Category Archives: D&D

Rebuilding D&D Boardgames: Dungeon Tiles

So the first thing I notice, upon laying all the tiles out, is that Castle Ravenloft has by far the most tiles. Once you filter out the Dire Chambers, Wrath of Ashardalon has the least, and Legend of Drizzt is somewhere in the middle.


Futhermore, in looking at these tiles, there’s a couple of things to keep in mind: tiles with rules, percentages of black/white arrows, having a mix of facings, and whether or not to keep scenario-specific (“named” tiles).


Castle Ravenloft:

40 Tiles


18 White Arrows

22 Black Arrows


0 Tiles with Mechanical Effect

20 Named Tiles (including 8 Crypts and the 4 Crypt corners. The 8 Crypts have 10 Coffin spaces amongst them.)


Tile Orientation:

4 Right Turns (10%)

4 Left Turns (10%)

6 4-ways (15 %)

7 Forward (18%)
6 T-Junction (left/right) (15%)

6 Left T-Junction (left/forward) (15%)

7 Right T-Junction (right/forward) (18%)


There doesn’t seem to be any balance particularly of white/black within different kinds of tiles. The more open tiles tend of have more Black Arrows, since they are more likely to be Crypts.


Wrath of Ashardalon:

24 Tiles


10 White Arrows

14 Black Arrows


8 Tiles with Doors (Note that the Vault has a door)

3 Tiles with Mechanical Effect (2 Long Hallways, 1 Tunnel Exit)

1 Named Tile (Vault, which we have special house rules for, making it another Mechanical Tile.)


(Note that I’m not counting the Dire/Horrid Chamber entryies or rooms in here, as they are scenario specific tiles.)


Tile Orientation

2 Right Turns (8%)

2 Left Turns (8%)

2 Dead Ends (8%)

3 4-Ways (12%)

6 Forward (25%)

3 T-Junction (12%)

3 Left T (12%)

3 Right T (12%)


Note that many of the more open tiles have doors on them, making them actually more restrictive in play, and adding elements of risk.


Legend of Drizzt

32 Tiles


16 White Arrows

16 Black Arrows

Interestingly, Legend of Drizzt is the only set with an even arrow makeup; all the other ones have more black than white.


A Whopping 13 Tiles with Mechanical Effect (4 Narrow Passages, 1 Secret Cave, and 8 Volcanic Vents)

7 Named Tiles


Tile Orientation

3 Right Turns (9%)

3 Left Turns (9%)

7 Forward (22%)

1 Dead End (3%)

6 4-Way (18%)

6 T-Junction (18%)

3 Left-T (9%)

3 Right-T (9%)



96 Tiles


9 Right Turns

9 Left Turns

20 Forward

3 Dead Ends

15 4-Way

15 T-Junction

12 Left T

13 Right T




First I take all the tiles with mechanical effect and see what it looks like. That includes all the Doors, Vents, Secret Exits, Caves, and the Vault.


This is 25 Tiles, 10 of which have white arrows, 15 of which have Black. I want about 32 tiles, so I want 6 more white and 1 more black. These are the orientations of the tiles so far:


2 Right Turns

3 Left Turns

7 Forward

3 Dead Ends

2 4-Ways

2 T Junction

3 Left T

3 Right T


So I want 1 Righty, and lots more 4 ways and basic T Junctions. The other numbers look pretty good.

I pick the following tiles, all named: King’s Crypt, Strahd’s Crypt, 2x Dwarven Statue, the Broken Door, the Drow Glyph, and the Rotting Nook.


Along with those I pack the Dire Chamber tiles, the start tile from Castle Ravenloft, and the Rocky Lair/Ancient Throne/Surface Hollow in case I decide I want them.


Rebuilding D&D Adventure Board Games: Encounters

Part II!


Castle Ravenloft: 45 Treasure Cards

20 Treasures (12 consumable), 25 Fortunes/Blessings


Wrath of Ashardalon: 33 treasure cards

All 33 Treasures, (17 consumable)


Legend of Drizzt: 36 treasure cards

20 Treasures (17 consumable), 16 Fortunes


The sets have different degrees of relying on Fortunes- Castle Ravenloft relies on them the most, with about 55% of the cards being fortunes. Wrath of Ashardalon has none. Legend of Drizzt has 44%. I’m going to go for a 45 card deck, with this same ratio, which would mean 20 fortune cards.


