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GenCon 2007

"The Best Four Days in Gaming"

Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition Announced!

Bill Slavicsek (left) and Christopher Perkins talk about the new D&D 4th Edition online toolsD&D Dragon BannerD&D BeholderDungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition LogoBill Slavicsek reveals D&D Fourth EditionChristopher Perkins talks about the history of D&DA giant D&D miniature of a trollBill Slavicsek (left) and Christopher Perkins discuss the four parts of Fourth Edition
Photos by T. Rob Brown

By Editor T. Rob Brown
Indianapolis, Indiana (Aug. 16, 2007) -- During a special announcement at GenCon Indy, the veil of secrecy surrounding the possibility of a Fourth Edition to Dungeons & Dragons began to lift.

Key Wizards of the Coast design research and development team members (Bill Slavicsek and Christopher Perkins) announced the 2008 release of the game's fourth edition at "The Best Four Days in Gaming." The new edition will still be part of the d20 system but will be more streamlined.

The following changes were announced: Thirty levels, easier to DM, defined roles, new power sources, resource management, and new encounter design. Fourth edition is divided into four key parts: The physical product (books, miniatures, etc.), organized play (such as RPGA games and special events like the Worldwide D&D Game Day), the community (through the new Gleemax), and digital offering (D&D Insider).

The new D&D Insider went live online shortly after the announcement was made. The new E-zine includes the types of things players came to expect from Dungeon and Dragon magazines. In addition, it offers expanded content, behind the scenes, designer commentaries, podcasts, and an E-version (a PDF of the books players buy, which will include a product code to access the download).

Of all the announcements, the addition of official Wizards of the Coast PDFs for the hardcopy buyers received the largest applause from attendees.

The online resources are expected to have a populated database to add new functionality to the tools that are there. D&D Insider is supposed to have new articles three times per week and monthly digital issues combining all that content. The online tools will include encounter and dungeon builders and a monster database.

Currently, D&D Insider is in preview mode and is free. Later, there will be a fee. Subscribers can utilize applications that offer such things as a D&D game table where players can join in online games whenever and wherever they want. Voice chat and text chat will be available as well. The map can be drawn on and digital miniatures are used for movement. DMs can call up images for handouts.

If you sign up for D&D Insider soon, you might be eligible to playtest Fourth Edition.

What will Fourth Edition be like? Many of the hints Wizards of the Coast gave included a more streamlined system -- which is exactly what they did with Star Wars Saga Edition. It is quite likely that some or many of the changes to that game will also be unveiled as new changes to D&D.

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[Editor's Note: Edits for grammar, punctuation, artifacts, and syntax made to press releases by GamingNews Editor T. Rob Brown, http://t-rob.com]

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