This is Audio EXP for the 16th of May 2020, and the title of this episode is ‘Taking damage’.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #44]
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Why taking damage? Well, the last two titles have all been about our hobby space fighting hard to stay happy, healthy and financially viable during the pandemic.
That theme is the clear undercurrent of the week’s news.
In today’s episode, we’ve news of new games and new anime but also of delays.
Let’s start with geeky convention news. As conventions have to be cancelled due to the lockdown, we’ve seen many of them offer up online events instead.
Yes, I know. It’s not the same thing. You don’t get to meet, greet and go drinking with people. You don’t get to fill your bags with physical copies of games. There are plusses, though, online conventions are cheaper to attend and easier to get to.
From the convention’s own point of view, I’d even go as far as to suggest that online events keep the brand name relevant. Conventions are a fashion. They work because they’re so popular to go to that people don’t want to miss out. While an online convention won’t replace a meat-space one, it’s still a thing to miss out and for people to talk about. I’d argue it’s needed.
In fact, there’s also the chance that in 2020 our ability to run online conventions and our collective understanding of what makes online conventions work, or not, will take giant strides forward. This is a good thing.
Struggling to keep up with all the new online conventions being announced, I created an conventions calendar for Geek Native. You can access it by visiting the blog, clicking on Resources in the top navigation bar.
It’s nothing fancy, just an embedded Google calendar, but hopefully, that’s effective and accessible. I’ve put offline conventions in there too, and topics include anime shows, RPG, board game and some computer game shows.
Doubtless, there’s a lot more to add, although it’s hard to be sure that a convention is going ahead. If you know of any online events, please let me know, and I’ll get them added.
Here’s another online success story for you. World Anvil. World Anvil is a site in which you can grow a world. It’s designed for authors, creatives and GMs. Players can use it too.
You can start for free, but you’re limited in what you can do. To really take control of the world you want to create and make it look fantastic, then you’ll likely need to step up into a premium tier. In other words, World Anvil is a website that charges money. Wow.
In recent weeks, thanks to its users, World Anvil has been adding character sheet support for games like Star Trek, Savage Worlds and Call of Cthulhu.
Another worthy call out from this week is DriveThruRPG’s charity bundles. There are some great deals.
- The Doctors Without Borders Bundle costs $19.99 and has $653.53 worth of downloads in it.
- No Kid Hungry has a bundle that costs $19.99 and will deliver $626.03 worth of downloads.
- Lastly, the World Food Program deal costs $19.99 and makes $625.51 of RPG extras available.
We’re going to take a look at some new RPG announcements in just a second. If you’re sticking with D&D and aren’t in the market for a whole new game, then it’s worth checking out the latest Unearthed Arcana from Wizards of the Coast.
Unearthed Arcana is where WotC post new stuff and this week the ongoing playtest introduced new versions of three subclasses.
The rogue subclass The Revived gets a new look as a Phantom, the warlock subclass the Nobie Genie becomes simply the Genie and the wizard subclass the Archivist becomes the Order of the Scribes. There are new rules for all of them.
I’m pleased to see that The Revived gets a thorough do-over. It’s rare that I look at any rules and jump to the conclusion that the designers hadn’t thought things through, but that was my immediate reaction to The Revived. Previously, these characters didn’t need to breathe, and that’s a far too powerful ability to give away so easily.
Let’s talk about those game announcements. We don’t go very far away from the world of Dungeons & Dragons for the first. There’s a game called Trudvang Adventures coming.
The publisher is a Swedish company called RiotMinds and Trudvang is an established game setting with its own RPG and a board game that made more than $1,000,000 on Kickstarter.
Trudvang Adventures is this dark mix of Celtic and Norse myth coming to 5e. RiotMinds will be hoping it’s the best of both worlds, they’ll be extending their sombre magical world to an audience familiar with 5e rules and who might be looking for new settings to take their adventures too.
Fellow Swedish publishers Free League Publishing have news of their own too. They and a collation of allies will bring the fourth edition of Twilight: 2000 to life. Judging from the reaction on social media, this was the week’s biggest news.
Twilight: 2000 came out in the 80s, and the setting was the aftermath of a NATO and Soviet nuclear war. Characters are military survivors somewhere in Central Europe.
Free League Publishing is staying true to that first edition vibe by setting the game in an alternative timeline to allow for a new nuclear war. That might be politically safer than speculating where one might come from given today’s politics.
I fear there’s a bit of a trend forming.
Rock Manor Games have also announced Maximum Apocalypse the RPG.
There’s already a popular board game. Once again, you’re survivors of the apocalypse in a survival setting. With Maximum Apocalypse, though, it’s not just one apocalypse that happened but several! War, zombies, aliens, yep. They’re all there.
The quickstart rules for Maximum Apocalypse the RPG are on DriveThruRPG as a pay-what-you-want download already.
The Witcher tabletop RPG is growing. RTG announced that Witcher’s Journal as gone to the printers. This book acts as a bit of a monster manual for the setting.
However, the news from RTG isn’t all great. They’ve described the pandemic as a punch in the gut to the tabletop hobby and warned us that Cyberpunk Red will be delayed.
Cyberpunk Red is Mike Pondsmith’s next cyberpunk tabletop RPG, and it advances the timeline on. It’s also the prequel to the computer game Cyberpunk 2077.
Thankfully, the delay doesn’t look like a long one. The game was scheduled for June, now it seems like the end of summer before it comes out. I assume that’s the Northern Hemisphere.
A more significant delay is the Stargate RPG.
When I last spoke to Wyvern Gaming, they were hoping to Kickstarter the 5e-powered sci-fi game in February. That didn’t happen. Then plan was to launch the game at Gen Con, and while Gen Con hasn’t announced it has been delayed or cancelled it seems likely that it will.
As a result, the Kickstarter for Stargate will be published back to the end of 2020. The game has a release of 2021 in its sights.
Before we leave the RPG news segment of the podcast, let me also quickly say that Charles Dunwoody’s next article in the basic world-building series is live. It’s Design a Dungeon time.
In anime news, I’ve picked out just one story from quite a busy week for mention on the podcast. That’s the one about Inuyasha getting a sequel.
I think Inuyasha will have a special place in many anime fan hearts. It was one of the first series to find success in the West. It ran for years.
The new series is Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon and follows the daughters of the previous generation. Viz Media have the license.
In comic book news, Boom Studios! goes from success to success. They’ve landed the Dune prequel rights.
Not only that, but Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert’s son, and Kevin J. Anderson who co-wrote the prequel novel will also be steering the comic book.
Modiphius is working on a Dune RPG, and there’s a movie slated for the end of the year.
Lastly, I wanted to recommend the Thanos bombing Instagram story from the site this week. A bored creative is picking Instagram accounts at random and expertly photoshopping people out of them, generally to make them better.
The one I like the most is someone’s trip to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge the Disneyland Resort in which the background people between the subject and the Millennium Falcon turn to dust, drift off only to be replaced by their smoking boots.
Speaking of Instagram, you can now find Geek Native there. I’m posting the occasional image and video headline.
I hope to see you there. For now, though, let’s wrap this episode of Audio EXP and speak to you next week.
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