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D&D 5E 5E Books Through 2021 and the Road Ahead (2022 and Beyond)

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Acquisition Incorporated is an odd duck of a book, I'd almost call it more of a Setting book, just a quirky and bizarre Setting (Office Comedy Realm Management).

I will add, the Wildemount book falls into a similar category as the Acq Inc book; both are almost entirely made by non-WotC staff, with WotC stepping in at the end to apply their rules for layout and other 5E book mainstays. Neither in my view really count as products that consumed the same level of resources on the WotC staff side, compared to any of the book releases in 2021.

Which kind of means that 2020 was a really slow release year (only 3 core releases by the core WotC staff) but we already know the pandemic delayed a development (Theros even had its print release delayed) so I suspect they may have pushed a product release to 2021.
 

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Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Approaching 2024: Completing a Cycle?
Much has been spoken about 2024 as the 50th anniversary of D&D and, to a lesser extent, the 10th anniversary of 5E. While nothing is guaranteed, most seem to agree that we'll see at least revised core rulebooks, if not a new edition. Only time will tell. But ten years is a long time without some degree of revamping, especially if we consider history. From the completion of the 1E core line in 1979, we have seen new editions or revisions like so (new editions in bold, revisions in plain):

OD&D 1974 | B/X/BECMI 1977, 1981, 1983, 1991 | AD&D 1979, 1989, 1995 | D&D 2000, 2003, 2008, 2014

Meaning, the previous longest gap was ten years between 1E and 2E, which is the same length of time between the publication of 5E and 2024.

So while WotC has sometimes spoken of 5E maintaining some degree of "evergreen" status, it does seem highly likely that we will--at the least--see some kind of revamping of the core rules; whether mostly cosmetic and minor tweaks ("5.2"), a significant revision ("5.5") or a new ruleset ("6E") remains to be seen (my guess would be somewhere in the 5.2 to 5.5 range).

Regardless, we could look at the next two years--2022-23--as the "completion" of 5E or, at least, Phase One of 5E. If we entertain this view, we can also look at what is missing in the first eight years, both in terms of popular classic themes and rules (e.g. planes, a full treatment of psionics, epic play, etc) and settings (most notably Planescape and Dark Sun, but also Dragonlance, Greyhawk, a full treatment of the Forgotten Realms, etc).

What do we know? Not much, except that at least two more classic settings and three new settings are in the works, although WotC has been clear to say that not all of these may come to publication.

I've said this a few times now, but I don't believe past edition releases should be a great bellweather for the future of 5E. D&D development in its early days, and in periods later, had a turbulent history of booms of popularity versus hard financial troubles. New editions at times felt like great ways to re-ignite sales of D&D, with varying levels of success.

5E by contrast is extra-ordinarily successful. It has grown consistently year-over-year, and in most recent years is having incredible growth in both book and digital sales. If the last (poorly hidden) survey leak is serious, D&D is exploring pushing D&D further into the D&D space with a product I find similar to Talespire (look it up it's quite good).

There is the expression "If it 'aint broke don't fix it." I think the financial/accounting/marketing heads at WotC probably have significant doubts about releasing an entirely new edition, possibly jeopardizing 5E's success. I see almost no chance that 6E is coming in 2024, or that there has even been much more than preliminary talks of what a 6E would look like.

I think it's possible that a small anniversary edition is possibly released in 2024, but I can't see it having much more than a few cosmetic changes and just adding material (like the Tasha's racial mechanics, or Volo's goblins) to the core books. I'm not sure if this is would even count as a revision at all, but just a fancy-smanshy reprint with new stuff, much like Strahd Revamped or the Tyranny of Dragons book.
 


Correction, only the core is canonto their media partners. So the film crew or Larian is being held to the lore in the PHB, MM and DMG, but not the lkrefrom Mordenkainen's.

Video games are their own seperate canon according to the blog. They've already changed certain things in BG3 from how they work in the core books.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I've said this a few times now, but I don't believe past edition releases should be a great bellweather for the future of 5E. D&D development in its early days, and in periods later, had a turbulent history of booms of popularity versus hard financial troubles. New editions at times felt like great ways to re-ignite sales of D&D, with varying levels of success.

