10–16 February 2020: Antisemitism; Coronavirus; Sex

Cover art for "Verminous", by The Black Dahlia Murder. Artist: Juanjo Castellano Rosado

Antisemitism; Coronavirus; Sex. Yyyeah, there’s some controversial stuff this week.

Publishers have cut ties with Judges Guild, one of the most venerable names in the industry, after antisemitic & racist comments by the company’s owner came to light.

Meanwhile, the effects of the coronavirus on the Chinese manufacturing industry touches the game world, as we start to hear about delays in RPG lines.

As for the sex: we see old and new approaches to the subject in games, and oh, boy, we’ve come a long way.

There’s also Hasbro’s annual revenue report, with a hint at something new coming for D&D. And as ZineQuest 2 continues, we have an absolutely incredible number of amazing crowdfunding projects.

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Industry News

Hasbro CEO hints at something new for D&D

Hasbro has released its report on revenue and growth for 2019. Dungeons & Dragons gets a single mention in the report: “Revenue gains from DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and several classic games titles were more than offset by declines in other games, including PIE FACE and SPEAK OUT.” An almost identical statement was made in the 2018 report.

A little more detail was given by Hasbro CEO, Brian D. Goldner, during the financial results conference call. EN World gives a useful summary of the D&D-related points, including the promise of new plans for D&D (probably in the digital space) coming February 21st. The full call can be found here in audio and transcribed format.

Publishers cut ties with Judges Guild over antisemitism

A number of RPG publishers have cut ties with 70s publisher, Judges Guild, after a series of racist and antisemitic posts by owner, Bob Bledsaw II, came to light.

Coronavirus fears delay RPG print runs

As fears around the Coronavirus loom, a number of factories in China have suspended operations. A number of RPGs that are printed in China could be affected: so far we’ve heard of delays with Fiasco 2E Kickstarter, and with a reprint of Alex Roberts’ For the Queen.

RPGs & Sex

Pelgrane Press announces Honey & Hot Wax, an anthology of games about sex.

RPGs about sex can range from awkward to outright offensive, but it’s a subject as ripe for story as any other. There are some incredible designers behind this project, representing numerous genders & sexualities (a must for this kind of product), and Pelgrane is a company I trust with sensitive topics (see their #Feminism). I’m tentatively excited for this. — Amy

Bruce Cordell uncovers rules about how orgies affect psionic power, in an issue of Dragon Magazine from 1977.

Like I said, so awkward. — Amy

RPG History

Dicebreaker recounts the history of the Secret Service raid on Steve Jackson Games in 1990.

EN World’s Michael Tresca looks at the possibility that The Witcher may have been inspired by an RPG.

Jobs

Asmodee’s fiction imprint, Aconyte Books, seeks an assistant editor.

New & Upcoming Releases

DC Universe, DC Entertainment’s video-on-demand service, announces All Star Games, an actual play of the 1980s RPG, DC Heroes, starring Freddie Prinze Jr, Sam Witwer, Clare Grant, Vanessa Marshall & Xavier Woods.

It is interesting that the show users the ’80s system, instead of the ’00s DC Adventures, or the ’90s DC Universe RPG. That, along with DC’s decision to reprint the DC Heroes Watchmen content in a book last year, has led to speculation that there may be plans to republish the game. DC Heroes second edition designer, Ray Winninger, has commented on the complicated rights situation that could be hampering such an effort.

Free League announces that the Alien RPG will be translated into seven new languages.

Critical Role merchandise is being stocked at alternative clothing retailer, Hot Topic.

Death Metal band, Black Dahlia Murder, releases an album with a 5e adventure module included.

D&D beer. That’s it.

Bundles & Deals

Humble Bundle is hosting a bundle of Cypher System & The Strange books from Monte Cook Games.

Crowdfunding News

ZineQuest

We are into week two of ZineQuest and while the number of successful new projects has slowed slightly, we’re still seeing more and more diverse projects than usual.

It should also be noted that this initiative has also seen an increase in the number of campaigns proclaiming support for Kickstarter United.

New & Noteworthy

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous: An isometric computer RPG based on the Pathfinder Adventure Path. An indirect sequel to Pathfinder: Kingmaker, by Owlcat Games (Pathfinder: Kingmaker) — March 11th

The follow up to Kingmaker has already eclipsed the original in terms of crowdfunding. With three weeks still to go, it has raised $1.2 million from 20,000 backers (Kingmaker raised $900,000 from 18,000 backers in total) — so that is a vote of confidence in Owlcat Games. It is notable that the new game will still be rooted in 1st edition Pathfinder mechanics, although that is presumably in large part to avoid unnecessarily redeveloping systems already developed for Kingmaker.

