First Look: Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer

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Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer - First look - Featured

The latest partworks magazine from Hachette is set to drop soon – and here at FauxHammer.com, we’ve managed to get our hands on the first four issues. Take a look at our First Look: Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer article below for the inside scoop on what to expect from the new service.

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First Look: Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer – Summary

Whilst its initial announcement was greeted with a degree of scepticism and the collection quickly labelled “D&D Dice Collector” by naysayers, Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer is much more than a quick fix for dice hoarders.

Sure, by the time the magazine concludes it Est-ce que looks like you may need a dice bag to rival Laura Bailey’s in order to stash the obscene amount offered across the collection, but the real meat of D&D Adventurer lies within the pages of the magazines themselves, in particular its charming magazine-exclusive adventures.

First Look: Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer – Introduction

Here at FauxHammer.com, we’ve been getting into Dungeons and Dragons recently – largely thanks to Steamforged Games’ superb Epic Encounters Sets.

For any miniature collectors, painters, and hobbyists, D&D is a great game to use models for. Instead of having your beautifully painted figures entombed forever in boxes, bags, or display cabinets, why not break them out and give them a spin in a D&D campaign? It’s what we’ve been doing!

Rencontres épiques Barrow of the Corpse Crawler Testing 2

So, back in September last year when Hachette Partworks (of Conquête, Mortal Realms, Impérial et Porte-tempête fame) announced they would be trialling a Dungeons & Dragons partworks-style release, we immediately sat up and started paying attention.

Luckily for us, we got our hands on the first four issues of the D&D Adventurer (thanks Hachette for sending them to us free of charge!) for a close-up inspection and break down of their contents. Read on to see what the new partworks subscription promises, how the magazines look, and for a few predictions about what else we may see in the series…

First Look: Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer – What Can We Expect?

Okay, so I’ll come clean: we’ve only actually got physical copies of three of the first four issues – that’s issues 1, 3 and 4. According to our Hachette contacts, this is because someone in their offices swiped the copy of issue 2 that was intended for us here at FauxHammer.com.

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview All

…And they’d better hope we don’t find out who took it.

Rest assured, we have seen a digital copy of issue 2 so we’ve been able to give all the magazines a thorough read-through.

Anyway, let’s have a deep dive into the first four issues to see what we can learn about the collection as a whole from them.

Dice Collector

Let’s get the big one out of the way first.

There’s been a lot of scepticism about the Dungeons and Dragons Adventurer collection given the nature of the goodies that come with the magazines. So far, it’s been quite strongly implied that the majority of the items that come with the magazines will be dice – and the pamphlet that comes with issue 1 confirms this:

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview Subscriber Pamphlet

This seems to suggest that the a lot of the goodies we’ll be getting with this collection will come in polyhedral form.

Now, this might come as a bit of a disappointment to the miniature wargaming, painting and modelling fans who’ve had previous dealings with Hachette via this site. Hachette’s Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar-based offerings have enjoyed extraordinary popularity across the world, and this has been motivated largely by one major factor: the astonishing discounts offered on models via the magazine.

But Dungeons & Dragons is an entirely different game to Warhammer. With more of an emphasis on storytelling and rolling dice, it’s not necessary for D&Ders to have dozens of figures in order to play a game (though, depending on how much time and how deep the pockets of your DM are, using minis in a game is always an option). The only thing you really besoin to play D&D are dice.

And, to be honest, the dice offerings in the first four three issues kick things off to a pretty respectable start.

Issue 1 comes with an red and black set in a branded tin.

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview Issue 1 Dice

Somebody stole our issue 2 so we don’t know what’s in it (but a little digging tells us there should be a set of yellow-brown coloured dice with this magazine).

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Contents List Issue 2

Issue 3 comes with a monster D20 with its own little velvet pouch – which I have to admit I’m quite the fan of. There’s authority to this dice. As a DM, dropping this behind your screen will send a shiver through your assembled players.

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview Issue 3 Dice

Finally, issue 4 furnishes players with a set of red and black dice.

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview Issue 4 Dice

Whilst these are all ultimately plastic, some thought has gone into their design in order to link them to the wider D&D range. Their numbering, for example, is all done in the same font as the D&D logo.

