News Digest: Tomb of Annihilation, D&D Beyond, Saving Throw Show, Critical Role, Origins Awards, War

Hello everyone! Darryl here with a slightly delayed News Digest that I’m blaming on a tropical storm. We’ve got new details on Tomb of Annihilation and D&D Beyond, news on the Critical Role sourcebook's release, Origins Awards winners, a huge charity stream from Saving Throw, the new Warhammer 40K edition, and more!


Wizards of the Coast released a few more details at Origins for their next releases, Tomb of Annihilation and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. Expanding on the information released during their live stream, Tomb of Annihilation will be an adventure that runs from Level 1 to 11, but will also dovetail into Adventure League content running all the way to Level 20. Death isn’t as cheap as it once was as resurrection magic doesn’t work correctly. Dinosaurs (including undead ones) roam Chult, and a dragon turtle named Aremag lives in the bay (which is Gamera spelled backward). Some new races and monsters were announced, including Pterafolk, Bateri goblins, Aarakocra, almiraj, kamadan, mantrap, jacuuli, zorbo, chwingas, albino dwarves, and su-monsters. There will be ties to previous adventures and picking up some plot threads from both Storm King’s Thunder and the Tomb of Horrors. And, most critically to many I’m sure, there will be rules for dinosaur races. More information is available in EN World’s coverage in the link above.

Also from Origins, D&D Beyond is moving into its Phase 2 soon, as soon as this month. Phase 2 will focus on a character builder and management system which will allow the creation of a player character in “minutes instead of hours”. There will be quick build options, randomization, and normal full creation options. The digital character sheet attached to the character builder will have equal accessibility on multiple devices with scaling for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and full computer displays. Phase 3 of the beta testing period will focus on options for dungeon masters including the ability to add homebrew campaign notes, house rules, magic items, spells, and more with the ability to share those with players. No prices were announced, but they did announce there will be two tiers of subscriptions available, one for players called the Hero Tier with access to all the character creation tools and no limit on the number of characters saved, and the Master Tier to allow creation and sharing of homebrew material and even allow access to player character sheets with editing features. A pronunciation guide was also announced with Matt Mercer and Marisha Ray providing the voice work. All current print products will have their content integrated into the app at launch.


Speaking of Matt Mercer, Green Ronin Publishing announced full details on the release of Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting written by Mercer with additional writing and development from James Haeck and Joseph Carriker. The book will be a 114 page full-color hardback with setting information or 5th Edition with an MSRP of $34.95. A PDF version will also be available for $18.95 on its own, or for a $5 purchase through the Pre-Order Plus system if the physical copy is purchased through an independent game store participating in the program. The book releases at Gen Con on August 17 with pre-order pick-ups and direct sales available at the convention along with shipments to stores at the same time, so they should be available within a few days of the convention in other outlets.

Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition is now available, and the Battle Primer is available for free. This new update to the Warhammer 40K rules includes three different modes of play, though only one is covered in the free rules supplement and scenario provided. The full 280-page rulebook with gameplay for all modes of play as well as advanced rules plus history and paint guides for miniatures is available for $60 with a few of the 2000 limited edition copies available for $420. A complete index bundle for Imperium 1, Imperium 2, Chaos, Xenos 1, and Xenos 2 is also available for $125 for all five volumes. A new introductory boxed set, Warhammer 40,000: Dark Imperium, is also available for $160 which includes the full rulebook, dice, player reference cards, measuring devices, and 53 total miniatures (22 Primaris Space Marines and 31 Death Guards).


