After yesterday’s reveal of Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, I can’t wait to see what gets shown off today!
To see all of the Dark Ascension cards spoiled so far, check out our Visual Spoiler!
From the mothership…
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.
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Monte Cook is back on Team D&D! As an RPG designer with untouchable design credentials (Planescape, Ptolus, Iron Heroes, Arcana Unearthed, co-designing D&D 3rd Edition, and launching the career of Mike Mearls), he has been brought onboard to experiment with new approaches to D&D topics. His first target is skills, but there has been a mixed reaction. Who knew 4th Edition’s skill system had such loyal defenders? I certainly didn’t. You can debate the merits of his specific proposals, but I’m overall baffled by the gamers who say Monte Cook shouldn’t try to fix the skills system because there’s nothing to fix. I’m waiting to see what comes of Cook’s tinkering, but I was hoping for a little more substance right out of the gate. Regardless I’m definitely itching for something better than 4th Edition’s core skills system.Read More
Sadly, Tom’s heartfelt plea from a few weeks ago has fallen on deaf ears: D&D video games continue to march along.
In the latest development, the tie-in for the new Neverwinter campaign setting for D&D (focusing on the eponymous Forgotten Realms city, itself the setting for a few well-known video games) had been delayed for some time. A casual Facebook game, Heroes of Neverwinter, was snagged just before release by a lawsuit between Wizards of the Coast and Atari that started back in 2009. It looks like the dispute has been settled in court, so you can look forward to your News Feeds being filled with your gamer friends’ Heroes of Neverwinter posts: “Patrick just found a baby umber hulk in Dungeonville!”
I’m not really sold on Heroes of Neverwinter. I don’t play Facebook games, and I don’t usually care much for Forgotten Realms anyway. Dice Monkey, though, posted a positive review of HoN recently, including a link to the beta.
The other D&D game in development, some kind of PC title also set in Neverwinter. It was also going to come out this year, but it looks like, in all the fray, that game is going back to the drawing board. Will it be the elusive D&D video game that finally restores Tom’s faith in the concept of such a thing? Probably not, but we’ll have to wait and see. (Tom’s note: hell no).Read More
Lovers of Avatar: The Last Airbender rejoice! The first description for The Elemental Hero’s Handbook has crept up online, at Borders.com. Here’s what we’ve learned:
Masters of fire and earth. Lords of air and water. This tome is the definitive sourcebook for creating and playing characters with ties to the Elemental Chaos and the primordial beings that dwell there. It shows how the elements can influence heroes of the natural world and presents elemental-themed character options for players.
In addition to discussing elemental power and presenting new character themes with strong story hooks, this book includes three new class builds–the elementalist, the sha’ir, and the shugenja–and new feats and paragon paths designed to tie existing characters more closely to the Elemental Chaos.