News Digest: D&D New Releases, Savage Worlds New Edition, Sequel to Tales from the Loop, and more!

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! Lots of new D&D products coming over the next few weeks, a new edition of Savage Worlds, Tales from the Loop getting a sequel, and more!
Wizards of the Coast kicked off a new fiction line for Dungeons & Dragons with Harper-Collins in as big of a fashion as you can, as Timeless: A Drizzt Novel by R. A. Salvatore came out this past Tuesday. The novel features the tales of Zaknafein and Jarlaxle from centuries past, Zaknafein’s…I’ll just use the word “romance” for brevity’s sake with Matron Malice of House Do’Urden, and the birth of Drizzt following through until the present day of the Forgotten Realms. The book is available now in hardcover with a cover price of $27.99, Kindle for $14.99, and as an audiobook from Audible. A mass market paperback release is scheduled for May 28, 2019, with a cover price of $7.99.

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That’s not all for new fiction. Coming from Matt Forbeck, the Dungeons & Dragons Endless Quest line has been revived with four new titles. The book series is similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure, Lone Wolf, and Fighting Fantasy series where the narrative is decided by you as you read by choosing different options every page or three. The series launched with four books, each for a different race/class combination. Into the Jungle is the dwarf cleric, Big Trouble is the elf wizard, To Catch a Thief is the halfling rogue, and Escape the Underdark is the human fighter. Each book has a full-color illustrated interior and retails for $8.99, available now.

A little further out from release is Dungeons & Dragons: Art and Arcana, an art and history book of the Dungeons & Dragons game line from inception to the present day. The book curates cover art, interior pieces, drafts, sketches, advertisements, and more in high-quality presentations with an emphasis on the history of each piece, curated by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, Sam Witwer, and with a forward from Joe Manganiello. The 448-page book comes out on October 23 with a cover price of $50.00, and a premium boxed set version will also be available for $125.00 that includes frame-ready prints of ten classic pieces of artwork, a pamphlet-sized version of the unpublished original edition of Tomb of Horrors, and a special gold-and-black slipcase.

Oh! Right, there’s a game related to all these, isn’t there? Waterdeep: Dragon Heist is filtering out to Wizard Play Network game stores now with a mass market release on Tuesday, September 18. The book is available for a retail price of $49.95, and a certain someone from EN World has already gotten his hands on the book. While you’re waiting for the full review, the book’s disclaimer is already available. Along with the book comes a set of dice for $24.95 and two miniature sets from WizKids. As part of their Icons of the Realms line of randomized pre-painted miniatures, the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist set features four miniatures per box (one large/huge and three medium/small) with a retail price of $15.99 (though cases of eight boosters are available per “brick” for $99.99 via Amazon). A non-randomized boxed set of graveyard-themed pieces called D&D Icons of the Realms: Waterdeep: Dragon Heist: City of the Dead Premium Set available for $49.99 and features statues, coffins, sarcophaguses, and tombstones. The follow-up adventure, Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, releases to mass market on November 13 with a retail price of $49.95 with a map set available for $24.95. Additionally, the gift box set for the core rulebooks (which includes all three core D&D rulebooks, the DM screen, and a black slipcover case) releases on October 30 with a retail price of $169.95.

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Savage Worlds from Pinnacle Entertainment Group has a new edition on its way. While the system has received updates over the years due to its modular nature, this will be the first full new edition since the game’s Explorer’s Edition in 2007. Designer Shane Hensley states that the new edition will be 192 pages and feature new Chase rules, updates to Edges and Hindrances, Tests and Tricks, skills, and Power Modifiers based on rules from Rifts and Flash Gordon, along with the new Quick Encounters system, new Setting Rules, and other unannounced revisions and new systems. The game will have a Kickstarter launch on October 16 featuring three versions, a limited edition hardback for $39.99, a softcover edition for $29.99, and a PDF whose price has not yet been announced. PEG is also good in their crowdfunding campaigns about including many options in backer levels and add-ons for additional products, so expect a lot to get announced when the Kickstarter launches.

The ENnie Award-winning Tales from the Loop roleplaying game is getting a sequel, Things from the Flood. Also based on the artwork of Simon Stalenhag, the new game functions both as a stand-alone game and that’s cross-compatible with the Tales from the Loop system. The trick is that as Loop was based on the 1980s, Flood is based on the 1990s and focuses on teenager-aged characters (meaning you can create brand-new characters or “age-up” your characters between games). The older characters also mean a big change in the game – death. Yeah, sorry, your characters can die now rather than just be injured, as growing up means bigger stakes. Plus the artwork from Things from the Flood is a bit more...squidgy, to use the technical term. Things from the Flood will have a Kickstarter launching on September 18.

