This is Audio EXP for the 13th of November 2021, and the title of this episode is “Retail therapy and Atomic Arcade”
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #122]
Gallant Knight Games is in the spotlight this month, as voted for by Patreons.
Good news, Gallant Knight is up for a chat!
Bad news, the ball is with me, and I’ve dropped it. Sorry, Alan, I’ll email you shortly!
If you read Geek Native’s Friday Routinely Itemised collection of RPG news, you might have spotted that I complained of being unwell. As you can hear, I’m feeling a bit better today.
Weirdly, I have an advanced medical testing kit in my desk draw. It’s for C19, as you’d expect, and I took the test just to make sure. I really do wonder what our future will be like; some sort of biopunk world?
I also said I had new shoes. I blogged the Reebok Ghostbuster range in June. They’re now available here in Scotland, and as part of my apparent middle-age crisis, I bought a pair of Ghostbuster x Reebok Answer IV.
Right, that’s the catch up; we’re here for the geeky roundup of news. But, as it happens, I’ve both future-world and retail therapy to talk about.
Geek Native’s curated collection of short films expanded this week with Shehr E Tabassum.
That’s an animation set in a peaceful future.
With punishment for those who don’t happily smile.
It’s a peaceful future.
Did you know you can skip from one short film to a randomly selected other one by clicking the teleport link at the bottom of the article? A good way, I hope, to fill a bored 30 minutes.
Links to this week’s short animation and everything else mentioned in this podcast can be found via the transcript.
I speculate about a biotech future, but we seem to be living in an increasing cyberpunk present right now. Diamond and Alliance Distributors have been hit by a ransomware attack. It’s messed up retailers ability to order the comics and merch they hope to sell in these crucial gift-giving weeks.
A ransomware attack is when a company is extorted for money to return the victim’s computer systems. It might have been a virus that got in, a hack or even a social exploit, and it often has systems encrypted beyond use.
It’s an especially tricky one because paying still leaves you open for future attacks and shows you’re willing to pay. It’s a bit like fighting off school bullies in that they will as long as they can.
Here’s some good news. OneBookShelf, the company that runs PathfinderInfinite with Pazio, the DMs Guild with Wizard of the Coast, the Storyteller’s Vault with Paradox and their own DriveThruRPG updated their list of supported charities.
That means three new charities are available for publishers to pick as places to route proceeds from sales too.
- DOTS RPG Project – who make braille dice and other accessibility work.
- Outreach Action International – human rights for LGBTIQ people.
- Southern Poverty Law Centre – racial justice in the South of America.
That news inspired me to go digging into what else happens charity-wise at OBS sites. With help from the DMs Guild, I was able to find about 10 products that simply give all their money away to charity and do it all the time. I don’t mean a bundle sale for a while; I mean, someone has made a D&D product and is now selling it exclusively to support ExtraLife.
That’s pretty cool, and Cory Longenecker is responsible for about half of them. Thank you, Cory. The D&D 5e Stress Conditions download looks especially interesting.
Let’s slide from buying for charity to more commercial retail therapy. I know I’ve been doing a lot of it recently, but it’s hard not to be excited by some of the goodies coming out.
Rebellion will publish a new series by Garth Ennis. That’s the comic book master behind titles like Preacher and The Boys.
What could the new series be? Why it’s only a direct sequel to that cheese fantasy classic movie Hawk the Slayer.
I kid you not. The people who published Judge Dredd are doing a Hawk the Slayer mini-series.
That’s due out next year via Diamond, the same distribution company we mentioned at the start of the podcast, which is locked in a ransomware battle. It’s a connected world.
Looking at stuff you can get now and might do with Christmas or the runup to the festive season in mind, let’s start with Designing Spaceships.
That’s a new Battlestar Galactica book from Eaglemoss and Hero Collector. I had a PDF copy, the hardback is due out shortly, and it’s a great art book for fans of the series.
There’s no shortage of clever concept designs and interviews with illustrators and designers. However, I liked it because I discovered how often the series settled on one particular design just because it looked good.
