This is Audio EXP for the 16th of January 2021, and the title of this episode is ‘Derek Kolstad and the new D&D TV series’.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #79]
After the pandemic and holiday overlap, geeky news is beginning to pick up again. There’s a mix of 2020 stats and new project announcements to keep us distracted.
One of those new announcements is that John Wick scribe Derek Kolstad has been attached to the D&D TV series.
Kolstad’s role, according to Hollywood Reporter who had the exclusive, is to come up with a pitch for a live-action series based in the Dungeons & Dragons universe.
Okay, so let’s break that down.
That means it’s Koldstad’s role to develop a concept that quickly sells channels on the idea. Hasbro own eOne, so could look at making the series in-house or outsourcing it, but they don’t own any distribution. They would need Netflix, Amazon – who already has bought the Critical Role series – or perhaps a terrestrial channel in the United States to commit to buying the series.
It does not mean Derek Kolstad is necessarily writing the series.
He could. Kolstad’s involvement might be a condition of someone picking up the series. He’s been working on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which is expected to have elements of the John Wick style, at least a nod or a wink to it. Surely the bulk of that has been done by now?
The news of the likelihood of a D&D TV was one of the underwhelming stories of 2020. By that, I mean when Geek Native wrote up the news – reading through a boring call from Hasbro to investors and picking up the off the cuff comment from Brian Goldner, the company’s CEO, I thought I had the makings of a popular post.
In fact, few people reacted to the headline. Does that mean people don’t care for a D&D TV series, or didn’t believe it would happen or worry that the show might be underwhelming. Does Hollywood get D&D well enough to do it justice?
After all, the Hollywood Reporter said the show is to be set in the D&D universe, and there’s no such thing.
There is no default D&D setting. Yes, the 5e books lean towards The Forgotten Realms, and that’s what we’re assuming for the D&D movie, but it could be a Ravenloft, Greyhawk, Blackmoor or pretty much anywhere else you care to mention.
Right, sticking with RPGs and even with doing things justice, let’s talk about two bundles that might interest you.
The first is one on DriveThruRPG that’s raising money as a result of the Croatian Earthquake.
Scores of people died, and significant structural damage was done in the quake which struck just before New Year. I think, given the timing and all that’s going on in the world, the disaster didn’t get the coverage it was perhaps due.
However, you can help by buying the bundle. It costs $30, and that’ll get you more than $350 worth of RPG goodies.
Here’s a sample of some of the games in it;
- Sandy Pug Games’ silver best seller Americana a fantasy 1950s small-town RPG.
- Tin Star Games’ Relics: A Game of Angels.
- Stormforge Productions’ The Runed Age corebook.
- Araukana Media’s core rules for Nibiru.
- Ordoalea’s own Domains Horror Roleplaying System.
- The (usually) $15 Dark Peaks: Deep Maw core rules.
- As well as the Melsonian Arts Council Troika! Numinous Edition.
The other bundle is on Itch.io and is called Solo but not Alone.
In this deal, $10 will get you 87 RPGs you can play by yourself. Money raised goes to the charity Jasper’s Game Day which reminds people that they are not a critical failure.
It’s good timing. The holidays can be incredibly challenging if you find yourself by yourself and it is sometimes easy to forget that people need you, miss you and enjoy your company. It’s also easy to convince yourself that that isn’t true.
What I’ve been doing since December is making sure I get out of the flat as often as I can. Sadly, as Scotland is in lockdown, that means I’m limited to local, and socially distant exercise walks only.
When I go out, I pop my headphones on, I start up Audible and open my Ingress scanner. That’s an old location-based game which is essentially an endless game of capture the flag. It’s made by Niantic who then went on to make Pokemon Go.
A police force in the UK isn’t too happy about some Pokemon Go players, though. They tweeted to say that they had to speak to different men, aged over 30, about it. They said hunting Pokemon was a lockdown breach.
That tweet has now been deleted. I think the problem with it is that the police really shouldn’t have an opinion of what game you’re playing on your phone. You can catch Pokemon, however old you are.
I think the problem is that Pokemon Go players shouldn’t gather around a gym, linger, and fight there. That’s not being socially distant.
