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News Digest for the Week of February 7

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news. Wizards of the Coast posts then pulls and replaces controversial Unearthed Arcana article, video game news for Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder, industry statistics, and more!

Don’t forget, you can catch up on all this week’s news with Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk. This week, Morrus is joined by guest co-host Shane Stacks and guest Craig Campbell to talk about the deluxe hardcover edition of the superhero gangster RPG Capers.


And we’ve got a special preview of the normally Patreon-exclusive Bonus Content episode for this week as well, featuring material that there just wasn’t room for in the main podcast. You can get access to bonus content for every episode of Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk by supporting us on Patreon.


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In case you missed it this week on EN World…
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Wizards of the Coast posted a new Unearthed Arcana earlier this week featuring the Bardic College of Creation, the Sorcerer’s Clockwork Soul, and a very controversial Cleric Love Domain. The Love Domain in particular received immediate criticism on Twitter due to the content. Based loosely on the concept of the Confessor from the Wizard’s First Rule fantasy series by Terry Goodkind, the Love Domain powers included the ability to touch an enemy to get them to “adore” you against their will and begin to attack other enemies on your behalf (and if there are no enemies, they just stare at the cleric with adoration). The implications of this nonconsensual relationship had many major figures in the RPG community condemning the power.

Wizards of the Coast removed the Unearthed Arcana article with Jeremy Crawford saying “the official version…is still ahead of us…Our team will hold off on answering questions until you’ve seen the real deal!” The Unearthed Arcana article has since been republished with the Love Domain removed and replaced with the Unity Domain, which has a power to allow the cleric to spread an ally’s damage among multiple other willing creatures. The College of Creation allows bards to create and animate nonmagical items, while the Clockwork Soul draws upon the Great Modron March to give sorcerers the ability to reduce chaos by negating advantage/disadvantage.

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Back in April, Wizards of the Coast announced they were forming a new video game studio with former BioWare developers James Ohlen and Chad Robertson. Last week, Wizards announced the name of the studio will be Archetype Entertainment with Ohlen serving as Head of Studio and Robertson as General Manager. Their first project will be an original IP “set in an all-new science fiction universe that will send players on a story-driven epic where choices they make will have real consequences on how their story unfolds.” That’s pretty much all the information we have at this point, but speculation has run rampant as to what the game or the world may look like based on Ohlen’s work on the Mass Effect series and Knights of the Old Republic, the latter connected to Wizards of the Coast through the use of the D20 System for the core mechanics of the game.

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That’s not the only new video game announcement. Owlcat Games and Paizo are currently Kickstarting the next isometric RPG, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. While not a direct sequel to Pathfinder: Kingmaker, it will be set in the same world with similar but greatly expanded gameplay and controls. The same way Pathfinder: Kingmaker was loosely based on the Kingmaker Adventure Path, this game will be based on the Wrath of the Righteous. From the Kickstarter:

“The realm of Sarkoris was destroyed when Areelu Vorlesh, a scholar and practitioner of forbidden magics, opened a rift to the abyssal planes of existence, and hordes of demons invaded Golarion. Led by the evil Demon Lords Deskari and Baphomet, the abyssal forces crushed all who stood against them, turning Sarkoris into a demon-infested land now known as the Worldwound. It fell to the neighboring nations to assemble an army capable of withstanding the demonic assault to protect the world from the flames. Thus the Crusades began.”

In addition to the standard array of classes, races, and other options, players will also be able to choose between six (or more depending on stretch goals) Mystic Paths that will grant new abilities as well as directly affect the story. There will also be a new tactical aspect to the game, allowing you to control entire armies on the battlefield. The Kickstarter funded shortly after it launched and at the time of writing has already raised more than half a million dollars.

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The latest user statistics from Roll20 are in from The Orr Group for the fourth quarter of 2019. The statistics place D&D 5e at number one with 47.54% of users followed by Call of Cthulhu (any edition) at 15.35%, “Uncategorized” at 14.17%, Pathfinder at 4.97%, and rounding out the top five is Warhammer (any edition including 40K) at 1.48%. One thing to keep in mind when interpreting these statistics is that they are self-reported by users who select the game when they create it on Roll20. Users may create a campaign based on a different system than the one they’re actually playing out of convenience, and some systems have support within the Roll20 store for purchased adventures, rules, and tokens which may skew results for them. The link above has the full list of games (and there are a lot of them) along with a new statistic, games with the most growth in the current quarter.

