Tag Archive: Dungeons and Dragons


Review by C.J. Bunce

Come, let us be quick.  The crumbling world will not wait for heroes who pause.

Returning with a story at the very foundations of Dungeons & Dragons today is fantasy author R.A. Salvatore with the final novel in his latest Drizzt Do’Urden trilogy and his 34th Drizzt novel overall, Relentless.  In this third act everything is at stake for the friends of the dark elf ranger, especially for his mother, his father, and his wife, as Salvatore takes readers back to the very circumstances of Drizzt’s birth–and reaches far into his future.  The plot switches from skirmishes and battles to the careful ministrations of dark influences in the matriarchal society of Menzoberranzan and the reactions and responses of everyone to them.  Available here at Amazon today, the release is also nicely timed to the forthcoming 5th edition of Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden–Salvatore first presented Drizzt in the Ten Towns of that realm three decades ago.

Plus, bugbears, yochlolk, and glabrezu–oh, my!

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The new Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition adventure Mythic Odysseys of Theros has an inspired twist on the mythology and real world of the Ancient Greeks, creating a bit of a mirror fantasy setting that is still nicely footed in that world.  The new campaign, which arrives online and in game shops July 21, has a very different look and feel from your typical D&D sourcebook.  You’ll harken back to when you first imagined living among a pantheon of dueling Gods, and encountering your first images of hydras, hippocamps, krakens, and chimera (or watched Clash of the Titans).  And a book full of some enticing new maps will keep you absorbed in hours of roleplay this summer, even if you’re needing to make it all work with your friends over Zoom instead of in person.

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The next adventure from Dungeons & Dragons is coming this summer.  Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden is a tale of dark terror. Wizards of the Coast promises players will visit the forlorn, flickering candlelights of civilization known as Ten-Towns and traverse many bone-chilling locations that surround these frontier settlements.  Beneath the unyielding night sky, players will stand before a towering glacier and recite an ancient rhyme, causing a crack to form in the great wall of ice.  Past this icy dungeon is a secret so old and terrifying that few dare speak of it.  What fantastic secrets and treasures are entombed in the heart of the glacier, and what will their discovery mean for the denizens of Icewind Dale?  Do you dare try to save Ten-Towns from the Frostmaiden?  The new supplement to the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons is available for pre-order now with an add-on frosty set of dice.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The Forgotten Realms have never been more fun.  Writer Jim Zub has partnered with artists Max Dunbar & John-Paul Bove, Nelson Daniel, Thiago Ribeiro, Milen Parvanov, and Glauber Matos in a huge compilation book, Dungeons & Dragons: Days of Endless Adventure IDW Publishing and Wizards of the Coast have brought forward the best from the D&D game books and card games, and combined good fantasy storytelling with classic artwork like you’d find in both D&D manuals or J.R.R. Tolkien’s magical worlds, with humor similar to Mike Wieringo’s Tellos.  Best yet, it features the Dungeon Mayhem’s Minsc and his trusty partner hamster Boo, meaning lots of bravery (and laughs) await you.

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Wizards of the Coast is bringing together some top genre names for what they promise to be the most star-studded Dungeons & Dragons event ever assembled to raise money for the Red Nose Day charity. D&D Live 2020: Roll w/Advantage hopes to bring gamers together online and reveal the latest D&D storyline.  And it expects to feature Doctor Who and the Marvel Cinematic Universe star Karen Gillan and Stranger Things and Black Widow star David Harbour, among others.  And it’s all happening next month, available to everyone from the comfort of their homes.

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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.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

This week the Wizards of the Coast roleplaying game team introduces a third way to enter its family friendly world of Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying fun in a card game format with Dungeon Mayhem: Monster Madness Along with the barbarian Sutha the Skullcrusher, the wizard Azzan the Mystic, the paladin Lia the Radiant, and the rogue Oriax the Clever from 2018’s Dungeon Mayhem base card game, and ranger Minsc with his miniature-giant space hamster, Boo, and the shapeshifting druid Jaheira from the Battle for Baldur’s Gate expansion pack, players now have six new monsters to add to the mix, and a stylized deluxe box that allows for all 12 character card decks to be housed in one place and played as a single game for up to six players.

In Dungeon Mayhem: Monster Madness, you play as one of six D&D monsters, each with their own way to charm, crush, disintegrate, and devour their foes.  They include the beholder Delilah Deathray, the mind flayer Dr. Tentaculous, Blorp the gelatinous cube, the killer lounge chair mimic Mimi Lechaise, the red dragon Lord Cinderpuff, and the owlbear Hoots McGoots.  Select a character from the core deck and one from the six monsters or combine decks from any past edition you have–each player chooses a character and corresponding deck of cards and all prepare for mayhem.

If you enjoyed the previously released six characters, you’re going to love mixing them up with the new six.  Their personalities are smartly coordinated with their individual powers, and players will soon find their own favorites.  Kids of all ages will love attacks like crushing hugs from an owlbear, or defending an attack from a rogue using “all the daggers.”  Whether prompted by an evil sneer from a wizard or an eviler sneer from a dragon, everyone will have fun with the now complete set of Dungeon Mayhem characters.

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This month Wizards of the Coast is celebrating 45 years of fans and gaming and 5 years of the Fifth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons with a one-time opportunity.  The D&D Sapphire Anniversary Dice Set: Collector’s Limited Edition will be available to commemorate the occasion, a set of eleven aluminum dice with a special sapphire set in the d20 die.  Wizards of the Coast hopes this to be the jewel of any gamer’s dice sets.  You’ll want to mark your calendar for December 12, 2019, at 9 a.m. Pacific/11 a.m. Central, the go-live date for sales of the set.  And you’ll need to act fast, as the number of sets will be limited to 1,974, reflecting the first year of D&D.

