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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.
 

jaycrockett

Explorer
Greyhawk is my favorite setting, but I feel it's been rendered for parts at this point, and I've accepted that.

Dark Sun is my next favorite setting. This has to happen. I think this will work as a campaign setting book. But why not a boxed set? One can dream.

Dragonlance would work as a adventure path book. Seems like a good excuse to sell books as well.

Other than I'm neutral. I really like great wheel cosmology but not planescape specifically. Ravenloft seems done enough but if it's selling well it makes sense.
 

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whimsychris123

Explorer
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.
Nope. WotC owns Dragonlance. Sovereign Press had a license with WotC to publish Dragonlance during the 3e period.
 
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Bitbrain

Black Lives Matter
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.

Maybe set the hypothetical Spelljammer Campaign Guide in the Astromundi Cluster, with a nice table or two in Chapter 4: Building Spelljammer Adventures for creating your own crystal spheres, with different types of planets therein.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
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.
Original Spelljammer had various native cultures on Al-Toril and Krynn be actively involved with spelljamming, to the point where those cultures had distinct spelljamming vessels (IIRC, those were the tinker gnomes of course, as well as Shou Lung, Wa, and Thay). I also distinctly remember one of the sourcebooks (probably War Captain's Companion) having some information on Waterdeep as a spelljamming port.

Eberron is a bit different in this regard because the setting is built with airships in mind, and they aren't anywhere NEAR as fast as a spelljamming vessel. Once out of a gravity well (which takes like an hour IIRC), a spelljamming ship can travel to different planets in a matter of days. That means that they can reach any point in the planet on about twice the time it takes to get out of the gravity well. By comparison, I think Eberron airships (and the lightning rail) go at about 30 mph. People with the Mark of Storm is also a much more limited resource than "anyone who can cast spells".
 

Adderwild

Villager
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.

None of the modern monsters exist in Dark Sun. 2e required a separate Monster's Manual and even the 4e re-release required a separate Monster's Manual.

There is some very unique stuff in Dark Sun that would go beyond a 300 page book.
1. Bards are now assassins, which can be a sub-class.
2. Templars would require a rework of the Warlock.
3. New rules for magic: Defiler and Preserver magic.
4. Clerics are all Elemental based, which means at least 4 new domains, and some spells would need to be reworked.
5. Need to create the Gladiator class.
6. Druids would require a rework
7. All races would need to be redone
8. Add Thri-keen and Half Giants as playable.
9. You need a whole new weapons and armor table and rules on breakage.
10. Rules on travel
11. Biological-items
12. Far more expanded rules on psionics.

All of this would have to be done in a 300 page book and still have room for the history, factions, landscape, cityscapes, sorcerer kings and enough plot hooks to make it playable. All of this is before you even get to changing all the monsters.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
Maybe set the hypothetical Spelljammer Campaign Guide in the Astromundi Cluster, with a nice table or two in Chapter 4: Building Spelljammer Adventures for creating your own crystal spheres, with different types of planets therein.
This would be ideal. Or maybe not exactly the Cluster (as I recall there were some iffy parts of it), but something like it.
 

Adderwild

Villager
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.

2e Dark Sun had a separate monster's manual. I owned it. 4e also had a separate monsters manual. The box didn't have everything you needed to run it. TSR was notorious for doing that.
 

Adderwild

Villager
Original Spelljammer had various native cultures on Al-Toril and Krynn be actively involved with spelljamming, to the point where those cultures had distinct spelljamming vessels (IIRC, those were the tinker gnomes of course, as well as Shou Lung, Wa, and Thay). I also distinctly remember one of the sourcebooks (probably War Captain's Companion) having some information on Waterdeep as a spelljamming port.

Eberron is a bit different in this regard because the setting is built with airships in mind, and they aren't anywhere NEAR as fast as a spelljamming vessel. Once out of a gravity well (which takes like an hour IIRC), a spelljamming ship can travel to different planets in a matter of days. That means that they can reach any point in the planet on about twice the time it takes to get out of the gravity well. By comparison, I think Eberron airships (and the lightning rail) go at about 30 mph. People with the Mark of Storm is also a much more limited resource than "anyone who can cast spells".

