News Digest: Critical Role and Tabletop Going Premium Access? Pathfinder New Releases and Player Incentives! And much more!
  • News Digest: Critical Role and Tabletop Going Premium Access? Pathfinder New Releases and Player Incentives! And much more!


    Hello, Darryl here with this week's news. Legendary Pictures (owners of Geek & Sundry and Nerdist) announced a new online video subscription service with big impact on popular tabletop gaming shows Critical Role and Tabletop, Paizo makes a bunch of big announcements including compact sourcebooks, a new in-store incentive program for Pathfinder Society, and a new campaign setting book, a classic Dragonlance comic is getting the graphic novel treatment, Warhammer 40K has new introductory model kits, and more!



    Legendary Pictures announced yesterday their new video-on-demand service Alpha. This $4.99/mo service will grant access to a line-up of new programs as well as advance access to other Legendary content such as the shows from Nerdist and Geek & Sundry. This includes the Critical Role live stream shows, whose archives will now only be available via Alpha (though the Twitch stream will still be live). There has been no confirmation if Geek & Sundry Twitch subscribers (also $4.99/mo) will still have access to the Twitch archives of the streams.

    Also coming exclusively to Alpha will be the Diana Jones Award and ENnie Award winning show Tabletop, hosted and produced by Wil Wheaton. New episodes will air exclusively on Alpha, with episodes of Season 4 airing “sometime in 2017” on other platforms. When asked on Tumblr about this, Wil Wheaton said “I’m not thrilled, and it’s entirely out of my hands. I probably shouldn’t say much more about it right now.”

    Joining those two shows on the network will be:

    • Escape: A show about escape room style puzzles hosted by Janet Varney with guests Josh McDermitt (Walking Dead), Alison Haislip (Attack of the Show), Ingrid Oliver (Doctor Who), Burnie Burns (Red vs Blue), and Yvette Nicole Brown (Community).
    • Sidekick with Matt Mira: A late night style talkshow with a different host every episode and Matt Mira as the sidekick.
    • Vast: Jackson Lanzing (comic writer and writer on Titansgrave) GMs a science fiction game with a rotating crew of players.
    • Welcome to the Shadow Zone: Mark Trillbury (also known as Onyx the Fortuitous and Weird Satanist Guy) hosts a public access talk show on horror films with a narrative element as he talks about his neighborhood antagonists.
    • Talks Machina: Brian W. Foster hosts a talk show in the style of “Talking Dead/Bad/Who/etc.” about Critical Role.
    • Watch Your Language: Zach Sherwin infuses hip-hop and wordplay in this part-scripted part-live comedy half-hour.


    The Variety article linked above also lists four other shows (Choose Our Destiny, Predictament [sic] Public Access, and Majority Rules) which will premier throughout the rest of the year. Also, subscribers will have access to some Nerdist and Geek & Sundry shows two days early, including Co-Optitude, The Dan Cave, and Because Science.

    Alpha will officially launch on November 3, with an early access month starting October 3 if you sign up now.


    Paizo launched a new retail incentive program to reward players of Pathfinder Society making purchases at locations hosting the events. While focused mostly on local game stores, the program also applies to concessions and other purchases made at non-store venues as well and the products do not have to be Paizo products. To get their rewards, players show their receipt to the GM who will then give each player at the table a single-use benefit for a $10 purchase and a session-long enhancement for all characters for $50 purchases. Dollar amounts are based on the total on the receipt and not individual purchases, and a table can only benefit from one of each benefit (so one “permanent” enhancement and one single-use benefit per session). This policy will be codified in the next version of the Roleplaying Guild Guide as well as on the Pathfinder Society website.

    In addition, Paizo announced the release of “pocket editions” of several Pathfinder core rulebooks, starting with the Pathfinder Core Rulebook and the Pathfinder Bestiary. The books will be 8.5 inches tall and 6.5 inches wide, which is technically larger than “digest size” and much larger than typical “pocketbooks”, but still small enough to fit into a coat pocket and will take up far less space in a bookbag (along with a lower weight, important for convention gamers having to haul game books around all day). The price is also lower, with the Core Rulebook having an MSRP of $24.99 and the Bestiary an MSRP of $19.99, both available now.

    Finally, the new campaign setting for Pathfinder has been announced. Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Planes of Power is a 64 page campaign setting book setting up for the Season 8 of the Pathfinder Society will cover planar travel with a focus on the elemental planes. It will also include new class build options, races, and monsters to encounter along with detained information about each of the Material Planes. The book comes out October 11 with a MSRP of $22.99.