“When the D&D team realized the sapphire is the traditional anniversary stone for both five years and forty-five years, and that adding a laboratory-created sapphire to a twenty-sided die wouldn’t jeopardize the integrity of a roll, we couldn’t pass up the chance to make something really cool to celebrate the milestones,” said Nathan Stewart, vice president of the D&D for Wizards of the Coast.  “The team put together a fun product for our fans that includes art and newly updated stats for sapphire dragons, making these classic dragons ready for play in your next D&D session.”

Here are the stats for the set from Wizards of the Coast:

  • A complete set of eleven precision anodized luxury aluminum dice, including two d20s, one d12, two d10s, one d8, four d6s, and one d4, all created exclusively for Wizards of the Coast by Level Up Dice.
  • The centerpiece of the set is a dice masterpiece, a d20 that contains an inlaid lab-grown sapphire in the place of the twenty.
  • All other dice sport a fully engraved and anodized official D&D ampersand on the highest value of each die.
  • A custom dice box and dice tray combo only available with this set, perfect for protecting and showcasing the set everywhere you play.
  • A premiere foldout card featuring official D&D fifth edition game statistics for adult sapphire dragons, along with vibrant, full-color art.
  • An exclusive sticker sheet with the D&D ampersand.
  • A sequentially numbered collector’s card confirming the set’s authenticity.

Take a look at this trailer with close-up images of the dice, which also doubles as a bit of a “moment of Zen”–

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It’s a big week for Dungeons & Dragons players.  This Tuesday is the release date for Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus, the eagerly-awaited next adventure in the Fifth Edition of Wizards of the Coast’s original roleplaying game.  One city has fallen into hell, and it’s up to players to see that Baldur’s Gate does not meet the same fate.  The game takes players from levels 1 to 13 as they journey through Baldur’s Gate and into Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells.

And the biggest feature that fans have been waiting for is here: Infernal Machines, making this new journey a mash-up of dark fantasy and Mad Max.  The machines are battle-ready vehicles, which you can build and customize as your characters enter the Blood War.

Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus is a thick 256 pages, with an exhaustive, detailed history of Baldur’s Gate (popularized in the video game of the same name) taking up the first quarter of the book.  Look for lots of new creatures, several interesting NPCs, a pronunciation guide, and even a new lettering script to adapt for your own designed supplemental materials.

 

This new D&D volume features extensive artwork, and attractive maps by Dyson Logos, Mike Schley, and Jared Blando, including a giant double-sided foldout map.  You’ll also find a unique appendix featuring concept art sketches, designs, and characters, providing a peek behind the scenes at Wizards of the Coast.  Note: There’s even a disclaimer for anyone wary of the darker nature of this adventure.  The short version?  It’s all for fun (but you already know that).

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If you’ve ever wanted to start playing Dungeons & Dragons, but didn’t have anyone around that knew how to play, Wizards of the Coast has released a new boxed set with everything you need to get started.  Expanding on its earlier D&D Starter Kit, the all-new D&D Essentials Kit includes all of the components to get started on an adventure out of the box, with hours of adventuring for 2-6 players.  Unlike with the Starter Kit, the Essentials Kit skips ahead from pre-generated characters allowing for building your own characters, with four races: dwarf, elf, halfling, and human, and five classes: bard, cleric, fighter, rogue, wizard.  This alone keeps this new set ahead of the Starter Kit.  But what else?

First, Wizards of the Coast has whittled down the three rulebooks into a single, easy-to-read, 64-page D&D Essentials Rulebook The Rulebook is for all potential players to read, and it includes the rudimentary steps missing from prior iterations–here are not only the rules and parameters for moving through a game but what each step is for, why it matters, and how it fits into the larger gameplay–a great addition for anyone who doesn’t think they learn as fast and are afraid to ask questions.  The next component is the adventure book, Dragon of the Icespire Peak, tailored specifically for first-time players, with the potential for characters to reach six levels.  Note: This takes place in the same region as The Lost Mine of Phandelver, which was included in the D&D Starter Kit, so both adventures can be played together.  This time players have several smaller adventures, so it frees up gameplay for those without time for a single six-hour session.

Expanding on the elements of the D&D Starter Kit are several extras in the D&D Essentials Kit For anyone who doesn’t have a large group to play with, you now have one-on-one rules for only two players, a Dungeon Master and single player.  Along with the two books, inside the sturdy storage box is a set of 11 red translucent polyhedral dice, and a handy box for cards and dice.  A cardboard Dungeon Master’s screen with fantasy artwork by Grzegorz Rutkowski is a nice touch, plus a large, foldout, full-color, two-sided map of Phandalin (also found in Acquisitions Incorporated) and Sword Coast is there to enhance gameplay.  The box also includes six blank double-sided character sheets, nine Initiative cards, nine Quest cards, 36 Magic Item cards, nine starter Sidekick Character cards, 14 Condition cards, three Combat cards, and a Magic Charm card–these will help keep beginners on track.  Finally, the box includes a sheet with codes for continuing gameplay online with D&D Beyond, with three added adventures: Storm Lord’s Wrath (for 7th level characters), Sleeping Dragon’s Wake (for 9th level characters), and Divine Contention (for 11th level characters).

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