Hello gamers, Abstruse here with your tabletop gaming news! First, I want to address something many of you may be worried about. Developer CCP, which bought White Wolf Studios several years ago, announced they were cancelling the proposed Vampire: The Masquerade MMO and closing White Wolf. Many people panicked and, while it is still sad news as the video game had potential and 60 designers and artists lost their jobs, this will have no effect on the pen and paper roleplaying games produced by Onyx Path, who has licensed or purchased much of the old White Wolf intellectual property and released reprints and new products for several years now. They’ve got more in the works for the future and look to be growing, so mourn the loss of the video game but don’t fear the loss of the tabletop products.
At PAX East, lots of details about the future of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and their big launch event, TYRANNY OF DRAGONS, came out - reported by Forbes of all places. The story takes place in Forgotten Realms, which will be the flagship setting for the new edition. The event will take place through the D&D Encounters organized play, the NEVERWINTER MMO, and other unspecified media (one of which happened shortly a few days after the panel, which was the Acquisitions Inc. game which teased at some of the plot points). The Cult of the Dragon is attempting to free Tiamat, requiring several ancient artifacts to release her from the Nine Hells. Various factions within the Realms, including the Harpers, Emerald Enclave, Red Wizards, Company of the Gauntlet, and others will get involved in the plot as well.
As far as release information, the book will be a stand-alone product which does not require any other material to play, meaning it will release before the new edition does and have complete rules. The superadventure itself allows for more improvisation from dungeonmasters and approaches the story in a non-linear manner, giving the players more free rein in making plot decisions rather than following the railroad tracks. No release date or price is available yet.
At the panel, the subject of campaign settings other than Forgotten Realms came up, and they confirmed that Keith Baker is returning to Eberron to update it for the new edition of D&D. When asked about other settings, he stated that “You are going to see more Ravenloft stuff very soon”. Asked about Dragonlance, he said it’s “not dead”, but that a specialist would be needed to revive it. An interesting tweet from @WeisMargaret (verified to be Margaret Weis) said “I'm a dragonlance specialist!” and more specifically “@ChrisSims I heard you were looking for Dragonlance specialists! I'm available! :)” So good news all around with Keith Baker on Eberron, Margaret Weis looking to get back on Dragonlance... how about we get Ari Marmell on Ravenloft now? I mean you’ve only yanked the job away from him at the last minute three times already, Wizards of the Coast!
If it seems like I’m ignoring PATHFINDER in favor of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, I assure you it’s not so. It’s just that Paizo’s so fucking quiet right now. Aside from the adventure cardgame and the expected regular new sourcebooks, they haven’t really done anything big. It’s led some in the industry to speculate this is an intentional move. In the link, ICv2 columnist Scott Thorne states his thoughts that Paizo is going to let Wizards of the Coast take the limelight and draw in new and returning gamers with the launch of the new D&D edition. Once the initial excitement settles from the launch, that’s when they’ll make a move with...who knows? A Pathfinder 2nd Edition? A new campaign setting aside from Golarion? Who knows? Paizo’s not talking, which means they’re busy plotting. And with their new hire of Owen KC Stephens and their open call for designers, they’re plotting something big.
On April 1st, Paizo announced a new adventure path IRON GODS, which I didn’t mention in the last column because I thought it was an April Fools joke. It turns out, however, the adventure path is real and comes out on September 1st (though it will have a sneak peak at GenCon). The tone appears similar to the classic EXPEDITION TO BARRIER PEAKS adventure for 1st Ed AD&D. I’m personally not sure if this blend of sci-fi space opera should be added to the world of Golarion, but I am interested in how Paizo will update this concept for a modern game audience.
Cross-genre Western/Fantasy/Horror RPG DEADLANDS will be the first roleplaying game setting to get a live-action TV series courtesy of X-Box Live. As reported elsewhere on the site, the other X-Box Originals will include a HALO TV series produced by Steven Spielberg and an adaptation of Swedish sci-fi series HUMANS.
I spoke with DEADLANDS creator Shane Hensley for the Gamer’s Tavern podcast and, after the recording, got a few tidbits of information from him. The show is in early pre-production and no creative team has been assigned yet (though negotiations are closing for someone as showrunner, but he wouldn’t tell me who). Shane’s title will be Co-Producer and he will be involved in the creative process as it stands now. No other details are available as negotiations and planning are still ongoing.
Fantasy Flight Games released the new STAR WARS X-WING MINIATURES game rules for capital ships. The biggest change is movement for these large ships. In order to keep current ships relevant, they’ve created new movement rules for capital ships. They’ll come with four new movement tiles, none of which are red or green (since the larger ships aren’t maneuverable enough to do that). To show the mass of these ships, they’ve also changed the collision rules. Currently, if a ship’s movement crashes it into another ship, its movement stops. For capital ships, though, they just plow straight through and removes any fighters it crashes into from the battlefield.
There are many other new features added for this upcoming expansion to the game. The first of these ships, the Rebel Transport with pilot Jek Porkins, came out on April 29 while the TANTIVE IV has yet to have a release date. You can read the full rules for huge ship play as well as the epic level tournament play now to get a leg up.
GAMA announced the list of Nominees for the 40th Origins Awards on June 14, 2014. The full list is available in the link, but the ones you’re probably most interested in are
Best Roleplaying Game:
MUMMY: THE CURSE</a>
Best Board Game:
In more Keith Baker news, it looks like the popular card game he designed, GLOOM, is getting a second edition this summer. The new edition will be completely compatible with the first edition, but features streamlined rules and icons to make gameplay easier. There’s no information yet how the new rules will interact with their old cards, but I’m glad to have it since some of the icons are easy to overlook, especially for new players. The core game will be released with a retail price of $24.95. The expansions Unhappy Homes, Unwelcome Guests, and Unfortunate Expeditions will also be reprinted later this year at $14.95 each.
