News Digest: D&D Comics from IDW, DM's Guild Changes, Kingkiller Gets a Director, GAMA's New Retaile

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news. New Dungeons & Dragons comic series, changes to the DM’s Guild, GAMA offering retail member exclusives, and more!


IDW announced a new Dungeons & Dragons comic series. Dungeons & Dragons: Evil at Baldur’s Gate will be written by Jim Zub will focus on an individual hero from Baldur’s Gate. Announced so far for the first five-issue run will feature issues devoted to Krydle and Shandie, Delina, Nerys Kathon, and of course Minsc and his miniature giant space hamster Boo. The series will have a rotating team of artists including Dean Kotz, Steven Cummings, Harvey Tolibao, Ramon Bachs, and Francesco Mortarino. The first issue of the miniseries will be available in stores this April.

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The DM’s Guild, the online storefront exclusive to Dungeons & Dragons material, has updated the terms of its fan content creation policy. Kind of. The change comes in the enforcement of a branding policy according to an announcement from Jason Bolte and clarifications from Matt McElroy. The only logo that will be allowed from this point forward will be the official DM’s Guild logo. Not only will no other Dungeons & Dragons logos or logos for any settings or other material be allowed, but no personal or company logos or branding will be allowed either. The “branding” issue is particularly unclear and, at the time of writing, an official clarification has not been made. However, it has been stated that textmarks (for example, “Abstruse Presents…” as part of a product title) would not be allowed.

While this requirement has always been part of the license agreement for community content and was always the intent according to McElroy, it has not been enforced and many of the bestselling community content titles have used personal or company logos and many online guides for how to create content for DM’s Guild recommended creating logos or other branding for marketing purposes and to build an audience base. These changes do not affect OGL (Open Gaming License) material or the 5e SRD as that is a separate license. The change in enforcement will go into effect “immediately” (the announcement was posted on the evening of January 29), but will not be enforced retroactively.


GAMA launched a new priority release program for retailers, the Manufacturer’s Exclusive Program. GAMA retail members are eligible to receive games from the so-far four participating manufacturers from between 30 to 60 days from street date. So far, Iello’s game Decrypto will be available with a demo kit for March 1 (street date April 19), Petersen Games will have Evil High Priest and Planet Apocalypse thirty days early, R&R Games will have Costa Ruana thirty days early, and Steve Jackson Games will have the Ogre Miniature Set 1 available exclusively at the GAMA Trade Show. Announcements for other products and possible participating manufacturers is expected soon.


The live-action film adaptation of Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind has a director, Sam Raimi. The film will be executive produced by both Rothfuss and Hamilton writer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda based on the first book in his Kingkiller Chronicles trilogy. The previously-announced television series from showrunner John Rogers (also executive produced by Rothfuss and Miranda) was announced last year to be a prequel series focusing on a troupe of Edema Ruh performers travelling the Four Corners. Casting was also announced for another gaming-adjacent film, Detective Pikachu. The film will feature Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Patrick Stewart, Kathryn Newton, Bill Nighy, and the newly announced Ken Watanabe. The film is based on a spin-off video game from the popular series where Pikachu solves mysteries. (Note that the “Birthright” also listed in the link above has nothing to do with the Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting, but is based on Robert Kirkman comic book series).


The Game Developers Conference decided to not give out the Pioneer Award this year following controversy around their original choice. The announcement came via Twitter after a backlash following the announcement that Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, would receive the prestigious honor. Many on social media within the video game industry felt this was a poor decision as Bushnell has not only admitted to past sexual harassment and gender discrimination but openly bragged about such events in the 2001 book The Ultimate History of Video Games by Steven L. Kent. Bushnell himself responded to the announcement, saying “I applaud the GDC for ensuring that their institution reflects what is right, specifically with regards to how people should be treated in the workplace. And if that means an award is the price I have to pay personally so the whole industry may be more aware and sensitive to these issues, I applaud that, too. If my personal actions or the actions of anyone who ever worked with me offended or caused pain to anyone at our companies, then I apologize without reservation.”

