News Digest: White Wolf Dissolved, MORE New D&D Releases Announced, RPG Now Closing (kinda), and more!
  • News Digest: White Wolf Dissolved, MORE New D&D Releases Announced, RPG Now Closing (kinda), and more!


    Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! New Wizards of the Coast releases (and not just Mad Mage and Ravnica), RPG Now closing in 2019, White Wolf Publishing dissolved, and more!


    Paradox Interactive announced on Friday that they were dissolving White Wolf Publishing as an independent entity and taking over direct management of the World of Darkness line. This decision follows a string of controversial events surrounding the company, which was created by Paradox in 2016 (the original White Wolf Publishing was similarly dissolved in 2012 by then-owner, CCP Games). The most recent controversy involves their two new sourcebooks for Vampire: The Masquerade released by White Wolf, named Camarilla and Anarch. The latter contained sections which called those who committed suicide “weak” and a included posts from a “Mommy Vampire” social media group with controversial posts, including one that talked about feeding vampire blood to babies.

    The Camarilla book, however, received most of the focus as an entire chapter was devoted to the Chechen Republic. This chapter, which all credited authors on the book have publicly denied writing, described real-world events going on in the country as a camouflage for the activities of vampires, who have openly taken over the country. This included stating that the real-world torture, imprisonment, and execution of gay men first reported in 2017 was part of this cover-up of vampire activities and providing in-game information for the real-world head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, was a low-generation vampire used as a pawn by the Kindred in charge. This sparked not only outrage from the LGBT community for the use of an ongoing real-world tragedy and human rights atrocity as fodder for a game, but also from the Chechen Republic and Russian government who stated the “developers tried to blacken Russia and Chechnya” in an official press release. Additionally, a fifty minute press conference was held by Jambulat Umarov, the Minister of National Policy for the Chechen Republic, and three members of Studio 101, the company localizing Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition (the previous edition of the game) for the Russian language and a statement from Dzhambulat Umarov, the Press Minister for the Chechen Republic, stating he is “studying the option of litigation the game developers” (the source is in Russian, automatically translated by Google Translate)

    The newly-created company has been dogged by controversy since it was formed. As recently as this past July, Jason Carl held a Q&A live stream on Twitch responding to allegations of marketing the new edition to Neo-Nazis and the Alt-Right. Before that, the “Pre-Alpha Playtest” released in June of 2017 (later removed from the website) received criticism for controversial content including hunger rules that could force player-characters to commit acts of sexual assault in-game, use of the psychological term “triggered” both in its clinical meaning (“to cause an intense and usually negative emotional reaction”) under Malkavian and its pejorative meaning (“offended by something…and react to it with extrovert anger” from the playtest text) for Brujah, and including one of four pre-gen player characters as a young adult fiction writer whose feeding restriction was “children and very young teenagers”.

    Following the backlash over the Chechenya chapter of Camarilla, Paradox Interactive Vice President Shams Jorjani announced that both Camarilla and Anarch would be withdrawn from sale on digital markets and edited before re-releasing them and fulfilling print pre-orders. Additionally, Paradox Interactive will no longer directly create material for the World of Darkness setting for tabletop roleplaying games and return to a “focus on brand management” to “…develop the guiding principles for its vision of the World of Darkness”. No statement has been made about the status of the Onyx Path Publishing crowdfunding effort for a Chicago By Night sourcebook for Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition which started before this current controversy with no comments made on the Kickstarter page, nor whether this will affect the video game for Werewolf: The Apocalypse in development by Cyanide Studios (makers of the Call of Cthulhu video game recently released and licensed from the Chaosium tabletop roleplaying game).


    Well, that was heavy. Let’s talk about helping charity by playing games! Wizards of the Coast released the digital adventure Lost Laboratory of Kwalish on DM’s Guild with profits going to Extra Life. The adventure is for characters of fifth to tenth levels and is inspired by the classic module Expedition to Barrier Peaks, including a return to the actual locations. The adventure also features a tribute to fan Laurence Withey who passed away from a rare form of cancer earlier this month by immortalizing his character, the wizard Galder, in the adventure by turning him into an NPC with custom spells and magic items available to players. The adventure is available in PDF for $9.99 with proceeds going to Extra Life.



