The wait is over. Let the waiting begin.
By Mat Smith
It's a vicious cycle. As soon as something I've been looking forward to hits the shelves, something else pops up that just can't get here soon enough. The d20 Modern Roleplaying Game core rulebook comes out this month, and while I'm really going to have some fun with that, I can't help but think about Urban Arcana bobbing up and down out there on the horizon. The same goes for the War of the Spider Queen novels, and just about everything that pops up on the production schedule. And, as tortuous as I know it is to find out about something cool just waiting to be released in the near future, it's a necessary evil of working here. Fortunately, I've found a fine coping mechanism for dealing with the impatience that comes with anticipating upcoming products, and you're reading it now.
I'll tell you up front that there's not a whole lot of preview-esque material in this month's article -- there's not a whole lot releasing for the next couple of months. But I will tell you that some of the stuff that'll be hitting shelves in the early months of next year is on its way to my desk, and as soon as I've gotten hold of 'em, I'll be more than happy to jump in on the next Previews article to help you learn the definition of patience.
November: d20 Modern Roleplaying Game
At last, I can add a real, live, 384-page hardcover copy of the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game core rulebook to my shelf.
And it's about time. I think I got a copy of the text-only manuscript back in June (when it was still a 320-page book), and I got to start yammering on about what I was seeing in the Countdown to d20 Modern Roleplaying Game web feature right away.
Between the Countdown and this monthly feature, I've spilled many beans about the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game core rulebook, but I never got around to putting the back cover copy up here.
So, here it is:
Play every adventure you can imagine
Experience the thrills of every blockbuster action movie, every heart-pounding first-person shooter, and every explosive, high-octane escapade you can dream up. Inside this book, you'll discover everything you need to build the ultimate modern-world campaign filled with cinematic adventure, and to create the dynamic heroes needed to face the harrowing dangers that await within.
The other nifty thing I've been telling you bits and pieces about (since July) is the Knights of the Silver Dragon patch.
Wizards of the Coast Premier Stores are going to be getting a pile of these to give away -- for FREE -- with copies of the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game core rulebook.
People who were clever enough to download the "Hey, Pre-Order My d20 Modern Roleplaying Game core rulebook and Get Me a Silver Dragon Patch." form-thingy to take into their Wizards of the Coast Premier Store should have no trouble laying their hands on one.
Even if you didn't get a Premier Store to preorder a copy (along with the patch) specifically for you, you still have a chance of running across one. (Check the Retail Locator to find out whether your favorite hobby shop is a Wizards of the Coast Premier Store, or to find one near you.)
And, just because a lot of folks were getting confused about whether or not the Wizards of the Coast retail stores (the ones you find in malls that're actually called "Wizards of the Coast") were Premier Stores (which, they actually are not), we set a handful of them aside for those stores. I'm not entirely sure how they're working that out, but I do know that the quantity being sent to the Wizards of the Coast retail stores is very, VERY limited, so you'll want to take in that "Hey, Pre-Order My d20 Modern Roleplaying Game core rulebook and Get Me a Silver Dragon Patch." form-thingy with you when you go in. (Yeah, yeah, they're not preordering for you, but they're going to have to do something to figure out who "got in line" for a patch first.)
Of course, if fickle fate (or just plain old geography) stands in your way of getting a free Knights of the Silver Dragon patch, don't forget to keep an eye on eBay.
First, the same facts I told you about last month: Insurrection is the second book in the six-part War of the Spider Queen novel series. It's written by Thomas M. Reid. And it's good.
Now, some new stuff:
Insurrection is 338 pages of "No-Time-to-Rest, Can't-Sleep-Clowns-Will-Kill-Me, Constantly Moving, Twisty-Turny" action. Okay, the characters do actually stand around and talk every now and then, but I've got to say (now that I've finished reading the entire manuscript) that the story starts by dropping you right in the middle of a "situation" that really just spirals on and on. I'd say the spiraling continues until it's completely out of control, but it never really could be considered being under control of any of the characters.
Like I mentioned in last month's article, Insurrection gives you your first really good look at Ched Nasad. And it's more than just a nickel tour--you really get an idea of what the city is like, at least on the surface. I really thought the whole environment of Ched Nasad was well constructed, being from the point of view you'd get from a handful of folk from Menzoberranzan who're wandering through a great city they've always known about but never actually visited.
