If you’ve looked at this month’s table of contents, you already know some exciting news—this month sees the first installment of Class Compendium material. The classes that we'll cover, in the order of their presentation, will be:
- Warlord (March)
- Fighter (April)
- Cleric (May)
- Rogue (June), and
- Wizard (July)
The articles will provide revisions and updates for the versions of these classes that were originally presented in the 4th Edition Player's Handbook. This is where you’ll see the most current updates to many powers, features, and feats for these five classes. The multiclass feats are coming, too, but we haven't quite decided which month they'll appear in. We do know that it will be sooner rather than later, but the exact timing isn't set. Mike Mearls will have more to say on this subject in one of his columns.
Next week, I'm heading off to central Pennsylvania to meet a few friends and spend the weekend at Cold Wars, an annual wargaming convention. This is miniatures wargaming, or what some might call old-school wargaming, though there's nothing especially old-school about it from my point of view.
It's pertinent because this type of wargaming had a major role in the origins of the Dungeons & Dragons game. The earliest, proto-RPGs were played with miniatures rules such as Chainmail. Before anyone had even thought of D&D, Gary Gygax and his friends were publishing wargame rules, first as Guidon Games and then as Tactical Studies Rules, both of which predated TSR, Inc.
Wargaming is a terrific companion hobby for D&D players. First, you get to push around toy soldiers on beautiful model terrain like Phil Viverito's eye-popping battle of Alesia (shown in the photo above, from last year's convention). Second, you'll learn some interesting facts about battles from different historical periods ranging from ancient Egypt to the present-day Middle East. Watching the History Channel is a great way to kill an afternoon, but watching your Livonian knights get chopped to pieces by Samogitians along the shore of Lake Durbe is something else entirely.
Roleplayers owe it to themselves to try as many different types of games as they can, and miniatures wargames make a great choice. That's doubly true if you expect to ever get involved in a D&D adventure that revolves around war and large-scale battles.
You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars buying miniatures and hundreds of hours painting them to try it. Like D&D, wargaming is a group activity, and wargamers tend to aggregate in clubs. Check your local hobby store or online forums for a group or a convention in your area. Most are very welcoming to potential new members.