Previews
Minis, Magic, and More
Previews for March and Beyond
By Mat Smith

Not to take anything away from January and February, but March is weighing in as the heftiest month-o'-releases yet this year, with the War Drums expansion, Tome of Magic, *and* Power of Faerūn, hitting shelves in one fell swoop. Of course, looking into the next couple months' releases, you'll have no shortage of things to flip through when you swing by your FLGS -- adventures, accessories, supplements, and sourcebooks abound. And, this month, I've got a very healthy selection of stuff to show you from many of 'em.

Check it out:

March:War Drums Booster Packs

Ah, yes. A miniatures release month. There's nothing quite like the fun and excitement of picking up a case or two of the latest minis release and tearing into booster after booster. So, at last, we'll all have the chance to start pulling some of those War Drums minis we've been looking at over the past few months. Back in December, you saw the Wardrummer, Chimera, and Aspect of Hextor. In January, it was the Skeletal Legionnaire, Large Duergar, and Arcane Ballista. And last month, you got the Aspect of Moradin, Goblin Underboss, and Steelheart Archer. And of course, Steve Schubert has been showing some off in his weekly, skirmish-centric articles over on the D&D Minis page. And Dragon magazine has also been offering up D&D minis coverage -- including exclusive sneak peeks of minis you won't see anywhere else -- in their "First Watch" and "Dragon Talk" features.

But you're not here for a retrospective collection of hyperlinks -- you want to get one more look at some of the minis you're going to want to add to your collection. So, let's get on with that.

Axe Soldier -- One more Common mini can make a lot of use out of is the Axe Soldier. Solidly planted with a wide stance, this guy's not going anywhere -- he's got a definite "None shall pass" kinda feel about him. Clad head-to-toe in full plate armor, complete with visored greathelm, this guy's got good reason to stand confidently at his post. (Particularly when you assume he knows how to use that double-headed greataxe.) Aside from the wooden haft of that greataxe, the only other nonmetallic color you'll find on this guy is the maroon-colored cape draping over his right shoulder. (It seems like some sort of uniform piece, rather than just an adornment.) Obviously, the Axe Soldier will serve many tours of duty as a door guard, part of a city watch, and as a heavy footsoldier in anyone's army. (Since you can't tell much about who's inside that armor, it could be just about any Medium humanoid that's looking for a lot of AC.) It's an intimidating enough mini to serve as a villain. It's striking enough to be used as a heroic character (PC or NPC). And, it'll serve excellently as a great piece of dressing in any castle corridor, museum, and so on as an unoccupied suit of armor (or even a statue). I can easily see needing a dozen of these guys, just for maximum flexibility when assembling a fighting force (or decorating a room). Certainly, I'll want to collect them in pairs, just to make sure every door is flanked by a pair of nonhiccupping guards.

Tiefling Blademaster -- This Uncommon mini is (only) the second tiefling we've seen -- the first having been the Tiefling Captain that appeared way, way, way back in the inaugural Harbinger expansion. Whereas that first tiefling (which was based on a Chainmail mini) seemed primarily suited to playing a part on the bad guys' side of things, the Tiefling Blademaster could easily find a job on either side of the fence -- as a sinister villain or as a menacing hero. (One of the guys in our Wednesday-night game has adopted the Tiefling Blademaster as the mini he uses for his character -- a rapier-wielding tiefling rogue.) Clad in stylishly cut studded-leather armor, the Tiefling Blademaster is also protected by a set of heavy metal bracers, poleyns (kneepads), and a gorgetlike piece of armor (which seems as decorative as it is protective). That shoulder-mounted armor also serves as an anchor point for the tiefling's cape -- a heavy, forest green cape that hangs down to about mid-calf (offering as much protection/coverage as possible without hindering movement). If the ruddy skin tone didn't give away the Tiefling Blademaster's fiendish heritage, the pair of bone-colored horns sprouting at the leading edge of his raven-back hairline do the job. So, there's the "tiefling" part. Moving on to the "blademaster," you've got a pair of interesting weapons in-hand and ready for action. Held loosely in his right hand is a slim, long-bladed sword that seems somewhat like a katana (in the way the tip is angled), but clocks in as a rapier. (At least, that's what I'm told is listed on the stat card.) The dagger clutched in his left hand is a very short-bladed weapon that features curving blades on both ends. The primary blade is twice the length as the pommel-end blade, but either would do a fine job of opening a belly (or coinpurse).

