14–20 September: Gen Con; Paizo; Awards

Cover art from Heart, winner of a stunning 7 ENnie awards.

This week: Gen Con is underway, but crowd control causes some controversy. Meanwhile, stories of a toxic culture at Paizo have been making the rounds on Twitter. And with Gen Con comes awards season: we see the winners of the Diana Jones and the ENnie Awards.

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Gen Con

Gen Con is underway, though not without controversy: attendees and exhibitors have already expressed concern at the management of crowds, and the failure to make COVID vaccines mandatory. A Gen Con spokesperson responded to these concerns in an interview with ICv2.

The convention has also publically expelled The Gaming Goat CEO, Jeff Bergren, who has been at the centre of controversy surrounding a white supremacist dogwhistle in a board game.

Culture at Paizo

After two employees at Paizo left (or were fired, depending on which side of the story you believe), some complaints about company culture as well as several former and current senior members of staff, have been made. President, Jeff Alvarez, has made a statement on the matter.

I honestly wish we had more time to come to grips with this story, because we haven’t seen any of the usual publications taking up this story seriously. Paizo has been something of a darling of inclusion — consider the praise heaped on their recent anti-colonial Mwangi Expanse — so this litany of stories about harassment & discrimination in the company is disappointing. (I would say surprising, but who can be surprised at a toxic gaming company anymore?) Right now, we just don’t have the time to unpack this story further than to share these complaints and shake our heads at them. — Amy

Awards & Elections

The Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming goes to Nigerian Games Publisher, Nibcard Games.

EN World announces the winners of the 2021 ENnie Awards. There are some major winners in the pile, with Rowan, Rook & Decard’s Heart: The City Beneath taking home 3 Gold and 4 Silver awards; Alice is Missing taking home 3 Gold Awards; and Free League taking home Fan Favourite Publisher, as well as 7 awards for ALIEN, Mörk Borg, and Vaesen.

The Game Manufacturer’s Association announces the results of its board election.

New & Upcoming

D&D Celebration will take place this weekend, 24–26 September to celebrate the release of The Wild Beyond the Witchlight. It will also feature a Musical.

Paizo announces community content platforms for Pathfinder and Starfinder.

Chaosium announces a 40th Anniversary edition of the Call of Cthulhu Keeper Rulebook.

Goodman Games releases The Temple of Elemental Evil for 5e.

Bundles & Deals

A bundle of games on DriveThruRPG is raising funds for Hurricane Ida Relief.

DriveThruRPG is running a sale on Fey RPG settings.

Bundle of Holding is offering a bundle of Mutant Crawl Classics books, two bundles of Mutants & Masterminds books, and a bundle of Numenera books.

Crowdfunding

Closing Soon

Herbalist’s Primer is a system agnostic sourcebook about real world plants. So far this project has raised $639,000 from 15,000 backers. Ends September 24th

It’s a quiet week, but it’s nonetheless nice to see that the biggest project to end this week is a systemless sourcebook that isn’t yet another monster manual or compilation of magical items. It’s bigger than any campaign which launched last year, although it’s relatively low on 2021’s league table. I’m struggling to explain quite why it has enjoyed this level of success, eclipsing all of Exalted Funeral’s previous projects by a wide margin. — James

I’ll hazard a guess as to why: at the same time as the recent rise in RPG popularity, there has also been a rise in the popularity of foraging. Lockdown has sent people outside, and personally I’ve been seeing a huge amount of content about using plants & fungi. This game combines that interest with RPGs. I think it isn’t a coincidence that the book’s aesthetic is more cottagecore than RPG. — Amy

Peculiar Discoveries is another 5e compilation of magical items. So far this project has raised CA$134,000 ($105,000) from 1,600 backers. Ends September 23rd

Historica Arcanum is a 5e sourcebook inspired by near eastern cultures. So far this project has raised $72,000 from 1,300 backers. Ends September 22nd

Pleased to see that this project demonstrates a degree of cultural sensitivity and is designed by an ethnically representative team. — James

5e

Caravans: A rules module for managing camps and caravans in 5e, by Dead Channel Studios (The Royal Unicorn 5E: Tavern Rules and Intro Adventure, The GM’s Toolkit for Random Encounters) — September 22nd

Goblingrief: A low-level 5e adventure featuring a sentient sword, by William Murakami-Brundage (Bed, Bath, & Behemoth: An Epic D&D 5e Adventure, The Black Lotus of Thalarion: A D&D 5e Dreamlands Adventure, The Waxwyrm Bounty: A D&D 5e Adventure) — September 23rd

Kessler’s Guide to Dungeons: A zine sourcebook on dungeon design, by Chamomile Has A Project (Harlequin’s Guide to Cities and Poison, Celawyn’s Guide to Wilderness and Fey, Thaemin’s Guide to Gods and Miracles) — October 1st

OSR & Retro

Galgenbeck — Sacrifice: A Mörk Borg Adventure About Human Sacrifice and Lost Memories, by Christian Eichhorn (Purgatory | A Mörk Borg Supplement, The Temple of the Kraken God | A Mörk Borg Adventure, The Vaults of Torment: Blood is Fuel) — September 30th

Delver #2: Resources for the Random-Rolling Referee: A zine full of random resources for Old School Essentials, by James Floyd Kelly (Delver: Resources for the Random-Rolling Referee, Tavern Tales #1: Lair of the Battle Mage RPG Adventure Zine) — October 16th

Other & Generic Fantasy

Blackbirds RPG: A dark fantasy RPG based on the Zweihander RPG, by Andrews McMeel Universal — October 15th

Superheroes

Queerz! RPG: A queer-themed super sentaiRPG, based on the QUEERZ manga, using the City of Mist system, by Amít Moshe/Son of Oak Game Studio (City of Mist, a noir RPG of modern-day legends) — October 13th

Post Apocalyptic

Duster: A post-apocalyptic, gaspunk, wild. west RPG, by Andrew O. (Streets  — Stray animal adventures!) — October 14th

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

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