Thinking of trying out Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, but don't want to layout money for books? Then check out Wizards of the Coast's new D&D Test Drive, a free set of downloads that includes:
- Quicstart Rules
- H1 Keep on the Shadowfell
- Pregenerated characters
- The free version of the D&D Character Builder (for character levels 1-3)
Quickstart editions are nothing new -- most of the big games out there (and many of the small ones) have such creatures available for download. The nice thing here is that they've coupled the quickstart rules with a full commerical-grade module in the form of Keep on the Shadowfell. Without having checked out the rules or the module, I'll go out on a limb and say giving would-be players a quick-and-easy way to jump into the world's most popular RPG is a good thing for the game and the industry.
My only wish is that they would have tied this into the Worldwide D&D Game Days (of which there are two more, one for Monster Manual 2 on May 23rd and another for Dungeon Master's Guide 2 on September 19th). It seems like a no brainer to me -- hook people with a good Game Day story, then real them in with the free online content that extends that story -- but alas, I don't run that particualar zoo.