News Digest: Critical Role Leaving Geek & Sundry, Origins Award Winners, Pathfinder 2nd Ed Previews,

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! Critical Role leaving Geek & Sundry, Origins Award Winners, Pathfinder 2nd Edition previews, multiple charity promotions, and more!


Critical Role is officially leaving Geek & Sundry to strike out on their own. While the streams will continue on Geek & Sundry’s Twitch channel and their premium streaming service Alpha (including the spin-off shows Talks Machina and After Dark) for the time being, Critical Role created their own Twitch channel for streaming along with a new YouTube channel to host their content. As part of this move, Marisha Ray has stepped down as creative director for Geek & Sundry in order to take on that role for their own content, which will include the production of the live stream from their own studio space and brand new shows. Critical Role originally premiered on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel during its launch in 2015, with the Critical Role team retaining the rights to the show and characters. The Dungeons & Dragons actual play stream skyrocketed immediately in popularity, becoming the breakout hit for the channel drawing hundreds of thousands of viewers weekly between the live stream and archived videos.


The Origins Award Winners were announced this past weekend at the Origins Game Fair. EN World has all the winners at the link above, but the Best Roleplaying Game of the Year was Adventures in Middle-Earth Player’s Handbook from Cubicle 7 with the Fan Favorite award going to Starfinder from Paizo. Best Roleplaying Game Supplement went to Dungeons & Dragons Xanathar’s Guide to Everything from Wizards of the Coast. The awards also included many card, miniature, and board games with Gloomhaven taking Best Board Game, Fan Favorite, and Game of the Year. Designers Eric M. Lang and Ken St. Andre were inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design Hall of Fame. Attendance at the Origins Game Fair was up by almost ten percent, with 18,648 unique attendees and turnstile attendance numbers of 70,765 (unique attendees are the number of individuals attending the convention, while turnstiles are the number of people per day, so a person with a four-day pass counts as one unique attendee but as four turnstiles).


Speaking of awards, the new episode of Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk Podcast released yesterday and the Origins Awards (along with the Diana Jones Award nominees) was one of the main topics. Morrus, Peter, and special guest Angus also talked about details for the new Dungeons & Dragons releases of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. There’s also a comedy sketch! You can subscribe via the podcast page on Podbean, through iTunes, or by searching for the title (or just “Morrus”) in your favorite podcasting app. And if you want behind the scenes deleted content, you can support the show on Patreon (I’m still working on this week’s outtakes and it should be up later today, but it will be almost half an hour of additional in-depth gaming discussions, alternate takes of the Polearm Sketch, and a puppy cameo).


Wizards of the Coast have brought back their limited edition rainbow Dungeons & Dragons shirt for Pride Month. Proceeds from the sales of the rainbow ampersand logo t-shirts, tank tops, and hoodies go to benefit the charity Lambert House, which helps LGBT+ youth through programs, resources, and activities. And of course, the Magic: The Gathering Planeswalker rainbow logo is also back. If you’re looking for more gaming-related shirts benefiting charity, Whipstache Designs has a “Lawful can still be Evil” shirt for sale with all proceeds going toward the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights and the Texas Civil Rights Project.

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Paizo released more information about the playtest for Pathfinder 2nd Edition. The Barbarian class got a preview, highlighting changes to the Rage ability and other class features. The Rage ability will no longer be limited to a set number of rounds per day, but will instead last three rounds with one round of fatigue before the barbarian can use rage again. Also, one change highlighted is that multiclassed spellcasting barbarians will be able to use spells in a rage so long as they don’t require concentration and only require somatic components (showing that Paizo is paying close attention to the interaction of different class abilities in development). Totems will also now be a core part of the class, previously only available in sourcebooks starting with the Pathfinder Advanced Player Guide. Monks also got a new preview, with details about the new ki abilities (which are treated the same as spells now) and more options during character creation whether to focus on Strength, Dexterity, or both depending on which options you’d like. Finally, Paizo showed some of how conditions will factor into the new game design, along with details about how different conditions will interact with one another and how things do and don’t stack. As always, you can keep track of all the latest Pathfinder 2nd Edition news at EN World’s category page. You can pre-order the softcover and hardcover versions of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook now from mass-market outlets, with some having the deluxe hardcover edition as well, and a free PDF will be released along with the books on August 2.


Gale Force 9 announced the newest Dungeons & Dragons board game, Vault of Dragons. The game will be for two to four players with a play time of one to one and a half hours. Each player takes on the role of a different faction in Waterdeep searching for a hidden fault of gold, searching for clues and rumors while gaining resources to raid the vault before the other players (or before the City Watch catches you). The game itself features a modular board with double-sided location tiles to increase replayability. There is no release date announced yet, but it is expected to make its debut at Gen Con with a retail price of $50.00.


