This is Audio EXP for the 25th of April 2020, and the title of this episode is ‘Warhammer, One Punch Man and a bucket of freebies’.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #41]
Since we last spoke, Geek Native has launched some new features. I’m going to chat about them in this podcast, while also pointing out some of the week’s freebies, movie and RPG news.
Why don’t we start with hundreds of free ebooks. That might be handy if you’re stuck and bored at home.
In a bit of a test, I created a table with nearly a thousand free books. They come from two sources; DriveThruFiction the sister site of DriveThruRPG and Project Guttenberg. The latter is an effort to collect lots of public domain classics and make them available in lots of handy digital formats.
I can’t quite get the CSS to behave but if you’ll forgive me that, even if I fail to get it fixed, you should now have easy access to hundreds of sci-fi, horror, fantasy and other genres.
I’m not actually reading that much while in lockdown. I read a lot for work, so I prefer my spare time to have virtual contact with other people.
If that’s you then knowing about Tabletop Playground might be useful.
You’ve probably heard about Tabletop Simulator. That’s a program that lets you recreate board games online and play them with friends. It’s hugely dominant.
Tabletop Playground is an attempt to challenge that dominance. While Tabletop Playground is in testing, it’ll be free.
A board game that I doubt we’ll ever see brought to life by any tabletop simulator due to the heavy trademarks is the newly announced Warhammer 40K Risk.
That’s right, Hasbro’s classic Risk game of strategy has been skinned up by The Op with Games Workshop’s blessing to become a Warhammer 40K game.
You’re not struggling to control Earth. You’re fighting four other factions for control of the planet Vigilus at the entrance to the Great Rift. Good luck.
You can see why I don’t think either tabletop simulator will get away with a cheeky unofficial version of that mashup.
Mind you, sometimes things I can’t imagine happening, happen. I never thought we’d see an official version of solo play Carcassonne rules.
That’s what the owners Hans im Gluck have given us, though. They’re available as both English and German PDF downloads. Hams im Gluck kept changing the URL, so Geek Native mirrored the English language download.
Another new way to get into a game this week comes from Magpie Games. Magpie is best known for their Masks superhero RPG and more recently the hugely successful Kickstarter for the Root RPG. That’s a roleplaying game based on the Root board game in which you’re animal factions battling for control of a forest. There’s no evidence to say that forest is at the entranceway to the Great Rift, though.
What Magpie Games have done is launch their curated play program.
Usually, when a tabletop publisher launches an official play program, they offer support and rules to GMs and shops who want to run officially sanctioned campaigns.
Not in this case, that would be impossible with a lockdown. Magpie Games are selling tickets – generally for about $10 – to virtual tabletop games of Mask. They provide the GM.
I think this is lovely. If you’re really bored and desperate to game with people, then you can buy a ticket and finally get to do some roleplaying.
I do think, though, that this is a step on the evolution of professional GMs, though. This makes charging for a game more of a mainstream thing.
Geek Native’s own professional GM, Ben Jackson-Ellery’s latest Genre Police is live. This article looks at the importance but also the responsibility and dangers of continuity in RPGs.
If you’re learning to GM, even if you’ve got plenty of experience, I think you’ll find the article helpful.
We now have way more than 50 Genre Police articles on the site and while they’ll all tagged ‘genre police’ I thought it was time to make it easier to find them all.
The solution – and we’ve foreshadowed this – is a searchable table. So there’s now a Genre Police RPG Tips archive. You can search for Genre Police articles by title or by keyword.
Okay, so we’ve got two new searchable tables at Geek Native, but the real experiment is the Karma Queue.
Behind the scenes, there is a labyrinth of Google Sheet functions – yep, spreadsheets – and Google dashboard presentations. Why would I inflict that on anyone?
I’m trying to help. It’s a fact that some tabletop publishers are struggling. No conventions mean no easy way to launch the next important game. No shops mean no way to sell those profit-making books.
My hunch is that many gamers would help out but perhaps don’t know where to begin given the sheer volume of publishers who would appreciate an act of kindness. It’s also hard to know what actions are helpful.
