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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.
 

Rygar

Explorer
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.

Weiss and Hickman pitched a new trilogy to WOTC when 5th edition came out. Interestingly, Weiss has been very quiet since 2018 on her site. Make of that what you will.
 

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Pixelllance

Explorer
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.

Tracy made some cryptic statements on his DL FB Page in 2019 and 2020 one might conclude something is going on with the DL IP
 

Remathilis

Legend
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.)

To be fair, I think Dark Sun is a longshot for this exact reason. A lot of DS fans claim they don't want "Forgotten Realms in the desert" and will very heavily push back on perceived changes to the Lore. There was a big outcry about 4e's vision of Athas allowing too much magic and new options (like tieflings). I also don't think WotC would be to interested in or successful selling a book that reads like a DM's ban list, including much of the PHB, just to satisfy the hardcore fans.
 

Rikka66

Explorer
I would not describe the negative reaction to 4e Dark Sun as "big" in any context besides "big among a few hardcore fans on some small forums."

Edit: Let me add that, as snarky as this comes across, I don't want to belittle those hardcore fans. 4e Dark Sun does make some big fundamental changes to the setting and concessions to the system it was made for. I understand someone not liking that. But I personally did, or found my own adjustments easy enough to fit in. Probably the biggest area I would agree with those hardcore fans was the treatment of the preserving and defiling system. Would definitely like a middle ground between 2e and 4e if they are porting to 5e.
 
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Gradine

Final Form
Dark Sun seems highly likely. Probably some meta-setting; either Planescape or Spelljammer or some mishmash of the two (but probably not both individually).

3rd one is probably going to be Groghawk, right? I can't imagine them passing up on it at this opportunity.

Would love to see an expanded, full-setting take on Ravenloft but I feel like Ravenloft has always been more popular in the fan consciousness as a module than a full-fledged setting anyway.

Dragonlance has some potential but I frankly don't see it coming on this round.
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
To be fair, I think Dark Sun is a longshot for this exact reason. A lot of DS fans claim they don't want "Forgotten Realms in the desert" and will very heavily push back on perceived changes to the Lore. There was a big outcry about 4e's vision of Athas allowing too much magic and new options (like tieflings). I also don't think WotC would be to interested in or successful selling a book that reads like a DM's ban list, including much of the PHB, just to satisfy the hardcore fans.
You're assuming WotC would be releasing this book for all the old DS fans. They wouldn't be. They'd be releasing it for some of the old DS fans and all of the current D&D fans whom they'd hope would become DS fans.

They have no need or desire to write a book for all the old fans... because those people already own all the Dark Sun material from the previous editions. And the true die-hard Athas fans have probably already run 5E games in the setting, making all of their own adjustments to the 5E mechanics as necessary already.

Anyone who is a elder fan of Eberron (like myself) saw what WotC did in the two Eberron 4E books, and the 5E Rising of the Last War book. And I guarantee you that if any of those elder Eberron fans ran a campaign in it... they brought in a crap-ton of material from the dozen of Eberron 3.5 books that were written that they already owned, because there was just too much good detail in those books that obviously WotC wasn't going to be able to reprint in the 5E book. So it didn't really matter what was in the RofLW book as far as grognard service. Eberron grognards probably barely even needed the book and if they used it at all it was merely for the game mechanics for the few things that the setting needed and which they hadn't already found adequate replacements for elsewhere. I know I ran my two Eberron games using just the mechanics they created for the Wayfinder's Guide and then all my old books. I didn't even need Rising to start with.

Dark Sun will be the exact same thing. WotC will make a simplified setting book that hits all the big points, but which will be lacking in the deep dive of detail that we got back in the original setting box sets and accompanying material. And for those that feel like they need more than what that 5E book would give them? They can just go onto DMs Guild to buy all the old material like the DS grognards already own.
 

I really don't feel like a new version of the setting needs to exactly copy the old one. It can its own take on the same concept and people should stop worrying about any possible differences and inconsistencies.

Like no one is worrying how Christopher Nolan's and Tim Burton's Batman films fit together. They don't. They're different versions of the same concept. And that's fine. And it of course is also fine to prefer one of them (Burton's, obviously) but them being different is not a problem in itself. Same with the settings.
 


Indeed! I'm sure there are all sorts of NDA's floating out there about Wizards' upcoming products. That being said, that statement is the last recorded official one, and anything else remains speculation. Not that I wouldn't love to see Hickman and Weis involved in some new Dragonlance content.

You mean like the explosive popularity of 5E? That quote is from the beginning of 5E and very few people, if any, could have seen the way 5E has taken off.
 

Hatmatter

Adventurer
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.
I like it.
 