The difficulty with offering dice as the primary collectible from this magazine is that there are some truly stunning, unique dice available elsewhere. Crafty people know D&Ders love to have unique dice, and as such some of the stuff available is phenomenal. Even just typing “dice” into Etsy yields some incredible results. As such, Hachette are setting themselves quite the challenge from the outset. The dice really need to be worth it.

To be fair, if D&D Adventurer est going to be a dice collector subscription, you could do worse. Looking at the dice we’ve received so far, these are a relative cut above the super-cheap humdrum you can grab off Amazon for a couple of quid. It’ll be interesting to see how designs change and improve as the subscription develops. If we’re expecting a run of 80 or so magazines, as we’ve seen with Warhammer partworks, there will need to be some unique and quirky designed thrown in.

At this stage, and when considering the long-term, I’m optimistic. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

Magazines, Character Sheets, and Other Resources

D&D is the original pen and paper tabletop roleplaying game. A system designed to foster imagination, creativity, and intuition amongst players and DMs alike, its rules and campaigns are intended to be a framework around which a game can be run – all the while accounting for the fact that there’s a very real chance your party may go spiralling off in its own unique direction.

So, what does D&D Adventurer do to support this kind of play?

The Chapters

As you may expect, then, there’s a fair amount of reading in each D&D Adventurer magazine. Thankfully, the core content of the magazine collection is broken down into a number of clear chapters. We have:

  • Sage Advice. This is the basic, step-by-step info on how to play the game.
  • Character Creation. Tried-and-tested methods to help you craft a unique and memorable character (or characters).
  • The Dungeon Master. A host of hints and tips to help you run your own games for your friends.
  • Spellcasting. How to cast spells and take advantage of the arcane in your own fantasy universe.
  • Combat. Get stuck into the action with these sections and learn how to make the most of your character’s martial prowess.
  • Setting Lore. Dive into the Forgotten Realms with a treasure trove of resources to help establish your own words.
  • Adventure. Exclusive dungeon dives available only via the D&D Adventurer magazine.

To FauxHammer.com readers who have been collectors of Conquest, Mortal Realms, or Imperium, or to existing D&Ders, these headings will be fairly self-explanatory and you’ll be able to take a good guess at the kind of thing you’d find under each.

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview Contents

As the series develops, you’ll receive more info to increase your understanding of each of these areas. A cursory review of issues 1-4 stands the magazine in good stead: knowledge is not assumed, and if your first ever experience of D&D is this magazine, issues 1-4 certainly suggest that you’ll be taught everything you need to know in good, clear terms across the course of the collection.

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview Characters 2
Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview Characters 3

There is a great deal to like here and more than enough to get really stuck into. If reading lore and understanding setting is your thing, then these magazines will prove to be a blessing for you. The Forgotten Realms are bursting with decades of lore, and a good chunk of this looks as if it’s going to be making its way into the magazines.

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview Setting 1

But at the fore of magazines 1-4 is character creation. Making your own unique character is a fundamental part of D&D, and one that time should be spent on and pride taken in. D&D Adventurer places the creation of a character you can really engage with and cherish at the heart of what it does, so there’s a boatload of information on the options you can take for your PC.

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview Intro 2
Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview Characters 1

Everything else becomes almost supplementary to this. There’s guides on casting spells and combat, sure, but the emphasis seems to tend towards ensuring that you have a character the way you want. This may change in future issues as the series moves on to more advanced concepts and adventures (we’ll be returning to Adventures in a moment, so don’t go anywhere!) and it becomes assumed readers have their characters ready to go.

Just within these four magazines there’s more detail than we can go into here. What has been included in these first few magazines has been selected with care to introduce readers to the world of D&D in a friendly and easy manner – though the information that is there is crucial and will be useful for even veteran D&Ders to have at their disposal.

Again, this is very promising.

Issue 1 Extras

As you may expect, issue 1 is dripping in extra booklets and pamphlets – a classic get ’em hooked and reel ’em in move. Aside from the magazine itself, issue 1 also comes with 4 full-colour character sheets on glossy paper, an Introduction to Combat booklet, and a brief introductory pamphlet designed to introduce you to the collection.

