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Leaping Into the New Year
RPGA Report
by Chris Tulach

2008 has come and gone, and the next few months look to be pretty busy around here at Organized Play. Here's what's on tap for the near future; for more information on all of our upcoming projects, visit the RPGA website at www.wizards.com/rpga.

DM Rewards

Since 2003, the RPGA has offered a Rewards program for its membership. You'd sign up, play or DM some games, and get swag. We traditionally offered alternate paint minis for DMs and Rewards cards (a cardstock dollar-bill-sized card that unlocked campaign options or gave your character a little edge at RPGA games) for both players and DMs. While this program worked pretty well for us, we decided to revamp it after some careful consideration.

We decided, after long discussions, that we'd focus our efforts for the new program on DMs. A good DM is hard to find, and they put in a lot of work to entertain a group for hours. We felt that they needed a boost in the utility and function of their rewards. At the same time, we recognized that the players were satisfied with their existing reward, the Rewards cards, but we wanted to make the cards a little more available than they currently are. In the RPGA, a very large majority of the players signed up for our Rewards program do DM games with some degree of frequency, so we made the decision to meld our player and DM programs into one program with the emphasis on DMs.

At the beginning of this year, we converted the old D&D Rewards program to the DM Rewards program. All existing members of the old system are automatically enrolled in the new one. You get rewarded for two things in the new program: keeping your contact information current and DMing games. It's pretty simple. Just for being a part of the program, you receive a new, high-quality, full adventure created specifically for the DM Rewards program each year. In addition, if you DM and report five games during a six-month cycle, you'll get mailed another bit of swag. We're going to change up what you'll receive often, so you'll never get tired of the same old sorts of rewards. We're looking at giving DMs something that they can actually use either at their game table or while prepping for their game -- stuff like exclusive Dungeon Tiles, special artwork binders, full-color poster maps of cool encounter areas, and exclusive monsters or traps.

But we're not getting rid of the cards. Instead, we're sort of killing two birds with one stone. You see, conventions have been asking for different means of support over the past few years, and while there are still other plans in the works, we decided to offer the Rewards cards through our convention support program. Starting in March, organizers with a show that purchases an RPG prize support pack will receive 20 Rewards cards for each pack purchased. The organizer can distribute the cards to the show attendees. If you're not a convention-goer but you want your cards, you can still get all the cards the easy way -- we'll periodically put up a locked PDF with images of all the cards that were distributed to the shows, printable and legal for use in RPGA games. As long as you're part of the DM Rewards program, you'll receive a password to unlock the file, and you're all set!

Now is a great time to take advantage of the new program and get behind the DM screen a little more often. If you know someone that hasn't taken the plunge into DMing yet, give that player a little nudge, and they might just thank you for it down the road.

Winter Conventions

I'll be at our two back-to-back shows in late January and early February, where we'll be showing off some of our upcoming products and have some great game offerings. First off, D&D Experience takes place in Fort Wayne, Indiana from January 29 to February 1. As usual, we'll have bunches of the latest RPGA adventures to play, product previews, and access to Wizards R&D staff. This year, however, we're also expanding our seminar schedule, giving attendees a new one each day. The seminars will range in topics from adventure design to product Q&A and will be hosted by Wizards staff. Look for lots of great, hands-on information about Player's Handbook 2 at the show.

At New York Comic Con (running February 6-8), Wizards will be attending the East Coast's largest comic-themed show, and we'll have a separate gaming hall just for our games. Wizards R&D staff will be there to run games and give sneak peeks at the new products. We're featuring a Mystery Dungeon Challenge event on Saturday night, which gives DMs a chance to show off what they can do with their own 4th Edition adventures.

If you're in the gaming hall at either of these shows, be sure to stop and say hello. As long as I'm not running around on fire, feel free to bend my ear for a few minutes.

2009 Game Days

That's right, this year it's game days -- we're doing at least three, based around the release of the "twos" -- Player's Handbook 2, Monster Manual 2, and Dungeon Master's Guide 2. The first one, Player's Handbook 2, is coming up quick. We'll give you a brand-new paragon tier adventure to play and 11th-level characters using options from Player's Handbook 2 (and other upcoming books); just bring yourself and some dice to get in on the action! Mark your calendars for March 21, and make sure that you check with your local play spot to ensure they sign up to participate. More information on this and the other game day events later in the year will be posted on the RPGA site in February.

About the Author

Originally thought to have been raised from a humble Midwestern family, Chris Tulach actually fell to Earth in a meteorite-shaped capsule flung from a planet far outside our galaxy. While under the yellow rays of Sol, Chris’s nerdity far surpasses that of any normal human. Using this precious gift only for good, he has become the RPGA Content Designer, responsible for the development and deployment of Dungeons & Dragons organized play programs.