18–24 August 2020: UKGE Awards; Chaosium’s Tangled History; Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

Cover art from Dungeons & Dragons' upcoming Tasha's Cauldron of Everything

This week: the UK Games Expo awards are announced, Shannon Appelcline looks at Chaosium’s history of collaboration with other publishers, and Wizards of the Coast announces the next Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook.

What We’ve Been Playing

For the past few weeks we’ve been playing Apocalypse World second edition on Tuesday nights. James played the game’s first edition, but this is Amy’s first go with the game that spawned the sprawling Powered by the Apocalypse genre.

The game’s collaborative worldbuilding mechanics (in particular, the “threat map”, which has players draw up an abstract map of dangers in the world) left us with a setting that we immediately understood and had a stake in. That said, it’s hard-going on players who aren’t used to this kind of narrative control, and it’s resulted in a little limelight imbalance for us.

The only real damper has been playing the game online: PDF versions of Reference Sheets and Playbooks are not as easy to page through, and the game’s character sheet mod available on Roll20 (our VTT of choice) leaves a lot to be desired.

It’s the granddaddy of a whole genus of indie games — the kind of game that you have to play (or pretend to have played) at least for cred’s sake. Fortunately, the game makes it very worth your while!

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UK Games Expo Awards

The UK Games Expo Awards were announced this weekend during the convention’s digital event. In the Roleplaying Game categories, the winners were:

Best Role-Playing Game

Peoples’ Award: The ALIEN Roleplaying Game, by Free League Publishing
Judges’ Award: Paladin: Warriors of Charlemagne, by Chaosium

Best Role-Playing Game Expansion

People’s Award: Berlin: The Wicked City, by Chaosium
Judges’ Award: Berlin: The Wicked City, by Chaosium

Best Role-Playing Game Adventure

People’s Award: Chariot of the Gods (ALIEN RPG), by Free League Publishing
Judges’ Award: Rough Nights & Hard Days (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying), by Cubicle 7


Small press seller, Jim Likes Games, shuts down operation, citing the Trump Administration’s attack on the US postal service as the cause.

Wizards of the Coast is hiring a VP for Dungeons & Dragons.

RPG History

Shannon Appelcline updates his chart showing all the publishers that have worked with Chaosium over its history.

New & Upcoming Products

Wizards of the Coast announces the next Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook: Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Among numerous new mechanics, the book promises long-awaited alterations to the way D&D handles race.

We don’t anticipate the changes to D&D’s race mechanics coming in this book will be radical — or enough. But we will be glad to see them.

Wizards also announces D&D Celebration 2020, a live online event celebrating the release of Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden, and previewing material from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. The event also includes a massive Adventurer’s League organised play game session.

Green Ronin releases Sword Chronicle, a setting-neutral system based on the A Song of Ice and Fire RPG.

Bundles & Deals

Bundle of Holding is offering a bundle of Goodman Games 5th Edition Fantasy Books, and a bundle of Cthulhu Invictus books.

Humble Bundle is offering a bundle of 3D-printable models.

DriveThruRPG is running a sale on Cthulhu Mythos books.

Crowdfunding News

Noteworthy New Projects

Hellboy: The Roleplaying Game: A 5e-powered RPG adapting the Hellboy comics, by Mantic Games (Hellboy: The Board Game, TerrainCrate, Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf King’s Quest) — September 7th. So far this project has raised over £201,000 ($264,000) from 3,400 backers.

It makes sense for Mantic to leverage the success of their Hellboy board game a couple of years ago with an RPG. They have also brought on board Red Scar Publishing, who previously collaborated with them with the Kings of War RPG, to focus on the actual game development.

I’ve seen people express mixed feelings about the suitability of 5e for a setting of this type — and honestly it feels like a return of the 3e/d20 days where everything was a D&D hack. To their credit, however, they have introduced a complication/opportunity mechanic to give it a slightly different feel. — James

Closing Soon

Svilland: 5E Norse Setting & Freyja’s Tears A Grim Adventure is a reprint of an existing sourcebook, along with a new adventure. So far this project has raised over 150,000 ($196,000) from 3,000 backers.

5e & Pathfinder

Shotglass Adventures: A collection of 6 low-level adventures for D&D 5e and OSR games, by Laidback Dungeon Master (Shotglass Adventures, Maps Your Party Will Die For, Dungeons Your Party Will Die For) — 26th August

Hall of the Rainbow Mage: A mid-level adventure for 5e, Pathfinder, and Swords & Wizardry, by Necromancer Games (Chaos Rising, Lost Menagerie, The Book of Taverns) — 28th August

The Complete Curse of Roslof Keep Campaign: A megadungeon for D&D 1E & 5E, by Scott Taylor (The Folio, The Complete Cities of Sorcery) — September 15th

You guys, it genuinely has bikini mail on the cover. I rolled my eyes so hard I think I may have done permanent damage. — Amy

Into the Unknown: A sandbox solo campaign for 5e, B/X, and Swords & Wizardry, by Pacesetter Games & Simulations (Basic and Expert RPG Sets Remastered, Book of Beginnings for 5th Edition, Path of the Vanished) — September 16th

Other and Generic Fantasy

Mnemonic: A Weaver’s Almanac: A game about building stories in a world made of memory, by Dee Pennyway — September 16th

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

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