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News Digest for May 26, 2023

D&D new book and price hike, free Critical Role RPG Quickstart, Pathfinder NEXUS open beta, and a lot more!

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! D&D publishing announcements plus a new book, Pathfinder NEXUS open beta is live, Kobold Press launches Tales of the Valiant Kickstarter, 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, Peter, and Jessica talk about playing D&D without D&D.


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

A lot of Dungeons & Dragons publishing news this week from Wizards of the Coast. The one that’s gotten the most attention is the announcement that the retail cover price of Dungeons & Dragons hardcovers will be going up. From the announcement:

This space is dedicated to communicating clearly and transparently with our players- even when the topic isn’t particularly fun. Since the release of the 2014 D&D core rulebooks, we’ve kept book prices stable. Unfortunately, with the cost of goods and shipping continually increasing, we’ve finally had to make the decision to increase the price of our new release print books. We're committed to creating high-quality products that deliver great value to our players and must increase our prices to accomplish that.

This will go into effect starting with Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants and new releases after Glory of the Giants. Digital pricing is unaffected by this MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) increase, as digital products don’t need to be printed or shipped. The increase also doesn’t impact backlist titles. While we can’t promise that there will never be a change to the prices of digital products and backlist titles, we have no plans to increase either.

Players who purchase the Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants digital-physical bundle through Dungeons & Dragons store can get the bundle for $59.95 for the entire preorder window, which is consistent with our current digital-physical bundle pricing. After the preorder window closes, digital-physical bundle prices will go to $69.95.

Amazon’s listing for Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants also reflects this $59.95 retail price for pre-orders. This is the first price hike for the D&D line since 5th Edition launched in 2014, where the hardcover books were released for $49.95. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks inflation via the Consumer Price Index, the $49.95 cover price of the 5e PHB, DMG, and MM amounts to $63.71. Other factors likely driving the price increase are the increased costs of printing and the long-running freight shipping crisis, which has only very recently seen prices return to pre-pandemic levels. EN World’s Morrus wrote about the costs of printing and shipping at scale as well, using EN Publishing’s costs for printing as an example to illustrate the costs involved. As the publisher of the leading game in the industry, Wizards of the Coast often sets the standards for roleplaying games, so a price increase for the core Dungeons & Dragons books will likely mean an increase in price for other games. Many advocates on social media have campaigned for such a price hike to increase pay for freelancers and creators working on the games and ensure profitability for smaller game publishers.


Speaking of those new releases, we have cover reveals and release dates for the line-up of new Dungeons & Dragons releases scheduled for 2023.
  • August 15: Bigby Presents: Glory of the Dragons
  • September 19: Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
  • October 16: Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse
  • November 14: Book of Many Things
  • 2024: Revised core rulebook set
  • 2024: Vecna storyline
  • 2025: Red Wizard storyline
Jeremy Crawford stated that the three revised core rulebooks will not be released at the same time, stating that “Our print runs are pretty darn big and printers are telling us you can’t give us these three books at the same time.” Also, the “One D&D” codename is no more, though there is not an official replacement name for the updated version of 5e.

The press announcement also included statistical information about the Dungeons & Dragons player demographics. The D&D audience skews younger than previous demographics with only 19% identifying as Gen X and 48% identifying as Millennials and 33% Gen Z. 60% of players play both in-person and online, 58% play on a weekly basis, and the majority of current players started with 5th Edition. For gender demographics, 60% of D&D players identify as male, 39% as female, and 1% identify otherwise.

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However, a new book was slipped in with the cover reveals, The Practically Complete Guide to Dragons. From the Amazon description:

This lavishly illustrated guide showcases the variety of fantastic dragons encountered in the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons.

With tips on everything from fighting dragons to riding them, The Practically Complete Guide to Dragons offers abundant insight into the most awe-inspiring creatures in all the worlds. Detailing the appearance, capabilities, habits, lairs, and treasures of ten dragon kinds, and annotated with the extraordinary wizard Sindri Suncatcher’s personal observations and experiences, this beautiful volume will inspire endless adventures in the imagination.

