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    Taking Stock of the News Page

    I've just been looking at the news on the front page of EN World over just the last week, in a "taking-stock" kinda way, as I like to do from time to time. I sit down most days for an hour or two and write the day's news, and I've been doing that for nearly 14 years now (although I allow myself weekends off unless something major happens). Looking at the latest week's news, I'm pleased with what I see. An interview with Steve Kenson about ICONS, Tyranny of Dragons panel report and art, an article on the state of settings/Dragonlance, a DUNGEON BASTARD video, Nicole Lindroos on the Gen Con Industry Insider Guests of Honor program, and the What's Happening to TRPGs panel transcript from Ryan Dancey and Mike Mearls, all in the last week. Plus a hundred or so other smaller news items on various RPG-related subjects, and continual updates on What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. That's not an atypical week, and I think that's OK. I know my little news column isn't for everyone, and it's a million miles from 'professional journalism', but I'm happy with how it's going. And, of course, please do remember that I'm always happy to chat about your awesome RPG products.

    Dungeons & Dragons News

    • The Thralls of Xaerogleth -- Eye tyrants have a wide range of interesting schemes and plans. This week, we focus on one such beholder that was interrupted at a very inopportune time—and now seeks ways to rectify its current condition.
    • New stuff at D&D Classics coming this week includes: DL6 Dragons of Ice (1E Dragonlance), OA1 Swords of the Daimyo (1E AD&D), Player’s Secrets of Baruk-Azhik (2E Birthright), and Dungeon Master's Guide II (3E D&D).
    • Next week, also at D&D Classics, you can expect to see the new D&D Encounters adventure, Dreams of the Red Wizards: Dead in Thay. That's a D&D Next compatible adventure.

    Pathfinder RPG News

    • Click for more about the Pathfinder RPGICv2 has an article discussing Paizo's plans about how to weather the launch of 5E. It's not terribly detailed or analytical, but seems to come to the conclusion that Paizo is going to be waiting until the initial rush has died down, and then trying to convert some of the new players WotC has created. Erik Mona has always said that what's good for D&D is good for the whole industry, so I imagine he means by that that a successful 5E means new RPG players and a bigger market. "Paizo's plan, it appears, is to wait for WoTC to launch its campaign for 5th Edition, look for it to bring new people in and lapsed players back, then, when they start to lose interest in the new edition, steer them to Pathfinder, as happened with 4th Edition D&D." I suppose this means that a short and long term pair of effects are needed. In the short term, a big successful launch; in the long term, those players tiring of D&D. I don't know if that'll happen, but it'll be interesting to see. [23 comments]

    At PAX East a panel took place entitled "What Is Happening to Tabletop Roleplaying Games?" It featured Ryan Dancey (CEO of Goblinworks which is producing the Pathfinder MMO, architect of the Open Gaming License, and one of the people who spearheaded D&D 3E), Luke Peterschmidt (CEO of Fun to 11), Derek Lloyd (owner of the game store 'Battleground Games and Hobbies'), Luke Crane (Tabletop Games Specialist at Kickstarter and RPG designer of Burning Wheel, Mouseguard and more), Matt McElroy (Marketing Director at DriveThruRPG/OneBookshelf and Onyx Path which currently handles WoD products) and Mike Mearls (senior manager of D&D Next). [80 comments]

    It's well worth listening to the whole recording if you have an hour to spare, as it contains plenty of interesting summations of RPG publishing over the decades, plus a lot of discussion about how great Kickstarter is and why it's the latest of a series of industry expansions which included the advent of desktop pubishing, the Open Gaming License and d20 System License, and now Kickstarter. It also touches on the various times the RPG industry has almost died (from what Dancey says, the rise of World of Warcraft seriously hit the industry, and later surveys while he was at CCP working on Eve Online indicated that a lot of people playing these MMOs had once played tabletop RPGs but now played MMOs instead, not in addition to).

    Ryan Dancey also goes into the various surveys from ICv2 over the last few years (those ones which have put Pathfinder as the world's leading RPG since 2010 or so, although he acknowledges that this isn't a great way of determining sales - they call a number of retailers and simply ask what their top five selling RPG products are within a given month; no numbers, just a ranking), which leads to an interesting exchange between him and Mike Mearls.