5E by contrast is extra-ordinarily successful. It has grown consistently year-over-year, and in most recent years is having incredible growth in both book and digital sales. If the last (poorly hidden) survey leak is serious, D&D is exploring pushing D&D further into the D&D space with a product I find similar to Talespire (look it up it's quite good).

There is the expression "If it 'aint broke don't fix it." I think the financial/accounting/marketing heads at WotC probably have significant doubts about releasing an entirely new edition, possibly jeopardizing 5E's success. I see almost no chance that 6E is coming in 2024, or that there has even been much more than preliminary talks of what a 6E would look like.

I think it's possible that a small anniversary edition is possibly released in 2024, but I can't see it having much more than a few cosmetic changes and just adding material (like the Tasha's racial mechanics, or Volo's goblins) to the core books. I'm not sure if this is would even count as a revision at all, but just a fancy-smanshy reprint with new stuff, much like Strahd Revamped or the Tyranny of Dragons book.
Such a light revision of the core rule books would count as a new "Edition" in most of the publishing world.
 





Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Such a light revision of the core rule books would count as a new "Edition" in most of the publishing world.

Eh, does it? When you're keeping 5E mainstays like advantage/disadvantage, the spell slot system, the level structure, all of the released classes, their abilities and races... it feels more like "Dark Souls Remastered" rather than "Dark Souls 2."
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Eh, does it? When you're keeping 5E mainstays like advantage/disadvantage, the spell slot system, the level structure, all of the released classes, their abilities and races... it feels more like "Dark Souls Remastered" rather than "Dark Souls 2."
Call of Cthulu has had 7 Editions. But the rules have hardly changed in 40 years. That's actually more normal than the "everything has changed!" approach of WotC D&D. It wold be pretty standard to call a book with all new art and minor adjustments a "Sixth Edition," even if it is broadly compatible.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Call of Cthulu has had 7 Editions. But the rules have hardly changed in 40 years. That's actually more normal than the "everything has changed!" approach of WotC D&D. It wold be pretty standard to call a book with all new art and minor adjustments a "Sixth Edition," even if it is broadly compatible.

I don't think they'll replace all the art though. Maybe a couple pieces (that bone devil is yuck) but I don't really see the appeal.

I can see new covers and minor rule adjustments, and additional art (like the concept art additions) but not much more than that.
 

Dragonlance and Dark Sun, but I don't know when, maybe in 2022 or 2023. The first would be the updated version of the modules. This could allow the option of retcons if players accept. The "canon" could be more flexible.

Maybe something like a planar handbook.

Something linked with a future videogame.

A sourcebook about Innistrad, something like a Ravenloft II.
 

Mercurius

Legend
None of the mentioned setting books they are working on are MtG books. I could see them taking a break on MtG setting books next year to get caught up on other setting books that they want to do.

And yes I'm certain at minimum the classic settings will be next year.

A 1 year break is what I meant, I don't think they are doing an MtG setting for 2022 when they have so many buns already in the oven. Late 2023 is a different story, we will see what they do by then.
Well that's pretty much what I said - that we'll see one Magic book in the next two years (the thread being about 2022-23, not just 2022). But I agree, '23 seems more likely than '22.

As for the bolded part, sounds like you have insider info, or are simply more confident than you should be ;). I'm not saying you're wrong, but I'm not sure where your certainty comes from.

I've said this a few times now, but I don't believe past edition releases should be a great bellweather for the future of 5E. D&D development in its early days, and in periods later, had a turbulent history of booms of popularity versus hard financial troubles. New editions at times felt like great ways to re-ignite sales of D&D, with varying levels of success.

5E by contrast is extra-ordinarily successful. It has grown consistently year-over-year, and in most recent years is having incredible growth in both book and digital sales. If the last (poorly hidden) survey leak is serious, D&D is exploring pushing D&D further into the D&D space with a product I find similar to Talespire (look it up it's quite good).

There is the expression "If it 'aint broke don't fix it." I think the financial/accounting/marketing heads at WotC probably have significant doubts about releasing an entirely new edition, possibly jeopardizing 5E's success. I see almost no chance that 6E is coming in 2024, or that there has even been much more than preliminary talks of what a 6E would look like.

