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RPGG News

A team of hard-hitting investigative reporters brings you the news when it happens, as it happens at the time it happens. Or maybe a little later.

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News Bits (September 4): GoblinWorks out of funds, Chaosium hires, DriveThruRPG's Mature Content policy, new Mongoose Traveller edition

Kai S.
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Hello and welcome back to the Industry News, this week with some bad news for MMO fans, people coming and going at several rpg publishers, discussions about mature content in online shops

The biggest news this week comes from Paizo Publishing, but not directly from them but rather from GoblinWorks, the company that is developing the Pathfinder MMO. They seem to be out of funds as ICv2 reported, with most employees except three having been laid off already and CEO Ryan Dancey having resigned for “personal reasons”. Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens has taken over as acting CEO of Goblinworks and said, the company still had enough funds from Early Enrollment subscriptions to continue to support the game and keep the servers running, but not enough to actually finish development of the game. This is rather troubling news for fans wanting to play in Golarion, but it seems at least most of the Kickstarter rewards (the game was funded mostly through two KS's) are already done and have been made available to backers. We'll have to wait and see how this turns out - we'll keep you updated.

One designer leaves a company, another gets hired by another company: James Lowder has been hired by Chaosium as Consulting Editor for Fiction. His current focus is to help resolve any outstanding issues with writers’ organizations, and authors, editors and artists, followed by planning a new line of fiction.

Over the last weekend there was quite a commotion going on at DriveThruRPG, the cause being a game that quite a few people deemed very offensive. While the whole matter was settled quickly (and I will not discuss the product itself or mention it by name to not give it even more publicity than it already got - if you really want to know, Google is your friend), it forced DTRPG to think about their policy for adult and mature content on the site. The result is a new Mature Content policy for products: from now on any product in which racial violence, rape, torture, or a similar subject is a treated as a central feature will be subjected to careful scrutiny - but it is still available at the site. Users will have options to report products they think cross the boundaries and DTRPG will monitor the products as well. CEO Steve Wieck explained the new policy in more detail on his blog. Now while most people seem to think this is a good way to handle disturbing content, a few publishers are not happy with it: especially James Edward Raggi, IV has threatened to take all his products off DTRPG if even a single one of his products should be pulled. In his own words: "Without the ability to freely create, and freely reach people who might be interested in those creations, participation in this hobby and this industry is simply not worth doing." Not many people currently seem to share his opinion (for those wondering about my personal opinion on this whole matter - this is a news post and I'm trying to report from a neutral point of view). Thanks to user Againsto for pointing me to Raggi's G+ post.

Want to help a company iron out the flaws in their product? As has become customary for quite a few companies, Mongoose Publishing has released a beta version of their upcoming new edition of Traveller. The PDF is available on DriveThruRPG, but it's a product you have to pay for, which in turn will grant you an equal sum voucher for the final corebook. Thanks to user Sheep for bringing this to my attention.

A few weeks ago Pelgrane Press and RPGGeek ran the One Sheet GUMSHOE Contest 2015, that was organized by our very own Yohann Delalande. Yohann has now written an article about his experience running the contest that got published on Pelgrane's newsletter See Page XX! It's a great read, so go check it out!

An that's it for this week's coverage. As usual, if there's anything that I got wrong or stuff I might have overlooked, feel free to comment below.
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Fri Sep 4, 2015 9:46 pm
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News Bits (August 28): Doctor Who AITAS 2E, Dresden Lives cancelled, Frog God Games steps in, Far West complaints

Kai S.
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Hello and welcome back to the Industry News. This week has been rather quiet, with only a few announcements and noteworthy events. We have another upcoming edition of an established licensed game, the cancellation of a licensed LARP, a company stepping up for Kickstarter backers and another Kickstarter that might see some legal action. So let's dive right in, shall we?

We've had our 12th Doctor for quite some time now, so it seems Cubicle 7 Entertainment decided we need a new edition of the Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space to go with the next Doctor. The new edition will still be the same game and is backwards compatible with earlier supplements, but contains new monsters, characters and gadgets. A free PDF with all the new material is in the works for the owners of the earlier edition. Currently they're aiming for a winter 2015 release.

Evil Hat Productions announced a few days ago that Dresden Lives, the LARP version of The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game has been cancelled. In an admirably honest post on the company blog they announced that the company just had bitten off more than they can chew right now and would rather cancel this game than release a mediocre version. The reason why this game was cut is that the company hasn't released any LARP yet, so they'd rather stay in territory they know than expand into unkwown areas.