James Lowder posted on Facebook the “TSR Freelancer Code of Ethics”, a contract rider for content that all freelancers had to follow. After the moral panic around Dungeons & Dragons, the rider went into effect in the late 1980s for all game lines and products in order to clean up the image of the game. Lowder wrote about the history of the Code of Ethics, “They were, to be blunt, patently ridiculous. Editors never enforced them. Entire TSR product lines, such as Ravenloft, would have been impossible if they had been enforced.” You can find all four pages of the document at the public Facebook post above on Lowder’s page.


As I’ve stated before, the Patreon Incident back in December has hurt a lot of creators, with many people canceling pledges due to the proposed fee changes and not returning after the changes were canceled. Some creators have made changes to their campaigns in order to attract people back, including Owen K.C. Stephens. Stephens is a prolific creator in roleplaying games currently working for Paizo, Green Ronin, Rogue Genius, and probably a couple of other companies I can’t remember at the moment. In a public post yesterday, Stephens announced he is lowering his top-tier pledge level from $20 to $10 as well as offering a free preview of the material that backer level gets you, the August 2017 document that includes material for Pathfinder, Starfinder, and system-independent gamemaster tools. You can get that PDF for free now and, if you want more material like it, it unlocks at the $10 level. There’s also a $3 level that gets you access to Owen’s backer-only blog posts.


Trinity Continuum is a complete reboot of the Trinity roleplaying line originally published by White Wolf, now owned by Onyx Path Publishing. Yes, not licensed, owned. And yes, completely rebooted with an entirely rebuilt rules system called the Storypath System. Rather than printing three different core rulebooks as the previous edition did, Trinity Continuum will have one core rulebook with the three settings getting their own books starting with Æon (the original game’s three settings were Adventure!, Aberrant, and Trinity which was renamed from Æon after a legal notice from the rights holders of the Æon Flux animated series). The core rulebook is available in PDF for a $10 pledge, adding on the Æon setting book for $35, the core book in hardcover at $40, and both books at $85. There are also several other pledge levels and add-ons (including a collection of all first edition Trinity PDFs available on its own, as an add-on, or in bundled pledge levels) so you can get exactly what you want. This Kickstarter funded in its first few hours and will unlock stretch goals until Thursday, March 1.

Minion Games has three expansions for the Dead Men Tell No Tales board game. The first is a set of seven miniatures to replace the tokens from the original, the second a new starting board, and the third a complete expansion titled The Kraken. The original game puts 2-5 players in the role of plundering a ship for treasure and dealing with the crew and other enemies on board with a dynamic playing board. The expansion adds on the feared kraken along with new traps and other dangers that can affect everyone on the ship. You can get a print-and-play version of the expansion for $3, the unpainted miniatures for $29, The Kraken expansion for $45, the base game plus the miniatures for $64, and the base game plus the expansion and the miniatures for $109. This Kickstarter is funded and runs until Thursday, February 15.

Ultimate NPCs: Warfare is a 5th edition sourcebook from Nord Games that, like it says on the tin, has a collection of NPCs. In particular, the 200-page sourcebook has thirty different NPCs each scaled to levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 so that you can drop the characters into your game no matter what the level, and even have them grow to challenge your players as the campaign continues. Each character also comes with a full backstory and personality traits so you can run them immediately at a glance when your players go off the rails and you need an NPC fast along. The PDF is available for a $15 pledge, while the hardcover is available for $40 and both for $45. This Kickstarter is already unlocking stretch goals (including six additional “generic NPCs”) and runs until Friday, February 16.

That’s all from me for this week! Find more gaming crowdfunding news at the EN World RPG Kickstarter News website, and don’t forget to support our Patreon to bring you even 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 probably be ranting about whatever video game I decide to start playing tomorrow, follow Gamer’s Tavern on YouTube featuring videos on gaming history and 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

Birmy

Explorer
The TSR Code of Ethics reads very much like the old Comics Code Authority.
The similarity IMMEDIATELY jumped out at me, too! And it arose from similar circumstances of bad publicity and hasty self-censorship--and both ultimately wound up by the wayside.
 
The newer IDW D&D books are a bit better than the horrible ones before it, but only a bit. They still move at a snail's pace and only are worth reading as a TPB, otherwise, really not much happens in them, and Minsc still feels tacked on, like he is in these books by mandate only.
 

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