Note that out of the 73 treasures, fully 76% are consumable (including the rechargeable ones from Drizzt). I’m not so keen on this, so we’ll see as the cards get dealt out.


For Fortunes, I picked only the best ones, because it sucks to draw one that isn’t useful.


Action Surge, Battlefield Promotion, Bolster x3, Brief Rest x2, Burst of Speed, Camp, Daze, Eagle Eyes, Guilded Strikes (Blessing), Intimidating Bellow, Lucky Find, Moment’s Respite x2, Quick Strike, Rejuvenating Onslaught (Blessing), Secret Tunnel, Run! (Blessing)


For the 25 Treasures, I decided to go with a more even split on consumable/nonconsumable items. For weapons, I chose the fun ones that people tend to like, got rid of some of the more powerful items (Throwing Shield, Blessed Shield, Bracers of Blinding Strikes), and overly complicated ones (Flying Carpet). So 11 keepers, 14 one-shots.


Amulet of Protection, Cat’s Eye Headband, Crossbow of Speed, Dragontooth Pick, Dwarven Hammer, Gauntlets of Ogre Power, Holy Avenger, Necklace of Speed, Ring of Accuracy, Thieves’ Tools, Vorpal Sword.


When it comes to one shots, my group tends to really hate the use instead of an attack powers, so I used only the best of those. I regretted not having more space for basic items like healing potions and Scrimshaw Charms- this might be a tweak to later versions of the deck.


Box of Caltrops, Dragon’s Breath Elixir, Potion of Healing, Potion of Recovery, Potion of Speed, Pearl of Power, Scrimshaw Charm x2, Scroll of Monster Control, Scroll of Teleportation, Tunnel Map, Wand of Lightning Bolts, Wand of Polymorph, Wand of Teleportation

Dragons & Disney Session II: What Do We Know About Faeries?

For our second session of Dragons & Disney, our heroines pressed into the Enchanted Forest, seeking out Sleeping Beauty’s kingdom and information about what might have happened to the princes.

Since Misha, our player for Fionna, was absent with a nasty sickness, we were down to 5 players.  Amelia (Cinderella) was running late, so we started with four players in a forest campsite, stopping for a rest.  Tianna cooks up some delicious forest gumbo, but then they hear growling from the woods: two badgers!  And from the other side come Twig Blights- three minions, and one Twig Blight.  (The Badger is from my Heroic Threats monster list; Twig Blights from Monster Vault: Nentir Vale.)

The princesses had some trouble concentrating their fire, and before long almost everyone was bloodied, friend and foe alike.  Amelia arrived, and Cinderella was placed on the map, pursued by a second twig blight.  With some ranged Warlock attacks and the high damage from Mulan, they were able to take out first the badgers, then the Twig Blights (but not before one turned invisible and retreated into the forest, and then came back with its Blighted Claw).  Tianna used both her encounter and daily to attack multiple targets, but had poor rolls, getting about a 50% hit chance, but still spread the damage around and killed some minions.  Despite having to use most of their healing resources, the princesses were victorious.

While the Twig Blights were destroyed, the thrashing served to break the enchantment on the badgers.  Tinkerbelle realized that as a pixie she could talk to beasts, and the badgers explained that an evil faerie had put an enchantment on the forest, and was in “a stone burrow” somewhere.  The princesses discussed what they knew about faeries and who could be the enemy.

Even with the assistance of the badgers (representing a +2 to skill checks), the princesses failed on the Navigate the Forest skill challenge (Mulan and Rapunzel used Athletics to chop a path, Tinkerbelle and Tianna used Nature to navigate, and Cinderella used Arcana to look for traces of magical energy.  As a result, their enemy got an initiative bonus in the next encounter:

(At one point during the encounter, Tianna was reduced to -9 hit points- 1 hit point away from retirement!)

In a giant forest clearing, they saw a Corrupted Triple Treant.  This encounter was inspired by me buying an incense burner at Wal-Mart, which has some great things for potential minis in their incense section.  The Triple Treant is a large tree with branch arms, three faces, and a ‘Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil” motif.  It looked exactly like a boss monster in a cartoon.

This being their first boss fight, the princesses approached with a mixture of caution and fear.  Mulan and Rapunzel hesitatingly charged, with Cinderella, Tianna, and Tinkerbelle shooting from afar.  Tianna used Witch Bolt, and having hit, was able to sustain each round without having to roll an attack, which was handy.  Mulan got more of a share of bonus attacks as the Treant shifted each turn to get out of her aura so it could use its Ward off Evil.

