News Digest for the Week of October 4

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news on our new day of Friday! A new preview of Eberron: Rising from the Last War book and minis, a new Unearthed Arcana, Kickstarter rejects petition to unionize, Wendy’s releases an RPG, Monte Cook—Wait, go back one…

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So I’ve been reporting on tabletop gaming for a while now. I’ve covered a lot of mainstream marketing using tabletop RPGs from odd licensing deals to Old Spice making a player character class for Pathfinder. Even still, I never in my life thought I would by saying the phrase “the official Wendy’s tabletop roleplaying game”, but here we are. Wendy’s marketing department released a free 97-page PDF with core rules for Feast of Legends. It is not clearly known who designed it as there are no designer credits (which is typical of the advertising industry – writers of advertisements are rarely if ever given credit in marketing materials), but the game credited only to “Wendy” is an original system somewhat based on the D20 System with heavy modifications. Critical Role joined in on the promotion, doing a live stream Thursday night of the game system (the VOD is only available to Twitch subscribers of Critical Role).

The release has not been without controversy, however. While the lack of writing or design credits are standard for the advertising industry, they’re not in tabletop roleplaying games. Many creators took to social media to express their displeasure at this lack of recognition for the creatives who made this, including Monica Valentinelli and Matt Forbeck. Others have pointed out the controversy surrounding Wendy’s politics, particularly a boycott of the franchise due to their refusal to join the Fair Food Program, a workers rights program for farm workers which every other major fast food chain has joined.

The PDF is available for free from the Wendy’s Feast of Legend website.

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Kickstarter stated that they will not recognize their workers’ right to organize as they have refused to recognize the Kickstarter United union. Kickstarter stated on Twitter: “Kickstarter will recognize a union if our staff votes for one in an NLRB-certified election. That’s the fair and democratic path forward. We have to protect the rights of all our staff members, those who want a union and those who don’t. This is their decision, not ours.”

There are two ways for a Union to be recognized in the United States, the first is what is known as a “card check”. Employees of the company submit signed authorization forms known as “cards” stating they wish to be represented by the union. If more than 50%. This is what Kickstarter United has done under the regulations of the National Labor Relations Board. Kickstarter is stating, however, that signed statements from 50% of their employees is not enough and refused to recognize the union, forcing an NLRB secret vote to organize.

Kickstarter United has not called for a boycott or any action aside from voicing support for the union, though they have stated on Twitter that “Based on comments from Aziz Hasan (CEO) we do not believe we will get a fair election at the NLRB” and “We’ve already seen senior leadership fail to remain neutral in this process”, in both cases quote-tweeting information that backs up their claims. Again, Kickstarter United has not called for a boycott, saying “We work with some of the most talented, caring, and amazing people. Shoutout to all our colleagues doing incredible work to support creative projects. We are so grateful to learn and build together. Just imagine what we'll accomplish when @kickstarter recognizes our union”.

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Okay, that’s enough heavy topics, so let’s talk about a world attempting to rebuild itself following a massively destructive global conflict! Fantasy Grounds posted a preview of Eberron: Rising from the Last War which includes a brief look at dragonmarks, the Artificer class, the cosmology of Eberron, and a lot more in a series of screenshots from the program. The preview also gives an idea of what the book will contain, including magic item crafting rules, a description of the city of Sharn, and sixteen new player character options including races, classes, subclasses, and dragonmarks. Eberron: Rising from the Last War will be available November 19 with a retail price of $49.95.

WizKids provided an advance look at the new miniature line for Eberron coming in March of 2020. The set will include 44 miniatures in random boxes (three small/medium figures and one large figure). The stand-alone release for this series of miniatures is the Skycoach, a single-deck skyship on a mounted base so it looks like it’s flying. Boosters containing four miniatures will be available for a retail price of $15.99, while the Skycoach will be available for $79.99.

Finally, Wizards of the Coast released yet another Unearthed Arcana, making the third in the span of a month after a long drought. This one features new subclass builds for the Cleric, Druid, and Wizard. The Cleric gets the Twilight Domain, the druid has the Circle of Wildfire, and the Wizard Onomancy (the magic of true names).

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The Cypher System Rulebook is now available from Monte Cook Games. The debate about this one is whether or not this is a second edition or not as it is a rebuilt version of the rules, but “2nd Edition” doesn’t appear anywhere on the book. Similar to Numenera 2, this book doesn’t change much mechanically but rather includes more options from other sourcebooks, updated errata, and better explanations for how the rules work. Either way, this 448-page book includes all the core rules for the Cypher System, special rules and advice for nine different genres, over 50 creatures and NPCs, and everything else you need to play the game. The PDF is available from DriveThru for $22.99 while the print version will be arriving in stores soon with a retail price of $69.99.

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Ulisses Spiele announced they have acquired the rights to Space: 1889. The steampunk/sci-fi hybrid system was originally published by Game Designers’ Workshop in 1988 and, following the closure of that company, went to Clockwork Publishing before they went bankrupt earlier this year. It’s not exactly a surprising place for the rights to land as the current studio head of Ulisses North America is Timothy Brown, who was part of the original design team on Space: 1889 at GDW. No plans have been announced for the line as of yet, but the back catalog of Space: 1889 products are now listed under Ulisses Spiele on DriveThruRPG.

