View Profile: Abstruse - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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About Abstruse

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Date of Birth
January 25, 1980 (39)
About Abstruse
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Gaming News Columnist, Writer, Designer
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Columnist for ENWorld. Owner and producer of Gamer's Tavern Media. Formerly with Ain't It Cool News.
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Nederland, TX
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News Digest: Summary of the D&D Announcements of the Week, One Ring 2nd Edition Announced, New Elder Scrolls Game from Modiphius, and more! Thursday, 23rd May, 2019 11:14 AM

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Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019


Tuesday, 21st May, 2019


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Friday, 17th May, 2019


Thursday, 2nd May, 2019

  • 06:27 PM - MNblockhead mentioned Abstruse in post News Digest: Shadowrun Sixth Edition, Origins Award Nominees, BESM New Edition Amid Controversy, Alien RPG, and more!
    Abstruse Chill out. I don't read @Nylandfs comment as an attack on you. He's simply posting about another Kickstarter in a post that discusses Kickstarters. He didn't question why you didn't include it. Nobody expects every digest to include every possible related item of news. EN World is my primary source for learning about Kickstarters, both your posts, posts discussing specific single Kickstarter campaigns, and the comments of the many visitors to this site. It is all valuable and doesn't violate the sites rules, as far I can tell. Your umbrage is misplaced.

Sunday, 3rd June, 2018

  • 03:26 AM - Mouseferatu mentioned Abstruse in post The Next Dungeons & Dragons Storyline Will Be...
    WotC was very clear about what hour of what day the new book would be announced and made no further promises. This entire event was set up to disseminate infirmation. Does being press make you believe you are entitled to more information sooner than the rest of us? Or course WotC teased you the way they did. You basically asked if the final day was worth warching. Were they supposed to say 'No? " You know, given that Abstruse busts his ass for this site--hunting down stories, collating information, and writing it all up every week, plus trying to stay on top of big stories like this one--and given that WotC won't allow ENWorld access to advance info due to leaks that weren't ENWorld's fault, while still giving advanced access to other sites that have leaked info early--I think you can back the hell off and just say "Thank you for trying, I'm sorry your time was wasted."

Thursday, 22nd February, 2018


Thursday, 8th February, 2018


Saturday, 28th October, 2017

  • 07:42 AM - Mouseferatu mentioned Abstruse in post News Digest: PaizoCon Harassment, Dungeon Tiles Reincarnated, WizKids and Warhammer 40K, Fantasy Flight Interactive, and more!
    Could you maybe steer clear of the controversial news that your not 100% sure about. Recently the F-up with the Tom Vassel business and now with the Bill Web stuff. Stick with rehashing press releases, because investigative journalism isn't your best feat (or as powerful as it was in 3rd Edition ;-)... I am not Abstruse, but I know him outside of his position as a columnist here at ENWorld, and I can 100% assure you that he will never, ever stop posting about, or calling people out for, sexual harassment, abuse, or assault in the industry. He will report what he's learned, and he will correct as new information comes to him, as he should. But stop reporting it? Never. Nor should he.

Thursday, 24th August, 2017

  • 04:50 PM - LordEntrails mentioned Abstruse in post News Digest: Gen Con, ENnies, Diana Jones, Star Wars, Starfinder, and more!
    ...n June. Spiel des Jahres is a closed selection process for the jurors, but their names and identities are publicly known. As for what criteria they use. Ah, basically anything that they want. After several sentences, they come down and say this; The precise interpretation of ‘excellence in gaming’ is left to the discretion of the individual judges I mean, "industry insiders patting each other on the back" is pretty much the definition of an award regardless of the medium the award is for. This may often be true. But not all awards are this. Some are popularity contests open to the public. But credibility is not something an awards group can just grant themselves. And it is near impossible when they are secretive in both who they are and how they make their selection(s). If they were credible, then other sources besides themselves would actually cite them as credible. Where are those links? (So far, this question which is probably the most important has simple been ignored.) @Abstruse, note these questions or comments of mine are not meant to question your article. It is straight forward news (and I appreciate it, including this topic and others). I'm just trying to understand what the credibility of the DJA is.