    Click for more about the Pathfinder RPGDancey: ...some of those games we talk about being mid-market kind of games, they're on this list. Some of the games that are coming out of Kickstarter are on this list... you know, FATE is on this list, Exalted is on this list.. and then we've got this classic duel between Pathfinder and D&D. I wish I could stand up here today and say, like, you know, any given game you ask me and I can tell you how much it's sold, sales, I have no idea, it's impossible to tell. Y'know anecdotally I can tell you that most of the games on this chart, with the exception of Pathfinder and D&D, they're probably not selling more than 20,000 units of whatever their core product is, and some of them are probably selling less than 10. It's hard to say, especially with games that might have a lot of supplements and add-on products, what the total volume is for any one of these games. And ICv2 lumps them all under one category so every sale of Mutants & Masterminds is in that one line, not just the core books.

    But here's the thing I want you to see... some of these games are the classic games, the games that we've seen, y'know, for four decades, and some of these games are relatively brand new games that no one's ever seen before, and they change. So the thing that was really interesting to me is that if we had looked at this data from the 90s - and I have data that's kind of similar to this that was collected by an out-of-print magazine called Comics & Games Retailer - and if you just looked at the top five games from like 1990 to 1995 they were essentially the same five games every month, month after month after month. It was very, very predictable. The frothiness, the rate at which these games change and appear on these lists and go away is new. And certainly the fact that D&D is not the number one game on this list is definitely new, that has never happened before in decades. So, there are some weird things going on in this market. We don't have any quantitative data, I can't put a number on it, but we have this kind of qualitative sense that there has been change, that it's easier to get success but it's harder to keep that success.

    Mearls: Oh, I think what's interesting about this graph if you were to take the word "sales" off - I can't see the graph [something]... there's actually [something] well who's releasing the most supplements this actually maps almost perfectly to that measure. And I think the big change we're seeing is in the 90s there was a sort of expected tempo of .. for a tabletop roleplaying game you expected every month that you played Mage or Werewolf or D&D or some of the D&D settings, every month there's a new book. And what we're seeing now is that's not really, no longer the case for a wide variety of reasons. Really, outside .. I realise there's only one or two companies that are still able to do that ... we're not seeing the book-a-month pubishing pattern that we saw ten years ago. And I think that's one of the real big disruptions, where, you know, and there's a lot of questions and is that a good thing for the industry, is it a bad thing for the industry, and what does it actually mean for the ongoing tabletop hobby.

    Dancey: And I think, one of the things you mentioned to me before the panel, too, Mike, was that this is really myopic, it's really only going to talk about retail sales, it's not capturing book trade, it's not capturing online, it's not capturing Kickstarter, it's a really myopic slice of the data.

    The conversation continues amongst the panel about Kickstarter and the way companies use it to produce sequential different products rather than extended product lines - new games, not expansions.

    Dancey: Yeah. Ok, so here's our last topic, which I suspect a fairly significant number of people in this room would like to hear Mike talk about.

    (A short sequence of show-of-hand questions establishes that of the people there in the room about an equal number have played Pathfinder and D&D in the last month).

    Dancey: OK, so here's my giant spiel. I do not work for Paizo Publishing. I'm not a member of the Paizo Publishing staff, and I'm not here to represent Pathfinder. I'm just moderating this panel. So, Mike is now going to debate an empty chair [laughter]... so, and, prior to this panel I sent the slides round to everybody and I said 'Hey Mike, this is kinda how I see, like, the next three years of life in the, at the top of the chart. Two big, muscular sluggers are gonna duke it out and when that's done one of those guys is gonna be laying on the mat'. And Mike said "I don't see it that way", so Mike, why don't you say what you told me about your theory.

    Click for more about D&DMearls: Yeah, so this kinda goes back to what I was talking about earlier about the change and about how we look at the ongoing support for D&D and how I think this ins actually interacting with tabletop games in general. So I kinda have this theory I developed, I call it the Car Wars theory. So back in 1987 when I was 12 I bought Car Wars, it was the game I bought that month, and it had a vehicle design system. And I spent hours and hours and hours building new Car Wars vehicles and drawing maps and just playing with all the things around the game but very rarely able to actually play the game, because in order for me to play the game I had to get my parents to drive me to a friend's house and then get that friend to actually want to play Car Wars and then teach him all the rules and all that other stuff, right? And in addition to having Car Wars, and D&D and other stuff, I had my Nintendo and I had my Apple, too. And I bought new video games at about the same rate, maybe once a month if I did chores or I had a little part time job, I'd get maybe one new game a month.

