• Category Archives D&D
  • Dossier Decks: Ombarr Ruthnok, Orc on the Run

    Creating NPC’s for a roleplaying campaign can be a fun mental exercise. You never know when the NPC you breathe life into will inspire a future PC, a campaign, or even an entire setting – all built off the concept of one character. I thought today we’d do our first Dossier Deck character of 2021 by opening the fourth and final deck from the original kickstarter: Orcs & Goblins. For those unfamiliar, SkeletonKey produced four Dossier decks – Commoners, Merchants, Mages and Orcs & Goblins. Each deck has appearance, story hook and trait cards. You shuffle each card type, draw one of each, and bam, you get your NPC. While each deck is fully fleshed out in itself, you can mix all four decks together for maximum versatility, and they can be easily resorted thanks to the deck icons in the bottom corner of each card.

    Today we’re solely using cards from the  Orcs & Goblins deck. Our shuffle has yielded:

    • Appearance: Ombarr Ruthnok – a senior orc in good health, with solvered hair
    • Traits: Nervous tics and a touch of pyromania – my kinda guy.
    • Story Hook: Family Jewel/All-Seeing Eye. Ombarr has been charged with the safekeeping of an orb that’s being sought for its magical properties.

    So let’s start with the appearance. Orcs are often portrayed as a more barbaric culture, but Ombarr’s silver hair suggests that he’s already lived much longer than the stereotypical lifespan. The card state that he’s still healthy and strong, so we’ve got a senior orc who can still brawler. I’m put in mind of the Silver Horde from the Discworld books – a character who, by all rights, should have died a dozen times over but has instead defeated all-comers and, despite the ravages of time, can still hold his own. Ombarr was likely one hell of a brawler, and thus commands the respect and admiration of his clan…

    Continue reading  Post ID 20662


  • Games should be fun

    “At  the center of skorne society are unpleasant concepts like suffering, servitude and torture. Some players might not want such concepts expressed openly or in great detail, if at all. It is important everyone at the table is comfortable and having fun, and this might require a Game Master to let some elements of skorne culture take a back seat or be glossed over – or even to omit them entirely. Every group is different, so it is up to a Game Master to respect the players’ tolerances and preferences before showcasing such elements in a game. One group might not have any problem with playing a skorne campaign replete with dark themes, while another group might strongly prefer to omit careers like the Tormentor and the practices they represent. Overall, skorne society is more focused on earning honor and glory than on simply inflicting pain, and a campaign could easily be steered to focus players on achieving greatness for their houses without exploring the darker aspects of skorne culture and philosophy.”

    This passage is in the Skorne Empire supplement for the Iron Kingdoms Unleashed RPG. It was written by one of my favourite RPG writers, though I didn’t know that when I read it. It contains what is, for me, one of the most important concepts a Dungeon Master, Game Master, Storyteller needs to understand.

    A little background for those unfamiliar:

    The Skorne are a race of humanoids from the Warmachine/Hordes setting, whose culture could loosely be described as combining elements reminiscent of Feudal Japan, the Roman Empire, and an omnipresent death cult. They have a rigorous caste system, warring houses actively enslave those they defeat, and much of their culture is built around the desire to have their souls captured and stored in crystalline prisons when they die, rather than having them sucked into the void and destroyed. They are masters of mortitheurgy – death magic – and there are very powerful elements of their society that are built up around the sorcerous power that can be siphoned from the victims of torture and agonizing death.

    Frankly, an awful lot of skorne culture is built around practices that are ethically and morally abhorrent. I’ll freely admit that I love the Iron Kingdoms setting and I’m fascinated by the life breathed into the setting by the writing team. The setting has so much depth and character, for so many different factions and cultures, it boggles my mind just how rich the world of the Iron Kingdoms has become over the years. That said, some cultures depicted are, to my mind, much more suited to being antagonists rather than protagonists. There’s little heroic about the Blindwater Congregation, the Cryxian nation is mired in undeath and sinister blood magicks, and we all know how I feel about those filthy Morrowans in Cygnar.

