25–31 March 2019: Chinese censorship, Midwest moms, Acquisitions Incorporated

If there is a theme to this week’s news, it’s that in roleplaying games, politics matter. We see censorship in China leading to the destruction of RPG sourcebooks. We see how racist immigration policies in the 19th Century led to a racist RPG in the 21st. We see how Wizards of the Coast and creators like Satine Phoenix are working to make gaming spaces safe for marginalised groups.

We also get moms playing D&D, a Savage Worlds cruise, and a bunch of teasers on upcoming products.

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Real-World Fights

Three armed men in army uniform fighting a monster, of which only the tentacles are visible.

Art from The Sassoon Files, recently destroyed by censors in China

The Chinese government orders the printer of The Sassoon Files, a sourcebook for Call of Cthulhu set in 1920s Shanghai, to destroy all copies of the book.

James Mendez Hodes talks about a personal encounter with the creator of a racist Indie RPG. It includes a fascinating history of fortune cookies, and a little background on the wǔxiá parody in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Wizards of the Coast is partnering with LGBTQ youth centre, Lambert House to reprise their D&D and Magic: The Gathering PRIDE gear.

Forbes interviews Satine Phoenix about D&D as storytelling, how livestreaming has broken down barriers, and defeating evil.

Speaking of real-world fights, March 31st was International Transgender Day of Visibility. Please consider supporting transgender creators or support groups: this year we are supporting Mermaids.

Stuff We Love

Xander Jeanneret plays D&D with his mom and her friends

If you watch one Actual Play video this week, let it be this video of Xander Jeanneret playing Dungeons & Dragons with his mom and her friends.

Gamer’s Tavern drops a great video on the history of the Dragonlance novels and setting.

The Rocky Mountain Savages, a Savage Worlds licensee and fan group, are running a seven-day Savage Worlds Caribbean cruise.

Upcoming Products

Last week we spoke about the upcoming sequel to Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines, the cult video game adaptation of White Wolf’s RPG. This week, VentureBeat interviews the game’s writer, Brian Mitsoda, and developer, Hartsuit Labs’ CEO Andy Kipling on the game. The interview points to the game including more than just vampires, but adding monsters from the whole World of Darkness. (Pre-Orders include a “Season of the Wolf” Season Pass, which is suggestive.)

The release of Chaosium’s RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha slipcase set is delayed by a week.

Marketing material for the forthcoming Acquisitions Incorporated sourcebook for D&D

D&D Beyond gives us a preview of the upcoming Acquisitions Incorporated sourcebook for D&D, coming June 18th. We were delighted to see some of the book’s gorgeous illustrations by Up to Four Players co-creator and friend of the blog, Aviv Or.

Pathfinder’s Second Edition has gone to the printers.

Pegasus Spiele gives some details about its forthcoming RPG based on Games Workshop’s Talisman board game.

Hunters Entertainment (Outbreak: Undead, Kids on Bikes) is developing a roleplaying game based on Netflix’s transhumanist sci-fi, Altered Carbon.

Grant Howitt (Spire, Honey Heist) hints at a new game sharing the system and setting of Spire, his game of revolutionary dark elves in a dystopian fantasy world.

Industry Miscellanea

The ENnies awards have updated their awards categories.

Sean Hillman and Egg Embry interview nine male ZineQuest creators on what motivated them to create Zines.

Deals and Bundles

Bundle of Holding launches a bundle of Traveller RPG books.

In honour of PAX East, D&D Beyond are offering a coupon for 25% off their digital books. They’re also sharing similar coupons on Facebook.

Jobs

Satine Phoenix is ending her term as D&D’s community manager, and the post is now open for applications.

Lynne Hardy becomes a full-time Associate Line Editor at Chaosium.

Wizards of the Coast seeks a Logistics and Operations Manager for European fulfilment.

Crowdfunding News

Our Picks

Amy picks Contagion Chronicle: Onyx Path’s new campaign, which allows players to play any creature from the entire Chronicles of Darkness series, makes me nostalgic for the bizarre, cobbled-together games of World of Darkness we played in university.

Contagion Chronicle – a Chronicles of Darkness crossover: a crossover campaign in which all the unnatural denizens of the world must come together to deal with the eponymous Contagion, which threatens the fabric of reality, by Richard Thomas/Onyx Path (Werewolf 20th Anniversary, Wraith 20th Anniversary, Pugmire) — April 25th

James picks Party Backstory Generator: I love backstories for my PCs, and I love story games — and this looks like it’s a bit of both!

Party Backstory Generator for 5e and Other Systems: a character backstory and one-shot generator for GMs and players of 5e, Pathfinder, and other games, by Justin Sirois (Dungeon Dealer, Settlers for Satan) — April 30th

5e & Pathfinder

Call To Adventure: A compendium of character Backgrounds for 5e, by Jerry Joe Seltzer (first project) — April 7th

The Forbidden Library 5E: A sourcebook and adventure set in a magical library, written by Gregory A. Wilson, for 5e, by Brian Dalrimple (Esper Genesis: Heroic Sci-Fi Role-Playing for 5E) — April 20th

Broadsword Magazine: A monthly Zine of old school adventures for 5e, by David Hamrick (first project) — April 25th

OSR

Secrets of the World Harvesters: A science-fantasy adventure for Dungeon Crawl Classics, by Scott Swift (first project) — April 4th

General Fantasy

Symbar – Mother of Darkness: The fourth instalment of the Chronicle of the Throne of Thorns campaign for Symbaroum, by Fria Ligan (Tales from the Loop, Coriolis) — April 11th

Fellowship 2nd Edition: An updated version of the Apocalypse-engine inspired story game about going on an adventure, by Jacob Randolph (Inverse World – A Dungeon World Sourcebook) — April 29th

Savage Worlds

Wiseguys: The Savage Guide to Organized Crime: A Las Vegas Mafia setting and organized crime sourcebook for Savage Worlds, by Eric Lamoureux (first project) — April 19th


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18–24 March 2019: Bloodlines 2, Stranger Things, What D&D Means to Us

Last week we had some announcements that we all saw coming: the much-hinted-at Vampire: The Masquerade computer game release by Paradox Interactive, and the trailer for the third season of Netflix’s RPG-filled, 80s nostalgia horror, Stranger Things. We were also delighted to see a handful of personal essays by gamers and RPG fans talking about what D&D and D&D streamers have meant to them.

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A Quick Shout-Out

The International Game Developers Association’s LGBTQ+ Special Interest Group is looking for queer games organisations (including analogue & tabletop games groups).

Long-Expected Announcements

Artwork from Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2

As predicted, Paradox Interactive’s hinting led to the announcement of Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2 at GDC. According to the announcement, the computer game draws a lot from the tabletop game’s latest edition, but also influenced that game. The game will drop in Q1, 2020.