The idea of airships in Eberrons seem to be taken from Spelljammer. Other than space travel, they seem to function identically. Of course I could argue that Spelljammer ripped off the Helmsman of Dune. The Dragonmarks seem to be taken out of Birthright.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
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.

It's not her baby, though. It still belongs to WotC, and has ever since they bought TSR. As whimsychris123 pointed out, the stuff published by Sovereign Press was under licence from WotC. Besides, there have been a handful of things published since the license was not renewed in 2007... such as Fate of Thorbardin, published in 2010 by WotC.
 

Adderwild

Villager
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.
Greyhawk just isn't happening. Like Eberron, Greyhawk is a mostly static setting. It doesn't have the evolving history that Forgotten Realms does, so there is no need to update it from the Greyhawk Gazetteer. Unlike Eberron, Greyhawk has no unique mechanics that would need to be updated to 5e. You can play Greyhawk right now by going to the DMsguild.com and downloading the 3e Gazetteer. Nothing in that book has changed with 5e.

Dark Sun just isn't happening. Its just not profitable and to do it right, would require a lot of reworking of existing classes and mechanics, and monsters. Something that is not easily fit into a 300 page book.
 

Reynard

Legend
I don't know who needs to hear this, but:

Spelljammer is dumb.

Obviously, I kid. But boy do I hope they give it a major makeover and tie it to planar travel rather than crystal spheres and phlogiston. Sail the Astral Sea, fighting off dreadnaughts and Githyanki pirates is so much more appealing to me than pseudo-Victorian "sci-fi" (in the loosest sense of the term).

But, weirldy, WotC has not been returning the angry voicemails I have been leaving, so they will probably keep it dumb just to spite me personally.
 

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

A Spelljamming Helm appears in Dungeon of the Mad Mage, and it very much does require a spellcaster to attune to it to use it, although it didn't drain spells to use it (although the spellcaster can't cast spells while attuned).
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
Dark Sun just isn't happening. Its just not profitable and to do it right, would require a lot of reworking of existing classes and mechanics, and monsters. Something that is not easily fit into a 300 page book.
No it doesn't they could fit all the different changes to classes and races for Dark Sun within 100 pages. I doubt the 2e boxed set actually exceeded 100 pages when referring to class and race changes.
 

ersatzphil

Explorer
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.

I suppose a relatively minor nitpick, but I believe only the Hickmans collaborated on 'Curse of Strahd'. Weiss may well have been involved for all I know, but she doesn't appear in the credits.
 

Parmandur

Legend
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.

That is factually incorrect, WotC owns Dragonlance and Weis licensed it for a spell on the Aughts.
 

Parmandur

Legend
None of the modern monsters exist in Dark Sun. 2e required a separate Monster's Manual and even the 4e re-release required a separate Monster's Manual.

There is some very unique stuff in Dark Sun that would go beyond a 300 page book.
1. Bards are now assassins, which can be a sub-class.
2. Templars would require a rework of the Warlock.
3. New rules for magic: Defiler and Preserver magic.
4. Clerics are all Elemental based, which means at least 4 new domains, and some spells would need to be reworked.
5. Need to create the Gladiator class.
6. Druids would require a rework
7. All races would need to be redone
8. Add Thri-keen and Half Giants as playable.
9. You need a whole new weapons and armor table and rules on breakage.
10. Rules on travel
11. Biological-items
12. Far more expanded rules on psionics.

All of this would have to be done in a 300 page book and still have room for the history, factions, landscape, cityscapes, sorcerer kings and enough plot hooks to make it playable. All of this is before you even get to changing all the monsters.

I see nothing in this list that is both necessary (a Gladiator Class, for instance, is unnecessary) and not easily doable in a 320 page book. The Ravnica/Eberron/Theros model shows this is very doable. Ravnica had almost as many stat blocks as Volo's!
 

bmfrosty

Explorer
I think the strongest thing we have to locks are Planescape and Dark Sun.

I don't know that Spelljammer has enough interest to be it's own book, but I could see it and Planescape being conjoined into a single setting book.

Kara Tur and Al Qadim have too much stereotype baggage to do, unless they are developed in and for east asia and the middle east respectively and then localized for a western audience. If they're developed by westerners, then it's probably going to be a problem.