    The Skorne Empire supplement is the most comprehensive look into the peoples who marched across the abyss to wage war on the fertile lands of Western Immoren, and while it can certainly be used as a “Here be bad guys” resource, it also presents the rules for a group of players to don the crimson and brass armour of the Empire and play in the streets of Halaak in their own quest for eternal glory (ie, to earn honour and glory sufficient to have their spirit placed in a soulstone upon death). That’s where the above quote comes in.

    Every group is different, so it is up to a Game Master to respect the players’ tolerances and preferences before showcasing such elements in a game.”

    Roleplaying groups are often bound by an unspoken social contract. The most recent D&D sourcebook, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, lists the following:

    • You will respect the players by running a game that is fun, fair, and tailored for them. You will allow every player to contribute to the ongoing story and give every character moments to shine. When a player is talking, you are listening.
    • The players will respect you and the effort it takes to create a fun game for everyone. The players will allow you to direct the campaign, arbitrate the rules, and settle arguments. When you are talking, the players are listening.
    • The players will respect one another, listen to one another, support one another, and do their utmost to preserve the cohesion of the adventuring party.
    • Should you or a player disrespect each other or violate the social contract in some other way, the group may dismiss that person from the table.

    If you’re doing something that actively makes a player uncomfortable, you’re in breach of the social contract. An exception may be possible if it’s tied to a critical plot point, but you’d best be prepared to deal with any fallout, which could be anything up to and including dissolution of the campaign.

    I’m currently running a D&D game set in Barovia, home of Count Strahd Von Zarovich. This is the gothic horror setting for D&D otherwise known as Ravenloft. It’s dark. I mean, it’s one thing to go strolling through a dungeon and thwarting skeletons and goblins. It’s another thing to burst into a puppet theatre where the audience is ceramic dolls that all turn to stare at you, and one of the villagers is up on the stage strung up like a marionette with meat hooks through his joints.

    In playing through the  campaign there have been multiple times where I’ve seen my players pale or be taken aback by some of the descriptions I’m firing at them. They’ve been troopers, but you can bet that I’ve checked in with them multiple times to make sure they’re okay with the tone of the campaign, because – and here’s the crux – games are meant to be fun. I want them to end the sessions feeling like they’ve accomplished something, learned something, or even just done something cool. I want them to have experiences that can have them thinking “Hey, remember when…” some time down the line.

    They’re the protagonists. If you’re having fun, but they’re not, you’re doing it wrong. You need to consider your approach, how things are portrayed, how much agency they have as players, so on and so forth. Conversely, if they’re having fun but you’re not, that needs to be addressed too.

    D&D, IKRPG and other RPGs are all about collaborative storytelling. While the DM may have the index and the major plot points, it’s the players who are filling in the minutiae. Everyone should be able to enjoy the experience.


  • What’s on your wishlist?

    Most think it can be hard to shop for gamer pals, but in truth, it’s not as difficult as it seems. Worried about gifting a model for the wrong faction? Congratulations, you’ve just provided inspiration to for a whole new army! Worried about gifting a duplicate? Truth be told, the percentage of models that can’t be used in multiples is very low, and there’s always the chance to convert a model. What about roleplaying resources? Sure, no-one needs two Dungeon Masters Guides, but there’s always something missing from their library that can be identified with very minimal research. Worst comes to worst, have you -ever- heard a roleplayer say they have too many dice? Today I thought we’d drop some hints for shoppers, or last minute additions to your wishlists

    Miniature Games

    Everyone’s well aware of Games Workshop’s Start Collecting boxes. Almost every faction in Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40K has a Start Collecting box available. They’re all excellent value, and they pretty much all have kids that can be built with multiple options, so there’s very little fear of duplication.

    If you’re looking for something a little more affordable though, that can welcome a new player to miniature gaming? Privateer has you covered.

