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AICN TABLETOP: SUPERSIZED EDITION! Codex: Space Marines!!! New D&D releases!!! Monsterpocalypse!!!

Hola all. Massawyrm here. I mentioned this earlier in the month, but the time is finally here. September, for some reason or another, is the month that both Wizards of the Coast and Games Workshop decided to roll out their game changing releases. On the wargaming side, GW has unleashed their new Space Marine Codex, which goes on sale with the Spearhead next weekend (and on general sale in three weeks. But the demo is in stores and I’ve seen it in play – and once again, Space Marines are the ones to beat. Then on the D&D side of things, WotC is giving us two new books this month that offer us the very first new, non-core book player material. In other words, these are the books that will set the tone for everything we’re going to be seeing from here on out. And at the same time, Privateer Press is finally rolling out their big fall release, MONSTERPOCALYPSE. So let’s get into it.
CODEX: SPACE MARINES They are the finest warriors in the Imperium, the emperor’s chosen. Genetically altered, 8’ tall merchants of death who offer themselves body, mind and soul to the Emperor. What the Emperor commands, these guys do – and currently, the Emperor wants every Xeno in the galaxy fucked up beyond all recognition. And now the marines have a codex ready, willing and able to allow that. To say that the new codex is nasty is just to scratch the surface. Contrary to the long held fears that a 5E codex would mirror the lack of options presented in the Dark Angels and Blood Angels codices, this new book is nothing BUT options. Space marines went up a point in cost, but got a whole mess of opportunity out of that point. The biggest change that will no doubt send ripples throughout the Imperium is a simple rule for ten man squads. Take a full 10 man compliment of marines and get a Missile Launcher, Heavy Bolter or Multi-Melta. Absolutely FREE. Already here in Austin there has been a run on Multi-meltas. People are modifying spare meltas from Land Speeder and attack bike kits just to be able to squeeze every last drop of worth from their squads. And while the days of cheap assault cannons on Land Speeders and 2 AC Terminator squads are over and done with, let me be the first to welcome you to a new era in which you can put twin linked assault cannons on razorbacks. And that’s not all you can mount on a Razorback. Those things have become mobile artillery platforms all their own with an array of different options for almost any army configuration – anti-tank, anti-troop or a little of both. Two things you’re going to see a lot of in 5E? 10 man squads and a lot more Razorbacks. Another thing you’ll see plenty of is scouts. These puppies are way cool again. But even better than a scout is a scout on a bike. Scout bikes are nasty, cheap little things that come with a number of cool wargear options. How about rapid fire grenade launchers for the win? Yeah, and at only $12 a pop, you can expect to see full compliments of these in very short order. Lastly, I can’t imagine there being a lot of armies that DON’T run the named unique characters. The new mechanic (which I hope is the beginning of a trend) is that there are no special rules differences between the (vanilla) chapters. What differentiates them from their fellow chapters is their unique characters, who each confer special abilities and troop choices to the entire army when in play. 6 different characters for the Ultramarines keeps the boys in blue still the number one chapter in the eyes of their makers, but there are a number of other legendary characters, one each for a number of the more famous first founding chapters. Not only do I hope this ideal makes its way into other codices, but with the recent shakeup at White Dwarf and the promise of new, play oriented content, I’m hoping we see a monthly feature that outlines a new chapter and character every month, slowly working their way through the Emperor’s finest. You wanna keep Space Marines fresh? Give us a new way to play them every month. So what does this mean for the non-codex chapters? The Dark Angels, Blood Angels and Black Templars? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I contacted GW to find out what their plans for these codices and they were very clear. THERE WILL BE NO FAQS ALLOWING ANY OF THE NEW CODEX TO BE USED. The basic idea is this: GW feels that these codices have always been “Space Marines plus one.” In other words, we get cool different stuff that makes us better than vanilla – so this new codex is what the vanilla marines get. And while folks like me would argue that our bonus stuff comes at the cost of flexibility and certain setbacks (like Scouts as troop choices), it is clear that they want each of the five Space Marine codices to feel and play differently. And they have also laid down the law that they don’t want a situation like the current Space Wolves codex that requires someone to own two different books. While I’m obviously bummed about that news (I do love my Blood Angels who seem vastly inferior to the rockin’ new options for Codex marines) I’m hoping it means that GW plans on updating BT, BA and DA sometime soon. After all, it has been mentioned a few times that the online Blood Angels codex was just a stopgap measure. Maybe we’ll soon see a large, option heavy codex for my beloved space vampires. Until then, I will no doubt be at least OCCASIONALLY running Blood Red painted codex marines. Codex: Space Marines is due out in the first week of October, or in this weekend’s Spearhead release. You can peruse a copy of it at your local Games Workshop partner FLGS.
