15–21 June 2021: D&D’s Past, Present & Future

This week Dungeons & Dragons is (still) in the spotlight: the company that created it is revived, the video games that are “core to its future”, the Satanic Panic that threatened it (but ultimately helped it thrive).

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D&D: Past, Present, Future

D&D Live 2021 will feature a game starring Jack Black, Kevin Smith, Reggie Watts, Lauren Lapkus and Jason Mewes. The show will air on Peacock as well as Twitch.

TSR, the company which originally created Dungeons & Dragons, is being reformed by E. Gary Gygax Jr, the son of TSR founder, Gary Gygax.

Editor’s Note: It was pointed out that we oversimplified somewhat here — this isn’t the same company reforming, it’s a new company using the same name.

Wizards of the Coast president, Chris Cocks, claims that “video games are core to the future of D&D.”

R. Talsorian outlines the history of the 1980s Satanic Panic surrounding Dungeons & Dragons.

CNBC looks at Hasbro’s success during the pandemic, including a broad overview of the company and its history.

Not much D&D here, but it’s interesting to see D&D in the context of the whole corporation.


The HeroQuest RPG will shortly be removed from sale while Chaosium rebrands it as QuestWorlds. (Chaosium sold the HeroQuest trademark to Hasbro last year).

Bundles & Deals

Bundle of Holding is running a bundle of Dark Places & Demogorgons books, a bundle of d20 supplements, a bundle of Black Scrolls map tiles, and two bundles of Flying Buffalo books.

Humble Bundle is offering a bundle of tabletop RPG maps.


Noteworthy New Projects

The Oracle Story Generator Tarot-Sized Cards: A set of story generation cards for fantasy RPGs & stories, by Nord Games (Dangerous Destinations, The Ultimate Guide to Alchemy, Crafting & Enchanting for 5E, Ultimate Bestiary: The Dreaded Accursed for 5th Edition!). So far this project has raised $133,000 from 2,000 backers. Ends July 8th

Nord is one of the more successful publishers of 5e (and systemless) sourcebooks and accessories. This is a slight departure for them, albeit into the increasingly crowded field of story-generating prompt cards. They seem popular, but at $70 for the complete set, I can’t help but feel I’d be more inclined towards a compilation of tables, or better yet a simple app. — James

Closing Soon

Exalted: Essence is a streamlined alternate set of rules for the Exalted RPG. So far this project has raised $293,000 from 3,400 backers. Ends June 24th

This is pitched as an alternative to rather than a replacement for Exalted 3rd Edition, But it does look like a reaction to the muted response that 3rd Edition received. It’s also further evidence of Onyx Path moving away from thick tomes reproducing old games for collectors, and towards accessible material to entice new players. — James

Knock! Issue Two is a compendium of miscellanea for OSR games. So far this project has raised €98,000 ($116,000) from 2,400 backers. Ends June 24th

Issue Two has more than 50% more backers than Issue One, which is a positive sign.


Thaemin’s Guide to Gods and Miracles: A zine guide to the divine for 5e, by Chamomile Has A Project (Brac’s Guide to Piracy, Dark Lord, Bianca’s Guide to Golems) — July 1st

Blood Sword 5e: A grimdark campaign setting based on the 1980s Blood Sword gamebooks, published in English and Italian, by Tambù — July 2nd

I think I owned the original Blood Sword gamebook? I can’t recall. I’m grateful to this project for teaching me that the Italian for “grimdark” is “grimdark”. — James

Masks of Power for 5e: A sourcebook for creating magical masks from hunted creatures, by Jaime Reyes Mondragón — July 10th

5e Adventures in Oz: A Wizard of Oz setting & compendium for 5e, by Double Critical (Adventures in Oz: MetalLuxe Collector Poker Cards Deck, Campaign for President) — July 15th


The Temple of the Kraken God: A Mörk Borg adventure about a doomed expedition to a newly-risen island, by Christian Eichhorn (The Vaults of Torment: Blood is Fuel) — June 29th

I’m consistently blown away by the aesthetics of Mörk Borg supplements. Not my kind of game, but damn, the art. — Amy

Urban Fantasy

Defiant RPG: An urban fantasy RPG about supernatural creatures ruling over the world, by Game Machinery — July 15th

Very Vampire the Masquerade, but I’m not sure that this game knows that its protagonists are the bad guys. — Amy

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

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