News Archive #25
News from August 2001:
|Site Closing --
Eric Out of Town: I'm out of town through the end of this
weekend. Morrus and Liquide will hang up the "closed" sign here and on
the forums if the forum transfer is completed while I'm gone. I'll be
sure to stop in at the new forums and say howdy when I get back.
Claudio Pozas Art & Design
has arrived at its new home at EN World:
http://www.rpg-e.com/enworld/Pozas/. Be sure to update your bookmarks.
|Site Closing --
News Coverage Continues: EN World has posted more D&D
News, D20 News, and Community News over the past few days.
arrived at its new home at EN World:
http://www.rpg-e.com/enworld/Realmscrafters/. Be sure to update your
issue #2 is now available.
Forums: The transition
of the forums is now underway and going smoothly.
|Site Closing --
Transition Continues: EN World has posted many more parts
of my site -- the D&D Links page, a history of the site with links
to two years' worth of news archives, Product Schedule, all that good
Jamis Buck's RPG Generators
has arrived at its new home at EN World:
http://www.rpg-e.com/enworld/generators/. Be sure to update your
Asgard: Morrus informs
me that Asgard issue #2 will be out shortly, but with the move
it's not quite the number one priority at the moment.
Forums: The transition
of the forums has been held up a smidge by slow response from the
vendor of the UBB software. In the meantime, EN World has a poll going
about the new version of the forums -- keep my black color scheme, or
use EN World's "yellow" scheme? Vote if you have an opinion.
E-mail: My email@example.com address still works -- for
now. If you need to contact me after the site closes, you may do so at
my home address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Site Closing --
EN World Has the Scoops: Want to know what's happening with
the site closing, moving of my resources, the forums, and so forth?
Keep your eyes on EN World. So far, several of my resources are already
in place over there -- from my Combat Examples and AoO diagrams to the
Conversion Library to the Errata Center. More (nearly all) will follow
shortly. And three of the four hosted sites have announced they are
moving there as well -- the Creature Catalog has already made the move.
Morrus will keep you up-to-date.
EN World has actually posted its first D&D news scoops
regarding the Manual of the Planes and
official Psionics Handbook
Errata -- go check them out. And issue #2 of Asgard will
be released shortly.
Site Closing -- Updates:
Forums: Right on schedule, the forums are screwing up.
Looks like General RPG is having major troubles. I've turned off that
forum temporarily and created a Temporary General RPG forum for
discussion until we can figure out what's wrong.
Important: Morrus has copied all of the threads from the forums
for the move to EN World. This means anything posted after he did so
won't appear on the new version of the boards. Please hold off posting
anything really important until the new version appears at EN World.
Thanks :) Thanks so much for all the kind e-mails and
messages today. A special thank you to the folks on DND-L and rec.games.frp.dnd
-- I read your posts and I appreciate the support and the good wishes.
Whys and Wherefores: Because the forums are flaking out,
I've brought my "Whys and Wherefores" message over here:
First, sorry to leave you high and dry for several hours after dropping
I've been hearing some common questions so I thought I'd address the
ones I can.
The chief one is why? There's not "an answer." Imagine this -- you're
carrying around this really heavy load. Sometimes the load gets a
little lighter, but slightly more often the load gets heavier. So you
stagger around with it and do the best you can. The weird thing is,
because you have some sort of mental problem, you don't want anyone to
help you carry the load. You want to do it yourself, because of your
The site was like that. Except so much of it *wasn't* a burden -- it
was a joy. Over time, it slowly (little by little) became more of a
chore than a joy. Not by much. And there were many things that
lightened the load along the way.
Ultimately, I'm just tired. I need some rest. I need to figure out what
my life is for. For the past two years, my site has been
(for good and ill) my life. That's not balanced, and it's not healthy.
And because of my own mental quirks, it's either all or nothing with
me. I don't want an army of volunteer helpers, as wonderful as that
offer is. And I don't want to be just one cog in someone else's
machine, as terrific as that machine may be. That's just the kind of
guy I am.
So, to clarify, here are some reasons people have guessed at but are
*a WotC/OGL/D20 conspiracy. If anything the reaction from that side of
things has been so wonderful and supportive I couldn't have predicted
*a bandwidth/server issue. Yes, we all know that Gamespy's been a
little problematic when it came to our forums, but beyond that I've not
had troubles in that regard.
*a tragedy or other major life change in my life. Nope, we're all fine.
Thanks for the concern!
*no, I'm not getting some big job in the RPG field. I'm still working
as a librarian and teacher. In fact, it could be fair to say that the
wonderful success of the site over the past two years has left me
feeling "less than enthusiastic" about my work. I'm hoping that I'll be
able to focus more of my mental/spiritual energies into continuing to
be the best librarian and teacher I can be.
Here are answers that are part of a larger "truth":
* how I constantly think about the site day and night
* the feeling recently that I wasn't doing the site for the right
reasons. As many of you guessed or knew, I had an arrangement with
Gamespy regarding the site, and of late that arrangement is what has
kept me going through the bad times (rather than my passion for the
site or for D&D etc.).
So what happens now? I'm happy to say that plans are underway for much
of the site's content to be moved to a single location. I'm also happy
to say that it appears that the forums may (I emphasize *may*) be able
to be moved as is over to this same location. So in other words, part
of the site will live on, and very likely the forum community can
continue on as normal (or as "normal" as you freaks get).
So why not just hand off the site, whole, to someone else and let it
stay here at RPG Planet? That's a good question.
A website isn't like a piece of art -- you don't "get done with it" and
hang it on a wall. It's constantly growing, changing, and developing. I
take tremendous pride in what I have done here. The site is me, and I
am the site. It (I hope) oozes my personality and my passion for the
game. If I hand it over to someone else, whole, it's like one of those
weird "Tom Clancy Presents 'Net Force'" novels that aren't actually
written by Tom Clancy.
Another site will rise to fill in where I'm leaving off. Or maybe more
than one site. I know this because I know what passion is out there for
D&D and D20. There may be a period of adjustment, there may be some
battles for supremacy. But I know that there are others waiting to step
in and get their time in the sun.
That's the coolest thing about the Internet, the thing I loved right
away -- so many sites are labors of love. This one certainly was. But
it wasn't meant to last forever.
I am sad, but my heart is also light. I've had tremendous opportunities
and experiences over these two years, and I have memories I'll always
What happens to Eric now? I think for a while I'll try to get my life
back. See if I can remember what to do with "free time." But you might
see me around, on message boards or in chat rooms, or posting stuff on
my own site or on other sites. I look forward to seeing you out there.
This isn't the final good-bye -- there is still stuff to be sorted out.
I'm sure I'll run into you again very soon.
Important News -- Unofficial D&D Third Edition News to Close Its
Doors: I will be closing down the site within the next few
days. Several factors led me to this decision, and it's one that I make
with some regret. I have enjoyed the past two years immensely, and I
thank you for your patronage and support.
Thanks to all of you who have sent kind words tonight. :)
- The Creature Catalog, Jamis Buck's RPG Generators and Claudio Pozas Art & Design will be moving
to EN World.
- EN World will be archiving many of my site's
resources. I'll post more detailed information as I have it.
- EN World is looking into the possibility of hosting
"my forums" as they currently are, complete with the same
userids/passwords and all of the threads. Again, more information as I
- Atlas of Adventure has posted reviews of Akrasia: Thief of
Time and Wonders Out of Time (Eden Studios).
Master Tools News: Tidbits from the message boards...
- Ryan Dancey reiterates that only the initial Master Tools
product has gotten the official "go-ahead" for now.
Message Board Roundup:
- WotC's Rich Baker on Lords of Darkness: We're covering 7 major organizations in a
fair amount of detail (about 15-25 pages each), including the
Zhentarim, the Red Wizards, the Cult of the Dragon, the Church of
Cyric, the Shades, and the Night Masks. Each of these includes a mapped
site, lair, or stronghold of the group, plus (in some cases) a prestige
class appropriate to the group, NPC stats, and other goodies. We also
cover 17 minor organizations in less detail (about 2 to 8 pages each),
although many of those also feature a stronghold or bolthole, maybe a
prestige class, etc. The minor organizations include the Arcane
Brotherhood and Twisted Rune, among many others. Overall, the book
explores each group's history, goals, and methods in somewhat less
detail than Cloak & Dagger did. We chose to concentrate on
immediately game-useful material instead, although every organization
comes with a pretty thorough discussion of who they are and why they do
what they do. I'm real happy with the way it looks, and I think you'll
like it a lot. (Official Boards)
- WotC's Mark Jindra on a New Psionics Feature on the D&D
Website: After talking it over with our
production team, we have decided that we will soon launch a Psionics
feature on the website. The feature does not yet have a title, but we
have decided on the content for the feature. Starting sometime in
September ... each month we will take a look at something Psionic, you
will see things like New psionic powers, new monsters, artifacts and
items, as well as some mini adventures, and more... The "And More..."
part is where you guys come into the deal, We need people to send us
ideas for what they would like to see in this feature.... Send any
ideas to PsionicsFeature@hotmail.com.
