Wizards of the Coast D&D
Last time, we asked you to tell us which classic D&D settings, character concepts, and character races you want to see updated. Not surprisingly, it turns out that a lot of people cared about these topics, and we had one of our biggest turnouts ever for a survey. So what did we learn?
The popularity of settings in the survey fell into three distinct clusters. Not surprisingly, our most popular settings from prior editions landed at the top of the rankings, with Eberron, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Planescape, and the Forgotten Realms all proving equally popular. Greyhawk, Dragonlance, and Spelljammer all shared a similar level of second-tier popularity, followed by a fairly steep drop-off to the rest of the settings. My sense is that Spelljammer has often lagged behind the broad popularity of other settings, falling into love-it-or-hate-it status depending on personal tastes. Greyhawk and Dragonlance hew fairly close to the assumptions we used in creating the fifth edition rulebooks, making them much easier to run with material from past editions. Of the top five settings, four require significant new material to function and the fifth is by far our most popular world.
(A few people asked about Al-Qadim in the comments field, since it wasn’t included in the survey. The reason for that is because we think of that setting as part of the Forgotten Realms. Why did Kara-Tur end up on the list, then? Because I make mistakes!)
Before addressing the character types question, it’s important to focus on how we look at this question. The word “type,” as opposed to “class,” is a key part of the query. The concepts embodied by a warden or runepriest could be character classes, or they could be subtypes within a class. For any character type, we’ll try out a few design approaches and see which one works best.
The artificer, the shaman, and the alchemist finished well in front in the survey. The alchemist is particularly interesting because we’ve never presented that as a class in a Player’s Handbook before. The crazy game designer in me thinks that all three of those character types could be represented in a single class (imagine a shaman who binds spirits by creating talismans). But that might just be all the caffeine I’ve consumed today talking.
Most of the remaining options formed a cluster about 10 to 15 points below those leading three. My sense is that the samurai is a pretty good example of how we’ll handle those types, making them most likely to show up as options for existing classes. For instance, a samurai could fall under a fighter archetype that I would tentatively call the devoted defender—a character whose obedience to a code of conduct and unbreakable loyalty makes her an implacable force in battle.
Races fell into three tiers of popularity, with the thri-kreen, the goblin, and the aasimar at the top—an interesting mix. In my own campaigns, I’ve seen people play goblins for comedic value. Thri-kreen are pretty tough to model using our existing races, but are key to the Dark Sun setting. Aasimar would be a lot of fun to work on. Personally, I’d want them to be as interesting and compelling as tieflings. My personal bias might be showing (since aasimars are my favorite race), but it’s easy to make good guys kind of boring and lame. I’d love to recast the aasimar a little bit, giving the race a few unique traits and a visual appearance attuned to a holy avenger out to kick ass.
The next most popular tier of races includes catfolk, devas, githyanki, githzerai, gnolls, half-giants, hobgoblins, kender, kobolds, lizardfolk, pixies, and revenants. Personally, I’d love to pick up Mystara’s rakasta as our catfolk race, but all these options have strong legacies to build on. The less-popular races are by no means off the table, but they’re likely at the back of the R&D queue—and might run the risk of other races beyond those addressed in this survey cutting in line ahead of them.The Latest Survey
This month, our survey looks at the mystic character class and our first draft of psionics rules for fifth edition. Your input is an invaluable tool that helps shape how we develop new material for D&D. If you love the rules, hate them, or have a specific issue you want to address, let us know.Publication date: 07/28/2015Introduction: Once again, it’s time to sound off with your thoughts on D&D.Tags: Featuresexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
And so, for my husband’s recent milestone birthday, I went all out. A cabin weekend with fifteen friends, and snow and games, and fondue, and yeah, the piñata. And since he’s a nice D&D-loving fellow, I set out to create a special birthday-themed one-off adventure that our extended group of friends could play in.
But this was tricky, for a number of reasons:
- I’m a newish DM, and rather scared of writing my own adventures.
- Turnout was a crapshoot. I might get thirteen people interested in playing, or three.
- Only some of the party attendees had ever played anything resembling D&D.
But I knew it could be great, because:
- Birthday themed adventure = fun + funny, right!?
- Party-planning adrenaline and optimism kicked in.
- Friends and coworkers took pity on me and offered to help.
After I decided to add this D&D game to my party itinerary, I spent a lot of time online looking for setting and plot ideas. Since I didn’t know in advance how many of my friends might want to join the game—and with so many of them being new to roleplaying—I needed an adventure that was flexible, fast, and straightforward. But above all else, it needed to be interesting. Those were a lot of notes to hit, and I worried that my first test as an adventure writer might be too great a challenge.
Enter Hero Number One. After sending some pings out in the office looking for help finding a setting, Greg Bilsland reached out and suggested I leverage Confrontation at Candlekeep. This adventure was run at GenCon in 2013, and it featured a multitable, multiphase cooperative plot that could be scaled up or down depending on attendance. Convention-caliber storytelling and classic D&D flavor. Bingo.CHARACTERS
Confrontation at Candlekeep was also a great choice because it was written for 2nd-level characters. Since almost all my potential players were new, this seemed like a good fit. After all, it’s one level more interesting than 1st level, but the characters’ abilities aren’t so complex that play becomes overwhelming.
I knew, however, that even 2nd-level characters would be hard for such a large group of new players to create on their own. Creating and adjusting characters can be a highlight of the game, but when I look back on my early days as a player, I remember one thing: creating a character is hard. Before I knew what D&D really was, or how it was actually played, I remember how daunting it felt to try to wade through a myriad of options and come up with something that wouldn’t embarrass my new shiny d20. Never mind dreaming up a character who would be effective against deadly traps or an orc raid.
