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Popular novelist R.A. Salvatore returns to the well to spin a tale of the Icewind Dale, home of Drow ranger Drizzt Do'Urden; Marvel unveils a detailed Fantastic Four Roster Book for the Saga Game Rules; and White Wolf releases a softcover version of Trinity -- lots to grab your gaming attention in April.

Games and game accessories are listed by publication date; most recent first. Where available, links to SF Site reviews are provided. Click on the thumbnail image to get a look at the full size cover.

New Gaming Arrivals: April 1999
Art: Ron Spencer
Duelist: June 1999
edited by Mark Rosewater
Wizards of the Coast (magazine, 128 pages, $4.95 US/$6.50 Can)
Duelist has been striving to improve its coverage of the growing world of gaming, and it looks like they're doing a decent job of it. This issue the computer gaming umbrella expands to cover Heroes of Might and Magic III, Drakan, and the long-awaited Alpha Centauri. Plus a long look at killer strategies for the Classic edition, the official classic card list and player's guide, and more. There's also an informative piece for players of Legends of the Five Rings, "5 Secrets of the Ninja."
Art: Fred Fields
The Accursed Tower (for AD&D: Forgotten Realms)
R.A. Salvatore & the Seven Swords
TSR (adventure, 32 pages, $9.95 US/$14.95 Can)
Publication date: April, 1999

I could be wrong, but I believe this is the first TSR gaming product to bear the name of R.A. Salvatore, who began writing TSR novels in the 80s and went on to New York Times best-selling fantasy series (his most recent series is The Demons Awakens from Del Rey). Here he teams with his original gaming group, The Seven Swords to present a low-level, stand-alone adventure set in the Icewind Dale, home of the famed Drow ranger Drizzt Do'Urden. While hired on to protect a caravan, the PCs hear rumours of a dead mage's lost tower out on the tundra -- a tantalizing prize that hides as many dangers as treasures. For four to eight characters of levels 1-3.
Art: Brom
Outbound: An Explorer's Guidebook (An Alternity Stardrive Accessory)
Ed Stark
TSR (sourcebook, 96 pages, $18.95/$27.95 Can)
Publication date: April, 1999

TSR's Alternity science fiction role playing game expands with its latest Stardrive accessory, which covers the Verge, "that vast frontier beyond the Kendai Relay and the civilized stellar nations of Old Space, that has secrets still undiscovered, star systems still unexplored." Includes new information on the Concord Survey Service and its exploration procedures, new alien species, equipment, careers, and detailed rules for running scout and explorer heroes, and a handful of exploratory adventures that can be run virtually anywhere inside or outside the Verge.
George Perez/Paul Mounts
Fantastic Four Roster Book (for the Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game)
Richard Dakenm Jack Emmert, Jeff Quick, Mike Selinker
TSR (SAGA Games Rules, 144 pages, $18.95 US/$27.95 Can)
Publication date: April, 1999

This thick sourcebook for the Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game certainly leads off on the right foot -- with a cover by comics legend George Perez. Cataloging the various villains and allies of the legendary Fantastic Four is probably too much to ask of any single tome, but this one makes a valiant run at it and certainly hits all the biggies, from Adam Warlock and Annihilus to the Wizard. My favourite section (and likely to be yours as well) is The Household of Doom, a set of pages on perhaps the greatest villain in all comicdom -- his retinue, his robots, his devices, and his mad schemes. Plus, there's a handy section on How to Plan Like a Mad Genius -- worth the price of the book alone, really. Recommended.
Art: Tood Lockwood
TSR Jam 1999 (for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons)
An Adventure Guild Anthology Adventure
TSR (RPGA adventure, 64 pages, $12.95 US/$18.95 Can)
Publication date: April, 1999

At first glance, this seemed the kind of thing that was more appealing in conception than execution. Seven adventures by seven different designers, spanning seven worlds and three game systems -- including the Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Planescape, and Ravenloft campaign settings, the Dragonlance: Fifth Age campaign setting (using the Saga Game rules), the Illithiad Monstrous Arcana sourcebook, and even the Alternity science fiction RPG (!). However, the adventures don't appear to be linked, and the production -- including interior art -- is excellent. The result is a diverse anthology of concise (and in some cases quite powerful) gaming scenarios, which may be the perfect thing to introduce you to a number of gaming systems/worlds/campaign settings you haven't had the chance to try before. Well worth a look.
Art: Todd Lockwood
Duelist: May 1999
edited by Mark Rosewater
Wizards of the Coast (magazine, 136 pages, $4.95 US/$6.50 Can)
A lengthy look at the upcoming Sixth Edition of Magic: The Gathering -- new rules, new tricks, and a rundown on which cards will make the cut -- as well as the usual round of computer gaming articles (this time the very hot Baldur's Gate from Interplay and Bioware gets the nod). What else is packed inside? More Pokemon, more "Decks That Win!" articles, and another look at Deadlands, as well as an updated price list for the usual suspects.
Mike Evans
Crossroads (Shadowrun, Book 36)
Stephen Kenson
Roc (paperback, 273 pages, $5.99/$7.99 Can)
Publication date: April, 1999