- Scoopers: Ðãêdãlüš,
Corrections & Clarifications:
- Errata - Tome & Blood - Pale Master's
4th-Level Summon Undead Ability: The
reference to Pale Master levels [i.e. the sentence reading
"Levels of this prestige class count as caster levels for this
purpose."] is an error, just use the character's
caster level (which *will* include adjustments from some Pale Master
levels). [Skip Williams] (thanks to Jamie for the scoop)
- Clarification - Magic of Faerun -
Magic Armor and Weapon Special Abilities: In MAoF, there are two
abilities (Strength for armor, and Jumping for weapons) that do not
have their Market Price Modifier listed as a "virtual bonus" (rather,
they are listed with a flat gp modifier). Do these abilities have an
equivalent "virtual bonus"? No. Can you
stack these on a +10 item without a problem? Yes.
[Sean Reynolds] (thanks to Edward Pokorski for the scoop)
- Clarification - Magic of Faerun - Mage Duels:
- Can more than two mages participate in a
duel at the same time? See MoF
page 14, last paragraph above "Qualifications."
- When a duel ends do the participants
automatically regain their spells? They do not regain their spells.
- If a magic item is used by a participant
in a duel, thus disqualifying them, does the item take effect on the
intended target or is the item "dispelled" when the user is
disqualified? The item takes
effect as if it were part of the mageduel (because it is), and then the
user is disqualified. You could use a wand of fireball on an empty area
and it would have no effect on the mageduel's status. If you used it on
your opponent, the mageduel would convert it to subdual damage, and
then you would be disqualified.
- Can a mage that has been disqualified
from a mage duel re-enter the arena after leaving it? -- as apparently
they can remain in the arena even if they are disqualified based on the
text. No, once they leave, they
can't re-enter without ending the mageduel. As you correctly point out,
they can remain in the area (and may be subject to mageduel-spell
effects), but if they take actions on participants, it is treated as
- If during the preparation time one of
the participating wizards casts as their prepatory spell, say delayed blast fireball, then the
participants enter the arena and fight, what happens if the spell is
trigered during the contest? The
caster is part of the mageduel (it's a spell prepped for use within the
mageduel), and so the spell takes effect as if it were part of the
mageduel. In other words, subdual damage, half damage, etc.
- What if it takes effect after the
contest (or is said effect dispelled at the conclusion of the duel?) It should be treated as a "lingering effect"
from a spell cast during the mageduel (as described in "Ending a
- If an outside spellcaster casts a
fireball at the participants of a mage duel, do they take damage from
the spell as the mage duel ends in a draw? "Outside Interference" says that an attack from outside the
mageduel automatically fails.
- Source: Sean Reynolds. Scooper: Chris
- New at EN World:
- New Staff Reviewer: "Alan 'Psion' Kohler has joined Jesse 'Tuerny' Dean as EN
World's second staff reviewer. Alan is a well-known reviewer over at
RPGNet, and we are very pleased to welcome him aboard."
- New Adventure: Feast or Famine, a new
adventure by Jonathan McAnulty, can be found at Midgard, EN World's
online D20 adventure magazine.
- Nyambe (fantasy Africa setting for the d20 System) has a
new home at http://www.nyambe.com. "We
are also pleased to present the African Adventures Player's Lorebook. This is a free 107 page PDF file detailing
cultures, races, classes, religions, equipment, kingdoms, and spells
appropriate for a fantasy Africa campaign."
- From the DnD_SciFantasy Team Leader Chris Morvan: "It gives me great pleasure to announce the
formation of the newest netbook team at the DnD
Community Council, The Netbook of
Science Fantasy! The DnD_SciFantasy group is now accepting contributors
and submissions. This group is mere hours old, so now is your chance to
become part of this very interesting netbook. The Netbook of Science
Fantasy will cover a wide range of topics and plans to be more than
just “D&D in Space!” (but it will be that too!).
Currently we are discussing races and classes (take your dwarven
fighter, give him a heavy blaster and you're off!), technology,
psionics (an open, OGL version) and magic, cyberware, bioware, and all
sort of technological enhancements. And of course, space, space travel
and combat. Just point your browser to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dnd_scifantasy to sign up! Membership is open to all."
- Orion Cooper has prepared all of the rules for Malls &
Morons as one pdf file.
- Brian's D&D Site is a Forgotten Realms campaign site.
- Updates at Black Falcon Aerie (3E lists include magic items
and psionic feats from Dragon #287), Aquerra (preview of the Aquerra
Player's Guide including the alt.monk, a look at the martial arts
rules, three sample specialty priest classes, a sample new spell,
etc.), Claudio Pozas Art & Design (new gnome and white dragon art)
and PS3E (new submissions).
New in the Conversion Library: Oriental Adventures -- Master Ninja prestige class; plus in Weapons
& Armor, significant updates to Weapons
& Armor spreadsheets.
Official D&D Site Updates: What's new at WotC?
- New Miniatures Playhouse
- New Map-A-Week
- Sean Reynolds is in the Spotlight and talks about Magic
- Elminster Speaks #21
- Scoopers: Thyle, Dark Blackshield, Bertman4.
- DM's Haven has posted reviews of Maiden Voyage (Atlas
Games) and Traps and Treachery (Fantasy Flight Games).
- Gaming Report has posted a review of Legions of Hell (Green
- RPG.net has posted a review of Creature Collection II
(Sword & Sorcery).
- EN World has posted Jesse Dean's review of Demonology: The
Dark Road (Mongoose).
Master Tools "Consumer Poll" Results: Greg Currie has
posted the results of his informal Master Tools poll in this thread on
- EN World's staff reviewer Jesse "Tuerny" Dean has written
reviews of Nature's Fury (Fiery Dragon), Shadow of the Exile
(Privateer), Nightmares and Dreams and The Pit of Loch-Durnan (Mystic
Eye), Legions of Hell (Green Ronin), Slayer's Guide to Centaurs
(Mongoose), Coin's End (Kenzer), and Twin Crowns (Living Imagination).
- The 3rd Edition has posted a review of the Hero Builder's
D20 System News:
- Atlas Games announced a new D20 System adventure coming out
in November -- The Last Dance. Read the press release.
- Dark Quest, a new D20 System publisher, will be producing
"city guides" for fantasy campaigns and Cyber Style, a line of
supplements for Cyber Punk science fiction gaming. Check out their
- Free Stuff at Citizen Games -- download two of the winning
adventures from their recent adventure-writing contest. (thanks to Greg
for the scoop)
- Updates to release dates on the Citizen Games entry.
(thanks to Greg for the scoop)
- Toast D20 -- this one you're gonna have to figure out for
yourself. (thanks to Babbage for the scoop)
- Holistic Designs will be releasing a D20 version of their
Fading Suns science fiction RPG in November. Read about it in the press
release. (thanks to Bobby Hitt for the scoop)
- Anubium will be publishing Ian Malcomson's World of Aldor
materials starting in September. Those of you who've been around a
while might recall that Malcomson's work was first slated to see the
light of day through Mystical Alchemy Gameworks, a D20 publisher that
never did get off the ground. Malcomson has written articles and
adventures for Dragon and Dungeon magazines (notably
the Sherwood stuff in the first 3E issuse of both mags). Read the press
Official D&D Site Updates: What's new at WotC?
- Hindsight, a new Cliffhanger adventure.
- New PC Portraits.
- Scoopers: Bob Fitch, Walt Starr.
- O Grimorio is a Brazilian online RPG magazine with
exclusive features, interviews and articles in Portuguese.
- Orion Cooper of Malls & Morons fame would like to
invite you to stop by his message boards to critique the work of
"SirBob" on a rules add-on called Malls & Magic.
- Doc's Wild West Town is a fan-run message board devoted to
discussion of the d20 RPG Wild West Adventures from Citizen
- Darkfuries: The Maelstrom Fantasy Campaign Setting is a
D&D setting site.
- Epic Gaming is a Forgotten Realms campaign site.
- Updates at Hydra (advice on running a high-level campaign).
- RPG.net has posted reviews of Slayer's Guide to Hobgoblins
and Slayer's Guide to Gnolls (Mongoose Publishing), Traps and Treachery
(Fantasy Flight Games), and
Defenders of the Faith (WotC). (thanks to Oren Douek for the scoop)
- Jesse "Tuerny" Dean has reviewed Thievery 101: Joining the
Watchers (Wyvern's Claw) for EN World.
Master Tools Updates:
- Ryan Dancey's promises regarding Master Tools: First: If any further changes are made to the
product spec, I will make a public announcement within 48 hours, and
will do my best to explain why we made the change and what influenced
our decision. Second: If, for any reason, I believe the product will
not ship on time once we've announced a ship date, I will make a public
announcement within 48 hours explaining why there has been a delay,
what is being done about it and when a new date will be established.
Third, I will not knowlingly make a decision about the product that
will sacrifice immediate utility and usability for the potential of
future sales if that feature could be delivered on time and within the
budget that has been established for the project. Fourth, Once we
announce approval on an expansion or update, I will consider the first
three promises binding on me regarding that expansion or update as well.
- Beta testing: If there is a
beta test program, it will be run through the RPGA, which is how all
D&D products are beta tested.
- Will the material in the proposed add-on (material from
FRCS, PsiHB, Class Books, etc.) be available individually or will we
have to buy it all in one chunk? As
currently envisioned, the "update" to add those features will add them
all at once. There will be some way to differentiate them from the
"core" materials from the basic books.
