Wizards of the Coast is good.
now and then I wander over to Marty Durham's cube to ask for a galley
of one of our books so I can look through it as I write this article.
Okay, it's not really trick-or-treating, but it sure is fun. And it makes
me want to try changing costumes to come back for more. Marty is the project
manager who's responsible for making sure that everybody gets everything
done in time to get every one of our RPG products to the printer and the
store for their release dates. (Check out the credits page at the front
of your books. Martin Durham, that lucky dog, gets his name in there.)
get a manuscript emailed straight to me from someone down in RPG R&D,
along with a quick synopsis of the book. But that's "just" the
text file. Galleys have the art, and the words, as they'll appear in the
finished book. Sometimes I get black and white, and sometimes I get full
color. But every time I get hold of one of those things, it's unbelievably
cool. And it gives me a nearly uncontrollable urge to rush out and tell
folks about what I've seen.
thing I get to tell about this stuff.
Book of Vile Darkness
check out what I said
about this product if you want to know a bit more about it!
The Thousand Orcs
now, you should already know The Thousand Orcs is the first book
in R.A. Salvatore's new series called The Hunter's Blades trilogy. If
you didn't, you do now, and we're moving on.
my hands on a real, live copy of it, and I flew through it like I knew
I would. I was pretty surprised by some of the stuff that happened in
there (there's nothing freaky, don't worry) and can definitely say that
I'm more than ready for Book Two.
want to give away anything, but I do want to give you an inkling of what's
building up in there.
read Sea of Swords, you know the Companions of the Hall have finally
been reunited. They're still in and about Ten Towns when the story opens.
But soon enough, they're back out on the cold Icewind Dale trails, slowly
uncovering and encountering a very dangerous threat to the entire region
of the North. And somewhere along the way, some bad things happen that
end up putting Drizzt out there behind enemy lines and in a very desperate
thing that makes this book awesome: the cover. Todd Lockwood's art is
absolutely stunning -- that is Drizzt skewering one orc with a
left thrust through the sternum and getting ready to put a diagonal slash
across the throat of another. And he's got a whole lot more stabbin' in
store for the rest of the horde. And, as you turn the book over, checking
out the front, back, spine, and inside flaps, you'll really come to appreciate
all the little touches that are there courtesy of art directors extraordinaire,
Matt Adelsperger and Ryan Sansaver.
and Todd sat down to come up with the concept for the cover art and figured
out how to arrange all those beastly bad guys around the space for the
words and logos. Check out how the orc at the bottom of the spine is peering
over the Wizards of the Coast logo at you. And how the metal eye-patch-wearing
orc is yelling at all the other orcs (and you) to stop lollygagging around
back there and get into the fight. Pop open the front, inside flap, and
you've got a handful of orcs ready to leap onto the word, "Invasion!"
The back, inside flap has got a trio of orcs ready to join the rest of
their army in charging that scimitar-wielding drow. (If you like cool
art directional masterstrokes like that, check out the cover of Elminster
that Mr. Adelsperger
worked on with Matt Stawicki.) Ryan artfully maneuvered the logos and
type into place. Check out how Drizzt's raised arm is in front of the
"Orcs" part of the title of the book, while the tip of his scimitar
is dipping back behind the words "The Hunter's Blades Trilogy."
That's just nifty.
to say, The Thousand Orcs is really putting a lot of interesting
elements into place -- and setting a lot of things in motion -- that promise
a lot of excitement and even more danger as the trilogy continues. I can
only guess at what the next two books will bring, and I wonder what might
be left north of the Spine of the World when that third book is done.
know exactly what day in October The Thousand Orcs is hitting the
streets, but when it does, good Mr. Salvatore is going to be out there
on a book signing tour. And if you're interested in getting R.A. Salvatore's
autograph in the latest book featuring his signature character, you'll
want to check
out the information on the book tour we've got over in the novels
section of the website.