    G.U.A.R.D. for Monsterpocalypse

    Warmachine/Hordes starters provide everything you need to gets started, except a table and an opponent. Each has a complete rulebook and a selection of curated models that are suitable for learners, but that will still provide fun play for veterans. Suitable for the Fantasy/Steampunk fan.

    Monsterpocalypse starters follow the same philosophy but aimed at those who really enjoyed Godzilla or Pacific Rim. Will you level the city and crush the puny humans, or will you save mankind from monstrous invaders? Either way, you get to slam your opponents into building and stomp their puny tanks. Good times.

    If you’re a sci-fi junkie, Warcaster starters are the newest kids on the block but still pack a punch with plenty of pew-pew in a distant galaxy. Player communities are developing and the feedback on this game is positive and an exciting opportunity for someone looking for a dynamic new venture.

    Roleplaying Games

    Tales From The Loop

    Dungeons & Dragons is the biggest name in town, and there’s a world of supplements and resources available. From the Starter Set for someone who’s never played before, to the Players Handbook for someone keen to take their first steps into a campaign, to Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything – the very newest resource for players and DM’s alike.

    If you’re looking for a different roleplaying experience, the options are all out there – you could pre-order the Dune RPG for hardcore sci-fi fans, combat nazis and elder things with Achtung! Cthulhu, or sink your teeth into the award-winning Tales From The Loop for fans of Stranger Things.

    Amethyst d20 from Norse Foundry

    Not looking to commit to a whole new campaign, but think a one-off would be good times? Steamforged’s Epic Encounters are self-contained adventures that can also be worked into an existing campaign.

    If you’re not looking for a new game, dice are absolutely a thing. Stunning dice in wood, stone and metal are available from Dogmight, Elderwood Academy, Dice Envy and Norse Foundry. If you’re looking for dice for an LGBTQ+ gamer, Heartbeat has you covered.

    Adventurers & Adversaries offers modular miniatures, and both Heroforge and Eldritch Foundry allow for customizable model designs that you can then have printed or print yourself.

    Subscriptions

    Brush Wielders Union

    Subscription boxes are all the rage nowadays for a variety of industries, and gaming hasn’t been overlooked. Privateer Press offers two different monthly subscription lines – one for Warmachine/Hordes and the other for Legend of the Five Rings – over at Mini-Crate. Dungeon In A Box, RPG Crate and Dungeon Crate all cater to Dungeons & Dragons fans, and there’s even dice subscription services like Libris Arcana.

    Additionally you could look into a subscription to D&D Beyond, perhaps a membership in a subscription-based community like the Brush Wielders Union, or even hook them up with a link to a favored author’s Patreon so that they can get sneak peeks at upcoming works.

    The worlds inhabited by tabletop gamers can be dizzying and confusing for those on the outside, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be navigated with a little assistance. I wish everyone the best in navigating the coming weeks as we close out 2020. We may be isolating for the good of the community, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to get our hobby on, or to help end encourage the gamers in our lives to do the same.

     


  • Jolabokaflod

    Everyone celebrates the holiday season differently. From family gatherings with a big meal to taking off for sunnier climes, from going skiing to hitting the beach, from midnight mass to spinning a dreidel, different cultures and difference traditions can make the season marvelous. As we go rapidly approach the holidays under the shadow of a global pandemic the holidays are going to look very different for a lot of families, and many of us are looking for alternative ways to mark the holidays that will allow us to do something special without putting ourselves or those we love at unnecessary risk. Enter: Jolabokaflod.

    With thanks to Magnificatz for the graphic, Jolabokaflod is an Icelandic Christmas Eve tradition where you gift books (never a bad thing), and spend your Christmas Eve with a few morsels of chocolate and a new tale. It may not be the most social of traditions, but in an environment where we’re trying to avoid gatherings, this may be the perfect time to start participating in Jolabokaflod. Encouraging people to enjoy the written word is never a bad thing, and who knows what worlds of adventure await you hidden amidst the pages.

    With that in mind, some suggestions for your consideration.

