This is Audio EXP for the 7th of March 2020, and the title of this episode is ‘Thank your goblin king today’.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #34]
This is the week you should thank your goblin king.
March the 4th is International GM’s Day, and there’s no better day to say thank you to the person who spends unknown hours working behind the scenes so that you have an enjoyable gaming session.
If you are a GM: thank you.
March 4th is also the day Gary Gygax died. The co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons. The dates are a coincidence, though. Gygax passed away in 2008 and International GM’s Day, which was born on EN World, was founded in 2002.
As you would expect there’s a big sale on at DriveThruRPG to mark the day. There are 53, 051 products with pretty big discounts.
When I looked Ultramodern5 REDUX for 5th edition by Dias Ex Machina Games was the best seller. It was beating some pretty huge RPG titles. If you’re interested in knowing more about Dias Ex Machina Games, they received a Geek Native RPG Publisher Spotlight in November last year.
Meanwhile, the 20th-anniversary edition of Vampire the Masquerade was outselling the 5th edition of the game and the Alien RPG from Free League Publishing outselling The Witcher. Perhaps that’s because everyone already has The Witcher TTRPG.
A game not in that sale but published this week, you can get it on Amazon, is Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: The Adventure Game. I think it’s one of those games people will want in hardback, not PDF. It even looks like a book from the iconic movie.
The Labyrinth RPG is a book with a hole cut through the pages, hidden object style, which hold two dice and is illustrated by people who worked on the movie.
It’s written by Ben Milton, for the most part, a YouTuber known as Questing Beast and a designer better known for OSR. However, Labyrinth is mainly adventure rather than the system. You’re even encouraged to use your own prefered mechanics. If that’s not an option, there’s a lightweight set of rules in the book.
The GM in Labyrinth is known as the goblin king.
They’re the master of the maze and responsible for engineering all the encounters and hardships your characters might encounter on the way.
Next year, then, it might be possible to be playing the Labyrinth during International GM’s Day, and you’ll have a chance to thank your goblin king.
You won’t have to wait until next year for Free RPG Day. That’s on the 13th of June, this year, so just a few months away.
Gamers, in search of freebies, turn up at these local stores and discover games they wouldn’t have otherwise have found.
Why are we talking about it now? Well, the new owners of the event have just announced their partners. These are publishers like Goodman Games, Green Ronin, Paizo, Steve Jackson Games, Fantasy Flight Games, Cubicle 7, Pelgrane Press, Modiphius and others who will be providing freebies for the stores that take part.
The goal of Free RPG Day is to encourage gamers to try a new game and to visit their local store. This year, we’ve seen virtual tabletops and D&D command a tremendous amount of market share and so Free RPG Day feels as essential as ever.
It’s kinda weird that Fantasy Flight Games are taking part in Free RPG Day, though. It’s widely believed they are exiting the RPG market despite having the Star Wars license. They have exited their RPG developers.
If you’re reluctant to start collecting Star Wars RPG books as a result but are keen to do something sci-fi then what about the Stargate RPG?
You can now sign up to the public playtest.
To take part visit StargateTheRPG.com, click play, click gaming groups, then, public beta playtest group and lastly join group.
This may be where you expect me to say all the links are in the show notes. They’re not, though. Last week I made a change, no one complained, so I’m taking that as a good sign.
Dropping all the links to stories mentioned in the show notes resulted in a mangle of unidentifiable links in very many podcast platforms. I don’t think it was helpful. Now, you’ll find a link back to the transcript of this episode in Geek Native, and you’ll find the links to all the stories mentioned in that.
Let me know if that doesn’t work for you.
Many people are speaking up about doesn’t work for them on the Stargate RPG. They don’t like that it’s powered by 5e.
It’s okay not to like 5e and D&D. Some of these complaints, though, the majority of them, are from people who haven’t tried the system. The game isn’t out yet. It’s also important to remember that 5e is settingless.
Goblins, dragons, beholders and illithids are creatures of the Forgotten Realms. Not 5e as such.
As a result, it’s not entirely accurate to think that because this new Stargate RPG is powered by 5e that your resistance members will be fighting beholders.
That said, D&D is absolutely associated with mind flayers, dragons and beholders. That could absolutely colour the game for you. That’s a risk the designers at Wyvern Gaming are taking.
I saw one person speculate, “What next? D&D for Cthulhu?”
Well! Funny you should say that. This week I looked at Whispers in the Dark, the quickstart by Matt Corley and M.T. Black.
This is a 5e-powered Cthulhu-style setting, and it works very well. You can play as a human, but that doesn’t mean you are wholly human. You might have, for example, some Deep Blood in you.
