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News Digest for the Week of November 27

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! New D&D miniatures from WizKids, Modiphius announces online convention, information on the Dune RPG, new Star Trek Adventures release, Jeremy Crawford talks about Tasha's Cauldron of Everything approach to race and alignment, Zeitgeist adventure path for 5e now on Roll20, and a lot more!

Don’t forget you can get all the week’s gaming news with Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk. This week, Morrus and Peter are joined by Eugenio Vargas to talk about Into the Motherlands.


And you can find out all the RPG crowdfunding projects ending soon with Our Favourite Game in All the World based off the RPG Crowdfunding News column by Egg Embry.


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In case you missed it elsewhere on EN World this week:
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EN Publishing’s epic adventure path Zeitgeist is now available on Roll20 for 5e. If case you don’t know what Zeitgeist is, here’s the description of the campaign setting and adventure:

Steam and soot darken the skies above the city of Flint, and winds sweeping across its majestic harbor blow the choking products of industrial forges into the fey rainforests that dot its knife-toothed mountains. Since the earliest ages when the people of Risur founded this city, they feared the capricious beings that hid in those fog-shrouded peaks, but now, as the march of progress and the demands of national defense turn Flint into a garden for artifice and technology, the old faiths and rituals that kept the lurkers of the woods at bay are being abandoned.

The Unseen Court, the Great Hunt, and the many spirits of the land long ago conquered by Risur's kings no longer receive tribute, but they cannot enter these new cities of steam and steel to demand their tithe. The impoverished workers who huddle in factory slums fear monsters of a different breed, shadowy children of this new urban labyrinth. Even their modern religions have no defenses against these fiends.

Times are turning. The skyseers—Risur's folk prophets since their homeland's birth—witness omens in the starry wheels of heaven, and they warn that a new age is nigh. But what they cannot foresee, hidden beyond the steam and soot of the night sky, is the face of this coming era, the spirit of the next age. The
zeitgeist.

This virtual tabletop ready version of the adventure has each encounter set up and ready to play with maps with dynamic lighting, tokens, macros for dice rolls, player visuals and handouts, and more. The Campaign & Player’s Guide is available for $4.99 with over 100 NPCs, 6 maps of the world, 40 empty cross-linked NPC character sheets for quick NPC generation, and a narrative campaign guide; while the first adventure Z01: Island at the Axis of the World is available for $9.99.

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We’re finally getting our hands on details about the Dune: Adventures in the Imperium roleplaying game from Modiphius. First, an art preview came out on over the weekend featuring a wallpaper a sandworm attack on a fleeing spaceship. Then this Tuesday, we got a full cover reveal with art from Bastien Lecouffe-Deharme. If you’re not familiar with the novel series and the films spawned from it, Modiphius posted a good primer on the story and setting on their blog. The game will use Modiphius’s 2d20 System and come out in four editions, one with the cover above and three special editions themed around House Atreides in green, House Harkonnen in red, and Imperial House Corrino in Purple plus launch support with a custom dice set, GM screen, journal, and more to be announced. Speaking of, a big question was answered as Modiphius stated you will be able to play in the established canon Houses or create your own. The campaign will take place mostly on Arrakis during the events of the first Dune novel as players will work as elite agents of their House seeking alliances and recruiting anyone willing to scheme and fight under your banner. Pre-orders will open in the second week of December for the hardcover edition (with free PDF) and the release is scheduled for Spring 2021.

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If you want more information about the upcoming Dune RPG or any other Modiphius product, odds are good we’ll get a deluge of it during Modiphius’s first online convention ModCon 2020. The convention will run parallel with the virtual edition of the UK convention Dragonmeet (which is co-managed by Modiphius CEO Chris Birch). Panels on running games, product announcements, streamed games, and other presentations will available to watch live on Modiphius’s Twitch channel from while panels while Dragonmeet will hold a selection of panels via Zoom. And as you expect, both conventions will have a wide array of online games available to sign up for, Modiphius covering Star Trek Adventures, Alien, Vampire: The Masquerade, Coriolis, and Mutant Year Zero (though some games are already fully-booked) and Dragonmeet with the expected spread of non-Modiphius RPGs including Pathfinder, Starfinder, Tales from the Loop, The One Ring, Numenera, 7th Sea, and more including a demo of the upcoming quickstart for the Terminator RPG. Dragonmeet will take place for one day on Saturday, December 5 starting at 9 AM UK time, while ModCon kicks off Friday, December 4 at 7 PM and continues through the weekend to Sunday, December 6.

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Jeremy Crawford from Wizards of the Coast spoke with Dicebreaker about the changes to race and alignment in Tasha’s Guide to Everything. Crawford said that the motivations were to decouple the choice of race from the choice of class by limiting inherent mechanical bonuses attached to race and to “stop leaning into a theme the game has had since the ‘70s of particular species having these innate advantages” which are “uncomfortably like some of the racist narratives in the real world.” The changes, according to Crawford, were an attempt to honor “the game’s early legacy while also acknowledging that people want to be able to create the characters they want, is that trying to walk that tightrope has not landed effectively”. The changes made in Tasha’s are just the start of a set of more broad steps the company is taking with the direction of Dungeons & Dragons, though Crawford states that the ongoing process is “really going to take several years to fully implement”.

