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    Monday, 22nd September, 2014
    Unofficial D&D 5th Edition Products 
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    While WotC has indicated that any third-party licensing announcements (if any) will be coming in early 2015, some publishers have moved ahead with D&D 5E compatible projects of their own. Some have used the Open Game License to access terms and phrases associated with D&D, while others have taken a different approach to the legalities. This article isn't about those legalities, because I'm not a lawyer. But if you're looking for additional content I've highlighted some stuff currently available.

    DriveThruRPG (and RPGNow) has a selection of D&D 5E products in their own section on the site, some from WotC, others from third party publishers including Mithgarthr Entertainment, Genius Loci Games (which refers to "5Next Edition"), Goodman Games, Hack & Slash Publishing, Silver Gryphon Games, Tripod Machine, and Sacrosanct Games. In total there are 11 5E products there; I haven't tried any of them, though, so I can't comment on their quality (I do have hardcopy versions of the two Goodman Games books, though, which Joseph Goodman kindly gave me at Gen Con).

    I asked Steve Wieck of DTRPG about the site's policy on third party products and licenses, who kindly answered:

    "Publishers who upload titles with us may select any rule system category for their titles they feel are appropriate.

    To date we have received no requests to take any action related to any titles available on DriveThruRPG that are listed in the 5e rule system category.

    Our "policy" on most things related to operating DriveThruRPG is to have as few policies as possible."


    Third party PDFs at DTRPG

    Kickstarter is another place to find third party products for D&D 5E. I have reported a few times on Necromancer Games' successful "Back for 5th Edition" Kickstarter which ended a while ago. This Kickstarter funded three 5E books in total - a monster book, a book of short adventures, and a book of spells.



    Necromancer Games' Kickstarter

    Saturday, 20th September, 2014
    Printing Errors in Some Monster Manuals 
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    Games Plus of Mt. Prospect, IL, is reporting that some Monster Manuals have a printing issue. It's probably worth glancing at pages 140-141 before picking up your book from your FLGS, just to be sure. This only affects some books. [14 comments]

    "We were notified by WotC today that some of the Monster Manuals have a printers error that caused smudging on pages 140 and 141. They seem to show up in batches, so it looks like there will be some shortages as some stores discover they have many books with the problem."


    Pic from matthileo on Imgur

    Friday, 19th September, 2014
    The Strange Bestiary 
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    I must admit that when Monte Cook and Shanna Germain were promoting THE STRANGE Bestiary on the same day that the D&D 5th Edition Monster Manual hit specially selected shops, it tickled me. That took some gumption during a period when most other major RPG producers are not producing a lot of news, for obvious reasons. So here's a preview of the book. Apologies for the teeny size!



    Tides of Numenera is the computer game made by the people who did Planescape: Torment. If you're my age, you remember that. If you're in your 20s, you have no idea what I'm talking about. That's OK - it came out when I was your age. Damn.




    As a final note, Monte Cook Games is selling the Numenera Corebook in an ENnies sale. It ends today, unfortunately (sorry!), and it's midnight here so I don't know what time it finishes, but if you get there on time it's 25% off!
    by

    The D&D 5E Monster Manual releases today to select game stores! Already, the forums are full of people who have bought it. Here's a few tidbits regarding the MM that I've found while scouring the web. You may have seen some before. Lots of lists or graphs of monsters arranged by challenge rating, since there isn't one in the book. About that - WotC's Jeremy Crawford says "The CR index is in the DMG (and an upcoming PDF) with the other encounter-building tools. Also monsters by environment!"







    by

    If you're lucky enough to be near a Wizards Play Network store, the Monster Manual is available today! Ask your local retailer if they're a WPN store. In the meantime, here's a sneak peek at the bone devil [edit - oops; date misread - that was from 8/19, not 9/19!]. [12 comments] Also be sure to check out yesterday's review of the book!