This could well be a controversial release: as a sequel to a much-loved cult game, it’ll be up for quite a bit of scrutiny; the latest tabletop release was something of a disaster, leading to the dissolution of White Wolf after it released hugely insensitive material; we’ve even seen some grumbling from Gamergate-allied blogs around the game’s promised progressive handling of gender in character creation.

The trailer for Stranger Things Season 3

After the launch of the Stranger Things season 3 trailer, Comicbook.com speculates on what the show will name its latest monster. Previous seasons saw the Demogorgon and the Mindflayer. (Our money is on the Tarrasque for this one. Our money is also on Amy weeping openly for most of July 4th, when the season drops.)

What D&D Means to Us

Gamer, Carley Fockler, talks about how discovering her mother’s past with Dungeons & Dragons helped them to connect.

Critter, Valerie Anne, talks about her love of Critical Role, and how it helped her discover that queer stories have a place in Dungeons & Dragons. (This one’s actually two months old, but Amy just discovered it and she’s in love with it.)

Critter, Elizabeth Garn, talks about her love of Critical Role, and the relevance of the show to her Christian faith.

Jeremiah Johnston at comicsverse praises the portrayal of D&D in Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons. We’ve failed to talk about this crossover comic until now, being more than a little exhausted with the IP, but it’s worth mentioning that this comic has made a splash in the RPG community.

Streaming (and as always, Critical Role)

Wizards of the Coast’s Aland Failde and Michelle Sutterfield give a talk at GDC, discussing the vital role of streamers in community building for games. Although the speech focuses on Magic the Gathering, we can probably draw some parallels in the role of streamers in Dungeons & Dragons’ recent success.

The cast of Critical Role is interviewed at East Coast Comic Con about the show and the Kickstarter. They also do a read-through of a scene from the forthcoming animated series, and it’s… well… watch through to the end.

Forbes reports on the Critical Role Kickstarter.

Essential Reading (and Listening)

Podcast catcher, Pocket Casts, releases a curated list of RPG-related podcasts.

Matt Jarvis of Tabletop Gaming magazine talks about the history of Chaosium’s classic Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign. (The article came out in the magazine’s February 2018 edition, but has been reprinted online in honour of Masks creator, Larry DiTillio, who passed away earlier this month.)

David Hartlage talks about how Half-Orcs have been handled in different editions of Dungeons & Dragons.

Andrew Peregrine of EN World sets straight some common RPG industry misconceptions.

Matthew Rossi at Blizzard Watch talks about Source Reference Documents (SRDs) in RPGs.

Upcoming and Recent Products

We should soon see Onyx Path release the Kickstarter for the Contagion Chronicle — a campaign which crosses over between all of the Chronicles of Darkness game lines (Vampire: The RequiemWerewolf: The ForsakenMage: The Awakening, etc.), and should give guidance and rules for Storytellers (GMs) wanting to run games which include player characters of any of the Chronicles creature types.

A long-awaited collection of rulebooks for the latest edition of Chaosium’s classic, RuneQuest, will land March 28th, in the form of a slipcase set, including the core rules, Bestiary, and Gamemaster Screen Pack. (James has been positively dying for this one.)

25 years later, we’re going to see a second edition of Jonathan Tweet’s Everway RPG.

The first issue of IDW’s Dungeons & Dragons comic, A Darkened Wish launched.

Keith Baker, creator of the Eberron campaign setting, launches a new Eberron sourcebook for 5e on the DM’s Guild (D&D’s 3rd-party publishing platform). Baker has also been producing Across Eberron, a by-the-fans adventure path, on the DM’s Guild.

Chaosium releases Berlin: The Wicked City, a sourcebook for Call of Cthulhu set in 1920s Berlin.

Fantasy Flight Games launches Night on the Town, a free adventure for their new Shadow of the Beanstalk RPG.

Goodman Games will be running its DCC (Dungeon Crawl Classics) Team Tournament at Gen Con and Origins this year.

The Pathfinder: Kingmaker computer game gets some new, free DLC.

Jobs and Corporate

D&D Beyond seeks a Full Stack Developer.

James Hutt joins R. Talsorian Games as a designer.

F. Wesley Schneider, former Paizo editor and co-creator of Pathfinder, joins the D&D team as an editor.

Deals and Bundles

Bundle of Holding releases two bundles of products for Kevin Crawford’s OSR sandbox Sci-Fi game, Stars Without Number.

Goodman Games is selling grab bags full of a random selection of their products.

Crowdfunding News

Educational

Critical Core: A roleplaying game for children on the autism spectrum, co-developed with autism advocates, parents, therapists, and educators, by Game to Grow (first project) — April 26th

5e & Pathfinder

Quickstarter: Limitless NPCs Revision (100+ 5E NPCs): A revised collection of setting-neutral, 5e compatible NPCs, by Limitless Adventures (Limitless Monsters, Limitless Encounters) — April 6th

The Seas of Vodari – 5th Edition Swashbuckling & Sorcery: A swashbuckling, seafaring campaign for 5e, by Tribality Publishing (first project) — April 12th

Ultimate Spheres of Power: The Complete System! (Pathfinder): A compilation of the Spheres of Power magic system for Pathfinder, by Adam Meyers (Rogue Glory, Spheres of Might) — April 14th

Hidden Oddities: A Witch’s Primer: A Witch class, with accompanying spells, backgrounds, and archetypes for 5e, by Eva Brown (first project) — April 19th

OSR

Basic and Expert RPG Sets Remastered!: A remastered version of D&D’s first edition Basic and Expert rules from 1981, by Pacesetter Games & Simulations (Rise of the Nefarious: A 5th Edition Campaign) — April 4th

The City of Great Lunden: A City Setting for OSR games, by Glynn Seal (The Midderlands Expanded) — April 14th

Ruin Masters: An updated, translated edition Swedish RPG, Drakar och Demoner, by RiotMinds (Trudvang Chronicles, LexOccultum) — April 19th

Supers

Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition: The second edition of the 2013 superhero RPG, by Evil Beagle Games (first project) — April 8th

11–17 March 2019: Adapting RPGs, Remembering Larry DiTillio, Cthulhu in Australia and Japan

This week we see a host of announcements related to adaptations: RPGs being made into movies, movies being made into RPGs, RPGs into computer games, miniature-lines into RPGs, and so on. We get some reminiscences on Larry DiTillio’s work at Chaosium, and on the global reach of Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu. In addition, we have speculation about theme parks, Neil Gaiman miffed at White Wolf, and more discussion about the influence (good and bad) of Critical Role.

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Adaptations

The upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie, slated for November 2021, has got a new script, and a bizarre list of A-Listers that Paramount hope might fill the male lead. (We’re personally left bewildered by what kind of role they think could be filled by actors as wildly different as Josh Brolin and Johnny Depp, but we’re going to swallow our dread and hope they cast Vin Diesel, who is at least familiar with the source material.)

