Dungeons & Dragons tagged posts

Dungeons & Dragons schedule announced for PAX East!

Wizards has just released their schedule for PAX East including all the events planned for Dungeons & Dragons (I can’t wait to play some more real life D&D and deflect to the opposing side mid-game). But I think everyone is excited to play test D&D Next.

PAX East is taking place April 6 – 8 in Boston and is a fantastic convention about all kinds of gaming. Tom and I will be there too! But enough about us, here is the schedule:

New to D&D

Event Runs Description
D&D Learn-to-Play Friday 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm;Saturday 11 am, 1 pm,
3 pm, 5 pm, 7 pm, 9 pm;

Sunday 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm

Want to learn how to play D&D 4th Edition? We’ll teach you all the basics, and send you out on your first adventure! Everything is provided for you, and you can even keep your character.Length: 2 hours
D&D Board Game
Open Play
Friday & Saturday 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, 7 pm, 9 pm;Sunday 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm Want to play a D&D game without a DM? Do you like cooperative games? How about head-to-head Euro-style games? Or strategic wargames? Come with your friends to play any of our D&D-themed board games all weekend long! Choose from Castle Ravenloft, Wrath of Ashardalon, The Legend of Drizzt, Conquest of Nerath or the all-new Lords of Waterdeep!Length: 2 hours

New and Experienced D&D Players

Event Runs Description
Rise of the Underdark:
The Sun Never Rises
Friday & Saturday 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, 7 pm, 9 pm;Sunday 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm Her Radiance Dareen Travaskyr has led the Temple of Lathander’s Light for many years, making it a source of good and civilization in the otherwise wild Daggerdale. When the priestess received a vision urging her to create a powerful icon against an impending darkness, she employed a group of adventurers to complete her divinely inspired tasks. But evil has spies everywhere. Now, the party of heroes might be the only thing standing between forces bent on a grisly fate for the temple’s inhabitants. This short adventure is designed to introduce the players to the threat presented in the War of the Spider Queen D&D Encounters season. Players who complete this adventure have a chance to gain some benefits that they can carry over to the characters they play in the new D&D Encountersseason.Length: 2 hours
D&D Convention Delve:
Lair of the Dread Witch
Friday 11 am – 11 pm;Saturday 11 am – 11 pm;

Sunday 11 am – 4 pm

In the deep forest, a place of dark power lies, its corruptive influence seeping into the lands beyond its borders. Can you contain the threat of the Dread Witch, and stop her rituals before all falls into darkness? A 1st-level D&D convention delve with characters provided. Play as often as you like and earn tokens that can be redeemed for prizes!Length: 1 hour per adventure

Some D&D Experience Recommended

Event Runs Description
Playtest Special:
D&D Next
Friday 7 pm Join in a public playtest of the next iteration of the Dungeons & Dragonsgame at PAX East. Play in an adventure with characters provided, and give us your feedback to help guide the future of the D&D game! Players of any editions of the game are welcome to participate. All participants are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.Length: 4 hours
D&D DM’s Challenge:
The Elemental Chaos
Saturday 7 pm What stirs in realms beyond the world awakens, and adventurers are needed to combat the agents of chaos and destruction! The DM’s Challenge is a special one-time event running only at PAX Prime. DMs bring their best and most dangerous 7th-level Elemental Chaos-themed adventures for you to conquer; rate your play experience to determine the best adventure of the evening! 7th-level characters are provided.Length: 4 hours
Lords of Waterdeep Tournament Sunday 11 am Come try out the newest offering in the D&D board game line with Lords of Waterdeep! This Euro-style resource game casts the players as the Masked Lords of Waterdeep, each recruiting adventurers to complete various quests and achieve their own ends. The tournament consists of a 2-hour entry round, with each table’s winner advancing to a 2-hour final round to determine the PAX East champion! Winner and finalists receive prizes. 4 hours total for players reaching the final round.Length: 2 hours/round

Ask the Dungeon Master

Friday 4/6, 6 pm – 7 pm – Wyvern Theatre

Being a great Dungeon Master requires a variety of skills. Part referee, part storyteller, and part actor; the art of the Dungeon Master is in combining these talents to become a superhuman, D&D-propelling package. Join D&D staff members Mike Mearls, Chris Lindsay, and Chris Youngs as they discuss various tips and tricks to bring the best adventure to your players, as well as ways to make them equal participants in the story. A Q&A session will follow the panel discussion.

The Future of Dungeons & Dragons

Saturday 4/7 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm – Wyvern Theatre

The next iteration of Dungeons & Dragons is on its way! Join D&D Senior Manager Mike Mearls in a Q&A about the next D&D, and how the open playtest is using fan feedback to help shape the future of the game.

