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  • News Digest: Pathfinder Playtest Update, More Hints of Spelljammer, D&D Design Theory Discussed, and more!


    Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news. The new Pathfinder Playtest update is out, more hints at Spelljammer, Mike Mearls discusses D&D’s design philosophy, update to GAMA’s internal issues, and more!


    The Pathfinder 2nd Edition playtest document version 1.3 came out on Monday. This update makes several changes to the rules ranging from how proficiencies work, DCs for skill and attribute checks, death and dying rules, and changes to several classes. The biggest update, though, is that there is now full multiclassing support, with options now available for all 12 classes and updates to the previous multiclass archetypes. The update is available for free from Paizo’s website, and it’s interesting to note that Amazon still lists the Pathfinder Playtest rulebook in both hardcover and paperback even though those rules are now four revisions out of date.


    Chris Perkins shared a teaser preview of Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage which has sparked a bit of interest. First off is the tease itself of Level 19 “Caverns of Ooze”, which is designed for 15th level characters and should take them to 16th level, featuring mindflayer who went mad after crashing in the dungeon and attempted to eat his crewmates, who are currently taking refuge in ooze and slime filled caverns. The interesting bit is the artwork…featuring a mindflayer in a 17th century style greatcoat and tricorn hat standing on the deck of a ship, with the description below of Captain N’ghathrod as the captain of “a spacefaring pirate ship called the Scavenger”. Oh, and there appears to be a miniature Giant Space Hamster in the image as well. This makes a series of Spelljammer teases including Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes featuring a giff with a similar fashion sense and a licensed miniature from WizKids of a very large ship coming this May which is about the time the next series of adventures and books should be released. Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage comes out to mass markets on November 19 at a retail price of $49.95.


    This past weekend, Dungeons & Dragons designer Mike Mearls went on a very long Twitter thread talking about the design philosophy in creating fifth edition that drew comments from Adam Daigle, James Haeck, and other game designers. If you’re not a fan of Twitter, Morrus has helpfully collected the thread here on EN World which has generated its own share of discussions. The main point of the discussion, however, is that when designing a game, a designer also has to be aware of the type of community that game will attract. To quote Mearls, “If you make a game for ***holes, be ready, willing, and able to deal with ***holes. It’s why D&D got out of the business of trying to ‘fix’ obnoxious players.” The thread later goes on to talk about why D&D took a more storytelling-based approached as opposed to the rules-heavy, crunchy style of 3.x and 4e, closing with “As D&D is descriptive rather than prescriptive, individual groups had different experiences. However, that was the design trend and what we saw in the community as a whole. It’s been interesting to see things change with the change in rules and the flood of new players.”


    Mantic Games announced a new addition to their Terrain Crate line of miniatures, The GM’s Dungeon Starter Set. Unfortunately, you won’t find it yet at the link as the Mantic website has not yet updated with the new information, but the Terrain Crate will include pre-assembled but unpainted terrain and miniatures meant to be a “dungeon in a box” for starting gamemasters as pictured above. This is the largest box Mantic has put together for the Terrain Crate box so far, and includes 65 different terrain and scenery pieces (barrels, crates, bookshelves, mirrors, ladders, and more), 10 door pieces, 4 hero miniatures, and 28 different monsters including a Huge-scale dragon. The set will retail for $99.99 though no release date has been announced.


    ICv2 is on top of the story about the Game Manufacturers Association and their current internal struggles. GAMA Executive Director John Ward released a detailed statement addressing statements made by GAMA board member Jeff Tidball and other concerns after his contract as Executive Director was not renewed. Brian Dalrymple, Secretary for GAMA, also released a statement that he makes clear are only his personal opinions and not speaking on behalf of GAMA on the situation. The statements from Jeff Tidball back in August were also posted by ICv2. All of this came to a head at the Special Membership Meeting this past Monday, where the voting members of GAMA passed a vote of confidence in favor of John Ward by a margin of 65%/35%. The vote is advisory and not considered binding.

    There’s been another controversy at GAMA involving President Stephan Brissaud and an altercation with members of Gen Con security while setting up the booth for Iello Games (where he is COO) that resulted in his expulsion from Gen Con. The GAMA Board of Directors voted to censure Brissaud but to take no further action. At this Monday’s meeting, board member Mike Webb (of Alliance Game Distributors) resigned from the board in protest over the board’s decision.


    Cards Against Humanity have launched another limited-run expansion pack with a twist. This time, they’re looking to “Hack the Election”. CAH has identified six potential swing districts in key states during the United States midterms this November to shift from Republican to Democrat and have a limited number of packs for people living in those districts. If you refer a friend who lives in the district, they will receive the exclusive 18 card expansion back along with voter registration and election information for their district (and you get a free pack as well). Or you can purchase a pack for $5 with all profits going to Run for Something, a non-profit that recruits and trains progressive candidates. So far, the effort has raised more than $75,000.


    Asmodee Digital announced that their collection of video game adaptations of their board games will be coming to the Nintendo Switch. The initial offering will include The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game, Pandemic, Munchkin, Catan, and Carcassone, each customized for the new platform with local co-op and online multiplayer. From Asmodee Digital CMO Philippe Dao, “Bringing our most popular titles to new platforms is a no-brainer, but we’re going a step above to make sure they are optimized for Nintendo Switch. The new audiences that await us on this platform are clear to us, and we’re glad to offer them the best of board games.” The first titles will release on the platform sometime in 2019.