An RPG Adventure Game based on Jim Henson’s Labyrinth is in the works by River Horse Games (My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria RPG, Labyrinth: The Board Game). Author of the adventure, Ben Milton, describes the adventure as “90 interlinked scenes full of OSR-style challenges. Definitely not OSR rules, though.”

Black Shamrock is adapting Chaosium’s classic Runequest as a video game. The Dublin-based developer is also working on an adaptation of the classic dystopian RPG, Paranoia, in partnership with Cyanide (Call of Cthulhu: The Official Video Game, Blood Bowl).

Tuque Games (developers of top-down shooter, Livelock) are working on a new Dungeons & Dragons video game, with job listings hinting at an RPG of some sort.

Renegade Game Studios (Overlight, Kids on Bikes) is making a D&D 5e-compatible RPG setting for WizKids’ Wardlings miniatures line. The line features young adventurers and their magical companions, and the setting promises a world in which these children must save the world from threats that adults cannot see.

Goodman Games announces the third in its Original Adventures Reincarnated series of D&D First Edition adventures adapted for Fifth Edition: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

Some Gaming History

Larry DiTillio, creator of She-Ra, and a former writer for Flying Buffalo and Chaosium, has died. Chaosium’s Mike Mason remembers Larry’s historic work on Call of Cthulhu.

A Crunchyroll article on H.P. Lovecraft’s popularity in Japan cites Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu as an influence, naming it the most popular RPG in the country.

Australia’s National Library requests a copy of Terror Australis from Chaosium, as a work “of national significance relating to Australia and the Australian people”.

EN World launches a new column in which James M. Ward (former game designer at TSR, the original publisher of D&D) talks about the early days of the game.

For those looking to explore the interconnected world of RPG development, we present Six Degrees of Chris Pramas.

Critical Role (and other Streams)

Polygon offers an excellent article on Critical Role’s record-breaking Kickstarter, which takes a look at Tabletop RPG industry’s relationship with Kickstarter and with Livestreaming, as well as alluding to some of the criticism surrounding the success of the Kickstarter. The success of Critical Role’s latest venture has led many to point out the economic disparity in the industry, in which very few creators (a largely white and male minority) make ends meet.

CNBC talks about D&D’s growing popularity, focusing on the role of streaming.

Critical Role announces Series 2 of its prequel comic, Vox Machina Origins, a paperback release of Series 1 of the comic, as well as an art book featuring fan art from the stream’s second season.

411Mania talks to Critical Role stars, Travis Willingham and Sam Riegel, on the success of the kickstarter.

SyFy interviews professional RPG streamer, Will Jones, of EncounterRoleplay.

Blank Slate is a Live Action Roleplaying livestream murder mystery where the audience determines whodunnit. We’ve been intrigued to see a handful of streams promising audience participation in RPG actual plays lately.

Some Idle Speculation

Hotel owners in Indianapolis are fighting a planned expansion of the Indiana Convention Centre, as it would saturate the market. The US’s largest tabletop convention, Gen Con, renewed its contract with the city, contingent on this project being completed. The project seems likely to go ahead (the city doesn’t want to lose big clients like Gen Con), but if it is derailed, we could see Gen Con making a move to another city.

EN World’s Mike Tresca speculates on the possibility of a D&D Theme Park.

A Facebook Post from gaming convention, Gamehole Con, has led to speculation that we might see a new D&D campaign setting later this year.

The Money Behind Games

Following on from news last week that Dziobak Larp Studios is shutting down, Swedish production studio, The company P, are attempting to take over the blockbuster College of Wizardry LARP, and are running an IndieGoGo campaign in order to do so.

Genesis of Legend Publishing is conducting a survey on RPG Publication costs.

The Cool and the Not-So-Cool

70 Dungeon Masters ran a D&D game simultaneously on a Caribbean Cruise.

Neil Gaiman tweets about the “tacky” way in which White Wolf used his work for Vampire: The Masquerade in the disastrous latest edition of the game:

Jobs

Wizards of the Coast is hiring a Senior Software Developer.

D&D Beyond seeks a Senior Product Manager.

Deals & Bundles

EN Publishing is having a sale on DriveThruRPG.

Bundle of Holding is offering a bundle of Lone Wolf products.

Upcoming Products

Fantasy Flight Games announces Collapse of the Republic, a sourcebook for Star Wars Roleplaying covering the Clone Wars and the… uh… collapse of the Republic.

The second volume of Starfinder’s Dawn of Flame Adventure Path, entitled Soldiers of Brass, launches this month.

Wizards of the Coast gives us a sneak peek at some of the maps from Ghosts of Saltmarsh.

Pelgrane Press previews its Free RPG Day giveaway.

Roll20 is bringing sound mixing and weather effects to its virtual tabletop.

Kickstarter News

5e & Pathfinder

Arcana of the Ancients, a 5E science-fantasy sourcebook: The anticipated science-fantasy sourcebook (featuring the Numenera setting) for 5e, by Monte Cook Games (Numenara, The Strange) — April 13th

Humblewood Campaign Setting for 5e DND: An adorable birdfolk campaign setting for 5e, by Hit Point Press (The Deck of Many) — April 11th

Snowhaven for Fifth Edition: A “snowpunk” dark fantasy setting for 5e, by Josh Heath (Old Don: a Heathen Tale) — March 31st

OSR

Dark Streets & Darker Secrets: An old-school inspired modern, urban horror & fantasy game, by Gallant Knight Games (Cold Shadows, Tiny Dungeon 2e) — March 20th

General Fantasy

Welcome to Tikor | The Swordsfall RPG Setting and Art Book: An “Afropunk” science-fantasy game set in a fantastical pre-colonial Africa, by Brandon Dixon (first project) — April 10th

Mysthea: Legends From the Borderlands: A kingdom-building game of “politics, adventure, and discovery”, adapted from the Apocalypse World system, by Jay Iles (Legacy: Life Among the Ruins) — April 11th

20th Century

Dangerous Times: Muckrakers and Magic in Old New York!: A zine-based game about journalists in 1920’s New York, By Michael Bacon (first project) — March 29th

CAPERS Noir RPG: A 1940s noir superhero supplement for CAPERS, a game about super-powered gangsters in the 1920s, by Craig Campbell (Die Laughing, Murders and Acquisitions) — April 12th

An Inner Darkness – For 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu: A collection of adventures for Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition, by Golden Goblin Press (Cathulhu – Tails of Valor and Terror, Cold Warning – A Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Adventure) — April 15th

Sci-fi

Dungeon Discoveries – Sci-fi Card Sets for Roleplaying: A collection of system-neutral idea generation cards for Sci-Fi Roleplaying Games, by LoreSmith (The Claws of Madness) — April 3rd

Accessories

Fantasy World Creator + APP: An updated and reprinted set of modular tiles and tokens for fantasy roleplaying games, by Game Start (Fantasy World Creator) — March 28th

4–10 March 2019: The Gygax Legacy, Critical Role breaks records, Pathfinder 2e Approaches

The Gygax Legacy and D&D History

March 4th marked the 11th anniversary of the death of Dungeons & Dragons inventor, Gary Gygax. The date also coincidentally marks GM’s Day.

