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5E 3 Classic Settings Coming To 5E?

On the D&D Celebration – Sunday, Inside the D&D Studio with Liz Schuh and Ray Winninger, Winninger said that WotC will be shifting to a greater emphasis on settings in the coming years.

This includes three classic settings getting active attention, including some that fans have been actively asking for. He was cagey about which ones, though.

The video below is an 11-hour video, but the information comes in the last hour for those who want to scrub through.



Additionally, Liz Schuh said there would be more anthologies, as well as more products to enhance game play that are not books.

Winninger mentioned more products aimed at the mainstream player who can't spend immense amount of time absorbing 3 tomes.

Ray and Liz confirmed there will be more Magic: The Gathering collaborations.
 
But I am leaning to hoping WotC does not do Birthright because MCDM’s 5e Kingdoms and Warfare product is being designed right now and I want it to sell well!
There's a part of my brain that goes "Well, WotC threw their hat into the Greek-themed settings after Odyssey and Arkadia, so....." when I read this. So.... If they were to throw their hat into that ring, Birthright is an obvious "This is where we can throw those sort of rules" thing

I'm still inclined towards Dark Sun, Planescape and Spelljammer as they're huge on the individual flavours, but I'm sticking to Birthright being the wildcard in all of this
 

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Parmandur

Legend
Wizards has been awfully silent about anything and everything to do with Greyhawk, and given the drama going on with Gail Gygax and folks from the OSR crowd, I'd bet we don't see anything Greyhawk any time soon, if ever.

So I'll just repost what I said on Twitter:

It'll be guides for Mulhorand, The Sea of Fallen Stars, and Shadowdale.

Ghosts of Saltmarsh, Mordenkein's Time, Tasha's Cauldron...hardly quiet.
 

Adderwild

Villager
This one is easy.

1. Ravenloft. Already been announced and Wizards has been making a lot of Ravenloft like announcement lately.
2. Spelljammer. They've been dropping a lot of Spelljammer stuff in recent modules and Bulder's Gate 3 has some Spelljammer in there. Plus it allows Wizards to sell more books because it bridges settings. Its been 30 years since the last Spelljammer book and nostalgia alone will sell a ton of books.
3. Dragonlance is out because its not owned by Wizards, but a 3rd party drop, like Wildmount could happen.
4. Greyhawk is exactly like the default setting, Forgotten Realms and can just be reprinted from old editions on DMsGuild.
5. DarkSun would require a completely new PHB and Monsters Manual and is very niche. This makes it cost prohibitive. This makes me sad.
6. Planescape is possible and would finally give us more planer stuff. It also bridges settings which would sell more books. The problem is that Spelljammer does too, and I doubt they'd want two settings that serve the same function.
7. Birthright became Eberron. So no.
8. Forgotten Realms. The Sword Coast Adventures Guide (SCAG) was a rushed garbage book with bad mechanics and very little content. Now that the SCAG is no longer Adventure's League legal, they are going to want a book for their default setting.

My bet for the three settings:
-Ravenloft
-SpellJammer
-Forgotten Realms

My reasoning is because these three have the highest Return on Investment. TSR would just rush to print 50 supplements a year and they went bankrupt because of it. Wizards is far more focused on profits and not just niche desires.
 
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Adderwild

Villager
Darksun, Dragon lance, Greyhawk, Plane Scape, Spell Jammers and Ravenloft come to mind for classic settings. At least if they go for the popular ones. Picking only three will be difficult. My bet would be Darksun (psionics), Plane Scape (planes can be associated with any setting after all) and the last is anybody's guess. I wish for Greyhawk but the others are just as likely.

DarkSun would require a new Player's Handbook, and all new Monster's Manual just for that setting. They couldn't sell enough copies to justify releasing any Dark Sun products. I like Dark Sun too, but it just isn't happening.
 

Adderwild

Villager
I would say Dark Sun and Planescape will definitely happen. Past that, I'd say it's between Dragonlance or Greyhawk.
[/QUOT

Dark Sun would require a new PHB, and Monster's Manual. Dragonlance isn't owned by Wizards. Greyhawk is too similar to the default Forgotten Realms and can be printed on the DMsguild from old editions since it has no unique 5e mechanics.
 



DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I fully expect these all to be one-off books. One book of high-view setting material, some player-facing material, some monsters, some magic items, perhaps a short adventure. This is what they've done for Ravnica, this is what they've done for Wildemount, this is what they've done for Eberron.

And thus... if they are doing "classic settings", they are going to do the three that have the most opportunities for the other stuff than just the high-view setting material. With that thinking, what makes the most sense to me is Planescape / Spelljammer... essentially 5E's version of the Manual of the Planes. There would be a section about Sigil, there would be a lot of talk about spelljammer ships and space-faring between planes, and you'd have all the DM material for monsters, magic and the like. And Tasha's Cauldron has been going all-in on player-facing material related to the various planes, so it connects up to it.

