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News Digest for the Week of April 17

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! Psionics return to Dungeons & Dragons, Fantasy Grounds sees huge increase in games, The Yellow King from Robin D. Laws released, new Pathfinder plush toys coming soon, Cool Mini or Not stock trading frozen over audits, and more!

And as always, you can get all the week’s gaming news with Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk! This week, Morrus and Peter are joined by Matt Corley to talk about his Whispers in the Dark 1880s Lovecraftian Chicago setting and novella, The Devil’s City.


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In case you missed it elsewhere on EN World this week…
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And now for what seems to be a weekly section of the column now, the update on how the pandemic is affecting the game industry. Egg Embry posted the second part of his feature on how the Diamond and Alliance shutdowns have affected RPG companies, this time speaking with representatives from EN Publishing, Chaosium, R. Talsorian, Andrews McMeel Publishing, and Green Ronin.

Speaking of Green Ronin, they posted an update on the current situation for the company. All print product orders have been suspended until their warehouses can reopen safely, new releases will continue in PDF and other digital formats until shipping can resume, and they will most likely not be able to attend any conventions this year due to event cancellations and postponements.

And speaking of the Diamond and Alliance temporary shutdowns, Geppi Family Enterprises (who owns Diamond Comic Distributors, Diamond Book Distributors, and Alliance Game Distributors) has officially furloughed employees. While employee health insurance and other benefits will continue with the company paying both the employer and employee contributions, employees not necessary for business-critical functions have been placed on leave and will not be paid.

In better news, Amazon announced an end to its freeze on non-essential shipments. Last month, the online shopping giant stated that they would not restock warehouses with items deemed “non-essential” to focus on shipment of food, cleaning and sanitation supplies, medicine, pet supplies, and other day-to-day essential items. The company has also hired an additional 175,000 employees to speed up processing and shipping of orders.

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Unearthed Arcana is taking yet another crack at the…well, not “bugbear of D&D rules” because that would be the actual bugbear, but you know what I mean… Anyway, there’s another set of Psionic options. Similar to last time, this version of psionics are treated as subclasses. The Psi Knight is a Fighter Martial Archetype, the Soulblade is the Rogue psion, Psionic Soul is a new Sorcerer Origin, and new spells are added to the spell lists for Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard as well as five new feats. The big difference this time is the Psionic Talent Dice, which starts off as a d6 (increasing with level to a max of d12 at 17th level) and may increase or decrease based on the result. If you use one of your psionic class abilities that requires rolling your Psionic Talent Die, a result of the die’s maximum will decrease the size of the die by one step to represent using up your psionic abilities, while a result of 1 will step the die back up by one (capped to the starting die size) to represent conserving your psionic powers.

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Fantasy Grounds reported a 150% increase in games played in the month of March in their quarterly statistics report. The statistics include the normal year-to-date stats for games played, which can see Morrus’s analysis of in the link above. I’d like to focus on the increases in the past month, though. Dungeons & Dragons 5e jumped from 19,984 sessions in February to 50,179 in March. Pathfinder also more than doubled in both 1e from 2,633 to 5,761 and 2e from 2,233 to 4,791. Starfinder went from 983 to 2,150, Call of Cthulhu from 546 to 1,491, and Savage Worlds from 1,402 to 2,842. The largest jump percentage-wise on the chart is Vampire: The Masquerade, which went from 143 sessions in February to 1,096 in March, an increase of (and I’m not joking) 666%.

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Pelgrane Press released The Yellow King Roleplaying Game by Robin D. Laws. The GUMSHOE-powered game is…okay, this is Mythos-related so it gets complicated… it’s inspired by The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers which inspired Lovecraft’s Hastur which inspired Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu which—Anyway, The King in Yellow came first way back in 1895, though this game doesn’t shy away from the derivative works. The collection includes the core rules and four setting books: “Paris” which focuses on American in the French city when the play that drives people mad is first published in 1895, “The Wars” in an alternate reality in 1947 in a European battlefield that seems everlasting, “Aftermath” in an alternate 2017 America in the ashes of a civil war, and “This is Normal Now” in a contemporary setting where the edges are slowly shifting to expose the world to these horrible alternate eras and realities. The PDF is available on DriveThruRPG for $54.95 and comes in at over 700 pages before counting the included GM Screen, bonus adventure, and two printable card decks plus custom music for each of the four settings.