- How will core material be differentiated from add-on
material? What I am currently
envisioning is that the update will simply expand the options available
in the tool itself. Certain things may be marked with their origins
(like a Feat from Defenders of the Faith may be named "DotF: Greater
Hacking"). We discussed the idea of having "loadable" modules, but it
creates a big headache for database management...
- DMG NPC classes like Commoner available in the Character
Generator? Yes, absolutely.
- Ex-classes available? Yes.
The software supports those kinds of changes at "level up" time.
- WotC's relationship with Fluid: Fluid has been great, and has more reason to be frustrated
than anyone else, since they've been the ones who have had to keep
changing the product to meet the constantly shifting objectives of
WotC. Nothing I have seen in my review of the progress to date casts
the slightest shadow of concern on Fluid's work, methods, intentions or
actions. We're very pleased with our partner.
D20 System News:
- Green Ronin announced that its Freeport setting book is now
called Freeport: The City of Adventure and will be a 160-page
hardcover. (thanks to BadMojo for the scoop)
- Karanblade, a long-running AD&D campaign setting
presented on the web, will be produced and sold as a D20 System product
by Dragon & Dice Studios. Check out the website and read the press
- Viking Games has posted a new version of their Monster
Menagerie preview on their site.
- Grinning Goblin has a new adventure ready right now, The
Witchlord of Bargala
Woods, and one in the hopper, A Touch of Chaos. Read more
about their adventure subscription service in this press release.
- There's been a title change and release date change for the
third adventure in Privateer's Witchfire trilogy: "The Legion of Lost Souls (new title) has not gone to press yet and probably
wont be out until late September." (thanks to Doug Click for the
- You can grab a peek at a cover mock-up for the Ravenloft
D20 book at White Wolf's online store. (thanks to Michael for the
Errata -- Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting:
- Heirophant Prestige Class -- Prerequisites: The hierophant's skills requirement line should read:
Skills: Knowledge (nature) 15 ranks or Knowledge (religion) 15 ranks.
[Sean Reynolds] (thanks to Jason for the scoop)
- Great Shout Spell: There's a very weak
version of the great shout spell in the FRCS, and a much
stronger one (of the same level) in Tome & Blood. Which is
correct? You should use the Tome and Blood
version of the spell. [WotC Customer Service] (Thanks to Azul
Simmons for the scoop)
The correct version, which should appear in the FRCS errata
when posted, is as follows:
Level: Brd 6, Sorc/Wiz 8
Components: V, S, F
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Close (25 ft +5 ft/2 levels)
Area: Line 5 ft. high and 5 ft. wide, and a cone (see text)
Saving Throw: See text
Spell Resistance: Yes (object)
You emit a thunderous, devastating yell. The primary effect is a line
of intense sonic energy 5 feet high and 5 feet wide and as long as the
spell's range. Stone, crystal, and metal objects in the area take 20d6
points of damage. Creatures holding valuable objects can attempt Reflex
saves to negate the damage. Objects that survive the spell's primary
effect are not subject to the secondary effect.
The spell's secondary effect is a cone of sound centered on the line.
Creatures within the cone take 10d6 points of damage, and are stunned
for 1 round and deafened for 4d6 rounds. A successful Fortitude save
negates the stunning and halves both the damage and the duration of the
deafness. Any exposed brittle or crystalline object or crystalline
creature takes 1d6 points of damage per caster level (maximum 20d6).
Creatures holding fragile objects can negate damage to them with
successful Reflex saves.
[Description of what penalties a deafened character suffers.]
The great shout spell cannot penetrate the spell silence.
Arcane Focus: A small metal or ivory horn.
A Big Thank You: I wish to thank the folks at EN World
and my forums for the very thoughtful 2nd Anniversary (of the site)
gifts! You're all very special people and I value our friendship --
Poll: By a large majority, the last poll was the Worst Poll Ever. After that, Python Quotes were deemed most disruptive at
the game table. Thanks for participating.
The current poll asks about your gaming habits. Are you mostly a
D&D player, or do you play other RPGs regularly as well (or
- Drop by the Dracolich Homepage to read up on a proposed
computerized RPG tool. They're looking for programmers to assist with
- Aereth: The Torn Lands is a D&D campaign setting site.
- Updates at PS3E (new submissions).
New in the Conversion Library: Mystara -- Races of Mystara: Lupin, Rakasta, Tortle, Cayma,
- Atlas of Adventure has posted a review of The Bloody Sands
of Sicaris (Paradigm).
D20 System News:
- Thunderhead Games announced that its forthcoming Bluffside
sourcebook is being pushed back to February 2002 to allow more time to
ensure OGL compliance, and that it will be 144 pages long.
- Sovereign Press has released errata for the Sovereign
Stone Campaign Sourcebook. [Source: RPGd20.com]
- Viking Games has updated their product schedule. [Source:
- Fiery Dragon Productions has posted a report on their
experiences at GenCon along with about 60 photos.
- Free Stuff from Fast Forward Entertainment: Maps from
Fortress of the Ogre Chieftain. [Source: RPGd20.com]
- Updates to the Fast Forward entry, including new product
information. [Source: RPGd20.com]
- Stanton Industries is a new D20 System publisher, with a
rulebook product called The Void currently available. (thanks
to Jason C. for the scoop)
Master Tools Comments: Ryan Dancey talks about the new
vision for Master Tools:
Different managers, at
different levels of the company [originally] set different priorties
for the product. Not all of those managers shared the same vision. As a
result, the product was compromised, and so was the communication with
the public.... Some of the WotC managers wanted a tool to help DMs prep
for play. Some wanted a tool to help players use all the bells and
whistles in 3e that are hard to understand or complex to implement.
Some wanted to open the door to on-line D&D play, using MasterTools
as "proof of concept" that it could be done. And some people didn't
have a strategy at all, and just tried to make the product "cool" by
adding features that were technically challenging and interesting
problems to overcome.
All of the people involved are gone, and they no longer have a role in
setting policy for MasterTools. For better or worse, you're stuck with
me, and I'm an old-fashioned roll-the-dice kind of guy who would rather
eat pizza and make Monty Python jokes with my wife and friends than sit
all alone in a dark room and click a mouse to kill an endless stream of
So, now, there is now one unified vision for MasterTools: Mine. That
is, my vision represents a consensus of the strategy as approved by the
VP of Publishing and by the CEO of Wizards.
That vision is pretty simple: MasterTools should support the rules of
D&D as written and deliver assistance in using those rules, to
create characters, adventures and campaigns, with an emphasis on
allowing people to focus on being creative.
It starts with characters, because the game is about characters. The
second step is adventures, because the point of the game is for
characters to go on adventures. The third step is campaigns, because
the way you give adventures context and a larger meaning is by
connecting them together into a larger storyline and forging a new
world as the stage for those stories.
The goal is utility. Make it easier to be a player and a DM. Make it
easier to follow the rules as written by letting the computer keep
track of some of the complexity. Make it fun to try new things, to
experiment, to be creative. MasterTools shouldn't be the gateway to
EverQuest - it should be the gateway to the best possible game of
D&D you've ever played: At the table, with your friends, rolling
Call that the MasterTools Manifesto. Stick a copy on the wall and call
me on it when it looks like I'm not delivering that vision.
As to responding issue by issue to what was said in the past, I have no
ability, or intention of doing so. All I'm going to do is tell you what
I< intend to do, and what >my< strategy is. And I promise you
can hold me to it, so long as I have this responsibility.
OGL/D20 and Fan Sites: Ryan Dancey responds to the issue
of whether D&D fan sites are going to be required to adhere to the
Open Gaming License or the D20 System Trademark License:
We really don't have a plan
for "fan" sites. The problem with the old policy was that it was an
unfair policy, because people could take stuff from D&D, make new
things, post them on their web sites, and then claim some sort of
pseudo-copyright to "control" that material so "other people can't get
rich off my work". On the other hand, it will be a long time, if ever,
before the bulk of the 3e game content is released in the SRD, and
people are simply not going to wait before doing interesting things
with it in public.
Right now, my plan is pretty simple: If you're charging money for any
aspect of D&D, you're going to be required to use the OGL and the
d20 STL. If you >say< you're following the OGL or the d20 STL,
you're going to be forced to follow them. So, if you've got a fan site
that's a collection of characters, and they don't claim to be using the
OGL or the d20 STL, and they're not charging money, we're going to
What I haven't decided yet is whether or not I'm going to be picky
about the d20 logo itself. My leaning is to tell sites that don't want
to use the OGL that they can't use the d20 logo either, and to make
that the general policy. However, there are so many such sites, and I
have so little time available, that enforcement of such a policy would
be essentially impossible.
For the time being, all we're worried about is commercial publishers.
- The Sleeping Imperium has posted a set of Open Game Content
psionics rules called the d20 Skills-n-Feats Psionics System. "The rules are a free, 44-page PDF download.
The system deals with psionics as subtle, non-magical abilities.
Anyone, with the proper training, can acquire psionic abilities,
regardless of character class. The system boasts 11 basic psionic
skills, several advanced psionic skills, and over 40 psionic feats.
Some of the more exotic abilities of the system include Non-linear Time
Perception (you can think thoughts from the alternate pasts and
futures) and The Equation of Man (you can mathematically predict the
behavior of thinking creatures)."
