D&D XP 2011 News

I didn't go, but I did listen to a podcast linked on RPG.net. Here's some of the more interesting stuff I picked up while multi-tasking homework.

They are going to create a theme in each quarter, tying the Encounters season and other products together. The example provided was that if they wanted to release a book on warfare, then that D&D Encounters season would also involve warfare. Aside from having thematic products, the other advantage is that it would reduce necessary playtesting/quality control/R&D. Their new stance seems to be quality over quantity.

Fortune Cards
There will be three sets of Fortune Cards. They like Fortune Cards because they have low “buy-in”. They don’t want them to be necessary for your character, and want to know how people use them and what they think about them. Fortune Card sets will be tied in with what’s occurring in organized play.

On another note, renown cards will be going away: instead of getting rewards cards for getting enough renown, you will get special Fortune Cards. Finaly, Twitter-buffs will now modify existing Fortune Cards (ex, draw two cards and pick one).

D&D Encounters
Quick note, there won't be level bumping in Encounters anymore. 
  • March of the Phantom Brigade will kick off the Shadow-themed lineup. Uses Essentials player books and Fortune Cards. Supposedly hearkens back to Ghost Tower of Inverness, but "reinvented in a new light".
  • Dark Legacy of Evard really kicks off the Encounters with Heroes of Shadow, and also uses Shadowfell material.
  • Lost Crown of Neverwinter is tied with Neverwinter Campaign Setting/Guide. Normally, I don't give two shits about Forgotten Realms, but this might be worth looking into.
  • Beyond the Crystal Cave, formerly a classic adventure (UK1). Apparently, this was the first introduction of Feywild stuff into D&D. Supposed to include lots of Feywild critters.
Neverwinter Campaign Setting
This is the "new" setting of the year, which strangely focuses on one location within Forgotten Realms. Supposedly, you'll be able to run a campaign just in Neverwinter, but obviously can use it with broader Forgotten Realms campaigns. Has themes that will integrate you into the larger picture; what organization you belong to, how a NPC/organization reacts to you, what you know, etc. In short, they provide more story-elements.

Neverwinter Game Day will take place during GenCon. You'll be able to create a character, play it as part of a prelude to the Lost Crown of Neverwinter, and bring it to the that Encounters season. Basically, a perk that will provide insight and loot for players that manage to make it.

Heroes of Shadow
Changed back to a hardcover format. It is similar to the "power" books (ex., Martial Power), but takes a more general approach as opposed to just focusing on one power source: there's options for all characters, regardless of class, power source, or race. In addition to other classes, the original DDI assassin will be in there, too (which we already knew). In terms of flavor, there's plenty of information on how each race views shadow magic, as well as other story elements.

Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond
A boxed-set with soft-cover books, this is the "setting book" for the Shadowfell. There's lots of coverage for stuff like locations and factions, as well as a 32-page encounter book that ranges across all tiers of play. They're all supposed to have a "distinct, Shadowfell feel". Aside from maps and tokens, the box also includes a Despair Deck. This let's you afflict your players with various debilitations. Craven, paranoid, jittery. They provide a boon when overcome. It’s basically a table in another format. Some players “keep them secret and see what the other players at the table can pick up on”.

Monster Vault: Threats of the Nentir Vale
This follows the same format as Monster Vault, but specific to Nentir Vale. In addition to monsters, there's also information on various groups and "villainous organizations" present in the Nentir Vale, all of which is supposed to be "easily ported" to other settings. New monsters include the peryton and rime mistress, there's tokens for everything as well as new maps. The maps follow a half-page format, making space more manageable and allowing more maps.

Maddness at Gardmore Abbey
This year's "super-adventure", it's intended for the upper-heroic tier and comes in a boxed-set. It comes with four 32-page books and a Deck of Many Things, which is integrated into the adventure: the abbey has been "contorted" by its continual use, and players will be forced to reconcile with the effects that have taken place. This has a very interested premise, so hopefully it's executed well.

Heroes of the Feywild
This follows the same format as Heroes of Shadow, but obviously focuses on the Feywild. In addition to new builds, class subtypes, feats, etc, WotC is trying more experimental stuff with this book. Specifically mentioned was a class that has two roles, but not both at the same time. Interesting, but many classes already bleed into other roles already, It will be interesting to see if its more than just picking another class feature

Book of Vile Darkness
Ties in with the new sci-fi movie, Book of Vile Darkness. They want to coincide with the movie's release, which is planned to be the "back half of the year". Didn't really hear much on this.

Unnamed Program
Since D&D Encounters is focused on the casual crowd, they wanted to do something for the "hardcore" players. Players will create characters within guidelines to tackle one “super-deadly encounter”, allowing DMs to throw down the gauntlet and try to kill the players. Starts in September, and won’t be fixed to a specific time or date, allowing stores to open it up when they feel its best.

Quote: “Win at D&D.”

Legend of Drizz’t Boardgame
Same format as Wrath of Ashardalon and Castle Ravenloft, but there might be a competitive adventure. You get to tackel Drizz't's iconic enemies (not sure if you get to "help" him). This is also tied with Neverwinter Campaign Setting.

WotC views these as D&D in a board game form, as players have added their own characters, monsters, adventures, etc. Apparently Ravenloft did really good.

Conquest of Nerath
Unlike the adventure boardgames, this is a 2-4 player strategic fantasy conquest game. Each player picks a faction in Nentir Vale, and beat each other up. There's “100’s” of 15mm minis, including air elementals, dragons, ships, soldiers, etc. Mentioned that boardgames are one of the new directions they are taking the D&D property.

Dungeon Tiles
People seem to like them., and now that they have the core sets released (with Essentials), they can focus on narrow, thematic niches. New sets include Witchlight Fens (tied into the Shadowfell releases), and another tileset for building a haunted house.

Pulled Books
Hero Builder’s Handbook absorbed all of Champion’s of the Heroic Tier. All stuff has been worked on and completed, and now they are trying to figure out how to release all of it. They want to release fewer, higher quality releases, as opposed to releasing pages of errata. Someone mentioned art featuring a hezrou carrying Lloth from an unknown product.

Stuff from the Q&A Part
What they mean by using Essentials is that instead of using a global, startard progression for everything, they will focus on what makes the class unique, what mechanics support it, and go from there. Class Compendium had options for classes both Essentials and non-Essentials, including swapping abilities and multiclassing.

In response to the crunch/flavor ration in books: 50-75% mechanics, the rest flavor elements in new hero books. They will continue to use heavy intro text to inject more flavor. Also, more text to explain where a race/class exists in the world, what it means to be a race [shade], or worship a domain [of death], etc.

Gamma World
No Gamma World tiles, but perhaps in DDI, unless the boxed sets continue to sell out for awhile.


  1. Thanks for the run-down! There's a lot there that I'm really looking forward to, especially the board games.

  2. Really? There's almost nothing I'm looking forward to. I might pick up that new Monster Vault, but otherwise, I'm set for a year where I don't purchase anything from WotC.


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