2–8 March 2020: Cancelled Projects; 5 Million on Roll20; Critical Role Munchkin

Cover art from the Tales From the Loop Starter Set from Free League Publishing

A happy belated GM’s Day, readers!

Cancelled (or at least, indefinitely postponed) games are the headline today. Chaosium and Grim & Perilous have both found reason to cancel books, though in both cases there’s a promise that this is not the end.

Virtual Tabletops get a look in: Roll20 has hit a whopping 5 million users, while Polygon takes a look at the value (and price) of D&D Beyond’s digital content.

On the upcoming products side, we have a glimpse at how Modiphius’ upcoming Dune RPG aims at diversity; a well-timed Tales From the Loop release looks to capitalise on upcoming mainstream attention; Critical Role gets a (predictable) Munchkin treatment; and the Labyrinth story game arrives!

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Cancelled Projects

Chaosium cancels Spivey-led BRP Sci-Fi setting, Kadimah

Chaosium has halted development of a sci-fi RPG setting using the Basic Roleplaying system, which was being led by Harlem Unbound and Haunted West designer, Chris Spivey. The project, titled Kadimah, has been released to Spivey, who will continue development separately.

The narrative here is that Chaosium bit off more than it could chew, with other games taking priority over this collaboration. Obviously, this is a setback, but it’s great that the two parties have found a way for the game to go forward.

Grim & Perilous cancels Japan-inspired Zweihänder RPG

Grim & Perilous will no longer be developing Tetsubo as a ZWEIHÄNDER RPG product. Tetsubo was originally developed as a Japanese-inspired supplement for Warhammer Fantasy, but was never published.

Grim & Perilous notes the difficulty of disentangling the setting from Warhammer. However, the main motivation for cancelling the publication seems to be a feeling that the setting would require dramatic changes to make the game “appealing to Asian gamers who’ve been left in the lurch with titles like Oriental Adventures.”

Andrews McMeel Publishing (who took over Zweihander from Grim & Perilous last year) is instead looking for an Asian creative lead to help develop a Sengoku-era RPG based on the system.

We’re not familiar with Tetsubo, so we can’t speak to the product, but the implication does seem to be that it mishandles the culture it is based on. It’s good to see publishers drawing the line.

Industry News

The coronavirus outbreak continues to have an impact on games. Publishers expect to see delays on products manufactured in China (this will likely affect more board than roleplaying game publishers). Publishers (gaming and otherwise) have been pulling out of conventions, including Emerald City Comic Con and GAMA Expo.

Polygon looks at the price of content on D&D Beyond, why digital access costs as much as the physical books, and drops some hints from D&D that we may see more D&D Beyond products bundled with physical books.

Virtual tabletop site, Roll20 now boasts over 5 million users.

Jobs

Modiphius seeks a freelance art director.

Awards

R. Talsorian’s Witcher RPG won Best International Game at the Cannes International Game Festival.

Art by Sija Hong from an upcoming Call of Cthulhu supplement has been nominated for a Spectrum 27 Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art award.

Upcoming & New Releases

Polygon releases the first details about Modiphius’ upcoming Dune RPG, including a list of the game’s writers.

It’s exciting to see that Modiphius is pushing inclusion with this book, both in terms of the creative team, and in terms of the game’s content.

Free League is releasing a Tales from the Loop beginners box set, arriving in April.

Clearly this was timed to coincide with the Tales from the Loop TV series, which premieres April 3rd. It’s a smart move.

Renegade Game Studios will publish an RPG based on the Junior Braves of the Apocalypse graphic novels. The RPG, entitled Junior Braves Survival Guide to the Apocalypse, will use the Kids on Bikes system.

USAopoly and Steve Jackson Games will release Munchkin: Critical Role later this year.

It was inevitable.

The Labyrinth story game by River Horse has launched.

EN World’s Egg Embry looks at the publishers participating in this year’s Free RPG Day, which takes place on June 13th.

EN World gives us a roundup of Paizo products coming in March.

Dicebreaker offers a preview of the content and cover art for Cyberpunk Red, coming later this year.

RPG History

RPG historian and Designers & Dragons author, Shannon Appelcline begins a list of 10 RPG trends from the 2010s.

The Atlantic looks at the evolution of the D&D Alignment Chart meme.

Bundles & Deals

DriveThruRPG is hosting a sale in honour of GM’s Day.

Bundle of Holding offers two bundles of Knights of the Dinner Table comics.

Crowdfunding News

There are very few Zine Quests left still running and the space has been taken up by a resurgence of 5e projects and battle maps.

Noteworthy New Projects

Towns & Taverns. Modular battlemap books which fit together to form an evolving urban map, by Battlemats — March 22nd

This is Loke Battle Mats’ sixth project and looks comparable to their last project (the Dungeon Battle Mat Book Set) in terms of support. This project has already raised £145,000 ($189,000) from 3,800 backers; the previous project raised £175,000 ($228,000) from 5,300 backers.

