News Digest: New D&D Books, Baldur's Gate Designer Forms Tabletop RPG Company, Launch of The Fantasy

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news. New Dungeons & Dragons books announced, Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age developer leaves BioWare to make a D&D setting, Zombie Orpheus launches The Fantasy Network, and more!
Wizards of the Coast announced a pair of new Dungeons & Dragons books from Ivan Van Norman and Caleb Cleveland. The ABCs of D&D and The 123s of D&D are children’s picture books to teach young children the alphabet and numbers using Dungeons & Dragons fantasy adventures as a basis. No, this isn’t a tongue-in-cheek “actually for adults” book, but actual educational books for young children and are currently the #1 New Release on Amazon in the “Early Childhood Education” category based on pre-orders alone. Each book will be hardcover and have an MSRP of $14.99 with a release date of October 23.

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Another announcement for the holiday shopping season this year, Dungeons & Dragons will be getting a new deluxe boxed set for the core rules. Due out on October 30, this new boxed set will include the Player’s Handbook, Dungeonmaster’s Guide, Monster Manual, and DM’s Screen for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition collected in a brand new slipcase. The mass market version will be the same as other retail releases so far other than the slipcase. The set will have an MSRP of $169.95, which is just about the same as the retail price for all four products purchased individually. So this isn’t a deal so much as it’s a way to give the gift of Dungeons & Dragons to someone interested in the game in a convenient, all-in-one purchase (so kids wanting to get into the game don’t have to worry about a grandparent accidentally getting the wrong books for starting out). And like most products, mass market retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble will most likely discount off the cover price once the product is released. Collectors, however, will want to go to their local game store as each of the three core rulebooks will have an exclusive cover available solely at game and comic stores, which will be available October 19.

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BioWare designer James Ohlen announced he will be leaving the company in order to move into tabletop gaming with his new company, Arcanum Worlds. Ohlen’s video game resume is impressive, including Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. The first new product will be Odyssey of the Dragonlords, a campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (though it’s listed as “the fifth edition of the world’s greatest roleplaying game” on the website, so most likely this will be under the OGL rather than in any official capacity with Wizards of the Coast). The setting is inspired by Greek mythology (though not a direct translation, as the Dragonlords seem to be taking the role of the usual Olympians as the champions overthrowing the Titans). While there’s no firm announcement as to pricing or release date, a free player’s guide in PDF will be released this fall to those who sign up on the Arcanum Worlds website with their email address.


The names Zombie Orpheus, Arrowstorm Entertainment, and The Forge Studios may sound familiar to you as they’ve spent years creating independent fantasy and gaming-themed films and webseries. The latest evolution of this fan-focused, creator-owned distribution and production method is the new streaming service, The Fantasy Network. Even though it’s only recently launched, the network has a large library of independently produced series and films from all three companies including The Gamers, Strowlers, Mythica, JourneyQuest, Dark Dungeons, The Rangers, Demon Hunters, Project: Metaverse, and a lot more. Additionally, many of the projects are being given an “OGL”, for lack of a more accurate term for video production. Series bibles and creator guidelines will be available to producers for them to create their own stories in these worlds. In fact, the network itself is providing funding to help these creator-owned projects with production and completion funds. Combined with fan contributions and crowdfunding, the viewers will determine which shows get greenlit with a “voting by backing” system. The first Kickstarter is live now and almost a quarter of the way to its funding goal for the third season of the award-winning One Hit Die, a comedy fantasy series drawing heavy influence from tabletop gaming. The Fantasy Network is available on iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, and other apps as well as via the website with a three-day free trial and a $5.99/mo subscription thereafter. Disclosure: The author of this column has done previous freelance writing work for Zombie Orpheus Entertainment.

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There’s a bit more Pathfinder 2nd Edition previews, showing that Paizo isn’t letting up even this close to the launch of the playtest. Over the past week, EN World premiered the playtest character sheets for six of the iconic characters from the Pathfinder 2nd Edition playtest. In case you missed it, they are: Fumbus (Goblin Alchemist), Kyra (Human Cleric), Valeros (Human Fighter), Seelah (Human Paladin), Merisiel (Elf Rogue), and Ezren (Human Wizard). Additionally, Paizo released a preview of the Bard class, a spellcasting class focused on buffs and debuffs along with at-will Compositions (replacing the previous bardic performance) that can get more powerful with a successful performance check with increased effects or longer durations, but with a chance of failure that weakens the performances. They also released a blog post discussing item rarity within the new system and how it can be affected by location (some weapons being more common in one area but practically unheard of in another), along with distinctions between Rare items and Unique artifacts. A free PDF of the playtest rules will be available on August 2, while physical copies of the playtest rules are still available for pre-order in paperback and hardback, deluxe limited hard cover, the adventure Doomsday Dawn specifically for the new rules system, and a flipmat multipack featuring locations in the adventure.


