The RPGBOT.Podcast is celebrating 1 year and 100,000 downloads!

RPGBOT.News January 20th, 2022

Show Notes

In this episode of RPGBOT.News, we discuss the recently-released Absalom: City of Lost Omens, the upcoming release of Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes in the D&D Rules Expansion Gift Set, and the 2022 gaming convention circuit, including which cons we’ll be attending.

If you’ve enjoyed the show, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, and rate us on Spotify or your favorite podcast app. It’s a quick, free way to support the podcast, and helps us reach new listeners.

Materials Referenced in this Episode

Transcript

Randall 

Welcome to the RPGBOT.news. I’m Randall James and I’ve been reading. With me is Tyler Kamstra.

Tyler 

Hi everybody.

Randall 

And Random Powell. Evening. Alright, so it’s the News episode. Tyler, what are we going to talk about tonight?

Tyler 

Well, we’ve got three big items we want to hit today. We want to talk about Absalom: City of Lost Omens, we’re going to talk about Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse, and we’re going to talk about the 2022 gaming convention circuit.

Randall 

Okay, that all sounds exciting. So we got a little bit of PF2. a little bit of maybe a bit too early 5e.

Random 

A little bit of Monica… Oh, no. One of these is definitely going to be for the the smaller, dedicated crowd. Perhaps even smaller within that that small, dedicated crowd. The Absalom book is really good. If you want to use it, to learn more about the setting. The two of them have played far more Pathfinder than I have. Or Pathfinder two anyway. But the thing that struck me as I was reading this is it is 400 plus pages of straight lore with exactly one character option, unless you include a small table of drugs as a character option, in which case it’s two character options. But yeah, there’s a new race. And that’s it. Literally everything else is just pieces about Absalom. Which is cool, but you know, it’s, it’s, it’s definitely not something that you’re going to pick up as a casual player.

Randall 

Yeah, so so PF2, right? They have the idea of like ancestries, and we get one new ancestry. Tyler, do you want to talk about it?

Tyler 

Yeah. So they’re, they’re called the azarketi, and they’re an aquatic humanoid that lives in and around Absalom. Basically, picture a person with webbed feet and hands. So like, Michael Phelps, but like, more.

Randall 

Okay.

Tyler 

Apparently, they’ve got a long history in the setting of being oppressed in various ways. So they’re, you know, that’s built into their ancestry lore, and they have they’ve existed in PF one for a long time, but I don’t know that they’ve ever been explored in a ton of depth. So there’s not a lot here to go on. But there are some, you know, ancestry feats and get does give you one more fun ancestry option to explore.

Randall 

Okay, cool. And then also some drugs.

Tyler 

Also some drugs. Yes. So drugs are just a variety of items in PF2. They’re in the core rulebook, they’re in several of the other books. So, like, it’s not a huge surprise that there’s some local drugs that you can peruse. There’s a couple of weapons in there, nothing super… like, nothing super standout. Nothing that’s really going to upset your game, but just some cool local flavor.

Randall 

Yeah. So my takeaway in reading through the book is I thought they did an amazing job of giving you a rich, you know, I don’t know to call it. A city state, a nation, nation state?

Tyler 

Something like that, yeah.

Randall 

Yeah. Okay. So let’s call it a city state. They give you this rich history of a city state, with both kind of the history of its government and the trials and tribulations that come with. And then they also highlight the absolute stupidity of the historical government. All the shenanigans it gets them in. There’s lots of… there’s lots of corruption, speaking of like drugs being on the streets and this sort of thing. You know, they highlight particular regions that are like, you know, lawless, or at least turn a blind eye towards violating this law or that law. But I really felt like one of the things that drew my eye that I immediately started thinking about, Okay, what would you campaign around this? You know, they have, what were they called? Like, the, the… Yeah, the the different lords groups. So you have spell lords. And what the spell Lords do is they regulate magic in the city. So you’ve got like the American Dental Association equivalent regulating magic school saying how many, you know, how many different folks can we have magic users coming out? You could have really cool stories just built around that one little bit, and all the corruption that would come from having a group of people who get to regulate magic.

