This is Audio EXP for the 24th of August 2019, and the title of this episode is It’s Never Pirate Treasure.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #6]
As a kid, I always thought people misunderstood pirate treasure. It annoyed me that so-called heroes would dig it and claim the gold as theirs. It wasn’t theirs. That gold belonged to other people. That was stolen treasure.
I thought Robin Hood had it better. He would steal and then return the treasure. Okay, Robin Hood took from one set of people and redistributed the money in a way that would ensure he never got a VISA to enter the States. But I was young and wasn’t paying too much attention to the details.
We’re talking about piracy because one of the most popular stories on Geek Native this week has been about the pirate DM Clockwork.
This guy was handing out bounties to encourage people to contribute pirated RPG content to a big old Dropbox full of loot and then he was running a Patreon to sell access to the archive.
Amazingly, he claims he thought this was okay.
Nearly 100 people thought so too, or didn’t care, because that’s how many Patreon supporters he had.
When Twitter noticed there was an outcry. Now, don’t take that for granted. All over the internet, you’ll find gamers who don’t mind a bit of piracy. They see it as either a victimless crime or a justifiable one. That’s a shame.
In this case, though, there was an outcry, and it looked as if Patreon suspended his account. Wizards of the Coast sent over the legal notices.
On Friday, though. The Patreon was back up minus the archive. That’s a weird decision from Patreon. DM Clockwork’s Patreon now says he’ll create homebrew content. We’ll see.
He also insists he wants to do a library thing for real. We’ll see.
If you want legit access to helpful free material, then I recommend Raging Swan Press. You’ll find loads of stuff there.
If you don’t mind paying a dollar into a Patreon account to supercharge your access to a treasure trove of gaming material, then I recommend Raging Swan Press.
Raging Swan Press is the publisher in Geek Native’s RPG Publisher Spotlight this month. It’s a great story of one guy who decided to go full time in gaming and who made it work.
Want to earn above-market rates for writing RPG material? Get yourself onto the roster of trusted freelancers that Raging Swan Press sometimes work for.
It’s Geek Native’s own Patreons who voted for Raging Swan Press. Each month I pick a publisher to highlight, and that process is something Patreons can guide. It’s a perk.
One of the other perks the site offers is that sometimes Patreons get freebies. This month any loyal patron or anyone who signs up before the end of the month will get a pair of little monster models in the post.
Collecting monsters is one thing. Trying to kill them is the more usual approach in RPGs.
This week on Geek Native I wrote up 16 common tips experienced GMs offer when they’re asked about narrating combat.
As you can imagine; Matt Mercer features! See what Matt Mercer does and copy him is definitely one strong tip.
Two other ones that I particularly like are having your power attacks triggered by descriptions.
So in this model, players have little cheat sheets which have a few lines of description for each power attack that they have. You know a power attack can be a feat, or special move, or ability, something like that. Whenever a player says one of the matching descriptions for the power attack that is what triggers the power attack.
The idea here is that you’re helping the players narrate more and contribute more than just “I use Feat #5”, something like that.
Another idea is the opposite where you as the GM have a set of prepared lines that you can read out. These are the lines that you will read out when it’s boring, mundane combat and not something that requires you to step up and narrate extra special. This is your default go-to, the baseline, so that mundane combat is still descriptive.
There are a dozen other examples on the site if you’re tempted to take a look.
If you like any of those suggestions, then Wizards of the Coast are working on a newly expanded Eberron where you might get to test them. I think that’s the biggest official news from the industry this week and it’s a bit of a strange one.
Once again, Amazon kinda stole the spotlight. Gamers spotted Eberron: Rising from the Last War as a pre-order before Wizards of the Coast could announce it.
I quite like the cover. It has a Warforged upfront and a white-haired elf with a strange bat-like familiar on her shoulder. But plenty of gamers have expressed their dislike for it. So much so that Wizards are kinda distancing themselves from it.
Jeremey Crawford went as far to say that it’s just a holding image; some interior art that they’re using as a temporary cover.