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GAMA announced a new award, the Rick Loomis Service Award in honor of the Flying Buffalo founder and first president of GAMA. The award will be given out at the GAMA Trade Show in March with the recipient chosen on a merit basis by the GAMA Board of Directors. From the announcement: “Loomis made grand contributions to GAMA and to the entire hobby games industry throughout his illustrious career. We believe his legacy will be honored best by recognizing like-minded and like-actioned individuals and organizations.”

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There are still a few days left in the Old School Fantasy Roleplaying bundle on Humble Bundle. The DRM-free digital collection features core rulebooks, sourcebooks, adventures, and accessories for OSR and classic game titles like Castles & Crusades, Swords & Wizardry, Victorious, and more with plenty of material for your classic games or easily mined for material for more recent RPGs. There’s also one of those interesting bundles of video game assets that I love because the license doesn’t restrict you to video games. The Make Your Card Game bundle may be targeted at those looking to make their own card game-based video games, but the art, sound, and character animations are perfect for virtual tabletop games and the licenses are usually unrestricted, so you may be able to use them on your Twitch and YouTube channel or in a tabletop game. And if you’re looking for inspiration for your game, the Bundle of Bundles fiction bundle does something I wish more book bundles would do and includes entire trilogies or series. No more getting book one in a bundle and then being stuck with a cliffhanger ending forcing you to go seek out the next one! The bundle includes works from R. A. Salvatore, Timothy Zahn, Madaleine L’Engle, and a lot more big names ranging from fantasy to science fiction to mystery to military fiction. The Old School Fantasy Roleplay bundle runs until Wednesday, August 9, while the other two bundles run until Wednesday, October 23.

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The multiple ENnie award-winning and Diana Jones Award nominated Chris Spivey is turning his eyes toward the weird west with his new game, Haunted West. This game tells of an alternate history for the United States in the 1800s with a focus on the lost voices of black, Asian, native, and Latino/Hispanic people who made the west. You know, I’ve always found it funny that if you say 2/3 of all ranch hands in the 1800s were people of color no one will question it but the second you put those same people doing the same job on a cattle drive and call them “cowboys”, everyone is suddenly very skeptical. Anyway, the game itself uses the D100 System and a very modular design to allow you to customize the game you want. Whether you want a standard Western or if you want to add elements of the supernatural and horror to your games, this book has you covered. You can also find out a lot more about this game on this week’s Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk. The PDF is available for a $20 pledge, add on digital stretch goals for $40, get the physical copy for $55, or add on the digital stretch goals to that for $75. And yes, this Kickstarter is already unlocking those stretch goals with more to go until it funds on Friday, November 1.

Another game with an award-winning pedigree (though in the board game space rather than RPGs), Root: The Tabletop Roleplaying Game takes the strategy game of woodland animals at war and turns it into a roleplaying game. This Powered by the Apocalypse game places you in the roles of outcasts from the normal society of the Woodlands forcing you to carve out your own way in the world among the various feuding (if not outright warring) factions. The PDF of both books is available for a $20 pledge, the hardcover of the core rulebook for $40, and you can add on the hardcover of Travelers & Outsiders (the companion book with more playbooks, factions, weapons, and more) for $75. This project is well past its $10,000 funding goal clocking in currently at over $370,000 and runs until Sunday, October 20.



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 stream a blind playthrough of Gabriel Knight starting later this evening and will continue Shadowrun Dragonfall with designer and author Kevin Czarnecki, subscribe to Gamer’s Tavern on YouTube for videos on gaming history, RPG reviews (including said Shadowrun review), 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

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
I really think union politics should have no place on this website. This shouldn’t be a platform for such things.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I really think union politics should have no place on this website. This shouldn’t be a platform for such things.
My website should contain whatever I choose. You are welcome to find other websites. You are not welcome to tell me what I (or those who write for me) can talk about on my own website.
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
My website should contain whatever I choose. You are welcome to find other websites. You are not welcome to tell me what I (or those who write for me) can talk about on my own website.
Well since it’s open for polite and respectful discussion. If you don’t want to work somewhere then quit. If you don’t think your employer is paying you enough find a job that pays you what you want. If you don’t like the working conditions then quit and find a job that has the conditions you like. If you don’t like the benefits package at work then quit and find a job that gives the benefits package you want. You are not entitled to your job. No one should be forced to employ anyone they don’t want to work with. That’s my opinion. I respect those that feel differently.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
Yea, so this is another point that shows how unfair unions are. I thought the world, and the RPG industry was finally starting to learn that 51% of some organization shouldn't have the rights to dictate to the minority what they will and won't get.

This is just ... I mean so 51% get to form a union even though 49% don't want to be forced to be represented by or pay additional taxes (fees/dues) to some group that they don't want?

Where would the LGBQT community be if it required 51% of the wider community to agree to treat them fairly? Where would women be? Those communities, and their supporters have fought hard here and elsewhere to be treated fairly and never have they been a majority.

I'm tempted to go back a couple of Kickstarters just to show "Kickstarters Untied" how wrong they are.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
There is definitely some miscommunication going on. And from my view some significant misinterpretations of connotations, or applying connotations that are not meant. Hopefully you both take an additional moment to make sure you understand each other clearly before acting. (Which is seems like you are both trying to do, but not succeeding.)
 

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