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Creator of the Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide Returns… on Kickstarter!

The Triumphant Return of Douglas Niles

Douglas NilesDouglas Niles, a legendary name for those who hail from the days of AD&D and TSR. A man whose legacy spans from the very first Forgotten Realms novels to the creation of the Dragonlance world, Doug is a New York Times Best-Seller and his work has been read and utilized by countless roleplayers. Doug is also well known for creating the groundbreaking Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide (TSR, 1986) with legends Gary Gygax and David C. Sutherland III, a book which detailed exploration of the subterranean world, a realm which was previously only hinted at and briefly explored in a few select modules. The Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide finally gave DMs the ability to craft their own adventures and full campaigns in the Underdark.

Dungeoneer's Survival Guide

Now, 35 years after the Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide was published by TSR, Douglas Niles returns, alongside Thilo Graf (Endzeitgeist) and Stephen Yeardley, to bring you the Survivalist’s Guide to Spelunking.

The Survivalist’s Guide to Spelunking is designed for use with D&D 5e but has enough information about the strange and alien underground world to be of use for anyone looking for a good survival guide to enhance their adventures into the depths of the earth.

In the section below is the inside scoop, the back of book text, from the Survivalist’s Guide to Spelunking, for your esteemed edification. The Survivalist’s Guide to Spelunking Kickstarter goes live on March 3rd, 2021 and you don’t want to miss being a part of this legendary occasion to pay homage to one of the greats with an exciting “sequel” to the Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide, lavishly crafted for both D&D players & DMs.

 

Survivalist's Guide to Spelunking

Survivalist’s Guide to Spelunking for D&D 5e
Kickstarter launches March 3rd, 2021!

The Definitive Guide to Underworld Survival!

Douglas Niles with Dungeoneer's Survival GuideThe legendary dwarven delver Dugmore Dumple is back from retirement! Following on from his seminal guide for dungeoneers, Dugmore now takes you through crystalline caverns, fungal jungles and the maze-like passages of his home beneath the surface, even skirting the upper regions of Hel itself.

Survival in the Underworld is no mean feat, but this massive tome contains all you need to exist and endure, nay, prosper in and profit from the lightless realms below. Dugmore’s sage advice, carefully balanced by seasoned traveler and guide Fin Starling, provides all the tools you require to enhance your experience while exploring the fabled caverns and tunnels below the surface.

Survivalist’s Guide to Spelunking contains an array of modular tools and rules to customize your game, including:

  • Survivalist's Guide to SpelunkingA comprehensive taxonomy of cave types
  • Expanded climbing tools and rules
  • Advice for designing, mapping, and running 3D-environments
  • Modular rules for momentum and chases
  • Rules for mining minerals and exotic ores
  • Streamlined rules for tracking supplies
  • Foraging and hunting rules
  • Detailed segmented spellcasting and combat maneuvers
  • Rules to make tactical combat puzzles
  • Highly modular hazard generators
  • Comprehensive notes on light and darkness
  • A breath-engine for exploration of flooded caverns or spore-choked jungles
  • Rules for hypothermia, hyperthermia, and more exotic afflictions like Shroomitis
  • The lethal hazards of elemental border regions
  • A glimpse at the Lightless Abyss and the upper regions of Hel

Plus, all the tables and tools you need to run an underground exploration game.

Register to be notified when this Kickstarter launches.

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Elminster’s Forgotten Realms

An instant classic, this fantasy book steeped in lore is sure to get any Realms fan in the mood.

I highly suggest you get out an old wooden pipe, don your musty wizard robes, and pull up a guady, over-sized plush armchair next to the fire, no that’s too close… OK, there you are.  Now, have a seat, light your pipe and crack open this old… er new tome.  Trust me, you’ll be lost within her pages fast enough.

Yes, it’s that good.  A book published by WotC that caused my jaw to drop due to the fact that they finally let Ed Greenwood have his way, and run amuck through his world.  Losing the constraining statistics of various systems has truly set this book free as one can enjoy the read regardless of which system they run.  There are NO game statistics here folks, just pure, tasty LORE.  Ah, the stuff I love.  Role-playing games would not be the same without the “role-playing” and I feel that many of the newer systems and games (*ahem*D&D*ahem*) have truly lost their way seeing as the acting out a character is what set these games apart from simple miniature games (not THAT kind of simple, geez calm down guys!)

I’ve been a fan of Ed Greenwood and his gorgeous setting the Forgotten Realms for more years than I can count.  I was a child when I opened up the gray box and had my players roll up their first characters in this world.  I remember the first time the PCs ventured through the Cormyr forest and into the Ruins of Myth Drannor.  If I recall the entire party was killed, but their epic adventures lived on in new characters which continued for many more decades.  One game lasted from senior year of high school all the way to marriage and kids.  It would still continue to this day if my friend had not left the realm of RPGs behind for good.  Taku Okamiya, Guardian of Luruar and Ruler of Nesme, I salute you, as well as Alin Durqua and the rest.  May you all rest in peace within the Forgotten Realms.

