At Last, I Can Actually See My Desk.
month, I went a little nuts with the writing for this article. And
more than half of the content was for the Wheel
of Time Roleplaying Game,
which if you've gotten the chance to flip through a copy, you'll know
month, the article will be a tad shorter. Not because of any sort of lack
of enthusiasm, or lessening of the quality or interest in our stuff, but
because of what's moving through the pipes right now. The release schedule
for RPG products actually has a small amount of much-appreciated breathing
room that's setting in here at the end of the year. It won't last long
-- there's a monsoon of things on the schedule.
been keeping score at home, our R&D folks have been cranking out an
unbelievable number of products over the course of the past year. (Since
the release of the new edition of D&D, they've crafted over
30 D&D-related products alone.)
folks are like small gods of imagination.
on with the real reason to be here.
Out Now: Things You Can Go Get Your Hands On
Take a gander at three books you should already have (or at least should
have already taken a look at).
Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game
I said earlier, there's a ridiculous amount of stuff about this work of
RPG art in last month's article, so I won't wade back into it for fear
of becoming lost in another writing goobfest, to use a Rob
Jordan came out to Seattle
to sign many, many books a few days after I wrote the last Previews.
I got to meet him, talk a little, and get a couple copies of the RPG signed.
He's a really, really nice guy and is chock-full of stories. Anyway, he
also was good enough to autograph 200 copies of the RPG for our online
store. I'll leave it at that.
there was something to be thankful about in November, it was the early
release of this masterwork of a guidebook for bards and rogues. It's crammed
full of prestige classes, feats, equipment, spells, magic items, poisons,
traps, trapmaking rules, example thieves' guilds and bardic colleges,
said it before:
For me, the biggest, bestest reason to pick up the book (even if you've
no interest in bards or rogues) is the section on feats. There are over
two dozen of 'em, and I'm hard-pressed to find one that I wouldn't like
to tack on to at least one of my characters -- they're all good.
Salvatore's newest book, featuring the return of everyone's favorite scimitar-toting
drow elf ranger, came out at the end of October and promptly hit the New
York Times best-seller list. That's twelve books in a row for R.A.
"Juggernaut" Salvatore and his series that Drizzt built.
Being Home for the Holidays is Great for Downloading Cool Free Stuff
and Silence was about as close to a December release as we had on
the schedule, and that's already out there. But there's no reason to despair.
You can almost always get your New-D&D-Stuff fix right here
on our website.
good bit is the highly attractive price of zero dollars and zero cents.
you haven't checked these out yet, you're really missing out on some good
stuff. Some of the web enhancements are pieces of their corresponding
books that were begrudgingly trimmed out when the content was larger than
the page count. Some of them are entirely original creations put together
just for the web.
them are worth checking out.
now there are something like 14 different web enhancements up there. Check
mini scenario that ties into Deep Horizon
for divine quests, new character sheets and spell-planning worksheets
for Defenders of the Faith
- A map and scenarios
for the Secret Cow Level
for Diablo II: To Hell and Back
- A couple new evil
personality profiles for Lords
- Mystical druids'
grove for Magic of
detailing the Modrons and another profile of the World Serpent Inn for
Manual of the Planes
- A couple scenarios/encounter
ideas based on a couple of the entries from Monsters
is a mini setting that uses rules from Oriental Adventures
for seven psionic-using monsters for the Psionics
additional (huge) chunk of adventure, complete with a new map, to add
on to Return to the Temple
of Elemental Evil
new encounters that use rules from Sword
spell list (Player's Handbook and Tome and Blood),
explanation of spellbook costs, an updated prestige class, sample spellbooks
from Tome and Blood
descriptions of the Faerûniun deities who were only summarized in
the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting
hooks, encounters, NPCs, DM tips, location details that will help you
flesh out Speaker
if you've got any of those books and haven't looked at the web enhancement
for them, it's like skipping over several pages.
notice on some of our newer products (Oriental Adventures, Lords of
Darkness and the Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game to list a few),
there's a big black and white logo-type-thing that says "Web-Enhanced
Product, Additional content online."
That tells you
that there's a nice e-treat waiting for you.
week, there's a new map created by the guys down in cartography. These
things are great, extremely well-rendered (in a wide variety of styles),
and full of detail. The really great thing is there's a lot of thinking
behind them -- just taking a look at one with your imagination turned
on just a little will result in an increasing flow of adventure and campaign
just throw this out one more time: Map-a-Week = Free Map. Every. Week.