Kotaku discusses Gail Gygax, Gary Gygax’s widow, and her battle to control the Intellectual Property left behind after Gary’s death in 2008. RPG historian, Shannon Appelcine (Designers & Dragons) critiques the article as “sensationalistic”, and offers links to a series of articles discussing some of the same subjects.

D&D Beyond interviews Luke Gygax, son of D&D inventor, Gary Gygax, about his father’s legacy.

Critical Role, the Dungeons & Dragons actual play which recently went independent from Geek & Sundry, launched a Kickstarter for an animated special based on the characters of their first season. The Kickstarter, which had a target of $750k has had an astonishing first week, hitting $1 million in less than an hour. The show is now the most-funded video/film project in Kickstarter history. Variety offers a great summary of the project and its unexpected success. At time of writing, the show has passed $6.9 million, with 38 days to go, and has expanded from a single animated special to a series.

EN World talks about how the panic around Momo recalls the Satanic Panic surrounding D&D.

RPG historian, Jon Peterson, gives us the original Illusionist class, and talks about the development of magic in D&D.

Comic-book author, Jim Zub, talks about the causes behind the surge in D&D’s popularity.

Pathfinder Second Edition

A female barbarian character, holding a large sword, wearing hide armour that exposes her stomach.
Pathfinder‘s iconic barbarian, Amiri, as redesigned by Wayne Reynold’s for the game’s second edition.

Paizo announces that Pathfinder’s Second Edition is coming 1 August 2019, and lists the new line’s first releases.

Pathfinder has dropped off the ICv2 top-selling RPGs list for Fall 2018, presumably as gamers await the release of Pathfinder’s Second Edition.

Pathfinder’s iconic barbarian gets an armour redesign, but still has an exposed stomach, presumably for uterus power.

Modiphius is (still) the Belle of the Ball

The cover of Fallout: Wasteland Warfare, Tabletop Roleplaying in the Wasteland.
Fallout: Wasteland Warfare, coming soon from Modiphius

Modiphius announces the development of two RPGs based on the Fallout franchise: the first an extension of their Wasteland Warfare miniatures game (coming Summer 2019), the second using their 2d20 system (coming 2020).

Iron GM Games is partnering with Modiphius to release its Grimmerspace setting for Starfinder, which it is developing in partnership with Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings, Stranger Things).

How to Make It (and one that didn’t)

Dziobak Larp Studios, the collective behind such blockbuster LARPs as College of Wizardry, announces that it is closing down, effective immediately, due to a failure to raise funds.

Four marketing professionals & gamers talk about marketing in the RPG industry.

Dennis Detwiller (Delta Green) offers some lessons learned about publishing in the industry.

Corporate News

Kobold Press’s Dan Dillon joins the Dungeons & Dragons team as a game designer.

SyFy Wire interviews Alison Luhrs, Senior Narrative Designer at Wizards of the Coast.

Free RPG Day has been acquired by Gaming Days.

Upcoming Launches

Game Informer gives us a look at Arcana of the Ancients, Monte Cook Games’ upcoming science fantasy game for D&D 5e.

Starting with Ghosts of Saltmarsh, Wizards of the Coast are abandoning their practice of releasing books at brick-and-mortar game stores before online retailers, switching to a universal release date going forward.

Required Reading

Game designer and writer, Jonaya Kemper, talks about Representation Burnout — that is, the exhaustion faced by individuals in minority groups when they are constantly called on to represent their group — in the LARPing and RPG worlds. It contains some very valuable guidance on what Allies can do to support folks experiencing burnout.

Deals & Bundles

Bundle of Holding is running a bundle of Castle Oldskull supplements.

Kickstarter News

Film

Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special: An animated show based on the first campaign of the world’s most popular actual play, by Critical Role (first project) — April 19th

5e & Pathfinder

HeroBook GM – The 5E Game Master Notebook: A notebook for GMs of Dungeons & Dragons 5e, by Material Components (HeroBook – The 5E Player Character Notebook) — April 4th

The World of the Lost Lands: A campaign world based on previous publications by Frog God and Necromancer Games, by Frog God Games (Rappan Athuk) — April 4th

Witch+Craft, a 5e Supplemental: A crafting system for Dungeons & Dragons 5e, by Astrolago Press (Faerie Fire, a 5e supplemental) — April 5th

OSR

For Glory #1, The Hexanomicon: A Dungeon Crawl Classics Zine, Ariel Churi (first project) — March 21st

Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad Zine Returns! A continuation of a Metal-themed zine for Dungeon Crawl Classics, by Adam Muszkiewicz (first project) — March 27th

GURPS

The Citadel at Norðvorn: A Norse setting for Dungeon Fantasy, by Douglas H. Cole (The Dragon Heresy Introductory Set Fantasy RPG) — March 25th

Powered by GURPS: Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 & Game Reprint: A collection of monsters for Dungeon Fantasy, by Warehouse 23 (The Fantasy Trip Adventures) — March 22nd

General Fantasy

GODS: A dark fantasy RPG, by Arkhane Asylum, by Arkhane Asylum (first project) — March 28th

Horror / Mystery / Lovecraft

Grey Cells RPG: A crime fiction RPG, by Bogdan Constantinescu (first project) — March 25th

Mercenaries Spies & Private Eyes RPG by Michael Stackpole: A new edition of the 1983 20th-century pulp RPG, by Michael Stackpole, by Richard Loomis (Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls) — March 26th

Sci-fi

Manifest the RPG: A Sci-Fi Western RPG, by Waypoint Game Designs (first project) — April 1st

Traveller RPG: The Journal of the Travellers Aid Society: A set of sourcebooks for the Traveller RPG, by Matthew Sprange / Mongoose Publishing (Traveller RPG, Paranoia RPG) — April 7th

Powered by the Apocalypse

OBACHAN PANIC! RPG Zine: Described by the author as “MONSTER OF THE WEEK x MONSTERHEARTS, but with adorable grannies and aunties”, by flyaturtle~ (first project) — March 15th

The Veil: Inheritance, a biopunk tabletop roleplaying game: A supplement for The Veil cyberpunk RPG, by Samjoko Publishing (The Veil, Hack the Planet) — April 1st

Indie

Fall of Magic: Songs from the Axe and Fiddle: A Zine for the Fall of Magic story-game, by Ross Cowman (Serpent’s Tooth and BFF!) — March 27th

Adventure Game Books

Graphic Novel Adventures – Season 2: A series of choose-your-own-adventure-style graphic novels, by A.J. Porfirio (Hostage Negotiator) — March 26th


25 February–3 March 2019: Project Alpha closes, Ghosts of Saltmarsh announced, Facebook takes on Patreon

This week we see some big changes in the world of actual play streaming, some new digital platforms (the good, the bad, and the ugly) which could be relevant to gamers, and a whole host of new product announcements (including a large number from Wizards of the Coast).

