This is Audio EXP for the 19th of November 2022, and the title of this episode is “A $4bn blunder for D&D’s owner”.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #172]
Bandit Camp are in the spotlight this month, as voted for by Patreons.
Remember how I said Ben at Bandit Camp had gotten back to me last week? Well, I’ve done sweet all about it. My bad. Blame the day job. I’ll be an absolute swine if I don’t get some questions this weekend.
Hello Joana. I don’t think I’ve ever given a personal shoutout on the Audio EXP geek news podcast before but let me tear that record up today. Joana, a friendly manager from Spotify, took me through all the ad options this week and subscribed.
Don’t worry; Audio EXP isn’t about to add any extra ads. This is a work call wherein I might be helping others get their ads on Spotify, and I guess if you’re listening to this, then you’re already persuaded by the power of audio.
This weekend I went to Edinburgh Castle, which was lit up something special. It wasn’t just the lights, but the audio there too. Walking through ancient walls, listening to the thumping beat and stories of kings and queens was something else. Once again, it makes me think that worldbuilders lowball the wonder of their worlds too often.
I’m also just back from a tiny but delightful indie Comic Con here in Edinburgh. It was a chance to catch up with Killtopia creator Dave Cook. Hi Dave. It was also a chance to give Mastodon a real out-and-about test. Yes, I’ve joined the herd and started on Mastodon. There’s no Geek Native profile there yet, as there is on Twitter, and there may never be. We’ll have to see if this federated and open-source alternative moves from fad to trend and from trend to tool-supported established channel.
But it’s been a good weekend for the indie spirit.
That’s a sharp contrast to the $4bn that Hasbro spent on Entertainment One, aka eOne, aka the movie studio that made the D&D movie.
That D&D movie is late, and geeks like me are worried we might not enjoy a comedy. That’s what we’ve been encouraged to expect; an action comedy.
Hasbro has now said that Entertainment One is not a core part of its business and is exploring a sale. I’m not sure they’ll get their $4bn back.
It’s not as if Hasbro bungled everything. The lockdown struck just after buying the studio, and EOne couldn’t do the thing that EOne was bought to do.
There are supposed to be several D&D TV shows in the works, but there’s no reason why EOne has to make them. There’s also a growing number of Wizards of the Coast computer game companies, and I figure movie studios and digital studios begin to overlap at some point.
It might be significant but it’s the ex-Wizards of the Coast boss Chris Cocks who is the Hasbro head-honcho making the call to put EOne up for sale.
A safer venture has been the 50 years of D&D partnership with LEGO. There was a competition to design a D&D lego set, and the winner gets to keep lifelong royalties. The result was over 600 entries, which you can see online, and golly, many of them look great.
Outside the D&D universe, the big RPG news of the week must be Free League’s new The Walking Dead Universe RPG.
I’ve seen people worry about the number of franchise RPGs. I get why; Free League, Magpie with Avatar, Modiphius, Cubicle 7, Nightfall and Evil Genius Games all have big-name tie-ins.
If that’s not your thing, then a quick trip to Itch will reassure you plenty is going on in the indie RPG space. Even DriveThruRPG is rich with alternatives and not all community content.
I think the bigger news is that The Walking Dead RPG is part of a long-term partnership between Free League and AMC. AMC bought the anime company Sentai in January, which gives them titles like Appleseed, Parsyte, Vinland Saga and others, and AMC has the rights to many Anne Rice titles and so on.
In fact, I think in the States there’s a new Anne Rice vampire show coming. Sticking with vampires for a bit, I’ve certainly noticed lots of new horror RPGs of late. A sign of times, perhaps.
It’s in anime too, which tend to have much longer development times. Two shows which caught my eye are Malevolent Spirits.
The hero fights spirits but has anger issues. He needs to get on top of his mental health or risk falling foul of the dangerous energies his ghost-battling destiny has in store for him.
The other is Dark Gathering.
Dark Gathering is about a curse-gifted guy with the ability to draw spirits. He tries to ignore it, and become a teacher, but his first student has a spirit problem of her own. She looks scary.
I’ve popped trailers to both in the transcript and, as ever, you can find links to everything I’m talking about this week in that.
One last horror before we move onto the outro of freebies, bundles and competitions.
Heroic Story raised $6m for web3 tabletop RPGs.
In this case, they use a third-party virtual tabletop and Discord to play. Instead, Heroic Story offers looking for group functionality, and, sadly, web3, in this case, seems to mean NFTs. That’s the shame. I was once hopeful that NFTs would be a way for digital artists to protect their creations and earn money, but that’s not what has played out.
Web3 doesn’t need to mean crypto and NFT.
Now, if money is a bother, then why not check out the newly released Monty Python quickstart from Crowbar Creative and Exalted Funeral. It’s full title is Monty Python’s Supplemental Educational Resource Materials for Pre- or Inter-Course Study.
The Kickstarter has just wrapped and has done amazingly well. I’m a backer.
In bundles, the advanced 5e rules suitable for D&D games of EN Publishing’s Level Up are in the Bundle of Holding until the first week of December.
Humble has a Battletech deal which includes the physical Beginner’s Box. Always watch the shipping costs for physical Humbles, though.
In competitions, Geek Native has three! And that’s even with me trying to stagger them.
The first is for UK listeners only and for one of five, yes, five, RPG dice-designed pendants.
For UK and US fans, there’s a chance to win the Savage Worlds RPG setting of The After in physical form. Geek Native has had an The After competition before, but there’s a new Kickstarter for Tales from the Trail Vol2 and this is to support that.
Lastly, and for US listeners only, there’s the Zweihander Fantasy Horror Starter Set Kit. That’s a physical deal, and I’m no good at promoting US competitions, so if you enter, you’ll have a high chance of winning.
Oh, before we go, remember how last week’s podcast was called Stats and lies, and I openly wondered whether the stat that 89% of Americans didn’t password-protect their wi-fi was correct and whether AtlasVPN would want to associate with incorrect stats? Well, they’ve recanted it and backed away.
So, let’s finish up there; good luck in those competitions, and I’ll see you next week.
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