WotC's Chris Perkins Talks About... Everything! Upcoming Storylines, Products, Staffing, Other Worlds, & More!
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  • WotC's Chris Perkins Talks About... Everything! Upcoming Storylines, Products, Staffing, Other Worlds, & More!


    WotC's Chris Perkins, Principal Designer for Dungeons & Dragons, was at Gamehole Con a couple of weeks ago. He took part in a panel there in which he covered a lot of things - product schedules, partnerships, other worlds, story flavours, staffing, upcoming storylines, Greyhawk, and so much more. You can listen to the whole (90-minute) audio recording here, but for those who prefer to read it I've quoted the highlights below. It's well worth the read, but if you have the time I strongly recommend you listen to the whole thing.


    On Products & Schedules

    My job, and the job of our team going forward, is to try to make sure that anything that we do that ties to D&D is firmly rooted in story first. If we don't have a story to tell, we're not going to release any products to support it. Gone are the days, in 3rd and 4th Edition, when we were bound by the model of having to release a book a month or two books a month, or three books a month. We have no commitment or desire to do that going forward.


    And part of that is just driven by business realities, part of it is driven by our knowledge of certain facts that we've obtained through surveys, through talking to people at shows, that there is kind of a certain amount of material that people can actually absorb before the stuff that we're releasing no longer has any value and is no longer serving anybody. A lot of 3rd Edition products, I'm sure, and 4th Edition products, I'm sure, that maybe you've bought or your players have bought are sitting on shelves having never been used, or used precious little. We don't sell products so that 5% of our audience can use 5% of it. We're now trying to sell products that 100% of our audience might use, and they'll use all of it.

    The perceived value of D&D goes up, people actually having common shared experiences that they can talk about at cons, with their friends, and our stories actually get out there.

    In the olden days when you had the early adventures TSR put out, everybody played Tomb of Horrors, and everybody played Keep on the Borderlands. Everybody played Temple of Elemental Evil. And those stories have transcended the game experience to the point now where people go to a convention and a 13 year old and a 40 year old and a 65 year old can all talk about Tomb of Horrors and know what they're all talking about.

    On Partnerships

    Our first story that we launched with 5th Edition was Tyranny of Dragons, and we partnered with a number of different companies to tell that story. We partnered with Wolfgang Baur's company, Kobold Press to do a pair of TRPG products, we partnered with Gale Force 9, we partnered with WizKids, we partnered with our folks, Cryptic, the company which produces the Neverwinter MMO; we set up all these partners to tell that story.


    One of the things we are going to be doing in the future is looking out at some of our other worlds


    On Other Worlds

    All these different elements [setting info in the core rulebooks] are contained there so that in future stories we don't have to limit ourselves to one world. And so while Tyranny of Dragons, and Elemental Evil, and Rage of Demons, have all fundamentally been Forgotten Realms based, one of the things we are going to be doing in the future is looking out at some of our other worlds. That doesn't mean we won't come back to the Realms, or have adventures that visit multiple different locations, start in one place and end in another... one of the goals with our stories is to go beyond Forgotten Realms, safe to say.

    The other thing that we're driving to with our stories is to, whenever possible, draw upon the past, key elements from the history of the game that have not seen a lot of attention lately.

    Sadly we won't be doing any stories round the D&D cartoon, and that's because we don't own the characters! CBS does!


    On Story Flavours

    The story that follows Rage of Demons is not going to be anywhere near the Underdark, and it will have its own feel, its own flavour, its own atmosphere, its own thing. The story that follows that is going to be very different. It allows us to do things like ... Princes of the Apocalypse and the Elemental Evil story was very dungeon driven; it was a dungeon-based story... in the future we want to maybe do intrigue. What story would we have to tell in D&D that is fundamentally an intrigue story. Would it be like city based? Would it be planar based, where you're basically on some sort of planar hunt for something? And then maybe the story after that is ... [audience member suggests "horror"] ... horror, or something more light-hearted and flaky, or a little off-track, or like Eberron, a little more steampunkish, or Victorian pulpy... making sure every story has a different feel, flavour, making sure we get to visit some of our other worlds, and making sure that we're always going back to the source material and picking the best things out of the last and bringing them forward.

