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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.
 
I'm not sure "asian mythology" is even really a thing any more. It was huge in, say, 1985 and through the 1990s, with first the whole ninja/samurai obsession, then the rise in popularity of HK cinema of all kinds (which was deeply influential on Hollywood action, and still is, eh, John Wick? No John Wick or the Matrix or what-have-you without John Woo), and the rise of anime, but at this point, there's no clear dividing line between "asian mythology" and Western mythology. I'm not sure there ever really was.
There are different themes at play, but 'Asian mythology' is a massive thing that encompasses a lot. A lot of stuff you had in the west just wouldn't exist in the east simply due to how they are and how they've developed

Disney found this one out the hard way with how bad Mulan is being torn apart in cinema, and folks pointing out how that seems like a western fantasy, not a Chinese one, are right on the ball
 

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Nymrod

Explorer
I think if you re-did Al Qadim you'd want to make it clearly it's own thing, rather than an adjunct setting of the FR, which is a slightly insulting position to be in for any setting! Make Zakhara an optional thing you could use the AQ rules for (which it kinda was but also kinda wasn't), rather than the default assumption, which should be a whole world a la Theros.

Al-Qadim could definitely stand alone. Zakhara is not really that remote from FR though; the Corsairs primarily raid on Faerunian vessels (and there is a greater ajami presence up there which requires for something to be north of it). And even back in AD&D Zakhara stood alone as a setting; there was not that much interaction (and really, the same is true for Kara Tur). Saying it is on Abeir-Toril does not really force any interaction with the rest of FR; heck historically other than the planar migration of the Midani there is little interaction between the settings (and Zakhara's timeline is purposefully left fairly vague).

If we are however thinking WotC would struggle with socially contentious issues, tasked genie slavery as shown in Al-Qadim is one of the most disturbing in D&D, easily as bad if not worse than that of the illithid. They are not just mind broken, their very bodies are altered, their lifespans are often cut tremendously and if they ever are taken away from their "task" they go insane.
 
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see

Explorer
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.
Yes, massively different, mostly because of availability and cargo capacity.

On cargo capacity, using the 2e "tactical movement" rules, a spelljammer helmed by a first-level spellcaster (the only "specialized talent" involved) moves at 17 MPH. Using the 5e Dungeon of the Mad Mage, a spelljammer helmed by someone with one unexpended first-level spell slot moves at 10 MPH. If you use the 2e rules, the mass of the cargo doesn't matter, but a maximum-sized ship for a minor helm can carry 2,500 cubic yards of cargo; using the 5e Dungeon of the Mad Mage helm, you can move a ship up to 100 tons mass with a helm, which means at least 50 tons of cargo.

When you run the numbers against even passingly realistic numbers for overland caravans, the result is that one spelljammer can ship quantities of cargo in a year that would take tens of thousands of horses to move, all while not eating anything. They're incredibly valuable.

And, well, Spelljammer assumes that helms are common enough for, say, a group of fifth-level PCs to own one without having to be paranoid about every powerful wizard, kingdom, and church that hears about trying to seize it. If they're that common, then they're common enough to completely warp Oerth, Krynn, or Toril. If you make helms rare enough that 5th-level PCs can't reasonably let anyone know they have one, you've made something that isn't Spelljammer. (The helm in Dungeon of the Mad Mage being a legendary item implies rarity enough to not warp the FR setting, but also rarity enough that you can't do Spelljammer.)

As far as a "specialized talent", it requires somebody with a caster level (2e) or a spell slot (5e writeup). That isn't everyone, but it's a lot more common than people able to cast teleportation circle. (And if you use a caster able to cast fifth-level spells like teleportation circle as a helmsman, your speed increases to 50 mph [5e] or 51 mph [2e minor helm].)
 

I don't disagree with the rest of your point, that the novels eclipsed the D&D setting, but I do think you're splitting straws here about "Who made Dragonlance." Yes it is true that Weiss wasn't involved in the initial concept, and I think uninformed people confuse Weis with Tracy's wife Laura in the famous "We came up with the idea on the drive to TSR."

But the Hickman's have always been at the center of Dragonlance, just like Ravenloft (though WotC does not need them to publish in 5e). And when Curse of Strahd was being made, the Hickman's were brought on to advise, so it's not impossible that this could happen.

That said, I definitely don't think it's a lock for one of these 3. Makes more sense as an adventure compilation a-la Ghosts of Saltmarsh IMO.

With all due respect, the Hickmans are not at the centre of Ravenloft. They wrote the original novels, but once it became a setting in 2nd edition and outgrew its Dracula pastiche beginnings they had nothing more to do with it. Ravenloft the setting was driven by Bruce Nesmith, Andria Hayday, William W Conners, Steve Miller and the rest of the Kargat. Hickman created a lich named "Azalin" in Ravenloft II: House of Gryphon Hill, but the Kargat gave him his history, personality and character. Powers checks, the concept of domains and darklords, Rudolph van Richten - all of this was post Hickman. I know Wizards of the Coast seems to have decided from 3rd edition onwards that Ravenloft was Strahd and Barovia and not much more, but there really was a very rich and detailed setting there and giving Hickman sole credit for it is a very strange thing to do.
 

