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News Digest: More Big Changes for World of Darkness, John Carter of Mars Lands, Starfinder Beginner

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Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news. More big changes for the World of Darkness and Vampire: The Masquerade, Starfinder Beginner Box Details and Pre-Order, John Carter of Mars Lands, a new Warhammer 40K animated series announced, and more! Morrus summed it up in one article this week with the simple sentence, “White Wolf has had a terrible year.” This week in particular has been surprisingly eventful. It started with a job posting from Paradox Interactive, owners of the White Wolf trademark and the World of Darkness intellectual property, seeking a new Brand Manager. This wasn’t unexpected as the previous statement from Paradox indicated they intended to move in a new direction with the property. Next came the closure of the WorldOfDarkness.com website. Though the headline seems drastic, the closer is specifically for the site’s subscription service, which allowed customers to pay a monthly or annual fee to access digital copies of a significant library of World of Darkness sourcebooks. Subscribers received the news only a day or so before the ending of the service, though Paradox is refunding all subscribers for the month of December (or for this month plus any months left in the subscription for annual subscribers).

However, the big announcement came this morning when Modiphius announced they were taking over the tabletop roleplaying line of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition. Modiphius already served as distributor for the line and has been heavily involved in the promotion of the new edition. Four new titles were announced, including a new Player’s Guide and Starter Set, an adventure titled The Fall of London, and a sourcebook for The Second Inquisition, focusing on organizations seeking to hunt Kindred. Modiphius also states that the editing of the Camarilla and Anarch sourcebooks have been completed and will be reprinted for March, but do not state how much of the material that caused the controversy was removed (which, aside from the Chechnya chapter, included controversial statements about depression and suicide and featured vampiric parents feeding on their children played as a joke). This licensing deal will only apply to the Fifth Edition and gives Modiphius the power to sublicense, meaning that they will now be supervising the release of the recently-Kickstarted Chicago by Night sourcebook from Onyx Path as well as any future products.

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Pre-orders and further details are now available for the Starfinder Beginner Box. As expected from the high-quality of the Pathfinder Beginner Box, this box is similarly packed with everything needed to get started playing immediately. Two books, each 96 pages, detail the rules with the hero’s book detailing character creation and basic rules of the game and the gamemaster’s book having tips for running a game, a bestiary of alien adversaries, and a full adventure. Additionally, the box will contain 80 cardboard stand-up pawns with 24 plastic bases, a full set of dice, six pre-generated character sheets, six blank character sheets, player aid cards with rules references, and a flip-mat. The set will be available this spring with a retail price of $39.99.

Going back to Modiphius, John Carter of Mars, the 2d20 System game based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs pulp hero, is now available in PDF. This new version of the 2d20 System focuses on talent use and with more narrative gameplay as suiting of the genre. The 288-page core rulebook features rules for three different eras based on the John Carter series – the Dotar Sojat era, the Prince of Helium era, and the Jeddak of Jeddaks era. And, as expected, the book will include iconic character from the series like Dejah Thoris, Tars Tarkas, and John Carter himself as well as rules for character creation. The PDF is available on DriveThruRPG for $19.99.

Games Workshop wasn’t kidding earlier this year when they said they were looking to find more media licenses, as this Monday they announced a Warhammer 40,000 animated series, Angels of Death. Not only that, but they’ve tapped noted Warhammer fan filmmaker Richard Boylan to lead the project. The series will follow a band of Blood Angel Space Marines who become infected with the dreaded Black Rage. Not much else is known at this time, but a teaser trailer has already been released. Boylan is best known in the Warhammer community for his fan films, the twelve-part animated adaptation of the Black Library novel Helsreach and the live-action short film Guardsman. While Games Workshop has not yet announced how we’ll be able to see Angels of Death, it is currently scheduled for a 2019 release.

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EN World is running yet another end-of-year poll, this one looking back at all the podcasts out there to find the best one for 2018. With ninety-nine entries covering every variation you can think of covering tabletop roleplaying – from actual plays to tips and tricks to discussions to radio plays to discussions of design and publishing to news podcasts – so make sure to vote for all of your favorites. I should note that the logo above is the EN World podcast Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk which is nominated and I am the editor and post-production audio engineer for, but I wouldn’t possibly try to influence your vote like that…

There’s still a few days left in the Vegas Pro Even More Creative Freedom Bundle on Humble Bundle. I talk a lot in this space about bundles useful for streamers and podcasters, but these Vegas bundles are hands down the best value for anyone looking to get into video making. While there are several other tools in the bundle, the most important is Vegas Pro 15 Edit available at the $25 level. At this price, it is hands down the cheapest video editing program you’ll find. It’s perfect whether you’re wanting to start your own vlog, create actual play videos, or clean up livestreams for uploading on YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, or others. If you or anyone you know is interested in making their own online videos (or even DVDs and Blu-Rays), this bundle is a must-have that you’ll kick yourself if you don’t take advantage of. This bundle benefits Hilarity for Charity and runs until Tuesday, December 25 (and yes, it makes a great last-minute gift).

