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    It's a big one. Brace yourselves! Here from the D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide is theTABLE OF CONTENTS, plus FIREARMS, EXPLOSIVES, and ALIEN TECH! The DMG is available from December 9th, 2014, or Nov 28 in preferred stores. [76 comments]

    [Problem seeing them? Click here!]






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    Dungeons & Dragons News

    • The Extra Life D&D game is today. Times and links at the ... errr... link. WotC's part starts tomorrow, I think.
    • Michael Long has written an article about his experiences with his Player's Handbook binding and WotC's customer service.
    • Through Gamer Googles did a video flip-through of The Rise of Tiamat.




    Paranoia Kickstarter from Mongoose

    Mongoose Publishing launched a Kickstarter for a new edition of the Paranoia RPG this morning. It's already hit £23K of its £30K goal with over 500 backers in just a few hours, so it looks like it's going to be a big 'un. "The classic RPG of a darkly humorous future; Rebooted by James Wallis to be faster and even easier to play."

    If you're not familiar with the Paranoia RPG, here's a quick description from the Kickstarter page:

    Serve the Computer! The Computer is your friend!

    Imagine a world designed by Kafka, Stalin, Orwell, Huxley, Sartre and the Marx Brothers.

    Paranoia is a roleplaying game set in a darkly humorous future. In Paranoia, a well-meaning but deranged computer desperately protects the citizens of an underground warren from all sorts of real and imagined enemies. You play one of The Computer's elite agents. Your job is to search out and destroy the enemies of The Computer. Your worst fear is that The Computer will discover that you are one of these enemies.

    Paranoia:
    A light-hearted game of terror, death, bureaucracies, mad scientists, mutants, dangerous weapons, and insane robots, which encourages players to lie, to cheat, and backstab each other at every turn.


    Sean K Reynold's Five Moons Video

    Sean K Reynolds' currently Kickstarting Five Moons RPG has a sample of play video.



    Friday, 24th October, 2014
    D&D Climbs Back to #2 Spot During Summer 2014 
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    According to ICv2's latest survey, D&D has re-entered the Top 5 RPGs chart for Summer 2014, coming back in at the #2 spot; Pathfinder retained the #1 spot. This includes the first two D&D releases (the D&D Starter Set and the Player's Handbook). Fantasy Flight Games holds two of the top spots. [49 comments]

    Position
    Game
    1 Pathfinder (Paizo Publishing)
    2 Dungeons & Dragons (WotC)
    3 Star Wars (Fantasy Flight Games)
    4 Shadowrun (Catalyst Game Labs)
    5 Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader/Deathwatch (Fantasy Flight Games)
    I've added these figures to my compiled chart which shows the positions going back to 2004, and to the graph below. To see the compiled figures, click on the graph!


    Thursday, 23rd October, 2014
    DMG Preview 4: Artifacts! 
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    It's been a good week for Dungeon Master's Guide previews, and today's no exception. Here's a look at some artifacts! [64 comments]





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    It's a fairly eclectic assortment of news bits today!

    • Don't miss EN World's review of The Rise of Tiamat, the second official D&D 5E adventure!
    • Eberron creator Keith Baker is playing a Warforged artificer in Dungeons & Dragons Extra Life 2014. However, there are no 5E stats for Warforged yet. But never fear - he and D&D 5E designer Rodney Thompson put something together. Keit says "Needless to say, it's ENTIRELY UNOFFICIAL, but if you want to see what I'll be using for my character on Saturday, take a look!" You can find Keith's Warforged stats here.And while you're at it, you could support Eberron for Extra Life. [106 comments]
    • In other news, How much speed could a fast monk gain, if a fast monk could gain speed? In turns out 850' for a round, or 96.5mph. See how here! [23 comments]
    • If you're looking for a job, there's a new Pathfinder Developer vacancy at Paizo. "Assist in the concepting, outlining, revision, and development of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game books, fiction, and associated products. Developers work with freelance writers, evaluating submissions, revising and improving content, writing additional material to supplement freelance designs, and generally working to maintain Pathfinder's high level of quality and consistency."
    • Finally, if you like polearms - and of course you do; who wouldn't? - you'll be very interested in this page spread from my O.L.D. roleplaying game playtest document. They all have the same stats; but I figured some polearm education is never wasted!



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    It’s been less than three months now since the latest edition of the Dungeons & Dragons Role-Playing Game was released at GEN CON 2014. And gamers are already utilizing the two Core Rulebooks to which they already have access – the Player’s Handbook and Monster Manual – with the third – the D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide – coming out (hopefully) before the Holiday Season.

