There is No Spring Break at Wizards
It's the right time of year. It's even sunny around here -- some days. We've all been working really hard and could use the time off. And while it'd be nice to have the chance to go someplace extra warm to roll out my AD&D beach towel and enjoy the sun, there's no Spring Break on the calendar here at Wizards of the Coast. That's because there's just no stopping the unrelenting stream of game-making that goes on around here. We've got at least one rulebook (plus novels) coming out every month and a new miniatures product releasing every four months or so, plus we're planning all kinds of stuff to celebrate D&D's 30th Anniversary. (Don't miss Thursday night at Gen Con Indy!) So, even though we don't get a Spring Break here at Wizards, at least we do get to work on Dungeons & Dragons. If you want to take a peek at some of the things we've been working on (while some of you are off at the beach, mountains, living room couch, or gaming table for a week of well deserved R&R), you're in the right place.
Check it out:
- Player's Guide to Faerūn -- 192-page compilation of Forgotten Realms character-building material, updated to D&D v.3.5, including 1st and 2nd Edition favorites (hardcover)
- Archfiends Expansion Packs -- The third D&D Miniatures expansion, featuring 60 new minis
- Homeland -- Forgotten Realms Legend of Drizzt series, Book One (first in a series of deluxe, annotated hardcovers of all of the Drizzt books by R.A. Salvatore)
- Venom's Taste -- Forgotten Realms House of the Serpents trilogy, Book One (paperback)
- A Dawn of Dragons -- Dragonlance Young Readers (Chronicles Volume Three, Part 2) (paperback)
- Time of the Twins -- Dragonlance Legends trilogy, Volume One (first time in hardcover)
- Expanded Psionics Handbook -- 224-page D&D hardcover with completely updated rules and an entirely new psionics system
- D&D Map Folio I -- Pocket folder with 32 one-page, full color maps originally created for the Map-A-Week web feature
- The Rage -- Forgotten Realms The Year of Rogue Dragons trilogy, Book One (paperback)
- Windwalker -- Forgotten Realms Starlight & Shadows trilogy, Book Three (first time in paperback)
- Stormblade -- Dragonlance Heroes series, Volume Two (paperback, new cover)
- Tides of Blood -- Dragonlance Minotaur Wars trilogy, Volume Two (hardcover)
- Dungeons & Dragons Dice -- A full set of polyhedrals (d4, d6, d8, d10, d%, d12, & d20) nestled in a velvet dicebag with the D&D logo
- Complete Divine: A Player's Guide to Divine Magic for All Classes -- A 192-page D&D hardcover for divinely inspired and empowered characters of every class, including material for heroes with an interest in gaining the favor of the gods and other divine powers
- Elminster's Daughter -- Forgotten Realms, the latest book in Ed Greenwood's Elminster series (hardcover)
- Condemnation -- Forgotten Realms R.A. Salvatore's War of the Spider Queen series, Book Three -- the New York Times bestselling book by Richard Baker (first time in paperback)
- Temple of the Dragonslayer -- Dragonlance House of the Serpents trilogy, Book One (paperback)
- The Search for Power: Dragons from the War of Souls -- Dragonlance, newest anthology of stories focused on the dragons of Krynn in the era following the War of Souls, with introduction by Margaret Weis (paperback)
- Weasel's Luck -- Dragonlance: The New Adventures series, Volume One -- an all-new Young Readers series (paperback)
- Eberron Campaign Setting -- 288-page D&D hardcover; the exciting, new campaign setting that offers an entire world of action-packed, intrigue-laced adventure
- Giants of Legend Huge Packs -- The fourth D&D Miniatures expansion, featuring 72 new minis, including 12 Huge miniatures (Wait 'til you see these things!)
- Exile -- Forgotten Realms Legend of Drizzt series, Book Two (second in a deluxe, annotated hardcover series of all of the Drizzt books by R.A. Salvatore)
- Dawn of Night -- Forgotten Realms Erevis Cale trilogy, Book Two (paperback)
- The Lone Drow -- Forgotten Realms The Hunter's Blades trilogy, Book Two (first time in paperback)
- Prisoner of Haven -- Dragonlance The Age of Mortals series (paperback)
- War of the Twins -- Dragonlance Legends trilogy, Volume Two (first time in hardcover)
- Planar Handbook: A Player's Guide to the Planes -- 192-page D&D hardcover filled with new options and material that make planar travel accessible for any campaign -- a companion to Manual of the Planes
- Serpent Kingdoms -- 192-page Forgotten Realms hardcover that details various serpentine races throughout Faerūn, including yuan-ti, nagas, dragons, and various lizard races.