    What has changed now is that a game like Car Wars can work very well if I'm not getting a new constant stream of games. Because I have all this time wherer I want to be gaming but I can't play a game, so I'll do all the stuff that exists around the game. But now thanks to, like, this phone... [something] smartphones, tablets, Steam, uh, XBox Live, PSN, I can buy games whenever I want. I mean, I was at the airport yesterday and I was bored so I bought Ten Million for my iPhone and I just started playing. Because I have other games on my phone, but I thought, nah, I'm sick of the games I have, I'm just gonna buy a new one. That would have been perfect time, back in the 80s, to like work on my D&D campaign, or read that month's D&D expansion, or work on new designs for my, uh, for for Car Wars. But what's happening is we have so many new games coming in that the amount of time that one game can take up without having you actually play that game, like World of Warcraft where you just log in and play, or you do things like in the auction house, thta's part of play, right, trying to get resources, you're selling stuff for actual money that's helping you play the game.

    I believe that's what's really happening to tabletop roleplaying, is that it used to be a hobby of not playing the game you want to play. And there are so many games now that you can play to fill all those hours of gaming, you can actually game now, and that what's happening is that RPGs needed that time, we, a GM or DM needed that time to create the adventure or create a campaign, a player needed that time to create a character, allocate skill ranks and come up with a background, and come up, you know, write out your three-page essay on who your character was before the campaign. That time is getting devoured, that time essentially I think is gone, that you could play stuff that lets you then eventually play a game or you can just play a game. And people are just playing games now.

    And what we're really doing with D&D Next is we're really looking at thriving and surviving in that type of market. If you've playtested the game, you see we've run much simpler with the mechanics, things move much faster when you play... one of our very early things was was to say, look, I was playing Mass Effect 1 or 2 at the time. I can complete a mission in Mass Effect in about an hour and a half. So why can't I complete an adventure in D&D in that time? Why does it take me 4, 8, 12 hours just to get from page one of the adventure to the end? I mean, yeah, you can have huge epic adventures but I can't do it in less than four hours.

    Dancey: You didn't want to have 20 minutes of fun packed in 4 hours.

    Mearls: Exactly, exactly, yeah. And so it's looking at the train and saying, well, things have changed, and tabletop roleplaying in a lot of ways hasn't changed with the times. We've been doing the same thing, the same way, that we were doing back in the 80s. I mean, the game mechanics have been refined but really until indie games [something] no one had taken a look at the core essence of what makes a tabletop roleplaying game tick and taken it apart and rebuilt it. And so in a lot of ways with D&D, and you know Ryan has the slide, that's really not how we see it at all because for me that boxing match, it isn't D&D against any tabletop roleplaying game, it's D&D versus the entire changing face of entertainment, of how a tabletop roleplaying game... that's the best thing you can do with your friends. But what about when you're home alone, or when you're online, or when you're waiting in line at the airport and you just want something on your smartphone. The big question for, specifically for D&D is, if you're a D&D fan, what can we do to fill that time in a way that's engaging and fun for you? To take those settings and characters and worlds, the Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, or whatever, and bring those to life for you in a way that we haven't been able to before. Because in the past it's always been.. we have a new setting, we have Eberron, we're gonna do the 300-page book, and it's gonna be for the TRPG and that's where it' gonna begin, and that's where it's gonna end. All of our back-catalogue and settings, if we're not publishing it for the RPG line, are we doing anything with them, probably not, that's it, all we do is the TRPG. And so for us, it's really been looking at the entertainment, not just tabletop roleplaying, but entertainment as a whole, everything that people do now to engage themselves in stories, thinking where can D&D thrive within that terrain? And what can we do, starting with the tabletop roleplaying game, to make it more acessible, to get that new generation of players in. And even the current generation who are strapped for time and have a million other options, what can we do to live within that environment?

