4-10 February 2019: Corporations, Digital Dragons, Greg Stafford on Quora

The Companies Behind the Games

Hasbro, parent company of Wizards of the Coast, releases its Fourth Quarter and Full Year Reports for 2018, reporting a 12% net revenue decline across the board (largely due to the loss of Toys ‘R’ Us), including a 12% decline in revenue from their Gaming products. Their Dungeons and Dragons line was cited as having grown in revenue after another ‘record year’. Senior VP for Investor Relations, Debbie Hancock claimed that “plans for an expanded universe of gaming behind D&D is [sic] taking shape in analog and digital game play”.

Fan-culture platform Fandom (who recently acquired Curse Media, the company behind D&D Beyond) hires veteran media tech executive Perkins Miller as CEO. Miller takes over from CEO Andrew Doyle, a director at private equity firm TPG Capital, who has been acting as interim CEO since shortly after TPG led a $100 million investment in the company.

Dan Olson of Folding Ideas offers some gloomy predictions about the future of Patreon, which could be relevant to RPG creators who produce content on that platform.

D&D is Digital

Wizards of the Coast joins the Entertainment Software Association.

Forgotten Realms-based computer games Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights are coming to consoles.

Adam Bradford alluded to D&D Beyond affecting game design decisions by Wizards of the Coast, though he was unable to elaborate.

D&D Beyond is adding support for the Adventurer’s League play to its roadmap, and the two teams plan to partner going forward.

James Haeck and James Introcaso (two of the designers on Waterdeep: Dragon Heist) teamed up with Will Doyle to create a supplement expanding the replayability of the original campaign, available on the DM’s Guild with Haeck posting suggestions on how to remix the campaign on D&D Beyond: an interesting illustration of how Dungeons and Dragons is spreading across multiple digital platforms hosting official, unofficial, and semi-official content.

D&D Beyond launches Tactical Maps Reincarnated, its first dedicated Battlemap product. This could be part of building a library for their planned Virtual Tabletop, but as this project is a long way in the future, there’s no telling if/when this might pan out.

The Big Names in Streaming

The first episode of Deborah Anne Woll’s star-studded actual play stream Relics and Rarities launches on Project Alpha.

Matthew Mercer, Dungeon Master on Critical Role, shares a little about how he preps with his GM notes for episodes 17 – Harvest Close and 50 – The Endless Burrows.

Hyper Rabbit Power Go teams up with Rat Queens creator Kurtis J Wiebe to create an actual play based on the comics, launching February 13th.

Deals and Bundles

Bundle of Holding launches two Shadowrun 5E Bundles, coinciding with the game’s 30th Anniversary.

DriveThruRPG is having a sale on OSR titles.

Recent and Upcoming

Kevin Pulp talks about using the GUMSHOE system to power a swords-and-sorcery game in the upcoming Pelgrane Press game Swords of the Serpentine.

Issue #3 of DIE, Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans’ dark fantasy comic about the trauma of a party of gamers trapped in an RPG world, is released.

Modiphius announces release dates for three new Star Trek Adventures books.

EN Publishing launches Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD along with its first sourcebook.

We get some previews for Dungeons and Dragons’ forthcoming nautical book, which seems to contain allusions to the classic AD&D adventure The Final Enemy.

Paizo launches the Player’s Guide for the upcoming Pathfinder Adventure Path Tyrant’s Grasp.

Chaosium previews the RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha slipcase.

Gritty, low fantasy Roleplaying Game, Song of Swords is released.

Kickstarter News

Steve Jackson Games released its Kickstarter Projects Report.

Onyx Path talks about using DriveThruRPG, Indie Press Revolution, and Studio 2 to fulfil Kickstarters and sell their products.

Kickstarter has launched it’s new Zine Quest initiative, encouraging RPG creators to develop zines along the lines of the classic small press publications from the 1970s and 1980s. Dozens of projects have launched under this banner over the past fortnight. Some highlights include:

  • The Demon Collective by GMDK is four horror-themed adventures for D&D and other fantasy games written, illustrated and edited by trans and non-binary creator (closes 15 February)
  • Mini-Dungeon Monthly by AAW Games is an RPG zine for D&D 5th Edition (closes 15 February)
  • RPG Design Zine by Nathan D. Paoletta (World Wide Wrestling, carry) a cut and paste how-to zine focusing on game design (closes 21 February)
  • Two Apocalypse World Zines by Vincent D. Baker (Apocalypse World, Dogs in the Vineyard) is, um, two Apocalypse World Zines: a compilation of playbooks for the original game and a family friendly reworking of the original game (closes 26 February).
  • Girl Underground by Jesse Ross (Matches to Paper Dolls), a complete Powered by the Apocalypse RPG inspired by Alice in Wonderland and other “girl lost in a fantasy world” stories (closes 6 March).

Carbon 2185 is a new cyberpunk game based around the D&D 5e Open Gaming License. Dragon Turtle Games are hoping to fund the core rulebook and sourcebooks for Tokyo, Manhatten and London (closes 15 February).

Building on the Starter Set they released last year, Greater Than Games have launched a campaign for Sentinel Comics: the Roleplaying Game, a superhero RPG set in the world of their successful Sentinels of the Multiverse card game (closes 22 February).

RiotMinds have launched a new campaign for Carta Monstorum, a monster manual for LexOccultum (closes 24 February).