    But even without the new D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide, there is still content to play both in personal gaming circles and in organized play activities. The Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure series has by all accounts sold very well – a top seller on Amazon.com in its initial release – and it has provided gamers with content for the first eight levels of play under D&D 5th Edition rules.

    And once again, Wizards of the Coast has teamed up with Kobold Press and designers Wolfgang Baur, Steve Winter, and Alexander Winter to design the second half of the first official adventure series of 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. The Rise of Tiamat takes off where Hoard of the Dragon Queen left off, and pits a seasoned party of heroes against the might of the Cult of the Dragon and potentially Tiamat Herself - with the fate of all Faerûn in the balance!


    The Rise of Tiamat (5th Edition D&D)

    • Designer: Steve Winter & Alexander Winter
    • Adventure Contributors: Mike Mearls, Christopher Perkins, Matthew Sernett, Chris Sims, Rodney Thompson; Jeremy Crawford
    • Illustrators: Michael Kormarck (cover); Jean-Paul Balmet, Nicole Cardiff, Guido Kuip, Marcel Marcado, Bryan Syme (interior)
    • Cartography: Jared Blando
    • Publisher: Kobold Press / Wizards of the Coast
    • Year: 2014
    • Media: Hardbound (96 pages)
    • Price: $29.95 (Available from Amazon.com in Hardbound for only $18.94)


    The Rise of Tiamat
    is the second half of the first official adventure series released for the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons. This adventure arc is designed for four 7th to 8th Level characters to begin an epic quest and progress all the way through 15th Level by the climax of the campaign. The book’s episodes contain information required to run the adventure, including plot descriptions and read-aloud text, full-color maps, monster stat blocks, NPC backgrounds, experience point rewards, and treasure.


    Production Quality

    The production quality of The Rise of Tiamat is just as excellent as its preceding sourcebook, containing some top-notch writing and a lovely user-friendly layout. Steve Winter crafts a considerably detailed and involved plot for this Dungeons & Dragons campaign, and is a more advanced sort of adventure for a DM who completed the first half of this series with their players.

    And like The Hoard of the Dragon Queen, this new book has a solid binding and is sturdily hardbound with a glossy cover. The Rise of Tiamat is a full sized tome weighing in at about 21 ounces, with heavy weight paper for the pages which have a crisp standard (non-glossy) finish. The book has a detailed table of contents with page references to each episode, the episode’s major events, and to each map as well.

    The illustrations and artwork in The Rise of Tiamat are really gorgeous, right from the first glimpse of cover depicting Tiamat being summoned into the world of Faerûn! The interior art is equally dramatic and beautiful, but disappointingly, is quite sparse in appearance given the page-length of the campaign. There is quite of few sections where “wall of text” is unrelieved for several pages in a row. However, quite a bit of the artwork depicts scenes and NPCs the heroes are likely to encounter so could be quite useful at the gaming table. And the same cartographer created the maps for The Rise of Tiamat as in The Hoard of the Dragon Queen, and these all have some great “fantasy world” embellishments like runes and decorations which make them lovely bits of art in their own right.


    Dracopocalypse 2014!!!
    The Rise of Tiamat continues the adventure arc which began in The Hoard of the Dragon Queen, and consists of nine episodes all around the Sword Coast of the Forgotten Realms… and beyond! The adventure series is balanced for a 7th to 8th Level four-person party of D&D heroes, but the author does briefly discuss rebalancing encounters for more characters (or less?). A fiat experience point method is recommended such that the heroes will gain about one level per episode to top out at Level 14 or 15. Dungeon Masters may also tally experience points for encounters and quests normally, and even include side adventures of their own devising to keep the progression on track with the campaign’s expectations.

    ***Spoiler Alert: Although spoilers for this adventure arc will be kept to a minimum while discussing the product, those planning on playing The Rise of Tiamat might wish to skip directly to the bottom for the conclusions and scoring. ***

    As the cover of The Rise of Tiamat will tell you, the player-character heroes are to be tasked to “Avert the cataclysmic return of Tiamat…” …and the authors are not kidding around here in the least! The events set forth in The Hoard of the Dragon Queen are moving directly toward an epic climax where Tiamat will be summoned into the world of Faerûn and herald a draconic disaster of apocalyptic levels!

    The adventures encounters draws on monsters that can be found in the new D&D Monster Manual, with a supplemental listing of special monsters and NPCs which can be found in a section at the end of the book. But while mundane treasures are taken care of in the adventure text, magic items seem to be expected to be referenced from the as yet unreleased D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide, which might prove a bit of an issue – although to give WotC their due, they did put out an excerpt of magic items and monsters specifically for use with HotDQ, and could do the same with TRoT.

