You’ve made it to the end of another week, gain a level! Disclaimer: I’m not your GM and can’t actually give you a level. But what I can give you is another batch of this week’s top news stories. This week, Wizards of the Coast looks to chart its path forward after the OGL mess. Meanwhile, plenty of other creatives are doing their own thing and the community is coming out in full support. 

As always, if you’re just here for games, check out our latest offerings by professional GMs. 

Worlds Beyond Number Off To A Fantastic Start Before It Even Starts

There’s a new big actual play podcast on the horizon, and the fans are already here for it. Worlds Beyond Number will star Brennan Lee Mulligan, Aabria Iyengar, Lou Wilson, and Erika Ishii in stories that won’t be bound by one specific game system or universe. The group hasn’t actually released an episode yet–that will happen on March 1. Yet the show already has a community lining up, with over 16,000 subscribers pledging to the Patreon within its first few days.

Those who support on Patreon will get access to the Fireside. This exclusive show will grant behind-the-scenes access and a deep character creation series, as well as the potential for full-on secret campaigns with guest stars. The Patreon has also been hyping up the stories that will unfold by dropping lore and art. Considering the cast involved, there’s sure to be some very juicy worldbuilding at play.  

Hasbro Layoffs Show Why D&D Is A Big Deal

In sadder news, Hasbro will be laying off 1,000 employees. This equates to about 15% percent of its current workforce, according to Marketplace.org. The article also speculates that Hasbro’s recent sales and stock declines come from slacking toy sales. During the height of the COVID pandemic, toys and board game sales rose dramatically as people sought ways to entertain their households during the lockdowns. Now, with most people back out into the world, toy sales are weaker. 

These layoffs are coming too soon to be a result of the recent D&D Beyond cancellations by players protesting the proposed OGL 1.1. However, they do serve as a reminder of how important the Dungeons & Dragons brand is to Hasbro. Wizards had a great financial year in 2022, bolstered by the D&D Beyond purchase. Some believe that these results have changed Hasbro’s business strategy, putting more on the shoulders of D&D and Magic: The Gathering. It could explain the seemingly sudden shift to turning D&D into a multimedia brand with a video game-like monetization scheme. 

D&D Goes Business As Usual With Keys To The Golden Vault Push

With the OGL situation mostly calmed down, it seems that WotC is trying to get back to the typical game plan. Previews for the upcoming Keys to the Golden Vault are up, showcasing the 13 adventures of this heist-themed anthology. As with Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen, those who pre-order the physical/digital bundle will get early access to the D&D Beyond version. To sweeten the deal, D&D Beyond subscribers can log on now and claim a free adventure from the book itself: the level 4 prison break heist called Prisoner 13. 

For a different take on heists, try Blades In The Dark!

Project Black Flag To Be Compatible With 5E

Kobold Press gave a quick update on Project Black Flag, saying it will be compatible with 5E. The update comes with recognition of WotC’s decision to not revoke the 1.0 OGL, stating the the surprise turn of events will not in any way halt Black Flag’s development. The first playtest is still set for February. 

One big clarification the announcement does bring is that Black Flag will “embrace 5E and expand upon it.” The latest announcement even previews a Race & Heritage system. This seems to be a change from the initial idea that Black Flag would be its own core system in an effort to deviate from the WotC SRD or OGL. While a “core tabletop game” is still in the works, it looks like Kobold Press feels comfortable sticking with 5E for the foreseeable future. 

Pathfinder Humble Bundle Returns With A Great Starter Deal

Those looking to try Pathfinder 2E are in luck, as Humble Bundle just started a 28 item PDF book bundle. The “So You Wanna Try Out Pathfinder” package has the Beginner Box and Core Rulebook as expected, but for $25 you can get the solid Abomination Vaults Adventure Path. This includes a Foundry VTT version for the digital players. For a GM or group interested in Pathfinder, this is a steal as it gives loads of content for the price of one copy of the Core Rulebook.

And that's a nice heaping helping of news and announcements from the TTRPG world! Happy adventuring, see you next week!

Feb 3, 2023
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