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News Digest for the Week of April 16

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! New Unearthed Arcana for Dungeons & Dragons, new release for Paranoia, a lost Mystara sourcebook for AD&D 2nd Edition to be released, Macross/Robotech legal struggles finally over, and more!

Don’t forget, you can get all the news every week with Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk! This week, Morrus and Peter talk about the Combat Maneuvers from Level Up 5e and EN Publishing’s newest Kickstarter, Here There Be Dragons.


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In case you missed it elsewhere on EN World this week:
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Wizards of the Coast released a new Unearthed Arcana playtest packet for new Draconic Options. The specific Draconic options are new variants for Dragonborn and a playable version of Kobolds. The Dragonborn options include Chromatic, Metallic, and Gem ancestries. Each ancestry includes a breath weapon and resistance to a specific damage type, and each of the three also has a unique ability. Chromatic Dragonborn can become immune to their dragon type for 10 minutes once per long rest, Metallic Dragonborn can add an second breath weapon, and Gem Dragonborn gain the ability to communicate telepathically with any creature with a language and can gain a flight speed and the ability to hover for one minute once per long rest.

Kobolds are Small Humanoids with a walk speed of 30 feet, darkvision, a choice of three different draconic legacy options (advantage on saves against fear, a cantrip spell, or the ability to make tail attacks), and a draconic roar ability that grants yourself and allies advantage on attacks against enemies. There are also three new feats that allow you to tap into the power of the three different dragon types, and there is a selection of seven new spells ranging from levels 2nd to 7th with draconic themes.

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Jeff Grubb announced the upcoming release of his “lost” sourcebook Known World of Mystara for TSR which was never published. Wizards of the Coast gave permission for the sourcebook to be released on the website Vaults of Pandius, the “Official Mystara Homepage” managed by Shawn Stanley. The initial idea behind the book was to update the default setting of the BECMI line of Basic Dungeons & Dragons to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition system, but the scope was repeatedly changed by various members of management at TSR. Grubb wrote about the experience on his blog in 2017 with a follow-up post shortly after where he talked about the lost sourcebook. The book is scheduled for release on the Vaults of Pandius website on June 27.

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Friend Computer has authorized this columnist to inform all members of Alpha Complex of Red Clearance or higher that Mongoose Publishing released a new supplement for the roleplaying game Paranoia titled Project Infinite Hole. This book features expanded rules for the R&D Department of Alpha Complex, the organization responsible for helping all citizens and particularly Troubleshooters like yourselves with forty brand new experimental equipment ranging from Fluffy Safety Armor to the Jaws of Death. Ultraviolent Clearance members of Alpha Complex (also known as “Gamemasters”) should also be aware of the new GM R&D Service Book with advice on how to use R&D in your games and a new Mission Book featuring the two adventures addressing the threat of a black hole. If you not of Ultraviolent Clearance and read the preceding sentence, please report to the nearest termination booth. Please be sure to tell your next clone that there will also be a 120 card R&D Deck ready for use in your games. The PDF is available on its own for $29.99 while the complete boxed set (with PDF included) is $59.99. Failing to add this expansion to your Paranoia games is treason.

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Several weeks ago, I wrote about the Warframe-inspired RPG Frame which had a Kickstarter that was canceled due to harassment from the Warframe community, reported on in depth by Dicebreaker. The good news is the game is back…sort of. Designer Spencer Campbell released an SRD for Lumen, the rules system that powers the unreleased Lumen and its Destiny-inspired predecessor Light. The system is available as a free download ready to be adapted into any looter-shooter-style adventure setting. In fact, Campbell has launched a game jam on Itch.io to encourage creators to make their own Lumen-powered games. The LUMEN Jam runs until June 11 and has very lax rules for those wishing to participate.

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GAMA announced the return of the GAMA Trade Expo in 2022 in a hybrid online and in-person format on from March 14-18. The event will take place at the Peppermill Resort & Casino in Reno, Nevada along with extended online events. The GAMA Trade Show was the last major in-person convention as the pandemic and the associated lockdowns began in March 9-12, 2020. The lack of an in-person convention hurt the trade organization, which reported a massive decrease in revenue over 2019 from $2.48 million down to just $810,000. The reduction of the expense of in-person shows such as Origins Game Fair and other cost-cutting measures helped mitigate the drop in revenue, but the organization still posted a $99,000 loss according to ICv2 reporting of fiscal filings. The first in-person convention for the organization since then will be Origins Game Fair from September 30-October 3 in Columbus, OH.