    Dragonlance: The Legend of Huma is finally getting the graphic novel treatment. With art by Rael Lyra and Joe Prado and scripting from Brian Augustyn, Sean J. Jordon, and Trampas Whiteman; the six issue series adapting the Richard A. Knaak novel about the rise of Huma of the Knights of Solamnia originally came out from Devil’s Due Publishing. This 144 page graphic novel comes out on December 7 from IDW Publishing and will have an MSRP of $19.99.


    Games Workshop announced a new line of introductory miniature kits for the Warhammer 40K miniature wargame. The six different Build & Paint kits will include between two and eight miniatures along with detailed assembly instructions, paint, glue, and all other materials required to play, with an MSRP ranging from $14.99 to $39.99. Both individual units and vehicles are available in these kits, with three for the Space Marine faction and three for the Orks. Unlike most other Games Workshop offerings which require stores go through their direct distribution, these kits will only be available through trade distribution, allowing greater marketplace availability. For fans of the Warhammer 40K Battle for Vedros boxed set, the plastic miniatures included with these kits will be similar in style.


    Just one quick note before I go into this week’s crowdfunding efforts. If you haven’t seen them, our own Michael “Talien” Tresca started a new series of articles covering the links between tabletop roleplaying games and the major video games they inspired. The first article covers the Dungeons & Dragons origins of the game DOOM, while the second discusses the origin of Quake and how roleplaying games defined the creatures there as well. It’s amazingly in-depth and a must-read for anyone interested in how tabletop gaming evolved into modern video games.


    Scion: Second Edition afforded me a very rare sight. I got to see an Onyx Path Kickstarter live on Kickstarter that had not yet funded. Of course, that’s only because I saw it the first hour it was up because Scion is already well into six figures. The new game updates the game rules from the ground up using Storypath System (no Battle Wheels required anymore) and has mechanics that will be familiar to those who are used to Onyx Path’s previous work. If you’re not familiar with Scion, it is a modern day urban fantasy campaign full of mythology and demigods and has been described by many in its first edition as one of the most over-the-top roleplaying games of all time. The game requires two books to play, Scion: Origin and Scion: Heroes, which are available for a $20 pledge in PDF format and $85 for both books in physical format. As usual for Onyx Path, there are many options to choose from including collectible levels, add-ons, PDFs of previous editions, and much more to come as this Kickstarter unlocks stretch goals until Saturday, October 22.

    Synthicide is the new dark science fiction roleplaying game from Will Power Games. You can get a PDF copy of the game for $20 or a print copy for $60. The robot uprising has happened and mankind lost. The human rebellion against the machine totalitarian world happened…and mankind lost. Now, humans are disposable workers and overlooked vermin while they struggle to survive along with the mutants and cyborgs that also hide from the notice of their robot overlords. This Kickstarter just funded and has several stretch goals to get through before it ends on Thursday, October 6.

    I really wanted to talk about the Bag of Superior Sorting a couple of times doing this column. See, the product is one of those “Where has this been my entire life?!” style innovations on the dice bag, made of sturdy material and with sectioned pockets allowing dice to be sorted among the bag’s thirteen different compartments. However, for the past almost two weeks, there have been no available pledge levels. I’ve talked about the problem of crowdfunding campaigns being “too successful” before, where their costs jump due to the unexpectedly large number of orders. Many campaigns do nothing, let the orders overwhelm them, then don’t realize how screwed they are until far later. Thankfully, this campaign did the responsible thing and, when they got more orders than they could originally handle, put the campaign on pause to renegotiate with distributors of the raw materials. It may be difficult to tell now, but there are still several pledge levels with different materials that are still available starting at $30. But hurry, because this fully-funded campaign ends on Friday, September 30.

    That’s all for this week. You can always get more up-to-date news on the ENWorld News Network throughout the week. And don’t forget to support us on Patreon to help us bring you even more news. You can also follow me on Twitter @Abstruse and check out the archives of the Gamer’s Tavern podcast. Until next time, may all your hits be crits!
    Comments 25 Comments
    1. Klataubarada's Avatar
      Klataubarada -
      So will the youtube playlist of CR still be available?
    1. Juomari Veren's Avatar
      Juomari Veren -
      Pretty sure Matt Mercer said on Twitter that Critical Role will still be available for free on Youtube.

      https://twitter.com/matthewmercer/st...87993792950273
    1. ilsundal's Avatar
      ilsundal -
      The Legend of Huma has existed as a graphical novel since 2008. You can find it here:

      https://www.amazon.com/Dragonlance-L...legend+of+huma

      So what is the news here? Will a new version of the graphical novel be released in December? If so, how does it differ from the one from 2008?
    1. Barantor's Avatar
      Barantor -
      If you are looking for something to watch on nights that CR isn't on twitch then I suggest HyperRPGs three shows on Mon, Wed and Fri nights. Monday is Valiant: Vanquished a Superhero game they run, Wednesday night they run a Shadowrun game and Friday they run "Death from Above" their Battletech game with roleplaying and tabletop gaming.