I decided that if I wanted a decent chance at convincing my friends they could totally handle (and enjoy!) a game of D&D, I would need to skip character building. That meant pregens. Luckily for me, Greg also sent me a bunch of pregenerated character sheets, so I printed out a nice variety of adventurers and thanked him. Now I didn’t have “Create a zillion different characters” on my to-do list.PARTY CONFIGURATION
Any way I sliced it, I knew that splitting the players into multiple tables was my best bet. New players, being new and all, can sometimes need extra time on their turns as they get the feel for the game and their characters. And since I always want to show off D&D at its best (and hopefully hook people into the game), I especially wanted to avoid the adventure getting bogged down by a long turn order.
Luckily, one of my good friends—a D&D lore expert, as well as a player in the ongoing campaign I’m currently running—became Hero Number Two and offered to run a second table if needed.THE HOOK
Confrontation at Candlekeep drops an oddball collection of characters into a classic D&D locale, and then challenges them with an immediate threat that they must eliminate to save the keep. When cultists of Asmodeus infiltrate Candlekeep’s famous library, the adventurers are split into parties by the head monk, tasked with raising wards and seeking and fighting off enemies in various areas of the keep.
The full adventure has two forty-five-minute phases. I decided to run only one of those phases, hoping this would allow us to complete the game in an hour and a half (we had a busy party itinerary). The first phase had content for eight challenges around the library that the adventuring parties could be tasked with. It was difficult to choose which areas to send the parties into, but I ended up selecting two that met my criteria:
- They taxed both brawn and brains.
- They featured interesting enemies to take down (acolytes lurking in closets, giant stone frogs, and so on).
- They paired together well and drove the parties to meet up for the surprise ending (read on for that one).
We ended up with seven players who stayed up late enough to take part in the adventure. Rather than explain the whole adventure process at once, I decided to dole out information piecemeal. All the players knew what D&D was as a rough concept, but they didn’t know what a game actually looked or felt like. I decided to abide by the storytelling advice of “show, don’t tell.” It went something like this:
- Gather together.
- Bathroom break and regather.
- Let everyone pick a character sheet. Most players chose their characters based on a quick glance at name and background. But for those who wanted more information, I offered up quick explanations of character stats and how they impacted the game, particularly combat.
- Assume the character of the head monk of Candlekeep and introduce the setting.
- Divide the players into two parties. I split up spouses and mixed new and experienced players to heighten the ragtag nature of the challenges.
- Ensure at least one person at the table, besides the DM, knew what in the world was going on.
- Protect the keep! Our intrepid adventurers, having split up to fight doppelgangers and mercenaries, were also tasked with recovering a mysterious spellbook and activating a precious runestone. Once the parties brought these magical items back together at the shrine of Oghma, the head monk would use them in a feat of magic to protect the keep.
As the game unfolded, I’m happy to say that I learned a few things. First, “sink or swim” works well with eager participants. I and my assisting DM launched into the story right away. Initially, this was confronted with two or three faces full of “So . . . what do I do?” But once we pointed out one or two actions their characters could take, the players ran with it.
Second, lack of spellcasting simplifies things. By happenstance, only one person out of seven chose a spellcaster as a character (a minimally magic paladin). This ended up being a boon, since we had only two Player’s Handbooks and didn’t need to worry about multiple players needing to look up spells at the same time. Because the adventure was short and had plenty of flavor, the lack of splashy magic didn’t seem to dull the experience.
Lastly, it was great to see roleplaying come from unexpected sources. My friends are totally rad, but though I knew they’d be good-natured about playing, I didn’t expect some of them to so wholly embrace their characters and the setting. As players, they slipped into the skins of their half-orcs and wood elves, so that every action and decision was in step with their backgrounds and stats. It was so cool.SURPRISE!
If I were asked to visualize what I enjoy about D&D, it might look something like this:
I wanted my game to celebrate all these things. And so although it was lucky to have an adventure like Confrontation at Candlekeep written and available, I also knew I wanted to adjust and rewrite sections to boost the flavor and foreshadow a surprise birthday-themed ending, all wrapped up in a neat package. This included small adjustments, such as describing how light in the keep was cast by multicolored balloon-like orbs floating in the halls, or noting that thirty candles flickered to life when the runestone was activated on a round stone altar. But the big reveal happened at the end.
With the magic items brought to the shrine, the head monk (me) and his acolyte (my DM friend) used them to try to raise “the great shield” that would protect the library from further intrusion. As both parties watched, with fallen cultists at their feet and the sounds of battle raging outside the keep, the monks began chanting unintelligible syllables out of the spellbook. Alas, they had not the power to raise the shield. Not alone. So they turned to the adventurers and beseeched them to add their strength and join in a slow chant:
HAaaaaa PPYeeeeeB IRrrrrrrrTHD AaaaaaYT Oooooo YOUuuuuuu (Repeat)
It took a little while for our friends to realize what they were chanting, but when they did, we sped up the chant and started singing the birthday song for real. With the players laughing, we finished the song and described a thundering crash outside the keep and the thirty candles blowing out. When more colorful orbs appeared to bring the room out of darkness, magical confetti started falling from the rafters, and all the ‘dead’ enemies stood up smiling, giving each other high fives and hugging my husband’s bewildered character. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!REFLECTIONS
Of course, after the fact, I thought of a whole heap of other ways I could have flavored a birthday adventure. (I still can’t believe I didn’t dress all the enemies in pointy cone hats.) That said, I think I hit a good balance, because none of the players realized the true nature of the adventure until its enjoyable end. Moreover, my edits worked, my hooks stuck, gameplay was entertaining, and I now have a new batch of D&D initiates ready for a new adventure.
