Wizards announce D&D 5th edition

From Wizards.com

As you may have read in the New York Times, it’s an exciting time for Dungeons & Dragons. We are happy to announce today that we are developing the next iteration of D&D, and will be looking to the legions of D&D fans to help shape the future of the game along with us.

Our mission is to ensure that D&D enters its next 40 years as a vibrant, growing, and exciting game. By listening to the needs of the D&D community, we can meet this goal. As part of our increased efforts to engage with the player-base, we launched a series of weekly articles in early 2011, including Rule of Three and Legends & Lore, to give you a voice in our work. We’ve listened to both praise and criticism from all D&D fans, regardless of their edition of choice, and we’ll continue to do so.

That is why we are excited to share with you that starting in Spring 2012, we will be taking this process one step further and conducting ongoing open playtests with the gaming community to gather feedback on the new iteration of the game as we develop it. With your feedback and involvement, we can make D&D better than ever. We seek to build a foundation for the long-term health and growth of D&D, one rooted in the vital traits that make D&D unique and special. We want a game that rises above differences of play styles, campaign settings, and editions, one that takes the fundamental essence of D&D and brings it to the forefront of the game. In short, we want a game that is as simple or complex as you please, its action focused on combat, intrigue, and exploration as you desire. We want a game that is unmistakably D&D, but one that can easily become your D&D, the game that you want to run and play.

D&D is more than just a set of rules for fantasy gaming. It launched an entire gaming genre and played a pivotal role in creating the entirety of the gaming industry, both analog and digital. The game has lived and thrived because it has awoken a spark of creation, visions of daring adventure, wondrous vistas, and untold horrors that pull us all together as a community of RPG fans. It is the countless players and DMs who have brought it to life over the years. The game is at its best when it is yours.

For that reason, we want your participation. The goals we have set for ourselves are by no means trivial or easy. By involving you in this process, we can build a set of D&D rules that incorporate the wants and desires of D&D gamers around the world. We want to create a flexible game, rich with options for players and DMs to embrace or reject as they see fit, a game that brings D&D fans together rather than serves as one more category to splinter us apart.

We have begun obtaining feedback from a limited Friends & Family playtest consisting of internal employees and their gaming groups and soon we will be expanding that group to consist of members from our existing body of playtesters. Then at the D&D Experience convention in late January, Wizards of the Coast will conduct a special playtest of ideas currently in development. The D&D Experience will be moving to Gen Con in 2013, so as a convention special this year, we will be offering show attendees a first-look at a draft of the new set of rules. Then beginning sometime in the spring, we will begin open playtesting. Through our web site, we will release a growing set of rules, classes, monsters and other materials for your study and feedback. We seek to reach as many people as possible, from the gamer who just started with D&D last week to the gaming group that has been together since the early-1970s. For this process to work, we want to give a voice to all D&D fans and players of all previous editions of the game.

The next year is going to be an exciting one. There is a lot of work to be done, and I’m hoping you have the time, energy, and inclination to pitch in. We sure hope you do, as we seek to make gaming history by shaping the future of D&D, together. If you would like to sign up today to be notified when the playtest is beginning and how you can participate, click here:

I think it is encouraging that Wizards still think that it makes sense to release a new edition of D&D, however, I keep remaining a little skeptic about this, because of the dwindling number of users/followers of traditional role playing games. Perhaps it is time to realize that RPGs as we knew them are dead, and the future is in computer games or online games.

Of course, I hope that I am wrong, it wouldn’t be the first time. I would be thrilled if we saw a reboot of interest in RPGs across the board so to speak, because it is a lot of fun to play and because it offers users a chance to use their minds as opposed to put it on stand by and jut have it bombarded with digital input.

It does fill with a sense of hope though. As I prepare to leave the world of Dragonlance a tiny flicker of hope presents itself. Do we dare hope that someone will breathe new life into Dragonlance? I guess it matters little anymore.


Update: Wired has an article on the new edition. There is a lot comments worth reading, which really surprised me.

The end is nigh

I know it sounds pretty gloomy, but it is not meant that way at all. As you probably gathered from my last post, I am putting this blog hiatus, probably forever, but since I have had so much fun writing this thing, I thought I would go through my old stuff and publish it here. Who knows, maybe someone can actually use it for something.

Anyway, I posted a piece I started some years ago about thieves guilds, which I intended to use in my Daltigoth campaign. The idea was that the guilds were an important part of the conflicts on Anasalon, all vying for control and power among all the players in the conflict.

I imagined that the conflict would be a little bit more intricate than what we have normally seen in Dragonlance. I felt that having a more politically charged campaign would be a perfect lead up to a regional war would the players  better feeling for why things happened and who was the primary movers and shakers. I envisioned a conflict brought on by greed and the search for monetary and political power and so much a conflict driven by Takhisis’s desire to return to the world. Of course there would be godly interests behind many of the powers that participated in the struggle, however, they were not the main focal point of the campaign. An added benefit was that it would allow me to introduce the other gods, and have them act according to their own interests. Alas, it never came to fruition, but that doesn’t mean that nobody can use the idea.

