On Sale NOW: D&D Core Rulebooks v.3.5
Insight and Answers from Ed Stark, Dungeons & Dragons Design Manager
3.5 Revision Update
If you want the best insight on what's going on with v.3.5, you should be reading Ed Stark's monthly article in Dragon Magazine.
D&D Revision Spotlight
This is a monthly Q&A with Ed, created from questions and discussions taking place on the D&D message boards that you can read right now.
Finally! You can see for yourself what a lot of us have been telling you for the past six months or so. The D&D core rulebooks v.3.5 are hot off the press and ready to help you push your game even further with tougher characters, deadlier monsters, and faster gameplay. The books are out there in gaming stores, hobby shops, and bookstores -- all ready for you folks to sweep in, snatch 'em up, take a look through them, and then decide you'd like to take them for a spin.
Actually picking up a copy to take a look-see is better than yet another excerpt. But since you're here and not at your FLGS (favorite local gaming store), we'll offer some content on these sparkly new D&D books.
Last month, I gave you a look at the titan and a run-down of the basic flow of information in the v.3.5 DMG (including a look at the all-new "Visual Aids" section). Before that, I passed on the Monster Manual's gauth and barbed devil, the blackguard prestige class, and even a peek at the new pit fiend stat block as it appeared on the Winter Fantasy t-shirt. Over there to the right, you've got directions to pick up Dragon Magazine for Ed Stark's 3.5 Revision Update article as well as a link to the Revision Spotlight.
Now, here's a chunk of helpful information you'll find piled up on a two-page spread toward the back of the Dungeon Master's Guide (on pages 300 and 301). This comes from a PDF I got back in February; so don't be overly critical of any post-editing differences in what you see here and what you'll find inside the printed book. Just enjoy it.
Hey, the release schedule doesn't revolve around the new core rulebooks (not any more, anyway) -- we've got all kinds of other cool stuff going on. Check it out:
- The Annotated Legends -- fully annotated by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman (hardcover)
- The Black Bouquet-- Forgotten Realms Rogues Series, Book Two (paperback)
- D&D Miniatures Entry Pack -- 16 randomized minis, statistics cards, basic rulebook, d20, terrain mapsheet & cards, checklist
- D&D Miniatures Harbinger Expansion Pack -- 8 randomized, prepainted, plastic minis with double-sided stat cards
- Dungeons & Dragons Core Rulebook Gift Set -- boxed set of all three core rulebooks (v.3.5)
- Legacy of the Drow Gift Set -- boxed set of all four Legacy of the Drow novels (paperback)
- Menace Manual-- 224-page sourcebook for the d20 Modern roleplaying game
- Miniatures Handbook -- 192-page D&D rulebook
- The Prince of Lies -- the Avatar Series, Book Four (paperback with all-new cover art)
- War of Souls Gift Set -- boxed set of all three War of Souls novels (paperback)
On Sale Now: New York Times Bestseller Condemnation
Way back in April, I rattled on and on and on about this third book in the dynamic and exciting War of the Spider Queen series. It went on sale in May. A month later, it hit #34 on the New York Times bestseller list, and the following week, itmoved up to #31. How cool is that? (Yes. It's pretty cool!) That's Richard Baker's first appearance on the New York Times bestseller list, as well as the first for the series. (Of course, once the paperbacks start hitting the streets and after book #4 releases, it may not be alone.)
If you haven't started this terrific series yet, head over to our Sample Chapters page. There, you can download PDFs of the opening chapters from books one, Dissolution, and two, Insurrection. The Books area of the website also offers a fairly descriptive article about Condemnation that includes commentary and insight from the author himself. (Congratulations, again, Rich -- it's a great book. The Times says so!)
July: Dragon Magazine #310
Don't forget: The first Dungeon Master's screen for use with the v.3.5 D&D core rulebooks will be polybagged with issue #310. It features some hot-looking art by Wayne Reynolds that you might have seen by now inside Dragon and Dungeon/Polyhedron magazines.