Shari, playing Tinkerbelle, asked if she could fly up and land in the trees branches.  I said yes.  This provoked an attack of opportunity, which hit, but Mulan got an additional attack as well.

On my next turn, the Treant used its Branch Frenzy attack, which can only be used on an Action Point action, to attack Rapunzel, Mulan, and now Tinkerbelle who had come within range.  The attack knocked Tinkerbelle prone, and reduced her to 1 hit point, and knocked her prone.  Since she was now prone, I asked Shari to make an Acrobatics check to try to stay on the branch.  She failled, and falled 20 feet- taking 18 damage, and bringing her well past negative bloodied.  Tinkerbelle has been reduced to a beaten state and retired.

There was some serious discussion about whether or not to run at this point, but then Cinderellatook her turn: attacking with her encounter power, bloodying the Treant, and then action pointing for Crown of Radiance, which blinded it for a turn.  Another turn allowed the princesses to put down quite a beat down on it, and it was defeated by Eldritch Blast on Cinderella’s next turn.

The princesses then met up with Aurora, Sleeping Beauty (the lazy warlord), who Shari will be playing.  I gave her some information which she shared with the other princesses- everyone in her kingdom has fallen under a sleeping spell, and her prince went off to Maleficient’s castle, but has not returned.  And now, plants are creeping in and overgrowing the place.  An extended rest later, the princesses determined to set out for Maleficient’s castle.

This session was seriously shorter than I had anticipated: 2 and a half hours, everything included.  I still have to adapt to the quickened pace of low level games.  Tim suggests having extra filler encounters I can drop in, but maintaining balance is important that I don’t overwhelm the players, punishing them for swift play.  I will certainly have three encounters for next week, and an exploration section of Maleficent’s castle.

And then we played Cards Against Humanity for an hour.

Bonus Heroic Threat

Heroic Threats is up to $250.  If you haven’t backed it yet, there’s only five days left.  And here’s a special bonus monster, only for people who check out my blog:

(It’s also the boss monster for today’s Dragons & Disney game).

Corrupted Triple Treant

Huge Natural Animate (Plant)

Level 1 Solo Controller

HP 128, Bloodied 64

AC 16, Fortitude 15, Reflex 11, Will 13

Speed 4, Forest Walk

Vulnerable 5 Fire

Resist 5 Poison


All Saves +5, AP 2

Standard Actions:

Branch Lash: +6 vs AC, Reach 3, 2d6 + 3 damage.

Branch Frenzy: (The Corrupted Triple Treant must have spent an action point this turn). +4 vs Reflex, Close Burst 3, 2d4 + 4 damage, and target is knocked prone.


Minor Actions


*Ward against Evil (once per round)

The Corrupted Triple Treant uses one of the following attacks. If bloodied, it uses two attacks. Close Burst 6

Hear No Evil: +4 vs Will. Hit: 1d6 + 3 psychic damage and the target is dazed and deafened until the end of the Triple Treant’s next turn, or until a saving throw is rolled. (recharges when See No Evil is Used)

Speak No Evil: +4 vs Will. Hit: 1d6 + 3 psychic damage, and the target is silenced and cannot speak, and can only use at-will powers and abilities until the end of the Triple Treant’s next turn, or until a saving throw is rolled. (recharges when See Hear No Evil is used)

See No Evil: +4 vs Fortitude. Hit: 1d6 + 3 psychic damage and the target is blinded until the end of the Triple Treant’s next turn, or until a saving throw is rolled. (recharges when Speak No Evil is Used)

STR 18 (+4), DEX 14 (+2), CON 16 (+3), INT 16 (+3), WIS 18 (+4), CHA 14 (+2)


Dungeons & Dragons & Disney: Session 1

Today was the first session of my Dungeons & Dragons & Disney game, which came out of the idea, “let’s play D&D where all the characters are Disney princesses.”  The idea was born mostly as an excuse to get a game which my sister-in-law Allie couldn’t back out of, being a big Disney fan who hasn’t been able to game much since having her daughter Emma; now Dad gets a turn to babysit while Mom goes out and rolls the dice.

It’s also an all-girl game: I realised I know quite a few female gamers, some of which I haven’t gamed with in some time.  So I invited all the girls over, kicked Tim upstairs, and we had some Dungeons and Dragons and Disney fun.

