Hey all - the following is from the Mimir (a Planescape site) and is all
about D&D 3E - some of you may have been at this announcement (bastards!
:) ). Perhaps most imporantly a number of the BR people are involved in this
project - namely Ed and Rich.

Begin Announcement:

D&D 3rd Edition announced at

Editor's Preface:
The redesigned D&D game has been
scheduled for release in August 2000, at next year's GenCon.
Ken Lipka continues his report on
this most august occurrence. Stay tuned for more information as it
is released. Furthermore this move
to bring players back into the core fold means the end of
production, but not support, of the
Planescape line as we know it. However, based on the observations
of the concept artwork, Third
edition will incorporate many of the darker elements in its flavor. Ken
gives his reaction below.

Upon arrival at GenCon, the possibility of a
third edition became more plausible. Scattered around the convention
were signs telling one
and all to come to "The Big Announcement" which
promised to reveal "The Future of Dungeons and Dragons". Needless to
say, this
version of the hype would imply a rather
fundamental change to the game system as we know it. The only thing left
to do was to actually
attend the announcement and find out what the
true chant was.

Before continuing, I feel I should put
something of a disclaimer in front of the remaining text of this report.
As I'm not really a trained
journalist and I'm trying to get this written
as fast as I can so I can get back to the convention, this text is going
to be written somewhat
stream-of-thought. That being said, let's stop
wasting your time and bandwidth and get on with it.

BY GENCON 2000!!

(If you don't want to know any of the
particulars, feel free to jump elsewhere. If you'd like some more of the
inside story, so to speak,
read on.)

The Big Announcement itself was made before a
packed auditorium at GenCon. Peter Atkinson (President/CEO of Wizards of
Coast), Brian Danson (Vice-president in charge
of TSR), and Keith Strohm (Brand Manager for Dungeons and Dragons) led
more-or-less controlled circus. One of the
first things they did was to introduce the design team: Bill Slaviscek
(Head of Role-playing
Research and Development), Ed Stark (Creative
Director of Core Dungeons and Dragons), Jon Tweet (Lead Designer), Monte
(Senior Designer), Skip Williams (Senior
Designer), Rich Baker (Initial Development), and Kim Mohan (Managing

However, in addition to this fine and
impressive selection of folks, TSR had a couple of very big surprises in
store for the audience. The
a-number-one surprise was the appearance of
Gary Gygax. When stepping out on stage, he received a standing ovation
and the
chanting of his name from the crowd. After some
small talk, a bombshell was dropped on the crowd - Mr. Gygax has a
signed contract
with TSR to work on products for the third
edition. The speculation from Mimir.Net is that he's "only" going to be
involved with a few

Right after this bombshell, a smaller one was
launched. Dave Arneson was brought out on stage (to another standing
ovation). He was
there to be welcomed publicly back into the TSR
family. Apparently whatever legal and other troubles that he had with
the company had
finally be resolved. The two big changes as a
result of this are the fact that his name is now going to be appear in
all the credits on the
products, and the game is finally able to be
called Dungeons & Dragons again (dropping the slightly clunky "Advanced"
moniker). Oh,
and Mr. Arneson had some explosives of his own
- - he had just returned from Prague and participating in the filming of
the D&D movie.
(Yes, this is a serious project with Jeremy
Irons as the villain. But more on this later.)

After these two special guests, the good stuff
appeared. Specifically, some specifics on the setting itself. The first
of which was the
timing of the development of Third Edition. It
actually began about the time that second edition was going out the door
just over ten years
ago. The project didn't really start to be
official until about four years ago when all the various ideas and
suggestions began to be
collected and taken notice of. The purchase of
TSR by WotC and the move to Seattle were the final kick in the pants
which began the
true and official work on the project. Beta
testing of the new version of the game actually began last September and
involved about 600
people around the world. (Some of these testers
were in the audience.)

From there, a general discussion of the
system's mechanics ensued. Peter Atkinson assured the audience that the
new game would
still be true to the core idea of D&D and
wasn't going to experience a radical change to become "some hip,
storytelling thing." Jim
Fallone (Marketing Manager for D&D) likened D&D
to being as essential to the American culture "like bowling." The new
system was
promised to keep many "sacred cows" as
unchanged as possible, while improving the mechanics in other areas.

From here on out, I 'm just going to list all
of the specific info I've found. First, what's staying the same...

