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D&D 5E Auroborus: A Mountain-shattering Rock-and-roll D&D World from WoW Developers

What happens when some of the developers of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch make a D&D setting? You get a 'rock-and-roll' high-powered world called Auroboros!

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Coming to Kickstarter on April 20th from Warchief Gaming, Auroborus: Coils of the Serpent is set in a land called Lawbrand. Players can wield immense power, able to shatter mountaintops. The Kickstarter is for the first 'Worldbook' which details Lawbrand.

"Ancient magic flows through the grimy streets of Lawbrand’s bustling Trade-Cities. Tensions between the ruling Sularian Church and the new generation of upstart adventurers threaten to ignite a firestorm of societal upheaval. In the wilds beyond Lawbrand’s borders, long-forgotten races and newly formed cults rise to claim their own territories – and exert their will upon civilization. And beneath it all, the ancient World-Serpent, Auroboros, awakens to devour all…"

The setting contains 5 new races (including the aquatic Atsaad), and 4 subclasses (including the fighter Wildkeeper).

As for that 'mountain-splitting" power? Here's what they say: "The ancient World-Serpent, Auroboros, coils throughout Creation; its vast power capable of birthing startling new life or annihilating all that is. By taking the dread Mark of the Serpent, players can wield the Auroboros’ awesome power directly, gaining the ability to heal the sick and shatter mountaintops alike – but at great peril to themselves."
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

While it's popular in some quarters to scoff at Blizzard's game lore, I really enjoy Azeroth's lore and Metzen's infectious enthusiasm at Blizzcons before he left the company. I'm betting this will be another big fun setting. The fact that, in the video, he describes the church as "Lawful Good gone crazy" suggests that this will end up being another setting featuring the clash of civilization versus more "wild" people.
 
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Parmandur

Legend
While it's popular in some quarters to scoff at Blizzard's game lore, I really enjoy Azeroth's lore and Metzen's infectious enthusiasm at Blizzcons before he left the company. I'm betting this will be another big fun setting. The fact that, in the video, he describes the church as "Lawful Good gone crazy" suggests that this will end up being another setting featuring the clash of civilization versus more "wild" people.

Oh,an, the time I spent poring over the lore in the Warcraft/Starcraft manuals when I was in Middle School...
 


Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
While it's popular in some quarters to scoff at Blizzard's game lore, I really enjoy Azeroth's lore and Metzen's infectious enthusiasm at Blizzcons before he left the company.

I'd say Warcraft 3 actually has some fairly good world-building, and is the origin of arguably WoW's most iconic character the Lich King. I remember the "Wrath of the Lich King" ads being plastered everywhere, and I won't deny that it is some pretty great design.
 


Dausuul

Legend
"Where regular 5th edition D&D campaigns can get bogged down in low-level fights..."

This is a... very strange problem to have. If I feel the stakes of a campaign are too low or the fights are too small, I can just advance the game to a higher level. In 33 years of playing and DMing this game, across editions from Basic to 5E, I have never once had a player object to leveling up.

If the players feel bogged down in low-level fights, well, that's something to resolve with the DM.
 

I'd say Warcraft 3 actually has some fairly good world-building, and is the origin of arguably WoW's most iconic character the Lich King. I remember the "Wrath of the Lich King" ads being plastered everywhere, and I won't deny that it is some pretty great design.
And it does a much better job than Lucas did with Anakin Skywalker, despite hitting overall similar beats. At every step of the way, Arthas' choices are reasonable (if debatable), even as he walks himself into a trap.
 

"Where regular 5th edition D&D campaigns can get bogged down in low-level fights..."

This is a... very strange problem to have. If I feel the stakes of a campaign are too low or the fights are too small, I can just advance the game to a higher level. In 33 years of playing and DMing this game, across editions from Basic to 5E, I have never once had a player object to leveling up.

If the players feel bogged down in low-level fights, well, that's something to resolve with the DM.
Metzen likes things to be EPIC with loud heavy metal booming in the background.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
And it does a much better job than Lucas did with Anakin Skywalker, despite hitting overall similar beats. At every step of the way, Arthas' choices are reasonable (if debatable), even as he walks himself into a trap.

To be fair, writing a "fall to evil" arc that is better than Anakin's isn't that difficult.

I'll add, I still find most of Warcraft's lore pretty uninteresting. It does swipe a ton of stuff not just from things like Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons, but even products like Warhammer Fantasy. And IMO is less interesting than all three.

Of Blizzard's fantasy IPs, Diablo is the most interesting IMO. Does a pretty good job of recontextualizing a lot of Angels vs. Devils stuff from the real world, into something that feels unique. I mean, the "big bad devil" being named Diablo (instead of something reused a million ways like Beelzebub, Mephistopheles, etc) is a pretty good win.
 

Huh, interesting.

I do wish someone would redo the Warcraft setting books for 5E. The old ones had a lot of lore in them that is officially non-canon and is now contradicted by what's appeared in the game.
The Chronicle books, the Eastern Kingdoms items book and the forthcoming Shadowlands lore book would be a great basis for a set of 5E sourcebooks. I'm mildly surprised that Blizzard hasn't gone for this, honestly, given how popular D&D is both internally and with the general public.
 

Of Blizzard's fantasy IPs, Diablo is the most interesting IMO. Does a pretty good job of recontextualizing a lot of Angels vs. Devils stuff from the real world, into something that feels unique. I mean, the "big bad devil" being named Diablo (instead of something reused a million ways like Beelzebub, Mephistopheles, etc) is a pretty good win.
Naming the planet "Sanctuary" makes my head hurt, but I live on a planet called "Dirt," so I don't know that I have much to complain about.