Random 

I have to say, this is one of the things that Paizo has always done very well is they have always said, Okay, we’re not going to try and like do a bunch of settings, you know, we’re not going to Grayhawk and Eberron and Faerun, and we’re just, we have Golarion and we’re going to invest a lot into making Golarion very cool. And they have continued that trend here. This is actually, I mean, a yet another running joke is as we would finish a section in Rise of the Runelords, inevitably one or two of my players would ask, “and by the way, do you have five pages of lore that you want to read us that you never got to because it’s only put there for the DM to read?” To which I would tearfully say “yes, thank you,” because it was every time and so they’ve done that again here in in really fine fashion. I mean, Absalom itself… I mean, it’s it’s where the calendar of Golarion comes from. AR is Absalom Reckoning, right? And so that the city itself is nearly 5000 years old. There’s a ton of history there. And a lot of it is really questionable history because, thanks. Where there is stuff like that, there’s also a lot of room for them to expound on Okay, well, there have been four gods that have happened because of the city that Absalom was founded around. In fact, a long time ago, it wasn’t even called Absalom, it was, you know, the Isle of something it started with a K. I don’t remember. All of this lore that has been sort of put in other various places throughout Paizo’s time in various modules and various other source books is now all sort of coalesced into this one book. And, I mean, really, if if you want to build your own story in Golarion, this is absolutely one of the best places to start. It’s fun seeing how they’ve maintained stuff even from the very first published module, Rise of the Runelords. One of the big things that was spoilers for 12, 13, 14-year old path, I guess, one of the sections there was about the Skinsaw Murders. Well, Skinsaw Man is a thing dedicated to Norborger, who is a god of greed, basically, who was one of those mortals raised to ascension by the Starstone. That lore has maintained throughout 15 years across editions of Pathfinder because they do such a good job of continuity,

Tyler 

There’s so much here that’s just tied into every part of the setting. Like if, if you’re enthusiastic about the Golarion setting, there’s a ton to enjoy here. ZIf you’re just getting into the setting, this is probably a really good place to start because Absalom is so central to the setting. Like Random said, the Starstone. It’s this weird Meteor thing that has produced four of Golarion’s deities, and it’s entombed in this like dungeon thing and Absalom and you can just go into the dungeon. And if you make it to the star stone, you become a god, it’s great. But only four people have ever done it, so it’s kind of a big deal. Even that has a ton of lore and book like there’s a cult around people who attempt and fail the trial of the Starstone. There’s a shrine outside. And there’s this little club that attends to encourage people to take the challenge. And every little thing is expanded upon in just minute, excruciating detail on every… like, every page you go to, you’ll see the name of a bunch of NPCs. And you’ll wonder “who are all of these people?” and flip to the last section of book and there’s 120 pages of named NPCs of various importance. And it’s this beautifully diverse cast of different races, and ethnicities, and genders, and diverse in every possible sense of the word. There’s an automaton which has lived in Absalon for like well over 1000 years. There’s a lot here.

Randall 

Yeah, so I my dictionary word for the day that I learned was “apotheosis,” which is the the process of being deified, becoming a deity. And so you’re talking about Yeah, like for different folks have become a deity by touching the Starstone or by surviving the test of the Starstone. It seems there’s some ambiguity about what the test actually is, right? My favorite little piece of this that I took away and I don’t know if this is, like, old Pathfinder, one history or if this is new Absalom history. Have you heard of Cayden Cailean?

Random 

Yes.

Tyler 

Yes.

Randall 

Okay.

Random 

His story of passing it is famous and has been there for the whole time. It’s amazing.

Randall 

Yeah, it’s fantastic. So I want to share it because they brought this out in the book, and it was one of those “I want to know more about this!” He’s called “the lucky drunk” or “the accidental god” because apparently, while he was drunk, a friend begged him to take the test. So he went and took the test and came out, like, three days later, and they were like, “what did you do?” “I don’t know! But I’m a God now.”

Tyler 

Yep.

Randall 

He sounds like Rudolph. It’s weird.