Speaking of statistics, Morrus went through all the ICv2 sales rankings all the way back to 2004 and created a chart of where different games and franchises have ranked over the years. Would you believe there’s one quarter where Dungeons & Dragons didn’t show up at all? A second chart also tracks how many times each game line has made it into the top 5 ranked by weight (a #1 spot is worth 5, #2 worth 4, and so on to a weighted number of 1 for a fifth-place spot on the list). ICv2 tracks physical book sales through hobby market outlets (game and comic book stores) and does account for crowdfunding campaigns, but does not include digital sales nor sales through mass-market outlets like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, etc.

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Cards Against Humanity announced its purchase of satirical website ClickHole. The card game company purchased the site from owner G/O Media for in an all-cash deal for an unknown amount. The site was originally created by The Onion in 2014 as a parody of sites such as BuzzFeed (who ironically were the first to report the news of the sale) and featured joke articles made to look like listicles, quizzes, and other clickbait-style articles. ClickHole’s staff will remain in place and will be given the freedom and independence to expand the scope and content of the site, including hiring new employees. The site’s previous owner, G/O Media, has faced several problems recently including conflicts with the employee union and the entire staff of a different website, Deadspin, resigning in protest in solidarity after their editor-in-chief was fired for refusing an order to “stick to sports”. Max Temkin, co-founder of Cards Against Humanity, stated that ClickHole will operate independently from Cards Against Humanity and ClickHole staff would not be involved in writing any Cards Against Humanity content.

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The Lord of the Rings 5e Bundle from Cubicle 7 and Humble Bundle is back for an encore. This bundle features almost every book for Adventures in Middle-earth, the first officially licensed adaptation of any of Tolkien’s works into Dungeons & Dragons rules. The only book missing is the Rohan Region Guide for a complete library of books for the line. The bundle is listed as “Last Chance” for a reason – Cubicle 7 will be losing the license to Lord of the Rings at some point this year, so this may very well be your last chance to pick these books up for a low price and help the Worldbuilder’s character in the process. This bundle runs until Monday, February 17. Also, this is the last week for the Tales of Warhammer 2020 ebook bundle with over a dozen ebooks set in the Warhammer 40K universe available in three different languages (English, French, and German). This bundle runs until Wednesday, February 12.

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The Hero Forge 2.0 Kickstarter has done amazingly well and is currently at over $2.3 million. If you’ve never checked the site out before, Hero Force allows you to create a custom miniature from hundreds of different character options, clothing and armor, weapons, accessories, and more from genres including fantasy, sci-fi, cyberpunk, steampunk, modern, and more so your miniature accurately reflects your personal character. This Kickstarter is to expand with even more options and the best of all – color miniatures! Yes, now those of us who lack the ability or inclination to paint can also get full-color custom miniatures. While the prices may seem high for a single miniature, even a custom one, it’s still less than all the paints and other accessories you’d need to paint your own mini. One miniature is available for $39, $75 for two, $149 for four, and more all the way up to $10,000 for 250 minis. There are also options for those who have their own 3D printers to get the blueprint files to print their own and access to the new Token Maker Unlimited system to create custom digital tokens for online play. You’ve got until Thursday, February 13 if you want to get in on these reduced prices before the system goes live this summer.

Ever wanted to make your own band? Then Rock & Roll is the game for you, published in a zine format for added rock authenticity. Write songs, play gigs, and navigate the drama of the music industry with a custom D6 system. And yes, you don’t have to be a rock band as the character abilities and rules system will work with any genre of music as you build your reputation and work your way up to the biggest venues in the world (or just run a quick one-shot game). The PDF is available for a $5 pledge, the physical copy for $10, or two copies for $18. This Kickstarter is fully-funded and runs from Sunday, February 16.



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 be joined by game designer and voice actor Kevin Czarnecki as we keep going with Gabriel Knight, 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


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