Calm Before the Storm
with the Holidays)
- The Bloody
Eye -- D&D Novel Line, Book 5
of Autumn Twilight -- Dragonlance Chronicles, Volume
I (hardcover edition)
of the Drow -- Paperback edition
-- The Icewall Trilogy, Book 3
& Light -- Preludes, Volume One (paperback)
of the Drow -- Starlight & Shadows trilogy, Book One (awesome
new cover art)
- The Players
of Gilean -- Dragonlance paperback
Species: Playing Monstrous Characters -- D&D rulebook
and Equipment Guide -- D&D rulebook (hardcover)
of a Vanished Moon -- The War of Souls trilogy, Volume
of Stormweather -- Sembia series, Book 7
of Faerûn -- D&D (Forgotten Realms) rulebook
Webs -- Starlight & Shadows trilogy, Book Two (awesome
new cover art)
Wake -- D&D Novel Line, Book 6
checked out last month's
already know that no RPGs are releasing this month. And none are coming
out next month either. That may seem like a desperately long time to go
without a picking up a shiny, new D&D book, but you can find
a lot of things do to ease the pain and discomfort of a lull in the release
off, and easiest of all, you can troll around that navigation bar on the
left and find all kinds of cool, free stuff in the Web
Enhancements and Features
if you don't have a subscription to Dragon
For about the same cost of two rulebooks, you can get one-year subscriptions
to each. That's twelve issues of Dragon Magazine for under
40 bucks and six bimonthly issues of Dungeon/Polyhedron Magazine
for under $30. You can find more material in each of those things than
even the most prolific gamer could possibly squeeze into a single month
of play. And that's assuming you don't use your imagination to come up
with your own spin-off ideas.
unless you've snatched up every rulebook, guidebook, and sourcebook we've
ever made, there's still something out there for you. Maybe two books
came out at the same time, and you had to choose one over the other --
now is the time to pick up that second book. Or maybe you thought that
a particular book didn't fit your game, 'cause you don't play in a particular
campaign setting, or use a certain set or rules, or whatever. Just keep
in mind that just about everything in every one of these books can be
modified to work in whatever game you're running. (With a quick name change,
the Forgotten Realms city of Waterdeep can be the huge ocean-side
metropolis of any campaign world.)
of what you do to make it through December and January, just remember
that this is just a couple months of breathing room. 'Cause when February
comes, you can expect the release schedule to hit the ground running at
breakneck speed. That is, month after month after month of really cool
stuff. Big stuff. I can't go into detail about what you'll be seeing terribly
far into the future, 'cause it's all still on double-secret probation,
but I can give you a peek at what's looming on the horizon.
d20 Modern Roleplaying Game
this came out last month, and I've been going on about it for months and
months before that, but the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game core rulebook
is just worth mentioning again.
the midst of starting up a d20 Modern campaign, and the thing that
strikes me as infinitely cool is how much source material there is out
there. Specifically, I'm staggered by the possibilities offered up by
the Internet. Once you've got even an inkling of what you want to do with
a character, adventure, or whatever, you can jump online and find all
kinds of stuff to flesh out your idea.
my players wanted a background that involved being moved around, specifically
back and forth from the U.S. to assorted foreign countries. She got online
and found a biography of a Lt. Colonel in the Army who fit the bill as
her character's father -- now she's an army brat who shuttled along with
her parents from army base to army base. She lived in Seattle, New York,
and Germany as a kid. Add in back-story about stealing her mom's passport,
doctoring it up, and backpacking around Europe and Japan, and the character's
background is complete. She's got a ready-made NPC father (just lacking
stats), rationale for learning a couple of languages, a reasonable place
to have become well-skilled with personal firearms (years of weekends
at the firing range with Lt. Col Dad could easily provide training for
Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot), and a really interesting start on
her starting occupation -- Criminal (specifically, forgery).
player wanted to play a character with a background as an anarchist. He
got online and found some news stories and information about the rebel
Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. He also got information about a human rights
volunteer program for English/Spanish translators in Chiapas that gave
him a great reason to be down there in the first place. So, now the character's
got some background as a revolutionary. To bring the character back to
Seattle (where the campaign will be set), he dredged up a small pile of
articles about the WTO riots in Seattle. He even got a couple images of
the crowds of protesters, and circled the one "suspected" to
be his character. He highlighted pieces of information, and added some
notes in the margins, and assembled a great police dossier that really
brings his character concept to life.
that's still boggling my mind is how flexible the whole d20 Modern
roleplaying game actually is. You want magic? You've got it. Psionics?
It's there. Don't want either? Poof, they're gone. You really can do anything
you want -- you just need some creativity. Inspiration is all around you
-- every movie, video game, and comic book you pick up can turn into a
campaign, character, or adventure. And since source material from any
genre can be adapted to fit the d20 Modern rules, anything you
already have on your shelves or find at your hobby shop can be used as
a supplement to your d20 Modern campaign. The only limit to what
the game can do is your imagination.
and January: Stuff
I said before, there's nothing on the RPG front coming out in December
or January. But, you can bet your continual flame-enchanted copper
pieces that those web features I mentioned up top will be updated.
a small chunk of these last
it's worth listing 'em again:
some complete ready-to-play adventures for your gaming fun.
Just add your imagination.
some good guys, bad guys, and neutral guys, too -- NPCs with flavor!
out some very detailed, interesting individuals to meet and beat upon.
new (and updated) critters and templates.
some interesting episodes to drop into your game.
and divine -- discover much mojo for your spellcasters to sling.
abound -- feats, prestige classes, monsters, and more!
from the books make great visual references for your game.
print, and assemble an entire 3-D city.
