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News Digest for the Week of July 30

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! Wizards of the Coast clarifies policy on D&D canon, Hasbro’s shareholders earning call once again highlights Dungeons & Dragons, GAMA announces the Horizon Fellowship for under-represented publishers and retailers, and more!

Don’t forget, you can get all the news every week with Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk! This week, Morrus and Peter are joined by Adam RKitch to talk about the roleplaying game rental service RPG Kitchen!


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In case you missed it elsewhere on EN World this week:
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Jeremy Crawford of Wizards of the Coast clarified the company’s position on whether or not a product is considered “canonical” for Dungeons & Dragons. The intended goal is to remove baggage from players who are looking to start playing D&D. Based on my count of products released over the last almost half-century of Dungeons & Dragons, there are over 275 novels, 102 video games (including DLC), and 317 comic books spread over multiple series with many of these products telling the same stories as one another or stories explored in published sourcebooks or modules with distinct differences between them. To quote from Jeremy Crawford:

Our studio treats D&D in much the same way that Marvel Studios treats its properties. The current edition of the D&D roleplaying game has its own canon, as does every other expression of D&D. For example, what is canonical in fifth edition is not necessarily canonical in a novel, video game, movie, or comic book, and vice versa. This is true not only for lore but art as well.

This approach allows R.A. Salvatore to write Drizzt novels without having to worry if his version of the Forgotten Realms perfectly matches what we do in the roleplaying game. […] Every edition of the roleplaying game has its own canon as well. In other words, something that might have been treated as canonical in one edition is not necessarily canonical in another. For example, the succubus was classified as a devil in fourth edition, even though it had been a demon in previous editions.

[…] Key to our approach is the belief that the story belongs to the DM and the players, not us. We make a conscious effort to preserve as many opportunities as possible for DMs to play with their own ideas. That’s why we don't produce sourcebooks that spool out a ton of backstory. The DM or player remains the ultimate arbiter of what’s true in their expressions of D&D.

The statement continues that the Dungeons & Dragons team is aware of the game’s history and this clarification of policy is meant to allow creators to draw from the long history of the game without feeling shackled to it when changes or updates need to be made. You can read the full blog post on the Wizards of the Coast website.

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Cubicle 7 released the PDF version of Doctor Who The Roleplaying Game 2nd Edition and are now accepting pre-orders for the hardcover edition. The new edition of the rules is backward-compatible with the previous edition but revises the system to play faster and be easier to learn. The 256-page PDF is available now for $29.99, while the hardcover is available for pre-order for Q1 2022 delivery in a standard edition for $49.99 or a deluxe edition with a fold-out TARDIS cover for $99.99. This release comes just before BBC announced that 13th Doctor actor Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall will be departing the show following a six-part single-story series coming later this year and three specials for 2022.

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Hasbro held their quarterly earnings call this week, with Dungeons & Dragons once again taking a spotlight during the shareholder presentation. Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner particularly highlighted the digital growth for Wizards of the Coast with revenue up 118% even with while acknowledging the below-expected performance of Dark Alliance, though he stated that “the launch of Dark Alliance was really about listening to the players, giving them what they want, more downloadable content, more satisfactory more immersive gameplay. […] We’re fully prepared to continue to invest behind the games.” Goldner also spoke of the “partially analog, partially digital” approach to the brand, referring to “face-to-face role-playing as well as digital role-playing”. The full transcript is available above, with Wizards of the Coast being frequently mentioned throughout (though be warned it’s meant for a financial audience so expect mentions of “Boulder’s Gate”).

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Loke BattleMats announced three new products expanding their roleplaying line-up beyond the company’s lay-flat map books. Untold Encounters of the Random Kind is a 350-page hardcover book of random encounter tables, adventure generators, and more. There’s also a new take on the GM Screen, a double-sided screen with no tables that features overland artwork, one of a valley and stream with mountains in the background and the other a vast cityscape. The intent is to use as backdrops to expand the battlemat, an interesting innovation (at least for me, who frequently uses GM screens but can’t remember the last time I actually referenced any of the tables). Finally, there is the Combat Twists, a deck of cards to add more randomness to combat encounters. These products will be available at this year’s UK Games Expo this weekend with retail releases to follow.

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Archon Studio announced the retail release of their Kickstarter-funded Dungeons & Lasers sci-fi terrain set. The set beats the line's other fantasy/medieval/renaissance themed release for the 3D terrain system with techno-themed walls edged with riveted metal and circuit patterns. The terrain itself is made of laser-cut plastic and assembles in custom configurations with no glue or tools. This is the first of the sets available for retail purchase following a trio of successful Kickstarters for the line that ran from May to July of this year. The starter set is available for $54.00 while a second alien-themed room expansion and an accessory pack are both available for $25.00 each.

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The Games Manufacturing Association (GAMA) announced the Horizon Fellowship to assist traditionally under-represented demographics in tabletop gaming. Those selected for the program will receive a one-year membership to GAMA, monthly one-on-one mentoring sessions with established game designers along with virtual workshops, a $1000 grant for business expenses, and a travel package to GAMA Expo 2022 with free admission, hotel accommodations, and vendor space plus a $1000 travel reimbursement. One publisher and one retailer will also receive $5000. Applications for the first round opened on July 26 and will close on August 13 with an announcement of those accepted coming in September. Retailers and publishers seeking to apply may do so online individually or as teams of up to three.

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Humble Bundle has two tabletop roleplaying bundles live now. Launched this week is the Paizo Starfinder Book Bundle featuring a total of 36 digital rulebooks, sourcebooks, adventures, maps, and more for just $30. If you’d like to bump that up to $50, you can also receive the hardcover of Starfinder Pact Worlds sourcebook and the Starfinder Beginner Box physical release (with additional shipping charge). And if you just want to try out Starfinder, you can get the Starfinder Core Rulebook and elevn other adventures, sourcebooks, and maps in PDF for just $5. This bundle benefits Comic Books for Kids and runs until Thursday, August 19. The Pelgrane Press 13th Age bundle is also still going on featuring a base pledge of $1 for five digital products including a Quick Start and three more levels topping out at $25 for a total of a 34 product library. This bundle benefits Oceana Protecting the World’s Oceans and also runs until Thursday, August 19.



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


Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
. The Pelgrane Press 13th Age bundle is also still going on featuring a base pledge of $1 for five digital products including a Quick Start and three more levels topping out at $25 for a total of a 34 product library. This bundle benefits Oceana Protecting the World’s Oceans and also runs until Thursday, August 19.
Plus if you pledge at the I think $30+ level, you get a $25 off coupon for a hard copy, as well as all 34 of the .pdfs. I did so, and the hardcover of 13th Age arrived while I was on vacation - woot!
 

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