    Additionally, Wizards of the Coast updated their Dungeons & Dragons product page with a new entry, Tactical Maps Reincarnated. The collection includes twenty full-color tactical-sized poster maps ready for use on the table right away. The maps are reprinted from several modules from 3rd, 3.5, and 4th Edition adventures including Tomb of Horrors, Vor Rukoth, Demon Queen’s Enclave, Death’s Reach, The Book of Vile Darkness, Kingdom of the Ghouls, Dungeon Master’s Kit, Orcs of Stonefang Pass, Fields of Ruin, Gargantuan Blue Dragon and Colossal Red Dragon miniature sets (which included maps for the D&D Miniatures skirmish game), Vaults of the Underdark, Legend of Drizzt, and Red Hand of Doom. The map set is due February 19, 2019, with a retail price of $24.95.


    A new errata has been released for the core Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition rules covering all three core rulebooks. The majority of the changes for the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual are minor changes, but there are a few important changes to class spell lists and all spellcasting classes have had their descriptions updated to specify which spells various feats and class abilities apply to (so if an ability only affects class spells, it will now say so). The DMG also made changes to the Rod of Lordly Might and Instrument of the Bards magic items, and the Monster Manual includes multiple math fixes for attacks, skills, and saving throws for several monsters. These changes are including in the just-released Dungeons & Dragons Core Rulebook Gift Set and the 10th printing of the core rulebooks which should be on their way to stores now (the printing will be listed in the credits page of the book).


    One Bookshelf announced that the RPG Now site will be closing in February of 2019. All links will automatically redirect to Drive Thru RPG including bookmarks and links to individual products (so podcasters, bloggers, and video makers don’t need to rush to update links from old posts). Both RPG Now and Drive Thru RPG have been the same company just with different branding and storefronts since they merged in 2006. As of now, the other storefronts for One Bookshelf (Drive Thru Comics, Drive Thru Cards, Drive Thru Fiction, Wargame Vault, Storytellers Vault, and DM’s Guild) will still remain in place, though they generally function similarly where the only difference between them is the branding on the storefront site (you can test this yourself by clicking on a product from Drive Thru RPG and changing “drivethrurpg.com” in your address bar to any of the other sites and leaving of the URL alone). All purchases, accounts, published materials, affiliate accounts, balances for gift cards/sales/affiliate links, and everything else will be unaffected by this change.


    As the year starts to close out, eyes are on what’s due out in the future. And as you may have seen on multiple designer social media accounts, EN World’s annual Most Anticipated RPG of 2019 poll is currently live. The poll runs until Tuesday, December 4, and you can vote for as many titles as you like of the list scheduled for release in 2019. I may or may not have given away one of my votes in the image above.


    The RPG Game Dev Bundle from Humble Bundle is still going strong with all the assets you need to create your own 2D video game RPG using your favorite game engine. Or, if you’re like me, you can use the art for creating your own home game maps as well as take advantage of the thousands of licensed music and sound effects files for your podcast, live stream, or videos. And if you need inspiration, there’s the Dystopian Worlds Book Bundle with twenty-two novels from bestselling and award-winning authors including James Gunn, Dave Dunca, Steve Erickson, Eli K. P. William, and more. And if you don’t believe that you can be inspired to create a game from these books, the base level includes A Boy and His Dog by Harlan Ellison, which was the direct inspiration for the Fallout video game series.


    There’s a lot to talk about with Never Going Home, the World War I inspired occult horror game. The artwork is evocative, the setting is interesting…but I want to focus on the genius of the game mechanic and how it pushes the theme of the game to the forefront in a meaningful way. Each player has a deck of cards that power their spells and abilities and can also be spent to learn new skills, get additional dice for a check, and learn new dark powers…but each card also represents a memory of your former life. This is such an elegant design to really push the theme of how war changes you that I am simply blown away. The PDF is available for a $10 pledge, the softcover for $20, a deluxe edition with custom playing cards and dice for $45, and a limited hardcover deluxe edition (with dice and cards) for $65. This project is fully funded and runs until Monday, December 3.

