Archive for July, 2011

Hungry for Treasure

So I was trolling the WotC product catalog and I noticed a book that was absent has made a return to the release schedule. It’s Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium. It’s billed as “A wondrous collection of magical treasures for any campaign.” and shows a release date of September 20, 2011. It was originally scheduled for release in April of this year but was pulled off the schedule sometime in January.  Word on the WotC boards and some podcasts was that the content would still be released, but likely digitally. They had said that they were not sure of the best way to release the content. I was one of the many gamers who were disappointed with this change. I had read that this was going to be similar in concept to the earlier Adventurer Vault books but with a greater focus on flavor and story. This is exactly what I had hoped the Adventurers Vault books would have been rather than simple compendiums of magical items. Don’t get me wrong, I love the AV books, but they could definitely be improved with the inclusion of more story elements. WotC has been doing a good job lately in that respect. Products like the Monster Vaults, Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Heroes of Shadow have done a lot to move the ball downfield with regard to infusing greater amounts of story into the content. I look forward to getting my hands on the newest feast of magical items come September. (more…)


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I was recently involved in an online conversation. A player relatively new to 4E was asking a group of more experienced gamers, myself included, about a situation he encountered and how we would have adjudicated it.  I gave my answer and was surprised at some of the answers that came back. I’d like to throw this out there and see what others think and why?

So here’s the pertinent info for the scenario:

The player in question was a Psion. He was outside a window of a small dwelling. An enemy combatant was inside the building and adjacent to the barred window. The Psion opted to use his Kinetic Trawl (Augment 2) power as he had line of sight and arguably line of effect to the enemy he could see through the window.  DDi Compendium explains Kinetic Trawl thusly:











The Psion made it clear his goal was to do damage to the enemy while trying to pull him, smashing him into the bars of the window, possibly doing more damage.  The Psion successfully scored a hit and normal damage was dealt for the attack. But how, as a DM would you rule on the forced movement?   Please answer below and explain in the comments.

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Lately, I’ve been thinking about The Nentir Vale. As I’ve mentioned, the main campaign I’m running takes place there and my group has really enjoyed fleshing out the details of the setting, both by using published materials and through the collaborative process. In many cases, the former is what has informed our use of maps.  There are lots of fun maps out there that are designed to be used in the base D&D world.  The latest of which is a tileset produced by WotC called Dungeon Tiles: The Witchlight Fens.  If you’ve been following WotC products releases as all, you’ll likely know the last year has been spent releasing The Essentials line of products. Included in this “evergreen” product line were a series of Dungeon Tile Master Sets. They covered, The Dungeon, The City and The Wilderness.  The Dungeon was a solid product, hitting the sweet spot between generic usability and inclusion of added details. The City was a bit weaker in design, burning too much tilespace on completely barren indoor buildings and not enough tiles for city streets (the box tops were building roofs), alleys, markets and other urban areas. The Wilderness was an outlier in that it really did exactly what it needed to do while staying focused on the most typical outdoor and woodland settings found in The Nentir Vale.  While these 3 tilesets do mostly what they set out to do: give a DM the ability to quickly map out the most common settings, they simply can’t do justice to all the little niches that are built into The Nentir Vale setting. Things like The Cairngorm Peaks, The Gray Downs and The Witchlight Fens are nigh unmappable with The Essentials tilesets. Yet, these areas represent some of the most interesting locations in the setting.  With the release of the latest tileset for The Witchlight Fens however, it appears WotC is looking to remedy this glaring omission.


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The Nentir Vale is ALIVE!

That’s how I felt as I poured over my most recent WotC purchase, Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale.

So, a little background. I’ve always liked the points of light design. I like the idea that safe places of the world are few and far between. Whatever security is to be established in the world, the players will have to work for it. Nothing can be taken for granted.  It’s particularly fitting when you consider this world design is being laid over the top of an RPG that is a significant departure from its previous incarnations.  Take nothing for granted.  That’s the theme I’ve gotten from WotC over the past couple of years. Ironically enough, over time, the opposite occurred. (more…)

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Sometimes…..it actually makes your game better.

Two weeks ago, I probably wouldn’t have taken that statement seriously. Two weeks ago I would have told you that dice bags are all about function, bringing your “tools” to the table so to speak.  Don’t get me wrong, much like many table top RPGers, I have a bit of a dice bag fetish.  They can bring luck, or they can be “cool”. I’ve seen all sorts of make shift bags, boxes, sleeves and containers used to house the tools of our trade. I’ve used most of them through the years, from the ubiquitous clear plastic tubes that new dice are sold in, to the almost “official” feeling Crown Royal bag seen at game tables across the country. In every case, dice bags were utilitarian at the least and mildly interesting at best.  That is, until I received my first hand-crafted dice bag from Dragon Chow Dice Bags. I had heard the name dropped a couple of times on some of my favorite podcasts. The bags seemed to be held in high esteem by gamers I both admired and respected.  I thought, “Hmmm, this may be worth a look”. (more…)

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This is a simple one. D&D 4E didn’t introduce roles to D&D but it certainly did a lot to hardcode them into the design. For better or for worse, the game has evolved because of it. Some love it, some don’t.  Whether you’re a fan or not, you probably have a preference when it comes time to decide.  When you think of your ideal character in combat, are you dealing out the damage to the enemies, supporting your compatriots with healing spells, unleashing spells to harry and dissuade your foes, or drawing enemy fire to take the heat off your party?  Maybe you prefer some mix of these?  Feel free to comment, both on WotCs decision to place greater emphasis on the mechanical role of each class as well as why you like or do not like certain roles in gameplay.

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