RPG Wishlist for Fall 2006

It’s been a while since I’ve put together a good RPG wishlist, but over last few months I’ve managed to find a few products that have tempted my wallet, including the new urban fantasy book Cityscape and the alternative fighter combat book Tome of Battle by Wizards of the Coast, country and village map packs by Paizo, and some very cool mounted combat discs by sold by Alea Tools.

Cityscape by Wizards of the Coast

Cityscape (Amazon), a 160-page source book focuses on cities, and promises to introduce new feats, spells, terrain and monsters designed for urban environments. There are some pages in the DMG that deal with urban adventures, and thanks those, Dungeon magazine and a few other d20 products I’ve managed to put together a fairly thick tome of notes, random encounters, and miscellaneous NPCs for my campaign. Still, D&D could definitely use a source book dedicated to urban adventuring, and from the description, this one looks like it will fill the niche nicely.

Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords by Wizards of the Coast

When it comes to high level adventuring in D&D, arcane and divine casters tend to beat out fighters in terms of raw firepower. Tome of Battle (Amazon), written by Mike Mearls of Iron Heroes fame, looks to balance that out by introducing fighting styles for warriors that work more like spells than traditional feats. I don’t know if it’s right for my campaign, but I’ve long been looking for something that makes fighters more than just a collection of feats. Mearls did great work on mixing up d20 combat in Iron Heroes and I’m eager to see what he can do while staying in the confines of a more traditional d20 system.

Map Pack: Village

There’s a movement underway in D&D circles away from traditional battle maps — with their grids and wet-erase markers – toward preprinted, generic battle maps that represent particular scenes. Wizards of the Coast does this with Dungeon Tiles (Amazon), Steel Sqwire does it with Flip-Maps, and Paizo’s doing it with Map Packs.

Naturally I’d like all of them, but Paizo’s offering seems to fit our style of play best – each map pack comes as a 8×10 1” grid card with a pre-printed scene – rope bridge, road-side shrine, tavern – on it. Since they are the same size as the battle maps we normally use, it should be easy to add them to the tabletop mix, and then extend the rest of the map using traditional markers. I bought Paizo’s Countryside map pack earlier, and was pleased with the quality (though not with the shipping time; it took over a week for them to arrive, and I’d been hoping to get them before that week’s gaming session). Next time around I’d like to get the Paizo’s Village map set, which will come in handy during my urban fantasy campaign.

Magnetic Disks and Conflict Chips by Alea Tools

I reviewed Alea Tool’s Magnetic Discs a while back. The small, magnetic discs can be used to track stats during combat, denoting which monsters have been hurt/held/etc. I’m planning on buying some more to augment my demo discs, and when I was pricing out my purchase I discovered something new that Alea’s selling: Conflict Chips.

These discs represent horses, animal companions and other monstrous help that players might summon to assist them on the battlefield. My present campaign features no less than three paladins (and soon to be four) each of which makes use of a steed. The beauty of these discs is that minis can be placed on the discs to represent when a character is riding a horse. When the character dismounts, it’s then a simple manner of using the disc as a mini for the horse – no more tossing d20s on the map and saying “this is my warhorse!”. It’s a brilliant idea, and one I look forward trying out.

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