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News Digest for the Week of June 19

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! Multiple new D&D books announced, change in management at Paizo, Baldur’s Gate III gameplay, GAMA Board shake-up, Starfinder playtest, and more!

Don’t forget you can find out all the week’s news with Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk every week! This week, Morrus and Peter are joined by James Mendez Hodes to talk about cultural consulting plus Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall, Agon, and Thousand Arrows.


In case you missed it elsewhere on EN World…


Wizards of the Coast officially confirmed the next Dungeons & Dragons adventure, Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. Set in the Icewind Dale area of the Forgotten Realms in the cold north of the Sword Coast, this adventure promises danger and horror for characters of level 1-12.

Feel the cold touch of death in this adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.
In Icewind Dale, adventure is a dish best served cold.

Beneath the unyielding night sky, you stand before a towering glacier and recite an ancient rhyme, causing a crack to form in the great wall of ice. Beyond this yawning fissure, the Caves of Hunger await. And past this icy dungeon is a secret so old and terrifying that few dare speak of it. The mad wizards of the Arcane Brotherhood long to possess that which the god of winter’s wrath has so coldly preserved—as do you! What fantastic secrets and treasures are entombed in the sunless heart of the glacier, and what will their discovery mean for the denizens of Icewind Dale? Can you save Ten-Towns from the Frostmaiden’s everlasting night?

Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden is a tale of dark terror that revisits the forlorn, flickering candlelights of civilization known as Ten-Towns and sheds light on the many bone-chilling locations that surround these frontier settlements.

Just like previous products, this will come in a hardcover mass market edition and the above-pictured limited edition cover for retail stores. This is also the first Dungeons & Dragons product written by multiple authors where more than half the credited writers are women or nonbinary creators. And of course, Beadle & Grimm’s has their deluxe version with the full module, 20 pre-painted minis, encounter cards, battlemaps, handouts, jewelry, and more. There will also be a set of custom frost-inspired dice with a map of Icewind Dale and a selection of character and monster cards.

Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden is available for pre-order now with a release date of September 15 and a retail price of $49.95.


That’s not the only new products announced. A cookbook titled Heroes’ Feast: The Official Dungeons & Dragons Cookbook features 80 recipes including: Bytopian Shepherd's Bread, Iron Rations, savory Hand Pies, Hogs in Bedrolls, Amphail Braised Beef, Hommlet Golden Brown Roasted Turkey, Drow Mushroom Steaks, Moonshae Seafood Risotto, Heartlands Roseapple & Blackberry Pie, Yawning Portal Biscuit, and Chultan Zombie. The hardcover is available for pre-order now with a release date of October 27 and a retail price of $35.00.


Finally, there’s a new comic book miniseries from IDW and Dark Horse, Stranger Things: Dungeons & Dragons. This four-part miniseries will take place in the Dungeons & Dragons game played by Will, Mike, Lucas, and Dustin written by Jody Houser and Jeff Zub featuring art from Diego Galindo. The series starts in November with each issue having a cover price of $3.99. IDW will also publish Dungeons & Dragons: At the Spine of the World, a comic book series written by Aimee Garcia and A.J. Mendez with art by Martin Coccolo. No plot details were released aside from the protagonist’s name, Runa, but this series will start October 21, 2020.


A big change is coming in the management at Paizo. CEO Lisa Stevens announced she is stepping back from her duties in anticipation of retiring. Jeff Alvarez, who currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer, will take over a President following the transition period and will be assuming duties involved in regular operation of the company. In the statement, which is available in full in the link above, Stevens stated that this is not that big of a change as Alvarez, along with Publisher and Chief Creative Officer Erik Mona, have been taking over day-to-day operating duties with this process merely formalizing this move. Stevens will remain as CEO for “the next few years” overseeing the more strategic aspects of the business before she retires, where Alvarez will take over the CEO role as well.


Wizards of the Coast announced changes to how they approach race in light of long-running criticisms from both fans and employees. The statement, reproduced in the link above, outlines a series of changes being made in reprints to remove offensive language, particularly in Curse of Strahd involving the Romani-inspired Vistani after working with a Romani cultural consultant. There will also be changes to orcs and drow to bring them more in line with the presentations in Eberron and Wildemount to remove the “always-evil” aspects of these two groups. Following the release of this statement, many on Twitter had questions and requests for clarifications, which Jeremy Crawford answered. Of specific note is that the term “race” is not actually used either in the series of tweets nor in the statement from Wizards of the Coast, though no alternate game terminology has been offered the way Pathfinder 2e has switched to “ancestry”.


There’s some good news and some bad news on the video game front. The bad news is that Cyberpunk 2077, based on the R. Talsorian tabletop RPG, has been delayed once again, this time until November. CD Projekt Red says the delay is to allow for additional time for balancing and bug fixes, though journalists have already received review copies.