I'm not going to tell you what happens to the main characters, or the City of Shimmering Webs, by the end of the book, but suffice to say that there are some really good, very drow bits in there. A little bit more of the dark and evil plotting behind the scenes is exposed, and some big, bad, nasty things happen.
Tomorrow morning, I'm going to really start clamoring for a peek at Rich Baker's manuscript for book three: Condemnation. There's no reason to wait any longer than is absolutely necessary -- I want to find out what's going to happen next.
This War of the Spider Queen series is not to be missed.
So, there's nothing on the RPG front coming out in December. That saddens me a tad, but considering the stuff that came out over the course of these past couple of months, it's understandable that the R&D folks were due for a short break, and that all of you could use a little breathing room to wrap your heads around all the cool, new adventures, characters, and campaigns you'll have going on. (Besides, you'd just have to keep updating your holiday wish lists based on whether you could actually hold off buying some of those recent releases or not -- I know I have a hard time not snatching up most everything I can as soon as it's available.)
But don't, for even a minute, think we'd let you twist in the wind, with nothing new to play with, for a whole month. There's always a trove of toys waiting for you on the main D&D page (and in the side navigation bar under Features).
And best of all, they're all free.
Here's just a few of 'em:
Come on, you've always got a use for a new map -- really. You can flip through all the offerings for the right map that inspires you to craft your next adventure (or series of adventures). You could decide to have a small stack of maps lurking in your notes just in case you find yourself in need of a floorplan for a particular building or location (off-target teleport or plane shift encounters spring immediately to mind). Maps make great treasure items -- characters have to figure out what the map is depicting and decide what to do about it. (Plus, maps can be quite valuable and useful as a commodity in and of themselves.)
And, check this out. They pulled all the maps out of the City of the Spider Queen superadventure and removed all the room labels so you can use them as player handouts. (And you can always decide to hand over bits and pieces of those maps by cutting, tearing, or burning away sections to add realism and some mystery to 'em.)
We have piles and piles of art from our books. It's just sitting there, waiting for you to download it. Don't think of this as merely a resource for dressing up your desktop, or just as something to look at. Again, these images are perfect for you to print out, hold up, and say stuff like: "The thing that just jumped out and took a big piece out of the wizard looks like this . . ."
Foldup Paper Models
I can never say enough about these things. Three-dimensional, to-scale buildings for you to use with your miniatures (or just as really cool visual reference), all ready to go. You just gotta download, print, cut out, and glue 'em together. There's enough stuff already posted for you to assemble a goodly sized town, and more 8 1/2 x 11 gold is on its way.
Get your ready-made NPCs. Good guys, bad guys, you name it. All statted up and ready to drop into your campaign, these fine characters are even set up with choices of CRs so you can use the one that fits your campaign's particular needs.
Very similar in nature to the Character Closeup, the Fight Club is filled with NPCs who are built for one thing -- to challenge the party. If you've got a character who's looking to pick a fight, or you think a little fighting encounter action is what the cleric ordered, pop into the Fight Club to find someone -- or something -- that fits the bill.
FREE Original Adventures
Right. It doesn't get much clearer than that. You need an adventure to run? Want some inspiration or ideas? Get 'em here. There are dozens of adventures just waiting for a loving DM and a caring party of PCs to step up and take 'em on.
This list goes on and on. And on. You've got new monsters, new spells, new magic items, new psionics, and more. All just waiting for you.
Go. Look. Download. Enjoy.
February: Savage Species
I'm jumping ahead a bit. And I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about this nifty 224-page hardcover. But, seein' as I just got finished flipping through it, I thought I should pass along a little something or other.
How 'bout the back cover copy?
A New Breed of Adventurer
Whether wondrous or wicked, some monsters have a calling that reaches beyond the ordinary existence of their kind. Traveling alongside other intrepid characters, these heroic creatures carve their places in legend with sword, spell, tooth, and claw.
This supplement for the D&D game provides everything you need to play a monster as a character or to make the monsters your heroes fight even more formidable. Inside are over fifty all-new monster classes that show how creatures develop their characteristics and abilities as they gain levels. Along with new prestige classes and monster templates, Savage Species also features new feats, spells, magic items, and more.
Stay tuned for more details on How-to-Be-a-Critter as they come in.
I think it'll do for a month.
There it is.
About the Author
Mat Smith 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.
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