Nearly Beyond November
Last month, I said "better late than never." This month, I'll say "take vitamin-C and get some rest." By the time this article finally reaches the site, the November products should be on sale. But that doesn't lessen the value of taking a look at them here, and it sure doesn't take away from the stuff that's on the way in December and January -- there's a lot of good stuff hitting shelves around the holidays. Check it out:
The Environment series has explored all manner of terrain and locations that your campaigns and characters can discover. This latest installation delves into one of the most intriguing places in which you'll ever find adventure: the cities of your world. Danger and opportunity abound within this 160-page supplement, which details the treacherous territory found within the boundaries of the cities your characters visit. Once inside, you'll discover a complete guide to creating, running, and surviving urban encounters, adventures, and campaigns -- including rules for building cities, creating city-based characters and encounters, and navigating city terrain.
This month, I thought I'd give you a look at one of the book's six archetypal cities. (You'll find the military city, the trading hub, port city, slaver city, capital city, and an evolved city.) In addition to being snapshots of cities you can develop and drop into your game, these serve as Cityscape's version of varying terrain types. I'll start with the short intro and a look at Dragonport (the port city).
November: Scourge of the Howling Horde
Also on sale this month is the latest adventure designed for 1st-level characters. In addition to being an excellent way for new players and characters to earn experience points, Scourge of the Howling Horde is also an ideal adventure for aspiring Dungeon Masters. Its all-new encounter format and sidebars will make it easier for anyone to run memorable and challenging encounters -- even someone taking his first turn behind the DM screen.
Back in September, I gave you the back cover text. And, like all of our adventurey-type stuff, I don't want to spoil the fun for anyone sitting at the gaming table, so I'm not going to pass along anything more. But I will reiterate that this 32-page adventure offers a fine opportunity for anyone that's ever wanted to justify their Dungeon Master's Guide.
I gave you the back cover text back in September. And last month, I showed you the interior spread artwork by Wayne Reynolds, showed you a chunk from the opening of the chapter that explores the dragonmarked houses, and gave you the beginning of the section detailing House Cannith.
This month, I thought I'd give you a look at one of the book's twelve prestige classes -- one that scions of House Lyrandar (legitimate or not) might aspire to: the storm sentry.
The eternal war between demons and devils spans across the multiverse, touching countless planes of existence, and now it invades booster packs for the Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures (DDM) game. In addition to a number of fiendish outsiders and other extraplanar creatures, you'll also find a healthy number of home-grown heroes and monsters that call the Material Plane home. Back in August, I showed you the Ice Devil, Marilith, and Kobold Monk. In September, you saw the Fire Giant Forgepriest and the Blood of Vol Cultist. Last month, I introduced the Valenar Nomad Charger and Earth Element Gargoyle.
This month, I've got two final minis out of the set's sixty to show off. If your party ever gets interested in planar travel, you'll want to know your DM might have these behind the screen -- waiting, plotting.
Ethereal Marauder -- Flip to page 105 in your Monster Manual, and you'll encounter the two-dimensional incarnation of this extraplanar predator. This Uncommon mini captures that illustration with unsurprising accuracy. From its sinuous, barbed tail to its disturbing, three-mandibled maw, the Ethereal Marauder appears to be nothing less than the hunter that it is. Its two, powerful legs are beweaponed with three clawed toes and a fourth spurlike claw. Three gleaming eyes rest just shy of the edge of the creature's three-sided mouth. The pincerlike fangs at the end of each of the three mandibles look capable of piercing deep holes in anything that gets too close to the Ethereal Marauder's mouth. And the rows of black teeth lining the interior of its maw and disappearing down its gullet seem to be well-suited to keeping its latest meal from getting away without an uncomfortable fight. The dark, but vibrant, blue color of the creature's hide is accented by a light drybrush of a grayish blue, and its underbelly and mouth (interior) share a similar leathery tan coloration. The beast's outstretched tail offers stability and balance, as it lunges forward to take a large triangular bite out of its prey.
