This is Audio EXP for the 20th of February 2021, and the title of this episode is ‘Anime Awards, and is Vampire coming to Roll20?’.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #84]
There have been over 100 new RPG and RPG-related Kickstarter launches since we last spoke.
Zine Quest 3 is still going. Here’s a question for you. Would you say ‘zeen’ quest or ‘z-eye-n’ quest. Even though I know the word is a contraction of magazine, I’ve been saying ‘z-eye-n’.
100 Kickstarters is a lot. There’s been more this week than the week before, although launch week, two weeks back, is still the largest.
I don’t cover all these Kickstarters one-by-one on Geek Native. Usually, I’d never do more than one Kickstarter a day, but I’ve been doing two for this season.
Why? That’s a fair question. It’s not for the clicks; the data shows I’d be better off sticking to cosplay and funny comics if I wanted clicks. It’s because I think curation is essential for any online community and because the headlines on the blog alone can be enough to remind people they wanted the game. There’s a timer associated with each Kickstarter.
I also want to mix and match to promote little indie games as well as the big headliners.
The cost is, for me, not just in hosting fees but in time. Routinely Itemised: RPGs #88 was a bit of a nightmare this week, and I’ll tell you what happened.
I had about 120 of the 125 Kickstarters mentioned in that weekly RPG news report already in a spreadsheet on Thursday night. All I had to was compile the newsletter, adding a sentence for each plus the usual news from around the web, interviews and reviews. The summary was due to be written on Friday.
I guess all I’m saying here is; I started early.
Suddenly, I was nowhere close to finishing the write-up, and it was nearly 6pm. At 6pm, the automated schedule sends out the daily digest newsletter.
I wrote up to a few minutes before 6pm and then hit publish on an unfinished newsletter. The goal was to make sure the headlines and graphic made it in the newsletter, and then, without changing the URL, over the next 10, 20 or 30 minutes, I could update the post and finish it.
Except, sometimes WordPress is evil and that I must have left it too late. The weekly news summary didn’t make the Friday email. Instead, it’ll appear in Saturday’s round-up and right at the bottom.
It’s not a disaster; it’s just frustrating and a good example of why sometimes consistency is good. I bet people are wondering where the Friday news is.
It’s been a busy week. There’s a heady collection of news in this highlights podcast so let’s get cracking. That 6pm deadline is sneaking closer for the transcript that accompanies this podcast too! You’ll find the link to that in the show notes.
Crunchyroll, which was sold for nearly $1.2bn to Sony, had their Anime Awards online this year. Geek Native has written about most, but not all, of the winners over the last 12 months.
Let’s butcher some names and try and wade through the list of winners.
- Anime Of The Year – Jujutsu Kaisen
- Best Animation – Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!
- Best Fantasy – Re:Zero -Starting Life In Another World- (Season 2)
- Best Drama – Fruits Basket (Season 2)
- Best Comedy – Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War?
- Best Girl – Kaguya Shinomiya, Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War?
- Best Boy – Shoyo Hinata, Haikyu!! To The Top
- Best Protagonist – Catarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead To Doom!
- Best Antagonist – Ryomen Sukuna, Jujutsu Kaisen
- Best Fight Scene – Deku Vs. Overhaul, My Hero Academia Season 4
- Best Score – Kevin Penkin, Tower Of God
- Best Director – Masaaki Yuasa, Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!
- Best Character Design – Mayuka Ito, Original Designs By Aidairo, Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun
- Best Couple – Nasa Yuzaki & Tsukasa Yuzaki, Tonikawa: Over The Moon For You
- Best Va Performance (Jp) – Yusuke Kobayashi As Natsuki Subaru, Re:Zero -Starting Life In Another World- (Season 2)
- Best Va Performance (En) – Zeno Robinson As Hawks, My Hero Academia Season 4
- Best Opening Sequence (Op) – Wild Side (Ali), Beastars
- Best Ending Sequence (Ed) – Lost In Paradise (Ali Feat. Aklo), Jujutsu Kaisen
Well. I’m going to have to listen to me struggling through that list several times in the edit, but we made it.
As reward, let’s talk about prizes and freebies. Geek Native has a copy of the card game Bahamas to giveaway. Sorry, you need a mailing address in the United Kingdom to take part.
In Bahamas, you are one of many thieves on a crashing plane. As your ride hurtles towards the ground, you have to grab what cash you can from the loot being transported and – here’s the important part – one of the few parachutes and leap out of the plane.
The winner is whoever lands, is still alive and has the most money.
This week, Geek Native mentioned several free to download RPGs, but the one I want to talk about in the podcast is the cyberpunk Entromancy. It’s not normally free, but this month, I’m able to give digital copies to Geek Native patrons. Thank you for your support. As usual, there’s a few days for you to join Patreon, back the site and still qualify for the gift as I don’t want to be petty.
Also, this week, I posted the RPG Publisher Spotlight with EN Publishing. That’s the EN Publishing which spun off from the RPG news site EN World.
We touched on EN Publishing’s future work with the Awfully Cheerful Engine, a rules-light system for action-comedy RPGs, about the Advanced 5th Edition rules called Level-Up and Judge Dredd.
I always want to talk about future plans when I get hold of a publisher. I think that’s the most exciting thing to discuss. That’s the stuff you can’t find with Google and that only they know. Understandably, EN Publishing can’t reveal too many plans, though. No publisher can.
I tried the same thing in a quick Q&A style interview with Roll20 and Renegade Game Studios. The two companies announced a partnership to bring the Wardlings 5e RPG to Roll20. I wanted to explore what the partnership meant.
I asked, I point-blank asked, whether Vampire: The Masquerade and World of Darkness games would becoming to Roll20. Neither Emily Floyd of Roll20 or Sara Erickson from Renegade would say.
