D&D Miniatures
Desert of Desolation Preview 5
Outstandingly Common
by Stephen Schubert

This week's preview looks at a couple of the Common minis from the upcoming Desert of Desolation set.

Rot Scarab Swarm

As the players in my D&D game will attest, I like swarms. (Those players, however, might not have such fond memories.)

A few sets back, in Underdark, we introduced the Swarm of Spiders mini, which was a big pile of spiders on a large base. While the mini looked very creepy (as a pile of spiders is wont to do), I was never particularly satisfied with the utility of that mini. In the D&D game, swarms can occupy other creatures' spaces, and swarms also should be able to adapt to the space they occupy instead of being stuck in a 2-by-2 square. The Swarm of Spiders (and the later Rat Swarm) didn't live up to those expectations. Not only were they on fixed, large bases, but the rounded mound of spiders (or rats) didn't allow the swarm to occupy the same space as another creature. It would have been so much better if we had made the mini flat.

When it came time to put together the set list for Desert of Desolation, we found another opportunity to do swarms. But this time, I think we got it right. The swarm is mostly flat, allowing another Medium creature to be placed on top of it with ease. It's also on a Medium base, which means that four of these minis can pretty easily represent a typical swarm 'creature'. To top it off, the swarm minis are Commons, which makes it easier to get a half-dozen to carpet your dungeon corridor. It all adds up to a piece that I consider one of the coolest in the set, even if it isn't one of the biggest or flashiest.

Animated Statue

Every now and then, I get a comment or question about putting some sort of dungeon dressing into a minis set. After the obligatory "oil and vinegar" joke, I find myself thinking about how we might include something that isn't a monster in a set. While there's definite utility to DMs for items such as barrels, statues, and sarcophagi, it's a challenge to make such things useful in the D&D Miniatures game. Ultimately, I want to put minis into a set that give the DM something cool and useful while also providing an interesting twist on the skirmish game.

The Animated Statue is one foray into that gray region of dungeon decoration. It's a fairly iconic pose, and a few of these would look appropriate adorning the king's hall or standing in some forgotten ruin. The mini's Statue ability gives it a unique twist, providing an interesting way to ambush the enemy or claim a forward position. Now all the skirmish fans are looking for maps that have statues in or near victory areas and start areas.

Next week, something conceptually new!

And remember, all Desert of Desolation creatures will appear in the 4th edition D&D Monster Manual, and you'll be able to download their updated stats for the new D&D Miniatures rules in January 2007! Get More at D&D Insider!

About the Author

Stephen Schubert is a Developer for RPG R&D and has been involved in many facets of the D&D product line. He's recently been Lead Developer for the upcoming Monster Manual V, Lead Designer on the Eberron adventure Eyes of the Lich Queen, and he's the Lead Developer for the D&D Miniatures Game.

Now we bring the return of the mystery silhouette. Shown below are all the figures that we'll feature in these previews. Can you guess their identities? Feel free to try!

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