Revenant Released for D&DI Subscribers

If you have a D&DI subscription you can head over to Wizards.com and check out Revenants.

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D&DI Exlusive Content

Today Wizards announced some new stuff coming soon to D&D Insider. In addition to the (already mentioned) Players Handbook 3 content that will be pre-released on D&D Insider, the insider will have an exclusive race and an exclusive class that, according to Bill Slavicsek, will never appear in any book.

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Dave Arneson Passes Away at 61

Dave Arneson has passed away. Just the other day The Escapist had a posting about Arneson, who some believed had already passed. Unfortunately after a two year battle with cancer Arneson has indeed left this world.

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D&D – Hybrid Characters Playtest

Wizards has posted a playtest article for what they call Hybrid Characters, if you’re an Insider member you can check it out.

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Dungeons and Dragons: Paragon Path Rules Issue

One of my players was a bit unhappy with his characters plot (or rather lack there of) and decided he wanted to bring in a new character. As he was one of the two leaders in our six-player party he decided to stick with a leader character but bring in a Shaman as they are good at group healer while the other leader, a Cleric, could hand the single target big heals. In our first game with this character things seemed to go fairly well but an issue came up with one of his paragon path powers (say that three times fast!).

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Hands on With the Player’s Handbook 2

I was planning on picking up a copy of the Player’s Handbook 2 at our local game store yesterday but when I stopped in I didn’t see any copies. It’s possible they weren’t out yet or I missed them but after getting back to my house and having two of my players bring copies, a third mentioned they had one on order, and a fourth said they would probably pick up a copy at some point, I decided that spending the money for a copy of my own just felt like throwing money away.

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On the Brink of Paragon: Some Thoughts on D&D 4th Edition

Last night my group reached level 11 in our Dungeons and Dragons campaign. We have been playing this same game since early last June, giving us over eight months of play time so far. If the next two tiers go at a comparable speed we will reach the end of the whole campaign (should we see it to its conclusion) at right about the two-year mark.

Overall I have enjoyed the new D&D quite a bit and I just thought it would be interesting to comment on a few of my observations as we have just reached a major milestone in the game.

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Totems, Totems, Totems! – Wizards Previews the Shaman

The first three levels of the Shaman are up for Insider members over at Wizards site and I have to say it looks pretty interesting and gives us four options for the Leader slot once the PH2 comes out (Cleric, Warlord, Bard and Shaman).

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D&D Character Builder – Pleasantly Suprised

Being an Insider member and a naturally curious person I decided to download the full version of the character builder that Wizards put up recently and I have to say, I like what I see.

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Sorcerer Preview – A New Twist on the Old Favorite

Wizards has put up their preview of the first three levels of sorcerer and it seems pretty neat.

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Obsidian Portal

I was poking around on Penny Arcade today and was informed about this nifty wiki-like site called Obsidian Portal.

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A Pointless Post About the Pointlessness of XP

I had been noticing for a while that experience points in D&D 4th Edition were almost more trouble than they were worth and I thought I would do a post about it. Unfortunately, I was beaten to the punch last week by Chris Youngs who wrote about XP in his Editorial. Still, I wanted to say a couple words about it even if I am treading over a well-worn path.

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Skill Challenge Example from My Game

A lot has been said about Skill Challenges in D&D 4th Edition, some good some bad.  I like the concept but as I have said in the past I have had a hard time implementing them to my satisfaction.  Honestly, for the most part they have been enjoyable as they have mixed role playing with dice rolling in such a way that, when done correctly, can appeal to two different kinds of gamers.  Still, sometimes it is hard to get the descriptions right in such a way to appeal to those who are looking for story in what is often predominantly an adventure game.

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The Warden and Other Cool New Stuff for Insider Members

I have so many cool things I want to write about but this past weekend ended up being a bit crazier than I had planned. I hope to get back to writing more, including writing reviews for no less than six games that I have either played recently or have recently realized I never got around to reviewing. For today I just wanted to send you over to Wizards where you can check out the newest preview from the Players Handbook 2, the Warden.

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A Few Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2009

There are several more games I need to review and I also would like to write a bit more about reviewing and perhaps change the way I write reviews but it occurred to me that there are a number of game related things I am quite excited about at the moment and this being the last day of the year a post about these items might be a good idea.

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D&D Controllers: Wizards and Druids and Invokers Oh My!

Recently the preview for the Druid went up and I commented briefly on that, and today we now have the preview for the Invoker.