First was character creation.  I want to thank everyone who helped me brainstorm ideas for which princess should be which class, especially my friend Shari and the people on  I intentionally did all the level 1 character creation myself: the players involved aren’t particularly system heads.

Allie picked Rapunzel, looking forward to hair kung fu, frying pan action, and singing to people to heal them.  (Monk, multiclass to bard).  Allie was the only player who had not played D&D 4th before, so we did a quick go over of the basic rules, which she picked up very quickly once she had a character sheet in front of her and could see the minis in play.

Amelia picked Cinderella, the Warlock.  Her only qualifier was ‘not a ranger,’ since she played one in Tim’s D&D game, and wanted a slight change of pace- Warlock being a ranged striker is still familiar for her to play, but a little different.  She also talked about not minding switching characters if needed.

Shari is a huge Tinkerbell fan, so of course played Tinkerbell, the artificer and group’s only leader (after offering to let someone else have a chance; I commented that it felt like some of us were trying to out-courteous each other).  Shari is probably the second most experienced person at the table at D&D, so she sat next to Allie and helped out with some of her rules questions.

Misha wanted a big fierce character, so played Fiona from Shrek, a berserker barbarian.  Misha is also no stranger to D&D.

Rebecca had a hard time picking which character to play, but decided that Tianna, the Witch, sounded fun.  A plus is that Tianna has alchemy, which she enjoyed using as her previous character, an artificer.  Rebecca has played D&D 4 before but it has been awhile so she was a little rusty with the rules.

Caroline wanted to play a not-magic character (her last D&D 4 character was a Warlock), so picked Mulan, the knight fighter.  Like Rebecca, she has played D&D 4 but has been out of practice.

I felt like I made the right decision starting the game at 1st level- it was easy for Allie to get into the game, with only a handful of powers to worry about, even the relatively complex Full Discipline monk powers.  I suspect Rebecca and Caroline also both benefited from this.  When they last played D&D 4, they entered existing paragon tier games, with characters with large selections of powers, and often seemed to have analysis paralysis.  They seemed more confident with the simpler characters.

There was some difficultly printing out the character sheets; character builder didn’t want to talk to the printer.  But eventually, we got them to print.

When Shari went on her vacation to Disneyworld, she looked far and wide for D&D scale princess minis, but was unable to find any.  She got me a very nice set, however, they’re scaled to about the ‘large’ size, so aren’t really appropriate for this sort of play.  (Maybe they’ll get an excursion to Wonderland and find some Drink Me Potions of Growth at some point.)  However, she recently found a Disney princess play kit at a bookstore, with minis for the ‘core’ princesses at the perfect size.  Shari also has a Tinkerbelle mini, but uses it in another game.

So, we had an actual mini for Cinderalla.  Allie suggested using Aurora’s mini for Rapunzel, since they’re both blond.  Shari used a butterfly for Tinkerbelle.  Caroline picked out a martial artist fig for Mulan, Misha picked out a goliath warrior fig for Fionna, and Rebecca found that the pathfinder Human Druid is a pretty close fit for Tianna.

After a quick description of the situation (all the Princes have been captured, and everyone’s kingdom is falling apart, and all the villains are back), I framed their opening scene: the Princesses teaming up and going to look for information in that wretched hive of scum and villainy, the Snuggly Ducking Tavern.  (Yes, the D&D&D game started in a tavern, but no, the princesses did not all meet there.)  The goons in resident immediately spotted the princesses and yelled ‘get them!’

The Pub Goons were based on a reskin of the Halflings in my kickstarter supplement, Heroic Threats.  I used two Bravos, a skirmisher with an extra attack that can only be used against those granting it combat advantage, two Pickpockets, a lurker with the ability to steal unattended items, but also to attack against Reflex, and 6 Lookouts, an Artillery Minion that can get an extra move once per encounter.  To ease up on the difficulty a little bit, on what would otherwise be a level 2 encounter, I dropped the Second Chance ability from the Pub Goons but kept all other stats.  (As an aside, one thing this session reminds me is that a level +1 encounter is much tougher at low heroic than it is at high-paragon or epic, which is what I’ve been mostly playing recently.)

The princesses kicked down the door, and entered.  The enemy had much better initiative, so the Lookouts were able to plink them with slingstones before scattering.  The two Pickpockets engaged, one hitting with a charge, the other missing with its pickpocket ability.  One of the Bravos engaged and started dealing damage, and the other one had to round the bar to join the fight, which worked in the players’ favor.