The Dungeons, Hordes, & Horrors Humble Bundle is still available for one more week. The bundle includes books from Kobold Press, Troll Lord Games, Frog God Games, Gamehole Publishing, and others, all focusing on 5th Edition compatible sourcebooks, adventures, and maps. At the highest level of $15, you get $381 worth of books in DRM-free digital format over thirty-five books with two full adventure paths, two tomes of one-shot adventures, a campaign setting, and two map sets plus (for all levels) a 30% off coupon for the full purchase of Kobold Press, Frog God, or Troll Lord Games products. This bundle benefits the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and runs until Wednesday, June 27.


This is a “hurry hurry hurry” Kickstarter as it has less than two days left. Harvesters is an RPG boxed set that contains everything needed to play as the animals of a farm go on fantastic adventures. The all-ages RPG lets you choose between rabbits, squirrels, badgers, otters, and mice with the classes of fighter, wizard, rogue, “and more” with rules based on the Siege Engine. The digital copy is available for a $10 pledge with the boxed set available for $49. This Kickstarter still has two more stretch goals to unlock before it funds tomorrow, Friday, June 22, at 10:00 PM Central time.

5th Evolution from Limitless Adventures brings the genres of superhero, World War II, and 1980s horror to the 5th Edition ruleset. Each of the three books includes a comic to set the tone for the setting, a one-shot adventure with pre-generated characters, and a guide for the monsters, equipment, and special rules required for character creation and adventure design. The books aren’t stand-alone, though, as they require either the Dungeons & Dragons core rulebooks or the 5th Edition SRD to play. The PDF of all three books is available for a $15 pledge, while the print versions are available for a $30 pledge with a special $100 level for all products the company has released in PDF as well. This project is fully funded and runs until Friday, June 29.

That’s all from me for this week! Find more gaming crowdfunding news by following our Kickstarter news tag, and 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. You can follow me on Twitter @Abstruse where I’ll be lamenting my empty wallet following the upcoming Steam Sale, watch me live-stream Dragon Age: Origins on my Twitch channel, follow 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.
 
Darryl Mott

Comments

Dude, I know you type these in a hurry in the middle of the night, so a couple of typos can be excused, but in the Origins Awards section you spelled Xanathar with a "Z". :)
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
Dude, I know you type these in a hurry in the middle of the night, so a couple of typos can be excused, but in the Origins Awards section you spelled Xanathar with a "Z". :)
My spellcheck hates me and I can't spell the name of 90% of the stuff in Forgotten Realms as it is. I'm pretty sure Greenwood and Salvatore named stuff by mashing their hands on the keyboard and hoping they got enough vowels. And yes, I will blame my spellcheck. It keeps trying to change Morrus's name to "Morris" no matter what I tell it. :p

Thanks, I fixed it!

(Also, you should've seen the first draft where I called Eric Lang and Ken St. Andre "gam designers"...I think it's because I've been playing LA Noire...)
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
I must be one of like 20 people who watch Critical Role on Vrv. I wonder if they are going to drop it from that platform.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
I must be one of like 20 people who watch Critical Role on Vrv. I wonder if they are going to drop it from that platform.
As of right now, there's no changes to how the show is being distributed or streamed. Now for a more drawn-out version that involves going into television industry legalese!

I'm not sure what deal there is between Legendary (the parent company of Geek & Sundry) and VRV or their parent company/companies, but it depends on who it's in place with. If it's a sub-licensed distribution deal from Legendary and/or Geek & Sundry, it'll remain in place for anything that G&S has the rights to. If Critical Roll is leaving them with the back catalog, all the stuff that's been distributed previously or in the future on G&S would be part of it. If it's with Critical Roll independently (since they do own the rights to the show), it should stay in place even with the switch in production and distribution. But it really depends on who has deals with whom over what and what those deals specifically state and it's really hard to do more than speculate based on most common industry practices, which would mean CR will stay on VRV and other outlets including G&S for the remainder of this season before moving to their own channel afterward.

Okay, boring part over! If you're worried about CR leaving a platform you're (legally) watching it on, the best thing to do is email or tweet politely and ask about it. Don't spam, don't ask repeatedly, don't get angry or make demands. Just politely say something like, "Hello, I watch Critical Roll on VRV and was wondering if it'll still be on there after the change to your own channel?" It shows there's interest from users of that platform and makes it more likely that, if there is any chance of it leaving the service, that they'll look to make a new deal.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
I commented elsewhere that I do wonder how long Geek & Sundry will continue to co-stream Critical Role. Now that they'll be making less money from it: new merch will leave for the CritRole store and Twitch subscribers might opt to follow CritRole instead, to support the creators and their future projects.
I imagine a desire not to try and compete with CR in a timeslot they have locked down will be a big incentive for a while.

