Aaaaand... we're back. This time, I'm joined by my now 12 year old daughter in our discussion of mixing versions of D&D to get a more interesting game. Yes I know, we just committed heresy. Here we are, on the eve on a brand, spanking new edition of D&D (4th, for those of you keeping track) and we're talking about mixing 1st, 2nd & 3rd all into one big game. I've had people ask me how I do that and as "Newbie" (as my daughter has decided to be called) thinks this is completely normal, it makes sense for us to walk you through how we do this and why.

Recently, I've found myself in the unusual situation of being an experienced gamer with little experience in the game my primary group is playing - and that game happens to be D&D. Many gamers take D&D experience for granted in their new players, which can cause groups to run into trouble when that isn't the case for some players. These are a few of my experiences as a D&D newbie; knowing about them may help you when dealing with new players.

Large molded and painted pieces dominate Lego sets of today. They look cool, but can rarely be used for anything other than their original design purpose. The same might be said of the design components of RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons, which has evolved quite far from its roots. The following article is a critical examination of the loss of narrative interactions in tabletop role-playing, as exemplified by D&D.

With today's release of D&D 4th Edition, Wizards has been updating their website in regards to D&D Insider, Dragon, and Dungeon. While there's nothing really new in the Insider section (save the utter lack of the project's health - nothing about the open beta, nothing about the lack of client applications for months, nothing about costs, etc.), we do have tables of content for their two magazines, and Dragon reveals Wizards promise of revisiting previous campaign worlds.

The Gamer Dome reports from the GAMA Trade Show: "Forgotten Realms 4e is three books, period, done, end of line: Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, Player's Guide to FR, and DM's Guide to FR. All settings will be done like that, one per year, until they run out of settings. They mentioned Greyhawk, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, and Spelljammer as settings on their list!"

Wizards of the Coast is pleased to announce that third-party publishers will be allowed to publish products compatible with the Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition game system under the new Dungeons & Dragons 4E Game System License (D&D 4E GSL). This royalty-free license will replace the former d20 System Trademark License (STL), and will have a System Reference Document (SRD) available for referencing permissible content.

Character sheets for the forthcoming D&D 4th edition have apparently been leaked online, according to a front-page story on Wired.com (although this would seem to be more of a release, as Morbus points out in the comments below). The big question: what are healing surges?

In my last column I covered eight personality archetypes, aligned along piratical lines. As one might expect, the followup to that discussion involves the age-old enemy of the pirates. Introducing the ninja.

In my previous column I explored the various letter codes that you can combine to help define a personality for your character. Along the way, I intimated that there are two major divisions (P and N) as well as a total of 16 subdivisions. This column explores the first half in more depth.

In my previous column I proposed a new system to describe characters via pairings of well-known archetypes. In this column, I explain how to interpret those pairings. If you have not read the first column you will probably not understand this one. Then again, maybe you won't understand it anyway. It's pretty complicated. Are you sure you're ready for this?

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