    On Staffing

    The size of the D&D team at Wizards has changed over the years. I've been there since the TSR acquisition... when we first came to Wizards of the Coast with all the TSR folks, the D&D team numbered just under 50 people. And they were supporting a number of campaign settings that had held over from 2nd Edition, there was a Dragonlance team, there was a Forgotten Realms team, there was a Greyhawk team, every world still had its own team.... now there isn't dedicated teams for worlds, because there just aren't that many worlds that are actively supported any more. And so our team now numbers 15, and not only do we work on TRPG stuff, but we also support our novelists, we also provide support to our business partners working on digital games, miniatures, and game accessories. And we've also got part of our team whose brain space is dedicated to coming up with new ideas, new ways of getting D&D out there in the world. Loot Crate partnerships, for instance. Very, very beneficial for us, because they give us enormous exposure.

    My story team consists of me, I have an art director named Richard Witters who I stole from the Magic team, who's brilliant... and I've got a storywriter named Adam Lee, who I also stole from Magic... and we're in the process of hiring a new concept artist.

    On Upcoming Storylines

    I can't talk about specific storylines that we're working on presently, and at this time we're working on four. We've got two stories to tell next year, and then we've got two more stories in fairly developed states, and we don't even know necessarily when they're going to appear yet.

    On the next storyline -- That's a tough one to answer. To a certain extent, obtusely, I've already answered it with the three things I called attention to. Once could speculate based on what I've told you what might happen.... we do have an upcoming story that does go back to a past adventure... doesn't feature dragons, so it won't be anything from the Dragonlance saga... I think it's safe to say if you look at the things we haven't played with yet which are fairly intrinsic to D&D [he asked the audience to suggest D&D monsters, and the vampire is shouted out] ... the vampire has been around in D&D, it's not a unique D&D monster by any stretch, but we would be remiss if we didn't do something with vampires at some point. I can almost assure you that we will get around to doing that. Certainly gothic ... and Victorian, and that sort of feel.. the question is all about timing. When is the time to do it? When is it going to surprise and delight the most people?


    Turns out we can't keep folks excited for a year. There are too many other distractions in the world today.


    That's another thing about our stories, is that we don't want to be predictable. In fact, we've even changed out release plans so we don't even tell people. Five years ago, Wizards would tell people a year in advance what products we were releasing. Now we don't do it until literally months before it comes out. Part of that is simply Shock and Awe. And because we've evaluated how long we can keep peoples' excitement. Turns out we can't keep folks excited for a year. There are too many other distractions in the world today. Too many entertainment properties competing for peoples' attention. 3, 4 months, perfect window. People can remember and stay excited for 3-4 months about something.

    So, yeah, vampire, classic monster, yeah, we'll do a story with vampires... [more classic monster suggestions].. yeah, we'll do a story with giants.


    Yeah, we'll do a story with vampires


    On codenames -- I'm doing two playtests here at the show. One is for a story codenamed Cloak, and one is for a story codenamed Dagger. All of our stories now have codenames ... it's necessary because we have to submit all of our story names for trademark search... there are a lot of titles in the world out there today, and we often have a title that we like that gets rejected .. because it was the name of a video game that was made in 1979 ... it's getting harder and harder and harder to come up with names. So until we have a name that is actually trademarked, we go with codenames.

    Cloak -- ... they were going up into the icy mountains, and this temple under a mountain that's basically become a repository of evil. There was this sect of good-aligned wizards and paladins who were keeping this temple, and all of the evil within it, trapped there, to keep the world from going, you know, crazy. Keep the world safe. But that was 400, 500 years ago. What's in there enow? Well, maybe the wizards have all died off. Maybe they sort of succumbed to the evil there. Who knows? But it's an interesting story, and that's a piece, or a fragment, of a story that is going to be important in the future.

    Dagger -- Dagger is a story in which you're going around and pillaging the ancestral mounds of barbarian tribes. And that has a slightly different feel, don't you think? It feels a bit more pulpy, and oh, you're got an airship! Great!

    Now, by telling you that, I haven't actually given anything away about the main plots of those stories, I assure you. But it's tantalising...

    On shorter modular adventures

    We are doing that, but we're doing it now though Adventurer's League. So our shorter module adventures are all Adventurer's League adventures, you can play many of them here, you can also download them. Because we've discovered that because now here stories are these experiences that are meant to last a period of time, our typical stories usually have a marketing plan associated with them that runs for about 4-6 months, we'e discovered that that's actually good for us because it goes enough people the chance to discover it and experience it and then talk about it before they get taken off on the new thing. And part of the goal with the stories is to bring people together with common experiences, and the shorter, more modular things tend to be fleeting, and don't get that resonance The other challenge with them is when it comes to actually selling modules. Their presence on the shelf is significantly less. When they're shelved in, they don't have spines, they disappear and get lost more quickly, the stores that buy them don't give them as much credence or as much weight, whereas when we release a bigger book, or a box or something, that has a little bit of "oomph" behind it, it tends to get the stores and the distributors more excited, and it tends to give us a bigger buildup. People get more energised, they start saving money for it, they know that they won't have to buy six things from us, they can just buy one..and a lot of that is driven by, just like a World of Warcraft model. You can't imagine Blizzard releasing six expansions a year. They don't ... they want to release a mammoth, not a bunch of mice.