    In other news, the Dungeonscape Beta will launch next week. "We will be sending invites out in the order that you signed up – folks who signed up in July will get invites sooner than those who signed up last week. We are planning on sending invitations to everyone who has registered, so if you don’t get an invite right away, know that you will! We need to test our cloud storage system and would hate to let the flood gates open only to have the app misbehave." Dungeonscape is the officially licensed D&D 5E digital tools application. [29 comments]


    by

    Despite the ending of the summer and the lull after GENCON and PAX PRIME, the excitement at the release of the new 5th Edition Player’s Handbook last month is still going strong! And by all accounts, the new adventure arc Hoard of the Dragon Queen is doing quite well, with many D&D fans enjoying the new organized play activities presented each week in stores around the country.

    But now, D&D enthusiasts have a new release coming up at the end of this month – the D&D Monster Manual goes on sale this Friday the 19th of September in select stores, and for general retail sales on the 30th! As the second core rulebook for the new 5th Edition of D&D, the Monster Manual is an absolute essential purchase for any Dungeon Master looking to create their own worlds and adventures.

    Don't Miss: Review of Hoard of the Dragon Queen | Review of the Player's Handbook | Review of the D&D Starter Set

    So how does this new D&D Monster Manual compare to its predecessors? Read on and find out!

    D&D Monster Manual (5th Edition)

    • Lead Designers: Mike Mearls & Jeremy Crawford
    • Monster Manual Lead: Chris Perkins
    • Stat Block Development: Chris Sims, Rodney Thompson, Peter Lee
    • Story Development: Robert J. Schwalb, Matt Sernett, Steve Townsend, James Wyatt
    • Cover Art: Raymond Swanland
    • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
    • Year: 2014
    • Media: Hardbound (352 pages)
    • Price: $49.99 (Available for pre-order on Amazon.com for $29.97)


    The D&D Monster Manual is the second hardbound book released for the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition). The D&D Monster Manual includes more than 400 iconic monsters from the previous editions of Dungeons & Dragons, and comes complete with monster stat blocks, full-color illustrations, description of powers, ecologies, lairs, and much more...


    Production Quality

    The production quality of the D&D Monster Manual is much like its predecessor in the D&D 5th Edition core rulebook series – it’s another stunning jaw-droppingly gorgeous book! Like the Player’s Handbook released last month, this D&D Monster Manual is designed to impress even the most picky RPG rulebook collectors. The authorship of the writers on this project is simply incredible, with prose which cannot help but fire the creativity of Dungeon Masters as they read the lore of their favorite monsters. The layout of the pages is designed for maximum effect of being both useful to the DM and beautiful to look upon. It is one of those RPG rulebooks that simply compels a gamer to pick it up and leaf through its pages over and over again.

    The D&D Monster Manual possesses both a table of contents and an index of the creature stat block locations for quick reference. But regretfully, the index font is tiny 6pt fine style which makes it very frustrating to puzzle out without a magnifying glass. And the D&D Monster Manual lacks a listing of monsters by the CR (Challenge Rating) - a troubling oversight by the designers when trying to make a user-friendly edition of D&D.

    Looking at the tome itself, this new D&D Monster Manual is a heavy beast of a rulebook, weighing in at just over two and a half pounds. It has a good sturdy binding, like the Player’s Handbook and solid glossy cover panels heavy enough to let the book lay open on a table. The cover art wraps around the through front and back, and it has the same thick black endpapers on the inside. Again, like the Player’s Handbook, the inner pages are slick to the touch and of good weight with a faint parchment style graphics. The monster stat blocks appear in gold boxes which really stand out on the page, and any special text or notes of interest appear in vibrant mint green boxes.

    And the Art Directors at Wizards of the Coast have really kept their artists busy this year with the new D&D 5th Edition releases! Many of the same artists who worked on the amazing illustrations for the new Player’s Handbook are back again with art for this new D&D Monster Manual, but there are nearly twice the number of illustrators working on this new sourcebook! Fans of MTG will likely recognize the names and styles of some of the artists who contributed their talents to this project – the cover depicting the infamous Xanathar disposing of some pesky unwanted visitors was rendered by Raymond Swanland. Leafing through the interior pages, A Reader will find that nearly every monster listed in the new D&D Monster Manual has an accompanying illustration, most of which are new imaginings of classic D&D monsters and beautifully rendered. And in some cases, the full-color illustrations are accompanied by a smaller sketch or two showing the monster in different action poses or as a close-up image. Certainly there might be some gamers not particularly fond of a new rendition here and there of their favorite monster, but given the fantastic work of the artists, those complaints will likely be few.