Large Bronze Dragon -- It's always nice to see a dragon in a set. (And with ten standard dragon races, each with twelve age categories [or five size categories, however you wanna look at it], we're not running out any time soon.) This Large Rare specimen of dragonkind steps into the War Drums expansion straight off page 81 of your Monster Manual. The coloration of the mini is more uniform (that is, homogenous), as the metallic sheen of bronze covers this guy from the tip of his smooth beak to the end of his frilled tail. The short horns sprouting from his head are black, and his eyes almost seem to glow with an emerald light. Striding confidently forward, it seems as if the Large Bronze Dragon has just turned 180 degrees to head back the way he'd come (mainly 'cause of the way the tail is curved tightly back along his body.) That, coupled with the way he seems to be suddenly looking back over his left shoulder, makes it seem as if he's pacing back and forth impatiently awaiting someone or something -- and that waiting might have just come to an abrupt end. Whether his wings are pulled upward to facilitate his backward glance, or held ready for use, the Large Bronze Dragon isn't more than a quick hop (and downstroke with those wings) away from being aloft and ready to rain lightning or repulsion gas on any unwelcome visitors.

March:Tome of Magic: Pact, Shadow, and Truename Magic

Also magically appearing on shelves this month is the much-anticipated 228-page hardcover (named after a 2nd-Edition favorite) loaded up with three entirely new and fully fleshed out magic systems. Back in January, I scrounged up the back cover text. Last month, I gave you a little peek at how each of the book's three sections has its own look and feel, along with a sampling of the material from each one. I showed you one of the many vestiges to which practitioners of Pact Magic may opt to become bound. You got a handful of magical effects (known as mysteries) from the Shadow Magic section. And, I passed along a chunk from the Truename Magic section that delved into the process of researching a personal truename.

This month, I wanted to give you a little more stuff to sink your teeth into. Instead of that, I thought I'd give you a set of teeth you might sink into the mouths of your Pact Magic-using characters. Anyone that's been rolling dice for a while might have heard of these -- the teeth of Dahlver-Nar.

TEETH OF DAHLVER-NAR

The strange and wondrous teeth of Dahlver-Nar give you a physical link to the vestiges and their power. Lore: The teeth of Dahlver-Nar bear the name of the first human to use them. Rumor among the ignorant holds that the teeth tie your soul to fiendish forces, granting them control over your body and even your thoughts. (Knowledge [history] DC 30)

No one knows who created the teeth, or even how it was done. Binder scholars debate whether the items can be created at all -- many contend that a new one simply comes into being when a soul transforms into a vestige. (Knowledge [arcana] DC 30)

Individual teeth of Dahlver-Nar have occasionally been destroyed, but a new version of a destroyed tooth always crops up at some later date. However, no more than one version of a particular tooth ever exists at any given time. (Knowledge [history] DC 35)

Several versions of the story about the origin of the teeth of Dahlver-Nar exist, but one aspect of it remains constant: Dahlver-Nar, a human cleric, discovered the teeth and made them known through his use of their powers. (Knowledge [history] DC 30)

Legend says that using the teeth too often or using too many of them at once can drive the user mad or turn her into a tooth beast (see page 88). How much of this tale is truth and how much is fiction remains to be seen. Many binders have attempted to find out by collecting all the teeth, but as yet no one has managed to obtain all of them at once. (Knowledge [history] DC 30)

Description:Teeth of Dahlver-Nar differ in appearance according to their associated vestiges. Many look like the teeth of various humanoids; others appear more unusual. Eurynome's tooth, for example, is a molar as big as a dwarf's fist, Acererak's tooth is a ruby shaped like a cuspid, and Zagan's tooth is a snake fang the length of an elf's hand. Each tooth is inscribed with the seal of a vestige -- though it is unbound by the outer circle common to vestige seals. The teeth change size to fit the user's mouth, but only just. Chupoclops's tooth juts out of the user's mouth in the form of a tusk, beside the two created by his sign.

