From time to time, new roleplaying gamers – or parents that play RPGs, or gamers trying to bring their buddies over from consoles and PCs – ask me to recommend the best way to get them into tabletop D&D. Lately, I’ve been at a bit of a loss, not having any one set or edition to universally put forth as a gateway into the system without going way, way back to ancient basic boxed sets and such. Wizards of the Coast must be aware of this perceived lack of friendly entry-point products: not only is a new “red box” basic set on the way later this year, but earlier today, WotC also posted Monster Slayers: The Heroes of Hesiod, a child-oriented D&D variant stripped down to the bare minimum. Targeting age 6 and up, the free 14-page PDF provides everything needed except dice and pencils, and boasts a play time of “as little as fifteen minutes or as long as an hour.” The game looks like a young players’ D&D Miniatures or a D&D: Fourth Edition-lite boardgame, but it just might be a more comfortable starting point for newbies, or a fun diversion for seasoned gamers.
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