A few interesting board games are on their way to store shelves. Remember the monster cereals with marshmallows that came out every Halloween? Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game is a Target exclusive card game available now, pitting Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Boo-Berry, Fruit Brute, and Yummy Mummy against one another to see who can be first to get enough milk to finish their spooktacular part of this complete breakfast. In more interesting licensed game combinations, USAopoly has released images of CODENAMES: Harry Potter. Yes, the 2016 Spiel des Jahres winner has been combined with the Harry Potter, featuring images from the Warner Bros. films with missions themed around locations from the wizarding world. Finally, Renegade Games announced a new Ghostbusters card game based on the original 1984 film (though unlike the previous game, this one features stylized artwork of the characters that resemble their actor counterparts more than the Real Ghostbusters cartoon). The game will be available for a retail price of $20.00 and releases sometime this fall.

Humble Bundle is really wanting to make my wallet hurt tempting me with all the bundles they’ve been releasing. The RPG Book Bundle: Pathfinder 2018 features three tiers of Pathfinder compatible PDF books with $1, $8, and $15 levels that include adventure paths, one-shot adventures, sourcebooks, campaign settings, and more with the entire bundle worth $398. Then there’s the Digital Tabletop Bundle with tabletop-based video games for Steam and Android including Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Ticket to Ride, Sentinels of the Multiverse, Talisman, Carcassonne, and more. And on top of that, there’s the Unity Bundle that features over $1500 worth of content! Not just video games like Torment: Tides of Numenera, Wastelands 2, and Oxenfree but asset packs for Unity for scripting systems, character models, landscape generators, an MMORPG engine, music and sound effects collections, an FPS engine, and more along with a tutorial course to teach you how to use all these to create your own game. The Pathfinder RPG bundle runes until Tuesday, September 11, and benefits the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, the Digital Tabletop bundle runs until Wednesday, September 12 and benefits WaterAid, and the Unity Bundle runes until Tuesday, September 18, and benefits Girls Who Code.

If there’s one thing I’ve never heard any tabletop gamer say, it’s “I think I have enough dice, I don’t need anymore.” Q-Workshop knows this and is here to tempt you with their Top Shelf Dice. The dice sets are of the typical intricate style you can expect from Q-Workshop with incredible inlaid details. This set features designs themed around the Wizard, Dragon Slayer, retro Arcade, Halloween Pumpkin, and Bloodsucker. You can get one set of your choice (standard 7-dice sets) for $13, three for $33, five for $49, or ten for $89. This project is fully funded and unlocking more color options via stretch goals until Thursday, September 13.

What would happen if Bill and Ted got together with Tenacious D in Italy and designed a tabletop roleplaying game? Rockopolis from Minos Games, “The first ----ing Rock’n Play game” per the tagline. No, this isn’t a “rock-inspired” game or something that transports your band to a fantastical realm. This is set in the “real world” and it’s all about the music, pitting your band against rivals as you compose your rock anthems and ballads and plan your show. The core rulebook is available in both English and Italian (your choice) with the PDF available for a €12 pledge (about US$14) and the hardcover for €38 (about US$44). This project is fully funded and runs until Sunday, September 16.

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.comand 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 speculating about Star Trek technology implications again, follow me on Twitch to watch sporadic live streams, 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.
 
Darryl Mott

Comments

Abstruse

Adventurer
Just so you know, anytime I list the price in a column, I always try to list the cover price or MSRP of any book or game, because that rarely changes. Places like Amazon or Wal-mart are almost always going to be between 20-40% cheaper because of how their distribution and profit methods work (they sell so much in volume that they can discount to razor-thin margins off wholesale), and many other outlets will have lower prices as well through various discounts. This is especially true of novels and not-directly-related-to-games books like the art book. However, those discounted rates fluctuate a lot, the discounts on a lot of game books or boxed sets aren't usually that steep (because they don't move in the same volume), and most independent stores can't discount nearly as much since their overhead is more - particularly local game stores. And it's very, very rare (like it only happens when something's out of print or otherwise hard to find) that anyone charges more than the cover price or MSRP.

