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Archive for RPGG Editor Kai

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News Bits (January 22): Gygax magazine cancelled, Evil Hat numbers, Gen Con news

Kai S.
Germany
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Hello and welcome back to the Industry News. This week we've got the cancellation of a magazine, more numbers for the number lovers and some Gen Con news. So let's dive right in, shall we?

The biggest news this week comes from TSR, Inc (Gygax Magazine). Today the company announced in email to its subscribers the cancellation of Gygax Magazine. The just released Issue 6 is the final issue of the short-lived OSR gaming magazine. It seems the new TSR, originally ran by Luke Gygax and Ernie Gygax, was involved in a legal dispute with Gail Gygax, wife of the late Gary Gygax, which seemed to deal with the use of the name "Gygax", but has now been settled. Part of the settlement was that Ernie and Luke both withdrew from the new TSR. Without them the company didn't want to continue publishing the magazine, editor Jayson Elliot explained in the above-mentioned email. New TSR will continue to publish OSR products though.

Even more numbers for all you spreadsheet fans out there: Evil Hat Productions released the sales numbers for Q4 this week. The company seems to have done okay, even though - as seems usual for Q4 - numbers were rather soft. If you look at the spreadsheet, most of the products have sold considerably less than last quarter, with only a few upward spikes.

Most companies are already preparing for convention season, with the likes of Paizo, Fantasy Flight Games and Pelgrane Press looking for GMs for Gen Con. The big exception regarding preparations for the big con is Wizards of the Coast - it seems they won't be attending Gen Con this year. ENworld refers to a list of conventions WotC plans to attend and Gen Con is not among them. The reason an unnamed employee of the company gave ENworld is WotC is supposedly changing things up to support more conventions and locations, especially those they don't normally get to attend - which doesn't make that much sense, because you can attend smaller cons and still go to Gen Con as well, especially when you're still the 500 pound gorilla in the corner.

And that's it for this week's coverage. As usual, if there's anything I got wrong or stuff I might have overlooked, feel free to comment below.
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Fri Jan 22, 2016 9:28 pm
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News Bits (January 15): D&D 5E OGL & SRD, Monte Cook Games hires, new Dungeon World publisher, SJG stakeholders report

Kai S.
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Hello and welcome back to the Industry News. This week we've got lots of D&D5E news for you, Monte Cook Games hiring and a few more numbers for you numbers lovers out there. So let's dive right in, shall we?

Wizards of the Coast takes the top spot in this week's news roundup once again with Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) news. On January 12 the company announced the new D&D 5E Open Gaming License which allows you to design content using the fifth edition rules for D&D and publish original campaign worlds using fifth edition rules as well as print and sell your own fifth edition D&D product on your own as long as it doesn't use the Forgotten Realms - for the latter you need to join the new DMs Guild. The 5E OGL also comes with a new System Reference Document (SRD). Reactions so far are mostly positive, the biggest complaint from third party publishers so far is the missing unified compatability logo.

Want more D&D 5E news? Here you go: the D&D Adventurer's League content, the current Dungeons & Dragons organized play program, is now available for everyone. In response to a query by ICv2 WotC explained they wanted to open up the program for those players who don't live within a convenient distance to a gaming store.

Monte Cook Games has announced the hiring of noted game designer Dennis Detwiller as a managing editor effective February 2016. Current managing editor and MCG co-founder Shanna Germain will be moving to the creative team of MCG's operations.

Burning Wheel has announced a publishing deal with the creators of popular indie fantasy rpg Dungeon World. As of January 1, 2016, Burning Wheel has become the official publisher of Dungeon World and its future supplements. Thanks to RPG Geek user Modoc for this news bit.

Steve Jackson Games released its annual stakeholders report. The company did quite well, though the gross income was down quite a bit, but according to the report that was expected and manageable. Increasing sales of foreign translations and steady sales of their big name games (Munchkin etc.) made the year a success overall. There's very little information on rpgs in the report, but they do mention Discworld Roleplaying Game and GURPS Mars Attacks haven't arrived at the printer yet. Physical GURPS (4th Edition) books seem to be difficult to produce right now, but they're working on it. Thanks to RPG Geek user Steamcraft for the link to the report.