About the Author
Katy Laurance is a senior business intelligence analyst for Wizards of the Coast, and well on her way to lifelong D&D fandom. Not even her love of code and charts can get in the way of a good tabletop game. She’s also a dab hand with a glue gun.Publication date: 07/28/2015Introduction: Birthday parties are kind of my thing. Streamers and piñatas. Costumed pub crawls and Nerf gun battles. Homemade cakes frosted to look like farm scenes, Transformers, or the Seahawks logo. Not to mention to-do lists and shopping lists and color-coded production schedules. All. Of. It.Tags: Behind the Screensexternal_urls: Texture banner: HideBanner video:
In today's episode, R&D's Chris Perkins takes a look at the game’s continuing campaign storylines. Then, Tom Olsen and Susan Morris join us to discuss the subject of teaching and playing D&D with kids.PodcastRelated content: Rage of Demonsexternal_urls: External url: http://media.wizards.com/2015/podcasts/dnd/DnDPodcast_07_24_2015.mp3External url description: Kids & Stories Podcast Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
Explore the Sword Coast in this campaign sourcebook for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.Description:
WELCOME TO THE SWORD COAST—a region of Faerûn that comprises shining paragons of civilization and culture, perilous locales fraught with dread and evil, and encompassing them all, a wilderness that offers every explorer vast opportunity and simultaneously promises great danger.
While the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide is a valuable resource for Dungeon Masters, it was crafted with players and their characters foremost in mind. There is a plethora of new character options to intrigue and inspire every member of the adventuring party.
For use with the fifth edition Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide, the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide provides the setting, story, and character options needed to participate in a game anywhere along the Sword Coast of the Forgotten Realms.Image thumbnail: Image left: Banner: Game type: RPG ProductsRelease date: 11/03/2015Price ($): USD39.95Price (C$): CAD46.00Banner video:
Get everything you need to adventure in the Forgotten Realms on the exciting Sword Coast, home to the cities of Baldur’s Gate, Waterdeep, and Neverwinter! A collaboration between Green Ronin Publishing and the Dungeons & Dragons team at Wizards of the Coast, the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide provides D&D fans with a wealth of detail on the places, cultures, and deities of northwestern Faerûn.
The Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide is also a great way to catch up on recent events in the Forgotten Realms, to get background on locations featured in the Rage of Demons storyline coming in September, and to learn the lore behind video games like Neverwinter and Sword Coast Legends.
Here are just a few of the features you’ll find in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide:
- Immersive Adventuring: This campaign sourcebook provides players and Dungeon Masters material for creating vibrant fantasy stories along the Sword Coast.
- New Character Options: The book offers new subclass options, such as the Purple Dragon Knight and the Swashbuckler, for many of the classes presented in the Player’s Handbook, as well as new subraces and backgrounds specific to the Forgotten Realms.
- Adventure in the Forgotten Realms: Discover the current state of the Forgotten Realms and its deities after the Spellplague and the second Sundering. You’ll also get updated maps of this area of the Realms.
- Compatible with Rage of Demons storyline: Make characters for use with the Out of the Abyss adventure and fight back the influence of the demon lords in the Underdark below the Sword Coast.
- Insider Information: Learn the background behind locations, such as Luskan and Gracklstugh, featured in the upcoming digital RPG, Sword Coast Legends, from n-Space.
With new character backgrounds and class options, players will love the storytelling possibilities of playing a noble of Waterdeep, an elf bladesinger, or one of the other new options, while Dungeon Masters will relish a book full of mysterious locations and story hooks to keep players adventuring on the Sword Coast for years to come.
Look for the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide to be available on November 3.Publication date: 07/22/2015Introduction: New class options, character backgrounds, and deity descriptions from the Forgotten Realms.Tags: NewsRelated content: Sword Coast Legendsexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
After last month’s rules roundup, we return to the main work of Sage Advice: answering D&D rules questions. For the foreseeable future, I’ll use Sage Advice to gather rules answers I’ve given on Twitter, and I’ll often expand on those answers, since here I’m not limited to 140 characters! Each month, I’ll also continue to answer questions from the Sage Advice inbox.
Is the Dueling fighting style intended to support a shield? Yes. A character with the Dueling option usually pairs a one-handed weapon with a shield, a spellcasting focus, or a free hand.
Does Uncanny Dodge work automatically against every attack a rogue or ranger gets hit by? Spell attacks too? A use of Uncanny Dodge works against only one attack, since it expends your reaction, and only if you can see the attacker. It works against attacks of all sorts, including spell attacks, but it is no help against a spell or other effect, such as fireball, that delivers its damage through a saving throw rather than an attack roll.
Does a monk need to spend any ki points to cast minor illusion granted by the Shadow Arts feature? No. The ki point cost in the feature applies only to the other spells in it.
Does a monk’s Purity of Body feature grant immunity to poison damage, the poisoned condition, or both? That feature grants immunity to both. As a result, a monk with Purity of Body can, for example, inhale a green dragon’s poison breath unharmed.
Does a sorcerer’s Wild Magic Surge effect replace the effect of the spell that triggered it, or do both effects happen? The spell and the Wild Magic Surge effect both happen.
Does the warlock’s Awakened Mind feature allow two-way telepathic communication? The feature is intended to provide one-way communication. The warlock can use the feature to speak telepathically to a creature, but the feature doesn’t give that creature the ability to telepathically reply. In contrast, the telepathy ability that some monsters have (MM, 9) does make two-way communication possible.
