Design & Development08/25/2006

The Final Vote!
You Craft the Creature

We're hoping this column becomes your window into roleplaying design and development—or at least the way we approach these things here at Wizards of the Coast. We'll handle a wide range of topics in weeks to come, from frank discussions about over- or underpowered material, to the design goals of a certain supplement, to what we think are the next big ideas for the Dungeons & Dragons game. All of this comes bundled with a healthy look at the people and events that are roleplaying R&D.

It’s been a long, strange road—but we’ve arrived, at long last, at the final vote in our You Craft the Creature feature. For those of you with us since the beginning, we appreciate your participation, from all the rounds of voting, to the submission of special abilities, to the submission of your written concepts. This is the creature you’ve created, and we hope you’re as excited as we are to see it appear in a future sourcebook.

But now, there’s still one more vote to take place. Below, you’ll find the three concept sketches our artists have generated for Codename: Baker, based on its written concepts and other selected details. So, the question before us—which one garners your vote for how Baker will look?

(Click on the images below for a larger view.)


Which is Baker's final art?
Baker 1
Baker 2
Baker 3

Unfinished Business

By now, Monster Manual IV has since released, and regrettably we never did provide the final set of answers for 06/23’s From Concept to Sketch article. As you might have guessed, the following sketches:

  1. Whitespawn Hunter (released as the Whitespawn Berserker)
  2. Concordant Killer
  3. Greenspawn Leaper
  4. Varag
  5. Zern Blade Thrall
  6. Howler Wasp

Finished art for these, and other Monster Manual IV creatures, can now be viewed in our Art Galleries.

Humor at the Gaming Table

It’s been awhile, so while we wait for your votes to come in, we wanted to share the following tales of mayhem, laughter, and mirth.

The Best Laid Plans
Our DM had taken much careful time and effort creating this vast and evolving world for his campaign. We were simply there for a quick adventure, so the DM set us up to enter the tavern to hear a rumor and go on a little quest. The party’s chaotic (and always leaning a little to the evil side) barbarian decided he had other plans. After getting into an argument with the bartender, he haphazardly attacked him.

As it turned out, the bartender had a surprisingly high AC and the barbarian did nothing. Now, my rogue's character sheet said chaotic neutral, but my heart screamed chaotic good so I didn't really feel like killing anyone; still, I also could see this getting ugly, so I snuck around, flanked and sneak attacked the bartender, killing him.

There was a riot.

Within no more than twenty minutes, one of the largest cities in the DM's complex and prodigious world burned to the ground.

The Worst Laid Plans… Same Result
Recently, I had one of the most memorable evenings of gaming I have ever had (and I started gaming back in the 1980’s). All of this was accomplished by a small group of 6th level characters, and without significant or powerful magic.

Our adventuring group had been the target of numerous orchestrated attacks. When we finally uncovered who was responsible for sending out the assassins, we went to deliver a retributive strike against the local thieves guild. This was almost certain to be a suicide mission.

A typical enough plot element, we bribed some teamsters to pack our characters into crates, and got ourselves smuggled deep into the fortified compound. Once inside, we proceeded to dish out retribution against any bad guy we could find.

Our party’s monk spread out in search of the guild leader, and eventually did locate him by dropping onto a balcony. The monk was confronted by seemingly insurmountable odds, and hopelessly outnumbered.

Through sheer dumb luck and brazenness, in one surprise round, the monk managed to grapple the guild’s Master Thief, spring off the balcony with him, and fall to the courtyard 40 feet below… plopping the bad guy right at the feet of the rest of the party. The monk even managed to cushion the fall by wrestling in mid-air so that the bad guy was on the bottom. Needless to say, this was a battle changing move. By the time we departed, the house was a smoldering ruin.
--Joey Dogs

Be Careful What You… Well, You Know the Rest
I was DMing an epic campaign in the Forgotten Realms. The PCs were called upon to help defend the land against the green dragons in the Dragon Forest wreaking havoc. The culmination of the battle had the PCs face an epic green dragon that was an even match for them. After doing well enough against the dragon (which they didn't actually realize), one of them had the bright idea to cast wish, and wish that the dragon was dead. This of course caused the party to flee from battle when the wish turned the epic dragon into an epic dracolich.

I’m Here! Kill Me, I’m Here!
I once played a house-rules race of sub-giant characters. The tenants of the race required nothing even resembling evil acts, so torture was a definite no-no, as was allowing torture to go on.

When I was generating the character, I considered the rest of the party and determined that if my character didn't become a very good interrogator himself, torture would come to the minds of about half of the characters. My character therefore took a very disturbing, but completely non-evil, image. He wore a full giant’s skull as a helm, plus many different types of skulls hanging off his belt, around his neck, etc.

My sub-giant’s interview method was to just watch the prisoner be asked questions by other members of the party. When they didn't get the answers they wanted, they'd turn to my character and say, "You can have him, he's useless to us."

No prisoner held out very long after my character silently started feeling along the contours of their skull. Perhaps a little outside of tenants of "good", but definitely not evil.

If It Looks Like a Kobold…
Our 1st level party was pinned down in a dark cavern by a group of kobolds led by a particularly stupid male named M'dok. Finally recognizing that diplomacy might be a better tactic against the "dog-men" above us, our party inquired with whom they were speaking.

Taking on the character of a semi-intelligent kobold I answered: "I, M'dok."

My group looked at each other puzzled.

"We just want to know your name."

"I, M'dok! I, M'dok" I screamed angrily.

"Alright, alright! You're a duck!"
--David Spirit Doctor

Overheard at the Gaming Table

"We charge in the room as quietly as possible!"

PC#1: "The orcs are revolting!"
PC#2: "You said it!"

PC#1 to PC#3: "Sorry we had to kill and raise you, we couldn't afford the entrance fees."

"Give us some box text unless it takes a round."

Party cleric: "I don't have malpractice insurance," (after rolling a 1 on a Heal check).

"Strangely enough, the gnome bard is more intimidating than the wood elf with a knife at the guy's throat."

"She's semi-attractive for a half-orc", said the dwarf.

DM: "You hear laughing."
PC: "What language?"

PC #1: "Well a druid can make a jackass out of himself at 5th level."
PC#2: "Hah! I can do that a first level with a keg of ale."

NPC highwayman, "That'll be a 25 gp road safety tax."
PC: "25 gp?! That's highway robbery!"
NPC: "Yes, it is."

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