    You can't imagine Blizzard releasing six expansions a year. They don't ... they want to release a mammoth, not a bunch of mice.



    Other Assorted Items

    Home-brew vs. published -- A great bulk of those who play D&D run homebrew settings. But of those home-brew campaigns, over half of those homebrewers do pillage from other settings ... 15% or 50% of the world they've created has hawked stuff from other worlds. They're comfortable pillaging our products for ideas. That homebrew number, I can't remember the exact percentage, but I think it's like 55% homebrew. And then it's like 35% Forgotten Realms, and then everything else ... Very few people right now, turns out, running Dark Sun campaigns. A sliver of a sliver. Very few people running Hollow World campaigns. Very few people are running Mystara campaigns. It pretty much goes Homebrew, Forgotten Realms, I think Greyhawk's at 5% ands then everybody else is at 2% or 1%.


    Consultants -- As far as with working with people... it's another change in how we do business at WotC. We never used to do this before. We consult. 5th Edition was very good to us. The company supports us wholeheartedly, they have given us large amounts of money to basically bring people from the outside who have some cachet or who are creative titans in their field, bring them in an actually have them consult with us on our stories. They help us develop the stories. The way it works is we drive a dump truck of money up to their house, and we say "Come with us to Renton, Washington for a week and sit down for a week's worth of meetings to break a story." And we don't even know that we're necessarily going to do this in product yet. We just ant to get these people out here and pick their brains and see what comes out of it. One of our most successful endeavours was Pendleton Ward, the creator of Adventure Time. He came out for a week, spent some time with us in meetings, and a marvellous story came out of that wacky coalition of elements that you'll be seeing in the not too distant future. We've had other consultants as well. For instance on Out of the Abyss we naturally brought in Bob Salvatore. RA Salvatore writes the Drizzt novels, since Drizzt was going to be sort of an anchor for the story, we brought him in to consult on that. But we are looking at bringing in consultants beyond the range, beyond the pale... people that obviously love D&D may not actually have ever worked on a D&D product. Or maybe they have! Who knows? If I could resurrect Gary Gygax I would bring him in as a consultant, certainly. But we have to stick to the living.


    It is incumbent upon WotC to spend some amount of its time, effort, mindspace, and resources to ensuring that the roleplaying hobby and the D&D enthusiast hobby, the gaming hobby, is healthy


    On inclusiveness and growing the hobby -- We are going to see D&D stories that are fresh, that are going to attract new people to the hobby, and I think it is incumbent on us probably more so than any other company ... it is incumbent upon WotC to spend some amount of its time, effort, mindspace, and resources to ensuring that the roleplaying hobby and the D&D enthusiast hobby, the gaming hobby, is healthy, that people are always coming in, that we have stories that are welcoming to them, that are inclusive, that are going to appeal to more than just middle America white guys, that are showing D&D to people in a whole new light, in a way that's fresh, that's welcoming, in keeping with the age in which we live, and I don't want anybody feeling discriminated against by our D&D stories, by the products that we're releasing. I don't want anybody to feel that they can't play because of some perceived barrier, because their mother told them it was satanists ... D&D has always been safe and fun and smart and friendship-inducing.

    Level ranges - Tyranny of Dragons, the TRPG products that were released for it, took you from levels 1-15. Elemental Evil, same, 1-15. Out of the Abyss, our Rage of Demons adventure, 1-15. We're going to be changing up that model in the future. So you may see future stories which are strictly low-level, you may see some that are sort of set in the middle, you may see some that are set strictly high-level. Or you may see a story that can be told at level 3, level 10, and level 15. We're going to change that up for a couple of reasons. 1) We don't want to be boring and predictable. 2) We've discovered that when we give people 4-6 months to play an adventure, they won't necessarily get to the end. Tyranny of Dragons, most games did not make it to the end. Elemental Evil, most games did not make it to the very end. Out of the Abyss remains to be seen. So, for the next one, we're going a little shorter, and for the one after that we're going a little shorter still. That doesn't necessarily mean that the products will be getting tremendously shorter; for instance one of the upcoming products that we're doing it enormously replayable. It's a short adventure, but you can play it 200 times and never have the same adventure twice.


