This week brings a lot to look forward to: Wizards announces two new D&D books; we get our first look at (maybe) the D&D film set; Critical Role teases a new project; and one of the biggest media universes makes an RPG comeback. On the other hand, it’s been a big week for Kickstarters as the northern hemisphere heads into summer — and into Pride: we’re excited to see a large contingent of queer projects.
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Two new Dungeons & Dragons books announced
Wizards of the Coast announces two new Dungeons & Dragons books: Feywild-themed adventure, The Wild Beyond the Witchlight, and a new Magic: The Gathering setting book, Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos.
It was back to the old story with these two titles being spoiled on Amazon before being officially announced. The Feywild could be a pretty fun setting — it’s been rumoured for a while. And Strixhaven is interesting: Strixhaven is the latest Magic set, launched in April — they were presumably in development together. It seems likely that we’ll start to see more simultaneous projects between the brands if they continue to see success on their Magic D&D books.
Critical Role teases new project
Critical Role finished its 3-year long Campaign 2 in a 7-hour tear-filled finale. There’s no news yet on Campaign 3, though this Thursday promises a “State of the Role” stream which will give us news on a different project.
I genuinely don’t know what the project will be but I’m throwing out the guess that it’s a tie-in stream for the Syndicult RPG, which is coming from Darrington Press (Critical Role’s publishing arm) in Q3. — Amy
New Marvel RPG announced
Marvel announces a new RPG: Marvel: Multiverse. The game, written by Matt Forbeck, will use a new system, the “D616 system” (named for the setting of much of the Marvel universe: Earth-616).
Not surprising in the days of the MCU to see a tabletop RPG emerge. Maybe a little bit surprising that it didn’t happen sooner. How does one roll D616 anyway?
The last Marvel RPG was a bit of a mess, with Margaret Weiss Productions releasing their core rules in 2012 only to end the license in 2013 (despite the rules being well-received: you can find a lot of them in the new Cortex). I suspect publishers were wary of tackling the license after that.
This isn’t the first time Marvel themselves have published an RPG. The previous game, Marvel Universe RPG lasted about the same amount of time (2003-2004) and allegedly Marvel cancelled it because despite selling well by RPG standards, it didn’t match the sales of either D&D or Marvel’s comics. Hopefully, this one will be given more of a chance to establish itself.
I wonder what the implications are for that other major Disney-owned franchise: Star Wars. Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars RPGs have been in limbo for a couple of years now since production was moved to yet-to-publish-anything Edge. Meanwhile, Marvel has been closely collaborating with Lucasfilm with their comics line since 2014. If Marvel Multiverse proves a hit will we see them branch out to a Galaxy Far, Far Away? — James
D&D movie hints
An interview with Regé-Jean Page gives a few hints about the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie, suggesting he’s playing a Paladin. We’ve also seen photographs of a film set (rumoured to be the D&D movie) coming from Alnwick Castle: from the Northumberland Gazette (here and here), from Chronicle Live, and on Twitter (here and here).
Firstly, sorry for the eye-bleedingly ad- and pop-up-ridden sites. Secondly, yeah, this looks almost certainly to be D&D: Forgotten Realms Wiki has found the Neverwinter banner.
Other new products
PaizoCon brings a host of new product announcements for Pathfinder & Starfinder.
Modiphius launches a new setting book and a new campaign book for Infinity.
Wayne’s Books looks at the early RPG scene and the first RPG distributor in Mexico.
The Game Manufacturer’s Association proposes a restructure to allow greater representation from retailers.
Polygon outlines the best places to find RPGs online.
Bundles & Deals
A massive bundle of computer games and tabletop RPGs on Itch.io is raising funds toward relief efforts in Palestine.
Noteworthy New Projects
Heliana’s Guide To Monster Hunting: A 5e supplement focused on hunting, fighting, and harvesting monsters, by Loot Tavern (D20 Class Pins). So far this project has raised $770,000 from 7,300 backers. Ends July 1st
This project is very clearly influenced by the genre of video games where you fight big monsters, something I know very little about. For me, it doesn’t seem to be bringing that much new to the table, but clearly, I’m in a minority. — James
Sure, fight-big-monsters is here, but also harvest-and-craft, which definitely feels like an important influence on a lot of crunchier RPGs now. I’m curious about the history of that influence… — Amy
Mazes Fantasy Roleplaying: A sword-and-sorcery dungeon-crawl RPG, by 9th Level Games (Kobolds Ate My Baby!, Rebel Scum The Anti-fascist Space Opera RPG Zine, The Very Good Dogs of Chernobyl RPG Zine). So far this project has raised $77,000 from 1,300 backers. Ends June 30th
Mazes was originally published as part of the original ZineQuest. This edition gives the game the full book treatment. This may be best described as “OSR-adjacent” in that it seeks to evoke a 70s style sword and sorcery game but with modern mechanics.
