WotC WotC to power other IPs with D&D and M:TG

In Hasbro’s recent conference call, a few things were mentioned.
  • Using D&D and Magic ‘play systems’ to power other IPs via their ‘Universes Beyond’ initiatives
  • Using D&D Beyond as a hub
  • Other physical and digital tie-ins
The Universes Beyond initiative has been running since early 2021 for Magic: The Gathering, and initially featured a The Walking Dead expansion (grandfathered in from 2020), and a Stranger Things set (2020). 2022 will see Warhammer 40K, Fortnite, and Street Fighter; and a Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth set is going out in 2023.

In addition, properties like Godzilla and Dracula have featured as MtG sets, but not as part of the Universes Beyond initiative; and in 2019 there was a My Little Pony crossover. There have also, of course, been D&D/MtG crossovers in both directions.

C51E23CA-CC91-49CB-9F75-AC99948A1965.jpeg


Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming segment President Cynthia Williams said:“You'll see us continue to expand the number of formats and reach new customer segments by expanding our Universes Beyond initiatives, which brings IP from outside of Magic into the Magic play system, We've talked a lot about universes beyond in Magic, which is this concept of thinking about Magic as a play system and bringing in outside brands or outside IP into that play system. We see potential for that with D&D as well."

She also talked about other tie-ins: "And then we see a lot of e-commerce and direct opportunities working in partnership with our Hasbro Pulse team to have physical digital tie-ins that are unique to the platform".

Hasbro’s Chris Cocks mentioned the recent D&D Beyond acquisition: “And then we’ll add on top of that the 50th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons in 2024, where that entertainment, consumer products, and gaming momentum will continue. So, we see a lot of growth vectors and a lot of lifts for D&D with the D&D Beyond platform being central to that.”

IcV2 has a good summary.

 

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


log in or register to remove this ad


jgsugden

Legend
We're not really talking news here - this is just slapping a different coat of paint on the mechanics of D&D and M:tG. People have been doing this for a long time. Gamma World was originally just D&D in a post apocalyptic setting.

However, I think that trying to play Walking Dead (or other non-medieveal fantasy IP) with D&D rules is going to be very accessible, but not very good. It'll be great for a 'dabble' one shot or short adventure, but not great for a campaign - because the mechanics of D&D have evolved over 5(+) editions to suit that genre. I find that for many settings - especially more modern or futuristic ones, I prefer a different system, like GURPS. The idea of explodingly more powerful PCs as they advance from level 1 to whatever in those settings is not quite right to me, but the gradual development of skills and abilities over time in GURPS works better.

While you can heavily modify the D&D core to make it work better, but then you're heavily modifying it and negating the use of D&D as the core, right?
 


Undrave

Hero
It's a great system for mix-and-matching kits to create unique characters, no dead levels (as you see) and every character develops along the same progression (which some won't like, of course).
What about level 9?
Yeah. My expectation is, if the games prove popular, they will either not renew and publish their own version, or like DnDBeyond, buy it outright. However, as all three feel like niche products, I can't really predict what will happen. That said, how many books would you want of any of these properties?
I cannot speak for GI Joe, as that’s not my wheelhouse, and keep in mind that I haven’t seen the books yet, but I can think of quite a few resources I would feel would make great expansion to Transformers or Power Rangers.

For Transformers: Eventually, space travel becomes an important aspect of the franchise, so rules for that might be necessary. What if you want to fly from Earth to Athenia in a single episode? Or engage a Quintesson spaceship in battle?

The next thing are the different kinds of ‘-master’ Transformers: Headmasters, Targetmasters, Powermasters, Actionmasters, and their Japanese counterparts like the Godmasters, Headmasters Jr., Brainmasters, and let’s not forget the Pretenders.

The most obvious expension, to me, is a Beast Era book. Beast Era transformers are smaller than the older ‘bulk’ models and they transform into organic beasts.

Next you have the Unicron Trilogy and all its powering up items. Minicons are a lot like familiars, Energon Stars and the Cyber Keys.

The Animated Continuity, besides its unique artstyle (R.I.P. Derrick J Wyatt :(…) features a rarity in Transformers: human super villains! It also has the Autobots at a severe disadvantage before the Decepticons, with them usually being bigger, more well-armed, and able to fly. Autobots in the Animated universe usually don’t have any sort of blasters or canon and often feature special abilities. The political situation is also different.

And while the Aligned continuity is generally in line enough with G1 to not necessitate a lot of changes, it does feature a vast collection of artefact and McGuffins with powerful abilities. It also has Dark Energon and its ability to turn Transformers into Zombies. And Rescue Bots is part of that continuity and could result in a COMPLETELY different style of game!

I could also see a Lost Light source book featurings all sorts of enemies like the Legislator robots, the DJD, Sparkeaters, scraplets, personality ticks, Amonites, the Black Block Consortia, the Galactic Council, and all of Scorponok’s monstrosities. And rules for space travel again.

