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E3 Prince of Undeath

D&D Adventure
Bruce R. Cordell and Scott Fitzgerald Gray
This epic-level D&D adventure is designed to take characters from 27th to 30th level. In this adventure, the demon lord Orcus tries to usurp the Raven Queen’s power over death using a shard of evil plucked from the depths of the Abyss. Only the world’s most powerful heroes have the slightest hope of stopping him.
This adventure can be played as a stand-alone adventure or as the conclusion of a three-part series that spans 10 levels of gameplay.

In our E3 Prince of Undeath excerpts, we present the adventure synopsis, three encounters, as well as a look at the mighty Wand of Orcus!

Prince of Undeath

Orcus intends to usurp the powers and privileges of the Raven Queen, the god of death, fate, and winter. If he accomplishes his aims, no soul shall rest easy again. To avert this theft of divine portfolio and purpose, epic adventurers must dive down to the bottommost pit of existence, where the Heart of the Abyss festers.

  • Introduction and Synopsis (179 Kbs PDF)
    Orcus, Demon Prince of the Undead, wants to usurp control over the spirits of the dead from the Raven Queen, the god of Death and Fate. The Prince of Undeath has slowly drawn his plans against her from the heart of his Abyssal realm, the citadel called Everlost. Everlost straddles a yawning chasm whose sheer slopes hold hundreds of tombs and burial sites, creating a tiered necropolis.
  • Chaos Ship Overview (194 KBs PDF)
    Whether through a portal opened by Audaviator, a scroll of Planar Portal provided by a godly messenger, or through some other agency, the adventurers find the chaos ship Shevaithan moored to a docking mote within the swirling vortex of the Abyss.
  • Magic Items and Artifacts (254 KBs PDF)
    Orcus carries a heavy mace tipped with an enormous skull. Its haft is smooth obsidian studded with blood rubies. This weapon transforms those it slays into undead horrors. The Wand communicates silently with its wielder, in Abyssal, using brutal and gory imagery to highlight its blood-soaked ends.
  • S1: Boarding the Ship (334 KBs PDF)
    What might have once been a human woman stands atop the sterncastle behind the wheel, her flesh split and darkened, revealing demonic scales beneath. She wears a tattered hat, and madness dances in her eyes. The creature behind the wheel screams, "Repel the boarders! In Orcus’s name, scrub these worms from my ship!"
  • R10: Warden of Everlost (364 KBs PDF)
    The boiling Bloodstorm parts like a veil as the Death Gate swings wide. The portal that leads back to Shevaithan is active, but a horde of rot harbingers swarms around it, flanking a humanoid figure in the midst of a ritual directed at the portal itself. The beholders slain here have been raised as undead, letting out a keening wail of alarm.

    The figure wheels, its ritual forgotten. "The defilers of the Red Hold save me the trouble of finding them, I see. Hoping for mercy perhaps? You have caused much grief for my lord, but consuming your souls will sate his wrath. I am Harthoon, voice of Orcus and castellan of Everlost. I am your doom!"
  • F5: Deal with the Devils (404 KBs PDF)
    Patches of shattered crystal burn white hot within this blackened cavern. A squadron of devils occupies the chamber, led by a great pit fiend whose eyes burn red with rage. "Demon ilk!" she shrieks. "Thralls of Orcus! You shall die just as your masters have fallen before you!

The Importance of Terrain

Design & Development

by Stephen Radney-MacFarland

The Design & Development article series premiered on the D&D website back in September 2005, and has been a staple ever since. With the approach of 4th Edition, and our designers and developers focused on the new edition, this column will be the primary vehicle for 4th Edition coverage. We’ll not only give you peeks at what’s forthcoming, but also the “how” and “why.”
Keep in mind that the game is still in a state of flux, as refinements are made by our design and development staff. You’re getting a look behind the curtain at game design in progress, so enjoy, and feel free to send your comments to