Usually a licensor never takes responsibility for a Kickstarter gone wrong and unfulfilled. Enter Frog God Games: quite some time ago Centre Stage Miniatures ran two Kickstarters for miniatures based on Tome of Horrors Complete and Tome of Horrors Complete II. CSM had acquired licenses for the monster images from Frog God, but never fulfilled the Kickstarters. Mind you, Frog God Games was in no way involved with those Kickstarters! Still, to alleviate the frustration of the backers, the company has now decided to give store credit for pdf purchases to match dollar-for-dollar the pledges of backers of both Kickstarters. Now that's what I call customer support.

The final news item for this week does not have a blog post or website to link to except our own Geek Forums. At least one backer of the now infamous Far West Adventure Game has had enough of all the excuses and delays and has filed a complaint with the Washington State's Attorney General. It will be interesting to see how this develops in light of last week's news about the Seattle court decision in another Kickstarter case.

And that's it for this week's coverage. As usual, if there's anything that I got wrong or stuff I might have overlooked, feel free to comment below.
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Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:22 pm
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News Bits (August 21): Wayward Kickstarters, Gen Con growth, ebooks sales, Origins Awards updated

Kai S.
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Hello and welcome back to the Industry News, this week with some Kickstarter news, more info about Gen Con, an essay by Simon Rogers and a call for writers. Quite a few of these news bits are not rpg-centric but they're newsworthy nonetheless, so let's dive right in, shall we?

The biggest news this week comes from a Seattle court and is not exactly rpg-centric: said court has ordered Altius Management, the creator of the Asylum Playing Cards Kickstarter, and one of the two people who ran the Kickstarter to pay over $54,000 in restitution, penalties, and costs in a case brought by the Attorney General of Washington last year. As the defendants did not appear in court, the judgment was by default. Interestingly, around the same time the judgment was made, backers suddenly started to receive their stuff. The suit was filed under the state’s Consumer Protection Act on behalf of backers in the state of Washington who did not receive the products promised in the Kickstarter and may well set a precedent for other wayward Kickstarters. Just don't get too excited, as in this particular case the company had stopped communicating with backers altogether in 2013 so we'll have to wait and see how this applies to other KS projects that have been in the works (or editing, right, Bruce? ) for years.

We also got more Gen Con news this week: according to ICv2 Gen Con was bumping up against the limits of the available space in the Indianapolis Convention Center, basically all the available space in the convention center was being used this year. The convention hosted 412 exhibitors this year, which was a new record high, even though the prices for exhibit space already had increased by 25 % for 2015. The convention is already putting new policies in effect to deal with the growing numbers of exhibitors, but these are not to everyone's liking, as they might remove lower profile exhibitors from the con vention altogether.

Think you got what it takes to become a rpg writer/designer but at the same time not a fan of the Pathfinder RPG and Paizo's RPG Superstar contest (see the news article from two weeks ago for details about that)? Third Eye Games is currently looking for new writers to help grow their different game lines. See this blog post on their website for details about how to apply.

There have been quite a few discussions about the rise of ebooks and the decline of printed books. Simon Rogers of Pelgrane Press has a great article about this exact topic and how the situation is in the rpg business over at EN World. It's the first part of a two-part article (the second hasn't been published yet), but it's already highly interesting and will probably fuel lots of discussions.

In other rpg-related news the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design has made some changes to the Origins Awards for the 2016 awards, specifically streamlining the categories, reducing their number from nine to seven and re-introducing the Game of the Year Award.

And that's it for this week's coverage. As usual, if there's anything that I got wrong or stuff I might have overlooked, feel free to comment below.
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Fri Aug 21, 2015 10:10 pm
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News Bits (August 14): new owners for Chaosium, Glorantha license, DTRPG/RPGNow hacked

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Hello and welcome back to the Industry News. After last week's slew of news, this is a rather slow week, most companies having made their major annoucements during or prior to Gen Con. But we still have a few noteworthy things to report, so let's dive right in, shall we?

Something of a leftover from last week, at Gen Con Chaosium announced the company has new owners. Moon Design Publications has joined the Chaosium ownership group and several key personal from that company have taken positions at Chaosium management, with Greg Stafford becoming Chairman of the company’s board of directors. Chaosium will become the licensed publisher for RuneQuest, HeroQuest and other Glorantha-related products. Stafford also announced Chaosium would get back into producing card and board games.