Dragonlance and Mystara feel like they could be described in terms of Forgotten Realms fairly well.

I think Greyhawk has a chance though, but only if it's really subtractive. If it's developed as a setting with a bunch of rules changes to ramp up the difficulty and centered around Gygax era dungeon crawls, then it could be really interesting. What it doesn't need is to be a move forward from that point in time.

For any of these, I think an oversized CoS style book is probably the best way to take it. For Greyhawk I'd say make it a refresh of what's in the 1983 World of Greyhawk book with a players guide (free on dmsguild and also wrapped into the book), and an adventure from levels 1-10 all wrapped into a single book.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Greyhawk just isn't happening. Like Eberron, Greyhawk is a mostly static setting. It doesn't have the evolving history that Forgotten Realms does, so there is no need to update it from the Greyhawk Gazetteer. Unlike Eberron, Greyhawk has no unique mechanics that would need to be updated to 5e. You can play Greyhawk right now by going to the DMsguild.com and downloading the 3e Gazetteer. Nothing in that book has changed with 5e.

Dark Sun just isn't happening. Its just not profitable and to do it right, would require a lot of reworking of existing classes and mechanics, and monsters. Something that is not easily fit into a 300 page book.
And your list was...

-Ravenloft
-SpellJammer
-Forgotten Realms

Well, let see... first off the Forgotten Realms isn't a "classic setting". It's a CURRENT setting. It's the setting almost every book is set in. If they were going to update it... which they aren't... feel free to read the 350 other threads here on EN World over the past 4 years explaining why they aren't going to make a new Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting guide. (Long story short, because WotC no longer cares about Realms canon and thus has absolutely no desire to write 300 pages of " new history" for the 30 different nations across Faerun that no one except like 15 people care about. If they were going to write one, they would have done it already.)

And secondly... while I can kind of see a reason to suggest the Domains of Dread... the simple fact is we've already had a gothic horror mini-setting book (Curse of Strahd), and we are about to get another horror book released next month (Rime of the Frost Maiden). Couple this with the strong possibility that Innistrad is a candidate for one of the next Magic The Gathering setting books... I seriously doubt they are going to bother with a full Domains of Dread because that's trodding over similar ground repeatedly. Not when Dark Sun is a whole new type of adventure setting that they haven't touched upon yet.

You may think they can't do Dark Sun because there's just "too much stuff" they would have to do to make it fit in a 5E book... but I guarantee you the designers of WotC are nowhere near as beholden to ALL the crap that has been made for Dark Sun in the past and will be more than willing to "dumb it down" for a more casual audience. They will not see the need to create a whole Dark Sun Monster Manual... they will be perfectly happy to just write a book that has probably 50 to 70 new monsters in it (like they did for Theros, Frost Maiden, and all the rest.)
 
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You may think they can't do Dark Sun because there's just "too much stuff" they would have to do to make it fit in a 5E book... but I guarantee you the designers of WotC are nowhere near as beholden to ALL the crap that has been made for Dark Sun in the past and will be more than willing to "dumb it down" for a more casual audience. They will not see the need to create a whole Dark Sun Monster Manual... they will be perfectly happy to just write a book that has probably 50 to 70 new monsters in it (like they did for Theros, Frost Maiden, and all the rest.)
And that sounds perfectly fine to me.
 

Since it keeps coming up, on the subject of who owns Dragonlance, from the mouth of Tracy Hickman in 2014:

"The bottom line was that in order to create Dragonlance, Laura, Margaret and I had to sign away any rights or copyrights to our creations....There have been recent successful challenges to ‘Work for Hire’ agreements where creatives have managed to get the rights back on their properties but for now Wizards of the Coast is the final word in Dragonlance property rights.

So, while Laura and I have a fantastic idea for a new Dragonlance trilogy that we would like to write as a reboot … we cannot do so without permission of Wizards of the Coast. I would like to write Sojourner Tales modules set in the Dragonlance world; the IP manager for Dragonlance has told me that the company would not be licensing even those limited rights to me at this time. We would love to see a live-action movie made … but you have to talk to Wizards of the Coast to get those rights."

Source.

It's entirely possible something has changed since then, but it seems unlikely as it would certainly have been noted somewhere.
 

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