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Toy Vault announced a licensing deal with Paizo to produce plush toys and collectibles based on Pathfinder and Starfinder. The company is best known for their plush toy lines including plush Cthulhu, fuzzy D20 dice hangers, and licensed “Vorpal Bunny” slippers from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Jim Butler, Vice President of Marketing and Licensing for Paizo, said in the press release, “Plush figures have been much-asked-for by the Pathfinder and Starfinder communities, and we’re excited to be working with Toy Vault on bringing these creations to huggable life.”

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Cool Mini or Not landed in a bit of hot water this week as trading of stock for the board game maker was suspended on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange after the company delayed release of its annual report for 2019. The delay was due to three separate audit issues with CMON’s financials, including an examination of a distribution deal worth $1.5 million (ICv2 speculates this may be the exclusive distribution deal with Asmodee NA), an increase in prepayment balances in 2019, and an issue of “growing concern” involving the audits. With the rapid speed of social media speculation, CMON issued a statement clarifying that “growing concern” is a technical term in finance involving the valuation of a company which is normal in a situation such as theirs with large amounts of funds constantly coming in and going out due to their large crowdfunding campaigns and fulfilment of those campaigns.

It’s…complicated, but to oversimplify: Much of CMON’s money comes from Kickstarter, which is counted as both an asset and a liability. It’s an asset because they have the money from the Kickstarter, but it’s also a liability because they owe the backers the product promised. So, in the accounting, it counts as $0 because they may have gotten $3.4 million from the Zombicide 2 Kickstarter, they also have -$3.4 million on their accounting because they owe that value worth of product to backers. The $3.4 million is then spent on molds, materials, and other things required to make the game, which puts the company in the “negative” until the product ships. When the game ships, the liability is fulfilled and it is removed from the accounting.

So the “growing concern” is that (and again, this is oversimplified and leaving out many fine details) CMON currently “owes” backers for Kickstarters that have funded but not fulfilled, which makes their accounting appear as though they are in the negative and requires an audit to be sure the company is still financially sound. According to the statement released, this has happened several times in the company’s past. Cool Mini or Not listed limited stock for public trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in December of 2016.

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What sort of News Digest would it be without new products from Modiphius? This week, the company released Black Void: Dark Dealings in the Shaded Souq, an adventure for Black Void which finds the players framed for the slaughter of exotic animals owned by the powerful Ghurayb Guild as they must unravel the conspiracy to clear their names. Next, Conan the Scout explores the Border Kingdoms with new archetypes, talents, and equipment as well as a gazetteer of the kingdoms and civilizations on the edges of the known world in this sourcebook for Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of. Finally, Corvus Belli: Infinity has the new Mercenaries Sourcebook with 114 pages of information on six of the major mercenary companies in the Human Sphere, rules and guidelines to create your own mercenary units, and of course new weapons, equipment, and vehicles.

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This is the final week to get your hands on the 3D Printable Dungeons & Dragons Lair Terrain Bundle from Humble Bundle, which features templates for standard 2D paper printers to print cardstock terrain as well as files for 3D printers to create detailed plastic terrain. This bundle runs until Wednesday, April 22. Humble also launched the Warhammer 40,000 Series Starters Bundle from the Black Library. This bundle is perfect for those who aren’t sure where to start with 40K fiction as it features the first book in a number of series, allowing you to check them the start of the story and decide which ones you want to follow from there. The bundle has a total of 26 DRM-free ebooks available in multiple formats worth over $280. This bundle is available until Wednesday, May 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@enworldnews.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 where I’ll start streaming again sometime soon, 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.
 
Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott

Mike Myler

Advanced Fifth Edition: https://www.levelup5e.com/
Not sure how this wasn't newsworthy but EN5ider - Monstrous Menagerie: Three Arcane Avians includes a carrion crow and the author is none other than one Joe Crow.

 



Sunstar45

Villager
I want to thank you, I've started a podcast and this is where I have been finding my news for each week. I have been providing links and giving you credit for where I find my news.
 

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