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS 4E Well, it’s finally here. For most of you it wasn’t much of a wait. With the new system streeting back in June, it’s only been 3 months before getting brand spanking new toys to play with. For me the wait has been almost unbearable. Having been playtesting the game as far back as last October, I have been DYING to know how they were dealing with things like new classes, Paragon classes and new magic items. Finally, the wait is over. This month sees the release of two major books: the Adventurer’s Vault and the Forgotten Realms Players Guide. Both are substantial additions to the game and you can expect at least one of them to find their way onto all of your players shelves. The Adventurer’s Vault is the one most likely to become one of those old standards, the kind almost every player has a copy of. While a book on magic items seems like something only the DM should have, the desire to reference or even craft your own magic items will make this an attractive purchase. It is 224 pages of magic items. Weapons, armor, wondrous items. And lots of new toys for the whole gang. Chapter one offers up a slew of new exotic weapons. Unlike 3E which at best held exotic weapons to be slightly better versions of their mundane counterparts and at worst, flavor requiring a feat, these exotic weapons are…weird. Even without magical enhancements these things have great abilities. Nastiness like the Execution Axe – a Brutal 2 (reroll damage rolls of 1 or 2), High Crit weapon that does d12 damage. Now add a magical property. Yeah. There’s a lot of fun here. The armor section also offers up exotic joys with the introduction of masterwork armor. Lots of cool stuff with names like Mindweave, Nagascale and Specterplate armor. Many of these have special abilities (before the addition of magical properties) that add a bonus to a specific Defense or in the case of plate armor, the Resist all ability. There are vehicle combat rules and stats for mounts as well as rules for standard, alchemical items. But the real fun begins on page 34, which is the beginning of the laundry list of new items that doesn’t let up until the appendix on page 195. Scads of new weapon properties, armor qualities, implements, the works. More importantly, there are a few new hints at the future and a few things we all felt was sorely lacking in the Magic Item section of the PHB. Like potions. The age of magic potions has returned. No longer restricted to those 4 healing pots from the core book, there are a slew of consumables: tons of new kinds of healing potions (that also give you a temporary effect) and the old standbys like a potion of invisibility or flying. The non-healing pots all use up your Magic Item Daily ability slot, preventing the old potion hording and layering for big fights. The healing pots have no such restriction, but they do all still cost a Healing Surge. And some old favorites come back to play. Like Ioun Stones. And Bags of Tricks. And the new, nigh unbreakable version of the Decanter of Endless Water. Sorry guys, this thing can no longer be used as a means of ships propulsion, to hose down an enemy or to flood a dungeon to drown the inhabitants. Interestingly enough, a new slot is introduced before the book detailing it is even released. There’s a new slot called a “Companion Slot.” Apparently the Martial Power book due out soon has a ranger build called the BEASTMASTER that brings back animal companions. And now they have their own magical slot, as do Mounts. Far too much coolness for one campaign, this book will no doubt be in print and see use all the way through to the next edition. On the other side of thing, Forgotten Realms gives us its second release in as many months with the Forgotten realms Players Guide. Probably most anticipated for its new Class, the Swordmage, this book also sports a new Warlock Pact (The Dark Pact) and a special multi-class only class called the Spellscarred. The most important thing about this book is the new class mechanics it introduces. First of all, the Swordmage illustrates exactly what many of us expected – creating new classes for settings, campaigns or books is simply a matter of making it. No longer does one have to sandwich class abilities or concepts together, nor does one have to multiclass to get combinations of martial, divine or magical abilities. The Swordmage does everything the class is supposed to do on par with everyone else. Probably the most popular fantasy concept (long nicknamed the GISH), 3rd edition was sorely lacking in a straight much magic wielding swordsman class that worked until PHB2, which sadly came very late in the game. The Swordmage feels very much like the Duskblade and is pretty cool right out of the gate. The Dark Pact really changes things because it shows us that creating a new branch of a class is just as easy as printing a new list. This means in the future we can no doubt expect ILLUSIONIST wizards to use all the wizard character rules and feats, but it’s own spell list. Settings can create their own versions of classes simply by writing a new and different list of abilities. Personally, I find this preferable to a slew of new classes – as it will often create odd situations