Gun Metal Games have updated their popular cyberpunk setting for the new Savage Worlds Adventure Edition. Interface Zero 3.0 promises among other things, updated rules on races, hacking, drones and campaign themes to better tune your game to the type of cyberpunk you want to play. The campaign is also for a GM’s Guide to 2095 (closes 28 February).

Happy Things

A post on BRP Central points readers to the Quora archive of the late Greg Stafford, founder of Chaosium and game writer. The archive of answered questions about history, mythology, and parenting is a beautiful testament to his passions and his compassion.

Patton Oswalt’s viral tweet mocking former White House Press Secretary, Dana Perino’s queso leads to 1st Edition D&D artwork getting featured on Fox News.

GenCon looks to have named its new mascot. They didn’t go for Dragon McDragonFace.

A US Customs Office classifies a shipment of Kult: Divinity Lost books as “Bibles, Testaments and Prayer Books“.

Win a trip to PaizoCon with Roll for Combat.

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28 January – 3 February 2019: Streaming, The Mountain Goats, Dragon McDragonface

Publishing

Onyx Path talks about how and why they run Kickstarters for their games, highlighting the challenges Kickstarter presents, including the frequent issue of shipping costs.

Chaosium grants EDGE Entertainment the license to publish Call of Cthulhu and Runequest in French and Spanish.

I Stream, You Stream

Fantasy Flight Games launches its own streaming content (including a one-shot of the Shadow of the Beanstalk setting for Genesys) with FFG Live.

Paizo signs an official deal with Twitch channel Dragons and Things.

Digital Tools

Roll20 adds animation to its maps, hinting that the feature “lays the groundwork for even more exciting updates.”

D&D Beyond launches its new Discord server.

Teasers

Chris Perkins at Wizards of the Coast teases sketches for an upcoming Dungeons & Dragons product.

Careers

Wizards of the Coast seeks a UA Data Analyst.

Because Of Course

The Mountain Goats announced their new album, In League With Dragons, which they call ‘dragon noir’, and performed a Facebook Live Session at the Wizards of the Coast headquarters in Renton, WA. Because of course.

William Shatner is slated to appear in a so-called ‘Dungeons and Dragons battle’ in the final season of Big Bang Theory. Because of course.

GenCon is running a competition to name their new dragon mascot. Dragon McDragonface is a popular choice. Because of course.

21-27 January 2019: Stats, Community Content, Gen Con Indy

Statistics

Fantasy Grounds have released statistics on the top-played games on their platform in 2018. The top three places (D&D 5e, Pathfinder, and Savage Worlds respectively) are unsurprising, while Starfinder rose to fourth place over the course of the year.

In an interview with EN world, Luke Crane, head of games at Kickstarter and RPG writer, estimates that there have been over 1,500 RPG projects on the platform, raising over $65 million, with a 78% funding success rate. Kickstarter’s RPG Zine Quest, a campaign to feature crowdfunding projects for roleplaying game zines, launches next month.

D&D Beyond has released statistics of the most-viewed campaigns and adventures on their platform. The most popular content appears to be that intended or optimised for lower-level parties, in line with common wisdom that most campaigns don’t last into higher levels. These are also visible at EN World coupled with their EN World rating.

Community Content

Penny Arcade is partnering with Wizards of the Coast to release an official Acquisitions Incorporated supplement for Dungeons & Dragons. The project was initially envisioned by Penny Arcade as a Kickstarter before Wizards suggested a direct partnership.

The Savage Worlds Adventurer’s Guild (SWAG), a community content platform for fans to publish and sell their own Savage Worlds creations, launched this week.

Monte Cook Games announced a new season of their Numenera organised play, Cypher Play, entitled The Room With No Door.

BPB Games plans to launch StarStreamers, an interactive Actual Play Twitch stream of Savage Worlds where viewers can influence the game in chat.

Gen Con Indianapolis

Gen Con extended its sponsorship deal with Paizo.

Visit Indy reported Indianapolis’ seventh consecutive year of growth, citing events like Gen Con as a key factor. Gen Con has renewed its contract with the city through to 2023, contingent on the completion of an expansion project at the Indiana Convention Centre.

Upcoming Publications

Paizo’s Mike Selinker offers a preview of the upcoming revised Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.

Cubicle 7 dropped a few hints on its upcoming Age of Sigmar RPG and suggested there would be more news coming soon. No update on the release date (which was previously slated for the end of Summer 2018).

The Kickstarter for Onyx Path’s They Came From Beneath the Sea, a roleplaying game of 50s B-Movie sci-fi using the Storypath system, raised $47,854.

Corporate & Careers

Privateer Press hires Bob Watts as CEO.

Wizards of the Coast is looking for a new Creative Lead for their Digital Publishing & Licensing team.

Modiphius is seeking a Personal Assistant/Team Coordinator.

Miscellaneous Cool Things

Kobold Press is running a contest: describe your character to win copies of the Midgard Heroes Handbook and Unlikely Heroes (US Only)

Monte Cook Games is partnering with Humble Bundle to offer a bundle of Numenera books.

D&D Beyond has been in talks with Dots RPG about making the toolset more accessible for players with disabilities. They claim that accessibility is a high priority for 2019 and into the future.

Green Ronin’s Joseph D. Carriker talks about Queer history, representation, and world-building on the Onyx Pathcast.