Closing Soon

Tome of Beasts 2 for 5th Edition has so far raised $311,000 from over 4,700 backers. That a well-established publisher like Kobold Press has managed to make quite such a success out of a monster manual, a popular supplement, is no great surprise. But it is worth noting that this is Kobold Press’s most successful Kickstarter campaign to date, surpassing their last campaign (Deep Magic), and more than doubling the backing received for the first Tome of Beasts. Ends February 22nd.

Trophy RPG has thus far raised $126,000 from more than 1,500 backers. This is a major step up for the Gauntlet Gaming Community. The campaign has been bolstered in the last week by a number of Zinequest campaigns launching based on the Trophy system. We have also noted the large social media presence that Trophy has had in the weeks leading up to, and during this campaign. Other creators could learn from Gauntlet’s marketing strategy. Ends February 24th.

5e & Pathfinder

What Happened at Wyvern Rock? Issue 2: Strange Places: The second issue of a zine about bringing weird sci-fi into a high fantasy game, by Drew Meger (What Happened at Wyvern Rock?) — February 20th

They Cried Monster: A monster-hunting hack for D&D 5e, by Charles Ferguson-Avery (Into the Wyrd and Wild) – February 21st

5 Room Dungeons: an RPG zine for D&D 5th Edition: A zine containing a 5 room dungeon adventure in each issue, by Johnn Four (The Demonplague – A 5E Campaign With Sandbox & Hexcrawl) — February 26th

The Deck of Many Things & The Deck of Many Fates | RPG Cards: A prop of the Deck of Many, Things By Brybelly (Wolves of Mercia, Dice Wars: Co-op Tactics Board Game) — March 1st

Dragon Stew: a 5th Edition Cooking Supplemental: A cooking supplement for 5e, by Antonio Demico — 11th March 

This is just supremely cute. Click through for the art at least. — Amy

OSR

Hexagram #4, an Old-School RPG Zine for The Fantasy Trip: A collection of articles for The Fantasy Trip, by Warehouse 23/Steve Jackson Games — February 17th

One of Us: Sideshow Salvation in a Dystopian Dustbowl: A weird Americana setting in the vein of Carnivale for Dungeon Crawl Classics, by Timothy Deschene — February 19th

PARIAH: “Psychedelic, neolithic, animist Old School Roleplaying”, by Sofinho (Alone in the Labyrinth) — February 19th

General Fantasy

Mage Against the Machine: Time-travelling wizards try to stop the robot apocalypse. Enough said. by Jordan (For the Dungeon!, Arcana Academy – A Magic School RPG) — February 18th

CANDLELIGHT – an RPG zine compatible with Trophy Dark: A game about restless spirits seeking hope, playable as a stand-alone game, or as an epilogue following player death, by Gabriel Robinson — February 19th

“as an epilogue following player death”: now that is a good concept. — Amy

Sunken: A game of nautical horror using the Trophy system, by Mike Martens — February 24th

DELVE: A Solo Game of Digging Too Deep: A solo map drawing zine game about dwarves, and the horrors they uncover when they dig too deep, by Anna Blackwell (Those Who Play) — February 28th

Descent into Midnight: A game about community, family, and hope set in an underwater world, untouched by humanity, by Richard Kreutz-Landry — March 16th

I’m not sure I need yet another Powered by the Apocalypse game sitting on my shelf, but I really like both the theme and look of this one. — James

Urban Fantasy/Horror

P R I M E V A L _: A survivalist search-and-rescue adventure module set on a jungle moon, for the Mothership sci-fi horror RPG, by Lone Archivist — February 23rd

CASKET LAND – CRUACH: A one shot adventure for Casket Land, a bleak, occult western RPG, designed to be played as a one-shot, by Marie Enger (THE BONES OF THIS PLACE, CASKET LAND) — February 26th

Indie

memoria: the zine edition: A GMless RPG for telling stories that take place over sprawling periods of time, by a. fell — February 20th

i’m sorry did you say street magic: A GMless, city-building story game, by Caro Asercion — February 26th

Accessories

Coins of the Tarot — Metal Coins for tarot readings: A coin tarot set with accompanying tarot cards, by Arthur Pittsley (Ancient Zodiac Seals, 80 Solid metal Goetia coins) — March 7th

Okay so tarot isn’t used in that many games, but I’m seriously in love with these coins. Can’t afford them though! — James

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

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