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January 29th, 2012

Another great seminar write up from Morrus at ENWorld, this time on the stuff we can expect to see this year for 4e:

Seminar Transcript - Upcoming Products for 2012 - EN World: Your Daily RPG Magazine

After Heroes of the Elemental Chaos in February, we get just four big D&D 4e releases - Halls of Undermountain, Dungeon Survival Handbook, Menzoberranzan and Elminster's Forgotten Realms. Everything else is tiles, map packs and fortune cards, plus there are a couple of non-RPG games, including Lords of Waterdeep which does look really cool. I guess this is inevitable as the focus of the R&D team at WotC is very much on D&D Next but it's sad as I think there is a lot of life left in the current iteration of the game. A Feywild boxed set along the lines of The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond would have been excellent.

Of the forthcoming stuff, I am most excited about Elminster's Forgotten Realms - a chance to read lots of Realmslore written for Ed's own campaign, rather than the published setting. I'm sure this will be a most entertaining read, full of crazy adventure hooks and memorable NPCs and locations.

The Dungeon Survival Handbook looks like it will be pretty good - perhaps this is the 4e version of the 1e Dungeoneer's Survival Guide and 3.5's Dungeonscape. I can always use stuff about how to make dungeon adventuring more fun.

Not sure about Halls of Undermountain - I'm sure it will be well done but revisits the classic dungeon's top levels which I already have in the original 2e boxed set. It's also for 1st - 5th level characters and I don't really need any more low level 4e stuff as both Parsantium campaigns are now in the paragon tier. Menzoberranzan, however, looks interesting as it focuses on player vs player drow intrigue which sounds like great fun!

The other big release are the premier reprints of the three original 1e AD&D core books. These are a hobby store exclusive and, I think, US only. Although kb98 has loving restored by paperback GW Monster Manual and will at some point fix up my Player's Handbook, I would really like to get hold of these! Hopefully I'll be able to order them via Orc's Nest or Leisure Games.


Here’s what happened in last night’s game as the Juma Gang continue to explore the Garden of Graves in the Feywild. Each PC gets 1,460 xp.

18th Quintilis (contd.)

Having dealt with the animated campsite, the PCs head for the spiral staircase to the east leading up inside the strange building. This seems to be some kind of map room with a model representing the garden, although the buildings atop the cliff opposite don’t appear on the model. Hrothgar goes back down the stairs to climb the cliff while the others make their way carefully across the rope bridges. Gil slips and falls but uses his feather fall spell to drift gently downwards. The gnoll and the eladrin try to climb the cliff but are forced to give up and go back up the stairs to join the others.

Hrothgar opens the door leading into the building at the end of the rope bridge and heads inside, only to be whisked off to another plane. He’s not sure where he is, but it’s dark and thoroughly depressing. He reopens the door and can still see the rest of the party on the other side, back in the Feywild. The PCs go inside together and find themselves in the same gloomy place. Two grey angels with scythes appear from the shadows to attack – one from the west, and one from the northeast where Gil is standing in the front line. The wizard conjures Bigby’s Icy Hand to keep it at bay, and Juma calls forth his dread dwarf wall of fire when he finds himself under the mark of death from his angelic attacker. Hrothgar moves into the creepy bone chamber behind the grey angel – there is a palpable spiritual chill in this room which makes Ulthar’s healing less effective and makes it hard to move freely. With three PCs attacking it, the angel in the bone chamber is bloodied quicker than the other one and teleports away by touching the faceless statue in the middle of the room. It reappears at the far end of the corridor near to the bloodied Juma. The other PCs hurry to the swordmage’s aid and slay the two angels which explode in a necrotic burst when killed. Badly wounded, the PCs rest for a while before moving on.

The PCs explore the rest of the small complex – Juma and Gil figure out how to use the three statues to teleport from one to the other and no one can make any sense of the elf-sized footprints carved into the marble floor. They leave through the western door, heading into a clearing with several dead, almost skeletal, bodies. Gil stops Hrothgar from digging up any of the burial cairns, and instead uses his speak with dead ritual to ask one of the corpses what killed him and his companions. The spirit says it was a group of large wolf-men before dissipating.

Heading back into the building, the PCs are surprised to find themselves somewhere different – there is no weird vibe this time. Instead, it seems like they might be back in the material world. The complex contains broken statues and sarcophagi but little else. They leave by the north door, heading into a clearing with two obelisks. Gil realises the stone slab he can see between them is part of a teleportation circle.

From here, the party follow the path north and cross the bridge over the river. There’s another stone building here. Inside, the walls, floors and ceiling are covered in strange, disturbing runes. Light comes from the north and a faint whimpering can be heard from the east. The light comes from a flaming brazier on a chain swinging slowly above a sundial, casting a shadow that moves slowly from one hour to the next. Is this something referred to in the cryptic poem?

The whimpering comes from a chained female eladrin who begs for the PCs help. As they move closer, she transforms into a lamia – a hideous fey composed of hundreds of black beetles – and unleashes her pacifying burst to stun half the party. More beetles appear from holes in the walls to attack the party. The battle is tough as the beetle swarms and the lamia are hard to damage with melee attacks, but the PCs eventually emerge victorious. With many daily powers and healing surges used, the party takes an extended rest to recover their strength.


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