Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Road to Gencon 2010: Next Year's D&D

This blog exists because of Gencon. Last year's con was the impetus to finally get off my metaphoric bum and actually start writing a blog up, and about 11 months later, I feel better than ever The Hopeless Gamer. Over the course of the next month or so we'll be making periodic posts about what makes us excited for Gencon 2010. Whether it's products we hope to see, news we hope to hear, or games we're excited to play, we're bustin' at the seams here with stuff to talk about as that fateful week in August slowly approaches. One part "July is the slowest month EVAR" and two parts "Where did July go? I need more time to get ready!" our Road to Gencon 2010 series will hopefully make you excited and ready for the big show. It's fun and educational. Keep reading to find out how fun! (hint: a lot).

One thing I'm sure we'll learn about come August is the next campaign setting to be released for D&D 4th Edition. Every Gencon now we're gotten word about what the next year's con holds for us multiverse-loving D&D players. This stretches back to 2007 when we first heard about 4th Edition. Hard to believe it was already three years ago, but time flies when you're killing kobolds. In 2008 we got Forgotten Realms and last year Eberron was unveiled. There's a lot of speculation about what this year's campaign setting will be, and when I see baseless discussion, my first thought always is How can I participate?

The Group and I are all noobs when it comes to D&D. We have no experience actually playing anything before 4th Ed. and our d20 experience stretches all the way back to playing Star Wars Saga edition the year it was released. This preamble is simply to say that I don't have any first-hand experience with any of the existing settings. I was really excited last year with Eberron was announced as it's the only setting I really cared about (that I knew about, this part's important). Then at Gencon 2009 we got the Dark Sun announcement and I was even more intrigued. I knew nothing about it, but post-apocalyptic savage fantasy with magic that's truly dangerous struck my fancy right away.

Since last year, I've started to look into some of the other existing settings. I of course immediately discovered Ravenloft - partly because of its prolific presence in the D&D world and partly because of the announced board game Wizards is releasing. I loved the idea (we're a group of horror role-players at heart), but I quickly realized that there's no way we'll see a setting for it if they're going out on a limb and trying a new type of release for the setting (one I'm still very excited to see the final product for). Most of the other settings seem to be too esoteric or too generic.

I've been impressed so far with the distinctive and unique settings they're released for 4th Edition. All three campaign settings so far seem to offer very different atmospheres and experiences for players and GM-alike. At this point I'm hoping to see something new. Granted, all of the settings so far have been pretty new to me as a new player, but you start to see pretty quickly how related they are to their older settings. I wouldn't use "stale" to describe the settings we've seen, but I would like to see something completely original. I want to see a setting designed around the mechanics of 4th Edition. Wizards has done a great job of adapting all three (I'm assuming her with Dark Sun) campaign settings work with the new edition (specifically the powers mechanic), but I'd like to see something that integrates the mechanics from the ground up.

As far as themes go, I'm pretty open. I love steam punk, specifically Warmachine stuff, but I feel like that could be replicated pretty nicely by Eberron. If I want to play a more traditional world of wonders fantasy game, Forgotten Realms seems like a good fix. Horror, at least a certain flavor of horror is covered by Dark Sun. So what's left? I think I'd love to see a setting focused almost entirely on one huge war. Lots of sides, but the main themes are military action, brotherhood, and the horrors of war. Players would be forced to pick an army to work with and some would be allied while others adversaries. That's just one idea though.

I'd also like to see a more civilized, gun-inclusive setting, and this isn't just cause I love Valkyria Chronicles so much (but it is a little because of that). I know Eberron's got a between WWI and WWII vibe, but what if we had something that was more scientifically based? With lots of guns? Oh! Also can we get some tanks or other ridable/usable vehicles in the game? That'd be a shock and probably make people take a second look at 4th Edition. It's hard to imagine what's coming next from Wizards, but needless to say it will be more exciting than Martial Power 4, God help us all.

1 comment:

  1. I actually hope they release a brand new setting for 4th next year. I suspect that the Gamma World boxed coming out in the fall is a dry run for 'gun rules', and I'd like to see something that reflects current fantasy tropes and desires. So, maybe steampunk, maybe something a little more CRPG-like.


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