Take a closer look at the teeth of Dahlver-Nar.

Moving on to the realm of Shadow Magic, characters of all stripes have many ways to add a little umbral mojo to their repertoire. While many characters might start off in the new Shadow Magic-focused base class -- the shadowcaster -- anyone that wants to steep themselves in a bit of the shadowrealm can do so by entering one of the five Shadow Magic prestige classes.

THE SHADOWCASTER

"Behind the fire, between the worlds, in all the empty spaces, at the end of all things, we are there. Matter, light, life -- these things are fleeting. Shadow, only shadow, is eternal."

-- Eddas Coradran, Lord of the First House, Parliament of Shadows

All things fall into shadow, even light. Shadows do not represent the absence of light; they show the presence of darkness. Thus, shadow and darkness are not death or diminishment; they are the fundamental state of the universe, the constant that existed before, that exists now, and that will exist when all other things are snuffed out. So it is with the Plane of Shadow, that dark mirror to the Material Plane and many other realities. Shadowcasters tap into this most fundamental of forces and planes to work their dark wills. By tying themselves to the Plane of Shadow, they maintain a tenuous link to the ultimate force of existence.

The shadowcaster understands the true, primal power of darkness, attunes herself to the Plane of Shadow, and learns great shadow mysteries the equal of any mundane spell. These dark casters are workers of alien magic, possessing an occult understanding of the world and magic that even other spellcasters find disturbing. They are masters of a dark power -- and perhaps, as some worry, its servants as well.

Take a look at description of the shadow magic prestige classes.

And, those interested in exploring Truename Magic should be aware of the existence of a number of creatures that make use of this potent power. Here are a pair of creatures that illustrate how the power of words can be wielded by agents of both good and evil to devastating effect.

Word Archon Logokron Devil

Take a closer look at the word archon and logokron devil

March:Power of Faerūn

The other title hitting shelves this month is the year's first Forgotten Realms title: Power of Faerūn -- a 160-page hardcover supplement that offers players and DMs information, advice, guidelines, and rules for high-level play in the Forgotten Realms.Back in January, you got the back cover text. Last month, I passed along the chapter-by-chapter description you'll find on page five of the Introduction.

This month, I thought I'd give you a glimpse at just one of the many challenges that await players (and DMs) inside the book. Lairing way back in Chapter Seven is a creature that might be described as formidable if you were inclined to making understatements -- a red great wyrm named Imvaernarhro, known more commonly as Inferno of the Star Mounts.

INFERNO OF THE STAR MOUNTS

Tales of a red dragon of awesome age, power, fire-magic mastery, and hoard size have long been told and retold across the Heartlands and Sword Coast North. The dragon Inferno is said to lair in the heart of the High Forest, in a cave high on the north face of Angaroth, highest peak of the Star Mounts. Inferno is also said to devour even the mightiest adventurers who come against him.

Despite their wild claims, few Inferno legends are baseless. There really is a reclusive, magic-studying great dragon named Inferno (at least to humans, who have simplified his real name, "Imvaernarhro") in the Star Mounts, and his fire spells are impressive even to archmages of long years and many achievements.

Imvaernarhro is seldom seen by those in surrounding lands because he controls a portal -- possibly of Netherese origin -- that linked its cavern (in a small and nameless side-peak of the Star Mounts) with a wilderland continent on the far face of Faerūn where vast wild herds of beasts graze plains where no humanoid hunts, and where Inferno can sport and feed at will.

Imvaernarhro has never laired in the infamous cave on Angaroth. Before he found it, another dragon (whom he slew) had transformed it into a great death-trap, crammed with harmful spells, covered spiked pits, deadfalls, and collected deadly automatons and constructs. Imvaernarhro maintains it, deriving great entertainment from the sufferings of adventurers who seek him therein.

