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News Digest for the Week of July 31

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news. Just because Gen Con is virtual this year doesn’t mean companies aren’t shy with the announcements as we have news on releases for Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Starfinder, Alien, Eberron, Call of Cthulhu, and a lot, lot more!

Don’t forget you can catch up on all the week’s news with Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk! This week, Morrus and Peter are joined by Banana Chan and Sen-Foong Lim to talk about their game about Chinese immigrants running a restaurant under threat from hopping vampires currently on Kickstarter, Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall!


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In case you missed it elsewhere on EN World this week:

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You know, I didn’t expect Ravenloft to get any new attention from Wizards of the Coast, but I was thankfully wrong as they are releasing a revamped boxed set edition of Curse of Strahd. And no, that pun was not my doing, it’s on the cover. This new edition will include an updated softcover version of the adventure including errata, updates, and changes to the Vistani that have been discussed previously. On top of the adventure, you’ll get a booklet titled “Creatures of Horror”, a Tarokka deck (the fortune-telling cards from Barovia similar to tarot) plus a booklet for interpreting the cards, a dozen “postcards” from different locations in Barovia, a DM screen, a double-sided poster map of Barovia and Castle Ravenloft, and various hand-outs. The boxed set is available for pre-order now with a release scheduled for October 20 and a retail price of $99.99.

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Of course, there’s no such thing as a “deluxe Dungeons & Dragons boxed set” that Beadle & Grimm didn’t look at and go, “We’ll see you and raise you…” as the Curse of Strahd Legendary Edition will be $359 and include 17 battle maps scale maps of the entire Castle Ravenloft, a canvas map of the land of Barovia, 60 encounter cards, player handouts, a custom DM screen, and (because this is Beadle & Grimm and they have to be a bit extra) jewelry and finger puppets. Yes, finger puppets of not just Count Strahd but also the Faceless Bride, Werewolf, Jester, and Undead Cleric.

But that wasn’t the only announcement from Beadle & Grimm as they’re moving beyond Dungeons & Dragons and into the world of Pathfinder with a new set of Character Chronicles. Each hardcover book is a combination character sheet, campaign journal, and rules book as it will feature the complete rules (including from the Advanced Player’s Guide) for your class, original artwork, detailed character sheets, blank pages to fill in yourself with notes or sketches, and even Birth and Death Certificates. No price has been listed yet and they will start with the Wizard, Fighter, Cleric, and Rogue with other classes unlocked via stretch goals in the Kickstarter launching this autumn.

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We’ve got a few new previews of Rime of the Frostmaiden, the upcoming adventure set in Icewind Dale for Dungeons & Dragons. Most of these previews have been artwork such as a construct made of heavy armor with a brain floating in a jar for a head and the magic item Ring of Warmth. The one that’s gotten the most attention definitely deserves that attention as it’s…gloriously awesome and terrible at the same time: Scroll of Tarrasque Summoning. No, this isn’t another fan creation like the stat block for Three Kobolds in a Trenchcoat, this is an actual item in the adventure. You use an action to read the scroll and summon a tarrasque in an unoccupied space you can see within one mile of you. Unlike the traditional tarrasque which requires a massive effort to kill, this summoned version disappears if you reduce it to 0 hit points (yes, that makes it much easier to handle). If you want to terrorize the land with a summoned fantasy kaiju, Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden will be available on September 15 for a retail price of $49.95.

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Of the two animated series from these creators, I did not expect The Dragon Prince to be the first to get a tabletop roleplaying game. For those who don’t know, The Dragon Prince is a Netflix original series created by Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond, who are best known for their work on Avatar: The Last Airbender. The show is set in the fantasy world of Xadia where two princes barely manage to escape the castle following a coup by the dark wizard Viren. The princes manage to escape with a dragon egg long thought destroyed and seek to use the egg to bring peace between the humans and the rest of the magical world. The show most recently premiered its third season last year and has been renewed for a further four more seasons. The tabletop RPG based on the show, Tales of Xadia, will take place between seasons 3 and 4 with a public playtest. The game is being published by Fandom (owners of D&D Beyond and the public fan-based wiki site Wikia) and will use the newest version of the Cortex Prime system designed by Cam Banks. The game is scheduled for release in 2021 and a website is already set up where you can view a trailer and sign up for updates.

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Two new Starfinder playtests have officially launched. The first involves the new nanocyte class, which utilizes nanites (which my spellcheck doesn’t recognize which means I should probably explain those are microscopic robots that live inside your body and control) to improve the body, perform tasks, replicate equipment, and more. The second is for mech combat (which my spellcheck also doesn’t recognize despite the vast amount of BattleTech fanfiction I’ve written, so I should probably say those are giant humanoid robots used in combat). Starfinder already has power armor so makes a distinction between the two as power armor being something you wear while mechs are a vehicle you pilot. Both new rules are in the same playtest document, but there are separate surveys for the two so you can playtest one or the other rather than needing to try out both sets of rules. The playtest runs until September 18, at which point the two surveys will close.