Saturday, 12th July, 2014

  • 04:01 AM - pemerton mentioned Abstruse in post Will there be a 4.75 a la Pathfinder?
    I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "as an item" as that is not a phrase I'm familiar with as a legal term of art.It's not a legal term of art. "As a good offered for sale" is not really a legal term of art either, but would do as a synonym for "as an item". Restricting myself to federal law, trade dress is protected by §43(a) of the Lanham Act. (15 USC §1125 see also Two Pesos, Inc. v. Taco Cabana, Inc., 505 US 763)I think there are going to be complexities in comparing trade dress of a restaurant (or other commercial service provision, like M:tG online mentioned upthread by Abstruse) and trademarks and trade dress of goods. For instance, if a book or magazine is sold solely in shrink wrap, then it seems to me that that must suggest limitations on the extent to which material that appears only on the interior of the book can constitute trade dress or trademarks belonging to the publisher. At a certain point, such material cannot play a role in consumers distinguishing the goods of one producer from those of another, competing, producer. Or, from the point of view of a potentially infringing trader, at a certain point material that appears only within the interior of a book has not been "used in commerce", which is the statutory phrase that triggers liability. Here's an example: A 3PP makes a new monster: A 1 Eyed, 1 Horned Purple People Eater. They use the mechanics from MMIII to create the monsters stats, and they use the same colors and layout as monsters from MMMIII. While it's my position that (if it's protected at all) it's protected by trade dress a...

Saturday, 31st August, 2013

  • 06:41 AM - Morrus mentioned Abstruse in post Long interview with Cordell & Schwalb
    Conducted by Abstruse. There's a lot to get your teeth into in that interview; it's unusually candid and non PR-y for WotC. Great read. http://www.aintitcool.com/node/63941 I'm surprised about how frankly they spoke about 4E. Equal parts good and bad. It's the sort of interview that is likely to reignite the edition wars, though. Plus lots of tidbits on the D&D Next playtest approach.

