This is Audio EXP for the 1st of April, 2023, and the episode title is “No joke”.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #191]
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High Level Games is in the Spotlight this month, as voted for by Patreons.
It’s April the 1st, so that tally of votes has only just been completed, and I’ve not told High Level Games about their victory yet.
I will, but not on April’s Fool’s Day, as I’ve already encountered minor problems convincing publishers that the Spotlight and a month of mentions on an RPG news and geeky podcast for free isn’t some phishing scam.
However, congratulations to High Level, and thank you to everyone who voted.
There are five candidates for the May Spotlight are;
As usual, only Patrons can vote, but you can be a $1 supporter for as long as you want.
The title of this podcast is no joke, but Geek Native did take part in a prank today by writing up Sneak Energy’s gamer eye drops. Sneak usually sells low cal energy drinks, but I knew this joke was coming, so I played along. If anyone went ahead and put the fake eye drops into their shopping basket, they’d get an additional discount for Sneak’s genuine products.
That felt like a nice gesture from the gamer brand.
The no joke I’m feeling loud and clear this week is that people like the D&D movie. I’ve a whole section for Honour Among Thieves in Routinely Itemised round up and will see the movie tomorrow.
That’s right, I’ve not seen it yet because it’s only just out here in the UK. I thought we’d finished with those silly geographical staggered movie releases.
I admit I was worried. Could D&D work as a comedy? It seems so, and I will soon find out.
I’ve seen grumbles from people who didn’t like strong female characters and that the lead guy was the comedy sidekick. That makes me want to see it more, especially after reading how Chris Pine was thoroughly up for the opportunity to dodge typecasting and show his range.
The most common criticism I’ve seen is that the D&D movie is a good advert for the tabletop game but that people will be disappointed when their Dungeons & Dragons experience doesn’t match the film.
That makes me wonder what D&D games these people have been playing or imagine people playing. D&D can be pretty much anything you want, although it’s more straightforward as high fantasy. In terms of tone, I think actual D&D tends to be more slapstick than grimdark almost every time.
I notice, too, that mainstream press is now taking even more notice of the hobby, and some are calling D&D a billion-dollar franchise that’s only just now waking up.
My mind goes to D&D Direct, which happened this week. I didn’t watch, but I have a summary of the news on the site, enabled by a press release from WotC’s agency in the UK.
There’s a Minecraft deal coming, more models, a TV documentary, and more computer games, and Wizards of the Coast is showing off its official D&D VTT. They’re calling that software a virtual tabletop now, not a playspace. I can’t imagine market research would have suggested anything else. Still, it means not outflanking a crowded, competitive, sticky and established market with a new phrase and taking it head on instead.
Roll20, Fantasy Grouds, Foundry and others will take notice.
I don’t think there’s anything in the D&D Direct news that D&D fans will object too…. except, of course, the dollar signs. That sense that Wizards of the Coast is milking the brand feels hot. Chris, Cynthia, and the Wizards of the Coast leadership team’s comments to investors about how the brand was under-monetized hung around in the air like a bad smell.
My quirky view was that comment was probably a good thing to say to investors. The D&D SLT said, “D&D hasn’t peaked, and there’s more to come.” They protected the company.
I’m reminded of English Premiership Football fans who spend £250 supporting their club in a year, then feel and expect the same ownership as a voting member on the board of a multi-billion dollar international company. That’s what the big football brands are. Manchester United has more than a billion fans.
I hope we don’t end up like that.
I can do without most of the D&D Direct news; I play D&D but not religiously and spend more time with indie games. However, I did notice the craft beer company Mondo has an official D&D beer called Hither Thither. I’ll have a can of that if I spot it in Edinburgh.
Right, moving on from D&D, let’s go straight to Kobold Press and their D&D-but-not-D&D Project Black Flag.
That’s not going to be a thing in 6 days.
In 6 days, and the countdown clock is running on their site, the temporary name will be dropped, and the game’s official title will be revealed.
You don’t need to guess what Black Lantern’s grim Darklands is like as Geek Native has an exclusive preview of the 5e supplement for the Soulmist setting.
Want to know about the Ten Dark Saints, and who wouldn’t? The preview post is worth a look when you find the time.
Time isn’t your friend for the RPG Saints Sketchbook though. That crowdfunding campaign from Handiwork Games and highly respected artist Wayne Reynolds is nearly finished. The exclusive variant edition has sold out, but there’s still time to get the good stuff, and Geek Native has another exclusive with a video introduction to the project from Wayne.
News of the BAMFSIES wasn’t an exclusive as such, I just think the blog was the first media site to break the news. The first post-lockdown era of the superhero RPG awards aka BAMFSIES 2022 have had their winners revealed.
There was no public vote this year; the judges just got to pick recommendations for great tabletop games we might have missed. There’s a mix of big titles and smaller ones, and quite a few, so let me tell you the judges instead!
- Alice “Lallatwittle” Peng, an She’s a Three Castle Award nominated TTRPG author.
- Dan Davenport, an RPG reviewer and editor of the blog Hardboiled GMshoe’s Office.
- Jason Walters is an author, game designer and Indie Press Revolution shop publisher.
- John Kennedy is a tabletop games designer for the Indiana Historical Society.
On a similar note, I think the Geek Native blog was swift with the sellsword news. That’s spelt SLLSWRD and is a new RPG publisher.
The talent behind the new studio are Adam Rose and Daniel D. Fox, both names from Zweihander lore but Daniel left Andrews McMeels as that publisher seems to be scaling back from their foray into the tabletop RPG market.
Interestingly, SLLSWRD’s first project is Gangs of Kahabro, which will use the Year Zero Engine.
Sticking with RPG news but skipping back towards the big screen, there’s an update from Nightfall Games, who have The Terminator license.
That deal was originally the first The Terminator movie, the Dark Horse comics, but nothing Arnie and no sequels. That’s changed.
Now the publisher is talking about the Uncle Bob Terminator, clever and has full rights to the T2 property.
The result is a Judgement Day Kickstarter which introduces playable Terminator characters. That’s a significant change.
Or, dodging all the money talk, why not return to Fearsome Wilderness?
The quickstart has been out for a while, free, but now the core game has had a retail release so Geektopia has refreshed the intro product and that’s still free.
Ahead of a main release, Monte Cook Games is doing something similar with a free-to-download preview of Planar Character Options for the Cypher System. I do like Cypher.
Second, from last, nodding to the fact that Geek Native and Audio EXP aren’t all about RPGs, let’s talk Mario Kart.
There’s a new movie coming, I’m getting PR-paid-for research in my inbox, and Decluttr has sent me some.
Which do you think the most popular Mario Kart game is today? It’s the Wii Mario Kart, and I think that’s pretty interesting because Nintendo hasn’t sold the Wii in over a decade.
Gosh. In over a decade? I feel old now, and I’m going to a party tonight where two friends have joined their birthdays to make a 100th celebration.
Now, in terms of our usual outro of bundle deals at the Bundle of Holding, there’s the;
- Clement Sector, a Cepheus Engine setting from Independence Games.
- Science Fiction Maps from the Heroic Maps team for printing and VTTs.
And at Humble, there are some comic book deals;
- Attack on Titan, from Kodansha and not for the squeamish.
- Return to the World of Dungeons & Dragons, from IDW and timed well for the movie.
Ah, well, we started as we finished with D&D.
So, let’s finish there; buy a range of games, and keep safe.
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