Geoff Gander is a dark fantasy writer and D&D module-creator living in Ottawa, Canada. Geoff and I met over early morning coffee to talk gaming.
Derek: So, you write Basic D&D modules. You’ve had 2 modules printed by Expeditious Retreat Press. Even when I was a small town teenager, I could still get my hands on a variety of role playing games, especially AD&D, making Basic seem like yesterday’s news. Now, twenty-five years later, people are paying you money to write modules for Basic. Where’s that market coming from?
Geoff: We’re seeing the rise of old school gaming in classic pen-and-paper RPGs as well as computers. Many old schoolers who played D&D and similar games in the 80s are now introducing the games to their children, or they may have followed the general flow of gaming culture towards the latest products on the market, and have grown nostalgic for what got them into the hobby in the first place.
There are also people like me, who grew dissatisfied with the quality of mainstream gaming products and stayed with the systems they enjoyed, long after they went out of print.
At about 5:00 pm, I headed a couple of blocks over to the Indiana Repertory Theater for a Dungeons & Dragons press conference I’d been invited to. Following the press conference was to be the big Dungeons & Dragonsparty, which was celebrating not only the launch of The Sundering … but also the 25th anniversary of Drizzt Do’urden. (We even had cake!)
So, let’s lay it out here: Dungeons & Dragonsis going through some massive shake-ups. Last year, I liveblogged from their keynote address, where the Powers-That-Be formally announced their intention to tie the D&D Nexttransformation of the rules in with a Forgotten Realms storyline called The Sundering.
This year, we got a lot more information about exactly what this will look like on the implementation. Plus … there was an open bar and a murder! But first, the gaming news.
I was introduced to roleplaying in as a teenager in the early 90’s, and the game that did it was 2nd edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D). However, I’ve never had a real strong sense of nostalgia, so years ago – when I switched over to D&D 3rd edition – I got rid of my old 2nd edition books.
Since then, I’ve occasionally missed the streamlined simplicity of 2nd edition and lamented the loss of these books.
So imagine my pleasure when I received a package yesterday from Wizards of the Coast containing review copies of the three core 2nd edition rulebooks, repackaged and re-released for a new generation:
There were a lot of releases and announcements from Wizards of the Coast to get excited about in 2012, such as D&D Next, the Lords of Waterdeep board game, and the first four Dungeon Command faction packs (covered here and here). But one game slipped through the 2012 coverage here at the rooftop headquarters of Black Gate… in large part because it lacks the bells, whistles, and minis from some of these other games. But, at the same time, that’s part of its charm.
Dungeon (Amazon, B&N) is a straight dungeon crawl game at a bargain basement price ($19.99!) compared to almost any other RPG-related board game that you’ll find in the market these days. This is because there are no miniatures, just little cards and cardboard tokens.
For the first time in GenCon history, the week began with a keynote event on Thursday evening. And who gave the keynote? None other than the folks behind Dungeons & Dragons.
For the last several months, Dungeons & Dragons has been undergoing a transformation into their Dungeons & Dragons Next format (which they are loathe to officially call 5th edition).
The event was delayed a bit due to rain and venue change, but once things are moving, I’ll be liveblogging about the event. I know I won’t catch everything, but I’m sure there’ll be a link to video of the event online shortly and I’ll post it (and other background links) in an update over the next day or so, when I have more stable net access.
The Event Begins
7:25 pm – Peter Adkison, founder of Wizards of the Coast, runs onstage and discusses how this inaugural keynote came into being. Basically, Adkison strong-armed Greg Leeds (current CEO of Wizards of the Coast) into doing it, and made it clear that he expected Greg himself to get on stage and start the event off. So, with that ….
Player’s Option: Heroes of the Feywild(Amazon, B&N) Dungeons & Dragons – Rodney Thompson, Claudio Pozas, Steve Townshend
Wizards of the Coast (160 pp, $29.95, Nov. 2011)
Fury of the Feywild Fortune Cards (Amazon) Dungeons and Dragons
Wizards of the Coast ($3.99, Nov. 2011)
Reviewed by Andrew Zimmerman Jones
In roleplaying games, I’ve always been a fan of taking full advantage of each character’s unique traits. The statistics are a reflection of these unique traits, of course, but they aren’t the most important element. The differences between Dwarves and Elves goes far beyond just their Dexterity and Constitution bonuses, reflecting deep cultural differences that are far more interesting.
As such,I love supplements that help to differentiate even more between different types of characters. The Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Option book Heroes of the Feywild is superb at doing that for Feywild characters, providing both storytelling details about these engaging character types as well as new mechanics designed to support stories that feature the Feywild. If you want to enter into this world of raw magical power, this is definitely a must-have supplement.
To supplement the book, Wizards of the Coast also released an Fortune Cards expansion, Fury of the Feywild, which allows you to invoke feywild-linked events into your Dungeon & Dragons game in a more random fashion. You can download the rules for using Fortune Cards from Wizards directly.
Wizards of the Coast has just announced the creation of a new online portal which will feature information about the upcoming next iteration of Dungeons & Dragons. They seem to be specifically avoiding the “5th edition” label for the moment, instead going with the working title of D&D Next for the naming convention of the websites (although that name itself doesn’t appear in the text of most of the pages).
The website includes links to some recent Q&A’s and other resources about the game, based upon the handful of demonstrations at the D&D Experience convention (and perhaps elsewhere), until the time when wide scale playtesting begins.
I repeat: Playtesting has not yet begun, but this portal allows you to sign up, in the hopes of getting access as early as possible. Once playtesting does begin, the relevant materials will be available for download through this website.
What are your thoughts on the next iteration of Dungeons & Dragons? What aspects of the game would you like to see kept (or reintroduced) from previous editions?