I have uploaded most of the stuff I ever wrote, or rather, I have uploaded must of the stuff that is worth uploading. I have a lot written in Danish, but I doubt I will ever translate it, and I see little point in uploading Danish texts. 

I noticed that Wizards are going to create a new version of D&D, so I will take a look at that when the time is right.

Thieves guilds of Ansalon

Most of the major cities of Ansalon have at least one thing in common – they all have one or more thieves’ guilds. These guilds operate on the wrong side of the law but in spite of this, some of them serve an important purpose when it comes to the every day life in the city.

Unlike other organizations such as the Wizards of High Sorcery, these guilds are independent of each other, meaning that there is no centralized governing body. Some of the guilds maintain some sort of contact with their fellow thieves whereas others jealously guard their territory. History has documented covert battles between rivaling thieves’ guilds and even infighting and power struggles have occurred.

Some of the older guilds practice a strict hierarchical system of government, which appears to ensure a certain measurement of stability. Some guild masters have even assumed legitimate positions of power such as Talbard van Ashen of Daltigoth who is one of the directing oligarchs. In Palanthas the guild is mostly involved in the covert warfare between the merchant houses, always finding rich rewards for a job well done.

In the smaller towns scattered across Ansalon, the guilds are usually very small and fairly insignificant in relation to the power structure. Many thieves residing in these small towns have been banned from the bigger cities for various reasons, thus, they fear for their own safety. Great deals of these thieves are rather paranoid and usually work under a false name.

The Guild of Palanthas

The Palanthas guild is headed by the master Dantrag Nenshen who has been the guild master for almost two decades. During his rule, the guild has experienced prosperity like never before, but at a cost.

When the trade wars started the guild was hired to by both sides as spies and there was work enough for anybody who wanted it. However, as the conflict escalated the jobs became more and more dangerous. The defining moment happened when a group of master thieves were hired to break into the manor of Mordread Gemerald. This was the first time a head of a merchant house was targeted but the operation was deemed fairly safe nevertheless. When the party did not return the guild master assumed that they had fled town with their bounty, however, the next night he found out what had happened to them. The mutilated bodies of the master thieves were found in the inner chambers of the guild with a small note attached to it: “Thus is the fate of ye who are found in forbidden realms”. Since that night, the guild has not officially accepted any contracts directly involving the headquarters of the merchant houses.

The biggest problem for the guild is that Dantrag Nenshen might find himself in a position where he has to pick sides in the trade war. He is reluctant to do this but given the power of the houses he may not have a choice. If Nenshen picks one house over the other, he will certainly incur the wrath of the opposing house and most likely the destruction of the guild. Therefore, he attempts to tread a narrow path of neutrality. He is currently considering denying both of the houses the services of the guild but he fears that this may result in an unending enmity of both houses.

At the same time, Dantrag Nenshen fears for his own safety. Reliable intelligence suggests that one or more of the merchant houses plan on replacing him with someone loyal to their cause. Dantrag has not succumbed to paranoia yet, but he has tightened security and he is never seen in public without armed escorts. He has employed the services of several medium ranked mages to ensure his safety, but he does not feel secure behind their magical wards and protective spells.

Besides being involved in the trade wars, the guild has various operations in Palanthas. The thieves control a large part of the gambling facilities as well as many taverns and inns. They also run contraband, which is dangerous, because the merchants lose money in account of this practice. The guild is also involved in blackmail and prostitution as well as smuggling – a practice greatly appreciated by the local mages. The guild can provide pretty much anything for the right price. Lastly, the thieves’ guild is associated with the assassins’ guild.

The Guild of Daltigoth

The guild in Daltigoth is the second largest in Ansalon. It is also the youngest guild, given that the Free City of Daltigoth, in its present state, has only been around for a few years. Ever since the last bloody battle of Daltigoth, when the ogres were slaughtered, the influence of the guild has slowly but steadily increased.

The reason why the guild has been so successful is due to the acceptance of its existence by the ruling oligarchs. The guild master, Talbard van Ashen, has even managed to merit an invitation to join the directing oligarchs, thus, becoming one of the rulers of the free city. The lords of Daltigoth believe the guild is a necessary part of the city’s structure. This does not mean that the city guard does not try to catch the thieves, but rather that the lords have a use for the rogues.

One thing that limits the power and influence of the guild is the internal power struggle that plagues the organization. Despite being a directing oligarch, Talbard van Ashen is constantly being challenged by ambitious thieves who crave his position of power. Due to his position as a directing oligarch, Talbard will most likely be forced to resign as guild master within a year or so. Since his membership of the guild is a secret he feels the stress is beginning to wear him down and he cannot resist the challengers for the guild leadership forever. Talbard’s own ambition leads him in the direction of the position of the Lord Mayor of Daltigoth. Currently, he is reluctant to challenge Richard Baglortin because he feels he cannot match the backing the Lord Mayor receives from the city’s leading mages, including the arch mage Mordread Gemerald.