Saving Throw is running a 24-hour long marathon stream on Twitch this weekend benefitting the Alzheimer’s Association. Starting at 8PM Pacific Time this Friday, June 23 and running until at least 8PM Pacific Time on Saturday, June 24, The Longest Day stream will feature games of Call of Cthulhu, Werewolf: The Wild West, Roll for Shoes, Marvel Super Heroes, Karthun (a D&D 5th Edition game), and Wizards Warriors and You. Guests include Tom Lommel (Bill Cavalier the Dungeon Bastard), Amy Vorpahl (Nerdist, Geek & Sundry), Brian Patterson (D20 Monkey), and many more along with viewer giveaways and the ability to influence the game by buying re-rolls, healing, more enemies, more allies, and other game-appropriate advantages and disadvantages for anyone at the table including the gamemasters with all proceeds from the stream benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association.


Origins Awards winners were announced this past weekend at Origins. The biggest winner was Scythe from Stonemeier Games, which won both Game of the Year and Board Game of the Year. Other winners include No Thank You, Evil from Monte Cook Games for RPG of the Year, Happy Salmon from North Star Games for Family Game of the Year, Mystic Vale from AEG for Card Game of the Year, the Blood Rage organizer from Broken Token for Best Accessory of the Year, and Pokemon XY11 Steam Siege booster from The Pokemon Co for Best Collectible of the Year. The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design also inducted two new members into their Hall of Fame, designers Mike Elliott and Jennell Jacquays.

This story has a bit of a tangle to it, so give me a moment to explain some of the history as even fans of Vampire: The Masquerade have been confused recently. In 2015, video game company Paradox Interactive purchased the intellectual property and trademarks for White Wolf Publishing including the rights to all World of Darkness (also known as Classic World of Darkness or Old World of Darkness) and Chronicles of Darkness (also known as New World of Darkness). The previous owner was CCP Games, which merged with White Wolf Publishing in 2006.

During that time from 2006 to 2015, two licenses were granted to outside companies. One of those licenses went to Onyx Path Publishing, who created the highly popular 20th Anniversary Editions of the World of Darkness game systems along with a lot of original material for both World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness for all of their game lines. This license is still in place and the works for the 20th Anniversary editions of Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, and others for tabletop gaming came from Onyx Path along with material for Chronicles of Darkness including the 2nd Edition of Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf: The Forsaken, Mage: The Awakening, and others. Another company, By Night Studios, has been working under a similar license for the Mind’s Eye Theater rules system for World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness LARP games.

Paradox Interactive in 2016 launched a subsidiary company called White Wolf Publishing with the goal of creating a new edition of Vampire: The Masquerade in-house with no input from either Onyx Path or By Night Studios. Last Thursday, Paradox released a “Pre-Alpha” playtest packet for their new game, credited to Karim Muammar, Karl Bergstrom, and Kenneth Hite with “contribution, editing, and testing” from Martin Ericsson and Jason Carl. The EN World coverage of this launch is available at this link. Please use extreme caution when choosing to download this packet as the content within contains direct references to child abuse, child murder, implied sexual assault, and explicit sexual assault; and all of these are actions either major parts of the background of the player characters presented in the material or are rules systems that “force” the player characters to perform these actions whether they want to or not. These are not the NPCs or “villains” of the included adventure, but actions the players are expected to perform or are forced by the rules system to have their characters perform.

In the meantime, Onyx Path has recently released Thousand Years of Night, updated rules for creating elder vampires under the Vampire: The Requiem rules as well as the Dark Ages Companion which gives expanded and updated rules for the Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition rules for creating characters and chronicles during the Dark Ages period.


I’ve mentioned author Ari Marmell before, but I felt it was a time for an update on what he’s doing. When I first covered his Patreon, it had only just launched and, in the months since, it has been updated and streamlined with a lot of great content. Marmell is the author of several books including the Mick Oberon urban fantasy-noir series, the Widdershins YA fantasy, and several tie-in novels for Magic: The Gathering, Darksiders, and World of Darkness. He’s also done a lot of game design work before moving full-time into novel writing, with work on World of Darkness, Chronicles of Darkness, and Dungeons & Dragons. Currently, he’s started publishing a brand new never before seen novel chapter-by-chapter with five total chapters already available. To get access, all you have to do is pledge $2 or more per month to get them all immediately. At $5/mo, you also get access to even more fiction and announcements, and $10/mo gets you access to monthly Q&A videos and other special video content just for backers.

