Online Dungeonmaster posted an awesome by the minute breakdown of Wizards of the Coast's new product seminar for the coming six months or so (my thanks to you sir). There is plenty here to read for yourself as it covers a myriad of new stuff, but in the meantine, here is several interesting parts that caught my discerning eye:
"10:15: Lords of Waterdeep. Euro-style board game coming out next year. Competitive game of intrigue set in Waterdeep. You’re a lord of Waterdeep, recruiting adventurers for quests, backstabbing / cooperating with other lords. Pretty cover art! Started on the game train last year with a conversation with Peter Lee. There are dice, cards, tiles. March of 2012 is the aim for release. Square coins and crescent coins. Old 2nd edition Forgotten Realms sourcebook used this image for Waterdhavian coins, so they made them for the game. Relies heavily on Volo’s (?) Guide to Waterdeep."
As I had reported from an earlier Dragon article, Wizards is trying to break into this specialized boardgame market. So it's not surprising they have led off with the old cash cow, Forgotten Realms. The description of this game is exactly what I envisioned this boardgame would be like. Too bad it wasn't "Lords of Greyhawk" cause it would totally work in the same format as above and I imagine it would be a hot sell if only for collecting sake. But Waterdeep works fine. Is this the future of Greyhawk?
"10:18: They want to expand their board games into all sorts of areas."
I guess it all rests on the shoulders of Peter Lee.
"10:24: Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium – the back-from-the-dead book. Greg Bilsland runs playtesters internally and externally. It’s a “core exclusive” only available at game stores. Items are attached to the rarity system. Character options for flails. Mundane armor. Followers and henchmen rules. So, not just magic items – a book of “anything you could buy”."
Mentioned a few days ago, I had forgot about the rarity system. How very CCG of them. The fact this book is only available from game stores is surprising. This might make the book itself a rarity. Hmm! Later on in the Q&A section of the seminar this detail starts to lose it's punch.
"11:27 Q: Can’t buy Mordenkainen’s online?"
" A: Have to keep stores happy – it’s where they get new players. It’s an awkward balance."
"11:30 Q: Why not Mordenkainen’s online?"
"A: Some hobby stores do sell online, and they’ll be allowed to sell this. Amazon will be able to order from WotC…They want to keep the industry healthy – complex ecosystem."
I'm not sure how this is going to work any differently from other releases. If Amazon has the same access to this book that does little to help poor game stores. And if there is no PDF version for sale, well we all know what will happen there.
"10:29: Encounters. Neverwinter next, then the Feywild – Player’s Option Heroes of the Feywild. Encounter based on UK1 Crystal Cave adventure – Beyond the Crystal Cave."
This is talking about the D&D Encounters organized play series. Encounters has borrowed touches from old Greyhawk classics before like the Ghost Tower of Inverness, and I've occasionally railed they keep going back to the Greyhawk well for ideas instead of creating new ones. But UK1? Wow, no one could have predicted that one. Only the staunchest Greyhawk grognards know much about the plot of this module or would be outraged that it's being used derivatively. So, I suppose I'm fine with this one. It does show however that the entire Greyhawk catalogue is open game for Encounters. Not that it's a bad thing necessarily...
"10:33: Book of Vile Darkness – December. By Robert Schwalb. Allows for playing evil campaigns. DM advice for making an interesting campaign with evil PCs. 32 page facsimile of the Book of Vile Darkness itself. 96 pages of player/DM info, double-sided poster map."
Wow. Really, Schwalb? It was just an edition ago that this controversial book (and a fave of mine) had a "mature audiences only" label. I cannot imagine for an instant the 4e version of "evil campaigning" can touch the evil that Monte Cook once wrought.
"Q: Book of Vile Darkness – will it be as “adult themed”?"
"A: Not really. No “adult only” sticker, standard art."
Thought so. Speaking of which, we might soon see the Book of Vile Darkness! Yeah, there is talk of a D&D movie based on the title of this nefarious tome. This I have to see.
"10:34: February Encounters – The Elder Elemental Eye. Player’s Option: Power of the Plane Below. Fortune Cards: Spiral of Tharizdun. Essentialized Sorcerer (Mearls’ words). Monk option of some sort. Tharizdun-based conspiracy. More investigation – not like Call of Cthulhu where you just die from your investigation. Tied to Eye of the Chained Gods novels in April."
Now for those still clinging on to speculation of a 4e Greyhawk setting book...
"Q: Next year’s campaign setting?"
"A: Mearls – not yet ready to talk about it. They’ve intentionally pulled back their timeline a little. Don’t like announcing stuff before it’s really ready and then canceling it. Don’t want to create expectations they can’t meet or create confusion. Essentials – they don’t think that was handled great in this respect. There WILL be another campaign-style book next August, similar to Neverwinter this year. "
Hm, playing their cards close to their chest, eh? Maybe someone can try to call their bluff....
"10:57 Q: For next August’s setting, any hints and when will it be announced? A: It’s not Dragonlance. Well, it does have dragons. Tease: “It’s not just a setting, but it’s a way to play. Something that D&D hasn’t tried before.” “Twist” is a good word."
Wow, okay. So that dashes Greyhawk and Dragonlance which was an odds favorite choice to get a 4e setting book. Hm, Dragons. A way to play. Hasn't been tried before? I seriously doubt that. Just in case here is my prediction. That's about all I have energy for, the rest is for you to digest. Thanks again Online DM for your work!