I just don't want you walking into your local game store expecting to pay $30 for Starfinder or $75 for that special edition Art & Arcana book and get sticker shock, thinking your local store is trying to rip you off or that I lied about the price.
 

barasawa

Explorer
I like Savage Worlds, and a real boost in it's popularity among the group I'm in is that the rule book (soft cover) is $10.
Suddenly going up to $30 is NOT going to be popular with them.
Some will still buy it, but if they're tripling the cost like that, I sure as heck hope they make it totally worth it
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
I like Savage Worlds, and a real boost in it's popularity among the group I'm in is that the rule book (soft cover) is $10.
Suddenly going up to $30 is NOT going to be popular with them.
Some will still buy it, but if they're tripling the cost like that, I sure as heck hope they make it totally worth it
They haven't released specific details yet, but the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer's Edition (the current printing of the current edition) is a digest-sized book. Which is why it retails for $9.99. This is most likely a standard RPG-sized book, which puts the price point on par for PEG's other similar releases like Savage RIFTS, Deadlands Reloaded, Flash Gordon, and the various non-digest companion books and campaign settings. And it's still way below what anyone else in the market charges, since the standard price is about $50-60 for a core rulebook. Granted, those are typically hardcover and not softcover and you don't see a lot of softcover releases outside POD...

Either way, I'd expect the new edition (Seriously, Shane, just please call it Savage Worlds 2nd Edition and don't pull the crap WotC tried with "D&D Next is just the playtest, we're calling it just 'Dungeons & Dragons' now (even though everyone calls it 5th Edition so much we eventually caved) thing that makes it hard to distinguish for press), to eventually get a digest-sized rulebook at a similar price point later on down the line once they have better support for the game and can fine-tune the rules and justify the sort of massive print run that makes that price-point feasible. Don't want a warehouse full of a print run that calls them "Bannies" because someone's finger slipped.
 

barasawa

Explorer
They haven't released specific details yet, but the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer's Edition (the current printing of the current edition) is a digest-sized book. Which is why it retails for $9.99. This is most likely a standard RPG-sized book, which puts the price point on par for PEG's other similar releases like Savage RIFTS, Deadlands Reloaded, Flash Gordon, and the various non-digest companion books and campaign settings. And it's still way below what anyone else in the market charges, since the standard price is about $50-60 for a core rulebook. Granted, those are typically hardcover and not softcover and you don't see a lot of softcover releases outside POD...

Either way, I'd expect the new edition (Seriously, Shane, just please call it Savage Worlds 2nd Edition and don't pull the crap WotC tried with "D&D Next is just the playtest, we're calling it just 'Dungeons & Dragons' now (even though everyone calls it 5th Edition so much we eventually caved) thing that makes it hard to distinguish for press), to eventually get a digest-sized rulebook at a similar price point later on down the line once they have better support for the game and can fine-tune the rules and justify the sort of massive print run that makes that price-point feasible. Don't want a warehouse full of a print run that calls them "Bannies" because someone's finger slipped.
Other products and other companies aren't relevant to the pricing. Of course, unless PEGinc has added a LOT of content of some kind, I can't see them justifying a tripling of the cost. Of course, world books or settings are where they really get their money, but we're talking about the rules, not those. Now if they've added enough rules to that rulebook to bulk it up without doing the scam of increased font size, then they've pretty much thrown away and shot with orbital nukes their motto of 3Fs (Fast - Fun - Furious).
Of course I don't expect a lot of changes or expansions to the rules at all, so what are they doing to justify that much higher cost for the paperback version? Sure we don't know, otherwise I'd know whether it seemed kosher or not. That lack of knowledge has me a bit worried about it. After all, there are lots of gamers that don't have a lot of spare cash to toss at revamps of the game engine, and unfortunately I am often one of them. I have to weigh all my prospective expenses against my limited funds.
And yes, I did notice that there will be a conversion document released so technically you don't have to get the new book, but it's just not the same. People like having an updated copy at hand, and after all, if the previous $10 version and a free document brings you up to date, then why the triple price? I expect that printing costs in general have gone up, but I doubt they're anywhere near triple. On top of that, I wouldn't be surprised if the print run will be high enough to get discounts from the printers like most bulk purchases.

Of course RIFTS, and especially Flash Gordon were more expensive, they had to pay someone else a big licensing fee. I have no idea how much, but I bet the Flash Gordon was a whole pile of pretty pennies. But, those aren't the rules that everyone needs, they are settings, and the Players usually only need a couple of pages of the new stuff, not the whole book.
You know, if you look for games out there that are just the ruleset/engine, you can find a number of them that give PDFs of that for free, but not the adventures and settings.