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An agreement has finally been made over the rights to the anime Macross and its re-edited localization Robotech. The backstory for this goes back decades as Harmony Gold licensed the rights to the anime Super Dimension Fortress Macross along with two other anime series (Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber Mospeada), which they re-wrote and re-edited into a single series called Robotech. Since then, Harmony Gold has claimed they have sole rights to use Macross and its associated IP outside of Japan, which has caused no end of legal issues over the years including an infamous legal battle with BattleTech and MechWarrior (which I did a video about a couple of years ago). This wasn’t the only legal struggle with Macross though as two companies in Japan claimed ownership of the series, Tatsunoko Productions (who licensed the series to Harmony Gold) and Bigwest. The final agreement between the two companies allows Harmony Gold to continue using Macross material in the Robotech series while Bigwest can license and release the original Macross and its spin-offs in countries outside Japan, with each side reportedly receiving revenue from the other’s releases. Hopefully this marks a final, definite end to the constant lawsuits and legal struggles for everyone tangentially related to the Macross/Robotech license that have been near-constant since the 1990s.

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Humble Bundle has two new tabletop tie-in bundles. The first from IDW Publishing features a collection of comics and graphic novels licensed from Dungeons & Dragons. The collection features stories from Dragonlance, Baldur’s Gate, Elminster, the classic Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, Eberron, and, of course, Drizzt Do’Urden. The bundle has four levels with the top tier of $25 getting you a total of 32 graphic novels and individual issues. This bundle benefits the Hasbro Children’s Fund and runs until Monday, May 3. But if the grimdark future is more your think, the Black Library is back with a collection of novels from Warhammer 40,000. This bundle features 26 novels from across the 40K universe in multiple DRM-free ebook formats. This bundle benefits the Every Library Institute and runs until Thursday, March 6.


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

Paragon Lost

Terminally Lost
Look forward to watching that video you did in 2019 Darryl on the Robotech stuff. I bookmarked it for later watching when I have time. :)
 

Kannik

Adventurer
Wow. After following the Robotech licensing issues for 30+ years it's wild to see it come to a 'conclusion'. I'll have to say, the revenue-sharing idea is an interesting way to placate both sides and allow this to finally rest. (Though, to editorialize, I think this will primarily mean Harmony Gold receives $ from Bigwest and not much will flow in the other direction....)
 

Abstruse

Hero
Wow. After following the Robotech licensing issues for 30+ years it's wild to see it come to a 'conclusion'. I'll have to say, the revenue-sharing idea is an interesting way to placate both sides and allow this to finally rest. (Though, to editorialize, I think this will primarily mean Harmony Gold receives $ from Bigwest and not much will flow in the other direction....)
It all depends on whether or not Harmony Gold is able to get their Robotech live action film off the ground finally or not. I can't say for sure, but I personally think a big roadblock has been that Bigwest threatened to sue the crap out of them if they tried to release it in Japan...which for a giant robot movie, you kinda want every Asian market you can get especially the country that's not only the source material comes from but that is currently building a real-life functional Gundam.
 

Kannik

Adventurer
It all depends on whether or not Harmony Gold is able to get their Robotech live action film off the ground finally or not. I can't say for sure, but I personally think a big roadblock has been that Bigwest threatened to sue the crap out of them if they tried to release it in Japan...which for a giant robot movie, you kinda want every Asian market you can get especially the country that's not only the source material comes from but that is currently building a real-life functional Gundam.
Having been at the foot of the Gundam in front of DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, now you've got me thinking of a full-sized VF-1, and I'm all here for it! :D

Hmmm, that's true, if they were holding back due to the legal issues, and there is interest from the studios to get it done, then that would indeed be a big boon for them for licensing and other deals. Which would make more $ flow towards Bigwest, which would make the deal sweeter for them, and hence help this kind of arrangement come to pass. Thanks for noting that!

Do we know if Tobey Maguire is still one of the producers? Fingers crossed for a good team of writers!
 

Abstruse

Hero
Do we know if Tobey Maguire is still one of the producers? Fingers crossed for a good team of writers!
Being perfectly honest, I have no idea. My frame of reference for all this is BattleTech and the legal struggles with Harmony Gold. The whole dispute over Macross's ownership was one of the central parts of the defense from Piranha's legal team during the last lawsuit over MechWarrior Online, Catalyst's BattleTech tabletop, and Harebrained Schemes's BattleTech video game. All I know about Robotech and Macross comes from that and the issues with the Robotech gaming license mostly because forcing a bunch of my favorite BattleTech books out of print and difficult to find for a reasonable price kinda left a sour taste in my mouth for the franchise :p
 