A proper command of terrain wins battles -- generals from Sun Tzu to Norman Schrwarzkopf have known this to be true. There's a similar relationship between encounter design and terrain -- a canny use of terrain can transform good encounters into great ones. One of the goals of the 4th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide is to help the Dungeon Master perform just such transformations, which includes providing a bunch of evocative terrain types and advice on their placement and use. Since the book doesn't come out for a while, let's illuminate some of the basics of terrain in 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons.
While it might seem elementary, let's first examine what we mean by terrain. Terrain is not just what litters the field in an encounter; terrain also forms the dimensions and tactile experience of the encounter itself. Knowing that, there are some things about 4th Edition D&D design that you should keep in mind when building encounters.
First and foremost, not only does the standard 4th Edition encounter tend to have more combatants than in 3rd Edition, both PCs and monsters are more maneuverable as well. This means that the 10-foot by 10-foot rooms of yore have gone the way of the dinosaur (actually that happened in 3E, but that's not relevant to this discussion). Likewise have the 20 by 20 room and even the 30 by 30 room as the sole encounter areas. In fact, the minimum amount of space you typically want to have for a standard encounter is one of those large 10-square by 8-square dungeon tiles! That's 50-feet by 40-feet for all you still counting in feet. Just hold on before you start chucking all those 2-by-2 square dungeon tiles in the garbage -- you'll still need them!
Any DM worth her salt knows that dynamic and interactive stories are more satisfying than railroading narratives. The same is true for battle areas. Larger spaces with interesting terrain that both the PCs and their enemies can take advantage of -- or be foiled by -- is infinitely more fun than a small and relatively empty room that constrains combatant choice to a small set of dreary moves.
But here's the rub -- large areas of interconnecting chambers, complete with alcoves, galleries, and antechambers, are far more exciting than just plopping down a 10 by 8 tile and sprinkling it with rubble. Creating a network of interconnected areas creates numerous avenues of conflict and creates the possibilities for a series of evolving fronts that metamorphoses same-old encounters into tactical puzzles that'll sing like legend to a gaming group. See, you're going to need all those smaller pieces!
Then, once you have the main layout done, populate it with furniture, shrines, rubble, pillars, or maybe even the occasional lightning column or patch of doomspore where needed (and where appropriate), and you've got yourself a pretty vibrant encounter area for your combatants to interact with.
Oh, here's a bit of sound advice that'll keep you out of trouble. Be careful with pits and other steep inclines, and leave 100-foot (or endless) chasms for paragon- or epic-level play. Some of that increased maneuverability of the combatants in 4th Edition comes from attacks that can move foes against their will -- which is all fun and games until someone loses a character!
That aside, D&D is more than just a tactical skirmish game; it's also a game of storytelling and heroic adventure. When designing adventures, you're doing more than just placing interesting terrain pieces for the battle that (let's admit it) will most likely occur; you are also setting the stage of your story. A canny eye toward terrain set up can also help you communicate story elements to your players quickly and without the need to say a single word. Just put down some sarcophagi, and the players will know it's a crypt. Put down an altar, and you've just communicated that it's a temple. Put down piles and piles of bones in front of a yawning cavern, and the players will know their characters are likely in a world of trouble … or you've seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail one too many times.
What the Heck is Doomspore?
Isn't it annoying when those know-it-all designers and developers drop an Easter egg in a preview article and don't back it up with any description? Yeah, I hate that too -- unless I am the one doing it. That said, I empathize a little, so here's the doomspore (or at least a recent version of it).
Doomspore (Any)
Usually found in large, natural caverns, this fungus takes the form of a clump of toadstools, some of which reach a height of about 3 feet tall. A square of doomspore is difficult terrain and provides cover to anyone standing within.
If any creature enters a doomspore's square (or uses a standard action to kick or poke at it, if within reach), a doomspore releases a cloud of spores that provides concealment to all creatures within its own and adjacent squares. Furthermore, a bloodied creature in the area of a cloud when created, who moves into the cloud, or begins its turn in the cloud, is subject to a Fortitude attack (+10) that deals 1d10 points of poison damage on a hit. In addition, a target hit by a doomspore is weakened and takes ongoing poison 5 (save ends both conditions; creatures with immunity to or resist poison 5 are immune to the weakened condition also).
This cloud (and its effects on a bloodied character) persists for the remainder of the encounter (or for 5 minutes). Once the cloud settles, the doomspore can't produce another for 24 hours.
Placement Advice: More than one doomspore in a room may give an advantage to creatures immune or resistant to poison. Intelligent undead tend to cultivate doomspore, and this debilitating fungus can often be found in caverns infested with zombies. It absolutely inundates areas of the Shadowfell as its growth thrives in the presence of undead flesh that has been shed from its host.
As for the lightning column -- well, you'll just have to wait for that one. I would say I am sorry … but you know I'm not.
About the Author
Born on a stormy Christmas day, in our nation’s capital, during the Nixon administration, the stars were definitely wrong when Stephen Radney-MacFarland came screaming into the world. Spending most of his impressionable years as a vagabond and ne’re-do-well, Stephen eventually settled in the Northwest to waste his life on roleplaying games.
Once that RPGA guy, Stephen is now a developer in RPG R&D where he doesn’t create the traps … he just makes them deadlier. He also teaches a class on roleplaying design for the Art Institute of Seattle, molding the minds of young and upcoming designers. Be afraid. Be very afraid.