July 24-27: Gen Con
As always, there's going to be a ton of cool stuff going on at Gen Con (this year in Indiana for the first time). You'll be able to demo new games, check out new products, meet game designers, and just have a blast. You'll want to swing by the Wizards booth on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to pick up that day's free D&D miniature. (You'll also be able to see more of the not-yet-released D&D Miniatures line at the Dungeon Delve.)
And don't forget to sign up for a free membership in the RPGA.Keep reading this article to find out what they've got in store for members who jump online and sign up for the D&D Player Rewards program.
August: Dragonlance Campaign Setting
Last month, I passed along a quick fly-by of the aerial combat section, because nothing says "Dragonlance" to me like two dragon riders (and their more than formidable mounts) locked in a dramatic aerial duel.
But if you don't have a couple of dragons ready to mix it up in mid-air, there's also nothing more Dragonlance than the hoopak-toting kender. If you've ever troddled around in the world of Dragonlance novels, you've certainly come across a kender or two and probably have a good idea of what they're like: They're small. They're curious. They've got their hands in your pockets and half your possessions in their backpacks. Wanna know how those rascals work out rules-wise? Take a look:
Kender Racial Traits
+2 Dexterity, -2 Strength, -2 Wisdom: Quick and agile, the small and wiry kender are built for nimbleness rather than brute strength. Driven by insatiable curiosity, kender lack the ability to think things through or to consider the consequences of their actions.
Small: As Small creatures, kender gain a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but they must use smaller weapons than humans use, and their lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of Medium characters.
Kender base land speed is 20 feet.
+1 racial bonus to all saving throws: Perhaps due to their eternal optimism and their inherent belief in the goodness of all people, kender manage to survive and thrive in a world that is often hostile to them.
+2 racial bonus on Spot checks: Kender have remarkable eyesight.
+2 racial bonus on Open Locks and Sleight of Hand checks: All kender have an instinctive curiosity when it comes to finding out what lies behind closed doors and inside pockets and pouches. Kender can use these two abilities as though they were trained, even if they have 0 ranks in the skills.
Lack of focus:Kender have a -4 racial penalty on Concentration checks. Kender don't necessarily lack magical talent, but their general lack of focus discourages them from pursuing careers in magic.
Taunt: Kender have an uncanny insight into the motivations and characteristics of other races. They can use this insight to unleash a verbal barrage of sarcasm, insults, and crude comments that cause the targeted victims to lose their temper. Kender receive a +4 racial bonus on all Bluff checks used to taunt someone.
Fearlessness: Kender are immune to fear, magical and otherwise.
Automatic languages: Kenderspeak and Common. Bonus languages: Dwarven, Ergot, Elven, Goblin, and Solamnic.
Favored class: Rogue.
Want a little more? How about going to the other end of the racial scale and taking a quick look at some of the most iconic Dragonlance bad guys?
Draconians, or "dragonmen," were first created in the Age of Despair in the years just prior to the War of the Lance. Created from stolen metallic dragon eggs and the use of a foul magic ritual devised by the Queen of Darkness herself, draconians were first envisioned as disposable shock troops. The draconians, however, inherited the intelligence and will to survive of their dragon parents and remained after the War of the Lance, trying thereafter to find a place in the world.
Shortly after the Chaos War, a nation of draconians was established in the region of Teyr. With the appearance of female draconians during the Chaos War, draconians are now able to breed and can be considered a full-fledged race of Krynn.
All draconians share the following traits.
Dragon Traits (Ex): Immune to sleep and paralysis effects, darkvision 120 ft., low-light vision, blindsense 60 ft., scent 60 ft.
Disease Immunity (Ex): Draconians are immune to all diseases.
Glide (Ex): Winged draconians (all draconians except for auraks) can use their wings to glide, negating any damage from a fall of any height. They can also travel horizontally up to four times the vertical distance they descend.
Inspired by Dragons (Ex): Draconians are drawn to evil dragons and revere them. When under the command of a dragon, draconians receive a +1 morale bonus on all attack rolls and saving throws.
Low Metabolism (Ex): Draconians can survive on one-tenth the food and water it takes to sustain a human.
September: Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures
You know we're getting closer to the release of the D&D Miniatures line -- we've put up a couple pages built just for the product line.
