Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast has promised that One D&D, the next iteration of the famous tabletop role-playing game, will be backwards compatible with its 5th edition. Trouble is, some people don’t believe it — especially after leaked documents showed that the iconic TTRPG could have gone in a very different direction. That’s why third-party publisher Kobold Press has a backup plan to keep the most popular edition of D&D alive, and it’s bringing a great group of independent artists and writers along for the ride.
Project Black Flag is the codename for Kobold’s effort to “update, streamline, and publish” a core fantasy RPG based on the System Reference Document 5.1 – a version of D&D governed by the Open Gaming License (OGL). After an outcry from fans, Wizards recently moved that document to Creative Commons, effectively taking it out of their control. While that change in licensing means that the existing system should remain open to serve as the basis for new works, there is no guarantee that the core 5th edition rulebooks will player’s handbook And this dungeon master guide Will be in print.
Eventually, says Wolfgang Bauer, co-founder of Kobold Press, the current 5th edition books will be gone. Project Black Flag may replace them.
“Somebody who’s in high school might want to pick up a junior sport in 2024,” Bauer said in a recent interview with Play Gamez. “Where do they go? Well, they could go to ONE D&D. And a lot of people will. But for everyone who’s been here for a decade coming and loving 5th edition, why do not keep [it] Surviving putting original books in a beautiful new hardcover? In short, this is a black flag.”
While this may sound like a wild idea, Kobold Press has the institutional know-how to build a business around it. In 2008, Bauer won the prestigious Diana Jones Award for his conservation system, known as Open Design. Before Kickstarter exploded, and before the launch of Patreon, Bauer was using a similar system to fund writing supplements to his work for D&D. From the Diana Jones website:
In an attempt to find an innovative way to fund the kind of game design Bauer wanted to pursue, he went back hundreds of years to dig up the concept of conservation, added some modern twists to it, and applied it to the problem. . In Open Design — as he calls his system — Bauer posts a number of ideas for potential projects and publicizes them, along with a monetary limit for each. As sponsors join, they vote on which projects Bauer should work on. When the funding for the chosen project reaches its threshold, it starts working in earnest.
“If I were really smart, I’d set up a Kickstarter,” Bauer said. “But I’m not that smart. But we continued with that open publishing model, and we still use it to some extent. But the big change in the company’s fortunes came with 5th edition D&D.
At the beginning of 5th Edition’s lifecycle, Bauer and the Kobold Press team were brought in to draft some of its first published campaign books, including hoard of the dragon queen And rise of tiamat, Kobold would later do a similar job in producing the popular 5th Edition compilation, ghosts of the saltmarsh, Bauer’s company has parlayed that success into a series of other popular books including the Tome of Beasts series. It’s that momentum — both in steady sales, and in a steady pipeline of artists and writers familiar with the world and its rules — that Bauer says will help Project Black Flag get off the ground.
Bauer said, “We’ll keep that 5th edition rule alive.” “And because there are huge holes in it, we said, Let’s take those holes in the SRD and fill them with something awesome and new, Monsters that are not in the SRD? Well, let’s find other terrifying monsters. We have three Tomes of Beasts full of great monsters. I bet we can come up with something to fill the gap where the beholder sits.”
A new group of indie publishers is also rising to the challenge, with these new original books being produced by Kobold Press through a crowdfunding campaign at the end of the year. First out of the gate is a work based on Project Black Flag Friday Stroudwhose Kickstarter campaign vineyard rpg Currently seeking funding. At its core is a secret society that can easily be plugged into virtually any setting you can imagine.
“Vineyard operates through a range of debt-collection services,” Stroud explained in a recent interview. “They lend money, [since] They have a monopoly on all rare gems within our setting. What that allows them to do is leverage political power over various people. vineyard, it’s like a slang word […] Based on the fact that they were able to develop death into a reward. If someone were to die paying off the vineyard debt, the vineyard is still going to be recovered one way or another.
Inside Vineyard RPG, players will find nine richly detailed villains, each with pages of backstory, motivation, and plot hooks—far more than a page or two found in many similar books. In addition to the essential stat blocks, there are also dialogue samples that can be used during social and combat encounters at the table. Everything, Stroud said, is intended to make it easier for these lively villains to become stern Dungeon Masters. The project also featured an extraordinary cast of writers, with talents such as Gabe Hicks (key role, session zero system), Keena Shaw (TTRPG Security Toolkit, candle mystery), and product co-creator M. Abel (Icewind Dale: Rim of the Frostmaiden, They brought in YouTuber LegalKimchi — a real-life lawyer — to detail Vineyard’s nefarious contracts.
“Initially, we were developing this for 5th edition,” Stroud said, “before the OGL debacle in January. […] I had to make a decision about who we wanted to trust and partner with for our future. Kobold Press believes in an open and fair system that allows them to partner with a variety of creators throughout the community, allowing them to flourish on their own, and to treat people with respect and pay them well allows for. So, I thought it was a no brainer for me to want to move my product to Kobold Press ‘Project Black Flag’.
campaign for Vineyard RPG Runs till May 2. It offers physical copies at $65, with digital copies running $40.