Dragonfire At Pax Unplugged

Catalyst Game Labs is pleased to attend the inaugural Pax Unplugged! The action begins in just under three days in Philadelphia, running from November 17th to the 19th.

We’ll have our usually fantastic BattleTech and Shadowrun games for sale, including our latest releases. We’ll have many of our other tabletop games as well, including Jarl, Wrath of Dragons, Bravest Warriors, Valiant: The Deckbuilding Game and Master of Orion: Conquest.

In addition, we’ll have a bevy of demos running for our newest release, Dragonfire–you’ll be able to purchase it there as well!

    Dragonfire is a 2- to 6-player deck-building game based on the lore of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS®. Players choose from a number of races, from dwarf to elf, half-orc to human, while assuming the quintessential roles of Cleric, Rogue, Fighter, and Wizard. Equipped with weapons, spells, and magic items, players begin their adventure along the famed Sword Coast, then expand to other locales across the Forgotten Realms—such as Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter, and Waterdeep—in future expansions. Along the way, players level up their characters, earning additional equipment, abilities, and more. Join the quest, and build your own legend!

See you there!

Heroes Wanted: Dragonfire On Store Shelves!

    Dragonfire is a 2- to 6-player deck-building game based on the lore of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS®. Players choose from a number of races, from dwarf to elf, half-orc to human, while assuming the quintessential roles of Cleric, Rogue, Fighter, and Wizard. Equipped with weapons, spells, and magic items, players begin their adventure along the famed Sword Coast, then expand to other locales across the Forgotten Realms—such as Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter, and Waterdeep—in future expansions. Along the way, players level up their characters, earning additional equipment, abilities, and more. Join the quest, and build your own legend!


Catalyst Game Labs is pleased to announce that Dragonfire will be available on game store shelves November 15th!

Alongside the much-anticipated release of this Dungeons & Dragons® deck-building game, players will also be able to further equip their heroes and jump into the exciting action with these great accessories:

HEROES OF THE SWORD COAST: Rally your forces with 32 additional race/class combinations in this Character Pack, including the Ranger, Druid, Warlock, and Bard. Also includes additional Market cards, as well as a bevy of new ability stickers!

WONDROUS TREASURES: Empower yourself with an expanded deck of magical items gleaned from the hordes of monsters or discovered in long-lost vaults.

HIDDEN TREASURES: An additional deck of fantastical magic items can be found with participating retailers. Play a game in their store and perhaps find a magic item you’ll discover no where else. Ask your local retailers if they have the Hidden Treasure deck!


That’ll keep you slinging spells and hacking monsters for a myriad adventures. However, a full line of supporting accessories is on its way:

SHADOWS OVER DRAGONSPEAR CASTLE: Evil awaits in the catacombs surrounding Dragonspear Castle. Challenge two new decks of encounters, and gain all new magic items and Market cards in the first Adventure Pack! Coming December 2017!

CHAOS IN THE TROLLCLAWS: Monstrous hunger shall not be denied in this second installment of the Dragonfire Adventures. New encounters await, guarding precious treasures for the stalwart adventurer. Coming January 2018!

And so much more action to come: the Sea of Swords, the Moonshae Isles, Calimshan, and beyond!


To ensure maximum support for brick-and-mortar stores, this initial release will not be sold off our website. Once reinforcements arrive, then we’ll make Dragonfire available to purchase there.

Finally, to celebrate this wonderful moment of excitement and adventure, the full Dragonfire Rulebook PDF is available to download for free, along with a comprehensive FAQ (both are found on the downloads page).

Visit www.dragonfirethegame.com for future details.

Encounters…So Many Encounters

In my Encounter Decks: Master List Google sheets I’ve reached 288 encounters spread across the base game, four Adventure Packs, and the first Campaign Box.

Now in reality, that’s really only, say, 220 or so unique encounters, since every deck include multiples of the same card. For example, in the Dungeon 1 Deck from the base game, there are twenty cards, but three of them are repeats, meaning only seventeen unique ones.

But however you slice it, that’s a lot of encounters…and it only covers the first five months of releases! Ha!

So how do you keep such design work fresh and desirable for a community that will be diving into your game and playing it long-term? There’s a lot of factors to consider. (And while I’m discussing Dragonfire, this can apply to almost any game under the sun with a persistent release schedule.)

