Perkins AMA Compiled; Haunted One Background Preview
  • Perkins AMA Compiled; Haunted One Background Preview


    Yesterday, WotC's Chris Perkins took part in a Reddit AMA. I've compiled the interesting bits here. I've not included game advice questions, rules-type questions, or personal questions or things like "what's your favourite class?". So, mainly, questions about products and WotC; the AMA was mainly focused on Curse of Strahd, but covered other bits and pieces too, including hints of a Perkins collaboration with Critical Role. As always, WotC doesn't talk about unannounced future products. Also be sure to check out the the Haunted One, a preview of a background appearing in Curse of Strahd.

    Here's the link to the Haunted One background (two-page PDF), or see below.

    Curse of Strahd

    I noticed that in Death House there was a mention of using new Backgrounds. Is it possible to expand on that?

    There's a new background in Curse of Strahd called the "haunted one." It starts off: "You are haunted by something so terrible that you dare not speak of it. You've tried to bury it and run away from it, to no avail ..." I designed it with Jeremy Crawford's help, and I love the way it turned out.

    With the release of the DMs Guild and the OLG, and Curse the Strahd seeming taking the adventures in a new direction, would you say that D&D 5th Edition is entering a new phase in its life cycle? If so what would you say the goals/direction of this new phase?

    Curse of Strahd represents an acknowledge of D&D's greater multiverse. We will continue to tell stories in FR, but CoS is a shot off the bow of everyone who professed that Wizards would never go back to its other classic settings. We foreshadowed the coming of CoS in the core rulebooks. The core rulebooks contain lots of clues about the stories we intend to tell going forward.

    Gothic horror settings have always had a special place in my heart, ever since I was a child watching my father struggle through the classic Castlevania games on NES and SNES. I am very excited about the upcoming Curse of Strahd, and I have a couple questions as a DM preparing to run it: What (if any) is the recommended player-count for this campaign? The 3D-oriented maps of Castle Ravenloft in the 3.5e Expedition to Castle Ravenloft were difficult for me to interpret and translate to my drawn battle maps. Will the new adventure book have traditional top-down maps?

    Curse of Strahd is designed for 4-6 characters. In CoS, the maps of Castle Ravenloft are rendered isometrically, just like the original Ravenloft castle maps. All other locations are top-down.

    Which other company did you collaborate with for Curse of Strahd the way you did with Green Ronin and Kobold Press for the previous adventures?

    Curse of Strahd was created entirely in-house. We did not partner with an outside studio. We did, however, work with Tracy and Laura Hickman.

    Are there new rules for Powers Checks in the book?

    There are new rules in Curse of Strahd, specific to adventuring in the land of Barovia. For example, there's a rule for "resurrection madness." No "power checks" specifically, but CoS has something comparable in one of its chapters.

    Is there an updated map of the whole Barovia domain (including other towns like Vallaki and Teufeldorf)?

    Yes. Vallaki is there. Teufeldorf is not.

    Any new mechanics in the Ravenloft adventure Curse of Strahd? Like spells, feats, or subclasses.

    Curse of Strahd is an adventure and therefore mostly aimed at DMs. While it contains some content appropriate for characters (including magic items), there are no new spells, feats, or subclasses.

    Critical Role

    There was also some discussion about the web show Critical Role. It sounds very likely that Chris Perkins and Matt Mercer will be collaborating at some point. Here are some relevant quotes:

    ...I predict that before the end of the year, you'll see me playing a character instead of DMing.

    ...I do watch Critical Role. It's amazing. What talent! I'm blown away by the generosity of the fans and their amazing artwork. Matt Mercer is a mighty powerful storyteller. I like how Matt really taps into his players' emotions.

    ...[In response to whether Perkins and Mercer would collaborate at some point] Yes, I think so.

    Assorted Sundry

    So far we've had Dragons & Factions, Elementals, Underdark & Demons and now Vampires. In the early process of picking these themes, what were you looking for in story elements? What boxes did these stories check that you want all stories to check, and what boxes did these stories check that are now checked and you don't need to worry about for future stories? And is "provides the stats for an iconic unique creature like Tiamat/Imix/Orcus/Strahd" one of those permanent boxes?

    We try to use iconic D&D elements in our stories. Dragons were a no-brainer for the first 5E story. I like to take things that have existed in D&D for a while and put new spins on them. For example, taking the Underdark and blending it with themes from Alice in Wonderland. For Curse of Strahd, we really just wanted to reintroduce a classic villain and show the depth of his evil.