Mulan and Fionna got good mileage out of their Heroic Auras, making sure that they were attacked rather than the less armored casters.  Cinderella went out from behind this cover to get better shots, and ended up getting knocked out twice, taking up both of Tinkerbelle’s Curative Infusions and Rapunzel’s daily Majestic Word.  Fionna got bloodied, having positioned herself where the rest of the Lookouts had to ping her, but that only mad her angrier.  (Misha says she enjoys playing strikers the most.)

Some other cool things that happened: we discover that Tinkerbelle swears all the time, but she does it so quietly that no one can hear, battlefield Prestidigitation so Cinderella’s bloodstained dress won’t clash, Tianna spends an action point to get to one of the Tavern’s side exits and smashes a door on a minion- the Athletics check fails, sadly, but the stunt sets her up to take him out the next round.

One of the things I implemented to establish the Disney ‘tone’ was to state that no one ever dies- bad guys who are beaten up are knocked unconscious, and presumably mend their ways, the Princesses themselves cannot die, but instead must ‘retire’ if they would die by the rules, and major villains always fall to their deaths, killed by Fate, not the hand of the Princesses.  So afterwards, there was a skill challenge to get information out of the Pub Goons.  Cinderella used some Thievery to tie up the bartender, and everyone else used a mix of Diplomacy, Bluff, and Intimidate to get information out of the guy.  He revealed that they were working for the “G Men,” two wizards who captured the princes and were going to go after the princesses next, and that apparently roses are the key to their magic.

After wards, I asked them what they wanted to pursue next, and they agreed that they wanted Aurora’s expertise of roses, so the next session will involve the sleeping curse hanging over Aurora’s kingdom.

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Heroic Threats Kickstarter is Live

My D&D Heroic Threats kickstarter is live!  Check out the kickstarter page:

Heroic Threats is a collection of 110 monsters, levels 1-10 for use in D&D 4th edition.  With Kickstarter, a PDF can be yours for only $3!

As a blog exclusive, if I get comments from 10 users here, I’ll talk about the Smokemen, one of the new monsters in Heroic Threats.

Wayfarer’s Rest Caravan: Janus

A mercenary and wilderness hunter, Janus had no part in the conflict for free Urik, joining the Wayfarer’s Rest Caravan only for the promise of solid pay. A massive brute of a Dragonborn, he is physically imposing and a terror on the battlefield.

Janus’s most prized possession is his enchanted Maul, “Truth,” which is of exquisite craftsmanship.


Level 6 Dragonborn Barbarian Gladiator

Strength 20 +5
Dexterity 10
Constitution 14 +2
Intelligence 8 -1
Wisdom 10
Charisma 17 +3

Armor Class 20
Fort Defense 21
Ref Defense 17
Will Defense 17

Total Hit Points: 59
Bloodied Value 29
Healing Surge: 16
Healing Surges/ Day 10

Initiative +3
Speed: 6

Basic Melee Attack
+13 vs AC (Maul)
2d6 + 9 damage

Basic Ranged Attack
+11 vs AC (Javelin)
1d6 + 6 damage

Athletics +14 (+13)
Endurance +10 (+9)
Nature (B) +10
Intimidate +13

Racial Abilities
Skill Bonuses: +2 History, +2 Intimidate
Dragonborn Fury: +1 racial bonus to attacks while bloodied.
Draconic Heritage: Add Con modifier to healing surge value.
Dragonbreath: Gain Dragonbreath power.

Bludgeon Expertise: +1 feat bonus to weapon attacks with hammers or maces. +1 feat bonus to distance of push or slide effects from hammer or mace attacks.
Dragonborn Frenzy: +2 to damage rolls while bloodied.
Defender of the Wild: Training in Nature, Defender of the Wild “power”
Hide Armor Expertise: Use +2 instead of Dex or Int modifier for AC while wearing Hide.

Class Abilities
Barbarian Agility: +1 bonus to AC and Reflex when not wearing heavy armor.
Feral Might: Thaneborn Triumph: Gain Roar of Triumph power. Whenever you bloody an enemy, next attack by your or an ally against that enemy gains a +3 bonus to the attack roll.
Rage Strike: You gain the Rage Strike power.
Rampage: Once per round, when you score a critical hit with a Barbarian attack power, make a melee basic attack as a free action.

Inherent Bonuses: +1 enhancement bonus to attacks, damage, defenses.