when people try to port class specific feats over into near identical classes. Plus it allows for DMs to simply mix and match abilities to create homebrew classes without having to deal with cross class mechanics and balance. Finally, the Spellscarred is just WEIRD – but in a good way. It is a CLASS, in that it has a slew of abilities at different levels as a class does, but you can only take it as a multiclass. Making it the first pseudo-prestige class. You need to take all the requisite multi-classing feats and then you can select from the bevy of bizarre abilities provided by this strange concept. It feels kind of warlock-y without being entirely like their powers. There are weird bites, teleportation tricks and a cool attack that pulls targets a number of squares close to you before exploding and pushing them back a number of spaces. I expect this mechanic will spread and inspire a number of WotC writers to create any number of cool mini-classes like this. Whether or not this is for the best still remains to be seen – but expect it. It’s coming. I’m just hoping it doesn’t get too overused before becoming the primary, and ultimately considered mandatory, choice for optimization. And of course this is the very first time we’re getting to see how WotC is handling paragon classes. This thing comes fully loaded with 25 Paragon Classes, ranging from familiar FR standbys like the Purple Dragon Knight, Morninglord and the War Wizard’s of Cormyr. But there are also a number of new, setting altering ones like the Evermeet Warlock. The big news here is that PARAGON PATHS ARE NOT ALL CLASS DEPENDANT as they are in the PHB. Some are race specific, role specific (martial, divine, etc.) or feat dependant (the rarest of them in this book, with only one of its kind.) There’s even a brand new epic class, The Chosen, which is a new version of the divine champion, allowing you to become a sort of divine emissary. The book all told is considerably smaller than the Adventurer’s Vault at 160 pages, but the first 72 are entirely crunch (rules specific) and there are 6 more pages of new rituals, making the book entirely half new toys for characters – making this another attractive book for the shelf, even if like me you have no immediate plans to play in the realms. While the Forgotten Realms Players Guide isn’t exactly a must own, it is pretty highly recommended. There’s just too many fun toys in here to ignore. But the Adventurer’s Vault is pretty damned essential and will become a staple of your collection. That one is a MUST OWN. Both street September 16th.
MONSTERPOCALYPSE I’ve been keeping my eyes on this one for a while. Privateer Press, the folks who brought you the ever increasingly popular WARMACHINE and HORDES are making their first foray into Pre-Painted Plastic Miniatures (PPP.) And the result is pretty damned cool. I got to see a mess of these in person as one of our local players picked up a couple packs at GENCON and has been running demos to get folks interested. I got to watch a few moments in between games the other night and it looked pretty interesting. There’s a bit of resource management mixed with strategic combat – as giant monsters attack a city. And yes, there are plastic building minis that you set up as your city. Giant robots, lizard creatures, aliens. All having a big beatdown in the middle of some metropolis. Sound neat? It sure looks like it. I’m hoping to get a chance to check these out fairly soon. And look, they’ve set an official release date!
Privateer Press announces street date for Monsterpocalypse Seattle WA, September 9th, 2008 - Privateer Press has announced that Monsterpocalypse, their new collectible miniatures game, has an official street date of October 10th, 2008. The long-awaited, action packed strategy game has already riveted the attention of the hobby game industry, making a big impression at the GAMA Trade show, International Comic Con in San Diego, Gen Con in Indianapolis and PAX in Seattle. "The attention that this game has received so far has been huge," stated Matt Wilson, Creative Director for Privateer Press. "We already have a huge audience burning to get their hands on Monsterpocalypse." More good news followed as Privateer Press also recently announced that Monsterpocalypse will be fully supported by free Organized Play at the launch of the game on October 10th. Retailers who have ordered the Launch Event Kit from their distributor will receive 3 limited edition Mega Form figures which will be given away as prizes for Organized Play events, and the program will be supported by an all-new online event management site, In addition, Privateer Press has mailed out promotional kits to help retailers build excitement in their store prior to the street date, and demo kits are currently being sent out to Press Gang Volunteers to continue to show off the game all throughout its launch. "We have set the stage for a highly successful launch and everyone is very excited," said Wilson. Not wanting to give everything away at once, Wilson also added "This is really only the beginning for Monsterpocalypse, we have some great surprises we'll be unveiling soon."
Giant monsters destroying a city? Looking forward to it. Now if only they could make a promotion Harry MAN IN SUIT mini…that would be awesome…
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
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Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 16, 2008, 12:17 p.m. CST

