This is Audio EXP for the 18th of February, 2023, and the episode title is “Can gamers spell Turkey?”.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #185]
[Also on Stitcher | Spotify | Apple | Google]
Random Rambling Press is in the Spotlight this month, as voted for by Patreons.
I’m kinda in touch with Random. We’ve swapped messages on Twitter, but most have been, “Have you got my email yet?” followed by “No”. As regular listeners will know, it’s okay if we can’t get through this bottleneck as I can write something up without a Q&A, but despite the monthly challenge, I feel the Q&A is better.
Another challenge has been the RPG news summary, which is Routinely Itemised. It takes hours to put together, and I keep on missing the midnight deadline. Kinda.
This week the newsletter went live before midnight but without Kickstarter bullets, and those were added later. It’s partly Zine Quest’s fault, and this has been the hottest Kickstarter week since I started tracking, and I should write that up later. It’s also because the OGL drama is still casting shadows, and we’ll talk about that later.
I thought, though, we’d start with a top ten.
I get data from the streaming search engine JustWatch, which put together the top 10 video game to movie adaptations based on popularity. We’re not talking about review scores here but what people search for to watch.
In 10: Rampage – that giant gorilla epic
9: Warcraft – so close, but so far
8: Mortal Kombat – so safe I barely remember it
7: Prince of Persia – I’m not sure I do remember it
6: Tomb Raider – I assume the first one
5: Sonic 2 – I’m still to watch – should I?
4: Resident Evil – you won’t be surprised to know the sequels don’t make the list
3: Detective Pikachu – a strong candidate
2: Sonic the Hedgehog – thanks to a crunch from the FX team
1: Uncharted – a good movie, but are you surprised to see it number one?
What’s notable and missing? Monster Hunter or Assassin’s Creed, I guess!
Now, let’s talk about Hasbro’s earnings call, and the time the company’s shareholders got to ask them questions. The Bank of America Merrill Lynch asked about the OGL. I like to think the analyst was a gamer, but they surely had to have noticed the blastwaves.
The bank wanted to know if Hasbro expected to see a financial impact in Q1. The answer seems to be – no.
Wizards of the Coast said they had some cancellations, but they played it down. They also suggested they had been in contact with people who walked away and have been persuading them to return.
Have you cancelled and had Wizards of the Coast reach out to lure you back? If so, let me know.
It’s hard to tell whether the next piece of news is OGL-related or just something brewing for a while. Wizards had wanted to change the OGL to lockout digital stuff beyond DMsGuild-style PDFs, but that was quickly ridden back.
As I’ve speculated previously, if they had led with keeping NFTs out, then I suspect they would have been able to wield the scalpel.
In either case, Demiplane has announced the 5e Nexus.
That’s the 5e the current D&D uses, but 5e Nexus is set up to help indies with games that use 5e. It’s a brilliant catch-all, but we’re yet to see whether publishers targeted by the toolkit have the capacity to use it.
A successful result for 5e Nexus is that it becomes a one-stop-shop for indie publishers and a sum-of-the-parts success for gamers. If loads of publishers use it, then the 5e Nexus gets better and better.
However, if not enough, whatever that critical mass needs to be, opt-in, then it’s a bit pointless.
The other thought here is that while VTTs like Fantasy Grounds and Roll20 stayed relatively quiet during the OGL drama, Demiplane did not. There are ex-WotC allies here, like Adam Bradford, who founded D&D Beyond, and who moved to Demiplane. Demiplane were critical of WotC during the backlash.
This week also saw Free League Publishing share their first new license in response to the OGL and start a conversation about it.
The first part of Kobold Press’ Black Flag also went live. Lineage and Heritage is free to download and, as ever, you’ll find links in the transcript which you can get to from the show notes.
I’ve seen mixed reactions because some people like the current background system, and others have been taught by their tribe to object to the word ‘lineage’.
I’ve started to think of projects like Black Flag and ORC as D&D-not-D&D because they’re trying to be as close to the 5e revolution as possible without being D&D bound.
The next story is Pathfinder-not-Pathfinder. Jason Bulmahn is the Director of Game Design at Paizo and created Pathfinder. However, he also has a side gig at Minotaur Games, and it’s Minotaur Games who are Kickstarting Hopefinder.
If that sounds sunny, hold your horses, as Hopefinder is a zombie apocalypse, and I guess the survivors are really keen to find some hope.
Hopefinder is a relatively low-key entry on Kickstarter but has thrashed its humble campaign goal and has a few hundred backers.
Let’s do freebies and continue with the not-5e theme. There’s the Elemental system; for one, Gildor Games have been promoting it by offering a generous series of free downloads.
Next in the Legends of Gildor are Children of the Black Monolith. That’s swords and sorcery, 30 pages and with six pre-genned characters.
Supporting the Kickstarter, Space Otter Publishing has released a free quickstart for DecKarnage. In this quirky game, the PCs aren’t the heroes; they’re the also-runs sent out to raid between the epic battles.
In bundles, and running to about the 6th of March there’s The One Ring Starter Collection on the Bundle of Holding.
You don’t get the core rules, but you do get both the Starter Set and the solo-rules, aka Strider Mode, downloads.
Finishing earlier, around March 1st, there’s Godbound, returning from 2020, and a chance to play in a dying world with demigods.
Lastly, AAW, Jonathan G. Nelson and dozens of RPG publishers have put together Aid for Turkiye. You can find that on DriveThruRPG, but it’s hard to search for as they’ve spelt Turkey; T.U.R.K.I.Y.E. That’s probably the local and wise way to do it, but I worry it makes the bundle hard to find.
Also, normally I’m glad at the ease at which Geek Native tech turns links into affiliate code so I can try and reduce the cost of running the site. That’s not the case in charity deals like this, and I’ve found it easier simply to tally up any revenue I earn off the charity effort and donate it directly myself.
So, let’s finish there; don’t stay up to the witching hour writing RPG newsletters and keep safe.
Start up a conversation in the comments below.