Vlaakith the Lich Queen -- You know, liches -- in and of themselves -- are formidable enough foes. But, if you take a deep breath and then take a look at page 150 of your Planar Handbook, you'll gain a whole new appreciation (and dread) for how absolutely nasty a lich can be -- say, when she's a githyanki lich (25th-level) wizard that rules the entire race of githyaki from Susurrus, the Palace of Whispers, in the city of Tu'narath, on the Astral Plane. (That city, for the uninitiated, is built on the dead husk of a long-dead, six-armed god.) So, I can tell you from first-hand experience, you really don't want to tangle with this particular undead lady unless you really have to and are very, very prepared. (Don't forget -- I'm talking RPG here -- I don't have the stat card.) So, all that scariness aside, the Rare miniature of Vlaakith the Lich Queen is an impressive specimen of prepainted plastic villainy. (For your edification, and to stave off any argument around your table, the name's pronounced: vlah-KEETH.) Slender and close to skeletal, the graying flesh and the blood-red eyes of the Lich Queen connote her less-than-living status. Her long, flowing white hair, dark gray wraps, and ragged cloak add to that not-difficult-to-make observation. That deep purple cloak is a fluidly draped piece of magical outerwear, the exterior of which is festooned with a number (thirty to be specific) of eyes. (The Planar Handbook lists a cloak of charisma and a robe of eyes -- my guess is that this is an artistic amalgam, or something that reflects the DDM version of Vlaakith [but don't read into that].) Clasped in her left hand is the archetypal githyanki weapon -- a vorpal silver sword. (Man, one of those things snicker-snacked my character's head back in college.) Resting snugly atop her head is what must be one of her two powerful artifacts: the Crown of Corruption, which she has worn for over 900 years, and used to keep all her followers (specifically would-be challengers) in-line, or dead. Her right hand wields her other astonishingly potent artifact: the Scepter of Ephelomon (which, in addition to a few other things -- like total control over any red dragon that comes within a half mile of its bearer -- serves as the physical representation of the pact between the githyanki and red dragons, forged by the Ephemolon and the first Vlaakith ages ago).
So, since the Blood War expansion hits shelves this month, it won't take long for you to see the whole set, but it's always going to be worth checking out Steve Schubert's Minis Previews articles over on the D&D Minis page, to get his insight and perspective on the minis he's showing off. And when you pick up Dragon magazine every month, you'll get all sorts of other D&D minis previews and exclusive coverage.
November: D&D Dungeon Tiles II: Arcane Corridors
I don't have any details about this second set of Dungeon Tiles. But, I do know that, like the first set (D&D Dungeon Tiles), this is a nonrandomized pack of sturdy, portable, and easy-to-use terrain that will help Dungeon Masters improve every adventure and maximize the use of their D&D Miniatures.
Each double-sided piece is constructed of durable, laminated, game board and features full-color artwork depicting any of a variety of dungeon features and settings. (The flipside of many of the tiles features a plain, 1-inch grid that'll let you build an endless variety of rooms and passages.)
Like its predecessor, additional packs of Dungeon Tiles II: Arcane Corridors will help you build bigger, more elaborate, and detailed dungeons. And, future releases (like the one coming in January) will further expand your dungeon delving and terrain traversing options.
This infernal 160-page supplement offers you more information about the inhabitants of the Nine Hells than any character would want to find out the hard way. If you delved into this book's companion title, Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss, you've got a chaotic idea of the kind of material you'll find inside this well-ordered book.
Last month, I showed you the back cover text. This month, I figured passing along the introduction would be a good way to start you down the dark path that is Fiendish Codex II.
Now, particularly because of the fact that this book offers a huge amount of material that's going to give you plenty of opportunity to bust out the minis you'll pull from this month's release of the Blood War expansion, I thought I'd give you a look at the devils' perspective on the eternal war between the evil forces of law and chaos.
December: Fantastic Locations: The Frostfell Rift
I gave you the back cover text to this, the fifth installation in the Fantastic Locations line of accessories, last month, Like the others of its kind (such as Fantastic Locations: Fields of Ruin), this one also offers roleplayers and miniatures gamers new, challenging, and exciting places to find adventure and combat, with a 16-page adventure book and two double-sided battle maps. Again, because of the adventure-ness of the book, I'm going to leave it at that.
December: The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde
The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde is the launchpad for a new D&D campaign. Inside is enough activity to take 1st-level D&D characters to 7th level, as well as plenty of raw materials you can use for further exploration. (And as it also uses that new format for combat encounters, it'll be a great second adventure for new DMs to really flex their screen-wielding skills.) Last month, I passed along the back cover text. Beyond that, all I'll pass on about this challenging adventure is that it's 142 pages of material, including an adventure book, campaign book, a players' book, a double-sided map, and a booklet of illustrations.
January: D&D Icons: Gargantuan Blue Dragon
More on this bad blue boy next month!
January: Complete Scoundrel
The latest and long-awaited addition to the Complete _______ line of books (you know, like Complete Mage,Complete Adventurer, and Complete Psionic) Complete Scoundrel is the 160-page hardcover filled with character-building options for players and DMs that want to bring a little deception, mischief, skullduggery, and intrigue to the table. Like the other title in the series, Complete Scoundrel provides a large stash of feats, prestige classes, tricks, spells, equipment, and magic items ideally suited to characters and campaigns that like to dabble a bit on the edges of everything they can get away with. I'll try to grab more next month, but for now, check out the back cover text:
January: D&D Dungeon Tiles III: Hidden Crypts
Unsurprisingly, I also have no specifics about this third set of Dungeon Tiles. But, I do know that it's going to be a lot like the other sets. (That's D&D Dungeon Tiles and Dungeon Tiles II: Arcane Corridorsfor those of you tuning in late in this article.) I'll try to have more details next month. Until then, maybe we can get hold of a sample tile or something.
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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