Design & Development

by James Wyatt
Art by Lee Mayer

The Design & Development article series premiered on the D&D website back in September 2005, and has been a staple ever since. With the approach of 4th Edition, and our designers and developers focused on the new edition, this column will be the primary vehicle for 4th Edition coverage. We’ll not only give you peeks at what’s forthcoming, but also the “how” and “why.”
Keep in mind that the game is still in a state of flux, as refinements are made by our design and development staff. You’re getting a look behind the curtain at game design in progress, so enjoy, and feel free to send your comments to

The family of gods for 4th Edition is a mix of old and new. You'll see familiar faces like Corellon, Moradin, and Pelor, and some new faces as well, like Zehir, Torog, and Bane.
Yes, Bane.
Before I explain what the Forgotten Realms' god of tyranny and war is doing rubbing shoulders with Pelor, let me say a bit about our thinking when we created a pantheon in the first place.
There was a time when the team working on "the world" of D&D thought we could get away with creating general rules useful to clerics regardless of which pantheon existed in the campaign, and then presenting a variety of fictional and historical pantheons for DMs to adopt or adapt as they saw fit. I believe it was Stacy Longstreet, the senior D&D art director, who pointed out that this solution would leave us in a bit of a bind.
When we wanted to put a temple in an adventure, what god would it be dedicated to? We could make Generic Evil Temples™, but that would sap a lot of the flavor out of our adventures, and rob us of specific plot hooks and story lines based on the portfolios and histories of these gods.
When we wanted to illustrate a cleric in one of our books, what holy symbol would the cleric hold? Again, we could rely on a stable of generic symbols (maybe the Zapf Dingbat font?), but at the cost of a lot of flavor.
We ended up creating a new pantheon. At first, we used some of the gods from 3rd Edition as placeholder names -- we thought we'd come up with new names for [Pelor] the sun god and [Moradin] the god of the forge. Ultimately we decided that using some familiar faces was preferable to giving our players a whole new set of names to learn. Besides, if a god looks like an elf and took out the orc-god's eye like a certain well-known elf god, why not call him Corellon?
Corellon: The elf god is a good example of a god who kept his well-earned place in the D&D pantheon. But "the elf god" shouldn't be taken to literally. Sure, he's often depicted as an elf or an eladrin, and many eladrin in particular revere him. But he's equally popular among human wizards, and even dwarves who practice the finer arts are prone to offering him prayers. One of our goals with the new pantheon was to loosen the tight associations between gods and races that has in the past led to the creation of whole pantheons full of elf, dwarf, orc, and goblin deities. Corellon is still associated with elfy things like arcane magic and the Feywild, and he still hates Lolth and the drow. But his appeal is a little broader now.
Bahamut: Here's another example of a familiar, draconic face showing up in a somewhat new light. Maybe it was the Platinum Knight prestige class in Draconomicon that did it, but something convinced me a long time ago that Bahamut was a much cooler god of paladins than Heironeous ever was. Like Corellon, Bahamut's not just for dragons any more. He's the god of justice, protection, and honor, and many paladins of all races worship him. Many metallic dragons revere him as well, thinking of him as the first of their kind. Some legends about Bahamut describe him as literally a shining platinum dragon, while others describe him as a more anthropomorphic deity, who's called the Platinum Dragon as a title of respect. Exhorting his followers to protect the weak, liberate the oppressed, and defend just order, Bahamut stands as the exemplar of the paladin's ideal.
Bane: Here's another god whose placeholder name just stuck, despite some reservations. We wanted an evil war god in the pantheon, and without Heironeous, Hextor didn't make a lot of sense. We wanted the kind of heavily militaristic god whose temples you might find among non-evil societies who have spent long years at war, as well as among hobgoblins. We wanted a god who embodied just the sort of tyrannical dictatorship that Bane stands for in the Forgotten Realms. We started calling him Bane as a placeholder. He went through a number of different, unsatisfying names. Finally, someone said we should just call him Bane. So Bane he remained.
Like chocolate and peanut butter, we think Bane and Bahamut are two great tastes that taste great together. Does that mean you have to use them in your 4th Edition game? Of course not. But we think that, when you see these gods in action in our core books and adventures, you'll agree that they belong in their new places of honor in the pantheon of the D&D game.