Renegade, you see, are Paradox’s new publishing partners for the in-housed-again World of Darkness RPGs. Surely making a game available on Roll20 counts as publishing? Mind you, surely Paradox could work directly with Roll20 on that.
Maybe, and this is purely speculation, the computer games company Paradox has the programming chops to do their own virtual tabletop. Wouldn’t that put a cat among the pigeons?
However, although this was a written interview, I sensed knowing smiles to my response. I would not be surprised at all to see the World of Darkness on Roll20.
Roll20 also published their 2020 Q3 report. I didn’t see it go live. Weirdly, the article is dated October 15, 2020. However, everyone else reported it as freshly published and I don’t think they’ve shared that data before.
Anyway, it gives D&D 5e a 53% share of the platform, with homebrew or otherwise uncategorised games coming next with 14% and Call of Cthulhu in third place with a little over 11%.
A platform I did write about this week is Mindflayer.io.
Mindflayer is another attempt to build a looking for group solution that’s not tied to a virtual tabletop. You can use it to offer out your GM skills or look for players, or both players and a DM for online games or around the table.
It’s a tough nut to crack because people won’t use it unless there’s a chance of it working. For there to be a chance of it working, Mindflayer needs people to use it.
How do you get that initial surge of interest?
I think sites like Warhorn or Tabletop Events should get into this space. People are already on those platforms to book places at gaming tables. A simple tickbox could be used for gamers to say, “Yes, if someone else is offering a similar game in the next 3 months, then I’d like to hear about it”.
For now, though, Warhorn and similar sites are sticking with conventions. Speaking of which, Paizo has confirmed PaizoCon 2021 for May 28 all the way through to May 31. You can find that in the Geek Native convention calendar, which is already looking pretty busy for 2021.
EN Publishing, though, doesn’t think we’ll get a UK Games Expo this year, despite the convention insisting that it will go ahead in some shape or form.
Finding people to game with is hard. That’s probably why we’ve seen a boom in solo RPGs and duet-RPGs in the last twelve months.
This week, the duet-RPG Beowulf: Age of Heroes was released digitally.
A duet-RPG is one designed to be run with a GM and just one player. As you can imagine, Beowulf has had to suitably hack its 5e core to make those changes.
My Zine Quest-addled mind thinks I backed the project on Kickstarter. Maybe there’s a physical copy in the post coming to me later.
Here’s an “I can’t find someone to game with” nightmare story. It starts off as a good story, though. For the next few weeks, you can buy raffle tickets to win two nights of D&D in Warwick Castle. It’s for Comic Relief. You’ll learn actual sword, actual archery and falconry.
One night of the prize is a D&D session with the professional DM, Critical Role guest Mark Hulmes. You get to bring four friends. Here’s the nightmare; what if you can’t think of four people you know well enough to meet for a real-life encounter in Warwick Castle, and yet you’ve won that top prize.
How on Earth do you tackle that one?
Oh, please don’t let my paranoia put you off. The tickets are for charity.
The Bundle of Holding are running a special charity offer too. It’s the Bundle Birthday as the site turns 8-years-old.
The catch is this; the games are usually free, but you get one tier by donating $1 to the RPG Creators Relief Fund, and you get both levels of the bundle for a $2 donation or higher.
There are more traditional bundles on offer this week, though. The Bundle of Holding has Old School Cool with games like Vagabonds of Dyfed, Dortoka: City of the Sea of Glass and Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells in it.
Humble Bundle has an RPG deal too. The agreement is with Modiphius Entertainment, who have made the Fallout: Wasteland Warfare RPG part of it.
That’s the first of the two Fallout RPGs that Modiphius is working on. It’s the one that’s an expansion of the Fallout: Wasteland Warfare skirmish game. That’s why many of the other downloads in the deal are STL files to 3d-print more models.
I’m waiting for the second of the two. I quite like the 2d20 system and will be happy to see a Fallout RPG use it.
There’s also the Posthuman Saga RPG announced this week, another post-apocalyptic RPG that has my attention.
In addition to my post-apocalyptic interest, I’m interested in the fact that the Posthuman Saga RPG will use the RPG system previously found in Studio Agate’s Shadows of Esteren dark fantasy RPG.
As a result, Studio Agate is converting those rules into a standalone engine that currently has the working title Story Arc System.
I suspect we might see other interesting titles using the Story Arc System. It could be a rising player in 2021.
Sadly, this week there’s news of a falling player in 2021. Fantasy Flight Games have announced that the Legend of Five Rings card game will finish. The organised play for it will also stop.
However, Legend of the Five Rings isn’t going away completely. Fantasy Flight Games say two things; one that Edge Studio is still working on the Legend of the Five Rings RPG, and secondly, there are new Legend of the Five Rings games coming.
They don’t say whether they’re working on those L5R games, though.
I’m more hopeful for Edge and the RPG, although Edge seems pretty focused on their reboot of the Midnight RPG in 5e right now.
We can’t make it through a whole podcast without mentioning 5e or Wizards of the Coast, of course. So let’s also talk about the legal row with ACD Distribution.
We’ve talked about WotC settling out of Court with the Dragonlance authors and with Gale Force Nine in previous weeks. This week there’s a story in which they didn’t and won.
As a result, ACD Distribution, who once helped sell more than $20m worth of Wizards of the Coast products in a single year, looks set to lose their license with the Hasbro company and must pay Wizards’ $250K legal costs.
It’s gone to appeal.
Lastly, I want to remind you that International GM’s Day is the 4th of March. I’m tempted to buy a silly Thank You card for mine. What will you do?
On that note, let’s wrap there, so please keep safe, stay out of melee range, and we’ll speak next week.
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