News Digest: Tomb of Annihilation, D&D Beyond, Saving Throw Show, Origins Awards, Warhammer 40K, and more!
  • News Digest: Tomb of Annihilation, D&D Beyond, Saving Throw Show, Critical Role, Origins Awards, Warhammer 40K, and more!


    Hello everyone! Darryl here with a slightly delayed News Digest that I’m blaming on a tropical storm. We’ve got new details on Tomb of Annihilation and D&D Beyond, news on the Critical Role sourcebook's release, Origins Awards winners, a huge charity stream from Saving Throw, the new Warhammer 40K edition, and more!



    Wizards of the Coast released a few more details at Origins for their next releases, Tomb of Annihilation and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. Expanding on the information released during their live stream, Tomb of Annihilation will be an adventure that runs from Level 1 to 11, but will also dovetail into Adventure League content running all the way to Level 20. Death isn’t as cheap as it once was as resurrection magic doesn’t work correctly. Dinosaurs (including undead ones) roam Chult, and a dragon turtle named Aremag lives in the bay (which is Gamera spelled backward). Some new races and monsters were announced, including Pterafolk, Bateri goblins, Aarakocra, almiraj, kamadan, mantrap, jacuuli, zorbo, chwingas, albino dwarves, and su-monsters. There will be ties to previous adventures and picking up some plot threads from both Storm King’s Thunder and the Tomb of Horrors. And, most critically to many I’m sure, there will be rules for dinosaur races. More information is available in EN World’s coverage in the link above.

    Also from Origins, D&D Beyond is moving into its Phase 2 soon, as soon as this month. Phase 2 will focus on a character builder and management system which will allow the creation of a player character in “minutes instead of hours”. There will be quick build options, randomization, and normal full creation options. The digital character sheet attached to the character builder will have equal accessibility on multiple devices with scaling for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and full computer displays. Phase 3 of the beta testing period will focus on options for dungeon masters including the ability to add homebrew campaign notes, house rules, magic items, spells, and more with the ability to share those with players. No prices were announced, but they did announce there will be two tiers of subscriptions available, one for players called the Hero Tier with access to all the character creation tools and no limit on the number of characters saved, and the Master Tier to allow creation and sharing of homebrew material and even allow access to player character sheets with editing features. A pronunciation guide was also announced with Matt Mercer and Marisha Ray providing the voice work. All current print products will have their content integrated into the app at launch.


    Speaking of Matt Mercer, Green Ronin Publishing announced full details on the release of Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting written by Mercer with additional writing and development from James Haeck and Joseph Carriker. The book will be a 114 page full-color hardback with setting information or 5th Edition with an MSRP of $34.95. A PDF version will also be available for $18.95 on its own, or for a $5 purchase through the Pre-Order Plus system if the physical copy is purchased through an independent game store participating in the program. The book releases at Gen Con on August 17 with pre-order pick-ups and direct sales available at the convention along with shipments to stores at the same time, so they should be available within a few days of the convention in other outlets.


    Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition is now available, and the Battle Primer is available for free. This new update to the Warhammer 40K rules includes three different modes of play, though only one is covered in the free rules supplement and scenario provided. The full 280-page rulebook with gameplay for all modes of play as well as advanced rules plus history and paint guides for miniatures is available for $60 with a few of the 2000 limited edition copies available for $420. A complete index bundle for Imperium 1, Imperium 2, Chaos, Xenos 1, and Xenos 2 is also available for $125 for all five volumes. A new introductory boxed set, Warhammer 40,000: Dark Imperium, is also available for $160 which includes the full rulebook, dice, player reference cards, measuring devices, and 53 total miniatures (22 Primaris Space Marines and 31 Death Guards).