New Art
It’s a fascinating psychological truism that you can simply change the art on a card, with very few other tweaks, and it feels different. Now ultimately, I would consider that sort of development dishonest if it was done continually. But the strength of new art with a new name—even if nothing else really changes beyond slight tweaks to a damage track—is recognized and used adroitly in development all the time.

Take a look at the Minotaur and Centaur. They’re the same Arcane-type of encounter, and their damage tracks are very similar. Sure, there’s different abilities on each. But even if both of them had no abilities, with the different art and just small tweaks to the damage track (as noted below) the cards feel different.

Changing The Damage Track
This almost always occurs with the addition of new art, so it’s not often it is done by itself. But with five different elements to play with (i.e. the four colored damage icons and colorless), along with eight different levels on a card, the range is very extensive.

There are plenty of times, though, when I’ve deliberately mirrored some encounters in different encounter sets. For example, in Adventures: Sea of Swords, I introduced a Difficulty 2 encounter, Harpy Flock, with tokens. Then, in the first Campaign Box, I introduced a Difficulty 1 encounter, a solo Harpy. Since the two are nearly identical for the Creative, just one a flock of the other, the damage tracks are nearly identical.

In other instances, such as the current encounters I’m working on, I received permission from Wizards of the Coast to develop a few additional fomorians in the Creative for Fomorian encounters. While they don’t receive the nearly identical damage track as the Harpy variant situation above, they’re still all Fomorians, so I started with the basic Fomorian from the base game, and then tweaked adjustments to create the feel of the new encounter I was hoping for.

Elemental encounters, and their Myrmidon cousins, are another example of creatures that are very similar in overall potential—even if the subcomponents are unique—that they bear striking resemblance to each other, even if the exact colors are different.

Then you’ve situations like the giant-type encounters, where each is pretty different from the rest, but at the same time almost all of them are Martial cards, giving them a connected relationship. The Ettin and Troll exemplify this; while both have fairly different damage tracks, it still all tends to have a similar vibe, hopefully creating that connection. (As a fun aside, the Ettin‘s damage track was originally slightly different, but we made the final decision of the colorless 5 followed by the two black as it helped to mirror the two heads…we really do try and weave in that Creative at every level.)

Pairing Up Existing Abilities in New Combinations
Hand-in-hand with the damage track manipulation is the tweaking of existing abilities:

  • Surprise
  • Vanquished
  • Tokens
  • Tripwire Trait
  • Save +1
  • Dragonfire level
  • Additional text abilities

All of those are a magnificent tool box that allows for an incredibly diverse set of encounters.

Introducing Brand New Abilities
While you always want to be careful how often you introduce brand new abilities, it’s going to happen. Especially when you’re trying to create a specific feel for a given set of cards. But of course, there’s myriad ways to do that.

The first and easiest is simply text directly on the card; i.e. it applies to that card only and isn’t a universal addition. This usually comes in two forms.

First, when you’re attempting to mimic the Creative of a given creature of the tabletop Monster Manual. For example, the Spirit Naga in Shadows Over Dragonspear Castle is generally a good creature, and you can walk away with cool stuff. But it often re-vivifies at a later time.

Second, when you’re attempting to create a new effect across multiple cards. A great example of that are the rules I introduced to cavalry for Chaos in the Trollclaws, and the unique Adventure I wanted to create for it. While the Gnoll Hyena Cavalry is a unique ability to that card, that basic ability is used across multiple cards to create a set that interacts in a given manner to achieve the feel of the Adventure over-all. (You’ll note a unique symbol on that card…I’ll dive into that explanation in a future post.)

Then you have a new addition that builds off existing rules, but introduces a new element to that existing rule. For example, the Winter Wolf from Chaos in the Trollclaws introduces a new Tripwire Trait in tokens.

Then you have something completely new, but that will be universally applied. That’s actually not happening for the first few expansions, so I won’t dive into those details for a while.

Just as in my last post, I discussed that I’m just scratching the surface of all the different Adventures that can be created, despite that crazy amount of encounters coming, you’ll find fresh encounters and puzzles that’ll keep you excited and challenged for a long time to come.

Until next time!


So Many Adventures, So Little Time

As I mentioned several blogs back, while creating Dragonfire we took to heart many comments from Crossfire players. And one of the bigger requests was “it needs more Missions (Adventures)!” The base Crossfire game only had three. We knew from the get go that we needed to go above that. Well above that. What’s more, we needed to ensure a good, steady supply of future adventures.