    Tyranny of Dragons, most games did not make it to the end


    Non-story based products like SCAG - Will we do more of that in the future? Yeah, part of our goal in that is to surprise and delight ... if all we did were big adventure books, that wouldn't be surprising. So the question is "What is the next Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide?" Who knows? I don't know. ... But let's say we did a Greyhawk adventure, Greyhawk has been out of circulation now for how many years? Although you can still ... there's nothing stopping you from running a Greyhawk campaign because everything out there is still there and its still timely. And it remains, as far as I'm concerned it's an open question whether we would even change the timeline. Greyhawk's current timeline is perfectly cromulent. So is its original timeline. So the question then becomes "Is it a better user experience to put all the information you need to know about Greyhawk in the adventure product because it's really for the DN's information, or is it better, and it's going to be better received, if that information is parcelled, divorced from the adventure as a separate thing that you have to buy? That you have to spend money on now."

    On Greyhawk -- The other problem that we have with Greyhawk, speaking honestly, is that it's D&D at its most core. The problem is if I were t say that to somebody in an elevator, they'd go "I have no idea what you mean. What the hell do you mean, Greyhawk is like D&D at its core? What is core D&D?" "Oh, it's monsters and magic and wizards!" "Well, you just described The Hobbit. You just described Dragonlance. You just described Forgotten Realms." What makes Greyhawk, Greyhawk? Is it Gary? What else about Greyhawk makes Greyhawk, Greyhawk? Is it low magic? Because you have Mordenkainen - he is not low magic. So it's that magic is more exclusive in Greyhawk? Unless you goto the Valley of the Magi, where it's not. It's got barbarians, a whole lot ... look at the Greyhawk map, there's a whole lot of barbarian territory up there. We don't know a whole lot about them except that they're tigers and... we've got Scarlet Brotherhood which are aryan monastic wanna control the world type organisation, somebody at work, I can't remember it was Mike Mearls or somebody else, described Greyhawk as almost Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser-esque, Fritz Leiber, Lankhmar-esque. That would certainly make sense based on things I heard about what Greyhawk was like when Gary was running it, sort of maybe he felt that way. Certainly Fritz Leiber was a friend of Gary's and the Gygax family, and Gary loved his works according to Empire of the Imagination.

    If we were to do a Greyhawk story, one of the things I'd be sorely tempted to do is focus on Iuz. I'm not going to give you a full campaign setting. I'm going to tell you a story about Iuz and all of the **** that he's doing right now and all of the repercussions that are happening because of that... Iuz is going to be the glue that holds this story together.

    The full audio is a 90-minute podcast available from Gaming and BS. I've covered the salient points, but there's plenty more there to listen to!

    Comments 444 Comments
    1. Corpsetaker's Avatar
      Corpsetaker -
      Sorry Chris but D&D is not World of Warcraft.

      You can't imagine Blizzard releasing six expansions a year. They don't ... they want to release a mammoth, not a bunch of mice.

      Sorry but you aren't comparing like for like.
    1. Marandahir's Avatar
      Marandahir -
      It's a great podcast. So informative!
    1. Kramodlog's Avatar
      Kramodlog -
      Meh. He is contradicting Nathan Stewart when he talked to Forbes mag. Stewart said they would focus on the FR for some time. Considering what Perkins said about the OGL coming, I'm not too inclined to give him some credibility.

      This was rather empty PR.
    1. TerraDave's Avatar
      TerraDave -
      Still listing...its PLANAR. It must be PLANAR.

      Still have an hour to go. Vampires at some point...PLANAR sooner.
    1. Keyframe18's Avatar
      Keyframe18 -
      Really interested to see what Pendleton Ward will bring to the table as a consultant.
    1. delericho's Avatar
      delericho -
      That was an interesting read. Although, alas, I found it kinda disappointing, because...

      Very few people right now, turns out, running Dark Sun campaigns. A sliver of a sliver. Very few people running Hollow World campaigns. Very few people are running Mystara campaigns. It pretty much goes Homebrew, Forgotten Realms, I think Greyhawk's at 5% ands then everybody else is at 2% or 1%.
      That says to me "don't expect any Eberron stuff for a very long time."