    Eternalverse maps are listed as “Dungeons & Dragons maps” but are useful for any fantasy roleplaying game. These mini-poster sized maps (about the same as two letter-sized pages side-by-side) are laminated so they’re marker-friendly and waterproof. The maps themselves are fairly generic, which makes them perfect for homebrew campaigns, and they come with reusable acetate labels that you can stick and rearrange on the maps to denote unique landmarks, items, and destinations. You can get the maps as PDFs for €5 (about US$6) or the waterproof maps for €25 (about US$28), but you can also get your own maps custom-made for €50 (about US$57). This Kickstarter from the first-time Spanish company (so be careful with shipping costs) is fully-funded and runs until Thursday, November 29.

    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.com, and 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’ve been lamenting the lack of easy-to-read textbooks on media studies, follow me on Twitch as I take a break from Dragon Age: Origins to play something a little different chummer, 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 77 Comments
    1. LuisCarlos17f's Avatar
      LuisCarlos17f -
      About Eclipse Phase RPG I can dare to say it has changed the genre of the sci-fi RPGs. Now I miss the transhumanism technology in other franchises. EC is the game where a robot can say "my dad was a rich lady who married mom, the ginoid housemaid, and later she changed to a male robot body and after they built me". But remember this is a sci-fi horror game where if you can return to the life so many times it is because you can die more times than in Paranoia. But now I wonder about exurgent virus against biological brains in robotic morphos(bodies).
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by LuisCarlos17f View Post
      About Eclipse Phase RPG I can dare to say it has changed the genre of the sci-fi RPGs. Now I miss the transhumanism technology in other franchises. EC is the game where a robot can say "my dad was a rich lady who married mom, the ginoid housemaid, and later she changed to a male robot body and after they built me". But remember this is a sci-fi horror game where if you can return to the life so many times it is because you can die more times than in Paranoia. But now I wonder about exurgent virus against biological brains in robotic morphos(bodies).
      I honestly just put Eclipse Phase 2nd Ed up because it was the first cool-looking banner image I found that was on the list and was something I'm looking forward to. I didn't feel like digging up images from W40K: Wrath and Glory from previous stories and...I forgot Judge Dredd's on the list because I already have the PDF...
    1. TrippyHippy's Avatar
      TrippyHippy -
      It is probably worth noting that Steve Jackson Games did make Transhuman Space some time before Eclipse Phase came out, so I'm not sure that the whole genre of sci-fi was changed by the latter. I do like the dark vision of the game, however, and hopefully the more streamlined system in 2nd edition will make the game run smoother too.

      The D&D gift set is seriously tempting, but expensive.

      I'm going to pass on giving too much comment on the White Wolf situation, which is a sad demise for me. I think the report here is a little bit close to being a hatchet job, but there has been so much comment on it all already, it's not worth digging it all up again.
    1. Bolongo -
      Ya missed the most obvious reprint: the tactical map that is front and center in that picture is from Keep on the Shadowfell. I've reused that map for various ambushes many times...
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bolongo View Post
      Ya missed the most obvious reprint: the tactical map that is front and center in that picture is from Keep on the Shadowfell. I've reused that map for various ambushes many times...
      It wasn't on the list I have and I've used that map so many times in Lost Mines of Phandelver I keep having to remind myself that the first encounter of that adventure doesn't have a map. I just keep using that one because it fits perfectly and, in the back of my head, that's where it's from even though I know it's not.
    1. Bellmig's Avatar
      Bellmig -
      Is surprising for me the White Wolf issue, the tone is what WOD is in its best tradition. White Wolf games is fantasy based on reality if someone is hurt by the tone then should deal with it and continue. Life is hard no one is going to make it easier for you. There are harder books out there that teach us about humanity worst face and I don't see a protest or outrage.

      You need to accept that not everyone humanity does is fair, good and noble. Open your eyes, after all that is a game.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bellmig View Post
      Is surprising for me the White Wolf issue, the tone is what WOD is in its best tradition. White Wolf games is fantasy based on reality if someone is hurt by the tone then should deal with it and continue. Life is hard no one is going to make it easier for you. There are harder books out there that teach us about humanity worst face and I don't see a protest or outrage.

