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News Digest for the Week of September 18

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news. More info on Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, new release announcements for Pathfinder 2e, more Figurines of Adorable Power, new Level Up 5e playtest, a Borderlands licensed RPG on the way, and more!

Don’t forget, you can get all the week’s RPG news at Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk! This week, Morrus and Peter are joined by Keith Baker to talk more about Exploring Eberron plus announce the winners of last month’s contest!


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In case you missed it elsewhere on EN World this week:
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We got several looks inside the upcoming Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. First, the new variant rules for race made their debut in the updated D&D Adventure’s League Player’s Guide. The rules are pretty simple, swap out whatever attribute bonuses, proficiencies, and languages you like. There is a bit more to it than that, but the rules take up only a single paragraph in a sidebar. It’s likely, however, that the final rules from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything will be more in-depth. But that’s not all, as we got two subclasses from the upcoming book as well. The Barbarian’s Path of Wild Magic adds random effects from a limited Wild Magic table to a Barbarian’s rage abilities. The Warlock’s Genie Patron is very similar to the one recently shown in Unearthed Arcana, where you choose an elemental genie as your patron with associated spells and abilities based on your choice between Dao (Earth), Djinni (Air), Efreeti (Fire), and Marid (Water). And if you’re not sure who exactly this “Tasha” person is, Michael Tresca goes in-depth on the history of the character here on EN World. The 192-page hardcover of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is available for pre-order now and will hit store shelves on November 17 with a retail price of $49.95.

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Fans of Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden aren’t to be left out as Wizards of the Coast released a free introductory adventure for Adventure League tied to the new book. The 11-page free PDF is the first part of DDAL10-00 Ice Road Trackers, which places the party at the mercy of an avalanche as they head toward Icewind Dale and are rescued by a group of strange creatures who have a favor to ask of the party in return. The adventure is separated into four segments for one hour each or can be played in one four-hour session. The full adventure is available for download on the DM’s Guild for $4.99. The hardcover Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden is available now for a retail price of $49.95.

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Paizo announced Lost Omens: Mwangi Expanse for Pathfinder 2nd Edition for release next year. The 312-page book will focus on the African-inspired Mwangi Expanse region of Golarion focusing on the cultures, religions, deities, monsters, and more. Particularly, there will be six new ancestries (Anadi, Conrasu, Gnoll, Goloma, Grippli, and Shisk), new weapons (such as the Song’o Fighting Sticks), magic items (including magic masks used by Alijae elves to chronicle their genealogy), new deities for divine classes, and new monsters (like the chaura-kas and karina).

Of course, what’s a new region without an adventure to run? Paizo also announced the Strength of Thousands Adventure Path set in the Magaambye magic academy. The six-part adventure path will take characters from Level 1 to Level 20 as they start at the academy as students before becoming teachers and ultimately hold the fate of the school in their hands. If that seems like it limits your character choices to only spellcasting classes, you’re half-right. All characters will receive additional bonus spellcasting abilities so that even non-casting classes like Fighter and Monk will have a bit of magic. The first adventure, Kindled Magic, is set for a July 2021 release with five more adventures following monthly, while the Lost Omens: Mwangi Expanse is slated for a June 2021 release.

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The next playtest document for Level Up 5e from EN Publishing is already available, this time the first 10 levels of the Fighter class. The 20-page PDF (plus two pages for the OGL) has the full character options from 1st to 10th level, expanding the class with new social-focused abilities and abilities useful in exploration. The big new rules, though, are the Combat Maneuvers which gives fighters new Stances (which give an ongoing passive bonus) and Techniques (which are bonuses used as part of an action) at the expense of depleting an Exertion Pool representing the extra effort involved in these maneuvers. The playtest document is available now, but the survey is not yet live (normally it’s posted a day or two after the relevant playtest document).

Speaking of, the playtest for Origins (the replacement system for D&D 5e’s race and background) is still available and its surveys are still live. The survey for the Origin system as a whole is available here, with additional surveys for specific heritages and cultures also available, the most recent ones for Halflings, Humans, Orcs, and Tieflings.

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Nerdvana Games announced Bunkers & Badasses, a science-fantasy sourcebook based on the game-within-a-game from the Borderlands video game series. In the DLC for Borderlands 2 titled Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, Tiny Tina leads the group of Vault Hunters from the first Borderlands game in a session of Bunkers & Badasses, which the players of the video game then play through (including Tiny Tina’s increasingly bizarre changes to the game mid-fight). This new sourcebook (their words, though the game uses a unique rules system) makes that game a reality and allows you to create characters using classes based on the Vault Hunter classes and skill trees from Borderlands 1 and 2, plus features an adaptation of the Assault on Dragon Keep adventure (with helpful notes from Tiny Tina herself, of course). The book is available for pre-order for $59.99 with a deluxe boxed set also available that includes ten Vault Hunter miniatures, fifty enemy stand-up tokens, seventy gun cards, a BM Screen (for BunkerMaster), a battlemap, and a set of custom Borderlands dice for $119.99 (with a $20 discount on pre-orders until September 30 bringing the price down to $99.99). You can also pre-order the (unrelated to the RPG) card game Tiny Tina’s Robot Tea Party for $20.