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The Latest on D&D 5e

Penny Arcade - The Way Forward

There are two new sources of information that we can all dissect with a microscope: Rule of Three and Legends and Lore. Wizards is eager to show everyone that this is going to be a new and bright era for D&D and not a closed-room creation. Rodney Thompson in Rule of Three stressed the input of players for the development of 5e, something that I think all players are concerned with. “Sure they say they want to hear from players but they’ve probably already written most of it.” According to the article, though, “[i]t is no exaggeration when I write that your opinion and feedback is one of the most important parts of the process. One of the central goals of the next iteration of D&D is to provide a game that does what you (the players and DMs) want it to do, and in order for us to meet that goal, we need to know from you directly what you want it to do.”

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D&D 5e: What Do We Know So Far?

Now that we’ve all succeeded on our save vs. shocking news, let’s examine today’s Big Announcement and study what we know. We’ll learn a lot more in the coming days and weeks, but let’s make a first stop of many and roll Perception to see if there’s any hints at what to expect. Until the playtest phase rolls around (and we’ve been assured it will), we’ll have to make do with gossip and terrible, wonderful speculation.

The future of D&D?

First off, we don’t even know what it’s going to be called. The Internet has erupted in 5th Edition fever, but if you look at the WotC press releases, they carefully call it the next iteration of D&D, or the future of the game, or the new rules. The closest you might find to an “official” name so far is “D&D Next.” Press who visited WotC in December learned the code name used by WotC R&D for the rules document, but have been asked not to reveal it. (It begins with an “I,” though. 4th Edition was codenamed Orcus during development, so maybe Iggwilv? Ioun? Imix? Io? My money’s on Iuz.)

In fact, Mike Mearls pretty much put it down when he said “Most people will think of this as the fifth edition of D&D. In many ways, though, we want this to be a version of the game that embraces the entirety of D&D’s history, one that all D&D fans can turn to and use. I think that the actual naming of the game will come down to how the play-tests go and how people react to it. I’d love to just call it Dungeons & Dragons and leave the edition numbering behind” (CNN).

A sigh of relief can be followed by a *huh?* of confusion at the news that Mearls hopes “to create a system that allows players to use much of their existing content, regardless of the edition” (The Escapist). Whatever that means, he seems to be saying that the game will accommodate content from throughout D&D history, at least in part. But how? What does it mean? A magic formula for turning 2e monsters into 5e statblocks? Unlikely. An extremely stripped-down ruleset that doesn’t use most of the rules trappings that each edition of D&D has employed? Undesirable. A pipe dream that cannot be followed through upon? Unknowable.

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The End is Nigh! Reroll Your Sins!

5th Edition Announcement

Well, there has been plenty of speculation about a new edition of D&D since the gameplay polls began to appear in Legends and Lore articles. Here at Castles & Cooks, we’ve been commenting for awhile about the phenomenon and it’s becoming increasingly clear that these polls are quite pointed and probably point to an impending shake-up in the world of D&D. Last week when the expected Legends and Lore article didn’t show up on Monday, Patrick and I talked about what it could mean and whether we should be expecting something like the 3.5e revamp or a completely new edition. I told Patrick to brace himself because it was sure to be a new edition, that Essentials patched some things up but that it had so much blowback from the community they might as well make a new edition if they were going to do anything.

I should have taken my own advice.

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One-Hour Review: Book of Vile Darkness

Book of Vile Darkness

The Book of Vile Darkness through the editions has been many things. At its best, it is a strong source of inspiration for DMs who want to include some frightening elements into their campaigns. It can also be an inspiration to players who want to have their characters be a little darker or who would rather play an evil party and scour the land rather than save it. While the Dungeons & Dragons line rarely achieves the depths of depravity that gaming lines like White Wolf’s Vampire games or Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu, it is every bit as dark as the epic Midnight setting. The various Books of Vile Darkness have been a must-have for anyone hoping to strike terror into the normally cavalier D&D player’s heart. At the same time, the Book of Vile Darkness has historically also been an excuse to run depraved characters without consequence or thought to roleplaying. There are excellent examples of evil campaigns out there but in my experience they easily get out of control.

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Latest Legends and Lore: Cause for Concern?

Levers of Doom

If you don’t follow the Legends and Lore articles on Wizards of the Coast (and you missed Patrick’s post a month ago), you might not be aware of two important developments for Dungeons & Dragons. The first is that Monte Cook, a name with a lot of caché among those who played AD&D the game’s second edition, is once again on the Wizards of the Coast payroll to “explore options” for the company’s R&D department and to take over the Legends and Lore series on game philosophy and meta-design. He took over the job from Mike Mearls (a name probably more familiar to younger players) and with his debut article said that there were big parts of the game that he didn’t like.

