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    Multimedia titans have noticed that success of Marvel's shared superhero universe, which replicates the comic model of characters crossing over into other arcs to create a web of stories that spiral into infinity. Hasbro has also taken note, and it looks like the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movies are planned to take a similar approach. The concept of a shared universe is a key part of D&D today, but it wasn't always that way.

    New for EN5ider patrons! It can be tough to run a solo boss encounter when the PCs have it outnumbered 6:1 with actions. The focused-fire principle often means that such encounters are embarrassingly short, unless you just make the creature a ridiculous bag of hit points. This article talks about ways to make your solo boss encounters more challenging, and more interesting, by giving it special traits which kick in at different times. By James J Haeck; illustrated by Ellis Goodson.

    Last week I took a look at the top D&D news stories of the past year. Here, I'll be listing the most-read general RPG news stories of 2017. As before, the most-read stories are listed in order, ending with the most popular story of the year. There were thousands of news stories posted on EN World this year; I've narrowed it down to the top twenty!

    In my previous two columns I laid out techniques for worldbuilding and applied them to a sample con game setting. In this one I am going to apply the Mindy Method and reverse-engineer an NPC to fit the requirements of a setting.

    This week I decided to go with the theme of Rules Don't Matter Week. Not because I actually believe that, but because there are a lot of good products out there designed to help your game with material outside of actual game mechanics. I think this is a growing space for writers, designers, and artists, and I think a lot of GMs and players can get some serious use out of materials that inspire and assist them with their gaming efforts. Let's dive in, shall we!

    As we approach the end of the year, it's time for our annual look at the top D&D news stories of the year. I've taken the most viewed stories and listed them in a super-suspenseful and exciting format I shall call "descending order". This year, for added fun, I've separated D&D news stories and general RPG news stories (the latter can be found in a separate article). The most popular item on this list was read nearly half a million times!

    The folks over at Feedspot have placed EN World in the Top 100 RPG Blogs on the web. In fact, this site came in second, just after a site about RPG video games. The list contains a mix of tabletop and video game RPGs. It's always nice when somebody notices the work you're doing, so thank you to the Feedspot crew. You should head over there and check out the others on that list.

    Back when Dungeons & Dragons was new, the designers and most of the players were wargamers. Typical adventures involved threats to the player character's lives and possessions - their money and magic items. As the hobby has grown, more of the participants are not wargamers, and many campaigns must find other ways to create tension, or abandon tension entirely in favor of linear stories or other means. People refuse to have their painstakingly-crafted characters killed.

    Patreon these days is a fundamental part of the RPG creator industry, whether for game rules, art, maps, models, podcasts, or more. As I promised a few days ago, this is a list of tabletop RPG-related Patreons. I'm doing this in the wake of Patreon's recent damaging actions, in the hope that this might help some of them get back on track again, even if only by a little bit. Please check them out, and if you can please consider backing one or more of these Patreons!

    You may now vote for the most anticipated tabletop roleplaying game of 2018. Last week, I took nominations; this poll includes all qualifying nominated games. To qualify, it must be a standalone RPG, NOT a supplement, setting, adventure, sourcebook, expansion, or accessory, it must be currently scheduled for a 2018 release, and it must have received at least one nomination last week. Voting closes on Saturday 16th December. You may vote for more than one game. Last year's winner, Trudvang Chronicles from RiotMinds, is pictured below.

    Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news. Patreon did a bad and went back on it when everyone got grumpy about it, Wizards of the Coast set new sales records, Barnes & Noble pulling away from games, DCI sanctions multiple players and judges, and more!

    Here at EN World, I'm looking at all-ages tabletop role-playing games, board games, essays, and card games. Do they engage the players at the kids' gaming table? Would they cut it at the adults' table? Are they genuinely fun for every age? After School Adventures: Adventures in Wonderland #1 - Chasing the White Rabbit by J Gray from Playground Adventures is the first in a series of mini-adventure paths available for 5e, Pathfinder, or Hero Kids. Each sold separately, these 15- to 17-page (depending on the gaming system) introductory PDFs includes adventure hooks, the adventure, new creatures, and a map.

    Last week, Patreon - a service used by a lot of RPG creators - announced a policy change out of the blue. They emailed creators and patrons alike, unilaterally telling them that they were essentially passing some costs on to the patrons, and thus increasing the amount of their pledges. Creators - including us here at EN World - watched in horror as our hard-won patron bases, which we've built up over months and years, cancelled their pledges; and we could hardly blame them. Fortunately, the outcry was heard - Patreon is NOT implementing that disastrous change!

    Welcome back to our weekly look at tabletop roleplaying game, and accessories, crowdfunding roundup! This week we look into the dawn of the British Roleplaying hobby and the two men who shaped generations, a collection of dark Pathfinder adventures, a 5th Edition module, a FATE game of cataclysmic war and some beautiful gaming tiles. 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.

    Recently I picked up the print on demand version of The Primal Order by Wizards of the Coast founder Peter Adkison. I have the original edition of the book, I managed to grab a copy of it back in the day, and I have the other published books for the unfortunately uncompleted game line. The idea behind The Primal Order was to build what they called a "capsystem" that would work as an overlay to other game systems, expanding them into new directions. The Primal Order line dealt with gods and clerics, an important part of many fantasy role-playing games.

    Chaosium has announced that it will be entering into the realm of digital community generated content, with its Miskatonic Repository program through the OneBookShelf websites. This new program will allow fans and designers to create new settings, scenarios, spells and other content for the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game.

    Over on the DM's Guild, a free 28-page Magic: The Gathering adventure by Scott Fitzgerald Gray has been released. "A prison escape for an unlikely group of heroes turns into a race for an ancient relic sought by the Legion of Dusk. Can you brave the unknown and capture the treasure before the enemy does? This Dungeons & Dragons adventure is set on the plane of Ixalan from Magic: The Gathering. It uses 4th-level characters provided with the adventure."

    New on EN5ider, the 5th Edition Patreon! Welcome to the Neutral Philosophies - the Integrity Domain (Neutral Good believers in goodness and justice), the Harmony Domain (True Neutral proponents of universal balance), and the Supremacy Domain (Neutral Evil clerics who ket nothing stand in the way of their desires). By Walt Ciechanowski; illustrated by Kim Van Deun.

    One of the first rules they teach you in those pesky freshman-year composition courses is "know your audience." Before you sit down to write a text, consider who's going to be reading it and plan accordingly. When it comes to tabletop role-playing games, I've always considered the game master to be the primary audience of published adventures. Game masters are far more likely than players to read the text of an adventure, so why wouldn't a designer write with the game master in mind?

    Free League’s Tales From The Loop is one of the year's biggest breakout games, scooping up a host of nominations and awards, including no less than FIVE Gold ENnies – including the coveted Product of the Year. Today sees the release of their first supplement, a campaign guide called Our Friends The Machines & Other Mysteries. Available now as a PDF on DriveThruRPG, or in print or PDF through the Free League's own webstore, it should be hitting retail stores in early February.

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