16–22 March 2020: Weathering the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic continues, and we’re seeing it on all sides of the industry. On the one hand, we’ve seen livestreams shut down, Kickstarters cancelled, events postponed. On the other hand, we’re seeing many gamers turn to online platforms, and numerous publishers offering support to keep people playing.

Still, there are a cautious number of new products announced and released this week; there is a host of Kickstarters running; there are comics and coffee and cons… Gaming goes on.

We’re still here. Another week of isolation, and we’re doing okay. I am profoundly grateful for the technology that is keeping us talking — and keeping us gaming.

This week we played Flotsam and Witch: The Road to Lindisfarne over Discord; Dungeons & Dragons and The One Ring on Roll20. We’re organising on Messenger, sharing character sheets on D&D Beyond and Dropbox; buying digital games on DriveThru and itch.io.

I miss being near my friends, desperately. But we still get to imagine together. That will be no small part of what saves us. — Amy

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Coronavirus

Cancellations & Postponements

The UK Games Expo has been postponed to August 2020.

Critical Role will stop all its live broadcasts to allow its employees to practice social distancing.

Gaming Through the Pandemic

ConTessa is hosting the Friends of ConTessa Game Fest, an online convention, March 27–30.

EN World has a compilation of free stuff being offered by RPG publishers during the pandemic.

Wizards of the Coast, Roll20, and Critical Role release a free adventure to play online.

Atlas Games is offering the “Friendly Local Game Drop” Program, allowing FLGSes to sell Atlas Games books and have Atlas ship them directly to the customer.

Astral Tabletop is offering its paid features free to all users until the end of April.

Roll20 is offering free tokens, maps & adventures.

Fantasy Grounds is on sale for 75% off.

CAR-PGa offers guidance for playing games during the pandemic.

Monte Cook Games is running a sale on No Thank You Evil books.

Industry

VentureBeat looks at how actual play has changed the business of tabletop RPGs.

Competitions

Paizo’s annual RPG writing competition, RPG Superstar, is returning, though with a new format, and helmed by the Roll For Combat podcast.

Chaosium has released its Call of Cthulhu the Coloring Book as a free download, and is running a colouring competition.

New & Upcoming Releases

The Pathfinder 2nd Edition Beginner Box will arrive in November.

I’m a little surprised that this wasn’t scheduled sooner. — Amy

A Vampire: The Masquerade comic is coming from Vault Comics.

The latest Critical Role sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons, Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount, has launched.

Fantasy Flight Games releases Path of Waves and Sins of Regret in PDF for Legend of the Five Rings.

Goodman Games announces Xcrawl Classics, a Dungeon Crawl Classics-compatible edition of the live-TV dungeon crawl RPG, Xcrawl.

Modiphius releases the Delta Quadrant Sourcebook for Star Trek Adventures.

Paizo is offering a Pathfinder-branded coffee.

Bundles & Deals

Bundle of Holding is offering a bundle of Dragon Warriors books and a bundle of Maelstrom books.

Crowdfunding News

Noteworthy New Projects

Multiverse: RPGs for Every Kind of Player: A platform for playing and streaming roleplaying games. (PC + Mobile), by Team Multiverse — April 18th

This project aims to blur the lines between roleplaying on a virtual tabletop and playing a video game, complete with an 8-bit veneer. It seems like an ambitious undertaking but has a lot of talent behind it. So far it is only 25% into its goal however, having raised $65,000 from over 1,000 backers.

Is it technically a ‘tabletop’ RPG if it only exists digitally? Despite having read the “clarification” I’m still not clear to what extent you can use it to run a system of your own choice, or are beholden by Multiverse’s own mechanics. — James

I share James’ confusion here. Judging by the art, it seems as though this runs its own system. I’m also sceptical about RPG platforms that promise computer game-style play: I’ve never seen any platform deliver a way to create that experience on the fly; they tend to fall apart the moment the PCs do anything remotely unexpected. Still, I’d love to see this in action. It’s a shame there’s no Actual Play preview here. — Amy

Closing Soon

Infinidungeon is seeking to put the “scroll” into roleplaying with a series of battlemaps in the form of a 100ft long scroll, It has currently raised $540,000 from 4,200 backers — although this is just over half the amount raised for Tanner Yarro’s previous project, which was a more traditional book of battlemaps. Ends March 25th.

5e & Pathfinder

Magwa’s Magic Item Compendium: Hardcover: A hardcover compendium of magic items compatible with 5th edition, by Knights of Vasteel (NPC For Hire, Magwa’s Magic Item Compendium Card Deck) — March 27th

Midderlands 5e: A weird fantasy setting for 5e, by Necromancer Games (Necromancer Games: Back for 5th Edition!, Tome of Horrors 2020 for Fifth Edition) — April 2nd

Izirion’s Enchiridion of the West Marches: A guide to running West Marches-style sandbox games in 5e and OSR games, by Sam Sorensen (BLOOD CHROME NEON, Rust Hulks) — April 8th

Legendlore RPG Setting for 5th Edition Fantasy Roleplaying: A setting book in which people from our world are transported to a fantasy realm, by Richard Thomas/Onyx Path — April 9th

TBH the DIE comics have completely changed how I view this kind of story! — Amy

Knights of the Shadow Realm: A 5e campaign in which the adventurers seek to stop an evil demi-god breaching this realm, by David Barrentine — April 18th

OSR

The Salty Funnel for DCC RPG: A nautical 0-level funnel adventure for Dungeon Crawl Classics, by 2 Old Guys Games — March 28th

Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide: A compendium of GM advice & ideas for Castles & Crusades, by Stephen Chenault/Troll Lord Games (The Lost City of Gaxmoor 5E, The Starship Warden) — April 8th

General Fantasy

The Magitech Chronicles Pen & Paper Roleplaying Game: An RPG based on the science-fantasy series, The Magitech Chronicles, by Chris Fox — March 25th

This looks to be a self-published RPG based on a series of self-published novels, which I find pretty interesting as a “moment” in RPG publishing. — Amy

Powered by the Apocalypse

World Wide Wrestling: Second Edition: A second edition of the PbtA game of pro-wrestling narrative action, by Nathan Paoletta (RPG Design Zine, Imp of the Perverse) — April 14th

The first edition of World Wide Wrestling was a success, and one I’ve been interested in despite my lack of knowledge about wrestling. A new edition might spur me to give it a try. — James

Accessories

Dungeon Crafter’s Sketch Book – Square and Hex Editions: A sketchbook for designing maps on square and hex grids, by Philip Reed (The Book of Unusual Potions, A Dozen Sinister Rumors) — March 31st

RPG Sounds: A sound deck of sound effects, music & ambient noise for RPGs, by Cast’n’Play — April 9th

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

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