Previews Archive | 9/4/2008
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September and Beyond
Bart Carroll

Hi folks,

For those of you who attended Gen Con 2008 (and more recently PAX 2008), we hope you enjoyed what we showed off in terms of the sourcebooks coming out and the D&D Insider applications currently in development. For my part, I spent much of the convention in the Indiana Ballroom, covering our many seminars (that was me by the door, pecking away on the laptop with extremely limited battery life), and yes, also at the Slippery Noodle many an evening afterward.

Yet again, I personally had a fantastic time at the convention (only my second). I had a chance to catch a screening of Gamers 2: Dorkness Rising. I enjoyed a piece of Guenhwyvar cake at the 20th Anniversary of the Legend of Drizzt celebration taking place at The Ram (it was, in fact, The Crystal Shard that helped draw me back into fantasy literature). And I even had a chance to walk the convention floor and bring back a stuffed unicorn and a throwing knife for my wife (she's an odd one; these are the kind of presents she enjoys).

In several of the seminars, presentations offered a look at the products coming out through the rest of this year and well into 2009; take a look at the D&D Q&A, the Forgotten Realms, and the Star Wars seminar round-up articles we've posted.

For a closer view of what's coming out in the near future, let's dive right into our previews!

Out Now: D&D Tiny Adventures

Based on the amount of traffic we've seen, this next statement doesn't apply to very many of you -- but if you haven't yet tried Facebook's Tiny Adventures, we'd like point you to this very addictive game.

For a review of this application, just head over to

September: Forgotten Realms Player's Guide

You've seen our extensive preview coverage for this book every Tuesday and Thursday. This being Thursday, you can already find one preview for Luruar, but let's give you one more:

Purple Dragon Knight

"For crown and country!"

Prerequisites: Fighter, paladin, or warlord; affiliated with Cormyr

You live only to serve the Crown of Cormyr and defend its people from the menacing evils of the world. Cormyr's armies are thick with pikes and blades, but you are among the finest in the nation's mighty military machine. Evil is everywhere, preying on those who cannot defend themselves, but you are the sword and shield that stand for justice.

As a knight of Cormyr, your honor is everything. You do not bend it, for to do so would sully the memory of your fallen comrades. You do not compromise with evil, nor can you ignore it as so many people do every day. Your oath is to combat iniquity, avarice, and wickedness wherever they rear their ugly heads. Wherever cruelty and sin fester, wherever corruption takes hold, and wherever enemies of your great kingdom thrive is where you are needed most.

Your training is second to none, and your fierce determination has seen you through death's door and back again on more than one occasion. You cultivate martial prowess that far exceeds that of your foes, but this is not your greatest strength. Your most impressive skill is as a commander on the battlefield. You are an anointed knight, and a born leader whose presence inspires those who share your worthy cause.

September: Adventurer's Vault

You've seen ongoing previews for this mighty tome of magic (and some mundane) items as well! Take a look at today's preview on armor . . . and when you're done, provided below are some of the magic item tables located in the appendix of the book:

Ah, what the heck. Let's throw in one more magic item. Today we've already shown off armor, so let's show you a shield:

Ricochet Shield
Level 12
The strange, seemingly arbitrary angles of this shield take on a sinister purpose when you redirect a foe's ranged attack.
Item Slot: Arms 13,000 gp
Shield: Any
Power (Daily): Immediate Reaction. Use this power when a ranged attack against AC misses you. The source of the attack repeats the attack roll against a different target of your choice within 10 squares of you. If the attack roll succeeds, it hits that target (apply damage and effect where appropriate).

September: Devils' Due Worlds of Dungeons & Dragons #3

According to Jeff Grubb, who worked on issue #3, the comic takes classic D&D stories and adapts them for the comic medium. While Ed Greenwood wrote the original story, "Elminster at the Mage Fair," Jeff adapted it with his permission and approval. From the Devil's Due site: "In 'Elminster at the Magefair,' a mysterious and dangerous errand takes the Sage of Shadowdale and the lovely Storm Silverhand to a gathering of the Forgotten Realms' mightiest wizards."

While "Elminster at the Magefair" will be completed in issue #4 (along with a story by Stan!), the rest of this month's issue includes "The Rigor of the Game," by Jim Lowder, which "pits a gambler in the nightmare-haunted domains of Ravenloft against the infamous death knight, Lord Soth."