If you listened to this week’s Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk, you’d know that I was a guest on the show (as well as being the editor). If not, one of the segments is a game where Morrus reads the name of a Kickstarter and Peter (the co-host of the show) and any guests have to guess what it is. I failed miserably at guessing Lost Hall of Tyr and have no one to blame but myself for not paying attention to the name. This is a mini-setting for the Dragon Heresy Roleplaying Game including an adventure that allows the players to explore the Viking-inspired town of Isfjall as they seek to find the lost hall of the Norse god Tyr. The PDF is available for a $13 pledge, adding on the Dragon Heresy core rulebook in PDF for $20, a print hardcover for $26, a print-and-PDF bundle for $33, and a full print-and-PDF set of bot the core rules and expansion for $72. This Kickstarter is fully funded and runs until Sunday, December 23.

Steve Jackson Games has a huge expansion for Ogre, the tactical skirmish game of giant tanks, Ogre Battlefields. The expansion brings different things whether you have Ogre Sixth Edition or the massive Ogre Designer’s Edition. The expansion comes with two new maps, tokens, and an updated full rulebook that will greatly expand the game with new rules and options regardless of which edition you own. And if you don’t have the base game, Ogre Sixth Edition is available as a $20 add-on. The expansion is available for a $60 pledge and several other stretch goals in multiple combinations of the expansion, add-ons, and new maps to make sure you get what you want. This Kickstarter is still going through stretch goals until it funds on Friday, December 28.

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 Twitter @Abstruse where I’ll probably be talking about random stuff on Netflix since I just renewed my subscription to catch up on exclusives, follow me on Twitch if I ever get a chance to start on my stack of mystery games, subscribe to Gamer’s Tavern on YouTube featuring videos on gaming history 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

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TrippyHippy

Adventurer
included controversial statements about depression and suicide and featured vampiric parents feeding on their children played as a joke)
Adult orientated, fictional horror game includes horrific ideas. :eek::erm::yawn::-S
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
Adult orientated, fictional horror game includes horrific ideas. :eek::erm::yawn::-S
Horror roleplaying game claims that a real-life massacre of gay people in the Chechen Republic is secretly controlled by vampires, even statting up the real leader of the country as a (weak) vampire, treating the subject matter with so little thought that it caused outrage not only among the LGBTQ+ community, but caused an international incident with the Chechen Republic.

The World of Darkness product line existed for almost 25 years doing "adult-oriented fictional horror games" without causing an international incident or outrage from industry professionals from every single other major company in the industry...
 

TrippyHippy

Adventurer
Horror roleplaying game claims that a real-life massacre of gay people in the Chechen Republic is secretly controlled by vampires, even statting up the real leader of the country as a (weak) vampire, treating the subject matter with so little thought that it caused outrage not only among the LGBTQ+ community, but caused an international incident with the Chechen Republic.

The World of Darkness product line existed for almost 25 years doing "adult-oriented fictional horror games" without causing an international incident or outrage from industry professionals from every single other major company in the industry...
Horror roleplaying that uses vampires as an allegory for horrible things, yes. Horror roleplaying that put the despicable actions of a Chechnyan government into focus, that they felt compelled to react to it, yes.

And if you don't think White Wolf games have caused 'outrage' before in their history, then you haven't followed them for long. "Every single other major company in the industry"? Cite them, from memory I don't recall any comment on the matter from Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, etc. In the meantime, here's a Game Geeks review:

[video=youtube;YsMXOz8LAzg]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsMXOz8LAzg&t=439s[/video]

What we have evidence of here is that people like you won't stop complaining - and whoever takes over as brand manager will still have their work cut out dealing with the fanbase as it stands. As an adult, paying customer I reserve the right to decide what I find offensive or not, and for me, the most offensive thing about V5 this year was the reactionary elements of an ever vocal section of it's fanbase.

Merry Christmas.
 
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Abstruse

Adventurer
Yes, you can choose what offends you or not. But that doesn't entitle you to tell others what does and does not offend them. If you don't like the reaction, I can loan you my library of Takashi Miike films that also manage to be some of the most shocking, horrific, and offensive content ever put to film that also have never caused an international incident or massive outcry from all sides of an issue. Funnily enough, his films actually manage to say something about their subjects at the same time as being shocking. It's almost like being shocking for its own sake has absolutely nothing to do with horror whatsoever and is, in fact, just pure immaturity.
 