I also wonder if this is informed the decision to end Shield of Tomorrow and relaunch that show with a creator owned world that products could be created to support.

A friend also commented that this might enable them to bring back guests like Felecia Day and Wil Wheaton, who don't entirely like Legendary (who owns Nerdist and Geek & Sundry).

There's also the thought that this might lead to additional Critical Role shows and content. Like a second Exandria campaign run by a different DM. Bring in some of the regular guest stars and some new faces.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
I commented elsewhere that I do wonder how long Geek & Sundry will continue to co-stream Critical Role. Now that they'll be making less money from it: new merch will leave for the CritRole store and Twitch subscribers might opt to follow CritRole instead, to support the creators and their future projects.
I imagine a desire not to try and compete with CR in a timeslot they have locked down will be a big incentive for a while.
I doubt that would change in the near future. Geek & Sundry's Twitch channel is pretty much the House that Critical Role Built. They're doing very well for a multihost multishow variety Twitch channel and have a very strong fanbase, but their numbers skyrocket every Thursday. Their viewer numbers jump from several hundred or a couple thousand to tens of thousands. They're not going to let go of that until they absolutely have to, even if it means hosting via the Twitch system rather than multicasting. Because a lot of those fans don't necessarily read all the news or social media to know that Critical Role got their own channel, especially because Twitch channels are notoriously bad about communicating outside their actual streams (it's one of the reasons it took me so long to report on Zombie Orpheus taking over several of HyperRPG's shows - HyperRPG didn't announce they were closing their Seattle studio anywhere but the live stream).

So I'd expect that to go on for as long as possible if nothing else to keep the subscribers that are only around for Critical Role, at least until they could build up another show with as much pull from outside their normal hosts.
 

ChapolimX

Explorer
On the Kickstarter segment is worth checking the The Angry GM: The Website: The Book. This project was overfunded in the first hours and is about to launch a book filled with advice for experienced and newbies GMs by the Angry GM. You can expect the same quality and depth present on his articles published on theangrygm.com now revised and condensed in a book format. If you're not familiar with his work I recommend start with this series that teaches the basics of adjudicating players actions, narrating scenes and starting your first game.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
I doubt that would change in the near future. Geek & Sundry's Twitch channel is pretty much the House that Critical Role Built. They're doing very well for a multihost multishow variety Twitch channel and have a very strong fanbase, but their numbers skyrocket every Thursday. Their viewer numbers jump from several hundred or a couple thousand to tens of thousands. They're not going to let go of that until they absolutely have to, even if it means hosting via the Twitch system rather than multicasting.
But, of course, let's forward ahead a year. To when CR is doing its own Twitch channel and has its own exclusive content that isn't shared with G&S and the fans are ending their subscription to G&S to get the exclusive critrole.com content. Which they learn of because during the show itself they advertise and plug the new content regularly, advertising during breaks.
And, of course, G&S isn't making as much money from merch and advertisers like DnDBeyond and Backblaze are giving funds to CR instead of them.

Does G&S double down on it's variety show content and not try to compete with Critical Role (and D&D itself) as a streaming TTRPG channel? Do they decided to do their own game content? Focus on board games?
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
But, of course, let's forward ahead a year. To when CR is doing its own Twitch channel and has its own exclusive content that isn't shared with G&S and the fans are ending their subscription to G&S to get the exclusive critrole.com content. Which they learn of because during the show itself they advertise and plug the new content regularly, advertising during breaks.
And, of course, G&S isn't making as much money from merch and advertisers like DnDBeyond and Backblaze are giving funds to CR instead of them.

