News Digest for the Week of December 9

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! New trailer for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, Hasbro Fireside Chat discusses D&D’s future, new Baldur’s Gate III trailer reveals returning fan favorites, 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 take a look at Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen.


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In case you missed it elsewhere on EN World this week:
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It’s that time again, you’ve got until December 19 to get your nominations in for Most Anticipated RPG of 2023! To nominate your favorite RPG coming out next year, comment on the thread linked above with the title of the game and a link to the page. Check the post for full rules, but the highlights: It must be a new tabletop roleplaying game core rulebook (not setting book, supplement, adventure, etc.), it must be scheduled for a retail release in 2023, and you can’t nominate your own game. Remember: No complaining if your favorite doesn’t make the voting list because it didn’t get nominated!

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Paramount Pictures released a combination trailer and behind-the-scenes look at Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. The teaser features interviews with several cast members and mostly footage we’ve seen in the previous trailer, but there are a few new shots. Some of the new scenes include: A shot of the group running from armored enemies and pulling down a portcullis, a better look at the Red Wizard antagonist, the party getting blown away by the roar of Themberchaud (the chubby red dragon from the trailer), Chris Pine’s bard Elgin hitting someone over the head with his lute, a couple of shots of Michelle Rodriguez’s barbarian Holga fighting and dipping her axe into a forge, Elgin and Regé-Jean Page’s paladin Xenk bickering on horseback as only a paladin and bard can, and Xenk solemnly giving a magical helm to Elgin requesting that he guard it with his very life…before Elgin passes it unceremoniously to Justice Smith’s sorcerer Simon saying “Hold this”.

Behind the scenes footage also shows many of the practical effects used in the film including an animatronic dragon head, a blue sea creature (possibly an aboleth?), an aarokocra, a humanoid (possibly a bugbear or githyanki or maybe hobgoblin?), and what appears to be a dragonborn (or possibly lizardfolk or yuan-ti?) in a cell before the well-known bearowl attack from the previous trailer. I know that’s a lot of options for the monsters but it’s really hard to try to extrapolate from the artwork into real-life make-up and animatronics. You guys have fun in the comments with your guesses.

In addition to the new trailer, we also got a look at two of the posers for the film. The one above was the second released while the other which hit the internet first features a Drew Struzan inspired group shot (that honestly doesn’t really capture Struzan’s style well). All the new material seems to reinforce what was presented in the original trailer, that this is an action-comedy that takes the setting seriously and draws its comedy from the interactions between characters and their actions in the world. Though the more comedic tone has gotten some pushback on social media, reception to the new trailer seems strong and, as Twitter user Catieosaurus put it, “Oh no the new Dungeons and Dragons movie has too many hijinx and shenanigans my brother in Christ have you ever played DnD I once spent two hours trying to figure out how to open an unlocked, unguarded and non-magic door.”

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Hasbro held a “Fireside Chat” update with CEO Chris Cocks and Wizards of the Coast President Cynthia Williams that touched on the company’s business plans for Dungeons & Dragons going forward. The presentation stated the Dungeons & Dragons brand is under-monetized and the company looks to D&D Beyond with its 13 million registered users as a way to solve that. The service will give them data-drive insight to how players are playing the game and as an avenue to monetize directly throught he site and companion phone app. They also stated that DMs are about 20% of the audience for D&D but make up the lions share of purchases, so it’s likely we’ll see more efforts to create products specifically for players rather than DMs. There will also be a “broad four quadrant strategy” broken into new books and accessories, licensed game products (things like DMs Guild and the Goodman Games reprints), and D&D Beyond. The fourth quadrant will be media with Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves as the first big opportunity before pushing into other licensed video games, novels, television, and other media.

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Modiphius announced that the 2d20-based Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of roleplaying game will cease production as the license will end. The roleplaying game license will go to French publisher Monolith Edition, current developer of the Conan board game line. From the press release:

“When we first started exploring Robert E. Howard’s world of Conan, little did we imagine the full expanse of what was to come. It’s been an incredible journey working with top Conan scholars, talented writers and artists who gave their all to dig deep into the Conan stories and bring them to life in a truly authentic way.” Said Chris Birch, Chief Creative Officer of Modiphius Entertainment. “Now with twenty beautiful hardback books to our name and numerous beautiful accessories, we are ready to call time on our journeys across Hyboria. We’ve reached the point where we feel like we have done justice to REH’s words, delivered some incredible Conan swords & sorcery gaming, and reached the ends of the Hyborian world in every direction we could imagine. It’s time to pass on the mantle to new hands who can tell a new story in the Hyborian age!”

All upcoming products for the line have been cancelled and no restocks of products will be ordered. However, the license does not expire until December 31, 2022, and existing stock will be available for sale until June 30, 2023.

