This is Audio EXP for the 2nd of October 2021, and the title of this episode is “A new edition of D&D is on the way”
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #116]
Grim & Perilous Studios is in the spotlight this month, as voted for by Patreons.
Grim & Perilous make content for Zweihänder, and that’s an RPG on the rise. I’ll reach out and see if I can get an interview lined up.
Let’s quickly name the five candidates for next month, as the RPG Publisher Spotlight has just been updated. If you’re a patron, you can vote, and you’ll find the links in the transcript via the show notes.
Those candidates are;
Last week, I said it was a busy week, and this week we’re discussing the new edition of D&D. It seems churlish to structure the podcast with any more delay. So let’s look at 2024, shall we?
It was the usual pattern. An unnamed D&D listing was spotted on Amazon and it cost $170.
What could it be? Lots of theories. A strong one was a gift set, but that felt weird since it wasn’t coming out for Christmas.
It is a gift set, and the shipping crisis means Wizards of the Coast will miss Christmas for the release. That’s a real shame for them and for fans too.
Look out for the Rules Expansion Gift Set hitting stores for January 2022. It’s a boxed set, and one of the books in it will be Mordenkainen Presents Monsters of the Multiverse.
You’ll be able to buy the new Mordenkainen separately too. Right now, though, you can pre-order the Gift Set but not the standalone.
What was announced for 2024 was the 50th-anniversary editions of D&D. They didn’t say D&D 6. They didn’t say D&D 5.5. They did say the new books will be compatible with the old.
That suggests changes; otherwise, terms like compatible are redundant, but we don’t know how significant they will be.
I totally understand why some fans are confused. I don’t know why Wizards of the Coast didn’t predict this question, these uncertainties and be more explicit.
I guess they’ve given themselves more wriggle room. However, I suspect that Wizards will find sales of D&D 5 books slowing in 2022 and 2023 if people think D&D 6 might be coming in 2024. Wizards of the Coast will need to be crystal clear about what the 50th-anniversary editions contain, even if all they are new covers and rules updates from previously published supplements.
One of those rules updates will be changes to how NPCs cast spells. That new approach will be introduced in Monsters of the Multiverse. During the presentation in D&D Celebration that revealed this news, the screen showed some monster and NPC stat blocks from the book. The War Priest was one, and we’ve used AI image-enhancing technology to take a closer look at it and infer the new rules.
Sorry, I can’t show you on the podcast, but the image is on the Geek Native blog. It looks like NPCs don’t worry about spell slots anymore and use a kinder-on-the-DM approach of having spells they can cast per day or at will. Dare I say it, more of a D&D 4-style process.
There’s been a fair few things to look at on the blog this week, actually. All the usual anime trailers, but also some exclusives such as content from Demiverse.
Demiverse is a setting from Gnome Made Games for 5e or Those Who Wander and is all about a fractured multiverse which, as it turns out, gives you lots of options for storytelling and heroics. Even if it’s not the traditional approach.
Another non-traditional slice of D&D I looked at this week was The Purging of Segedwyn.
I believe this to be the first commercially available module for D&D that’s written entirely by AI.
Yep, no human involvement in the composition of this adventure at all. You pay as much, or as little, for this potential slice of history.
I see a future with machine-created tabletop content, we already have procedural computer games, but I think D&D’s 50th-anniversary editions will market years before AI content is mainstream.
It’s not all in D&D that innovations are happening, either. CMON, once a site about rating minis, then a board game giant and now walking a careful financial and ethical path, has bought Two Little Mice.
Two Little Mice are the publishers behind the award-winning Broken Compass. I’ve got that, not even read it because despite going for the Kickstarter, I foolishly put the gorgeous book in the to-review pile.
I might have well put it in an oubliette.
But, I’m excited to see what CMON are planning. They’ve a solid team of RPG and narrative creatives now.
Another company with impressive ideas and productions is Rowan, Rook and Decard. They’ve announced a deal to do more with Keiron Gillen’s comic book DIE.
