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News Digest for June 23, 2023

Renegade Game Studios claims ownership of the word "Renegade", new RPG coming from Green Ronin, pre-orders for Pirate Borg, and more!

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! Renegade Game Studios claims ownership of the word "Renegade", new RPG coming from Green Ronin, pre-orders for Pirate Borg, and more!

For a quick summary of the week’s news, Jessica Hancock will bring you up to speed with EN Live's This Week in TTRPG every Friday.

Don’t forget, you can keep up with all the week’s gaming news in detail with Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk. This week, Morrus and Peter talk about the D&D 5e video games Baldur’s Gate 3 and Solasta: Crown of the Magister.


In case you missed it elsewhere on EN World this week:


Renegade Game Studios sent a cease and desist order to indie publisher Polyhedral Knights to demand they change the name of their Kickstarter game Regenade City. The order claimed that their use of the word “Renegade” in the title may cause confusion with their trademark branding and, if the title was not changed, Renegade Game Studios would report the project to Kickstarter for trademark violation. Renegade Game Studios did not threaten to sue the company in court over the trademark, possibly because their registered trademark is for the complete phrase “Renegade Game Studios” and not the word “Renegade” on its own. There is also a long prior history of companies using the term “Renegade” in tabletop RPG products, including FASA’s Renegade Legion from published from 1989 to 1993, Mongoose Publishing’s Renegade class guides published during the 3.x D20 System boom, and Renegade Game Studios’s business partners Paradox Interactive who own the White Wolf published RPG Renegades and Onyx Path Studios Chronicles of Darkness system Deviant: The Renegades. An account that appears to be related to Renegade Game Studios CEO Scott Gaeta commented on the EN World post on the controversy:

“Renegade’s intent is only to protect its brand and prevent any direct or indirect confusion. In this specific case, the game in question bares an extremely strong resemblance to an intellectual property not owned or licensed by Renegade Game Studios. Even an accidental affiliation, today or in the future, is something we would prefer to avoid. Our intent was to prevent any such confusion well before any issues arise and while there is still time to make changes before their production begins.”

The reference to the “extremely strong resemblance” to another IP would be the Grand Theft Auto franchise owned by video game company Rockstar Games. As Renegade Game Studios does not publish or otherwise have any involvement with Renegade City, they would not be legally liable for any infringement should Rockstar Games take issue with the satire/homage. These actions mirror other such attempts to controversially enforce trademark, such as when Games Workshop attempted to petition Amazon to remove a self-published novel titled Spots the Space Marine by claiming ownership of the phrase “Space Marine”, Lone Wolf Development issuing a C&D over the term “army builder”, and cease-and-desist orders sent out by TSR in the early 1990s against those publishing online fan content including an archive for Ars Magica material.

Several creators started The Renegade RPG Jam on Itch.io in solidarity with Polyhedral Knights featuring tabletop roleplaying games featuring the word “Renegade” somewhere in the title.

Mickey Barrfield from Polyhedral Knights posted a Kickstarter update with a conclusion to the saga on Tuesday, announcing that the game will remain Renegade City but will include a disclaimer in the book stating, “This game is not in any way affiliate with, sponsored by, or connected to Renegade Game Studios, LLC.”


Renegade Game Studios also announced a distribution partnership with By Night Studios, producers of the LARP rules for World of Darkness. By Night Studios will continue development of the World of Darkness 5th Edition LARP rules for the Mind’s Eye Theater series while Renegade Game Studios, who develops the tabletop 5th edition rules for Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse, will handle distribution. Daphne Reeder, CEO of By Night Studios, said in the press release:

"Joining forces with Renegade opens up avenues for Mind's Eye Theatre products that haven't been explored in two decades. It's a major stride forward for our community."

Scott Gaeta, CEO for Renegade Game Studios, said:

“We’re really excited to be able to partner with the By Night Studios team. The World of Darkness LARP books have a strong history in the hobby games market. Bringing them back to stores and working together with BNS and Paradox to better align all content in the RPG and LARP space is a huge win for players.”

By Night Studios recently concluded a successful Backerkit crowdfunding campaign for the Laws of the Night core rulebook for Vampire: The Masquerade raising $111,165 on a $25,000 goal, which is scheduled for a Q4 2023 release.


