11–17 November 2019: Sapphire Anniversary, Mainstream Media

Dungeons & Dragons is still in the spotlight this week, with two mainstream media outlets focused on the venerable RPG. At the same time, the game celebrates its 45th anniversary with a very pricey accessory.

There’s a host of new product announcements, including a new old/old new line from Games Workshop and a French edition of a popular OSR game.

Also, we’re salty about Jack the Ripper, Amy has nightmares about Kermit, and there’s an expensive box for a very expensive box.

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D&D in the Mainstream

The New York Times and The Washington Examiner look at D&D’s mainstream popularity.

EN World lists a handful of D&D’s recent appearances in mainstream media.


Writer, DC (aka DungeonCommandr) joins Wizards of the Coast as a Narrative Designer.

RPG History

The Gauntlet’s Age of Ravens begins a history of Horror RPGs.

Vincent Baker reflects on the Forge RPG community.

New & Upcoming Releases

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons, Wizards of the Coast is releasing a set of anodised aluminium dice, with a sapphire inset in the d20. The dice will be limited to 1,974 sets, in honour of the year of D&D’s release, and will run at $299.

$299, huh? Now seems like a good time to mention that you can support us for $2 a month.

As part of the anniversary dice release, Wizards is also introducing gem dragons into 5e.

Goodman Games announces a French edition of Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Pinnacle Entertainment releases Escape from Carnage Island, a horror adventure for Savage Worlds.

Monte Cook Games releases Enchiridion of the Path for Invisible Sun.

Games Workshop announces The Old World, a new line of Warhammer miniatures.

The Old World setting was largely developed in Warhammer Fantasy Role Play’s (WFRP) 1st edition, and later added into the miniatures war game. In 2015, Games Workshop destroyed the Old World, both in the game’s canon, with a world-changing catastrophe, and out of game, with the launch of the Age of Sigmar miniatures line. Now Games Workshop returns to the original setting with a new line.

The continued popularity of the RPG — as well as licensed video games — is no doubt a factor behind this decision. It remains to be seen if they closely emulate the original setting (as WFRP 4e did) or if they try to develop something new from the setting.

EN Publishing releases Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth.

Chris Perkins hints at a spooky new D&D product coming next year.

Bundles & Deals

Bundle of Holding offers a bundle of Necropolis 2350 books and a bundle of Fate books.


Kickstarter United

Only one new Kickstarter project has mentioned the Kickstarter United issue this week:

Electronic Bastionland: We stand in solidarity with the employees of Kickstarter who are working to form a union, and we believe in the right for workers to unionise. At this time, union organizers are not calling for a boycott of the platform.

And following on from our observation last week that the biggest Kickstarters support the union, yes, this is the biggest launch of the week. Again, we’re not suggesting causation here. — James

Closing Soon

The Kingdoms & Warfare Kickstarter has raised over $1.1m from over 15,000 backers. This is roughly half the numbers produced by Matt Colvile’s Strongholds & Followers Kickstarter last year — but it’s still huge money for an RPG project. This project has a much greater focus on miniatures, but the most popular tier by far remains the physical book itself.

5e & Pathfinder

5th Evolution: Whitechapel: A Victorian adventure using D&D 5e focused on hunting down Jack the Ripper, by Limitless Adventures (Limitless Encounters, The Blood Queen’s Defiance) — November 23rd

Despite the success of Limitless Adventure’s previous 5th Evolution Kickstarter project, this campaign seems to be struggling. We guess this might be due to the narrow theme, and the d20-era approach of squeezing new genres into the D&D cookie-cutter. To be honest, we’re also a little disconcerted by its handling of the subject matter: if you want to make a game about misogynistic serial killings, we would hope for the focus to be on women’s experiences, not on six vigilante character classes based on traditionally male roles.

A Christmas Carol Adventure: A 5e one-shot adventure based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, by Verge Games — December 6th

Because I grew up with it, I imagined this in the vein of The Muppet Christmas Carol. And then I imagined it using Puppetland instead of D&D. And then I called my therapist. — Amy


Tales from the Smoking Wyrm Issue #1: A Dungeon Crawl Classics Fanzine, by Blind Visionary Publications — November 19th

Urban Fantasy / Horror

Vampire: the Masquerade – Blood Feud a Mega Board Game: Somewhere between a mega game and a board game, based on Vampire: The Masquerade, by Everything Epic (Grind House, Coma Ward: The Horror Board Game) — November 27th

Not an RPG, but it’s certainly based on an RPG. This one was announced in April, and joins a long list of Vampire: The Masquerade licensees.

Electric Bastionland RPG: An RPG adventure set in a bizarre, limitless city, by Chris McDowall — December 11th

This one reminds me of some art: I can’t tell if it’s actually good or just bizarre and pretentious. But I think I like it. — Amy

Cardboard Boxes

Invisible Sun Slipcase: A slipcase for the hardcover books from the deluxe Invisible Sun Black Cube, by Monte Cook Games — November 22nd

Not an RPG, but it’s certainly a hole you can put RPG books into. It looks like this one isn’t going to make it, and that’s probably not surprising: it’s a fairly expensive accessory targeting a group of people who already bought a very expensive game product. It is interesting to see Monte Cook Games keep experimenting with the price point of RPGs. After all, if Wizards thinks they can sell dice for $300, perhaps book prices could rise enough to pay their writers a living wage.

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

2 Comments on "11–17 November 2019: Sapphire Anniversary, Mainstream Media"

    1. Hey Hein!

      Thanks for sharing. This does look like a really cool game! It’s a pity it looks like it won’t make it this time. I’ve followed the creator so we can keep an eye on his work in the future.



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