John Kovalic is once again performing a charity bicycle ride with a duck on his head. The Dork Tower creator and Munchkin artist has run a promotional charity drive for Bike the Barn for five years now, and not only do you get to support a great cause helping both local farmers and low-income families, but you have a chance to get some amazing exclusive promotional items. This year, every donation receives a PDF of the two charity coloring books drawn by John Kovalic and a PDF of the limerick created for the 2014 event illustrated by Kovalic and written by none other than Neil Gaiman. Higher donation levels include bonuses like a Hamilton-themed “Rise Up” postcard for Munchkin that allows you to start any game at Level 3, original Munchkin card art, an Army of Dorkness Sergeant button and enlistment card, two 4-day passes to Gen Con 2019, an Otyugh plushie, and more to be unlocked already.


The IDW Dungeons & Dragons comics bundle is still live on Humble Bundle. The bundle includes a mix of original stories and adaptations of different adventures and novels throughout the history of Dungeons & Dragons with names involved like R. A. Salvatore, Ed Greenwood, Jim Zub, John Rogers, Keith Baker, Jeff Grubb, and others with stories from Forgotten Realms, Eberron, Dark Suns, and more. This bundle benefits the Hasbro Children’s Fund and runs until Wednesday, July 25. There’s two other bundles this week of note as well, with the “Linux Geek” bundle being far more than it appears with books that will teach you coding, graphic design, 3D modelling, networking, home automation, and more, a great resource for any aspiring game designer or artist in particular for the books on free programs like GIMP, Inkscape, and Blender (ending Monday, July 30). There’s also the “Up Your Game” bundle for PC gamers (particularly streamers) with software for video capture and editing, benchmarking system builds, voice control, and screen mirroring (ending Wednesday, August 1).



Yes, I’m going to talk about Killing Lee Garvin once again as this card game has a great visual design, fun theme, and the proceeds are going to help game designers in need, with the proceeds split between paying medical bills for designer Lee Garvin (Tales of the Floating Vagabond and Badass Zombie Killers) and the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund (a charity that assists game professionals undergoing financial hardship). The game is available for a $25 pledge or two copies for $45 (doubling the size of the deck of cards). This Kickstarter is still short of its funding goal, but it has until Wednesday, August 1 to finish funding and help our a good cause.

Tiny Dice Buddies are cute enamel pins of polyhedral dice with cute faces on them in varying colors. Though I don’t know why the d10 is so angry… Each pin is made of hard enamel and about 0.75” (just shy of 2cm) and each set contains the standard array of dice in pin form: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20, and d%. The sets are available for a $20 pledge each with price breaks starting at the backer level for four sets or more. This Kickstarter is fully funded and has a lot more colors to unlock through stretch goals until Wednesday, August 1.

In case you didn’t know, when you leave a Kickstarter page open in a tab, it continues to update the total pledges in the background. When writing this column, I tend to open tabs for all the resources I’ll need and go through them as I write. The Kickstarter page for Cool Mini or Not’s Cthulhu: Death May Die updated so fast my computer started to lag. My computer that I use for 4K gaming, live streaming, and video editing. Whether it’s because of CMON’s long-standing reputation for big-box miniature games, the name recognition of designers Rob Daviau and Eric M. Lang, or that the game includes 45 miniatures (plus unlocked stretch goals) and has the option for a to-scale two-foot-tall Cthulhu miniature, I couldn’t say. I can say, however, this Kickstarter is fully funded and is on pace to join other CMON Kickstarters in the lists of most money raised. The base game plus stretch goals are available for $100 pledge, while the R’lyeh Rising add-on including the two-foot Cthulhu “miniature” is available for a $250 pledge.

That’s all from me for this week! Find more gaming crowdfunding news by following our Kickstarter news tag, and 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. You can follow me on Twitter @Abstruse where you can help convince me to finally get back to streaming on Twitch and finishing up Dragon Age: Origins before deciding which game to play next, follow 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

Comments

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
Having only furbabies, I don’t have a stake in them, but those kids educational books are neat. The kind of thing that I would have loved at that age (even before I discovered D&D, I loved fantasy stuff). It sounds like a great way to cultivate an interesting in gaming with the younger generations.
 
Having only furbabies, I don’t have a stake in them, but those kids educational books are neat. The kind of thing that I would have loved at that age (even before I discovered D&D, I loved fantasy stuff). It sounds like a great way to cultivate an interesting in gaming with the younger generations.
Kitties or doggies?
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
Both. We got Eve, an Akita/Shepherd mix from the pound about 10 years ago. Then we got into TNR’ing (trap, neuter, and release) feral cats. We adopted the one cat after she got injured in a fight (Neenu) about four years ago. The most recent cat (Coco) was brought inside when we had a brutally cold winter earlier this year. She’s so gentle and affectionate, but still very skittish (and oy, noisy!).

Kitties or doggies?
 

Dire Bare

Adventurer
The Fantasy Network? $6 per month for crappy TV and film projects isn't going to work for me. I tried hard to enjoy the Mythica movies, but haven't stayed awake during any of them yet. And the new Arrowstorm joint, "The Outpost" on the CW network, is just awful. Is anything by any of the production companies listed even remotely good? The Mythica series has fairly decent viewer star ratings on Amazon, but again, they are terrible movies.
 