    Skull Island Expeditions was Privateer Press’ e-book adventure, and while the dedicated site may no longer be available, the tales of the Iron Kingdoms are still available through DriveThruRPG. Whether you’re a fan or Warmachine or Hordes, there are plenty of texts to choose from. Personal favourites include Howard Tayler’s Extraordinary Zoology, Dave Gross’ Dark Convergence, Chris A. Jackson’s Watery Graves, Larry Correia’s Into The Storm, and several of the short story anthologies with tales by Doug Seacat, Aeryn Rudel, Orrin Grey, and a host of other authors.

    Games Workshop’s Black Library continues to spit out books at a borderline alarming rate, filling the lore of their assorted universes with books, e-books and audiobooks. Whether you’re into Warhammer 40K or Age of Sigmar, Necromunda or Blood Bowl, you may find something of interest. This year they’ve opened up the Warhammer Crime and Warhammer Horror imprints, including the classic Drachenfels, written in the 80’s by Kim Newman – one of the first game-related novels I ever read as a nascent nerd, donchaknow. The Siege of Terra also continues in their cataloguing of the events of the Horus Heresy, the defining conflict of the Warhammer 40K setting.

    If you ever ask me for a book recommendation and I don’t reference Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld at some point, I may be trying to subtly let you know that I’ve been kidnapped or something. There are 41 canon Discworld novels, written over 32 years. The earliest parody fantasy tropes and literature, while later books satirize elements of present day life and society. Wyrd Sisters, for example, parodies Macbeth , while Monstrous Regiment cocks an eyebrow at war, propoganda, and gender roles. Most recently I reread Unseen Academicals, which is – on the surface – a tale about the citizen of Ankh Morpork formalizing a soccer (nee football) league, but along the way has something to say about at inclusion vs exclusion, nature vs nurture, the link between ignorance and racism. All in a fantasy setting with a smattering of both Romeo & Juliet and Cinderella. There are so many great books in the series that where to start can be a much bigger question than it would first seem, but there are Reading Order lists out there and I’d be happy to help point anyone in the right direction.

    The gift of a book can amazing. It can be from an author you know the recipient loves, or it can be an opportunity to share one of your own favorite authors. If you want to go non-fiction, it can be a stepping stone into a new hobby or field of interest, or even a promise of an activity that you’ll share with the recipient once we’re on the other side of the pandemic, such as with a new RPG book (Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything just released for Dungeons & Dragons), a new sourcebook for tabletop gaming (The Broken Realms event for Age of Sigmar has started with Morathi), or perhaps something to fuel the creative side (Such as Angel Giraldez’s Masterclass). Maybe this year, since many of us can’t gather with our loved ones, the gift of reading may provide some comfort, should we take a tip from Iceland.


  • Dossier Decks: Barl Moonsblood, Professional Nap Wizard

    With my D&D group coming up to a pivotal moment in Saturday’s game, I thought it was time to do another Dossier Deck draw and build a new NPC for your consideration. We started out with the Merchant deck, where we came up with a goldsmith about to be visited by the ghostly crew of sailors he betrayed in his greed. Then, a jealous chef from the Commoners deck, who doesn’t take criticism well at all. Two decks remain before we either double up or just throw caution to the wind and shuffle them all together: Wizards, and Orcs & Goblins. I thought we’d try Wizards today…

    … and I’m not quite sure what to think, this is the second half-orc drawn, before we even get to the Orcs & Goblins deck.

    Our Appearance card has a fairly suave looking half-orc in a hooded cloak, looking very wizardish indeed. His traits tell us that he’s a very sound sleeper who can nap anywhere, anytime, anyhow. Possible narcolepsy? Or just a general ability to become uber-relaxed at the drop of a hat? Barl is also rigorously honest, and expects others around him to be the same… and is utterly unforgiving when his trust is betrayed.