The change in Chaosium ownership also means the The Design Mechanism lost the license for future Glorantha products. It seems the license was up for renewal and Chaosium decided to not renew (which obviously makes sense from their point of view). Future Glorantha products from The Design Mechanism, indlucing the almost finished Adventures in Glorantha won't be released now. They still have a RuneQuest license though and are beginning work on a new RQ edition that will be released in 2016 that. Thank you to Bruce, Misha, Chad and EternalSwordsman for mentioning this.

The next news item is something really disturbing, as two days ago DriveThruRPG/RPGNow informed customers that the company website had been hacked (it seems it was acutally a man-in-the-middle attack, but these technical details are less important right now imho). Every customer who either stored their credit card data on their webserver or who made a purchase between July 6th, 2015 and the morning of August 6th, 2015 is in danger of having his credit card data compromised. The company informed customers via email a few days ago, but everyone who uses their service should at least check their credit card receipts very carefully over the next couple of weeks. See also this FAQ.

And that's it already for this week - most shockingly no D&D 5E news this time. As usual, if there's anything that I got wrong or stuff I might have overlooked (especially if I might have overlooked something - the post feels a bit thin this week), feel free to comment below.
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Fri Aug 14, 2015 7:15 pm
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News Bits (July 24): ICv2 RPG sales, new D&D 5E book, no more Paizo web fiction and GURPS Traveller, Roll20 powers up, new Torg edition, Unified Rolemaster playtest

Kai S.
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Hello and welcome back to the Industry News. As we're getting closer to GenCon there's more and more news about new products, new licensees and some comebacks. This week I present to you some numbers, some newly announced releases and a host of other news. Let's dive right in, shall we?

The biggest news this week comes from ICv2: they have released the current Top 5 of Roleplaying games for Spring 2015 (in regards to actual sales). As usual the numbers are based on interviews with retailers, distributors, and manufacturers. And basically the numbers show us what we've come to expect: Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) has taken the lead, followed by (in that order) Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, the Star Wars RPGs from Fantasy Flight Games (not differentiated between the three games), Shadowrun (5th Edition) and Iron Kingdoms Full Metal Fantasy Roleplaying Game. There's also some additional info about the "Hobby Games" market as a whole, which has climbed to $880 million. It seems RPGs are the fastest growing segment of the market with a 67% rate.

And for those of you who just can't get enough of numbers and spreadsheets, Evil Hat Productions has released their sales numbers for Q2 of 2015.

Now, if the above news wasn't enough to satisfy your D&D 5E news hunger, we also have our obligatory D&D 5E news for this week, as Wizards of the Coast announced just a few days ago the first release of a non-adventure book since the corebooks. The new book is called Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide and slated for a November 2015 release. It updates the Forgotten Realms setting, contains new options for players and also some GM stuff - which means the book is aimed at both players and GMs. While this is not the "completely new direction" WotC representatives have been promising us for the setting books it's at least refreshing to see something else besides adventures released for the game. I guess it also makes sense from an economical standpoint - usually only GMs buy adventures which means you miss out on selling stuff to all the players that have bought D&D 5E, while with a book aimed at both GMs and players you can maximize sales.

In probably completely unrelated news, Paizo Publishing announced, they would stop publishing free web fiction on their website. Usually every wednesday they would post a small chapter of free fiction on their company blog. This has come to an end now. On the blog James L. Sutter notes that they now have a sizable number of Pathfinder Tales ready for buyers and the web fiction has lost its original meaning. He also specifically mentions the costs of illustrating each fiction post.

We also have some Roll20 news this week. The company running the popular virtual tabletop application has signed a contract with Monte Cook Games, making them the official “virtual gaming space” partner of MCG. The first rpg to be brought over to Roll20 is The Strange and its universe. This is especially noteworthy since Roll20 rival Fantasygrounds has a few months ago become the official partner of Wizards of the Coast for D&D 5E. It seems Roll20 thought they had some catching up to do.

And yet another old game is making a comeback: Torg is getting new edition, produced by german game publisher Ulisses Spiele. In a first for that company the game, called Torg: Eternity, will be published in english rather than in german. Torg co-creator Greg Gorden is somehow involved as well, but it seems he's not doing the actual game design. In the US the new edition is helmed by Shane Lacy Hensley of Pinnacle Entertainment Group fame. Thanks to Bruce for pointing this one out.

Speaking of old games, Steve Jackson Games has been producing GURPS sourcebooks for Traveller since the late 1990s. This week the company announced they would not renew that license once it ends on December 31 this year. They will continue to sell books currently available, but there won't be any new print runs anymore.