Dwarven Forge has been the gold standard for miniature terrain for a very long time, and now they’re bringing out yet another set of amazing miniatures, Dungeon of Doom. This set includes two new features, a one-foot square raised platform allowing you to add elevation to your games, and a new slot for magnets using Terrain Trays in order to hold the pieces in place when shifted or even turned at an angle. The baseline pledge is $10 to get a canvas tote bag for storage with the ability to add on pieces a la carte, or you can purchase in sets for $82 unpainted green-grey (which still looks great in my experience) or $119 for hand painted. There’s also price breaks for ordering multiple sets at once. This Kickstarter funded in minutes and is currently at $1.4 million with funding running until Tuesday, July 11.

Once you have your terrain, you’re going to need an adventure to run. How about the Fallen Veil Adventure Set from Table Titans? This boxed set from the Table Titans webcomic by writer/artist Scott Kurtz and colorist Steve Hamaker features two adventures for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition for levels 1-2 (Terror of Haverford and Lake of Shadows), 200+ stand-up cardboard game tokens featuring art designs from Table Titans, more than eight maps, and a custom dungeon master screen. And because of their partnership with Wizards of the Coast, they’re allowed to actually say “Dungeons & Dragons” and “Dungeon Master” rather than just allude to them. There’s only one pledge level for this project, $50 to get the entire boxed set and all unlocked stretch goals, but there’s plenty of additional add-ons from previous campaigns as well. This Kickstarter is funded and will unlock more stretch goals until Thursday, July 20.

That’s all from me for this week! Find more gaming crowdfunding news at the EN World RPG Kickstarter News website, and don’t forget to support our Patreon to bring you even 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 I’ll be lamenting I can’t get more games during the Steam Sale because I already own too many, or you can listen to the archives of the Gamer’s Tavern podcast. Until next time, may all your hits be crits!
 

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott

PMárk

Explorer
And we are trying to give people a reasonable understanding that reading the material could be problematic, and they should be fairly warned. You're trying to diminish that and act like these are "preconceptions" they should ignore, and that is downright awful of you.

It could be problematic in a sense that some parts of it could push buttons in people, as it is clearly seen there. That's understandable, but my firm opinion is that the warnings given based on that and the portraying of the playtest are way exaggerated and one-sided. If you don't agree with it, that's fine with me. If you're thinking I'm awful for saying that, well, that's your prerogative too.
 

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JeffB

Legend
$35 is about standard price for a hardcover in the current market. Even mainstream fiction publishers have trouble getting numbers for a hardback under $30 MSRP. Hoard of the Dragon Queen is 96 pages and Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide is 159, and both of those had $39.95 retail prices. And Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting has a pre-order price of $20.97 on Amazon right now if you don't have a local game store.

May be the going rate, but for me, it keeps my wallet shut. I have no problem with $60 for Age of Rebellion, but 2/3 the price and about 1/4 the page count for something like SCAG is ridiculous.

Its why I buy almost no gaming products anymore.
 

  1. Mature content was marked as such on the front and back covers of books, and many White Wolf releases were shipped polybagged due to the mature content.
  2. Content that was too disturbing for even R-rated motion pictures was published by a subsidiary company called Black Dog Publishing, not through the main corporate name of White Wolf Publishing.

You are still exaggerating. Exactly ONE book was polybagged: the first Tzimisce clanbook. It was polybagged SPECIFICALLY to obscure the image on the back cover. Later publishing of the same book simply used a sticker and was not bagged. It is also of note that this book was not under the Black Dog header.

Speaking of which, the Black Dog imprint wasn't "harder-than-R" material by any stretch, excepting mayyyyybe the Formori book. It was harder than what was "normal" by game standards at the time, but the industry was pretty SFW in general. White Wolf dropped the imprint after a bit because they realized it wasn't pushing boundaries they couldn't get away with in the main line. The Black Dog phase is honestly more akin to when comics started dropping the Comics Code and just doing what they want.

