This has been one of the hardest posts I’ve written to date, largely because it kept opening up entirely new venues of examination and thought. In all seriousness, I’ve written something close to 8000+/- words in various drafts for this. This is the final installment of the Tomb of Annihilation (ToA) review, where I’m looking at the world building that went into the module, use of canon, its integration with other 5e products and the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (FRCS), and how perceptions and anchoring acted to influence planning and writing in my estimation based on the resulting product. If you haven’t already, check out the first installments of this review!  Read more
In 1985, TSR’s board of directors removed Gary Gygax from the company, and after some litigation about intellectual property rights over characters and the Greyhawk campaign setting, which ultimately led to a payout, the company embarked on a new era in gaming. They’d learned a bit from the development of 1e AD&D, and the Satanic Panic that they’d been dragged into. Then, in 1989, they released the first book for 2e AD&D. Read more
The Tomb of Annihilation is probably one of the most complex reviews I’ve approached to date, because it intersects with a number of topics all at once. These being world building, diversity in gaming, and of course, the adventure itself. This book represents the first major move by Wizards of the Coast (WotC) to expand the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (FRCS) in a deliberate manner in the form of a book that acts both as a source book for the base world of 5e D&D, and as the next installment in their ongoing semi-annual adventure publication schedule. Last post was the baseline establishment, this post will look at the adventure itself. If you missed it, check out part one before proceeding. 
So, over the last year or so, I’ve been getting more involved on the creative side of science fiction and fantasy, taking a big plunge last year with NaNoWriMo. One of the big bonuses of that has been greater interaction with the local writers in my area, one of whom is my good friend, Diane Morrison. She approached me a few months back about coming onto Virtual Fantasy Con, for participation on a panel for discussing fantasy warfare. More specifically, what a lot of writers missed. The panel was “Realism in Fantasy Warfare”, and it was a solid two hours (edited to 1:38:53) of great discussion and presentation of ideas and concepts around war, conflict, politics, and world building for fantasy.
With the release of 1e AD&D, it can be truly said that the Editions War had truly begun, as the nascent gaming community polarized either towards the more complete and ready to play Basic D&D, or embraced the more complex and nuanced 1e AD&D (or simply “AD&D” as it was known at the time). Regardless, TSR supported both simultaneously, and the two games diverged onto very different evolutionary trajectories. Read more
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