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D&D Experience: January 26th-29th, 2012

D&D Experience, the premier convention for fans of Dungeons & Dragons, is nearly upon us. D&D Experience offers players the opportunity to playtest unreleased game material, participate in the Living Forgotten Realms and Ashes of Athas organized play programs, and attend seminars hosted by R&D staff members from Wizards of the Coast.

The convention runs from January 26th to 29th. Like last year, D&D Experience is taking place in Fort Wayne, Indiana at the Grand Wayne Convention Center. Organizers at Baldman Games have arranged a special booking deal at the Courtyard Mariott. Visit Baldman Games for more details about ticketing and booking.

What really makes D&D Experience stand out among other conventions is access to the people who work on Dungeons & Dragons. Wizards of the Coast will be sending a delegation of staff members from R&D, Brand, and Organized Play to take part in the show. Staff members participate in seminars, run games (such as this year’s D&D Secret Special), sit down as players, and are available to answer some questions. You'll never have a better opportunity to chat with the people who work on the game you love.


D&D Secret Special: Caves of Chaos Playtest

Join the first public playtest of the next iteration of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. The playtest offers players the chance to run pre-generated 1st-level characters through the Caves of Chaos, a four-hour D&D adventure. Wizards of the Coast staff will be running several tables each day. As part of the playtest, participants must sign a special non-dislcosure agreement for playtesters.

Adventure Description: For years, Castellan Keep has stood on civilization’s frontier, commanding a grand view of that dismal realm known as the Borderlands. A forlorn place, rife with monsters and terrors beyond imagining, adventurers have used this fort to seek glory and plunder in this dangerous realm, to unearth fabulous treasures and destroy foul monsters. Of all the haunts found here, none equal the Caves of Chaos in both danger and the promise of reward. Rumors abound of the wicked humanoids, the sinister monsters, and the dark priests that run amok in this dungeon. Only the most cunning and bold adventurers dare to face the dreaded caverns. Do you have what it takes to survive the Caves of Chaos?

Living Forgotten Realms: D&D Experience features the LFR Special (SPEC4-1 Cerulean Dreams) and the third 4th Edition running of the Battle Interactive (ADCP3-1 Swarm of Chaos).

The Battle Interactive is a unique event where multiple tables work together to overcome major objectives. The success or failure (and choices made by the tables) of all the tables are tallied together and affect the outcome of these events as they progress. Available only at conventions—and always premiering at D&D Experience.

Ashes of Athas: For players who prefer the merciless world of Athas, D&DXP 2012 will feature the premier of the fourth chapter of the Ashes of Athas campaign. A list of adventures that have come to pass before can be found on the Ashes of Athas website. This campaign uses 4th Edition D&D rules.

Living Divine: For players who want to explore this original campaign setting (and have a chance to be a god among men), there is an introductory adventure as well as a new Two-Slot Special (INTRO 1-10S As He Lay Dying). This program uses 4th Edition D&D rules.


All seminars take places from 12:30 to 2PM (EST) in the Seminar area.

Charting the Course: An Edition for all Editions (Thursday)

Join Mike Mearls, Monte Cook, and Jeremy Crawford as they discuss the origin for the idea to create an edition of Dungeons & Dragons that encompasses all previous editions. The designers discuss the challenges in creating compatibility and balance, as well as the exciting possibilities such a system creates. Seminar to be followed by a Q&A session.

Class Design: From Assassins to Wizards (Friday)

Designers Monte Cook, Bruce Cordell, and Robert Schwalb discuss their approach to class design, including the difficulties in creating iconic versions of the classes that speak to players of all editions. Should the cleric be more martial or more healer? Does the default ranger have an animal companion? What level of complexity should the fighter have? Seminar to be followed by a Q&A session.

Future Products and Q&A (Saturday)

Mike Mearls presents upcoming D&D products for 2012, as well as a vision for the future of Dungeons & Dragons. Seminar is followed by a Q&A session. Other members of R&D on hand to answer questions as well.

Reimagining Skills and Ability Scores (Sunday)

The role of skills has fluctuated throughout the life of Dungeons & Dragons, and ability scores have been of varying importance in each edition. Find out what the design team has done to reimagine these aspects of the game, and how they arrived at a system to marry the two concepts more closely together. Seminar includes Monte Cook, Bruce Cordell, and Robert Schwalb, and will be followed by a Q&A session.

Special Guests

Mike Mearls: Mike is the senior manager for Dungeons & Dragons R&D. He has also worked as a designer and columnist for the weekly Legends and Lore column. His recent D&D credits include Player’s Handbook 3, Hammerfast, Monster Manual 3, and the Castle Ravenloft board game.

Monte Cook: Monte has worked as a professional writer and game designer since 1988. Monte was one of the three principal designers of 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons and the d20 system. He has worked on numerous RPG products, and has published two novels, numerous short stories, countless articles, and a comic book series for Marvel.

Rob Schwalb: Rob is an award-winning game designer who has contributed design or developed over one hundred roleplaying game titles for Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, A Song of Ice and Fire RPG, Star Wars RPG, and the d20 System.

Bruce Cordell: Bruce is an Origins and ENnie award-winning game designer whose long list of professional credits includes Gamma World, Dark Sun Campaign Setting, Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, Prince of Undeath, and Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead. Bruce is also an author of Forgotten Realms novels, including the Abolethic Sovereignty series and Sword of the Gods.

Greg Bilsland: Greg is a producer for Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast, where he works on developing content for D&D Insider and the D&D Organized Play programs. His design credits include the Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide, Monster Manual 2, Monster Manual 3, and Vor Rukoth. He keeps a gaming blog at gregbilsland.com and is active on Twitter (@gregbilsland).

Jeremy Crawford: Jeremy is the lead rules editor for Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast. His design and development credits include the Rules Compendium, all the other books in the Dungeons & Dragons Essentials line, and Player’s Handbook 1–3. Jeremy also co-hosts the official Dungeons & Dragons podcast.

Miranda Horner: Miranda has been a professional editor in the game industry since 1994, and her list of credits for TSR and Wizards of the Coast includes material for AD&D (such as Player's Option: Spells and Magic), the Dragonlance SAGA line (including the award-winning Dragonlance Bestiary), 3rd Edition (and 3.5), and 4th Edition (both online articles and printed product). You can follower her on Twitter (@mirandahorner).

Chris Tulach: Chris is the Dungeons & Dragons program manager for Organized Play at Wizards of the Coast. He is responsible for the development and deployment of Dungeons & Dragons organized play programs, including D&D Encounters and D&D Lair Assault. He is also the co-author of Kingdom of the Ghouls.

Chris Lindsay: Chris is an assistant brand manager for Dungeons & Dragons, where he contributes to the direction of the future of the D&D brand. He has been playing and DMing D&D for most of his life and has been constantly involved in organized play for over a decade. He has also contributed to the design and development of dozens of organized play adventures and D&D products, most notably adventures for Legacy of the Green Regent and Expedition to Undermountain.

Shawn Merwin: Shawn is a technical writer and freelance game designer. His design work for Wizards of the Coast includes Assault on Nightwyrm Fortress, Dungeon Delve, “Backdrop: Moonshae Isles,” and the upcoming Halls of Undermountain.

Matt James: Matt James is a freelance writer and game designer for companies such as Wizards of the Coast and Open Design (publishers of Dungeons & Dragons and Kobold Quarterly respectively).