You also seem to be either omitting the fact that this is merely a small piece of the rules being introduced and playtested, or you are simply ignorant of it. You call out that Humanity is gone, implying with tone that the game has somehow lost its way completely and is all about grossly immoral action that players are absolutely forced to do no matter what. Nobody knows what the morality system will look like because that wasn't part of this yet. This was simply to see if people liked the way hunger works. You also seem to be assuming that everything as written is a "must" as if players and game masters don't have a say in what material makes it to the table.

I have met the guys on this creative team many times now. I will grant you that, yes, they go dark. They also prefer a more intense deep dive experiences in their LARP as well, using Nordic style rules. I fully expect the new White Wolf to be a shade more dark than people are used to. On the other hand, your reporting of this carries a misinformed and biased tone, focusing on some questionable content to the exclusion of anything else. That is a failure of reporting on any level. If you were merely making a serious and simple content warning, I could understand. However, your tone was off, and your comments in the thread further push your viewpoint into being strongly slanted. You are presenting opinions and misplaced facts, and yes- exaggerating.
 

Abstruse

Legend
Yeah, with the news from this evening I'm beyond done. If you defend the material in this playtest? You're a monster. End of story. This is a destruction of Vampire: The Masquerade and an assassination of the White Wolf name. End of story.
 

Shasarak

Banned
Banned
I feel pity for anyone downloading this on their work computer without knowing what's in it because they're in for one hell of a visit to HR.

Dont you think that HR would have a problem with you downloading a Vampire RPG game at work in any case regardless of whom it makes you feed on?
 

Sunsword

Adventurer
Honestly, the content is worse than I've described because, again, I can't actually describe the content without violating forum rules.

I feel pity for anyone downloading this on their work computer without knowing what's in it because they're in for one hell of a visit to HR.


How is someone in HR going to know about it except in very rare circumstances? There aren't illustrations. I disagree with the choices made, but it's purely text.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Agree, but I'm not surprised and don't have time and energy for endless and pointless arguments here too, so I'd say to everybody: download the stuff, read it and make your own decision about it. You might think it's too much, you might think it's okay, or horrible, or the beginning of the new golden age, or whatever, it's fine, but the portraying above and the claim that you'll have HR problems because of it is just silly. It's not worse than a lot of other WW books was.

For someone who doesn't have a lot of time and energy for pointless arguments, you sure have a lot of posts in this thread on this "pointless argument." And all refuting someone's honest reaction to the playtest material, and their warning that others MIGHT also find it offensive. You say, "make your own decision about it" and then slam Abstruse for doing just that. Incredibly tone deaf and hypocritical dude, and not cool.

I agree that if you are interested in Vampire and curious about the playtest of the new edition, you should download the packet and make your own judgement. Vampire has been around for decades, has a lot of fans, and is an important game in the larger RPG scene. So, I did. Not that I needed anybody to tell me I could do so. But I agree with Abstruse, I wouldn't recommend doing it at work or school. The playtest packet definitely needs a "for mature players only" warning or some such.

Back in the day, I wasn't a Vampire uber-fan with a complete collection of all of the books, but I collected, read, and played quite a few of them with my friends in the '90s. It's been a while, and my memory might not be so great, but . . . . . I don't remember anything this bad. The playtest rules and scenario shocked me, upset me, and made me want to stay far away from the 5th edition of Vampire. It's a pre-alpha playtest, so admittedly the document is very rough. And they are quite clear at the beginning that this is a real playtest, in the sense that anything in the documents might change. God, I hope so.