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The dungeon crawl RPG board game HeroQuest may be returning as Hasbro, through their Avalon Hill imprint, posted a new website with a countdown timer (scheduled to run down on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern). This…may be more complicated than it seems due to the tangled nature of the HeroQuest rights. A bit of history…

The HeroQuest board game came through a licensing partnership between Milton Bradley (which was then-recently purchased by Hasbro) and Games Workshop, using designs and story elements from the Warhammer universe in a game designed by Milton Bradley. Games Workshop would later independently create Advanced HeroQuest as a more fully-formed roleplaying game. The final HeroQuest expansion released in 1992 while the final expansion for Advanced HeroQuest came out in 1991.

Meanwhile in 2000, Greg Stafford tapped Robin Laws to create a roleplaying game set in his Glorantha setting with the intent to call the game HeroQuest, based off a term used in RuneQuest for the previous 20 years before running afoul of trademark issues with the board game and naming the game Hero Wars. The second edition, published in 2009, was able to use the name HeroQuest as the publisher, Moon Design Publications, was able to successfully register the trademark for the name.

So for many years, that’s how the rights situation has been: The board game itself is owned by Hasbro, the setting and fiction owned by Games Workshop, and the name owned by Moon Design Publications (and later Chaosium following their merger with Moon Design). In 2013, a company based in Spain called GameZone attempted to use a loophole in Spanish copyright law attempted to run a Kickstarter for a 25th Anniversary Edition of the board game, only to be shut down after a cease and desist order from Chaosium (this played out a few more times as GameZone jumped between crowdfunding services attempting to raise funds).

Earlier this year, Chaosium released an SRD version of the HeroQuest rules under the OGL titled QuestWorlds. Last month, Restoration Games filed a trademark for the name “HeroQuest Legacies”, with Michael O’Brien from Chaosium commenting on my column to clarify that Moon Design Publishing and Chaosium do “not currently have licensing deal or other agreements with Restoration Games”. While so far neither Chaosium nor Games Workshop have not commented on the website that has popped up from Hasbro, Restoration Games issued a statement on Twitter, “To clear things up: We are not affiliated with Hasbro's HeroQuest announcement, and we do not have any current plans for a HeroQuest game.”

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UltraPro announced the next wave in the Figurines of Adorable Power series of collectible figures licensed from Dungeons & Dragons. This second wave of PVC figures features the Black Dragon, Bulette, Goblin, and Roper. Each figure is 3 3/4” tall and comes in its own display box with a clear window. Okay, I’m dancing around it, but if you didn’t see the previous release, they’re basically Funko Pops but they’re not made by Funko and they’re licensed for D&D. Anyway, no release date has been announced (though retailer pre-orders have a deadline of October 7 indicating these should be on store shelves in time for the holiday shopping season) and each has a retail price of $12.99.

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Cartoonist and game designer John Kovalic is doing his charity bike ride again this year. The Dork Tower creator and Munchkin and Apples to Apples artist raises money every year for FairShare CSA Coalition, a charity that delivers farm-fresh organic food from local farms to families in need in Wisconsin, by a marathon bike ride with a duck on his head. There are rewards at multiple pledge levels including a charity postcard with unique art by Kovalic (which also allows you to start your next game of Munchkin at Level 3), displacer kitten plushies, original Munchkin card art, plushie owlbear backpacks, and more. If they reach the stretch goal of $14,000, comic book writer Gail Simone has pledge to write a limerick which John will illustrate. The fundraiser has, at time of writing, already raised over $13,100 and will continue to help feed families in need until funding closes on Saturday, September 26.

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It’s your final week for the Old School Revival Bundle on Humble Bundle. This bundle features DRM-free PDFs for OSR game systems like Castles & Crusades, Swords & Wizardry, and more including core rulebooks, sourcebooks, settings, adventures, maps, and fiction. Even the $1 pledge level includes 14 titles and the full bundle available for $15 features 66 total books and map packs with a retail value of over $600. This bundle runs until Wednesday, September 23.

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 stream a few warm-up streams in anticipation of the release of Baldur’s Gate III, 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




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