Silver Griffin

Villager
The Fantasy Network? $6 per month for crappy TV and film projects isn't going to work for me. I tried hard to enjoy the Mythica movies, but haven't stayed awake during any of them yet. And the new Arrowstorm joint, "The Outpost" on the CW network, is just awful. Is anything by any of the production companies listed even remotely good? The Mythica series has fairly decent viewer star ratings on Amazon, but again, they are terrible movies.
The stuff by Zombie Orpheus itself is really good. I can recommend the Gamers, & Journeyquest stuff. Plus one Hit Die is good & what I have seen so far of Ren, Girl with the Mark & Rocketmen is good.

I have to agree that Mythica is very disappointing.
 

Silver Griffin

Villager
The thing I found very surprising about the D&D comic bundle is that they only have the first 2 books in the famous Drizzt Dark Elf Trilogy & then the last comic sets. Since the first 7 books have been turned into comics I have to say it seems weird to have the first 2 books in the first trilogy done & not the third. Yes I do get it is for charity & you can buy the third book separately, it just seems like a weird omission that there is no level out to get the last book in the trilogy.

I have tried to contact Humble Bundle to see if it's a mistake, but they keep answering questions other than what I asked about that. For example the last time they said if you can't view the graphic to see what books are available there here is a text list of the books. I have no idea who else to try to contact to see if it's a mistake.
 

Eilathen

Explorer
Do we know what price-point the alternate cover gift set will have? Also 169.95$ or will this also have a collector's price attached to it?
 

Dire Bare

Adventurer
Do we know what price-point the alternate cover gift set will have? Also 169.95$ or will this also have a collector's price attached to it?
Its MSRP is exactly the same as the non-collector's version. However, unscrupulous retailers will mark it up. Find a local retailer who doesn't do that sort of thing, and put in a preorder!
 

Dire Bare

Adventurer
The thing I found very surprising about the D&D comic bundle is that they only have the first 2 books in the famous Drizzt Dark Elf Trilogy & then the last comic sets. Since the first 7 books have been turned into comics I have to say it seems weird to have the first 2 books in the first trilogy done & not the third. Yes I do get it is for charity & you can buy the third book separately, it just seems like a weird omission that there is no level out to get the last book in the trilogy.

I have tried to contact Humble Bundle to see if it's a mistake, but they keep answering questions other than what I asked about that. For example the last time they said if you can't view the graphic to see what books are available there here is a text list of the books. I have no idea who else to try to contact to see if it's a mistake.
I doubt it's a mistake. Many of the bundle deals hook you with the first, or first couple, installments in a series to hopefully get you to continue and purchase more at regular price. It's not a scam or a mistake, it's just marketing. Very rarely are these types of bundles all-inclusive, offering an entire series of comics, novels, video games, or what-have-you.
 

Silver Griffin

Villager
If you look at what I said then you would see I already pointed out that it's not the whole series & never asked for the whole series. It's the first 2 books in the first trilogy. Normally they give you a way to finish a story arc to get you to buy in not stop half way though a story arc. Also I never implied it was a scam.
 

Dire Bare

Adventurer
Chill out.

I didn't say that you were calling the bundle offer a scam, I just expanded on my answer to you that it wasn't a mistake. I can see how my response was unclear, however. But . . . even if I had misread your post or was unclear in my response . . . relax.

And no, they don't "normally" let you finish a story arc in the various bundle offers of the past. I'm sure they have at least a few times, but it is more common to give you book #1, maybe book #2, and then get you to go out and purchase book #3 separately. Besides, this particular bundle, like most of them, is a pretty good deal even if you add the cost of the third Drizzt graphic novel at full price.
 

Silver Griffin

Villager
Chill out.

I didn't say that you were calling the bundle offer a scam, I just expanded on my answer to you that it wasn't a mistake. I can see how my response was unclear, however. But . . . even if I had misread your post or was unclear in my response . . . relax.

And no, they don't "normally" let you finish a story arc in the various bundle offers of the past. I'm sure they have at least a few times, but it is more common to give you book #1, maybe book #2, and then get you to go out and purchase book #3 separately. Besides, this particular bundle, like most of them, is a pretty good deal even if you add the cost of the third Drizzt graphic novel at full price.
???
First you literally did say I called it a scam. Second they do normally do finish an arc, which despite what you are saying is not the whole series. I never said it wasn't a good deal, simply that they might have made a mistake in what showed up.

Since you are making up what I said & pretending I am upset, you are obviously trolling me. So what's the point?
 

Dire Bare

Adventurer
???
First you literally did say I called it a scam. Second they do normally do finish an arc, which despite what you are saying is not the whole series. I never said it wasn't a good deal, simply that they might have made a mistake in what showed up.

Since you are making up what I said & pretending I am upset, you are obviously trolling me. So what's the point?
And now I'm trolling you? Ooookay, I'm out. Have fun.
 

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