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Chaosium released pair of duet-play adventures for Call of Cthulhu in a set titled Does Love Forgive? The adventures are designed specifically for one keeper and one player and will play over one to two sessions. The first, “Love You to Death”, takes place in 1929 Chicago and takes the “investigator” role of Call of Cthulhu rather literally as the player is a private detective. The adventure kicks off when the investigator’s friend Hattie May asked for help retrieving her dog Highball from the Chicago Police Department before he’s “put down”. I’m sure this will be a straightforward affair with no strange twists whatsoever. The second adventure, “Mask of Desire”, is set in 1932 New York at a party in the posh Upper West Side apartment where the investigator’s friend Anne Konrad is nervous about an audition the following day with jazz conductor Nancy Turner. The following day, a mysterious parcel arrives that may be connected to the audition, and many people seem interested in the package’s contents. The adventure is available in PDF for $5.99 and requires either the Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition core rules or the Call of Cthulhu Starter Set.

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QuakeCon is normally an event devoted just to Bethesda video games, but something a little different is happening at the online version of the convention this year. Bethesda released the schedule for the event with two separate panels devoted to Dishonored Tabletop RPG from Modiphius. Not only that, but both panels are featured on the frontpage of the QuakeCon website as “highlights” among only eleven other panels focusing on video games like Prey, Doom, and Fallout 76 and the Quake world championship finals. In fact, the two tabletop events are listed while video game panels and demos from The Elder Scrolls Online, Skyrim, Fallout 4, and other big video game properties were not. It’s not clear yet what announcements or secrets will come from the two-part actual play panel including Dishonored development staff, but it’s clear Bethesda wants to draw attention to the tabletop RPG.

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Modiphius released a statement regarding the upcoming Dune roleplaying game and the departure of one of its designers. Adam Koebel is leaving the project in agreement between himself and Modiphius. This come as a direct result of the incident during the final Far Verona live stream where Koebel, as GM, ran a scene involving sexual assault without discussing the content with the player beforehand. The statement reads:

“After a discussion with Adam Koebel, all parties involved have decided that it is best he resign his ongoing projects with Modiphius Entertainment. We have been following the events of Far Verona and Adam’s conduct on the show, and we feel his journey toward rectifying the situation isn’t yet complete.

Adam’s work for us was written over the winter of 2019 and was specifically about best practices for gamemasters, and we feel it pertinent that the work not be included and his participation in ongoing projects suspended. We are replacing his work using a small team of diverse writers that include women and PoC — writers who were already members of the team who have or will be creating material for our games.

Consent and safety in roleplaying games is an absolute necessity, and all of our roleplaying games in the future will contain advice and guidance on those aspects for everyone at the table. The safety of our fans is of prime importance to us.”
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Restoration Games filed for a trademark for “HeroQuest Legacies”, sparking speculation that the dungeon-crawl board game produced from 1989 to 1997 may get an update. Restoration Games is best known for taking cult classic board games and modernizing them for the current era, with their two biggest projects being Fireball Island and the upcoming Return to Dark Tower. The rights to the original HeroQuest are…convoluted to say the least. Feel free to skip the next paragraph if tracking IP rights isn’t your thing.

The board game HeroQuest released in 1989 was a joint effort by American board game company Milton Bradley and wargame manufacturer Games Workshop and contains setting elements from Warhammer Fantasy. Milton Bradley was purchased by Hasbro and, in 1998, merged with Parker Brothers to form Hasbro Games. Meanwhile, “HeroQuest” was the original name of a 2000 roleplaying game designed by Robin D. Laws set in the world of Glorantha, named after an in-universe term that had been in use in RuneQuest for over a decade before the board game was released. The game was originally released by Moon Design Publications and then obtained by Chaosium when Moon Design’s owner Greg Stafford returned to the company. So the board game is owned by Hasbro via buying Milton Bradley, the name is owned by Chaosium by its merger with Moon Design, and the lore is owned by Games Workshop who hasn’t been bought or sold by anyone.

This snarl of intellectual property rights stalled previous attempts by a Spanish company called Gamezone to crowdfund a 25th Anniversary edition of the game in 2013 after the company failed in exploiting a rights loophole in Spain’s trademark and copyright laws and a regional distribution license. Gamezone attempted at least three times I’m aware of to crowdfund the project, but each attempt was cancelled due to the rights issues. What agreement that may allow Restoration Games to bring this property back to store shelves is unknown and may not yet exist as Restoration Games may have registered the trademark before entering negotiations. Either way, we won’t know for sure until one of the four companies involved (Restoration, Hasbro, Games Workshop, and Chaosium) make some sort of official announcement.

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Game designer Robert Bohl recently announced his retirement from the tabletop RPG industry (discussed in this interview with Egg Embry), leaving a question of what would happen to his punk rock inspired RPG Misspent Youth. Now we know as Bohl announced the RPG will be taken over by new company Fragging Unicorns. Not only will Fragging Unicorns take over the sales of Misspent Youth and its expansion Sell Out with Me (oh and be warned that the product descriptions take from the punk rock influence and include as much NSFW language as my personal Twitter account), but they’re currently working on more expansions for the line. Currently, Fragging Unicorn is Kickstarting their first product, the cyberpunk urban fantasy miniature skirmish game Gangs of the Undercity and it’s safe to say this is a game that doesn’t forget the “punk” in “cyberpunk”.

