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News Digest: An Unfulfilled Kickstarter Returns, Pendragon Comes Home to Chaosium, Essen Spiel Theft

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! An unfulfilled Kickstarter gets a second chance, Pendragon comes home to Chaosium, the world’s oldest board game, and more!
Back in 2011, a Kickstarter ran for a cyberpunk roleplaying game called Technoir. The campaign successfully funded and delivered the core rulebook, but like many crowdfunding efforts in the early days of the platform, overreached on stretch goals and was unable to fulfill many of the sourcebooks and adventures promised to backers. Over seven years after the end of the Kickstarter and six years since the last update on the project, Dream Machine Productions acquired the rights to publish Technoir and plans to make things right for backers. Those who pledged to the original campaign can sign up to receive any unfulfilled projects including the Morenoir advanced rules sourcebook and two adventures, Indianapolis Conplex and Kepler Station. If you backed the original Kickstarter, a backer-only update explains how to receive any unclaimed backer rewards. Dream Machine plans to produce new material for Technoir starting next year, and the PDFs for both the core rules for Technoir and the Mechnoir sourcebook (one of the stretch goals that was originally fulfilled) are now available on DriveThruRPG.

The classic Arthurian roleplaying game Pendragon is returning home to Chaosium after an agreement with Nocturnal Media. Originally designed by Greg Stafford and published by Chaosium in 1985, Pendragon is considered one of the classic roleplaying games of the original era and Stafford himself considered it his masterpiece. The rights to the game line have passed through many hands over the years, from Green Knight Publishing to White Wolf Publishing to Nocturnal Media. Steve Wieck gave a touching story in the press release linked above, paying tribute to the memories of both Greg Stafford and Stewart Wieck. The PDFs of the Pendragon titles are already available on Chaosium’s DriveThruRPG page including the updated “5.2” edition of the core rules originally published by Nocturnal Media.

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Jon Hodgson (former creative director at Cubicle 7) announced the first two products for his newly launched company, Handiwork Games: Hellenistika and Beowulf. Hellenistika is a Greek-inspired setting by Kenneth Hite that appears to be a gleefully anachronistic stew of the Hellenistic era of history, mixing adventures in Babylonian ruins and Egyptian pyramids with the tagline “Life Fast, Love well, Leave a Good-Looking Mosaic”. Beowulf is…exactly what it says on the tin, a setting and rules expansion based on the epic Beowulf with a focus on duet play (one GM, one player). Both books will be based on the 5e ruleset and have a release scheduled sometime in 2019. Additionally, Handiwork Games plans a tabletop card game line starting with The Forest Dragon by Rory Age 9, designed by Hodgson’s son (with a little help from Dad) featuring art from Rory and his little brother Ben. Little information about gameplay is available yet, but two expansions are planned already and the ad copy for the game is as cute as you’d expect from a game designed by a nine-year-old.

Last week, I posted about EN World owner Morrus’ new one-page adventures line based on the En5ider adventures. Morrus decided on his distribution method, a Patreon with a twist as the adventures will be available for free. You can get the PDFs for free from the Patreon page and, if you enjoy them, support the project with a buck or five a month. The adventures are great for DMs who are low on prep time but strong at improvisation as they give you the backbone of a session’s worth of adventure ready to go, giving you the chance to flesh them out to suit your players and adjust the challenge level as necessary. There are already two adventures available now with a special holiday adventure, “Presents for Goblins”, available to all supporters as a bonus.

Fantasy Flight Games is going all-in for support for their new edition of Legend of the Five Rings with the announcement of another sourcebook and adventure. Enter the Shadowlands covers lands south of Rokugan giving details and adventure seeds for the entire corrupted lands, from the Festering Pit of Fu Leng to the Daylight Castle. The 144-page sourcebook is available for preorder for $39.95 and, if you pre-order through Fantasy Flight’s website, you get a set of 5” x 7” art print cards and a bookmark. For more fun in the Shadowlands, the adventure Mask of the Oni puts the players on the trail of a bloodspeaker as they uncover the centuries-old secret buried in the fallen castle of the Hiruma family. The adventure features an adventure booklet, a map of the Shadowlands and the bordering territory of the Crab Clan, and more than fifty tokens of NPCs and monsters. The adventure is available for preorder for $19.95 with a similar art card preorder bonus. Both products are slated for a release in the first quarter of 2019.