- The Netbook of Planes is looking for ideas, submissions and
team members. Those interested in getting involved please email Netbook
of Planes Team Leader Ricardo Gladwell.
- Updates at James Wyatt's Aquela (ninja discussion, GenCon
OA notes and photos), and Palaestra (new monster templates).
Master Tools Discussion Galore: Both Ryan Dancey and Byrt
Martinez have been busily answering questions and making comments on
Master Tools this weekend. Here are links to some active threads on the
official boards and my boards:
- Ryan says to expect most official discussion to take place
on the official boards.
- Byrt talks more about the original plans for the mapper.
- Ryan comments on why there won't be a Mac version and other
- Ryan on custom Feats: "I suspect
that the Feat Generator will have a package of standard things that it
can do that are very simple and are similar to the Feats already
programmed into the system. Most of the user added Feats will just add
what amounts to a 'special ability' note to the character sheet."
- Ryan shares his opinions on the "prestige class problem."
So what exactly will the initial release of Master Tools do?
Master Tools is really four
products plus the "Toolbox" itself (the main software that will be
expandable with future updates).
The four tools are:
* Racial Template Generator
* Character Generator
* Treasure Generator
* Magic Item Generator
The tool lets you build any legal character using the rules in the PHB,
DMG and MM.
"Legal character" means a character of any race in the PHB, and any
monster in the Monster Manual, with any class in the PHB or the DMG. It
lets you make any creature in the Monster Manual from scratch (though
they'll already be done for you and included in the product) or any new
monster you can imagine. Using the rules in the MM, you can "add hit
dice" to a creature, and it will get bigger and tougher as those rules
describe. You can give character class levels to a monster.
You can build a basic racial template, which can specify the type of
the creature, the starting size of the creature, its hit-die range,
class skills, special abilities and qualifies, skill points, ability
score modifiers, encounter type (terrain type, monster type, etc.), and
treasure type (double, standard, half, other). You can define a basic
racial template as a familiar, note what affect it has on it's master
and note how it advances in power over time, define a basic racial
template as a mount, note what affect it has on its rider and how it
advances in power over time.
You can load the basic racial templates into the character generator
and use them to make a character.
You can build any magic item possible with the rules in the DMG. Those
items can be intelligent (per the rules in the DMG) and they can be
cursed (per the rules in the DMG). The system will calculate the market
price of each item you make.
You can change the size of any item (including any magic item) from
fine to colossal. That means you can make magic items and basic
equipment for Giants and equip them correctly.
You can make any eligible non-magical item a "Masterwork" item.
All that stuff can be added to your character's inventory and equipped.
When it is equipped, it's effects are reflected on your character
sheet, including the effects of magic items.
You can click on a button and generate random treasure for the
character (so if you were creating a monster or NPC for use in an
adventure, you could automate the process from the DMG). If the
treasure includes a magic item, it will be randomly generated used the
tables in the DMG.
You can add items to your inventory for free, or you can use the system
to debit and credit your treasure reserves.
For weapons, you can choose to use them one handed, two handed, or use
them as double weapons. You can equip two weapons (or more if you have
more than two arms). You can pick which hand (main or off) you want to
wield each weapon in. You can set up "groups" of attacks (just like the
monsters in the Monster Manual have). Attacks can include natural
weapons, special attacks, etc. from the basic racial template.
All the class features of all the PHB classes, all the DMG NPC classes
and all the DMG prestige classes are supported and fully integrated
into the character generator.
You can select raw domains, or a pick a god from the list in the PHB.
You can build spell books, and lists of spells prepared for use. You
can specialize in a school or be a generalist.
The DM can request a report of how many times you rolled the dice for
ability scores, what modifications you made, if you used a point-buy
system, which one you used, if you have more skill points or feats than
you should, what your class levels, skills, feats and other aspects of
your character are, etc.
You can advance a character in level by adding XP, then going through
the process of picking a new class or adding a level to an existing
The system outputs characters to XML. We are providing three style
sheets: a standard character sheet that looks just like the one in the
PHB, a "stat block" sheet that looks like a standard D&D Adventure
stat block, and a "combat sheet" that just has the values most people
need in melee combat. 3rd parties will be able to add additional style
We're adding a feature called the "Home Rules Generator" that will let
you add a feat, a skill, an item, a domain, a god, a spell, and a few
other things. The first version will not let you add a character class
or prestige class.
I've reviewed all the 3rd party tools available, and none of them do
all these things. In fact, all of them together don't do all these
things. There are some features (notably custom prestige classes) that
some of the 3rd party tools do that Master Tools won't do when it
ships. If sales of Master Tools are strong, we'll add features in
updates in the future.
The first update will add the material from the Forgotten Realms
Campaign Setting, Magic of Faerun, the Psionics Handbook, Sword &
Fist, Defenders of the Faith, Tome & Blood, Song & Silence and
Masters of the Wild. The first update will probably be available before
GenCon next year.
Pricing for both Master Tools and the update are not yet determined.
Dragon #287: The September 2001 issue of Dragon
appeared in my mail today. Here's a look inside:
- Forgotten Realms poster map -- this is the first of
four to appear over the next four issues, and this month's is a
close-up on the NW quarter of Faerun.
- A farewell editorial from Dave Gross.
- This Month's Theme: The Planes -- This month's
issue will has a lot of companion material for the forthcoming Manual
of the Planes.
- Variant "Dream Planes" including new magic
items, a new Dream Elemental template, and new gods.
- Vs. Celestials -- advice for defeating these
good guys should you find yourself up against them.
- Planar Prestige Classes for the Athar, Cipher,
Sensate, Sinker (Doomguard), Taker, and Xaositect.
- The Bestiary looks at Creatures of the Chaos Spire.
- Fiend Slayer prestige class.
- New Psionic Feats -- sixteen of 'em, including
Upgrade Power, which allows you to swap forget a lower-level power for
a related higher-level one when you're eligible for new psionic powers
(so for instance, you're ready to pick up Astral Construct III,
you can "forget" Astral Construct II if you want and pick up a
different 2nd level power). Each time you take the feat it applies to
one "power chain" (group of related powers); the article includes lists
of power chains. I predict fans will adapt this for sorcerers bigtime.
- Dreadmasters of Bane prestige class for the Realms.
- Plus all of the other typical good stuff.
Master Tools Poll: You can participate in three polls
about Master Tools here. The first poll asks about your plans to
purchase the initial Master Tools product; the second asks you to pick
the most important unsupported MT feature; and the third (which really
could use at least one more option like "None of the Above") asks what
will influence your decision to purchase MT. You can also leave
comments on each of the polls.
Official D&D Site Updates: What's new at WotC?
- Web Enhancement for Magic of Faerun, detailing a
- A lamia wizard in the Fight Club.
- Forgotten Realms bibliography.
- Scooper: Claude Raines.
D20 System News:
- Free Stuff at Privateer Press: a map of Corvis.
- Citizen Games has renamed their wild west D20 game Wild
West Adventures. Citizen's Geoff Spakes says in this thread on my
boards that this is a "working title (which will
- Eager to put D20 publisher names to faces? Mark CM has
posted several photos of D20 publishers taken at GenCon over in the D20
- The "Hackerz, d00d" expansion for Malls & Morons has
- Warhound Productions is a new D20 System publisher, aiming
to release a book of prestige classes in electronic format in a couple
of months. Check out their website.
- Web of the Widow, a digitally enhanced HarnWorld/D20 dual
stat product, is now available.
- Scoopers: Denise, RPGd20.com.
- Canonfire is "a fan based project
years in the making, organized by Living
Greyhawk Gazetteer co-author Gary
Holian, and involving such Greyhawk luminaries as Erik Mona and Fred
Weining. We're hoping to get as many GH fans involved as possible, and
transform the Greyhawk online community into a cohesive, productive
whole." Click here to read a more detailed announcement.
- From Dusk: "The first of the Dusk
books for 3e will be coming out on August 30th in HTML format. Dusk: Art of Magic
has over 200 new spells, yet another shaman take, a set of 5 prestige
classes and some new metamagic feats. Current draft is 68 pages."
- The World of Aiem is a D&D campaign setting site.
- World of Trainz is a D&D campaign setting site.
- Updates at MonteCook.com (new rant, Line of Sight, DMs
Only, review of
Creature Collection 2), D&D Adventures (new
submissions), Project Silverymoon (new Hidden Shrines of Silverymoon
section and errata for the netbook), 3oni.com (indexes updated to
reflect AEG's Evil, Traps & Treachery and Campaign
- Scoopers: Sixfootgnome, RPGd20.com, Oren Douek, Dan Hagy.
Master Tools -- Custom Prestige Classes, Monster Templates,
Beta Testing: Ryan Dancey explains why Master Tools won't ship with
the ability to add custom prestige classes (thanks to Steven for the
Let me start by making one
thing clear: We're working with Fluid to define exactly what will be in
the final shipping version of Master Tools. The most up-to-date
information we have from them is that there will not be a way to
introduce Prestige Classes into the "Home Rules Generators". I have
some thoughts on the matter that I'm going to be passing on to Fluid
next week in our design discussions. But for right now, the issue is
off the table for the first release.