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D&D: Druid Preview

I know a lot of people were really excited to see what they did with the Barbarian while others were pretty thrilled when they released the Bard but personally I think the Druid could be the most exciting of the bunch.

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Dungeons and Dragons – Character Builder Beta

So the Character Builder Beta was released to those who have subscribed to D&DI, and being one of those willing to fork over the bucks I was able to download it and check it out. Personally I can’t say I was impressed but then I doubt they could have impressed me.

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Dragon Magazine Articles: What I Would Like to See

So far I think the articles for Dragon Magazine on D&DI have been pretty good. They have covered topics from traps to treasures including new player options as well as new DM options like new monster types. It got me thinking about what else I hope to see released online.

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D&DI – Brief Review of the Bonus Tools

D&DI Bonus Tools

Currently individuals willing to pay for a D&DI subscription have access to three “Bonus Tools” with the promise of more online tools, not called Bonus Tools but still tools of a sort, to come. Obviously the most dynamic of these eventual tools is the Game Table but for now all we have is The Encounter Builder, The Ability Generator and The Monster Building which are the three tools called Bonus Tools. I had played around with the first two already and finally took some time to check out The Monster Builder, so far I’m very unimpressed.

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D&DI – Time to Pay the Piper

Dungeons and Dragons Insider stopped being a “free action” on October 15th. You can find the article about their launch here. I know a lot of people, myself included were dreading this day but after only a couple of days of hemming an hawing I broke down and payed up.

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My Reaction to Immediate Reactions in D&D 4.0

One of the things our group missed when we first started playing Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition was that players could only perform one Immediate Action per round. The rule that defines this is not all that hard to locate, being found plainly under the explanation of what an Immediate Action is it states, “You can take only one immediate action per round”. Mostly, we just overlooked it.

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Thoughts on Stealth and Perception in Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition

I have always had a bit of a problem with perception in role playing games. One issue is the fact that, with so many players (five or six for most games I have run), one player will inevitably roll high and thus find whatever it is they are looking for, even if they have a low score in perception. The RAW for D&D 4th Edition tries to avoid some of this by using Passive Perception Checks.

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Barbarian Preview Up

For those fans of the Barbarian class in D&D the preview is up at the official site.

Because it is a preview article you do not get all the options and some of what is listed might change before the official release in 2009 (as part of the Player’s Handbook 2), however we do get to see some of what we’re in for.

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Partying with the New Party

We had our first session last night after our near party wipe. Things went quite well and the players were able to see the usefulness of having two defenders as they were surrounded by a group of orcs.

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D&D: Wipe Out

So, we had our first character death in Dungeons and Dragons today. Actually, we had our first, second, and third character deaths and a fourth character who was so disgusted with the whole ordeal that he went off into the unknown.

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Our One Hundredth Post, My Return from Vacation, and Hasbro Responds to Mr. Goldfarb

This is the one hundredth post here at Pair O’ Dice! How cool is that? I wish it was something cooler… but oh well.

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D&D Tiny Adventures

If your into silly little Facebook games you should check out D&D Tiny Adventures.

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Politics + Role Playing = ZOMG BONKERS!

I know a lot of people have already commented on this on other blogs but I just felt I needed to chime in.

In case you missed it this is the quote that is popping around the internet.

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Skill Challenges – Comparisons, Game Incorporation, and House Rules

I’ve spoken at some length already about my feelings toward skill challenges and in general those feelings have been rather positive. This article is meant as a wrap-up of all of the previous discussions and to be sort of my “final word” on the subject. In all likelihood I will mention them again but probably not at this length. I hope that this post will not end up being tragically rambling but then that is my writing style and I am trying to touch on several related topics so I’ll do my best but don’t count on it.

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D&D Insider Update

In case you missed it (I did at first since it isn’t under the normal Features. Dungeon, or Dragon tabs) Wizards has announced some more information about D & D Insider.

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D&D 4E – New Tricks

Wizards started showing previews of their up coming book Adventurer’s Vault today. The book is described as having “Hundreds of new weapons, tools, and magic items for your D&D character” which sounds pretty nice from a DM’s perspective.

The most interesting thing for me was the preview of the wondrous item, Bag of Tricks.

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Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition – Solo Monster – Necro Infused Orc

After my first attempt at making a solo monster I was left frustrated and disappointed but after starting a post on the official forums and reading what others had to say about solos I decided not to give up. Instead I refocused and began working on a couple new ideas for solo monsters. Below you will find the stats for the first of these solos.