Wanderer’s Guide to Merchants & Magic: A sourcebook of magic shops and magic items, along with rules for buying and selling magic items, by Eventyr Games. So far this project has raised €32,000 ($39,000) from 1,200 backers. Ends July 1st.
Arc: Doom Tabletop RPG: A light-weight game about stopping the apocalypse, by Exalted Funeral (The Ultraviolet Grasslands, Old-School Essentials: Advanced Fantasy, Putrescence Regnant). So far this project has raised $44,000 from 1,000 backers. Ends July 1st
Exalted Funeral is based in the US, but Arc designer, momatoes, is a prominent voice in the Southeast Asian RPG scene. We’ve seen a few western publishers working with #RPGSEA creatives: it’s a flourishing community.
Grio’s Guide to the Wildlands is a wilderness themed supplement for 5e. So far this project has raised $64,000 from 1,500 backers. Ends July 1st
Magical Kitties Level Up! is for a reprint and new material for the feline-themed Magical Kitties Save the Day RPG. So far this project has raised $130,000 from 1,300 backers. Ends July 1st
This project looks as if it will end up with around the same number of backers as the original Magical Kitties campaign, but will raise a lot more money. It does look as if the game has earned itself a loyal fanbase.
Once More Into The Void is a sci-fi RPG about a group coming back together for one last job. So far this project has raised CA$44,000 ($36,000) from 1,100 backers. Ends July 1st
This is published by Jason Pitre (best known for the various iterations of Sig) but designed and written by Philippines-based Jamila R. Nedjadi (Sword Queen Games, The Gauntlet) — more #RPGSEA. This project is an interesting collaboration that has enjoyed a lot of community support. — James
Blue Rose Adventurer’s Guide: A 5e adaptation of the Blue Rose RPG, by Green Ronin Publishing (The Expanse RPG Dice Sets) — June 19th
Blue Rose gained a reputation for being a particularly LGBTQI-inclusive setting in the early 2000s. It was originally published for 3rd Edition, so it is no surprise to see it returning to D&D here. 5e adaptations of existing games have become increasingly common recently: it makes sense to try to meet D&D players halfway both to attract them to your games and to use that revenue to invest in the original games.
This campaign seems to have been struggling, however, having only just met its funding target. The campaign itself feels a little lacklustre and comes across as a bit of an afterthought. Green Ronin are more focused on traditional distribution, so the decision to launch a crowdfunding campaign coinciding with Pride month may have been a last-minute decision. — James
I’m actually guessing that the slow support here is down to marketing. I am the target audience for this campaign, and I would have missed its existence if we weren’t doing these updates. — Amy
Book of Riddles for Role-Playing Games: A book full of puzzles and riddles for D&D, by DenisS — June 25th
Adventuring with Pride: Queer We Go Again! A sequel to the LGBT+ supplement for 5e, by Jack Dixon (Adventuring with Pride: An LGBT 5E Supplement) — June 30th
Monsters of Murka: Chromatic Gamut: A queer high-fantasy New York City parody setting, by Action Fiction (Monsters of Murka: Restaurants and Retail) — July 1st
Traveller’s Guide to the Soddenweald: A 5e supplement focused on swamp-themed flora, fauna, food and potions, by Rose (r-n-w) — July 5th
Campfire: A card-based anthology horror story game, by The Brain Trust — June 26th
Four Horsemen Universe RPG: A Savage Worlds-based RPG for the Four Horsemen universe, by Mark Wandrey (Four Horsemen universe challenge coins) — July 6th
Pulp & Adventure
The Hammer and the Stake Tabletop: A fantastic alternate history RPG of socialists fighting a Dracula-led fascist government, by Chris Gunning — July 2nd
A fun setting and an interesting sounding original system. — James
This takes a metaphor to a glorious extreme and I like it. — Amy
Powered by the Apocalypse
Extreme Meatpunks Forever: The Roleplaying Game: “Be gay. Pilot mechs. Kill Nazis”, by Sinister Beard Games (Quietus: a roleplaying game of melancholy horror, Night Reign RPG #ZineQuest2) — July 1st
Based on the eponymous indie video game (and designed by the same designer), this project comes with a lot of high profile endorsements. It’s certainly the best looking of the projects to launch this week. — James
My Body is a Cage: Half slice-of-life, half dungeon-crawler, by John (On the Shoulders of Colossus, .dungeon) — July 1st
This project looks very interesting, but I don’t get a very clear impression from the project page of how it plays in practice, which is a bit frustrating. — James
The Bard Chronicles: A Dungeons and Dragons Rap Album, by Dizzy Roseblade — July 1st