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EN Publishing posted an update on the status of Level Up, the advanced rules system based on the 5e rules. The manuscript for the first three chapters of the book, which was announced just earlier this year, are currently being finalized including the more nuanced Heritage/Culture/Background system (which replaces “race” in 5e). After design from a multicultural team and a round of public playtesting, the near-final list of Heritage (who your parents were), Culture (the culture you grew up in), Background (what you did before adventuring), and Destiny (your personal story and motivation) has been modified from the playtest with more general options on top of the distinct cultural versions (so a Forest Gnome and Wood Elf feel distinct despite both being from the forest). This extensive overhaul to the 5e rules is currently set for release in 2021.

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A new virtual tabletop system has joined the increasing list of gaming aid websites with Owlbear Rodeo looking to fill the niche of a more stripped-down online experience. Owlbear Rodeo doesn’t require you to sign up for an account, doesn’t store your personal information, and only requires a web browser that supports WebRTC (which is most modern browsers). Each session is assigned a unique access password to share with the group in order to establish a peer-to-peer connection, removing the requirement for accounts and limiting the impact of server issues and outages as your and your groups’ computers talk directly to one another. While it doesn’t have a lot of the bells and whistles of other VTTs, it does have a battlemap with fog of war and other exploration features, tokens, and a dice roller. You’ll also have to supply all your own maps, tokens, character sheets, and other assets and you’ll need to arrange your own voice and video chat, but that’s the trade-off for an easy-to-use and privacy-focused system like this.

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WizKids announced two massive miniature sets coming next year. The first is a full pre-painted (though assembly is required) version of the Yawning Portal Tavern common room. The set is made up of over 130 pieces also compatible with LED lighting and compatible with the OpenLock and Dragonlock terrain systems. The design models the iconic three-tiered common room with the giant well in the middle complete with bucket for lowering down hapless victi—Err, intrepid adventurers. Such a large set does have a hefty price tag, so if you want to pick this up on release in April 2021, be prepared for the $349.99 retail price. There’s also another release coming in 2021, the Adult Red Dragon from the Icons of the Realm line. This dragon is pre-painted and is 200mm tall with wings spread 175mm wide (almost 8 inches tall and 7 inches wide) as part of the series of premium chromatic dragons. This miniature (seriously, can we still call them “miniatures” at this size?) is set for a February 2021 release with a retail price of $69.99.

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For those looking to manage the adventures of warriors of the Empire, the new Star Trek Adventures Klingon Empire Gamemaster Toolkit is required for victory. This set includes a four-panel GM screen with starship art on the player-facing side, six double-sided reference sheets for actions on a warship, Momentum spend tables, and conflict rules references, an A2-sized (mini-poster sized, about 24x16 inches) map of the Klingon Empire, and a 20-page standalone adventure. The PDF set is available now for $19.99 from the link above on DriveThruRPG, while the physical version is available for pre-order on Modiphius’s website for £34.99 (currently adjusting to $46.83) for a February 2021 release.

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Still a lot of RPG bundles over on Humble Bundle! The Maps Extravaganza Encore Bundle features map-making software including City Designer 3, Dungeon Designer 3, Campaign Cartographer 3+, plus tile sets and an instructional book to help you make your own custom maps. This bundle benefits Save the Children and Game Changer and runs until Wednesday, December 2. Also ending soon is the Conan Bundle from Modiphus with 18 books, a character sheet, and a discount code for 30% off the core rulebook in print for Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of. This bundle benefits Worldbuilders and runs until Wednesday, December 2. And just in time for the release of the video game that inspired it, the Cyberpunk Bundle from R. Talsorian Games featured not only an entire library of books covering lore, items, and more for Cyberpunk 2020 but also includes the Cyberpunk RED Jumpstart Kit so you can take all that knowledge of the past into the new edition of the game. This bundle benefits Able Gamers and runs until Wednesday, December 16. And don't forget for all of you doing your holiday shopping, all the bundles and items in the store on Humble Bundle can be sent as gifts.


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 where I’ll be streaming as soon as I get a proper night’s sleep, 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


Abstruse

Hero
Looks like its Owlbear Rodeo not Radio. Thats a clever name for a site but an even better one for a country song.

Something about your wife leaving you and your familar choosing her and life being nothing but an Owlbear Rodeo.
Good catch, thanks. Updated the correct the error.
 


The Yawning Portal looks cool but expensive at $349.99. The upper levels seem a little lacking, think there should be some walls in there, although I guess it would make the middle level hard to access. Is it just me or does Durnan look like James Hetfield?

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