Monday, February 28, 2011

4E Player Cheat Sheet

Over at Big Ball of No Fun the other day, Callin talks about letting the players have a DM Screen in front of them, because a lot of the information there is useful for them.  The problem is, a lot of it isn't, and it also costs money. It would also take up a lot of table space if everyone had their own DM Screen.  

However, I really liked the idea of a player cheat sheet, so I made one. You can download it here. You need 8.5x14 (legal-size) paper for it. It's a PDF. Print on both sides of the sheet. The first side has all Conditions, the prices for meals and lodging, rules for death and dying, and actions that can be taken in combat. The second side has a run-down of all Skills and some uses for each one.  

Sunday, February 27, 2011

D&D the CCG: Old School Inspiration: Deck of Many Things

So, while perusing Save Versus Death I came across his new Saturday Night Delve called "Revenge of the Iron Lich".  There was another post about using the "Deck of Many Things" in that delve and I thought I really ought to make my own Deck of Many Things using Magic Set Editor. I cracked open my AD&D 2E Dungeon Master Guide and started putting the deck together.  Here are some examples.

First of all, the art is obviously stolen from a variety of sources around the internets.  I would like to be able to give away a PDF file of these cards for people to use in their home games. Since my blog here is non-commercial, and I wouldn't be selling them in any way, is it okay to use art like that?  I feel like I'm probably stepping on peoples' copyrights a bit. So, the question I have for any Old School gamers who would like a printable Deck of Many Things is this: should I make a full deck with artwork and make it available as a PDF, or should I direct you to Magic Set Editor and make my Deck of Many Things file available without artwork, so you can insert your own?

Or, even better, can anyone direct me to some old-schoolish art that would be available for free-use somewhere?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

4E Character Sheets on Legal Paper

So, in preparation for my new D&D game that will be starting in March, I went looking for some 4E character sheets out on the 'nets.  Specifically, I was looking for character sheets formatted to fit on 8.5x14 inch (legal) paper, mostly because I have a few reams of the stuff that I would like to use, and thought that size would work well for D&D.
My search proved fruitless, however, so I hunkered down on Excel and did it myself.  I started with another Excel character sheet I'd downloaded from a long-forgotten source (I believe it was posted either on EnWorld or the WotC forums).  The original worked pretty well, and I kept a lot of the functions in place.  This allows you to easily level up; changing the number of the level, on an even level, causes everything effected by a "+1/2 level" modifier to change appropriately.  All the skills and defenses are linked to their appropriate abilities.
Please note that I took out the section for "Equipped Magic Items" because I use custom card hand-outs for all magic items the players receive in-game.  I also use similar cards for Action Points, so there's nowhere to record how many of those you might have.
I made two different sheets, one in Landscape Orientation and the other in Portrait Orientation. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

D&D the CCG: Let's Get Rid of Powers

I’m thinking of getting rid of combat powers for this card-based system.  The different powers and their various afflictions, choosing what to use, and keeping track of everything, are a lot of what slows down combat in 4E. Tactical considerations are an important part of the game, and can certainly be incorporated without overly-complicated powers.  

My system so far has no levels, as per traditional D&D, and instead growing more powerful is done through purchase of feats and skills with accumulated experience points. So instead of forcing players to buy combat powers every time they gain enough experience to train new abilities, we can simply allow them to purchase feats that gives them the option of inflicting different status ailments on their enemies in combat with their attacks.  Basically emulate a lot of the effects of higher level combat powers but do so through their “Basic Melee Attack” or “Basic Ranged Attack.”  

Getting rid of powers also has the added bonus of freeing me from a lot of copy-paste work.  This also would mean that I could take a lot of this work, and with a little creative energy, actually give it away as as system to people and not be worried about a cease-and-desist letter from WotC.  So basically what I’m shooting for is new-school options and customization, while retaining the old-school feel of things.  We’re bridging the Great Divide here people!

It also occurs to me that I should find a better name for it than D&D the CCG.  What originally started out as a theory on WotC’s next edition of D&D has become my very own Frankenstein monster, but I’m cool with that.  Any ideas?

Also, allow me to make something very clear.  What I’m building is not a Collectible Card Game with booster packs.  Every available card would be included.  This is purely a way of building a character for a D&D-type fantasy role playing game using only cards instead of a character sheet.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Islands in the Sky: New Arkhosia

I know I said I would post up some more of the D&D the CCG cards, but I'm still working on it. I would like to have a full first level character put together to post up. This will require a bit more work.

