Eberron: Rising From the Last War Preview

Eberron: Rising From the Last War is a campaign sourcebook set in the D&D world of Eberron.

I previewed it on Twitter here:

You can explore the swashbuckling pulp noir of Eberron: Rising From the Last War when it launches November 19, 2019.

Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty Preview

Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty is a box set that “[blends] the world of Dungeons & Dragons with the mad narcissistic genius of Rick Sanchez’s power-gaming sensibilities, and it includes everything a Dungeon Master needs to channel their inner mad scientist and run a rickrolling adventure for up to 5 players, levels 1 to 3.”

I previewed it on Twitter here:

You can experience “Rickth Edition D&D” when Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty releases everywhere on November 19, 2019.

Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus Dice & Miscellany Preview

Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus Dice & Miscellany is a set of premium dice and game aids packaged in a dice box/tray.

I previewed it on Twitter here:

You can get your hands on these dice (perfect for rolling on the “Flesh Warping” table) when the Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus Dice & Miscellany releases September 17, 2019.

Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus Preview

Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus is an adventure that “takes players from levels 1 to 13 as they journey through Baldur’s Gate and into Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells.”

I previewed it on Twitter here:

You can descend into hell when it launches September 17, 2019.

Look Inside: D&D Essentials Kit

The D&D Essentials Kit is available now (exclusive to Target until September 3rd, 2019). Let’s take a look inside, shall we? Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast provided me a review copy of this product. Opinions expressed are my own. And last but not least, the Essentials Kit comes with a code to unlock the Dragon of […]

D&D Live 2019: The Descent – Product Announcement Highlights

The Descent“, Wizards of the Coast’s 2019 live D&D event, has come and gone. Here are some highlights of products announced during the event.

Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus (September 17, 2019)

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  • Next published adventure, 256 pages, for characters level 1 to 13.
  • Standard cover (art by Tyler Jacobson) and Alternate cover (art by Hydro74). Alternate cover only available in hobby stores.
  • This adventure is written with new DMs in mind–“user-friendly”.
  • Starts in Baldur’s Gate, a murder-hobo’s paradise, Faerûn’s”Gotham City”. The city is morally bankrupt.
  • There are crimes and mysteries to solve in Baldur’s Gate.
  • The city of Baldur’s Gate gets fleshed out a bit, and the designers wanted it to feel gritty.
  • The gazetteer chapter tells you what its like there and what its like to be from there (offers new background options).
  • “Dark Secrets” play a part in the adventure–your party can choose something terrible that happened in the group’s past.
  • A sinister plot will draw players down into Avernus, the first layer of Hell.
  • Avernus is “a plane of wreckage”.
  • Described as “D&D meets Mad Max Fury road with a bit of Dante’s Inferno”.
  • Temptation and bargains play a part when dealing with Devils. Infernal Contracts: a way to get assistance, items, gold, power, levels, at the cost of potentially losing your soul.
  • Adventurers may witness the Blood War–the eternal conflict between demons and devils–firsthand.
  • Different mechanics in Avernus: resting is hard, death saving throws may not work, demonic ichor is strange and sometimes useful.
  • The warlords of Avernus: creatures that eek out a living and control gangs travelling in fleets of infernal war machines (“massive death machines”)
  • Infernal War Machines have vehicle and customization rules so you can live out your Fury Road fantasies. They are powered by souls.
  • The ruler of Avernus is Zariel, a fallen angel previously mentioned in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes.
  • Arkhan the Cruel, a character created by Joe Manganiello, appears in Avernus. He has a dual-flaming-scimitar-wielding Minotaur bodyguard, Torgar Steelfist, and a “kick-ass tortle priest-of-death” named Krull.
  • Avernus is itself a sandbox that you can pick and choose from to make as long or as short a part of the adventure, or use in your own stories.
  • Contains a foldout map of Avernus by Jared Blando.
  • Written by Chris Perkins. Adam Lee lead design. Contributions from Ari Levitch, Dan Dillon, Kate Welch, Bill BenhamHannah Rose, Jim Zub, Lysa ChenM.T. BlackJames Haeck, and others.
  • Wide release September 17, 2019.

[Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus Product page]
[D&D Live Announcement (Video)]
[D&D Beyond Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus Interviews  (Video Playlist)]

More Details on the story of Descent into Avernus (potential spoilers):

Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus Dice & Miscellany (September 17, 2019)

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  • “Brimstone” (deep red) dice with gold lettering. Eleven dice. Standard set, with two d20s (for advantage/disadvantage) and four d6s (for character creation).
  • Tin doubles as two felt-lined dice trays.
  • Twenty cards with random encounter tables and story content for devils and demons of the Blood War, images of demons and devils (art by Max Dunbar), the infernal text cipher.
  • Foldout map of Avernus.
  • Size comparison chart for demons and devils.
  • Wide release September 17, 2019.

[Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus – Dice and Miscellany Product Page]
[D&D Live Announcement (Video)]

D&D Essentials Kit (June 24 / September 3, 2019)

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  • New introductory product, a follow up to the Starter Set.
  • Starter adventure for new DM’s called “Dragon of Icespire Peak” (for levels 1-6), set in same region as Phandalin.
  • The adventure is a collection of quests, along with a roaming dragon threat.
  • Can be mixed with “Lost Mine of Phandelver”, can follow it, or whatever. “Same playground, more toys.”
  • Includes poster map of Phandalin and the adventure region.
  • Comes with 81 cards (printed on perforated sheets): magic items, conditions, quests, combat cheat-sheet, sidekicks with illustrations, and a tuckbox.
  • Rules include a 1-on-1 variant (one DM, one player).
  • Rules include character creation up to level 6 (classes include Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, Rogue, and Bard).
  • Rules includes a streamline version of sidekicks first seen in Unearthed Arcana article.
  • DM screen (new art, inside content same as existing screen, made of thinner stock).
  • Set of cherry-lozenge-red dice (two d20s and four d6s).
  • Will include a D&D Beyond promo code to unlock “Dragon of Icespire Peak” free as well as a 50% coupon for the Player’s Handbook.
  • Will also include a series of QR codes for additional Phandelver adventures released on D&D Beyond.
  • Written/designed by Chris Perkins and Jeremy Crawford.
  • Available at Target on June 24 and September 3, 2019 everywhere.

[D&D Essential’s Kit Product Page]
[D&D Live Announcement (Video)]

Eberron Hardcover

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At the end of the event, D&D Director Nathan Stewart teased the following: “Hardcover Eberron, that’s happening”.

Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty: Tabletop Roleplaying Adventure (November 19, 2019)

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  • Boxed set.
  • New adventure for characters levels 1-3.
  • “What if Rick was your Dungeon Master”.
  • Rulebook heavily revised/annotated by Rick.
  • Set of dice.
  • DM screen (art by Troy Little).
  • Written/lead by Kate Welch. Contributions from Jim Zub, Adam Lee, Ari Levitch, Ryan Hartman.
  • Wide release November 19, 2019.

[Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty Product Page]
[D&D Live Announcement (Video)]

D&D Partner Product Announcements

Beadle & Grimm’s D&D Platinum Edition Descent into Avernus (October 2019)

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  • Boxed set including custom DM screen, full-scale battle maps, encounter cards, diabolical handouts, wearables, Infernal War Machine 11″ figure (unique version that includes a saw blade), a D&D Beyond code for the adventure, and other details to be announced.
  • Will also include miniatures of the characters Beadle and Grimm (may be fully painted).
  • Limited run of 1,000 copies.
  • Shipping October 2019.

[Beadle & Grimm’s D&D Platinum Edition Descent into Avernus Product Page]

D&D Beyond Updates

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  • Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus available for preorder. Available September 17, 2019.
  • D&D Essentials Kit boxed set will include a code to unlock the adventure, “Dragon of Icespire Peak”, for free, as well as a discount code for 50% off the Player’s Handbook.
  • D&D Essentials boxed set will also include a series of QR codes for additional Phandelver adventures released on D&D Beyond.
  • Strangers Things “Hunt For the Thesylhydra” adventure will be available for purchase on D&D Beyond (June 4th, 2019).
  • New bundles available in the marketplace: Sourcebook Bundle (includes all sourcebooks and 10% discount on future) and Adventure Bundle (includes all Adventures and 10% discount on future). Or get everything with the existing Legendary Bundle (includes all sourcebooks and adventures, and 15% discount on future).
  • Encounter Builder alpha is live for D&D subscribers.

A peak at the D&D Beyond Encounter Builder.

[D&D Beyond]

Gale Force Nine

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[Gale Force 9 Facebook]

Wizkids Icons of the Realms Baldur’s Gate Descent into Avernus Miniatures (August 2019)

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  • Infernal collection of miniatures including the Pit Fiend, Glabrezu, Merregon, the fallen angel Zariel, and the adventurer Reya Dawn.
  • 45 painted miniatures.
  • Standard booster box contains four random miniatures: 1 large figure, and 3 medium/small figures.
  • Premium Figure: The Infernal War Machine. 11″ long, fits 1 medium miniature in the “driver” area and 6 in the “passenger” area. Vehicle “hood” is removable.
  • Infernal War Machine can be purchased separately (consumers are not required to purchase a booster case to get it).
  • Available August 2019.

[Wizkids Baldur’s Gate Descent into Avernus Product Page]

Syrinscape

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  • Syrinscape is a an app to provide a soundtrack for your tabletop game.
  • Ghost of Saltmarsh soundpacks coming soon (“Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh”, “Salvage operation”, “Danger at Dunwater”).
  • Dungeon of the Mad Mage content coming soon.

[Syrinscape D&D Page]

Dungeon Mayhem: Battle for Baldur’s Gate Expansion (September 17, 2019)

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  • Expansion for the free-for-all battle card game, Dungeon Mayhem.
  • Features Minsc & Boo (Ranger) and Jaheira (Druid).
  • Art by Jake Parker.
  • Available September 17, 2019.