      All are shot at a studio and I think the production value and interaction is actually better than Critical Role. HyperRpg is run by Zac Eubanks, a former employee of G&S and is a sister company of Hairbraned Schemes, the company making the new Battletech game and owned by Jordan Weisman creater of the same.

      https://www.twitch.tv/hyperrpg
    1. Jester David's Avatar
      Jester David -
      I don't see much change in Critical Role.

      Right now now you can watch live, pay $4.99 to subscribe to Twitch to watch past episodes immediately, or wait until the episode hits YouTube (usually Wednesdays).

      If the above is correct, you can watch live, pay $4.99 to subscribe to Alpha to watch past episodes immediately, or wait until the episode hits YouTube (claimed to be two days later).

      It looks like the video host is just changing for Tabletop and brining Critical Role with it.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      There has been no statement from Legendary on how Critical Role can be access outside of the live stream on Twitch and the new Alpha subscription service. It is very likely that if you miss the show live, you will have to pay for a subscription to Alpha.

      Also keep in mind that Legendary Pictures, who owns both Geek & Sundry and Nerdist, is a multibillion dollar entertainment company. They own not only both G&S and Nerdist outright, they own the rights to all the shows on both "networks" and can do with them what they wish. If you go through Wil Wheaton's tumblr posts where people ask him about Season 4, you can see his increased frustration as he knows the show's shot and edited but Legendary has been withholding it from release and not communicating why. It's very likely Legendary has decided that Critical Role will only be available in an archived format on their Alpha streaming service and not seen it worth their time to notify Matt Mercer of the change, even though he's a producer on the show.
    1. lkj's Avatar
      lkj -
      Matt Mercer says Critical Role will not reduce existing services as part of this change:

      https://www.reddit.com/r/criticalrol...in_new/d86bua1
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by lkj View Post
      Matt Mercer says Critical Role will not reduce existing services as part of this change:

      https://www.reddit.com/r/criticalrol...in_new/d86bua1
      With all due respect to Matt Mercer, that's not what the press release nor the Variety article stated nor implied. They specifically named three shows - Co-Optitude, The Dan Cave, and Because Science - which will remain free with Alpha subscribers getting the episodes 48 hours earlier than YouTube and the Geek & Sundry website. They've said nothing about Critical Role being available for free outside the live streams on Twitch starting with the "new season".
    1. Zarithar's Avatar
      Zarithar -
      Harmontown did something similar about a year or so ago. Basically if you want to listen the Podcast for free you just have to wait a week. I hope this is the case for CR and TT
    1. lkj's Avatar
      lkj -
      Quote Originally Posted by Abstruse View Post
      With all due respect to Matt Mercer, that's not what the press release nor the Variety article stated nor implied. They specifically named three shows - Co-Optitude, The Dan Cave, and Because Science - which will remain free with Alpha subscribers getting the episodes 48 hours earlier than YouTube and the Geek & Sundry website. They've said nothing about Critical Role being available for free outside the live streams on Twitch starting with the "new season".
      Fair enough. But it seems like Matt would know. And he also tweeted the following:

      "I assure you, the show will continue to be on YouTube unchanged"

      I don't think he's guessing or speculating.

      AD
    1. Henry's Avatar
      Henry -
      Actually, in the Nerdist announcement for Alpha, the new content coordinator said (paraphrasing)" for Critical Role, why mess with a good thing. It will still be available on Youtube" ( and then she announced the delay time, I didn't pay sharp attention to the specifics because I don't regularly watch. But she did specifically say it won't be exclusive to Alpha, just "first run" rights, essentially.

      Tabletop, on the other hand, I am a bit miffed about. I have NO intention on signing up for yet another micro-pay content creator; I think this little fad of everybody and their brother trying to be another Netflix or Hulu is short-sighted, and everybody from Comic Con to Whoever runs Nerdist/G+S, to CBS, to Sony, is not going to see positive returns from this. I really don't think the market will bear it, and I feel like it'll collapse in a year or two of time. Could be wrong, but I'll pay for one or two (currently Hulu and Netflix) but somebody better be damned fantastic to make me give up Hulu or Netflix for them, and so far that's no one.

      I'm participating on exactly ONE Patreon, for that matter, and for two VERY specific reasons. Unlike a one to five person show for a Patreon backer, these companies with thousands of employees can't afford to bank on the hit or miss nature of a subscription service. I'll definitely be watching the new CBS Star Trek, but only after CBS throws in the towel and puts it up for free or on Network TV...
    1. Brodie's Avatar
      Brodie -
      Well, this some serious bulls**t. Tabletop being exclusive until 'sometime' in 2017? I can understand Wil Wheaton not being happy. I hope this doesn't mean Titansgrave will be treated the same; I desperately want to see more of that show.