TrippyHippy

Adventurer
Yes, you can choose what offends you or not. But that doesn't entitle you to tell others what does and does not offend them.
Don't buy it if you don't like it. You are the person trying to suggest what others ought to be offended by here.

And, incidentally, I'm old enough to remember classic movies like The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Evil Dead, A Clockwork Orange, Scum, and Life of Brian all being banned for being offensive - by people who thought they were just as justified in their outrage as you. Here's a video about censored movies:

[video]https://theculturetrip.com/europe/articles/top-12-banned-movies-you-should-watch-anyway/[/video]
 
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Abstruse

Adventurer
Don't buy it if you don't like it. You are the person trying to suggest what others ought to be offended by here.
No, I'm reporting on what people were offended by. To the point that the parent company decided to completely shut down their entire publishing operation because the brand had become too toxic to be profitable anymore without a complete overhaul. Which is what resulted in Modiphius getting the license to take over the product line.

If you're not offended, more power to you. You don't need a rulebook to tell you how to do shocking crap in an RPG. But you need to realize that this is a case of a tabletop roleplaying game - an industry with gross sales $55 million (including D&D which accounts for 70% of that) - with a brand identity has become so toxic that the video game company - an industry with gross sales of $36 billion - became worried about their bottom line over it.

You say "Don't buy it if you don't like it"? That's exactly what happened - enough people said they wouldn't buy it or anything else from the company that the company closed down their publishing arm​ over it.
 

TrippyHippy

Adventurer
No, I'm reporting on what people were offended by.
No, you're not. You're going further than that - you're trying to justify it. You can dress up your attitudes towards the game if you like, but the intent is clear. And also, I resent the inference in your statements that people who were tolerant of the writing in the game were somehow inurred towards 'shocking crap in a RPG'. You have no idea about how other people play their games, and are in no position to judge them either.

You say "Don't buy it if you don't like it"? That's exactly what happened - enough people said they wouldn't buy it or anything else from the company that the company closed down their publishing arm​ over it.
Actually, you don't know that. We certainly had press releases to address issues raised, but there may be other factors (like sales and other management issues also) in the decision. The controversy over the Camarilla book for example happened after the Paradox decision to change White Wolf management - it was already on it's way, as per the statement to address the issue, when the issue broke.

We don't have sales figures, or business plans to analyse. For example, some people found the starting price of Vampire to be too expensive (Modiphius just announced a Starter set). Some people just didn't find the Camarilla or Anarch supplements to be useful (Modiphius just decided to discontinue these books after their pre-order comittments are fulfilled). Some people felt that V5 was too directed in play or lacked continuity with previous editions (Modiphius have announced a Players Guide to allow for more diverse gaming and links to older editions).

Fact is: you don't know the full details of the business decisions taken, but you are reaching/projecting on the single issue you have an agenda on.

More to the point, I am waiting for you to substantiate your previous claim of "outrage from industry professionals from every single other major company in the industry". Where are these quotes?
 
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Abstruse

Adventurer
No, you're not. You're going further than that - you're trying to justify it. You can dress up your attitudes towards the game if you like, but the intent is clear.
No, I'm reporting on the facts. The facts are that Paradox Interactive - a company with gross sales of around $90 million per year - decided to close their RPG publishing arm solely because the content it was producing was so toxic to their brand that it was damaging their bottom line.

And also, I resent the inference in your statements that people who were tolerant of the writing in the game where somehow inurred towards 'shocking crap in a RPG'. You have no idea about how other people play their games, and are in no position to judge them either.
Yes, I do know how other people play their games. It's kind of my job to know that. It's called "market research".

Actually, you don't know that. We certainly had press releases to address issues raised, but there may be other factors (like sales and other management issues also).
Yes, I do know that. Because I've talked to the executives at Paradox Interactive about it.

More to the point, I am waiting for you to substantiate your previous claim of "outrage from industry professionals from every single other major company in the industry". Where are these quotes?
Twitter. If you want more than that, you can hire me at my freelance research rate. Payable in advance.
 

TrippyHippy

Adventurer
Abstruse said:
...decided to close their RPG publishing arm solely because the content it was producing was so toxic to their brand that it was damaging their bottom line.
No, you're reaching again. The opprobrium surrounding their releases was toxic. The actual content itself was a secondary issue. Had White Wolf been making the required sales figures, then I doubt Paradox would have changed their plans.

Yes, I do know how other people play their games. It's kind of my job to know that. It's called "market research".
Always good to know a marketing executive thinks they know more about you than you do.

Still no quotes.

