Previews01/11/2004


See what's "In the Works"
for January and beyond



3d10 Years of D&D, and More to Come

That's a maxed out 3d10, by the way -- we're celebrating the 30th anniversary of the world's most popular roleplaying game: Dungeons & Dragons. I don't yet know a whole lot about what we'll actually be doing to celebrate the three decades of D&D, but I'm looking forward to finding out. I do know that you'll be able to learn some good stuff at Winter Fantasy 2004, which is happening January 29 - February 1, 2004, at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey. Of course, we'll probably do something memorable at (or for) Gen Con Indy, which will overtake the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis from August 19-22.

It's going to be an exciting year. We'll get to watch the D&D Miniatures line expand further and further and further. The much-anticipated Eberron Campaign Setting will hit shelves in June. You'll see R.A. Salvatore's third book in the Hunter's Blades trilogy at your favorite bookstore this fall. There's just a lot of great stuff on the way to hobby shops this year. And while I can't tell you about all of it right now, I can spill the beans on what we've got coming out over the next few months.

Check it out:

New Releases

January

  • Dragoneye Expansion Packs -- The second D&D Miniatures expansion, featuring 60 new minis (you may see these before the end of December)
  • Deluxe Dungeon Master's Screen -- DM screen with bonus d20 Modern GM screen
  • Deluxe Player Character Sheets -- Newly formatted PC record sheets
  • Extinction -- Forgotten Realms War of the Spider Queen series, Book Four (hardcover)
  • Hope's Flame -- Dragonlance Young Readers series (Chronicles Volume Three, Part 1) (paperback)
  • The Legend of Huma -- Dragonlance Heroes series, Volume One (NYT bestseller, paperback)

February

  • Unearthed Arcana -- 224-page D&D hardcover filled with optional, alternate, and variant rules and game options
  • d20 Weapons Locker -- 192-page d20 Modern hardcover armed to the teeth with an arsenal of 500+ firearms
  • Paths of Darkness Collector's Edition -- Forgotten Realms; Four of R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt-filled NYT bestsellers (hardcover)
  • The Yellow Silk -- Forgotten Realms Rogues series, Book Four (paperback)
  • Night of Blood -- Dragonlance Minotaur Wars trilogy, Volume One (paperback)
  • The Wizard's Fate -- Dragonlance Ergoth trilogy, Volume Two (paperback)

March

  • Player's Guide to Faerûn -- 192-page compilation of Forgotten Realms character-building material, updated to D&D v.3.5, including 1st and 2nd Edition favorites (hardcover)
  • Archfiends Expansion Packs -- The third D&D Miniatures expansion, featuring 60 new minis
  • Homeland -- Forgotten Realms Legend of Drizzt series, Book One (first in a series of deluxe, annotated hardcovers of all of the Drizzt books by R.A. Salvatore)
  • Venom's Taste -- Forgotten Realms House of the Serpents trilogy, Book One (paperback)
  • A Dawn of Dragons -- Dragonlance Young Readers (Chronicles Volume Three, Part 2) (paperback)
  • Time of the Twins -- Dragonlance Legends trilogy, Volume One (first time in hardcover)

April

  • Expanded Psionics Handbook -- 224-page D&D hardcover with completely updated rules and an entirely new psionics system
  • D&D Map Folio I -- Pocket folder with 32 one-page, full color maps originally created for the Map-A-Week web feature
  • The Rage -- Forgotten Realms The Year of Rogue Dragons trilogy, Book One (paperback)
  • Windwalker -- Forgotten Realms Starlight & Shadows trilogy, Book Three (first time in paperback)
  • Stormblade -- Dragonlance Heroes series, Volume Two (paperback, new cover)
  • Tides of Blood -- Dragonlance Minotaur Wars trilogy, Volume Two (hardcover)

January: Deluxe Dungeon Master's Screen

It's a DM screen. You know what that is: art on one side, charts on the other. Last month I gave you the cover copy, an idea of what's the inside, and a look at what's on the outside. This month, you can pick it up, find out how nice the new landscape format works, and lay your hands on the bonus d20 Modern screen that comes bundled along with it.

January: Deluxe Player Character Sheets

These you also know -- character sheets for keeping track of absolutely everything about your character. This new set really lets you pack your character's information in there because you have both sides of an 11"x17" page to do it. (Check out the D&D 3.5 Accessory Update Booklet for a look at the basic design of the new character sheet.)

February: Unearthed Arcana

You might remember (or even still use) the 1st Edition D&DUnearthed Arcana. This all-new incarnation follows in the footsteps of its innovative predecessor, offering 224 hardcovered pages of optional, alternate, and variant rules and game options that you can pick and choose from to suit your current and future D&D campaigns.