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Monday, 20th May, 2019

  • 11:46 PM - Olaf the Stout quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    Yes, the initial game got patched as needed, as with any game a AAA video game company sales. The only thing they said for sure that would be added was the One Extra Character Skin and new associated material needed to play that one. So that $20 you paid for the Early Access got you everything in the initial game you bought, plus all of the patches and that one single character skin. Nothing more. So hopefully people who bought it did not misunderstand and will still pay the full premium price of $50-60 for our new game that will come out that's essentially the same as the previous game we said we'd continue to support. Starting to see why people might be upset? Seriously, picture a video game company doing this on Elder Scrolls 6 or The Outer Worlds or something else and just imagine the rant Jim Sterling would go on. I don’t know why you keep trying to equate roleplaying books with video games as though they are homogeneous interchangeable products. They aren’t and trying to use video g...
  • 03:48 PM - Parmandur quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    How can you say what the crossover between the two books is when the above article is literally all the information we have? Like, do you think I'd post an article that's just one sentence of "We're getting Eberron in hardback" if there was more to report? We don't know how much of Wayfarer's Guide is going to show up in the hardback. It could be none of it is repeated, it could be just a general re-write and republishing of the exact same material We don't know. And the not-knowing is part of the problem with the announcement. If they'd ended the stream with "We're doing a hardcover of Literally Any Campaign Setting Other Than Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, Ravnica, or Eberron!" we wouldn't be having this discussion because any other setting hasn't already been profiled in 5e and WotC hasn't charged us money for it. It would just be fans of other settings upset their setting wasn't next in line for a 5e update or people wanting something entirely original. But no, they decided their capsto...
  • 03:31 PM - Parmandur quoted Abstruse in post The New Dungeons & Dragons Storyline for 2019 Leaked Ahead of Live Stream
    Not even getting into the grammatical and typographical errors of someone starting off with "reading comprehension 0%", but let's back up a bit and say this: Mike Mearls, on behalf of Wizards of the Coast, said the PDF would be updated with new material. People paid $20 for the PDF based off that. Wizards of the Coast then releases a $50-60 hardcover on the same material. So either the people who paid $20 for the PDF are not getting this updated material, meaning they were deceived...or they are getting this updated material, which devalues the still-as-yet unreleased book. No matter what happens here, unless Wizards of the Coast comes up with some details as to what is and is not included in the Eberron book and what recompense (if any) they're giving to people who bought the Wayfarer's Guide to Eberron, people are going to speculate. And that speculation is not going to be on Wizards of the Coast's side considering the preponderance of the evidence. The PDF has been updated ...
  • 02:53 PM - SkidAce quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    Or fraud. Or deceptive advertising. For example, spending $20 on a PDF you were told would continue to be updated only to later be told you'd have to spend $50-60 for a hardcover book... But they might still be updating it....so people who bought it early (i.e. eberron fans) would be happy, and all the new folks that see it on the shelf could be happy.
  • 01:44 PM - Paul Farquhar quoted Abstruse in post The New Dungeons & Dragons Storyline for 2019 Leaked Ahead of Live Stream
    Not even getting into the grammatical and typographical errors of someone starting off with "reading comprehension 0%", but let's back up a bit and say this: Mike Mearls, on behalf of Wizards of the Coast, said the PDF would be updated with new material. And he also said that if it proved popular a hardback Eberron book would be released. People paid $20 for the PDF based off that. Yes they did. If they hadn't no further Eberron publication would have been released. Wizards of the Coast then releases a $50-60 hardcover on the same material. It's only "The same material" if you consider "Waterdeep: Dragonheist" and "The Sword Coast Adventurers Guide" as "The Same Material". So either the people who paid $20 for the PDF are not getting this updated material, Yes, they are. The new Eberron book has no effect on updates to the existing Eberron book. No matter what happens here People are going to complain about it because they are entitled jerks who aren't happy un...
  • 01:33 PM - Psyzhran2357 quoted Abstruse in post The New Dungeons & Dragons Storyline for 2019 Leaked Ahead of Live Stream
    Not even getting into the grammatical and typographical errors of someone starting off with "reading comprehension 0%", but let's back up a bit and say this: Mike Mearls, on behalf of Wizards of the Coast, said the PDF would be updated with new material. People paid $20 for the PDF based off that. Wizards of the Coast then releases a $50-60 hardcover on the same material. So either the people who paid $20 for the PDF are not getting this updated material, meaning they were deceived...or they are getting this updated material, which devalues the still-as-yet unreleased book. No matter what happens here, unless Wizards of the Coast comes up with some details as to what is and is not included in the Eberron book and what recompense (if any) they're giving to people who bought the Wayfarer's Guide to Eberron, people are going to speculate. And that speculation is not going to be on Wizards of the Coast's side considering the preponderance of the evidence. They've said since July o...
