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D&D 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.
 

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Also, Van Richten was alive when he shouldn't be. (Curse of Strahd is either set way before his birth (see Ireena Kolyana being there rather than Tara Kolyana, Barovia being the smaller version, pre annexation of Gundarak) or after his death, with no explanation of how he came back to life.

Also no Thaani or Forfarian inhabitants.
The explanation is the same than for how Joker is alive in the the Dark Knight (2008) even though he died in Batman (1989).
 

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M.L. Martin

Adventurer
The explanation is the same than for how Joker is alive in the the Dark Knight (2008) even though he died in Batman (1989).

Which is the very point of the argument--Curse of Strahd, whatever its merits (I found it unimpressive on a readthrough), is not in 'continuity' with the 2E or 3E incarnations of the setting. For most people, that doesn't matter, but there are a few of us who prefer the earlier to the latter, and it shouldn't be considered 'the same' when it isn't. :)
 


Hatmatter

Adventurer
Curse of Strahd let the PCs, literally,
discover the Dark Powers sealed in little coffins in a lost temple in Barovia

Fair to say it makes no attempt to adhere to Ravenloft Canon at all. I suspect it'd be an excellent adventure to play with a good DM, but when it comes to canonicity it's rhyming slang of the 2e/3e Ravenloft setting, at best.

Wow! Really? Well, to be fair, that sounds more like a development of canon rather than actually contradicting canon. Contradicting canon would be pretending that Dark Powers never existed or something like that. But, just to be clear here, I not only haven't read Curse of Strahd, but it has been a while since I read through my old Ravenloft books.
 

M.L. Martin

Adventurer
Wow! Really? Well, to be fair, that sounds more like a development of canon rather than actually contradicting canon. Contradicting canon would be pretending that Dark Powers never existed or something like that. But, just to be clear here, I not only haven't read Curse of Strahd, but it has been a while since I read through my old Ravenloft books.

It goes against the spirit of the 2E/3E setting, at least, where the Dark Powers were supposed to forever remain undefined. The one product that tried to define them is one of the only Ravenloft products ever declared 'non-canonical' (the novel Lord of the Necropolis, written in an era when TSR had erected overly strong firewalls between Games and Novels, as I understand it).

If you like the 5E version, fine. If not, you can join the rest of us retrogrades to be banished from the hobby when 6E comes out and requires oaths of fealty and apostasy from all previous loyalties to game, God, or country. ;)
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
I don't know that that's ever happened. The 1E/2E changeover was accomplished with no events, not even on the level of Greyhawk's Fate of Istus module. The Fifth Age and the changeover to the SAGA System came after Dragons of Summer Flame was written and turned in with no input from anyone on the game side, and the first design was actually a standalone AD&D 2E variant until management said 'no AD&D, and card-based.' The one thing that might fit this criteria was the War of Souls, which was more about letting Weis & Hickman take control of the setting back.
It's possible you know more about all this than I do; my statements are based on observation rather than data.

It's true that the 1e-2e change had no novelization, but then the official 2e DL setting was the new Taladas.

I find it challenging to believe that Weis & Hickman proposed a new trilogy that ended with the Chaos War and TSR brass took that as inspiration to plan the whole SAGA system, but I suppose it's possible.

War Of Souls was clearly a means of "fixing" the SAGA misstep and returning Dragonlance to the D&D fold. Again, it's possible that the story idea came from Weis & Hickman and WotC brass fell in step, but I find that challenging to believe. Especially since Weis & Hickman were only ever "in control" of the stories during the DL Legends series AFAIK, which had no in-game tie in.

Again, I haven't even asked Margaret Weis about all this (which would be easy enough to do, honestly), but it's a remarkably consistent pattern that fits the data at least from a longtime customer's viewpoint.
 
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Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
I would love to hear some of the insights that you gathered from your advisor regarding the insensitivity of Al-Qadim.
Even aside from mishmashing multiple Middle Eastern cultures into a single religiously fanatical whole, the original setting is rife with stereotypes. Much weight/press given to multitudes of wives, extremism, and gross intolerance even under the guise of being welcoming to all.

It makes sense - the setting is based on the Arabian Nights, which is a French author's take on various folk tales from across East Asia and India, coupled with various American movies from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Written by more white guys with token assistance from an American professor of Middle Eastern studies.

We even reached out to Jeff Grubb himself for clarification on a number points and inspirations.

It's been an interesting minefield to navigate.
 

Hatmatter

Adventurer
Depends. If they retcon the 2e retcons back out of the setting (like where they changed King Kol to be an elf since in 2e there was no RAW way for a kobold to cast wizard spells), I'd consider it. Especially if they used Mystara as a means of introducing epic levels and paths to Immortality/godhood.

If they leave the 2e goofiness on there, they can keep it.

That's a great idea, Ath-kethin. If they ever wanted to do a higher-than 20th level book, to present it through Mystara (or Dark Sun, for that matter), it would be terrific!
 

M.L. Martin

Adventurer
I find it challenging to believe that Weis & Hickman proposed a new trilogy that ended with the Chaos War and TSR brass took that as inspiration to plan the whole SAGA system, but I suppose it's possible.

It was. I followed the Fifth Age line from beginning to end and had contact with several designers, and they've all said the same thing. The bit about W&H proposing a trilogy with game tie-ins is true, but TSR had contracted them for one final Chronicles novel and held to that plan. The presales on DoSF gave the DL fans on the game side the impetus to revive DL (which had been cancelled as a game line in 1994), but TSR mandated 'not AD&D, card-based, set after DoSF.' This may have been an effort to help get the DL movie rights out from under the really bad Courtney Solomon deal, but that's speculation.