Last summer, Sean Patrick Fannon Kickstarted his epic fantasy SAVAGE WORLDS campaign setting </a>. Evil Beagle Games started something very interesting, especially for a small publishing company. They’re doing a full-fledged living campaign event called Thundering Skies Saga. And I don’t just mean the gamemaster sends in an after action report and someone at the company says, “Well, 68% of groups decided to support Duke MacGuffin’s claim to the throne over Sir Knightdude, so that’s what’s canon now.” I mean they’re making it a real living world using tools like Obsidian Portal to link games from all over the world and putting individual PCs and their actions into the canon world. This is INSANELY ambitious, especially for a small press company as the only company who’s attempted something like this was Wizards of the Coast, and even that wasn’t nearly as detailed as this. We all need to be keeping a close eye on this first in tabletop gaming.
Kickstarter has been a very influential force in gaming the last few years as many smaller companies have been able to launch their products due to crowdfunding. However, the CEO of Kickstarter, Yancey Strickler, had never played the granddaddy of all RPGs, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. Well that’s changed, and Mr. Strickler shares his experiences with D&D on his blog. It’s a pretty interesting read about both business and roleplaying and how roleplaying games can help you in your real life.
Some other news, Washington State filed a lawsuit against Altius Management over a Kickstarter that never delivered. The ASYLUM Kickstarted funded in December 2012 with over $25,000 in pledges, but has not been updated since July 13, 2013. What this means for the future of Kickstarter projects, we won’t know until it goes to trial.
I’m not sure of what went on behind the scenes, but Geek & Sundry is no longer financed by Google/YouTube. While I don’t know what this means for other shows, fan-favorite TABLE TOP from Wil Wheaton will go on as his IndieGoGo campaign has raised over $1 million as of writing. This means that, as of now, Table Top will be 20 episodes plus a spin-off show focusing on an ongoing roleplaying game campaign will be produced as well. This campaign runs until May 10, and there are several levels of rewards that, honestly, aren’t worth the money for the physical products. However, the digital rewards (production diary, digital downloads of Season 1-2, exclusive backer-only episode, etc.) are great and you’re supporting an amazing production.
In a campaign setting very interesting to me, SPQR Games is Kickstarting GUILD OF SHADOWS, an official SAVAGE WORLDS campaign setting</a> where the players are members of a thieves guild in an urban setting, listing the works of Brent Weeks, Scott Lynch, and others amongst its influences. I love this style of campaign and I can’t wait to get my hands on this. PDF copies of the Player’s Guide and Campaign Guide are available for a $15 pledge, while adding two adventures and any unlocked PDFs moves the pledge up to $25. For $39, you get printed and PDF versions of all of it. This Kickstarter is funded and closes on May 19.
What’s O.L.D is N.E.W is a two-in-one Kickstarter from Russ Morrissey, better known as Morrus from ENWorld. The core ruleset between the two is the same, but modified for the different genres. O.L.D is the fantasy setting, while N.E.W is the sci-fi. Morrus unapologetically describes the rules system as “crunchy”, going against the current trend of rules-lite systems in an appeal for the gamists amongst us. You can get a PDF of either system for £10 or both for £15. Print upgrades are £40 for one system or £60 for both, with PDFs included. Keep in mind the exchange rate is currently about $1.50 to £1 when pledging, and even though this is a UK-based Kickstarter, the production is happening in the US and print orders require an additional £20 per book if shipped outside the United States. This Kickstarter is way past its goal and will fund on May 8.
Angry Ogre Games is Kickstarting ALL the games! Heavily inspired by the Church of the Subgenius with references to the parody religion left and right, Angry Ogre decided to launch their Kickstarter with four different board games. I’m not even going to try to go through all the games, but they all look fast and fun: SINK THE TITANIC, DEEP DARK RANDOM FOREST, THE CELEBRATED JUMPING FROG OF CALAVERAS COUNTY, and two versions of “BOB”BALL (an Awesomer and a Deluxe edition). Print and play versions start at $15 for two, physical copies range from $20 to $40, and all $115 gets you all four (including the deluxe edition of “BOB”BALL). This Kickstarter funded on Friday and runs until May 28.
If that’s just not enough for you, how about custom six-sided dice? Custom Game Lab is creating custom-made dice. You choose the color of the die, the color of the paint, and create the design to be etched in. You get one die for $6, six for $12, or a dozen for $22, or two dozen for $30 (if you get in on the early bird). This project is fully funded and runs until May 11.
That’s all for this week. Just for you guys, I held off on pimping my podcast until the end this time. Gamer’s Tavern has quickly become a blanket of several things I’m doing outside Ain’t It Cool News, including the Gamer’s Tavern podcast itself, the Gamer’s Tavern Game Table podcast (an actual play podcast for Shadowrun 4th Edition), and my Specialties of the House blog where I talk about cooking for gamers. You can also follow me on Twitter @Abstruse where I talk a lot about gaming. If you want to meet me in person, I’ll be at Comicpalooza in Houston, TX, from May 23-26, at Animation Celebration – Galveston in Galveston, TX, from July 4-6 (where we’ll be recording a live episode of Gamer’s Tavern), and at GenCon in Indianapolis, IN, from August 14-16. You can also email all your gaming news and tips at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time!