I am once again stepping up to be a DM at my friendly local game shop (FLGS) for the D&D Worldwide Game Day: DMG2. As such, I received the materials for the game in order to prepare. As I have in the past, I would like to give some fact, some opinion, and most importantly, give the livingdice.com readers a small preview of what they can expect this weekend.
Most of you who stay connected to the D&D world, know that this Saturday is the next installment of the D&D Worldwide Game Day series. This time in celebration of the new Dungeon Master’s Guide 2. As many of you might remember from my review of the PHB2 game day, I recommended against participating in future game days until WOTC got their act together. So how does this game day stack up? Is it worth attending? My short answer….
Materials: One of the biggest issues WOTC had with the PHB2 game day was with their materials. They were really really skimpy. I am happy to say that production value has increased with this game day. Players get to keep their miniatures and character sheets this time. There were plenty of game kits available to my FLGS. Enough so, that we are going to actually let the player who kills a monster, keep the monster. Where we had to turn many players away last time due to a lack of materials, that should be no issue this time.
The kits come with the standard pack of monsters from a recent Miniatures set and a double-sided poster map. This event did not come with a printed adventure book (more on that later). But, it did come with really nice set of character sheets (also, more on this later).
Miniatures: The miniatures included with the pack include 12 figures from the Legendary Evils series as the monsters and 5 figures from the Player’s Handbook Heroes Series 2 for the PCs. The figures are cool and fit the story environment well. However, I give the same critique as before. This is your World Wide Game Day. This is where you should put a fervor in players excitement. Why aren’t the miniatures special? Or at least from an upcoming set that is not released yet. Players are not going to be as excited bringing home a figure that they can, or have, already bought. This could be a big WOW moment. Opportunity missed.
Characters: Here is were things get good. WOTC has learned from their mistakes on this one. The charaters are 6th level, so the powers and abilities learning curve isn’t has high for new players. Nothing super crazy going on. But best of all, they are giving players an amazing character sheet. Trask and I saw character sheets like this at Gen Con this year for the D&D Delve (Trask has a picture of those HERE). They are full color print on a 8.5” x 5.5” glossy cardstock. They are beautiful! And best of all, fitting the whole sheet onto those cards means they cut out all the stuff you don’t need for a one shot game. The DDI Character builder is great, but all that stuff is not needed for this. They found the perfect easy-to-use solution, and I hope they stick with it for events to come. You can see from the picture, this is how the sheets look, and the content they contain. KUDOS WOTC!
And for those who are interested, this is the run down:
- Naivara – Female Eladrin Swordmage
- Xandross – Male Human Fighter
- Glorinus – Male Human Invoker
- Holkarn – Mae Halfling Barbarian
- Tower – Warforged Artificer
Story: This is were things get interesting. This is the release of the new DMG, so this event should be about the adventure right? Well, WOTC is doing something new this game day. The adventure has to be created. The maps are obviously set, as they are printed on the poster. And the creature selection is limited, as they give you an assortment of minis. But the backstory and adventure goals need to be created. And organizers have two ways to do it. They can have their GMs do it on their own before the game, or have the players come together to create the adventure at the game day.
My event is running the first option, so I get to sit down and design this adventure for my players. This is fine, and fun. I do it all the time for my home game, so it is something I enjoy. The second option leaves me a little worried. I think most people show up to a D&D game day to play. They don’t WANT to build the adventure. They want to get to the Orc slaying. It takes a special talent to GM, and most of that talent is desire. That and throwing something together in an hour, will leave you a big pile of crap. AKA a Delve with no story guts. That is not something honoring the DMG2. A book with a good chunk of its writing devoted to good storytelling tips. So, any of you out there that end up playing at a location that is doing this method, please post a comment and let me know how it goes. I fear for it though.
So, that leads to here. My BIG gripe about this adventure layout. The DMG is all about the story, traps, curses, disease, and skill challenges. How much do we have of that here? ZERO! It has you design two combat encounters and that is it. Monsters are for the Monster Manual guys! No skill challenge? No traps? No Puzzles? NO WAY! My players are going to get a more rounded experience with content coming from the DMG2. That is what it is suppose to about right?
Maybe someone out there can help me understand why a game day, with the sole purpose to market the Dungeon Masters Guide 2, has NO CONTENT from the book? Sure, it has building an adventure, but those are skills from the first DMG. This is a DMG2-free game day. Well, at least run as written.
If you are floating around the Game Depot in Tempe, AZ Saturday, come by my table. I will give you a real DMG2 experience.