      You need to accept that not everyone humanity does is fair, good and noble. Open your eyes, after all that is a game.
      ...except this is as far as I'm aware the first time any tabletop roleplaying game has caused an international political incident, specifically one that's involved officials from two foreign governments admonishing the company. Whether or not you agree with writing about real-world events, this was handled so poorly that everyone involved on every side of this issue has called out White Wolf for how they handled it.
    1. practicalm's Avatar
      practicalm -
      Quote Originally Posted by LuisCarlos17f View Post
      About Eclipse Phase RPG I can dare to say it has changed the genre of the sci-fi RPGs. Now I miss the transhumanism technology in other franchises. EC is the game where a robot can say "my dad was a rich lady who married mom, the ginoid housemaid, and later she changed to a male robot body and after they built me". But remember this is a sci-fi horror game where if you can return to the life so many times it is because you can die more times than in Paranoia. But now I wonder about exurgent virus against biological brains in robotic morphos(bodies).
      Is there a good description of the game/system and how it compares to GURPS Transhuman? I didn't really want to download the quick start rules
    1. LuisCarlos17f's Avatar
      LuisCarlos17f -
      In the fiction the characters can do horrible things, but if you are talking about people suffering in our real life, at least in the current time, then we have to take care, because we can't trivialize any matters.

      * Now I wonder about why Pentex is the only megacorporation controlled by the Wyrm. Why not an Russian or Chinese equivalent? In those countries there are serious problems of pollution. And does Technocrazy know Pentex is the "evil empire"? Do you know anything about biogeneration, to cultivate special vegetables to clean pollution? For example sunflowers in Chernobil. Some plants can absorb heavy metals or other toxins.

      * Is there any game mechanic about transhuman morphos and egos for d20 system? How would be transhumanism in a space fantasy rpg?

      Do you imagine a videogame based in Eclipse Phase? In the right hands can be something like Cyberpunk 2077.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by LuisCarlos17f View Post
      * Is there any game mechanic about transhuman morphos and egos for d20 system? How would be transhumanism in a space fantasy rpg?

      Do you imagine a videogame based in Eclipse Phase? In the right hands can be something like Cyberpunk 2077.
      Transhumanism is becoming more of a theme in games over the past several years, especially as an element and evolution of cyberpunk. I can't think of any names off the top of my head, but I have seen several D20 System (and 5e OGL) settings and sourcebooks working in and around transhumanism if you poke around a bit on Drive Thru or other sites.
    1. Henry's Avatar
      Henry -
      Boy, when I predicted “the end of White Wolf” earlier this week, I was closer than I thought... :-o
    1. Lychee of the Exch.'s Avatar
      Lychee of the Exch. -
      In retrospect what White Wolf could have done is draw inspiration from the Chechen situation, but put a fictitious name in lieu of that place ("Zachen") and its leader ("Radivom").

      Something to keep in mind when you're a RPG company doing business in today's environment of gleeful censure and post-modern critique.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Henry View Post
      Boy, when I predicted “the end of White Wolf” earlier this week, I was closer than I thought... :-o
      I've spent a week in shock, honestly. Back when the Pre-Alpha came out, my immediate reaction was to say (outside of professional obligations) I will have nothing to do with White Wolf or Paradox or any company associated with this "5e" WoD unless they apologize profusely and properly (not this GOG/CD Projekt Red "apology" that's more a hissy-fit of a toddler told they can't make fart jokes at the dinner table anymore crap)...and return "White Wolf" to its proper state as an IP management shell for licensees like Onyx Path and By Night, who have been shepherding the world for years without issue.

      And...that's what Paradox did.

      I...I'm really not used to companies doing what I say they should do instead of some compromising "but both sides" crap that everyone just accepts and moves on from...
    1. LuisCarlos17f's Avatar
      LuisCarlos17f -
      My suggestion for WW is creating a complete new fictional world, something like Westeros from "Games of Thrones" but for a gothic-punk horror + urban fantasy. This also could avoid controversy about the "Superman17" effect, when a fictional character is so powerful that can change History ( as when in Superman #17 Superman, 1942, arrested Hitler).
    1. TrippyHippy's Avatar
      TrippyHippy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Abstruse View Post
      ...except this is as far as I'm aware the first time any tabletop roleplaying game has caused an international political incident, specifically one that's involved officials from two foreign governments admonishing the company. Whether or not you agree with writing about real-world events, this was handled so poorly that everyone involved on every side of this issue has called out White Wolf for how they handled it.
      As much as anything else, this is what irritates me the most about the 'moral' stance of individuals criticising White Wolf. These foreign governments are the ones who are actually carrying out policies of persecution and aggression against their own LGBT communities, while denying they even exist in their countries. When you say it was poorly handled, are you actually meaning that these governments are right to be upset about being called out for what they are actually doing?