Now don’t get me wrong, the standard Dungeon Crawl is very enjoyable. Especially as you rotate through various Encounter Decks and your characters advance with abilities via Features and Magic Items. I’ve played well over fifty Dungeon Crawl games in the last six months, and I still would sit and play it at any time.

That being said, more Adventures is not only enjoyable, but is simply a must to ensure the type of re-playability we felt Dragonfire should have right in the box. With that in mind, there are seven Adventures in the base game, broken up across multiple Adventure Levels; i.e. difficulties of play.

There are two un-connected:

  • Dungeon Crawl: Adventure Level 1
  • The Portcullis is Breached: Adventure Level 2

With the other five connected into a large-scale campaign called An Ancient Evil Arises:

  • The Wastes of Ancient Empire: Adventure Level 1
  • Unholy Presence: Adventure Level 2
  • Bodyguards: Adventure Level 2
  • Terror in the Catacombs: Adventure Level 3
  • Slaadi Plague: Adventure Level 4

What’s more, we even have An Ancient Evil Arises Campaign Companion booklet. You read the fiction on page one, then you play the first Adventure, then you read the fiction on the next page, which moves the overall story forward. For example, if you look at the opening paragraph on The Wastes of Ancient Empire, you’ll note it places you in the Dessarin Valley—a hundred plus miles Northeast of Waterdeep—with ties back to that city. After the small intro, red text points you to the Companion. Then the fiction in the Companion fully fleshes that Adventure out: Why are you there? What do you find? What moves you onto the next Adventure? And so on.

What’s more, in future Adventures in that campaign, you will find text that stops you right in the middle of the game as opportunities are given in the booklet for you to take different paths. And how your party chooses will affect the outcome. Again, this is Dungeons & Dragons. And despite the myriad ways to now play in that universe, the beating heart of the experience is still the tabletop RPG. And we felt folding that experience into the campaign and providing choices to players—within the limitations a non-RPG game provides—was paramount.

Now let me be clear. You don’t have to play the campaign to play the Adventures. If you just want to play and experience an Adventure because it looks good, then simply ignore the red text on the cards and don’t open the booklet. Though your Party Level better be up to the Adventure Level, or you might be in for a very rude awakening as the game and its monsters hammer you hard.

Remember I said there’d be ongoing support for the game? The first two Adventure Packs—Shadows Over Dragonspear Castle and Chaos in the Trollclaws—are already at the printer. Each will come with a fifty-five-card deck of thirty more encounters, nine magic Items, and twelve market cards, along with eighteen stickers, two Character screens, a rule sheet and of course, an all-important new Adventure.

And the third Adventure Pack, Sea of Swords, is about to head to Wizards of the Coast for approval. In that Adventure, you’re on a ship, fighting boarding monsters and fending off an attacking pirate ship!

The flexibility of this game system for a myriad different Adventures is still wonderfully amazing. I’m just scratching the surface of the fun experiences you’ll be diving into in the next year and beyond!

Until next time!


The Distractions of Adventuring

Being a small company is often absolutely amazing. It creates a close-knit environment for the work atmosphere, while allowing us to move with agility to take advantage of new situations (hence, you know, Dragonfire). There are plenty of downsides, of course. And one of those is simply a matter of personnel. Con Season is always pretty crazy. And as I’ve mentioned numerous times, pretty sure this was the biggest, craziest Con Season yet. And it’s all the more wacky because we sprint for months to reach Gen Con and it’s a massive lift, with every employee and a bevy of wonderful demo agents and volunteers on-hand to make it happen. You then try to collapse into a coma the day you get home, but you realize you’re starting to load into Pax West eight days after you land. And all of the pre-work that needs to go into that. So then it’s another two weeks of long hours, heavy lifting and fighting the good fight. And it’s simply all consuming. (And somehow, despite all of the insanity, I do love it all so….)

What does that all mean for you? A quick explanation of why no blog posts the last few weeks. Out slaying the monsters and constantly gearing up for slaying more monsters. But with Con Season finally done for the year (I’m ignoring the possibility I’ll be attending Pax Unplugged in November, for now) I can finally get back to these. I’ve really enjoyed sharing the behind-the-scenes look at Dragonfire. And there is still so much more to share.

With the pre-release of Dragonfire at Gen Con and Pax West behind us now, thought I’d share some great buzz that’s appeared, as well as some wonderful videos show-casing many elements of the game. Some of you may be aware of these, but it’s always fantastic to share enthusiasm for a game we’re all excited to see on game tables everywhere.