    Saving Throw is running a 24-hour long marathon stream on Twitch this weekend benefitting the Alzheimer’s Association. Starting at 8PM Pacific Time this Friday, June 23 and running until at least 8PM Pacific Time on Saturday, June 24, The Longest Day stream will feature games of Call of Cthulhu, Werewolf: The Wild West, Roll for Shoes, Marvel Super Heroes, Karthun (a D&D 5th Edition game), and Wizards Warriors and You. Guests include Tom Lommel (Bill Cavalier the Dungeon Bastard), Amy Vorpahl (Nerdist, Geek & Sundry), Brian Patterson (D20 Monkey), and many more along with viewer giveaways and the ability to influence the game by buying re-rolls, healing, more enemies, more allies, and other game-appropriate advantages and disadvantages for anyone at the table including the gamemasters with all proceeds from the stream benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association.


    Origins Awards winners were announced this past weekend at Origins. The biggest winner was Scythe from Stonemeier Games, which won both Game of the Year and Board Game of the Year. Other winners include No Thank You, Evil from Monte Cook Games for RPG of the Year, Happy Salmon from North Star Games for Family Game of the Year, Mystic Vale from AEG for Card Game of the Year, the Blood Rage organizer from Broken Token for Best Accessory of the Year, and Pokemon XY11 Steam Siege booster from The Pokemon Co for Best Collectible of the Year. The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design also inducted two new members into their Hall of Fame, designers Mike Elliott and Jennell Jacquays.


    This story has a bit of a tangle to it, so give me a moment to explain some of the history as even fans of Vampire: The Masquerade have been confused recently. In 2015, video game company Paradox Interactive purchased the intellectual property and trademarks for White Wolf Publishing including the rights to all World of Darkness (also known as Classic World of Darkness or Old World of Darkness) and Chronicles of Darkness (also known as New World of Darkness). The previous owner was CCP Games, which merged with White Wolf Publishing in 2006.

    During that time from 2006 to 2015, two licenses were granted to outside companies. One of those licenses went to Onyx Path Publishing, who created the highly popular 20th Anniversary Editions of the World of Darkness game systems along with a lot of original material for both World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness for all of their game lines. This license is still in place and the works for the 20th Anniversary editions of Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, and others for tabletop gaming came from Onyx Path along with material for Chronicles of Darkness including the 2nd Edition of Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf: The Forsaken, Mage: The Awakening, and others. Another company, By Night Studios, has been working under a similar license for the Mind’s Eye Theater rules system for World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness LARP games.

    Paradox Interactive in 2016 launched a subsidiary company called White Wolf Publishing with the goal of creating a new edition of Vampire: The Masquerade in-house with no input from either Onyx Path or By Night Studios. Last Thursday, Paradox released a “Pre-Alpha” playtest packet for their new game, credited to Karim Muammar, Karl Bergstrom, and Kenneth Hite with “contribution, editing, and testing” from Martin Ericsson and Jason Carl. The EN World coverage of this launch is available at this link. Please use extreme caution when choosing to download this packet as the content within contains direct references to child abuse, child murder, implied sexual assault, and explicit sexual assault; and all of these are actions either major parts of the background of the player characters presented in the material or are rules systems that “force” the player characters to perform these actions whether they want to or not. These are not the NPCs or “villains” of the included adventure, but actions the players are expected to perform or are forced by the rules system to have their characters perform.

    In the meantime, Onyx Path has recently released Thousand Years of Night, updated rules for creating elder vampires under the Vampire: The Requiem rules as well as the Dark Ages Companion which gives expanded and updated rules for the Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition rules for creating characters and chronicles during the Dark Ages period.


    I’ve mentioned author Ari Marmell before, but I felt it was a time for an update on what he’s doing. When I first covered his Patreon, it had only just launched and, in the months since, it has been updated and streamlined with a lot of great content. Marmell is the author of several books including the Mick Oberon urban fantasy-noir series, the Widdershins YA fantasy, and several tie-in novels for Magic: The Gathering, Darksiders, and World of Darkness. He’s also done a lot of game design work before moving full-time into novel writing, with work on World of Darkness, Chronicles of Darkness, and Dungeons & Dragons. Currently, he’s started publishing a brand new never before seen novel chapter-by-chapter with five total chapters already available. To get access, all you have to do is pledge $2 or more per month to get them all immediately. At $5/mo, you also get access to even more fiction and announcements, and $10/mo gets you access to monthly Q&A videos and other special video content just for backers.


