News Digest for the Week of October 1

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! New core Dungeons & Dragons books coming in 2024, new D&D campaign settings teased, a new gift box set for expanded rules, the Diana Jones Award goes missing, 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 Shane Stacks to talk about the ENnie Awards and Level Up: Advanced 5e electronic tools!


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

D&D Celebration was this past weekend and the big news is surprisingly not the release that leaked on Amazon early. No, the biggest news is the new core rulebooks due for the 50th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons in 2024. Wizards of the Coast has released few details, but what they did say should temper calls it will be a 6th Edition. The new core rulebooks will be completely compatible with 5e and will incorporate feedback from the player surveys the company has conducted the past year or two along with future surveys. This seems to indicate less of a new edition or even a “5.5e” and more something like with Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition with the release of the Essentials line – fully compatible content but revamped to incorporate new design goals.


The big release is a gift box set titled Dungeons & Dragons Rules Expansion Gift Set. This boxed set includes three books in a slipcover with a new DM screen. Two of the books have been previously released, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. The third book will be new, Mordenkainen Presents Monsters of the Multiverse. Well, mostly new. The book will feature over 250 monsters and 30 playable races, some previously seen in other books such as Volo’s Guide to Monsters and collected in this title with updated stats. The changes include dropping the spellcasting trait from all NPC and monster blocks, replacing them with regular actions in order to reduce prep time and help with Challenge Rating balance. This boxed set will be released on January 25, 2022 (hey, that’s my birthday…hint hint), while Monsters of the Multiverse will get a stand-alone release later this year.

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The final big announcement is about campaign settings. Ravenloft was confirmed as one of the three classic settings mentioned previously by Ray Winninger, with two further settings coming out in 2022 and 2023. Additionally, there are two all-new settings currently in the development phase to test if they’re viable for a full release. They also teased an announcement for a new 2022 product that will be announced next month which goes into a scary new place we’ve never been before. The stream closed out with a look at an alternate cover for an upcoming book for 2022 (unsure if it’s the one to be announced next month) with a sketch of Boo the Miniature Giant Space Hamster.


Paizo released details on their offering for this year’s Free RPG Day. The first is a Starfinder adventure titled The Starfinder Four vs. The Hardlight Harlequin. Fans of science fiction television will be familiar with the frequent plot of “The Holodeck Has Gone Haywire”, which is exactly what’s gone on here. A small moon is hosting an entertainment expo, but the building is slowly being digitized as the game designer’s mind has been taken over by a comic book villain. For the Pathfinder 2e fans, there is Threshold of Knowledge which places the party into the role of students at Magaambya, the oldest school of magic in the Inner Sea. A teacher has gone missing and it’s up to the students to solve the mystery that threatens the existence of the school itself. Both of these adventures will be available in print only at Free RPG Day participating stores with the PDF available for free afterward. Free RPG Day is October 16, 2021, so you have just about two weeks to make sure your local game store is participating.


The iconic trophy for the prestigious Diana Jones award has gone missing. The 2019 winner Alex Roberts shipped the trophy to one of the 2020 honorees, Maurice Broaddus, last September. The package never completed its trip from Canada to Indianapolis and, due to the length of time that had passed, no tracking number was available. The trophy originated from the offices of TSR UK after the loss of the license to publish the Indiana Jones Role-Playing Game which required stock be destroyed. The last unsold copy partially survived with the “Diana Jones” from the title visible. The remnants were preserved in a four-sided pyramid made of acrylic on a wooden base. The Diana Jones Award committee is exploring ideas for a replacement trophy. If anyone has knowledge of the trophy’s current location, please contact the Diana Jones Award committee.


Time Magazine ran a feature this week covering the shipping crisis affecting the tabletop gaming industry. The story quotes multiple sources, including Maggie Clayton of Greater Than Games who stated that they have a full container of games that have all been sold via pre-order that has been sitting in China since May unable to ship. “All of that product is technically sold, except for the fact we don’t have the games or the money yet.” Anne-Marie De Witt from Fireside Games stated the combination of the demand spike from the pandemic and the issues from supply and shipping problems have thrown planning out the window. “We don’t have time to be precise about what our print rounds need to be. Get some product on a boat.” The article also quotes Dust Studios co-owner Gregoire Boisbeland on the delays for the Dust 1947 miniature game, stating that a shipment was scheduled to arrive in February, got stuck at the hub for a month, didn’t leave until March, was supposed to arrive in May, and is currently stuck in port at Seattle since then.