The Practically Complete Guide to Dragons combines the very best content from three classic bestsellers: A Practical Guide to Dragons, A Practical Guide to Dragon Riding, and A Practical Guide to Dragon Magic. Fully updated with all the latest lore, this indispensable volume contains everything new adventurers need to know about the most iconic monsters of fantasy!

  • THE ULTIMATE DRAGON LOVER’S GUIDE: Part field guide, part illustrated storybook, A Practically Complete Guide to Dragons is a trustworthy resource for dragon lovers of all ages, combining the best content from previous installments in the Practical Guide series.
  • UNDISCOVERED LORE: Taken from the wizard Sindri Suncatcher’s personal notebooks, this book offers fans a deep dive into the majesty and lore of D&D’s most fantastical creatures.
  • THE START OF A LIFELONG ADVENTURE: Your mystical journey begins here. Delight young dragon enthusiasts and inspire a lifelong love of adventure with this magical book.
  • INSPIRATION FOR DUNGEON MASTERS: Both new and experienced Dungeon Masters will find a treasure trove of knowledge in this book. Every page is filled with extraordinary dragon lore that Dungeon Masters can use to enrich their D&D campaigns.
  • LAVISHLY ILLUSTRATED: Behold majestic art on every page, drawn by some of the most beloved fantasy artists of today!
This 128-page hardcover will be a lore-focused book with no game rules or stat blocks included. The book is available for pre-order now with a retail price of $39.95 set for release on August 15, 2023.

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Paizo released more information about the changes coming to the remaster of Pathfinder 2nd Edition. The blog post goes into detail on the new approach to Ancestries, particularly with the removal of alignments from the game. Rather than giving indications like “lawful” or “good” for ancestries, the cultures will get Popular Edicts and Popular Anathemas. The new Dwarf ancestry is given as an example, with the Popular Edicts of “create art with beauty and utility, hunt the enemies of your people, keep your clan dagger close” and Popular Anathemas of “leave an activity or promise uncompleted, forsake your family”. Several of the ancestry feats will also get a second look to bring them more in line with the current design philosophy (“I’m looking at you, Stonecutting”) with listed examples of Dwarven Doughtiness, Defy the Darkness, and a full block for the new Level 17 ancestry feat Stonewall.


Paizo also announced the open beta of the Pathfinder NEXUS Character Tools from Demiplane. The new tools now available for users to test include a guided character builder, online character sheet with automated calculations, inclusion of every character option available in officially published Pathfinder 2nd Edition books, a dice roller, 7 character slots, and more features. While the Pathfinder NEXUS is available for free, there are premium add-ons and while you can use any ancestry, heritage, background, class, feat, spell, and item from official rulebooks, sourcebooks, standalone adventures, and adventure paths, you must have purchased those books from the Pathfinder NEXUS or have it shared with you from someone else who has purchased it. Customers who have purchased digital products from the Paizo online store can link their account to Pathfinder NEXUS to receive a discount to purchase them on the new platform. Material in the Pathfinder Primer is available for free to all users (dwarf, elf, goblin, human, and half-elf ancestries; cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard classes; and a limited selection of feats, spells, items, and other options), so you can try out the service before committing to purchases. The Pathfinder NEXUS is available via the website with no app required to install.


Darrington Press, the publishing arm of Critical Role, released a quickstart for the upcoming Candela Obscure roleplaying game. The 26-page rulebook spends only a few pages explaining the rules for the d6 dice pool system and spends most of the page count on the setting of the horror RPG and the adventure “Dressed to Kill”. The game feels heavily influenced by the World of Darkness system, as characters do not have classes but instead have a Role and a Specialty (such as the five pregens Slink Criminal, Scholar Professor, Face Magician, Weird Occultist, and Muscle Explorer). Each character has nine skills divided into three categories: Nerve (Move, Strike, Control), Cunning (Sway, Read, Hide), and Intuition (Survey, Focus, Sense). Characters have zero to three dots in each skill, indicating how many six-sided dice they roll when attempting an action in that skill. Rolls can be modified by using Drives, and some skills are “Gilded” meaning a special d6 is rolled as part of the dice pool. The full core rulebook for Candela Obscura is expected later this year, while the Critical Role actual play series started yesterday and will continue monthly on their official Twitch and YouTube channels.