September: Scepter Tower of Spellgard

The latest D&D adventure, designed to take a party from 2nd level to well into 4th level and perhaps as high as 5th. What does the adventure encompass (players, shut your eyes for the following synopsis)? Here’s the overview as well as a look at a few of the locations your players might come across:

Lady Saharel has a secret. What secret? All of them....

In Scepter Tower of Spellgard, the player characters brave the dangers of a fortress of Lost Netheril. Treasures of that ancient empire are said to be hidden within, but the relics of a bygone age pale in comparison to Spellgard’s greatest treasure: Lady Saharel.

Once the ruler of Spellgard, Lady Saharel exists beyond death as a kind of prophetic spirit. On those rare occasions when she appears within the ruins of Spellgard, she answers questions posed by any mortals nearby. No query is off limits. Lady Saharel can tell a seeker the location of the secret door to a dragon’s lair, why his or her betrothed disappeared mysteriously last month, and what will happen if someone reconciles with estranged friends.

Although no prophecy is supposed to be able to determine the future with complete accuracy, it is said that Lady Saharel’s answers have yet to be proven wrong. As a result, numerous travelers seek the rubble of Spellgard. Some come in search of assurance before making fateful decisions. Others desire an omniscient guide to acquiring wealth or power. Some come in search of answers that are far more personal: the whereabouts of a lost love, the identity of a parent, or how to find the strength to live with the choices of one’s past.

Over the broken walls of Spellgard and the broken dreams of those who seek it looms the Scepter Tower. One of the few structures left standing after Spellgard’s fall, the Scepter Tower has become home to a dark presence that seeks to control the power of Lady Saharel’s prophecies.

The Scepter Tower of Spellgard, as seen from the base.

The funerary chapel beneath Spellgard, and its deadly master.

A deathjump spider and dark creepers on the Scepter Tower battlements.

October: P1 King of the Trollhaunt Warrens

First in our Paragon series of adventures, P1 allows characters to continue on—assuming they have survived the events of H3 Pyramid of Shadows. Designed to take a party through the early stages of the Paragon tier, from 11th level through 13th level, here is the introduction and a few key locations:

The small town of Moonstair lies on the far frontier of the barony of Therund. A central stop on the north–south trade road, Moonstair was the site of an ancient portal to the Feywild.

East of the town lies the dangerous wilderness known as the Trollhaunt—a maze of swampland, thickets, gullies, and forested ridges. In ages past, this area was part of a land called Vardar, a violent realm of troll war-clans and the monsters that served them. Vardar fell into ruin centuries ago, leaving only dank barrows and a few fogshrouded stone forts to mark its existence. The trolls and other foul creatures dwelling in the Trollhaunt degenerated into savagery, preying on each other and any travelers foolish enough to venture into their lands. However, things in the Trollhaunt are about to change . . .

The great troll chieftain Skalmad has put an end to the feuds and squabbling of his kin, using ancient fomorian magic to declare himself King of the Trollhaunt. Now, Skal mad and his monstrous followers are turning their malice toward neighboring human lands. For the first time in centuries, the trolls of the Trollhaunt have a leader with the will and the wits to forge his lesser fellows into a conquering army. Vardar lives again, and if nothing is done to check Skalmad’s power, Moonstair will be just the first of many settlements to fall.

View of the Tentacle Attack

View of Grell Nest

View of the Feywild Gate

November: Martial Power

Please note that our online catalog has been updated with the actual release date of Martial Power: November, 2008.

If you're playing a martial class, this is the book you've been waiting for, with chapters specifically dedicated to the fighter, rogue, warlord, and ranger -- as well as a chapter on further options which include new feats (and multiclass feats) as well as new epic destinies. Playing a rogue? Perhaps you'd be interested in such new powers as stupefying violence, pommel smash, or a murder of one. Perhaps you'd like to follow the path of the cloaked sniper, daring acrobat, guildmaster thief, or master spy? Perhaps you'd like me to go ahead and show you a few of these options!