The reason we're not adding Prestige (or base) classes to the Master
Tools product is that we don't have the money left in the budget to pay
Fluid to build that technology, and we don't have the time left on the
calendar to write, test, debug, and document them. We're probably going
to begin the manufacturing cycle before the end of the year; even
though the product won't be on sale until next year, it will take many
months from the time Fluid hands over finished code to the date the
first box rolls off the end of the assembly line. In our timeline,
we're almost at the end of development. We don't want to delay Master
Tools any more than we have to at this point, so we're not going to
wait on the Prestige Class customization issue.
What that means in practical terms is that if, for you, the ability to
add Prestige Classes to the system determines the buy/don't buy
decision, then you're probably not buying, and you'll be waiting for a
future update before considering Master Tools for purchase. I'm sorry,
I know you're dissapointed, I hear your concerns, and agree with many
of them. But that's the way it's got to be.
I'm hopeful that between now and then, I can show you the value in
Master Tools as it is currently planned, and make the case that not
only is it worth what we're going to be charging, but it's worthwhile
in terms of your committment to learn the software and use it
regularly. I'm not asking that you unreasonably discard your position
or your concerns. I am asking, as a favor, that you greet our
discussion with an open mind and a willingness to listen to what we
have to say. If, because you feel you've been burned too often over
this product you simply can't, I understand that too, and all I can ask
is that you not make personally insulting comments about people who are
trying to help, not hurt, and that you understand that the people
you're angry at are gone and won't hear you anyway.
I'd also like to say for the record that nobody at WotC or Fluid is
saying we don't know how to add Prestige Class customization, or that
the code couldn't accomodate it, or that Fluid won't do the work, or
even that we don't think the feature is important.
The business decision (made by me) is, "We're not going to include
them, and we think we'll sell enough copies anyway to justify continued
development of the line."
If you're one of those people who simply won't buy it without Prestige
Class customization, I can't convince you that you should, and I'm not
going to try to do so. All that I ask in return is that you show us the
respect of acknowledging that you've been heard and that your concerns
have been received, and give us a chance to make a good pitch to those
who don't feel so strongly about the issue. Master Tools won't "suck"
if it doesn't have this feature, and it's not a "failure" without it.
It's just not going to be as good as we all know it could/should be. It
will still be software that a whole lot of people find very, very
useful and valuable. Hopefully, with future releases are available to
give you the ability to add custom classes and prestige classes, you
WotC's Byrt Martinez also adds some interesting information
about customizing in general in this same thread:
It distresses me to listen to
all of this hyperbole about MT not having ANY customization options at
all, when from the beginning it was known that Fluid was taking this
approach in order to meet this need of the community. Based on the
posts here, it would appear that making such customizations to the DB
would be child's play to many of the users here. However, understand
that you do so at your own risk and that CS will not help you if you
run into trouble. We will assume that anybody who wants to make such
changes knows what they're doing and accepts the risk.
Master Tools will ship with the prestige classes from the DMG. Yes,
it's only 6, whup-dee-do. But those will, at least, act as a guide for
adding your own if you so choose to hack away at it. Really, it isn't
that hard, if you're comfortable with it.
As an experiment, I made one today, in fact (Ghostwalker) and it only
took about 20-30 minutes to figure out how. No documentation. No help.
Just me, Sword & Fist, and reasonably named tables & fields in
Access. I only needed to hit 5 tables to do this.
I just wanted to illustrate that you can customize MT to a certain
degree and that it was inherently built in order to do so. It's not
impossible. It's just not in your face.
Ryan also answered a question about monster templates -- can
you apply a monster template to an already-created character?
The answer is yes and no.
You can't apply a template to an existing character. This is actually a
place where Fluid is kind of at a loss as to a way to implement this
feature effectively. It's really a lot more complex than it first
appears, especially when you consider all the possible options that
could come up in the process.
What you can do, however, is creat a "Vampire + X" race template. Let's
say you wanted to make a Vampiric Aboleth. You would load the Aboleth
race template into the Race Generator, and then use the rules in the
Monster Manual to apply the modifications necessary to turn it into a
Vampire Aboleth. You'd save that as "Vampire Aboleth".
Then you go to the Character Generator, load up a character as a
"Vampire Aboleth" and use the Character Generator to pick skills,
spells, equipment, etc. End result - a Vampire Aboleth fully statted
and compliant with 3e; but you had to do some of the work yourself
instead of having it done automatically.
You could do the same thing for "Vampire Human" or "Vampire Elf", and
then use your character as a guide to "rebuild" it with the same
classes, levels, Feats, skills, etc.; again, the result would be your
character with the Vampire Template added, but you'd be doing some of
the work by hand.
Here, Ryan addresses the issue of beta testing:
There will be a Beta. It will
involve gamers who know what they're looking for. It will probably not
be "public" in the sense that we'll be just mailing thousands of CDs to
anyone who asks to participate.
Right now, we're using a 3rd party testing company to handle the QA
issues. I'd like to seed a couple of hundred people with the product
once it's in its near-final form for last minute usability comments and
(knock on wood against) last minute bug fixes.
When we figure out when/where/how on the beta, we'll let you all know
here on this forum what the details are.
Official Updates: What's new at WotC?
- New Map-A-Week.
- New Miniatures Playhouse.
- New Paint Like Pro article.
- Scooper: Steve.
New in the Conversion Library: Adventures -- Palace of the Silver Princess (module B3); Monsters -- grippli;
Mystara -- Legacy and Affliction Rules from
Savage Coast; Classes -- Flamespeaker
- About.com has posted a review of Shadow of the Exile
- RPG.net has posted reviews of Magic of Faerun (WotC), The
Longest Night (Privateer), Tome and Blood (WotC), and Adventure Keep
module The Last Gods (AEG). (thanks to Yves for the scoop)
D20 System News:
- You might have noticed that I was getting a lot of my D20
scoops recently from a fellow named Dazza. You might also have noticed
that his scoops aren't around much any more. That's because Dazza is
the new Research/News Manager at RPGd20.com, a D20 news site. Congrats
- Dazza at RPGd20.com has posted a preview of AEG's new D20
- The Fiend Games website is back up.
- Updated the Guildmaster Games entry with info on a
forthcoming product called The Fantasy Companion, due in
September. (thanks to bertman4 for the scoop)
- Updated the Green Ronin entry with a forthcoming product
called Arcana: Societies of Magic, due in October.
- Corsair Publishing has posted information on how to
subscribe to Campaign Magazine.
- Updates at The Dungeon Dimension (new roleplaying
articles), Herocraft (Matrixmagic), Cale Nadere (new monsters chapter
for Ledirak Guidebook), Sean Reynolds' site (new Blade of Faerun).
Dancey on Master Tools: Ryan Dancey, the new business
manager for Master Tools, posted a lengthy, detailed note about what's
up with the program on the WotC boards. I've posted some excerpts
below, and have archived the entire post in the MT section of my
Electronic Aids page. (thanks to Pat, Steven and bushfire for the
There was a problem with the
original Master Tools strategy - no doubt about it. That problem wasn't
Fluid's, and Fluid is not responsible for the results. In fact, Fluid
did exactly what Wizards asked them to do, and did it well. It turns
out however, that what we asked them to do wasn't really what we think
you all want us to include in the product. That mistake was treating
Master Tools as the first kernel of an on-line, computerized D&D
game. While that's a cool product idea and maybe someday there will be
such a beast, at this point, it's not what Master Tools should be
focused on, and due to the recent deal between Hasbro and Infogrames,
we don't have the rights to make such a product anyway.
That's the horns of our dilemma. We have a "mapper" which won't help
you make the kinds of maps you want to make for tabletop play, and
without the ability to play on-line in a network environment, the
mapper doesn't have any other significant utility. If we included the
mapper we do have with Master Tools, it would dissapoint a lot of
people, while at the same time requring a lot of work to finish it,
document it, provide tech support for it, and do the other things that
are necessary and costly that you do when you publish software.
So we're not going to include the mapping system with the Master Tools
Let me explain what we are going to do instead. Master Tools is now
being viewed as "Toolbox". The first tool, the Character Generator
Tool, will come with the Toolbox. In the future, as resources permit,
we'll release additional tools for the toolbox.
In the on-deck circle is a project we're calling the "Scenario
Generator". The Scenario Generator will use a new mapping system
designed for top-down display that will support things the isometric
mapper we currently use cannot: Things like curves, irregular shapes,
freehand drawings, etc. My vision is to create a tool that would let
you make a map that looks just like one of the maps in our Adventure
products like "Sunless Citadel" or "Heart of Nighfang Spire". In
addition, we're going to provide a set of utilities that link to that
map: Encounter generators, treasure generators, trap generators, etc.
Plus, we're going to provide a framework to link all that conent
together using the skeleton of our Adventure products: You'll use the
map to make an area, key that area to a number, and populate that area
with encounters, treasure, traps, etc. You'll be able to provide
background, boxed text, and all the other stuff you find in our
Adventures. You'll be able to write a forward, include appendixes, etc.
In short, you'll be able to use the Scenario Generator to essentially
create your own version of something like "Sunless Citadel". That
product will be sold as a downloadable plug-in for the Master Tools
We don't have a release date for the Scenario Generator. We don't know
what we'll charge for it. Heck, we don't even have funding to do the
project yet. We do, however, realize how important it is, and if we can
make the business case to senior management, we'll do it. And we'll do
it fast, because we know you want it and want it NOW.
