News Digest: New D&D Product Announcements, Pathfinder 2nd Ed Skill System Previewed, New Products from FFG and Green Ronin, and more!
  • News Digest: New D&D Product Announcements, Pathfinder 2nd Ed Skill System Previewed, New Products from FFG and Green Ronin, and more!


    Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week's gaming news! New Dungeons & Dragons books announced, a hands-on preview of Pathfinder 2nd Edition, a big preview of Judge Dredd and the Worlds of 2000AD, new products from Fantasy Flight and Green Ronin, and more!


    Wizards of the Coast, of course, dominated the news this week with their new product announcements. Waterdeep: Dragon Heist was announced on the Dungeons & Dragons Twitch stream on Friday, a hardcover adventure and sourcebook combination that will feature a heist-based adventure with multiple potential endings for levels 1-5 along with new rules and expansion of existing rules covering campaigns set in an urban setting. Then on Saturday, the stream closed out with a surprise announcement of Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, the first megadungeon adventure from Wizards of the Coast for 5th Edition that will detail twenty-three levels of Undermountain along with the city of Skullport and more rules for dungeon crawl based campaigns, with material for level 6-20. Both books will retail for $49.95 and are currently listed as 256 pages, though it should be noted this page count may be a placeholder for distributor solicitations. Waterdeep: Dragon Heist releases to mass markets on September 18, 2018, and Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage releases on November 13, 2018.

    As if that weren’t enough, Nathan Stewart announced that more campaign settings would be opened up before the end of the year. Quoting from the statement made by Wizards of the Coast’s Brand Manager:
    It's going to be more like at the level of how Barovia [introduced in the Curse of Strahd adventure storyline] is in terms of stuff. Here's a thing that's going to give you a taste of the setting, but we're not going to that setting yet, we're just letting you get in there and start doing it. … We have two surprises that I think hardcore D&D fans are really going to love coming this summer, and then I think we got one surprise that's going to release later this year that we've not told anyone about. We're going to announce it in July.

    Currently, there are no open slots of the Wizards of the Coast publication schedule, as solicitations to mass-market retailers (like Amazon or Barnes and Noble) are typically done far in advance of publication. This is what led to the speculation surrounding several titles, as the distributor solicitations in 2017 had codename products such as “Broadway” and “Catacombs” (which turned out to be Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage respectively). This leads to the assumption that this will be published by a third party, similar to how some adventures and sourcebooks early in 5th Edition’s cycle were published by Kobold Press and Green Ronin. Another option may be a PDF release, a D&D Beyond exclusive, or something else that won’t be distributed in mass market stores. It looks like we have at least a month to speculate which campaign settings we’ll be getting and how they’ll be released.


    Paizo’s released more information about Pathfinder 2nd Edition, particularly a streamlined skill system. The entire skill list has been cut by over half, going from thirty-five total skills to just seventeen. Some of them have been combined or refined to a more broad interpretation to allow more flexibility, such as Sleight of Hand and Disable Device combined into a single skill called Thievery and the various Knowledge skills turning into a single, more open Lore skill (which also replaces Use Magic Device). The proficiency system has also been updated with just four stages to each skill: Untrained (-2), Trained (+0), Expert (+1), Master (+2), and Legendary (+3) which adds with attribute and level based bonuses. The skill proficiency level also unlocks new uses of different skills. And the previously “dead-end” skill feats have been moved into a separate category from general feats, so you get them for free at 2nd level and every other level thereafter (with Rogues get them at every level).

    All these previews are well and good, but combined with the other updates, it still doesn’t tell us how the game plays in this new iteration. Well, our own Morrus got a chance to kick the tires at UK Games Expo in Birmingham, England, this past weekend and gave an overview of his experience with the new system from the game table! While pre-orders for the playtest are currently closed from Paizo and for hobbyist retail channels, many mass-market outlets such as Amazon still have pre-orders available for the August 2, 2018, release of the official playtest.


    In case you missed last week, I talked about the previews for EN Publishing’s Judge Dredd and the Worlds of 2000AD. Of course, Morrus had to top me and post the entire first chapter of the book! Of course, it’s not that easy to top me considering I’m just a columnist and he runs the site as well as EN Publishing, creators of the game. The introductory chapter gives the basic setup for the game, starts setting the tone (for long-time fans who may be worried about a licensed property), The game itself does not currently have a release date, but you can get notified when the Kickstarter begins by signing up for the mailing list or by joining the official Judge Dredd and the Worlds of 2000AD Facebook group. And if you’re not familiar with the What’s OLD is NEW game system, the third season of the official WOIN live stream Warped just started with a comedic space opera campaign.


    The pre-order for Green Ronin’s Modern AGE Basic Rulebook is live. This core rulebook gives rules for playing in modern settings using the Adventure Game Engine (AGE), spanning genres from action, noir crime, adventure, superheroes, urban fantasy, and more as befitting a generic system. The rules will be similar to the Fantasy AGE and Dragon Age RPG rules tweaked slightly to allow for a unique stunt system and updated to allow more advanced technology, firearms, and modern armor. The 192-page hardback will retail for $34.95 and release to mass market on July 10, 2018.