This leads to the second important development: the community is abuzz with talk of Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. There has been no official word from Wizards that this is on the horizon, but from the tone of article series like Legends and Lore it seems like it could be really soon. I hope that most of our readers are familiar with this possibility and have seen other musings on it so I won’t bore you with more. If it is coming, the mission of Legends and Lore to hearken back to the game’s original core is a good idea. However, the latest article by Monte Cook leaves a lot to be desired.

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One-Hour Review: Heroes of the Feywild

Heroes of the Feywild

You may have noticed from previous posts, but Patrick and I have been especially looking forward to the release of Heroes of the Feywild this month. I’m a big fan of “faerie tales gone wrong” (or right, if you’ve ever read the original Brothers Grimm) and I’ve gotten into everything from Hellboy and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell to the Grimm RPG and Changeling (The Dreaming and The Lost near-equally). If you want a really twisted faerie tale classic, though, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are wild inspiration for campaign writing.

All that said, I’m a little worried before opening this book that things will seem campy and half-formed. I’ve been impressed with most of the excerpts (check out the link above for the collection), surprised by the mechanics of the pixie, inspired by the new build for the witch, and generally pushed towards an optimistic viewpoint. There’s farce, to be sure, but there’s still enough threat intimated in the excerpts to convince me I can still drive characters insane down the long road past the Catepillar’s mushroom, within sight of Hurtfew Abbey, and winding up at the Goblin Market for an ambush. Looking at pictures of pixies and feathered dragons it may all seem like Woodstock with longswords, but I’m willing to bet there’s solid substance in here… Which is why I but it early!

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At-Will Says Farewell

At-Will: Inspired 4e Design

A few days ago Quinn over at At-Will made a sad farewell post informing his vast readership that the blog would be shutting down, and explaining his reasons. I’ve been a regular follower of At-Will since the beginning, and if you aren’t familiar with the excellent work that this blog has done on D&D design, I’ll let you know that this is a huge loss to the D&D blogging community. Quinn Murphy (aka gamefiend) was one of the first big bloggers of 4th Edition, and since he started At-Will back in 2008, he has consistently written insightful and creative pieces on more effective DMing, more interesting characters, smarter combat strategies, and overall better gaming.

Even more sad is the news that At-Will’s demise is largely due to the pressures of combatting the quarrelsome and fractious nature of the D&D community. A little bit of nerdrage is to be expected whenever gamers gather to discuss the finer arts of polyhedron-throwing, but it’s a tragic day when the community is so vicious that they drive a great gaming resource like At-Will into self-imposed exile.

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Heroes of the Feywild Preview: Pixie and Witch

Heroes of the Feywild Cover

Releases November 15, 2011

Friday’s October: In the Works article gave us our best look yet at some of the new content in Player’s Option: Heroes of the Feywild. This book has had D&D fans wondering ever since the first juicy details were announced months ago. A race smaller than Small? A class that switches between multiple roles? New mystery builds? A playable werewolf? There’s some good stuff in here to chew on. Let’s take a look.

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One-Hour Review: Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium

Wow, it’s been months since Castles & Cooks has done an official One-Hour Review of a D&D product. In fact, it’s been a slow summer for new D&D books in general. It feels good to delve into a new tome of geekery again, but there’s not a moment to spare on savoring the Christmas morning effect. Time to start reviewing my first impressions of D&D’s newest book of magic items: Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium!

What took WotC so long to update the potion of gaseous form to 4th Edition?

The first thing to admire is the cover art by William O’Connor. It shows a table surface covered in magical trinkets. Rings are sorted into a box, and your eyes wander over an assortment of talismans, scepters, wands, coins, and potions, with labels tantalizingly illegible. You can even spy some even more intriguing mysteries: is that a figurine of wondrous power? And a flying carpet (along with a magic lamp)? Some kind of magic snow globe? And a pile of cards that must be the fabled Deck of Many Things. That is, unless Mordenkainen is into the secondhand Yu-Gi-Oh market (uncharacteristically foolish of Mortie, as that investment isn’t worth much these days).

The book opens with an introduction by Mordenkainen himself, and the first-person descriptions continue at the start of each chapter and in snide commentary sprinkled throughout the pages. I enjoy these “found footage” style touches in an RPG product. Some of the greatest RPG books have done the same: The Factol’s Manifesto, The Book of Vile Darkness, The Demonomicon of Iggwilv, and plenty of White Wolf books. I don’t have time to read the whole thing just yet if I want to get through this review, so for now let’s dive in.

The book’s magic item descriptions open with a promise that this book will “make magic items more magical” by focusing first on their story elements (history, appearance, folklore), and then deriving its rules from there. I loved Paizo’s “Classic X Revisited” books (including “Classic Treasures Revisited”) so this is welcome in my opinion. In MME, this is mostly accomplished through footnotes by Mordenkainen describing his own brushes with these items, as well as a paragraph or two of descriptive text before each stat block.

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