Ars Technika (The hottest new board games from Gen Con 2017)

Game Informer (Top of the Table-The Games of Gen Con 2017)

BoardGameGeek (Dragonfire — Game Preview at Gen Con 50)

Board Game Replay (Dragonfire – Demo Impressions – Gen Con 2017)

GreyElephant Gaming (DragonFire “Gen Con Special”)

Rolling Dice & Taking Names Gaming Podcast (Episode 127: Starting 3:00)

As noted above, since I’ve seen the questions arise, Gen Con and Pax West were not the release of Dragonfire. They were a pre-release. We flew in copies for Gen Con and took any left-over copies we had to sell to at Pax West. It’ll be available in another month or so. (We don’t like providing a specific date until it’s off the ship and in our warehouse…once we have it, we’ll be yelling it from the top of the rafters.)

Next week we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled behind-the-scenes posts.

Until next time!


Slaying The Monsters: Dragonfire At Gen Con 50!

Dragonfire is a 2- to 6-player deckbuilding game set within the world’s greatest roleplaying game, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. Players choose from a number of races, from dwarf to elf, half-orc to human, while assuming the quintessential roles of Cleric, Rogue, Fighter, and Wizard. Equipped with weapons, spells, and magic items, players begin their adventure along the famed Sword Coast, then expand to other locales across the Forgotten Realms—such as Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter, and Waterdeep—in future expansions. Along the way, players level up their characters, opening access to additional equipment, feats, and more. Join the quest, and build your own legend!

Debuting Dragonfire, the Dungeons & Dragons deckbuilding game, at Gen Con 50 was amazingly apropos. Along with the stunning overall attendance record for the convention, the game smashed our own sales records, and we demoed it for more than two thousand players! A huge shout-out to our amazing Catalyst Demo Agents that tirelessly ran so many games! Monsters were slain and many heroes were created, ready to tackle further adventures along the Sword Coast.

The Catalyst Booth Team joined in the mad fun on Saturday, participating in a large-scale cosplay of adventurers, from a Sun Elf wizard to Human Fighters to Half-Orc Rogues, and plenty more in between.

For everyone that stopped by the booth to ask questions about Dragonfire, played in a demo, or purchased a game—thank you!

Despite our best efforts, a decorative element of the game, the Adventure Environment card, was left out of the Dragonfire sets purchased at Gen Con. This card was included to help with immersion—playing without it doesn’t impact your gaming experience.

Despite that, it should have been included. As such, we’ll include the Adventure Environment card in a near-future release, along with the regular contents of that release. That way you can be sure to receive the card.

Finally, for those that wish to have it right now, you can download a free PDF of the Adventure Environment card. As a bonus, we’ve added an additional Adventure Environment card. You can print and use either one in your games as you see fit.

Download Environment Card 1
Download Environment Card 2

Visit www.dragonfirethegame.com for continuing weekly behind-the-scenes Dev Blogs!

A Healing Potion; a Cloak of Protection; a Mace of Smiting: Magic Items!

We at Catalyst are often audacious. After all, we’re huge geeks and gamers. And we want all the awesomesauce we can cram into every game we make, along with that extra cool vacuum tray (for some of us, that’s fantastic as well!), the unique game clip or die, and the kitchen sink (or in this case, a bag of holding).

Now that attitude can (and has in the past) get us into trouble. And it certainly made the development of Dragonfire even more complex and fraught with issues that turned into a lot of eighteen-hour days over the last few months. However, how could we publish a Dungeons & Dragons deckbuilder and not have Magic Items? And more importantly, not have them be something really different and special. Not only in how you use them, but even in how you acquire them.

After all, unless your Dungeon Master is exceptionally kind (and if so, introduce us…I’ve never met one yet), you don’t just wander into the first room of a dungeon and discover a Mace of Smiting leaning in the corner. No, that’s for at least the second to last, if not the last big boss in the dungeon that pushes you to the edge of your limits, and only after you defeat him do you get to walk away with that cool rare magic item.

So we can’t just hand them out willy-nilly. Not to mention you have such a wide variety of items, including a lot of consumables like scrolls and potions. How do you take that into consideration in a deckbuilder? And finally, we have an exceptionally well-working game engine that was already stressed significantly to increase the depth of how Features (the stickers from the previous blog post) worked. How do you mesh Magic Items into it without destroying the game?