At-Will Attacks

Devastating Strike (Standard, Weapon, Melee)
+ 13 vs AC
Hit: 2d6 + 1d8 + 7 damage.
Effect: Until the start of your next turn, unless you are raging, all attackers gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls against you.

Pressing Strike (Standard, Weapon, Melee)
Effect: Before the attack, shift 2 squares. You can move through an enemy’s space, but can’t end there.
+13 vs AC
Hit: 2d6 + 7 damage, and you push the target 2 squares. If you are raging, deal 1d6 extra damage.

Encounter Attacks

Brutal Slam (Standard, Weapon, Melee)
+13 vs Fortitude
Hit: 4d6 + 7 damage and you push the target 3 squares and knock it prone. Then one enemy adjacent to the target takes 1d8 + 7 damage.

Disrupting Advance (Standard, Weapon, Melee)
+13 vs AC
Hit: 4d6 + 7 damage, and you push the target 3 squares. Target and each enemy adjacent to the target at the end of the push are slowed until the end of your next turn.

Escalating Violence (Standard, Weapon, Melee)
+13 vs AC
Hit: 4d6 + 7 damage. Until the end of your next turn, all allies within 5 squares of you gain a +3 bonus to damage rolls against the target. If you take damage before the start of your next turn, you gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls for your next attack.

Dragonbreath (Minor, Acid, Close Blast 3)
Targets creatures in Blast
+8 vs Reflex
Hit: 1d6 + 3 acid damage.

Daily Attacks

Macetail’s Rage (Standard, Rage, Weapon, Close Burst 1)
Targets enemies in burst you can see.
+13 vs Reflex
Hit: 2d6 + 7 damage, and you knock the target prone.
Miss: Half damage.
Effect: You enter the rage of the Macetail Behemoth. Until the rage ends, whenever you hit with an attack, gain 5 temporary hit points.

Rage Strike (Standard, Weapon, Melee)
Special: You must be raging. Expend an unused Rage power and make this attack.
+13 vs AC
Hit: 6d6 + 7 damage (Macetail’s Rage), or 8d6 + 7 damage (Silver Phoenix Rage).
Miss: Half damage.

Silver Phoenix Rage (Standard, Rage, Healing, Weapon, Melee)
+13 vs AC
Hit: 4d6 + 7 fire damage, and ongoing 5 fire damage (save ends).
Miss: Half damage.
Effect: You enter the Rage of the Silver Phoenix. Until the rage ends, you gain Regeneration 3, and the first time you drop to 0 hp or fewer, you can spend a healing surge as an immediate interrupt.

Utility Powers

Bloodborn Menace (Encounter, Free)
Trigger: You bloody an enemy or reduce an enemy to 0 hp with a melee attack.
Effect: Each enemy within 10 that can see you grants combat advantage to you until the end of your next turn.

Defender of the Wild (Encounter, Free)
During your turn, mark each enemy adjacent to you until the end of your next turn.

Nature Sense (Daily, Free)
Trigger: You would roll initiative in a natural environment.
Effect: Roll Nature in place of your initiative check. In addition, you and your allies gain a +4 bonus to all defenses during the first round of the encounter.

Roar of Triumph (Encounter, Free, Close Burst 5)
Trigger: Your attack reduces an enemy to 0 hp.
Effect: Each enemy in burst takes a -2 penalty to all defenses until the end of your next turn.

Second Wind (Encounter, Standard)
Spend a healing surge and regain hit points. You gain a +2 bonus to all defenses until the start of your next turn.


“Truth,” Maul +2
5x Javelins
5x Daggers

Bracers of Mighty Striking (Arms)
+2 item bonus to damage rolls of melee basic attacks.

Gauntlets of Ogre Power (Hands)
+1 to Strength and Athletics checks.
Power (Daily) Add a +5 power bonus to the damage roll of a successful melee attack.

Adventurer’s Kit
Desert Clothing
Supplies for 10 Survival Days

315 gp (mix of ceramic and metal coinage)

Wayfarer’s Rest Caravan: Renauldus the Malcontent

Six years ago, the people of Urik made a stand against their sorcerer king. They had support from Free Tyr, the Veiled Alliance, and renegade elements from Raam. If the Rebellion had been successful, Urik would have joined Tyr as the second free city state.