      Though this does give just a sliver of hope:

      Dagger -- Dagger is a story in which you're going around and pillaging the ancestral mounds of barbarian tribes. And that has a slightly different feel, don't you think? It feels a bit more pulpy, and oh, you're got an airship! Great!
      At the very least, I'd expect that one to have Eberron (and Mystara) conversion notes in abundance.

      Anyway, I guess it doesn't matter - the only real effect is that it means I'll be saving a bunch of money going forward. (Plus, WotC really shouldn't try to tailor their release schedule specifically to suit me - that's a sure way to lose a lot of money!)

      On a different note...

      I can't remember it was Mike Mearls or somebody else, described Greyhawk as almost Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser-esque, Fritz Leiber, Lankhmar-esque. That would certainly make sense based on things I heard about what Greyhawk was like when Gary was running it, sort of maybe he felt that way.
      It's almost as if Greyhawk was inspired by the same Appendix N as the rest of the game...

      If we were to do a Greyhawk story, one of the things I'd be sorely tempted to do is focus on Iuz. I'm not going to give you a full campaign setting. I'm going to tell you a story about Iuz and all of the **** that he's doing right now and all of the repercussions that are happening because of that... Iuz is going to be the glue that holds this story together.
      Well, it's your call but I think that would be a mistake. You've just said that Greyhawk feels Lankhmar-esque, so the focus of your storyline should surely be the setting's equivalent of Lankhmar itself - specifically, the Free City of Greyhawk?
    1. JeffB's Avatar
      JeffB -
      I do have shelves of supplemental books/boxed sets/adventuree from prior editions and some were used precious little. But I did buy them and enjoy them, and in many cases used extensively and some have been used for almost 40 years.

      I have a grand total of zero 5e supplemental books/adventures on my shelf from Wizards.

      Chris was deep into Branding Iron Marketing Speak here (and I don't think he understands Greyhawk at all, please hire someone else to work on it, Chris) but it was a good read nonetheless. To see them considering other worlds and types of stories is encouraging. Hopefully the adventure paths will become a bit more manageable and compact.
    1. TerraDave's Avatar
      TerraDave -
      Or Tharizdun? Or Eberon?
    1. darjr's Avatar
      darjr -
      Quote Originally Posted by goldomark View Post
      Meh. He is contradicting Nathan Stewart when he talked to Forbes mag. Stewart said they would focus on the FR for some time. Considering what Perkins said about the OGL coming, I'm not too inclined to give him some credibility.

      This was rather empty PR.
      Actually he isn't. That interview was done just as princes was released. Given their three month announcement policy it kinda fits right in.

      I do like his hint about "diving deeper" into the realms, he knew about "out of the abyss" even though it was months in advance.
    1. wedgeski's Avatar
      wedgeski -
      I just listened to this. Surprisingly frank, I thought. No shockers to speak of, but maybe a few clues as to where "Cloak" and "Dagger" will be taking us.
    1. MechaTarrasque's Avatar
      MechaTarrasque -
      I could see a vampire being a big part of either Cloak or Dagger, although I think I would prefer the vamp to be in Dagger.

      I am a little worried about the short AP's, mostly because higher level play support always seems to be whats cut out. At least with a 1-15 adventure you have something for level 15, which is more "upper medium" than "high."

      I like the thought of new published adventures going from one world to the next.
    1. darjr's Avatar
      darjr -
      http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...orlds-amp-More!

      The link to the front page news item.
    1. Vampyr3's Avatar
      Vampyr3 -
      He must have a +20 in PR Speak after listening to that...
    1. darjr's Avatar
      darjr -
      I think he has a +20 to speak.
    1. Kramodlog's Avatar
      Kramodlog -
      Quote Originally Posted by darjr View Post
      Actually he isn't. That interview was done just as princes was released. Given their three month announcement policy it kinda fits right in.

      I do like his hint about "diving deeper" into the realms, he knew about "out of the abyss" even though it was months in advance.
      The way Stewart was talking it was about years of FR APs.

      Like I said, Perkins has little crebility.
    1. SkidAce's Avatar
      SkidAce -
      Quote Originally Posted by goldomark View Post
      The way Stewart was talking it was about years of FR APs.

      Like I said, Perkins has little crebility.
      Time will tell...
    1. halfling rogue's Avatar
      halfling rogue -
      We are doing that, but we're doing it now though Adventurer's League. So our shorter module adventures are all Adventurer's League adventures, you can play many of them here, you can also download them.
      I've pretty much assumed that this would be the case. That AL will be the only outlet for modules. The biggest problem with AL being the only outlet for modules is that it limits it to AL groups only. No home groups can download them. I know they've thrown us a bone in Dragon+ but it still would be nice to have access through something other than only AL.