And let me tell you, while some of the Feature work we did made the game wobble pretty badly before we corrected, the various iterations of the Magic Items absolutely broke the game several times. There were just so many moving parts, and trying to weave in such a new element proved very difficult. But at the end, I believe we hit all of the aspects we were striving for.

Here’s a highlight of those and how they all interact (it’s a lot of over-lapping bits, so breaking them out with headers to hopefully make it all easier to follow).

Earning Magic Items
First, you only earn a Magic Item if you complete an Adventure (like, say, the first one here that’s part of the linked campaign in the box). Remember from the last post about Features that you get XP for every Scene you start. Which means even when you lose an Adventure, you’re building up the necessary XP to spend on more powerful Features, to then go up against that Adventure again and ultimately defeat it. Not so with Magic Items. They’re simply harder to acquire. Only once you’ve completed the Adventure will you find the Magic Items.

Unless a specific Adventure says otherwise, at Adventure Level 1 the standard is a single Common Magic Item, randomly assigned to each player. (Just for comparison, at Adventure Level 3, if you complete an Adventure, you’d receive 1 Common and 1 Uncommon.)

Yup, that’s right. Random. After all, you have no idea what the troll, or owlbear, or even dragon has in its hoard. And they definitely don’t carry a neat little inventory list you can check, either. Instead, Magic Items are randomly dealt out face down, and once all players have them, you reveal them and determine if you can use them. And anyone who’s played the tabletop RPG knows that’s reflected in a whole series of progressively more fantastic and powerful Magic Item Tables in the Dungeon Master’s Guide book. Ah, so much fun rolling those items up to dangle in front of my players. And we’ve embraced that exact same aesthetic for Dragonfire.

“What, I can’t just use the item if I receive it?” Nope. There’s several limitations you need to take into consideration.

The first is attuning. A player can only attune to a number of Magic Items based upon their Character Level. (Ah, I know some of you have been wondering how important Character Levels will be…and Magic Items are the king element woven into that part of game play.) After all, you’re just starting out as heroes, and don’t know how to harness such vast magical energies as later items will bring to bear.

For example, at Character Level 1 a player can attune up to two Uncommon Items.

“Wait. You mentioned Common items above, but your attunement doesn’t apply to Commons?” Correct. You can have as many Common items as you can earn. However, just because you can add an item into your deck doesn’t mean you should. I’ll discuss that issue in a whole future blog.

In the base game there are Commons, Uncommons, Rares, and Very Rares. And attunement only applies to anything higher than a Common item. Above you’ve seen two Common cards and now three Uncommons in the Bag of Holding, Summoning Gem, and Master’s Longsword +1.

In the base game there’s a total of twenty Common, twenty-four Uncommon, eight Rare, and two Very Rare Magic Items. Note that is total cards; a fair number of repeats in there, especially among the Commons, to ensure some of the more usable items, like those Healing potions, are available to multiple players.

So as mentioned, once you complete an Adventure, based upon the Level you played and your Character Level, you’ll grab the appropriate rarity deck, shuffle, and deal out some Magic Items.

Magic Item Limitations
Another factor you must take into consideration is the Magic Item Limitations, which are found on the back of every Character screen. For example, on the back of the Half-Orc Fighter screen, that character can have any four weapons, any one armor, any one shield, and up to three miscellaneous items. For the Sun Elf Wizard, however, while that character may have any two weapons, the single armor the character can use must be Arcane; meanwhile no shields can be used at all, but six miscellaneous items can be used.

How does this work hand-in-hand with the attune rules? Well, let’s take a look again at that Sun Elf Wizard. And let’s say he’s at Character Level 3 and he’s completed two Adventures at that level and happened to receive that Summoning Gem and Master’s Longsword +1 already (both of which he can use due to the Magic Item Limitations as well as attunement limits).

Now let’s say they play one more game and the player receives the Mithril Chain Shirt after completing an Adventure. The player couldn’t keep that Magic Item for two reasons. First, he currently can only attune to two Uncommon Magic Items. So if they could keep the card, they would need to trade in either the Summoning Gem or Master’s Longsword +1 to make sure they’re not exceeding that attunement limit.

In this case, however, the Wizard Class due to its Magic Item Limitations cannot have Armor unless it’s Arcane Class. So the Mithril Chain Shirt simply cannot be used by the Wizard.

