Seems the best year for Dungeons & Dragons will only get better.
Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History is a big, comprehensive book about D&D's art history that's coming on October 23rd 2018.
The publication will feature more than 700 pieces of the art created for Dungeons & Dragons during its over 44 years long existence. Among the authors there are two RPG historians and writers (Michael Witwer, Jon Peterson), a director of the 2009's movie Fanboy (Kyle Newman), and a person who was the voice of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Maul in Star Wars' iconic productions, Star Wars: Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Sam Witwer).
Inside the book that will come in various cover designs, including Special Edition similar to the new Dungeons & Dragons rulebooks, we'll find a visual story of D&D starting from its very roots. It includes the most legendary pieces of art ever done for D&D, some less known artworks, and even the works of Gary Gygax's and Dave Arneson's first concept artists, who weren't professionals at that time (Greg Bell, Kenan Powell, Tracey Lesh):
Dungeons & Dragons: Art & Arcana is a 448-page book that covers art from all 5 Editions of the game, its supplements, adventures, Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance novels, material accumulated from decades long publication of Dragon and Dungeon magazines, classic advertisements and merchandise. Plus concept sketches, large-format canvases, rare photographs and one of a kind drafts from revered D&D illustrators, including lots of material that was never published before.
According to sources, this product may end up as the most comprehensive compilation about the art of D&D ever created, reaching from early Gygax years through TSR, Fiend Folio and Games Workshop periods (yes, GW was actually publishing D&D before they created Warhammer) and then using the best of what Wizards of the Coast gathered in their libraries and allowed to dabble with.
So yes, we can safely expect a lot of classic Jeff Eesley, Tony DiTerlizzi, Larry Elmore and other big names. But probably the most thrilling could be the possibility of learning about the creative process and ideas, the whys and hows that shaped the form in which we visualize and imagine D&D from the very beginning to our present days.
Where to buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition | Penguin Random House Canada | Walmart
More information: LINK | LINK
Some interesting editorial reviews:
Searching through the planes, we suddenly stumbled upon a thing totally unexpected...
There is a possible surprise announcement of a new Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Setting.
And it's a Magic the Gathering's world, Ravnica!
We're talking about a hardcover book with a release date of November 20th 2018. As for the title, there are many interpretations. In my opinion, calling it "Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica" could mean that the books' authors are changing the term "Dungeon Master" into "Guildmaster" for this specific world, suggest a connection to the WotC Dungeon Master's Guild, or hint on some unique guild mechanic that could be devised for this setting. Maybe something else, we'll have to see.
I'm writing this late at night, but it's 23rd of July. This means that, according to Nathan Stewart, today is the day Wizards of the Coast should announce new products. Roleplaying community generally hoped this could be about some awaited 5e Campaign Settings. And with most people expecting those to be Eberron, Spelljammer or even Planescape, nobody seen Magic the Gathering's Ravnica coming.
You can find the book on Amazon. We'll quote the description for you:
Is it really happening? Or is it maybe a placeholder?...
I must confess it doesn't seem like a placeholder to me. But we'll know for sure after it's officially confirmed.
If you'd like to know more about this (originally) MTG trading card game setting, look no further.
In addition to the above Guildmaster's Guide, Amazon prepared respective pages for two other D&D Ravnica products:
D&D Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica Map Pack
D&D Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica Dice
So, there would be also a set of maps for the enormous city of Ravnika (a really big metropoly) and a custom dice set. We don't know more at this point.
Was our yesterday's hype a bit premature?... Must admit I feel a bit like that at the moment. But let's wait for more details and the official announcements. Such a twist sure could be unexpected for us, players, but not business-wise. Though keep in mind it's still unofficial.
Nonetheless, the setting is a world coming from a popular trading card game, another big Wizards of the Coast intellectual property.
There certainly is a big audience.
So, what do you say. Love it, hate it? Confused?
This could potentially turn out to be the next big thing. The Witcher Tabletop RPG that was revealed last month is set for release next week at GenCon. To be specific, the date is August 2nd. Meanwhile, game's developer R Talsorian will hold a Questions & Answers session for those interested, having Lead Developer Cody Pondsmith, the classic Cyberpunk 2020 author's son, doing the talking. Q&A will take place on Wednesday, 25th of July, at 7:30pm Central (8:30ET, 5:30PT) on #randomworlds IRC channel hosted by game designer & writer Dan Davenport. Chat's transcription will be available afterwards.