Streaming

Streaming network, Project Alpha, is shutting down at the end of this month. We had predicted that Alpha would be hit hard by the loss of Critical Role, and while there’s no way to know if this impending departure influenced this decision, it seems likely.

Critical Role, which last week went independent from Geek & Sundry, will be launching a Kickstarter for an animated series based on the adventures of Vox Machina (the adventuring party from the streaming show’s first season) on March 4th. They also launched a new computer game live-stream and added D&D Beyond’s Twitch Extension to their show. We are intrigued by how this extension might point to more interactive content in the future of RPG live-streams.

Paizo will screen a live Actual Play of Pathfinder Second Edition in April.

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Digital Gaming

If you’re paying attention to platforms like Patreon and Drip, where many RPG content creators are finding an alternative platform to publish their work, it’s worth noting that Facebook is planning a competitor fan subscription service and that it looks to be shockingly bad for creators, demanding a 30% cut, along with a license to use and sell creator’s content. Last month we pointed to some concerns around how Patreon’s search for growth could hurt creators. In short, it’s probably worth keeping an eye on this market, as the need for them to live up to high growth expectations could result in some changes.

We are likely to see an announcement regarding the hinted-at Paradox Interactive Vampire the Masquerade computer game at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) on March 21st.

weTabletop, a directory for finding places to play board games, launches. There are a handful of RPGs listed so far.

Two VR Developers have created an open source project to run Dungeons & Dragons using Virtual Reality technology. The project is clearly in its infancy: it will be some time before VR can run games with the efficiency of two-dimensional platforms like Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds, but it will be interesting to see going forward how Virtual Reality, and (we bet) Augmented Reality, make their way into digital tabletop gaming.

RPG Companies

Forbes reports on Wizard of the Coast’s 2018 growth.

EN World discusses Dungeons and Dragons’ relationships with toys, Magic the Gathering, and parent company Hasbro, particularly after Hasbro’s difficult financial year.

Miniatures producer, WizKids, has expanded their partnership with Hasbro to produce minis from other IPs.

Modiphius’s Chris Birch talks with EN World about the company’s present and future. Modiphius has seen astonishing growth since being founded in 2012, and now publishes a host of big names in the industry, including Star Trek Adventures, Tales from the Loop, and the Fallout miniatures game. The company also took over the management of Vampire the Masquerade after the collapse of White Wolf Publishing.

New & Upcoming

Dungeons & Dragons

Cover art for the Ghosts of Saltmarsh book for Dungeons and Dragons, featuring an adventuring party on a boat fighting a Sahuagin, while a kraken attacks a ship in the background.
Cover of Ghosts of Saltmarsh, the forthcoming spring release for Dungeons & Dragons.

Predictions that Dungeons & Dragons’ Spring release would see a return to AD&D’s Saltmarsh trilogy proved correct, as details on the book, Ghosts of Saltmarsh, coming May 31st, were announced. The book contains seven adventures from old editions of the game, updated for Fifth Edition, as well as rules for playing in a nautical setting. While the town of Saltmarsh was originally a town in the Greyhawk setting, the book is intended to be setting-neutral.

Beadle & Grimm’s, who produced a deluxe boxed edition of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, are planning a deluxe edition of Ghosts of Saltmarsh.

Greg Tito unboxes the upcoming Stranger Things Starter Set for Dungeons & Dragons. The product reached number one in pre-orders on Amazon’s toy section.

Random House is bringing out a series of Dungeons & Dragons guides aimed at children: the Young Adventurers’ Guides. There are four planned guides, with at least the first two coming July 16th. Jim Zub, lead writer, talks about the series.

Wizards of the Coast launches the much-anticipated Artificer class to its playtest program, Unearthed Arcana.

There’s a new issue of Dragon+ Magazine, featuring some previews of Ghosts of Saltmarsh, as well as a primer on the Greyhawk setting that Saltmarsh originally featured in.

Others

Fantasy Flight Games announces Winter’s Embrace, a new adventure, and Courts of Stone, a new sourcebook, for Legend of the Five Rings roleplaying.

A Polish translation of Savage Worlds Adventure Edition (that is, the second edition) is being crowdfunded by Pinnacle Entertainment licensee, GRAmel Books.

The Savage Worlds World Builder & Game Master’s Guide launched.

Monte Cook Games launched a PDF version of their deluxe boxed set game, Invisible Sun.

Modiphius is releasing three new titles for the Conan RPG.

Deals

DriveThruRPG is running its annual GM’s Day Sale.

Bundle of Holding is running two bundles of Mutant Chronicles products.

D&D Beyond co-founder Adam Bradford is offering a coupon code for a 25% discount on individual products and the Legendary Bundle (everything on the store).

Stuff We Like

James Mendez Hodes interviews Clio Yun-Su Davis on racism at RPG conventions: a funny, sad, infuriating glimpse at some of the bullshit people of colour face in gaming.

We love these random monster loot tables by Ladytiefling.

Jobs

EN World talks about in-house roles in the gaming industry.

EN Publishing is hiring a part-time administrator.

Roll20 is hiring a Graphic Designer, a Community Manager, and an Account Associate.

Alex Roberts (Star Crossed) is leaving her position as Production Coordinator at Bully Pulpit Games. Jenn Martin (Glass Ceiling, One Year) is taking over the position.

