D&D Licensed Tools: Morningstar!


  • New News Page Layout

    This is just an experiment - I'm not sold on it. The idea is that bigger news items dropped out of sight pretty quickly with the old format, while this one allows more to be seen at a glance. On the downside, it also makes it look a lot like every other news site on the web. The difference isn't as big as it appears at first - it's just that individual items are collapsed rather than expanded...

    Read More

    FULL D&D 5TH EDITION RELEASE SCHEDULE &...

    Details of official D&D 5th Edition products coming in 2014 - rulebooks, boxed sets, adventures, miniatures, digital tools, PDFs, and more!

    Read More

    IRON KINGDOMS UNLEASHED!

    Privateer Press has sent along some information about the Iron Kingdoms Unleashed Adventure Kit. It will be available in stores everywhere in March 2015 and is "a complete adventure, including everything you need to play as a fierce warrior in the savage and untamed wilds of western Immoren". A starter set for four players and a GM. Character...

    Read More

    D&d 5E Rules Summary Sheet

    Stan Shinn has created a rules summary sheet for D&D 5th Edition. He says "Here is a 5e rules summary in both landscape and portrait formats. First two pages I print out and hand to players (I use it as a DM as well). Third page is more oriented towards the DM. Basically I run 90% of my games using ONLY the rules on these three pages; seldom are there rules used which aren't summarized here....

    Read More

    It's A NUMENERA Kinda Week!

    There have been various bits and pieces about Monte Cook Games' Cypher System (and its games, Numenera and The Strange) over the last week. I've saved them up so that I could put them in a new post of their own - Cypher system reviews, The Strange Bestiary, Shotguns & Sorcery, and a Numenera Boxed Set! First of all, remember you can now quickly...

    Read More

    What do you think of the TYRANNY OF DRAGONS DM...

    The Tyranny of Dragons DM Screen is produced under license by WizKids, and is the first of two DM screens for D&D 5th Edition (the other is by WotC and is slated for a January release). What do you think of...

    Read More
  • D&D Licensed Tools: Morningstar!

    If you find this article useful, please share it with your friends!

    Click for more about D&D[THIS ARTICLE IS UPDATED WITH CODE ANALYSIS - SCROLL DOWN!] We now know something about WotC's plans for D&D 5th Edition digital tools! This has appeared on WotC's website:

    We are excited to announce our newest licensee, Trapdoor Technologies. Trapdoor is working on an integrated toolset and rules knowledge base to support the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Combining rules, character sheets, and adventures together into a clean interface, Trapdoor's goal is to create tools for Dungeon Masters and players that will allow for fast and easy management of their game. Known for now as Codename: Morningstar, the tools will have a limited playtest at Origins Game Fair.

    To learn more about Codename: Morningstar, Trapdoor Technologies and how to participate in the upcoming beta, visit
    codenamemorningstar.com.

    There's nothing at the site quite yet, but Origins Game Fair is this week, June 11-15, so hopefully we'll hear more soon! Trapdoor do (briefly) say "Be sure to check out the site tomorrow - even if you're not here, you may still be able to join the fun " [383 comments]

    There's a test login box here. You won't be able to do anything with it, but it shows something's happening! Screenshot below. If you go to trapdoortechnologies.com that's what you get. Trapdoor technologies describes itself thusly "Trapdoor Technologies is a Boulder, CO-based pioneer in enhanced digital publishing software. Our flagship product, The Story Machine™, is a scalable, automated, cloud-based publishing engine offering integrated interactive features for digital books, documents, and periodicals. Published for tablets and smart phones running iOS and Android, our interactive digital applications are focused on simplicity and leveraging how people actually learn, explore and play."





    Who is Trapdoor Technologies?

    Trapdoor Technologies and its The Story Machine product seem to be absent from the web. It was founded in 2009 by Christopher Mackey, and has under 10 employees. Mackey has a personal website called Dragonsford which indicates that he's clearly a gamer, though the site looks very old. Their website (above) has changed very recently - just a few weeks ago it looked like this:



    Their last news article before the site changed was entitled "Advertising in eBooks? Really? Really?"

    They have an imprint, Trapdoor Books with a number of titles available, and an Android app. Their Facebook page talks a lot about e-books as apps (they sell this one on iTunes and a bunch more) and says "At Trapdoor, our goal is to build a publishing platform specifically designed for 21st century needs. We have reinvented the book to be a living companion in the quest for knowledge and inspiration. It’s our belief that stories are not linear, but instead a multipath composition of insight and creativity. To us, how your story is told is just as important as the story itself. New paradigms require an open mind, and it is only through an open mind, that the imagination can become truly unlocked."

    Their Google+ page says "Trapdoor Publishing Technologies, Inc. develops software to enable book publishers to efficiently and economically create Enhanced eBooks that can be distributed to any readers’ iPhone®, iPad® and Android™ mobile device, including the Kindle Fire and the NOOK™ to better connect authors with readers.

    Our team has decades of software industry experience serving vertical industries, like book publishing, and in solving complex technical challenges regardless of industry. Team members’ software credentials span enterprise, SaaS, iPhone, iPad and Android mobile apps, middleware and database solutions, among others. We know how to collaboratively build, deploy, and support software applications for customers.

    We also understand book publishing. Through our wholly-owned imprint, Trapdoor Books, we’ve managed the key workflows and business processes confronting every book publisher—particularly for digital publishing. Trapdoor Books serves as our R&D laboratory, helping us to improve our publishing software and workflows. We benefit by close interactions with authors, and their loyal readers, to better understand how best to design, develop and deliver Enhanced eBooks."


    Thanks to Vicente Cartas for helping dig up this info!



    What can we glean from the current website?

    Brainclouds of Darklight Interactive has looked hard at the existing website code and made the following report:

    • The website is waiting for a countdown timer and a percentage progress bar.
    • At its core it's a Wordpress website.
    • Looking at the Morningstar javascript code it's interesting... Like references to a "com.trapdoor.gwt.dnd.shared.Creature" class.
    • The Morningstar test site sure is enlightening... References to adventure session data, die rolls, encounter creatures, animations, death saves, adventure and library "presenters", etc...
    • What's really got me curious is the references to "animation" namespaces and classes.
    • References to an "adventure-map", "adventure-encounter", a full on "wiki" and more.
    • "Enter new adjustment to Initiative" ... Guessing a full initiative/encounter tracker.
    • And here's alignment in a nutshell and the six ability scores defined.
    • Another thing I can say: if the Javascript is any indication, this has been in development for a while now.

  • Send me a scoop!

    Got some RPG news to share? Send it along to me at morrus@hotmail.com.

  • Advertisement

  • Reviews

    Back when D&D 4E was still a thing, a 3rd Party Publisher named Northwinter Press released a supplement aimed at merging elements of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition with the well-known Pokémon franchise. The resulting genre mash-up setting was reviewed here on EN World a little over a year ago in this same column (Click here to read the previous review.)
    The OSR or Old School Renaissance (or perhaps better phrased Revival?) has really changed how many gamers play RPGs over the past decade or so. Coupled with the ease of publishing online, numerous new publishers and new authors have taken ideas of the earliest forms of role-playing games and re-invented them with fresh new designs.