Last month, I gave you a look at the back cover copy, a chunk of Andy Collins' introduction (which included the phenomenally apt lead-in: "Warning: Get ready to drink from the fire hose"), and an alternate rule that enables characters to recover from damage more quickly. This month, I thought I'd show you a couple more things.

Variant character classes are just one of the ways Unearthed Arcana allows you to further customize your heroes. Variant classes function, essentially, just as the core classes, with the exceptions noted. Below is a variant for all of you monk-playing folk out there (and for those of you who might want to play one after you see this nifty-yet-simple idea: monks with specific fighting styles (along with a few of the sample fighting styles).

Another interesting way to create a unique character (or to find rules to help build the character you picture in your head) is to explore the option of class feature variants. These allow you to swap out a standard class ability for something that suits your tastes a little more closely. Here's the stuff you need to know about using this variant rule, along with an example:

One more. Another optional character-building rule you could introduce to your campaign (even on that's currently in-progress) is the option of character traits. These are minor aspects of your character's background, physique, or personality that provide a small benefit along with a balancing negative effect. Character traits are a great way to build some highly roleplayable qualities into your characters, and help you to create interesting and memorable PCs and NPCs. I'll include a handful of traits that you might choose (or generate randomly by rolling on an accompanying table.)

All of that is just a sampling of what you'll find inside Unearthed Arcana. Don't be fooled by the big slice of character-building stuff I've just shown you: There's a lot more in the book besides stuff you can do to make your spiked chain-wielding fighter different from your buddy's spiked chain-wielding fighter. You'll discover ideas and options that will open up new avenues of gaming, expand the scope of your campaign, and help send your adventures in directions you might not have ever considered. When you do start flipping through the book, remember that you're looking at more material that any single campaign can handle. Just keep a notepad handy and start prioritizing the possibilities you want to try first.

February: d20 Weapons Locker

Within last month's parade of back cover copy, I passed along the text you'll find on the back of this 192-page d20 Modern hardcover. Filled with over 500+ firearms, each described in exhaustive detail, the d20 Weapons Locker lets you put your itchy trigger finger on just about any kind of pistol, rifle, submachine gun, assault rifle, sniper rifle, antimateriel rifle, and grenade launcher your character might ever want to carry into battle.

March: Player's Guide to Faerûn

This 192-page hardcover supplement provides a comprehensive, completely updated single source of character-building material for creating and leveling up characters in the Forgotten Realms. That's one book filled with all the Realms-centric races, feats, spells, prestige classes, and more.

Last month, you got the back cover copy, a couple adapted feats, and a look at the Harper agent prestige class (an updated version of the Harper scout).

This month, I've pulled out an all-new prestige class that's particularly well suited to divine spellcasters with an affinity for the Mulhorandi god and a strong dislike for undead.

March: D&D Miniatures Archfiends Expansion Packs

The much-anticipated third D&D miniatures expansion, which features 60 new minis, isdominated by demons, devils, and other outsiders. You'll also find a pile of heroes, villains, and monsters taken straight from D&D rulebooks, such as the Monster Manual,Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, Miniatures Handbook, Psionics Handbook, and Savage Species.

I don't have any nice close-up photos to show you yet, but I was able to get the gracious Mr. Chris Toepker to let me grab a quick pic of a bag of unpainted "first shots" he had spilled out on a table before he had to gather them up for a meeting. It's not as in-focus as I'd have liked, but it's better than the nothing I was going to get to show, and you can take some educated guesses at some of what you're seeing.

June: Eberron Campaign Setting

Depending on how you look at it, five months is either a long way off or it's just around the corner. As far as this article goes, the June release date for the Eberron Campaign Setting puts it a tad beyond the stuff I'd normally be dealing with. But, if you click over to the new Gearing Up for Eberron web feature,you can learn more about the setting (including a look at one of Eberron's organizations) and makes the book seem like it's well on its way. And if you want to get the sense that you've already got a chunk of the book in your hands, just pick up a copy of Dragon Magazine #316 and check out this month's Countdown to the Eberron Campaign Settingarticle. It's the second in a six-part Countdown to Eberron series that will introduce you to various aspects of the new D&D campaign setting. This article gives you an idea of how all the familiar character classes fit into the EberronCampaign Setting, introduces you to a new character class -- the artificer -- and offers a peek at one of the setting's prestige classes: the master inquisitive. Between the "Gearing Up" and the "Countdown" articles, you should have enough information and insight to keep you sated for at least another month.

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.

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