The Planes (good news for us Planescape
Six ability scores in a range of 3-18
Hit Points
Mechanics of individual spells

And, here are some the things that are

Percentile Strength
No level limits for demihumans
An inherent critical hit system
Demons and Devils (bad news for us
Planescape fans)
New classes (Monk, Barbarian, Sorcerer)

Additionally, a T-shirt was handed out to all
who attended which listed some other interesting changes and additions.
This list is
reproduced below...

Half-orc barbarian sorcerer = Yes
Demihuman level limits = No
Monks & Assassins = Yes
Universal Skill System = Yes
Evil gnoll rangers = Yes
THAC0 = No
Rules you never used anyway = No
Demons & Devils = Yes
Critical Hits = Yes
9th-level clerical spells = Yes
Ability score improvements = Yes
Strength 48 = Yes

And, as I expressed hope for earlier, the dice
mechanics are finally going to be consistent. Everything (from racial
abilities to thieving
skills to combat) is based on the d20 and high
numbers are always good. As Jon Tweet said: "D&D is all about rolling
that 20!"

There are other interesting changes as well.
While the Forgotten Realms setting will still be supported as a product
line, core D&D will
officially be considered to take place in the
World of Greyhawk. The Ravenloft and Planescape settings are going to be
folded into the
system and be part of the core rules. This
means that in the long run, the narrative style and other unique PS
elements will be toned
down or removed.

In addition to the setting changes, there is
going to be a whole new look to the art as well. The art department has
been given nearly free
reign to completely redo the look of the game.
While they are keeping a standard fantasy middle ages feel, the artists
are doing their
part to make things a touch more gritty, raw,
and real. The concept sketches they showed at the presentation were
definitely a good
step towards accomplishing that goal.

The new Player's Handbook will be released at
next year's GenCon. The Dungeon Master's Guide will appear in September,
with the
Monster Manual coming in October. A handy book
to convert between second (or first) edition and third edition will also
be made
available. In each case, the books will be full
color and cost only $19.95 each.

However, as if all of that weren't enough,
hints (and outright statements) were made as to upcoming third edition
products. Some of
these were the expected modules. Bruce Cordell
and Bill Ratcliff have been retained to produce some of them. There are
also going to
be some "transition" adventures released. (One
of these, currently underdevelopment, has the working title of "Die,
Venca, Die!") Other
hints involved officially licsened products
(specifically, computer games). Unfortunately, there are no plans for
any planar products until at
least 2001. (But, there will still be support
in DRAGON Magazine.)

The first of these is "Pools of Radience 2:
Ruins of Myth Drannor" by the SSI company. This will be the first
computer game written to
use the new third edition system. Coming soon
after that is going to "Neverwinter Nights" by everyone's favorite
software company, Black
Isle (Interplay). In addition to being a third
edition game, it also promises to be more fully multiplayer as well as
boasting a "DM mode".

I know that in my first article, I stated that
I didn't really want to see any radical changes to the system. Some of
the changes that have
been made are fairly radical (the main one
being the reworking of AC and THAC0). However, I think that these
changes are indeed going
to be for the best and I look forward to being
able to spend money on this latest product.

For those who want more information, there are
some websites that can be visited.

http://www.3rdedition.com - The Offical
Site of D&D3
http://www.neverwinternights.com - Site
for Neverwinter Nights
- --
Peter "Dragon" Hodge

E-mail: dragon@uq.net.au
Website: www.uq.net.au\~zzphodge

- -----Original Message-----
From: Aaron Sanderson
To: birthright@lists.imagiconline.com
Date: Sunday, 8 August 1999 3:09
Subject: Re: [BIRTHRIGHT] - AD&D news...semi long

>>In a message dated 8/6/99 2:51:32 PM Central Daylight Time,
>>God, I hope the Book of Regency, comes out...as a generic kingdom builder
>>suppliment for the next age in AD&D.
>Didn't Colin or Ed say that the Birthright line was going to be moved under
>the Core rules last year when they 'killed' the line? I can certainly see
>most of the domain stuff being fit in as a supplement to the DMG. Or as an
>appendix on Characters playing kings, et. al. If they do that then it
>only take a little bit of work to release the campaign world again. They
>could really push the line at the same time if Birthright was the first
>world they release material for. Call it "Showing how a domain level
>campaign world would look like".
>I would also like to point out that neither Ed Stark, Rich Baker, Colin
>McComb or Carrie Bebris is listed as being involved in the project. Last
>time I checked Ed was in charge of the Core rules. Given the fact that
>of the major people involved with Birthright are listed in the release (In
>fact isn't Skip Williams one of the major people working on misbegotton
>realms?) it could be that we birthright players may be left out in the
>Anybody else's thoughts?
>_________________________________________________ ______________
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