Wizards of the Coast go Full Grognard – re-release original AD&D books

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons to be re-released

While common wisdom holds that you never go full grognard, Wizards of the Coast are letting convention fly to the wind and they’re re-releasing the three original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons books.

Starting April 17th, 2012, folks in the US and Canada will be able to grab themselves premium reissues of the classic RPG.

Here are some nifty things as outlined by WotC:

Key Features

• These premium versions of the original AD&D rulebooks by Gary Gygax make ideal additions to any game collector’s bookshelf or the perfect gift for the nostalgic D&D® player.
• Each book has been lovingly reprinted with the original art and content, but features an attractive new cover design commemorating this re-release of the AD&D core rules.
• Available in limited quantities for a short time only, these are sure to be collectible.
• This is a hobby channel exclusive in North America. That means that players and collectors will be looking to you to pick up their copies!

And something that I find interesting, funds from the sales of these books will go towards the Gygax Memorial Fund.  Why the limited North American release? I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps its to add to the collectability of these re-issues, or perhaps its a bit of a cost savings.

Here’s what we know about pricing:

You can take a look at the full press release right here (PDF).

Wizards of the Coast returns to Neverwinter with a whole host of new stuff

Dungeons & Dragons Returns to the Legendary City of Neverwinter; Fans Vie for Glory in the City of a Thousand Fates

Exciting, New Suite of Neverwinter Offerings Unveiled at Gen Con Indy 2011

AUGUST 2, 2011 – INDIANAPOLIS Wizards of the Coast today announced that its iconic roleplaying game of fantasy and imagination, Dungeons & Dragons®, will return to one of the most well-known and fascinating cities within D&D lore and the Forgotten Realms novels – the city of Neverwinter.  Along with the new D&D Neverwinter Campaign Setting comes an extensive suite of products and in-store play offerings, including a new comic mini-series, a board game, organized play sessions, and a new novel from New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore.  Wizards of the Coast will showcase new Neverwinter product offerings at Gen Con Indy 2011 on August 4-7 at Booth #2031, and fans can also get in on the adventure at www.ExploreNeverwinter.com.

“The Neverwinter suite of products and programs offer something for all players and fans, both new and seasoned,” said Liz Schuh, Dungeons & Dragons Brand Director, Wizards of the Coast.

“With so many different ways to engage with the city, players will be immersed in the storyline and find themselves vying for glory alongside their fellow adventurers no matter how they choose to play.”

Dungeons & Dragons: Neverwinter offerings include:

·         Neverwinter Mass Adventure at Gen Con 2011 – Show attendees of Gen Con Indy 2011 will have the opportunity to participate in a Neverwinter adventure using a series of QR codes to guide attendees to different Wizards of the Coast sponsored special events and locations. Attendees will be challenged along the way to choose between a quest for glory, a quest for power, or a quest for riches with hints provided by D&D on Facebook and Twitter.

·         Neverwinter Game Day – On August 6, join D&D players around the world for an epic day of Dungeons & Dragons.  This year, D&D Neverwinter Game Day spotlights an exclusive adventure entitled Gates of Neverdeath, in which characters are introduced to the intrigues and dangers that await in the city of Neverwinter.  For the first time, players will create their own D&D characters at the event and play in a prelude adventure to the upcoming D&D Encounters season!  Visit the Store and Event Locator to find participating retailers.

·         D&D Encounters: Lost Crown of Neverwinter & Fortune Cards Beginning August 10, players both young and old will gather on Wednesday evenings in local game stores around the world to experience the D&D Encounters Lost Crown of Neverwinter season.  D&D Encounters is the first D&D Organized Play program designed exclusively for weekly play at retail locations worldwide – and this summer, adventuring parties will be hot on the trail of the Lost Crown of Neverwinter.  D&D Neverwinter Fortune Cards, which launched this summer, enhance D&D Encounters game play by adding an element of unpredictability as each card provides a game effect that enhances attacks, defenses, or other benefits to characters.

·         Neverwinter Campaign Setting – The Neverwinter Campaign Setting is the ultimate encyclopedia on the inner workings of the city of Neverwinter, containing everything from history and geography to character themes.  It is the first-ever RPG book focused solely on one city and conveniently presents Neverwinter content in a single hardcover format containing information for both players and DMs.