In the meantime, I have an overview of another Island in the Sky for my eponymous campaign, which should be getting started in the first weekend of March.

New Arkhosia

New Arkhosia is the new Dragonborn empire. They are collecting islands and binding them to their large central mote, and have developed a means of magical propulsion to control the movement of New Arkhosia. 

New Arkhosia has a population of almost ten thousand dragonborn, and another twenty thousand subjects, primarily dwarves, goblinoids, lizardfolk and a smattering of other races. 

The dragonborn are militant imperialists, and are led by Emperor Drakkon the Red. There is an elected Senate, which largely serves to rubber-stamp the decrees of Drakkon. 

The main island is a testament to dragonborn militarism in every aspect. Barracks, smithies, training grounds, everything built with precision, simplicity, and purpose. 

New Arkhosia has mastered the magic of controlling the movement of its earthmotes. An eldritch engine deep in the bowels of the main island powers the movement of New Arkhosia, and also helps bind the other islands to the central mote. When they conquer a new island, the magic helps move it into place, and they build several bridges to connect and further bind them.  

The dragonborn also build powerful, fast airships. They are fully capable of not only defending their airspace from threats but also launching raids and invasions of islands they desire to bind to them. 

In the five years since Drakkon the Red took over the senate and cast himself as Emperor, the newly militant New Arkhosia has bound 72 islands to itself, some large, some small, all populated and rich in resources. Each individual island has its own Dragonborn Overlord. Most are cruel bastards who rule their domain with an iron fist. Certain islands are better assignments than others. All Overlords serve at the pleasure of the Emperor. To fail is to die. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

D&D the CCG: Ritual Cards

Over here there was a request for 4E Ritual cards.  Here's an example of one I'm fixing to use in my game.

Granted, this one is a pretty simple one with a limited amount of text, so it fits nicely on the card.  I also have to wonder how much of the information is really necessary to have right at a player's fingertips.  Market value? Category?  Hell, even casting time?  Anyway, I'd be happy to make more.  A lot of the rituals have considerably more text, so something a little more simple may be in order.

Friday, February 18, 2011

D&D the CCG: Quest for Balance

I'm only focusing on the heroic tier here. Paragon and Epic level games are beyond the scope of what I aim to do with this series, mostly because I have very little experience running or playing in that type of game, and also because it only really makes sense to start at the heroic tier. 

At first level, most characters start with the following: a racial encounter power, a few class features, a feat or two, 3 or 4 trained skills, 2 at-will powers, 1 encounter power, and 1 daily power. 

Whenever they gain a level, they get either a new power or feat. At levels 4 and 8 they get +1 to two ability scores.    

The ultimate question I'm faced with is one of balance.  How many points to start a level one character? How do the different class features balance against each other and how should that effect their cost? What's to stop a character from focusing purely on combat feats and powers and forego class features? Can something like that be balanced at all? Is that okay? 

How does the ability to Mark an opponent compare to, say, Sneak Attack potential? Certain classes have more armor and weapon proficiencies built in than others. 

One thing I'm definitely going to do is open up my old AD&D 2E books and see compare those classes to the 4th Edition. I know the concept of D&D as a card-based game is anathema to a lot of the grognards out there, but I think this system could have a very old-school feel to it in play. And honestly, character sheets bug the hell out of me. I can never find the information I need when I need it. 4th Edition especially, with combat powers, the character sheets are annoying as hell. I doubt cards are the answer for everyone, but my players love the cards I've introduced to the game, and they've definitely been a good addition. 

This is going to require extensive playtesting. But it should be fun! Tomorrow I will post up some example cards. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Old School Inspiration: Night Below

The AD&D 2E boxed module Night Below is a classic, and for good reason. It offers a huge Underdark area to explore, new and interesting peoples to interact with, including deep gnomes and the undiscovered race of rockseer elves. There was an emphasis more on exploration and role-playing, particularly diplomacy and politics amongst the various factions of the Underdark. It was made very clear to the DM that the PC's choices often would have longterm effects on their relationships in the Underdark. 

This box set contains three books, a couple of map/posters, and an abundance of copyable player handouts. It's even got cut-out minis for combat! The three books are "The Evils of Haranshire," "Perils of the Underdark," and "The Sunless Sea." I see no reason that each of these books couldn't comprise a tier of 4th Edition play, albeit probably accelerated. It would certainly require a great deal of work, but a conversion could certainly be done. 