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D&D Beyond announced Galesong: Dragons’ Convergence, a live stream event featuring a cast of disabled players and characters. The stream produced in conjunction with the Disabled Community of Wizards will span three days and include an American Sign Language interpreter. The cast will be:
  • Makenzie De Armas (she/her): Game designer for D&D and co-lead for the Disability Community of Wizards. Her work has appeared in Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel and Dragons of Stormwreck Isle, among others. She also wrote and ran the adventure for this event.
  • Jennifer Kretchmer (she/they): Producer, writer, actor, streamer, and creator behind the Accessibility in Gaming Resource Guide and the Disabled Pros in TTRPGs Directory. They are also one of the authors behind the adventure anthology Candlekeep Mysteries and contributed to Galesong as a disability consultant.
  • Quincy of Quincy's Tavern (he/him): TikToker, Twitch partner, and storyteller for a digital fantasy tavern. He creates custom recipes and offers advice to more than 4 million followers on TikTok. Quincy has collaborated with Critical Role, Wyrmwood, and more.
  • Angel Giuffria (she/they): Actor, advocate, consultant, and self-proclaimed cyborg. Angel has appeared on Chicago Med, Good Trouble, and AMC's FearHQ Twitch channel. Their inventive cosplay, often highlighting their limb difference, has been spotlighted by Nerdist, Vice, and more.
  • Rogan Shannon (they/he): Deaf interpreter and YouTube creator. Rogan is an avid reader and a tabletop gaming enthusiast.
  • Aliza Pearl (she/her): Performer, Dungeon Master, and creator. You may know her from Ripley Improv, Star Trek: Shield of Tomorrow, DDB Plays: Call of the Netherdeep, and more. She has also appeared on NCIS: Los Angeles and the world premiere of the musical Teaching a Robot to Love.
There will also be special guest appearances from Sam De Leve and Aabria Iyengar (who will also be playing characters during the prelude game) and cameos from Taliesin Jaffe, Matt Mercer, Brennan Lee Mulligan, Amy Dallen, and Robbie Daymond. The event kicks off on Tuesday, December 13 with Galesong: Before the Storm, a special prelude game with the main event being Galesong: Convergence on Thursday, December 15 and a behind the scenes post-show on Saturday, December 17. The streams will be at 4 PM Pacific (7 PM Eastern, midnight GMT) on the D&D Beyond YouTube channel.

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A new trailer for Baldur’s Gate III premiering at the 2022 Game Awards confirms Minsc as a playable character. Not only that, but the half-elf fighter/druid Jaheira will also return from the original Baldur’s Gate. For those wondering how these two survived the 100-year time jump in the Forgotten Realms, Jaheira is presented as much older than her original appearance, while Minsc and Boo spent several decades petrified as a statute titled “The Beloved Ranger”. So far, Minsc’s miniature giant space hamster friend Boo has not made an appearance, but it’s hard to imagine one without the other. Baldur’s Gate 3 is expected to leave early access on PC and release on Playstation and Xbox consoles in August 2023 (Larien founder Swen Vincke is “reasonably confident” on the release date but it may be pushed back if necessary). There will also be a special Collector’s Edition limited to 25,000 copies featuring statue of a mind flayer fighting a drow, a hardcover art book, character sheets for each Origin character, a cloth map of Faerun, a keyring of a tadpole, a sticker sheet, three Magic: The Gathering booster packs from the Battle for Baldur’s Gate expansion, a certificate of authenticity, and three custom oversized metal d20s. The Collector’s Edition will retail for $269.99 and does not include a copy of the game.

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Cephalofair games announced a Gloomhaven RPG based on the popular adventure board game is on the way. The game will feature a single core rulebook containing all the tools and worldbuilding elements for players to tell their own stories in the board game’s fantasy setting. The game system will be based on the board game’s card-based combat system and be cross-compatible with the board game as well. However, the rules will be expanded for out-of-combat actions along with new options in combat “letting you swing from chandeliers, kick through walls, or even convince the bad guys to stop fighting” according to creator Isaac Childres. Players will have access to all the character classes and ancestries from both Gloomhaven and its sequel Frosthaven. The game will hit crowdfunding in April 2023.

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Nightfall Games have partnered with Mantic Games to take over production of the Hellboy RPG. The 5e roleplaying game based on the comic series from Mike Mignola originally crowdfunded with over £360,000 (about US$440,000) in September 2022 on Kickstarter with an additional crowdfunding effort on Gamefound prior to a release in 2021. Nightfall has already taken over the publisher role for the existing products on DriveThruRPG including the core rulebook and have put together a Starter Bundle including all the core rules and all currently released sourcebooks plus Quickstarts for other Nightfall RPGs including SLA Industries, Terminator, and StokerVerse.

