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Return to Adventure!
D&D Play Spotlight
by Chris Tulach

As I write this, I’m as happy as a dire clam devouring a tribe of sea elves, since we’re thick in the middle of a nostalgia-fueled summer and fall for D&D. With the arrival of the Dark Sun books, Castle Ravenloft board game, a throwback Game Day around the corner, and the next D&D Encounters season taking us to the Keep on the Borderlands, my “old-school” sensibilities are being fulfilled with a bunch of awesome new products and programs. Let’s talk about a few!

D&D Encounters: Dark Sun Concludes Soon

The exciting conclusion to the summer D&D Encounters season Fury of the Wastewalker is just around the corner. There are only a few short weeks left as we make our way through the final chapter of the mini-campaign and face-off against the Wastewalker himself. Since the Dark Sun books are now on the shelves, we’ve listened to feedback and decided to let you create your own Dark Sun character for the last chapter if you’d like. So go ahead and pick up a Dark Sun Campaign Setting and try out one of the fun new themes while embarking on the final chapter of D&D Encounters in sun-scorched Athas.

After you play, tell us about the character you created and contribute to the ongoing discussion on the Wizards Community site in the D&D Encounters: Dark Sun forums.

Explore the Chaos Scar in D&D Encounters: Keep on the Borderlands

The next season of D&D Encounters begins on September 22 with a classic-feel campaign: the Keep on the Borderlands! The adventure, A Season of Serpents, highlights the new D&D Essentials books as the characters explore the dangerous lands of the Chaos Scar near Restwell Keep. A traditional D&D play experience coupled with an amazingly fun story arc written by Chris Sims, this season is sure to be an exciting return to the days of D&D yore. I’ve been barraged with questions about this season, and now’s the time to give answers!

How long is this season?

D&D Encounters: Keep on the Borderlands is broken up into five chapters of four sessions each, for a total of 20 sessions of D&D play. The season starts on September 22 and lasts through February 2, 2011. At the beginning of Chapter 3, characters will bump up to 2nd level. When Chapter 5 starts, characters will become 3rd level.

How will character creation work with D&D Encounters: Keep on the Borderlands?

Players can create characters using the D&D Fantasy Roleplaying Game boxed set (A.K.A., the “Red Box”) or the Heroes of the Fallen Lands book. The second book will have more options for players, but both are viable. Both will be available prior to the first session of the season. Once Chapter 3 starts, players can use the Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms book to make a new character or update their existing character if they want.

We’re proceeding with a limited set of rules for character creation to make it easier for new players to jump in, and we think that existing players will love the new character builds in the Essentials series of books. The slayer, knight, thief, mage, and warpriest are “classic” character builds that fit very well into the feel of the season. In addition, DMs know exactly what rules material will be brought to the table, which should help them provide a better play experience for their group.

Pre-generated characters will be provided if you don’t want to “roll your own.” All of these characters are also built with the new Essentials character options.

What kinds of rewards can we expect?

We’ll be giving out two D&D Encounters Reward Cards this season (Heroic Aid and Enchanted Heirloom), earnable with Renown Points as with previous seasons. We’re going to be including more cards in each kit as a response to requests from organizers to accommodate more players. You’ll need to play a little longer to earn the first reward (it requires 20 Renown Points), but the length of the season should ensure that you have many opportunities to do so over the fall and winter.

Play Castle Ravenloft: Strahd Awaits!

While a proper report on Gen Con Indy will arrive in this column next month (along with the PAX Prime play report), I can tell you that the new Castle Ravenloft board game, releasing on August 31, was an absolute hit at the show! If you haven’t had a chance to check out what it’s all about, it’s the first in a line of D&D board games that uses a new, cooperative, DM-less play system. It supports from one to five players and has 13 different adventures that play in about an hour each inside the big, beautiful box.

At Gen Con Indy, it was one of the hottest, most talked-about items of the show. We ran hundreds of players through full-length ticketed events of the game, and there have been a lot of questions asked about what kind of support Wizards is planning for the board game line. Right now, additional adventures are being posted on our website for download, but we here in Organized Play are wondering what you think about other types of support.

Would you like to see Organized Play support the D&D board game line? What kinds of support would you like to see? Post your thoughts in the forums.

Welcome Back to 1983: Red Box Game Day

Even though we covered it last time, this is a reminder that the Red Box Game Day, featuring the Dungeons & DragonsFantasy Roleplaying Game boxed set, is just around the corner on September 11! Find your local Wizards Play Network store on the Event Locator to ensure they’re on board.

Of course, with the retro look of the Red Box, we’ve gone retro with the Game Day as well. As an added bonus sneak peek, here are the old-school character cards that you’ll be playing as a part of the event! Enjoy!

Red Box Game Day: Sunderpeak Temple

Long a bastion of good on the edges of the wilderness, Sunderpeak Temple has succumbed to an unknown threat. You have been tasked to journey to the site of the temple and find out what has befallen its residents, as the priests are needed to destroy an enchanted skill imbued with necromantic magic. Will you face down the dark denizens that dwell within and learn the truth of the temple’s fate? Journey back to the realm of nostalgia as we celebrate the release of the Red Box! A Dungeons & Dragons Game Day adventure designed for four to six pregenerated characters of 2nd level.

Of course, Gamma World Game Day is on the horizon as well, taking place on October 23. Let your Wizards Play Network store know that you want in on a fun and exciting romp through Gamma Terra by poking them to schedule the event. Scheduling is open now but closes on September 27.

That’s all for now, but keep cool and enjoy the last few weeks of summer. Next month, we’ll do a proper summer convention wrap-up, discussing Gen Con Indy and PAX Prime, and talk a little bit about Gamma World Game Day!

About the Author

Originally thought to have been raised from a humble Midwestern family, Chris Tulach actually fell to Earth in a meteorite-shaped capsule flung from a planet far outside our galaxy. While under the yellow rays of Sol, Chris’s nerdity far surpasses that of any normal human. Using this precious gift only for good, he has become the D&D Organized Play Content Developer, responsible for the development and deployment of Dungeons & Dragons organized play programs. He is also the co-author of E2, Kingdom of the Ghouls.

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