·         D&D Lair Assault Beginning this September, devoted Dungeons & Dragons players worldwide will have the opportunity to gather at their local participating game stores as part of a new, highly tactical D&D Organized Play program named D&D Lair Assault.  The first challenge, Forge of the Dawn Titan, will feature thrilling “convention-style” play that players and spectators alike are drawn to, challenging players on two levels – character building and tactical knowledge.

·         The Legend of Drizzt: Neverwinter Tales Comic Mini-series For a lighter story, fans can pick up the new 5-part mini-series The Legend of Drizzt: Neverwinter Tales comic mini-series this summer.  Published by IDW and co-written by R.A. Salvatore and Geno Salvatore, the comic mini-series delves into the characters that inhabit Neverwinter as the city teeters on the brink of chaos.

·         D&D Heroes of Neverwinter Facebook game – For lighter digital game play, fans can also take part in the D&D Heroes of Neverwinter game on Facebook, a turn-based strategy game launching this summer with pre-fabricated or user-generated dungeons, gifting and more.

·         Neverwinter, The Neverwinter Saga Book II by R.A. Salvatore – With a fascinating cast of new secondary characters, Neverwinter launches on October 4 and takes the dual-scimitar wielding dark elf Drizzt and brings him to an area of the Realms he’s never adventured in – Neverwinter.  With the last of his trusted companions having fallen, Drizzt is alone—and free—for the first time in almost a hundred years.  Forced to see the dark deeds of common men, Drizzt begins to find himself on the wrong side of the law in an effort to protect those the law has failed.  The paperback release of Gauntlgrym, The Neverwinter Saga Book I by R.A. Salvatore that lays the groundwork for all of the Neverwinter product offerings this fall, just released on July 5th

·         The Legend of Drizzt Board Game – Launching October 18, this thrilling board game is based on the adventures of Drizzt Do’Urden, as told in the New York Times best-selling Forgotten Realms novels by R.A. Salvatore. Players take on the role of the legendary drow ranger or one of his famous adventuring companions, battle fearsome foes, and win treasure and glory.

Dungeons & Dragons is the iconic roleplaying game of fantasy and imagination that is part storytelling, part social interaction and part chance.  Visit DungeonsandDragons.com for more details on the Dungeons & Dragons follow D&D on Facebook and Twitter.

About Wizards of the Coast
Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS), is the leader in entertaining the lifestyle gamer. The company holds an exclusive patent on trading card games (TCGs) and their method of play and produces the premier trading card game, Magic: The Gathering, among many other trading card games and family card and board games. Wizards is also a leading publisher of roleplaying games, such as Dungeons & Dragons, and publisher of fantasy series fiction with numerous New York Times best-sellers. For more information, visit the Wizards of the Coast Web site at www.wizards.com.

Dark Sun Campaign – PDF of the first adventure here for you to download

As promised and delivered early – Part one of my Dark Sun Campaign is available for download. This is intended for informational purposes only. I have made every effort to make it a coherent document from which a game can be completely run. All possible disclaimers apply to this adventure, including bodily harm.

Not included are any tactical battle maps, mostly because I use a vinyl battle map or official WotC ones included in various adventures. Another item I omitted was my hasty conversion from spiders to scorpions. One of my players suffers from arachnophobia and I decided after a moment that scorpions fit just as well. Plus, it gave me justification to order another half dozen scorpion minis online.

Dispatches From Athas Game 1

I hope you find it enjoyable and useful, and as always please email me with feedback using the link below.

[tags] Athas, D&D, Dark Sun, Dispatches from Athas, Dungeons and Dragons, Role Playing Games, Wizards of the Coast, RPGs, GMing, [/tags]

Cleric Token Set Review

Last March, the table-top gaming world was pleased to learn that Wizards of the Coast and Gale Force Nine were teaming up to release a new line of accessories for the Dungeons and Dragons game. I’ve used Gale Force Nine products in the past, particularly during my miniature painting and kit-bashing phase. I’ve always found the quality of their tools be great and I was eager when I recently found the Cleric Token Set at my friendly local gaming store.