Imvaernarhro maintains dozens of caverns around the Star Mounts, some as treasure caches and a few sleeping chambers floored in "beds" of (as many as 100,000, each) gold coins. Imvaernarhro's combined wealth in gold coins alone has been estimated at "at least a dozen million" by the mage Elminster. Imvaernarhro has traditionally kept to himself, troubling other dragons and the wider world little (except those who seek to violate his privacy). Aside from the diversions of dealing with intruding adventurers, his time was spent chiefly in sleeping -- for decades at a time -- and in experimenting with fire magics. Curiously, recent "rages" among dragonkind seem to have left him unaffected; he might be magically protected against them.

However, Imvaernarhro's isolationist ways are changing. He now seems to be taking an interest in the expanding Silver Marches, Thay's expanding network of enclaves, and the politics and society of "civilized" Faerūn. He spends much time scrying as well as using spells to send messages or give orders to humans, especially outlaws and adventuring bands. Thus far, most of these communications have either been "Don't do that or I'll do thus to you!" missives, or "You should know X" (where "X" is information that will send the listener rushing to attack a rival, get to a revealed-by-Imvaernarhro treasure first, or meddle in something to further their own long-standing interests).

It's too soon to discern the dragon's motives for such meddling. Does he seek merely to stir things up for his personal entertainment? Set lands to war with each other, to weaken them all so none can threaten him (and he can raid for food at will)? Or, like priesthoods and the Chosen of Mystra and so many others, does he seek to steer and shape realms and their affairs to his own liking?

Dungeon Masters, take a closer look at Inferno's stats and other nasty surprises. (Players, be good -- keep moving.)

April:Complete Psionic

Coming soon, next month in fact, is the 160-page hardcover addition to the "Complete ______" series of books that delves deeply into the minds of characters who access (or want to tap into) the power of psionics. Like the other books in this series, Complete Psionics offers a wealth of material (including character classes, combat options, psionic powers, equipment, prestige classes, feats, equipment and more) that will appeal to any DM or player of any character of any class, whether it's traditionally a psionics-using character (or creature) or not. Last month, I offered up big chunk of the back cover text.

This month, I thought I'd give you a glimpse inside the book by flipping through each chapter and giving you a brief description of what you're going to find there. Chapter One: Classes, not surprisingly, delves into a trio of new psionic base classes and a variant of the psion class. Here's a little blurb (actually from the Introduction) that gives you an idea of what each class is about:

NEW PSIONIC CLASSES

Up to now, there were four standard psionic classes: The psion, the psychic warrior, the soulknife, and the wilder. In addition to the classes described in Expanded Psionics Handbook, this book introduces the following new standard psionic classes: the ardent, the divine mind, and the lurk. In addition, a variant psion, called the erudite, is presented as an option.

The ardent calls on the power of cosmic forces, drawing on "mantles," or groups of powers that are derived from those universal principles. Physically a bit stronger than a traditional psion, an ardent is limited by the number of mantles he can adopt.

The divine mind is a devout warrior whose psionic abilities allow him to channel his god's beneficence into psionic powers, as well as auras that help his comrades.

The lurk is a mentally empowered killer who focuses on dispatching his enemies from the shadows.

The erudite is a psionic sage whose knowledge of powers is potentially unlimited, although his ability to call on that knowledge is limited to a particular subset each day.

Chapter Two: Prestige Classes offers up eight new prestige classes to which psionically talented characters can direct their energies (and XP). Here's a quick run-down of those:

An illumine soul's mind blade is directly
connected to the Positive Energy Plane

Anarchic initiate: Student of the flow of pure psionic energies

Ebon saint: Dire strike master

Ectopic adept: Astral constructor extraordinaire

Flayerspawn psychic: Embracing illithid heritage

Illumine soul: Mind blades of positive energy

Soulbow: Use mind blades at great range

Storm disciple: Fervent ardent who loves storms

Zerth cenobite: Knows the secrets time conceals




Moving on to Chapter Three: Feats, you'll find an exhaustive array of new feats, psionic feats, psionic racial feats (the races benefiting from this list are dromite, duergar, élan, githyanki, githzerai, half-giant, maenad, synad, thri-kreen, and xeph), general feats, host feats (those familiar with Eberron's quori might recognize the usefulness of these), illithid heritage feats (for characters interested in discovering a mind flayer lurking somewhere in her family tree), and metapsionic feats (which, I believe, seem to work similarly to metamagic feats -- expend a little more power, get an interesting benefit).

