It began with a sword called Winter. Jorm, one of the party's dwarven heroes, found the long sword still clutched in the skeletal hand of a Northman barbarian. It will end at the The Lost Sky Citadel of Akrafell, a dwarven fortress at the top of the world of Golarion.
It's been a year and a half since we started Paizo's Second Darkness adventure path. The first two books -- The Shadow in the Sky and Children of the Void are done. The characters are 5th level and the third book -- The Armageddon Echo -- is on hold while they level up to the recommended 6th.
Skills are a hot button subject for my gaming group. Most of the guys in my group loved D&D 3.x's approach to skills, which allowed a high degree of granularity and focus in such mundane concerns as crafting and professions. When the D&D 4th Edition dismissed Craft and Profession as un-fun skills, half our group saw red. They still fume about that given time. Others liked 4th Edition's condensed skill list, and focus on adventuring applications over crafting arrows or performing songs.
Naturally D&D Next is concerned about skills, and based on a recent blog post they are clearly looking to retain the customization options that 3.x offers, while making things more streamlined. First, they're talking about making a lot of your day to day "skill checks" using the ability scores. So instead of making a "Climb check", you'd presumably make a Strength check. Second, they also explicitly state they want to retain true skills so that they have a meaningful impact on the game and allow the sort of customization that we saw in 3E (and to a certain extent, 4E).
Wizards of the Coast has announced D&D Next, the successor to D&D 4th Edition aimed squarely at unifying the game's fractured fan base. My gaming group is practically a case study for 5th Edition -- we played 2nd Edition, 3rd Edition (both flavors), and 4th Edition, but finally gave up on the game when the group couldn't agree on which version to play. 60% of the group wanted to play D&D 3x or the Pathfinder Beta, 40% wanted to play D&D 4th Edition. We split the difference and played Star Wars: Saga Edition, which addressed many of our issues with both systems, and gave us a much needed break from the fantasy genre.
We've since returned to fantasy ... but not D&D. Instead we're playing the Pathfinder RPG and Paizo's Second Darkness adventure path. I can't speculate on what it would take to bring the Blackrazor Guild back to D&D -- we simply haven't talked about it enough -- but I know that I am looking for.
Harrowing Halls is a Dungeon Tiles set for Dungeons & Dragons that takes the long-running line to new heights. That's because they're not just dungeon tiles ... they're three dimensional dungeon tiles that can be used to build a staircase, raised platforms, tables, and pedastals, all of which player characters can jump on, leap off of and generally use to their advantage.
It makes a big difference on many fronts, starting with prep time. I got a review copy of Harrowing Halls a few months ago, but since I run a weekly Star Wars game I haven't had much call for a rustic hall/dungeon. That changed when I decided to run an epic showdown with a Jedi master in a temple on a stormwracked backwater world.
Dark Sun, the grim, post-apocalyptic fantasy setting for Dungeons & Dragons is re-launching this summer for D&D 4E. In honor of that, I'm writing my next "Summon WebScryer" column for Knights of the Dinner Table about Dark Sun ... but I need your help.
I need web sites dedicated to the setting. I've found a bunch, but I'd like more, particularly ones dealing with the intersections of D&D 4E, psionics and Dark Sun. Old school D&D sites are also welcome of course, but obviously 4E ones are a bit more timely.
Recently Chris Youngs at Wizards of the Coast wrote an editorial pointing out that people can role-play in D&D 4th Edition just fine without any rules actually governing said role-playing:
Fourth edition doesn't include some of the mundane mechanical elements of character building that 3rd Edition did. For example, certain skills (I'm looking at you Craft and Profession) enabled a player to feel like his character had some sort of grounding in the "real world" of the campaign. Odds were good that you never made a Craft or Profession check in your game, but having ranks in that skill made you feel connected to your character's background. In 4th Edition, those skills are gone. Why? Because we feel like a character's statistics don't represent the absolute truth of a character's story. That's right -- one of the reasons those skills (and other such elements from other editions) are gone is that we felt they hindered roleplaying.
This elicited some "Hear! Hear!"-style posts from gaming blogs:
In 12 years of adventuring in Greyhawk, our group built up a number of legends, told, but never experienced. The recovery of the soul-devouring sword Blackrazor is one of them.
CrystalBall is the best damn D&D RPG tool on the Mac. The fact that it's also one of the only D&D RPG tools for the Mac is beside the point. Available as a shareware trial download, the program is comprised of a dozen or so different utilities for your game that can be used in or out of the game.