Kannik

Adventurer
Being perfectly honest, I have no idea. My frame of reference for all this is BattleTech and the legal struggles with Harmony Gold. The whole dispute over Macross's ownership was one of the central parts of the defense from Piranha's legal team during the last lawsuit over MechWarrior Online, Catalyst's BattleTech tabletop, and Harebrained Schemes's BattleTech video game. All I know about Robotech and Macross comes from that and the issues with the Robotech gaming license mostly because forcing a bunch of my favorite BattleTech books out of print and difficult to find for a reasonable price kinda left a sour taste in my mouth for the franchise :p
Hahahaha, yeah, I've followed it from the BTech angle as well and the whole saga of the unseen. (And due to that I will treasure/protect my 1st printing of the 3025 Tech Readout* until the heat death of the universe!) The whole back and forth and HG's hyper-protectiveness was almost as intricate as the machinations of the successor states... ;) It was fun to fire up the Harebrained BT game last year to play through it again with the addition of a couple new unseen.

I got into BTech and Robotech around the same time (and quickly noticed the shared designs), and later into Macross more generally. I'm keen to see whatever this new liberation makes possible.

* Funny story: It was a few years before my friends and I realized that there was a mechwarrior sitting atop the Marauder in the cover image... embarassingly, due to the matching colour of her coolant suit, we'd always parsed her as being part of the cannon support/elevation system! :p
 

Abstruse

Hero
Hahahaha, yeah, I've followed it from the BTech angle as well and the whole saga of the unseen. (And due to that I will treasure/protect my 1st printing of the 3025 Tech Readout* until the heat death of the universe!) The whole back and forth and HG's hyper-protectiveness was almost as intricate as the machinations of the successor states... ;) It was fun to fire up the Harebrained BT game last year to play through it again with the addition of a couple new unseen.

I got into BTech and Robotech around the same time (and quickly noticed the shared designs), and later into Macross more generally. I'm keen to see whatever this new liberation makes possible.

* Funny story: It was a few years before my friends and I realized that there was a mechwarrior sitting atop the Marauder in the cover image... embarassingly, due to the matching colour of her coolant suit, we'd always parsed her as being part of the cannon support/elevation system! :p
Fun Fact: It was reported a few months after I made my video about the Unseen that Harmony Gold's licensing terms with Tatsunoko included a clause that they may deduct any legal fees incurred while "protecting" the Macross intellectual property rights outside of Japan from their licensing fees to Tatsunoko. Which, if accurate, explains HG's overly litigious nature. If they have to pay $X either way for the license, why not hire a lawyer friend to sue a bunch of people for it? Worst case scenario, the case gets dismissed and they're out nothing since they would've paid the same money in licensing fees. Or they could get a cash settlement or damages if they win at trial.
 

Psikosis

Explorer
Wow. After following the Robotech licensing issues for 30+ years it's wild to see it come to a 'conclusion'. I'll have to say, the revenue-sharing idea is an interesting way to placate both sides and allow this to finally rest. (Though, to editorialize, I think this will primarily mean Harmony Gold receives $ from Bigwest and not much will flow in the other direction....)
I agree. Harmony Gold is not known for being an easy-going company. It took them decades, but I'm guessing they just wore down the others until HG got the deal they wanted.
 

Kannik

Adventurer
Fun Fact: It was reported a few months after I made my video about the Unseen that Harmony Gold's licensing terms with Tatsunoko included a clause that they may deduct any legal fees incurred while "protecting" the Macross intellectual property rights outside of Japan from their licensing fees to Tatsunoko. Which, if accurate, explains HG's overly litigious nature. If they have to pay $X either way for the license, why not hire a lawyer friend to sue a bunch of people for it? Worst case scenario, the case gets dismissed and they're out nothing since they would've paid the same money in licensing fees. Or they could get a cash settlement or damages if they win at trial.
That's... well, that explains a lot, and almost makes me say "well done!" for them to have gotten something like that to be included in the contract, it's a nice diabolical bit. You get a lawsuit, and you get a lawsuit, and...
 

Abstruse

Hero
That's... well, that explains a lot, and almost makes me say "well done!" for them to have gotten something like that to be included in the contract, it's a nice diabolical bit. You get a lawsuit, and you get a lawsuit, and...
It's the other way around based on what I read. Since Tatsunoko was in the middle of the struggle with Bigwest over the ownership and the legal rulings at that point was a split ownership that heavily restricted what Tatsunoko could do internationally, they tasked Harmony Gold with being their "enforcer". "We can't sue anyone for using similar mecha designs to Macross, but Harmony Gold is a separate company based outside Japan, so..." Again, I can't say how accurate this was that I read so grain of salt, but it makes a lot of things fall into place.
 

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