First, you can click over to check out the D&D Miniatures Spotlight. This link lets you take a look at the packaging, get a run-down of what's inside an Entry Pack and what's in the Expansion packs, and reveals how much each one will hit you in the wallet. The cost, by the way, breaks down to about a buck and a quarter for each one, which isn't bad at all -- particularly considering you needn't do anything to it to get it ready for play but dump it out of the box. (Sure, you might want to touch up or add a little detail to some of them, but only if you're so inclined -- most are quite good, and would be stellar with a quick ink wash and dry-brushing.)
Want to get a really good look at a whole pile of minis? Check out the other page that went up a little while back: the D&D Miniatures Gallery: PC Types.
These things are really going to be an asset to just about anyone who wants to use minis in a D&D game. There's no grace period between the time you buy these minis and the time they make it through the queue to get assembled, primed, and painted. It's an instant collection of gaming accessories referenced right inside your D&D rulebooks. (The Harbingerexpansion features characters, villains, and monsters taken straight out of the three core rulebooks.)
Another thing you'll want to use with your newly burgeoning collection of preassembled, prepainted, plastic minis is the slew of free downloadable fold-up paper models that Rob Lazzaretti, Dennis Kauth, and Todd Gamble have been painstakingly crafting for quite some time now.
Go check those things out. If you start downloading, printing, cutting and pasting now, you can have a middling-sized modular metropolis of paper for your new heroes to call home and your new villains to call "the place we should loot and pillage before lunch."
September: Dungeons & Dragons Core Rulebook Gift Set
It's all three core rulebooks (v.3.5) in a slipcase (covered with some really nifty-looking art, from what I hear.) If you ever wanted to kick-start someone's gaming career, this would be a fine way to do it.
September: d20 Menace Manual
We'll keep this one short this month. First, to give you a quick idea of what's inside this fine 224-page hardcover for use with the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game core rulebook, here's the back cover copy:
Keep your guard up and your pistol loaded
Kick down the door and be ready for anything. Inside, you'll confront animals, aliens, aberrations, adversaries, and even a few allies. The d20 Menace Manual provides creatures, characters, and organizations to challenge or confound the heroes of any d20 Modern roleplaying game -- so watch your back.
And here's a quick glance at just one of the many (well over two dozen) supporting characters you'll find inside. This one, a government agent, could be on the PCs' side or not, depending on the adventure the GM has cooked up.
Various government branches such as the FBI, ATF, INS, and CIA send agents to investigate crimes, evaluate threats, provide back-up for government investigators, and gather data on incidents. The low-level agent below is a rookie. The mid-level agent is a seasoned agent assigned to difficult cases and may lead a small team of three or four other agents. The high-level agent handles high-priority cases, including highly visible cases and those involving major public figures (such as members of federal or state administrations).
Mid-Level Government Agent (Tough Ordinary 2/Smart Ordinary 2/Dedicated Ordinary 2): CR 5; Medium-size human; HD 2d10+2 plus 2d6+2 plus 2d6+2; hp 31; Mas 13; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; Defense 16, touch 16, flat-footed 15 (+1 Dex, +5 class); BAB +3; Grap +3; Atk +3 melee (1d3 nonlethal, unarmed strike); Full Atk +3 melee (1d3 nonlethal, unarmed strike) or +5 ranged (2d6, Glock 17) or +4 ranged (2d6, Ruger Service-Six); FS 5 ft. by 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.; AL any; SV Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +6; AP 0; Rep +2; Str 10, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 16, Wis 14, Cha 8.
Occupation: Law enforcement (bonus class skills: Diplomacy, Gather Information).
Skills: Computer Use +6, Diplomacy +2, Drive +3, Gather Information +4, Intimidate +4, Investigate +13, Knowledge (behavioral sciences) +8, Knowledge (civics) +7, Knowledge (current events) +9, Knowledge (streetwise) +8, Profession +6, Read/Write English, Read/Write Language (any one), Search +9, Sense Motive +9, Speak English, Speak Language (any one), Spot +4.