For Power Rangers:

The obvious ones would be rules for the various villainous factions, rules for different power sources, and different kinds of Zords. After all, a Galactabeast isn’t the same thing as a Rescue Zord, or the same thing as a Power Animal, or turning into a Zord in Mystic Force, or projecting one like in Jungle Fury, and so forth.

Power Rangers in Space and Lost Galaxy feature space travel and there is probably room to turn Planet Onyx into a mini-setting. Maybe one for Terra Venture as well.

Power Rangers RPM features a post-apocalyptic setting so that might be worth some pages in a book (Maybe a book of mini-settings to replace Angel Grove?)

Lightspeed Rescue, Time Force, SPD and Beast Morphers all feature Rangers parts of larger organizations. How does that get handled in game?

And ever since Lord Drakkon appeared in the comics, Power Rangers’ been on a multiverse bent. RPM and Dino Charge are both canonically in a different universe than the other Rangers shows. The Earth of Dino Charge still has dinosaurs now!

Of course, that's not counting any sort of adventures they might want to release.
Universes Beyond is things like Walking Dead, LotR, Warhammer 40k, but could easily include internal brands. They don't have to fit the MtG or D&D vibe at all.

They just need great art and a passionate audience.
Is there still a passionate audience for Walking Dead? :p
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
However, I think that trying to play Walking Dead (or other non-medieveal fantasy IP) with D&D rules is going to be very accessible, but not very good. It'll be great for a 'dabble' one shot or short adventure, but not great for a campaign - because the mechanics of D&D have evolved over 5(+) editions to suit that genre. I find that for many settings - especially more modern or futuristic ones, I prefer a different system, like GURPS. The idea of explodingly more powerful PCs as they advance from level 1 to whatever in those settings is not quite right to me, but the gradual development of skills and abilities over time in GURPS works better.
I suspect that a lot of folks who aren't already heavy roleplayers would be quite happy with 5e D&D in modern/futuristic settings. The core doesn't actually require as much change as you might think so long as your desire for a game is more cinematic than realistic and you're happy with superheroic action hero types as your heroes. The firearm rules in the DMG are sufficient if that's the kind of game you're running and IME familiar mechanics will win out over "better" mechanics with most casual gamers, which would be the target audience for these kinds of games.

5e is a lot more flexible in this regard than previous editions of the game IMO. I wouldn't have the same opinion of 4e or 3e - 3e had a ton of folks who tried to do exactly that and ended up with mediocre games out of it. 5e's de-emphasis on tactical combat and more emphasis on "theater of the mind" style play makes it more suitable to being a "good enough" engine than previous versions of the game were IMO.
 

Gamma World was originally just D&D in a post apocalyptic setting.

Maybe inspired by (like 90% of early RPG), but it had different attributes, no classes, combat worked a little different, as did saving throws,, gaining levels did much different things as it didn't have classes, ect.

Different enough that I would call it it's own game and not a setting. But familiar enough you could explain to players in 15 to 30 minutes the difference and start playing.

I think you can take that philosophyand apply it with 5e. Keep things they know like terms and the action economy in combat and change some others.

For example

"Walking dead 5e is like D&D but you don't have a class you just pick a background, some skills, and two feats at first level. As you go up in levels you pick more feats some of them are in feat trees, and there arec100s of them. When you level your proficiency bonus goes up but Hit Points are much lower. To help with that you have more inspiration. Everything else works pretty much the same."

Easy to pick up and play by folks familiar with D&D.
 

Trying to imagine a Walking Dead game that doesn't have mechanics for relationships and mental degradation, and where 5e's focus on level-based progression coexists with a setting and tone where death is frequent and--in the case of zombie bites--inescapable. Plus, fighting a zombie horde would mean, what, just dozens of attacks on individual targets while plotting out precise movement rates on battlemaps, instead of some more narrative or zoomed-out mechanic that evokes the feeling of dealing with what's basically a semi-sentient natural disaster?

Seems terrible, but hey, the d20-ification of all RPG genres was a disaster the first time. Would genuinely love to see it crash and burn again.
 

What about level 9?

I cannot speak for GI Joe, as that’s not my wheelhouse, and keep in mind that I haven’t seen the books yet, but I can think of quite a few resources I would feel would make great expansion to Transformers or Power Rangers.

For Transformers: Eventually, space travel becomes an important aspect of the franchise, so rules for that might be necessary. What if you want to fly from Earth to Athenia in a single episode? Or engage a Quintesson spaceship in battle?

The next thing are the different kinds of ‘-master’ Transformers: Headmasters, Targetmasters, Powermasters, Actionmasters, and their Japanese counterparts like the Godmasters, Headmasters Jr., Brainmasters, and let’s not forget the Pretenders.

The most obvious expension, to me, is a Beast Era book. Beast Era transformers are smaller than the older ‘bulk’ models and they transform into organic beasts.