Now comes the part where we break the book down into various sections and ramble on for a good three hours or so… huh?  You don’t want me to ramble for three hours?  Well, if you do you can visit this link and get the entire breakdown of this book.  If you want to [amazon_link id=”0786960345″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]buy this you can pick it up at this link[/amazon_link], otherwise jump to the conclusion below.

 

Conclusion

This book is a thick tome clocking in at 192 pages.  There is a personal foreword and afterword by Ed Greenwood himself along with some very old pictures of a very young Ed.  Throughout the book you’ll get personal notes, maps, and sketches by Ed which truly make this book feel like you hold an ancient relic.  It’s as if WotC was on vacation with Ed running the offices and the printing press.  I feel that Ed Greenwood has finally had the chance to tell the story of his world, how it came about, the people who live there, the lore, the magic, and more.  It’s all contained within these pages and really this is all you need to run a good game in any system, this book and a bit of creativity.  I give this book 5 out of 5 stars due to the fact that they finally let an author run loose, naked in the fields, and despite his age… Elminster sure can run, and according to Sune, he still has a nice… *ahem* Sune, for a goddess you sure can be inappropriate, this is a professional news site for nerds after all!

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THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT Board Game

The Legend of Drizzt board game is part of the Adventure System Board Games by Wizards of the Coast. These games are designed as a co-op experience with no DM required! In this game you get to play as Drizzt and his companions.

It contains scenarios set around the city of Neverwinter. You will be getting a lot of Drizzt and his followers throughout your adventures in this board game.  For those of you who don’t already know, Drizzt Do’Urden is the most famous character in the Forgotten Realms world.  Created by R.A. Salvatore and featured in his New York Times Best Selling novels, Drizzt and his companions have become a fantasy staple for fantasy fans and RPG fanatics alike!

This is a great game for families. My wife enjoyed the Neverwinter Nights computer games but has never been very interested in joining my friends and I for tabletop D&D games. My son is 9 years old and although shows much interest in the D&D RPG, still has a tough time with the vast amount of rules required to play a fair and balanced game. The Legend of Drizzt Board Game is a perfect introduction to a family who has not yet played D&D or anyone who has trouble fully grasping the concept of tabletop role-playing games.

My family decided to set up the Legend of Drizzt game on our dining room table at home.  We started a timer to see how long it would take to get all the pieces out, read up on the rules, and start playing.

It took almost an entire hour to get all the dungeon tiles and other icons punched out of the large cardboard sheets and read up on the rules.  Even after reading the rules multiple times we were still all a bit confused despite my 25 year background playing role-playing games.  We decided to just dive right in and figure it out as the game progressed.

My suggestions for first time players:

1.  Make sure you read ALL of the rules by yourself prior to having friends over.  

2.  Punch out, organize, and bag up all the cardboard pieces in advance of your first session.

To start out you choose one of multiple adventures you would like to play.  Next the adventure tells you which cards and items you will need.  After gathering these you mix the specific dungeon tiles up with the generic tiles and place them within a stack of tiles from which you draw each round.  I know, it’s a bit confusing but it’s much easier if you can sit down and look at the pieces.  Then you choose which hero you would like to play and find the required cards for that hero.  Each hero has an attack they can do every round, an attack or stance they can do once per day, and some other one-time use abilities or items.  As the game progresses you find treasure which helps you reset these powers or obtain new powers in the form of magical items.

The game progresses like this:  

  • Hero Phase: This is the phase in which your hero moves through the dungeon and makes attacks against monsters.
  • Exploration Phase: This is the phase in which you add new Cavern tiles, draw Monster cards, and place Monsters.
  • Villain Phase: This is the phase in which you draw and play Encounter Cards as well as activate Villains.

Each player performs all three of these actions each turn, so by the time it is your turn again as many as 3 additional monsters may appear on the map and engage you in combat!  If you would like a detailed play by play (with images) of a session check out this site!

Opinion:  As a veteran RPG Game Master I found the game to be fun, but lacking and repetitive in many areas.   Take in mind that I have over 25 years of role-playing experience under my belt so my opinion is a bit biased.  As an introduction to D&D or a “D&D gateway game”, I think the Drizzt Board Game is excellent.  My family had a lot of fun playing it.  My 9 year old son enjoyed the game immensely and was quite excited each time his turn came up.  He played Drizzt and mangled most enemies he encountered very quickly.  My wife was interested in the game, perhaps a bit more so than traditional tabletop RPGs, but she found many of the rules constraining and suggested we throw out some of the rules and play it our own way.

Overall family score: 3/5

Name: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game
Company: Wizards of the Coast (HASBRO)

Price: $65 US

Type: RPG/Adventure

Number of Players: 1-5
Target Audience: 12+  (9+ will do fine) 

First time set-up: 45m-1hr
Subsequent set-up: 10-15m
Game time: 1-2hrs per adventure 

This game includes the following components:

  • 42 plastic heroes and monsters
  • 13 sheets of interlocking cardstock dungeon tiles
  • 200 encounter cards and treasure cards
  • Rulebook
  • Scenario book
  • 20-sided die