And I intend to do it! Yeah, one more D&D project to embark on, and a big one at that. A question for my readers who might be in the know: are the any legal issues that I need to deal with here, as far as TSR's IP is concerned? I have no intention of copying anything word-for-word from the original text, or of selling any of my work, but the plot and such would be essentially unchanged. Is this type of thing kosher or am I getting myself in hot water here? 

I know some of the work has been done before by others. The beginning is pretty easy, mostly because the first book is typical, cliche backwoods fantasy adventure stuff. The meat of Night Below happens when you actually get into the Underdark and start exploring. It seems the conversions that are out there tend to be more of the adventure-report style. I need to take some more time to read a little deeper into what people have done, but I'm not sure an actual start-to-finish 4e conversion exists. Prove me wrong! 

Perhaps do it as a series of dungeon delves? That would certainly be plenty of work to get my DMing chops up. I'd run into problems at the climactic parts (assault on the sunless citadel, et al) but a series of connected Underdark delves would be a lot of fun...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Islands in the Sky: Random Island Generator!

This generator will be used when the PCs are traveling the skies and happen across a random Island in the Sky. 

Per 6 hours of sky travel: 1d6
1 Nothing
2 Nothing
3 Another skyship! 1: Pirate 2: Cruise/pleasure ship 3: Military 4: Fisherman 5: Merchant 6: Adventurers (and roll on race chart below)
4: Monster attack!
5: Wild Weather! 1: Tornado 2: Thunderstorm 3: Snowstorm 4: Windstorm 5: Heatstorm 6: Hailstorm
6: Island in the Sky (roll on following charts)

Size in square miles: 2d4
2 1d10+20
3 1d10
4 1d4
5 <1
6 1d4
7 1d10
8 1d10+20

Inhabitants 1d8+1d12
2 Artisan Town (magic items)
3 Mining Town (rare minerals)
4 Ghost Town
5 House on a Hill (occupied)
6 House on a Hill (abandoned)
7 Mining Town
8 Organized Militaristic Humanoids
9 Wilderness
10 Humanoid Monster Packs/Clans
11 Ancient Ruins
12 Small Trading Village
13 2d6 homes around shared farmland
14 House on a Hill (abandoned)
15 House on a Hill (occupied) 
16 Ghost Town
17 Mining Town
18 Artisan Town
19 Mining Town (rare minerals)
20 Artisan Town (magic items)

Terrain Type 2d6
2 Arctic
3 Desert
4 Jungle
5 Mountains
6 Forest
7 Plains/Prairie
8 Swamp
9 Badlands
10 Fey or Shadow
11 Volcano
12 Watermote

Racial Make-up d20 (25% mixed 1-6 races)
1 Elf
2 Eladrin
3 Gnome
4 Halfling
5 Dwarf
6 Dragonborn
7 Drow
8 Shadar-kai
9 Wilden
10 Tiefling
11 Cyclops
12 Gnoll
13 Goblin
14 Orc
15 Kobold
16 Lizardfolk
17 Troglodyte
18 Undead
19 Fomorians
20 Human

Island in the Sky: Myth Aerial

Myth Aerial is the home of the Eladrin. It is an earthmote of about a hundred square miles on the surface, all of it covered in Feywild forest. The trees grow larger towards the center, and one gargantuan hollow tree in the middle serves as a castle of sorts, where Queen Zdena holds her lonely court. 

There are only a few hundred eladrin in Myth Aerial. The eldest among them, twenty-two of them, were around when the Islands in the Sky were ripped from the earth, and the sin of humanity was washed away. These eladrin are all of noble blood and all can be considered paragon-tier, leveled adventurers. There are no common eladrin in Myth Aerial. 

Myth Aerial is highly defended with the powerful mythals that protect all eladrin cities. Magical wards abound; the eladrin will never be caught off guard by surprise attackers. 

The eladrin of Myth Aerial trade openly with those they trust. Trusted merchants are given a writ of passage that allows them to land on the island. The eladrin do not need to trade to survive, but do so out of a sense of tradition. 

The island itself is very much an extension of the Feywild. Fey creatures and magic abound; it is very difficult to find one's way around without a guide. 