    All of this makes for a potentially interested recurring NPC, but it’s the story hook that really kicks it  up a notch. Barl possesses a ring that lets him jump into the body of another, trapping the victims consciousness in the ring while he gambols about town, and Barl’s own body enters a sleep-like trance. Flipside is, his body ages faster while he’s not home, so at some point Barl’s going to need to find a new host body altogether.

    This brings up a whole series of possibilities. Is “Barl Moonsblood” the original inhabitant of the body he’s currently wearing? Are there other consciousnesses trapped in the ring? What happens to them when Barl returns to his own body – are they returned to their own bodies? Are their memories intact?

    It seems likely that Barl’s uncanny ability to catch 40 winks is in fact a cover for his jumping to different bodies. This would also explain the difficulty in waking him referred to on the Traits card. No amount of yelling or shaking will wake him, but when Barl notices you’re trying to – from whatever body he’s currently inhabiting – he makes his way back and feigns waking from slumber to keep his corporeal transitory trick a secret. As for the honesty thing, if he’s convinced everyone that his accusers are liars before they’ve even accused him of anything, it’ll make keeping his secret that much easier…

    So let’s turn this into a short arc.

    Mesmerized Villagers

    In a small village, a number of people have recently experienced odd sensations and memory lapses. Farmer Giles went out to milk his favorite goat, only to discover that he’d already done it. Young Prudence somehow missed her secret assignation with Bert the Blacksmith’s apprentice, and in fact had no idea why her boots were so muddy. No-one could figure out why Walter had suddenly uncorked the good barrel in the tavern, despite having only just cracked open the usual beer, and Walter himself couldn’t remember even doing it!

    Surely that wizard fellow who came into town a few days ago can help! He looks a right proper fellow in that cloak with all the stars on it! He’s sure to be able to unravel the mystery. As our heroes come into town, they find a handful of villlagers entreating Barl to help them solve the mystery. He spots the heroes and – knowing that they could expose his charade – recruits them instead to join him in his investigation. If he’s working with them, he can steer their efforts, or if he feels he’s at risk, all he’ll need to do is to ‘become’ one of the adventurers on a more permanent basis, letting them “kill” his old host body.

    “Why yes, good heroes, I am new to the area myself. I’m on the trail of a deadly Mind Flayer that I heard was establishing itself nearby. I suspect it may be testing the waters, so to speak, and snacking on the memories of these good gentle rubes. Surely, we should work together to uncover the fiend’s base of operations, and save these honest folk from losing their very minds in the face of betentacled terror! Why, even now the hideous creature could be watching through the eyes of its agents… that milkmaid is looking awfully suspicious…”

    Will the players uncover Barl’s treachery? Will he be able to lure them into nearby ruins and pick them off, one-by-one? What the heck’s up with the milkmaid?

    Dungeons & Dragons is the perfect way for you to write epic adventures with your friends as you play together to craft a story for the ages. Sometimes, all you need is a little nugget of inspiration. Thanks to SkeletonKey and their Dossier Decks for the fun ideas. Next time, we crack the Orcs & Goblins deck. If I draw a half-orc, I’m writing a sternly worded letter… 😉

     


  • Dossier Decks: Aarnuth, Master Chef… ish.

    Imagine a culinary master, renowned in his field, who won’t hesitate to humiliate and belittle anyone who dares question their mastery of the kitchen. There’s a face that probably comes to mind immediately, but we’re actually playing with SkeletonKey’s Dossier Decks again and building a new NPC for your reading pleasure. Today we’ve drawn three cards from the Commoners deck, and come up with a malevolent master chef who has stumbled onto a gateway to another realm…

    Per the Appearance card, we have a bearded half-orc with a sour disposition named Aarnuth. The name is, of course, arbitrary, but we’re going with what’s printed on the card. For Traits, we have Culinary Artisan (which of course immediately brings to mind a certain temperamental celebrity chef), Revenge is a Dish (adding a much more sinister element) and Knife Work. For our Story Hook, our NPC has sheltered beneath a cairn and in doing so caught a glimpse of an unknown place or realm.