Kickstarter News

5e & Pathfinder

Rise of the Drow: Collector’s Edition: A collector’s edition of a mega-adventure for D&D 5e and Pathfinder, by AAW Games (Underworld Races & Classes, Mini-Dungeon Tome) — March 21st

The Tomb of Black Sand: A dungeon crawl zine, by Jacob Hurst (Silent Titans) — March 21st

OSR

The Bridge of the Damned: A new Torchbearer adventure by Burning Wheel (Torchbearer, Mouse Guard: Swords and Strongholds) — March 5th

DCC RPG Module: Reckoning of the Gods-Into the Shadow Realm: A booklet of two Dungeon Crawl Classics adventures, by C. Aaron Kreader (DungeonCraft: Hero versus Guardian) — March 17th

Temple of the Blood Moth: A science-fantasy horror dungeon for OSR games, by Jacob Butcher (first project) — March 18th

General Fantasy

Beneath the Canals: A system-agnostic mini-zine for generating catacombs, by Michael T Lombardi (first project) — March 12th

Horror / Mystery / Lovecraft

The Call of Cthulhu – Illustrated by Baranger: An illustrated edition of Call of Cthulhu, including a stretch goal for a roleplaying game, by Fria Ligan (Tales from the Loop, Coriolis) — March 7th

Soth: a game of cultists vs investigators: A game about playing cultists in a small town, by Steve Hickey (first project) — March 24th

Sci-fi

Xboat: a Traveller RPG ‘zine: A fanzine for the Traveller role-playing game, by Robert Eaglestone (first project) — March 23rd

Powered by the Apocalypse

The Fan Favorite: A Masks RPG Zine: A zine for Masks: A New Generation, by Linda H. Codega (first project) — March 14th

The Great American Novel, A Roleplaying Game: An RPG for emulating stories in the American literary tradition, by Christopher Grey (The Happiest Apocalypse on Earth) — March 20th

Bite Me! – a game of werewolf pack dynamics: A roleplaying game about werewolves with a focus on pack relationships, by Josh Fox and Becky Annison (Lovecraftesque, Flotsam: Life Among the Stars) – March 21st

Indie

Rosenstrasse: A game about marriages between Jewish and “Aryan” Germans during the rise of the Third Reich, by Unruly Designs (War Birds) — March 18th

Everyone is John the RPG: A new edition of the cult game in which all players control the same character, by Gamer Nation Studios (Edition Wars, The New Order 66 Podcast) — March 19th

18-24 February 2019: TV, History, Culture

Editor’s Note and Content Warning: There have been further developments regarding last week’s accusations of abuse in the industry. As we did last week, we’re sticking that story at the bottom of the page, for the sake of anyone who needs to avoid that content.

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Games on TV

Hugely popular live stream, Critical Role, has gone independent from production company, Geek & Sundry. It’s probably not a coincidence that Geek & Sundry, and their streaming network, Alpha, have been pushing their star-studded Relics and Rarities so hard: while they will still broadcast some Critical Role content, the loss will likely hit their viewer numbers.

The Big Bang Theory D&D episode happened.

Gaming History, Gaming Culture

EN World discusses how playtesting has evolved over the course of Roleplaying Games’ history, and how parts of the industry are evolving towards (in Dungeons and Dragons creative director, Mike Mearls’ words) a ‘living game’.

The Public Medievalist talks about the problem of race in the Fantasy genre, including Dungeons & Dragons.

Toy Galaxy talks about the history of the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon (technically this was last week, but we failed to mention it).

Misha Bushyager of New Agenda Publishing has been highlighting black RPG creators under the hashtag #28DaysOfBlackRPGs.

Gaming Online

Syrinscape, a tool that provides background music and sound effects for RPGs and Board Games, launched a Beta for a long-awaited player for online games.

Rise of the Runelords, the ENnie award-winning adventure path for Pathfinder, is released on Roll20. Return of the Runelords, the game’s sequel, is also due to arrive on the platform in 2019.

D&D Beyond releases stats on Feats used on its platform.

Roll20 released their February rundown video, and we would like to know what their Content Producer eats for breakfast because we want his energy.

RPGGeek is looking for GMs to run Play by Forum games.

Gaming and the Law

Lewis Pulsipher talks about Intellectual Property and game development.

Wizards of the Coast is looking for a Digital Marketing Attorney.

Bundles

Dungeon Masters Guild’s promised bundle in aid of anti-abuse charity, RAINN, turned into five bundles, is now available.

Humble Bundle is celebrating Pathfinder’s 10th Anniversary with a bundle.

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of anthropomorphic fantasy game, Ironclaw, Bundle of Holding is running a bundle of Ironclaw and Jadeclaw games.

New and Upcoming

The 3rd Edition of Jonathan Tweet’s fringe fantasy RPG, Over the Edge, launched this week. (Personal Note: Jonathan Tweet happens to have been the first RPG creator I ever corresponded with, and who made me feel welcome in the industry. Congratulations, Jonathan!)

Following on from hints last week, Monte Cook Games announces Arcana of the Ancients, a sourcebook to bring science fantasy (including their own Ninth World from Numenera) to Dungeons and Dragons 5e.

A new sourcebook for Monsterhearts 2, the indie hit about teen monsters, is coming.

Kieron Gillen, the writer of dark fantasy comic, DIE, releases some hilarious excerpts from the forthcoming DIE roleplaying game.

As promised last month, Cubicle 7 gives more news on their upcoming Age of Sigmar game.

Two new books in Dungeons and Dragons’ Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style series, Endless Quest, are coming later this year.

Kickstarter News

5e & Pathfinder

Professor Humbert Drumsley: 5e RPG Adventure Codex: A collection of short 5e adventures featuring the ponderous, oblivious, disastrous (and recently suspended) Professor Humbert Drumsley, by Terry Hero (first project) — March 2nd

Ultimate Player Race Creator – Endless 5E D&D Races: Make any playable Dungeons and Dragons race you can imagine with hundreds of racial traits to choose from, by Andrew Michael Engelbrite (1 previous project) — March 3rd

OSR

A Rasp of Sand: A Roguelike Tabletop RPG Experience: A large zine with a Roguelite randomized ocean temple. Designed to be difficult and highly replayable, by David Cox (first project) — March 1st

General Fantasy

Reach of Titan: An RPG about fighting larger than life creatures, and the struggles to survive their world, by Jim McClure (3 projects including “The Satanic Panic”) — March 1st

Ordinary Towns: Small Settlements for Any Campaign: A collection of 50 small towns ready to drop into any fantasy RPG campaign, by Legendary Pants (4 projects, including “The Upstart Line – Polyhedral RPG Dice”) — March 3rd

What Happened at Wyvern Rock? Bring High Strangeness to Your High Fantasy RPG Setting. This zine features close encounters, aliens, and other fantastic weirdness! by Drew Meger (first project) — March 3rd

Horror & Lovecraftian

Hudson & Brand: Shadows of the Past: A Cthulhu by Gaslight adventure anthology, by Stygian Fox Publishing (10 projects including “The Things We Leave Behind” and “Fear’s Sharp Little Needles”) — March 1st

A Pound of Flesh: Module for Mothership Sci-fi Horror RPG: Zine Quest: A brand new zine-sized module for the Mothership Sci-Fi Horror RPG by Alan Gerdin (6 projects including “TWO ROOMS and a BOOM!”) — March 7th

Sci-fi

Dead Halt ~ A Retro RPG Zine: An RPG Zine about the Clunkpunk world of a megalithic Hotel, quirky computer Consoles, and endless wonky adventures, by Ben Doran (“Moglan’s DnD 5E Augmented Reality Magic Item Cards”) — 28th February

Powered by the Apocalypse

Beat the Boss: A Roleplaying Game for Organizing on the Job and in the Community, by Doug Geisler (first project) — March 1st

Indie

Exodus: An RPG zine of angels on the run in a fascist dystopia, by Erika Shepherd (first project) — February 28th

Tome & Wish You Were Here RPG Zines: Tome, a system-agnostic RPG supplement, & Wish You Were Here, a compilation of mini RPG,s by Adam Vass (first project) — February 28th

#AbuseIsNotAGame

Content Warning: The stories below relate to abuse and assault (physical, emotional, and sexual). Although none are especially graphic, ALL the links that follow contain some difficult discussions and many of the comments on the pages we link to are upsetting. Please take care.