Myth Aerial is one of very few Islands that has buildings that predate the Rending of the Earth. The Tower of the Tree, the massive central structure on Myth Aerial, is an ancient eladrin relic in and of itself. Some say that the great and terrible ritual that caused the Rending of the Earth was cast from the Tower of the Tree. This is only partially true. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pack of Pirate Gnolls

Ahoy matey! You thought Gnolls were scary when they were riding dinosaurs around? I'll show you scary! Jam a hundred of those filth-ridden bastards on an airship to raid the skies, now that's scary! 

Captain Blacktooth is a big nasty gnoll with a flair for the dramatic and a taste for flesh. Specifically, he thinks halfling flesh is the most tender, tastiest morsels he's ever ripped off a bone. Blacktooth is probably the most well-dressed gnoll you'll ever meet, as befits someone of his station, being Captain of one of the most feared skyships ever to pirate through the clouds: the Vulture. 

The Vulture was once an elegant eladrin Cloudskipper, the Peregrine, until Blacktooth captured it in a daring midair raid. He slew every last eladrin on board and took the ship as his own, corrupting its very nature with his presence alone. Ever since he has terrorized the skies. 

The Vulture has a crew of some hundred and fifty battle hardened gnolls. They are loyal to Blacktooth to the death. When not out pirating the skies, they can typically be found on the Crag, a pirate haven and generally lawless island. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

PvP Shenanigans

A Memorable Session

This happened over a year ago, in a game of Dragonquest. We had a pretty interesting group going on. This was our GM's first campaign, and we didn't take it easy on him. Trial by fire, I suppose. We never gave any of us a free pass. 

Anyways, we had D playing an amnesiac elf-girl who turns out to be an assassin-princess (yeah, he got most of the plot cookies, but that was cool). 

J was playing some type of half-undead spellcaster whose familiar was an undead ferret with a broken neck. 

B was playing a magic-using elf who was primarily a jerk. 

P had a good old-fashioned human fighter, as i recall. 

And I was playing a crazy human with electrical-type abilities who got them after being struck by lightning. He was convinced he was the god Thor and told everyone exactly that. Warhammer, helmet and all. 

So we got wind of a rumor a coastal town was being terrorized by flesh-eating doppleganger demons. We went to check it out. One of the problems with the dopplegangers was that it was impossible to tell who was real and who was fake until they were dead; a dead doppleganger basically turned into goo. Apparently the demons had been eating people, adopting their likenesses, infiltrating their homes and then eating the rest of their families. 

It occurred to us that we needed a password system in case we got separated, to make sure none of us were actually dopplegangers in disguise. So we got to town, did a little investigating, fought and killed a doppleganger and then retired to the inn for the night. We three rooms at the inn; one for the elfgirl-assassin-princess, and one for me and B, and one for P and J. 

Shenanigans ensued. B the elf and J the undead had developed a mutual enmity; the elf didn't like the whole undead necromancer thing. While P was on watch outside and my character was fast asleep, B went out and started to cast a ritual of animal control in an attempt to bind J's familiar to himself. 

B failed. Critically. In Dragonquest, a critical failure on a spell (roll of 99 or 00 on D100), resulted in possible backfire. B backfired. The result of this backfire: loss of memory of the past d10 days. Confused and in a strange place in the middle of the night B's character started calling out for Thor. My character awoke and went to the door and calmly asked B what the password was. B's character had no idea about any password, and Thor let loose a cry to the rest of the team that the dopplegangers had gotten B's character. Thor grabbed his warhammer, threw open the door and attacked. We wound up chasing B through town. We even cornered him and gave him a chance to explain himself, which he proved unable to do due to the amnesia, and then we cut him to pieces. 

Needless to say, he didn't turn to goo. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Islands in the Sky: FeyIsles and Shadowmotes

In the standard 4e setting, there are two parallel planes to the normal world, and they are called the Feywild and the Shadowfell. I wish I could remember, but some D&D blogger somewhere had the brilliant idea to make the Feywild and the Shadowfell actual areas of the normal world, that didn't require extra-planar travel to get to. I really liked that idea and I think it fits really well with my Islands in the Sky campaign. I love the idea that the characters could easily land on the wrong island and get lost in the madness of the Feywild or trapped in the treacherous Shadowfell, and being able to do a one-shot like that without getting into the messiness of extra-planar travel is a big bonus for me. 