Is an abjurer’s Arcane Ward healed only when the ward has 0 hit points? The ward regains hit points whenever the abjurer casts an abjuration spell of 1st level or higher, not just when the ward has 0 hit points.
Does casting alarm as a ritual heal Arcane Ward? Any abjuration spell of 1st level or higher cast by an abjurer can restore hit points to his or her Arcane Ward. As is normal for healing, the ward can’t regain more hit points than its hit point maximum: twice the wizard’s level + the wizard’s Intelligence modifier.
How does Arcane Ward interact with temporary hit points and damage resistance that an abjurer might have? An Arcane Ward is not an extension of the wizard who creates it. It is a magical effect with its own hit points. Any temporary hit points, immunities, or resistances that the wizard has don’t apply to the ward.
The ward takes damage first. Any leftover damage is taken by the wizard and goes through the following game elements in order: (1) any relevant damage immunity, (2) any relevant damage resistance, (3) any temporary hit points, and (4) real hit points.
Does the wizard’s Potent Cantrip feature apply to cantrips with attack rolls or only to saves? Potent Cantrip affects only cantrips that require a saving throw, such as acid splash and poison spray.Combat
Can a bonus action be used as an action or vice versa? For example, can a bard use a bonus action to grant a Bardic Inspiration die and an action to cast healing word? No. Actions and bonus actions aren’t interchangeable. In the example, the bard could use Bardic Inspiration or healing word on a turn, not both.
How does a reach weapon work with opportunity attacks? An opportunity attack is normally triggered when a creature you can see moves beyond your reach (PH, 195). If you want to make an opportunity attack with a reach weapon, such as a glaive or a halberd, you can do so when a creature leaves the reach you have with that weapon. For example, if you’re wielding a halberd, a creature that is right next to you could move 5 feet away without triggering an opportunity attack. If that creature tries to move an additional 5 feet—beyond your 10-foot reach—the creature then triggers an opportunity attack.
Can you use the Ready action to take the Dash action on someone else’s turn and then combine the Charger feat with it? No, since you can’t take a bonus action on someone else’s turn.Spellcasting
Can spell attacks score critical hits? A spell attack can definitely score a critical hit. The rule on critical hits applies to attack rolls of any sort.
If I have 10 temporary hit points and I take 30 damage from an attack while concentrating on a spell, what is the DC of the Constitution save to maintain my concentration? The DC is 15 in that case. When temporary hit points absorb damage for you, you’re still taking damage, just not to your real hit points.
In contrast, a feature like the wizard’s Arcane Ward can take damage for you, potentially eliminating the need to make a Constitution saving throw or, at least, lowering the DC of that save.
When you cast a spell like conjure woodland beings, does the spellcaster or the DM choose the creatures that are conjured? A number of spells in the game let you summon creatures. Conjure animals, conjure celestial, conjure minor elementals, and conjure woodland beings are just a few examples.
Some spells of this sort specify that the spellcaster chooses the creature conjured. For example, find familiar gives the caster a list of animals to choose from.
Other spells of this sort let the spellcaster choose from among several broad options. For example, conjure minor elementals offers four options. Here are the first two:
- One elemental of challenge rating 2 or lower
- Two elementals of challenge rating 1 or lower
The design intent for options like these is that the spellcaster chooses one of them, and then the DM decides what creatures appear that fit the chosen option. For example, if you pick the second option, the DM chooses the two elementals that have a challenge rating of 1 or lower.
A spellcaster can certainly express a preference for what creatures shows up, but it’s up to the DM to determine if they do. The DM will often choose creatures that are appropriate for the campaign and that will be fun to introduce in a scene.
If I cast shillelagh on my quarterstaff and have the Polearm Master feat, does the bonus attack use a d4 or a d8 for damage? The bonus attack uses a d4. That attack is a function of the feat, not the weapon being used.Monsters
Is natural armor considered light armor? No. Natural armor doesn’t fit into the categories of light, medium, and heavy armor, and when you have it, it isn’t considered to be an armor you’re wearing.
Does natural armor cap a creature’s Dexterity bonus? Natural armor doesn’t limit a creature’s Dexterity bonus.Sage Advice Compendium
This month’s questions and answers are now part of the Sage Advice Compendium.
Bio: Jeremy Crawford is the co-lead designer of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. He was the lead designer of the new Player’s Handbook and one of the leads on the Dungeon Master’s Guide. He has worked on many other D&D books since coming to Wizards of the Coast in 2007. You can reach him on Twitter (@JeremyECrawford).Publication date: 07/20/2015Introduction: Conjurations, Arcane Ward, reach weapons, and more!Tags: Sage AdviceRelated content: Column_SageAdviceexternal_urls: External url: http://media.wizards.com/2015/downloads/dnd/SA_Compendium_1.01.pdfExternal url description: Sage Advice Compendium Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
The initial launch will focus on player-versus-environment gameplay in order to allow guilds the opportunity to build their strongholds before taking the fight to other players when large scale player-versus-player content launches in September.
Reminiscent of early Dungeons & Dragons gameplay, Neverwinter: Strongholds empowers guilds to reclaim a keep and its surrounding wilderness areas from monsters. As the lands are cleared, guilds will need to decide how to properly run their stronghold and which of the many paths it can take to fit the guild’s needs. Perhaps your guild wants to focus on strengthening its members with boons and gear? Or preparing for the eventual launch of PvP? Or perhaps even increasing the rate at which your stronghold grows? No matter the decision, it’s your stronghold, your way.
For more information on Neverwinter: Strongholds, visit the developer hub, which contains all the blogs straight from the Neverwinter dev team with more to come. Strongholds will be released for Xbox One later in the year. Make sure to follow Neverwinter on Twitter and like them on Facebook.