EN Publishing released new details about the What’s OLD is NEW Starter Set coming soon to Kickstarter. The boxed set will include a 68-page introductory rulebook, three 20-page adventures for each era of play (OLD for fantasy, NOW for contemporary, and NEW for science fiction), three poster-sized battle maps for each era, a sheet of cardboard tokens, and 8 six-sided dice. Additionally, a preview was released for the three sets of pre-generated characters, six for each era of play: The Grey Fellowship for OLD, The Alpha Squad for NOW, and Starship Murphy for NEW. While the full list of pledge levels hasn’t been announced yet, the box set itself will be available for £24 (about US$30, depending on exchange rate fluctuations). The pre-launch page is on Kickstarter now to sign up for notifications when the campaign goes live.


Finalists for the 2023 Diana Jones Awards were announced this week. RPG titles nominated are the RPG Coyote and Crow, the D&D adventure anthology Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel, and the WWII RPG Rosenstrasse. Journalist Linda Codega and game designer Cole Wehrle are also finalists for the award. The Diana Jones Award was founded in 2001 and is presented to a single “person, product, company, event, movement, concept, or any other thing” that has demonstrated excellence in tabletop gaming for the year decided by the committee. The award ceremony is held the evening before Gen Con, this year on August 2, at an industry-only event in Indianapolis. The award is named after the original trophy which contained the burnt remnants of a copy of the Indiana Jones RPG encased in resin after the print run was destroyed when TSR lost the license.


EN World is conducting an updated survey of the tabletop roleplaying game industry of freelancer rates. The anonymous survey is open to all freelancers in the industry with one specifically for writers/editors and another for artists and cartographers. The survey does not ask for any identifying information for yourself or your clients, only how long you’ve been in the industry, whether or not freelancing in the RPG industry is your full-time job, the general size of the company you are reporting freelance rates for, the type of work done (website article, magazine, print book, etc.), and your pay rate for that work. EN World previously conducted a survey in 2015 featuring starting rates gathered from publishers.


Green Ronin teased a brand new RPG titled Swords of the Shadow Planet. The game uses a system that Green Ronin hasn’t used before - so no 5e, Pathfinder, Adventure Game Engine, or M&M…though they don’t say if it is or is not an original system either. “It’s not going to be a big tome of a game. It’s simple and direct. In fact, the utilitarian straightforwardness of the system is what made me [developer Malcolm Sheppard] want to use it.” There is a setting in mind with a few hints given in the blog post. It's their stab at bringing a subgenre into the modern day. You can play a Neandertal, someone made of rock, a dinosaur, or play yourself (though it’s reiterated at this point it’s not a generic system). There will be magic (“for certain values of ‘magic’”) that any character can use in a freeform system. Sheppard also states Green Ronin “might get innovative” with the visual presentation both in format and interior. Not much else is known at this time, including the release date which will be “when it’s done”.


Free League Publishing has opened pre-orders for PIRATE BORG, the “scurvy-ridden” spin-off of MÖRK BORG. This full rules system will let you find a ship, recruit some crew, and raid, pillage, plunder, and pilfer your way across the seas…if you can brave the skeletons, krakens, other ships, and even your own crew. The 166-page rulebook includes eight character classes, new naval combat rules, stats for 18 vessels, 80+ NPCs and monsters, 90+ system-agnostic tables, and a sandbox adventure The Curse of Skeleton Point with eleven pirate-themed locations. The hardcover is available for 398.00 kr (US$37.24, £29.21) for an anticipated release on September 19, 2023, aka International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Pre-orders for the hardcover include the PDF immediately, or you can pick it up now on DriveThruRPG for $19.99. Rum not included.


Mayfair Games will return with a new line of games thanks to Webbed Sphere Inc. Mayfair Games originally shut down in 2018 after selling most of its intellectual property assets to Asmodee. The new company is being started after the abandonment of the trademark, having registered the name and the iconic shield logo in January of 2023. Former Mayfair Games CEO Larry Roznai said “I’m happy to see Mayfair Games is coming back. I’m looking forward to seeing what games are coming back into print.” Webbed Sphere Inc. is a management and holding company with interests in online retailer Troll and Toad, game and toy publisher Toy Vault, and others. The company last made headlines in the tabletop gaming industry when it purchased Flying Buffalo in 2021 before selling the company to Rebellion in a deal announced last month.

That’s all from me for this week! Don’t forget to support our Patreon to bring you more gaming news content. 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

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Huh, that Webbed Sphere sure is doing their thing. Which I guess is to find expired trademarks, pounce on them, and then sell them later for serious money?


Huh, that Webbed Sphere sure is doing their thing. Which I guess is to find expired trademarks, pounce on them, and then sell them later for serious money?
Well they are a holding company and that's what they do mostly. It seems like they're actually going into production on making something this time though. Most of their tabletop assets went to Asmodee, but from what I could tell the RPG assets weren't included. So it's possible they may move into that market? We'll have to see.

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