D&D for Busy Dads

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visualizervisualizerImagine you’re exploring the Ruins of Greyhawk and just when you’re about to join the climactic battle, guess what? A poopy diaper or a stolen peanut butter sandwich stymies our hero’s advance.

Most responsible dads will tell you the last priority in their life is their own entertainment. The idea of watching an hour-long “dad show” on the TV without hitting pause once is heavenly — never mind spending seven hours in the basement with your friends, playing a game. And even if you do have time, who’s to say your buddies will as well? People these days are busier than ever, and with that in mind Wizards of the Coast, publisher of Dungeons & Dragons, has created two online aids.

The first site, Gleemax, is described as being your neighborhood game store online. There are knowledgeable people who can guide you to the right resources, bulletin boards to find local players, and a store to buy stuff.

The second part of Wizards’ strategy is called D&D Insider. This is an online tool allowing gaming groups to meet and play across the Internet. Unlike World of Warcraft or Ultima Online, there isn’t a “world” to be explored by yourself. Instead, the Dungeon Master prepares Web-based maps and miniatures and players share an data connection allowing for roleplaying and interaction. Can’t meet up with your gaming group? Then go to the forums and join a game on the fly.

One of the most nifty features is character management. Whether or not you plan on playing across the Web, you can use D&D Insider’s Character Creator to create and store your character. Then, after every session you can update your character and print out a new character sheet, eliminating tattered paper and pencil smudges — not to mention lost characters. You can even use the Character Visualizer to create a picture of your character with his or her physical characteristics, armor, weapons and equipment.

D&D Insider subscriptions are free for now, but sometime in Spring 2008 they will cost $9.95 per month. That’s when the cool features like the Character Visualizer and Dungeon Master Tools debut. Until then you’ll have to be satisfied with the forums, blogs and editorial content — not to mention the tantalizing hints of the D&D 4th Edition!

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