You won't get a much richer gaming universe than FASA's Shadowrun -- or a more well developed body of supporting fiction, frankly. Give them a shot. "A young street mage working for the Draco Foundation is forced to return to his hometown of Boston to confront a dangerous shadow spirit and a corporate mage who are working together to turn the young magician into a human sacrifice--one which would unleash the shadow spirit to wreak evil havoc once more! The young mage must look into his past and find his connection to the dark spirit, or his life as a shadowrunner may end forever."
Doug Chaffee
Battletech: Falcon Rising (Twilight of the Clans, Volume VIII)
Robert Thurston
Roc (paperback, 288 pages, $5.99/$7.99 Can)
Publication date: March 1, 1999

I can't pick up these books without asking "am I too old to be interested in giant robot havoc?" But face it -- you're never too old for giant robots. The latest in the Twilight of the Clans saga picks up the Jade Falcon storyline where Thurston left off in Freebirth, and also picks up the threads of Prince of Havoc (by Michael Stackpole). "The Clans are in turmoil. Hamstrung by their truce with the hated Inner Sphere and plagued by internal conflict, the once-mighty Clans now race against each other to rebuild their decimated ranks of warriors. One Clan--the Jade Falcons--becomes the strongest of all by violating tradition and building an army of both freeborn humans and genetically engineering trueborns. But their pride is short lived, as the forces of the Inner Sphere rise to do the unimaginable--invade Clan space." From the author of Battletech: I Am Jade Falcon and Battletech: Falcon Guard.
review BattleTech Overview by John O'Neill
Art: Chris Moeller
White Wolf (reprint, game rules, 320 pages, $14.95 US)
Release date: April, 1999

Trinity has surged to the forefront among SF role-playing games, due in part to both an imaginative futuristic backdrop and a rapidly growing line of supplements. Up until now though, the core rules system has been available only in an expensive hardcover edition. Now White Wolf has re-issued it in a compact, affordably-priced softcover format, containing everything in the original edition -- including the introductory short story by George Alec Effinger, 152 pages of color, and extensive material on 22nd-century Earth and the threats that face it -- plus new art and a bonus Storyteller-only section, "The Story Thus Far...", that updates newcomers on the ever-expanding Trinity Universe.
Art: Mike Danza
Cainite Heresy (for Vampire: The Dark Ages)
Kenneth Hite, with R.S. Bergstrom and Jason Langlois
White Wolf/Black Dog Game Factory (sourcebook, 96 pages, $15.95)
Release date: April, 1999

You know when a book starts off with the boxed proclamation "Nobody at White Wolf believes Jesus Christ was a vampire" that you're in for an interesting couple of innings. As gruesome and gritty as only a gothic horror RPG set in the time of the original Goths could be, Vampire: The Dark Ages has earned its rep as one of the most hard-edged games on the market. But for sheer cruelty of man against man you'd have a hard time out-doing the historical treatment of heretics by the Roman Catholic Church, and Kenneth Hite and his fellow authors have mined this very dark vein to produce an unflinching sourcebook in which the very worst elements often seem drawn from historical record. Subtitled "A sourcebook of Blasphemous Horror," Cainite Heresy includes the history of the heresy, it secrets and influences, and its method of seducing even the purest souls. Includes original fiction by P.D. Cacek. For Adults Only.
Art: Steve Stone
Book of the Weaver (for Werewolf: The Apocalypse)
Sue Armstrong, Deena McKinney, Ethan Skemp and Sven Skoog
White Wolf (sourcebook, 128 pages, $17.95 US)
Release date: April, 1999

Subtitled "The Sourcebook of the Weaver for Werewolf: The Apocalypse." I've not seen the name Steve Stone before, but after his striking cover here I'll be keeping my eye out for it again. "Grandmother Spider was born to make order out of chaos, to weave patterns where there were none. She was entrusted with the duty of keeping the Names of things, and charged to keep the world whole. But she went mad. She caught the Wyrm in her web, and in her madness. Now Progress is blind, and Science is mad. The Garou must sever her strands before she chokes the life from Gaia -- but will they even know how to fight her?"
Art: Michael Sutfin
Duelist: April 1999
edited by Mark Rosewater
Wizards of the Coast (magazine, 128 pages, $4.95 US/$6.50 Can)
The April issue of Wizards of the Coast's flagship gaming magazine (which just changed its name from The Duelist to just Duelist -- betcha didn't notice) includes the Duelist BEST GAMES OF '98 awards, a number of handy articles on Magic -- Top Ten Urza's Legacy Power Cards, and 5 East Magic Tips from professional player Brian Hacker -- as well as Pekemon knockout decks, a lengthy set of tips for the Myth computer game, and much more.
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