A thread for D&D nonsense 🐉 ⚔

Here we are… Walkback 2023!

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More of a moonwalk than a walkback. Hasbro’s trying to make it look like they’ve given in, and they do appear to have dropped the royalty scheme.
OGL 1.0(a) is still viable for existing works. Whoop-de-doo! They make no assurance that OGL 1.0(a) will be valid for any future works, even ones which are ready for release today.
Also no walkback of the “WoTC reserves the right to change the terms of this OGL at any time with 30 days notice” clause.

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I’m debating on writing my Congressional representative about this. Not that there’s much than Congress could or would do, but I do feel getting a few elected officials to start asking questions would be helpful. Certainly, what WotC/ Hasbro has done so far is iffy, legally speaking (at least to my layman’s perspective), and it has certainly had an adverse effect on numerous small business and freelance workers (because if you want to get the attention of someone in politics, mention money).

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Well, let’s talk a little actual nonsense.

This is Pure Steam, by ICOSA. Originally released for Pathfinder in 2014, they made a 5e version back in 2019. It’s a setting that takes various fantasy tropes and places them in an alt-universe United States in the late 1800s.

The Good-
Chaplains- A new class, chaplains are like secular clerics, devoted to social causes and philosophies.
The Equipment- Lots of gear, both actual weapons and practical stuff as well as stuff that’s just fluff to make it feel like the 1800s (phonographs, soda shoppes). Also, there are rules for having company bonuses; for instance, a particular manufacturer that specializes in outdoors equipment? If you buy a weapon made by them, you’ll get certain bonuse using it outdoors.

The Bad
The Elves- Instead of just using the traditional races/ ancestries, Pure Steam puts there on spin on things in the name of world-building. In some cases, this works, like one of the dwarven subraces being great at sailing because hey, dwarves can see in the dark and are short and stock and muscular, and that’s useful in the hold of a boat, too. And, in some cases… woo boy. Which brings us to the elves. Elves are not native to the not-America of Pure Steam. Rather, they come from an eastern continent and mainly have settled on the West Coast. They know martial arts and use bamboo in their construction and you starting to see why I’ve raised my eyebrow at this yet?

They also use a word (it’s GPC’s old name) quite a bit, which in 2014 wasn’t cool, but understandable, but continuing to use it 5 years later? Erm.

In short, there are a lot of neat ideas here, but I’m not sure I’d use the setting as written.

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Oh, I almost forgot about the Widowmen. That’s one of the monk archetypes/ subclasses. You see, not-America wanted a national police force. Okay. And they want them trained in non-lethal apprehension, like holds and stuff. Okay. And they want them to be totally devoted to the cause and not be distracted by spouses or children. How do they do that? Brace yourselves.

Orphans. They take orphans (and in some case children donated by families) and send them to an academy. While there, they are subjected to chemical castration and wow that got dark really quick. Then, the children are subjected to rigorous mental and physical conditioning, and only 10% go on to become actual Widowmen. Maybe it’s just me, but maybe wait to see which kids aren’t really cut out for that BEFORE you do something that’s going to have a life-long ramification?!?

Nowhere in the Pathfinder version is this depicted as maybe a little messed-up. In the 5e version, there is a background for both the Widowmen and the students who don’t cut it and have gone for another class which kind of implies that yes, maybe it IS a little messed up. But they don’t dwell on it.

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Um, just yeah, some people are oblivious; that being said -
Sounds like the designers of this game read way to many Dune novels; and probably should have just gone for the whole Dune RPG.
Was there a Dune RPG? Come to think of it, I don’t remember one growing up.

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There is historical precedence in America for this. The Pony Express preferred to hire orphans, given how dangerous the job was. Of course, they did not engage in chemical castration, but I would assume that the designers of the RPG used the Pony Express as inspiration for their Widowmen.

Let’s face it, the period they are depicting had a lot of problems with racism, sexism, and things like the Pony Express preferring orphans. Should they avoid those issues to meet modern sensibilities, or provide similar conflicts in a fantasy setting in order to allow their players to role play how their characters would react to such situations?

As a GM, I tend to build my own worlds if I have the time, and I have spent the last year building a campaign setting in which my players just played their first game this month. I wanted a dynamic setting, where somewhat realistic conflicts were at play. There is political intrigue that has aspects of racism, and while I was not trying to present my setting as any kind of altered American history, the Elves have been met with racism by the other (predominantly human) races, leading to their marginalization and finding allies where they would not normally look (in this case, Kobolds).

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I heard of that but never read much about the setting itself; I have Thunderscape for steampunk.

Thunderscape World of Aden exists for Pathfinder and is similar, albeit keeping it in line with Pathfinder’s steampunk elements and having a Renaissance era level of technology. You have steam golems, freer use of fire arms (no powder or alchemical catridges; just load & shoot like a crossbow), vehicles, flying machines, engines, etc.

I have a blast playing that.

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Thunderscape: The World of Aden is from Kyoudai Games, funded via Kickstarter. This edition is for Pathfinder First Edition with another version available for the Tiny D6 system.

If you’re my age, that name might sound familiar. Back in 1995, a computer game called Thunderscape was released which I played but never beat.

This setting takes place on Aden, a world with Renaissance level techology along with steampunk and Magitek. While knights, swords, axes and bows exist, science and industry exists too - you have steam golems, mechamagic, fire arms, steam engines, primitive machinery, etc. What happens is that ten years before, an event called the Darkfall happened. It was an eclipse of the sun that released evil monsters known as “Nocturnals” across Aden. Many died, towns were destroyed and even nature itself got corrupted. But the people of Aden fight back with magic, science and sheer willpower!

In addition to the Pathfinder core and base classes, new classes exist such as Arbiter, Mechamage, Steamwright, Golemoid, etc. Races are different - you have ferrans (anthropomorphic mammals), juraks (replacing half-orcs), rapacians (lizardfolk), faerkins (faerie creatures replacing halfing/hobbit) and goreaux (replacing gnomes; they have goblin blood).

This is a fun setting and is worth checking out!

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Posted this in the trailers thread, but since it’s relevant here too…

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This movie will depend on the quality of its CGI and its quips.

Looks cautiously promising, so far. But I believe the law requires that any screenwriter who writes the words “This ends now” is to receive an immediate atomic wedgie.

Licensing a Led Zeppelin song was probably half the film’s budget. Those don’t come cheap. Even Wayne’s World couldn’t get the rights to use “Stairway To Heaven.”

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All I know is that there’s a scene where they dive into a gelatinous cube to avoid a displacer beast. That’s all I wanted from a D&D movie.

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The movie does look good, I will definitely give it a chance. Death by gelatinous cube was how my first ever game of D&D ended. I also saw a mimic in the trailer, so looks like they are gonna load this up with D&D tropes.

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Yeah, I want this to be a D&D movie, not a generic fantasy movie with “Dungeons & Dragons” slapped on the title.

I can’t believe I’m finally going to get to see the Forgotten Realms on screen. Now if we could just get TV series set there and in the Dragonlance setting, I could die happy.

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I wonder if Ed Greenwood has a cameo somewhere?

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Oh, it has to have an Elminster cameo at some point with Ed playing him.

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It’s official…

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I heard about that earlier.

Still I hope Kobold Press goes on with its own planned RPG and Paizo with their open gaming thing.

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