The set comes minimal packaged, and you can get a good idea of the quality of the tokens by looking at them. The tokens are felt backed, with about 1/16th inch of plastic on top. The tokens have a sturdy feel to them, something I’ve come to expect of Gale Force Nine. The majority of the tokens are non-specific and can be used to represent effects of various cleric powers. Most, but not all, form fit to the curved edge of WotC D&D miniatures and the felt backing works pretty well with a vinyl battlemap. A variety of status effect tokens are included as well. The included torch token finally puts to rest the worry of who is holding the light source!

The item I found the most use for was the character status tile. Often I use my iPad for my character sheets, and the tile worked well in conjunction. It let me track of the most common game play changes with ease while keeping the other players informed as to my status. I found it works perfectly with the wet erase markers used on vinyl maps.

There are a few things I didn’t like about the set. It was upsetting that with all the quality put into the tokens, no one thought to include a quality bag. Additionally, the mount token was an odd inclusion. I’m not unhappy to have it, but I’m more likely to find a use for it as a GM than as a player. Another complaint is that the bloodied token doesn’t form fit to the miniatures. This led to me trying to figure out how to use it. Ultimately, I just ignored it and didn’t use it. Lastly, the clear cleric standup is a complete waste. WotC has a comprehensive line of miniatures, including plenty of great cleric minis. This clear, 2D representation is a useless and it would have been better instead to have a combat advantage token.

All things considered, the $12.99 priced set is a good buy. The quality in the materials is a big selling point, and the tokens are generic enough to be used when you play other classes. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

[tags] D&D, Dungeons and Dragons, Games, Review, Role Playing Games, rpgs, Tabletop, Wizards of the Coast, Gale Force Nine, Game Accessories, Fourth Edition D&D [/tags]

Dark Sun Campaign Prep – the Challenges of Starting a New Game

The opportunity to start a new campaign is usually both a challenge and joy for most GMs. In the planning of my new Dark Sun campaign, the challenges appeared first. I had been wanting to start a new game for quite some time, and I had intended to run Star Wars Saga Edition. To that end, I purchased nearly the entire set of books for the system. Now that my desires have shifted to run Dark Sun, the wife is somewhat unhappy at the unused Star Wars books on the shelf. This brought me to my first challenge: spousal consent.

My lovely wife has a considerable tolerance for my collection of RPG books. She doesn’t play herself, but she supports me in my hobby. Freshly baked cookies often warm the stomachs of the brave souls who sit at my gaming table, and she has yet to utter the phrase “don’t you have enough books and miniatures.” Still, she laments the fact that I’m on a first name basis with the owners of the local gaming stores, book stores, and used book shops. An additional, but related concern was where to hold the game. I prefer to host for the games that I run as I love having all of my reference materials at hand. Still, asking someone you live with to devote an entire night a week to gaming is a considerable request. These two items represented the first dragon to be slain on my quest to start this new campaign.I planned to solve this challenge much as I would deal with an unbeatable dragon in game; bribe it with gold. I’m reasonably certain this method will work over the long term, though I worry for my accumulated hoard.

The most distressing obstacle to starting a new game was finding players. Most of the members of my regular gaming group are unable to start a new campaign. College workloads have cost me two potential players, while family-time considerations have cost another. A fourth player is unable to add a game to his schedule due to a work promotion. Adding to the situation, all four abstaining are dear friends in addition to being great role-players. I was confidant I could fill the seats, it was replacing the talent which concerned me. I navigated this challenge through my tested recruiting method: Fliers in the gaming store, Ads online, a post on Facebook, and word of mouth through the local gaming community. I know an entire series of articles could be devoted to recruiting players for games. Thankfully, It had results even quicker than expected. Within hours of posting ads, the empty ranks were filled by eager requests for adventure and glory in the world of Athas. While this challenge appears bested, only time will tell if these new players are in it for the long-haul.

A third challenge presented itself with what standards to set for the campaign. In the world of Athas, the divine does not exist. There are no gods in Athas and as such, no divine heroes. Additionally, the number of races known in Athas is relatively small compared to other settings. There are suggestions on how to incorporate other races in the campaign setting but I wanted to encourage the players to play races that had a history in Athas. Countering that, I must admit I personally hate to let the rules stop anyone from playing what they want. Experience however, has shown me where these things can lead.  Hybrid artificer / invoker warforges have no place in the desert world of Athas. To conquer this challenge I decided to split the difference. I would allow divine characters but only the races allowed by the book. The reasoning being that keeping the races limited helps to keep things familiar. Races give players flavor to work with, but the class defines the character and his abilities.