    In overall production quality, the new D&D Monster Manual is perfectly designed to impress, awe, and inspire Dungeon Masters riffling through its pages. It’s a handsome companion to the new Player’s Handbook – and it certainly makes one wonder what the new Dungeon Masters’ Guide might look like when it is finally unleashed!

    Somebody Order the Oldies but Goodies?

    For the most part, the new D&D Monster Manual is populated with creatures and beasties that will be completely familiar to anyone who has played any D&D in the past 30 years - or any heroic fantasy MMO or video game for that matter. If a gamer has played at least one edition of D&D, the monster recognition could easily be as high as 75% here, and certainly even higher for gamers who have played two of more editions of Dungeons & Dragons (or Pathfinder).

    The new D&D Monster Manual for 5th Edition is presented in the straightforward fashion of previous Monster Manuals before it – alphabetically. Monsters which belong to a particular family of creatures -such as demons, lycanthropes, and oozes – are listed alphabetically under that grouping. Other than the monster listings, the new D&D Monster Manual has an introduction, two appendices, and an index at the end – the vast bulk of the pages are devoted to hundreds and hundreds of monsters for D&D!

    Statistically, there are about 435 monsters in the book, with more than half of the creatures listed as being of Challenge Rating (CR) 2 or lower. The chart below reveals that there is a largest numbers of monster listings at CR 2 (58 entries), CR 1/4 (44 entries), CR 1/2 and CR 1 (35 entries each). At first glance, this might seem to be an issue with so many monsters designed for low-level play and few at high level play. However, this is not the case when taking into account the bounded accuracy design concept in the new 5th Edition D&D, which keeps AC and to-hit bonuses from reaching extreme levels. Of course, the stats and abilities vary considerably across monsters even of the same CR, but the theory is that a party of four decently equipped heroes will find themselves evenly matched by a monster of the same CR as their character level.



    In the Introduction of the D&D Monster Manual, the authors discuss the various working parts of a monster entry – including the aforementioned CR. A creature’s Size, Type, Alignment, AC, Saving Throws, Ability Scores, and the rest of the mechanics are explained in detail here, giving a DM all the information needed to design and run an encounter with any monster in the book. To gamers familiar with at least one edition of Dungeons & Dragons – particularly d20 or 4E – much of this information is quite familiar, although there are a few new mechanics for monsters that are quite new for 5th Edition.

    It should be mentioned that despite there being some new mechanics, the authors did a solid job of capturing the essential “classic” combat abilities of each of the monster. Although the infamous “save or die” mechanics in the D&D Monster Manual are now “save and then save again or die”,so heroes have two chances to avoid a grisly end from a medusa’s gaze or a beholder’s disintegrate eye-stalk.

    Monsters capable of grappling is quite a common trait in the new D&D Monster Manual, and these creatures only require a single hit to allow them to have the hero in a grapple hold. Further, these automatic grapple effects are often the prelude to a more vicious assault such as gaining advantage for additional attacks or simply swallowing a hero whole!

    Another mechanic used frequently is limited usage, which typically appears as X/Day. However, the Recharge X-Y mechanic from 4E has some monster abilities coming back based on a d6 roll (i.e. Recharge 5-6).

    But one of the more interesting and potentially dramatic abilities that a few monsters have are the Legendary Actions. Monsters like dragons, beholders, the Tarrasque (yea, it’s in there!) are deemed as Legendary Monsters and gain three special actions they can use each turn at the end of another creature’s action. Further, these Legendary Monsters have Lair Actions which can cause effects to occur within their abode once per turn. A Red Dragon might cause the ground in her lair to shake violently nearby, possibly thrown heroes to the ground unless they make a saving throw. Charging into a monster’s lair has never been quite so frightening! Some Legendary Monsters even have legendary resistance in the form of a daily number of automatic saving throws. Bottom line – Legendary Monsters are tough, mean, and very, very dangerous! In some cases, Legendary Monsters even cause effects around the countryside near their lair, like earth tremors or strange feelings experienced by the PCs and NPCs - a clear warning that some very bad thing is lurking in the region.