The good news is not only did we get a new trailer for Baldur’s Gate III, not only did we get a brand new two-hour gameplay demo, but we got a tentative date for the Early Access! The early access period will start sometime in August of this year (with a “Maybe” attached) and cover the first act of the full game. For those thinking that means a short play, Creative Director Swen Vincke stated in an interview with GameSpot that the first act will be larger than Divinity: Original Sin 2. While Vincke doesn’t say so in the interview, GameSpot specifies this means the early access for Divinity: Original Sin 2 (which featured about 10-12 hours of gameplay) and not the entire game (which takes 60-80 hours to complete). Oh, and one update I know many people were concerned about in the comments of previous trailers, the narration has changed from the past-tense used in Divinity to the more common present-tense. Vincke was clear, though, that the work-from-home mandates of COVID-19 have affected development and this may cause delays in the features and quests available in early access and there may be a delay the release of early access.


GAMA (Game Manufacturer’s Association) held elections on Tuesday for four positions during its annual membership meeting. Jeff Pinsker of Amigo Games is the only candidate re-elected to their position, in this case Director-at-Large. The other Director-at-Large will be Julie Ahern of Greenbriar Games. Gary Alaka of Gap Closer Games will be the new Treasurer as the only candidate running for that position (though Heather O’Neill of 9th Level Games was dropped from the list of candidates originally released June 9), and the Vice President will be Chris Spivey of Darker Hue Studios. The organization also announced a $100,000 loss for the year of 2019 against a protected $200,000 loss for the year. With the cancelation of Origins Game Fair, projections indicate a $200,000 loss expected for 2020, though current reserves should be able to sustain the organization through to events scheduled for 2021.


Paizo announced an upcoming public playtest for Starfinder starting in July – two of them in fact. The first features a new class, the nanocyte. The nanocyte hosts nanobots, “granting them impossible strength, transforming into tools, and coursing between obstacles to overwhelm their foes”. They can also change their body to avoid to heal damage, blend into their surroundings, or mask when they’re lying. The second playtest involves giant robot combat!! The new rules focus on piloting and battling in mechs along with customization rules and building your own mech. This is an expansion to the existing rules and not a replacement, so you can drop a single mech into an encounter or build an entire campaign around stompy robot fighting. Keep an eye on the Paizo website for details on how to sign up next month.


Loke Battle Mats released two new products both near and dear to my cyberpunk heart. The Big Book of Cyberpunk BattleMats is a spiral-bound lay-flat book of laminated maps perfect for Shadowrun, Cyberpunk Red, Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD, or any other near-future sci-fi roleplaying game. Each page is a standard A4 size (about 12” by 9”) so each double-page map is 12” by 18”. What could be better than that? How about the Giant Book of CyberPunk Battle Mats which is A3 size (about 12” by 16”) meaning the maps are even bigger with two pages making a map of 16” by 24”. The Giant Book also features two additional pages for one additional map. The Big Book of CyberPunk Battle Maps is £19.99 and the Giant Book of CyberPunk Battle Maps is £32.99, both due out in July.


UltraPro released a new line of jumbo plush D20s in a variety of colors. These 10” dice are made of soft fuzzy fabric with reinforced felt backing to retain the D20 shape and are available in Black, Blue, Green, Purple, Red, and White. The numbers are fully stitched on (not ironed or pressed) in white-silver thread on all versions except white, which has black thread for obvious visibility reasons. These soft, fluffy dice are available now with a retail price of $20.99.


Humble and Profantasy Software have an amazing bundle of maps, tokens, and tools to create your own maps in the Maps Extravaganza Bundle. The $1 level features Token Treasury: Monsters, Battle Maps Collection, and Floorplans Collection asset packs for Campaign Cartographer or any other image editing program, or you can use them directly in your virtual tabletop. Things start getting interesting at $25 where you get a one-year license to Campaign Cartographer 3+ and even more asset packs, a “beat the average” level (currently $26.76 at the time of writing) for more assets and floorplans, or the top-tier $30 level with a lifetime license for Campaign Cartographer 3+, City Designer 3, and Dungeon Designer. This bundle benefits Doctors Without Borders and runs until Monday, July 8. And if you need adventures to go with all your new maps, the Dungeons, Mazes, and Burrows bundle with over three dozen adventures, sourcebooks, tips, tricks, and more for 5e. This bundle benefits Book Industry Charitable Foundation and runs until Wednesday, July 1.

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 test out my new Playstation 4 and capture card on stream, 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


hay why not include all the different gender types, also fighter is so violent, maybe rename it to hostile negotiations expert, and rogue also seems a bit too stereo typical, how about dexterous person.

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