This is a very thorough quickstart. It’s not free but has pretty much everything you need to play, minus magic rules and you might never need those. A big chunk of it is a pre-written adventure and that, I think, proves that 5e can be adapted to a wide range of settings.
Speaking of settings; there seems to be a whole bunch of them out this week.
First up, there was that D&D leak – yes, another – for Theros. We’re getting another new D&D campaign setting and it’s our second Magic: The Gathering overlap.
Mythic Odysseys of Theros is now on pre-order in Amazon. It’s a setting very much inspired by Greek mythology and a plane in which gods actively meddle in mortal affairs.
Given actual Greek mythology, I did wonder whether Unearthed Arcana’s attempt to introduce the love cleric is related to this. Ouch. That might be awkward given how badly it went down, albeit many people believe the drama to have been an overaction to rules few people actually read.
There’s even more evidence of Geek influence in the new races – Satyr and Leonin, cat people, that game adds. I wonder what Satyr bards will be like to have in your game?
Of course, the game might not be like that at all. The cinematic trailer for Magic: The Gathering’s latest Theros expansion Theros Beyond Death is pretty creepy. It deals with the nightmare eating Planeswalker and, yeah, feels like a nightmare.
An entirely more wholesome setting is Tales from the Loop. That’s Stranger Things meets robots and with less danger. Amazon is about to start showing a TV series based on the art.
Out of the blue, but cleverly timed, Free League Publishing have announced a starter box set for the RPG.
I’ve already seen people who already have all the books announce they want the starter set as well. Starter sets, I think, are here to stay. They’re not just money for the publisher, they do seem to be a popular toe-in-the-water for new players or experienced gamers looking to sample something new.
There are a bunch more settings I want to talk about today. Let’s rattle through them.
Renegade Game Studios has a Kids on Bikes powered setting for Junior Braves Survival Guide to the Apocalypse on the way.
This setting is based off Michael Tanner and Zach Lehner’s graphic novels of the same name. The kids come back from a week of camping only to discover humanity has been wiped out, and the cities are a dangerous place.
We know a little more about the Dune RPG. We don’t know much more, no dates, not even a clue as to whether it’ll be out in time for the new movie.
We do know 15 creators are working on and the game is going to dig into European imperialism theme Herbert so expertly hints at. Spice in the dunes? Oil in the sands, you mean.
If, however, playing a character from one of the traditional Houses doesn’t appeal to you, we now know you can invent your own House for the game.
In this week’s RPG news summary column Routinely Itemised: RPGs 38 the lead Kickstarter discovery is a superhero RPG called Ascendant from publisher Autarch.
The name Autarch rang a bell, and sure enough, I was writing about them back in 2013 and for the Dwimmermount Megadungeon. This was a Kickstarter that ran into difficulties when the IP owner stopped communicating. Looking back at it, Autarch seemed to be the ones heroically powering on and working hard to ensure backers, eventually, got their pledges.
I’m pleased to see Autarch back on Kickstarter and doing well.
The new game out that I’m most tempted by is a mature-rated one. That’s PunkApocalyptic the RPG.
PunkApocalytpic is essentially a post-consumerism apocalypse setting from a Spanish game company called Bad Roll. That, already, leads me to believe it’ll have a very different feel than, say, an American post-consumerism setting.
The designer of the RPG is Robert J. Schwalb, who’s dark fantasy Shadow of the Demon Lord is also on my to-check-out list and is getting excellent reviews.
The PunkApocalytpic RPG puts you in the role of a mercenary in the wilds outside the protections of the megacity. The mature warning implies gore and violence but explicitly warns of the occasional boob in the artwork.
Another new game announced this week is a Critical Role one. Now they’re getting their own Munchkin set. USAopoly, or The OP, however that brand wishes to be known, are the people making that happen. We’re not expecting any boobs in the Munchkin art.
I want to end with two recommendations from outside the world of RPGs.
First, up is a short film, only 12 minutes long, from Seth Worley, called Darker Colors. You can find it on YouTube, in this transcript or by searching Geek Native.
It’s a Kids on Bikes story, minus the bikes, and features monsters drawn in chalk and crayon.
If you want something to get you in the mood for the coming Tales from the Loop TV show, then this may be the thing.
Lastly, there’s a new comic book coming from Rat Queen’s Kurtis J Wiebe called Dryad.
The first issue feels like session zero of an RPG to me. We have new parents trying to make their way through the forest to take their kid somewhere safe. Then, after finding an abandoned temple, they find a sleepy hamlet nearby and decide to call that home.
It’s early days, but I’ll be looking forward to the next issue.
On that note, let’s call it a wrap. Keep safe, be well and tune in next week.
Check the comments below to see what readers have to say.