D&D finally gets Lord of the Rings

This is slightly old news, but I’m sharing it anyway, damnit! Cubicle 7, the fine folks behind the Doctor Who RPG and the very cool Lord of the Rings RPG called the One Ring are now making a D&D 5th edition version of Tolkein’s setting that started it all. The book should be out this summer, and I’m looking forward to seeing it!

You can read the Escapist article about it here.

Magic: The Gathering comes to D&D

The ever-wonderful Critical Hits is reporting that the setting of Magic: The Gathering, Zendikar, has come to D&D via a free PDF. What’s more, WotC is running a survey to gauge interest in a paid book for the setting as well.

Read more on Critical Hits. And/or get the PDF here.

Curse of Strahd is almost here

If you have been following any 5e news as of late it’s all been about Ravenloft’s return and Curse of Strahd. It’s set to release March 15th. I for one have mixed feelings on all of this. I am a huge Ravenloft fan and glad to see it’s return and while it’s got the original authors helping out with this grand adventure I cannot help but feel I wanted something more in the way of a fresh setting book on at least the core. On the other hand I also can’t complain having most of the Ravenloft releases throughout the years. I’m just glad to see it back but hope that we get more of the demiplane of dread.

D&D 5th Edition is Here!! How are you enjoying it?

5th Edition is finally out now and you may have had some opportunity to hop right in and get down to playing some games. If so I would like to know how you are all enjoying it thus far. From what I can see on message boards we seem to have a resounding success on our hands here.

I have ogled at it for a few days now but we already had glimpses of what was coming through all the play testing. I must say though that the edition has a very old vibe to it which is great. The system itself is just plain familiar. Definite elements from 2nd and 3rd editions that wiff of nostalgia and while to some that may not be a good thing I would beg to differ.

I don’t think it can be refuted that D&D heavily segmented the market with 4th edition more so then any previous edition. It drew a line and many people didn’t want to cross. I myself felt it was a bit too… video gamey. I literally felt at times I was playing an MMO like World of Warcraft and spamming actions rather then role playing.

While I haven’t cleared the book in it’s entirety yet I must say one thing though that stands out to me as a long time fan of all things Dungeons & Dragons and that is how inclusive this edition is. I am not talking just mechanics but the way the book is written.

Every edition was written with a default setting in mind, that being Greyhawk however now suddenly the Forgotten Realms is now holding that spot. Reading the book however you have quotes from Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk. You have also races that are detailed for these various campaign settings. While I have a feeling they are holding back to elaborate more class specific material till they do a source book for that setting in the future I cannot help but simply feel included.

What drove me nuts about 3rd and 4th editions is that they dropped almost all their settings. Licensed the rest out for 3rd edition but then removed those licenses and made everyone suffer for 4th. Myself being a fan of Ravenloft felt very left in the dark and while 4th Ed had it’s Ravenloft flavored books it was never Ravenloft. It was almost forbidden to even mention it’s existence. The same went for the other campaign settings.

I get the feeling though and I hope, just hope, that they do follow through and release source books for all the settings. I get why they do the class books, the spell books and all that jazz. I also know that not all settings are popular like say Greyhawk or The Realms but it would be nice to just have a book to say, here is some fun specific stuff for you, here is some new information, now play!

Even my wife is wanting in on 5th edition and I plan on running a Greyhawk game for her. To me this edition has already won me over. Once I play with the rest of the guys and get my own game going I will update with more thoughts on how it all works. Stay tuned!

D&D Next Release Details

After an exhaustive public playtest, the time is nearly upon us! The new edition of D&D,  simply titled Dungeons and Dragons, is hitting shelves this summer into fall. The folks over at Dread Gazebo put together a great little synopsis of what that’s going to look like and when it’ll arrive.  It’ll start with the Starter Set in July, followed by the Player’s Handbook in August (some of which will be available at GenCon), then the Monster Manual in September, and finally the Dungeon Master’s Guide in November.

The books look really slick and while I’ve personally moved on to running a variety of other RPGs for the past number of years since D&D 4e’s release, I’m excited to see what the final product looks like and perhaps get a game started.

Click the link to get more details and see the fancy new covers:

Everything To Know About Upcoming D&D 5e Releases


Happy 40th, D&D

D&D is 40 today. The venerable granddaddy of RPGs means a lot to our hobby, whether we’re all willing to admit it or not. While D&D might no longer scratch that particular itch for you, it’s hard to not pay some respect to the game that started it all.

I got my start back in the early nineties when I was in grade 5. I was invited over to a classmate’s house to play D&D. It was AD&D 1st Edition, DMed by my classmate’s mother. I had a wizard named Lancelot who wasn’t afraid of doing battle with skeletons in U1: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh and I was HOOKED after that. I quickly went to creating my own version of D&D without any books to draw from. The utterly gonzo games we had in our early day didn’t really change much with the addition of actual rules, either. A teacher of a friend’s brother graciously provided us with a copy of the old D&D Red Box. We played Basic for awhile, but it wasn’t too long before we all got AD&D 2nd Edition and began playing that. The rest, as they say, is history.

We haven’t been playing D&D proper for awhile now, having grown tired of 4th edition, but D&D still has a strong place in all our hearts, and we hope to see the new edition rekindle that spark.

Below, I’ve included a roundup of celebration from around the net today.

Wizards of the Coast posted the great anecdote  from Ed Greenwood  embedded above, and another from Troy Denning.

Here’s a GREAT bunch of anecdotes and memories on the Kobold Press site from key people in the life of D&D. The list includes David “Zeb” Cook, Jeff Grubb, Colin McComb, Bruce Cordell, Margaret Weis, Robert Schwalb, and Wade Rockett.

Monte Cook talks about what D&D means to him on his blog here.

Matt Forbeck talks about his beginnings with the game here.

EDIT: Here’s a couple more:

Salon has a great article about D&D here.

New York Magazine has a nice little article about D&D as well.

Happy Birthday, D&D!

7 things D&D teaches about storytelling

This is an interesting little article about the 7 things that D&D can teach you about storytelling. Even outside of just being a storyteller, the list is very useful for understanding what makes a good game or character.

1: Characters are more interesting when they’re flawed.

Like most D&D nerds, I cheated when I started playing. I fudged rolls. I had a character with three stats at 18 (the maximum), which I later calculated had a roughly 1 in 40,000 chance of happening without the aforementioned cheating. When I bought a character generator for my computer, though, I “accidentally” made a character named Crystal.

Crystal was in most ways an unexceptional person: a bit charming and graceful in her way, but frail, less than bright, and lacking in common sense. Rather than following any traditional path, Crystal was a fighter wielding a quarterstaff—a fundamental tactical mistake, especially given that this was back in the days of 2nd-edition D&D (THAC0 for the win).

I loved playing that character. Part of it was the challenge, part of it was a protective feeling for my own frail character, but the major draw was something more significant. I came to realize: The best heroic journey is not the story of an incredible person doing incredible things. It is the story of a flawed, ordinary person who—when called upon—rises to an incredible challenge and finds within themselves something truly extraordinary.

Read the rest here.