I was gratified that instinct and talent played a big part in BSG. It’s not all maths and marketing analysis.
In the more immediate retail future, there’s these Stranger Things walke-talkies from Merchoid.
They’re a black rectangular that zips across three edges and has a walkie talkie antenna out the top. The front has a Hawkins logo and “Middle School A.V. Club” written in 80s style.
Sold as pencil cases, I saw the immediate use as a dice bag, and I imagine it’ll suit games like Kids on Bikes and Tales from the Loop well.
And if you want to go for level three geek, pretty impressive and have the confidence of a lion, then what about the Junji Ito so-called Christmas sweaters I found.
Ito is a horror manga creator; he does twisted stuff. Imagine a sweater with a collage of black and white horror-manga art. I have no idea why this was made or why I find it strangely desirable to have.
While I’m tempted, I won’t be surprised if Forbidden Planet fails to sell any of them. They’re so strange!
Nudging back towards the world of RPG, but before we leave retail land entirely, I think it’s worth noting that Steve Jackson Games has the full GURPs 3e Conan range back in print.
They scanned old books, so there might be some imperfections, but you can buy the set from Amazon and on paper. That’s pretty impressive. If I was a publisher with the rights and assets to do this, I certainly would.
And speaking of publishers with rights and assets, Wizards of the Coast filed for a new trademark in recent weeks. It’s for Atomic Arcade.
Atomic as in, well, individual things or small things? Perhaps invoking Fallout-vibes or a bit retro?
Arcade could be a games hall, a place to buy stuff or both.
The trademark mentions entertainment services and interactive multiplayer in one filing, RPGs, board games and card games in another and downloadable games in a third.
Wizards are the brand in charge of Hasbro’s digital direction, so all this makes sense. It could well be a games studio, a platform from which to buy their computer games, a rival to DriveThruRPG or even a virtual tabletop. It could be all those things at once.
What do you think? Chat on Discord if you’ve thoughts.
The current VTT champion is Roll20, and they’ll certainly be interested in what Wizards of the Coast are planning.
The latest report of games played on Roll20 is out. It shows that D&D still dominates, with more than half of all campaigns being 5e.
Call of Cthulhu is about 12% of campaigns, a fall from the last quarter, but then it’s not a system that lends itself to hugely long term campaigns. Investigators tend to either avoid the horrors or the… game ends.
The World of Darkness and Vampire: The Masquerade is growing well in percentage adoption, up hundreds of times over. Big numbers but still not a huge slice of that market.
Next year, the Marvel RPG might come out and maybe a new contender. Star Wars, another Disney property, is sliding, but the game has been somewhat in limbo as it transitions from Fantasy Flight to Edge.
A Marvel story that caught my eye this week was the boom in interest in American Sign Language as measured by Google Searches.
The theory is that this is directly connected to the deaf Eternal played by the deaf actress Lauren Ridloff. I don’t know if the Status Quo Clerics complained about the casting, but I thought Makkari was one of the best characters in the movie.
Also on the representation front, I thought it worth pointing out the LATAM Breakout.
SoulMuppet Publishing is working to bring five RPGs from creators based in Latin America to market via a Kickstarter. Once it’s done, all the assets will belong to the creators. It’s asking for £15,000 to fund but is nearly there.
If you back project for rewards, you can back for just one or all five. I think it’s worth checking out. SideQuest, the indie RPG zine fest is still on too.
Now, to finish with the traditional look at bundles and competitions.
One of each this week. On the Bundle of Holding, there’s Worldbuilder’s Toolkit 8 which has a host of map assets, game design aids and even commercial licenses.
The competition is to win the Goatlands Adventures Omnibus from Fainting Goat Games. It’s a collection of 5e adventures that slot together to build a campaign setting. You don’t need to spam friends to enter, and you just need to fill out forms.
On that note, let’s wrap there. Keep safe, and this big baby who is suffering from nothing more than a cold will see you next week.
What do you think? Measured observations are welcome and you can leave them in the comment section below.