      I think the notion that a few gamers have their squeamish sensibilities upset by reading horror fiction to be quite insignificant in the light of this.
    1. Shasarak's Avatar
      Shasarak -
      Quote Originally Posted by Abstruse View Post
      ...except this is as far as I'm aware the first time any tabletop roleplaying game has caused an international political incident, specifically one that's involved officials from two foreign governments admonishing the company. Whether or not you agree with writing about real-world events, this was handled so poorly that everyone involved on every side of this issue has called out White Wolf for how they handled it.
      Of course Chechnya is going to complain and on the other hand you can not consider that as a sign you have done a poor job.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by TrippyHippy View Post
      As much as anything else, this is what irritates me the most about the 'moral' stance of individuals criticising White Wolf....
      Okay, taking my objective journalist hat off for this one. You want to know what the "moral stance" was? It was two years ago when Paradox created a mobile game that deadnamed a real-life trans person as an NPC to slander her then defending the game writer that put her in and refusing after several patches to make changes. It was a year and a half ago after the "pre-alpha" playtest where there were more rules for when your character was forced to commit various acts of sexual assault than there were for using your skills. It was six months ago when the company allegedly made legal threats against a blogger who posted all of this with cited sources to force him to take down his post with one designer doxxing him so that the blogger deleted his entire online presence to escape the death threats.

      The point I was trying to make is that Paradox's White Wolf screwed us so badly trying to intentionally be edgy and controversial that they, in writing about a real-world event, managed to tick off every single side of that event. Like seriously, the Chechen Republic's official government stance is that homosexuals do not exist yet they're on the same side as the LGBTQ+ community in condemning the Camarilla sourcebook. There's "edgelord" and then there's "causing an international incident that gets a third party localization company working on a completely different product on the block threatened by a totalitarian regime" level screwing up.
    1. Mouseferatu's Avatar
      Mouseferatu -
      The problem is not that WW used Chechnya. The problem is not that WW used the horrors going on in Chechnya. If they'd done it right, done it well, it could have been not just acceptable, but powerful.

      The problem is that they trivialized it.

      The problem is that they dismissed real people, suffering in the real world, as "cover" for the machinations of the Kindred. The problem is that they glossed over the real horror in order to showcase fictional horror. They actually made a real-world wanna-be Hitler into a thin-blood vampire.

      If you go back and look at White Wolf and Vampire at their peak, you'll notice that they never blamed vampires for most real-world horrors. Instead, they let human evil be human evil, and showed how vampires reacted to that, took advantage of it. They portrayed the vampires as existing in the same world as those travesties, but not as the cause of them.

      It makes a huge difference. Huge. Especially to people of the same demographics that are being persecuted. I can tell you straight up, as a Jew of Eastern European descent, that if White Wolf had blamed the Holocaust on vampires, I'd have instantly ceased being a fan or a customer--let alone writing for them. And that's something that happened sixty years before the time I was involved with WW, let alone something happening right now.

      So, yeah. I don't want to hear that "this is what WW's always done" or "this is what the World of Darkness is about." It's not, and it never was.
    1. Birmy's Avatar
      Birmy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Abstruse View Post
      Okay, taking my objective journalist hat off for this one. You want to know what the "moral stance" was? It was two years ago when Paradox created a mobile game that deadnamed a real-life trans person as an NPC to slander her then defending the game writer that put her in and refusing after several patches to make changes. It was a year and a half ago after the "pre-alpha" playtest where there were more rules for when your character was forced to commit various acts of sexual assault than there were for using your skills. It was six months ago when the company allegedly made legal threats against a blogger who posted all of this with cited sources to force him to take down his post with one designer doxxing him so that the blogger deleted his entire online presence to escape the death threats.
      ...Sometimes I'm glad I'm not more entrenched in this hobby than I already am.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Birmy View Post
      ...Sometimes I'm glad I'm not more entrenched in this hobby than I already am.
      Yeah...it's all fun and games until you get into a screaming match with one of your childhood idols over who is the real Nazi. I wish that were less literal than it actually is...
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