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    This week, I chose another great writer and creator to spotlight, this time the incomparable Monica Valentinelli. Writer, designer, editor, line developer, and advocate for inclusivity and the creation of art across multiple media, Monica is a friend and an inspiration to me. She's also a lot of fun to hang out with, and enhances the entire hobby with all she does.

    In the second part of this series, we'll continue to highlight the best in new RPG podcasts. This week's offerings range from an eclectic bunch of cyberpunks, through a piratical D&D live play, to a monster-inspiring discussion of cryptids.

    Welcome back to our weekly look at tabletop roleplaying game, and accessories, crowdfunding roundup! Each week we’ll be looking at a few campaigns currently running that have caught our eye as well as occasionally speaking to some of the creators about their campaigns, or looking at some of the ‘behind the scenes’ business aspects of putting together, launching, operating and then delivering a crowdfunded project. If you have anything you’d like us to cover, or questions about anything we talk about, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me directly.

    Hello, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news. The Empyrea Kickstarter has been canceled amid controversy, statistical analysis of what we're playing on D&D, Stranger Things gets a card game, a new Warhammer 40K comic book, and more!

    Would you look at the space on my wrist, it’s time for another PAIZO NEWS ROUNDUP! That’s right, folks, you are already blessed with another one, so sit back and strap in for another update on your favorite gaming company.

    Don’t blink or you’ll miss this entry in the Monster ENCyclopedia series. Malicious and often murderous, these tiny fey will turn you into a pincushion for their miniature daggers. If you are unlucky, the poison in your wounds will knock you out. This time we’re taking a look at one of D&D’s fastest moving creatures, the quickling.

    When October comes around, many gamers turn their heads from their regularly scheduled explorations of dungeons to look at a genre within which they do not normally crawl around. We are of course talking about horror. Whether you are looking for a one shot game for your Halloween night, or an ongoing campaign, there are a lot of very good horror games out there in the wilds of your local gaming store (or preferred online retailer) to check out for your horror needs. Let's look at a few of them.

    Fans of gritty science-fiction survival horror will find this interesting. Coming soon to Kickstarter from EN Publishing is a standalone set, powered by WOIN, which allows you to play in a dystopian future on distant colonies where death is just around the corner. Here's an in-depth preview!

    Weighing in at 680 pages, Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition (M20 from here on out), like any forbidden tome of arcane knowledge worth the name, is a massive brick of a book.

    A rundown of the New Releases that should be hitting games stores this coming week! Board games, card games, RPGs, Wargames, Miniatures and collectible games... hopefully something for everyone! In addition to the games hitting your local store we’re also now listing a few RPG PDF releases from the last week that we hope may be of interest. For more information about any of the physical products please contact your local games store.

    WotC's Jeremy Crawford talks to D&D Beyond about the war mage. "So War Magic is a new arcane tradition for wizards in Xanathar's Guide to Everything that really weaves together elements of the school of evocation and the school of abjuration, both of which appear in the Player's Handbook. And what we were doing war magic is exploring that intersection between two different schools. Because in the Player's Handbook, each wizard focuses on a single school. Granted, wizards can cast spells from many schools of magic, but they're each essentially a specialist, so we decided "What would a wizard look like who is actually good at several of these different types of magic", and specifically a wizard who was all about being on a battlefield and being this war mage, someone who is at home next to an army, and not only has the ability to lay waste to the other side but who also is resilient, who can survive."

    As part of the Extra Life charity campaign, WotC has released a preview of the Forge Domain from Xanathar's Guide to Everything. Head on over to donate and unlock more previews. There are two more previews unlocked which should be released imminently, so stay tuned - the table of contents and a "Drawing of in-game Tortle champion asset, from Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms".

    Today, we have another preview of the upcoming Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD tabletop adventure game, a roleplaying game powered by the What's OLD is NEW (WOIN) roleplaying game system. This time - a quick glimpse of the Skysurfer career!

    Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu role-playing game has been influential in sharing H.P. Lovecraft's work across a variety of media, including other role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, board games, and video games. License Call of Cthulhu games have debuted on PCs, gaming consoles, and mobile platforms, but each adapted the tabletop game rules to suit the medium. Will the new Call of Cthulhu video game be faithful to the tabletop RPG?

    There are two different extremes in arranging fights. One is like war and the other is like a sporting event. Sporting events are supposed to be fair contests between roughly equal forces. On the other hand, war is the epitome of unfair competition.

    The sudden snow of Monday inspired this week's theme (even though we got back up to the 70s here in Denver). Throughout the Northern Hemisphere, various signs of the cold and wintery can be found, and the last Pick of the week speaks especially to the imminent arrival of Samhain. Naturally, the cold weather also means a lot more impetus to stay inside... and play games, right?

    Mike Mearls describes the sinister "Dark Sun" Bard. "This is easy. It's the Dark Sun bard, right? It literally was like, "You have Dark Sun. You have this bard," who's very interesting because it's so distinct. I love it when settings take classes and finagle with them because then it lets us expand with the classes in D&D as a whole. Then it's fun, so yeah. The College of Whispers, it's the Dark Sun bard. It's the sinister bard. When he shows up, he seems like a very, "Oh, he's here to detain us and he's here to spread news." But no. He's actually here to completely screw you up."

    The Kickstarter for Frank Mentzer's Worlds of Empyrea was ambitious, and sadly it didn't seem to gain the traction it needed to raise the $250K it was asking for. Indeed, Kicktraq is currently predicting it won't make its funding goal; so far it has raised just over a fifth of its target. However, all is not lost - because it's being rebooted! (thanks to Terradave for the scoop).

    Starship Commandos is a rules lite, storytelling RPG by Sword's Edge Publishing. It's likely a lot to do with the title, but after clicking past the table of contents on the PDF, I'm immediately asking: "Would this RPG scratch that alien(s), survive the evil xenomorph, itch?" Let's get into it.

    An article by Gus Wezerek on FiveThirtyEight looks at race and class combination in D&D, using data from D&D Beyond. Wezerek suggests a reason for the popularity of human fighters: "It lets you focus on creating a good story rather than spending time flipping through rulebooks to look up spells."

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