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Free League Publishing announced a new scenario set for the Alien RPG titled Destroyer of Worlds. Players will take on the role of Colonial Marines “dropped onto the moon Ariaricus to handle a growing insurgency, but soon find themselves fighting for their lives against enemies beyond their worse nightmares.” The boxed Cinematic scenario comes with a double-sided map of the colony and the space elevator ground base, player handouts, five pre-generated characters, player maps, and weapon/vehicle/NPC cards and can be played using only the Starter Set if you don’t have the core rules. In fact, while you can get the boxed set on its own for $29.99, there will also be a bundle with Destroyer of Worlds and the Alien RPG Starter Set priced at $69.99 (give or take a little depending on current exchange rates). The boxed set can be pre-ordered now and is set for release in August.

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Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of…well, you tell me. It’s your story, after all, with the Star Trek Adventures bundle from Modiphius and Humble Bundle. The bundle has three clearly-defined pledge levels based on how far you want to dip your toes into the Star Trek Adventures RPG. The $1 level gets you the Starter Set plus the character profiles for both The Original Series and The Next Generation crews. The $8 level includes the Core Rulebook, the first volume of the adventure collection These Are the Voyages, the Beta Quadrant Supplement covering the Romulan Empire and Klingon Empire, a GM screen, and three more adventures plus a bonus 50% off coupon for the hardcover of the core rules and exclusive starter packs for the Star Trek Online MMO. Finally, the $15 level gives you a full library with all three division sourcebooks (Operations, Command, and Sciences), the Alpha Quadrant Supplement covering the Cardassian Empire, Bajor, and the Ferengi Alliance, the Deep Space Nine and Voyager character packs, map tile sets, the second volume of the adventure collection series Strange New Worlds, plus five more adventures. This bundle runs until Wednesday, August 19, and benefits the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

You’ve also only got a few days left in the Pathfinder Second Edition Bundle where you can get the Core Rulebook plus adventures, novellas, maps, and more for just $5 or pick up more sourcebooks and expansions at the $10 and $20 levels including the Bestiary, Lost Omens Character Guide, Lost Omens World Guide, and more. There’s also a $30 level to receive all that plus a hardcover edition of the core rules (due to high demand, the hardcover edition is currently on backorder until November). This bundle benefits the National Urban League, The Carl Brandon Society, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and runs until Wednesday, August 5.


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 in case I can get my streaming setup to work, 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

Comments


Abstruse

Adventurer
I would love the return of the Hero Quest, I don't mind the name.
Which HeroQuest? The board game? The RPG? The other RPG? Seriously, it's part of the problem: There's HeroQuest the Milton Bradley game, Advanced HeroQuest the RPG that Games Workshop made based on the game (which is based on Warhammer Fantasy), and there's the modern HeroQuest (which is the more storytelling-focused version of RuneQuest) and, if that, its first or second edition?
 




Kannik

Explorer
Which HeroQuest? The board game? The RPG? The other RPG? Seriously, it's part of the problem: There's HeroQuest the Milton Bradley game, Advanced HeroQuest the RPG that Games Workshop made based on the game (which is based on Warhammer Fantasy), and there's the modern HeroQuest (which is the more storytelling-focused version of RuneQuest) and, if that, its first or second edition?
And let's not forget the great Sierra computer adventure game "Hero's Quest!" Which had to be renamed to "Quest for Glory" after MB came after them... (in this case though apparently it was Sierra's fault, for they failed to trademark it as the first computer game with the name :p)

I loved that line of games (the Sierra ones) back in the day...
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
And let's not forget the great Sierra computer adventure game "Hero's Quest!" Which had to be renamed to "Quest for Glory" after MB came after them... (in this case though apparently it was Sierra's fault, for they failed to trademark it as the first computer game with the name :p)

I loved that line of games (the Sierra ones) back in the day...
Oh yeah, I forgot about that one... Anyway, it'll be interesting to see what Restoriation does and what sort of deal they've worked out for what elements of the game because this is the second most convoluted IP rights I've ever had to track down in tabletop gaming behind BattleTech/Shadowrun.
 


Either way, we won’t know for sure until one of the four companies involved (Restoration, Hasbro, Games Workshop, and Chaosium) make some sort of official announcement.
Here is what we have said about the matter:

"Greg Stafford registered the HeroQuest trademark in 2002 for his HeroQuest Roleplaying game. Moon Design Publications became the licensed publisher of the HeroQuest RPG in 2006. In 2012 Moon Design purchased the HeroQuest trademark and other related IP from Greg Stafford. Moon Design continues to publish the HeroQuest RPG to this day, via Chaosium Inc. HeroQuest publications have largely been used for tabletop roleplaying in the fantasy world of Glorantha. In April 2020, Moon Design Publications published the Questworlds System Reference Document (SRD) so independent publishers could use the HeroQuest RPG core rules system for other game worlds and settings. Moon Design Publications does not currently have a licensing deal or any other business agreements with Restoration Games."
— Rick Meints, president Chaosium Inc.
 

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