Merry Christmas, again.
 
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Abstruse

Adventurer
You seem to misunderstand my job. My job is to write a column. Which I did. I come to the comments to answer questions and clarify points if necessary. This isn't directly part of my job but I do it anyway.

Things that are not part of my job are being your secretary, doing your research, or "debating" you.

I don't owe you a debate.

You can't seem to understand that your own "advice" is exactly what's caused this situation - "Don't buy it if you don't like it". Enough people have done exactly that and made clear their reasons for it that Paradox has decided to completely fold their publishing department in order to protect their intellectual property from a reputation damaged beyond repair.

So you've made your position clear. Now you're attempting to antagonize me.

Don't.
 
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TrippyHippy

Adventurer
I don't owe you a debate.
No you don't, but you are choosing to engage. You've chosen to make statements that you can't back up with evidence.

You can't seem to understand that your own "advice" is exactly what's caused this situation - "Don't buy it if you don't like it". Enough people have done exactly that and made clear their reasons for it that Paradox has decided to completely fold their publishing department in order to protect their intellectual property from a reputation damaged beyond repair.
I agree with that, but not with the point that it was the content itself that was the issue - that is a reaching statement. The issue was with the marketing of the fanbase - and as I say, there are all sorts of factors that go into that, including price range, cost of distribution, and so on.

With regards to the controversies, which I also agree were toxic, what you are failing to accept is that there were plenty of angry voices on both sides of these arguments - for everybody claiming 'edgelord' there was another claiming 'SJW', and you are only reporting one side of this in everything you write. If you were writing a balanced article you wouldn't try to frame their business decision based only on that section of the outcry that you agree with.

So you've made your position clear. Now you're attempting to antagonize me.Don't.
It's only 'clear' if you acknowledge the points raised. I'm not antagonising you personally, just taking issue with the things you have written and the inferences thereof.

Which leads me to the third time lucky: Merry Christmas!
 
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Badvoc

Villager
Thanks for putting this together - a good read as always.

The news on Modiphius taking over management of Vampire should be good news, but I suspect the V5 brand is too damaged at this point to have a real resurgence. Best of luck to them anyway. At least Paradox and Modiphius exercising joint editorial control should prevent the dumpster fire from re-igniting...

Great to see that Richard Boylan is involved with the new Blood Angels animated series from GW. Guardsman was bloody fantastic for a fan movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bgi5STRe8E
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
Well, I didn't know what to expect of the WH40K Angels of Death, but the trailer was fantastic. It had just the exact right amount of metal to music and drums to beats. Looks great from the trailer!
 

DemoMonkey

Villager
"You've chosen to make statements that you can't back up with evidence."

Can you prove that?

...
"Warhammer 40,000 animated series, Angels of Death. "

I hope they do a She-Ra crossover episode.


 

TrippyHippy

Adventurer
"You've chosen to make statements that you can't back up with evidence."

Can you prove that?
I asked three times for quotes to back up the assertion that there was "outrage from industry professionals from every single other major company in the industry". The only response was (y'know) "Twitter" and that I should do my own research. In other words, no quotable evidence to back up the claim. If people want to point to actual statements made by industry professionals in Wizards, Paizo, etc on the matter, then be my guest.

In the meantime, I would point out that there was a 2500+ strong online petition in support of White Wolf this year, that did include some industry professionals, I believe. https://www.change.org/p/wesupportv5-fans-of-vampire-the-masquerade-world-of-darkness-in-support-of-5th-and-future-editions
 

Akodoken

Explorer
The news on Modiphius taking over management of Vampire should be good news, but I suspect the V5 brand is too damaged at this point to have a real resurgence.
I think you might be right and that would be a shame. I enjoy several of Modiphius' games and I will be giving them a chance to save VtM 5E. And I will always support Onyx Path's work in the same area so no matter what happens to VtM 5E, I'll still have my Onyx Path. :)
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
I asked three times for quotes to back up the assertion that there was "outrage from industry professionals from every single other major company in the industry". The only response was (y'know) "Twitter" and that I should do my own research.
Which you never did, apparently. Again, I'm not going to give you a laundry list of industry professionals to add to your harassment campaign. But in November, tweets condemning White Wolf and specifically the Chechnya chapter came from designers and executives from: Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Fantasy Flight Games, Steve Jackson Games, Green Ronin Publishing, R. Talsorian Games, Catalyst Game Labs, Evil Hat Games, Posthuman Studios, and that's just off the top of my head that I can remember.

I'm going to tell you one last time: If you want to continue discussing this, do it somewhere other than the comments on my column. You're obviously trolling. This isn't a game and you can't rules lawyer your way out of it. Knock it off.
 
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