And here's the cover of The Witcher: Roleplaying Game sourcebook:
...which in press note was accompanied by some more art, strangely, originally made for Gwent (trading card game released by CD Project RED):
According to IGN, TW:TRPG's first printing will be sold at the price $50 and shall be available at coming GenCon 2018. Soon after we'll get digital version of the book, possibly in PDF format and then in coming months, we can expect second prints of the physical edition (they usually have some typos corrected).
Whether The Witcher: Roleplaying Game is a good idea for a tabletop RPG, or is it just an easy way to get more money from Andrew Sapkowski's lightly sold license, we'll have to check and evaluate by ourselves. What we do know now is that the game's mechanic should be a bit similar to the old Cyberpunk 2020 system, and that we'll get to play a number of classes and races, just like in usual fantasy PnP game.
Game Master's Guide is going to be a part of the core rulebook, so we expect that whole game should be packed into one book just like Warhammer: Fantasy Roleplay or Pathfinder. No separate Player's Handbook or Monster Manual.
As for the game's world, R Talsorian Games promises it's going to be an absolutely grim and dark fantasy setting, while saying something contrary on the same page:
Yes, I do understand it's going to be a dark world where there is some joy, just rare. But I'd argue most dark fantasy settings are like that.
Still, maybe we should give this one a chance.
Personally, I like CD Project RED's version of The Witcher world. Maybe not as much as Andrew Sapkowski's original books, but the digital mainstream interpretation wasn't that bad, and the games were actually great. I'd expect tabletop RPG could feel like something between those two - and if we're lucky, maybe it could be closer to AS's books. Cyberpunk 2020, a legendary Pondsmith title that's going to be revived digitally by mentioned Polish game developer, featured an awesome Blade Runner inspired setting and mechanics that seemed appropriate. But will its kind of mechanical and world presentational approach be a good fit, I'm a little worried. It all depends on how it's done in details that we do not know at this point.
However, there seems to be that quite welcome potential for a good side effect for pen & paper RPG games as a genre. Just imagine - fans of CD Project RED's PC/console The Witcher are already asking "what are those tabletop roleplaying game's about?", "is it a book, or is it a game?"... Is it a bird, or a plane?... Fools, you think?...
I know many people say it's a blasphemy to admit you're a stranger to what real PnP RPGs are, but you know, after they check that TW: Tabletop RPG out of curiosity and love for the digital game, they might get hooked and end up die hard PnP geeks.
So, interesting times. Planewalkers are sent and we'll report.
~ W. M.
Welcome to our Roleplaying News, traveler!
These are good times, a lot of interesting events happening in the roleplaying world lately...
Everything expands and changes constantly, and we're here to let you know what's worth checking out.
We're gonna search all the known planes and report back to you, so visit us often!
Eberron in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition?
Fans of the pulp, steampunk-inspired universe recently got a major adrenaline injection. We have discovered a peculiar tweet coming directly from a D&D executive, Nathan Stewart, and it's totally spreading hype over the web right now.
Here's the tweet from WotC employee Nathan Stewart:
That's from San Diego Comic-Con. Dungeons & Dragons' senior director Nathan Stewart was there promoting the WotC's new deal with popular Bait store. A clothing line Bait is supposed to release an officially licensed Dungeons & Dragons merchandise in the near future. Nathan, in response to Jess Dampsey's tweet, promised to give away a custom twenty-sided die to the first 20 people who shall find him there during SDCC convention.
And it wouldn't be about anything more than a few nice ampersand d20s, if not what's visible in the blurred background of his photo:
doesn't take a 20 on INT roll to decipher the words "Eberron" and probably "Campaign Setting" written in a classic, Eberron stylized font. What could that mean?
Well, we've already had some Spelljammer gossip going around the web lately (we'll dive into details in another article). But short story even shorter, some of us started to hope for a return of that long gone Campaign Setting. And now we have this. Not sure what we'll get for Spelljammer, we're not sure what it means for Eberron either, but let us say it aloud: the bait was pretty obvious.
What is this Eberron about?
Eberron is an award winning, high-magic fantasy world that stormed it's way to popularity with a sourcebook released back in 2004.
Its planet's greatest continent, Khorvaire is a place that suffered a major war in which advanced wizards used bio-mechanical constructs known as warforged. Once obedient servants, after the war warforged turned into an independent race capable of adventuring. That's how they became a playable character race.
The setting is also known for the elementally propelled airships, some of which move on a "lightning rail" that spans across continents, the popularity of low-magic among societies, an Artificer class (interesting mix between apprentice of alchemy and a mad scientist), and an untouched by war Xen'drik - a warm continent which is also a starting location for a unique MMORPG, Dungeons & Dragons Online. The game is worth mentioning, as it started in 2006 and is interestingly still thriving, maintaining a loyal, active player base. Developer, standing Stone Games is constantly adding new content, with the latest addition being a Ravenloft based Module, but the game is still focused on Eberron.