Feats: Attentive, Dodge, Educated (Knowledge [current events] and Knowledge [streetwise]), Personal Firearms Proficiency, Point Blank Shot, Simple Weapons Proficiency.
Possessions: Glock 17 (9mm autoloader with concealed carry holster), 50 rounds of 9mm ammunition, Ruger Service-Six (.38S revolver with concealed carry holster), 50 rounds of .38 special ammunition, steel handcuffs, 35mm camera, cell phone, notebook computer, basic evidence kit, various gear and personal possessions.
Of course, the full entry provides statistics for a low-level and a high-level version of this G-man, but this peek gives you a decent idea of who you might find riding around in those black helicopters.
Next month, I'll attempt to bombard you with a monster or two, a look at one of the organizations, maybe more.
Late Summer: D&D Player Rewards Program
The RPGA has concocted a cool new program called D&D Player Rewards. By joining the RPGA (which is free) and signing up for the D&D Player Rewards program (also free), you're on track to receive all kinds of cool stuff, including adventures, gaming accessories, and nifty gewgaws.
Sometime in late summer, qualified members of the D&D Player Rewards program will get a package in the mail called a "Con-in-a-Box." Among the many things inside will be a custom-tooled d20 that's covered in sigils instead of numbers, along with a rules sheetfor using this all-new minor artifact -- the Fist of Emirikol.
Fist of Emirikol: Whether originally created by Emirikol the Chaotic or not, this potent magical weapon was wielded by the infamous spellcaster to such terrible effect that it remains irrevocably linked with his name. This multifaceted "ball" appears to have been carved from a solid piece of bone or horn taken from an unidentified type of creature. Upon each of its twenty faces is engraved a different sigil, each conferring some offensive magical effect.
When hurled at a target, as a ranged touch attack, one of the powers of the Fist of Emirikol is randomly activated, affecting the target on a successful hit. The Fist functions only once a day, and disintegrates immediately after activation, reforming the following day inside a pouch or small bag carried by its current owner.
Strong (all schools); CL 20th; Weight 1 lb.
The actual tchotchke inside the box will be a 55mm (that's about 2 inches tall for the metrically impaired) d20 that's ivory-colored with black inking in the sigils. (If you were fast and lucky enough to get a set of Olidammara's Dice with your copy of the Epic Level Handbook, take a look -- it's the same thing, only bigger.)
If you want to get an idea of the kind of mojo your characters could be slinging around with this billiard ball-sized icosahedron-o-random doom, try out the Virtual Fist of Emirikol.
If you don't wrangle one of the Fist of Emirikol tchotchkes, you can download this and make your own.
Just print it. Cut it out. Score along all the lines. And start gluing or taping it in place around a regular 55mm d20, which you might find at your FLGS (friendly local game store) -- I know I've seen them at Wizards Retail Stores at the malls out here. Right now, they come in black, ivory, and red and are numbered as spin-down counters. (If you can't find the 55mm d20 at your hobby shop or game store, you can ask them to order some from Koplow Games or swing by Koplow's booth at Gen Con.)
Once you've finished folding, wrapping, and affixing the foldup around that mondo-sized d20, it'll look something like this.
Don't forget the handout/rules sheet. (Requires Adobe Reader.)
If you're not already an RPGA member (that is, if you don't have an RPGA number), you just need to get yourself to an RPGA event, show up, and say "Hey, I want to get an RPGA number." It's quick. It's easy. And best of all, it's free. You can find RPGA events by checking out the event calendar. If you're going to Gen Con, you'll not only be able to get the RPGA membership, but you might be able to get a look at a Fist of Emirikol while you're there.
Keep in mind that this is just one of the nifty gewgaws the D&D Player Rewards program will be doling out. Also take note that they're crafting the program in such a way that you can earn Player Rewards points by playing your regular D&D home game -- you don't necessarily have to go play at a con or comic shop. Wherever you play D&D, you can earn points. Check out the Player Rewards page for more details.
There it is.
About the Author
Mat Smith is a copywriter who's been playing roleplaying games for a disturbing number of years, and now gets to spend an astonishing amount of time thinking about clever ways to get more people to do the same.