Savage Species: Playing Monstrous Characters
ever wanted to play something that wasn't a standard PC race, this book
is for you. If you've never really thought about it before, this book
is for you. Once you've flipped through the 224 pages of this super-crunchy
hardcover, you'll be more than ready to roll up a new character -- something
with fangs, scales, claws, wings, fur, or another characteristic you don't
normally find in your run-of-the-mill characters (like a level draining
ability, or a breath weapon).
Species does more than just show you how to create a new character
that's a critter -- it also gives you guidelines and rules for changing
an existing character into a monster. And there's more than one way to
do it -- fast or slow.
what if you're not entirely keen on "blowing" levels on the
ECL of a particular monster you wanna play? That's when you use the Monster
Class rules for deconstructing a monster to create a level progression
that starts at 1st, and ends with your character becoming a fully grown
version of whatever critter it is you've been developing into. The example
in the book is that of a minotaur, which starts as a Medium-size creature
with a gore attack and a little natural armor. Over a few levels, your
bull-headed character increases in size and strength, becomes more and
more cunning (unable to get lost, or caught flat-footed, for example),
and ends up as a fully-grown creature resembling the nasty surprise Theseus
found in the labyrinth.
to the nuts-and-bolts you need to build a monstrous character, you've
also got the stuff you need to customize your new player critter. There
are over 70 feats, something like 60 spells, 10 prestige classes, 18 new
templates, and a trove of new weapons and armor, special and superior
items, and magic items.
are going to have a lot of fun looking into playing some extraordinary
characters, and DMs will have a field day with the unbelievable possibilities
for creating new enemies and allies.
Arms and Equipment Guide
just finished reading through this thing. And, I have to say, it was an
impressive assortment of stuff.
you've got new weapons and armor, as well as new equipment. But that's
what you'd expect inside a book titled Arms and Equipment Guide.
You've also got new armor- and weapon-making materials (like Baatorian
Green Steel and Ysgardian Heartwire). There's a swath of special and superior
items, including over two-dozen new alchemical items/substances. The comprehensive
list of poison includes seven new toxic substances characters will want
to avoid (or take advantage of). There's even a whole section on trade
goods and commodities, so you can really flesh out caravans and merchants'
pretty impressive, for a 160-page hardcover. Especially when you consider
that, so far, I've covered what you'll find in the first two chapters
going, and you'll find stats for a fleet of land, sea, and air vehicles.
Along with rules for making 'em go (propulsion, maneuverability, and control),
you've also got rules for taking vehicles into combat. Spellcasting, melee,
and ranged attacks aboard vehicles are all covered, along with rules for
collisions, leaving a moving vehicle, and running over opponents. You
can attack vehicles, repair vehicles, and build new ones (perhaps even
those of masterwork quality). Of course, no vehicle would be complete
without augmentations, such as armor, mounted weapons, or special magical
devices -- reason enough for the material that rounds out the rest of
come rules for hirelings, mercenaries, mounts, pets, and animal companions.
From purchasing a single casting of identify to hiring a troupe
of troglodytes, and from training a creature to disarm your enemies to
buying a war rhinoceros, you'll find everything you need, including specialized
magic items, to complete your party's retinue. Just remember to bring
extra provisions and/or feed.
you'll flip through a little over sixty pages or so of magic armor, weapons,
and items (including artifacts). No big deal. That's just about as much
material as you'll see when you flip through the Dungeon Master's
Guide. Okay, that is a big deal.
Races of Faerûn
hardcover book, you'll find 192 pages of staggering information and detail
about all of the major and minor races, subraces, and ethnicities on,
above, and below the face of the Forgotten Realms. And I have to
say, the whole time I was reading through this book, I was getting ideas
about stuff I've love to do in a campaign with each and every one of 'em.
what you'll see on the back cover:
the Diverse Denizens of the Realms
reclusive avariel, arrogant Calashites, noble centaurs, and bold
Rashemi. From the steppes of Thay to the shores of Evermeet, the
inhabitants of the Realms are as distinct as the regions from which
they hail, whether hero, henchman, villain, or villager. With complete
information about the noteworthy races, subraces, and ethnicities
scattered throughout Toril, Races of Faerûn offers a detailed
look at the many and varied peoples who inhabit the Forgotten
Realms game setting.
- 83 new
- 26 new
- New spells
and prestige classes
of the entries for the eight major races includes a pile of information,
starting with racial data such as the region(s) in which a particular
subrace or ethnic group is normally found, racial feats, prestige classes,
and level adjustments (if any). The history of each subrace is detailed,
along with its outlook (how they interact with the world, character classes
normally chosen, and favored classes). You'll get an overview of the society
of each subrace, details on language and literacy, racial adjustments
to ability scores, as well as any special proficiencies, skills, or feats.
Magic is covered next, including any new racial spells or feats, along
with particularly common magic items, and those magic items that are specifically
manufactured by that subrace. Racial deities, relations with other races,
and equipment (including weapons, armor, animals, and pets) flesh out
time I was devouring the text, chapter by chapter, I found it nearly impossible
to keep myself from flipping back to the appendices when they were referenced.
Not because I was bored with what I was reading, but because of what was
to be found back there: new equipment, weapons, armor, adventuring gear,
feats, magic items, monsters, prestige classes, and spells.
thing I can think of that could possibly make this book any better is
the addition of the artwork, which I've been told is phenomenally good.
I can't wait to see the color galley of this thing.
it'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.
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