Something else occurs to me. For smaller islands that the PCs will invariably encounter, we need some randomness charts! I'll be workin on these in the days ahead and will hopefully soon have a few nice ones to draw from. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review: DDI: Eye on Dark Sun: Aldaarich

Review of DDI Article: Eye on Dark Sun: Aldaarich

I've never been a huge fan of the Dark Sun Campaign Setting. Yeah, I think it's a great concept, and I'm sure the folks who adventure in Athas love it, but it's not my cup of tea. I've always been more into Dragonlance and The Forgotten Realms; call me a traditionalist, I suppose, but that's how I like my D&D. I have yet to pick up any of the 4th Edition Dark Sun products except for the Free RPG Day offering last summer. 

That being said, I loved this article. It details an area that is far enough removed from the areas detailed in the Dark Sun Campaign Setting that it can be easily dropped into any world. And an intriguing place it is! The ruler is a paranoid-schizophrenic type, and a nasty level 20 sorcerer at that. The main city is a prison; none of its people ever leave, and no one is allowed entrance. Its people are all infected with the King's madness. 

The article also fleshes out a few of the local military leaders, and gives DMs a good starting point to build some intrigue-heavy plotlines. No one in Aldaarich trusts anyone, and that should definitely be a theme of any adventure here. 

This is definitely a terrifying place, and I can't wait to send my players there! Like I said before, this is the kind of place that could easily be dropped into any campaign with very little, if any, modification. This kind of article is the reason I keep my D&D Insider account active. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Legend of Zelda: A Railroady Sandbox

One of the things that the Legend of Zelda video games have always done very well is create the illusion of the sandbox, while railroading the player along the prescribed storyline. It was the first video game that allowed for open-ended exploration (some twenty years before Grand Theft Auto, I might add) and had a save feature. Basically the idea is that the player has a big area to explore, but can't explore further until the dungeon is conquered and a MacGuffin is acquired, which in turn gives the player the ability to explore new areas and find the next dungeon. 

I know I spent countless hours in every Zelda iteration just running around, trying to get a handle on the world that was available, and the resultant joy in having new areas to explore once I had the mechanical means to do so was always one of the best parts of the game. This is obviously a tradition I want to continue and draw upon for my Legend of Zelda 4e game with my kids, but I think the lessons learned here are applicable to any DM cooking up a homebrewed world. 

Start with an area big enough to explore, and with some minor treasure to pick up, but make sure the players know there is a bigger world out there. Facilitate more exploration by giving them a mechanical means to do so. In LoZ, this meant acquiring bombs or the hookshot to get to new places. In more traditional D&D, this might mean clearing out the gnolls that control the pass through the mountains, or eliminating the necromancer in the old tower deep in the forest that keeps sending undead to kill the lumberjacks. 

One thing that made the exploration so great was that persistence, curiousity, and cleverness was regularly rewarded with tangible benefits. Pieces of heart, bottles, bug-catching net, etc, that either granted additional prowess or opened up new options. This is definitely something that DMs should include in their games, especially as it rewards exploration and role-playing! 

What do you think? Are there any video game tropes you've used to good effect in D&D? 

Newbie Award! Holy Crapola Batman!

Newbie Award!

Gothridge Manor just gave me his Newbie Old School Blogger Award, and it is very much appreciated! Thanks to everyone who came over here from that site to check things out, and all the new followers! While I play 4e, I love my old-school games too, and I will try to put up system-neutral material for use in any game. I'm not an edition warrior and you won't see any nerdrage here, and I won't get sucked into any of those kinds of arguments. 

I have a number of on-going projects I'm detailing here in this blog. My Islands in the Sky campaign setting, my 4e Legend of Zelda houserules and setting, the ongoing Pack of Gnolls series, and my D&D the CCG project. More projects will probably go up in time. I'll also do play reports once actual play actually commences (hopefully soon!). There will be some random reviews and some looks back at some of my old-school books. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. I am thrilled to be a part of the D&D blogosphere and I hope my contributions see some use in your home games! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Islands in the Sky: Verisimilitude

Okay, so this whole "Islands in the Sky" campaign setting confounds my sense of verisimilitude, purely on account of resource logistics and management. The very nature of these earthmotes is to isolate; each Island is its own little world, connected only by the arrival and departure of airships. 

A number of questions quickly arise. First is a question of consumption that I have yet to find a satisfactory answer to: how much land is needed for a thousand people to survive off? As in, how much food must they grow? What other resources do they require? With such a limited amount of land available, is it possible for people to thrive in any way? Or does society fall into a survival of the toughest type of existence, due to the scarcity of resources? Seafood would obviously be pretty important, as would having airships to get down to the ocean in order to fish. 