    [On the legality of distributing older WotC articles] The Dungeon Master Experience articles belong to Hasbro and shouldn't be sold or distributed without our consent. With the structural changes to our website, DMXP content can be hard to find. The company is exploring ways to put that content somewhere easy to find, but it's not a high priority.

    [On conventions] We are trying to hit a few more local conventions this year. For example, I'll be at GaryCon in Lake Geneva, WI next week. FYI: I will be attending PAX East in Boston this spring (and yes, so will the rest of the Acquisitions Incorporated crew).

    [Future settings] I can't talk about what we are planning for the future. However, I can say that we are taking care to listen more. If there's a great desire for something and we hear about it, there's a chance we could put resources toward delivering it. On the topic of listening: We focus quite a bit on the Forgotten Realms because it's own most popular setting.

    Will you have any creative input into the D&D film?

    Yes.

    Is there any worry that the DM's Guild content is threatening to dilute "canon" story or rules principles?

    No. DMs Guild is providing what D&D has always needed: a creative outlet for its creative fans. Nothing that gets posted there is canonical unless we say it is, but canon is pretty meaningless to the DM running his or her own game.

    Curse of Strahd is the first official 5th edition module to take place outside of the Forgotten Realms. How big of a risk do you consider that? Is there a hesitance on the part of WotC/Hasbro to go outside the realms for fear of alienating parts of the fanbase?

    The 5E core rulebooks call attention to the fact that D&D is a multiverse that encompasses many worlds and planes. Curse of Strahd backs that up. It's no risk to us.

    In Out of the Abyss, what drove the decision to not include any section directly dealing with Orcus? Simple time and space or was there a reason he isn't featured in the main storyline until right at the very end? I'm DMing it and I'm thinking of putting in something involving him, possibly as a side-adventure before they go to see Bruenor. Any advice you could give?

    We were counting on a novel to deal with the Orcus subplot. The novel fell through for reasons beyond our control.

    How long do you think before we see a proper full release product of the Psionics that we've seen snapshots of in Unearthed Arcana? How goes the playtesting for it?

    We're paying attention to what people think of the psionic crumbs we've put out there, but it's too early to know the extent to which that material will need to change. I can't say if and when we'll release a psionics-related game product.

    When will we be seeing or hearing the next Acquisitions Inc. story?

    The Acq Inc. crew will be back at PAX East this year. I can't speak about the details of what we're doing on stage this year, except to say that it will be surprising.

    I wanted to know if there is any plans to release an app where we could follow the progress of Adventurer's league characters?

    I can't talk about apps we're working on (or not).

    Are there any plans to link Magic: The Gathering with D&D at all (for example, supplements for some of Magic's settings)?

    I'm not opposed to the idea, and I think there's a chance it could happen.

    I know this game is still very popular but for example in Europe it seems less popular which I think is also because the books are not in other languages. Is it that costly to translate it to other languages or do you guys feel like there is no market for that? I come from the Netherlands and it seems almost nowhere you can really find a game or books for that matter.

    I have no insight on this topic. I've never been involved in book translations, but I know that they require significant oversight to ensure quality.




    Comments 47 Comments
    1. chibi graz'zt's Avatar
      chibi graz'zt -
      "We will continue to tell stories in FR"

      Yes!!!

      Also awesome that Critical Role gets another nod from above. Best live stream show in the internet land.
    1. UngeheuerLich's Avatar
      UngeheuerLich -
      Interesting, your background gives only half as much skills and proficiencies as a normal background, but your feature is very powerful insofar that strangers take up arms for you.
    1. Faenor's Avatar
      Faenor -
      Google national geographic Afghan girl now. Do you think they actually said to the artists that's what they meant for them to draw, or do think they just kind of winked?
    1. Ath-kethin's Avatar
      Ath-kethin -
      ". . . canon is pretty meaningless to the DM running his or her own game."

      I think this is a naive and almost dangerous belief for a designer to hold. Canon is what defines a game world, and heavily affects perceptions of it.
    1. Kramodlog's Avatar
      Kramodlog -
      With all the shared world buzz the MCU has created, maybe a shared D&D\MtG universe awoke interest at Hasbro.
    1. hawkeyefan's Avatar
      hawkeyefan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ath-kethin View Post
      ". . . canon is pretty meaningless to the DM running his or her own game."

