News Digest for the Week of April 15

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! Wizards of the Coast buying D&D Beyond, two new million-dollar Kickstarters launched this week, D&D Direct promises big announcements next week, Stranger Things Season 4 trailer reveals its D&D-inspired villain, and more!

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


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 the best board games for Dungeons & Dragons fans.


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In case you missed it elsewhere on EN World this week:
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Wizards of the Coast announced they are acquiring D&D Beyond from Fandom for a cost of $146 million. The sale has been approved by the Boards of both companies but will require regulatory review and other standard hurdles meaning the sale will not close until the second or third quarter of 2022. Originally launched in 2017, D&D Beyond was created by Curse, LLC, which was then owned by Amazon through their subsidiary Twitch. In 2018, Fandom purchased D&D Beyond along with some other assets from Curse. The full announcement is available in the link above, which includes the following quotes from the CEOs of Hasbro, Fandom, and Wizards of the Coast:

“The acquisition of D&D Beyond will accelerate our progress in both gaming and direct to consumer, two priority areas of growth for Hasbro, providing immediate access to a loyal, growing player base,” said Chris Cocks, Hasbro Chief Executive Officer. “Hasbro’s gaming portfolio is among the largest and most profitable in the industry, and we continue to make strategic investments to grow our brands, including in digital.”

“This is the perfect next step for the talented D&D Beyond team, who built a transformative digital product that engaged and delighted millions of D&D fans around the world,” said Perkins Miller, CEO of Fandom. “We can't wait to see what this team will do next as an integral part of the D&D franchise, and I look forward to investing in more brands and products to super serve Fandom’s 300 million+ global fans.”

“D&D Beyond has been one of our most valuable partners in the digital space for the past six years and we’re excited to bring their best-in-class talent onto our team,” said Cynthia Williams, President of Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming. “The team at D&D Beyond has built an incredible digital platform, and together we will deliver the best-possible DUNGEONS & DRAGONS experience for players around the world.”

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Wizards of the Coast also gave us a big announcement-of-an-announcement with D&D Direct coming next week. The 30-minute presentation will air at 9:00 AM Pacific (12:00 noon Eastern, 5:00 PM BST) hosted by Anna Prosser and B. Dave Walters. The presentation promises “exclusive reveals from the world’s greatest roleplaying game, including video games, entertainment, and more.” The stream will be available on the official Dungeons & Dragons Twitch and YouTube channels. Speculation has since started, including a theory that the upcoming Dragons of Stormwreck Isle Starter Set for D&D will feature characters from the 1980s Dungeons & Dragons cartoon. Another possible clue to the announcement is that author Tracy Hickman posted a photo of himself with an advanced reading copy of Dragons of Deceit. That novel is the first new fiction release for Dragonlance in over a decade and is due out this August.

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The playtest book for Marvel Multiverse RPG releases next week and we’ve got a new preview of the system. The game uses the “d616 System”, a reference to the Earth-616 designation for the Marvel comics universe within the multiverse (other examples include Earth-1610 for the Ultimate Marvel universe, Earth-982 for the 2099 universe, Earth-199999 for the MCU, and Earth-79203 for the 1970s Japanese tokusatsu version of Spider-man). In the system, you roll three six-sided dice with one designated the “Marvel Die” which provides a bonus on a roll of 1 while a roll of 6s on the other two dice as well is an “ultimate fantastic roll”. The preview also includes the character sheet for Spider-man, which includes a utility ability called “wisecracking” implying that they have made a game mechanic out of superhero banter. The playtest book will be available on April 20 with a retail price of $9.99 in paperback or Kindle format.

In addition, Marvel announced a partnership with Demiplane to provide the digital tools side for Marvel Multiverse. The site, called “Marvel Multiverse Role-Playing Game NEXUS”, will be the official digital toolset for the game. Features will include a digital reader and game compendium, an online lobby to find players and games, built-in voice and video chat, and the ability to track game sessions. Marvel Multiverse NEXUS launches on April 20 as well, joining NEXUS websites for Pathfinder, World of Darkness, and Free League.

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Earlier this week, Morrus posted the question “Could we have four million-dollar Kickstarters in the next month?” Only a few days later, he’s half right as both the Kickstarters for Monte Cook Games’s Old Gods of Appalachia roleplaying game and the 5e monster book Flee, Mortals! from MCDM crossed the $1 million last night. Two more crowdfunding efforts are on the way in a matter of weeks that also look poised to cross that line as well. Free League launches Blade Runner The Roleplaying Game on May 3 with over 5000 users already signed up to be notified when it goes live, following the over $2 million raised for The One Ring last year. Ghostfire Gaming, who has been involved with three million-dollar campaigns before, plans to launch Arora, a post-apocalyptic fantasy setting in May as well.

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The trailer for the fourth season of Stranger Things premiered with a brand new Dungeons & Dragons villain: Vecna. The gamer kids in the show have a tendency to relate the supernatural threats they face to iconic D&D monsters from their games such as the Demogorgon of Seasons 1 and 2 and the Mind Flayer of Season 3. This season, the big bad based on the one-eyed one-handed archlich Vecna revealed himself in the trailer by saying “Your suffering is almost at an end”. Producer Matt Duffer called “our Hellraiser line”, a reference to the 1987 horror film Hellraiser written and directed by Clive Barker whose antagonist Pinhead made frequent references to suffering. The penultimate season of Stranger Things will premiere on Netflix on May 27.