About the Author
James Wyatt is the Lead Story Designer for D&D and one of the lead designers of D&D 4th Edition. In over seven years at Wizards of the Coast, he has authored or co-authored award-winning adventures and settings including the Eberron Campaign Setting, City of the Spider Queen, and Oriental Adventures. His more recent works include Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave, and The Forge of War. His second Eberron novel, Storm Dragon, is in stores now.

The Core Mechanic

Design & Development

by Matthew Sernett

The Design & Development article series premiered on the D&D website back in September 2005, and has been a staple ever since. With the approach of 4th Edition, and our designers and developers focused on the new edition, this column will be the primary vehicle for 4th Edition coverage. We’ll not only give you peeks at what’s forthcoming, but also the “how” and “why.”
Keep in mind that the game is still in a state of flux, as refinements are made by our design and development staff. You’re getting a look behind the curtain at game design in progress, so enjoy, and feel free to send your comments to

Grab a d20. Roll high.
That’s the basic rule of 4th Edition just as it was in 3rd Edition, but the new edition puts that mechanic more solidly in the core of the game than ever.
Ever faced one of those life-or-death saving throws? Hours, weeks, or even years of play can hang in the balance. It all comes down to that one roll. There’s drama in that moment, but it’s drama you didn’t create, and you don’t want.
That’s gone in the new edition.
Have you played a spellcaster and been a little envious of the excitement of other players when they roll critical hits? Have you wished that you could do that for your spells?
You can in 4th.
Have you ever had some confusion or miscalculation about your normal AC versus your touch and flat-footed AC?

You won’t have to worry about it.
If you want to know whether or not you succeed in doing some action in 4th Edition, you grab a d20 and try to roll high. Just as in 3rd Edition, you add a modifier to that roll from your character sheet, and you check for any extra bonuses or penalties from the situation or from your allies. The key difference in the new edition is what you roll for and what you add.
The standard defenses remain (AC, Fortitude, Reflex, and Will) but now they all work more like AC. When a dragon breathes fire on you, it attacks your Reflex and deals half damage if it misses. The DM rolls a d20, adds the dragon’s modifiers, and asks you what your Reflex score is. The dragon might roll a 1 and automatically miss no matter how much tougher it is than you, but there’s also the frightening possibility that it will roll a 20 and deal double damage.
Folks familiar with the new Star Wars Saga system will recognize this concept, but it’s evolved a bit to better suit D&D. In 4th Edition, when a creature only needs to touch you to deliver an attack, it targets your Reflex. When you’re surprised, you grant combat advantage, but you don’t need to look at a special AC on your sheet -- the normal number works fine. When a pit suddenly opens up beneath your feet, you make a check to jump out of danger, but if a crossbow trap fires an arrow at you, it the bolt attacks your AC.
What we mean when we talk about streamlining the system is this: making design decisions that make learning and using the game less difficult, while keeping the system just as robust. And making it more fun as the result.

About the Author
Matthew Sernett has been a designer of 4th Edition, the editor-in-chief of Dragon Magazine, a pizza cook, an onion packer, and an assembly line worker in a spring factory. In 1999, while working for Men's Health Magazine, he narrowly avoided being a wardrobe tracker in the male fashion industry. He feels very lucky to now be employed as a creative/world designer for Gleemax. Hail the bottled brain!