That comment really wasn’t backed up when Greg Tito talked about the Eberron book in D&D News. He explained that Wizards liked it but were listening to the feedback they were getting.
Now the cover situation is complicated because this main cover is actually only one of two covers that you could end up with. If you go into your local gaming store, then you might be able to find a copy of the book with an exclusive, sort-of luxury cover that looks fantastic. It’s a cover of a dirigible, a steampunk airship, all brass and arcs, floating across the Eberron background.
Shooting from the hip here, I think it’s probably too late in the day for Wizards the change hardback cover. Surely they’ve begun the process of production?
Well, I guess we’ll find out.
As a reminder, Geek Native runs a column called Routinely Itemised that comes out every Friday. It’s up to number 10. In Routinely Itemised you’ll find a bullet-point list of all the RPG news I found this week, well, most of it. That’s the place to look if you don’t want to miss any stories.
Audio EXP, this podcast, differs because it’s a highlight show and we don’t just talk about RPGs.
For example, I want to chat quickly about She-Hulk, Moon Knight and Ms Marvel. What do they have in common other than being Marvel heroes?
They’re all coming to Disney+.
So we’ve got Ms Marvel who is a Pakistani American character, a young teen and when I think about Ms Marvel I think about conversations I’ve had about diversity in comics at work. I’ve a programmer in front of me who is all for diversity but he maintains that the storylines with Marvel’s new range of heroes have been rubbish and that’s what has put people off.
I think this is an opportunity to tell a good story with the new Ms Marvel and that could create a whole new generation of fans. I’m really keen that Marvel get this right.
Now I know fans are really interested in Moon Knight. That’s not a character I know too much about, except I know the storylines tend to have a much darker tone. Moon Knight seems to be one of four different personalities that inhabit a person brought back from the dead by an Egyptian god of vengeance. So, yeah, okay. I can see how that could get quite dark.
And then She-Hulk is a character I know much better. I think the important thing with She-Hulk is that this will be an easier character to tell stories with than the Hulk. She’s smarter so it’ll be easier to have some of emotional engagement there and she’s not as strong so hopefully won’t be as invulnerable as the Hulk and opened to more nuanced stories.
None of this will matter to me, of course, if Disney+ doesn’t actually launch in the UK. There’s worry signs because they’ve announced some international dates and the UK wasn’t on that list.
Okay, it’s probably a rubbish time to launch in the UK given Brexit might happen and international agreements up in the air.
Disney have said they want Disney+ to get into every major market with two years. So, hopefully, the UK is considered a major market, and hopefully, we get Disney+by 2021. Oh, it’s going to be a long wait if that’s the case.
If you’re a Monty Python fan, though, take heart from the fact that the Holy Hand Grenade might fetch as much as £100,000 at auction. If you want to nose around the details, there’s a link on Geek Native.
Another quirky, but not gaming story, is the auction of the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.
That name might mean nothing to you, especially since it’s a prop from a movie that’s nearly 45 years old.
Lastly, since we started on gamers getting it wrong and getting messed up in piracy, I wanted to end on a story of gamers getting it right.
There are two fundraisers right now that will make your heart sing. Gamers have been super generous.
The first is for the gaming icon that is Rick Loomis. Now, he’s the chap behind Flying Buffalo, a president of GAMA, been coordinating play-by-mail games since the 70s.
He’s in hospital. He has bills to pay, a family to care for and its a struggle. So there’s a fundraiser to try and raise $38,000. That’s a huge amount of money, but amazingly, at the time this podcast is being recorded… we’re nearly there! There’s $35,000 raised! This is a proper GoFundMe where every dollar you can find will make a difference.
The same is true for the fundraiser for Sarah Newton is having to run. It’s terrible, but Sarah’s not been able to work for the last five months because she’s been taking care of her husband. And now, unfortunately, she has funeral fees to pay, but with the generosity of the industry, we might help Sarah cope financially with the loss of the Brown Dirt Cowboy and maybe get Mindjammer Press back on its feet.
Now both those campaigns are doing quite well and its really great to see how generous gamers can be. This is a great community.
And on that note, I hope to see you next week.
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