Getting to see so much more of the world has me excited for Diablo IV.
 

I'll add, I still find most of Warcraft's lore pretty uninteresting. It does swipe a ton of stuff not just from things like Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons, but even products like Warhammer Fantasy. And IMO is less interesting than all three.
I think the team thinking about the multiverse and likely secretly applying alignments to the various planes has led to a creative resurgence. The moment that the closest thing Warcraft has to an angel tries to convert a major NPC into a force of good against his will was a real eye-opener. Their current push out into the planes has mostly been extremely interesting and forces some reevaluation of previous lore.
 

Reynard

Legend
I am suspicious of both the idea of doing really high powered stuff mechanically interestingly in 5E, as well as the idea of some benefit of have a vast power disparity within the player character group.

The thing that works well for your home group for 30 years is not necessarily something that is going to work well for a published product.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I think the team thinking about the multiverse and likely secretly applying alignments to the various planes has led to a creative resurgence. The moment that the closest thing Warcraft has to an angel tries to convert a major NPC into a force of good against his will was a real eye-opener. Their current push out into the planes has mostly been extremely interesting and forces some reevaluation of previous lore.

I mean, I kind of disagree... I find that the latest expansion Shadowlands introduction of the afterlife a little unoriginal IMO, taking the most tired elements of vampires, undead egyptians, Fey, and heaven and smooshing them together to make space for new places for players to raid in. The designs are largely unispired for my taste.

The last expansion I thought was an interesting concept was Warlords of Draenor, where they went back in time to Draenor and explored an alternate history where the orcs were uncorrupted (the Iron Horde). I though that idea was a pretty good one.

I also did like the Azshara stuff, their underwater kingdoms put a lot of other material to shame.

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jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
I know. I was surprised that Azeroth wasn't it -- it was a widely held belief that the World of Warcraft was based on Metzen's own D&D campaign -- and it's not orc-centric.
Metzen actually isn't all about the orcs, despite the fact that Warcraft-style orcs are the creations he is now famous for. He said that he preferred to play Alliance, and Malfurion Stormrage (elf druid, for those who don't know) was his favorite character.

It does swipe a ton of stuff not just from things like Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons, but even products like Warhammer Fantasy.
There's a reason for the Warhammer similarities. The first Warcraft game was originally going to be a Warhammer game, but they had some problem with the licensing after development started and then had to file off the serial numbers in a hurry.

I think the team thinking about the multiverse and likely secretly applying alignments to the various planes has led to a creative resurgence. The moment that the closest thing Warcraft has to an angel tries to convert a major NPC into a force of good against his will was a real eye-opener. Their current push out into the planes has mostly been extremely interesting and forces some reevaluation of previous lore.
Meh, different strokes. I'm not a fan of the new direction, myself--I'm expecting it to be just a rehash of Babylon 5's Shadow War. Been there, done that, not excited about seeing it again in Warcraft.
 
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Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
To better explain the Azhara thing, I find most of the established lore of things like D&D, Warhammer, LotR, for underwater kingdoms either entirely nonexistent or uninteresting.

D&D is the only one to really have much, and it's largely "There are good races like sea elves, and bad races like Sahuagin. We aren't going to delve much into either's culture though, so just imagine the former like underwater elves, and the latter like underwater hobgoblins."

The Azshara lore, that she was a queen of night elves whose thirst for power led to her kingdom being sunken, in turn forcing her to accept patronage from an even worse elder evil, is at least written a bit better and anchors them in a tragic story. Plus her design is great!
 

I mean, I kind of disagree... I find that the latest expansion Shadowlands introduction of the afterlife a little unoriginal IMO, taking the most tired elements of vampires, undead egyptians, Fey, and heaven and smooshing them together to make space for new places for players to raid in. The designs are largely unispired for my taste.
I'm not as focused on the art design as I am about what these particular afterlives (of, apparently, many more we haven't seen yet) say about the universe.

Greco-Roman angels with a heavy dose of Scientology, for instance, is a really interesting idea and part of the universe cutting against easy definitions of good and evil in a franchise that seemed to start off with a very black and white view of things.

There's an explicit cycle of rebirth for god-level beings, but everyone else can just look forward to having their soul goo recycled and used to power the afterlife and, perhaps, the cycle of life for the rest of reality. (Although that's not clear -- so far, we have no idea how any of this connects to the other end of the cycle.)

The Venthyr and Undying Army aren't as interesting, but there's still time in this expansion. At the very least, it seems likely that the Venthyr are connected to the Dreadlords and, thus, a lot of what we think Warcraft has been about has actually been part of a larger planar game.

I find that stuff interesting and it's not where you'd imagine the series would go, playing Warcraft 2.
 

To better explain the Azhara thing, I find most of the established lore of things like D&D, Warhammer, LotR, for underwater kingdoms either entirely nonexistent or uninteresting.

D&D is the only one to really have much, and it's largely "There are good races like sea elves, and bad races like Sahuagin. We aren't going to delve much into either's culture though, so just imagine the former like underwater elves, and the latter like underwater hobgoblins."

The Azshara lore, that she was a queen of night elves whose thirst for power led to her kingdom being sunken, in turn forcing her to accept patronage from an even worse elder evil, is at least written a bit better and anchors them in a tragic story. Plus her design is great!
The video of her being offered that choice is kind of amazing as well.

 

grimslade

Adventurer
This looks like it will be a great setting. I enjoy Metzen's take on lots of things, but am a little leary of the Mark of Auroboros mechanics being outside of level power. I will most likely back because we sorely need new settings and Warchief seems to be able to attract good talent to develop it.
 

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