This is Audio EXP for the 11th of December 2021, and the title of this episode is “Struggles and zombie lawyers!”
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #126]
Forgotten Adventures is in the spotlight this month, as voted for by Patreons.
I’ve reached out to them and successfully got in touch. As we speak, the first round of questions is with them, but I don’t want to build expectations given the time of the year. I’ll publish a spotlight this month, but maybe we should assume Forgotten Adventures will be too busy to get in touch.
Now, when is a lawsuit not a lawsuit? When it exists only long enough to coincide with the start of a crowdfunding campaign to pay for it before being cancelled.
That’s a joke. As you know, we begin with some stats before we look at any of the news stories and topics that have stood out on Geek Native this week.
So, let’s do some stats as native geeks have been voting on who they would like to be the next Doctor in Doctor Who.
A few months the blog had a copy of Missy volume 1 to give away. That’s a Doctor Who comic book that follows the adventures or misadventures of Missy. To enter, you had to say who you thought would make a good Doctor.
There’s a huge tie in fifth place, so here’s the top four in reverse order;
- In fourth place; Sean Bean – hey, is this wise, do we really want the Doctor to die?
- In third place; Ruth Negga – which is an inspired choice.
- In the second place; Michael Sheen – that’s the actor who’s played a werewolf leader in Underworld and Tony Blair as well as an angel in Good Omens. What a talent!
- In the first place; Idris Elba – another inspired choice, and he would nail the role but I suspect this entire top four are all too famous and expensive for the role.
What do you think?
Need a helping hand this Christmas shopping season? Or want to give some free money to a charity? Monte Cook Games are kindly making that possible.
The RPG publisher’s Holiday Gift 2021 is $10. There’s a code to use it at their checkout, and you can use it on a $10 voucher or any of their shop items, but you can also give it to a charity on their shortlist just by clicking a button.
Monte Cook Games have been doing this every year for a while now. Thanks, Monte and gang, it’s a great tradition.
News this week, sorry to say, is dominated by struggles. The first to hit the radar were reports that people had been venting frustrations at a trader at Dragonmeet. What had this trader done? They were stocking some Dragon Turtle Games products.
Dragon Turtle Games publish the 5e-powered Carbon 2185. That’s an RPG that uses the same system as D&D to let you play or run a cyberpunk game. Make of that what you will, but it’s been successful enough for Dragon Turtle Games to run several follow-up Kickstarters, the latest of which hasn’t yet been fully delivered.
As witnesses confirm, some frustrated backers verbally abused the trader about this. There was no connection between the trader and the publisher other than stocking Dragon Turtle’s games.
Dragon Turtle promised they’d find out who the aggressors were and take appropriate action. I asked them what that action might be, but they wouldn’t say. And perhaps couldn’t say.
I believe they’ll try their best, though.
Another struggle this week was kicked off by the latest incarnation of TSR. These are people who bought the trademark after it was allowed to expire.
This TSR opened a legal case against Wizards of the Coast to sue them over the trademark.
At the crux of their case, such that it made sense to me, is that they were unhappy with the disclaimer on the actual TSR products that Wizards of the Coast sells via DMsGuild.
They’re not alone in this, and I know a small group of other tabletop gamers don’t like it either.
If you’re not familiar with it, the disclaimer simply says these old books reflect the attitude of society at the time and not what Wizards of the Coast believe now.
I don’t think that means people who buy copies of these old games now are racists any more than I’m a racist for having some H.P. Lovecraft books or still buying Cthulhu mythos products.
I don’t even think the disclaimer means the writers were racists, sexists, or anything else unpleasant. As the disclaimer itself says, these views were widespread at the time, and we know better now. I fully believe old RPG geeks would be %100 in line with tolerance and acceptance today.
TSR disagrees. You might wonder why they disagree strongly enough to start a lawsuit against Wizards of the Coast about it. It’s a good question. Nothing in the lawsuit outlines the expected output; did they expect the court to grant them ownership of the catalogue of old RPGs and the publishing rights?
Well, as it happens, there was an Indiegogo campaign launched to get money to pay for the legal costs. That crowdfunding campaign is set to be a flexible funder, so even if it doesn’t raise the tens of thousands that TSR says they need for the legal fight, they’ll get whatever money it makes.
