Welcome back to another edition of tabletop RPG news with StartPlaying Games! Aside from offering action-packed sessions with professional Game Masters, we also gather the week’s biggest news stories and deliver them to your screen. This time, we’re seeing more big changes for Dungeons & Dragons as the brand prepares for its big 2024 anniversary. A change in publishing has people talking, while Planescape aims to take center stage for the franchise. Meanwhile, BackerKit becomes the next to take a hard stance against AI.
Penguin Random House Stops Distributing D&D In 2024
A retailer memo kicked off conversation this week as more people became aware that Penguin Random House is ceasing distribution of any Wizards of the Coast books starting January 1, 2024. ENWorld shared a copy of the memo, which is basically just instructions for bookstores concerning WotC products in the coming weeks. The news isn’t technically new, as WotC itself announced it earlier in September. However, the recent memo brought it into a wider public awareness.
Twitter especially has been having quite the discourse over what this means for the future of D&D. Penguin Random House is a distributor of choice for general retailers–think seeing D&D books at your local Target. Local game stores probably use one of the other distributors WotC already works with, and so won’t be too affected. Even so, many are quick to claim that this will make D&D books less accessible while others bemoan it as another sign of an all-digital landscape.
BackerKit To Ban All AI-Generated Content
As of October 4, BackerKit will ban or remove any crowdfunding projects that use content solely generated by AI. This includes art used in board game or TTRPG projects, something that’s a big point of controversy in the industry.
While AI isn’t completely banned when it's used as part of the process, all content on BackerKit, “must first be created by humans.” BackerKit’s Trust & Safety team will work with creators to obtain verification that submitted projects meet a certain requirement of human input. BackerKit also now has a default option to keep one’s project protected from scrapers that incorporate data into AI training.
You can read the full BackerKit statement here.
Multiverse Is “Even More Front And Center” In 2024 D&D Rulebooks
Jeremy Crawford discussed how Planescape is setting up the next major revision of D&D by putting the multiverse in greater focus. In a new video, Crawford details how Planescape is his favorite D&D setting. He believes Planescape serves as the “backdrop” of D&D as a whole since it contains all the planar forces that balance the multiverse. Plots in Planescape affect every other setting, making it essential and usable in any campaign.
The development of the upcoming Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse also inspired the team for the 2024 Core Rulebook and Dungeon Master’s Guide, says Crawford, by providing visual inspiration. The multiverse will be the standard for art in the 2024 books. Instead of focusing on only Faerun, examples of classes and creatures will be drawn from throughout the multiverse.
That’s it for this week! Whether you’re gearing up for PlaneScape or going back to your usual campaign, may your dice be kind!