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Heroscape, Shadowrun and Other Things That Make My Time Disappear

I’ve been working on a number of different projects lately and they have taken up the time I would normally be using for ranting about some random D&D thing… er… I mean “writing for the blog”.

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New 4th Edition Errata (Dungeons and Dragons)

Wizards posted new errata for the 4th edition core books today. Most interestingly are the changes that have been made to skill challenges.

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Feeling So Low About Solos

I have a lot of annoying habits and tendencies. Among these is the habit of criticizing everything. It is seems to be in my nature to be critical at all times. I have never personally considered this a bad thing, I actually think many people are not as critical as they should be and find their lack of criticism disturbing, but I can see why in some situations it could be considered bothersome.

One thing that has bothered several of my friends over the years is my critical interpretation of nearly every movie I see. This has lead people to joke (or perhaps not “joke”) that I hate all movies. The truth is more that I find fault with most movies. For example I loved Batman Begins but I think Christian Bale’s “Batman Voice” was awful and I have no problem making fun of it. I simply feel that I can like or even love something and still notice and criticize its flaws.

Most people know that I like the new Dungeons and Dragons quite a bit but I don’t feel that this prevents me from seeing things in it which I consider to be flaws. One flaw I see in the game at this point is the concept of Solo Monsters.

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The Challenge of Skill Challenges

Since the release of Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition there has been a lot of talk about Skill Challenges. A lot of players find the idea to be quite intriguing, allowing more dramatic rules for situations that were once resolved by a single roll of a single die, but others have pointed out that the math for the Skill Challenges seems a bit broken and in some ways, they are unfortunately correct.

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Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition – Classes, Roles and Professions

One of the biggest complaints I see these days in regards to D&D 4th Edition is the limitations put on a character because of Class and Role. While some people seem to understand what the creators were trying to do, others either don’t get the idea or deliberately avoid understanding it. Because this is a bit of a hot topic and one that interests me I thought I would spend a moment talking about how I perceive it and how I feel it should be perceived.

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Funny Anecdote From D&D

I’ve told this story a couple times over the past week and thought maybe I should just write it up for the blog as other gamers may find it amusing.

Last Tuesday we finished our first 4th Edition Dungeon with the players confronting the Gribb Witchdoctor Rikshock and his minions. Upon entering his rather nasty looking quarters they discovered that both he and his minions were in fact on the other side of a ten foot wide crevice in the floor. Across the crevice was a thin wooden plank. The only thing on their side of the room was a desk.

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Elite Gribb Statistics

Here are two Elite Gribb I made up for my player’s first D&D 4th adventure. I was trying to figure out how to template them before posting but computers and I really don’t get along. These guys are based on my Gribb statistics.

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Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition – Monster Statistics – Gribbs

I love the collection of monster in new 4th Edition Monster Manual and I love the array of powers that the designers have given them. I know some people are lamenting the loss of certain creatures (centaurs, rust monsters, metallic dragons, etc.) but never having had an attachment to the D&D world of old I guess I’m just as happy with these things as without them.

There are several reasons for choosing the creatures they did, not least among them that they wanted to keep a few hold-outs for the Monster Manual 2. While some people will insist that this is a greedy move by the company I guess I personally would rather see a book have some “normal” monsters and some bizarre monsters rather than have the basic Monster Manual be all the boring stuff and then have the later MMs be full of ever more crazy creatures.

One problem I have with the Monster Manual is that there are very few options for introductory adventures. At about level five onward you have the option of sending lots of lower level creatures at a party (or perhaps “pumped up” versions of lower level creatures) but of course there are no lower level creatures for a starting party. It seems your basic options are either Kobolds or Goblins. I wanted to have another option so I created Gribbs.

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Role Playing and Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition

Just how much role playing is in the new edition of Dungeons and Dragons? Just how much role playing was in the older editions? Is D&D a roll playing game? How much does a system of rules force players to play a game a certain way? How much impact does genre have on role playing?

I felt I should warn people that this is a rather long post. I get some flack about the length of my posts but I still have not learned the art of brevity. Since I have no soul and very little wit, this really comes as no suprise.

Since the release of 4th Edition (and actually even before its release) many people have become irate about the lack of role playing in it. Many felt that the changes were taking away options and making the game less realistic or more board-game-like. Not everyone agrees with this statement, and after reading through most of the core books I don’t agree either. In this post I would like to examine the evidence and explain why I feel there is greater potential for role playing in 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons than in 3.0 or 3.5. I will also touch upon other aspects of role playing such as genre impact and rules impact. These ideas are far more general but they are no less important to the whole.