    There’s a period between when a new edition of a game is announced and when it actually comes out that products are still released, which leads to questions of why to purchase new products that are about to be out of date? Fantasy Flight Games solved that problem for Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures by making their new expansion, Saw’s Renegades, compatible with both editions. The expansion includes a T-65 X-Wing and 60D U-Wing in distinctive black-and-white paint and all the components for both first and second editions of the miniature skirmish game. The expansion is slated for a release date of July 20, 2018, with a retail price of $39.99 with preorders available now.


    Who says retro-clones have to be third-party products? Hero Games is resurrecting the original Champions early editions as Champions Now. This new product takes elements from the first three editions of Champions, the Super Roleplaying Game in order to create the best reflection of the original vision for the game. While the final rules system will be something new, it will reflect the original mechanics by including what worked and fine-tuning what didn’t without fundamentally changing the core of the game. The PDF is available for a $15 pledge and the physical edition for $30 with other tiers that include character creation and even game sessions with the designer. This Kickstarter is just past the halfway mark at time of writing and has until Friday, June 29, to meet its funding goal.

    FASA Games is launching the first expansion of their miniature wargame, Demonworld. Quick explanation (and this is the short version): FASA Corporation ended active operations and sold the rights to Shadowrun and BattleTech to WizKids, but did not actually close. It stayed a corporate entity as a rights holder for some FASA properties until it relaunched as FASA Games to launch the current edition of Earthdawn. So yes, this is technically the same FASA, sorta. And the Demonworld property itself has a complicated history, originally launching in Germany in 1999 before being purchased by Ral Partha (yes, the European company is separate from the North American company which became Ironwind Metals) in 2011 with an English language release of the third edition being the first time it’s available in America. I’m mostly sure that’s all accurate, so please correct me in the comments if I got any of that wrong trying to summarize.

    Okay, up to speed? Demonworld is a 15mm scale fantasy miniature wargame with miniatures cast in pewter focusing on a storyline about on different nations fighting against a returning horde of demons from The Void. The Army Book for the Elves is available in PDF for $10, in print for $18, a bundle of both for $20, or $80 to add a starter army onto the bundle of either Wood Elf or High Elf. As with most wargame Kickstarters, there’s many other pledge levels and add-ons for core rules, additional miniatures, accessories, and more. This Kickstarter is fully funded and runs until Sunday, June 24.


    That’s all from me for this week! Find more gaming crowdfunding news by following our Kickstarter news tag, and don’t forget to support our Patreon to bring you 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’ve been debating what to do next in Dragon Age: Origins, which I’ve been live streaming on my Twitch channel, follow Gamer’s Tavern on YouTube featuring videos on gaming history and gaming Let’s Plays, or you can listen to the archives of the Gamer’s Tavern podcast. Until next time, may all your hits be crits! Note: Links to Amazon, Humble Store, Humble Bundle, and/or DriveThru may contain affiliate links with the proceeds going to the author of this column.
    Comments 18 Comments
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Just checking to make sure the comments work after last time...
    1. Ymdar's Avatar
      Ymdar -
      With all the dungeon crawls for DnD I'm really thrilled to have an 'investigation' type adventure finally. Looking forward to this!
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ymdar View Post
      With all the dungeon crawls for DnD I'm really thrilled to have an 'investigation' type adventure finally. Looking forward to this!
      Based on what we've seen, WDH seems less "investigation" and more "heist". The party finds out about a treasure somewhere in Waterdeep and have to figure out how to get to it before anyone else does. There's also a variable in who the "villain" (their word) is as there's at least four choices, with different plot events and potential endings depending on who the villain is. They specifically referenced I6: Ravenloft (as in the original module, not the campaign setting) as an inspiration for the multiple-choice, replay-friendly nature of the adventure.

      But if investigation is what you want, the book probably still has you covered since it'll have a lot of city-specific rules including a new, optional chase system. They just uploaded the entire stream archive to YouTube if you track down the official Wizards of the Coast D&D channel.
    1. Ymdar's Avatar
      Ymdar -
      Oh well, in this case we'll just continue slaughtering/dismembering monsters/commoners in dungeons/cities ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    1. dwayne's Avatar
      dwayne -
      Modern AGE Basic Rulebook now if this was to make a 5e version of this book it would be awesome.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by dwayne View Post
      Modern AGE Basic Rulebook now if this was to make a 5e version of this book it would be awesome.
      Why would you want a 5e version of a core rulebook for a completely different system? That's like asking for a Pathfinder version of GURPS...
    1. lordmalachdrim's Avatar
      lordmalachdrim -
      FASA Corporation did not become FASA Games. FASA Games is Redbrick.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by lordmalachdrim View Post
      FASA Corporation did not become FASA Games. FASA Games is Redbrick.
      Like I said, this is the short version and it's a lot more complicated than that. Here's the FASA Games/FASA Corporation current About page. Red Brick Ltd. ceased operations as a company in 2012 and did not "become" FASA Games. Even though Red Brick's Managing Partner moved to FASA Games along with several staff members.