And yet another older system is working on its comeback. Iron Crown Enterprises has opened the beta playtest for Unified Rolemaster to the public. Head over to their site if you're interested in helping out.

And with that we end this week's coverage. As usual, if there's anything that I got wrong or stuff I might have overlooked, feel free to comment below.
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News Bits (July 17): John Carter RPG, ENnies voters, Chris Perkins on the transmedia strategy, Hasbro exits game manufacturing

Kai S.
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Hello and welcome back to the Industry News. As we're getting closer to Gen Con, the news start to slow down as most companies will probably make their big annoucement at or around the con. Still, we have a few things to report:

Modiphius Entertainment seems to be on the hunt for licenses for their rpg lines. A few months ago they managed to get the license for a new Conan rpg and this week they announced, they'd also got a license for John Carter, originally conceived by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The game is slated for a release this christmas and will use the 2D20Lite system, a variant of the 2D20 system used for Mutant Chronicles RPG 3rd Edition and the upcoming Conan game. It seems they're also working on a boardgame and miniatures based on the license.

In other news we have a short notice about the ENnies. The voting booths are closed by now and it seems this year we have a record number of voters: ENWorld reports the counter was short of 19.000 voters after 16.000 voters last year.

This week it was quite difficult to find something to report as the obligatory Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) news, but thankfully Christopher Perkins did an interview on Shane Plays radio. He doesn't reveal anything new about Wizards of the Coast's plans for D&D 5E, but there's one point of particular interest after it seemed like WotC was treating the rpg more and more as an afterthought to all the transmedia stuff: all these transmedia elements are supposed to be "satellite experiences" of D&D (video games, etc.) and are intended to lead people eventually to the tabletop game... (a big thanks goes to ENWorld for pointing that particular part out)

And with that we're almost out of industry news already, except for this (not really rpg related though): ICv2 reported that Hasbro is getting out of game manufacturing and selling its two manufacturing plants. And with Hasbro being the parent company of WotC that's relevant enough to be pointed, I think.

And that's it for a slow news week this time. As usual, if there's anything that I got wrong or stuff I might have overlooked, feel free to comment below.
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News Bits (July 10): D&D 5E in the lead, Earl Norem dies; ENnie nominations and one disqualification, Origins Awards, Chaosium hires

Kai S.
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Hello and welcome back to the Industry News. Sorry for the long silence after the last news bit, I was on vacation and had to get out of a rpg slump. I'm trying to catch up on a lot of stuff from the last couple of weeks, so you might have read about some of these news already.

We start off this week's news with our obligatory Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) news, this week regarding its position in the industry. Both the Orr Group, maker of the popular VTT Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds, maker of the the VTT of the same name, have released numbers for the game systems played on their services and both see D&D 5E in the lead with Pathfinder Roleplaying Game in second place and Dungeons & Dragons (3.5 Edition) in third place. While the numbers from Fantasy Grounds require a bit of a caveat as that company is the official licensor of Wizards of the Coast, the Orr Group is (at least as far as I know) not affiliated in any way with WotC, so their numbers are likely to give an unbiased overview.

On June 19 Earl Norem, one of the seminal comic book artists, who did the art for the Wizards, Warriors & You gamebooks and some of the the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Coloring Books passed away at age 91. Rest in peace, Mr. Norem. You will not be forgotten.

The ENnies are widely recognized as probably one of the most important industry awards in RPG circles. These are this year's nominees.

Continuing with the ENnies, this year there was a bit of an issue going on, as one of the nominees, namely the Mass Effect RPG, was - as it turned out - created without acquiering a license from the copyright holder. The Mass Effect RPG has been disqualified from this years voting and new nominees have been added in its place. EN World has also added a new rule, in effect from the 2016 votes on, asking a publisher or creator to affirm that all contents of a product are their own property, public domain, or used under license or with permission. Basically this means that any products not within the boundaries of IP law are subject to disqualification at any time.

Speaking of awards, the Origins Awards were announced at Origins Games Fair. Basically Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) took the awards by storm and won both Best Role Playing Game and Best Role Playing Supplement.

And one last bit for all those interested in the people behind creating all these games: Chaosium is putting the band back together - meaning both Greg Stafford AND Sandy Petersen have rejoined Chaosium. They have simple and very compelling plans for Chaosium's future, in short: sort through the current company problems, get the books to backers of their Kickstarters and return to regularly making awesome new games. Sounds good to me.