When it’s raining – I did say Scotland, remember – I’m less likely to go for a walk. Now, getting outside is necessary because sunlight is one of the few things that can generate serotonin, but exercise of any kind can help. So, with that in mind, I sometimes use my little exercise bike – a half-size contraptions with peddles only, while I watch some anime.
This week, Crunchyroll released a series of infographics to show the most popular anime on their platform by region.
My Hero Academia is big in the United States and in the United Kingdom, but it didn’t come top of the list. Here’s the top ten.
- Black Clover – 87 countries and territories
- JUJUTSU KAISEN – 71 countries and territories
- BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS – 32 countries and territories
- My Hero Academia – 23 countries and territories
- Tower of God – 10 countries and territories
- The God of High School – 10 countries and territories
- Attack on Titan – 6 countries and territories
- Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- – 1 country
- Onyx Equinox – 1 country
As it turns out, My Hero Academia is the only series on that list that I’ve not seen, and I can vouch for the rest. They’re all good, and if you follow the anime review series on Geek Native, you can get more of my spoiler-free thoughts on each.
Black Clover is top of that list. It starts with two orphans, both left outside the orphanage at the same time, coming of age and waiting for the arrival of their books of magic.
In the Black Clover world, everyone has some magic, if only a trickle and so everyone gets a spellbook.
One of those two brothers turns out to be a remarkable exception. Asta has no magic at all.
Yuno, the other brother, gets a fabled four-leaf decorated book of magic and breezes his way into the kingdom’s magic knights despite not being of royal blood.
Asta, however, ends up with a mysterious five-leaf decorated grimoire despite his lack of magic. And that’s where the story starts.
If you prefer more traditional fantasy, then there’s good news from the world of fiction for you. There’s a new Dragonlance on the way.
The news comes after the Dragonlance authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman took Wizards of the Coast, who own the property, to court.
Weis and Hickman said that Wizards of the Coast were refusing to approve any more drafts to the first book of a trilogy that had been contractually agreed. They alleged this was because of racism rows the company had become mired in.
They settled out of court. A few weeks later, Amazon UK had a holding page for Dragonlance 1 in place.
For a brief while, there was some speculation that the new D&D book that Wizards of the Coast were going to announce a few days later would also be a Dragonlance one.
There wasn’t some logic to that speculation. At the end of 2020, Wizards did say they were working to bring three classic D&D settings to 5e. Last month, Wizards made an old Dragonlance product, The World of Krynn trail map a free download on DriveThruRPG.
The next D&D book is Candlekeep Mysteries and it contains 17 adventures.
Each of the adventures has an investigative theme. I think this is a good idea. It’s not easy to design mysteries in any high fantasy setting.
At least one of those adventures contains the first “official”, quotes around the official, wheelchair accessible dungeon.
Wheelchairs in roleplaying game settings have become a weird thing that people fight about. I don’t get it. No one is coming to take your games away, you can do what you want. If you want to be a good DM, you can design scenarios that appeal to your players. It’s up to you.
Furthermore, I think wheelchairs would be commonplace in a setting where people can work with magic rather than just their physical strength. I also think dungeons designed to home owlbears, ogres, clanking golems and the like will generally be broad and wide.
Of course, you can just set many adventures outside too. If you’re looking to run encounters in a forest any time soon, then check out Zatnokotel’s latest 1-million square feet of battle maps. It’s a lot of forests, and it’s free to download.
Let’s finish up with two bits of news from Geek Native.
First up, there’s a competition to win $50 of geeky coffee.
That’s American dollars, and the voucher is for Geek House Coffee who sell gamer mugs and coffee blends inspired by character classes. As a result, this competition is open to people in the USA only. Geek House Coffee doesn’t have international facilities.
Lastly, if you’re a Geek Native patron – thank you – there’s a free copy of Pew Pew: Bounty Hunters in Space due to be emailed to you.
If you’re not yet a patron but sign up before Monday the 25th, you’ll also get a copy.
Pew Pew is a one-shot RPG from Fainting Goat Games based on Grant Howitt’s Havoc Brigade. It’s designed to be quick and fun. All characters are pre-genned, there’s no time for angst, just lots of space battles and explosions.
And let’s wrap it there, keep safe, stay out of melee range and see you next week.
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