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State of Play: Tales of the Valiant at Launch!

State of Play: Tales of the Valiant at Launch!

Publisher and Kobold-in-Chief Wolfgang Baur is here to give you some insight on the state of the industry and the place of the Tales of the Valiant (ToV) RPG in it!

So here we are, smack dab in the middle of a Golden Age in tabletop RPGs. There are more games than ever, with better support than ever, and Tales of the Valiant is releasing to retail in July. Frankly, it’s a completely awesome great time to be a tabletop RPG player.

I’ll give a quick summary of the field, and then talk about where Tales of the Valiant fits into the industry, and into many player’s plans.

Rules Bonanza

We’ve come a long way in tabletop since Kobold Press was founded, back in the heady days of early Pathfinder RPG around 2007. A staggering number of options is out there right now. To stick just with fantasy RPGs (because SF and horror deserve their own lists), we’ve got everything from scrappy 80-page hardcovers like the class-free Knave RPG by Ben Milton, the retro flavors of Shadowdark and OSE games, the new take that is the Pathfinder Core, and the streaming-powered juggernaut of the beta Daggerheart rules. Plus let’s not forget grand experiments like the many flavors of Cypher System, and new editions of fantasy classics like Runequest and 13th Age.

That’s seven interesting systems worth playing, without even checking a search engine for more (and boy are there more!). That list doesn’t even mention the 2024 edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the venerable grand-pappy of them all, because that one hasn’t shipped yet. But that’s coming too, releasing from September to March in a tidal wave of powerful marketing and deep nostalgia—and all on the power of a great brand.

If I were a pessimist, I’d say it is too much. But as an RPG hedonist, I’m thrilled to have the options, new things to check out, and frankly, more players and more great games available for everyone.

So what about the Tales of the Valiant RPG?

A 5E Rallying Cry

Tales of the Valiant began as Project Black Flag, born from our desire to secure the inheritance of Fifth Edition D&D for everyone who loves it, amid the wave of chaos unleashed in January of 2023. As the project collected supporters—and as it went through thousands of playtest cycles—senior designer Celeste Conowitch and the team behind her honed in on what makes 5E great, and they kept that alive and free and true.

At the same time, Tales of the Valiant’s core design brought a much-needed injection of clever kobold twists and cleanups. And there was more than shining up 5E—systems like fabled items, item pricing, the ranger, various weapon maneuvers, luck, and many others got a second look. Everyone who has picked up TOV has noticed improvements, some large, some small. Not surprisingly, when the PDF shipped to backers and then the public last month, the TOV support was incredibly strong, and it continues to grow.

For instance: it was Free RPG Day this past Saturday, June 22, and the Shards of the Spellforge scenario for TOV was given away at local game stores. If you missed the giveaway, there’s good news: the adventure is now available to play online in the Kobold Discord for the rest of the month. Find out more on that right here: https://discord.gg/koboldpress

How does ToV look coming out of the gate? Well, I’m biased, of course. I see it from the inside. But this is an incredibly strong edition of D&D. Both backers and retailers seem to be nailing their dollars and their game nights to the Black Flag mast. To give you some idea of what’s going on in the community, the Kobold Press Gen Con events schedule has tripled from 2023’s Tales of the Valiant playtest tables (which was already bigger than the entire Chaosium slate of events). And yet we’re already just a table or two short of completely sold out at Indianapolis. (In June!)

Look out, Pathfinder Society, here we come!

Upcoming Support for ToV

With 29 ToV and Black Flag adventures already available, a Starter Set coming from Steamforged, a Conversion Guide from D&D to Tales of the Valiant, a free character sheet, a Black Flag wiki live and kicking, free pregen characters, VTT support live now from Shard and coming soon from a half-dozen platforms, tons of streamers using TOV for their games, the Roll for InitiaGive charity stream with its all-star cast . . .

Frankly, the level of smooth, playable material and game support at launch is better than almost any other fantasy RPG has ever had. A rising tide of great RPGs and a growing, independent community of creators is making the gaming universe bigger, better, and more fun than at almost any point in the hobby’s 50-year history.

I know personally that the Kobold Press team worked like mad to make the game that the 5E community wanted and deserved. We’re incredibly proud of how it came together, and what it enables through open licensing.

If you are playing or publishing with Tales of the Valiant, I’m grateful for your support, and even happier to see that it doesn’t take a major corporation to make a great contribution to the gaming community. All it takes is great gamers and the willingness to dive in.

The state of play for Tales of the Valiant is strong!

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