Yep, there’s going to be a DIE RPG. There’s a free beta already, but with this Kickstarter, we’ll get a collectable special edition.
In the comic book, we follow gamers of my age trying to deal with unearthly horror from an RPG they played as kids. Gillen calls it Goth Jumanji.
A game I did get around to review, as my PDF access is different from physical books, is Infinite Black’s Vast Grimm. As it happens, I did get the physical copy of this game, but it’s not arrived yet.
It’s a MORK BORG sci-fi, and it’s bleak as you’d want. In this sci-fi setting, alien plague is everywhere, bursting forth in bloody horror, and your character is likely to die horribly.
I liked it.
You may have missed Vast Grimm as it took itself to Gamefound, not Kickstarter, as Infinite Black does more with dice than tabletop RPGs.
Not that there’s any onus on anyone to keep up with all the games companies and projects. I was sent, and actually wrote up, a list of this year’s top performing games companies.
In this case, performance means share price, not their ability to make good games, but hopefully, there’s some connection between them.
I recognised only some of the names. Here’s the top three;
- In third, Super League Gaming.
- In the second place, The9 Limited.
- And, in the first place, Avid Technology.
Know any of those three market darlings?
I think they’re all esports, very fashionable and immune to the lockdown and logistics crisis that’s spawned. Brexit, too, piling on to make it even harder for British companies or British buyers.
I mentioned how Wizards of the Coast’s D&D gift set will miss Christmas; that’s just one example. Another is Steve Jackson Games having to put up prices on some games.
I actually wrote up Bargain Max’s Christmas predictions for the ten most desirable toys in the UK.
My advice was for parents to buy them as early as possible. I think I’m preaching to the converted. Gift buying will be a challenge this year. Yeah, it’s October, and I’m worried about December shopping. I bet that’s not the horrors the 40-sometimes of Keiron Gillen’s Die comic book had to worry about.
Mind you, there is a Christmas tradition about hiding behind the sofa here in the UK. That’s Doctor Who.
Back in the summer, Geek Native had a copy of the comic book Doctor Who: Alternating Current to giveaway. That’s the one in which Rose Tyler returns to the comic universe.
I asked contestants which Doctor Who monsters were, from a shortlist, the scariest. Here’s the top three;
- In third place and with 14% of the vote; Cybermen.
- In the second place, with 20% of the vote, Daleks.
- Clear winners, in the first place, with 40% of the vote: Weeping Angels.
Would they be your top three too?
One other piece of news before we get to the bundle deals. Perhaps only topical for me, but I swear it should or could interest you if you’re trying to run a Kickstarter, a games publisher or just get noticed.
Fandom has started a self-service ad network. Fandom is the company that own D&D Beyond and thousands of fan wikis. The self-service ad network means you can use your credit card, spend dozens of Dollars, probably not even hundreds, and get your creativity out in front of many people.
Ads don’t suit all projects, but they can work wonders for some.
The service is called Fandomatic.
Now, those bundles I mentioned.
There’s a good collection of D&D 5e titles in the Bundle of Holding. The deal is called 5e Platinum and all the titles in it have reached Platinum seller level at DriveThruRPG.
The opening tier includes 5th Edition Horror, Book of Wondrous Magic, Ancestry & Culture and the bio-cyberpunk GeneFunk 2090.
Over at Humble, timed to match up with the release of James Bond: No Time to Die, there’s a 007 comic book deal from Dynamite Comics.
Looping back to Fandom and one of their companies, there’s the Savage Bundle of computer games in which you tend to play as the baddie.
There’s also a few days left on the Star Trek Online charity bundle. That’s mainly DLC for current Star Trek Online players, and they’ve raised more than $75K for charity. Good going.
Lastly, before I sign off for the week, I’ve shared another RPGs and Mental Health introspective from the Rupture RPG creative team. This time it’s about RPGs and social anxiety.
On that note, let’s wrap there. Keep safe, you’re not alone, and we’ll see you next week.
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