Does G&S double down on it's variety show content and not try to compete with Critical Role (and D&D itself) as a streaming TTRPG channel? Do they decided to do their own game content? Focus on board games?
This is pure educated guess, but they'll probably focus on RPG content and try to build a "new" Critical Role. RPGs are easier to shoot than board games because you don't have to focus on the table as often, which is a pain to light and shoot on a budget. It's also more character and story focused and offers more opportunities for merch (especially if the game itself isn't licensed - you can't do Star Trek or Star Wars characters on tshirts, but Generic Fantasy or Generic Sci-Fi you can). However, I doubt they'll try to compete on Thursdays. Their new push will be a different night of the week. Thursdays will probably be more board games, video games, or they may try to bring back the Magic: The Gathering show they tried to do I think twice now. But trying to go head-to-head with Critical Role for the RPG audience isn't worth the cost of the power for studio lights at the scale their production operates at.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
This is pure educated guess, but they'll probably focus on RPG content and try to build a "new" Critical Role. RPGs are easier to shoot than board games because you don't have to focus on the table as often, which is a pain to light and shoot on a budget. It's also more character and story focused and offers more opportunities for merch (especially if the game itself isn't licensed - you can't do Star Trek or Star Wars characters on tshirts, but Generic Fantasy or Generic Sci-Fi you can). However, I doubt they'll try to compete on Thursdays. Their new push will be a different night of the week. Thursdays will probably be more board games, video games, or they may try to bring back the Magic: The Gathering show they tried to do I think twice now. But trying to go head-to-head with Critical Role for the RPG audience isn't worth the cost of the power for studio lights at the scale their production operates at.
And ever so coincidentally, Erc Campbell of Shiekd of Tomorrow (the Star Trek RPG] and formerly of Eric’s TBD RPG is ending his show to launch a new show using the Cypher system but an original world.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
And ever so coincidentally, Erc Campbell of Shiekd of Tomorrow (the Star Trek RPG] and formerly of Eric’s TBD RPG is ending his show to launch a new show using the Cypher system but an original world.
It's a decent tactic. Talk to RPG companies about their licensed games and do that for three to six months, save the non-licensed games for after you've got the players established for the audience so you don't have to worry about any third parties for the merchandise. Easier to get an RPG company to sign off on anything that might use their IP than someone like Paramount/CBS or Disney.
 

jmucchiello

Adventurer
And ever so coincidentally, Erc Campbell of Shiekd of Tomorrow (the Star Trek RPG] and formerly of Eric’s TBD RPG is ending his show to launch a new show using the Cypher system but an original world.
I would have written that "Legendary has asked Eric Campbell....... to end SoT in favor of IP they can own and exploit." I doubt Eric wanted to stop the Star Trek show as, if you watch it, it is a dream come true for Eric and the cast to be playing Starfleet.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
I would have written that "Legendary has asked Eric Campbell....... to end SoT in favor of IP they can own and exploit." I doubt Eric wanted to stop the Star Trek show as, if you watch it, it is a dream come true for Eric and the cast to be playing Starfleet.
It's also possible they had a limited cross-promotional deal going with Modiphius that's run out. I don't see any RPG company outside WotC, Paizo, or maybe FFG having the money to throw at a media company to advertise their game, but it's possible they could've piggy-backed on the Modiphius license for Star Trek in some way as a sort of backdoor around the CBS/Paramount restrictions on third-party content following the Axanar debacle.
 

jmucchiello

Adventurer
CBS supported the show creatively (not financially). The set contains actual backgrounds from Voyager so that "bridge of the Sally Ride" would look right on the stream.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
I would have written that "Legendary has asked Eric Campbell....... to end SoT in favor of IP they can own and exploit." I doubt Eric wanted to stop the Star Trek show as, if you watch it, it is a dream come true for Eric and the cast to be playing Starfleet.
Yeah. The story is ending, but they only started to make real progress to resolution recently, and could easily have started a second storyline. Critical Role had a half-dozen different storylines of varying lengths.
They could have played Trek for years and were so excited to start. I was super surprised when they made the announcement.

I don’t know if Eric was asked. But it makes sense that they’d want a new show they have more ownership of.

It's also possible they had a limited cross-promotional deal going with Modiphius that's run out. I don't see any RPG company outside WotC, Paizo, or maybe FFG having the money to throw at a media company to advertise their game, but it's possible they could've piggy-backed on the Modiphius license for Star Trek in some way as a sort of backdoor around the CBS/Paramount restrictions on third-party content following the Axanar debacle.
I don’t see licensing as a factor. I doubt Modiphius paid, since they couldn't afford a year. And the Star Trek Show repeated a Doctor Who Show that had no support from either the publisher or the BBC.
 
I guess I'm an oddball because while I was really into Geek and Sundry from the start, I wasn't a fan of Critical Role. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against it but I couldn't bring myself to watch 4 hours of weekly D&D when I could run my own game in the same time (and I did). It started to get a bit annoying when I was there for other shows to see people constantly asking when CR starts or otherwise talking about it.

I applaud its success and am thrilled it has brought so many new players into the hobby but I am kind of glad they are leaving so Geek & Sundry can stop being the Critical Role network.
 

schneeland

Explorer
Yeah. The story is ending, but they only started to make real progress to resolution recently, and could easily have started a second storyline. Critical Role had a half-dozen different storylines of varying lengths.
They could have played Trek for years and were so excited to start. I was super surprised when they made the announcement.
...
Yep. I didn't watch it, but judging from my Twitter timeline, the show started to build momentum (I've seen quite a bit of fan art and it also had its own aftershow). Weird moment to cancel it.
 

Birmy

Explorer
So is GF9 going in a different direction with their D&D games? This one seems more streamlined and doesn't come in the multiple versions (painted/unpainted) like the last few.
 

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