I think it's possible that a small anniversary edition is possibly released in 2024, but I can't see it having much more than a few cosmetic changes and just adding material (like the Tasha's racial mechanics, or Volo's goblins) to the core books. I'm not sure if this is would even count as a revision at all, but just a fancy-smanshy reprint with new stuff, much like Strahd Revamped or the Tyranny of Dragons book.
Yes, but I'm not talking about 6E, or 6E only. As I said, I think that is less likely than something between 5.2 and 5.5. What you describe sounds like 5.2, which is just the natural expansion of an edition over the years. Or to put it another way, what I mean by the varying degrees of edition change are:

5.1 Cosmetic (new art and/or layout), errata - same text, except for the occasional possible rules clarification, but no rules alterations.
5.2 - 5.4 Varying degrees of additions and revisions, some new bells and whistles (e.g. new ranger), but fully backwards compatible.
5.5 Significant revision. Previous books require either a "conversion primer" or a revision.
6E Significantly different to justify a "new edition."

In that regard, it could be said that 2E was actually closer to a "1.5" in that it was basically the same game, just with a few additions and a lot of re-organization and consolidation. But it was fundamentally the same game: AD&D. 3E, 4E, and 5E were all "true" new editions, and I would be very, very surprised if WotC came out with a true 6E on that level in 2024. But I also think it likely that we see something more than simply 5.1, if only because of Tasha's and the need for revisions of a few classes. I think somewhere in the 5.2 to 5.4 is most likely, but wouldn't be surprised if we see a 5.5.

Or, in order of likelihood (imo):

Most likely: 5.2 to 5.4
Possible: 5.5
Less likely: 5.1 or nothing
Very unlikely: 6E
 


Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Yes, but I'm not talking about 6E, or 6E only. As I said, I think that is less likely than something between 5.2 and 5.5. What you describe sounds like 5.2, which is just the natural expansion of an edition over the years. Or to put it another way, what I mean by the varying degrees of edition change are:

5.1 Cosmetic (new art and/or layout), errata - same text, except for the occasional possible rules clarification, but no rules alterations.
5.2 - 5.4 Varying degrees of additions and revisions, some new bells and whistles (e.g. new ranger), but fully backwards compatible.
5.5 Significant revision. Previous books require either a "conversion primer" or a revision.
6E Significantly different to justify a "new edition."

In that regard, it could be said that 2E was actually closer to a "1.5" in that it was basically the same game, just with a few additions and a lot of re-organization and consolidation. But it was fundamentally the same game: AD&D. 3E, 4E, and 5E were all "true" new editions, and I would be very, very surprised if WotC came out with a true 6E on that level in 2024. But I also think it likely that we see something more than simply 5.1, if only because of Tasha's and the need for revisions of a few classes. I think somewhere in the 5.2 to 5.4 is most likely, but wouldn't be surprised if we see a 5.5.

Or, in order of likelihood (imo):

Most likely: 5.2 to 5.4
Possible: 5.5
Less likely: 5.1 or nothing
Very unlikely: 6E

Ok, I just don't really see how this is "5.2 E" when this is just taking rules that already exist in non-core books and putting them in the core books. I don't see why moving rules from one already-released book into the core books counts as "revising the edition."

They're certainly not going to call it "5.2 E" (way too clunky) so I don't see why I should either. This is just moving rules that already exist, not a revision in my mind.
 

Well that's pretty much what I said - that we'll see one Magic book in the next two years (the thread being about 2022-23, not just 2022). But I agree, '23 seems more likely than '22.

As for the bolded part, sounds like you have insider info, or are simply more confident than you should be ;). I'm not saying you're wrong, but I'm not sure where your certainty comes from.


Yes, but I'm not talking about 6E, or 6E only. As I said, I think that is less likely than something between 5.2 and 5.5. What you describe sounds like 5.2, which is just the natural expansion of an edition over the years. Or to put it another way, what I mean by the varying degrees of edition change are:

5.1 Cosmetic (new art and/or layout), errata - same text, except for the occasional possible rules clarification, but no rules alterations.
5.2 - 5.4 Varying degrees of additions and revisions, some new bells and whistles (e.g. new ranger), but fully backwards compatible.
5.5 Significant revision. Previous books require either a "conversion primer" or a revision.
6E Significantly different to justify a "new edition."

