GenCon Recap: Paizo Grabs ENnies, Ravenloft, CthulhuTech, White Wolf’s Booth Blew

Let’s start with White Wolf, since I’m of the opinion that they need to be savaged continually for bad decisions. This time, it’s their booth: White Wolf’s Gothic New Orleans Nothing For Sale Shop. It had booth babes, booze, a DJ, everything… except product. Since their merger with Icelandic game giant CCP (the guys behind EVE, and keeping the Icelandic economy afloat), White Wolf has been continually minimized in terms of product releases. Word on the World of Darkness MMo was a vague “It’s coming.” I’d been hoping that Exalted would see some kind of revitalization, but aside from publishing the errata books, it appears to have finally run its course. In any case, I wouldn’t be surprised if White Wolf ends its life as content developers for the WoD MMo, since they don’t seem to be doing very much with their pen and paper lines.

Paizo won the crowd. Lines for the Advanced Player’s Handbook were long and constant, a good sign considering the main material has been free to gamers in open-beta testing for a year. There’s also a few tidbits of info about the company’s new products, under the working titles of Ultimate Magic and Ultimate Combat, which are to have new feats, spells, and equipment from across Golarion; Tian Xia is supposed to be the next campaign setting for the Pathfinder world.

On top of that, Paizo’s Pathfinder products swept the ENnies… not entirely surprising, but another solid win for the company. The full list includes:

  • Pathfinder RPG Bestiary: Best Cover Art (Gold), Best Monster or Adversary (Gold)
  • Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook: Best Interior Art (Gold), Best Game (Gold), Best Production Values (Gold),
  • Product of the Year (Gold)
  • Stolen Land: Best Adventure (Gold)
  • Classic Horrors Revisited: Best Monster or Adversary (Silver)
  • City Map Folio: Best Cartography (Gold)
  • Advanced Player’s Guide Playtest: Best Free Product (Gold)
  • GM Screen: Best Aid or Accessory (Gold)
  • Best Website (Silver)

The Shadowrun 20th Anniversary Edition grabbed three itself, and Hero System 6th Edition got the Silver for Best Rules. Not to be outdone, Eclipse Phase ended up with three solid ENnies: Product of the Year (Silver), Cover Art (Silver), and Writing (Gold).  And Mysteries of the Hollow Earth pulled Best Supplement away from Wizard’s Player’s Handbook III, the only Wizards product to place. Gaming Paper won an award, which makes sense, given how cool their tech is. And Diaspora, a relatively unknown indie game using FATE to handle hard SF, beat out Hero 6th for Gold Best Rules; that’s a pretty good track record for FATE.

Wizards’ major news was the upcoming release of a 4th Edition Ravenloft for 2011, which has been somewhat decisive amongst fans. Namely, it will include rules for player monstrous races like werewolves and vampires, a major break-away from the old school Ravenloft mentality of corruption slowly leading to horrible, damning changes. Wizards also released its 4e Dark Sun books, a few weeks before their street date, though I haven’t seen any reviews of them as of yet. They’re also going the boxed set route, with a new Red Box style set, and a Shadowfell box set upcoming. So very late ’80s/early ’90s of them so far: Dark Sun, box sets, Ravenloft… where does it end?

For new releases, there were a few, but nothing major. Eoris Essence finally saw release, after having made a variety of minor splashes since (before) 2008. The publishers have been making gamers drool with its gorgeous art and claims of a ridiculously flexible system, enough to keep a following of “Is it done yet?” threads on RPGNet. Green Ronin kept up appearances with its DC Adventures; as you probably guessed from the title, it’s a supers game licensed from the DC world. Since the company sold out of them, it’s safe to say that the license was a success. Apart from that, Cubicle 7 and Pinnacle were swamped, like usual. Probably due to new Deadlands and Space 1889 releases for Pinnacle, and Cube 7’s well regarded Doctor Who RPG.

Last but not least, in the list of “game lines I care about,” CthulhuTech and Eclipse Phase were back with reckless abandon. Eclipse Phase saw the release of Sunward, its first sourcebook. CthulhuTech saw its next supplement come out, Ancient Enemies, a fairly slick book detailing the Eldritch Society (Tagers) and the Chrysalis Corporation (Dhohanoids). I’m very happy to report that Ancient Enemies keeps up the strong production values as its previous books; Sandstorm looks like a great replacement for the stricken Catalyst.

Overall, GenCon 2010 was a bit quieter in terms of announcements and releases compared to past years, but still had some solid releases.

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