      That said...

      So, for the next one, we're going a little shorter, and for the one after that we're going a little shorter still. That doesn't necessarily mean that the products will be getting tremendously shorter; for instance one of the upcoming products that we're doing it enormously replayable. It's a short adventure, but you can play it 200 times and never have the same adventure twice.
      If this sounds as good as he's describing, then I could maybe forget about everything I just lamented above. The issue is about replayability. I mean, every adventure is replayable, right? But here he's saying you'll not have the same adventure twice. That is extremely intriguing to me. I'm not sure what they'll do to achieve it, but if that is the case---a short adventure that can be replayed 200 times without having the same adventure!?!?!?!?!---then sign me up!
    1. darjr's Avatar
      darjr -
      Quote Originally Posted by goldomark View Post
      The way Stewart was talking it was about years of FR APs.

      Like I said, Perkins has little crebility.
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidewa...fifth-edition/

      Are you sure we read the same article, he doesn't say years and years, he says a long time, that could just mean the next two story arcs, and a planar path could still start and end in the realms.
    1. delericho's Avatar
      delericho -
      Quote Originally Posted by SkidAce View Post
      Time will tell...
      Indeed.

      Actually, it might be worth someone who is on Twitter (i.e. not me) pinging him with the question: is it still their intention to bring back the OGL? He might well not answer... but then again, he might.
    1. TheHobgoblin's Avatar
      TheHobgoblin -
      I think this snails-pace release schedules is going to come back and bite them. People are getting bored with the edition already with little to chew on. Their adventure books are good for around 5-6 sessions. But with groups that meet once a week, that means they will get used up in less than 2 months. Having 6 months between releases just doesn't cut it.

      TSR didn't have that slow of a release schedule. They had their monthly magazines with 3 or so published adventures every month. Considering the vast library that is available over 4 previous editions, I can't imagine it is hard to go pick out forgotten gems and convert them up to being 5E adventures. Maybe even combing some of them so that they get a new twist so that the 2-3 people who actually remember them can feel like there is something new there.

      Moreover, only a few months ago there were polls that demonstrated that what a lot of people want to play isn't in the game yet.
      People want to play goblins, aasimar, hobgoblins, catfolk, thri-kreen, gith (zerai & yanki), kobolds, gnolls, lizardfolk, half-ogres, revenants and pixies as races... many of those aren't all that far out there, no more so than Tieflings and Dragonborn at least, but things that are pretty universal across all worlds.

      Furthermore, an interest in an Alchemist/Artificer class, a Shaman class and something that properly replaces the Warlord without being 90% Fighter are also in demand.
      Really, it probably wouldn't even matter if most of the mechanics were the same. Even if they generally came across as "hey, this is sort of a Class X/Class Y multiclass with many of the abilities cut out or weakened and the others combined", it would probably be enough to please some people. It'd be a lot less lazy than some of the "classes" 1st and 2nd edition put out.

      And the game could probably use a few more feat options if we are being honest. Some of the current subclasses are just downright broken to the point of seemingly unplayable or forced into a very, VERY specific build (strength-based Fighter of any sort is an excellent example where you are forced to take great weapon master, buy the most expensive armor in the game and use a two-handed weapon to be remotely feasible compared to a Dex build) or feel like they are required to multiclass to function (Warlocks seem to ALWAYS take one level of Fighter), so maybe a few feats targeted at fixing these things or expanding their viability or... something.

      Anyway, I don't see why these sorts of player option need to be buried in adventure path book.
      Yeah, putting out separate books for every class which were only useful to a small number of players was a terrible idea. But, honestly, in the PHB each race takes up maybe 3 pages, each class maybe 5. So even if all 12 races and 3 classes were in the same book, that is less than 50 pages of actual content. And, really, a lot of those races will take up a lot less space space due to the fact that they wouldn't lend themselves to explicit subraces. Maybe another 5 pages are so are devoted to new spells, maybe 3 pages to new equipment options. And then whatever art and garbage padding they want to use to fill up the rest of the book.

      Honestly, it means one could put together a proper Expanded Player's Options book that would be half the size of one of their adventure paths and pretty much everyone (not just the DM) who would have the slightest interest in trying out a new race or new class or new spell would have some reason to buy.
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