    Continue reading  Post ID 20662


  • SkeletonKey’s Dossier Decks: Pobbs Willodan, Haunted Goldsmith

    It isn’t easy being a DM. Whether you’re putting your players through a published adventure or a world of your own creation, there’s a lot of preparation that goes into crafting an experience that (hopefully) you party will find interesting and engaging. A lot of time is spent working on story points, working out maps, gauging the threat potential of various gribblies to make sure they’re not a cakewalk but at the same time not a guaranteed TPK. One thing that can really breathe life into your world, though, is who your characters interact with. A well-crafted NPC can become as memorable as any boss fight, and can lead to more adventures than you’d planned.

    Enter the new Dossier Decks from SkeletonKey Games. Helmed by Ed Bourelle, SkeletonKey made a mark for themselves in the RPG Accessory field with their scrolls, stunning art representations of common spells used in D&D, physical props to add an extra element to your tabletop adventures. With the new Dossier Decks they’re looking to make life easier for the dear, beleaguered DM who’s in need of a little extra inspiration, or perhaps just to fill the gap when the players express an unforeseeable curiosity about that throwaway fishmonger who was never intended to be anything more than background noise.

    There are four decks currently available – Commoners, Wizards, Merchants and Orcs/Goblins. Each comes with three types of cards – Appearance, Traits, and Story Hooks – and all four decks can be shuffled together to make one oversized NPC generation engine. For today’s experiment, we’ve popped open the Merchants box, and drawn one of each card at random as an example of how it all comes together.

    Our NPC is the lavender-haired gnome Pobbs Willodan. A consummate host, Pobbs is borderline obsessed with ensuring his clientele are well catered to, even to go so far as insisting that their wineskins are full before they leave. Possessed of a prodigious digestive system himself, nothing upsets his own stomach, so no doubt he’s constantly on the lookout for new delicacies and unusual gastronomic experiences. From the story hooks, there’s a legend of a ghost ship whose crew can only come ashore once a year, seeking their stolen booty… and conveniently Pobbs has a chest that magically appears to hold whatever is valuable or desired by the viewer, but said treasure is incorporeal.

    Alright, let’s put this all together.

    Continue reading  Post ID 20662


  • D&D in the Classroom

    One of the things I love is introducing games to new players. I was a Heroclix Judge, I ran VS System demos, I was a Press Ganger for Privateer Press, not just because I loved the games, but also because it’s so incredibly rewarding to introduce nascent nerds to a new hobby, to welcome them into a whole new world of experiences and good hobby times. This is part of why I’m so chuffed to see what Paris Conte’s been up to with the GenU GAMER program back in the old country, and why I was so excited to learn that one of my friend’s wives actually ran a Dungeons and Dragons group for students at her school.

    Dungeons & Dragons can be so much more than just a bunch of people sitting around a table. It can help break down social and mental boundaries as players use roleplaying to explore not only the worlds of the game itself, but also to test personal expression and interaction. There’s a reason counselors often use roleplay excercises to help people work through some of the barriers they’re facing.

    So when I was asked to paint some custom Heroforge models for some of the players in the school group, I was excited not only because, well, painting is good times, and painting for friends can be even better times, but also because these models were actually tied to a French Language assignment.

    Each of the kids was tasked with describing their character in French. The description couldn’t be as basic as “My dude is a dwarf fighter” either, the descriptions included a glimpse of the personalities and backgrounds of the characters, which will only in turn enrich their D&D experience as they put their characters on the table with a better understanding of who the characters themselves are.

    NB: The varnish frosted the models to a degree that wasn’t noticeable until I took the photos – darn you, brighter desk light! – but I put a correcting coat on after I took the pics.

    Continue reading  Post ID 20662


  • Dungeons and Lasers: The Driud Was Right!