[Master Tools will ship with] a feature tentatively called the "Home
Rules Generator". This tool will let you add a spell, skill, Feat,
item, domain, and a few other things to the basic databases that will
ship with the product. The idea is to allow you to customize the
options available within the software itself, adding things from
supplements and 3rd party products, and adding things unique to your
own home campaign.
We wanted to extend this technology to include the ability to add
Prestige Classes and new Basic Classes, but due to the time and
resource constraints we're working under, we won't be able to do so. We
recognize how important this feature is, and it ranks right up there
with the Scenario Generator in terms of things we want to bring to
market as fast as we can, provided we can get the green light to do so.
I talked earlier about considering the basic product a Toolbox, and
that's a point I'd like to touch on now as it relates to this topic of
classes and prestige classes. Before the Scenario Generator, and before
a generic tool to add freeform Classes and Prestige Classes, we're
going to ask Fluid to create an Upgrade for the basic Character
Again, this project is not yet approved, and we don't have pricing or
timing available, but it should be >Fast<. The Upgrade will
include the contents of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, Magic of
Faerun, Sword & Fist, Tome & Blood, Defenders of the Faith,
Song & Silence, Masters of the Wild, and the Psionics Handbook. The
Upgrade will not be ready until after Masters of the Wild has shipped
(for obvious reasons). I am very, very hopeful that we can target a
GenCon release of the Upgrade - but no promises at this time.
Happy Birthday ... To Me! Today marks the second anniversary of the opening of Unofficial D&D Third Edition News. Two years ago this week you would have been reading
the first scoops on the newly-announced 3rd Edition of Dungeons &
Dragons, which had been announced at GenCon just days before. Examples:
- 3rd edition characters can "beat the snot" out of 2nd edition characters in terms of power and
ability. (Reported on August 19, 1999; source -- Dragon #263)
- Fighters receive special
abilities called "Heroic Feats." Some of these include Quickness (an initiative
bonus), Weapon Focus (an attack bonus with a chosen weapon), and Heroic
Fray (doubles the number of attacks for a short while). (Reported
on August 18, 1999)
- Priestly Healing: "Clerics can ‘Convert’ spells into
healing magic. They no longer have to memorize cure wounds spells...now if a cleric
gives up spell they heal a d8 per level of the spell." (reported on August 17, 1999)
Wow, two years! We've agonized
over minutae, picked apart sentences and phrases for clues, argued
about the virtues of spiked armor, moved to RPG Planet, mourned the
passing of Alternity, tried to decode this "D20 System" thing, drooled
over Skurge Dwarfsbane's stats, passed around copies of the Char Gen,
watched one million hits roll around, and celebrated as the PHB was
released in 2000. We've struggled to understand Attacks of Opportunity,
waited eagerly for the other two core books to come out, examined the
new D20 System products, griped about errata, laughed about Meepo,
shook our heads with dismay as WotC took a beating, lured Gary Gygax
into our message board community, watched four million more hits roll
around, and welcomed the new Realms. We've been through a lot together.
It's been a remarkable two years. I've heard from, met, and made
friends with so many special people -- in person, by e-mail and through
the message boards. I've had chances to do things I never imagined I'd
get to do, and to be a part of the history of my favorite game. I just
wanted to thank you all for a wonderful two years -- they've been
D20 System News:
- New D20 Publisher: Bard's Productions will be producing
adventure series in pdf format. Check out their website and their press
- Thieves' Cant is a D20 System print fanzine, or will be
soon. (thanks to Dennis for the scoop)
- Free Stuff at Bastion Press -- three monsters from their Minions
- Pinnacle's website has been updated with errata for Weird
Wars. [source: RPGd20.com]
- The products page at Wyvern's Claw Design has been updated
with a new forthcoming title -- All the King's Men, an
adventure for 7th to 9th level characters. (thanks to Talien for the
- Citizen Games has posted some new material for their
forthcoming Desperado game -- a character sheet and a "primer."
[source: EN World]
- Sword & Sorcery Studios has posted cover art for their
forthcoming Hollowfaust sourcebook on their website.
- Twentysides.com has posted reviews of Pit of Loch Durnan
and Nightmares and Dreams (Mystic Eye Games), Dzeebagd: Under Dark and
Misty Ground (Troll Lord Games), and Demons and Devils (Necromancer
- AtFantasy.com has posted a review of Thievery 101: Joining
the Watchers (Wyvern's Claw).
- You can download a small "DM Work Flow Chart" here.
- Updates at Black Falcon Aerie (feat, spell and magic item
lists updated for Magic of Faerun), Herocraft (Dark Aerth
setting info and equipment), Wheel of Time RPG Info Page (new info on
Multi-classing, Channeling, Bonding, Warders, Feats, Affinities),
RealmsCrafters (Medusa Script Tutorial) and RPG United (new address at
Martinez on the Limits of Master Tools: WotC's Byrt
Martinez posted a few comments in reaction to my Master Tools Report I
posted this weekend. The executive summary: the mapper portion of MT is
gone, and classes/prestige classes won't be able to be added through
manipulation of the databases. (thanks to bushfire for the scoop)
The mapper portions of the
program were not mentioned in Eric's post because we didn't show it to
him. The reason we didn't show it is because we've decided not include
it in the initial release of Master Tools. Why, you ask? Well, the
mapper utility, as it was, just wasn't working out for what we want the
product to be. Ryan Dancey called it the hybridization of computer
tools with table-top play.
Essentially, when the decision was made to use the isometric graphic
engine for the mapper, it was in anticipation of moving towards
internet play. However, with the advent of the Hasbro/Infogrames deal,
we sold off the rights to produce electronic games, hence that
direction became null and void. The asset of being able to play online,
now became a liability to the remaining direction for Master Tools,
which is to aid table-top play solely. This is now the only focus for
Master Tools. Though it is disappointing (even to us!), it's pretty
much a foregone conclusion that the isometric mapper tool is a
wonderful editor for a computer game, but lacking as a tool for
creating only table-top maps. So, it is back to the drawing board for
the mapper. What we have decided to do is to set aside the mapper tools
and revisit it at a later date and concentrate on completing the
character generator tools as soon as possible and make them the best
they can be.
As far as customization goes, we are working on creating the front ends
to add items to the Master Tools database, things like weapons, spells,
loot, etc. We felt it necessary to include some of these user
interfaces because we needed to protect data that users may have added
from add-ons that WotC may provide in the future. For instance, if you
decided to add your own weapons to the weapons table numbered 100-112
and WotC later comes out with an add-on for Sword and Fist that adds
weapons numbered 100-150, then we would be unknowingly overwriting data
that you've sweated over. This would be bad. With the user interfaces
that we will provide, we can control where in the database user-defined
items go to make sure we won't overwrite that data in the future. This
also provides the added benefit of providing a front-end to add new
items to the database for users who do not own Access, which many
people were concerned with.
Although we will be providing a user interface for many of the tables
in Master Tools, there are still some areas that will not be able
modifiable in this way. These are areas that require special case code
that is not in the database. Classes (including Prestige Classes) fall
into this category. Though, there may be some adventurous souls who
will delve into the database using Access and try to add a class, they
may find that all of the features of the class cannot be fully
realized. That is just the reality due to the level of sophistication
within the Master Tools application.
Volunteers Sought for RPGA Gaming at Conventions: August
Hahn (email@example.com) has been selected to coordinate all RPGA
gaming for GenCon, Origins, and Winter Fantasy. He will be taking care
of volunteer recruitment, module fulfillment, and accomodation
allotment for the "Big 3" cons. If anyone wishes to volunteer to judge
or help out with RPGA HQ, please contact him. August adds, "One of the things I can scoop to you is that if a
person volunteers to run (or help in HQ for) 3 slots at Winter Fantasy
before September 1st, I can provide them with free tickets for any
other RPGA event they wish to play in. If they volunteer to run 6
slots, they get free accomodations for the convention as well!"
Rules Corrections and Clarifications:
- Errata - Magic of Faerun - Dimensional Lock:
The spell list says dimensional lock is 5th level, while the
spell description says 8th level. Dimensional
lock is 8th level. [WotC
Customer Service] (thanks to deer.buster for the scoop)
- Clarification - Damage Resistance from More Than One
Source: What happens if you have two different types of damage
resistance? Use the best avaiable DR that
applies to the attack. Say the 2 DRs are 3/- and 25/+1 -- Use DR 25 if
the weapon is +1 or less, otherwise use DR 3. [Skip Williams]
(thanks to Arnt Olav Foseide for the scoop)
- DM's Haven has posted reviews of Demonology (Mongoose
Publishing) and Felsentheim: Dogs of War (Troll Lord Games).
- Atlas of Adventure has posted a review of Deadlands D20
- Updates at Logical Choice (August newsletter includes new
short reviews and a new monster), Sean Reynolds' site (contest results,
new rant on weapon speeds).
D20 System News:
- Grinning Goblin Adventures will be selling their adventures
in print format as well as electronically. Read the press release for
- Skeleton Key Games is now taking orders for their Magnetic
Adventure Tiles on their website. [source: RPGd20.com]
- I'm told that Dark Tower from Judges Guild is now
RPGA Changes Posted: WotC has posted a summary of the
changes to the RPGA's membership fees and benefits. Oddly, while it
mentions the merging of Dragon and LGJ it doesn't say anything
about the merging of Dungeon and Polyhedron as
discussed by Erik Mona in yesterday's news.