A Murder of One
Rogue Attack 29
You flip and flit, stab and slash, as if flying among your foes.
Daily Martial, Weapon
Standard Action Melee weapon
Prerequisite: You must be trained in Acrobatics.
Requirement: You must be wielding a light blade.
Primary Target: One creature
Primary Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 4[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Effect: You can shift 3 squares and can shift through squares occupied by enemies during this movement. Make a secondary attack.
Secondary Target: One creature other than the primary target
Secondary Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 3[W] + Dexterity modifier damage. If the primary attack hits, this attack deals 1[W] extra damage.
Effect: You can shift 3 squares and can shift through squares occupied by enemies during this movement. Make a tertiary attack.
Tertiary Target: One creature other than the primary and secondary targets
Tertiary Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage. If the primary or the secondary attack hits, this attack deals 1[W] extra damage.

Master Spy

"I've seen the things you never intended me to see, heard whispers meant only for your conspirators. I know you well enough to take you down."

Prerequisite: Rogue

In halls of power, on the field of battle, and even among those who seek what is long lost, reliable information is king. Those in the know have an advantage over their allies and enemies and readily know the difference between the two. Thus have persons skilled in acquiring secrets always had ample work and reasons to hone their skills. Such agents learn how to conceal their true motives and cover their tracks while focusing on attaining their goals. Any lapse in precision can mean death.

Long ago, you learned how to sneak into places where you're not welcome. No secret is safe from your expertise and trickery. Subterfuge is your stock-in-trade. You know how best to peer into the intentions of your enemies, and you work undercover with the greatest of ease. Most of your enemies never know that you are in their midst, and you always manage to turn their ignorance against them.

Master Spy Path Features

Cover Action (11th level): Whenever you spend an action point to take an extra action, you gain concealment at the end of that action, and until the end of your next turn, you take no penalty to Stealth checks for moving more than 2 squares or for running.

Deadly Bluff (11th level): You can make a Bluff check to gain combat advantage against an adjacent enemy as a minor action instead of as a standard action (Player's Handbook, page 183). If your check beats the enemy's Insight check, the enemy grants combat advantage to you and your allies until the end of your next turn.

Double Agent (16th level): Once per encounter, when an enemy you can see targets one of its allies with a power or an ability, you can choose to gain the benefit of that power or ability as if you were one of its targets as well.

And folks, that's just a small taste of what's in store for just one of the martial classes. For extensive previews, keep checking the site -- we'll be sure to offer a sneak peek for all of the fighters, rangers, and warlords as well!

November: DDM Demonweb

Yes, we feel the same way as well—an In The Works without a miniatures preview is an In The Works lacking a certain essential ingredient. This fall, DDM Demonweb releases, promising “evil drow and mind flayers battling for control of the Underdark.” Of course, the set features much, much more than drow and mind flayers:

Stirge Drone

Peter Lee mentioned this one in the Gen Con D&D Q&A seminar. War of the Dragon Queen’s Stirge was an exceedingly popular figure, but as an Uncommon in a Huge set, it proved a bit cost prohibitive to collect a full swarm. Enter Demonweb’s Stirge Drone.

On the Skirmish side, this low cost 6-point figure provides an easy way to ping targets for ongoing 10 damage. Used in the RPG, I expect many a DM will take a look at the 4th Edition swarm rules, and figure out several nasty surprises for adventurers traveling through stirge-invested areas.

A classic monster from the earliest editions of the game, the 1dt Edition Monster Manual featured one of the most compelling illustrations of a stirge in action—exsanguinating a hapless victim. Over the years, how much damage have PCs inflicted on one another, trying to smash stirges attached to their fellow party members?

Dragonborn Paladin of Bahamet

On the Skirmish side, the Dragonborn Paladin is a Rare Champion, able to lead good dragon warbands quite effectively against evil dargons—as well as any enemy figure susceptible to radiant damage. A true defender, the Paladin can also soak up hits meant for adjacent allies; an effective technique to keep your more vulnerable figures around. When it comes to the RPG, the paladin may be the heaviest armored dragonborn we’ve seen, making it a solid representation of your paladin, warlord, or fighter.

Until next month!

About the Author

Bart Carroll is loathsome beyond description and has no redeeming features. His body resembles that of a huge, bloated buffalo and gives off an offensive odor. The author's neck is long and thin, and perched atop it is a big head uglier than that of a warthog. His legs are thick and stumpy, much like a hippopotamus. The author's tail is strong and snakey, however, and moves with amazing swiftness to strike enemies.

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