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Chaosium made several big product announcements this week. First is Rivers of London: The Roleplaying Game based on the urban fantasy novel series by Ben Aaronovitch. The novels are about Constable Peter Grant, a police officer recruited into a small branch of the Metropolitan Police Service in London as part of the department dealing with magic and the supernatural. Next is The Prosopaedia: An Encyclopedia of the Gods of RuneQuest which is, as you might expect, an encyclopedia of the gods of RuneQuest. Finally for Call of Cthulhu is the book listed as “Darkness and Decorum in Jane Austin’s England”, Regency Cthulhu which combines the Cthulhu Mythos with the social dramas of the 19th century wealthy in England. No release dates have been confirmed at this time, but we have cover images of all three books at the link above.

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EN Publishing released the March update from the company this week. Yes, it is a bit late, but EN World and EN Publishing have been busy the past few weeks expanding our media offerings with EN Live. The big announcement for EN Live is the start of the first actual play series for Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition starting in just over a week. The eight-episode weekly series features Narrator Sarah Breyfogle and players Kurt Stridinger, Robin Caulfield, Darin M Calhoun Jr., and Gabby Quintana starting with the teaser, “Two days ago, a strange object fell from the stars and landed on a deserted island. Join our seafaring heroes as they uncover its mysteries!”. The series will premiere Tuesday, April 26 at 3:00 PM Eastern (12 noon Pacific, 8:00 PM BST) on the EN Publishing Twitch channel with an audio-only podcast available shortly after the broadcast.

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Modiphius announced a new campaign book for Star Trek Adventures, the Discovery Campaign Guide. This sourcebook will cover the setting years of 2256-2258 during the Federation-Klingon War with five new playable alien species, a three-part campaign set during the final months of the war, Gamemaster guidance for creating adventures in this era, a selection of new NPCs and starships relevant to the time period, and more information to create a detailed sandbox for the era between Star Trek: Enterprise and the original Star Trek. This book is currently scheduled for release in June and is available for a retail price of $60.00. If you just can’t wait to get in on some action on the USS Discovery, the Discovery Season 2 Crew Pack is now available featuring character sheets for the second season crew of the Discovery led by Captain Pike, the captain prior to Kirk on the USS Enterprise who will be the lead in the upcoming Strange New Worlds series and who starred in the original pilot to Star Trek, Lieutenant Spock in his years prior to serving with Kirk, updated stats for the other crew members to reflect the changes from the Discovery Season 1 Crew Pack. The PDF is available for $4.99.


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@enpublishingrpg.com, and you can get more discussion of the week’s news on Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk every week. You can follow me on Twitch to get notifications when I go live, subscribe to Gamer’s Tavern on YouTube for videos on gaming history, RPG reviews, 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.
 

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott

Jaeger

That someone better
Another possible clue to the announcement is that author Tracy Hickman posted a photo of himself with an advanced reading copy of Dragons of Deceit. That novel is the first new fiction release for Dragonlance in over a decade and is due out this August.

Not Possible.

Dragons of Deceit will be in no way shape or form part of any official WotC announcement for D&D.

All info about the new Dragonlance books since day one has come from Hickman, Weiss, and their publisher.

WotC has been radio silent, never mentioning the new books in any way.

I just don't see them suddenly changing that defacto policy.
 

Not Possible.

Dragons of Deceit will be in no way shape or form part of any official WotC announcement for D&D.

All info about the new Dragonlance books since day one has come from Hickman, Weiss, and their publisher.

WotC has been radio silent, never mentioning the new books in any way.

I just don't see them suddenly changing that defacto policy.
I think you are going to be surprised.
 

Abstruse

Legend
Not Possible.

Dragons of Deceit will be in no way shape or form part of any official WotC announcement for D&D.

All info about the new Dragonlance books since day one has come from Hickman, Weiss, and their publisher.

WotC has been radio silent, never mentioning the new books in any way.

I just don't see them suddenly changing that defacto policy.
Why would Wizards waste marketing money on a book that's still several months away from release that the publisher is already going to be pushing and is going to pick up press anyway? They typically don't spend time marketing any third-party products aside from maybe an announcement or quietly putting an entry up on their Products page on the website.

Besides, I was referring more to a Dragonlance setting book or an adventure set in Krynn to bank off the cross-promotion of what will almost certainly be a bestselling novel.
 

Jaeger

That someone better
I think you are going to be surprised.

It's possible.

I think it far more likely that they will continue to politely ignore each other.


Besides, I was referring more to a Dragonlance setting book or an adventure set in Krynn to bank off the cross-promotion of what will almost certainly be a bestselling novel.

Hickman and Weiss are writing for classic DL fans.

WotC has already shown their hand with the lore changes in their arcana preview.

WotC is targeting a different audience now.

I don't think that they factor the new books into any of their plans for a new 5e version of DragonLance.
 


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