From Ryan Dancey re: OGL/d20STL Compliance: If you're a
D20 publisher you should read this message from Ryan Dancey, originally
posted on OGF-L. (thanks to Pat for the scoop)
- RPG.net has posted reviews of Shadow of the Exile
(Privateer Press), Star Wars Roleplaying Game (Wizards of the Coast),
The Andwan Legacy (0one Roleplaying Games), and Rappan Athuk
D20 System News:
- Free Stuff from RPG Source -- a new prestige class.
- Mongoose Publishing has posted cover art and designer's
notes for their forthcoming Necromancy: Beyond the Grave.
(source: RPGd20.com) I'm told that it will include new undead creatures
by Scott Greene and Erica Balsley of the Creature Catalog -- congrats
to you both!
- Coming soon from Fantasy Flight Games (spotted at Gameboard
Distributors, thanks to Zoltán Déry for the scoop): Seafarer's Handbook,
NOV, $24.99. This 176 page hardcover will provide players and DM's with
all the information that they will need to adventure above and below
the ocean surface. Included will be detailed descriptions and deck
plans of all sizes of ships, rules for naval combat and boarding
actions, rules for resolving aquatic encounters, new nautical skills,
feats, prestige classes, spells, magic items, equipment, and monsters,
and guides and resources to seaside towns and ports.
- Scooper "Flynn" managed to grab some good notes on Fantasy
Flight Games' upcoming Dragonstar D20 game. I've posted his
notes in this thread on my forums.
- Darrin Drader of Dark Portal Games has posted a report on
what's going on with their company and delays with their initial
releases. (spotted at EN World)
Official Updates: What's new at WotC?
- The current Cliffhanger is concluded.
- Info on 2002 WotC releases from Virtual GenCon.
- New PC Portraits.
- Scoopers: Eric Heppel, Thyle, Eric Heide.
- Scott Metzger has put together "Monster," a program that,
in conjunction with Luke Jones' Role Playing Master software, puts
together monster stat blocks from RPM's database.
- Updates at Fantaseum (new question of the week), DM's Haven
(NPC contest winners announced), Palaestra (new Noble class, adventure
All About Magazines: WotC's Erik Mona clarifies some of
the issues going on with Dungeon/Polyhedron and Dragon/Living
Greyhawk Journal in this thread on my forums:
- How much LGJ in Dragon? It's
actualy going to be 16-20 pages _every_ month, not just every other
month. You'll get the same or more LGJ content as you got before, but
now you just don't have to jump through hoops to get it.
- Dungeon/Polyhedron Combined: The
way we're currently building this will make it a pretty innocuous
change for everybody. The first "combined" issue is 180 pages long, and
doesn't poach pages from either publication. There will be two covers,
the lines between what's Dungeon and what's Poly will be very clear, etc. I understand that a lot of
people think this isn't an ideal situation. . . we'd prefer to have two
seperate magazines, too. But the current publishing and budgetary
climate out there is frosty, and this seemed like the best solution for
a multitude of reasons. I urge you guys to give it a try when it first
happens a few months down the line. I think it's going to be pretty
cool, and I think you will, too.
- What if I already am signed up to get both Dungeon &
Polyhedron? The current plan is that we'll
extend your Dungeon subscription by however much time you have left on
your Guild-level membership. There are a few issues like what to do
about Lifetime Members of the RPGA that we haven't figured out, yet,
but now that Gen Con is over we'll be figuring this stuff out in the
next week or two.
- Is RPGA membership required to get Dungeon or Dragon? No.
- So what about this d20 Magazine we've been hearing
about? The Dragon Annual this year (which I'm editing, by the way) has
a d20 focus. Thereafter, Polyhedron _becomes_ WotC's official d20 Magazine. It'll still
cover the RPGA Network, but it will add a primary focus of supporting
the d20 phenomenon. Each issue will include a stand-alone mini-game,
reviews, previews, etc.
GenCon Photos: I've posted a bunch of photos taken at
GenCon -- most of them are from the gathering of folks from my forums.
Thanks to all of you who have been sending in pictures from that event!
Errata -- Magic of Faerun:
- Adamantine Enhancement Bonus Doesn't Stack with Magic
Enhancement Bonus: In Magic of Faerun on p. 142, the entry
for The Fist reads, "+2 spiked gauntlet (+1 enhancement bonus
from adamantine, +1 enhancement bonus from magic)." It's an error. It looks like it was changed to +1/+1
in the managing editor stage, as my turnover and the editing turnover
have it as +1/+2. The bonuses do not stack because they're the same
type of bonus (the effect is that the weapon is +2, but in an antimagic
field it's still +1 instead of no plusses at all). [Sean
Reynolds] (thanks to Pat and Paladin for the scoop)
- Adamantine Bonus for Weapons Doing d8 or Higher Damage
is +2: In Magic of Faerun on p. 178, the last line of the
table for adamantine enhancement bonuses reads, "Weapon damage 1d8 or
higher, +1." This contradicts the DMG. The bonus
should be +2 for weapons with damage 1d8 or higher. Please follow the
adamantine description in the DMG. [WotC Customer Service]
(thanks to Paladin for the scoop)
D20 System News:
- Previously unnanounced D20 products are mentioned in Game
Trade Magazine #18. I think I'll wait until the websites of the
companies in question post information before updating the D20 System
Guide, but we can keep our eyes open for these products:
- Avalanche Press: Twilight of Atlantis, October
- Crunchy Frog Enterprises: Cloudholme Chaos in the
Sky, September 2001
- GuildMaster Games: The Fantasy Companion,
- Scooper: Daniel
- You can download an 11-page PDF file called Shattering
Lances: D20 System Jousting Rules from the Gamestuff, Inc./Through
the Looking Glass Productions website. (thanks to Ace for the scoop)
- Agatha Blades has a new home on the web at
agathablades.go2click.com. (thanks to Mihn for the scoop)
- Kyle Charron wants you to know that yes, the Fiend Games
website is down, and no, Fiend Games is not going out of business: During an update our webserver / Fiend.NET
server went down. It reverted to a backup and then died shortly after.
We are attempting to fix this by Wednesday. Fiend Games is not out of
business. Products ordered and pre-ordered will be shipped. We hope you
enjoyed the preview in Gaming
Frontiers Magazine. If any
one who attended GenCon has questions about the preview feel free to
drop you comments off at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Troll Lord
Games Message Boards.
- Tome of Mystara is a D&D Mystara setting resource site.
- Isle of Nordea is a D&D campaign site.
- Herocraft has a new home at
http://www.fortress-darksoul.de/herocraft/ and you'll find an update
there (lotus magic).
- David Paul has put together a GenCon 2001 report with lots
D20 System News:
- Tronen Games is a new D20 System publisher. Check out their
website for information on their World of Tronen setting and
adventures. (thanks to Daniel for the scoop)
- Read up on these D20 publishers in a series of reports from
Virtual GenCon: Mongoose Publishing, Green Ronin Publishing, Eden
Studios, and WotC.
- d20 Magazine Rack, a site dedicated to e-zines for d20
games, has officially opened and is now looking for active members to
join its staff. You can visit the site or join the d20 Magazine Rack
discussion group for more information.
- The Dungeon Dimension has a new home at
- Updates at James Wyatt's Aquela (reports from the OA games
he ran at GenCon).
GenCon Updates: Check out my GenCon 2001 page for more
updates. A scooper provides a look at future Forgotten Realms products
coming out next year.
Official Updates: What's new at WotC?
- The Incantatrix prestige class, an excerpt from Magic
- A thri-kreen monk in the Fight Club.
- Bonus PC Portraits.
- AtFantasy.com has posted a review of Shadow of the Exile
- Star Wars RPG Network has posted a review of The Dark Side
sourcebook for Star Wars D20 (WotC).
- The Ranger Project is devoted to developing and collecting
Ranger class variants.
- Athas.org has posted a new prestige class -- Thri-Kreen
Slayer. (thanks to McNick for the scoop)
- Crystal Truths is a FR D&D campaign site.
- Updates at Conan D20 (updated setting information), PS3E
(news updates), Creature Catalog (new conversions).
D20 System News:
- Viking Games has posted the third installment of their
Axandar Axiom collumn.
- OtherWorld Creations has posted on their website a 14-page
pdf file containing their Forbidden Kingdoms Intro Kit.
More GenCon Coverage:
- RPG.net has posted a report that includes information on
what various D20 Publishers were up to at GenCon. Note that the report
includes some non-D20 publishers as well. Highlights:
- Series Archer from AEG pushed back to 2002.
- Holistic Gaming's orcs and undead Fantasy Encounters
sets are now available.
- Rappan Athuk II from Necromancer Games is
- Mithril, City of the Golem from Sword &
Sorcery is available.
- Many updates at WotC's Virtual GenCon site including
Welcome to the Realms seminar handouts like the Giant Slayer prestige
class and Reinventing the Realms seminar handouts including the
Zhentarim Skymage prestige class. (thanks to Gerard for the scoop)
- Read the transcript of the Chainmail seminar at GenCon.