  • 12:59 PM - MarkB quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    The downside of voting with your wallet in this sort of limited market is giving the wrong impression. In this case, that setting books are not wanted as opposed to setting books that have not already been published under this edition just in a digital format. But you already got that covered by buying the PDF in the first place, thus telling the market that settings in general and Eberron in particular were in demand - which leads directly to this announcement. Don't feel that you have to vote twice.
  • 11:15 AM - dave2008 quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    And that's the problem with WotC not releasing any info. They spent all weekend talking up the PODs from DM's Guild and used the Wayfarer's Guide as an example, but then they say there's going to be a hardback for Eberron. It's not that they're doing Eberron specifically that's the problem, it's that they've already DONE an Eberron setting book in PDF and charged a lot of money for it. Now they're saying you have to pay more money without saying what you're getting for that extra money or what they're doing for people who already paid more than a third of the cover price for the digital version. I agree that this announcement with so little information is confusing. However, they are doing what they said they would do: 1) The said no spelljammer this year: we didn't get spelljammer 2) They said the Wayfinder would be updated: it has been 3) We were told Wayfinder would eventually have the final version of Arty: TBD, but likely 4) We were told a hardcover Eberron book would not be Wayfind...
  • 09:20 AM - vecna00 quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    The downside of voting with your wallet in this sort of limited market is giving the wrong impression. In this case, that setting books are not wanted as opposed to setting books that have not already been published under this edition just in a digital format. Then it becomes quite an interesting conundrum for some.
  • 08:27 AM - Enevhar Aldarion quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    Or fraud. Or deceptive advertising. For example, spending $20 on a PDF you were told would continue to be updated only to later be told you'd have to spend $50-60 for a hardcover book... Yes, the information in the initial release of the PDF would continually get updated or erratad as needed, as with any PDF that a game company sells. The only thing they said for sure that would be added to the PDF is the Artificer class and associated new material needed to play one. So that $20 got you everything in the initial PDF you bought, plus the eventual addition of the Artificer. Nothing more. So hopefully people who bought it did not misunderstand that and expected additional new stuff to be added.
  • 07:47 AM - Satyrn quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    Or fraud. Or deceptive advertising. For example, spending $20 on a PDF you were told would continue to be updated only to later be told you'd have to spend $50-60 for a hardcover book... You got a good point. Last year, Mearls jumped out of a box that I found left on my doorstep. As if that wasn't terrifying enough, he then pulled a gun on me and forced me to drive to the local game store to buy a copy of Dragon Heist. If he does that to you*, it'll suck even harder than it did for me since at least there was no pdf to buy first. *And the odds are pretty good that he will. He's been ramping up this "guerrila sales pitch" as he called it. And that's why he's not seen in public any more.
  • 07:45 AM - lkj quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    Or fraud. Or deceptive advertising. For example, spending $20 on a PDF you were told would continue to be updated only to later be told you'd have to spend $50-60 for a hardcover book... But the book is getting updated. They'll be adding the artificer. They are adjusting the material based on playtest feedback. There's nothing deceptive about that. They even told us at the beginning there might be a complementary hard back later. I really don't understand why this seems deceptive. I can only see the complaint if you thought that they were saying they would add all future Eberron material to the pdf. But they definitely didn't say that. AD
  • 07:40 AM - lkj quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    Yeah, I'm curious too. Seems that Mearls is saying that people who bought Wayfarer's Guide would get full updates until they're out of "playtest" (which only affects you if you're playing Adventurer's League)...but that goes counter to the "New hardback, cough up another $50" announcement tonight. Which is the big problem with the announcement is that it gives NO details. Which is what causes speculation, particularly in a niche hobby like this, negative speculation. I do not know what their PR department was thinking... But it doesn't seem counter. It's exactly what they said they would do. If Wayfinders did well they would release a complementary hardback. That's exactly what is happening. And Stewart was 'spoiling' a future release. Sure, I can see why it was annoying to get so little info if you waited around to watch it. Legit annoyance. But that's because they wanted the focus on Descent with Nathan's bit at the end just as a teaser for the next product hype cycle. AD
  • 07:36 AM - vecna00 quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    Yeah, I'm curious too. Seems that Mearls is saying that people who bought Wayfarer's Guide would get full updates until they're out of "playtest" (which only affects you if you're playing Adventurer's League)...but that goes counter to the "New hardback, cough up another $50" announcement tonight. Which is the big problem with the announcement is that it gives NO details. Which is what causes speculation, particularly in a niche hobby like this, negative speculation. I do not know what their PR department was thinking... It should be easy for some people to vote with their wallets then. The new hardcover certainly won't be required to run Eberron, especially if you already have the PDF.
