Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quick Note - The D&D Next Launch Event

I will leave the details of and the beliefs in or against the multi-media launch of Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition and the event to better minds and pens than myself (see Dyvers and Tenkar's Tavern). Why, because I'll pick up the books that come out and pour over them the same way I did with the much quieter Abysmal Plague event and if there are any Encounters groups or launch games taking place in my area I will enjoy them.

No, I will focus on the story blurb published over on Wizards of the Coast's website:



A white dragon plunders caravans heading north to Icewind Dale. In the Silver Marches, a scornful red dragon torches a town that refuses to pay a king’s ransom. Elsewhere, dragon-worshiping barbarians in Viking longships attack merchant vessels leaving Neverwinter, while masked heathens infiltrate a noble villa in Waterdeep, murder its lord, and steal a draconic artifact.
Dragons and their allies are threatening the Sword Coast and the North, but why now, and to what end?

F or years, the evil Cult of the Dragon has devoted itself to creating undead dragons in a vain attempt to fulfill an ancient prophecy. However, the cultists were misguided. They misunderstood. But now, under new leadership, the cult believes that the prophecy does not speak of undead dragons, but of a dragon empire that’s been extinct for 25,000 years. Tiamat, the queen of evil dragons, has languished in the Nine Hells for millennia. The cult believes that the time of her return is at hand.
The cult has a new face and a new mission. It seeks to free Tiamat from the Nine Hells and bring her into the Forgotten Realms. To accomplish its goal, the cult needs five ancient dragon masks and the support of evil dragons everywhere. The cult leaders—each one a "dragon whisperer"—have reached out to the evil dragons of the Sword Coast and earned their allegiance.
Meanwhile, evil dragons in cahoots with the cult seek to amass a treasure hoard worthy of their dark queen, not by plundering their own hoards (of course) but by stealing money from cities, caravans, good-aligned dragons, merchant ships, and other sources. Their ravenous hunt for treasure throws the Sword Coast into upheaval. Neverwinter, Waterdeep, Baldur’s Gate—no city is safe from their depredations.
The situation is dire. However, the Sword Coast is far from defenseless. Powerful factions are ready to rise up and put an end to the tyranny of dragons. Adventurers throughout the Realms must join forces to face Tiamat, destroy the Cult of the Dragon, and prevent the rise of a new dragon empire. In their hands, the future lies.
I can say that while reading this I was both happily surprised and at the same time sad. What I find excellent is that the game will be launching with a rather epic campaign path, something that will draw players in immediately and put them on the road to be the saviors or ruiners of the world. I'm also excited that Faerun and the Forgotten Realms are taking center stage (my second favorite setting and closely followed by the much maligned 4e Points of Light setting) in this event and seems to be pushing to the forefront as the new default setting.

Why is this exciting. Well for old fans it gives them something to work with of the start, nearly every D&D player the world over knows something of the Realms and even if it isn't their favorite setting can easily ad hoc the histories and individual playing styles into the Realms. Also this could mean some more intimate involvement by the esteemed Ed Greenwood who has been abused quite enough in recent years by WOTC.

What I am worried about, however, is the setting as well. To be precise I'm worried about the location: The Sword Coast. I've never hidden that I am a huge fan of Perfect World/Cryptic's Dungeons and Dragon MMO "Neverwinter" but that is more or less do to its' foundry tools and the excellently done adventures I have found there. Unfortunately, the game itself, the one not made by fans of D&D is rather bland and cliche. It is the Sword Coast of the MMO that I am afriad will be represented in the event and not the rich Sword Coast of the novels and Bioware era PC games.

Again, I'll be as onboard with this event as I can be given that I live in an area that seems to hate fantasy RPGs (that aren't Legend of the Five Rings), but I can't help but worry about how rich and organic the world feels if it is the Sword Coast of the MMO ...

Also, seriously with an event like this there won't even be a TV movie!? What the hell Hasbro, you'll authorize a big budget Battleship movie but not D&D!

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