So, the Karma Queue surfaces two publishers at a time. The two at the top of the queue and suggests just three things you can do to help.
If you want, you can help a publisher. If you want, you can record that you did so. And, if you want, you can give the system a name.
Your act of kindness always helps. If you record that you did a thing, then the spreadsheets update so that a different publisher might be recommended to the next visitor. This way, we spread those acts of kindness around.
If you choose to give a name, then the system might show your name, or whatever name you provided, in the top 25 helpers.
It’s early days, the system might never hit the mark, but at least it doesn’t hurt.
Given all the changes and experiments on the site recently, I’ve added a new top navigation option to the blog as well. It’s called “Resources” and lives right next to the link to the chat portal.
Let’s stick with the idea of helping other people for a little while longer. I saw an interesting idea from an artist called Shaun Sunday.
Shaun has designed and is now selling Player Screens for 5e.
You get the idea of a GM screen. A standup accessory on the table that hides notes, dice rolls and can be used to show a summary of the rules. The Player Screen is smaller, designed to give some personal space and also remind the player of some critical rules.
Shaun explains that some neurodivergent players might struggle to remember the rules, or even find them in large hardbacks at the table, and hope is that the player screens are an alternative way to make tabletop gaming easier.
It’s worth thinking about because so many people play RPGs these days. It won’t be a surprise to know that 2019 was D&D’s best year.
It’s more surprising that, here in Europe, Wizards of the Coast are just getting around to celebrate that. They launched an infographic of details.
You can see that WotC think of D&D as a media title as they like to talk about the thousands of years worth of content people have created or consumed for it.
What Geek Native readers noticed, though, was that the breakdown of ages stops at 45.
Is WotC Europe really saying that no one older than 45 plays D&D?
I doubt it. I think it’s just one of those things that slipped through the infographic production process.
On the topic of production processes, we won’t need to speculate when Soulbound RPG production processes might cumulate with a new Warhammer RPG.
Cubicle 7 gave us a look at the Black Ark Corsair and suggested May 4th as the latest likely date for the book to be finished.
Wait. Pretend I didn’t say that.
We’re going to stick with new RPGs and talk about the latest game from Renegade Game Studios. This game will use their Kids on Bikes RPG system.
What’s the new game called? It’s called Kids on Brooms. It’s about making friends and discovering mysteries and adventure while attending magic school.
Kids on Brooms is due out around August, but Renegade has not said whether it’s delivered by owl or not.
We also got a look at Eidolon Alpha this week.
That’s one of the three official settings in Cortex Prime, and those are in addition to the 25 other spotlights already announced and planned for it.
Backers of the delayed Kickstarter now, finally, have their copies of the game too.
Before we leave RPGs and wrap-up the podcast with some other geeky gaming news, I wanted to talk about the just-launched Crown & Dragon RPG.
This game uses the Savage Worlds Adventure Edition and turns Stephen Hunt’s “For the Crown and the Dragon” novel into a tabletop game.
The book is an alternative history story in which the Romans struck a deal with a demon, got access to magic, conquered much more of the world as a result but broke it in the process. Now there are monsters everywhere.
It’s one of those times when discovering a new RPG makes me tempted to track down the source material.
Okay, so I said I had two bits of other geeky news to finish with. The first is that the Jumanji writers Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner are attached to a One Punch Man live-action.
According to reports, Sony trusts the writers and credit them with Venom’s success. Make of that what you will.
I actually think Jumanji writers could well do the One Punch Man commentary on the superhero genre, though. And it’s easy to see why Sony fancies the series.
The last bit of news in this week’s episode is about the last Xbox One X bundle deal that Microsoft will ever do.
If you want you can get a Cyberpunk 2077 themed Xbox One X. It looks great, but it’s never easy buying a console when the spotlight is on its successor.
There is, however, a host of other Cyberpunk 2077 accessories like a 2 terabyte hard drive from Seagate that might tempt you instead.
And on that note, let’s call it a wrap and mark our diaries to catch up next week. Speak to you then.
Start up a conversation in the comments below.