New Forgotten Realms Explorer’s Kit and Critical Role Wildemount sourcebook–No better time to start an online D&D campaign

With most of the nation moving to more at-home time because of the coronavirus/COVID-19, there’s never been a better time to join an online campaign or begin with your family at home your own Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition roleplaying game campaign.  Wizards of the Coast is here to jumpstart your campaign fun with two new products this month.    First is a set of D&D trademark “dice and miscellany,” this time tied to the Forgotten Realms’ own Laeral Silverhand, Open Lord of Waterdeep, centuries-old archmage, and daughter of the goddess of magic.  She’s here to guide you on your path to adventure with Laeral Silverhand’s Explorer’s Kit, a shiny new eleven dice set (two d20s, one d12, two d10s, one d8, four d6s, one d4), twenty illustrated, double-sided cards detailing Laeral’s expert insights on key characters, locations, and lore from across the Forgotten Realms, and an attractive foldout double-sided map of the Sword Coast and the city of Waterdeep–all housed in a sturdy felt-lined box that functions as two dice trays.  If you’ve played for years and haven’t picked up one of these add-on kits in a while, this set of gorgeous dice and materials would be a great place to start.  It’s now available here at Amazon.

Also available for the first time this month is a sourcebook springing out of the second campaign of the popular D&D liveplay show, Critical Role.  It’s the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount, a hefty, 300+ page guidebook to the world created by Matthew Mercer, DM to Critical Role.  Although it promises new surprises for fans of the show, it is also made for gamers at any level, regardless of their familiarity with the show, and provides new characters that can be incorporated into any campaign.  Wildemount is a continent in the world of Exandria, with varied cultures, locales, peoples, and monsters.  The guide introduces four adventures: Tide of Retribution, Dangerous Designs, Frozen Sick, and Unwelcome Spirits.

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DMs can set the adventure in one of four regions–the Menagerie Coast, Marrow Valley and the Zemni Fields, the Greying Wildlands and Eiselcross, the Wastes of Xhorhas and Blightshore–or incorporate any or all of them.  Adventures range from level one to 20.  Players are invited to jump the rails–change any aspect of an adventure to suit the type of game players enjoy the most.  In the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount, improvisation is your friend.  If a DM isn’t sure how to proceed he/she is encouraged to do whatever is the most fun for the players, characters, and journey.

History and mythology, key factions, and societies and inhabitants all get detailed overviews.  The Wildemount Gazetteer is the sourcebook’s own travelers guide, complete with full color maps and the finer points on government and local crime by town.  The overall language of the presentation is a bit looser than the usual D&D book, easy to understand, providing friendly hand-holding along the way for beginner DMs.  War is a central theme of Wildemount–players can go deep as soldiers or take their story before or after the war.

The character chapter features eight races (reprinted from other volumes): bird-like aarakocra, supernatural aasimar, peaceful firbolgs, humanoid genasi, scavenger goblins, mountain goliaths, the mimicking kenku, and seafaring tortles, in addition to the dominant races of dwarves, elves, halflings, and humans.  As you’d expect, the guide includes a section with new treasures and magic artifacts (16 pages!), a bestiary full of new rival and ally NPCs, and 15 new dunamancy spells.  The artwork throughout by the Wizards team is exceptional, including Deven Rue’s unique style of mapmaking.

Taking Mercer’s campaign and getting the full D&D treatment is a bit like seeing a fan film turned into franchise canon, and is probably the dream of many a long-time player.

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You have to see the great blue hues used in the Laeral Silverhand’s Explorer’s Kit–both the dice and the decorative storage box.  Order Laeral Silverhand’s Explorer’s Kit now here at Amazon.  Those looking for a new adventure, and fans of Critical Role, check out Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount available here at Amazon now.

C.J. Bunce

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