Unearthed Arcana Crawford On Lots Of Stuff! Release Tempo, Video Games, OGL, Conventions, Unearthed Arcana, 2018, Tia

Crawford confirms the brilliant strategy of the D&D team. Thanks for posting the highlights Morrus. Sales and fans returning to D&D are proof that they are doing something right.



Well, that was fun
Staff member
WotC's Jeremy Crawford spoke to the Tome Show at Gen Con in a 45-minute interview which ranged over a variety of subjects. He touched on the multiverse, the release tempo, D&D video games, namechecks Tiamat, Krynn, Dalamar, Elminster, and Mordenkainen, and indicates that he's hopeful about something like an OGL. He also talked a bit on WoTC's current convention plans, how Unearthed Arcana fits in to things, and how there's work being done on things into 2017 and 2018.

From the Tome Show podcast.

The past year has been great for D&D. They decided that for Gen Con this year, the focus would be on playing with a huge play area and 200 DMs. They also decided to replace panels with free Q&A sessions in the midst of the play area where designers would be available for set periods to answer questions. Also Gen Con is more about playing games, while PAX is more about panels with up to 600 people at D&D panels.

They find that many fans are more comfortable approaching them individually rather than in front of everybody at a panel.

There will be a mix of products coming. As well as the material in partnership with Kobold Press, Sasquatch, Green Ronin, etc., there is also product they're doing alone which has not been announced yet. On future partnerships, there is "nothing to announce at this point".

He can't talk about the D&D movie rights (this was before the announcement made the other day).

They have their eye out for promising possibilities for digital tools. "Nothing to announce at this point" again, but other partnerships are possible.

The announcement schedule is about focus on the next thing to create a common experience among players. He and Mike Mearls liked that a common experience like that existed in early days, where it was a big deal when a product came out.

They're working on things for 2017, 2018. There's a lot more coming.

They value being nimble, taking time to analyse feedback, and letting that shape the game, which is hard to do when committing a long way in advance.

The constantly issue questionnaires, use Twitter, Facebook, forums to track what's going on and react/adjust where needed, or shuffle things around.

Releases are synced up with Encounters seasons and D&D video games which feature the same storylines. The Neverwinter MMO and Sword Coast Legends both feature the Rage of Demons storyline, for example.

Other settings - "Nothing to announce right now." Other settings are all over the core books, with the multiverse emphasized as the official setting. Forgotten Realms is the most popular setting, but other settings are part of the multiverse.

Unearthed Arcana is a playtest vehicle. Sword Coast Adventures features the swashbuckler originally in UA. Things that get positive response can appear in future products, while those that go over like a "lead balloon" can be dropped.

They envisage a constellation of D&D video games. Crawford is very enthusiastic about Sword Coast Legends' DM mode.

They are open to the idea of a new setting but the priority right now is serving classic settings and types of stories that can be told there. The Realms are large with room for many types of story.

There are no plans to integrate Magic: the Gathering worlds with D&D worlds.

Tiamat in Tyranny of Dragons failed with Krynn, and so tried again someplace else. It's not a Dragonlance story transplanted to the Realms, it's a multiverse story with villains which exist in some form or another in the entire multiverse. Princes of Elemental Evil bombed out in Greyhawk, so tried somewhere else. The demon lords don't just threaten one world, they threaten them all.

To get obscure hints about what's coming, read current adventures very carefully.

In some upcoming material, famous characters from other settings may show up under different names. It is canon that Elminster (FR), Mordenkainen (Greyhawk), and Dalamar (Dragonlance) know each other. This sort of thing will come more to the fore as one giant connected multiverse.

The best place for news and updates is www.enworld.org. No, really, he said Dragon+ and the D&D website and Twitter.

Chris Perkins has needles and seeds which thread several years into the future, with seeds planted as early as Tyranny of Dragons which will take fruit later.

They are not yet announcing what Pendleton Ward's project is.

On third party stuff, the familiarity with rules phase has occurred and they're waiting for the company to be ready to take the next step. "Nothing to announce at this point" though Crawford thinks there is a lot of value in having something like the OGL, both he and Mike Mearls worked on OGL products before coming to WotC. "Fingers crossed -we'll see what happens!"

Some ideal players (for Crawford personally): Vin Diesel, Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett. Most unexpected famous D&D player was Stephen Colbert.

He is putting the finishing touches on Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, and the book after that is the one he's really excited about.

Outsourcing? It's definitely a partnership, like working with freelancers as a studio rather than as individuals. WotC crafts the stories, which also tie into video games, boardgames, etc., so the through-line has to be stable. As the studio works, they work with them weekly, reviewing their writing and doing their own writing. WotC then sends it out to playtesting and takes care of the development of the material. It's just like working with freelancers, but as a group.

Boardgames are an interest, but not the focus.

The tabletop RPG is the heart and soul of D&D, even if other storytelling vehicles become a blockbuster one. It's amazing the number of writers and designers in other media who play or played D&D.

The mantra is quality over quantity. A different tempo. That has been successful so far.

They will next be at Pax Prime with the Acq. Inc game and a number of panels. A good chance of Pax East, and occasionally smaller shows. Crawford wanders into game stores in Seattle incognito to watch Encounters.


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Crawford confirms the brilliant strategy of the D&D team.

Well... let's not get ahead of ourselves. I love what WotC does with the game just as much as anyone, but we're only one year in. Let's wait until Year Four or Year Five to see whether their current strategy is "brilliant" and has paid off and the game is still going strong (rather than winding down in preparation for the beginning of 6E development.) :)


Wish I lived in Seattle still, I will be back though!

I hope the Pendleton Ward thing comes to fruition as it would be great if aimed at younger gamers.

I think they are good with the development cycle of the big things, but I do hope for more small stuff between.

Saw some bad reviews of the big gencon event, hopefully that gets fixed even though it is run by third-party.


Shane "Shane Plays" Stacks
Tiamat implied to be Takhisis?!? Obviously he was suffering a cold and on sudafed. Obviously.

I think they are putting out great stuff right now, but saying you are nimble at the same time you are taking the time to monitor feedback and etc. is a bit of corporate doublespeak, whether intentional or not. Maybe their idea of nimble (or the industry's idea of nimble) is different from mine.

All the multiverse stuff. Expect a"Crisis on Infinite D&D Earths" storyline down the road when some new editor comes along and is desperate to bring in revenue :p


"Unearthed Arcana is a playtest vehicle. Sword Coast Adventures features the swashbuckler originally in UA. Things that get positive response can appear in future products, while those that go over like a "lead balloon" can be dropped."

So basically like Dragon magazine was to, ironically enough, the 1e Unearthed Arcana book.


Naked and living in a barrel
Crossing fingers on the OGL? It clearly is up to exects to decide what happens with it. By the looks of it, they aren't in a hurry.

NPCs from other worlds under new names? Yeah, forget other settings for a while. D&D is now FR-centric. Strahd will now be named Stan!


Well, that was fun
Staff member
Lets not get hung up on the exact dictionary meaning of a single word again, please, folks. There's too much actual interesting stuff to discuss here. First person to post a dictionary definition of the word loses the internet. :)

Plus he said at least 9,999 other words, too!
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