Paper Models: Cottages
This is quite possibly the coolest, bestest, Must-Send-the-Link-to-Your-Pals
thing we've got on the website.
years back, I was DMing a game in which I wanted to have the party fighting
around some small buildings in a village. I must have spent close to two
or three weeks building and painting little cottages out of milk cartons.
They actually turned out pretty good, but were so labor intensive.
the übertalented guys down in cartography have created exactly what I
needed -- foldup paper models of a series of cottages of varying size.
You just download them, print them out (if you don't have a color printer,
don't worry -- they look good in black and white too), cut-fold-n-glue
'em. It's not hard, and they look unbelievable great.
is remarkable, too. Super-rich colors and textures really make these little
cottages come to life. (If you look at one of the windows on Part 2 of
4, you'll even see the silhouette of someone who's apparently in the middle
of a barroom brawl -- cool!) I want to build a pile of them to make a
little village to set up at my apartment just for fun.
to be used as terrain for the D&D Chainmail miniatures
game, these cottages are only the first installation on what will be a
regular (possibly even monthly for a while) feature on the D&D
to be talking some more with Todd Gamble, one of the three guys involved
in the crafting of these gems of papery treasure, to see the other models
they've already designed and to find out what else is coming.
A Happy New Month's Worth of Adventure and Miniatures
the new year comes some new stuff. So, look at what we've got coming out
and set some time aside to read and paint, and put some space aside on
of the Iron Fortress
Seein' as telling you terribly much about what's inside the covers of
this latest D&D adventure would kinda ruin the surprise for
you, I'll tell you what's on the outside.
been playing through the adventures we've done as they come out, your
characters should be ready to jump in by the time you finish Deep Horizon.
If you're just thinking about dropping this adventure into an existing
campaign, just keep in mind that it's designed for 15th-level characters.
a bit of what's going on the back cover:
forgemasters now serve an evil warlord and his dark purpose. Their
hammers ring upon anvils dedicated to remaking a terrible weapon
that was destroyed in ages long past. As the very fate of the world
is being shaped, only the strongest heroes can shatter the diabolical
Here's an immensely
important thing you'll want to have in mind:
to challenge 15th-level D&D heroes, it opens the perilous gateway
to planar travel.
travel -- just when you think your character is getting to be the toughest
thing on the block, you move to a much bigger block.
we're talking about wizards with access to 8th-level spells, druids who
can wild shape into Huge creatures five times a day, fighters with
three iterative attacks and eight bonus feats, monks who can hit with
the quivering palm attack, and rogues who do 8d6 with a sneak attack --
and they're all going to be outclassed by just about everything you go
up against. But in a good way.
don't have to have the Manual
of the Planes to run this adventure, but it'll help.)
them. I saw some of the new minis that're coming out.
was a table full of finished minis, waiting to have their pictures taken,
and I got to spend way too little time looking at them all. Not only are
they pure eye candy, but they just seem like they'd be a ton of fun to
paint. (I can't imagine how much more cool they'd be if I'd found out
their stats and abilities.)
guy we've got painting our display minis, Jason Soles, is some sort of
brush-wielding demigod of acrylics. I suspect he could make one of those
weights you attach to a fishing line look cool.
got a small horde of sculptor-savants crafting these 35mm works of art.
(Roy Eastland, Will Hannah, Bobby Jackson, Jerzy Montwill, Paul Muller,
Ben Siens, Jim Warner, and Jason Wiebe, with a few more being added to
the group, I understand.)
still can't imagine actually carving so much detail into something so
small, but these guys do it. And they do it as well or better as anyone
out there. Seriously, there's a couple other miniatures companies out
there that have me as a customer for life, but they're going to have to
share my dollars with Wizards now that I've seen these beautiful, beautiful
I'll tell you about just a few of the minis I saw, which will be finding
their way to pegs on the wall of your favorite hobby or game shop in January.
Legion will be joined by the Slaughterpit Zombie -- a huge, 2-headed,
3-armed gnoll. Now, your standard living gnoll comes with one head, and
I daresay, even undead gnolls are normally equipped with a single noggin
as well. This vile abomination of undeath, unless I miss my guess, has
been assembled from what's left of a couple of Naresh's finest. He's got
an axe and a sword, and a shield that looks as dangerous as the other
two combined. He's a nasty fellow you wouldn't want to run into in a dark
alley -- or a well-lit one for that matter.
deadly grace of the Snakestrike Duelist will add to Ravilla's formidable
forces. She's a beautiful figure with an elegant sash that flows around
her, contrasting against the sinuous length of her deadly spiked chain.
