15 December 2021–10 January 2022: Happy New Year

Cover Art from Paizo's Crown of the Kobold King

Happy New Year! everybody. We’re back with a big update of everything that happened in the industry while we were away.

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Year in Review

Games Workshop founder, Ian Livingstone, was knighted in the 2022 New Years Honours, for his impact on the gaming industry. Games Industry looks at the career of this “first knight of the nerds“.

Indie RPG Pipeline’s Richard Williams releases data on Indie RPG trends in 2021.

Dicebreaker runs down Dungeons & Dragons’ year.

RPG Historian, Shannon Appelcline, looks at 2021 in RPGs.

EN World looks at RPG trends in 2021.

Wired looks at the rise of unions in the gaming industry in 2021.

EN World looks at the most anticipated RPGs of 2022.

Industry

French gaming giant, Asmodee, will be bought by even-bigger gaming giant, Embracer group.

Wizards of the Coast President and CEO, Chris Cocks, has been selected as the new CEO of Hasbro. Cocks takes over from Rich Stoddard, who has been acting CEO since the death of former CEO, Brian Goldner. We can expect an announcement on Cocks’ replacement in coming weeks.

New Tabletop Gaming company, Incredible Dream, raises $2 million to create fantasy games, starting with roleplaying game, The Kinfire Chronicles. The company includes team members from Riot Games, Fantasy Flight Games, and CD Project Red, and is advised by tabletop influencer, Felicia Day.

Dicebreaker talks to tabletop game creators about Kickstarter’s planned (threatened?) move to blockchain. Meanwhile, crowdfunding platform, Gamefound, takes a dig at the decision in its own annual update.

EN World provides a useful (if exhausting) summary of all the TSR nonsense.

Both Wizards of the Coast and Paizo are making changes to remove problematic material from their games: Wizards by making sweeping changes in its latest errata, Paizo by removing references to slavery in its game world.

Wizards of the Coast apologises for omitting Tanya DePass from the credits list of Strixhaven: Curriculum of Chaos.

Virtual tabletop platform, Tabletop Simulator, has come under fire for transphobic & homophobic moderation policies in its global chat. In response, the global chat has been removed entirely.

Polygon looks at independent publishers working towards more sustainable and equitable publishing models.

New & Upcoming

Free League joins with Virtual Tabletop platform makers, Demiplane, to create the Free League Nexus, a digital tool for Free League games. This is just the latest Nexus promised by Demiplane, with World of Darkness and Pathfinder also on the way.

Demiplane is definitely making moves with these partnerships.

Critical Role’s Legend of Vox Machina will premiere on 22 January.

Critical Role announces that the Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn will launch on January 19th on their stores, and on February 1st everywhere else.

The first book in the new Dragonlance trilogy will launch on August 9th.

It sounds like eOne’s future Dungeons & Dragons films & TV shows will take place in a shared universe.

Steamforged Games announces a Dark Souls tabletop RPG.

Pathfinder returns to some “classic” adventures with Crown of the Kobold King Anniversary Edition.

There there, I know people using “classic” to describe something from 2007 is upsetting. It’ll be okay.

Dungeons & Dragons is getting an officially licensed self-help book.

Bundles & Deals

Humble Bundle is offering a bundle of maps and tokens, a bundle of Star Trek Adventures books, and a bundle of 3d-printable miniatures.

Bundle of Holding is offering a bundle of Mörk Borg books, a bundle of Sigil Stone OSR books, a bundle of Stars Without Number books, and a bundle of Expanse books.

DriveThruRPG is running its New Years sale.

Crowdfunding News

ZineQuest postponed; #ZiMo announced

Kickstarter has announced that ZineQuest has been postponed to August, to coincide with GenCon. However, the recently announced “Zine Month,” independent of Kickstarter, will be going ahead in February, meaning that we will effectively have two Zine crowdfunding promotions this year.

The Kickstarter announcement all seems very last minute and the culmination of two factors: the recent controversy surrounding Kickstarter announcing it is moving to a blockchain-based platform, which many creators have lamented for environmental and ethical reasons, and the debacle last year over The Perfect RPG, a Kickstarter project launched by then Kickstarter Head of Community Luke Crane, which resulted in his resignation from the company. If it had gone ahead, it would have launched under a cloud.

Moving ZineQuest to August seems odd, as it is a time when Kickstarter is generally dominated by bigger projects jostling for attention. It is might be drowned out — if it even happens at all.

Meanwhile, how well #ZiMo does remains to be seen.
— James

Noteworthy New Projects

Hull Breach Vol. 1: An anthology digest for the sci-fi horror RPG, Mothership, by Ian Yusem (The Drain). So far this project has raised $301,000 from 3,900 backers. Ends February 3rd

Unsurprisingly, the biggest project of the year so far is related to one of the big projects of last year (the Mothership Boxed Set raised almost $1.5m).

Dragon Map Maker: An app for quick mapmaking, by Darren Rolmanis (Dragon Maps Ltd). So far this project has raised £36,000 ($49,000) from 1,100 backers. Ends January 13th

This looks like a nice app if it delivers what it promises. Some features are familiar — I wonder if we’ve seen this one before? — Amy

5e

Book of Magical Crystals for 5E: A collection of gem magic items for 5e, by Laura MCL (Deadly Dungeons: Quests for D&D 5E, Assassin Adventures: Quests for 5E, Treasure Hunts: Quests for 5E) — January 16th

Limitless Monsters vol.2: A collection of monsters for 5e, by Limitless Adventures (Limitless Encounters, The Blood Queen’s Defiance, Quickstarter: Limitless NPCs Revision) — January 21st

Limitless Heroics: 5e mechanics for playing characters with disabilities, mental illness and neurodivergence, by Dale Critchley — February 3rd

Mage Forge: A set of magic item cards for 5e, by Nerdarchy (Out of the Box: Encounters for 5th Edition)p — February 4th

The Adventurer’s Guide to the Bible: A 5e campaign and setting based on the Bible, by Red Panda Publishing — February 5th

I’m not against the idea of using the Bible as a source of inspiration for a roleplaying game by any means, but from skimming through this project they do appear to have gone for a very surface level approach. Making Magi wizards (because “magic”) and not, you know, Zoroastrian priests, seems a particularly egregious example. — James

Heroes of WakeSong: A set of subclasses inspired by a variety of cultures, by Secret Garden Games — February 8th

OSR & Retro

Aeon Ancient Greece Volume 2 — “Deeper into the Labyrinth”: An Ancient Greece-inspired zine for Dungeon Crawl Classics, by Sharktopus Games (Aeon: Ancient Greece Vol#1) — January 23rd+

Other & Generic Fantasy

About a World: A handbook for building a fantasy setting, by Ezd — January 13th

Horror

Ghost Club RPG: A paranormal investigation RPG, by Andrew Dowall — January 17th

Sci-Fi/Cyberpunk

Escape Sequence — Xeno: A solo adventure for Death In Space, by Squid Ink Games — January 12th

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

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