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview Combat Booklet

The character sheets are really nice, and very thorough. With images of the characters to which they relate, snippets of backstory, and all the spells, items and other stats you need to dive right in to level 1, these make lovely accessories to any campaign you use them for.

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview Character Sheets

As these are also all only level 1, there’s a chance we may be furnished with further character sheets as the subscription continues and adventures call for higher levels. We may even get more for other characters.

Before we move on, however, we’re going to have a more in-depth look at the Adventures.

Adventures

D&D is ultimately all about the adventures you have with your group, and one of the selling points of D&D Adventurer is that each issue comes with its own unique adventure. So, are these actually any good?

Issues 1-4 each come with their own one shot-style adventure, each designed to take no more than a couple of hours and are easy to pick up and play.

And, to be honest, they’re remarkably thorough.

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview Adventure 2

The adventures in issues 1-4, whilst basic and unimposing for newcomers to the game, have a surprising amount of depth to them. There are battlemaps, plenty of notes on rooms/areas players can explore, loads of stat blocks for NPCs, and even a handful of tasty rewards for your players to discover.

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview Stats 2

The adventures encourage creative thinking and exploration – all the while keeping new players within a safe space to practice their knowledge, develop their characters, and generally learn the ropes.

They also aren’t too tough on DMs. Whilst the adventures themselves are straightforward to run and don’t have too many components or encounters to juggle, they’re very well thought out and quite entertaining. Issue 2, for example, has players exploring the ruins of an old elven vault with an enchantment cast on it that makes them forget what they’ve seen.

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Preview Adventure 1

As a more experienced DM, these little adventures are like gold dust. They could so easily be slotted into larger campaigns to flesh out a session, or add something a little bit different into an existing adventure. For example, issue 1 sees players running a rat infestation out of a tavern – something that could take place in just about any campaign.

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Once again, I feel quite optimistic about these adventures. It’ll be interesting to see if they get longer and more complex – perhaps spanning multiple issues – as the subscription develops and the assumed knowledge of buyers/subscribers increases. I’m part-way through a Rime of the Frostmaiden campaign with 7 people at the moment, and will certainly be on the look out for any interesting encounters I can slot into that!

Subscribing

With every Hachette partwork that we’ve ever covered, there are additional rewards for anyone who subscribes directly to Hachette’s service. It will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Hachette, then, that this tradition is carried on with Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer.

Subscription Rewards

So, subscribers can expect to receive:

  • Issue 3 for free when subscribing from issue 2 (issue 3 comes with the huge D20)
  • A Dungeons & Dragons Dice Keyring with your first delivery
  • Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Binder and Dividers with your third delivery
  • A Dungeon Master Screen with your fifth delivery
  • A Dice Tower with your seventh delivery
Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Contents List Expected Free Gifts

Eagle-eyed readers will recognise these as being announced back in September 2022 when the magazine was first trailed. It doesn’t appear that anything has changed just yet.

Premium Subscriptions

Now, premium subscriptions we’re not so sure about.

Back in September, Hachette suggested via their website that a premium version of the Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer magazine would be available. Typically, Hachette’s premium subscriptions net buyers everything at “base” level – so, all the regular magazine stuff – with a few extras.

Remember a few paragraphs ago I said you didn’t besoin minis to play D&D? Well, back in September Hachette suggested that they would be tossing a few the way of Premium Subscribers.

Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer Contents List Expected Contents Premium

However, this info has since disappeared. In conjunction with this, the subscription pamphlet in the package we received makes absolutely no mention of a premium subscription. This suggests, then, that there many no longer be a premium option for D&D Adventurer.

How Many Issues will D&D Adventurer Run For?

In short, we don’t know – but we think we can take a good guess based off some of the info we’ve shown you here.

The first clue is that the subscriber gifts delivery schedule.

Hachette’s partwork magazine deliveries tend to follow a pattern. You get issues 1 and 2 of a series as your first delivery (this is also suggested by the D&D Adventurer subscriber pamphlet, which urges people to “subscribe from issue 2”), and then deliveries of 4 magazines at a time. For example, you’d get 1 and 2 one month, then 3, 4, 5 and 6 in the next month, then 7, 8, 9 and 10 the month after, and so on.