Last week saw the industry caught up in controversy after accusations were made against already controversial industry figures Zac S. (aka Zac Smith, Zac Sabbath), Matthew McFarland, and Michelle Lyons-McFarland. This week, we have seen continued discussion on the subject.

Polygon reports on the response to Zac S, and notes that DIY RPG Productions, publishers of Zac’s latest project, Demon City, have promised action, but cannot offer refunds after the Kickstarter. Should any backers decline their copy, the extras will be sold in aid of two anti-violence charities.

The Dungeons & Dragons team released a statement on Zac S, stating their intention to remove Zac S’s name from future editions of the Player’s Handbook, on which he consulted. The credits page has already been updated on D&D Beyond to remove references to all consultants. Robin D. Laws, who was among them, responded positively to this. This statement came after an earlier response from Mike Mearls which drew criticism.

Fandomentals offers background to the Wizards response. (Editor’s Note: this article erroneously attributes the creation of the Dungeon Masters’ Guild RAINN bundles to Wizards. DM’s Guild is a partner, rather than a part of Wizards, though their statement says they fully support the bundles. DM’s Guild is a part of OneBookShelf, as is DriveThruRPG, who are also supporting RAINN.)

Gen Con has clarified its statement from last week, saying that Zac S has officially been banned from the convention.

James Raggi IV of Lamentations of the Flame Princess said in a Facebook post that Zac S. would no longer be working on any LotFP projects, expressed sadness that the partnership had to come to an end, and warned of ‘snakes slithering among us’, looking to take advantage of the situation.

Onyx Path Publishing releases an official statement regarding their former employee, Matthew McFarland, and declaring their intention to circulate an official harassment policy among their freelancers.

11-17 February 2019: #AbuseIsNotAGame, Roll20 Data Breach, IP

Editor’s Note and Content Warning: We usually stick the most important story at the top of the page, but this week that story is about sexual abuse and assault. We understand that many of you might not want to be faced with this, especially after a week when the subject has dominated our social media spaces. So, this week, we’ve put the biggest news at the bottom of the page so that anyone who wants to avoid it can do so.

The Value of IP

Hasbro is launching a Stranger Things starter set for Dungeons and Dragons, coming May 1st. The Netflix show has already gained D&D a lot of attention, and the product has been covered pretty widely outside of gaming media. We expect to see similar products from Hasbro as they seek to capitalise on this popularity.

Paradox Interactive, current owners of the World of Darkness series of games, has launched Tender, a website masquerading as a dating website, presumably hinting at a new Vampire the Masquerade videogame. Apart from references to things like blood-types and ‘kindred’, Tender is also the name of a dating site referred to in the game’s Camarilla sourcebook. The latest edition of the long-running horror RPG proved disastrous for Paradox-owned publisher White Wolf, who more-or-less ceased to exist after a string of highly criticised editorial decisions, and who could be caught up in the abuse scandal we refer to at the end of this post. It will be interesting to see what Paradox might make of the World of Darkness IP if they have, in fact, decided to take it digital again, at a time when it is so controversial.

Big Screen, Small Screen, Live Stream

Nathan Stewart of Wizards of the Coast claims that its parent company, Hasbro, is closely involved with the upcoming Dungeons and Dragons movie, but admits that the time scale in Hollywood is pretty unclear, and the movie could well never happen.

Dungeons and Dragons’ next official streaming event, following on from the hugely successful Stream of Many Eyes, will be on May 17th-19th in Los Angeles. Wizards of the Coast anticipates that these streams will become an annual event.

Kenneth Hite and Robin D. Laws riff on the future of LARPing and eSports. It’s all idle speculation and sounds about as bizarre as Critical Role would have sounded a few years ago.

Nathan Stewart of Wizards of the Coast mentions that a set of Gary Gygax’s own dice (owned by Joe Manganiello) will appear in the upcoming Dungeons and Dragons episode of Big Bang Theory, entitled “The D&D Vortex”, coming out Feb. 21st.

Online Toolsets

Roll20 has been the target of a data breach.

Kate Welch, a designer for Dungeons and Dragons, talks with Digital Trends about how D&D works with third parties who create digital tools for the game.

With the announced closure of music-hosting site Fanburst, Roll20, which formerly allowed users to connect Fanburst music to their games, is now allowing users to upload their own music to their games.

D&D Beyond releases statistics on the race, class and sub-class of characters on their platform.

Bundles

In response to the events detailed in our main story below, Dungeon Masters Guild is organising a bundle of Dungeons and Dragons products in support of anti-sexual violence charity, RAINN.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Bundle of Holding releases a bundle of two-player RPGs.

New Releases

Bully Pulpit’s Star Crossed, the two-player game of forbidden love designed by Alex Roberts, launched on Valentines Day. The game uses a Jenga tower mechanic, as pioneered by the award-winning horror RPG Dread.

Evil Hat launches a ‘Prototype’ text-only edition of the Fate Space Toolkit as an experimental way to fund artwork for the project after financial trouble left the project in limbo. The experiment seems to have succeeded.

PEG Inc releases a series of mini-settings for the latest edition of Savage Worlds.

Upcoming Games

Cubicle 7 announces Rough Nights, Hard Days, a set of scenarios for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition. The book reintroduces Gnomes as a playable race for the first time since the game’s 1st Edition. Gnomes had been retconned out of the game by Games Workshop, who have abandoned the grimdark Warhammer Fantasy for the high fantasy Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. It appears that Cubicle 7 is returning the latest edition of the RPG to its ’80s roots.

Chaosium has signed a deal with Eloso Förlag to produce a Swedish edition of RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha. This follows on from their announcement of a French edition earlier this month.

Monte Cook Games seems to be hinting at a version of Numenera for Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition.

Across Eberron, a by-the-fans, for-the-fans Adventure Path for Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition, is announced. Keith Baker, creator of the Eberron setting, first conceived for the game’s third edition, is the project’s executive producer. The first part of season one is due to launch on Tuesday 19 Feb.

Fantasy Flight Games previews Shadowlands, a sourcebook for Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying, now available for pre-order.