    The authors open The Rise of Tiamat with a quick overview of the last campaign arc and about a dozen pages devoted to explaining the story arc and episode design to the DM. It contains information about potential allies and enemies of the adventurers, and features information on main NPCs found in the Factions for the Adventurers’ League. A central part of this campaign arc centers on gathering an army of allies to face off against the forces which are being recruited by the Cult of the Dragons in preparation for an epic showdown, and the heroes are right in the middle of the action as “movers and shakers” in the world now. As such, the campaign arc becomes a bit less sandbox-y in its movement from episode to episode, however, it does focus more on the direct actions of the heroes as they take on quests and resolve issues to garner favor from among some often strange and dangerous allies.

    In fact, TRoT employs a faction “scorecard” which is used to tally up the favor and disfavor that result from the actions of the heroes. Some outcomes during the adventures earns favor with one faction, but might cause another faction to become angry or more mistrusting… something the heroes cannot afford given that Tiamat is on her way into Faerûn, and the characters will need all the allies and resources they can get! So roleplaying and creative problem solving become rather important in this higher level of play, and the players will really be able to bring a lot to the table as the let their heroes come into their power as leaders on the world stage in the Forgotten Realms.

    The settings for the adventures range from the Council Chambers of Waterdeep, to the icy Spine of the World, the perilous lands of Najara and the Serpent Hills, and even a quick teleport into Thay! Not surprisingly, the heroes end up having their final showdown at the infamous Well of Dragons, but not before tramping all up and down the expanses of the Sword Coast. One frustrating aspect of all this travel is the lack of a Sword Coast map in The Rise of Tiamat – DMs had better have the preceding book on hand for that reference map. And some of the locales where the heroes visit are not shown on the map – an adventure to The Misty Forest for example will be a bit annoying without a quick reference to the Forgotten Realms Wiki to learn that it is “…located just west of the High Moor, just south of the river Delimbiyr.” There is a forest on the map in Hoard of the Dragon Queen – but it is not labeled at all. At least two other locations mentioned as adventure sites are equally… unmapped.

    That being said, the adventures in the episodes themselves are quite well written and contain a number of exciting moments, from dungeon delves to outdoor explorations. The encounters are pretty well balanced against level appropriate characters, assuming that the adventures are run in a particular order – going too far out of order would result in either too easy or too hard encounters.

    And the final showdown at the Well of Dragons is quite spectacular – as well as potentially lethal. And not just for the heroes, but for the Faerûn as well! The imminent threat of Tiamat’s summoning to the Forgotten Realms is not merely a “cut-scene” for dramatic effect, but an all too real menace which could change the very nature of the Realms forever if the Queen of Dragons is loosed from Avernus. The authors provide the stat-block for Tiamat in The Rise of Tiamat, and odds are that most adventuring parties will face some aspect of this dragon goddess – and oh yes, Tiamat is completely OP and will likely kill off the heroes in a few rounds if she gets out of Hell!

    Obviously, the trick is to make sure Herself never gets out the netherworld to begin with… and Good Luck with that!


    Overall Score: 8.2 out of 10.0


    Conclusions

    The Rise of Tiamat
    is an epic and smashing conclusion to the campaign arc that began with Hoard of the Dragon Queen, and will likely be one of those adventure series that players and DMs will be discussing with the same fond-dread as Tomb of Horrors and The Drow Series/Demonweb Pits from earlier editions. While perhaps not the sandbox of the earlier adventure, the outcome of The Rise of Tiamat does depend considerably more on the creative roleplaying, diplomacy, and problem solving of the player-characters. There choices during the course of the episodes will, in essence, transform them from mere adventurers to epic heroes of the Forgotten Realms.

    The production quality of the book is high, but there were a few flaws that were hard to go unnoticed, such as the sparseness of the interior illustrations leading to “wall of text” syndrome, the reliance on downloadable content or the not-yet-released DMG for magic items, and the missing Realms map and locations. But despite a few rough edges, The Rise of Tiamat is an awesome first epic campaign for the new Dungeons & Dragons edition.

    And the price for this huge epic dragon-filled adventure is quite reasonable when it goes on sale on Amazon.com in just a couple weeks! Check out the pre-order for the release on November 4th!

