Iron & Blood: Warriors of Ravenloft

The 90’s were a lawless time. Hypercolor tee shirts, peace frogs, and Home Improvement walked the land, and our only hope was to hide behind our friends in No Fear apparel or the closest giant hair-do. During this bleak era, a game was release for the PC and Playstation 1. This game, like many before it, was a D&D game. However, rather than be set in Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance – remember, Planescape: Torment was still four years away from saving us all – it was set in Ravenloft. This was around the first peak of Ravenloft popularity. Sure, the setting was released six years earlier, but a few things happened to raise its profile over time. Knight of the Black Rose, the inclusion of Lord Soth in Ravenloft, was released in 1991, and I, Strahd, the first novel solely about that totally-not-Dracula Count Strahd von Zarovich, was released in 1993. More importantly, the film Interview with the Vampire was released in 1994. This coincided nicely with the rise of Hot Topic, which had an IPO in 1996. So, even though Ravenloft was released in 1990, it wasn’t until the mid-90’s that the 90’s new-goth scene was really taking off. So, it was a perfect time for a Ravenloft game to be released.

Volo’s Guide to Monsters Review

Last week, Wizards of the Coast released their latest D&D 5th edition fall supplement book, Volo’s Guide to Monsters. I’ve had a week with the book to read it over and even try out some monsters and extended lore in game. Volo’s Guide provides monster lore, new character races and a bestiary with nearly 100 monsters. Read on for my in depth look at this book to find out if it is a must buy for you and your gaming group.

Get to Know the Merfolk

It might seem like just a few days ago, I was talking about spooky creatures and practices in honor of Halloween. Well, now Halloween is behind us, and our next holidays in the US are Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving. To that end, I will be covering the wide variety of militaristic and martial turkeys that dot the Dungeons & Dragons landscape. We’ll first cover the turku, a kenku variant, and then move into the gonzo stuff, like the turketaur and the turkesaur. Just kidding, let’s talk about merfolk.

Get to Know the Giants

Much like a robotic assassin from the future, I’m back…and I’ve brought giants with me. No, I’m not training them to the zone entrance where an AFK ogre is blocking the entrance. In a previous article about the kenku, some comments suggested creatures I should cover in the future. One of those suggestions was giants, as topical a choice as any, due to the recent release of Storm King’s Thunder. Full disclosure, I have not read through the supplement, so it’s possible there is some other stuff going on in there to which I am not privy. I do, however, have a lot of historical information and the basic 5e information, so onward we trudge. To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on.

Free Download of A Great Upheaval (Storm King’s Thunder)

Like Curse of Strahd’s Appendix B: Death House before it, Wizards of the Coast has provided A Great Upheaval (Chapter 1 of Storm King’s Thunder) for free on the Dungeon Masters Guild. Like Death House (which advanced PCs to level 3), Chapter 1 is an optional part of the adventure aimed at advancing players to the level 5, the starting level of the main adventure.

Storm King’s Thunder Review

The new D&D adventure Storm King’s Thunder™ just launched today (September 6th), and was released early to gaming stores back on August 26th. When I first received my copy from Wizards of the Coast last week, my initial impressions were very positive. The book looks great with half page and double page illustrations breaking up text, runes, lots of maps, tables and more. The adventure is well done and they have put in some work up front to help Dungeon Masters (DMs) by outlining the cast of characters and providing an adventure flowchart. The story mixes “gigantic” intrigue with plenty of exploration and combat. Players are simply tasked with saving civilization from the threat of giants.

After reading this adventure, I think it’s one of my favorite 5th edition adventures, but it might not be for everyone (we’ll get to that below). It’s a really solid purchase that will provide hours and hours of gameplay, as it is somewhat re-playable. This book gives you nearly everything you need to run SKT as a campaign or provides you with a valuable sourcebook when paired with the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide to run adventures in the Northwest of Faerûn.

Extra Life & First Two Storm King’s Thunder Previews

Wizards of the Coast has announced that it will be running its fourth Extra Life event with a goal of making $50,000 or more to add to the already $200,000 they have raised in support for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals over the past 3 Extra Life events. The 24-hour marathon starts at 8am PST on Friday, September 16th, and will feature 6 in-house teams throughout the weekend. Depending on how much is raised, we’ll be seeing a number of previews from Storm King’s Thunder, including the first 2 previews which are now unlocked… d100 table for Items in a Giant’s Bag and Appendix A: Linked Adventures. 

Storm King’s Thunder is Next D&D Storyline

During an event this afternoon in Los Angeles, Wizards of the Coast announced Storm King’s Thunder, the new storyline for Dungeons & Dragons is coming Fall 2016. Giants are rampaging the land, the sea, and the skies and the peoples of the Forgotten Realms need a team of heroes to help them. D&D fans will get a preview of Storm King’s Thunder this summer with Force Grey: Giant Hunters, a weekly show starring an unlikely group of comedians and actors.

The Delightful Oddity of Al-Qadim

Not so long ago, I wrote about one of my favorite 2nd editions settings, Planescape. Besides the wacky hijinks of the planes, it was the song of the sands that captured my interests. Not Dark Sun, that fantastical post-apocalyptic adventure wasteland, but Al-Qadim, the Land of Fate. Technically a sub-setting of Forgotten Realms, Al-Qadim has precious little in common with the core setting. In fact, most of the link is through the primordials, which are central to the setting’s past, but less so to the present day setting. While it is easy to dismiss the setting as a riff on One Thousand and One Nights and voyages of Sinbad, it proves to be so much richer than a simple reskinned setting dump.