In that regard, it could be said that 2E was actually closer to a "1.5" in that it was basically the same game, just with a few additions and a lot of re-organization and consolidation. But it was fundamentally the same game: AD&D. 3E, 4E, and 5E were all "true" new editions, and I would be very, very surprised if WotC came out with a true 6E on that level in 2024. But I also think it likely that we see something more than simply 5.1, if only because of Tasha's and the need for revisions of a few classes. I think somewhere in the 5.2 to 5.4 is most likely, but wouldn't be surprised if we see a 5.5.

Or, in order of likelihood (imo):

Most likely: 5.2 to 5.4
Possible: 5.5
Less likely: 5.1 or nothing
Very unlikely: 6E

I'm confident because of timing. They've been working on these 2 classic settings since some point in 2020 or earlier, and they are confirmed to be past the possible cancelation stage. That means they will be done sometime in 2022 at the latest timeline wise.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Ok, I just don't really see how this is "5.2 E" when this is just taking rules that already exist in non-core books and putting them in the core books. I don't see why moving rules from one already-released book into the core books counts as "revising the edition."

They're certainly not going to call it "5.2 E" (way too clunky) so I don't see why I should either. This is just moving rules that already exist, not a revision in my mind.
I'm not suggesting that you should call it 5.2, or that WotC will call it 5.2 - that is clearly absurd. And a lot of this is semantics; I see "revision" as a matter of degree, but you can use the word "updated" for 5.2, as that is what you are suggesting they'll do.

So I'm envisioning the 5.x scale as being the degree to which the hypothetical new core rulebooks differ from the 2014 versions. 5.1 is mostly cosmetic, with errata and possible format changes and rules clarifications. 5.2 is updating to reflect any rule changes or adjustments in 10 years of 5E. 5.3 and 5.4 include actual more significant changes to the rules, be they revised classes, chances to sub-classes, removal or addition of rules, etc. 5.5 involves actual system revision, ala 3.5 relative to 3E.

The point being, don't get caught on the "5.2." It is just a short-hand that represents a degree of divergence from the 2014 rulebooks. The question is, how much they will diverge. You think 5.2 (in my system), I think 5.3 or 5.4. Only time will tell.
 

JEB

Hero
It absolutely was contradictory, it said of 5e books only the core was canon (to 5e), then he starts listing stuff from other 5e books as canon
Correction, only the core is canonto their media partners.
1) There is canon beyond the 5E core rules, but it's not "public-facing". However, they don't tell us what material in current 5E products is part of the non-public canon, beyond a few scraps for the Realms, Eberron, and Ravenloft.
2) 5E's canon is not limited to being a baseline for their media partners, it's for everything in 5E as a whole, to include (and especially) the RPG.

The current edition of the D&D roleplaying game has its own canon, as does every other expression of D&D.
Fifth edition’s canon includes every bit of lore that appears in the most up-to-date printings of the fifth edition Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide. Beyond these core rulebooks, we don’t have a public-facing account of what is canonical in fifth edition because we don’t want to overload our fellow creators and business partners.
 

JEB

Hero
The problem with keeping the core rulebooks unchanged is that they no longer accurately reflect Wizards' approach to designing the D&D game, in ways ranging from the minor (how to handle abilities that recharge on a long rest) to pretty major stuff (how to portray character races). And that's just the way it looks in 2021; they almost certainly won't be a good flagship product by the time 2024 rolls around.

Let's also be honest, revised core books for the anniversary year with substantive updates and changes will sell, no matter how much folks complain about it. So besides aesthetics, there's also profit margins to consider.

As such, I would expect at least a few of the products in 2022-2023 to include possible experiments for a revised core, much like Tasha's did (and to a lesser extent Candlekeep and Van Richten's). Strixhaven might be an example of what we'll see, since it was at one point going to have a new approach to subclasses (until UA feedback changed their minds).
 

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