Dragons I and Dragons II
miniatures boxed sets are really popular in bookstores and other places
that have customers who don't normally play miniatures games (or games
that use miniatures). That's one of the main reasons we make 'em. (And
it's also why you can see miniatures in these boxes that you may have
I talked a little about these guys last
just in case you're interested in the list-o'-minis you'll find inside
these newest D&D miniatures boxed sets, here you are:
- Abyssal Skulker
- Tiefling Fighter
- Very Young Red
- Crested Felldrake
- Half-Dragon Mage
- Spitting Felldrake
- Very Young Brass
Foldup Paper Models -- Inn
really can't talk about the fold-up paper models enough. Every time I
go down to Siberia to check out what Rob Lazzaretti, Dennis Kauth, and
Todd Gamble have been up to, I am overwhelmed by all the cool stuff. (It's
really a three-stage process that involves being first stunned by how
cool the stuff is, then fascinated by how detailed it is, and then finished
off by wishing it was my job to make such cool things.)
this month, they've finally finished putting the last few shingles on
the roof the huge inn they've been working on, and they have all but put
an "Open for Business" sign in the window. This is easily the
largest of the buildings they've designed, but certainly not the most
intricate to build. So, you can quickly and easily download, print, cut
and paste, and set up a warm and comfortable place for your characters
to spend the night and a few hard-earned silver pieces (gold pieces if
they want dinner and breakfast).
month's special bonus
windows and doors, cobbled together by Todd Gamble, you can really go
to town on customizing your buildings. If you've got a graphics program,
like Photoshop, you can change the buildings before you print 'em. And
if you don't, you can just add your finishing touches by carefully gluing
the new windows and doors onto the finished buildings.
got a lot of really cool things in store for you over the next few months,
too. You'll see things like roads, paths, and river sections for you to
connect and divide your buildings, along with new towers and other important
structures your burgeoning paper village won't want to be without.
haven't started construction, check out the foldup
paper model archive, which
features everything they've posted.
d20 Modern Roleplaying Game
you haven't discovered it yet, you'll want to check out the monthly Countdown
to d20 Modern
web feature. It's
got a good pile of preview material and excerpts from the book.
Modern Roleplaying Game core rulebook hits the streets in November.
the first issue of The
Gaming Herald will
be popping up on counters at local hobby shops around the country in late
October. (If you went to Gen Con, you might have picked up the four-page
preview issue of this nifty, new FREE gaming newspaper.)
one got to do with the other? The inaugural issue of The Gaming Herald
is a d20 Modern special edition. And the above-the-fold, front-page
article in Issue One, Volume One is all about the d20 Modern Roleplaying
Game core rulebook. (How cool is that?) The article has some
basic information about the book, along with a decent-length adventure
hook -- you can actually do some online research on some of the stuff
folks behind the counter of your favorite hobby shop if they're getting
copies of The Gaming Herald. If they say, "the what?"
or "no," tell 'em about it, and then tell 'em that a few different
distributors are carrying it, and (best of all) it don't cost nothin'.
you're talking to folks behind the counter of your favorite hobby shop,
have 'em preorder your copy of the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game
core rulebook. If it's a Wizards of the Coast Premier Store, they may
still be able to get a Knights of the Silver Dragon patch for you to go
along with your lovely new 384-page hardcover of modern roleplaying übergoodness.
you've not heard about the Knights of the Silver Dragon patch promotion,
check out all the information with which I've been bombarding this feature
over the past few months,
starting in July.
I gave you an excerpt from the book that gives you some background information
on the Knights of the
in mind that we're making only so many patches, so this definitely falls
into the "supplies are limited, offer is good only while supplies
last" category. And, the patches are available only through Wizards
of the Coast Premier Stores. (If your hobby shop isn't a Wizards of the
Coast Premier Store, you'll want to check out the Retail
Locator to help you find one.)
you want to make sure you get a patch along with your copy of the d20
Modern Roleplaying Game core rulebook, get in there and ask 'em to
preorder one for you. In fact, take a copy of this nifty form in with
you just to make it clear that you want to make sure you get a copy of
the rulebook along with the patch.
the "Hey, Preorder My d20 Modern Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook
and Get Me a Silver Dragon Patch." form-thingy
if you can't get to a Premier Store in time, or at all, the promotional
items we've been making (Let
Sleeping Gods Lie, the CD we made with Darkest of the Hillside
Thickets, for Call
of Cthulhu, and Olidammara's
the Epic Level Handbook)
have been surfacing
on eBay. (Though I can't imagine ever wanting to sell mine.)
Heroes III and Monsters III
deal as the dragons. These will be the next D&D miniatures
boxed sets. You've got a box-o'-heroes and a box-o'-monsters. Here's everything
you'll find inside the sets:
- Dwarf Zealot
- Gray Elf Snakestrike
- Half-Orc Fighter
- Human Glaiver
- Human Sorcerer
- Wood Elf Scout
- Goblin Scout
- Hill Giant
- Orc Berserker
those of you who've already got a pile Chainmail minis and
wanna know what's in the boxes that you have not had a shot at picking
up yet, the Human Glaiver is a new, alternate sculpt, and the Hill Giant
is entirely new and HUGE.)