      Also... I'm so sick of 'Talk' show follow ups.

      Anyway, Critical Role does get posted to YouTube, usually on Monday/Tuesday after a stream, but it's hidden. If you're subscribed to the Geek And Sundry channel, the episode that'll show up in your subs is actually a month old. You have to go to the G&S website to watch the most recent episode.
    1. Shasarak's Avatar
      Shasarak -
      That is one fantastic looking Legend of Huma picture.
    1. dd.stevenson's Avatar
      dd.stevenson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Abstruse View Post
      With all due respect to Matt Mercer, that's not what the press release nor the Variety article stated nor implied. They specifically named three shows - Co-Optitude, The Dan Cave, and Because Science - which will remain free with Alpha subscribers getting the episodes 48 hours earlier than YouTube and the Geek & Sundry website. They've said nothing about Critical Role being available for free outside the live streams on Twitch starting with the "new season".
      It seems obvious that LDM is scrambling like heck to recover from a badly timed, badly executed announcement.
    1. Koren n'Rhys's Avatar
      Koren n'Rhys -
      Quote Originally Posted by Henry View Post
      Tabletop, on the other hand, I am a bit miffed about. I have NO intention on signing up for yet another micro-pay content creator; I think this little fad of everybody and their brother trying to be another Netflix or Hulu is short-sighted, and everybody from Comic Con to Whoever runs Nerdist/G+S, to CBS, to Sony, is not going to see positive returns from this. I really don't think the market will bear it, and I feel like it'll collapse in a year or two of time. Could be wrong, but I'll pay for one or two (currently Hulu and Netflix) but somebody better be damned fantastic to make me give up Hulu or Netflix for them, and so far that's no one.

      I'm participating on exactly ONE Patreon, for that matter, and for two VERY specific reasons. Unlike a one to five person show for a Patreon backer, these companies with thousands of employees can't afford to bank on the hit or miss nature of a subscription service. I'll definitely be watching the new CBS Star Trek, but only after CBS throws in the towel and puts it up for free or on Network TV...
      Can't disagree with this. I pay for Hulu, Netflix & Amazon Prime already, so CBS pulling their stuff to do their own thing pissed me off big time. I paid for their service for a couple of months just so the wife & I could finish out watching a couple of series that were ending (Person of Interest and The Good Wife - don't judge me). I will NOT be doing it again for Star Trek, Big Bang Theory, or Criminal Minds or anything else. Screw that.
    1. Ace-Azzameen's Avatar
      Ace-Azzameen -
      Wil's miffed! Oh, Wil you poor baby... SHADDUP WESLEY! Paying for "premium access" to shows like this is insane. Bad business.
    1. Lord_Blacksteel's Avatar
      Lord_Blacksteel -
      I do have to wonder how much people are willing to pay for these geek-focused micro-shows. Existing as a YouTube show is one thing, but trying to market a subscription service for them is quite another. As a general statement, people don't like paying for something that used to be free, and a sizable chunk of that community doesn't necessarily like paying for things that aren't free. The jump from local to network TV made a difference for a show like MST3K years ago. What does the jump to "network status" do for something like Tabletop? Get them a nicer couch?

      There's no lack of this kind of thing out there. I think the tolerance level for "how about you pay for it now?" is low to nil.
    1. Gull's Avatar
      Gull -
      Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Blacksteel View Post
      I do have to wonder how much people are willing to pay for these geek-focused micro-shows. Existing as a YouTube show is one thing, but trying to market a subscription service for them is quite another.
      Totally agree. I'd say that a *few people* are willing to pay a *whole lot*. They're the equivalent to F2P gaming's "whales," and the reason why content creators with 300 Patreon subscribers somehow pull in $1-2K a month.

      But the vast majority of viewers aren't exactly going to welcome the thought of yet another subscription with open arms. And unlike Patreon, a flat $4.99 service can't make up for that sort of widespread apathy by baking on a few highly supportive fans with deep pockets.
    1. AriochQ's Avatar
      AriochQ -
      I met Matthew Mercer at Gen Con this year. I was aware of Critical Role and had watched a bit of the first episode a while ago. After Gen Con I started to watch it when I had free time, usually in 30 minute blocks. It is entertaining, but spending 3.5 hours a week watching people play D&D still seems a little crazy. No way I would pay for the experience. Others may feel differently.
    1. Max_Killjoy's Avatar
      Max_Killjoy -
      I'd never even heard of any of these until I started posting here, other than the Titansgrave thing because someone I know was invited to play in a campaign.
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