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News Digest for the Week of September 19

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! Descent Into Avernus released, Eberron gets a new cover, more Pathfinder 2e previews, Kickstarter in hot water for alleged union-busting, the world’s largest dice roll on an Atlanta highway, and a lot more!


Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus is finally out and Beth Rimmels has her deep dive into the adventure/campaign setting here on EN World. We’ve also got a look at the custom DM screen for the adventure available from Gale Force Nine. The four-panel landscape DM screen features a map of Avernus, stats for multiple War Machines, and several useful tables like devil names and infernal contracts. The adventure book is available now for a retail price of $49.95, the accessory kit with map of Avernus, custom dice, dice tray, and reference cards is available for $24.95, the virtual tabletop version on Roll20 for $49.95, and the DM Screen will be available sometime this month for $15.00.


Jeremy Crawford and Greg Tito released the new cover for Eberron: Rising from the Last War during a live stream last week. Tito and Crawford also confirmed speculation that the original cover was not actually a placeholder but that the cover was changed because of fan reaction to the original. From the stream:

Tito: We have decided to change this cover, though. We are going with a different cover for this book.... we had the rare opportunity to change that because the files had not yet been sent to the printer.

Crawford: That's right. When the book was announced, we were still about a week out from sending the books to the printer... we had a window of time to swap out the cover, which was actually something we had been discussing for some time leading up to the announcement.

Tito: But, once we announced, we also received a lot of feedback from fans saying that they wanted a different cover and that feedback really galvanized us... so we are changing it to this cover designed by Wesley Burt.

The originally-released cover will still appear in the book as the image for the first chapter where this art was originally placed. Eberron: Rising from the Last War will be out on November 19 with a retail price of $49.95.


Paizo provided a preview of the Pathfinder Critical Hit Deck for 2nd Edition. The rules are slightly modified from standard as the only time you draw is when a PC or an NPC of equal or higher level scores a natural 20 critical hit (so no more kobolds getting that lucky with a crit). Of course, there’s the Deadly Variant where you draw a card on any crit regardless of level or what number was rolled to crit. Each card has a different effect based on the source of damage with something for bludgeoning, piercing, slashing, and bomb or spell. The deck is available in game stores or from Paizo directly this week for a retail price of $12.99 with mass market outlets available on October 1.


We’ve also got looks at two other upcoming Pathfinder 2nd Edition products. The first is a “work in progress” page from the Pathfinder Gamemastery Guide showing two NPCs. While it’s subject to change between now and publication, the preview features the Plague Doctor and the Surgeon. The Pathfinder Gamemastery Guide 2nd Edition will be available January 2020 with both a standard edition cover for $49.99 and a limited edition faux-leather cover for $69.99. The other preview is something new from the Lost Omens Character Guide with organizations your character can be a member of. The five organizations included, four should be familiar to Pathfinder players as the lawful Hellknights, the lawful good Knights of Lastwall, the neutral good Magaambya Academy, and the neutral Pathfinders. However, the designers realized chaotic characters were left out so The Firebrands – rebels and rabble-rousers who travel the Inner Sea to fight tyranny and help the oppressed – were born. The Pathfinder Lost Omens Character Guide will be available in October with a retail price of $34.99.


WizKids announced details on their new 3D terrain system Warlock Tiles. Two sets will be available, the Starter Set for $49.99 and the Advanced Starter Set (pictured above) for $99.99. The Starter Set includes sixteen 2”x2” double-sided tiles, eight 2” straight stone walls, eight 2”interior walls, four corner pillars, four inside corner stone walls, two 1” exterior wall doors, sixteen stone edge caps, forty-five WarLock clips, and sixteen adapters each for DRAGONLOCK and OpenLOCK. The Advanced Starter Set includes four 4”x4” dual-sided tiles, two 2”x8” dual-sided tiles, one 2” exterior door plus more of everything else included in the regular starter set. The sets will be available in May of 2020.


Catalyst Game Labs announced several personnel changes as part of a reorganization of the company. Ray Arrastia, previously the Assistant Line Developer for BattleTech, will become the BattleTech Line Developer. The previous Line Developer, Brent Evans, will step into the role of Senior Art Director. Meanwhile, John Helfers will become the full-time Executive Editor for Catalyst’s fiction lines including BattleTech and Shadowrun. Finally, Bryn Bills will become the Line Developer of Leviathans, the skirmish wargame and roleplaying game line of an alternate history world war featuring massive flying warships. This announcement also served to announce the re-launch of the Leviathans line with a crowdfunding effort next summer for Leviathans: The Great War.