Al-Qadim could definitely stand alone. Zakhara is not really that remote from FR though; the Corsairs primarily raid on Faerunian vessels (and there is a greater ajami presence up there which requires for something to be north of it). And even back in AD&D Zakhara stood alone as a setting; there was not that much interaction (and really, the same is true for Kara Tur). Saying it is on Abeir-Toril does not really force any interaction with the rest of FR; heck historically other than the planar migration of the Midani there is little interaction between the settings (and Zakhara's timeline is purposefully left fairly vague).

If we are however thinking WotC would struggle with socially contentious issues, tasked genie slavery as shown in Al-Qadim is one of the most disturbing in D&D, easily as bad if not worse than that of the illithid. They are not just mind broken, their very bodies are altered, their lifespans are often cut tremendously and if they ever are taken away from their "task" they go insane.

Yeah but that's another one of my pet peeves about a lot of D&D settings. Cultures that somehow exist in complete isolation of the world around them. 9th century Islamic Arabia (which is the ultimate origin of the cultural pastiche Al-Qadim draws from) had a history, culture and existence closely tied in with Europe, North Africa and Central Asia. It didn't just come into existence on its own. Zakhara seems a completely bizarre hermetically sealed bubble that has no reason for existing where it is. But I could say the same for half of the realms in Faerun proper...
 

I think I saw earlier someone wondering where in Krynn you get a spelljammer. Isn't it fairly well known that the Tinkers of Mount Nevermind are some of the biggest factions in space? (They're the ones with the giant space hamsters, yes?)
 

Aldarc

Legend
I know Wizards of the Coast seems to have decided from 3rd edition onwards that Ravenloft was Strahd and Barovia and not much more, but there really was a very rich and detailed setting there and giving Hickman sole credit for it is a very strange thing to do.
There were a lot of licensed sourcebooks during the 3e era from Sword & Sorcery Studios about domains other than Barovia. So I'm not sure if it's a 3e onward thing, but, rather, a 5e onward thing. But I'm also not sure if it's really WotC deciding Ravenloft is just Barovia either. WotC in the 5e era seems to be more about "return to the basics" and nostalgia, so I don't think that they are actively trying to tune everything else out.
 

There were a lot of licensed sourcebooks during the 3e era from Sword & Sorcery Studios about domains other than Barovia. So I'm not sure if it's a 3e onward thing, but, rather, a 5e onward thing. But I'm also not sure if it's really WotC deciding Ravenloft is just Barovia either. WotC in the 5e era seems to be more about "return to the basics" and nostalgia, so I don't think that they are actively trying to tune everything else out.

The Kargatane diligently carried on the work of 2nd edition TSR in crafting a cohesive, vibrant setting. WotC on the other hand, cancelled their license only to release "Expedition to Castle Ravenloft" - yet another retread of I6.
 

M.L. Martin

Adventurer
With all due respect, the Hickmans are not at the centre of Ravenloft. They wrote the original novels, but once it became a setting in 2nd edition and outgrew its Dracula pastiche beginnings they had nothing more to do with it.

Indeed, Hickman is on record as actively disliking the Ravenloft setting, and not just because they borrowed Lord Soth from Dragonlance. Part of it was that it was 'too depressing and hopeless,' which makes it ironic that CoS is in some ways the darkest iteration of Barovia yet with all the monstrosities and the generally soulless population. But I expect that dislike is part of the reason CoS also thoroughly shreds the 2E/3E setting's canon in numerous ways.
 

There are different themes at play, but 'Asian mythology' is a massive thing that encompasses a lot. A lot of stuff you had in the west just wouldn't exist in the east simply due to how they are and how they've developed

Disney found this one out the hard way with how bad Mulan is being torn apart in cinema, and folks pointing out how that seems like a western fantasy, not a Chinese one, are right on the ball

Yet a lot of other stuff, including some Disney output, straddles the divide of Western and Asian fantasy. Avatar (the cartoon) is a good example - it was intentionally "Asian" in style, yet very little of what goes on in it is anything that wouldn't be in D&D. (For a Disney example see the upcoming Raya - The Last Dragon, which honestly looks straight-up like a high-budget Avatar rip-off).

Mulan is getting ripped up for a thousand reasons, but in terms of fantasy, the issue is that it's an arguably even more Westernized take than the previous one (but ironically also more acceptable to the current Chinese government). That's a problem because it's a specifically Chinese story/myth. If we're talking about fantasy that isn't about a specific story/myth though, that's going to be a lot harder to pin down.