Discuss in the official Neverwinter forums.Publication date: 07/15/2015Introduction: Strongholds introduces the largest playable map released for Neverwinter, which sees adventurers banding together to take back a stronghold from the wild.Tags: NewsRelated content: Neverwinterexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
Gen Con is two weeks away—July 30th will be here soon enough! Attendees of the annual gaming conference in Indianapolis will be the first to dive into the mayhem and madness of the Underdark by playing through the first of many adventures that will get the story rolling for the Rage of Demons Adventurers League season starting in September at stores worldwide. But that’s not all D&D has in store for Gen Con this year.Play D&D Adventurer’s League at Gen Con
You can also roll some dice with hundreds of D&D players while you’re in Indianapolis. Create a new character and play in the introductory adventures to the Rage of Demons story. For existing characters, Gen Con Indy marks the debut of our first high level adventure. In addition, a massive multi-table D&D Epics adventure will be available here first.
Thursday – Sunday, July 30th – August 2nd
All day! Check the Gen Con website for scheduling
- DDEX3-1 Harried in Hillsfar
In the village of Elventree, near the oppressive city of Hillsfar, a recent string of strange occurrences has the locals on edge. The factions have gathered here on the borders of the forest of Cormanthor to determine what’s happening. Is this the machinations of Hillsfar, or something more? Five one hour mini-adventures for 1st-2nd level characters.
- DDEX3-2 Shackles of Blood
The Red Plumes have increased patrols in the region surrounding Hillsfar, and a string of disappearances has followed in their wake. Naturally, this has roused the suspicion of the factions. Join your factions and find out the truth behind the missing farmers. A four-hour adventure for 1st-4th level characters.
- DDEX3-3 The Occupation of Szith Morcane
Agents of the fire giants of Maerimydra, a city in the Underdark, have overtaken the drow outpost of Szith Morcane. The factions seek out adventurers to free the outpost’s leaders for questioning on the giants’ activities. Can you extricate them before it’s too late? A four-hour adventure for 5th-10th level characters.
- DDEX3-4 It’s All in the Blood
Rumors of faceless demonic creatures have been steadily rising in the Hillsfar region, and it is said that far below the surface of Faerun, nestled in the bowels of the underdark, ancient terrors are stirring. The imperiled drow of Szith Morcaine have extended an intriguing offer, but can the drow be trusted, and for how long? An eight-hour adventure for 11th-16th level characters.
- DDEP3 Blood Above, Blood Below
In two different arenas, the call for blood has been sounded. The five factions now seek out bold adventurers willing to brave death in order to draw attention away from Szith Morcane, and in so doing allow a small group to infiltrate the drow outpost and return it to the hands of the drow. What role will you play in this deadly game? A special four-hour D&D Epics adventure for 1st-16th level characters.
And if you would like to jump in and participate in some adventures from the previous season:
- Past adventures from the Elemental Evil season are available on Thursday, including the D&D Epics adventure DDEP2 Mulmaster Undone.
Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford, two of the minds behind D&D fifth edition, will be on hand to answer your questions, regale you with stories of the development, and generally be awesome. They’ll be in the D&D organized play area in Hall D at a special table each day at the show from 3pm – 4pm. Drop by to talk about D&D with the people who make it!
Office Hours with Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford
Thursday – Saturday, July 30th – August 1st
3pm – 4pm
The Ennie Awards are Friday night and we’re ecstatic to have several D&D products up for awards this year.
- Hoard of the Dragon Queen, a collaboration with our friends at Kobold Press, is up for Best Adventure.
- Michael Komarck’s stunning depiction of Tiamat earned a Best Cover Art nomination for Rise of Tiamat.
- A literal horde of artists, ably directed by Kate Irwin, earned a Best Interior Art nomination for the Monster Manual, standing alongside that book’s other nomination as Best Monster/Adversary product.
- The Basic Rules for D&D earned nominations for Best Electronic Book and Best Free Product.
- The D&D Starter Set is up for Best Family Game and Best Production Values.
- The Player’s Handbook is nominated for Best Game, Best Rules, Best Writing, and Product of the year.
A whole bunch of our licensing partners also earned nominations. WizKids is up for Best RPG Related Product and Best Miniature Product for the Temple of Elemental Evil board game and D&D Icons of the Realms: Elemental Evil Boosters respectively. The D&D Complete Core Monster Pack for Fantasy Grounds earned a nomination in the Best Software category for SmiteWorks.
2014 was a great year for D&D and it’s great to see so much of our hard work up for recognition at Gen Con’s premier awards event. We can’t wait to celebrate the entire year of gaming at the Ennies!
The Ennie Awards Ceremony
Union Station Grand Hall
July 31st, 6pm bar opens & pre-entertainment, 8pm ceremony officially starts.
Have fun in Indianapolis at Gen Con 2015!Publication date: 07/15/2015Introduction: Gen Con attendees will get the chance to play content from the upcoming adventure Out of the Abyss.Tags: NewsRelated content: Rage of Demonsexternal_urls: Texture banner: HideBanner video:
In today’s episode, we’ll speak with R&D’s Mike Mearls, taking a look at the current state of the game—including Unearthed Arcana’s new psionic material.
We’ll also speak with Paul Barrington from Ontario’s Comics Conspiracy stores. Paul talk about his partnership with a local school, running D&D games for kids.