Kinda like that warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Chapter Four is filled with psionic goodness -- Powers, Mantles, and Items. For those of you wondering what a mantle is, it's kinda like a cleric's domain. Here's a bit that explains, along with a couple of examples:

MANTLES

Ardents and divine minds create their list of potential powers by choosing specific mantles. Once a mantle is selected, the character can choose from the powers of that mantle when selecting a new known power. Each mantle also has an associated granted ability that is available to the divine mind or ardent once the domain is chosen.

CONFLICT MANTLE

Granted Ability: You are more in tune with martial concepts and gain the Weapon Focus feat as a bonus feat with a weapon of your choice.

1 Metaphysical Weapon[A]: Weapon gains +1 bonus.

1 Prescience, Offensive[A]: Gain +2 insight bonus on your damage rolls.
2 Psionic Lion's Charge[A]: You can make a full attack in the same round you charge.
3 Dimension Slide[A]: Teleports you a very short distance.
4 Immovability[A]: You are almost impossible to move and gain damage reduction 15/--.
5 Psychic Crush[A]: Brutally crush subject's mental essence, reducing subject to -1 hit points.
5 Graft Weapon: Your hand is replaced seamlessly by your weapon.
8 Spirit of War*: Confer +4 on attack rolls and damage rolls, +10 to one save, and confirm one critical threat.

FREEDOM MANTLE

Granted Ability: While psionically focused, you gain a +10-foot bonus to your speed. You can expend your focus to add your manifester level to a roll made to resist being grappled or to escape from a grapple.

1 Dimension Hop*[A]: Swiftly teleport a short distance.
2 Hustle: Instantly gain a move action.
4 Fly, Psionic: You fly at a speed of 60 ft.
5 Freedom of Movement, Psionic: You cannot be held or otherwise rendered immobile.
5 Teleport, Psionic: Instantly transports you as far as 100 miles/level.
6 Evade Burst[A]: You take no damage from a burst on a successful Reflex save.
8 Teleport, Psionic Greater: As psionic teleport, but with no range limit and no off-target arrival.

Chapter 5: Constructs and Creatures provides a menagerie of new monster-y things for players and DMs to employ. You'll encounter several new psionic creatures and precustomized astral constructs that will prove most useful to psionic characters who possess the power to create/summon them. Andrew Finch is playing a character in our Wednesday-night game that regularly summons an astral construct to handle a good share of the bad guys. Take a look at the entry for a basic astral construct (I'll show you the CR 1/2 and CR 10 entry -- and there's more where they came from.) You'll also find more specific astral constructs (which offer different powers and abilities) in there, so I'll drag out a sample critter for you to look at as well.

ASTRAL CONSTRUCT

Using the Ectopic Form feat (page 50), a psionic character can create a predefined astral construct with abilities beyond those created using astral construct alone. These preconstructed astral constructs provide characters with ready-made constructs that can be used at a moment's notice, presuming they've taken the Ectopic Form feat. Characters who take the ectopic adept prestige class gain Ectopic Form multiple times as bonus feats, in addition to other enhancements to their astral constructs.

BASIC ASTRAL CONSTRUCTS

The statistics blocks for standard constructs, minus their menu choices as shown on page 185 in Expanded Psionics Handbook, are given below for ease of reference. The various Ectopic Form constructs are presented following the basic astral constructs. Their statistics blocks are truncated so that they provide only the characteristics that are different from, or in addition to, those of a basic astral construct of a given level.

