What’s the Crock Pot? Just a simmering bowl of lentils and herbs, with a dash of DMing observations. Don’t be afraid to dip in your ladle and stir, or throw in something from your own spice rack.
No Tieflings Allowed
James Wyatt (whose work on the 3E accessories Oriental Adventures and Magic of Incarnum I greatly admire) provides his player handout for his Fourth Edition D&D Greenbriar Chasm campaign in the Dungeon 156 “Dungeoncraft” article. Overall, it’s an instructive piece, and a fair template for other DMs to follow if they are preparing a similar document for their games.
One interesting tidbit: Wyatt allows the players the use of the shifter using the rules in the Monster Manual (an influence from his landmark contributions to Eberron, perhaps) and any Player’s Handbook race with one notable exception. He’s banned the tiefling for the game he’s DMing.
Now, I don’t know if this is simply a creative decision, a reflection of any personal beliefs (Wyatt ,a former minister, has blogged about his Christianity) that are in conflict with the tiefling’s origins (a human bloodline tainted by diabolic liasons), or if he’s decided like many of us with an old-school bent that tieflings are best kept out of PCs hands and reserved for Planescape games (if Planescape can be considered “old school”). It’s even possible this is in line with the as-yet-unseen Forgotten Realms campaign guide.
It’s probably not even worth commenting on, except for one thing: Wyatt was a member of both the 4E design and development teams, as well as being the lone author credited on the Dungeon Master’s Guide. You’d think the first representation of a DM’s campaign on the Wizards of the Coast Website would feature the race that his teams decided should dropkick the poor, misunderstood gnomes from out of the PHB and into the pages of the Monster Manual.
What’s in a name, really?
Did you know that Wolfgang Baur, the outstanding editor of Kobold Quarterly (and a fellow member of the Werecabbage freelancing group), had a hand in naming the tiefling? During his days at TSR, he was asked by a member of the Planescape design team for a German word to describe a creature of devlish origins. The result: “tiefling.”
It’s a trifling thing, really
OK, but how should you pronounce it?
TY-fling? TEEF-ling? ty-a-FLING?
(For goodness sakes, the first game company to produce an honest-to-goodness pronounciation key for fantastic words gets my thumbs up.)