But What if I Don’t Like or Can’t Use My Items?
In the case above, the Wizard couldn’t use the Mithril Chain Shirt. Additionally, there’s a chance that depending upon the player, they may not have even wanted the Master’s Longsword +1; i.e. it has a Martial ability the player cannot use.

In both instances, the first plan is to see if anyone around the table is willing to trade. Even during playtesting we had some pretty heavy trades going on for Magic Items, with the Rogue pushing extra hard for concessions to give up a card he patently couldn’t use. He couldn’t help himself…Rogues….

The second option, for say the Master’s Longsword +1, is simply to write on the back of your Character screen in dry erase that you have access to that item, but don’t currently put it into your Equipment Pack in a game. Then, if an opportunity presents itself down the line when you might use it, then you pull it out for that game. For example, while this wouldn’t work for the Wizard, there are other ways for other Character Types to make use of various items in this situation. For example, a Cleric that hadn’t chosen a Subclass yet who received that Master’s Longsword +1 might suddenly decide their next Feature purchase will now be War Domain, which would then unlock the additional Martial abilities of that Magic Item card, making it worthwhile to keep and use. A great example of the synergy that can arise between Magic Items and Features.

Finally, in the instance of the Mithril Chain Shirt and the Wizard, if no player is willing to trade, you simply return that item to the deck. For that Adventure, the treasure hoard simply didn’t present you with anything of use. It’s going to happen now and then.

How Powerful?
You’re wondering what a Rare card might look like, right? Or even a Very Rare? Sure, here’s the Robe of Stars. And to make full sense of it, you need to see Magic Missile Market card. Remember all those encounters throwing out tokens? Yeah…you just became the party’s best friend in those situations.

I mentioned audacious, right? Well, it wasn’t just in all we wanted to accomplish with the new game design. We also wanted that audacity in the look of the Magic Items as well, and so we sprinted down the road to apply a laser effect to these cards; something we’d never tackled before. And as usual, it was nice and complicated as we stumbled around trying to figure it out. But we did figure it out. Here’s a few photos straight from the printer of the final results…I think you’ll agree they look fantastic!

So Much More
This is one of the longest blogs I’ve written in this chain…and that’s saying something. But there’s just so much awesomeness to convey. And even then I didn’t touch on all of it by any stretch. You may have noticed a variety of new keywords on these cards: Repack, Consume, Starts & Remains in Play. Not to mention the tactics of when and where to put in Magic Items. And so on. I just couldn’t cover it all without turning this into a novella. You’ll see a series of future posts where I delve into all the great tactics that arise out of Magic Item use in your games!

Until next time!



Dragonfire is a 2 to 6 player deckbuilding game set in the world’s greatest roleplaying game, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. Players choose from a number of races, from dwarf to elf, half-orc to human, while assuming the quintessential roles of Cleric, Rogue, Fighter, and Wizard. Equipped with weapons, spells, and magic items, players begin their adventure along the famed Sword Coast, then expand to other locales across the Forgotten Realms, such as Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter, and Waterdeep, in future expansions. Along the way, players level up their characters, opening access to additional equipment, feats, and more. Join the quest, and build your own legend!

The base game will be on-sale at Gen Con at booth 1611! Dragonfire includes 270 playing cards consisting of dungeon, city, wilderness and adventurer encounter cards, as well as Market, Dragonfire and Magic Item cards! It also includes sixteen character screens, 160+ stickers, seven Adventures, rules, clips, tokens and more!

Also available at Gen Con will be the Heroes of the Sword Coast character pack that includes thirty-two additional character screens, introducing the Druid, Bard, Ranger and Warlock Classes. It also contains twenty-seven new Market cards, as well as 100+ new stickers!

We’ll be running a treasure-trove of demos! Play in one and get the free Gen Con promo Character screen!

In the meantime, feel free to download the free quick-start rules, along with an instruction sheet that walks you through what to expect from the base game, as well as what other expansions are coming!

Dragonfire will be available in store in October!

Visit www.dragonfirethegame.com for weekly behind-the-scenes Dev Blogs!


Download Quick Start Rules           Download Instruction Sheet

From Acolyte to Turn Undead to Life Domain: Features!

The base Dragonfire game is wonderfully fun. And I see a lot of players getting it out and diving into a pile of one-off games. However, like the tabletop RPG, Dragonfire is so much more when you play the same character across numerous Adventures, gaining Experience Points and trading that XP in for Features (stickers) to reflect the leveling up of your character’s capabilities.