    But one should not get the impression that this new D&D Monster Manual is all about stat blocks and rules. Quite the contrary, this newest incarnation of the ubiquitous monster manual has a great amount of lore and “fluff” about the monster, presenting considerable amounts of roleplaying material for DMs to utilize. Each monster entry has descriptors of its habits and ecology, much the same way that a character in this edition will have ideals, flaws, and backgrounds. These descriptors are much like the aspects used in FATE CORE - a short tag-line that encapsulates a monster’s nature, followed by a paragraph or two explaining more about that tag-line in terms of lore. For instance, a Hook Horror is tagged with Echoes in the Dark, Pack Predators, and Dedicated Clans, with a paragraph describing how hook horrors communicate by tapping their exoskeletons with their claws, how they hunt prey, and how they organize their family units. In essence, a DM can grasp the main concepts behind a monster’s behavior, ecology, and hunting style with a few short phrases, and can reference the more detailed lore for creating encounters or adventure hooks.

    As far as monsters covered in this new D&D Monster Manual, there are clearly too many to list in a review of this size. It has all the classic humanoids and giants, dragons, demons, and devils, and all the famed monstrosities loved by D&D fans the world over like owlbears, mind flayers, and drow. But it also has quite a few of the rarer monsters from the early editions, ones found in the AD&D Monster Manual II and from the Fiend Folio, so from there one can find githyanki, githzerai, death knights, behir, and the preposterously Twitter-popular flumpfs.

    It should also be noted that there are plenty of side notes and references to other settings beyond the Forgotten Realms made in the new D&D Monster Manual. One can find blurbs about Lord Soth from Dragonlance, Strahd von Zarovich of Ravenloft, and Shemeshka the Marauder of Planescape. Whether this portends the release of new versions of these famous D&D settings is anyone’s guess…


    Overall Score: 9.1 out of 10.0


    Conclusions

    It’s possible that the new 5th Edition D&D Monster Manual might very well be the grandest MM ever produced for this RPG. Certainly, the D&D Monster Manual is physically one of the sturdiest designs -not all of the old MM’s were so well made as anyone who owned a 2nd Edition Monster Manual can tell you. And from a writing and illustration perspective, this new D&D Monster Manual is wonderful to read and contains some downright amazing new renderings of iconic fantasy monsters.

    And it would seem that that this new D&D Monster Manual has more monsters between its covers than any single MM has ever had before. Considering the sheer bulk of monsters and lore in this might new Monster Manual, the price to own a copy of is very reasonable indeed! Definitely a must-have book for any DM planning on taking up 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons for a long term campaign!


    Editorial Note: This Reviewer received a complimentary playtest copy of the product in hardbound format from which the review was written.


    Grade Card (Ratings 0 to 10)

    • Presentation: 9.25
    • - Design: 9.0 (Fantastic writing; Great layout; font for the index and some sidenotes very hard to read)
    • - Illustrations: 9.5 (Illustrations are mind-blowing. Done. )
    • Content: 9.0
    • - Crunch: 9.0 (Great legendary monster mechanics; good adherence to “traditional” monster attacks )
    • - Fluff: 9.0 (Tons of lore and ecology for monsters; adventure hooks abound!)
    • Value: 9.0 (A gargantuan pile of monsters for a decent price!)