The final challenge has found itself in a place where many GMs would find joy. Building a series of adventures around a plot can be nerve-wracking for me. I have trouble keeping all the different elements sorted. Furthermore, I have at my disposal a great number of modules I’ve wanted to run. I recognize the need for an overarching plot to keep the players focused, but keeping it strait and making it flow has always been a difficulty for me. I wanted badly to use the modules, but I needed a cohesive plot that made sense to the players. This presented a  headache, until I remembered an excellent tool available to GMs called Masterplan. This outstanding free software makes campaign planning easy. It allows me to link in my head all the different plot points and keep everything together. I can string together the different encounters from the modules and link them to the story. Using it I have planned out the first tier of adventure while drawing elements from Marauders of the Dune Sea, Scepter Tower of Spellgard, The Slaying Stone, and Orcs of Stonefang Pass. Homebrew elements will fill in the gaps for the modules. With this challenge crushed, I felt a lot better about the start of the game.

Be sure to check back next week as I present the cast of characters and the opening of the campaign.

[tags]Athas, 4e, D&D, Dark Sun, Gaming, Role Playing Games, RPG, Tabletop, Wizards of the Coast[/tags]

The World of Athas

The task of creating a campaign for players is the ultimate challenge for many GMs. World building must be weaved with a plot that will excite and challenge your players. Fortunately for those who want to run 4th Edition D&D, Wizards of the Coast has provided a number of campaign settings that make running a campaign easier.

Dark Sun is the newest campaign setting released for 4th Edition. Dark Sun was originally a campaign setting for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and much has been kept from the previous version. Athas is still a desert world lacking in gods, metal, and civilization. It presents challenges for players which aren’t staples of regular 4th edition play. Players on a quest to explore hidden ruins may find the journey through the desert the most dangerous challenge.

A Dark Sun game should have a feel of harshness to it, as the world of Athas is a dying planet. Struggle and slavery are common themes found among the average civilians. The inhabitants of Athas are rarely friendly. Compassion and charity are as rare as metal and rain. These qualities present a new set of challenges for players as it will forces them to deal will complications that are rare in the traditional fantasy world.

Arcane magic is considered taboo by the majority of the Athasians. Arcane magic is the reason for the current condition of Athas. Mages and wizards found ways to empower their spells by defiling the world around them. This turned the world into a barren wasteland, instead of the idyllic paradise it once was. Divine Characters are also rare, as there are no gods in Athas. Elemental forces exist, but are dangerous and uncontrollable. Psionics are more common throughout the world, and most beings possess limited amounts of latent psionic potential. Heroes with martial training are common, since Athas is a world where you are more likely to find a knife at your throat than to receive a warm greeting.

Weapons and armor in Dark Sun also defy the normal conventions of fantasy role-playing games. The lack of metal doesn’t make the world a safe place. Obsidian, bone, and scale replace metal as the articles of combat. With them comes a penalty, weapon breakage. Players of Dark Sun will have more control over weapon breakage than in previous editions, but the possibility will always be there.

Magic Items are much rarer in Athas than in most settings. Wizards compensates for this with the fixed enhancement bonuses system and with new non-item magic rewards. These consist of various gifts, boons, secrets and mysteries that take the form of daily powers the players can expend. These often level with the players and fill the gap left behind by the reduced frequency of magic items. This lack of magic items may be most evident in that they are virtually never available for purchase, so players and GMs will have to find new and interesting ways for the spending of accumulated wealth.

In the end, Dark Sun represents a vastly different world than most players will be used to. The positive side of this is that it also represents a very fun world where victory and success are all the more satisfying. GM will enjoy the new tools to work with, the new foes to pit players against, and the new rewards to bestow on them.

[tags]Athas, 4e, D&D, Dark Sun, Gaming, Role Playing Games, RPG, Tabletop, Wizards of the Coast[/tags]

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