What about communication? At what point do magical means of communication in a fantasy setting become farcical? Obviously, it would be silly to have cell phone or star trek type communicators. But what about something like a weekly newsletter that gets dropped off in town squares? That would be more appropriate to the fantasy feel while still allowing for plenty of communication between islands, although the islands are still dependent on airships with this idea. 

So, if our little societies get most of their food from the sea (and some that they shoot out of the sky), and most of their communication comes from delivered newsletters, this leaves one most important, supreme resource: the airship. 

So let's put some Gnolls on some airships! Pirate Gnolls! Ahoy matey! 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Old School Inspiration

So I started looking through my old AD&D 2e books today, just for kicks, and one of the things I came across that I had always thought was cool was the Character Kits from the Skills and Powers book. Now, I know the Player's Option books are pretty much universally derided as being too prone to power-gamer min/max abuse, but I don't really care. I was always more interested in the story possibilities inherent in each of the kits, and I think they can be exploited to good effect in 4e. 

In Dark Sun, we were introduced to the concept of Character Themes, and the Skills and Powers Kits fit the bill quite well for more homebrewed Themes. Obviously, themes should be appropriate for the world they come from. For instance, in my Islands in the Sky campaign, the first theme I would want to introduce would be something concerning the airships. Just looking at the Players Option list, this opens up the following: Mariner, Pirate, Smuggler and Swashbuckler. These kits all speak to possibilities inherent in the nature of airships. 

A lot of the kits seem like they could very easily fit into any campaign. Things like Merchant, Peasant Hero, Rider, Outlaw, and Spy would be common character types. 

A number of these kits have become their own class in 4e! Assassin and Barbarian are the most obvious. The Cavalier is an Essentials Paladin build. Gladiator is already a theme in Dark Sun. Sharpshooter is basically a ranger build, and Animal Master is basically the Essentials Druid Sentinel. 

Now to start coming up with Encounter powers for these new themes... The original kits only gave players a bunch of suggestive fluff for their character, a benefit and a hindrance. I guess the idea was that the kits, if allowed in a game, would balance themselves out by having a benefit and a hindrance. Regardless, it's going to take some creative thinking in a lot of cases to come up with some encounter powers to give these themes! 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review: DDI: Windswept Lord

Review of DDI Article: Windswept Lord

Windswept Lord is an excellent article specifically about the god Kord's relationship with the Dwarven race. The first page is all mythical background and fluff, further exploring the gods' myriad connections and history in the Points of Light setting. 

After that, we get some usable goodies: a divine boon, a new magic weapon, and a reagent, all flavored for dwarves with Kord's blessing. There is also a new background, the Clan of Kord, which is basically a clan for dwarven orphans and ne'er-do-wells, 

Overall, in four pages you get a whole lot of fluff and plenty of usable crunch. Dungeon and Dragon magazines have recently scaled back their schedule of articles to give themselves more "flexibility" with when they put things out. This Channel Divinity article is a great example of why that decision was a good idea, as this is a very well-written article that had something usable for any player of a dwarf, and any DM with a dwarf in the party. I know in the last couple of weeks we've seen fewer DnD Insider articles, and some have been pushed back, but if this is a sign of what is to come, then I am all for it. Don't get me wrong; I loved the monthly content calendar and used it frequently. That is definitely missed. But this is one of the better articles I've seen in a while. In fact, most of the stuff I've been seeing since that change took effect has been top-notch. Keep up the good work, D&D Insider!

A Pack of Gnolls on Dinosaurs

So, what's scarier than a slavering, bloodthirsty, 'roided-out pack of gnolls? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

A slavering bloodthirsty 'roided-out pack of gnolls riding dinosaurs, that's what! 

I think this Pack of Gnolls would be most appropriate in the 4e published Eberron setting, where "behemoths" (aka dinosaurs) are common enough critters that barbarian halflings ride them around the Talenta Plains. 

A clan of gnolls that has trained a number of dinosaurs to be mounts and pack animals would be a force to be reckoned with as they travelled across the plains. They would undoubtedly butcher whole tribes of halflings and use their skulls to drink their blood. Nasty stuff like that. Because gnolls are evil, you know. 

Come to think of it, this clan of dino-riding gnolls may get its own Island in the Sky...