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EN World Review – The Manor of Deceit by Blackbyrne Publishing

BP-2TMD2Happy “Hump” Day, Fellow Gamers!  It is Wednesday, and today’s review is posted, as usual, over at EN World News!  This particular adventure is the second in a series that forms The Dark Veil Campaign Arc by Blackbyrne Publishing, and is the sequel to The Hidden Current.

Please click the link to read today’s review:

Review of The Manor of Deceit by Blackbyrne Publishing

I reviewed The Hidden Current back in April, and although this module shows some improvements over the first offering, regretfully, there were a number of issues that were too hard to ignore.  Nevertheless, I am still pleased that there are publishers out there working on releasing GSL material for 4E gamers, and I certainly hope that the writers at Blackbyrne Publishing continue their efforts to release The Dark Veil Campaign Arc.

On a personal note, I have some concerns about the GSL market as a whole, and wonder if others have noted the shrinking number of offerings by independent, third-party publishers?  Advancements in PDF production and resellers like and certainly make it seem like there is the potential to sell GSL products to the 4E gaming community, but recent posts on the Wizard of the Coast Community forums suggest that indie publishers are struggling to come up with usable content and marketable content.

So as gamers, how likely are you to purchase a 4E product produced by some publisher other than Wizards of the Coast?  Have you tried many GSL products on the past, or are intending on buying any in the future?  Have you ever considered publishing your own material, or know someone who wants to publish?

As always please feel free to leave your comments and feedback… I am interested to hear what gamers and publishers have to say!

So until next blog… I wish you Happy Gaming!

About The Author

Michael is an Adept of a Secret Order of Dungeon Masters, and dwells in a hidden realm with his two evil cat-familiars, deep within the Vale of Wolverines, called by some "Michigan". He has been esoterically conjuring D&D Campaigns for nearly a Third of a Century, and has been known to cast ritual blogs concerning Dungeons & Dragons every few days with some regularity. Michael has freelanced for Wizards of the Coast, and writes reviews of D&D and other Role-Playing Game products on EN World News.


3 Responses to “EN World Review – The Manor of Deceit by Blackbyrne Publishing”

  1. callin says:

    I believe a lot of the problem 3rd party publishers are running into is DnDInsider. Most 4E games use the software (myself included) to manage their characters. As such, 3rd party content is not compatible (with DnDInsider) and thus consumers tend to avoid content they can not use easily. While it is true all content can be used, it would require an extra effort to do so. With all the choices characters already have that is official from WotC, most people ask why they want the headache of trying to use non-compatible content.

    Therefore most 3rd party releases are those that can be used without the DnDInsider software. However, most of this content is GM based and thus your list of potential consumers is severely cut down in size; there are a lot less GMs than players and a good percentage of those GMs use their own content (such as homemade adventures tailored to their group’s needs).

    The best way to cross this impasse is if someone (a 3rd party publisher) develops software that allows custom content to be managed similar to DnDInsider. The problem here lies in how to integrate official WotC content without “stealing” their stuff. Example: If my character gets a 3rd party publisher’s Feat that allows me to do +2 damage with Fire type attacks, I want my character sheet to reflect that. I want the sheet to do the calculations, calculations that need to include my 3rd party Feat with all my original, official WotC content. If someone could create such software it would lift 3rd party publishing to a new level.

    I do not see WotC expanding their DnDInsider to allow for custom content that can be integrated with the software. They have no incentive to do so and lots of reasons not to do so. They are not in business to support 3rd party publishers, though I feel not having 3rd party publishers will hurt the longevity of the game.

    So, in the end, thus far the smart course for a 3rd party publisher is to stick with content that avoids DnDInsider. This means adventures, feats, monsters, support material (tokens, maps, dice, figurines). These are all geared to a niche of a niche market, the GM. As such, there is little incentive to 3rd party publishers to use the GSL.
    .-= callin´s last blog ..Living DungeonPart One =-.

  2. UHF says:

    Most players run home-brew campaigns. 4e is well known for its ease of putting together adventures for DMs, and this alone could spell doom for third party adventure\campaign developers. If third party or even WOTC material was so necessary, 4e would be long gone.

    On another note, one thing struck me from The Escapist interview of Mike Mearls. He said that there was room for third party developers to produce adventures or campaign settings for 4e. He even named Privateer Press’ Iron Kingdoms.

    Now here’s the thing… Privateer Press’ setting involves Steam Punk, and Gun Mages (magic bullets… cool). Neither of which can at all be supported under 4e’s rules, let alone Character Builder.

    Even if Privateer Press produced such a setting, the players would get raked over the coals trying to make characters by hand. I can’t imagine Privateer Press making a business decision like that.

    What Mike Mearls thinks is possible and wants, cannot be done. WOTC needs to get its act together if they want more third party support.

  3. Dave says:

    Yeah, the GSL isn’t really doing much for my company. Maybe we should have stayed with the Open Gaming Lisence and 3.5. (Since you can’t do both, GSL mostly forbids it).

    We never expected to make a lot of money off the GSL – but assumed that even a tiny fraction of a percent of 2 million players would lead to enough money to support printing other projects. So far, we’re wrong. And technically we can only reference the PHB, DMG, MM and AV 1. No authorization for later books has been posted (as of last week anyway).

    We still have a few more projects in the works for 4E – but once those are done it will be time to get back to our space patrol 1950s RPG and other board game projects we shelved a year ago. There just doesn’t seem to be much interest in 3rd party 4E stuff.

    Dave Wainio
    Three Sages Games

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