An that's it for this week's coverage. As usual, if there's anything I got wrong or stuff I might have overlooked, feel free to comment below.
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Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:44 pm
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News Bits (January 8): Modiphius deals, Asparagus Jumpsuit closes shop, ICv2 survey, Fantasy Grounds numbers

Kai S.
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Hello and welcome back to a new edition of the Industry News (finally!). I sincerely apologize for my prolonged absence, I had some personal issues to deal with during the last couple of months. This week we have some new deals struck by a rising star in the rpg business, another company closing shop and a few numbers for all you number lovers. So let's dive right in, shall we?

Some distribution deals were made during my abscence, the biggest coming from Modiphius Entertainment. Not only has the company struck a deal with Wade Dyer to publish his Fragged Empire rpg with a full line of four books and some custom dice. No, they also announced a sales and distribution deal with swedish company Järnringen for their acclaimed dark fantasy rpg Symbaroum.

In the indie publisher segment, we have some sad news to report, as Asparagus Jumpsuit has announced they're closing shop effective December 31. But fear not, Berin Kinsman will continue to release rpg products, as he's setting up a new company by the name of Dancing Lights Press that will also release its own house system. Hope it works out!

Ever wondered how game stores did in 2015? Wonder no longer, as ICv2 did a survey a few weeks ago that lead to rather surprising results. Basically over 80 percent of the store owners said their sales had increased in 2015, for over a third of them the increase was higher than 10 percent. Their biggest hope for the future are consumers/fans, while their biggest concern is publishers (closely followed by distributors/wholesalers and consumers/fans again - gee, we must be fickle lot in their eyes). If you want to have some additional information on how the survey was conducted, this article goes into some of the details.

Want more numbers? Here you go: ENWorld has the numbers for different game systems played on the popular VTT Fantasy Grounds. Would you be surprised if I told you that over 75 percent of the games played on that platform are D&D games, with Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) taking the lead with 47 percent of the games played and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game (1st Edition) a distant second with 16 percent? Didn't think so either.

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 Jan 8, 2016 7:28 pm
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News Bits (October 2): Chaosium leaves California and cuts down BRP, Fantasy Grounds goes shopping

Kai S.
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Hello and welcome back to the industry news. It's been a rather slow week this time, with only a few noteworthy things happening: an acquisition and an ongoing restructuring. So let's dive right in, shall we?

The restructuring at Chaosium is still not done it seems. After the change in ownership from a few weeks ago, the company now announded they're closing their office and warehouse in Hayward, California after maintaining a presence there for over 40 years. With employees now spread all over the world the offices aren't needed anymore, the press release explains. This also means that Ben Monroe and Ken Kaufer have been layed off. All the best to those two. Thank you to user cjbowser for bringing this to my attention.

And we have more Chaosium news: it seems the current line of Basic RolePlaying products is also at least being restructured if not outright brought to an end. As Chaosium explained in a blog post, the Basic RolePlaying (2008) golden book will remain out of print with a new BRP Essentials line currently in the works, which will build the foundation for upcoming BRP books. Again thank you to user cjbowser for pointing me towards this.

The final big news this week comes from Fantasy Grounds. SmiteWorks, the company who runs the Fantasy Grounds VTT, has acquired Tabletop Connect, a 3D virtual tabletop, which was funded via Kickstarter some time ago. Seems that the two big VTT companies are trying to trump one another with features...

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 Oct 2, 2015 9:22 pm
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News Bits (September 25): FFG acquires L5R, Kickstarter now Public Benefit Corp., WotC closes forums

Kai S.
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Hello and welcome back to the (terribly late) industry news. Apologies for not posting during the last couple of weeks, I've been on vacation and once I returned I fell ill with influenza - still not feeling well again. We've seen quite a few things happen in the RPG industry over the last couple of weeks, so without further ado let's dive right in, shall we?

Probably the biggest news of the last couple of weeks comes from Fantasy Flight Games: the company announced they had made a deal with Alderac Entertainment Group about the acquisition of the Legend of the Five Rings intellectual property. This includes both the CCG and the RPG (even though the RPG was only casually mentioned in the announcement). FFG talked a lot about the planned changes to the card game (which will probably take over the spot of the Call of Cthulhu card game - that one will end with the latest expansion), while there was not much talk about the RPG. Alderac only mentioned the upcoming Atlas of Rokugan being the last AEG product released for L5R. The reasons for AEG's decision are also not entirely clear - they only explained they wanted to move the company in a different direction.