1st-Level Astral Construct CR 1/2
N Small construct
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Listen +0, Spot +0

AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 16
hp 15 (1 HD)
Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +0
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)

Melee slam +3 (1d4+3)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +2; Grp -1

Abilities Str 15, Dex 15, Con --, Int --, Wis 11, Cha 10
SQ construct traits
Feats --
Skills Listen +0, Spot +

9th-Level Astral Construct CR 10
N Huge construct
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Listen +0, Spot +0

AC 33, touch 8, flat-footed 33
hp 144 (19 HD); DR 15/magic
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +6

Speed 50 ft. (10 squares)
Melee 2 slams +28 (2d6+16)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Base Atk +16; Grp +38

Abilities Str 43, Dex 11, Con --, Int --, Wis 11, Cha 10
SQ construct traits
Feats --
Skills Listen +0, Spot +0

EMERALD GYRE

This creature appears as a powerful humanoid composed entirely of emerald ectoplasm. Two powerful muscular arms extend from its broad shoulders, with a third arm extending from the middle of its back.

This creature can only be constructed by someone who possesses the astral construct power and the Ectopic Form (Emerald Gyre) feat on page 52. An emerald gyre is a good example of a ground-based fighting construct that packs a punch.

Encounter more information about the Emerald Gyre in this excerpt.

Chapter Six is where you'll turn for character options. In there, you'll find a new psionic race (the Synad) and psionic racial classes (for duergar, githyanki, githzerai, half-giant, and thri-kreen characters). You'll also become acquainted with a couple of psionic guilds and a half dozen houses (that is, noble families) that possess natural psionic abilities. Here's a bit about those, along with a description of one of the houses.

THE SIX HIDDEN HOUSES

Among the humans who belong to the Six Hidden Houses, psionic power comes naturally at birth. Their own legends speak of ancestors who came to the world from a far place, a realm they ruled, but which ended in cataclysm brought on by an evil power known only as the Enemy. Not even the house elders know the entire truth.

Whatever the reason, the refugees from that lost place, called Talaron, chose to hide their psionic ability when they came to this world. Members of the Six Hidden Houses -- who refer to themselves as Talaire -- therefore take pains to blend into regular human society, masking their presence for hundreds of years.

PLAYER AND DM OPTIONS

The Six Hidden Houses provide both players and the DM with new game options.

For Players: Because of the difficulties endured by the Talaire in their transition from their old homeworld to the new, many members now live sundered from the Six Hidden Houses. They don't know the source of their strange powers of the mind or the meaning of the birthmark that seems oddly like a symbol. Sometimes, the psionic talent and symbol reappear only every few generations. The discovery of a lost birthright becomes the goal of those humans who are finally welcomed into their own forgotten house (or, if found first by a quarreling house, brutally hunted and perhaps murdered, all in ignorance). Player characters who survive their first encounters with members of their sundered house might finally learn the truth of their heritage.

For the DM: At the minimum, an NPC or two with strange tattoos and psionic power can prove an interesting mystery to the player characters. Perhaps a hireling or cohort reveals her true status to the characters by using her power in a time of dire need. It's never something revealed or discussed casually, unless the PCs are trusted completely. If one of the players decides that his background is Talairan (or if the DM decides for him), perhaps the symbol that appears on all Talairans was merely long delayed on the character. After some triggering event (even a dream), the symbol appears, and the PC wakes to psionic power. This means he must give up a feat and take Wild Talent instead, unless his particular Wild Talent feat is gained as part of his normal feat progression.

HOUSE NOVAR
Our sight is clear.
-- House Novar motto

Symbol: A blue eye on a starry black background.
Crystal: Sapphire.

Characteristics: Members of House Novar have a knack for clairsentience, the ability to see and sense beyond the talents of the mindblind. They are the renowned seers of the Talaire. The typical Novaran has raven-black hair, pale skin, and deep, sapphire blue eyes.

Elders of House Novar seek to look back into the distant past to discover what cataclysm forced their ancestors into their current state and who (or what) is ultimately responsible. Discovering the identity of the Enemy is the one pledge each new Paragon of House Novar makes. Unfortunately, none has yet made good on it.

