I picked up some new 4e books this weekend that are not due out till July 20th.
Benefits of living near a huge game store.
First Up, Demonicon
The cover, to me anyway, brings up images of Eldritch Wizardry, the first D&D book to feature demons. The blonde on her back in obvious sacrifice. These are not misunderstood monsters, these are demons and they are evil.
Lots of demons. Lots of history on the Abyss.
I like the way they have tied in Tharizdun to whole mythos now. So this will be great when I run S4-WG4 for my kids and they actually find a copy of the Demonomicon of Iggwilv. I like that Demogorgon, Orcus and Baphomet were once Primordials. Something I was doing anyway. I like that there is more for Tharizdun, even though I can see he will also soon get on my nerves if he keeps popping up. But I always liked him since reading about him the "Gord the Rogue" books by Gary.
There are some cool demonic lairs that can be used on their own or as part of a larger campaign in the Abyss.
Now see this is where not having the PDFs of the books is a real pain. I would have loved to have had a PDF of this to print out and put in a binder with all the information on the Abyss from The Plane Below and Manual of the Planes, all the information from various Dragon and Dungeon articles, and all the demons from the Monster Manuals all in one place. Made a complete Demonomicon if you like. I had started this exact idea for 3.x, though rather late in the game and never got everything printed out.
I dislike the whole "Asmodeus is at the center of all evil plots" idea that has pervaded the last two editions of D&D, but with some of the new information in this book I have some ideas. All in all, I like this book,but I expected that I would. I do have one quibble. They do list Malcanthet as a demon lord. Well she was demon lord of the Succubi in the last edition. Succubi are no longer demons...
Tomb of Horrors
Well I am reasonably certain that Tomb of Horrors for 4e will get cries of "blasphemy" and "sacrilege" from certain quarters; but I am also reasonably certain that those quarters were never going to buy this book anyway.
The new adventure is not just one, but 4 Tombs scattered all over the new D&D4 cosmology. Clever really if you are wanting to introduce what is cool in this new world to players that pick this up remembering the original ToH.
Speaking of the Original Tomb, it is here, in it's abandoned form. Note: WOTC Guys, you copied the original Tomb map perfectly, too perfectly in fact. The scale of the original map was one square = 10 feet. Scale on the new map is the more common for 4e 1 square = 5 feet. So our entry hallway is now 10 feet wide instead of 20 feet wide. Minor quibble, I can explain it away in any number of ways, but still.
There are rules and notes in here about how to play the Tomb just like the old days, but they explain why they didn't design the module like that to start. All in all it is a neat module and adventure. It is still a killer module, as in it will kill characters if they are stupid.
I am not going to try to blow any sunshine up your ass, if you love "Tomb of Horrors" and hate D&D 4 you will hate this. If you liked ToH and like D&D 4 then this is nice little "Return to the Return of the Tomb of Horrors".
What I like about it is it assumes that the characters do not live in a vacuum. The Tomb of Horrors is legendary to players and characters. This module assumes it was cleared out in the 70's and 80's and now the next gen is here to see what is new. It's the exact same thing I doing with "B3 Palace of the Silver Princess" and the same thing I did with the whole "Road Stories" arc of "Season of the Witch" for my Willow & Tara game.
While reading through them both I can see elements that I will use in my big D&D 4e campaign against Orcus. Acererak could be allied with Orcus, or more likely Tharizdun. Though I had not considered Tharizdun to be a huge player in this game. He is chained up after all. In fact it has helped me solidify a few ideas.