January 31, 2015

Wizards of the Coast Cannot Win

There has been quite a bit of discussion, some negative, over the release schedule WotC has revealed through the coming summer.

Before we get into that, we need to realize that since 5th Edition's launch we've had six table top rpg products, a DM screen, several spell card, and miniatures releases from Gale Force 9, blind box miniatures and a miniatures game from WizKids and two novels (not counting the Sundering), as well as an expansion for an MMORPG, all of that in a seven month span.

This does not include the Adventurer's League Expeditions or Epic convention events, and also overlooks the Basic DnD PDFs.

I don't know what the future holds for D&D 5E, but that's a pretty heavy release schedule.

Looking at the first six months of 2015, we only have one table top rpg product (which I'm disappointed about), but I think we need to realize that Hasbro/WotC is delegating releases, so instead of the Elemental Evil board game and miniature game products being developed in house, they're still support for DnD and are being led/driven by WotC.  Its an unusual plan, but its where DnD lives right now.

There has also been quite a bit of anger of two recent lay-offs (and losing your job sucks), but looking at Chris and Jennifer's design credits in 5E products, I think it was more of a corporate mandate being fulfilled, and less of a let's "screw DnD over".  Who knows, maybe Chris and Jennifer will follow several other talented former WotC employees and create their own company and still contribute to the industry (I can only hope).

On top of the already released products, we've had about 18 months of DnD releases on dndclassics.com.  I think its important to acknowledge these, because I truly think WotC expects us to mine all editions moving forward.  Would I like a series of conversion guides?  Sure.  But let's be honest, either your comfortable doing the conversions, or your not going to go to the hassle, or some creative soul online is going to do it for fun.

Would I like WotC farther along on some fronts?  Sure.  Do I get frustrated at their lack of digital tools?  Yes (but in watching Project: Morningstar and what they had achieved in the time given them and their kickstarter track record, I think WotC made the right decision to part ways).

I think, like always, those in charge of DnD are truly trying to shepherd the best line they can while being a part of an international corporation that merely wants to replicate the success of Magic: the Gathering.

Here is what I know from running a gaming store:  I've sold close to 100 Player's Handbooks in these first six months and my Adventurer's League nights have swelled from 5 players to over 30.  While, some stores may have had that level of success with Pathfinder and Pathfinder Society, I never did.  95% of those 30 players are taking advantage of my preorder and discount programs for participating in the League, but sadly 80% of my Pathfinder players subscribe to Paizo for product (not that I hold it against them, its a brilliant program, but it hurts me).

So, we can gossip about what WotC has or has not done, but meanwhile I'm going to be very busy finding and training Dungeon Master's to run some games of DnD.

Closing out January

Its been a good month.  A very good month.  This weekend I get to celebrate my beautiful wife's birthday and root for the Patriots (the far lesser of two evils, in my opinions, #ravensnation).

I've been thinking about the blog.  I've managed to keep up my every other day pace and have been looking back at its direction since last summer.

Back then, I decided I wanted to move away from Actual Play Reports and work on content.

I think I've done that, but I'm now focusing on quality.

And I keep thinking that WotC's lack of traditional support on the table top RPG side could be an opportunity for me.  But it's hard to find time to write a product, commission art and then lay it out when running a family business, being married and raising four kids.

So for now, publishing, is merely an idea.

However, this blog is more than that and I'm really working on trying to galvanize its content.

Have a great weekend!

January 27, 2015

DnDClassics.com Releases for 1/27/15

I'm always surprised how difficult it is for me to find out what are the new releases on DnDClassics.com each week (aside from this thread on RPG.Net).

Then it occurred to me that I have a Blog and I'm always looking for subjects to post about!

So this weeks releases are:

Also a big thanks to the terrific spreadsheet about all of the releases created and maintained by Jurgen Hubert (creator of Urbis)

D&D 5th Edition's Feedback Survey is Available

Wizards of the Coast is looking for your Feedback on DnD 5th Edition, staring today.

Go here for the survey.

I hope we get some goodies soon.  Even if we don't get Dungeon and Dragon Magazines, just some content on their website would be good.

January 26, 2015


I haven't picked up Bruce Heard's Calidar setting, yet.

I was a fan of the Voyages of the Princess Ark and of his writing.  But I wonder how much those article's charm (and Mystara's) he channels?

So, my question for those who have taking the Calidar plunge, is it worth it?  

Do you recommend it?

And why?

A Good Book: London Falling by Paul Cornell

This is going to hurt my geek cred, but when I picked up London Falling (its sample was mind boggling good), I didn't realize he'd been writing comics for ages (Demon Knights for DC).

The premise is essentially, a police procedural mixed with witches and ghosts mixed with football (soccer).  As good as it is (its damn fine), I think if I were a brit, it would punch me even harder on levels that I can't relate to as I'm no soccer fan.

The writing is robust and gritty and hurtful and the characters have grown and evolved and I'm not quite half way through.

I can't recommend this enough.  Its kind of EXACTLY the kind of monster hunter story I've been looking forward to reading.

Don't waste a minute, pick it up today.

January 23, 2015

1st Edition Feel, 5th Edition Rules

I just got my PDF of Necromancer Games/Frog God Games Fifth Edition Foes.

I'm really glad I back this.

These are some great monsters and its nice to have some new material while I wait for Princes of the Apocalypse and contemplate the demise of the (Elemental) Adventurer's Handbook.

If you enjoy 5th Edition, I really recommend this book, many of the monsters are from the original ADnD Monster Manual II and Fiend Folio.

I'm still working my way through it, but it was great seeing vegepygmys.

More as I work my way through it.