War Of Souls was clearly a means of "fixing" the SAGA misstep and returning Dragonlance to the D&D fold. Again, it's possible that the story idea came from Weis & Hickman and WotC brass fell in step, but I find that challenging to believe. Especially since Weis & Hickman were only ever "in control" of the stories during the DL Legends series AFAIK, which had no in-game tie in.

Something called the 'War of Souls' was planned by the Fifth Age team, but it changed radically after the buyout. Peter Adkison and Ryan Dancey have both said that getting W&H back on board DL was a priority, and while W&H worked with the 5A team on the initial outlines, the planned game support fell through and the novels, by all reports, went in a very different direction from the plan in some places.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
It was. I followed the Fifth Age line from beginning to end and had contact with several designers, and they've all said the same thing. The bit about W&H proposing a trilogy with game tie-ins is true, but TSR had contracted them for one final Chronicles novel and held to that plan. The presales on DoSF gave the DL fans on the game side the impetus to revive DL (which had been cancelled as a game line in 1994), but TSR mandated 'not AD&D, card-based, set after DoSF.' This may have been an effort to help get the DL movie rights out from under the really bad Courtney Solomon deal, but that's speculation.

Huh. My understanding was that DoSF was originally planned as a trilogy and was scaled back to a single book for unknown reasons. The information here sheds some light on that situation.

Something called the 'War of Souls' was planned by the Fifth Age team, but it changed radically after the buyout. Peter Adkison and Ryan Dancey have both said that getting W&H back on board DL was a priority, and while W&H worked with the 5A team on the initial outlines, the planned game support fell through and the novels, by all reports, went in a very different direction from the plan in some places.
I found War of Souls to be a curious series; easily Weis & Hickman's best writing but such a weird and contrived plot.

Though it did follow exactly the same template that all W&H books/stories since the mid 80s have, which speaks to its genesis being their doing.

Again, it's a very clear pattern to just be coincidence, but I suppose sometimes that just happens.
 

M.L. Martin

Adventurer
Again, it's a very clear pattern to just be coincidence, but I suppose sometimes that just happens.

The pattern becomes clearer when you reverse the lenses--it's not that the games drive the novels, it's that the novels drive the games for DL, and for various reasons (timing, past failures), the games have tended to go with what's currently 'hot.'
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
The pattern becomes clearer when you reverse the lenses--it's not that the games drive the novels, it's that the novels drive the games for DL, and for various reasons (timing, past failures), the games have tended to go with what's currently 'hot.'
I know that the games absolutely drove the Chronicles until about midway through; it seems reasonable to assume they did afterwards as well.

Most companies don't like having the futures of their bestselling IPs dictated to them by outsiders, after all. But hey, the more you know, right?
 

M.L. Martin

Adventurer
'Driven by the novels' in the sense that 'best-selling novels get TSR/WotC to try to kick the gaming football again.' (Yes, 3E DL was successful … for Sovereign Press. But success for a small game company that doesn't have major competition for resources is different than success for a company where even Star Wars can be an also-ran that can't justify costs or taking resources away from Core D&D.)

Most companies don't like having the futures of their bestselling IPs dictated to them by outsiders, after all. But hey, the more you know, right?

This is the reason DL stalled in terms of timeline progression after W&H left TSR--they were leaving the future open for them if they ever came back. It's also why I don't think DL is as likely a revival as other people think, since you can't do the setting and have it be viewed as 'legitimate' without Weis & Hickman, and it's an open question as to whether they and WotC can come to a meeting of the minds.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Depends. If they retcon the 2e retcons back out of the setting (like where they changed King Kol to be an elf since in 2e there was no RAW way for a kobold to cast wizard spells), I'd consider it. Especially if they used Mystara as a means of introducing epic levels and paths to Immortality/godhood.

If they leave the 2e goofiness on there, they can keep it.
Yeah, when I say "Mystara" I mean the pre-2E Mystara of the mid-1980s. The pre-Hollow World version.

I like to pretend that the even-numbered editions never happened.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
Yeah, when I say "Mystara" I mean the pre-2E Mystara of the mid-1980s. The pre-Hollow World version.

I like to pretend that the even-numbered editions never happened.
I actually like the Hollow World setting so I have no issues with that part. But trying to sledgehammer the openness and flexibility of Basic's mechanics into a 2e straitjacket just gave me a headache.

For all that, I DO really like 2e (of course, I'm biased since that's the edition with which I started playing D&D). And I really think that the loss of focus in the "break whatever you want to make the game your own" ethos is the greatest downside to D&D in the WotC era.
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Correct on both counts.
I should have written "Also the pre-Hollow world version," because I didn't care for Hollow World or 2nd Edition. I didn't mean to imply they were the same.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
'Driven by the novels' in the sense that 'best-selling novels get TSR/WotC to try to kick the gaming football again.' (Yes, 3E DL was successful … for Sovereign Press. But success for a small game company that doesn't have major competition for resources is different than success for a company where even Star Wars can be an also-ran that can't justify costs or taking resources away from Core D&D.)

. . . This is the reason DL stalled in terms of timeline progression after W&H left TSR--they were leaving the future open for them if they ever came back. It's also why I don't think DL is as likely a revival as other people think, since you can't do the setting and have it be viewed as 'legitimate' without Weis & Hickman, and it's an open question as to whether they and WotC can come to a meeting of the minds.
It's a really weird relationship there. I had always assumed (as noted above) that the novels were following the game's mechanical developments and not vice versa. Though I suppose that novels sell better than games, so it makes sense to follow the cash there.

To be honest, it's also a little disappointing, since I would much prefer to blame the weirdness/relative weakness of the more recent novels on someone other than Weis & Hickman, whom I still have no choice but to idolize.
 

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