The day following the Time Magazine article was published, Dust Studios announced they would be closing, citing the same concerns voiced in the article. Over the past weeks, companies such as Asmodee announced increased prices at the wholesale level (which will mean increased costs for retail customers), while Steve Jackson Games published a list of products they don’t believe will last in stock through the holiday shopping season through December. ICv2 reports that some major retailers such as Costco, Wal-mart, Ikea, and Home Depot are chartering shipping vessels themselves in order to get around the delays, which also says a lot about the increased costs if chartering an entire ship is more cost-effective than using existing shipping companies. Unfortunately, that option is likely out of reach of most tabletop gaming companies as even Wizards of the Coast stated the January 2022 release date for the Rules Expansion Gift Set was meant to be in November and delayed due to the shipping and printing issues.


Humble Bundle and Frog God Games have partnered for the Tomes of Lost Magic for 5th Edition Bundle. The bundle at the $18 level features a total of 31 digital titles including five volumes of Tome of Horrors 2020 Instant Encounters, Book of Lost Spells, Orcus of 34th Level, Treacherous Traps, Tome of Horrors 2020, and more. At the $38 level, you can add on a physical copy of the Book of Lost Spells. This bundle benefits Hospice of the Northwest and runs until Thursday, October 14. The Voices of Warhammer 2021 Bundle by the Black Library is also still available, featuring 19 audio books and audio dramas at the $18 level from both Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000. This bundle benefits EveryLibrary Institute and runs until Thursday, October 7.

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, 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

I guess it is not off topic if I say I really worry about the shipping crisis. Big companies may suffer serious economic damages, but the smaller publishers that have to pay a lot of bills maybe they will not survive. If this happens... should a big company to buy their IPs for a future revival?


Well, that was fun
Staff member
I guess it is not off topic if I say I really worry about the shipping crisis. Big companies may suffer serious economic damages, but the smaller publishers that have to pay a lot of bills maybe they will not survive.
I was about to agree with you.
If this happens... should a big company to buy their IPs for a future revival?
And then it went right back to your favourite topic of companies buying each other!


If this happens... should a big company to buy their IPs for a future revival?
For a lot of IP, it'll go into the weird limbo area where nobody knows who owns what rights anymore because the companies just disappear. The ones with debt will declare bankruptcy and sometimes they'll get bought at auction by holding companies and sometimes they won't. Others just go out of business and you're left wondering if the rights transferred to the owner of the company or the creator of the game or some combination thereof. Made worse if it's a licensed property - I am still utterly shocked we got that reprint of the WEG Star Wars game a while back because that sort of thing never happens. It requires so many steps of approval between companies that all want their share of the money involved. Fantasy Flight is printing and distributing it so they want their share, Disney owns Star Wars so they want their share, whoever owns what's left of West End Games owns the actual text of the rules so they want their share, and figuring out how to make everybody happy is a Herculean task.

For others, it's still a crapshoot whether they'd get bought by somebody or not. If a company's not going bankrupt but simply closing before it gets that far (which is what it seems is happening with Dust based on the announcement), to sell the IP means they'd have to sell it for enough to cover not only any debt the company has but enough extra that it's worthwhile to the creators to sell IP they may want to come back to when the industry settles back down in a few years. Taking Fireside Games as an example, a larger company like Asmodee might want Castle Panic and offer to buy it from Fireside, but they'd have to offer Fireside enough to make it worth selling a popular franchise that, even if it's not profitable right this second, might be profitable in the future. Would Fireside want to gamble on that or just suspend operations and keep the company open as a holding company for the IP until 2025 or whenever it's clear the shipping and supply crises are over.

We've seen something similar already in RPGs with FASA Corporation. This is a simplified version of events (anything involving the rights to old FASA properties is always complicated), but around 2001, FASA Corporation stopped active operations and reorganized as a holding company for the rights to various game settings and other intellectual property. I'm not sure the specific reasons, but the tabletop gaming market was kind of screwy around that time. Magic: The Gathering dominated everything even after the CCG market otherwise collapsed, while D&D 3rd Edition and the OGL/D20 System Boom was well underway, already pushing other game systems off store shelves. They sold the rights to BattleTech and Shadowrun to WizKids, but they held onto Earthdawn. Earthdawn was then licensed to other companies in the 2000s rather than producing products directly, which allowed FASA Corporation itself to avoid getting caught up in the D20/OGL Bubble collapsing in the mid/late 2000s. So in 2012, after the market had mostly stabilized, FASA Corporation reorganized again and got back into publishing under the name FASA Games, Inc. eventually producing a new edition of Earthdawn in 2015.

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
The PF module by Jabari Weathers for FRPG Day looks like a great intro adventure. Wish I could persuade my FLGS to support Free RPG day...

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