And subscribe to the D&D Podcast on iTunes.Publication date: 07/10/2015Introduction: A look at the game, including the latest psionic rules, and advice for running D&D session with kids!Tags: Podcastexternal_urls: External url: http://media.wizards.com/2015/podcasts/dnd/DnDPodcast_07_10_2015.mp3External url description: Strongholds Podcast Texture banner: HideBanner video:
You can think of the material presented in this series as similar to the first wave of the fifth edition playtest. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your campaign but not fully tempered by playtests and design iterations. They are highly volatile and might be unstable; if you use them, be ready to rule on any issues that come up. They’re written in pencil, not ink.
The material presented in Unearthed Arcana will range from mechanics that we expect one day to publish in a supplement to house rules from our home campaigns that we want to share, from core system options to material designed for specific campaign settings. Once it’s out there, you can expect us to check in with you to see how it’s working out and what we can do to improve it.
You can find today's article in the following document.Publication date: 07/06/2015Introduction: Welcome to Unearthed Arcana, a monthly workshop where D&D R&D shows off a variety of new and interesting pieces of RPG design for use at your gaming table.Tags: Unearthed ArcanaRelated content: Column_UnearthedArcanaexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
Invite your Dungeon Master and your fellow players over for a nice meal that embodies the elements over which you’ve triumphed! This dinner will impress the troupe and will give you all a chance to talk over the campaign and make plans for your next one.Décor
Everyone needs an excuse to get fancy once in a while, right? Here’s your excuse. Get out your nicest plates and silverware, light some candles, and use those cloth placemats and napkins you never bother with. Or, if you don’t want to get too crazy, go for a more rustic adventuring vibe. Cut placemats out of kraft paper and use twine loops as napkin rings. Either way, print out a menu and place one at each place setting.The Food
This meal is hearty, delicious, and will work in any season. The recipes are extremely customizable, so feel free to change out ingredients as it suits you.FIRE: SAGANAKI
Saganaki is a flaming cheese dish popular in Greece. Although it involves lighting alcohol in a pan, it’s not too tough to make, and it’s ridiculously delicious. (If you like fried cheese, that is!)
- Olive oil
- 8 oz. kasseri cheese (cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices)
- 1–2 oz. flour
- 1 oz. ouzo, Metaxa, or brandy
- Lemon slice
- Begin heating some olive oil in a pan.
- Wet the cheese slices with a bit of water, then coat with flour.
- Panfry the cheese, turning once, until golden brown.
- Remove the pan from the heat and bring over to your guests.
- Pour the ouzo, Metaxa, or brandy over the cheese and (carefully!) light it on fire.
- Squeeze the lemon slice over the cheese to extinguish the flame.
- Enjoy straight out of the pan with pita or crusty loaves of French bread!
There’s a lot of water in soup. Add some puntastic shell pasta, and you’ve got a dish that any ocean-lover will devour. The spinach in the soup adds to the effect by looking a bit like seaweed (but tasting much better!).
- Olive oil
- Half a white onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup uncooked shell pasta
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- Heat some olive oil in a pot on the stove.
- Cook the sliced onion with the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper until onion is translucent, about 2–3 minutes.
- Pour in the broth and water and bring to a boil.
- Add the shell pasta and cook until al dente (around 8 minutes; refer to your pasta package’s directions for specific time).
- Add in the chicken and spinach. Cook until the chicken is warm and the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.
- Serve in bowls and top with grated parmesan!
For the earth course, we’re going back to our roots. (I’m sorry; that was awful.) This is one of my personal favorite recipes. You can change up the veggies and seasonings, and it somehow always turns out wonderfully. (I personally love adding brussels sprouts to the mix for the last twenty minutes it’s in the oven, then throwing a bit of feta cheese on top of the finished dish!) It makes a warm and hearty addition to most meals, and will satisfy the vegetarians around your table.
- 1-1/2 lb. of yellow, red, purple, or fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 lb. of carrots (I love to use rainbow carrots if I can find them!), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 or 2 beets, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 red onion, cut into large slices
- 1 head of garlic, unpeeled and separated into cloves
- Olive oil
- 2 tbs rosemary
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to make sure everything is coated in olive oil.
- Spread everything out onto one or two baking sheets or casserole dishes.
- Bake for 45–60 minutes, or until everything is tender and golden brown.
This sweet drink does double duty as a beverage and dessert. Best of all, the preparation makes for a fun show for your guests. They’ll love watching an airy cloud of cotton candy melt into this storm of a cocktail!
- 1 small tuft of blue cotton candy
- Champagne or ginger ale, chilled
- Cocktail glass (I’d recommend a champagne or martini glass)
- Place the cotton candy in the bottom of the glass.
- Pour the champagne or ginger ale over the cotton candy. As it melts, it adds its sweet taste and blue color to the drink!
About the Author
Tara Theoharis is the creator of The Geeky Hostess, a geek party and recipe site and brand. When she's not coming up with weird cupcake flavors and punny foods, she spends her time playing tabletop games, attending cons, and binge-watching TV.Publication date: 07/02/2015Introduction: Once you’ve finished Princes of the Apocalypse, think about giving your Elemental Evil campaign a proper send-off—with an appropriately themed dinner party.Tags: Featuresexternal_urls: Texture banner: HideBanner video:
Art Director Daniel Gelon details the next stage in the Earth Myrmidon painting process. In this segment, we see dramatic results as Daniel paints the armor and base. Watch the step-by-step now.
Painting the Myrmidons: Part 3
Publication date: 07/01/2015Introduction: Daniel Gelon continues the painting process of Gale Force Nine’s earth myrmidon.Tags: FeaturesRelated content: Elemental Evilexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
Our last survey asked you to name which spells were proving problematic in your campaigns. We collected the responses as write-in text, rather than a checklist, so it will take some time to organize the results. We hope to have those results for you next month.