Hatmatter

Adventurer
To be fair, I think Dark Sun is a longshot for this exact reason. A lot of DS fans claim they don't want "Forgotten Realms in the desert" and will very heavily push back on perceived changes to the Lore. There was a big outcry about 4e's vision of Athas allowing too much magic and new options (like tieflings). I also don't think WotC would be to interested in or successful selling a book that reads like a DM's ban list, including much of the PHB, just to satisfy the hardcore fans.
My gut feeling tells me the opposite. I think they are at the point where they are comfortable stretching their legs a bit with the game. They aren't out anything by publishing a book that severely limits standard options while presenting other ones. I mean if they want to say no Dragonborn (merely an example) or whatnot, they can...there are presently many settings wherein a character can play a Dragonborn. They did not seem troubled by limiting many racial options for Theros...it was the correct call and they made it and the book is quite good. I think Dark Sun will be out within 18 months. We can compare notes then and see who was more correct. Call me crazy, but I trust the creative folks at Wizards to handle Dark Sun correctly.

I also think (and hope) a Spelljammer is coming. That is a crazy evocative and super fun milieu in which to run adventures. I did it a lot back in the 1990s and it never got old.
 

M.L. Martin

Adventurer
Crazy theory: Does '3 settings' necessarily mean '3 products'?

I'd say Dark Sun is a pretty safe bet for one, but I wouldn't be surprised if they do a Spelljammer/Planescape hybridization that 'technically' counts as both while being a single product or branding item.
 

Staffan

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.

The original Dark Sun box consisted of:

Rules book: 96 pages covering new/modified races and classes, new proficiencies, what monsters from then-published materials were appropriate, changes to magic, and assorted other rules stuff.
The Wanderer's Journal: Another 96 pages of mostly "fluff", but with some new monsters at the end.
A Little Knowledge: Split into three parts, the first being a 16-page book that's mostly a short story but also has two pages of monsters and an explanation of how the flip-book adventure format works, a 24-page half-size book of player handouts, and another 24-page half-size book of the actual intro adventure.
Two poster maps: one of the Tyr region (double-sided, color on one side and black & white hex grid on the other) and another of the city of Tyr.

While you definitely saved a bunch of pages by also requiring the Complete Psionics Handbook instead of including psionics rules, the idea that you wouldn't be able to do something similar in 320 pages today is ridiculous.

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

Spelljammer is dumb.
Some people like the Forge "threefold model" of gamist/simulationist/narrativist RPG design. Personally, I prefer the retro/stupid/pretentious model. And I fully admit that Spelljammer hits a complete bull's eye in the "stupid" part of that. That's why I love it.

Now, you can add some "pretentious" to the Spelljammer cocktail to make it more serious, but that should be something used sparingly. I think the stupid probably works when it's Pratchettian in nature – the people of Discworld don't see their world as humorous, it's only we who do that. The same should go for Spelljammer.
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
Some people like the Forge "threefold model" of gamist/simulationist/narrativist RPG design. Personally, I prefer the retro/stupid/pretentious model. And I fully admit that Spelljammer hits a complete bull's eye in the "stupid" part of that. That's why I love it.

Now, you can add some "pretentious" to the Spelljammer cocktail to make it more serious, but that should be something used sparingly. I think the stupid probably works when it's Pratchettian in nature – the people of Discworld don't see their world as humorous, it's only we who do that. The same should go for Spelljammer.
I think the embracing of some silliness in Spelljammer was closer to the goofy antics of most D&D table play style. It recognized the gonzo going on at many D&D tables and didn’t hide from it. It was too much for some who wanted their D&D to be serious business and no silly.

But 5e did get a Giff!
 


Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
While 100 pages was a generous prediction on how many pages all the player material for races and classes would be in a Dark Sun book, I think it's closer to 60 pages needed, even if that included a full Psion class writeup. The Psion if it's in such a book is going to be using spells just like many other classes, and maybe it needs about 30 new spells, but it would also use existing spells like Charm Person, Telekinesis or Hallucinatory Terrain.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
While 100 pages was a generous prediction on how many pages all the player material for races and classes would be in a Dark Sun book, I think it's closer to 60 pages needed, even if that included a full Psion class writeup. The Psion if it's in such a book is going to be using spells just like many other classes, and maybe it needs about 30 new spells, but it would also use existing spells like Charm Person, Telekinesis or Hallucinatory Terrain.
Yeah, I did a thought (heh) experiment a while ago about using the sorcerer chassis for a psion, and I came to the conclusion that while it would suffice for a psion, I don't think there is enough psi-like stuff in the PHB spell lists to make a class with plenty of breadth. But you could certainly use it if you were to, say, "fake" a psion for a one-shot or something.

I just hope they don't go overboard on the far realm-related stuff for psionics. 2e and 3e psionics were fairly "clean", and that's what the main two settings where psionics features (Dark Sun and Eberron) is based on. While I can certainly appreciate aberrant beings using psionics, that should not be the main thing defining psychic stuff.
 

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