      I think this is a naive and almost dangerous belief for a designer to hold. Canon is what defines a game world, and heavily affects perceptions of it.
      I think that his comment was more in the context of how individual DMs will vary on what they decide to accept as canon, so in that regard, applying the canon label to something is not always truly meaningful.

      He says that nothing on the DMs Guild is canon unless they decide to treat it as such, so clearly he knows the value of having material that is considered canon.
    1. Benji's Avatar
      Benji -
      "We were counting on a Novel to fill the Orcus sub-plot' is a really interesting insight into the process and explains why he was front and centre on advertising, Perkins got all excited about him and he's almost not featured in the APs. Now I feel less like they mislead me or don't know how to run a campaign and more sorry for them that it didn't come through. It basically explains my one problem with Rage of Demons.
    1. Reinhart -
      Quote Originally Posted by UngeheuerLich View Post
      Interesting, your background gives only half as much skills and proficiencies as a normal background, but your feature is very powerful insofar that strangers take up arms for you.
      I don't see the feature as that powerful. I suspect the missing skill and tool proficiency is just WotC still not understanding their own game system.
    1. UngeheuerLich's Avatar
      UngeheuerLich -
      That is improbable. Then I rather think it was an oversight and should be two instead of 1 or something else we are missing. Your claim isn't based on facts and it is also very unplolite.
    1. Doctor Futurity -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ath-kethin View Post
      ". . . canon is pretty meaningless to the DM running his or her own game."

      I think this is a naive and almost dangerous belief for a designer to hold. Canon is what defines a game world, and heavily affects perceptions of it.
      I get the idea you are presenting, but feel it would have more merit if I had even once in the last 35 years been in a Forgotten Realms game that the DM didn't house-mod to death. I've never actually gotten to experience a "canon" version of FR, except maybe in organized play.
    1. Dire Bare's Avatar
      Dire Bare -
      Quote Originally Posted by Reinhart View Post
      I suspect the missing skill and tool proficiency is just WotC still not understanding their own game system.
      Heh. Unlikely.
    1. Reinhart -
      Quote Originally Posted by UngeheuerLich View Post
      That is improbable. Then I rather think it was an oversight and should be two instead of 1 or something else we are missing. Your claim isn't based on facts and it is also very unplolite.
      If it's an oversight it's a consistent one. And considering they decided to share this page, it's an oversight that several staff had to make before it got this far. It's not your incompetence, so you don't have to defend it.
    1. gweinel's Avatar
      gweinel -
      Also, you can check the interview of Perkins at Fraternity of Shadows (an old-known Ravenloft site).

      http://fraternityofshadows.com/ThePa...Interview.html
    1. UngeheuerLich's Avatar
      UngeheuerLich -
      Never denied incompetence... but rather in proofreading than not understanding their own system... how often I have seen people accusing people at wotc based on partial information... it is just a preview page...
      Also it is not "wotc" not understanding their own system. They are individual people and mistakes happen. Stop being that arrogant.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      There's an undercurrent of hostility in this thread, short as it is. Please try to consider how you choose to phrase things.
    1. BookBarbarian's Avatar
      BookBarbarian -
      Haunted One: This is an awesome background! I will absolutely use it on a character. In fact, I think I'll make one now.
    1. The Grassy Gnoll's Avatar
      The Grassy Gnoll -
      Haunted One and Warlock. How can you have any other class/background combo? Sounds very cool. Way more plot hooks baked in than most. I like!
    1. Zarithar's Avatar
      Zarithar -
      Quote Originally Posted by Faenor View Post
      Google national geographic Afghan girl now. Do you think they actually said to the artists that's what they meant for them to draw, or do think they just kind of winked?
      At first I sort of rolled my eyes at this post, but yea... after a Google search I can see your point. It's a pretty strong resemblance!
    1. MonsterEnvy's Avatar
      MonsterEnvy -
      Here's hoping we have both the isometric maps for castle ravenloft along with top down version. The Isometric maps while cool are not as useful for online play involving tokens.
    1. HardcoreDandDGirl's Avatar
      HardcoreDandDGirl -
      Quote Originally Posted by MonsterEnvy View Post
      Here's hoping we have both the isometric maps for castle ravenloft along with top down version. The Isometric maps while cool are not as useful for online play involving tokens.
      pardon my stupidity... what is isometric?
    Comments Leave Comment