    The too-long-didn't-read version of that, I think (and this is my own interpretation of what Mike Mearls was saying) is that much of the stuff we used to enjoy around an RPG we don't do any more, and we do other entertainment-related things with that time instead. So D&D (as in its settings and characters) is focusing on doing those other entertainment things rather than just being a tabletop roleplaying game - the goal, obviously being that "D&D" as a brand flourishes. And, further, that that means it doesn't matter to them what Paizo is doing with Pathfinder, because D&D doesn't need to be the top-selling tabletop RPG (not that I'm saying it won't be - I expect it will be again come next year, though time will tell) as long as D&D as an overall entertainment property is doing a whole bunch of things.

    Dungeons & Dragons News

    • Making the DM’s Job Easy -- Mike talks about how D&D Next makes adventure design easier in this week’s Legends & Lore. [72 comments]
    • Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition is now on Google Play. It's been on iOS, MacOSX, and PC for a while already. It includes the original game plus five expansions.

    Pathfinder RPG News

    • Click for more about the Pathfinder RPGAccording to Purple Pawn's annual survey (PDF), Pathfinder outsold D&D by a factor of over two times in 2013. Not surprising given that D&D wasn't in production, but it's a more specific number than iCv2's quarterly rankings tend to provide. "Pathfinder products outperformed Wizards of the Coasts’ Dungeons & Dragons products by 2.5 to 1 – even more than last year – while players wait for D&D 5th edition to be released later this year. Gaming accessories, such as card sleeves, and items consumed by gamers, such as soft drinks, continue to be strong dependable sellers. RPG and miniature products from smaller publishers were included in the bestselling product lines of some retailers." [61 comments]
    • Submit your 300-word description of your hero to Paizo in a contest to have him/her brought to life in the Pathfinder comic book.

    What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. News

    I know it was a busy weekend for many, with family and other events, but we still managed to achieve another stretch goal! All backers are now getting Waking Nightmares, the introductory adventure by Ryan Nock, as part of their reward, as well as Spires in the Sky from Kevin Kulp. Thank you! Here's what our stretch goal chart now looks like - we're pushing through them!

    I'm really delighted by how a community of What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. fans has been developing on the EN Publishing forum. Whether you're asking questions, posting playtest reports or feedback, sharing your own monsters, spaceships, characters, and so on for others to enjoy, or just chatting about the games, you're are very welcome there.

    • My O.L.D. monster thread has gotten longer with a number of animals (wolf, tiger, bear, elephant, crocodile, rhino). Note that this and its companion N.E.W. monster thread reflect some of what you'll see in the next playtest update, so it's worth using these critters instead of the ones in the playtest documents.
    • Similarly, keep an eye on the errata thread. Those items will all be part of the next playtest update, but you can start applying them now if you wish.
    • If you speak Turkish, the Kickstarter has been featured on FRPNET.

    Thank you all, and please keep spreading the word - every little helps nudge us along those stretch goals! I'm busy working hard on some major playtest document updates which will be released before the Kickstarter ends.

    Click here to back the Kickstarter!

    Other News

    • I wasn't actually going to mention this as it seems a bit out of my normal areas of coverage, but the World of Darkness MMO was cancelled last week by developers CCP, with some 60 people losing their jobs. WoD RPG material is currently published under license by Onyx Path Publishing; they confirm everything continues as normal at their end. "Onyx Path‘s license with CCP is still the same. I have been told by a CCP rep that they are very happy with how things are right now."

    Dungeons & Dragons News

    • Thanks to Brent who spotted some details about some upcoming D&D Next products: "Alliance Distribution has preorders for D&D Next products from Gale Force 9. Tyranny of Dragons DM Screen. Also class token sets and arcane and divine spell cards. No release date or description information. Also noticed Tyranny of Dragons Castle Siege Vinyl mat and ToD branded minis, also from Gale Force Nine."

    Pathfinder RPG News

    • Paizo interviews its own Managing Editor James Sutter about his new Pathfinder novel, The Redemption Engine. "Plot-wise, it's all about Salim Ghadafar, a former priest-hunter from Rahadoum's Pure Legion who through some bad decisions ends up working for Pharasma. ... In this book, Salim's sent to Kaer Maga because someone in the city has been killing evil people and then stealing their souls, which would rightfully belong to Hell. It's up to Salim to unravel the mystery and put an end to it, but the scope just keeps getting bigger, and he ends up having to recruit a whole team of unusual folks to help him."

