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News in Review for July 5 to July 11 2010

This week, it looks like the hot topics of our favorite hobby have turned from the upcoming Dark Sun Campaign Setting to the most recent 4E Errata and the upcoming D&D Essentials line.

Certainly, both the pre- and post-discussion at my two D&D campaigns this past weekend turned to those topics. And frankly, a few of my 4E Players wondered what Wizards of the Coast was up to with these changes. Making Magic Missile an auto-hit spell was shocking, but the new Essentials line seems fairly confusing to many gamers. It even sparked a few interesting comments from former WotC Game Designer Chris Sims.

There has been plenty of blog and fansite discussion of these topics and more this week, from sites like Greywulf’s Lair and from the EN World Forums (see below). And it will be very interesting to see how WotC will respond to the fan-base. Mike Mearls and Bill Slaviscek have both penned articles this week regarding the D&D Essentials line, and WotC’s Community Manager, Trevor Kidd, even posted a comment or two on the EN World Forums.

Only time will tell if all these changes will be a positive force to make 4E an even more popular game, or if it will lead to more divisiveness amongst the D&D Community!

  • Mike Mearls has the Design & Development column this month discussing The Abyss, and the philosophy behind writing the upcoming Demonomicon!
  • The Queen of Desolation, Oublivae is a new demon lord from the upcoming Demonomicon!
  • EN World releases the 5th module in the War of the Burning Sky Campaign Arc, Mission to the Monastery of the Four Winds. Available to EN World Subscribers.
  • Kobold Quarterly releases a new solo dragon encounter: are your Characters ready to face Xaldraxis, a commander-general of dragonkind?
  • The Tome Show #139 podcast, with guests Tracy Hurley, Jake Fitch, and Samuel Dillon, takes a look at WotC’s Player’s Strategy Guide.
  • The Power Source podcast #34 has Jared Glenn, Jared Baker (Ted), and Tim Franzke discussing WotC’s Monster Manual 3.
  • Mike Shea at Sly offers Three D&D Tips from Breaking Bad.
  • Ameron at Dungeon’s has posted his 2010 GenCon Schedule available for download.
  • Steve Winter’s Dungeon Editorial discusses a blast from the past – The Psurlon Cometh recalls the Empire of the Petal Throne and the world of Tékumel, and the similarities to the Dark Sun Campaign Setting.
  • Mike Mearls and the Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Group Manager has begun the Countdown to Essentials, discussing what will be in the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons Essentials Line in Commencing Countdown!!
  • EN World News discusses D&D Essentials in D&D Essentials… It’s not 4.5!
  • Kobold Quarterly announces the “My First GenCon” Series and Contest, offering the best entry “$100 in credit at the Kobold Quarterly booth at Gen Con Indy 2010 and $50 spending money at the Con”!
  • Ameron at Dungeon’s offers a suggestion for handling The 5-Minute Rest as a Skill Challenge.
  • Kobold Quarterly concludes its series of unusual encounter grounds with Inspiring Terrains: Alleyways (Part 5 of 5).
  • Steve Townshend’s Feature Article in Dragon #389 takes a look at developing Origin Stories for Characters, and offers possible Origins, Archetypes, and Boons for Players to develop “Strong Entrances, Strong Characters”.
  • Check out the Perilous Archways encounter, an excerpt from Chapter 2: The Tomb of Shadows of the upcoming Tomb of Horrors adventure!
  • Wimwick at Dungeon’s discusses The Problem With Assisting, and how to combat what could be a “game-breaking” DM’s conundrum.
  • At Greywulf’s, he discusses WHY, with the 4e errata update: Wizards and Rogues do happy dance!
  • The newest Chaos Scar Adventure is out for Dungeon #180: Down the Goblin Hole is an module with three encounters and set for 2nd Level Heroes.
  • Ed Greenwood issues a new Eye on the Realms article this month in Dragon Magazine, discussing a the habits of The Hunter of False Nobles – a rebel who targets the corrupt, the decadent, and the cruel among the ruling classes.
  • Bart Carroll’s Spotlight Interview asks 3 Questions: Oublivae, looking into more about the development of the new Demon Lord to be released in the upcoming Demonomicon.
  • Over at the EN World Forums the WotC Community Manager, Trevor Kidd, disusses What D&D 4E Essentials Is… and Isn’t.
  • Kobold Quarterly has a post to their new “My First GenCon” Series from legendary D&D Gamer Ed Greenwood!
  • Chris Sims at discusses and contrasts the “world history” of various WotC campaign settings in Canon Fodder.
  • At Greywulf’s, Mike Mearls’ recent “Commencing Countdown” article and the internet fallout is analyzed in It’s not what you say, but how we read it!
  • Ed Greenwood shares some new Realmslore gleaned from his new upcoming novel regarding the famed Sage of Shadowdale. Check out Elminster Must Die! #1-7!
  • Bill Slavicsek focuses this month’s Ampersand Archive on D&D Essentials, previewing one of the new formats for Character Classes. Take a look at the Cleric Preview and find out what the Essential Cleric will become!
  • The newest Class Acts: Seekers in Dragon Magazine this month offers this Primal Controller class some new evocations and magic items to create Savage Archers!
  • A hunting demon of dark desire, known as an Incubus, is featured in the newest excerpt from the upcoming Demonomicon!
  • EN World News releases the Nominations for this year’s ENnie Awards!
  • Mike Shea at Sly announces that the Dungeon Master Tips book released!
  • Greywulf muses over the question of whether Should Wizards of The Coast introduce public playtesting?!
  • Geek Ken discusses the complaints many gamers have about the Lack of fluff in 4E and MM3!
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About The Author

Michael is an Adept of a Secret Order of Dungeon Masters, and dwells in a hidden realm with his two evil cat-familiars, deep within the Vale of Wolverines, called by some "Michigan". He has been esoterically conjuring D&D Campaigns for nearly a Third of a Century, and has been known to cast ritual blogs concerning Dungeons & Dragons every few days with some regularity. Michael has freelanced for Wizards of the Coast, and writes reviews of D&D and other Role-Playing Game products on EN World News.


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