Following the string of thefts from vendors at Essen Spiel, the company running the convention, Friedhelm Merz Verlag, plans several meetings in early 2019 with the Messe Essen Convention Center to discuss possible increased security measures. It’s unsure if any changes will take place, as spokesperson Verena Elsen said the meetings “…will decide what and if we will change anything at all, but we will certainly remind the exhibitors to take better care of their cash registers.” Several small and medium size game publishers had their cash registers or deposits stolen with six companies reporting losses totally over $20,000. Only one arrest has been made, one of multiple people who stole from the Artipia Games booth. The money was not recovered from the arrest, but the individual was armed with a taser gun. Previous statements from Friedhelm Merz Verlag appeared to place the blame on companies, stating, “We also appeal to the exhibitors in the future not to hire cheap stand staff that way that they are partly paid with exhibitor tickets.”

Games Workshop announced their fiscal standing for the half-year filing for 2018, stating a $51.6 million profit. A shareholder dividend of $0.38 per share will be paid in January to shareholders after posting approximately $156 million in gross revenue for the six month period from June to December. The company stated the results were in line with expectations for the fiscal year ending in June 2019, and that they show that, “the Warhammer Hobby is in great shape in our core markets.” The full report will be available to shareholders in January.

Archeologists discovered remains of a 4000-year-old board game in Azerbaijan. The game, known as “58 Holes” or “Hounds and Jackals”, has been found in various digs across the Middle East, though this is one of the oldest examples. I highly recommend reading the article for any interested in the history of gaming.

It’s that time again, as Humble Bundle has released another Vegas Pro Bundle. This is a must-have software bundle for anyone looking to make videos as the $25 level includes Vegas Pro Edit 15, a very capable video editing program. This is the cheapest you’re going to find a full video editing suite and I cannot recommend highly enough how amazing this value is without even counting the effects, audio editing, and image correction tools included. Plus it makes a perfect gift for anyone in your life who may be considering video creation. There’s also a gaming bundle from Wiley (makers of the For Dummies series) that focuses mostly on your standard poker, chess, crosswords, and Sudoku. However, the $15 top level includes three books that may be of interest to roleplaying gamers, Dungeon Master for Dummies, Dungeons & Dragons for Dummies, and GURPS for Dummies. The For Dummies series is actually informative despite the title, but I should note that, while they’re still useful, the two D&D-focused books are for 4th Edition. The Vegas bundle runs until December 25 while the Games & Puzzles Bundle runs until December 26.

This is a bit odd because the Kickstarter for Uninvited Guests isn’t actually for “Uninvited Guests”. Turns out it shares a name with an Adventurer’s League product so will be undergoing a name change before publication. However, the product is still solid, a one-shot adventure for 5e or Pathfinder with a bit of a twist: A social-focused adventure. The PCs will have to infiltrate a noble’s party as event planners in order to retrieve an item from the noble’s estate. If you want to add a bit of Leverage or Ocean’s 11 to your fantasy D20 game, this is the adventure for you. You can get a PDF of either 5e or Pathfinder for just $4, while a $6 pledge gets you both editions and a $12 pledge gets you an at-cost print-on-demand version. This project is fully funded and runs until Tuesday, December 18.

If you missed the relaunch of Torg Eternity, the Kickstarter for The Nile Empire is a great time to catch up. This expansion continues the Possibility War with a sourcebook on the Nile Empire featuring new perks, spells, miracles, pulp powers, gear, threats, monsters, and more. This is a hefty expansion too, featuring more than one book. The digital version is available for a $40 pledge and gets you PDFs of all the books and special GM screen, the $50 plater pledge level adds on a physical copy of The Nile Empire sourcebook, and the $100 level includes the GM screen, archetypes booklet, and The Fires of Ra adventure. There’s also various collector’s editions and add-ons for previous Torg Eternity sourcebooks and the core rulebook. This project is running out of stretch goals to blast through until it funds on Monday, December 24.

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 gushing over the trailer to The Other Worlds (yes still it’s really that good), follow me on Twitch if I ever get a chance to start on my stack of mystery games, 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.

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott


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