Random 

That story has been around in Golarion for a long time and it’s it’s wonderful. One of the other, as Tyler was talking about a lot of little details. So one of the things that I really enjoyed is they talk about the different smells of the different districts and they call out street food and they actually call out, like, that there’s a couple pages just talking about where does all of the food for Absalom come from? So just like as we had talked about that, that food episode back for Thanksgiving, seeing them talk about that and pay it a decent amount of attention and respect was really cool. All of the things that we had talked about where food is a great way to showcase culture, just those two pages provided a huge quantity of… all these different things they have these, each district has its own different food stall vendors. There’s a ton of stuff being imported to satisfy the, you know, the random desires of the nobles, all that stuff. So I really enjoyed food.

Randall 

Yeah, I think it’d be an interesting episode at some point to go through and talk through. Like if you take a setting book like this, how do you use it to create your story?

Tyler 

I think that’d be a fun episode. We should do that.

Randall 

Yeah. So if you’re a person building campaigns in Pathfinder 2, this really does feel like an amazing resource. I definitely think it’s worth grabbing. I guess we’ll have links in the show notes to be able to go grab it, and we appreciate it if you do. Alright, so I guess the next thing that we want to talk about, there have been a few details that have come out about Monsters of the Multiverse.

Tyler 

Yes, so a YouTube channel called NerdImmersion got some leaked photos of the contents of Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse. He’s been pretty good about leaks on past sourcebooks. He was the first one to identify the name of Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons, some couple other things before that. He must have some inside source. But basically, he got cellphone photos of the contents of the book. So those have been shared around the internet. The original source is the NerdImmersion YouTube channel, so go check out his videos on the subject. But we got from those leaks a bunch of details on what’s going to be in the book. So the book releases on January 25th. If you’re listening to…

Randall 

We got a lot of details. Allegedly.

Tyler 

Allegedly, yes. Assuming that the photos aren’t elaborately faked, yes. So the book releases in the rules expansion gifts set on January 25th, 2022, And we just found out that the release date for the standalone book isn’t until May 17th, 2022. So there’s a four month wait period before we can get the book outside of the gift box. I’m salty about that, personally.

Randall 

Yeah, I mean, so let’s let’s really highlight. So what’s in the gift box? It’s Tasha’s cauldron of Everything. It’s Monsters of the Multiverse, and it is Xanathar’s Guide to…

Random 

Everything.

Randall 

Oh!

Tyler 

Yeah.

Randall 

You know, I never actually put it together. I was I was about to say “everything”, but that doesn’t feel right. Okay, here we are. If you’re a person,when these source books come out, or the splat books come out that you go and you buy them. Now, the only way that you can purchase this is if you buy two books that you’ve already bought, to get another book that you’re probably pretty excited about. Then and even Monsters of the Multiverse, it’s going to be Tome of Foes plus Volos Guide to Monsters plus new additional content. Yeah. And so if you already have those two books, it’s actually four books you already have crammed into three books, two of which are exactly books you already have.

Tyler 

Yeah, they’re reprinting 33 races which have appeared in previous supplements. So that includes stuff going all the way back to the Elemental Evil Player Companion, which was published as a PDF and like the first year of 5e’s lifespan. All of the races that are being reprinted in the book got rules updates, so they are different to some degree from what’s in existing books. Like it, it varies wildly in scope, the changes and we’ll we’ll talk about that more next week once the book is actually out. There are some new monsters in the book that that I managed to identify from squinting at the table of contents pictures that were leaked. I saw a bunch of monsters that have been brought back from previous editions. Like the Iron Cobra and a couple of other things. And then there are… well, we knew about this one going in, we knew that they were going to reprint a lot of the spellcaster stat blocks which have appeared previously to use the new spellcaster format that they’re using starting in Wild Beyond the Witchlight. So instead of having actual spells for attacks, spellcasters will have spell-like actions that do something similar to a spell, but you don’t have to figure out a whole spent less to run the monster. Some new stuff, a lot of reprints. Everything’s been updated to the new format, and the new race, the new way that races are going to work. But yeah, it does feel very frustrating to buy the gift set for two books that you might already have an reprints of a bunch of stuff that you might have from other books.

Randall 

Now that being said, I guess our intuition for this is that they want to make, you know, the original three books plus these three books. Like, that’s the quote unquote the new core rules set for 5e, right?