    Gen Con Guests of Honor

    The Gen Con Industry Insider Guests of Honor list for this year was announced a while back. There's sometimes some negative commentary about this program - essentially, industry folks are invited to apply, and if accepted get a few perks and participate in a number of panels and other events. There are people who find that the idea of applying to be a guest of honor kinda takes away the "of honor" part of it - it's not so much of an honor if you have to ask; and it's intimidating given that Gen Con can simply say no. That's how I saw it for a long while; but Nicole Lindroos (General Manager of Green Ronin Publishing), who is one of the volunteers who help run the program, has recently been going out of her way to change that perception. The short version is this: you're not applying to have Gen Con validate your importance or value; you're submitting a suite of panel-based events, and Gen Con is using those applications to put together programming for the whole convention. So if they say "no", it's not because you're not awesome enough - it's because the programing you've submitted doesn't meet their needs that particular year. They're saying no to the programming proposal, not evaluating your worth. Perhaps they already have enough panels on that subject, and want to fill their limited slots with some other things, for example. Anyhow, here's what Nicole has to say on the subject:

    Some thoughts on the Industry Insider Guest of Honor track at GenCon, copied over from a G+ discussion on the lack of visible diversity in the participants.

    One of the troublesome issues with this particular track of programming is that it uses the phrase "guest of honor" but the guest status is not what most people traditionally think of. I am strongly advocating for them to change the name of the track because I think it causes a LOT of confusion and bad feelings.

    The "Industry Insider" track is more appropriately considered a curated seminar track. It draws from people already planning to be at GenCon (or who are willing to make their own way to GenCon for the compensation of nothing more than a badge and a code to reserve and pay for their own room out of a small block set aside for such guests). Industry Insiders are asked to suggest several seminars or lectures they would like to contribute to the programming. There are 3 or 4 applicants for every open slot in the program and in addition to any concerns about gender or racial diversity we're also tasked with addressing the diversity of topics (card games, roleplaying games, board games, etc) as well as the general business of games (art direction, editing, crowd-funding, "making it as a freelancer", etc) that attendees want to see.

    The issue of the submitted seminars is not a small one. In making my selections in order to cast my votes I personally looked at the seminars blind, with the applicant's names unattached and marked the seminars I thought were the strongest without knowing who submitted them. With 4 applicants for every opening, some very qualified people were edged out by equally qualified people who offered a stronger slate of seminar suggestions.

    I personally reached out to female game professionals this year and last in an effort to get them to submit themselves for consideration. Many of them did not plan to be at GenCon (the first hurdle to participating). Many others gave some variation of the "I'm really not qualified" response, as I'd done myself in previous years (despite over 20 years of working in the game industry). Many very interesting, very qualified professionals aren't represented because of those first two hurdles. I can't bring people to GenCon, the participants on the Industry Insider track have to be pulled from attendees. I can encourage them to put themselves and their seminars up for consideration but again, we need to pull from people who are self-motivated to participate, not from reluctant speakers who have to be convinced it's worth their time. There are enough people who are willing, eager even, to participate to fill the seminar slots several times over.

    I really think calling the program something like Industry Insider Select Speakers or something similar instead of Guests of Honor would be a good first step in realigning some expectations about the programming.

    I hope that my comments here help alleviate some of the tension people feel over the program. I really do think it's a worthwhile track of programming.

    What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. News

    Other News

    • There is a new post in Harbinger of Doom about trap design.
    • The Pirates & Dragons RPG is now available. "Pirates like gold. Dragons like gold. When the terrors of the sea meet the terrors of the sky, there’s bound to be trouble!"
    • Dashing Inventor Games is launching its Simple System Roleplaying Game System (press release PDF) soon on Kickstarter; it's "is a 'rules simplified' system, in that it is neither crunchy nor rules-light. Also, it uses a unique deck of cards to resolve attempts instead of dice."

    Dungeons & Dragons News

    • Jonathan Bolding over at The Escapist has summed up all the recent D&D Next panel news from PAX East in one informative article.