House Novar has a long-standing feud with House Celare. Celarans are distrusted, and accidental meetings between the two houses often end in bloodshed. On the other hand, those of House Novar feel most friendly to members of House Adon, with whom they have allied from time to time.

Wild Talent (Novar): Instead of a free bonus feat, Talaire of House Novar have the Wild Talent (Novar) feat.

Benefit: You gain the psionic subtype. As a psionic character, you gain a reserve of 1 power point and qualify for psionic feats, metapsionic feats, and psionic item creation feats. In addition, you gain the psilike ability to use precognition (EPH 124) once per day (manifester level 1st + half the number of psionic class levels gained).

April:Fantastic Locations: Fields of Ruin

As offering number three in the "Fantastic Locations" line of skirmish gaming and roleplaying accessories (following Fantastic Locations: Fane of the Drowor Fantastic Locations: Hellspike Prison), this upcoming product (like its predecessors) includes two double-side poster maps (for roleplaying and skirmish play) as well as a 16-page adventure (designed for 8th-level characters) that can be dropped into any D&D campaign. Last month, I passed along the back cover text. Since this is an adventure-y product, I'll hold off showing anything else.

April: Voyage of the Golden Dragon

Khorvaire's largest airship is about to embark on its maiden voyage -- no better place for a party of 7th-level characters to enjoy a luxuriously uneventful trip. Unless you account for the fact that there's no way a party of 7th-level adventurers is ever going to have an uneventful trip across Khorvaire -- especially aboard the Golden Dragon. I don't want to actually give anything away, but there might be combat at some point -- I'm just saying.

The crew of the Golden Dragon

Okay, now to pass along a sliver of information: This is the fourth 32-page adventure created for the Eberron Campaign Setting. While obviously intended to run in order with its predecessors (Shadows of the Last War, Whispers of the Vampire's Blade,and Grasp of the Emerald Claw), you'll find that Voyage of the Golden Dragon is very well-suited to run as a standalone adventure. Last month, I gave you a large helping of back cover text, and that's about all I've got for the passing along.

May:Player's Handbook II

What book am I looking forward to getting my hands on this year? How 'bout the one with the cover that pays homage to the original 1st Edition Player's Handbook? Yeah -- that's the one. You'll find 224 pages of hardcovered character-building material that adds to and expands upon the material in that brown book you've already got on your shelf. I haven't seen anything more than the cover (yet), but I'm hoping to start tearing through this thing as early as possible. Perhaps next month. Until then, I can pass along the text you'll find on the back cover of the book. (That'd be the side that doesn't depict that gem-eyed idol being plundered once again.)

Make Your Heroes

The Best They Can Be

Whether you're creating a new character or advancing a current one, the Player's Handbook II has something you need. This supplement for the Dungeons & Dragons® game provides new character options for advanced players, including the following:

  • A respec system that enables you to retrofit your existing characters
  • New class features for all of your favorite base classes
  • New advancement options and affiliations
  • New starting equipment packages
  • New teamwork benefits
  • New feats and spells

May:d20 Critical Locations

So, I started telling you about this book several months back, but wasn't able to give you much insight about what's going on inside. Turns out that's because the book was moving on the release schedule to May 2006. Since that's on the horizon, I thought I'd take another crack at passing along the bits of information I've got.

So, anyone that's running any flavor of d20 Modern campaign will find a lot of use for this 96-page softcover. It's crammed with 40 full-color maps (rendered by Christopher West), each of which comes with adventure hooks and pre-generated NPCs. That's all I've got right now. (Though, I don't expect to have a lot of material I can provide that won't spoil the GM's fun.) I can, however, toss in the flavory chunk of text from the back cover of this thing:

A gunfight in a sleazy bar. A heart-pounding chase through a subway station. A tense standoff on the top floor of a corporate high-rise. Wherever an adventure takes you, this book has the maps you need. d20 Critical Locations features 40 amazing, full-color maps around which Gamemasters can build encounters. The book also includes special rules, game statistics, and adventure seeds designed to save Gamemasters precious time.

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.


©1995-2008 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.