    Speaking of video game adaptations of tabletop games, Magic: The Gathering Arena announced its public beta starting at 9 PM BST (4 PM Eastern, 2 PM Pacific) today, September 27. The game is free-to-play with microtransactions and player events, with bonus cards and gems (the in-game currency) also redeemed via codes that will start appearing in the Guilds of Ravnica expansion coming in October. Players who participated in the closed beta will lose all gems refunded and lose all of their cards, but will receive three Masterpiece copies of planeswalker cards.


    I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this project yet anywhere else on the site, but did you know that EN Publishing has a Kickstarter? I know, we’ve been so quiet about it. Sarcasm aside, EN World’s publishing arm EN Publishing launched its Kickstarter for Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000AD Roleplaying Game and funded in under ten minutes. The core rulebook uses the WOIN (What’s OLD is NEW) system, but is self-contained with all the rules you need to play. Using art from the original 2000AD comics, the book focuses mostly on the world of Judge Dredd from the point of view of both Judges, Citizens, and Perps, but also covers other worlds and settings from the plethora of stories in 2000AD. It’s also cross-compatible with OLD, NOW, and NEW if you want to mix-and-match more. The core rulebook is available for a £15 (about US$20) pledge, the hardcover of the core rulebook is £35 (about US$46), the limited edition variant cover is £60 (about US$79), and a bundle containing the core rulebook, Robot Wars setting and adventure book, GM screen, and character tokens is available in multiple combinations. This Kickstarter is fully funded and runs until Thursday, October 25.

    If that’s not good enough for your science fantasy needs, Blades & Blasters is a 5e-compatible supplement that explores an alien invasion in a D&D setting. The 100-page book comes with rules for sci-fi weapons, vehicles, technology, and more along with new alien creatures to combine with your 5e core rules to create a setting that reminds me a lot of a reboot/sequel of Expedition to Barrier Peaks. The PDF is available (both in full-color version for digital reading and a black-and-white version for ink-friendly printing) for a CA$12 pledge (about US$9), in paperback for CA$25 (about US$19), and in hardback for CA$35 (about US$27). This Kickstarter is fully funded and runs until Monday, October 1.

    So this is a pretty neat idea I wish I’d thought of: Character sheet ink stamps. These six rubber stamps (with more stretch goals available) cover all the bases for your characters with two different versions of “You Have Survived”, “Quest Complete”, and “RIP” (complete with a space for your cause of death). The stamps are rated for 5000 impressions, meaning you can be sure the fine detail will be there no matter how many meatgrinders you run your group through. One stamp is available for a $10 pledge, a three pack of your choice for $25, or six for $46, plus a $2 backer level if you’d just like a set of vinyl stickers instead. This Kickstarter is fully funded and runs until Thursday, October 18.

    That’s all from me for this week! 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.comand you can get more discussion of the week’s news on Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk every week. You can follow me on Twitter @Abstruse where I’m going to announce some test streams for my new layout on Twitch as I get into the spirit of things to stream Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death, subscribe to 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 6 Comments
    1. Alzrius's Avatar
      Alzrius -
      If that’s not good enough for your science fantasy needs, Blades & Blasters is a 5e-compatible supplement that explores an alien invasion in a D&D setting. The 100-page book comes with rules for sci-fi weapons, vehicles, technology, and more along with new alien creatures to combine with your 5e core rules to create a setting that reminds me a lot of a reboot/sequel of Expedition to Barrier Peaks.
      Eh, I think it comes across as more Tale of the Comet, myself.
    1. chibi graz'zt's Avatar
      chibi graz'zt -
      why the would anyone buy play test rules?!?!?!?
    1. Shasarak's Avatar
      Shasarak -
      Quote Originally Posted by chibi graz'zt View Post
      why the would anyone buy play test rules?!?!?!?
      Because it is cheaper (and looks nicer) then printing out the free playtest rules yourself.
    1. EthanSental's Avatar
      EthanSental -
      Lulu 5- 10 bucks....
    1. The White Sorcerer's Avatar
      The White Sorcerer -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
      Because it is cheaper (and looks nicer) then printing out the free playtest rules yourself.
      I wonder how much that would still be the case if Paizo made the playtest files printer friendly?
    1. Lord_Blacksteel's Avatar
      Lord_Blacksteel -
      Quote Originally Posted by chibi graz'zt View Post
      why the would anyone buy play test rules?!?!?!?
      I used to feel the same way, especially back when Pathfinder 1st edition did the same thing. After that it's really not a surprise to see it for their second edition but this time you can buy special faux-leather cover editions as well as the normal version. There is a PDF available so there are options, but it's still an interesting trend.

      In between these two Fantasy Flight did the same thing for all 3 of their Star Wars RPGs and there was not a PDF option, so if you wanted to try the beta you had to buy the books.

      Another interesting point - people sell these on eBay pretty regularly. I suppose it's for the collector/completionist but you would think someone that interested would have picked it up the first time. They're not selling for $100 but they're not going for $1 either so there is some level of interest even years after they have been replaced.

      I know in the 90's the idea of paying to beta-test would have been (and was) laughed out of the room for computer games. It was cool to be a part of one but it was not something anyone was going to pay for. Fast-forward to the last 5 years at least and people are falling over themselves to pay significant dollar amounts for "early access". Somewhere along the way it's become acceptable and exciting to pay for the privilege and this seems to carry over to tabletop games as well.

      I'm not saying it's right or wrong, it's just something I've noticed. Maybe players are more involved, maybe it's a triumph of marketing, but it's definitely a thing.
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