    Other News

    What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. News

    Dungeons & Dragons News

    • Ommurk's Sly Disaster -- Eels. What do they have to do with disasters and slyness? Perhaps you should find out in this week's Forging the Realms.
    • WotC is holding a Tyranny of Dragons t-shirt design contest. "Judging your designs will be celebrity judges Dan Harmon (creator of NBC’s Community), Scott Kurtz (cartoonist of PvP and Table Titans fame), R.A. Salvatore (New York Times best-selling author of The Legend of Drizzt), and Morgan Webb (consummate gamer and former co-host of G-4’s X-Play)." The main prize is "up to" $1000 (I'm not sure if that means it is $1000 or not).
    • Delani Dartlette at Salon has written an article about how D&D saved his autistic son. "...rather than isolating its fans in their parents’ basements, as its detractors claim, this highly-structured fantasy world – one that requires creative thinking and teamwork to conquer – might be one of the best socialization tools Autistic kids can have."

    Pathfinder RPG News

    • Developer Mark Moreland previews some of the new character options found in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Gods. These include three new prestige classes - the evangelist, the exalted, and the sentinel, plus feats, traits, spells, and more. Spawn Calling allows the caster to summon one of Rovagug's mighty spawn, and comes with a mythic upgrade to bring about even more destruction.
    • Ben with the Chrysalis Youth Empowerment Network in Uganda is using Pathfinder to train future leaders, teaching them skills in "teamwork, problem-solving, heroic attitudes."
    • Deep Magic is Kobold Press' latest Pathfinder rulebook. Wolfgang Baur says "We just now released the Deep Magic book for Pathfinder to the public, and it is huge (376 pages in full color, more spells than the Pathfinder Core Rules and Ultimate Magic combined). Early reviews are overwhelmingly positive." Plus there's a video of Wolfgang. In a hat. With fireballs.

    Other News

    • In Numenera news, you can read a new review or buy some gorgeous printed character sheets. In my opinion, the Numenera character sheets are amongst the most gorgeous sheets I've ever seen.
    • Altais is a dystopian fantasy game set far in the future, where the land has been ravaged by magic, where once noble kingdoms have fallen into tyranny and rebellion, and where the players can work to save the world or dance in the ashes.

    What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. News

    • We're closing in on the £19,000 stretch goal which will unlock the audio short - and my favourite - Muskets in the Rain. The Kickstarter is doing incredibly well, and I'm so pleased that people are enjoying the games.
    • People kept asking for a dwarf, so I previewed the Mountain Dwarf which I'd planned on keeping until the next playtest packet.
    • Yesterday I asked you to vote on the £20K stretch goal adventure from Ryan Nock. You did exactly that, and I can report that you decided on the Cryo-sleep & Aliens themed adventure, which we are calling Waking Nightmares. As you know, if we hit £20,000, you'll get this additional adventure automatically as part of your reward.

    Twenty light years. When you went to sleep aboard the Galtrand Corporation's Dream of Stars, it was 2117 and earth was just receiving the light that left your destination in 2097. The alien world Gliese 581g orbits under a dim red sun but has the perfect mix of planetary elements to be worth sending a crew through the dark of space for two centuries to plunder its natural resources and found a new civilization. Spectrographs showed the atmosphere clean, with oxygen marking the presence of life, but no signs of industrial activity that would indicate a native population.

    The last light you saw from Gliese 581g left in 2097. You left earth in 2117. Now it's 2317 and your ship will soon be waking you. Unfortunately, the aliens of Gliese 581g started their industrial revolution in 2098.

    Waking Nightmares, an introductory N.E.W. adventure of space action and horror.


    The Dungeon Bastard tackles the thorny issue of when your PC should DIE. Zero hit points, or negative ten? For one gamer and his girlfriend, it's ALL OR NOTHING.

    Dungeons & Dragons News

    • Dead in Thay Launch Event - the next D&D Encounters season is coming. "Szass Tam, the lich lord of Thay, and his Red Wizards threaten to dominate all of the Sword Coast. The Bloodgate, an elemental node of power, must be destroyed in order to stop him!" The season starts May 10-11 and runs until August 6th. WotC describes Dead in Thay as a tribute to classic dungeons like Tomb of Horrors.