    Don't Miss: Review of Hoard of the Dragon Queen | Review of the Player's Handbook | Review of the D&D Starter Set
    by

    Dungeons & Dragons News

    • The winner of the Player's Handbook contest I was running on Facebook is Nathan Branstad - who can't be messaged. Nathan, Click for more about D&Dif you see this, please drop me a message with your mailing address so that I can get your Player's Handbook to you! I'll be running a Monster Manual contest very soon, so keep your eyes open!
    • The Angry DM has written something of a rant entitled "Dear WotC: Why Do You Suck at Selling Games?" [137 comments]
    • The Strange Assembly has reviewed the Monster Manual and called it "pretty close to perfect".
    • Rob Donaghue has created an "inferred history of the [D&D] world" derived from the Monster Manual and the PHB.
    • Crit Juice took a look at the DungeonScape Beta. "We were given an exclusive first look at the DungeonScape Beta, the official digital companion to D&D 5E this summer. We had an awesome play session (video and audio to come soon) and had a blast. Two of our players delve even further into the Beta release of the app below!"


    15 More D&D 5E Sage Advices from WotC's Mike Mearls!

    It's interesting that a lot of Mike's answers begin with "I'd rule that....", largely implying that a lot of stuff is based on DM judgement, something that recent editions veered away from.

    As a reminder there are 26 more answers here, and more than you can shake a stick at here. Plus Steve Winter answers questions about Hoard of the Dragon Queen here.


    • If I cast Barkskin and use a Shield, is my AC 16 or 18? I'd say 18
    • Leomunds Chest req 5k gold chest.Meant to have that at lvl 7,or meant to come back to it later? you might have that at level 7, depending on the campaign, but it would represent a big investment IIRC
    • Do you know why the Terrasque is missing it's regen and immortality. Or should I ask someone else? not sure about regen, but immortality is something we'd handle more based on its role in a setting
    • Can I use the bonus action from the feat Shield Master without losing the bonus damage from the Duelist Fighting Style? yes - shield still doesn't count as a weapon
    • I was wondering, why there are such heavy restrictions on beast-master companion and if there will be a way to allow higher CRs animal companions were a huge source of issues in 3e - adding an extra "character" is a very powerful ability
    • Can we get a "changing these rules will break the game" warning list in the DMG? For bits like the Concentration rules. I believe they are in there - the list is very short. Concentration, attunement, and not much else
    • Is it intentional that you can use [crossbow expert] to get two attacks with 1 hand crossbow + shield? I'd rule it should specify a different weapon, not same weapon twice
    • Crossbow Expert: how do you reload a hand crossbow with a weapon/shield/hand crossbow in your other hand? very carefully! I imagine you just juggle items back and forth during your turn.
    • Monks,Arcane Tricksters,aned EldKnights.Is wizard list considered their list for use of scrolls and staves? I'd rule that they access only those spells they could gain from those subclasses
    • Can you jump farther than your movement when using magic i.e spell Jump & boots of striding and springing? i'd rule yes - design intent is to make you jump super far
    • How does dispel magic work vs. Invisibility? How can you target what you can't see? Or is Dis Mgc more of an area of effect? invisible does not equal hidden = can target if invisible but not hidden, but not if the invisible creature is hidden. how an invis creature could not be hidden, you can see its footsteps, hear it move, etc. You know where it is but can't see it
    • magic armor stacks with unarmored defense( like dex + wis to ac for a monk)? use one or the other
    • Thinking of houseruling that adjusted encounter XP = actual XP. Any reason why this isn't RAW? Any pitfalls to be aware of? Thx! it makes hordes of weaker creatures a more appealing fight, if players metagame that. not game breaking
    • Does Halfling Nimblness allow them to ignore Difficult Terrain when moving through another creature's space? no - main advantage is you can move through enemies
    • Does a dagger count as both a melee and a ranged weapon for feats? In other words can I use the sharpshooter feat with a dagger? yes - it might feel unintuitive for the bonus damage, but it doesn't break anything


    Pathfinder RPG News




    Wednesday, 17th September, 2014
    A Mildly Interesting Traffic Report 
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    I was looking at EN World's Google Analytics data today. I thought I'd share some of the traffic information.

    317,754 unique users on EN World in the last 30 days sharing 747,962 individual user sessions. So on average folks visit twice a month. (Depending on the area of the site, that varies a lot - the news page is the single most viewed page by a long shot, but the forums have the most repeat sessions, for obvious reasons). The average session duration is 4.5 minutes.