Design & Development

by Bruce R. Cordell

The Design & Development article series premiered on the D&D website back in September 2005, and has been a staple ever since. With the approach of 4th Edition, and our designers and developers focused on the new edition, this column will be the primary vehicle for 4th Edition coverage. We’ll not only give you peeks at what’s forthcoming, but also the “how” and “why.”
Keep in mind that the game is still in a state of flux, as refinements are made by our design and development staff. You’re getting a look behind the curtain at game design in progress, so enjoy, and feel free to send your comments to

A thousand birdsongs resound through the cool depths of the primeval forest. These ancient, virgin, and primary woodlands have never felt the metallic sting of axe or the unnatural heat of fire stoked so hot it burns more than detritus and undergrowth. Living, bark-wrapped pillars hold aloft layers upon layers of mounting canopy that filters the high sunlight through more hues of emerald and gold that could ever be imagined.
The secrets of the deep, old woods are closely guarded, and few know of the many wild things that walk amid the shadowed boles. Silver stags, wise hares, unicorns, butterflies the size of hawks, and tree owls who’ve survived a hundred or more winters shelter in the forgiving hollow of a grandfather pine.
Few indeed, but for the elves.
Most elves are wild, free forest-dwellers, guarding their lands with stealth and deadly arrows from high boughs. Though fey in origin, elves have lived so long in the world that they have become almost inured to its difficulties. Hardened by the unruly savagery of nature and seasoned by the hard lessons that orcs, humans, and other creatures of the world are only too happy to teach, elves have gone a different route than their cousins, the eladrin. Elves rely on hard-won intuition and senses tuned to an arrow’s point instead of reason, intellect, or debate as eladrin are more wont to do. However, like eladrins, they possess a pure hate for their shared distant drow relatives.
Elves are people of deeply felt but short-lived passions. They are easily moved to delighted laughter, blinding wrath, or even mournful tears. Elves possess a profound, intuitive connection to the natural world they inhabit, and often perceive things others have not the skill or aptitude to notice. They are inclined to impulsive behavior in preference to long deliberation, though they would say they prefer to act in the moment.
Elves, sometimes also called wood elves, wild elves, or sylvan elves, usually gather in tribes or bands composed of three or more families. These tribes are less concerned with relationships or lineages than with proven forestcraft and hunting prowess, and usually choose the wisest and most perceptive member of a tribe to lead. In very large tribes, this “elf chieftain” is instead described as an “elf king” or “elf queen.” However, in most tribes, even the lowliest member doesn’t feel beyond his station in speaking his mind to any other elf, regardless of station, up to and including the tribe’s leader.
Most elves revere the natural world, but they love forests most of all. They never cut living trees, and when they create permanent villages, they do so by carefully growing or weaving arbors, treehouses, and catwalks from living branches. They prefer the magic of the natural world to arcane magic. Elves are drawn to the worship of both the fey god Corellon and Obad-Hai, the god of the wild. Both spiritual and practical, elves embody the most peaceful and the most violent aspects of the natural world.

About the Author
Bruce Cordell is a D&D designer, but during his twelve years in the game industry, he has dabbled in miniatures, board games, collectible card games, d20 games, and more. Bruce has over a sixty listed credits to his name, including the Expanded Psionics Handbook, Libris Mortis, and Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. His body of work also includes three published Forgotten Realms novels (Lady of Poison, Darkvision, and Stardeep), with more on the way.

Encounter Design in 4th Edition

Design & Development

by Mike Mearls

The Design & Development article series premiered on the D&D website back in September 2005, and has been a staple ever since. With the approach of 4th Edition, and our designers and developers focused on the new edition, this column will be the primary vehicle for 4th Edition coverage. We’ll not only give you peeks at what’s forthcoming, but also the “how” and “why.”
Keep in mind that the game is still in a state of flux, as refinements are made by our design and development staff. You’re getting a look behind the curtain at game design in progress, so enjoy, and feel free to send your comments to