Bearing that in mind, the subscriber freebies we showed you above appear to cease following delivery 7 – by our estimates, this’d cover issues 23-26. It’s very unlikely the collection would run for much longer after this, as there are no bonuses offered for subscribers.

There’s also only mention on une folder. The Warhammer partworks have taught us that Hachette usually like to put these out around the 20-25 magazine mark, covering roughly a quarter of a collection.

Rolling this all together, we’d guess that Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer will run for around 30 issues. The screenshot we took back in September of the proposed premium content suggested then the collection would run beyond 69 issues, but given that all mention of a premium subscription has vanished, that the final promised subscriber gift appears with delivery 7, and looking at the magazine/delivery pattern we established above, we’re not so sure about this anymore.

Now, this may all be entirely wrong. Hachette may be sending magazines out in pairs or threes. They may decide to extend the collection if it’s popular, just like they recently have with Imperium. Unfortunately, here at FauxHammer.com, right now we just don’t know.

…But as soon as we do, we’ll be letting you know.

First Look: Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer – Price and Availability

Clocking in at £7.99 a week, D&D Adventurer’s cost is one pound a month cheaper than previous Warhammer partworks FauxHammer.com readers may well be familiar with.

Premium was previously being offered at an additional £1.50 a month, but as we’ve said, all mention of a premium subscription seems to have disappeared.

First Look: Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer – Final Thoughts

PourContre
Something fresh and new
Will appeal to would-be D&D fans
A superb, non-intimidating way to get into D&D
Dice are shaping up well
Moderately expensive
Would certainly benefit from more goodies than juste dice (but what?)

Here at FauxHammer.com, we have a small pedigree for tabletop gaming partworks magazines. We’ve covered Conquest, Mortal Realms, Imperium and will hopefully be looking at Stormbringer when that drops. As avid collectors of these magazines ourselves, we know the temptation lies in ripping out the models (or whatever discounted gubbins is attached to the issue), casting aside the magazine, and never actually looking at the written content.

That’s not going to be an option with Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer. The key, core content of the collection lies within the magazines itself. The campaign ideas, the stats sheets, the hints and tips for DMs – this is all stuff that you as both a player or a DM you can bring to your gaming table to help ensure your session goes off without a hitch.

And it looks like this stuff is going to be of really great quality. Dungeons & Dragons can be quite a daunting game to grapple with, for both newcomers and experienced players alike. Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer offers players an easy entry into the Forgotten Realms (or any other setting, for that matter) that is neither overwhelming nor looks to be paced poorly.

Whilst only the basics are covered in the first few issues, this is done so in bite-sized, easy-to-read chunks that even the most inexperienced D&Der can get their head around. The magazine is very much an exercise in everything Hachette have learned whilst trying to simplify Warhammer 40,000’s titanic ruleset into a couple of mages at the back of its magazines.

I do have a few reservations about the dice in every issue. Whilst I’m a self-confessed sucker for nice dice (someone bought me a set of metal dice for Secret Santa 2022 which I was made up with), I’m not sure dice in every issue is going to have the legs or repeat appeal to carry the magazine to any significant longevity. Personally, I feel a few other bits may need to be thrown in as well: perhaps a D&D notebook, some item cards, perhaps a couple of minis (especially if there is no premium option). All these things contribute to making a cohesive, complete D&D experience, and I feel D&D Adventurer may benefit from including some of them.

Ultimately, however, I’m optimistic. Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer is definitely one to watch. As always, we’ll bring you more info as soon as we have it.

What do you think? Will you be subscribing? What would you like to see in a D&D partwork? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • VoltorRWH

    Rob a passé la plupart des 15 dernières années à jouer à World of Warcraft et à écrire des histoires dans des mondes maquillés. À un moment donné, il a également réussi à obtenir une maîtrise en écrivant sur les zombies médiévaux.

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Rob a passé la plupart des 15 dernières années à jouer à World of Warcraft et à écrire des histoires dans des mondes maquillés. À un moment donné, il a également réussi à obtenir une maîtrise en écrivant sur les zombies médiévaux.

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