Tyler 

It’s the rules expansion. So they they put out a new core rulebook giftset in I want to say December, I’m forgetting the timeline. But it’s alternate covers for all the core rule books and the DM screen in a box and then this is the exception addition to that box. So for people who are relatively new to the game who want to go beyond the core rules, this is a great option. It’s, again, frustrating for people who’ve been buying every book that has come out since the start of the edition. But Wizards of the Coast does do a really good job of making things accessible to new players. And one of the biggest criticisms of previous editions was if you come into the edition five or six years in, there’s like 50 books and you don’t know what to buy. So now it’s, it’s clearer for newer players.

Randall 

Yeah, and I do, I definitely see the value in that. I want to go back and highlight I know you said this, but I want to reiterate, reiterate it. So the gift set with the three books is going to be available January 25th. And then let me count my months. February, March, April, May. Four months later, the standalone book will be able to be available to be purchased both as a physical book and as a digital with DnDBeyond.

Tyler 

Correct.

Randall 

And so in May, for folks who like to use D&D Beyond, i know i love it, being able to pop into D&D Beyond and get this content. That’s not going to be available ’til May. So there’s going to be this awkward time period where maybe one person in your party has the book and there might be certain content in it that isn’t in any of the other four books that we talked to that are that are going into this. And so we’re going to figure that out. That’s going to be fun conversations, either sharing content, or…

Random  

One of the things that I think is getting particularly awkward here is people who do participate in Adventurer’s League, because if you want to use any of these races that are reprinted, taking your  Mordenkainen’s Monsters in the Multiverse as your +1… Adventurer’s League, as a reminder, your character options can come from the Player’s Handbook plus one other source book, often referred to as PHB+1. If you’re taking this book, when maybe you’re a DM, because of course, DM’s are often the people who buy a lot of these books for their groups. And so they are already likely to have two, maybe all four of the books that are in this gift set. They’re very unlikely to buy that. So like, is this a thing where you’re all of a sudden, like, Okay, I need to go buy this, this set that duplicates a lot of stuff that my group already has, so that I can share this. Is this a thing where I’m going to show up with this new race because I did buy this book because I want it and my DM has never seen it before? And so then we have to have the conversation about like, oh, well, you know, DM bans Yuan-Ti Pureblood at their table, and you’re like, okay, but it’s balanced now, can I be a yuan-ti necause I like the flavor? And you know, DM says, “No, my evil is law” and suddenly I’m Samurai Jack. This disparity of information, I could see playing a lot of havoc with the organized play. I don’t think there’s a good answer for that. I mean, apart from just remind people, be more open and be willing to share , especially if somebody does have that content. But that’s, that’s one of the more awkward places that I see this going.

Randall 

I can actually imagine them doing something where they say it’s instead of PHP+1, it becomes 6+1. You can draw from the the rule set plus the expanded rule set, and we will still let you take a plus one from something else. That might alleviate some of this concern, right?

Tyler 

We should probably double check on the Adventurer’s League rules. I haven’t looked at them super recently, so we may be out of date on the PHB+1 if they’ve changed that. I know that they did recently change things so new characters start at level five now which…

Randall 

Good for them!

Tyler 

Well, yeah, if you’ve been in Adventurer’s League forever, that’s got to feel really nice. I don’t know how… I don’t know how that fares with new players, but that’s a whole new…. That’s a whole separate episode. We should talk to someone who’s running adventurers League.

Randall 

Yeah, we’ll go incognito and see what see how it goes. Yeah, so we won’t be able to correct the podcast, but we will have linked in the show notes. A link to the Adventurer’s League rules. And if you care and want to be correct, go read. Okay. And then we have the 2022 convention circuit. We’re we’re almost there. Let’s, let’s get some ground rules in place that I think apply to basically all of these conventions. One, if you’re able to, get vaccinated. It’s a great idea. It’s good for you, good people around you. Let’s be very clear: RPGBOT.podcast. Supports vaccination.

Tyler 

Yes.

Randall 

If you’re allowed. If you’re able. Wear a mask. Masks are great. First off in the convention core, I’ve got great news. The whole gang is going to be there. We’re gonna have some Random, we’re gonna have some Tyler, we’re gonna have some Producer Dan, and you’re gonna meet, too. Garycon, March 24th to March 27th in Lake Geneva, not Switzerland, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Tyler 

That makes more sense. Yes, we’re very excited. We’re gonna be there in person. We’re all vaccinated and packing masks and we’re we’re looking forward to seeing some people in person and maybe playing some games and eating a lot of cheese.