But it wasn’t meant to be. The reinforcements from Tyr never came, Raam exploded into violent warfare, and Urik received staunch support from the Kings of Nibenay and Balic. The rebels, despite seizing the outlying farms and mines, made a desperate last stand in the valley of Wayfarer’s Rest.

Renauldus the Malcontent was there that day, a leader of the men standing against the tyranny of the Sorcerer Kings, only to see his allies abandon him due to cowardice. Upon the evidence of his defeat, he led his squad in a daring retreat, rather than see them killed or enslaved by the forces of Urik.

Today, Renauldus leads a rag-tag caravan of drakes and beasts, wandering across the wastes. They avoid the larger City States when they can, preferring to trade with smaller villages, and doing odd-jobs for good causes, especially those that target the Sorcerer Kings and benefit the common man.

Renauldus the Malcontent.

Wrath of Ashardalon Review

Just got Wrath of Ashardalon Sunday night, and had a chance today to sort out all the components and play a solo game.

The experience is essentially the same as Castle Ravenloft, with new monsters, heroes, traps, tricks, and treasures. The rules add some new wrinkles in: different conditions (Daze and Poison, the latter of which has a saving throw type mechanic) doors that can be opened and might be trapped, and my favorite, the Dire Chamber. When you reach the Dire Chamber entrance, you draw a whole bunch more Dire Chamber tiles to make a great big chamber- and this is usually where you’ll fight the end boss. This fixes the problem that the end boss tile often is clumped with many, many, monsters (which means attacks that target everyone on the tile can be ridiculous at the end of the game), and also introduces a nice generic adventure, where you play until you reach the Dire Chamber, then draw a card to see what’s in it and what you need to do (usually kill a bunch of monsters). My biggest complaint of the scenario design was that there were too many gimmicks- there didn’t really feel like there was a ‘standard’ scenario. The basic Dire Chamber scenario though looks to be a go-to for Wrath of Ashardalon play.

(Also, I feel a strong urge to write some Dire Chamber cards for Castle Ravenloft now.)

The new heroes include a Fighter, Cleric, Rogue, and Wizard, and a Paladin for the fifth. However, they are all fairly different than the Castle Ravenloft versions- different power cards, and different class powers. For example, the new cleric heals himself and another character for 2 each (instead of the healing surge value to one person), and ends conditions when he heals you (instead of getting a free heal for not attacking).

The game is certainly compatible with Castle Ravenloft, though some funny things might happen if one mixes the sets- for example, mixing monster decks would make the game easier due to a lower occurence of duplicate monsters. Also, the new treasure deck is just treasure cards- no boons- and I’m not sure if this is good or bad yet.

When Castle Ravenloft first came out, I heard multiple people complain Wizards was ‘dumbing down’ D&D, however, playing these games, it is clear this is not the case: they are broadening the brand, and making strong introductory games that are also fun in their own right. I’ve said it before: a one-hour dungeon boardgame is the holy grail of dungeon boardgames, and Wizards have made it. Wrath of Ashardalon builds on the structure of Castle Ravenloft, putting in a few more complications and broadens the experience.

Mini Review: Castle Ravenloft Boardgame

Tim warned me not to buy it. Chided me afterwards even.

The MSRP is $65. It has 40 (unpainted) D&D minis, made from the same molds. D&D running minis enthusiasts may find the minis worth the price of admission alone. Then theres cards, tiles, tokens, and more tiles. Oh, the components.

It’s a dungeon crawl boardgame that plays in an hour. I’ve said (ever since experiencing Descent and similar games) that a Dungeon Crawl game that could be played in an hour would be boardgaming gold. And here it is.

The game is delightfully surprising on a number of levels: surprisingly challenging, despite being easily accessible. Surprisingly deep strategically, despite the individual tactical decisions being fairly simple (it lacks the deep tactical crunch of 4th edition, despite using the same ‘core engine’, which makes gameplay much, much faster). The rules were very easy to teach, and the game includes solo play rules to help you learn yourself, or offer a challenge on a lonely evening.

And the replayability! In addition to the natural random shape of the dungeon, there’s different missions with different objectives, some which seem harder than others, and the different characters can have different choices for powers each time they are played.

The only downside (and it’s not inconsiderable) is the rules text- they are not very clear in some parts. I had to make a couple of house rulings where the rules were vague. This is disappointing seeing as how it was designed by Mearls and Slavicsek, who should know better.

Despite this big ugly wart, this game is a heck of a lot of fun to play, and is going to be a staple of my boardgaming bag for the forseeable future.