    The average individual news article gets viewed roughly 90,000 times in its first week.

    The forums have 296,805 threads made up of 6,165,123 posts written by 164,262 registered members.

    Of those, 62.5% are in the US, 8.3% in Canada, 5.6% in the UK, 3% in Australia, 2.5% in Germany, 2% in Brazil, 1.8% in Italy, 1.1% in France, 0.9% in the Netherlands, 0.85% in Spain.

    Returning visitors make up 67% of the audience, with new visitors comprising 33%.

    73% use desktop computers to visit, 18% use phones, 8% use tablets.

    Most popular search engine keywords (aside from the site name or variations) are "d&d 5th edition character sheet", "d&d 5e summon steed", "best rpg shop london", "d&d miniatures list", "dungeon #209", "dungeon adventure index 4th", "d&d 5th learning new skills", "windwalker prestige class", "monk magic item". The list of keywords is many thousands long, of course, featuring most every RPG game, term, phrase, question, or word you can think of; those are just the top few.

    Weird keywords include "dead tree ladies", "how long is aquaman", and "who is a fish".

    Most popular referring sites (non-search-engine): Reddit, Facebook, wizards.com, RPGnet, Google+, Giant in the Playground, adnddownloads.com, rpg.stackexchange.com, Paizo, Facebook mobile app, Circvs Maximvs.

    I used to get demographic data (age, gender) but it seems the system's changed for that and I need to update the Google Analytics code. That's a pain, but I do want that information because I want the site to be as inclusive as possible.

    All that is just the last month. It may have been very different the preceding month! Over the last 12 months, the site has seen nearly 4,000,000 unique users sharing nearly 10,000,000 individual sessions.

    What's great about this is the remarkable, steady rebuild since the Great Hack a couple of years ago. It's taken a long time, and a lot of hard work, and I've written a LOT of daily news articles to repair that damage in terms of audience over the last two years, but the site is well on its way.
    by

    And a rust monster, courtesy of Forbes! Thanks to Hollis for the scoop! There's been plenty of news today, like many days, so be sure to check out the kobold and Mike Mearls' 26 5E rules Q&A!


    Tuesday, 16th September, 2014
    Check out the D&D 5th Edition Kobold! 
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    Check out the D&D 5th Edition Kobold, courtesy of the folks at WotC. [126 comments]



    Page 1 of 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • Everything You Need To Know About the D&D 5th...

    The D&D 5E Monster Manual releases today to select game stores! Already, the forums are full of people who have bought it. Here's a few tidbits regarding the MM that I've found while scouring the web. You may have seen some before. Lots of lists or graphs of monsters arranged by challenge rating, since...

    Read More

    Printing Errors in Some Monster Manuals

    Games Plus of Mt. Prospect, IL, is reporting that some Monster Manuals have a printing issue. It's probably worth glancing at pages 140-141 before picking up your book from your FLGS, just to be sure. This only affects some books. http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?363610-Printer-Errors-in-Some-Monster-Manuals "We were notified by WotC today that...

    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

    The Strange Bestiary

    I must admit that when Monte Cook and Shanna Germain were promoting THE STRANGE Bestiary on the same day that the D&D 5th Edition Monster Manual hit specially selected shops, it tickled me. That took some gumption during a period when most other major RPG producers are not producing a lot of news, for obvious reasons. So here's a preview of the book. Apologies for the teeny...

    Read More

    Unofficial D&D 5th Edition Products

    While WotC has indicated that any third-party licensing announcements (if any) will be coming in early 2015, some publishers have moved ahead with D&D 5E compatible projects of their own. Some have used the Open Game License to access terms and phrases associated with D&D, while others have taken a different approach to the legalities. This article isn't about those legalities, because I'm not a...

    Read More

    MONSTER MANUAL Releases Today!; Bone Devil...

    If you're lucky enough to be near a Wizards Play Network store, the Monster Manual is available today! Ask your local retailer if they're a WPN store. In the meantime, here's a sneak peek at the bone devil . http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?363375-Bone-Devil Also be sure to check out...

    Read More
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