  • 07:28 AM - Dr. Bull quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    Good for you. This is a comments section. It is a place for people to express their opinions within the bounds of the rules of the site. Regardless of my personal issues, I hope this book is successful and many people buy it. People buying books means the companies have more money and can produce more books, one of which may be more to my personal tastes. However, I also don't look down on people who have legitimate grievances with the business practices involved in creating said book. I hope you don't either. Nope. I don't. But please don't misuse the term "legitimate grievance" as a term in this discussion. A legitimate grievance would be something like liability for "severe bodily injury," "malpractice," or "sexual harassment". This is an artistic difference of opinion. "I enjoy playing in Eberron, Spelljammer, Planescape, Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, and Dragonlance." - That's my opinion... And it is ONLY my opinion. It's not factual.
  • 06:55 AM - Parmandur quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    I don't know if I'd call it a snub per se...but it is definitely in the "Not Cool" books for me personally when they charged $20 for a PDF and, a year later, ask for full hardcover price of $50-60 for the same thing again only this time it's "not playtest". If I buy a video game and it's in Early Access, I still get the full video game when the beta period is done. Just feels odd when a tabletop RPG company is showing less consumer ethics than EA... The crossover between the two books is not very significant, basically what is free on UA. Per Mearls the day the PDF was released, they were not planning to re-use anything that they were not putting up for free in a "theoretical" hardcover. So, you paid $20 for a detailed Gazeeter of Sharn, and a ton of fluff and role-playing aids from Keith Baker.
  • 05:38 AM - Parmandur quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    I think a big part of it is that Eberron was released as a PDF last year for $20 and that the The Descent event spent a lot of time talking up the print-on-demand DM's Guild offerings including the Eberron PDF. So people are wondering...what did we spend money on last year then? Another issue is that WotC hasn't listed any details whatsoever and, while Eberron creator Keith Baker was involved in the PDF Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron, there's been no mention if he'll be involved with this as Nathan Stewart presented this as the sole brainchild of himself and Kate Welch at the end of the stream. To be fair, the percentage of the AL-legal book they released last year that is likely to be reused is low, based on the plan for a hardcover Mearls laid out the day the Wayfarer's Guide was released: basically just the parts they released as free UA articles are likely to be reprinted, which is a few pages out of a large document. They are likely to put the Wayfarer's Guide up for print on demand, a...
  • 05:35 AM - a.everett1287 quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    I think a big part of it is that Eberron was released as a PDF last year for $20 and that the The Descent event spent a lot of time talking up the print-on-demand DM's Guild offerings including the Eberron PDF. So people are wondering...what did we spend money on last year then? Another issue is that WotC hasn't listed any details whatsoever and, while Eberron creator Keith Baker was involved in the PDF Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron, there's been no mention if he'll be involved with this as Nathan Stewart presented this as the sole brainchild of himself and Kate Welch at the end of the stream. Okay, if the bolded is actually part of the concern, wouldn't it be better to actually... wait... for information? As for the top portion... You paid for the PDF, which this may or may not work better in tandem with.
  • 03:56 AM - Birmy quoted Abstruse in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    ...they did a karaoke cover song of ACDC's "TNT" but changed the lyrics to "DND"...I don't want to disparage the musical talents of the people who performed it, but the end result was not as witty as you might thing it is from just the description... Like last year, the musical bits were strange--careening between impressive and embarrassing, often within the same performance.

Sunday, 19th May, 2019

  • 10:59 PM - Jester David quoted Abstruse in post The New Dungeons & Dragons Storyline for 2019 Leaked Ahead of Live Stream
    Take it for what it is worth, per Reddit at the time: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/330660672?t=01h01m58s Twitch sez: "Sorry. Unless you’ve got a time machine, that content is unavailable." But the quote does sound pretty definitive. But, again, he could be referring to a PDF. I'm not willing to put down any money that plans haven't changed or schedules shifted. WotC appears to have solved for setting sbooks for 5E in Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica: 5E applicable crunch for players, DM aids, and a ton of monsters. Basically, a PHB add-on, a MM add-on, and a DMG add-on. That was the impression Stewart gave when talking about the reception of that book, at any rate. That will work well for a setting like Dark Sun. If they make that setting akin to Guildmaster's Guide it will work well. That would be my guess, but that really requires psionics to function. But there's not nearly as many monsters for Planescape that haven't been done. There's very little applicable crunch for playe...


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