Sands of the Soul
of the Soul is the next book in the intriguing Sembia series, which
I explained a bit of last
caught up with the last two titles, Black
Wolf by Dave Gross and Heirs
of Prophesy by Lisa Smedman, and I'm more than ready to dive right
into Voronica Whitney-Robinson's contribution to the collective story
of the Selgaunt's Uskevren family. (I've been looking forward to this
since the short story anthology that started the series, Halls
of Stormweather. The
novel tells the story focused on Tazi.)
if you can read this (and I know you can), you, too, should be reading
the Sembia series for either one of two reasons:
- You already like
reading Forgotten Realms novels.
- You need a good
starting point for reading Forgotten Realms novels.
the facts: Insurrection is the second book in the six-part War
of the Spider Queen novel series. It's written by Thomas M. Reid. And
as I finished Dissolution,
I started pestering our book publishing department for a manuscript
of the next book. And, if you've picked up that first book, you probably
know why. Richard Lee Byers really
set the stage for an intriguing and exciting (and very drow) story.
And Thomas M. Reid picked up that spider-covered ball of treachery and
ran with it. (Remember, each book in the War of the Spider Queen series
will be written by a different, hot author.)
not finished Dissolution, and you don't want to know where the
story lies at the end of it, you might want to skip over the next bit.
end of Dissolution, a small, hand-picked band of dark elves (and
a rather large draegloth, which is the larger of the two folks depicted
on the cover of Insurrection) has been charged with traveling from
Menzoberranzan to Ched Nasad for a variety of reasons. The most important
of these reasons is to find out whether Lolth's presence has disappeared
from the rival/sister city as well.
from the start, you know you can expect a couple things from Insurrection.
First, the characters are going to be traveling through the Underdark
(an activity that's deadly enough when your companions aren't also your
enemies). And second, you're going to get to see Ched Nasad.
know for certain whether the City of Shimmering Webs has ever been described
in detail before, but I've never read or heard anything about it. And,
I'm not entirely sure what I thought it would be like, but the Ched Nasad
that Mr. Reid shows off is quite different from what I'd pictured in my
head. And I mean that in a very good way. I suppose I was imagining another
immense cavern filled with giant stalagmites and stalactites, with buildings
and a society similar to what I've gotten so used to in Menzoberranzan.
But Ched Nasad is not that. I won't ruin your enjoyment of exploring
the new drow city, but I did want to point out what a t'riffic job Thomas
did of painting a very different, and very interesting, drow city. (I'm
now more than ready for a series of books set exclusively in Mr.
Reid's Ched Nasad.)
about halfway through Insurrection, so I don't know where the story
goes, but I can tell you that I can't wait to get home tonight to find
out. To say the least, the characters are getting into some pretty tight
spots. And I can only guess at who's going to get out unscathed. Really,
I'd guess that none of 'em will be unscathed. But, hey, for dark elves,
particularly those who are outsiders in an increasingly hostile city,
just getting out alive would be a pleasant surprise.
of what happens, or where the story goes, by the time I've finished reading
those last few (of the 330+) pages of the book, I know I'm going to be
pestering the poor book publishing folk for Rich Baker's manuscript for
book three: Condemnation.
of the Drow Homepage
as I was just telling you about a drow book, I though I should give you
a little heads-up about a special section of the website that's dedicated
to those spider-lovin' minions of Lolth -- the Year of the Drow webpage.
we've got so many dark elf-related books, miniatures, and roleplaying
game schtuff coming out, we decided to make a special little home for
all of 'em on the website. (Though, it's only going to be up and running
for about twelve months or so.)
Drow (/drow). That's what you add to the end of www.wizards.com if you're
typing the URL directly into your web browser. Once you're there, you'll
discover all kinds of drow-related articles and write-ups of products
with drow in 'em.
that'll do for a month.
is a copywriter who has been playing roleplaying games for a disturbing
number of years, and now he gets to spend an astonishing amount of time
thinking about clever ways to get more people to do the same.
to the D&D
main news page for more articles and
news about the new D&D or check
out the D&D
boards for a lively discussion of all aspects of the D&D