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Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition – A Wickedly Short Review

Many people beat me to the punch of reviewing D&D 4.0. In truth if you were looking for reviews and opinions of the new edition you could easily have found them long before the game was officially released (you could even have found some here!). In fact you could have found the whole game before it was released since a pirated copy showed up online and Buy.com released some hundred copies a week early.

So, I really don’t feel another normal review of the game, one that goes over the changes and then either says “D&D 4.0 scores big for its simplicity and fun” or “D&D 4.0 is now a completely different game, Wizards has destroyed the game we all know and love!” is in order. Instead what I would like to do is talk about one of the things I was doing this weekend instead of writing a review, namely going to see the musical Wicked.

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The Addition of Editions: A Brief Look

The release of Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition is right around the corner and if you have been paying attention at all you’ll know I am pretty excited about it. When I first heard about it I shrugged it off but then curiosity got the better of me and I did some research and posted the results of that research. Since that time I have been reading the Wizards posts and poking around for opinions from people with advanced copies while I eagerly await the arrival of my copies of the books.

The opinions about the new edition seem to be fairly split, with an edge given to positive impressions. While there are many different complaints (no gnomes, no half-orcs, no sorcerers, multi-class changes, alignment changes, etc.) the most amusing complaint I have seen is “3.5 is fine, don’t let Wizards trick you into spending more money!”

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Smorgasbord of Gaming Goodness

This past weekend I got to play games with Scott for the first time in… well… a while. We played History of the World, Citadels, Boom Blox (yes, it’s a Wii game but it’s awesome!), Minimum Wage, and Vegas Showdown as well as playing the one shot Paranoia game I ran. All in all it was a pretty cool weekend.

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Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition – The Good and Evil of the new Good and Evil (Alignment Changes in 4th Edition)

I’ve been waiting for today’s D & D preview to come out even know I was pretty sure I already knew what it was going to say. It was about alignment. I have already spoken about how I feel about the old alignment system and anyone that read that post can be fairly certain that I was looking for a change. Well, it looks like I got what I wanted or at least got part of what I wanted.
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Stunt Dice, Role Playing XP Rewards and How Not to be a Jerk While Game Mastering

Perhaps this does not deserve a whole post but I came across this while reading up on D&D 4th and found it to be quite interesting.

“I’ve seen a lot of games (both in early RPGA and home games) that gave XP for good roleplaying. By good roleplaying do I mean the quality of your character acting? The problem with the roleplaying reward is this: You’re almost always going to give out the maximum to everyone at the table. Why? Because telling someone that they didn’t do a good job of roleplaying in a game where everyone is there to have fun seems overly judgmental, can create hurt feelings, and is… well… just downright crappy. It’s also so very meta and arbitrary that it begs questions about other forms of bonus XP. Why not give similar bonus XP for rule knowledge? Playing well with others? Bringing the most snacks?”
Stephen Radney-MacFarland

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Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition – Skill Challenges

Yes, it’s me, talking about D&D again. Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of the game but this new edition really has me excited. I wanted to hate it. A friend mentioned that he had it pre-ordered and I scoffed at him. Then another friend mentioned how excited he was and I shook my head. Then I took a look for myself… and shook my head again. I had to admit, it sure looked cool.

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The State of My Gaming Life

This is fluff. It’s so absolutely, completely, and amusingly fluff that it hardly needs to be read or looked at or edited or posted and it certainly doesn’t need to be written. Of course I have already written it and gone ahead and posted it so well… go ahead and waste your time reading it if you want to. But you are wasting your time. I mean, at least I warned you. It’s not like they had an announcement like this at the beginning of In the Name of the King that politely informed you that you were wasting your time. At least I am being nice about it.

Actually, it does serve some purpose. I find that knowing a writer can help me enjoy books and many people love watching director (or writer or producer or whatever) commentary on their special edition DVDs. Think of this as a brief look into me that you might be able to refer to as you look at some of the other things I have posted.

Still, it’s pretty much useless fluff.

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Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition – A Pre – release Perspective From a Long Time Detractor

Dungeons and Dragons Player
Cover of Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition Player’s Handbook

Most people that know me know that I don’t like D&D. I have played both 2nd and 3rd edition and I have run games for both (sometimes under some amount of protest… from me) but it has never been my favorite game and while I considered the move from 2nd edition to 3rd edition a huge leap forward I still came to dislike the game and find it lacking.

So, why should you care what I think about 4th Edition? Well, simply put, so far I kind of like it.

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