Kobold Press launched the Kickstarter for Tales of the Valiant, their new core rulebook based on the 5e rules. Previously known as Project Black Flag and born of the OGL controversy, Tales of the Valiant “keeps all the best of 5E D&D and adds a Kobold Press spin to the well-loved game.” The Kickstarter description states the game will remain compatible with 5e while still promising new options and expanded gameplay. The system will come in two books, the Player’s Guide and Monster Vault, available in digital and physical formats with the hardcover coming in a standard and limited edition. There are also options for popular VTTs such as Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, Foundry, Shard, and Alchemy; and backers at all pledge levels will get access to exclusive playtest material to provide feedback during the final development of the game. The PDF is available for $48, your choice of one hardcover book for $59, VTT formats for $79 (with a separate pledge level for each VTT), one limited hardcover for $79, two hardcovers for $99, and two limited edition hardcovers for $165. The Kickstarter at the time of writing has already raised over $650,000 and will continue until Friday, June 23.


The dev team for Marvel Multiverse Role-Playing Game posted a new update discussing changes to the playtest. The system will streamline actions by eliminating restrictions on powers and abilities that involve re-rolls, large modifiers, or locked power sets behind specific archetypes. In the final game, all actions both in and out of combat will use the same mechanic: Roll 3d6, add up the numbers, add the Ability Score, and compare to the target number. Damage will be determined by the special Marvel Die rather than requiring a separate roll as well. The blog post also goes into detail on the Power Sets for the game with a full list of all 21 powers sets which act as categories for the 300+ individual powers available. The update closes with a FAQ addressing a few specific rules questions on status effects, swapping/changing powers, and the traits and tags system. The hardcover for Marvel Multiverse Role-Playing Game is set for release on August 1 with a retail price of $59.99.


The 2023 nominees for the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award for tabletop board games were announced this week. The three nominees for the Kennerspeil des Jahres (enthusiast game of the year) are Challengers from 1 More Time Games, Iki from Sorry We Are French, and Planet Unknown from Adam’s Apple Games. The Kinderspiel des Jahres nominees (children’s game of the year) are Carla Caramel from LOKI, Gigamon from Elemon Games, and Mysterium Kids: Captain Echo’s Treasure from Space Cow. For the Spiel des Jahres (game of the year), the nominees are Dorfromantik from Pegasus Spiele, Fun Facts from Repos Production, and Next Station: London from Blue Orange Games. The winners in each of the three categories will be announced in Berlin on July 16, 2023.


Embracer Group posted a disappointing annual financial report to shareholders. While the company’s tabletop gaming holdings, which includes Asmodee (which itself owns the RPG publisher Edge Studio) did well with a 6% growth, the majority of the company’s business in video games was “below expectations”. The news was made worse by an announcement that a strategic partnership deal worth an anticipated $2 billion over six years would not move forward. Combined with game delays and a “weaker consumer demand”, the company only posted $415 million in profits for the fiscal year of 2022. That was also a busy year for Embracer Group, as the owners of video game studios Take-Two Interactive and THQ Nordic went on a buying spree, purchasing tabletop game company Asmodee, comic book publisher Dark Horse, multiple studios from Square-Enix that included rights to titles such as Tomb Raider and Deus Ex, and the rights to Middle Earth and Lord of the Rings from the Tolkien Estate. The lackluster financial report caused stock in the company to drop more than 40% on the NASDAQ exchange.

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

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