I think this is our first mini to have a spiked chain, and it just looks
cool. She's a phenomenally sculpted mini that has the same "you don't
want to mess with me" feel as the Grey Elf Duelist from the faction
box, but the Snakestrike Duelist has her own style of attitude.
there's the Drow Mercenary.
is, the Kilsek faction Drow Mercenary.
the drow are entering the fray. When the new rulebook, Blood and Darkness
(I haven't seen it yet), comes out, it will introduce rules for fighting
underground, as well as a backstory that expands the lore of the Sundered Empire. And you know what you run into when you stumble into the darkness
beneath the earth? You see drow who don't take kindly to anything stumbling
around in the darkness beneath the earth.
faction of drow is going to be coming out later this year (sometime in
the summer, I think), bringing the total number of groups vying for dominance
over the Shattered Lands up to seven.
Kilsek Drow Mercenary will be out in January, ready to fight for and against
anyone. He's got a nasty-looking buckler with a wicked, curved blade arcing
out to prove that shields aren't just for defense any more. In his other
hand is a hand crossbow, cocked and ready to show anyone and everyone
the business end of an adamantine bolt.
this out too -- the rules introduced in Blood and Darkness are
going to be used in the following season of the D&D Chainmail
League. So, you can try out new strategies and tactics, and fine-tune
the best group of skirmishers to hit the tables.
actually the formula that'll be used for all the new D&D Chainmail
League rules: they'll be available three months prior to the beginning
of the season in which they'll be used. Power gaming with new rules is
fun and easy -- inquire within.
Nothing Heart-Shaped or Doily-Covered, But You'll Love This Nonetheless
you ready to dive right into February's fun stuff? You'll fall in love
with the art on the Forgotten Realms Dungeon Master's Screen.
But I get ahead of myself.
Realms Dungeon Master's Screen
a DM screen, sure. And it's for the Forgotten Realms, yes. But
it's so much more. Wait until you see this unbelievably sweet piece of
four-paneled art suitable for framing.
Sweet, the same guy who did the covers of Lords of Darkness and
Magic of Faerûn, has created another beautiful piece of art that
even those who are not Forgotten Realms gamers will love.
panel is the best depiction of Drizzt and Guenhwyvar I've ever seen. I
think I like it so much 'cause he looks so real, and he seems to be patterned
off Todd Lockwood's painting on page 177 of the Forgotten Realms
Campaign Setting. In the background is one of the many portals
that've been recently rediscovered in Faerûn.
portal opens into the panel of the right, but in that scene, you see Artemis
Entreri about to finish off his latest target, who obviously didn't have
the sword-swinging chops to stand up to the deadliest assassin to ever
walk the streets of Calimport.
two panels sport an awesome scene of a battle between a death tyrant (undead
beholder), some minions and a small group of adventurers. The thing that
strikes me about the image is how vibrant the magic is. The energy streams
of three different spells are blasting back and forth. I'm not sure what
two of them are, but the mage in the foreground can't be casting anything
other than burning hands (check your 1st Edition rulebooks for
a diagram of that semantic component.)
you'll find the charts and tables you'd expect. You'll also find a 32-page
booklet filled with random encounter tables for dungeon levels 1 to 20,
and wilderness encounters for over 30 climate and terrain combinations.
I said, even if you don't play Forgotten Realms, you'll want to
pick up this screen to add to your Dungeon Master power base.
That's all I can dredge up just now.
month, I'll get some stuff on Masters of the Wild, the guidebook
for barbarians, druids, and rangers.
also get a look at the next D&D Chainmail mercenary
miniature -- an Otyugh, which I hear is so very, very cool.
be Prophesies of the Dragon, the superadventure for the Wheel
of Time Roleplaying Game.
a little about the new Call of Cthulhu d20 roleplaying game.
is a copywriter who's been here for something like 15 months now, but
who has been playing Dungeons & Dragons and waiting to get
a job with the company that makes it for well over 18 years. Now he gets
to spend most of his days and nights thinking about new ways to tell everyone
in the world to play D&D, which is, without question, the coolest
month, he can almost make out the light at the end of the tunnel-o-work.
He suspects it's really just a freight train filled with more work, but
it doesn't matter 'cause it'll just be more projects like all the other
great stuff he's gotten to tackle as a part of this whole job at Wizards
of the Coast thing.
to the D&D
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