    Pathfinder RPG News

    • Check out this preview of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Adventure 5: Sins of the Saviors.
    • Erik Mona's latest miniatures blog looks at some more of the Reign of Winter figures - a goblin alchemist, a crone queen, and Queen Elvanna.

    Other News

    What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. Hits Stretch Goal

    • There's a long article on major sci-fi site iO9 about the Kickstarter and about both games. "Two RPGs that throw off the shackles of the "rules light" trend give players customizable spellcasting systems and the ability to design starships. Combine O.L.D. and N.E.W. RPGs and you can have both."
    • What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. has hit the stretch goal which means that Kevin Kulp will be writing an introductory adventure called Spires in the Sky. Thank you to everyone! New stretch goals include another adventure, Waking Nightmares, two bestiaries (one for O.L.D. and one for N.E.W.), a pair of pregenerated character sets, and a starship recognition manual.

    Dungeons & Dragons News

    Dragonlance: What's Up With That?

    So what's going on with that whole "Dragonlance is alive" thing? Well, as it turns out, it was a response to a question at the Tyranny of Dragons panel in the context of all of the camapign settings. Only Forgotten Realms (the flagship setting) and Eberron were specifically mentioned as being worked on*, but Chris Perkins indicated that Dragonlance was "not dead". However, he did indicate that a specialist would be needed to "revive it", which strongly implies that there's plans for it at present. Certainly Margaret Weis (one of the co-creators) and Cam Banks (one of the Dragonlance designers for 3E) are not currently part of any plan. Check out this Twitter conversation ("boymonster" is Cam Banks):

    @boymonster <- Dragonlance specialist
    @WeisMargaret I'm a dragonlance specialist!
    @boymonster I think you out-specialize me by a wide margin.
    @WeisMargaret who is Chris sims?
    @boymonster That would be @ChrisSSims, an editor & designer at WotC. He seems like a reasonably fine gentleman.
    @WeisMargaret I heard you were looking for Dragonlance specialists! I'm available!
    @ChrisSSims Hi! Hmmm. I think you should talk to @mikemearls then. You too, @boymonster.

    I'm fairly sure Mike Mearls already knows exactly who to contact should any Dragonlance plans arise. Cam Banks later went on to post publicly to Facebook the following:

    Yesterday, Chris Perkins of WotC gave a presentation at PAX East about the future of D&D, including their new plans for the Forgotten Realms and other classic D&D settings. He said that Dragonlance wasn't dead, it just needed a specialist to work on it.

    I believe that Dragonlance has a place in D&D's future. I believe there are many talented writers, editors, and developers with the enthusiasm and knowledge of the setting to help them make that a reality, not the least of which are Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I believe Dragonlance has a strong, vibrant, and dedicated fan base hungry for more novels, for more game books, for the very same transmedia experience that they're hoping to promote with their D&D brand.

    And I believe that I would love to be a part of that.

    For my part, Dragonlance was the setting that brought me into D&D in a major way (I've never bought a Forgotten Realms product in my life), and I still have a soft spot for it. That said, it was more the novels for me - the original trilogies at least, and the way the DL series of adventures was one of the first ever adventure paths, long before the term was invented. As an aside, key settings I'd personally most like to see brought back include Greyhawk, Dragonlance, and Ravenloft. For now, it seems clear that nothing's happening, although WotC are careful not to close the door on anything. [63 comments]

    *Update - thanks to Charles Akins for reminding me that Ravenloft was mentioned in the Forbes article published on Friday -- "The Forgotten Realms is our flagship setting for the new edition, however we are supporting, or will support, all of our key settings in the future.” That includes Ebberon, says Perkins, and “you are going to see more Ravenloft stuff very soon.”

    Pathfinder RPG News

    • City State of the Invincible Overlord is some way through its Kickstarter campaign. "City State of the Invincible Overlord, the first and one of the largest fantasy RPG city settings in gaming history, written by Judges Guild founders Bob Bledsaw and Bill Owen, defines sand-box roleplaying by giving information for over 350 shops, taverns, inns, palaces, barracks, temples, and the NPCs who inhabit them!"