    Tragic Magic

    by MOTHdevil

    The idea that players now have implied full access to magic items is yet another 4E tidbit I find annoying. It's bad enough 3E turned magic into purchasable commodities... now we've gone one step further and given the players a JC Penny catalog. What happened to discovery?

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 12:18 p.m. CST

    I just rolled a one-sided die...

    by LordPorkington

    I can't reveal what happened because I still don't quite understand what I saw...

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 12:21 p.m. CST


    by Jotham

    Here I was thinking that I was going to be picking up the FR:PHB first. I just might have to delay that because the Adventure's Vault sounds pretty damn cool.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 1:22 p.m. CST

    40K movie

    by MOTHdevil

    Anyone know what happened to the CGI 40K movie? I seem to recall hearing about that before WoW debuted. Be pretty nifty to see...

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 1:37 p.m. CST

    MOTHdevil It keeps having false starts...

    by Massawyrm 1

    Although I've heard they've started again and might have something next year. No strict confirmation on that, though.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 1:42 p.m. CST

    re: 40K Movie

    by Thenedain

    They should just get the guys who handle the CGI cinemas for the Dawn of War games to do it already. I've yet to see a Hollywood made animated vid match the cinema for Dawn of War 2 in quality yet!

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 1:46 p.m. CST

    'bout vanilla Marines

    by Thenedain

    It's a shame they're not letting my Dark Angels get in on the new Codex action, but it's been a long, long time since vanilla Marines have had any real advantage. They're... vanilla. Their fluff tends to not be as cool; they don't get the cool add-ons like Ravenwing, Death Company or Wolfen; and they've never had any cool characters. Nice to see that change, as the Codex Marines should be more prevalently played. I know my Marines from the Assault on Black Reach are going to end up vanilla, though damn if it isn't hard to come up with a good scheme.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 1:47 p.m. CST


    by Massawyrm 1

    May I suggest SPACE SHARKS? Or even better, the infamous RAINBOW WARRIORS? Nothing says badass mother fucker like a rainbow on your helmet.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 1:58 p.m. CST


    by Thenedain

    The last few days I've been scouring online looking for official chapter schemes and let me tell you, some of the artists at GW over the years have done some serious drugs. There's this strange sort of love affair with puke green Marines. Not sure who in their right mind would field an army the color of split pea soup, but apparently someone at GW thought it was a great idea once, 'cause there's friggin' 4 chapters of them in the gallery at the UK GW website. Personally, I'm having a hard time not doing mine as pre-Heresy Luna Wolves: the color scheme on the cover of False Gods is pretty cool looking after all. I'll probably end up splashing some paint on them and calling them Angels of <insert noun here> as that seems to be the default name style for Space Marine chapters.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 2:03 p.m. CST

    thanks Massa

    by MOTHdevil

    Good to know it's still on somebody's radar. Wonder who's funding and rendering this thing? I gotta think a 40K movie would kick the tar out of a "Halo" any day of the week. Just don't skimp and go Dragonlance on the thing....

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 2:18 p.m. CST

    So far as a Player from 1st box set of D&D and AD&D

    by Lukecash

    I'm thourally enjoying 4th ed D&D. It's a hell of a lot easier to creat a character. Skill points are easier to keep track of and more logicall. And the whole Daily powers/Encounter Powers/ Utilitie powers are great flavor. By and far the most balanced of the editions.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 3:39 p.m. CST

    Still not convinced about D&D 4

    by Gungan Slayer

    Not to get picky about things, but I just don't like a lot of the changes they've made. I mean, it's still find and all, but...I dunno.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 4:25 p.m. CST

    Privateer Press

    by tk 421

    Kinda of wish that they'd transition the minis from Warmachine & Hordes to the PPP. Reaper reissued a lot of their minis on PPP. Pewter kicks ass but sometimes I just don't have the time to glue everything together and then paint it. Plus, pewter prices have just increased. Hopefully, they'll think about it.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 4:28 p.m. CST

    Hot Pink...

    by mojorising74

    is the best color for Space marines. Nothing says pwned like having your ass kicked by a bunch of pink space marines. So much shit to talk, so little time.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 5:25 p.m. CST

    I'm posting here...

    by Mockingbird Girl

    ... just because I thought at least one girl should. ;-)

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 6:53 p.m. CST

    Take this off AICN

    by d_fens1969

    its a waste of space and time. want to read about rpgs, go to

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 7:15 p.m. CST

    as a film critic, you're an awesome games writer.

    by Jed

    as a games writer, you're an awesome games writer.