The Infinidungeon A collection of battlemaps in the form of a single scroll, by Tanner Yarro (Immersive Battle Maps for Tabletop Roleplaying Games) — March 25th

This is only Yarrow Studio’s second project, although their first, Immersive Battle Maps, was a huge success raising almost $1m from 16,000 backers. This project doesn’t look set to do anything like as well, but the scroll format is a somewhat more unusual project. So far, it has raised $480,000 from 3,700 backers.

Stibbles Codex of Companions: A 5e supplement containing unique pets, animal companions & familiars, by Eldermancy — March 21st

This project has so far raised $133,000 from 2,400 backers. It’s a pretty slick looking project which features chibi minis and plushies as well as the more traditional 5e book, stat cards and miniatures. There probably wasn’t a market for this kind of project five years ago so it shows how the demographics for D&D players have changed in the years since 5e launched.

Closing Soon

Dragon Stew: a 5th Edition Cooking Supplemental has so far raised €92,000 ($104,000) from 2,500 backers. Again, this points to how the demographics of D&D has changed massively compared to just a few years ago. It features a set of new cooking classes which complement your main character class, as well as “dessert familiars” and a scenario designed to highlight the new content. Add to your campaign according to taste. Ends March 11th

5e & Pathfinder

Recipe for Adventure Cards for DnD 5E: Cards featuring recipes on one side and D&D adventures focused on finding ingredients on the other, by RPGCrate — March 10th

The perfect condiment to Dragon Stew! — James

DM Yourself: A zine guide to playing D&D adventures solo, by Tom Scutt — March 14th

Norse Grimoire for 5th Edition & Journey To Ragnarok reprint: A supplement bringing Norse magic into D&D 5e, by Mana Project Studio (Journey To Ragnarok: A Norse Mythology Adventure for 5e, Historia: Dark Fantasy Renaissance Setting for 5e) — March 18th

Limitless Side Quests Quickstarter (11 short 5E adventures): A collection of single-session side-quests for D&D 5e, by Limitless Adventures (The Blood Queen’s Defiance, Limitless NPCs) — March 21st

OSR

A Wizard: A horror module in which the players hunt something that claims to be (but isn’t) a wizard, by Donovan Caldwell — March 9th

This is a killer concept. — Amy

Deep Carbon Observatory Remastered: A remaster of an OSR-style adventure for D&D, by Patrick Stuart (Gawain and the Green Knight) — April 7th

There is a trend in OSR Kickstarters of making the campaign description impossible to understand unless you already know what the product is. All it takes is a single-sentence description to orient newcomers, but descriptions are so frequently buried under walls of text that were written for fans.

On a related note, I have no clue what Deep Carbon Observatory is about. — Amy

General Fantasy

Incarnis: A zine storygame about a pantheon of gods, by Sirly Whirly — March 10th

This is very much my kind of thing, and I like the art style. Tempted. — James

Kingdoms: a Zine of Generational Proportions: A generational storygame about the rise of civilisations, by Sophia Tinney — March 27th

Monsters! Monsters rpg &”Toughest Dungeon in the World” solo: An updated edition of the 1976 RPG, Monsters! Monsters! and the solitaire adventure, “Toughest Dungeon in the World”, by Steven Crompton (City of the Gods: Guardian – An Epic Fantasy Novel) — April 5th

Although this project is being run by Steven Crompton, both books are written by Ken St. Andre, one of the earliest RPG developers and designer of the 2nd ever RPG, Tunnels & Trolls.

Science Fiction

Lost Ship: A one to two-player story game about the last of a colony ship fleet waging interstellar war while searching for a new home, by W. M. Akers (Comrades: A Revolutionary RPG, Deadball) — March 12th

I have spent hours of my life developing solo rules for the Battlestar Galactica board game. Judging by the concept, Lost Ship could have been written with me in mind. I cannot wait to inflict the two-player version on James, but I am especially excited for a one-player game that will let me nerd like nobody’s watching. — Amy

Urban Fantasy / Horror

The Midnight World: A horror RPG focused on trauma, anxiety and PTSD in a world full of monsters, by James Davey — March 29th

This looks like a very interesting game. I’m particularly enthralled by the art. — Amy

Superheroes

Ascendant: A superhero RPG with a simulationist system, by Autarch (Adventurer Conqueror King, Dwimmermount: An Old School Fantasy RPG Megadungeon) — April 1st

This campaign boasts “logarithmic chart-based universal mechanics”, which decidedly does not appeal to me, but which is a level of nerdiness that I cannot help but respect. — Amy

Modern

Eat Trash. Be Free.: A Zine Quest RPG about animals stealing food from human garbage, by David Cox (A Rasp of Sand: A Roguelike Tabletop RPG Experience) — March 14th

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

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