we will drop you a line!

I’ve been following this issue for a while now and I’ve noticed that the Kickstarters which launch big (by which I mean get more than 1,000 backers in their first week) tend to be quite vocal in their support for Kickstarter United. Disclaimers about causation and correlation apply. — James

Noteworthy New Projects

Vaesen – Nordic Horror Roleplaying: A gothic horror RPG inspired by Nordic Folklore, by Fria Ligan (Free League) — November 27th 

At the time of writing, nearly 2,000 backers have raised 1.4m SEK ($143,000) within the first week of this campaign. Free League are carving out a name for themselves as a roleplaying publisher — as well as branching out into board games. Their Year Zero Engine system has proven popular in games like Tales from the Loop, and the imminent launch of the Alien RPG (which also uses Year Zero) isn’t exactly going to do them any harm either.

It is virtually unprecedented for a Swedish-based publisher to break into the Anglophone market in this way (although they initially worked in partnership with Modiphius, Modiphius primarily acted as a distributor). This is especially impressive given that, as in the case of Vaesen, so many of their games are unapologetically Nordic in theme and tone.

Closing Soon

Corpus Malicious – The Codex of Evil for 5E has at the time of writing raised £57,000 ($72,000) from over 1,300 backers. Among the host of 5E supplements being pushed through the Kickstarter process at the moment, this one stands out with its particularly grim and horrific take on the game. Closes November 14th.

As a Warhammer Fantasy Role-play veteran, I can see the appeal! Maybe I should talk to Amy about letting the warlock I play in her campaign get a mutation or two: the more tentacles the better! — James

No. — Amy

Fantasy 5e & Pathfinder

Empyrean Investigations: Detective Adventures for D&D 5E: Mechanics for investigation and three mystery adventures for D&D 5e, by Richard Malena-Webber (The Puzzle Keyring) — November 21st

Fish in the Pot One-Page Dungeon Collection: A one-page dungeon adventure zine, by Fish in the Pot — November 29th

Savage Worlds

Deadlands: Lost Colony: A sci-fi Western game for Savage Worlds: Deadlands, by Shane Hensley/Pinnacle Entertainment Group — November 26th

When there’s varmints need a’catching
And young’uns need a’saving
On my rocket ship I race across the stars…

Wendigo Tales: Book One: A collection of short fiction set in the worlds of the Savage Worlds games, including some RPG add-ons, by Shane Hensley/Pinnacle Entertainment Group — November 26th

Urban Fantasy/Horror

Mummy: The Curse 2nd Edition: A hardcover edition of the Chronicles of Darkness game about mummies, by Onyx Path — December 5th

The Curse of the House of Rookwood: An RPG about a cursed family: gothic horror meets family drama, by Michael Addison — December 9th

This update was made possible by Keenan Collett and the rest of our Patreon supporters.

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