      Listen, this is an intellectual property issue involving FASA Corporation. There's no way to explain all the ins and outs without going into a 3000+ word essay that involves the word "henceforth" and at least four flowcharts if you want to be perfectly pedantic about it. For practical purposes, Catalyst Game Labs makes Shadowrun and BattleTech for tabletop, Microsoft owns the rights to the video games for those two and licenses them out, and FASA Games and FASA Corporation are the same thing and own Earthdawn.
    1. Ghost2020 -
      I believe he wants a modern setting using the 5e system, as d20 Modern was to 3rd edition.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ghost2020 View Post
      I believe he wants a modern setting using the 5e system, as d20 Modern was to 3rd edition.
      I highly doubt we'll see that anytime soon from WotC. Anytime they've done modern RPGs, they didn't sell well at all. However, there's a lot of OGL games on Drive Thru that adapt 5e's SRD to modern and science fiction settings, drawing off the firearms rules in the DMG. That's pretty much the closest we'll see for at least several years to a "5e Modern".
    1. Jer's Avatar
      Jer -
      Quote Originally Posted by Abstruse View Post
      I highly doubt we'll see that anytime soon from WotC. Anytime they've done modern RPGs, they didn't sell well at all. However, there's a lot of OGL games on Drive Thru that adapt 5e's SRD to modern and science fiction settings, drawing off the firearms rules in the DMG. That's pretty much the closest we'll see for at least several years to a "5e Modern".
      I'm still holding out mild hope for a "Plane Shift" type document for Star Frontiers that opens the setting up for DMs Guild development.
    1. neuronphaser's Avatar
      neuronphaser -
      Quote Originally Posted by Abstruse View Post
      I highly doubt we'll see that anytime soon from WotC. Anytime they've done modern RPGs, they didn't sell well at all. However, there's a lot of OGL games on Drive Thru that adapt 5e's SRD to modern and science fiction settings, drawing off the firearms rules in the DMG. That's pretty much the closest we'll see for at least several years to a "5e Modern".
      This. Ultramodern5 is actually really good and complete, going from modern to sci-fi with tons and tons of well-balanced rules.
    1. Connorsrpg's Avatar
      Connorsrpg -
      Quote Originally Posted by dwayne View Post
      Modern AGE Basic Rulebook now if this was to make a 5e version of this book it would be awesome.
      There are some modern and sci-fi 5E core books out there. Esper Genesis is sci-fi but easily adaptable. I have another on my shelf at home. Dux Machina's Ultramodern? I can check exact name when I get home if you are interested.
    1. Connorsrpg's Avatar
      Connorsrpg -
      Ah, there you go - someone else posted about the same book Ultramodern5. That is it. Worth a look.
    1. Shasarak's Avatar
      Shasarak -
      I am definitely going to pick up the Undermountain book to add to my collection though it would have been nicer if it was a boxed set to match with the other Undermountain set(s).
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
      I am definitely going to pick up the Undermountain book to add to my collection though it would have been nicer if it was a boxed set to match with the other Undermountain set(s).
      Well I have good news! They've started selling deluxe boxed sets with maps, miniatures, handouts, custom DM screens, and more for modules including Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage along with other published campaigns! The bad news is they're $400-500 each... It looks from the website that, starting next year, they'll be releasing more stripped-down versions with a lower price point because...

      ...I'm going to be honest here, if you've got $500 laying around burning a hole in your pocket that much, I've got a buttload of miniatures and DM screens I can throw in a box for you...
    1. Shasarak's Avatar
      Shasarak -
      Quote Originally Posted by Abstruse View Post
      Well I have good news! They've started selling deluxe boxed sets with maps, miniatures, handouts, custom DM screens, and more for modules including Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage along with other published campaigns! The bad news is they're $400-500 each... It looks from the website that, starting next year, they'll be releasing more stripped-down versions with a lower price point because...

      ...I'm going to be honest here, if you've got $500 laying around burning a hole in your pocket that much, I've got a buttload of miniatures and DM screens I can throw in a box for you...
      Thanks for the link. I must admit that when I wanted a boxed set that I did not expect miniatures, dm screen and coins/badges.

      Maybe the stripped down version would be more what I expect.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
      Thanks for the link. I must admit that when I wanted a boxed set that I did not expect miniatures, dm screen and coins/badges.

      Maybe the stripped down version would be more what I expect.
      The announcement hasn't gotten as much traction because it was sandwiched between updates to the MMO and the mobile idle clicker app. I want to say Matthew Lillard is involved in the company producing them? I'm not 100% sure, but it was one of the actors who was on the live stream. Most of the talk about the boxed sets are about the price point, but there's definitely a demand out there for high-end collectibles considering that the $300ish Red Dragon trophy busts sold well enough to become an entire line.
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