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WP Worlds and Monsters
Wizards Presents: Worlds and Monsters
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Overview

4.0 will not be just a retread of old D&D settings. This book, lavishly illustrated, gives us a tour of the new setting of D&D. To understand this book you must first know it’s constructed of essays written by the developers and game designers themselves. Each provides a viewpoint in to the games development, why things were changed and what new form the world will be in. The following is a partial list of those individuals:

The world is being created under new assumptions, no longer clinging to the European medieval model as its base. The world can be envisioned with no real world analog. The setting can convey and element of the fantastic. Monsters are common both as foes and as intrinsic components to society. The world also is ancient, having many cultures rise and fall, each leaving behind there legends, cultural fragments and items. Magic is inherent and colors the world, though magic users are still somewhat rare there no longer feared as supernatural threats. A new phrase to the game will be “points of light in a Dark World”. This is a setting in which there are no huge empires with stable borders but City-states that exist in the howling wilderness. The deep forest, rugged hills, and fetid swamps hide all manner of unknown threats, and the common folk stay within the safety of there environment, leaving the unknown to the adventurers to deal with. The game cosmology has also been changed. Gone is the great wheel of the past. Instead we have:

  • The World. The center of the game and focus of the attention. Here most of the characters will live there lives, having adventures spanning the globe.
  • The Shadowfell. The dark echo of the world, a land where the souls of the dead pass. A place where necromancers draw their power. Not truly evil, it borders the World in places of deepest shadow, both sending forth creatures and trapping helpless mortals.
  • The Feywild. Another reflection of the world. A land of intense beauty and a source of arcane power. The creatures stepped in ancient magic, granting fantastic powers.
  • The Elemental Chaos. The heart of the world consists of an eternal cycle of creation and destruction, a place of elemental powers that give the world substance. Buried deep in this is the Abyss, the home of demons.
  • The Astral Sea. Over the world is a shimmering veil, behind which are the stars of the night sky. Parting the veil will bring a traveler to the dominions, the homes of the gods. These realms are much like islands adrift on the shinning seas.
  • The Far Realm. A hold over from past editions, home of the aberrants. A home of alien though far removed from the day to day of the common folk. Brushes with the realm leave behind madness, strange creatures with alien goals, and cults dedicated to the strange beings that dwell there.

The goal of the world will be towards ease of use and fun. The monster encounters are also being retooled, gone will be the design concept of 4 on 1 match. Now battles will have many creatures, each assigned a role in the battle. Monsters will be simplified to provide both a challenge on the battlefield and to be easy to run and to allow for quick setup.

The goal of the book is in a sense to soften the blow to the veterans, shaping expectations as to what the game will provide and what will be left behind. The book is not required to run 4.0 and no rules are presented. It is just a glimpse of the future of D&D, and the design path it will follow.

Sources

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