That's it for this week. As usual, if there's anything that I got wrong or that I might have overlooked, feel free to comment below.
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Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:55 pm
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Greg Stafford and Sandy Petersen Rejoin Chaosium!

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That's right... Greg Stafford is back at Chaosium as the President, and Sandy Petersen is rejoining the creative team.

Their plan going forward is:

Quote:
Quickly sift and sort through the current company problems
Immediately ship the remaining Horror on the Orient Express backer rewards
Focus on the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition Kickstarter backer rewards
Return to regularly making awesome new games.

We offer new hope, and ask only for your patience.


Thanks to Chad Bowser and Mike M (Sheep) for the tip!
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Wed Jun 3, 2015 1:00 pm
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News Bits (May 22): New Savage Worlds Game, Rodney Thompson and David Grant leave, Ars Magica 5E gameline ends, AFMBE 2E

Kai S.
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Hello and welcome back to the Industry News. This week's news sees two noted game designers leaving their respective companies, the end of a gameline, a new licensed game and a revised edition of an old favorite. So let's dive right in, shall we?

Let's start with the mandatory Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) news for this week, this time not that uplifting though. Rodney Thompson, one of the core designers for D&D 5E, leaves Wizards of the Coast today (May 22), as was announced on the WotC website a few days ago, to pursue an unspecified new endeavour. This basically means the D&D 5E team once again got a bit smaller after James Wyatt moved to the Magic: the Gathering team in 2014 and Chris Sims and Jennifer Clarke-Wilkes were both laid off in early 2015.

Another designer who announced his departure is David Grant, the current line editor for Ars Magica (5th Edition). He will leave at the end of 2015, having "finished everything he wanted to do with Ars Magica". Atlas Games also announced that they'd be ending Ars Magica 5E once the last two planned books have been released. There might a sixth edition of the game but nothing's been announced yet - but they released to Fiasco playsets for free.

Pinnacle Entertainment Group, after acquiering a license for Rifts just a few weeks ago, managed to grab another license, this time for the weird west comic series The Sixth Gun - which should be a nice fit for their weird west game Deadlands: Reloaded. The game will (obviously) use the Savage Worlds system.

Not quite a new edition, but over at the RPGNet Forums Eden Studios announced the All Flesh Must Be Eaten corebook is getting revised instead of reprinted for a fall release.

That's it for this week. As usual, corrections and stuff I missed are highly welcome, so just post below.
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Fri May 22, 2015 9:37 pm
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News Bits (May 15): Apocalypse World 2E, Dragon+ numbers, Blackmoor and Mars Attacks

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Hello and welcome back to the Industry News. After the big news last week we're experiencing a very slow news week this time. But let's get right to it:

This week the big news doesn't come from one of the industry big players but instead from the indie scene. Apocalypse World, the game system that has quickly become a favorite of designers and players alike and powers quite a few games, gets a second edition, as D. Vincent Baker announced on his Patreon page a few days ago. The second edition seems to be available as a preview on Patreon already.

The next one is more of a rumor than a confirmed news bit right now, but it seems the Blackmoor setting, originally designed by Dave Arneson, might get some new material. None other than Mark Rein•Hagen, who still has a few unfulfilled Kickstarters he needs to take care of, alledgedly has expressed interest in putting out new material for the venerable setting. Notable former White Wolf and current Onyx Path Publishing designer C. A. Suleiman also seems to be involved.

Ack! Ack ack ack ack ack ack. Ack ACK! *cough* Sorry 'bout that. Steve Jackson Games and Topps announced they'd be releasing a GURPS (4th Edition) setting book for Mars Attacks. This has me pretty excited, I was a huge fan of the Tim Burton movie.

And finally our mandatory Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) news of the week, this week for all you lovers of numbers. The recently released Dragon+ magazine app seems to be doing quite well - so well actually that it surpassed major publications like People Magazine and Maxim in its first week, the Escapist reports. Seems like tabletop rpgs are really doing quite well right now - too bad there's no exact numbers for the app. Also as of now the numbers are down again, at least according to the ranking in the iTunes Store.

There is one additional thing I want to address: there will be some changes in the news team as one long time member has to leave the team due to health issues. We're looking for new members for the news team as of now, so if you want to experience all the glamour of being a RPGG newscaster please contact me via geekmail!

That's it for this week. As usual corrections and stuff I missed are highly welcome, so just post below.
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Fri May 15, 2015 9:33 pm
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