There is a lot of cursing and foul language in the document, not so much in character dialogue, but in scene/character descriptions and the rules. I know not everyone will be bothered by this, but it makes the game come across immature and unprofessional, to me at least. There's been criticism about the designers making the game "too real" by referencing real world politics, but these attempts seemed forced to me and not organic, like they are tying to hard to be "real" and "edgy." And, it might just be my own mindset or the rough nature of the playtest draft, but a lot of racial references came across as some degree of racist, callous, or insensitive to me. And then there is the pre-generated Ventrue character "Mel", the "connoisseur of the young". Ick. Yeah, it's pretty damn clear in her character description that "connoisseur" is code for "vampire pedophile." To be fair, it seems that only the Ventrue characters have "feeding restrictions", and other other Ventrue PC for the scenario has a different one, "vegans", so not all player generated Ventrue PCs will be pedophiles. But still, this choice is messed up . . . in my opinion, of course.

Although I don't get the chance to play Vampire any more, I did happily throw down cash for the V20 edition from Onyx Path. If the new White Wolf doesn't town down their "edgy darkness" by several thousand degrees, I'll be sticking with V20 and ignoring V5 if I ever do manage to get a new Vampire game started. Certainly won't be paying to own a book as tone deaf and offensive as this playtest document is . . . . again, all in my opinion.

Ick.
 

Arholly

First Post
I played VtM since 1st edition and many editions since then and also larped before it went Nordic. The new edition is much darker and probably should get a warning on it. It's certainly not mean for anyone under the age of 18. And given what I've seen from the youtube video about 5E and some other things, it's not for me. Vampire was edgy before, but this is pushing it way past that boundary.

By all means, check out yourselves. Depending on your POV, it might not be safe for work.
 


Feeroper

Explorer
[/LIST]

You also seem to be either omitting the fact that this is merely a small piece of the rules being introduced and playtested, or you are simply ignorant of it. You call out that Humanity is gone, implying with tone that the game has somehow lost its way completely and is all about grossly immoral action that players are absolutely forced to do no matter what. Nobody knows what the morality system will look like because that wasn't part of this yet. This was simply to see if people liked the way hunger works. You also seem to be assuming that everything as written is a "must" as if players and game masters don't have a say in what material makes it to the table.

I have met the guys on this creative team many times now. I will grant you that, yes, they go dark. They also prefer a more intense deep dive experiences in their LARP as well, using Nordic style rules. I fully expect the new White Wolf to be a shade more dark than people are used to. On the other hand, your reporting of this carries a misinformed and biased tone, focusing on some questionable content to the exclusion of anything else. That is a failure of reporting on any level. If you were merely making a serious and simple content warning, I could understand. However, your tone was off, and your comments in the thread further push your viewpoint into being strongly slanted. You are presenting opinions and misplaced facts, and yes- exaggerating.

I agree with this entirely. A simple warning would have sufficed, but the tone presented was very biased.

I played VtM since 1st edition and many editions since then and also larped before it went Nordic. The new edition is much darker and probably should get a warning on it. It's certainly not mean for anyone under the age of 18. And given what I've seen from the youtube video about 5E and some other things, it's not for me. Vampire was edgy before, but this is pushing it way past that boundary.

By all means, check out yourselves. Depending on your POV, it might not be safe for work.

This is a much more measured response that I appreciate.

Ultimately I agree, maybe they should have included a warning on DTRPG about the content given the political climate these days, but ultimately there are a couple things we need to keep in mind:

1. This is a game about playing a monster. You are the bad guy, and it isn't about playing the bad guy who is only going up against worse guys (and really being a good guy). There has always been a horrific element to the WoD games and this has pushed it further than before, but to me it feels like a reaction to modern day sensibilities.

2. This is a pre-alpha playtest - they are actively looking for feedback from the community about this. This is not the final product that is on shelves at you FLGS, its not even in beta yet. This is meant to be critiqued and refined into something that the WoD community wants to embrace. Make you criticism constructive if you want it to be taken seriously. Keep in mind as well that this is a horror game and as such will feature darker themes where the players will be the monster. It wont be for everyone and that is fine.
 

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