I totally agree about the naming, it's not just a reprint with some errata, we know they have other stuff, so having a clear indication of which one it is can only help. Had enough trouble with trying to find the correct errata between the 1st printing release, deluxe, explorer, etc. As to tacking on some kind of adjective or other random word, that's way too confusing for everyone. (Take note Android Devs, nobody knows what the sequence of Icecream, Jellybean, Gateau, and Popsicle are. Use freaking numbers so it's obvious to the users! Speaking of which, how many readers knew that other than being a french cake, gateau isn't a release of the Android OS, at least not yet)

Also on the name front, you can only get away with a word based version delineation once, after that it's confusing, and PEGinc has used a lot of them already. Though if they used "Reloaded" as it's the current revamping name for settings, it might work, except it's not the same version as that in those various "Reloaded" products. So I guess that wouldn't really work either. I really hope some of the folks over at PEGinc read this post ;)

Abstruse also mentioned POD (Print On Demand). Sure it might be an option, but after all costs for that, it'll probably be as expensive or more so than the kickstarter book. After all, I'm pretty sure that PEGinc will have a large enough print run to have a scale of economy price break from the printer, whatever company that is.
As to run size, that's one of the great things about getting funding from a kickstarter for a product you ARE doing. It's like a preorder, so you have pretty much a guarantee of a certain sales level. You can of course add a bit more to handle those retailers didn't kick in and the stragglers that missed also the kickstarter for some reason or another. It's no where near the gamble that a blind production run can be.

But I'm babbling far too much and going into the details about my thinking, but I guess those aren't really necessary.

Boiled down to the basics:

$30 is too much for just a mod of the rules they've been selling for $10.
Maybe it has enough new stuff to make it worthwhile, but we don't know yet.
Products that are not just a ruleset/engine aren't something to compare SW to, which is JUST an engine/ruleset. (At least as far as we know)

Please be aware, I'm not for or against the new version of SW yet, though I am hopeful, but it does spark some big questions with the tiny amount of info we currently have. Also, I'm not trying to argue or fight or anything else with anyone, just trying to be clear. As to opinions, we all have them, and as long as they don't bring someone to try and hurt another, that's perfectly fine :)

Thanks a lot for reading this annoying long post :)
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
Other products and other companies aren't relevant to the pricing.
Except it is when you're talking about industry standard pricing. These factors are set because, unless you're talking big names, freelancer writers, designers, artists, editors, layout, etc. all pretty much get paid about the same amount. Print costs are more or less the same, the only variables being page count and print run size (most printers lower the per-unit price the more you order, so the cost goes down per book at 5000 copies, 10,000 copies, etc.) So yes, it's more accurate to compare the cost of the book to other publishers than it is to a digest-sized reprint of rules that were already written and edited that just needed to be laid out for the new format.

Speaking of size, this probably isn't going to be a digest-sized book like the Deluxe Explorer's Edition is. It's more likely to be a standard sized book like other RPGs are, closer to 8 1/2 by 11 than the 6 by 9 of the current printing. That's what the original Explorer's Edition was printed as (the Deluxe Edition didn't come out until 2011). Also, this is a new edition, not "a mod". Even if there's backward compatibility to an extent, it's probably not going to be just minor changes since, even from the information released so far, it's going to have some very large rules changes and game term changes with whole sections being redone.

Oh, and POD is way more expensive than a traditional print run. The only difference is you can't do a print run in small numbers. It's the trade-off between the two. Print 5000 at about $4 a book and hope you can sell them all to recoup your costs, or use POD which costs $12 a book. No large publisher is going to use POD for a main product run because the costs are too high, even factoring in storing books before they sell. It's also much slower, so a print run for a POD release selling a few thousand copies may take weeks to actually get to everyone that ordered it instead of just shipping everything out at once. PODs only work for small publishers (who wouldn't be able to sell the numbers at first to justify a large print run unless they get lucky in crowdfunding) or for keeping products in-print that don't make sense to have large warehouses full of products (books for previous editions of the game, like they're doing for Dungeons & Dragons, GURPS, and Cyberpunk 2020).
 

JEB

Villager
FYI on Art and Arcana - Barnes & Noble has an exclusive variant as well:

The Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition features a unique cover, plus six full size gate-folds including additional game maps, draft sketches, panels from past adventures, non-player character illustrations, and additional levels of iconic dungeons.

On a less fun note... I am obliged to remind anyone that is interested in the RPG Book Bundle: Pathfinder 2018 that it is backed by Frog God Games, and Frog God Games still has Bill Webb as its CEO, and Bill Webb is still the guy who did this.
 

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