- Shadows of the Last War -- 32-page Eberron softcover; the first adventure for the new Eberron Campaign Setting; written by Keith Baker
- Annihilation -- Forgotten Realms R.A. Salvatore's War of the Spider Queen series, Book Five (hardcover)
- Lady of Poison -- Forgotten Realms The Priests series, Book One (paperback)
- The Dying Kingdom -- Dragonlance The New Adventures series, Volume Two, an all-new Young Readers series (paperback)
- Wizards Conclave -- Dragonlance The Age of Mortals series (paperback)
- Kaz the Minotaur -- Dragonlance Heroes series, Volume Four (paperback with all-new cover)
April: Expanded Psionics Handbook
The Expanded Psionics Handbook is a 224-page D&D hardcover with completely updated rules, an entirely new psionics power system, and a whole lot more. Back in February, you got the back cover copy, the half-giant racial entry, and the wilder class. Last month, I gave you a glimpse at the section of the book that deals with how to introduce psionics into your game.
This month, you can find the Expanded Psionics Handbook on the shelves of your favorite hobby shop or bookstore. Go pick it up, flip through it, and see for yourself what this amazing sourcebook has to offer you and your D&D campaign.
May: Dungeons & Dragons Dice
If you need new dice, just want new dice, or have a friend that's getting started with D&D (whether he or she knows it yet or not), this is a good way to go. Just add a Player's Handbook and you're set. Here's what you get:
Contains a complete set of dice for use in the Dungeons & Dragons game:
- One 4-sided die
- Four 6-sided dice
- One 8-sided die
- One 10-sided die
- One percentile die
- One 12-sided die
- One 20-sided die
Also includes a cloth dice bag embroidered with the D&D 30th Anniversary logo.
Here's something interesting: The d10 included in the bag has a new design numbered 1 to 10 instead of 0 to 9. Whe rolled along with the percentile die (numbered 00 to 90), the result can be obtained by simply adding the two numbers together. It's a small change, but it makes a big difference for players new to the game because they don't have to figure out how to read a d% roll: It's like any other roll of the dice -- you just add them up.
The bag is a collector's item. You can never have too many dice. And it makes a good gift for someone you're introducing to the greatest fantasy roleplaying game of all time.
May: Complete Divine: A Player's Guide to Divine Magic for All Classes
Complete Divine: A Player's Guide to Divine Magic for All Classes is the second installation in a new series of accessories that focuses on specific elements of the Dungeons & Dragons game in order to provide rules, guidelines, suggestions, mechanics, and other material that every character and DM can use.
Complete Divine is a160-page hardcover filled with everything you need to create divinely inspired characters of any class. You'll find three new divinely powered character classes, something like two dozen prestige classes (many of which will make excellent bad guys), a pile of feats (including some that make use of a new faith-based variant rules system), new domains and spells, and new magic items (introducing "relics" as powerful new magic items powered by the strength of a character's connection to the divine.) The book also provides information about how characters who worship the deities of the core D&D pantheon behave -- from the prayers they chant to the quests they undertake. Along with dozens of new deities from the Living Greyhawk campaign, the book also offers details about the afterlife in the D&D game and guidelines for incorporating religion -- from mysterious cults to powerful theocracies -- into your campaign.
Last month, I gave you a look at the back cover copy. This month, I thought I'd give you a peek inside -- starting with a prestige class that appeals to players and Dungeon Masters alike: the Pious Templar.
Reading through this book, I instantly became a fan of the "Mettle" special ability -- it's like Evasion, but works for Will and Fort saves. Imagine trying to take down a pious templar of Olidammara with at least three rogue levels (or worse: a pious templar with monk levels) -- spells and other saving throw-inducing attacks are going to have a tough time having any effect. As much fun as it would be to play one of these guys, I think it'd be even more fun to build an evil temple filled with them. Toss in the extra few levels to get the Smite ability and a little Damage Reduction going, and you've got some tough customers defending the local evil temple against the heroes of your campaign.
Speaking of evil temples, if you have need of a quick map and/or encounter information for one (or a good temple for that matter), you're in luck. Scattered throughout Complete Divine are maps like this one that offer quick and easy reference for running an encounter of any kind in a church, temple, or shrine.
Crypt Shrine of Vecna
Each map, like this one of the Crypt Shrine of Vecna, comes with notes on what kind of characters (and creatures) your PCs might run into, along with the kind of treasure they've got lying around. Whether you need a location for a combat encounter, a little information-gathering, service procurement (like a raise dead), or just an interesting place to explore and/or hole up for the night, this map and the others you'll find elsewhere in the book will serve you well.