  • Sept. 16, 2008, 9:08 p.m. CST

    Hell, I'm still not convinced with 3rd edition!

    by Royston Lodge

    My group played 3.5 for about a year. The power gaming reminded me way too much of Palladium, to tell you the truth. When characters were buying healing wands at the local corner store, we realized it simply wasn't the game for us. From everything I've read, 4e takes that even further. Sigh. I prefer systems like Shadowrun where your character STARTS pretty damn badass, but then advancement is very difficult to achieve because a) improvements are very expensive experience-points-wise and b) people keep friggin' stealing all yer money! In 3rd edition, after we'd hit about level 6 and we had gobs and gobs of gold in our collecting backpacks, I couldn't help but speak aloud, IN CHARACTER, "gentlemen, we are richer than anybody else in our home village. We are also more powerful than anybody in our home village. Why don't we return home, buy some farms, bribe the king to leave us alone, steal a few virgins and party like it's 1599? Except for the guy playing the goodie-two-shoes lawful-good paladin, none of us could think of a single rational reason why any of our characters would have ANY reason to continue adventuring. After the villagers learned about all the friggin' orcs and dragons and giants and such-and-such we'd slayed, AS IF any of them would DARE to cross us! As for the Paladin, who might try to stop our orgy of wine, women, and song, we could easily just have our rogue slit his throat while he sleeps. Problem solved.

  • Sept. 17, 2008, 5:42 a.m. CST

    More reasons not to convert to 4E

    by Calastir

    None of the descriptions of magic items have convinced me to convert to 4E. The parts about D&D I like are the funny roleplay situations. Nobody ever says; "remember that +1 armor?" but rather: "Remember that one time I jumped on top of the prince and used him as a surfboard to slide down the ramp, escaping the burning acid?" :) Ans as for the multiple enemies; Last time I ran my 7th level party by a dozen Orcs with 5 HP each so there were 3 Orcs to each player. Worked like a charm. Since these things just fine in 3rd edition, why convert to 4E? If I want to play a videogame, I will.

  • Sept. 17, 2008, 9:13 a.m. CST

    Why no love for SWRPG?

    by Jindy

    Why no mention of the Force Unleashed Campaign Guide for the Star Wars Saga Edition RPG (precursor for 4E)? I believe it also came out on the 16th... also by Wizards... and it's starwars!!!

  • Sept. 17, 2008, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Jindy -

    by Massawyrm 1

    Because it hasn't arrived yet. I should be getting my copy shortly.

  • Sept. 17, 2008, 3:21 p.m. CST

    DnD 4E is shit.

    by Veraxus

    My group gave 4E is a fair shot. More than one fair shot, actually. Several, in fact. The reality is, however, than D&D 4E is just a terrible, unfun, poorly conceived and executed, stupid system. It really felt like no one was role-playing any more and everyone agreed it literally FELT like playing World of Warcraft. Add to that the wildly unethical licensing agreement (which itself is causing 3rd party content producers to bail on the entire D&D/D20 franchise) and you have a recipe for disaster. I'd recommend anyone interesting role playing instead give GURPS 4E a try. Not only is a better, more versatile, and MORE FUN system - it also gives your DM/GM the freedom to break out of the fantasy schtick once in a while. Lord knows my group and I can only stomach so many goblins, dragons, and bugbears before we're ready for some aliens, terrorists, and mob bosses to spruce things up. But again... D&D 4E is absolutely dreadful. Stay far, far away.

  • Sept. 17, 2008, 5:52 p.m. CST

    Not much of an RPG player

    by worldofwarcraft

    But I loved the whole Shadowrun world. And the SuperNES game wasn't bad at all. I also loved the Planescape setting. I would read those guides to the planes all the time. I still remember the time when my mom picked me up the guide to chaos box. Great memory! Thanks mother! I was always real interested in 40k but it seemed like such an expensive thing to get into

  • Sept. 17, 2008, 8:10 p.m. CST

    If you're not a fan of 4E

    by Volstaff

    I'd suggest giving Pathfinder a looksee. The beta ruleset is free ( download ), and won't become official till next year, but it's looking pretty good so far.It's basically an enhanced 3.5.