Are we about to get new Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Settings?
That would be highly realistic assumption. If not the fact that through they years the 5th Edition is running we only got Sword Coast: Adventurer's Guide. Not even a Forgotten Realms: Campaign Setting. And we all know it's the most popular universe for D&D franchise.
So will WotC go with a less popular Campaign Setting first?
Will they resurrect old classics like mentioned Spelljammer, Eberron or Dark Sun (which had some revival in 4th Edition), and leave Forgotten Realms for maybe later?
Heck, we can't rule that out. Current Wizards of the Coast staff is a very creative and often unpredictable lot. And while their plan isn't always understandable to mere mortals like us, we can't not appreciate what they released so far.
There were indeed baits here and there, and we do have a growing hype that WotC will get back to some, uh, forgotten settings, but what's that about, currently no one can tell. We didn't get a real Campaign Settting for Fifth Edition D&D yet, so starting with something else than classic FR could be an interesting twist.
We're sending our planewalkers out and we'll be watching the masterminds at work for further reports.
Humble Bundle, a generous "pay what you want" online store currently offers a line of D&D themed comic books.
When buying from them, you also support the charity of your choice, or the default one that is suggested.
There are 3 traditional tiers at Humble Bundle, and here's how they look for this offer:
$1: for just $1 (yes, really - one dollar) you can get 5 comics. One of those features a famous Forgotten Realms celebrity, Drizzt Do'Urden, another takes place in the city of Baldur's Gate, while the rest is more "adventuring party" themed. There are 3 different comic book storylines, which seems like a good choice to get us hooked.
$8: paying 7 dollars more will grant you the above plus 5 more comics, including more Drizzt, one Dark Sun themed comic and one taking place in Eberron. The Campaign Setting which was a topic of our previous news. It's important to know though that some of those series contain more than one "physical" comic.
$15: to get the whole bundle, which would be 22 comic books, the traditional price is $15, but you can always add more for charity, if you wish.
Here's the link:
Alternatively you can use this link to also support our news bulletin:
The store's description if you've never heard of them:
Behold! These aren't lazy vacations for Wizards of the Coast. Heck, observing them one could imagine they've already forgotten* what their holidays were like.
Instead, they focus on ours.
Special Edition D&D Core Rulebook Covers and Gift Set
Without further ado, that's how those Special Edition Rulebooks will look like. Click to enlarge:
Aren't they amazing? That's the result of the careful plotting at WotC of course, but for the art we should thank entity known as Hydro74.
Being an eternal fan of the D&D legacy, sure I would and most likely WILL actually buy those. Especially that they come (probably optionally) as a "Gift Bundle", which is going include an alternative, Special Edition Dungeon Master's Screen and a similarly cute SE Core Rulebook Case to pack it together. Such slipcase is very welcome because it's practical - it's gonna be easier to carry the books around to players for a session.
But this alternative cover version won't be the only available. An identical set with a DM's Screen and Core Rulebook Case will be sold featuring traditional designs as well.
Release Date and Some Important Details
First of all, let's take a look at those whole 2 sets:
When will we get those goodies?
Thera are two release dates: October 19th 2018 for Special Edition and October 30th 2018 for Standard Edition. So not yet, but incoming. The whole "Gift Set" bundle is priced at $169.95. For those not familiar with D&D - it's complete, enough to start playing right away.
Keep in mind though that some official sources call the Special Edition version a "Collector's Edition". So we could expect that this is a one-of-kind occasion, and I wouldn't be surprised if there won't be any reprints once that first batch is sold and the wave runs out. Also, WotC confirms that the alternative cover version is planned to be available only at physical stores. So that's what we get - a real D&D Collector's Edition of the base rulebooks that should be regarded and pursued as rarity in the future.
Dungeons & Dragons for Children and Waterdeep: Dragon Heist Adventure
On 23th of October 2018 Wizards will release also two previously unannounced books for children - one to help them master the alphabet and one to make them as good at numbers as a young dragon. All themed around D&D, so if you'd like to give your kids some idea of what fantasy roleplaying might be like, those could be perfect. There's also a coloring book we had some prior knowledge of that's shipping to stores on August 21. With a big purple beholder on cover!
Whether is such age appropriate to familiarize your children with the world of magic spells, heroes and beholders is up to you though.