R. Talsorian will offer a set of quickstart rules for The Witcher RPG for Free RPG Day.

Chaosium announces the winners of the Cult of Chaos writing contest: scenarios they plan to run at conventions over the next two years.

Careers

Wizards of the Coast is looking for a Data Analyst Intern and a Logistics Coordinator.

Onyx Path talks about what they look for in and what they expect from, their freelance writers.

Mika Talley joins Pelgrane Press as part-time Community Manager.

Things We Like

James Mendez Hodes (7th Sea, Scion) offers an excellent discussion of how and why to play characters from another race.

A creator on 3D-printing community, Thingiverse, has released files to allow you to create a model of the shrine from the cover of Deities and Demigods.

Issues of Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans’ Roleplaying Games-inspired comic DIE are being reprinted due to high demand.

Kickstarter News

Our Picks

Black Mass by Will Jobst is a “pointillistic tarot-based roleplaying game” for up to 8 players about two people escaping their community to the woods. (March 1st)

Shards: Worldbuilding Zine – Quickstarter by Stephen Coffey is a monthly zine dedicated to science fiction and fantasy worldbuilding. (March 4th)

Verona by Farthest Star Media is a GM-less Shakespearean RPG. (March 10th)

Icarus: How Great Civilizations Fall by Hunters Books is a collaborative storytelling game. (March 11th)

D&D 5e and Pathfinder

Waterdeep Dragonheist D&D RPG Maps and Art Packs by Daniel Pryor (February 28th)

Lasers & Liches – New 5E Sourcebooks by Chris Lock (March 14th)

The Demon’s Veins: A Module by Douglas Sun (March 11th)

The Hags of Hades by Luke Seymour (March 14th)

Citadel of Terror – An Adventure by New Comet Games (March 15th)

OSR (Old School Rennaissance)

Check This Artifact by Jim Wampler (March 4th)

Castles & Crusades Codex Egyptium by Stephen Chenault (March 5th)

Ghostlike Crime: An RPG Zine of Modern Weirdness by Kane Cathain (March 13th)

Terror of the Stratosfiend : A DCC RPG Zine by Sean Christopher Charles Richer (March 17th)

Powered by the Apocalypse

Casket Land by Marie Enger (March 9th)

Comrades: A Revolutionary RPG by W.M. Akers (March 15th)

Super Destiny High School Rumble!! by Ruth Lampi (March 17th)

New RPGs

Mall Kids – RPG about teens and malls by Matthew Gravelyn (February 22nd)

MAZES The RPG of Dice, Danger, and Dungeons by 9th Level (February 28th)

Goblinville Gazette by Michael Dunn O’Connor (March 1st)

Master of the Rogue Spire by Samuraifight (March 13th)

The Ultraviolet Grasslands by Exalted Funeral (April 14th)

Supplements for other RPGs

Exalted 3rd Edition: Lunars: Fangs at the Gate by Onyx Path (March 14th)

Savage Worlds: Heroes of Terra: The Mushroom War by Jeremy Puckett (March 15th)

Misc Zines

Other Magic by Jesse Ephraim (March 1st)

Love Letters from the Baker House Band by Meguey Baker (March 11th)

Abuse in the Industry

Content Warning: The stories below relate to abuse and assault (physical, emotional, and sexual), and many of the links contain detailed discussions of those topics. We mark links below (CW) where they contain descriptions of abuse and assault, but ALL the links that follow contain some difficult discussions and many of the comments on the pages we link to are upsetting. Please take care.

Editor’s Note: This story has been a hard one for us to follow, and a hard one to pin down. It has become clear to us as we tried to capture these events that the abuse coming to light this week is neither new nor isolated. This has been happening for a long time. We have not found a single source that we felt could capture the story, so we have included a number of links to reflect a number of different perspectives. This is still an incomplete picture, and we do not endorse all the views that we link to. We urge readers to read critically and thoughtfully.

Zak S.

OSR (Old School Rennaissance) RPG creator Zak S. (aka Zak Smith, Zak Sabbath) has been accused of abuse by Mandy Morbid, as well as two other women, Jennifer and Hannah, in (CW) an open letter on Facebook. The post has gained a great deal of traction and led to a great deal of heated discussion on social media, largely under the hashtag #AbuseIsNotAGame.

A (CW) second Facebook post by Vivka Grey details her own abuse and assault by Zak S.

Zak S. has been a controversial figure for many years, having been accused of abuse and harassment many times in the past, but nevertheless having continued to be hired on numerous projects: he consulted with Wizards of the Coast on Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition, worked with White Wolf on Vampire the Masquerade Fifth Edition and mobile games for Vampire and Mage, and has worked on numerous projects for Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

Several organisations and individuals who have worked with or defended Zak S. in the past have made statements distancing themselves from Zak S. and in some cases offering apologies:

Mike Mearls of Wizards of the Coast offered a statement which claims that Zak S. was a playtester for D&D until 2014 (Zak is in fact credited in the Player’s Handbook as a consultant, not a playtester). Mearls has been the subject of criticism for his handling of an investigation of accusations that were levelled against Zak during that consultancy process.

Kenneth Hite (who collaborated with Zak on several projects, including the recent Vampire the Masquerade 5th Edition) apologized, and announced that he would not work with Zak on any further projects, and will donate his pay for their most recent collaboration to a Chicago-based organisation working against domestic violence.

DriveThruRPG has stated that it will no longer accept titles in which Zak is listed as a contributor, and will be donating their share of any titles they currently list to which he contributed to anti-sexual abuse organisation, RAINN.

Gen Con claims to have investigated the matter, but do not give any indication of what decision they might have reached or any action they plan to take, merely link to their Anti-Harassment Policy.

Mark Diaz Truman of Magpie Games issued a retraction of a 2016 post which had been critical of accusations against Zak S.

The Gauntlet issued a statement announcing that they will no longer cover his work.

There have been comments from many others, including Matthew Mercer (Critical Role) Michael Prescott (Trilemma Adventures), Geek Girls Rule, Indie Press Revolution, and Contessa.

Zak himself has released a (CW) statement.

Matthew McFarland and Michelle Lyons-Farland

Further accusations have been levelled against Growling Door Games writer Matt McFarland, who left Onyx Path Publishing in 2017 following allegations of sexual misconduct, as well as against his wife, Michelle Lyons-McFarland.

Indie Press Revolution have announced that they will no longer sell games by Growling Door Games, or any future games by Matthew Mcfarland or Michelle Lyons-Farland.

Matthew McFarland’s company, Growling Door Games, has announced that it is shutting down and that neither Matthew McFarland nor Michelle Lyons-Farland will be engaged in any freelance games work. 

Editor’s Note: We believe Mandy, Jennifer, Hannah, Vivka, and Cheyenne, and we salute their courage in coming forward. Abuse has no place in our industry.