One other excerpt I thought I'd toss in here is a handful of the feats you'll find inside the book. As you might expect, clerics, druids, and paladins are going to benefit the most from the stuff you'll find inside the book (since they have class abilities that meet the prerequisites for most of the feats). There is, however, stuff in there for characters of other classes who may not have chosen a divine vocation, but who are devout nonetheless. The Arcane Disciple feat, for example, requires arcane spellcasting ability, while the True Believer feat (necessary to become a pious templar) is open to any character dedicated to the worship of a single deity.
This is the third book in R.A. Salvatore's War of the Spider Queen series -- the New York Times bestselling book written by Richard Baker -- finally in paperback. So, if you've actually managed to hold off reading this story long enough for it go softcover, your wait is nearly over. If you want a little information about Condemnation and the War of the Spider Queen series, check out the April 2003 installation of Previews. (The Condemnation stuff is about halfway down the page.)
May: Temple of the Dragonslayer
Temple of the Dragonslayer by Tim Waggoner is the first book in the all-new "Dragonlance: The New Adventures" Young Readers series. Written for readers ages 10 and up, the new series is a great way to introduce younger fans to the world of Dragonlance and fantasy fiction.
June: Eberron Campaign Setting
You've still got two months to go before you get the chance to take a look at the Eberron Campaign Setting. But while you're waiting for the chance to find out if Eberron is going to be the setting for your next campaign or a source of inspiration and material for your ongoing campaign, a couple different sources of information lend insight into the setting and offer a look at some of the stuff that's in the book.
Dragon Magazine -- Countdown to the Eberron Campaign Setting
If you want the sense that you've already got a chunk of the book in your hands, just pick up Dragon Magazine (issues #315-320) and check out the "Countdown to the Eberron Campaign Setting"articles. It's a six-part series that introduces you to various aspects of the new D&D campaign setting.
Flip through Dragon Magazine #319 to check out this month's article, which explores a few different aspects of the magic that pervades the entire world of Eberron. It includes an assortment of new spells and clerical domains, and a look at one of the more interesting and dangerous creatures spawned by the Last War -- the living spell.
Gearing Up for Eberron web feature
Just click over to the Eberron page, and take a look at the fifth article in a seven-part web feature series that's a counterpart to the "Countdown" magazine series. This month's "Gearing Up for Eberron" offers a look at one of the campaign setting's new races -- the psionically talented kalashtar -- as well as a glimpse at a sinister organization of psionic spies and assassins known as the Dreaming Dark.
Between the "Gearing Up" and the "Countdown" articles, you should have enough information and insight to keep you sated for at least another month.
June:Giants of Legend Huge Packs
Giants of Legend is the fourth D&D Miniatures expansion, featuring 72 new minis. Sixty of the miniatures are "normal" minis similar in size to the ones you've become accustomed to (Small, Medium, and Large.) Twelve of the minis are Huge. And I do mean huge -- wait 'til you see these things. (Check out that illustration on page 150 in the Player's Handbook and compare what a size category Huge creature looks like when measured up against a Large critter.) I can't give any details about what you can expect to see in that precious dozen (or the other sixty, for that matter), but I can say that you'll be stunned by how big those guys are. Every Huge pack will come with eight "normal"-sized minis and one Huge mini. There are two rarity levels for the Huge minis (split six and six). I've been anxious about every expansion we've had so far, but I have to say that this one is really something to look forward to. I'll try as hard as I can to get some images for you folks to take a look at next month. Until then, drag out an Ogre from your Harbinger collection and imagine what it'll be like when you can reenact that illustration from page 150 in real life.
June: DragonMagazine #320
I don't quite know everything you'll find inside Dragon 320 (the "30 Years of D&D" issue), but in addition to the final "Countdown to Eberron"installment, you'll also find a lengthy article about the past 30 years of Dungeons & Dragons. You'll find a quick run-down of the significant events, products, and innovations associated with the game in five-year segments. The article also includes several sidebars contributed by just a few of the people who have played important roles in D&D's history, along with a few of the more interesting non-gaming products that have featured the D&D name (like candy, dominoes, and a beach towel). In addition, you'll get your first look at the new Dungeons & Dragons Basic Game and a little peek at the 352-page coffee table book that's coming out this fall: Thirty Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons.
In Stores Now: D&D Fantasy Art Series Puzzles
These things kinda slipped under my radar, 'cause they were produced through Hasbro's puzzle-making folks. They're 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles (seven of them) featuring classic D&D artwork by Jeff Easley, Larry Elmore, and Keith Parkinson.
We've got a few of them scattered around the office being put together at varying paces, and they're really nice, challenging puzzles. (The kitchen in my office building has the one with the art from the AD&D 2nd Edition Dungeon Master's Guide. I think they're being sold only in Target stores, if you want to check them out.
There it is.
About the Author
Mat Smith is a copywriter who's been playing roleplaying games for a disturbing number of years, and now gets to spend an astonishing amount of time thinking about clever ways to get more people to do the same.