D&D 5E Announcement Next Week--What Hints For Upcoming D&D Books?

WotC uses Unearthed Arcana to playtest D&D material which often ends up in a later hardcover book. Mages of Strixhaven was in Unearthed Arcana in June 2021, and Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos was published in December 2021. Draconic Options was in Unearthed Arcana in April 2021, and Fizban's Treasury of Dragons came out in October. The same applied to Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, and other books--the lead time appears to typically be somewhere around 6 months. So what have we had recently which might give us an insight into upcoming books?

WotC is holding a press event this coming Friday, with an embargo for March 22nd (which is Tuesday next week), meaning that an announcement is around the corner.

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Unearthed Arcana has slowed in the last year or so, but there have been two notable articles:
  • August 2021 -- Travelers of the Multiverse. 6 months after this was February, so if the 6-month lead time theory holds true, a multiverse-themed book would be imminent. The amount of speculative chatter about Spelljammer, Planescape, and 'Planejammer' is at a high.
  • March 2022 -- Heroes of Krynn. This UA was released last week; six months would put a Dragonlance hardcover roughly about September, around the same time that Weis & Hickman's new Dragonlance novel releases.
So these two appear the most likely--some kind of multiverse book, and a Dragonlance book.

We know that a new starter set--Dragons of Stormwreck Isle--is on its way this year. WotC has spoken about two brand new settings, and two classic settings in 2022 (which fits the theory!)

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They also spoke about a 'brand new format' for the 2 classic settings--WotC's Ray Winninger said in June last year that ""Each of these products is pursuing a different format you've never seen before. And neither is "digital only;" these are new print formats."


As I've mentioned on a couple of occasions, there are two more products that revive "classic" settings in production right now.

The manuscript for the first, overseen by [Chris Perkins], is nearly complete. Work on the second, led by [F. Wesley Schneider] with an assist from [Ari Levitch], is just ramping up in earnest. Both are targeting 2022 and formats you've never seen before.

In addition to these two titles, we have two brand new [D&D] settings in early development, as well as a return to a setting we've already covered. (No, these are not M:tG worlds.)

As I mentioned in the dev blog, we develop more material than we publish, so it's possible one or more of these last three won't reach production. But as of right now, they're all looking great.
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

But I think the era of pushing minis as a big thing is somewhat passed. And I'm not sure that WotC has the facilities to get minis manufactured that are sufficiently high-quality as to impress the general D&D audience enough that it would override the "Why the hell are you packaging a bunch of minis with this campaign setting and doubling the price?!?!??!" factor. Games Workshop probably could just about pull that off, because their modern plastic minis are astonishing. But they're specialists.
I dunno about that. It probably depends on manufacturing run sizes etc, but there seems to be a lot of minis about. I think for a long time the limiting factor on minis was actual game shops - minis took up a lot of space for their $ value and there was often a huge number of individual products to keep track of inventory for, etc, especially as some would inevitably be popular and sell out quickly leaving the shop oversupplied with unpopular duds that sat around gathering dust. Hence the rise of randomised boosters. But nowadays, physical game shops are a less important sales outlet, so shelf space isn't really so much of an issue any more.

I DO know that a hell of a lot of RPG kickstarters these days are including miniatures on as stretch goals or add-ons - and the ones that do tend to be very popular and make big bucks. And this is often relatively small outfits doing their first or second kickstarter. Sunken Isles has miniatures and it's only their 3rd kickstarter, Tanares had miniatures (thought they were partly boardgame and seemed a high-budget outfit with big names), hell, Fool's Gold was a spinoff from a youtube animation someone did in their spare time and they raised over a million on their first kickstarter and offered a foot-high Tarrasque mini. I think someone's doing a kickstarter now to do a mini line for Kobold Press as well, and that's not even considering all the mini-packed board games that are out there these days.

I personally don't want minis, and i find it annoying when they're included with a kickstarter. Spend your time and effort on giving me more actual rpg content, dammit! But it seems like there's plenty of people out there who disagree with me and are willing to put their money where their mouths are.
 

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ART!

Legend
I wouldn't be surprised if the new format included minis that serve as sort of a teaser or hook for expansions packs of minis. If a release has new races or subclasses, the minis could be of those.
 



Quickleaf

Legend
Spelljammer the dinner theater event? On a cross country train?
Totally. Murder on the Lightning Train.

What made me think of that approach is that I adore Deborah Woll's style as a DM, and she is way into puzzles and escape rooms. And dinner mystery theater is sort of in that same vein.
 



Parmandur

Book-Friend
OK, folks, take this comment from Reddit with a healthy grain of salt, from a user who claims to "work in the industry":

"The product being announced on 3/22 is the next adventure compilation book al a [sic] Candlekeep Mysteries. It will release in early Summer."
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
That would be anticlimactic for me.
I've been digging, this user, CriminalNegligee has been posting for a while that they work in the publishing pipeline and sees all the books early. On Thursday, February 27, they posted that:

"Next book announcement will be in March and is for the next adventure compilation (a la [sic, again] candlekeep) and will release later this year."

"Spelljammer releas is this Summer so you are right there."

"Dragonlance is EOY so you're on point again."
 






Here's my prediction for 2023:

GAMMA WORLD.

Or some other non-D&D property, such as Star Frontiers or Top Secret.

Why?

Because it's a safe place to test mechanical changes that might appear in 5.5E one year later, the same way that Star Wars Saga Edition previewed 4E D&D.

It's also a way to fill out the product schedule during a year where anything branded as "5E" will likely sell relatively poorly because consumers will have concerns about it being incompatible with 5.5E.

And it's a bone to nostalgic grognards like myself.
As much as I would love it for to be gamma world, my personal favorite, I think that star frontiers is the more likely of the two because of the additional races that appeared in publication recently. Star frontiers also is very spelljammery because of ships.

But oh, to be able to work on Gamma World...
 

Gamma World is easier to be adapted to 5th Ed because it is a setting where firearms and high-tech are hard to be found or crafted, and if it was necessary the Game-Master could choose a limit about the ammo and bullets to avoid possible abuse by munchkins.
 

Agreed. Plus, part of Spelljammer was resource management because you could easily run out of water, food, and air on your trips. Even if Wildspace remains the same and it's only the phlogiston that gets replaced by the Astral, you lose that urgency. After all, you don't need to eat, breathe, or even age in the Astral. And then--unless it's been changed this edition and I forgot--you immediately catch up in age when you re-enter reality. Which would make any sort of inter-sphere travel kind of annoying.
WotC pretty clearly does not care about that kind of resource management, so sadly that is not an argument against the spectre of Planejammer.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
Ten or fifteen years ago I'd absolutely have assumed this was what it was.

But I think the era of pushing minis as a big thing is somewhat passed. And I'm not sure that WotC has the facilities to get minis manufactured that are sufficiently high-quality as to impress the general D&D audience enough that it would override the "Why the hell are you packaging a bunch of minis with this campaign setting and doubling the price?!?!??!" factor. Games Workshop probably could just about pull that off, because their modern plastic minis are astonishing. But they're specialists.

Also it being a setting rather than an adventure makes the idea of minis kind of odd. Especially as I believe WotC themselves claimed a very large percentage of people (the majority?) play 5E Theatre-of-the-Mind.
What you say can all be true. But if, as speculated above, the new Dragonlance book features a reintroduction of mass combat, a box set that includes minis to play out those rules with makes sense.

And will also, per one of your own comments above, be very expensive. Ouch.
 

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