Category Archives: News

With Fantasy Grounds, Amazon Sales, D&D is Awfully Cheap Right Now

Fantasy Grounds MM Screenshot

If you thought Black Friday deals were just for big screen TVs and trendy consumer electronics you probably don’t need, think again: there’s a pretty sweet sale going on for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition in both digital and dead-tree formats.  Continue reading

Total Party Thrill Podcast is Now Live on iTunes (with a Big Thanks!)


I want to take a moment and thank everyone who listened to our preview episode and sent in their feedback. It was immensely helpful, and I-Hsien and I truly appreciate it as we try to make Total Party Thrill the best RPG discussion podcast we possibly can.

All of that effort and kindness has finally borne fruit, as yesterday we officially launched on iTunes, and only a couple days later than we anticipated! Our third full episode (Player-Centric Campaigns & Combat Medic) went up today, and we’ll continue a weekly Thursday release schedule.

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Total Party Thrill is a podcast for GMs and players where we discuss our campaigns in order to inspire yours. We draw heavily from a 3-year, level 1-20 D&D 5th Edition Eberron campaign. Each episode covers a particular aspect of game planning and playing, and we share tips and advice drawn from our own experience. Then follow us into the Character Creation Forge, where we build iconic character archetypes from outside traditional D&D using the D&D 5E rules.


FFG Releases Warhammer 40k: Dark Heresy 2E Character Sheet App

Dark Heresy Digital Character Sheet App

In April, Fantasy Flight Games released Enemies Within, the first splatbook expansion to their Warhammer 40k: Dark Heresy 2nd Edition RPG, to little fanfare. This week, to equally little fanfare, FFG released the Dark Heresy Digital Character Sheet app. Well damnit, there should be some fanfare, because this is awesome.

I’ve had a chance to peruse Enemies Within, which overall adds a lot of flavor and additional options for players and GMs without much in the way of power creep (though the Sororitas’ light power armor is a fair concern.) It’s a cool book for all the reasons I love the Dark Heresy line, and easily worth its $39.95 cover price ($19.95 for PDF). If you play DH 2E, you should check it out.

But today, we’re going to talk about the app.

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The Future of Virtual Tabletop: Fantasy Grounds, Roll20, and D&D 5E

Fantasy Grounds D&D 5E Core PHB: Class Info

Screenshot from Fantasy Grounds D&D Complete Core Class Pack

The following article was originally posted by the author on The Mad Adventurers Society, and is reprinted here with permission. You can find the original here.

Virtual tabletops—applications designed to replicate the in-person roleplaying experience for remote players—are a big deal for the future of the gaming industry. For players, it’s a way to play more games more often, as there’s no longer a need to be physically present in order to play. For publishers, it’s a chance to increase exposure to their games and further monetize their products. Some companies, like Evil Hat and Pinnacle Entertainment Group—publishers of FATE and Savage Worlds, respectively—have fully embraced digital content and make their core materials readily available on popular platforms like Fantasy Grounds. Other companies, like Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast, have been markedly slower to embrace technology.

There’s a convoluted history complicating Wizards’ path forward. With D&D Third Edition, the Open Gaming License made it easy for third-party applications to support the system, including virtual tabletops. Because of more tightly controlled licensing for its Fourth Edition, D&D 4E included a subscription-based rules compendium and character builder called D&D Insider, which, like D&D 4E in general, received a mixed reception from fans. The side effect was a severe limitation on support for virtual tabletops, which couldn’t integrate the 4E ruleset into their offerings. With D&D Fifth Edition, Wizards initially adopted yet another strategy: they partnered with digital textbook developer Trapdoor Technologies to develop a hybrid rules compendium/character builder/connected-at-the-table app called DungeonScape. The demos of DungeonScape won over many skeptics, but in the midst of a public beta test, Wizards of the Coast announced that it had terminated the project. Trapdoor tried to salvage the platform sans D&D 5E licensed content with a Kickstarter campaign in December, but fell more than $350,000 short of their funding goal. The licensing strategy of D&D 5E, and with it both its digital future and the future of virtual tabletop, was yet again in limbo.

That is, until last week. On April 8th, Wizards of the Coast and virtual tabletop app Fantasy Grounds announced the release of licensed D&D 5E content on the Fantasy Grounds platform. All of the rules content of the Player’s Handbook and Monster Manual, along with additional tokens and portraits, are now available . The content is pricey: $49.99 each for the full PHB or MM content (or subdivided into thematic sets ranging from $2.99 to $5.99) and $19.99 for The Lost Mines of Phandelver adventure from the Starter Set. Right now, though, Fantasy Grounds is the only place for players to get any D&D 5E content, period.

Depending on whom you ask, this news is either a great step forward for Wizards and D&D, or it’s an overpriced disaster. I’ll reserve judgment until I can actually use the modules, but either way, it’s sure to send shockwaves through the virtual tabletop landscape.

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Breaking Down Roll20’s Orr Group Industry Report for Q1 of 2015

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Orr Group Industry Report Q1 2015 Summary

The following article was originally posted by the author on The Mad Adventurers Society, and is reprinted here with permission. You can find the original here.

The Orr Group, the analytics arm of popular virtual tabletop app Roll20, has released its Industry Report for the first quarter of 2015. This is the third installment of the report, and as we’ve previously discussed, this is still a very noisy set of data. Don’t put much faith into the numbers, but the directional data is useful for showing trends.

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Latest Unearthed Arcana: Eberron Update, v1.1 Analyzed

At some point this week, Wizards of the Coast silently updated the first installment of their monthly R&D/playtest series, Unearthed Arcana: Eberron. This is exciting, especially since I had previously offered a detailed critique of the Artificer class, and I’m hopeful for some thoughtful revisions. I’ll breakdown the changes in version 1.1, point by point, after the jump.

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