Not really related to the RPG industry, but still interesting: Kickstarter, the source of so much joy and fun (right, Bruce? ), has re-incorporated itself as a Public Benefit Corporation, because of its assumed impact on society (or so the press release says). The company also pledged to donate 5% of after-tax profits to arts and music education (1/2) and to organizations fighting to end systemic inequality (1/2), particularly as it relates to people of color, women, and LGBTQ individuals. Currently it is unclear what impact this change will have on day to day business and the ever-looming threat of projects that fail to deliver.

Lots of companies run forums or bulletin boards on their websites to allow discussions about their games. A company that soon no longer will provide this service is Wizards of the Coast. The company announced the closing of the community forums on October 29, claiming the majority of community conversation takes place on third-party websites, so there's no need to run a first-party forum anymore. Seems the cost cutting at WotC just never stops...

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 (which I probably have with me feeling all dizzy), feel free to comment below.
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Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:05 pm
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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 Roleplaying Game 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

Kai S.
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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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Post-Gen Con News Bits (Aug 7): Gen Con, V:tM 4th Edition, DSA 5E in English, new Savage Worlds and Delta Green games, legal stuff, Paizo RPG Superstar

Kai S.
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Hello and welcome to the post-Gen Con Edition of the Industry News. Sorry for not posting last week, I wanted to wait until Gen Con was over to give you a complete overview of all newsworthy bits, but then was swamped at work. So without further ado, let's dive right in:

As this is the post-Gen Con edition of the Industry News, let's start with news about GenCon itself. Gen Con LLC announced a record attendance of 61,423 unique individuals for its 2015 show - that’s a 9% increase over last year’s attendance. The number of exhibitors topped 400 for the first time ever. Congrats!

Quite a few announcements of new games or editions of classic games came out of Gen Con as well. The presumably biggest of these came from Onyx Path Publishing who announced Vampire: the Masquerade 4th Edition, which also included the announcement of the current Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition coming to an end. It seems the new edition will be designed by Eddy Webb and will include a major overhaul of the rules (which differentiates it from V20 which retained the original rules).

After the new Torg edition from a few weeks ago Ulisses Spiele had another announcement to make: the new edition of german fantasy mainstay Das Schwarze Auge (a.k.a. The Dark Eye) is currently being translated by Shane Lacy Hensley and will get an english release in 2016. Thank you to wusselpompf for bringing this to my attention.

Even more new games were announced by Pinnacle Entertainment Group: they will adapt three licensed comic properties into Savage Worlds roleplaying games: The Goon (battles against supernatural pulp monsters), Fear Agent (space battle against aliens who destroyed Earth), and Flash Gordon (who hopefully doesn't need any introduction). There will also be a new edition of the Deadlands core rules.

Not satisfied yet? Alright, here's another one: Arc Dream Publishing is currently working on a stand-alone version of Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game, due later this year.

In our regular "Obligatory Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) News" column, this weeks first news bit is only casually related to the rpg itself (yep, scraping the bottom of the barrel this time): the ongoing lawsuit between Hasbro and Sweetpea Entertainment has been settled and the planned D&D Movie will be made by Warner Bros with involvement from both Wizards of the Coast and Sweetpea. The film is going to be set in the Forgotten Realms and will be based on a script by David Leslie Johnson, based on Chainmail of all things. As part of the settlement, WotC will regain all rights to future Dungeons & Dragons productions.

More D&D 5E news come from Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford from WotC. Both were interviewed by The Tome Show during Gen Con. While I'm not going to summarize the complete interviews (which can be found here and here), here are some of the more interesting parts: the Fantasy Grounds: Virtual Tabletop for Pen & Paper Role-Playing Games D&D 5E license is not exclusive, which means other companies might get one as well; they're also working on a 3rd Party License, but it's not ready yet; their goal is to offer fewer options for the game, but those options should matter.

Even more news coming in from our court reporters: the Villains & Vigilantes creators Jeff Dee and Jack Herman have won the copyright for said game on appeal. The Appeals Court also ruled that the lower court’s decision to issue a default judgment in favor of former Fantasy Games Unlimited owner Scott B. Bizar on defamation and commercial disparagement claims was correct, including awarding Bizar over $ 52.000 in damages. The question of who owns the trademark will have to be decided by the lower court.

Want to become a famous rpg designer as well? Paizo Publishing is holding the annual RPG Superstar competition again, allowing up and coming designers to show off their ideas to the world and (for the winner) write a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game (1st Edition) Module, that'll be published as part of the game line. Interested? Head over to their website, this year the contest is starting early!

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 7, 2015 11:18 pm
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