We also asked about the new options presented in the Waterborne Adventures installment of Unearthed Arcana. Overall, that material scored very well—on a par with material from the Player’s Handbook. Areas where players experienced trouble were confined to specific mechanics. The minotaur race’s horns created a bit of confusion, for example, and its ability score bonuses caused some unhappiness. On a positive note, people really liked the sample bonds and how they helped bring out the minotaur’s unique culture.
The mariner, the swashbuckler, and the storm sorcerer also scored very well. A few of the specific mechanics for those options needed some attention, but overall, players and DMs liked using them.
Finally, we asked a few questions about the Dragon+ app. We really appreciate the feedback as we tailor the app’s content and chart the course for future issues. The overall feedback has been quite positive, and we’re looking at making sure we continue to build on our initial success.
The Latest Survey
This month, we’re activating a time machine and checking in to see what sort of content from prior editions you want to see adapted to fifth edition. Our latest survey has questions touching on classic settings, classes, and races. Though we can’t promise that everyone’s favorite content will be adapted, knowing what specific content players and DMs are looking to add to their campaigns will help determine the direction of future Unearthed Arcana articles.Publication date: 06/30/2015Tags: FeaturesRelated content: TRPG_PHBexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
The Underdark is a labyrinth of mystery, madness, and macabre creatures. Few dare enter and even fewer return.
This fall, adventurers are being called upon to descend into this subterranean world and help thwart an insanity so powerful, so pervasive, that it will shake the Forgotten Realms to its very core.
Preparation is key as the Underdark isn’t exactly tourist friendly. You don’t want to find yourself down to single digit hit points, only to discover that your spellcaster can’t cast chain lightning because they’re short three silver pins.
What if you could help by creating alternate material spell components easily found in the Underdark? What if we said you can? That’s right— we’re asking you to create an alternate material spell component for an item not readily available in the Underdark with one that would be. For instance, oak bark might not be easy to hunt down in the Underdark, but petrified mushroom shavings sure are. Don’t have a handful of thorns? How about a spool of spider silk instead? Teleport yourself to an underground mini-mart and tell us what alternate Underdark material spell components you find. Please provide the spell name, its current material component, and the alternative material component found in the Underdark.
Your submission may appear in a future issue of Dragon+ or on a D&D social media site.Content loading...
Publication date: 07/17/2015Introduction: Casting spells in the Underdark is no easy feat...Tags: FeaturesRelated content: Rage of Demonsexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
To find out more about this episode's topics:Neverwinter MMO
Rob Overmeyer serves as Executive Producer for Neverwinter. He rejoined the podcast to tell us about Neverwinter: Strongholds. This seventh expansion of the game—announced for this summer—will see players join with their guild to claim an abandoned keep from the wild and build it back into its former glory on the largest map in Neverwinter.
Find out more at playneverwinter.com.
Subscribe to the D&D Podcast on iTunes.Publication date: 06/26/2015Introduction: After an overdue introduction of D&D’s Greg Tito, we revisit the Neverwinter MMO and discuss the coming Strongholds expansion!Tags: PodcastRelated content: Neverwinterexternal_urls: External url: http://media.wizards.com/2015/podcasts/dnd/DnDPodcast_06_26_2015.mp3External url description: Strongholds Podcast Texture banner: HideBanner video:
Wichita, KS – Monday, August 31
Watermark Books & Cafe, 6 pm
4701 East Douglas
Wichita, KS 67218
St. Louis, MO – Tuesday, September 1
Left Bank Books @ Webster Groves Public Library, 7 pm
301 E Lockwood Ave
St Louis, MO 63119
Indianapolis, IN – Wednesday, September 2
U-Indy, 7:30 pm
Schwitzer Student Center, Room 010
1400 E Hanna Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46227
Cincinnati, OH – Thursday, September 3
Joseph-Beth Books, 7 pm
2692 Madison Road
Cincinnati, OH 45208
Cambridge, MA – Tuesday, September 8
MIT Coop at Kendall Square Bookstore, 5 pm
3 Cambridge Center
Cambridge, MA 02142
Hartford, CT – Wednesday, September 9
Mark Twain House, 7:30 pm
351 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, CT 06105
Concord, NH – Thursday, September 10
Gibson’s Bookstore, 7 pm
45 South Main St
Concord, NH 03301
Burlington, MA – Friday, September 11
Barnes & Noble Burlington, 7 pm
98 Middlesex Pkwy
Burlington, MA 01803
Boston, MA – Saturday, September 12
Boston Public Library, 2 pm
Central Library, Copley Square
700 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116
Chicago, IL – Monday, September 14
DePaul University Bookstore, 6 pm
1 East Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60614
Denver, CO – Tuesday, September 15
Tattered Cover Bookstore, 7 pm
2526 E. Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80206
Spokane WA – Wednesday, September 16
Auntie’s Bookstore, 7 pm
402 W Main
Spokane, WA 99201
Tacoma, WA – Thursday, September 17
Fort Lewis-McChord Army Base, 4 pm
(open only to U.S. Military ID card holders)
San Diego, CA – Friday, September 18
Mysterious Galaxy Books, 7:30 pm
5943 Balboa Avenue, Suite #100
San Diego, CA 92111
Montclair, CA – Wednesday, September 23
Barnes & Noble Montclair Plaza, 7 pm
5183 Montclair Plaza Ln
Montclair, CA 91763
Salt Lake City, UT – Friday, September 25 and Saturday, September 26
Salt Lake City Comic-Con
Salt Palace Convention Center
100 S. West Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
North Haven, CT – Saturday, October 10
Connecticut Renaissance Faire, 1 pm
300 Washington Ave
North Haven, CT 06473
Fitchburg, MA – Thursday, October 22
Fitchburg Public Library, 6:30pm
610 Main Street
Fitchburg, MA 01420
Kill Pop Culture – Wednesday, August 26
Reddit Ask Me Anything – Thursday, August 27
8 pm EST
Dungeons & Dragons Podcast – Friday, September 4
The Grim Tidings Podcast – Saturday, September 12
Dungeon Crawlers Radio – Thursday, October 1
8 pm EST
Can’t be there in person? Reserve your signed copy at rasalvatore.com.Publication date: 06/23/2015Introduction: Meet the New York Times best-selling author during his 2015 tour for the release of Archmage, Book I in the Homecoming series.Tags: Newsexternal_urls: Texture banner: HideBanner video:
Art Director Daniel Gelon details the next stage in the Earth Myrmidon painting process. In this segment, Daniel dry brushes the body of the myrmidons and offers more great tips and tricks for those who wish to try this at home.