    What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. Updates

    • The What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. Kickstarter passed £17,000 over the weekend, and is only about £500 away from the £18,000 Spires in the Sky stretch goal.
    • Already being planned is another stretch goal, featuring Ryan Nock of War of the Burning Sky and ZEITGEIST: The Gears of Revolution fame. He's pitched seven awesome adventure ideas - some fantasy, some sci-fi - for the next stretch goal. Which would you enjoy most?
    • There's now an official Errata Thread. This thread lists minor changes or corrections which you can apply immediately without waiting for a major playtest document update. It doesn't deal with typos and the like, but with actual changes or rules mistakes. I'll keep this updated up until the next playtest document release.
    • I was interviewed in RPGnet's chat room on Friday; you can read that here (it's seems to be dark text on a dark background in my browser, but I don't know if that's universal).

    Friday, 11th April, 2014
    PAX EAST D&D NEXT "Tyranny of Dragons" Report 
    [153858/30520 views | Tweet This Article! | Share on Facebook]

    The Tyranny of Dragons panel just took place at PAX East. The panel displayed a whole load of artwork from D&D Next and the Tyranny of Dragons storyline which will launch it. Some interesting facts emerged:

    • Tyranny of Dragons is a STANDALONE product; no Player's Handbook or Dungeon Master's Guide is needed.
    • All "key" settings will be supported; this apparently includes Eberron wilth Keith Baker.
    • Forgotten Realms is the 5E flagship setting (no surprise there).
    • Chris Perkins is single. Yup, seriously, someone asked that.
    • Dragonlance lives! But they'd "need a specialist" to revive it.
    • D&D Next is "97% done"
    • No prices, dates, or product covers; sorry!
    • Forbes has some stuff here.

    There was a lot of artwork shown off. Here's a selection, but check this thread for lots more. [168 comments]

    Dungeons & Dragons News

    • Click for more about D&DThe BBC has taken a look at the anti-D&D hysteria of the 1980s (a period which many of us remember well). "In an era of potent concern over internet pornography, cyber-bullying, and drugs, it is hard to imagine a game being controversial. But 30 years ago Dungeons & Dragons was the subject of a full-on moral panic..." (thanks to the many people who emailed me with this!) [16 comments]
    • PAX EAST is currently taking place in Boston. Amongst others are panels on Tyranny of Dragons (the introductory D&D Next 'storyline') and an industry panel entitled "Whatever happened to tabletop roleplaying games?" which features - amongst others - Open Gaming License architect Ryan Dancey. More if, when, and as I hear anything! [168 comments]

    Pathfinder RPG News

    Other News

    • The Mindjammer RPG by Sarah Newton released in PDF on Wednesday, and is also now ready for shipping.
    • Bruce Cordell of Monte Cook Game posts about crunch vs. fluff in How Story Gives Life to Mechanics.
    • Pelgrane Press reports that the 13th Age Bestiary is off to the printers!
    • Heroes of the Solar System for Rocket Age is available in PDF. "Heroes of the Solar System, the second sourcebook for Rocket Age, offers you a look at the heroes of the rocket set. The focus of Heroes of the Solar System is on the player characters, though Gamemasters will still find plot hooks and episode ideas galore."
    • The 2014 Origin Awards Nominees have been announced. The Best RPG category is much what you'd expect, although I'm surprised by the lack of FFG's Edge of the Empire. Still, the list features the awesome 13th Age, FATE Core System, Mummy: the Curse, Numenera, and the new Shadowrun: Core Rulebook.

    What's O.L.D. is N.E.W.

    • Two stretch goals smashed overnight, reaching £16,000 (which is an astonishing $27,000 in US money) and we're headed at high speed towards the next, which is Kevin Kulp's introductory adventure, Spires in the Sky! A previous stretch goal, an audio piece, is below. If you haven't yet, please back this awesome project!
    • There were lots of new votes for the final cover design yesterday. Arty has increased its lead over White Album - it is now leading 80% to White Album's 20%. If white Album is to catch up, it needs a heck of a surge of support!
    • I will be appearing in RPGnet's chat room for a moderated interview today (Friday) at 1:30 p.m. CST (that's 7.30 PM in the UK)! Feel free to pop along and ask me some questions!
    • I've been interviewed over at The Bedrock Blog covering What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. influences, design goals, and more. A great interview!
    • Yesterday I posted a whole bunch of N.E.W. monsters. Today I have something for O.L.D. - grand elf musketeers, dreadnaughts, and mages.

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