Randall 

Also bratwurst.

Tyler 

Also bratwurst.

Randall 

Three or four folks on their previous podcast recommend bratwurst.

Random 

I am the ninth dentist.

Randall 

Wait, the 10th dentist, right?

Random 

Eh.

Randall 

Actually, zero indexing. Nine is fine. It’s great. Yeah. So Garycon, what’s Garycon about?

Tyler 

So Garycon is named for Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons. It’s hosted by Luke Gygax, and with the assistance of Gary’s other kids, Ernie and Laura. So this is a convention regularly attended by Gary’s friends and family and old names in the world in and around D&D. So like, these are old hats from TSR. People who were part of the game and it’s earliest days. Some big name game designers. I know they’re, like, Frog God games and Kobold Press are going to be there. The attendees list looks pretty cool. And there’s some really exciting panels that I’m looking forward to. So I think it’s gonna be a really good time and I’m excited about it.

Randall 

I think Garycon’s supposed to be pretty family friendly as well. And the Lake Geneva area, certainly family family friendly. There’s, honestly, there’s a lot to do in that area. And so, yeah, if you’re thinking about taking a weekend trip, or you want to get away and you’re, you know, not so far that it’s insane, come. and if it is so far away that it’s insane, then you should buy a plane ticket, you should still come.

Random 

Well, and speaking of plane tickets, so the next one up. Substantially closer to home for myself, RPGBOT Tyler, and Producer Dan. Paizocon gonna be taking place May 27th through May 30th Here in the Seattle, Washington area. And if there’s enough pressure on AmateurJack over here to come join us from his faraway land of much closer to Lake Geneva, then maybe he shows up, too. But Paizocon is wonderful. This is all about Pathfinder, Pathfinder 2. There’s definitely a few other, you know, folks who attend but expect this to be very Pathfinder-heavy, lots of talk about Golarion. Maybe even if you are one of those people who was interested in the Absalom section of the earlier part of this news podcast, we will see you there. So that’ll be a good time.

Tyler 

I’m told that there will also be some Starfinder which is, if you’re not familiar, it’s Paizo’s science fantasy setting. It’s basically Golarion in space.

Randall 

More laser guns. Very exciting. Nice. Then we come back to my side of the country. So we have Gen Con Indy. Indy an in Indiana, and not indy as an indie gaming. Maybe indy is an Indianapolis, which is the polis in Indiana, aka their largest city and the only one that any of you can name.

Random 

 I can name Gary.

Randall 

Okay. We don’t, we don’t talk about Gary. And if you live in Gary, I’m sorry. Not because I’m offended you. I’m just sorry. Anyway, here we go! So Gen Con in… Yeah, Gen Con Indy.

Tyler 

Yes, Gen Con will be August 4 through seventh. It is widely regarded as the best four days in gaming, at least that’s their, that’s their tagline. It is a massive convention, typically, and I’m excited to see it coming back from COVID. And hopefully, hopefully by August things will have settled down and everybody will be healthy and vaccinated and stuff but you know, take precautions, get vaccinated. Wear pants, wear a mask, and then hopefully Gen Con will be wonderful, but

Randall 

I guess we shouldn’t say get back. So if you can. We understand certain folks can’t. Wear pants if you can. Some folks can’t.

Random 

Centaurs mostly.

Randall 

Where do they go? I don’t know!

Random 

Right? Back half? Bottom half? So ,traveling back to the west coast, best coast. You get to PAX West, or you know, PAX Prime if you are a fogy and from the area, where this is definitely more of a games overall convention. But if you are a longtime listener, you will remember that PAX West was actually the first News episode basically, that we ever did. We will almost certainly be back. It was a great time last time and we will be very happy to explore and see and hopefully with the… if you remember, we sort of found this or well, I guess last year’s PAX to be a little bit barren. Because it seems like a lot of places were surprised that Pax was actually happening so maybe with the understanding that Pax will probably be happening this year, we will get to see more of the bigger names.