Painting the Myrmidons: Part 2
Publication date: 06/24/2015Introduction: Daniel Gelon continues the painting process of Gale Force Nine’s earth myrmidon.Tags: FeaturesRelated content: Elemental Evilexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
I’m a relatively new D&D player, but I’ve thought about becoming a DM for a long time. I’ve been collecting AD&D adventures since my late teens, but before the prevalence of Google, I wasn’t sure what to do with them and I was too shy to ask.
Recently, more and more of my friends have shown an interest in learning to play. Like me, they felt intimidated by not knowing the rules or how to roleplay. As a group of relatively shy people, playing with strangers sounded even more intimidating to us. So I decided that, even though I was only a new player myself, I would learn how to be a Dungeon Master.FIRST ENCOUNTERS
My first order of business was to join an existing game in order to better learn the D&D rules. I went to the Wizards of the Coast website and found a D&D Encounters drop-in night at my neighborhood game store. Joining a game full of strangers can be challenging for a shy person, but it was worth it! The group was very friendly and welcoming, both to me and my elf miniatures. The other players happily explained the rules along the way as we embarked on a series of weekly two-hour adventures. I made some new friends, and after a few games, I began to understand the game mechanics and turn actions.
I also started watching games on the Wizards of the Coast D&D YouTube channel to get a better idea of different DM styles. The internet has been a great resource for finding DM tips for new players. I’ve also gotten a lot of tips from seeking out other Dungeon Masters and asking them how they run their games.ROLLING INITIATIVE
Once I felt comfortable, I set up my first game night with my group. I started with my favorite Wizards of the Coast board game—Dungeon!—which feels to me like D&D for people who have never played before. This game is a great introduction to the mechanics of dice rolling, action and turn order, and the concepts of hit points and armor class. Fighters in the game have a relatively low armor class, so they don’t stand much of a chance against higher-level monsters, but they need the least amount of loot to win. Wizards can teleport and challenge higher-level monsters, but they need to collect more treasure to win. I also saw the game as a low-risk way for my shyer friends to begin to imagine themselves as their characters without being expected to “perform.”
After that first session, we met the following week to play The Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure from the D&D Starter Set. There was some uncertainty at first. What was roleplaying like? How did the rules work? I presented my friends with the pregenerated character sheets, a full set of miniatures, forest images of the Forgotten Realms, forest tiles, and fantasy soundtrack music. I wanted the experience to be visually appealing and immersive. After picking our characters, I had everyone introduce themselves and decide how their backstories were connected. Then we got started on our adventure. It was thrilling to lead my friends through a dungeon crawl in a goblin-infested cave and watch them defeat a goblin boss.REWARDS AND DEVELOPMENTS
One trick I learned from D&D Encounters nights is to end the session just after a new adventure hook has been set up, to bait the players for the next week’s game. I also learned the importance of encouraging shyer players to take risks in their decision-making. I think D&D is a great venue for players to take initiative, pursue leadership roles, and take risks to achieve goals they might shy away from in real life. This sense of accomplishment could influence the way they feel in their everyday lives.
My first game as DM left me with the impression that I would need to prepare more in the future. It would have been a lot easier to run the game if I had know the adventure hooks and characters a little better in advance. It wasn’t a perfect game, but it was much more accessible to the players than I had imagined. My biggest takeaway from the experience was to just keep working at it, and to not feel intimidated by my status as a new player and DM. I wasn't the perfect Dungeon Master on my first try, but I'm still working at it. Thankfully, my friends are eager to explore the creative possibilities D&D has to offer, and another night of high-fantasy adventure is on the horizon.About the Author
J.M. works in video production at Wizards of the Coast. Her D&D adventures are inspired by the art of Dave Trampier and heavily art directed on a miniature scale. Her passions are making animations, encouraging female gamers, and media literacy.Publication date: 06/29/2015Introduction: Running a D&D game had always sounded daunting to me. “Not just anyone can be a DM,” I had heard. “It takes a lot of preparation and experience.” Tags: Behind the ScreensRelated content: Column_BehindScreensexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video:
Dear old dad. Heroic slayer of under-bed lurking monsters, giver (and sometimes) taker of treasure. Whether he’s a father or father figure, show the man in your life how much he means to you with this special card.
Thank you to all the dads out there and enjoy your special day!
Artist: Emi Tanji
Publication date: 06/19/2015Introduction: We Gnoll the Perfect Way to Say “Thanks, Dad!”Tags: Featuresexternal_urls: External url: http://media.wizards.com/2015/downloads/dnd/060215_DnD_FathersDay.pdfExternal url description: Download the Card Texture banner: HideBanner video: