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News Digest for the Week of May 15

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! A new Unearthed Arcana for D&D, Dungeons & Dragons meets My Little Pony, PaizoCon Online 2020 event announcements, the announcement of the announcement of more information about Baldur's Gate III, and more!

Don’t forget you can get all the news every week with Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk! This week, Morrus and Peter talk about how a roleplaying game gets made, from the initial pitch to a publisher all the way through writing, editing, art, layout, and getting the final printed book in your hand along with tips on how to get into the industry.


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In case you missed it elsewhere on EN World this week…
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Wizards of the Coast released more playtest material in Unearthed Arcana, this time revisiting several subclasses for Dungeons & Dragons. The Phantom is a Rogue subclass previously called The Revived which gives a necromantic bent to the rogue with class features and powers related to death and the shadowfell. The Warlock pact The Genie revises the previous subclass called the Noble Genie. Instead of the normal monkey’s paw aspect to dealing with a genie or djinn, the Warlock allies with the elemental spirit instead, getting access to new spells depending and abilities depending on the specific element of their genie (dao for earth, djinni for air, efreeti for fire, and marid for water). Finally, the Order of Scribes is a new take on the Archivist subclass for Wizards, which is a scholarly version of the most scholarly of caster classes. Members of the Order of Scribes can use a book as their spellcasting focus and easily copy, create, and modify spells, spellbooks, and scrolls.

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In a move I honestly thought would’ve come sooner, Hasbro decided to cross over two of its most popular IP brands with Cutie Marks & Dragons, a toy set of D&D themed figures from My Little Ponies. The set features five My Little Pony figures dressed in costumes of a barbarian, bard, druid, rogue, and wizard (though that one may be a cleric) with a custom D20 and a pony-themed DM Screen. This isn’t the first crossover between these two brands, as the sixth season of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic featured a D&D episode titled “Dungeons and Discords”. This set is part of a new line featuring crossovers with other works owned or licensed by Hasbro, including Ghostbusters and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. There is no release date or price yet listed.

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Free League Publishing announced a new edition for Twilight: 2000, the WWIII themed apocalyptic roleplaying game originally released by Game Designers’ Workshop. The new fourth edition of the hexcrawl game will take place in an alternate universe where the Cold War exploded into a hot war between the USSR and United States. The design team is led by Tomas Härenstam (co-founder and CEO of Free League and designer of Alien RPG and Forbidden Lands) along with setting and scenarios by Chris Lites (Conan, Over the Edge), editing by Angus Abranson (Doctor Who, The One Ring), and art by Niklas Brant (interior), Martin Grip (cover), and Tobias Tranell (maps) along with several current and former military personnel on board as consultants. The game will be released in a boxed set for sandbox play in 2021 following a Kickstarter set to launch this August.

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Larian Studios has taken a cue from their partners at Wizards of the Coast when it comes to Baldur’s Gate III. The game developer has announced that there will be an announcement about the game coming soon. In a tweet, Larian Studios announced they will be participating in the Guerrilla Collective virtual event with several other smaller game studios such as Humble Bundle, Paradox Interactive, Coffee Stain, 11 Bit Studios, and ZA/UM. The tweet stated “We’ll be there, alongside all our friends. You’ll find out why… soon.” Speculation is the announcement will include a date for the release of the early access, which many in the video game press have reported would be this summer. A few details about the early access came from a recent Hasbro investment meeting, stating that it will be a limited release with only six classes with two subclasses each and five origin characters (Wyll – Human Warlock, Shadowheart – Half-elf Cleric, Lae’zel – Githyanki Fighter, Gale – Human Wizard, and Astarion – Elven vampire spawn Rogue), and that the early access will only cover the game’s first act.

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Alliance Game Distributors announced they will resume operations starting on Monday, May 18. Shipments from the distributor halted in mid-March due to lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders due to the current pandemic and postponed payments owed to game publishers. Distribution centers will not operate at full capacity to allow for social distancing per state and city guidelines and regulations. This coincides with the previously announced re-opening of Diamond Comics, which shares a parent company with Alliance, with both distributors sending out their first shipments on May 20. From the statement: “We are operating at reduced team sizes in our distribution centers to maintain adequate social distancing, improved sanitation measures have been adopted, and most of our office-based employees are working remotely. Some of our distribution centers may not reopen on the same schedule as others due to local government reopening guidance.”

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Kobold Press released the softcover for the second edition of the seminal game design book, Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design. This updated version of the 2012 book features essays from designers including Keith Baker, Wolfgang Baur, Monte Cook, Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb, Rob Heinsoo, Nicolas Logue, Colin McComb, Kelley Pawlik, Amber Scott, Michael E. Shae, Michael A. Stackpole, Ray Vallese, and Willie Walsh. From the product description: “Between these covers, you’ll find practical, thought-provoking essays on worldbuilding, creating magic systems, conflict, and compelling stories, what to expect when you work as a design professional, and much more. Conceptual chapters examine what game design is and how good design can create the best games. Concrete examples provide models to help you create well-rounded designs and exciting adventures.” The PDF and softcover are available from Kobold Press’s website, linked above, and has been available in PDF on DriveThruRPG since November.

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Paizo announced more details about their virtual convention, PaizoCon Online 2020. A schedule of events is now available featuring a schedule of panels, press conferences, Q&As, and live plays streamed live on Twitch in partnership with Know Direction. Just like the in-person convention, the big attractions are the new product announcements and previews, which will include a look at the updated Kingmaker Adventure Path for Pathfinder 2nd Edition, the Starship Operations Manual and other products for Starfinder, an update on the status of Organized Play, and a look at the upcoming Advanced Player’s Guide. There’s also information for the over 1100 virtual games you can sign up for, both for the official organized play organizations Pathfinder Society and Starfinder Society as well as non-organized play games and more panels. The event will take place primarily on Paizo’s official Twitch channel and runs from Tuesday, May 26, through Sunday, May 31.

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Humble Bundle and Cubicle 7 have teamed up to offer a bundle for the Warhammer 40,000: Deathwatch roleplaying game. The $1 level gets you the core rulebook and two introductory adventures in DRM-free PDF and you can build or complete your library with more sourcebooks and adventures in the $8 and $15 tier, culminating in the top tier which gets you a total of 18 books worth $274 for just $18, or only a dollar per book. This bundle benefits Doctors Without Borders and runs until Wednesday, May 27. We’re also in the final week of the Asmodee Digital Play with Friends bundle featuring digital versions of Asmodee’s board games such as Smallworld, Carcassone, Love Letter, Twilight Struggle, Splendor, and more. This bundle benefits Partners in Health and runs until Thursday, May 21.


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 testing out some system upgrades with various games over the upcoming week, 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

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