    Dwarven Forge has been the gold standard for miniature terrain for a very long time, and now they’re bringing out yet another set of amazing miniatures, Dungeon of Doom. This set includes two new features, a one-foot square raised platform allowing you to add elevation to your games, and a new slot for magnets using Terrain Trays in order to hold the pieces in place when shifted or even turned at an angle. The baseline pledge is $10 to get a canvas tote bag for storage with the ability to add on pieces a la carte, or you can purchase in sets for $82 unpainted green-grey (which still looks great in my experience) or $119 for hand painted. There’s also price breaks for ordering multiple sets at once. This Kickstarter funded in minutes and is currently at $1.4 million with funding running until Tuesday, July 11.

    Once you have your terrain, you’re going to need an adventure to run. How about the Fallen Veil Adventure Set from Table Titans? This boxed set from the Table Titans webcomic by writer/artist Scott Kurtz and colorist Steve Hamaker features two adventures for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition for levels 1-2 (Terror of Haverford and Lake of Shadows), 200+ stand-up cardboard game tokens featuring art designs from Table Titans, more than eight maps, and a custom dungeon master screen. And because of their partnership with Wizards of the Coast, they’re allowed to actually say “Dungeons & Dragons” and “Dungeon Master” rather than just allude to them. There’s only one pledge level for this project, $50 to get the entire boxed set and all unlocked stretch goals, but there’s plenty of additional add-ons from previous campaigns as well. This Kickstarter is funded and will unlock more stretch goals until Thursday, July 20.

    That’s all from me for this week! Find more gaming crowdfunding news at the EN World RPG Kickstarter News website, and don’t forget to support our Patreon to bring you even more gaming news content. If you have any news to submit, email us at news@enworldnews.com. You can follow me on Twitter @Abstruse where I’ll be lamenting I can’t get more games during the Steam Sale because I already own too many, or you can listen to the archives of the Gamer’s Tavern podcast. Until next time, may all your hits be crits!
    Comments 32 Comments
    1. lyle.spade's Avatar
      lyle.spade -
      ToA first paragraph: "Some new racist and monsters..." - ha! Funny typo.
    1. Thunder_Cats_HO!'s Avatar
      Thunder_Cats_HO! -
      Looking forward to TOA! and the dice! oh those dice look pretty.. I would love the board game, but alas I can't afford it..
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by lyle.spade View Post
      ToA first paragraph: "Some new racist and monsters..." - ha! Funny typo.
      Oops, fixed that. Something must have been dominating my thoughts while I was writing...
    1. jimmifett's Avatar
      jimmifett -
      "Please use extreme caution when choosing to download this packet as the content within contains direct references to child abuse, child murder, implied sexual assault, and explicit sexual assault;"

      An extreme mis-characterization of the material.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by jimmifett View Post
      "Please use extreme caution when choosing to download this packet as the content within contains direct references to child abuse, child murder, implied sexual assault, and explicit sexual assault;"

      An extreme mis-characterization of the material.
      No, accurate reporting. I'd quote the relevant sections, but to do so would violate the forum's rules. There's no longer a mechanic for Humanity, but there are between 2 and 4 mechanics for sexual assault, depending on how loosely one defines that term (two are inarguable and one is overtly blatant). One of the pregenerated player characters (there's no character creation rules) is a Ventrue whose feeding restrictions are "children and young teens", who is a YA author, and who runs a refugee center for orphans. This isn't me extrapolating or exaggerating, this is the material as presented in the playtest packet.
    1. Sean Patrick Fannon's Avatar
      Sean Patrick Fannon -
      Quote Originally Posted by jimmifett View Post
      An extreme mis-characterization of the material.
      Not even a little bit. Too many who've read through the entirety and are having very serious, personal, emotional reactions to it.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Honestly, the content is worse than I've described because, again, I can't actually describe the content without violating forum rules.