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

    *** This Reviewer would like to extend a big Thank You to the PR folks at Wizards of the Coast for the opportunity to have a pre-release review of The Rise of Tiamat this week! ***

    Grade Card (Ratings 1 to 10)

    • Presentation: 8.5
    • - Design: 9.0 (Exceptional writing; great layout; a good-looking tome overall)
    • - Illustrations: 8.0 (Beautiful artwork; beautifully rendered maps; some “wall of text” here and there)
    • Content: 7.5
    • - Crunch: 7.5 (Very cool encounters; good use of mechanics; lack of access to magic items a problem)
    • - Fluff: 7.5 (Truly epic storyline; good use of lore; lack of maps and locales could be frustrating)
    • Value: 8.5 (Big epic adventure for a great price!)

    Tuesday, 21st October, 2014
    DMG Preview #3: Magic Rings! 
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    The next D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide preview is here. This time it's a selection of magic rings! Also see the previous previews - figurines of wondrous power and the deck of many things. [56 comments]


    Tuesday, 21st October, 2014
    DMG Preview #2: Figurines of Wondrous Power! 
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    by

    As previously mentioned, WotC is releasing 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide previews in exchange for charitable donations to their Extra Life efforts. The first of these, the Deck of Many Things, was unlocked last week, an the next goal, $30K, Figurines of Wondrous Power has just been unlocked too. You can donate to Exra Life here. [59 comments]







    Saturday, 18th October, 2014
    DungeonScape Q&A Video 
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    The link I posted yesterday was wrong, apparently. Sorry! But here's last night's DungeonScape Q&A video. If it works!


    by

    DungeonScape Update

    The folks at Trapdoor Tech, who are building DungeonScape, the 5E electronic tools suite will be running their first public Dev Call today at 4pm MST. I'm not sure what that means, but here's the link. And here's the status of beta invites:

    As of this moment we’ve sent out 9016 web beta invites and are up to August 10th.

    We’re sending out between 200-400 invites a day.

    We’ve sent out 1100 android beta invites.

    We are still waiting on pricing approval for iOS submission : ( Once we have the golden ticket, we will immediately submit the Players Release (Home Module, Character Module, Library Module) to the App Store and we will let you know as soon as that happens.

    Southlands for Pathfinder

    Kobold Press' Southlands Kickstarter is on its last day. Wolfgang Baur says "The project includes 10 adventures, a campaign setting, and a full-color bestiary. Ends at 9 PM Pacific, midnight Eastern, today."



    Feng Shui Kickstarter

    Robin Laws' Feng Shui 2 Kickstarter is in its final hours. It has over $170K, and 11 hours to go at the time of writing. "It’s back in all its explodey, chi-blasting glory: Feng Shui, the classic game of Hong Kong-inspired cinematic action, refurbished with a fresh bag of ammo for a new roleplaying generation! Original designer Robin D. Laws rushes your way on a bullet-riddled gurney to serve up the thrills fans remember, furiouser and faster than ever."



    Eyes of the Stone Thief

    The Eyes of the Stone Thief is a hardback book mega-adventure/campaign for 13th Age. "The Stone Thief is an ancient and cunning living dungeon, a monster that preys on cities and castles – it swallows fortresses and places of power, then remakes them into more deathtrap-filled dungeon levels inside itself." Below is a preview of the interior.




    N.O.W. it's a Ninja!

    This is a ninja from N.O.W. The Roleplaying Game.




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  • DMG Preview 4: Artifacts!

    It's been a good week for Dungeon Master's Guide previews, and today's no exception. Here's a look at some artifacts! http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?371192-DMG-Preview-4-Artifacts!

    Read More

    Assorted Bits: 5E Warforged; 100 MPH Monk; and...

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    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!

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    D&D EXTRA LIFE! WotC Customer Service; and a...

    Dungeons & Dragons News The Extra Life D&D game is today. Times and links at the ... errr... link. WotC's part starts tomorrow, I think. Michael Long has written an article about his experiences with...

    Read More

    D&D Climbs Back to #2 Spot During Summer 2014

    According to ICv2's latest survey, D&D has re-entered the Top 5 RPGs chart for Summer 2014, coming back in at the #2 spot; Pathfinder retained the #1 spot. This includes the first two D&D releases (the D&D Starter Set and the Player's Handbook). Fantasy Flight Games holds two of the top spots....

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    It's the D&D 5E DMG TABLE OF CONTENTS! Plus...

    It's a big one. Brace yourselves! Here from the D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide is theTABLE OF CONTENTS, plus FIREARMS, EXPLOSIVES, and ALIEN TECH! The DMG is available from December 9th, 2014, or Nov 28 in preferred stores....

    Read More
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