Two other premieres that will happen are Waterdeep: Dragon Heist Adventure and a Waterdeep: Dragon Heist Dice Set. No, I'm really, totally not working for WotC. I have nothing to do with them. I'm really hard to impress in general. But in my opinion, both offers look great and useful for players and DMs. The storyline of Dragon Heist (and what follows) looks really promising. Waterdeep is a great city of intrigue and politics, filled with numerous, often very rich factions that compete for power and control over the region. And thanks to the (in)famous wizard Volothamp Geddarm, players are surely going to get involved in things much bigger than they are.
Maybe it's a quest for riches, but with some realistic background to keep players thrilled and entertained throughout. And it's not for the high levels, it's meant to be experienced by 1st-5th level characters. Which could seem like an alternative to Lost Mine of Phandelver from D&D Starter Set, but the complex Waterdhavian environment might not be the best setting for inexperienced DMs. Still, that's exactly the kind of adventure I was missing for a long time and I'm eager to check it out, playtest and review for you some time after it's available. Release date: September 18th 2018. Price: $49.95.
Now, the latter of two, Dragon Heist: Dice Set is an accessory that isn't very important. But can't say it's not an interesting offer either. It's a themed dice set including four d6s, two differently sized d20s to ease the rolling of Advantage and Disadvantage, plus it's coming with a golden Hit Point tracker. All depends on whether you can afford it. To me $24,95 is quite expensive. But the quality appears to be really superb and as a gift for someone you value I would still recommend to consider. It's useful and looks like a treasure.
Summarizing the Wizardry
So that would be it for now. Did you feel like a child in a candy store too? I certainly did. While generally, to say the least, not a fan of big companies and I do hate when they're trying to sell me stuff of questionable utility or quality, here it's a different story. Even if you wouldn't be a D&D lover, I bet you'd still be impressed by what WotC menages to achieve with it's unique approach to 5th Edition. Apart from high standard of production (especially the books are really well written), I think it's because WotC menages to capture the attention of both veterans with their nostalgic, precious collector's editions, and possibly everyone else interested in their franchise. There's something from everyone, and it doesn't seem like they're trying to sell us just *anything*. There is some deeper thought behind each accessory. Also, they're not releasing that much material like TSR did in the past, which dragged the company down in the end, ultimately resulting in a financial catastrophe.
Is it all I'd dream about? Exactly what one would expect? No. But what they're creating is successfully inviting to their own vision and there's probably still a lot in store for us in the future.
Meanwhile, we're walking the planes.
* pun intended!
So here's the news! 2 newly edited, official D&D 5e worlds (Campaign Sourcebooks) coming to Dungeons & Dragons!
First one is a Campaign Prototype for Eberron available on WotCs' DM's Guild. Second is a Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica.
Eberron: Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron is available now on DMsGuild.com.
Ravnica: Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica in game stores November 9, everywhere else November 20.
Eberron 5e - Availability
Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron is available now on DMsGuild.com and sold in PDF format for $19,99.
Keith Baker, the original Eberron's creator, describes the original idea behind the Eberron Campaign Setting:
Wayfinder's Guide to Ebberon - Printed Version?
There is no printed version of Eberron Campaign Setting announced at this moment. Placing Wayfinder's Guide on DMs Guild most likely means that Eberron is going to be another world, after Forgotten Realms and Ravenloft, available for DMs Guild users to create content with. We'll confirm that as soon there's official permission, but it looks obvious.
UPDATE: And here it is. Eberron is now officially allowed.
More about the War of Eberron from Keith Baker:
And the player races of Eberron in 5e through the words D&D Beyond's Todd Kenreck & D&D Creative Director Mike Mearls:
Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron - Book Description
From DMsGuild about Eberron's Wayfinder's Guide 5e:
Remember though that this is only a prototype Eberron Campaign Setting!
Which means the following:
So this new PDF ebook is basically something between Unearthed Arcana and retail Campaign Setting - an official release, but targeted for DM's Guild which is a specific place, serving its purpose. That doesn't mean it's not a valuable new material - it's just not allowed in Adventurer's League yet, and it's not a fully finished Campaign Setting. Such would be priced higher and sold as hardcover. Which may happen in future, like with Ravnica.
UPDATE: According to D&D's Mike Mearls, this prototype ebook will be updated with new data and revisions in the process of production of the final Eberron Campaign Setting. So if you buy the PDF now, you'll have the latest content added later for free. Still, those 2 books (pdf and hardcover setting) should have some original content, as Mike Mearls said on Twitter: "we want the owners of both to be happy".
Sources (check details in the replies):
Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica - Information
In our previous article we've mentioned some information and sources about Ravnica, check it out.
See how Todd Kenreck and various other designers discuss Magic: The Gathering's "Ravnica" coming to Dungeons & Dragons:
Official Press Announcement
More official information available here: LINK