      I feel pity for anyone downloading this on their work computer without knowing what's in it because they're in for one hell of a visit to HR.
    1. PMárk's Avatar
      PMárk -
      Quote Originally Posted by jimmifett View Post
      "Please use extreme caution when choosing to download this packet as the content within contains direct references to child abuse, child murder, implied sexual assault, and explicit sexual assault;"

      An extreme mis-characterization of the material.
      Agree, but I'm not surprised and don't have time and energy for endless and pointless arguments here too, so I'd say to everybody: download the stuff, read it and make your own decision about it. You might think it's too much, you might think it's okay, or horrible, or the beginning of the new golden age, or whatever, it's fine, but the portraying above and the claim that you'll have HR problems because of it is just silly. It's not worse than a lot of other WW books was.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by PMárk View Post
      It's not worse than a lot of other WW books was.
      Speaking of "gross mischaracterization", there is a distinct difference with what the pre-Paradox White Wolf did and what Paradox is doing now. Let's make a list.


      1. Mature content was marked as such on the front and back covers of books, and many White Wolf releases were shipped polybagged due to the mature content.
      2. Content that was too disturbing for even R-rated motion pictures was published by a subsidiary company called Black Dog Publishing, not through the main corporate name of White Wolf Publishing.
      3. This is material that makes up the base core mechanics of the game, meaning this is the "core rulebook" material. Specifically, this is the base "Hunger" mechanic that replaces the Blood Pools and the responses are specific to core Camarilla Clans such as Ventrue and Toreador.
      4. There are no mature content warnings whatsoever, either on the website or in the playtest material. It's "Surprise! Sexual Assault is a core mechanic now! And we even went out of our way to point out that consent is not required!"
      5. One of the default, pre-generated player characters is - as written by the developers - a pedophile and child serial killer. I'd use direct quotes but, again, I can't because of the forum rules of EN World.


      So no, this is not the same as what White Wolf did as an independent company or after merging with CCP, not is it the same as what Onyx Path or By Night Studios has done with their licenses on the material.

      Don't believe me? Think I'm exaggerating or overreacting? The playtest is free to download from the links in the EN World article in my column and is available on Drive Thru for free. But don't do it on your work computer or on any monitored device and, if you have legal restrictions either due to your country's laws or for any other reason. I just figure it's fair to give such warnings since Paradox has decided not to.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      There is also another major difference between this playtest from Paradox and previous material from Onyx Path and the pre-Paradox White Wolf: You could always play as an absolute monster if you wanted to because the option was always there. In this playtest? It is a requirement. You have no choice but to play as a grimdark monster under these rules as presented. This is a playtest for the core rulebook. Not a supplement. Not optional rules. Not alternate campaign settings. Not Sabbat. This is the main, core rules of the game. If you want to play what they're calling Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition, you have no other choice. Because those are the core rules.
    1. PMárk's Avatar
      PMárk -
      I'll just reiterate to everyone: don't believe the doom-saying and exaggerated accusations, but don't believe the praising either. Download it and make up your own mind, just don't forget it's WoD, it's a pre-alpha playtest, not a quickstart and it has a certain context (the big Berlin LARP's story about how the anarch had enough and taking over the Camarilla), which is important, when looking at the characters and the events.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by PMárk View Post
      ...it has a certain context (the big Berlin LARP's story about how the anarch had enough and taking over the Camarilla), which is important, when looking at the characters and the events.
      Because context is important when the Toreador Clan weakness suddenly changes from "the character is mesmerized by beauty to the point of inaction" to "must commit sexual assault if the character hasn't killed anyone recently enough". That's totally a thing that would happen because of a rebellion, every member of a Clan of artists and craftspeople changing into violent sexfiends.