It's not a unidirectional flow, either, of the West adopting stuff previously more popular in Asian fantasy - the flow is bidirectional, with fantasy stuff from Asia often adopting very Western aesthetics and ideas mixed in with Asian ones.
 

Remathilis

Legend
It seems to me that Dark Sun is pretty much a given at this point.

Considering Mordenkain's, Tasha's, and Ghosts of Saltmarsh, Greyhawk seems likely, too.

Now, here's the thing. In the current AL guide, SCAG is not allowed as a source for races, subclasses, or spells and is not even mentioned as far as I could see. This is particularly odd. Perhaps this means that a full Forgotten Realms setting may be in the works.
Slight correction: SCAG is still allowed for characters designed for prior seasons (1-9, or ToD to BGDiA) and at this point the list of things that haven't seen reprint is vanishingly small (ghostwise halflings, a few subclasses and the backgrounds). Most of it has or will show up in Xanathar, Tome of Foes, and Tasha. What I guess it does do is stop you from playing a duergar swashbuckler, as those are now in separate books.
 

Nymrod

Explorer
Mulan is getting ripped up for a thousand reasons, but in terms of fantasy, the issue is that it's an arguably even more Westernized take than the previous one (but ironically also more acceptable to the current Chinese government). That's a problem because it's a specifically Chinese story/myth. If we're talking about fantasy that isn't about a specific story/myth though, that's going to be a lot harder to pin down.

Heck as a Greek I take offense at Disney's Hercules over . . . everything? But at the same time, Theros is a solid interpretation of Greek myth. Which is why I am hoping for a new Kara Tur, the world (and D&D) has changed enough for them to do it right.
 

Reynard

Legend
I think that since D&D is a fantasy game maybe designers and DMs could come up with some cultures and ideas that, you know, are fantastical and not based on some crappy pastiche or caricature of a historical Earth culture.
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
I think that since D&D is a fantasy game maybe designers and DMs could come up with some cultures and ideas that, you know, are fantastical and not based on some crappy pastiche or caricature of a historical Earth culture.
The likely result will fail as badly as the random syllable name game used for fantasy place naming typical of settings. Caricatures of real settings allow us to fill in the blanks.

The amount work needed to come up with convincing morays, folkways, traditions, holidays, languages that feel lived... is beyond the skill of someone designing ttrpgs. Wait until they try and see if that doesn’t feel like a worse outcome.

Making it relatable makes it approachable.
 

Reynard

Legend
The likely result will fail as badly as the random syllable name game used for fantasy place naming typical of settings. Caricatures of real settings allow us to fill in the blanks.

The amount work needed to come up with convincing morays, folkways, traditions, holidays, languages that feel lived... is beyond the skill of someone designing ttrpgs. Wait until they try and see if that doesn’t feel like a worse outcome.

Making it relatable makes it approachable.
You don't seem to think much of RPG authors.
 

The likely result will fail as badly as the random syllable name game used for fantasy place naming typical of settings. Caricatures of real settings allow us to fill in the blanks.

The amount work needed to come up with convincing morays, folkways, traditions, holidays, languages that feel lived... is beyond the skill of someone designing ttrpgs. Wait until they try and see if that doesn’t feel like a worse outcome.

Making it relatable makes it approachable.

Yep. Most writers struggle to even come up with vaguely convincing system of names for an "invented" culture, let alone the rest of it. There's more than just chuckin' a few apostrophes in it and calling it a day.
 


Coroc

Hero
Let us complicate the discussion a bit more and check what "loaded" topics or cliches are within the original darksun:

Slavery
Arena fights
Very stereotyped races, like halfgiants are all dimwits, elves are all thieves, halflings are all cannibals and mul are all slaves.
Racism : Elves vs halelves e.g.
Everything and it's mother is evile or has to act evil to survive

So, if you are of the opinion that a 5e DS would be mainly targeting new players, which one of the points above would they accept?

If you also want to reach the old school fans of the setting, how much alteration will they tolerate?
 

Reynard

Legend
Let us complicate the discussion a bit more and check what "loaded" topics or cliches are within the original darksun:

Slavery
Arena fights
Very stereotyped races, like halfgiants are all dimwits, elves are all thieves, halflings are all cannibals and mul are all slaves.
Racism : Elves vs halelves e.g.
Everything and it's mother is evile or has to act evil to survive

So, if you are of the opinion that a 5e DS would be mainly targeting new players, which one of the points above would they accept?

If you also want to reach the old school fans of the setting, how much alteration will they tolerate?
There's obviously a place for grimdark fantasy -- Abercrombie is still popular, among other authors -- and I think that's the place Dark Sun could sit in the D&D canon. Now, I don't know if WotC would do a grimdark setting. And I also don't think WotC should worry to much about "older fans" -- they likely omprise a pretty small slice of the purchasing customers these days just by way of demographics.
 

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