The encounter serves as the basic building block of a D&D adventure. In the old days, DMs used their experience, judgment, and sense of drama to build encounters. The 3rd Edition of D&D gave us challenge ratings and encounter levels. They were great tools, but they assumed that the party fought only one monster. In 4th Edition, we’re doing things a bit different. We’re shifting to a system that assumes a number of monsters equal to the number of characters. This change has a few major implications for encounter design:
  1. Superior Accuracy: Before we can talk about encounter design, it’s important to note that while 3rd Edition’s CR system is a useful measuring tool, it isn’t always an accurate one. A monster’s AC, hit points, special attacks, and damage all combine to determine its level. In the old days, we relied on a designer’s best guess to match a creature to a CR. While designating a creature’s level is still an art, designating a creature’s level now has more science behind it. By creating robust progressions of attack bonus, damage, and AC, level has become a much more accurate measure of a monster’s power. This step is critically important, as it now allows us a lot more accuracy in determining the threat an encounter presents.
  2. More Monsters: Rather than pick one monster, you now select a group of critters. The interplay between monsters is a little more important in design. In 3rd Edition, you had to turn to significantly weaker monsters to put a pair or more creatures into a fight. Unless these monsters had significant advantages when working together, an individual character easily outclassed an individual monster in such a group. In 4th Edition, an individual creature (of a level comparable to the PC) has the AC, attack bonus, and hit points to remain a threat during a fight.
  3. Monster Roles: Monsters have roles that define the basics of how they fight. The role functions in only the broadest terms. It dictates a few basic measures of a monster but describes, rather than proscribes, how its abilities work. The real strength of a role is that it gives designers a few basic targets to shoot at it in design, ensuring that every monster we make fits in with the rest of the creatures in the whole game. For instance, monsters that are good at ranged attacks love to have a beefy wall of brutes in front of them to hold back the adventurers. Roles allow you to focus in on the right monster for the encounter and spot obvious combinations.
  4. Hazards: Traps, hazards, dangerous terrain, and other complications have a clearer place in the battlefield. The 3rd Edition of D&D gave us one “monster unit” to play with. In other words, the game assumed that the encounter consisted of four PCs against one monster. If you had five PCs, you had to figure out how to get 1.25 “monsters” into the encounter. Even worse, that system had to express traps, hazards, and other dangers as full monster units. It was difficult at best to mechanically represent something that was never meant to stand alone.

    In 4th Edition, each monster represents only a portion of the encounter. That makes it much easier to design green slime, pit traps, whirling blades, fountains that spray acid, and crumbling stone walls. One such hazard can simply take the place of one monster, leaving you with three or four monsters in the encounter. Since monster level is a more rigorous measure of power, we can turn those measures and scales around and use them to create environmental hazards, traps, set pieces, and other interesting tactical twists.

Putting it All Together

What does all this mean for encounter design in 4th Edition? When you build an encounter, you can begin from several different premises. You can start with a cool monster, find creatures that make good “teammates” for it, and run with that. For instance, you’ve always wanted to throw a medusa at the party. Looking at her stats, abilities, and role, you can then pick out other creatures that make her a tougher nut to crack. Of course, you could always throw a couple medusas at the characters and have a little sculpture party.
Alternatively, you can start with a basic idea of how you want the encounter to proceed, pick out monsters based on level and role, and throw that at the party. Let’s say that the party wizard hasn’t had sufficient trouble thrown his way recently. Ranged attackers always make life difficult for spellslingers, so you can pick out a few of them based on role. To keep the fight busy, a monster with a lot of abilities to hinder and slow down PCs fits the bill. As a cherry on top of this anti-wizard sundae, you can finish the encounter with a lurker who hides from the party, sneaks past the fighter, and springs from the shadows to chop down the caster. The key here is that, without knowing exactly which monsters to use, you have an idea of which types of critters you want.
How you fit hazards into an encounter is perhaps the most important aspect of encounter design in 4th Edition, and it brings us to the third way you can build encounters. You can now more easily add dynamic elements to an encounter and account for cool special effects, hazards, and traps. Those elements are, in mechanics terms, equal to a monster. They fit seamlessly into the encounter design and XP rules by taking up one creature’s slot. If you want to throw in more hazards, simply reduce the monster count and increase the number of hazards present in the encounter.
If you’re like me, and you read too many comics and watch too many movies for your own good, you like to pull out set pieces and crazy terrain to throw at the party. A swaying rope bridge battered by howling air elementals fits under the encounter building system. A burning building that collapses around the PCs as they fight the evil hobgoblin wizard fills a similar role, as does a bizarre altar to Vecna that randomly teleports characters around the room. Hazards, traps, and other dangers simply fill in for one or more creatures in a fight.
By expanding the tools and making them work well together, 4th Edition presents a more robust, flexible, extensible, and exciting set of encounter tools. If the 3rd Edition’s presentation of CR was the first step to taking some of the mystery out of encounter design, the 4th Edition builds on that core to produce a more accurate tool, along with additional uses for that tool.

About the Author
Mike Mearls is found only in subterranean places, as he detests sunlight. He is greatly evil and considers the bulk of humanity (and its kin) as cattle to feed upon. He speaks only his own arcane language and several other weird tongues -- purportedly those of terrible races of things which dwell in regions of the subterranean world far deeper than mankind has ever ventured.