      Also, what's the context that makes it okay for pre-generated characters to be child molesting serial killers? I think I missed that part in the backstory because it spends so much time setting up all the ways the character kills children.
    1. PMárk's Avatar
      PMárk -
      Quote Originally Posted by Abstruse View Post
      Because context is important when the Toreador Clan weakness suddenly changes from "the character is mesmerized by beauty to the point of inaction" to "must commit sexual assault if the character hasn't killed anyone recently enough". That's totally a thing that would happen because of a rebellion, every member of a Clan of artists and craftspeople changing into violent sexfiends.

      Also, what's the context that makes it okay for pre-generated characters to be child molesting serial killers? I think I missed that part in the backstory because it spends so much time setting up all the ways the character kills children.
      LOL, nope, you won't drag me into this! If that's your interpretation and all you seen in the documents, that's your prerogative!

      Seriously people, just read it and decide yourself.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by PMárk View Post
      LOL, nope, you won't drag me into it! If that's your interpretation and all you seen in the documents, good for you!

      Seriously people, just read it and decide yourself.
      It's not "my interpretation". It's the designer's interpretation. That's what's written in the playtest document. Toned down from what is written in the document.

      I mean I'm not sure what else I'm supposed to see when there are literally rules forcing characters to perform sexual acts and the playtest document clearly states that the partner's consent is not required. As in the document goes out of its way to make a point of that. I'm not sure how else there is to read on "Ventrue feeding restriction: children and young teens".
    1. PMárk's Avatar
      PMárk -
      As I said...

      But, by all means, feel free to type your standpoint some more times!

      I just wanted to ask people to read it and decide without preconceptions, based on someone's personal take on the stuff.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Again, I quoted from the document as much as I can. "Ventrue feeding restriction: children and young teens". That's a direct quote. I can't quote the Toreador Hunger rules, but the section's three sentences long about an overwhelming desire to have sex and spends one of those sentences pointing out that consent of the partner for the sex act is not required. That's pretty unambiguous and isn't a "personal take". It's a straightforward statement.
    1. Sean Patrick Fannon's Avatar
      Sean Patrick Fannon -
      Quote Originally Posted by PMárk View Post
      I just wanted to ask people to read it and decide without preconceptions, based on someone's personal take on the stuff.
      And we are trying to give people a reasonable understanding that reading the material could be problematic, and they should be fairly warned. You're trying to diminish that and act like these are "preconceptions" they should ignore, and that is downright awful of you.
    1. JeffB's Avatar
      JeffB -
      I thought the $35 price tag for a 114p book from Green Ronin was pretty offensive...

      I am only familiar with Exalted and the old Adventure! game. The new system seems pretty streamlined.

      I read through the scenario and pre-gens. IDK if that is typical of Vampire/WOD adventures and play, but if it is that game is FUBAR, as far as I am concerned. I can see why some people would find it extremely offensive.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by JeffB View Post
      I thought the $35 price tag for a 114p book from Green Ronin was pretty offensive...
      $35 is about standard price for a hardcover in the current market. Even mainstream fiction publishers have trouble getting numbers for a hardback under $30 MSRP. Hoard of the Dragon Queen is 96 pages and Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide is 159, and both of those had $39.95 retail prices. And Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting has a pre-order price of $20.97 on Amazon right now if you don't have a local game store.
    1. PMárk's Avatar
      PMárk -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sean Patrick Fannon View Post
      And we are trying to give people a reasonable understanding that reading the material could be problematic, and they should be fairly warned. You're trying to diminish that and act like these are "preconceptions" they should ignore, and that is downright awful of you.
      It could be problematic in a sense that some parts of it could push buttons in people, as it is clearly seen there. That's understandable, but my firm opinion is that the warnings given based on that and the portraying of the playtest are way exaggerated and one-sided. If you don't agree with it, that's fine with me. If you're thinking I'm awful for saying that, well, that's your prerogative too.
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