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Fragging Unicorn Games announced the tabletop roleplaying game Subversion coming to Kickstarter soon. This cyberpunk-meets-fantasy roleplaying game takes place in the same universe as their skirmish miniature wargame Gangs of the Undercity and will place players in the roles of Envoys for their community in the sprawling megacity of Neo Babylon. The game will use a custom d6 dice pool system where you get more dice the more skilled your character is, but you only keep the three highest results from the roll. The Kickstarter is currently scheduled to go live in early 2023.


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, follow me on Mastodon for RPG chat and general nonsense, 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

Gloomhaven RPG has my interest. The card based tactical combat is a Lot of fun. It would be a great rpg. It would be a great skirmish game. If it uses the sMe system count me in. Either way it's probably 2 million kickstarter.
 


Abstruse

Legend
Is it just me or has the Baldur's Gate vidgame been "coming soon" for many years?
That's been the case with a lot of video games. The "Hey guys, maybe crunch is bad and making your developers work 80+ hour weeks until they have to be literally hospitalized for exhaustion isn't a good thing" culture shift hit right at the same time as a global pandemic caused lockdowns and kind of screwed with a lot of things across the industry. Basically every single game coming out right now or in the next few months was meant to come out in like 2021.

But for Baldur's Gate specifically, it's been in early access for two years which is pretty normal for video game development outside the AAAs. At least Larian released Baldur's Gate 3 in early access which is saying up front "We're still working on the game, this is not the finished state, we're going to roll out new options as they're ready and this is only a third of the game." Compare that to AAA releases like Cyberpunk 2077 or Fallout 76 which also took two and a half years to get to a functional playable state where you're not concerned about the game crashing if you sneeze during a loading screen. Or the numerous AAA titles that carve out game content to charge you extra for as DLC in intentionally confusing bundles so you need a flowchart to know what you need to buy stares directly at the modern Hitman franchise and every single fighting game on the market. Then you've got games getting recent pushes like Fallout 3 and New Vegas for their anniversaries, the latter of which is unplayable on modern PCs and the latter is still a buggy crash-prone mess without fan-made mods because the developer couldn't be bothered to create patches (seriously, Fallout 3 requires you to dig out Games for Windows Live over eight years after the service was discontinued), while the remastered Mass Effect that double-dipped for almost full price still has unpatched bugs from the original releases.

In the indie and AA video game space, early access periods of up to 2-3 years is pretty normal as the designers slowly roll out new features to make sure it functions as intended, squash bugs, and basically give fans a chance to support their work and keep the lights on while making sure they get the best experience possible when the game finally releases. Subnautica spent three years in early access, Hades spent two years, and even Fortnite was in early access for three years. So assuming they can hit the August release date, that will be just shy of three years in early access which is pretty normal.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
That's been the case with a lot of video games. The "Hey guys, maybe crunch is bad and making your developers work 80+ hour weeks until they have to be literally hospitalized for exhaustion isn't a good thing" culture shift hit right at the same time as a global pandemic caused lockdowns and kind of screwed with a lot of things across the industry. Basically every single game coming out right now or in the next few months was meant to come out in like 2021.

But for Baldur's Gate specifically, it's been in early access for two years which is pretty normal for video game development outside the AAAs. At least Larian released Baldur's Gate 3 in early access which is saying up front "We're still working on the game, this is not the finished state, we're going to roll out new options as they're ready and this is only a third of the game." Compare that to AAA releases like Cyberpunk 2077 or Fallout 76 which also took two and a half years to get to a functional playable state where you're not concerned about the game crashing if you sneeze during a loading screen. Or the numerous AAA titles that carve out game content to charge you extra for as DLC in intentionally confusing bundles so you need a flowchart to know what you need to buy stares directly at the modern Hitman franchise and every single fighting game on the market. Then you've got games getting recent pushes like Fallout 3 and New Vegas for their anniversaries, the latter of which is unplayable on modern PCs and the latter is still a buggy crash-prone mess without fan-made mods because the developer couldn't be bothered to create patches (seriously, Fallout 3 requires you to dig out Games for Windows Live over eight years after the service was discontinued), while the remastered Mass Effect that double-dipped for almost full price still has unpatched bugs from the original releases.

In the indie and AA video game space, early access periods of up to 2-3 years is pretty normal as the designers slowly roll out new features to make sure it functions as intended, squash bugs, and basically give fans a chance to support their work and keep the lights on while making sure they get the best experience possible when the game finally releases. Subnautica spent three years in early access, Hades spent two years, and even Fortnite was in early access for three years. So assuming they can hit the August release date, that will be just shy of three years in early access which is pretty normal.
Thanks for that - I had no idea about any of it!
 

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