Episode 4 (Nov 2006)

Don't just read about D&D's latest news and announcements--listen to them as well! And where better to find inside information than from the very halls of Wizards of the Coast? Presenting the first of November’s D&D podcasts! With the release of Cityscape and Scourge of the Howling Horde, our intrepid podcasters hold forth on hosting adventures in an urban setting, as well as running things as a first time DM. Plus, it’s time for the hotseat!

November Episode

  • Hosts Dave Noonan and Mike Mearls discuss this month’s Cityscape, covering the freedom of campaigns beyond the dungeon… and the challenges this entails. A few notes on this segment:
  • Fritz Leiber, author of the famed Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories, developed the city of Lankhmar and its infamous Thieves Guild (as the podcasters mention, a great influence upon D&D). The name of the story Mike references: "Bazaar of the Bizarre" (a story title which should sound quite familiair to Dragon Magazine readers), found in the collection Swords Against Death.

  • The Dungeon Magazine adventure mentioned? That was "Hot Day in L’Trel," authored by Ted James Thomas Zuvich, Issue 44, Nov/Dec 1993.

  • China Mieville writes a heck of a good series, with each book set in the same world (although with independent plots): Perdido Street Station, The Scar, and Iron Council are all still in print.

  • As the podcasters mention, having a supply of random names on hands helps flesh out NPCs on the spot. This website has both a random name generator and NPC background generator ready for your use.
  • Gwendolyn Kestrel, author of Scourge of the Howling Horde, visits the studio to discuss her latest adventure aimed at introductory DMs. A few notes on her segment as well:
  • When it comes to instant-death modules, some of the most famous include White Plume Mountain and Tomb of Horrors. Both of these have been revisited for 3.5 gameplay, and in slightly less than instant-death fashion.

  • Gwen mentions the deck of many things, the famed artifact: this has also been recreated for the website in its original and variant forms.

  • Finally, an excerpt from the adventure, detailing its new encounter format, can be found online here.
  • This time, Dave sits down on the hotseat, answering the unanswerable. For a preview of the questions coming Dave’s way, sent in via Ask Wizards, and to see what answers you might have before hearing Dave’s, we’ve provided the questions below:
  • "An awkward problem has come to a head. On pg. 269 of the PHB, it states: "The wall of force cannot move." Does this mean, I can cast a wall of force next to the east side of a building, and watch the building collapse as the planet rotates under the wall of force?"

  • "How much damage does an unconscious dwarf, with locked gauntlets around a dwarven thrower +5, swung by the feet by a 7ft tall barbarian, do as a weapon? If thrown, does he return?"

  • "If a monk were polymorphed into a remorhaz or some other appendage-less form, could she still tumble and jump?"
  • Download it now! (48 Mbs, 58:22 minutes) Click on the link to listen to the file in your browser, or right-click Save As to download to your computer.

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About the Authors

David Noonan is a designer/developer for Wizards of the Coast. His credits include co-designing Dungeon Master's Guide II, Heroes of Battle, and numerous products for the Eberron campaign setting. He lives in Washington state with his wife, son, and daughter.

Mike Mearls is the dark hope of chaotic evil: young, handsome, well endowed in abilities and aptitudes, thoroughly wicked, depraved, and capricious. Whomever harms Mearls had better not brag of it in the presence of one who will inform the Demoness Lolth!

Evil to the core, Mearls is cunning, and if the situation appears in doubt, he will use bribery and honeyed words to sway the balance in his favor. He is not at all adverse to gaining new recruits of any sort, and will gladly accept adventurers into the ranks, but he will test and try them continually. Those who arouse suspicion will be quietly murdered in their sleep; those with too much promise will be likewise dealt with, for Mearls wants no potential usurpers or threats to his domination.

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