Kickstarter is at the center of controversy following a week of internal strife. Taylor Moore, the former head of comedy and podcasting, and Clarissa Redwine, former tech and design lead, were fired from Kickstarter in what they claim was a case of union-busting. Redwine was a lead organizer along with the Office and Professional Employees International Union of a drive to organize Kickstarter. Kickstarter claims that the firings were due to performance issues, though Moore claimed on Twitter that he was told to sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to receive severance pay after his firing for organizing the union drive. When Den of Geek attempted to contact Kickstarter for more information, they were given a statement denying the allegations of union-busting and given instructions on how to delete a Kickstarter account for those who object. Evil Hat Productions CEO Fred Hicks stated on Twitter that the company would be delaying their planned Kickstarter for Agon 2nd Edition (which was to launch this week) following the allegations, stating “That’s what this week is for: taking in information, getting past the outrage spike and into discovery & disclosure.” The Union itself has not asked for a boycott of Kickstarter at this time. A letter of support for the Kickstarter Union has currently over 230 signatures including names like Zombie Orpheus Entertainment, Neil Gaiman, and well over a dozen game designers.


The American Tabletop Awards is a brand-new award for tabletop board and card games announced earlier this week along with this year’s winners. The concept behind the award is to create a prestige award similar to the European awards like Spiel des Jahres and As d’or but highlighting games based on an American audience perspective. The committee is currently made of ten members who chose the winners for the four categories: Early Gamers, Casual Games, Strategy Games, and Complex Games. No nominees were announced, only the winners for the 2019 awards for games produced in 2018: Catch the Moon by Fabien Riffaud and Juan Rodrigues for Early Gamers, The Quacks of Quedlinburg by Wolfgang Warsch for Casual Games, Chronicles of Crime by David Cicurel for Strategy Games, and Root by Cole Wehrle for Complex Games. Next year, the awards will be revealed in the summer with current plans toward June.


A truck containing more than 216,000 six-sided dice took a turn too sharply and lost its cargo on I-75 in Atlanta, spilling the dice across the highway. Insert your own Shadowrun joke here. The truck was carrying three pallets of Chessex dice for an unannounced tabletop game from Trivium Studios, about half of which was lost during the accident. Trivium stated that this will not affect the production of the game, which is slated to be announced closer to the early 2020 launch. It is estimated that the result of the roll was 756,000. That’s not my joke, it’s in the actual statement from Trivium Studios.


The Old School Fantasy Roleplaying Bundle from Humble Bundle features over $600 worth of DRM-free PDFs for several different OSR games. The bundle has three tiers from $1 to $18 featuring core rulebooks, sourcebooks, adventures, and more for games like Swords & Wizardry, Castles and Crusades, Victorious, The Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperboria, and others. The base level of $1 includes nine ebooks and the full bundle of 60 ebooks for $18. This bundle is available until Wednesday, October 9. And there’s still time to get in on Humble Monthly this month for just $12 getting you this month’s early unlock, BattleTech by Harebrained Schemes. Not only do you get BattleTech right away, but on October 4 you’ll unlock more video games that are yours to keep forever even if you cancel. But hurry, you’ve only got until 12 noon Central time on October 4 to get this bundle.


Retired is a two-player storytelling game based around an interesting concept – you’re a retired supervillain just trying to get through your day when the world seems to conspire to drag you back into the action. One player takes on the role of the supervillain while the other is the Narrator of the world dead-set on annoying them. The game has a simple dice pool system involving six-sided dice to resolve conflicts between the Narrator along with powers that the Retiree can use to alter rolls plus the “Get Off My Lawn! Meter” which, when filled, allows the Retiree to go on a rant about how the world sucks now to adjust the roll. The PDF is available for a $5 pledge along with a code to get a Print-on-Demand copy (for an additional fee) while the $35 pledge level gets you all the games made so far by TaleSpinner Holdings. This project is fully funded and runs until Monday, September 23.

The Sins of the Father Companion is an expansion to the ENnie nominated Sins of the Father roleplaying game where players take on the role of the inheritors of a dark pact made by their ancestors and the consequences of that deal. Whether it’s a devil, a demon, a vampire, a witch, an extradimensional creature, or something worse, someone in your family made a deal and you have to live up to your end of the bargain or find some way to get out. This companion gives new options like digging in deeper by accepting a further deal for more Gifts, new dark rituals, more dark lords, and more plus four brand new settings for the game and a list of antagonist and story seeds for gamemasters. You can get the Sins of the Father Companion in PDF for $10, add on an at-cost print-on-demand copy for $15, a package with the core rulebook and companion in PDF for $25, add on at-cost print-on-demand for both books for $35, or all of the above plus a custom deck of cards for $50. This project is a hair’s breadth from it’s $2000 funding goal at the time of writing and still has until Thursday, September 26 to cross the finish line.

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 streaming at least a couple of times this week and weekend, 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.

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott

Tun Kai Poh

I'm not a fan of Catalyst Labs' practices, but I will say that Leviathans is one of those really impressive creative properties that missed the fame it should have gotten. And it featured some of the last artwork of the late, great Doug (Battletech) Chaffee...


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