News Archive | 12/21/2009
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And To All, A Good Night!
December News and Reviews

Monday, December 21st

Well folks, we've come to the shortest (read, gloomiest) day of the year—and the shortest update of this news digest (because we have a reindeer to catch). Happy holidays to all, and to all a good night (of gaming)!

Before we run off though, a few final notes: ArtOrder's Krampus challenge ended this Sunday—and we eagerly await seeing the entries. The D&D Community's Winter Holiday Encounter contest also wrapped (see what I did there), where we already can start checking the entries. And, last review for the last book of the year, posted their thoughts on Plane Below!

Finally—Penny Arcade is running a D&D-themed comic for the next few days, starting right here!

Have anything you'd like to mention or include in the news and reviews? Drop us a line at Or yell things at us directly.

Tuesday, December 15th

Wouldn't you know it, there's a new contest in town, and its name is the Winter Holiday Encounter Contest—there's still time to enter, so Trevor Kidd can fill you in on the details before you submit your entry.

Quick side note: over at Geekologie, it's always good to see D&D make it into the diagram (and it looks like dragons did too, separately).

Friday, December 11th

The Contest!

We mentioned winning an entire set of Savage Encounters, didn't we? Well, that contest is now live—design us Blackrazor (from White Plume Mountain) as a 4th Edition artifact, and send it to us!

The Content!

The holidays have arrived in force (we start counting the week before turkey day), and so our latest podcast runs down possible gifts for gamers—including D&D of course, but also other suggestions from around the industry (and beyond). The D&D podcast is overdue for its next mailbag episode, so if you have a question for us—any question at all—send it to

To add to the festivities, Greywulf has posted his 4E version of Saint Nick (a welcome revision to our Nicolas the Gift-Giver… and a much better visitor than last year's Cazakk the Blessed!), while Dungeon's Master posted their holiday shopping skill challenge (we agree—it is a complexity 5 challenge).

Over at ArtOrder, a new round of illustrations are set to ogle (including Dr. Garret Farwildhalfling warlock extraordinaire)—and a final challenge for the year involves the krampus (anyone else heard of this thing?).

What's Coming...

Coming up in the near future, we'll sit down (figuratively) with Leila Johnston (author of Enemy of Chaos), NewbieDM, and later on Steve Townshend, freelance designer of the MM3 mimic.

Online Events

Other online things of note: relaunched its front page (as of yesterday)—including a link to the new D&D Twitter channel. On that channel, you can learn of the Rich Baker chat taking place December 17th (1-2 PM PST… find out about Dark Sun!). Over on the D&D Facebook site, Pete Schaefer published his 4E potion miscibility—and over on Pete's blog, he looks at magic items Wizards of the Coast will never publish!

Folks, that's it for this week! Except for a final request for your input. Do you have a favorite villain from adventures past? We'd like to know who that might be.

Tuesday, December 8th

At our first book signing of the season, R&D's Jeremy Crawford and James Wyatt held court at the Seattle Barnes & Noble (thanks to B&N's Jesse for coordinating the madness), where they hosted a Q&A and author signing before moving on to the gameplay (run by Chris Tulach and Rodney Thompson).

This evening, our second book signing is set to take place at the University Bookstore, with James Wyatt, Andy Collins, and Jeremy Crawford in attendance (as well as Bart Carroll and Shelly Mazzanoble no doubt lurking in the background, surreptitiously taking more pictures with their iPhones).

Over on the Wizards Online Community, we wanted to point out Pluisjen's new look at solo creatures—specifically, making them work better as "parts". Wrecan followed up on this idea, with solo creatures as "piecework creatures"—very cool stuff (and good methods to avoid stun-locked solos).

Wrecan also posted D&D Insider's review within the pages of Games Magazine—though even more rewarding than the review may be wrecan's nostalgic look back at learning the game.

Finally, Wolfgang Baur has won Seattle PI's Geek of the Week—congrats Wolfgang (former editor for Dragon Magazine, current publisher of Kobold Quarterly)!

Have anything you'd like to mention or include in the news and reviews? Drop us a line at Or yell things at us directly.

Friday, December 4th

Before we leave for the weekend (and visit the Seattle R&D book signing), we wanted to point out just some of the compelling DM advice we're coming across. This includes Dungeon Mastering's Making Old Mechanics New Again—with suggestions for ongoing injuries and curses (nothing as vicious as Chris Perkin's recent campaign though, where a character suffered a curse causing him to take double damage… on every hit). At-Will also crafts guidelines for gridless combat. And as always, RPG Bloggers is a truly phenomenal resource to consult for further such articles and reports.

We've also mentioned the suitability of Magic: the Gathering's Zendikar, to mine for campaign ideas. The Creative Team's latest guide covers merfolk and the lands of Tazeem:

Surrounded by unstable, scrub- and lichen-covered calcite flats, Tazeem is a perilous combination of reef-rock forests, a deep inland sea, and a great white-water river that bisects the continent. Some ancient ruins are prominently visible and have been co-opted by the denizens of Tazeem. Others remain hidden and intact, with mysterious artifacts and forces waiting to be discovered by intrepid explorers.

And when it comes to campaign inspiration, we end with the following thread found over at enworld: History, Mythology, Art, and RPGs!

Have anything you'd like to mention or include in the news and reviews? Drop us a line at Or yell things at us directly.

Thursday, December 3rd

The folks at Penny Arcade may have wrapped up their latest podcast with us, but they're still going strong with their own D&D campaign—as Gabe's just related the story of his grand festival (complete with jousting). As for Aeofel, he provided a quick D&D reference, this time in the context of his childhood, the imagination, and quantum physics (it all makes sense in his blog, trust us).

We've mentioned the rust monster's origins as a plastic dime store monster; over at, they've republished an article by Gary Gygax discussing such impromptu figures (Grognardia's James Maliszewski also further discusses D&D's literary influences over at

Coming soon… a contest to win a complete set of Savage Encounters minis. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 1st

Here we are in December! With the rest of the holidays approaching, we've put together our little gift guide. Print it out, check the items you need, and pass it on to folks who have you on their list (this way, they won’t buy what you don't need).

Over on ArtOrder, Jon Schindehette posted another round of art submissions (including an excellent map of Fallcrest—as well as Fallcrest personalities on the author's blog—plus some holiday elves… of sorts). Before the break, Mike Mearls shared his opinion on the essence of D&D through art—old school art, in black and white.

Since they mentioned us, we'll mention them right back—Dungeon' has their month in review (including -- to continue today's theme -- their own look back at old school D&D art). And, since we're always one to pass along a good review (of us!), we were glad to read Pen and Paper Portal's kind words regarding DDi. Plus one for Draconomicon: Metallic Dragons at (and a pretty nifty idea for applying dragon subduing to solo monsters. You're coming with us, Orcus!).

Finally, thanks to The Escapist Blog for mentioning this one: Who else likes to play some D&D? Fiendish scientists planning to destroy the Earth!

Have anything you'd like to mention or include in the news and reviews? Drop us a line at Or yell things at us directly.

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