    It’s a fun day when a Kickstarter delivers, isn’t it? Friday afternoon a box appeared at the maw of the Gdaycave, and I was chuffed to find a bunch of floors and walls and stuff from Archon Studio‘s Dungeons & Lasers Kickstarter. This was one of the more fun campaigns I’ve supported, with the updates coming from “Roblin the Goblin”, a devious little trickster in service to Lord Bubo, master of the dungeon. The Kickstarter delivered clip-together components to create a three dimensional dungeon for tabletop roleplaying games, though I confess part of the motivation for me was having a selection of great terrain to use for taking pics of models.

    The stretch goals included some great fantasy and sci-fi components to bring the rooms to life, which will also make for some great scatter terrain or base details for models. Some of the sci-fi elements will be great for my Marvel: Crisis Protocol models, and we’ll see if any find homes on Warcaster models, or perhaps I’ll finally get some 40K assembled.

    The real treasure in the Kickstarter, though, is the Animal Companions Pack – “The Druid Was Right!”.

    A smattering of species, most with both a fantasy and a sci-fi variant, and a few mimics for good measure. Friday night was subsumed in short order by the clipping of components from sprues, and the heady aroma of plastic cement. Now I get to show you the adorable fruits of my labors.

    Continue reading  Post ID 20662


  • Return to Icewind Dale

    While the world at large is slowly opening up again, the Gdaycave is still on lockdown as we take precautions to prevent pandemic spread and to safeguard those we love and the more vulnerable members of our community. Tabletop miniature gaming and board gaming is a fond memory, but thanks to the wonders of the interwebs I’ve had a lot of fun playing D&D with some friends, introducing them to the wonderful world of Ravenloft. As the only actual gaming I’ve been able to enjoy for months now, I’m sure you can imagine my excitement to hear that the next adventure being released is a return to one of the most famous settings in D&D History: Icewind Dale.

    Throughout my long and storied D&D career I’ve stormed Castle Greyhawk, sweated under the Dark Sun, enjoyed a brew at the Inn of the Last Home. I’ve spotted the Spelljammer, dodged the Red Wizards of Thay, and played in many custom settings. I didn’t have any Oriental Adventures, and Al-Qadim remains a mystery, but as a blossoming nerd in the late 80’s and early 90’s, you can bet your bippy I read R.A.Salvatore’s original Icewind Dale trilogy – The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver and The Halfling’s Gem. Drizzt, Wulgar and Bruenor are among the most famous fictional characters in D&D Lore, and it all started in a frozen region in the North of Faerun.

    Now, 32 years after Salvatore first set the icy chill in our bones, it’s time to go back.

    In Icewind Dale, adventure is a dish best served cold.

    Beneath the unyielding night sky, you stand before a towering glacier and recite an ancient rhyme, causing a crack to form in the great wall of ice. Beyond this yawning fissure, the Caves of Hunger await. And past this icy dungeon is a secret so old and terrifying that few dare speak of it. The mad wizards of the Arcane Brotherhood long to possess that which the god of winter’s wrath has so coldly preserved—as do you! What fantastic secrets and treasures are entombed in the sunless heart of the glacier, and what will their discovery mean for the denizens of Icewind Dale? Can you save Ten-Towns from the Frostmaiden’s everlasting night?

    We only know a few bits and pieces so far.

    • The campaign will be large enough to level a party from level 1 to 12.
    • NPCs include the Saurial Dragonbait, from Azure Bonds, at least in the intro – A wonderful callback to D&D novel history
    • They’re pre-releasing a series of adventures with novice adventurers playing the part of courier, safeguarding packages aboard the Icebreaker (Here’s a link to the first one)
    • There’s a polar bear with a fishing rod. Playable bear-man race? We’ll find out soon,

    As a DM who’s been introducing new players to D&D, there’s a singular delight in knowing that I may have the opportunity to introduce my players to a corner of Faerun that brought me so much joy back in ye olden times. Of course, I’m still waiting to run a party through White Plume Mountain, so it’s not like I don’t have other things on a checklist of nerding to-do’s, but a return to Icewind Dale would be an amazing thing.