Next you have the Unicron Trilogy and all its powering up items. Minicons are a lot like familiars, Energon Stars and the Cyber Keys.

The Animated Continuity, besides its unique artstyle (R.I.P. Derrick J Wyatt :(…) features a rarity in Transformers: human super villains! It also has the Autobots at a severe disadvantage before the Decepticons, with them usually being bigger, more well-armed, and able to fly. Autobots in the Animated universe usually don’t have any sort of blasters or canon and often feature special abilities. The political situation is also different.

And while the Aligned continuity is generally in line enough with G1 to not necessitate a lot of changes, it does feature a vast collection of artefact and McGuffins with powerful abilities. It also has Dark Energon and its ability to turn Transformers into Zombies. And Rescue Bots is part of that continuity and could result in a COMPLETELY different style of game!

I could also see a Lost Light source book featurings all sorts of enemies like the Legislator robots, the DJD, Sparkeaters, scraplets, personality ticks, Amonites, the Black Block Consortia, the Galactic Council, and all of Scorponok’s monstrosities. And rules for space travel again.

For Power Rangers:

The obvious ones would be rules for the various villainous factions, rules for different power sources, and different kinds of Zords. After all, a Galactabeast isn’t the same thing as a Rescue Zord, or the same thing as a Power Animal, or turning into a Zord in Mystic Force, or projecting one like in Jungle Fury, and so forth.

Power Rangers in Space and Lost Galaxy feature space travel and there is probably room to turn Planet Onyx into a mini-setting. Maybe one for Terra Venture as well.

Power Rangers RPM features a post-apocalyptic setting so that might be worth some pages in a book (Maybe a book of mini-settings to replace Angel Grove?)

Lightspeed Rescue, Time Force, SPD and Beast Morphers all feature Rangers parts of larger organizations. How does that get handled in game?

And ever since Lord Drakkon appeared in the comics, Power Rangers’ been on a multiverse bent. RPM and Dino Charge are both canonically in a different universe than the other Rangers shows. The Earth of Dino Charge still has dinosaurs now!

Of course, that's not counting any sort of adventures they might want to release.

Is there still a passionate audience for Walking Dead? :p
It gets over 3 million viewers per episode and is cable's number one drama
 





Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Ah right. Says it used to be 14M. This article says 17M.


Heck of a drop-off.
 

And Dallas had over 350 million viewers world wide and the RPG didn't sell... so I don't think audience number are a good judge for these sort of things. Just because you can sell Funko Pops doesn't mean you can sell a game to those same people.
The Walking Dead MTG product did sell. It exists. We don't have to guess
 



A d20 Walking Dead would be more an one-shot box, like Rick&Morty or Stranger Things. A list of weapons and the walkers. Here other would rathers videogames as Resident Evil or Back4Blood, with more variety in the "bestiary". Here the dark domain of Falkovnia in the rebooted version of Ravenloft would be more interesting for the players. Even you could find a list of zombie apocalypse videogames for mobiles, tablet or social net.

* A "freak" Walking Dead spin-off is possible in the demiplane of the dread. Maybe the punishment of the dark lord is to face their nemesis, "clones" of famous characters, Michonne and Negan for example. One of the curses is when somebody dies, doesn't become a "walker", but reincarnated in one of the "clones" to try vengeance against the dark lord.

In the past I suggested cybertronians(transformers) as a PC race for April Fool's.

I am afraid we will not see a d20 Star Wars d20 published by WotC again. Now the licence is by Asmodee/Fantasy-Flight-Games, and when this ended, maybe Mavel will publish its ow Star Wars using a version of system 616.

* Some fantasy sagas even being very famous aren't too easy to be adapted to d20. "Song of Fire and Fire" (Game of Thrones) is a good example of low-fantasy-level. Warhammer Fantasy or the Witcher have got different styles of magic.

* Hasbro wants D&D to be as Fortnite the king of intercompany crossovers.
 


Jer

Legend
Supporter
A d20 Walking Dead would be more an one-shot box, like Rick&Morty or Stranger Things.
I actually do think that's a niche that Wizards could exploit - boxes that contain a complete game with enough scenarios to have fun for a few different sessions. Like the Essentials Kit, but geared towards different properties rather than being a D&D all-in-one box, instead of doing an entire hardcover book line for a game.

They did actually do that back in the day - as in before 3e came out. I still have the "Dungeons and Dragons Diablo" boxed set on my shelf based on 2e AD&D and there was a StarCraft Alternity-based boxed set as well. I think there was also a 3e revision of the Diablo game after 3e was released. But for whatever reason they never went farther with it (Maybe because they got acquired by Hasbro and the plans changed?)

There's room for that kind of game, depending on how much effort they'd need to put in to developing the classes to match the setting. But the How to Host a Murder games sold single scenarios with little replay value in a box for years, so I suspect a regular cycle of that kind of game could actually work.
 
Last edited:

Related Articles

Visit Our Sponsor

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top