To help players start off on that path more quickly, Dragonfire has a quick-start rules booklet. And within it is the Adventure The Village is Attacked: A Hero Is Born. A nice, straightforward way to dive into the game. Note that at this time you haven’t selected a permanent character yet. Why would we force that on you when you’ve barely played the game or grasped the nuances of the various Class Types and how they play just yet? However, at the end of the Adventure, while players are free to play the game as they see fit, we suggest that each player settle on a character and grab that Character screen. The player then selects from one of twelve different Background Features that they’ll apply to their Character screen.

Take a look at the Sailor, Soldier and Street Urchin Background Features. You’ll note each of these is a once-a-game effect. It’s not a big boost at all. But it’s just enough to let you select the type of story—and its accompanying game mechanic—you want to embrace (all the Background names are straight out of the tabletop RPG Player’s Handbook). And once again, you’ve got the QSR under your belt, so you know enough that these abilities aren’t intimidating, but should be exciting to put to the test in your next game.

While you can play the QSR several times—it is a fun Adventure—you can also immediately move onto the full rules and the Dungeon Crawl Adventure. There’s a total of seven different Adventures in the base game—yup, seven! But for the first few sessions, I imagine most players will get their chops in playing the Dungeon Crawl.

In Dragonfire, each Adventure is divided into a number of Scenes that block out how you’ll play through the challenges. And without exception, if you start a Scene, you will earn XP. If you remember all the way back to some of my first posts, I discussed that despite Shadowrun: Crossfire’s awesome play, it had some downsides. And one of those was how stingy it could be on handing out the points players needed to advance. But don’t think this is a walk in the king’s park. Dragonfire will be plenty challenging. But we more readily reward players for diving into a game.

For instance, in the Dungeon Crawl each player will receive 1 XP for starting each of three Scenes, and then, if you complete the game, you’ll receive a bonus 2 XP each, for a total of 5 XP. So if you’re either lucky or just that good out of the gate, there are 5 XP Features available, and you could immediately upgrade a sticker. For most, however, you’ll likely put in two to four games before upgrading the first time.

There’s a large selection (and multiple copies) of generic Features, meaning any Class Type can use them. For example, here’s two 10 XP and one 15 XP Feature to start to show you the ways in which you can quickly customize your play style. That’s all very similar to what we did with Shadowrun: Crossfire. However, here’s where we start to diverge and embrace Dungeons & Dragons.

First, you’ve got Character Class/Class Type Features. As you can see from the Features at right, they specifically tell you which Character Class or Class Type you must be to use a Feature (provided you’ve earned the XP to nab it, of course). For example, Turn Undead and Second Wind require a specific Character Class; i.e. Cleric or Paladin for Turn Undead or Fighter for Second Wind. Meanwhile Expertise and Arcane Recovery are Class Type, meaning a Rogue or Bard could take Expertise, while a Wizard, Warlock or Sorcerer could take Arcane Recovery.

Second, but wait, there’s more! You don’t just have Character Classes, you have Subclasses in the tabletop RPG, and we’ve fully embraced that in Dragonfire. For example, take a look at Life Domain. That appears to be just another Character Class specific Feature. However, this is a primary Subclass Feature. Look at Disciples of Life or Divine Strike. You’ll notice both of those require that you are both a Cleric—i.e. you must have the correct type of Character screen—and that you also have the Life Domain Feature active on your Character screen; i.e. you can’t ever cover it up or you lose the ability to use the Subclass Features.

And just because I’m sure some of you are already wondering about it…in the base game, the highest XP stickers are 100. And how powerful are they? Well, if you haven’t really played the game yet, it’ll be difficult to discern why some of them could be good. But take a look at Survivor. That’s a nice, easy-to-understand Feature, even with just the bits I’ve explained about the game to date. (And yes…that’s potentially dozens and dozens of games across months…ah, the campaign stories you’ll have to tell by then!)

And for the other question that might be popping up, there are two hundred and four Features in Dragonfire, with almost one hundred and fifty unique Features! Not to mention over a hundred more Features in the Heroes of the Sword Coast character pack to go along with the Bard, Druid, Ranger, and Warlock Character Classes introduced there.

Hopefully you’re starting to see the sheer depth of play and customizing that’ll be at your fingertips!

Until next time!