Second one would be Dark Sun. Again, Tasha's begins the delve into psionics and Dark Sun would follow up on it. It is also the setting (like Eberron) that has already gone through a recent update for 4E, and thus has a much larger footprint in the D&D gaming populace. Writers for D&D have already written and designed for Dark Sun in the last decade and thus the ideas and concepts are still relatively fresh in people's minds, as it the art design. It also doesn't hurt that the new Dune movie will be coming out in 2021, with potentially the second one a couple years after that, so desert adventuring has some standing in pop culture.

Third one? Honestly I think it has to be Greyhawk. It is the original D&D setting, and if we're talking 40th Anniversary of D&D stuff, I don't see how they would ever choose something else. Now yes, I understand the complaint that it's "too vanilla, like the Realms"... but that would only matter if they were going to do a full line of setting product. But they aren't. They'll do a single book. And if you are going to do a single "classic setting" book, I just honestly cannot see how they would ever choose Dragonlance or Ravenloft over Greyhawk (and I'm not even considering Birthright or Mystara.) I mean look at everything they have released for 5E... whenever they offer up things from the various settings-- like lists of gods, locations where adventures can be set, heckm even the names of products-- Greyhawk is front and center. Finally, you add in the fact that Mike Mearls is one of the biggest fans and has recently moved back over to the design team but we haven't heard one hint of what he's been actually doing... gives me the belief that there is a potential for a true blue fan spear-heading the design. We had Keith Baker as Eberron's champion through Rising's process... Mearls would be Greyhawk's.
 

whimsychris123

Explorer
Dark Sun would require a new PHB, and Monster's Manual. Dragonlance isn't owned by Wizards. Greyhawk is too similar to the default Forgotten Realms and can be printed on the DMsguild from old editions since it has no unique 5e mechanics.
I don't agree that Dark Sun would require more than one book, and the idea that WotC doesn't own Dragonlance is factually wrong. And honestly, I don't care how "generic fantasy" a setting might be. If there's demand, then WotC will produce it.
 



MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Not gonna be Greyhawk--there isn't much to add that FR doesn't already have except different fluff. And possibly removal of stuff (like no dragonborn in Greyhawk). No way they are going to do that.
But dragonborn already are a part of Greyhawk. (They originated in Greyhawk in fact. They have very close ties to Bahamut) You know, Greyhawk history doesn't end with the 83 box set.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
But dragonborn already are a part of Greyhawk. (They originated in Greyhawk in fact. They have very close ties to Bahamut) You know, Greyhawk history doesn't end with the 83 box set.

No, but AFAIC, it ended before 3e came out ;) (which is when dragonborn were tied in). To me, Greyhawk is TSR era only. Anything after was a desecration to Gary's world. ;)
 

Remathilis

Legend
Why are you so certain Dark Sun would need its own dedicated PHB? I dont really follow that logic nor do I think WotC would have it that way.
Well, that depends on how close you want to it to hew to the 2e era vs. the 4e era. If you want mostly refluffed elements with some new subs, races and such, a single tome is fine. If you are looking for spell-less bards, any spellcaster but wizards removed, and survival and combat abilities nerfed to mimic the 2e era, you will need whole new books.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Well, that depends on how close you want to it to hew to the 2e era vs. the 4e era. If you want mostly refluffed elements with some new subs, races and such, a single tome is fine. If you are looking for spell-less bards, any spellcaster but wizards removed, and survival and combat abilities nerfed to mimic the 2e era, you will need whole new books.
Exactly. So some of the players will need a whole entire Dark Sun Player's Handbook. Wizards of the Coast will give us a single 4E-style book. :)
 

5. DarkSun would require a completely new PHB and Monsters Manual and is very niche. This makes it cost prohibitive. This makes me sad.

What?

By that logic DS should have needed its own PHB in 2E, and it very much didn't.

I think we'll probably get some bastardized and unfortunately downgraded version of Dark Sun in 5E, probably just before 6E, to just really ruin Dark Sun for all future editions. Call me a cynic if you will, but it just seems pretty likely to me, at this point. I'd bet on Psionics is a minor element of the setting, and Psionicist is probably just a Wizard specialization (I'm like rolling in my grave at this and I'm not even dead), Clerics/Paladins are present as normal and maybe there's a bit woo-woo about there being no gods, but they function exactly the same. All the core races are there and Half-Giants are not even as macho as Mountain Dwarves, and maybe even a Goliath sub-race. Muls and Thri-Kreen are either missing in action, or drastically revised. There's probably at least one clear "good guy" city. Defiling will be a bad-guy thing for NPCs, and normal Wizards will freely cast spells at full power without the slightest hint of even maybe defiling stuff. And so on. And there will be a million excuses and defenses of the setting and what WotC did to it. But it'll probably have good artwork.

On the upside, I don't think any Spelljammer we see will bear much resemblance to 1989 Spelljammer. There's just no chance. So it'll be a modernized take on Dark Sun. I doubt we'll see complex systems of "Crystal Spheres" and the phlogiston and so on may well also be gone. No way will a helm require you to be a caster, let alone eat all your spells.

I do agree that if we get Spelljammer, we probably don't get Planescape.

I think my guesses would be:

1) A bowlderized version of Dark Sun with shades of the 4E Forgotten Realms.

2) Either a modernized Spelljammer (which will be an improvement) or a dumbed-down version of Planescape (which will not). In an ideal world we get a new setting which hybridizes elements from both. But this is 2020. We don't live in an ideal world.

3) Hmmmmm. This is a harder one. I do think Birthright might have a chance, or something kind of like it. But equally they might run a mile. A more full-on Forgotten Realms setting would definitely sell - many of 5Es adventures are set there by default, and something which gave people more of a framework than the hasty and half-hearted SCAG would do well. I can't see Greyhawk happening - only way it could would be if it was a sort of punk-rock updated Greyhawk, but I think that market is served by other RPGs. Dragonlance I likewise can't really see. It's not impossible, but you'd need do so much to make it appeal to a modern audience.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
Anyway, the right way to do a Spelljammer revival would be as its own set of (properly detailed) neighboring crystal spheres supporting spelljamming adventures. Not planar travel, and not "connecting" existing settings (the level of spelljamming activity needed to support Spelljammer as a setting is incompatible with all the major settings, an issue the original boxed set handled by studiously ignoring the effect of fast flying ships on trade and warfare in FR, GH, or DL).
I pretty much agree with this. "Classic" Spelljammer suffered from focusing on two things at once:
  1. "Connective tissue" between the Big Three settings at the time: Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, and Dragonlance.
  2. Weird effin' space shenanigans.
The issue is that the first of those is, um, bad. Most fans of those settings like them more-or-less the way they are, and don't need spaceships messing up the place. Plus, if you can use spaceships to fly around Al-Toril in one hour or so, and can build them to land on, well, land instead of water, why would you need ocean-going ships for trade? Sure, a spelljamming helm costs as much as five or so large ships, but since it can travel SO MUCH faster, you make that back in no time. And if you can do well with a spelljammer ship just hopping between Maztica and Kara-Tur, why would you need to actually go into space?

No, Spelljammer is better off without the "mundane" settings, and the mundanes are better off without Spelljammer. It's better to build a setting around the concept of spelljamming. The Astromundi Cluster was a pretty cool idea, so I'd go with something like that, maybe spread out over multiple spheres. You basically don't want regular planets if you can help it, because you want to force trade and travel, and the way to do that is to not make places self-sufficient.

This would result in a setting with a focus on the space shenanigans. The setting should have thousands of planetoids with all sorts of weird things going on here and there, and lots of room for exploration.
 

Adderwild

Villager
Dragonlance is owned by WotC. I don't know where the idea that WotC doesn't have the full rights to all Dragonlance IP comes from.

As far as I am aware its still owned by Margaret Weis. She acquired rights following TSR's bankruptcy. Wizards was publishing through Weis's company Sovereign Press until 2003 when the deal fell through. This is why we haven't seen a new Dragonlance supplement in 17 years and only a handful of novels. Fairly certain they need her approval. She did collaborate on the release of Curse of Strahd, so there is a good chance she'd do the same for Dragonlance. Still, Dragonlance is her baby and she seems a lot more protective of that property lately.
 

Adderwild

Villager
I pretty much agree with this. "Classic" Spelljammer suffered from focusing on two things at once:
  1. "Connective tissue" between the Big Three settings at the time: Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, and Dragonlance.
  2. Weird effin' space shenanigans.
The issue is that the first of those is, um, bad. Most fans of those settings like them more-or-less the way they are, and don't need spaceships messing up the place. Plus, if you can use spaceships to fly around Al-Toril in one hour or so, and can build them to land on, well, land instead of water, why would you need ocean-going ships for trade? Sure, a spelljamming helm costs as much as five or so large ships, but since it can travel SO MUCH faster, you make that back in no time. And if you can do well with a spelljammer ship just hopping between Maztica and Kara-Tur, why would you need to actually go into space?

No, Spelljammer is better off without the "mundane" settings, and the mundanes are better off without Spelljammer. It's better to build a setting around the concept of spelljamming. The Astromundi Cluster was a pretty cool idea, so I'd go with something like that, maybe spread out over multiple spheres. You basically don't want regular planets if you can help it, because you want to force trade and travel, and the way to do that is to not make places self-sufficient.

This would result in a setting with a focus on the space shenanigans. The setting should have thousands of planetoids with all sorts of weird things going on here and there, and lots of room for exploration.

Would Spelljammer ships be any different that magic travel? Where would a person from Krynn even get a Spelljammer ship? Its not like they'd sell them that the local shipwright. Not only that, but it would require a helmsman, which is a specialized talent. I just realized Keith Baker ripped this off for Eberron.
 

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