Tyler 

Yeah, we definitely missed big names. Paizo and WotC were conspicuously absent from PAX West last year, so I’m hoping that they make a return this year.

Randall 

I still had a lot of fun, but I didn’t know any better. And I feel like that was the best situation to be in it.

Tyler 

Kinda, yeah.

Random 

That of course is Labor Day weekend, which is… the specific dates are a little bit shifty. But if you just go look up online Labor Day weekend is it’s that one.

Tyler 

It always is. They’re still saying “dates to be announced” on the website. But yeah, it has been Labor Day weekend every single PAX West.

Randall 

One of these years the convention, convention centers like going to kick them out of it or something like this.

Random 

It’s always weird. So this is the same weekend that Seattle hosts its enormous music convention, Bumbershoot. And so you just have this enormous influx of two very different crowds of people coming into Seattle at the same time. One occupying that convention center and one occupying Seattle Center. And, boy, when they cross, that is a good time.

Randall 

Thinking about their, like, the convention center getting booked for something different. If anybody’s an NFL fan, I want to say it was like this last draft year. They always do their draft at Radio City Music Hall. It was, just, they forgot the book it. Forgot to book. And then it got booked for something else. And they’re like, hey, but no, we always say it’s like, it’s the pancake breakfast who do this every year? And they were like, Nah, go, yeah, figure something out. I say that to say cross your fingers. Labor Day weekend. Yeah, so the next one, I guess I’m going to introduce it, then I’m going to say what is this gamehole con? October 20 to 23rd. Where does this happen?

Tyler 

So I don’t know a ton about Gamehole Con, unfortunately. It’s in Madison, Wisconsin. And it’s running from October 20th through 23rd. So this has become an increasingly big convention in the tabletop gaming space just in the past few years. Like last year, all of the online discussions immediately afterward were either some combination of “man, I wish I had gone to gamehole con” or “I went to gamehole con and it was amazing!” I’m hoping it’s another great showing this year, and maybe at some point in the future we’ll get to attend in person. But it looks great, and if you’re in the area, definitely check it out.

Randall 

Which again, for you know, I’ll say for both Lake Geneva for Garycon, as well as Madison for Gamehole Con. Like, they’re really cool areas. There’s a lot to do. The food is really good. Also deep fried. No, there’s, there’s there’s a ton to do. And within that area, there’s a lot of, like, family-friendly areas. So there’s indoor water parks, and there’s no festival rides, this sort of thing. So, yeah, it’s a cool place to be. You should, you should go. We should go. We should go.

Tyler 

We’ll see if we can make it happen.

Randall 

Okay.

Tyler 

Alright, so the last one we have on the schedule here to talk about is Pax Unplugged, which is… PAX West is games in general, but mostly video games. Pax Unplugged is almost exclusively not video games. It does take place on the East Coast, which is tragically not within driving distance of my house.

Randall 

Your wife would beg to differ but that’s a…

Tyler 

She would, yes. Yeah. PAX Unplugged is a great tabletop gaming convention put on by the same people who run all of the other PAX conventions. They’re good folks. Usually the acquisitions incorporated game gets played there once and it’s a good time. I don’t think we have dates on that one. And I haven’t followed PAX Unplugged closely enough to know when they usually happen. But it’s generally like the second week of December.

Randall 

Now perfect. And so with that, start getting… Yeah, you know, if you’re in a situation where you think you could make make it to some of these, start getting them on your calendar, start thinking about it. Keep an eye out for when tickets pop out. And who knows, maybe at some of these, we might be able to meet you. I think that’d be pretty exciting. Alright, I think that’s it for this RPGBOT.News. We appreciate it. We hope you enjoy it. We’ll have a regular episode coming out. And then I think our next News episode we should be talking about Mordenkainen’s Monsters in the Multiverse. See you, folks.

All 

*Outro music plays*

Randall 

If your friend tries to pee on you, and you’re wearing jeans, but they’re not wearing jeans, your friend pees on you. But if we’re both wearing jeans, you pee on me less. So if you want to see RPGBOT.Podcast at conventions, don’t pee on them.

Tyler 

Flawless.

Leave a Reply