December Newsletter: Goblins and Growlers Gazette

🐉 Wrap it up, 2023! New D&D Books, Hasbro Layoffs, Tales of the Valiant Relevant?, Selling Cookies and Solving Mysteries with "Badge Quest"

⚡ (Total read time: 3.5 minutes) ⚡

Packed newsletter this month! The week between Christmas and New Year’s exists in a temporal netherworld belonging neither to the current year nor the next - so it’s like bonus time. I’ve been using it to spruce up the G&G YouTube Channel 📺 to get it ready for some stuff we want to do in 2024. It would be swell if you could subscribe - it’s free and would help us out. Thanks!

In this month’s newsletter:

🗞️ 3 must-know gaming news nuggets
📻 1 great indie game you need to play
🔥 4 hot takes from the podcast
🧭 Goblins in the wild: Upcoming events

🗞️ 3 must-know gaming news nuggets

  • 📚 2024 D&D Releases. Wizards of the Coast announced next year’s lineup of releases during PAX Unplugged. It feels different than 2023’s releases... maybe less exciting? (Dig Deeper)

    • Descent into the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, an update of a First Edition module

    • Vecna: Eve of Ruin, featuring, obviously, the lich-god Vecna. Supposedly, this is some kind of tour of the D&D Multiverse.

    • The 2024 Player’s Handbook, part of the rules update formerly known as One D&D. Monster Manual and DMG’s whereabouts unknown.

    • The Making of Original Dungeons and Dragons: 1970-1976, a collection of unreleased letters between D&D creators Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

    • Quests from the Infinite Staircase, an anthology collection of adventures

  • 💰 Wizards of the Coast Lays Off People. Hasbro is struggling and WotC’s profits are supporting the company. (Dig Deeper)

    • Hasbro as a whole let go of more than 1,100 employees.

    • Among the WotC layoffs are well-known game designers Dan Dillon and Mike Mearls.

    • Senior editor Eytan Bernstein was an editor on “Quests from the Infinite Staircase” and lead editor on “Vecna: Eve of Ruin” and also was let go.

  • 🤖 Some more AI Art Kerfuffles. We end the year with a couple more accusations of AI art in TTRPG books. It’s worth restating that AI art models are trained on the work of real artists, so there’s an element of plagiarism involved when using them. (Dig Deeper)

    • Nightfall Games found 16 AI illustrations in its “T2 Judgment Day” sourcebook. They disclosed to their Kickstarter backers and had those illos removed.

    • WotC was accused of using AI art in the new 2024 Player’s Handbook — this ended up being false.

🏗️ 1 great indie game you need to play

🌸 BADGE QUEST. DM Dave is an indie publisher based out of Oklahoma. We met him at PAX Unplugged and he was kind enough to give us a copy of his latest opus for review. It’s a simple system and the game vibe is one part Scooby Doo, one part Stranger Things, and one part that parent at your office who’s selling their kid’s Girl Scout Cookies.

The characters are “Brave Blossoms,” an organization that’s similar-to-but-legally-distinct-from the Girl Scouts, and, in episodic adventures, they go door-to-door selling cookies and encounter supernatural mysteries to solve. Earning badges is essentially the system’s leveling mechanic. It’s a d6 system, so it’s good for folks without any fancy dice! Plus, it has gorgeous art. Check it out here on Dave’s website. PDF and physical book available.

“Badge Quest” from DMDave Publishing is available at The physical book is $21 (before shipping) and the PDF is $16.

🎧 4 hot takes from the podcasts

  • 🏴 Is Tales of the Valiant still relevant? Kobold Press’ new system was announced during the OGL debacle before the D&D 5E rules were placed in Creative Commons. ToV is basically identical to 5E with a fresh coat of paint. Is it worth buying? (YouTube, Spotify)

  • 💸 We also take a look at Hasbro’s financial situation and talk about why Wizards of the Coast may have been affected even though it’s carrying all the company’s water. Same episode as above, but here’s a timecoded link: (YouTube time code)

  • ✉️ That 2024 D&D Release Schedule. We talk through the hopes for each release and discuss whether the Gygax/Arneson letters book might have to undergo severe edits because of content. (YouTube, Spotify)

  • 🎄 Quid Pro Roll Holiday message. The cast and crew of the podcast share some things that we’re thankful for at the end of the year. It’s short, it’s sweet! (YouTube, Spotify)

🧭 Goblins in the wild: Where to find us.

  • 🗾 ICHIBANCON. We’re back at IchibanCon for a second time. This year, the con’s grown, so it’s TWO weekends. We’ll be there the second week — Jan. 11-14 — for panels, performances, and the merch booth! We’ll be joined by some of our friends from The Horse Girls.

  • ⚙️ SUPER MAGFEST. We’ll be at Super MAGFest Jan. 18-21 doing panels and generally wandering around the convention. You can for sure find Brandon at the Bit Brigade show.

🤖 Happy New Year!

👼🏽 That’s a wrap on 2023. If I had the time and space, I’d list all the stuff I’m thankful for with G&G this year; overall it was pretty great. We have some fun stuff planned for 2024 — both new stuff and some returns to old favorites. As part-time side hustles go, Goblins and Growlers has been a transformational experience in my life and I can’t wait to keep pushing it further. Thanks to all of you for being part of our community and helping make our hobby more accessible and inclusive.

(Also, thanks for sticking with this newsletter for 9 months!)

Have a safe and happy new year,

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