[Dungeon Mayhem: Battle Baldur’s Gate Expansion Product Page]
[D&D Live Announcement (Video)]

Han Cholo

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[Han Cholo D&D Products Page]

Warriors of Waterdeep (May 30, 2019)

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  • Free to play mobile game (iOS and Android).
  • Turn-based role-playing game, card based, centered on Waterdeep. Control a party of four.
  • Currently in soft-launch in Canada.
  • Launch Day May 30, 2019.

[Warriors of Waterdeep Official Page]

Wyrmwood

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[Wyrmwood D&D Products Page]

Dungeons & Dragons Young Adventurer’s Guides (July 16, 2019)

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  • “Monsters & Creatures”, “Warriors & Weapons”. 112 page hardcovers.
  • Introductory guidebooks to D&D. Entry point for young fans (ages 8+).
  • Includes lots of new artwork.
  • Written by Stacy King, Andrew Wheeler, and Jim Zub.
  • On sale July 16, 2019.

[Monsters & Creatures Product Page]
[Warriors & Weapons Product Page]
[D&D Live Announcement (Video)]

IDW: “Dungeons & Dragons Infernal Tides” comic (November 30, 2019)

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  • Minsc and his friends are caught in the middle of devil-tainted corruption that has taken hold of Baldur’s Gate.
  • Written by Jim Zub, art by Max Dunbar.
  • Five-issue miniseries.
  • “Heavy Metal wonderland of kookiness.”
  • First issue November 30, 2019.

[Dungeons & Dragons Infernal Tides Product Page]
[IDW Infernal Tides Announcement Page]
[D&D Live Announcement (Video)]

IDW: “Rick & Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons II: Painscape” (September 18, 2019)

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  • “Rick has made a lot of failed characters … and in all the multiverses out there those characters exist. And they are *very* angry at him.”
  • “This time D&D is coming to Earth and it’s not taking any prisoners.”
  • Written by Jim Zub, art by Troy Little. Variant cover art by Jim Zub & Sarah Stern.
  • 4-issue mini-series
  • Issue #1 in stores September 18, 2019.

[Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons II: Painscape Product Page]
[D&D Live Announcement (Video)]

 

Creature Incarnation: Giant Wolf Spider Variant

The Giant Wolf Spider as presented in the 5th Edition Monster Manual is perfectly usable monster, but I noticed while reading up on real world wolf spiders that it doesn’t quite capture their flavor. Presented below is my slightly tweaked version, the Giant Wolf Spider (Variant).Giant Wolf Spider (Variant).jpg

Design Notes

This variant is based on the Giant Wolf Spider from the Monster Manual, with the following changes:

Tremorsense: Giant Wolf Spiders and Giant Spiders both have Blindsight listed under their senses. I’m not entirely certain why the designers chose this ability–maybe it is supposed to reflect a spider’s 360 degree vision and excellent sense of touch, or perhaps it is a nod to Spider-Man’s tingly danger-sense. Regardless, I felt that Tremorsense was a better reflection of the wolf spider’s ability to detect nearby prey through vibrations. I kept the range of 10 feet, as that seemed reasonable.

Hunters. Wolf spiders hunt prey or lie in ambush in burrows. To better reflect this, I added the Ambusher trait (found on the Kenku and Doppleganger) as well as a Hidden Ambush reaction. I wanted to capture how they quickly emerge from their hiding places to attack their prey. Giving them Hidden Ambush in the form of a reaction facilitates encounters in which Giant Wolf Spiders lie in wait even after the first round of initiative while still allowing them to get the jump on PCs. The line that says that creatures attacked as a result of the Hidden Ambush are considered surprised allows the Ambusher trait to trigger and makes an exception to the general rule that surprise is determined only once at the beginning of combat and that a creature cannot be surprised again.

It would have been simpler, of course, to just grant advantage on the Hidden Ambush attack, but the use of “surprise” is intentional: it allows the attack to interact with other game abilities related to being surprised. For example, the Alert feat says that a PC cannot be surprised while they are conscious. It is the intention that in this case, the attack granted by Hidden Ambush would not have advantage (because Alert prevents the PC from being surprised).

No Webs. Wolf spiders don’t spin webs (though they do spin silk). As such, I removed Web Sense and Web Walker. The former is replaced by Tremorsense. As for the latter, one could probably argue that being a spider allows the Giant Wolf Spider to walk on webbing regardless of whether or not it can spin them.

Otherwise, the statblock is the same as the base Giant Wolf Spider. The addition and subtraction of a few traits and actions wasn’t enough to warrant changing the Challenge Rating, and the other stats seem reasonable. I considered doubling the Proficiency Bonus added to Perception–real world wolf spiders are noted as having excellent vision and other senses–but I suspect that the fact the Giant Wolf Spider is considered trained in Perception at all (compare with the Giant Spider who is not) is meant to reflect this.

I think these minor changes help better reflect the abilities of the wolf spider, while also distinguishing the Giant Wolf Spider a bit more from the Giant Spider. Whereas the Giant Spider may lie in wait for a victim to be snared in its web, the Giant Wolf Spider hides among debris and in small burrows, waiting for the moment to pounce.DDEE-008.jpg