Publicity from paying for lawyers, I suppose.
You might have noticed some past tense creeping into my comments, though.
That’s because barely a day later the lawsuit was dismissed by TSR.
TSR hasn’t told the backers on the Indiegogo campaign at the time of recording. There’s been about 50.
In fact, at the time of recording, even though there’s no legal campaign against TSR, the Indiegogo is still running. New backers could come forward and give TSR their money.
Of course, there might be behind the scenes things going. Perhaps TSR is keeping the Indiegogo running because they’re going to launch another legal case, perhaps with a different structure, against Wizards of the Coast on Monday.
Right now, we can only speculate. I imagine some backers might be worried about what’s happened to their money, though.
There’s more worry and concern to come, sorry to say. Not very festive this week, are we?
Hopefully, this one is a false alarm. Kickstarter has announced they’ve created a new company and entered into a partnership with a platform called Celo to build a crowdfunding system that works on Blockchain.
As Kickstarter explain, the goal is to decentralise the system and let other people clone the code and create their own Kickstarter copies. They’re a public good corporation and are supposed to be thinking about this sort of thing.
However, loads of people have reacted badly to the news, and some creators threatened to leave.
You, too, might have negatively reacted to the word “Blockchain”. Now, while Blockchain is a distributed system of ledgers to record transactions in a public matrix to make hacking, cheating and other fakeries impossible, it has become synonymous with other developments such as NFTs and cryptocurrencies.
It’s currently true that Bitcoin and other alternative digital currencies need Blockchain, and it’s also true that Celo seems all about cryptocurrencies. As it stands now, Kickstarter has simply said it is interested in Blockchain and decentralisation.
I get why people don’t want their crowdfunding efforts to be linked to server intensive cryptocurrency mining that harms the environment purely for someone else’s profits. I also get why people would worry about the lack of transparency and how hard refunds might be to manage if the implementation isn’t wonderfully done.
Even if Kickstarter doesn’t intend to do anything with crypto, even if they really want to take their code and make it safely available to the web and do lots of good, they’ve failed to read the room on this one.
Now, finally, we can get to the good news. This week the good news is a host of deals, bundles and competitions. There are loads.
There’s a new edition of the famous sci-fi RPG, which you can pick up for one shiny $1. The Traveller: Explorer’s Edition from Mongoose Publishing is over 70 pages and thorough enough to create characters and run a whole campaign.
The latest set of core rules cost $30 and are well over 250-pages long.
Cheaper than one dollar is zero dollars, and it costs zero dollars to pick up a digital copy of the Free Edition of Fairy Trails.
Fairy Trails is the latest RPG from Bandit Camp. As the name suggests, you play a fairy, and you’re finding a new home, having lost your own. Rather than automatically being a dark game about life as a refugee, Fairy Trails actually suggests itself as a fun game about meeting new people on your travel and making friends.
I imagine you can play it either way, though.
The first bundle I want to talk about is a huge one. It’s a double bundle of Pathfinder deals.
One bundle is of Pathfinder Second edition titles, including the Starfinder RPG and an actual physical copy of the Second Edition Beginners Box if you play enough.
The other bundle is full of Fantasy Grounds, the virtual tabletop software, Pathfinder goods.
There are over 60 items on offer, and if you buy both bundles, you can use a bundle to do that and get three free months with Fantasy Grounds and $10 to spend at Humble.
Another bundle is Monogatari Returns which is a manga series about surviving a vampire attack only then to go on to help out other supernatural victims. This bundle starts at less than a dollar and includes other light novels and manga.
It’s about to finish, but Black Library has hundreds of hours of Warhammer 40K audiobooks on Humble. The entry tier is also less than a dollar there.
There’s more. There’s a Bat bundle. That’s right, a whole collection of Steam keys for Batman games. And yes, that’s also right, less than a dollar to get started there too.
Elsewhere, the Bundle of Holding isn’t giving up trying to compete against all that. Their record-breaking Forged in the Dark bundle is back and improved. The entry-level there is $10, though.
Lastly, and if you’re feeling lucky, Geek Native has two copies of D&D’s Strixhaven for Roll20 to giveaway. To enter, you have to tell the widget what you think the best D&D release this year was.
On that note, let’s wrap there. Keep safe; get jabbed, and see you next time.
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