RPGA and D&D Magazines: As I indicated a couple of
days ago, there are some changes in store for the RPGA's magazines, Polyhedron
and Living Greyhawk Journal. Erik Mona informs me that Polyhedron's
content will shift a bit more toward D20 System material, and will be
combined with the bi-monthly Dungeon Magazine to create a
180-page magazine. This will, among other things, allow Polyhedron's
content to reach newsstands so that non-members could still opt to
purchase if desired. Living Greyhawk Journal, meanwhile, will
cease publication within the next couple of issues. Instead, LGJ
content will appear as a 16-page supplement in Dragon Magazine.
I don't have specifics on how these changes effect customers with
already-active subscriptions to one or more of the magazines, but I'll
pass that information on when I have it.
Eric's GenCon Notes: I've typed up the notes from the
Oriental Adventures and Manual of the Planes sessions plus my notes on
my three-hour personal tour of Master Tools. Check out my GenCon 2001
page for all of the details.
I'm Back! I had a blast at GenCon and I have a lot to
share. Topics include detailed notes from the Oriental Adventures
seminar; slightly less detailed notes from the Manual of the Planes
seminar; and (drumroll, please) ... my report on the three hours I
spent with Scott Mathews and Byrt Martinez looking at, using, and
discussing a little program known as Master Tools.
The thing that just topped this great day was getting together with 30
or so members of my forums. We had a fun gathering -- like old friends
but meeting for the first time in some ways. I'll be talking more about
that on the forums themselves. I'll leave you with a couple of photos
shot by "Dungeon Master."
- This shot shows me and my wife in our matching D&D News
T-shirts. Yeah, my face looks goofy :)
- This one I include because of the look on my face
-- I was having a lot of fun!
- This one was shot from the 2nd floor. If you're looking at
the "target" on the floor, I'm standing next to Nemmerle in green,
who's next to Piratecat in the maroon shirt.
- I'll have more photos to share over the next couple of
days, and again will do that through the forums.
GenCon Reports: Keep your eyes on my GenCon 2001 page for
updates from the convention. I've just posted a tidbit from an attendee
of the Epic Level D&D seminar. I'll be back with my own report on
Saturday. Ta ta!
Poll: The archiving of the previous poll didn't take for
some reason. However, I can tell you that 65% of the voters prefer
having NPC/monster stats spread through the module, while 25% prefer to
have them collected together (for instance, in an appendix in the
There's a new, very important poll in place now -- be sure to vote. :)
The Future of Organized Play and the RPGA: A few days
ago, Anonymous sent me a rumor that there were some major changes in
store for the RPGA's magazines, particularly Polyhedron. In
response posting questions about that rumor in this thread on my
forums, RPGA Global Publications Coordinator Erik Mona posted the
There is actually a fairly
major announcement about Polyhedron and the Living Greyhawk Journal coming at Gen Con. A lot of stuff has changed for the RPGA
in terms of strategy and staffing, and it's inevitable that these
changes would eventually wash their way over the magazines.
I don't want to jump the gun with any specific announcement prior to
Gen Con, but here's a few things to keep in mind:
1) Polyhedron is not going away. There will be a change in
format, but those of you who are used to getting the magazine now will
continue to receive it for some time to come.
And then some.
2) I'm certainly still employed by the company, and the company
certainly still supports the RPGA. Indeed, the coming changes reveal a
renewed interest in Network activities on behalf of the "brass."
3) The cost of joining the RPGA, and the benefits associated with
membership, are about to change in an EXTREMELY significant way. I
predict that most people will be happy about this.
Sorry to be so cryptic, but the fact that news of any kind leaked here
caught me by surprise, and I'm not yet ready to spill the beans on
exactly what's happening to the RPGA and to Poly
and the Living Greyhawk
It's good stuff.
Today scooper Christopher Way dropped off some more info, a
report from someone attending GenCon, which he found on the LC Talk
Yahoo group (he sent a link to the message he quoted but you have to be
a member to reach it). I will summarize what has been presented to me:
- RPGA membership will soon cost only $5 per year.
That, however, doesn't include subscriptions to LGJ and Poly.
- Ryan Dancey is leaving WotC to start a company
called Organized Play. Indeed, organizedplay.com leads you to
Isomedia, a company co-founded by Dancey (see his interview in Campaign
Magazine #1). Organized Play will focus on managing organized play
for RPGs and other games.
- Organized Play has apparently bid on and won the rights
to run the FR Living City campaign. This means that the RPGA would
no longer run it. Among the proposed improvements that Organized Play
may bring to the LC campaign is a database of characters and certs.
It bears repeating -- at this stage, today's scoops are mere
rumors. However, they do make sense in the context of Erik's comments
above. I will certainly keep my ear to the ground for additional
information, corrections and clarifications to this news as the day
Update: This is an excerpt of a note posted on the LC
Talk Yahoo group by Keith Hoffman, Living City Director of MetaGaming:
The public announcement on
the Licensing agreement of LC to Ryan Dancy's company, Organized Play,
Inc. was made to the RPGA members meeting on August 1, at Gencon. Dave
Wise, RPGA Worldwide Manager (and also in charge of licensing
agreements) announced it and introduced Ryan to the audience. Ryan made
a short statement about his vision for LC.
LC is still a RPGA campaign. RPGA has basically "out sourced" the HQ
management of it, but at least for now...tournament ordering and
distribution will be as normal under RPGA. For now, the volunteer LC
campaign staff -- Directors and Coordinators, Administrators, and
Representatives are all unchanged and uneffected.
Warcraft III D&D Tie-In Product: As reported by Talon
Comics in this thread on my boards, WotC will be releasing a D&D
tie-in product for Blizzard's forthcoming Warcraft III computer game.
The 160-page Warcraft III Player's Guide is slated for March,
though as with the Diablo II tie-ins it will likely shift dates as
Warcraft III does.
D20 System News:
- Necromancer Games has posted a PDF file containing a
handout that will be given to folks who play in their Tomb of
Abysthor preview at GenCon. (thanks to D for the scoop)
Official Updates: What's new at WotC?
- Virtual GenCon -- keep up with what's happening this
- GenCon Virtual Seminars via Chat -- check out the Epic
D&D Seminar today, tomorrow's Oriental Adventures seminar, and
Sunday's House Rules seminar.
- New PC Portraits and Map-A-Week.
- Chainmail online demo.
- Part 4 of James Wyatt's Perilous Portals series.
- Elminster Speaks #20.
- Scoopers: Yes, several. ;) (And thanks!)
- Luke Jones has prepared a "major update" to his Role
Playing Master software. Read what's new in this version, then download
- Ishka Campaign is a D&D campaign site.
- WotC's Sean Reynolds will be updating a GenCon report on
his site from the convention.
- You can download a beta/draft version of the Netbook of
Witches and Warlocks at the DnDCC.
- The DnDCC Netbook of NPCs is looking for team members.
Visit their Yahoo group site for more information, or contact team
leader Paul W. King.
- Chris Nightwing of Nightwing's Lair has posted Excel
spreadsheets with info on the PHB spells including components, ranges,
durations, saves and casting times.
- As always, see the bar to the left for updates to hosted
and partner sites.
D20 System Guide Updates: I've updated the list of D20
products coming out in the next two months, as well as noting products
that had July or earlier release dates but haven't seen daylight yet.
As I did my homework, I found some products had date changes based on
new information on the publishers' websites and have adjusted dates
Note to publishers: I have only one way of knowing the
official release date for your products -- your website. When you list
a product as "Coming in May 2001" and here it is August, I can only
assume the product in question is behind schedule.
- RPG Action has posted reviews of Dzeebagd: Under Dark and
Misty Ground (Troll Lord) and Adventure Keep Modules - Set Four (AEG).
Schedule Change for Green Ronin's Freeport Event at GenCon:
Our epic Freeport tournament survived a
vicious sabotage attempt by an as yet unidentified devil. The event was
listed as a one time event instead of the tournament that it is. This
error has been fixed in the onsite computer but is not reflected in the
reg book. If you are coming to GenCon and want hot Freeport action, be
sure and sign up for "Thieves in Freeport." Here's the info:
- Event 80204 Thursday, August 3, noon
to 4 pm
- Event 80385 Friday, August 4, noon ot
- The final for this event is Saturday,
also noon to 4 pm.
- Project Silverymoon is a D&D FR resource site featuring
a 72-page .pdf sourcebook detailing the city of Silverymoon and new
game rule info such as new prestige classes and spells.
- Mark McKellip, Project Manager of the DnD Community
Council, has put together the DnDCC Project Manager site which can be
used to while the DnDCC main website is down.
- The DnDCC Netbook of Skills team is looking for new members
to join the team and submissions to fill out the Netbook itself.
Contact Andrew Mahon if you're interested.
- You can download a zipped Excel character spreadsheet
created by Thomas Arenz right here.
- If you have a site with prestige classes you might consider
joining the 3E Prestige Class Webring.
- Updates at Herocraft (gem magic revised and clarified),
Wheel of Time RPG Info Page (new info), World of Kalam (new creatures),
3oni.com (classes index updated), Chain of Command (new mini pic,
product price lists revealed), Palaestra (new feat, new house rules
[Wyrd], chart for Jump spell distances), Michael's Imagination (article
on Move Silently skill modifiers). Scooper: Dazza.
Dungeons & Dragons, D&D
3E and AD&D are all property of Wizards of the Coast.