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UA 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.

Bravo!
 

Morrus

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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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
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.) :)
 


Barantor

Explorer
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.
 

sstacks

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
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
"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.
 

Kramodlog

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!
 


Morrus

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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neobolts

Explorer
Another solid interview, the kind of communication that serves them and their most rabid fans well.

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.

...

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

This is great stuff. Let the theories flow...

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.

This actually makes a lot of sense.

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.

The players who are into both must feel like they're in a D&D renaissance right now. I wonder if this is causing the influx of players, i.e. videogames-->tabletop. They've definitely created a model that better equipped to succeed where 4e smade missteps (IMHO, 5e draws videogamers into the tabletop via similar events/narratives, while 4e tried to draw them in via similar videogame-like mechanics).

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.

...

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.

...

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.

I've said before I love (and have used) the multiverse as setting. Running Planescape/Spelljammer and dropping in on various official and homebrew worlds is one of the best things about D&D, and such as great vehicle for very high level play. I'm really hoping they take us on a "Worlds Tour" via a multiverse sourcebook or a module sequence.

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

They've made good on this. There are 1e/2e modules of legendarily lampooned quality. There are some late 3.5 books with chapters that felt like they existed to support the pagecount. Pathfinder sometimes feels like they've never met a book pitch they didn't like. Quality over quantity is a good thing.
 

ZeshinX

Adventurer
Until they ease up on the ridiculous Avengers-inspired cinematic universe approach, I will continue to have little confidence in WotC. This is the ADHD/Magpie Generation, hopping from one shiny new thing to the next at a pace never before seen. Sustainability is the fav new buzzword for business....this audience will not sustain the shared world concept.

Carry on with a storyline, sure, absolutely, but detach the insane connectedness of things. Loosen the stranglehold it has on products that are not the adventure modules themselves. 5e and D&D deserves better. Paizo is showing how it's done. You combine that type of separation but with WotC's more guarded and slower release schedule....

....ugh, nevermind lol. I'm just not in the target audience anymore. Long live D&D and game on folks. :)
 

El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
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.

YES!!!

I loved those articles that Ed Greenwood used to do (The Wizards Three). The ones where he wrote in first person as a surreptitious witness to these three meeting together on our world. This facet is something I've exploited in my own games a few times - especially the idea that Elminster has knowledge of and access to our world.

Also cannon is that Elminster likes hot dogs, considering them a delicacy...;)
 

The players who are into both must feel like they're in a D&D renaissance right now. I wonder if this is causing the influx of players, i.e. videogames-->tabletop. They've definitely created a model that better equipped to succeed where 4e smade missteps (IMHO, 5e draws videogamers into the tabletop via similar events/narratives, while 4e tried to draw them in via similar videogame-like mechanics).

You might remember that whole "Neverwinter" thing with 4E where the region book and the new game were tied together, and going back farther the whole Diablo II thing with 3E. The only 5E videogame event so far was pretty similar. I'm still a little skeptical as to how much crossover there is between tabletop and videogame players that is driven solely by one or the other but I'll give it this much: it's an interesting approach.
 


Mad Zagyg

First Post
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.

Speculative, I realize, but this smells a little bit like they are bracing us for more classic stuff from other campaign settings to be shoehorned into the Forgotten Realms. I really, really, don't want to see Mordenkainen hanging out with Elminster in Shadowdale hiring a party of adventurers to go on a quest to defeat the Dragon Kings from Dark Sun because they tried and failed to conquer the world in Athas so now they're trying it on Toril. ...yawn...

Oh, and Keraptis, having failed to steal the magic weapons Wave, Whelm, and Blackrazor on Oerth has now moved to Toril and is building a new underground volcanic dungeon in Mt. Hotanow in the Sword Coast. I can see it now... The White Plumes of Mt. Hotanow.

If the plan is to appeal to nostalgia, the only people who are going to care about the nostalgic elements are also the same people that will hate that they're ripping the elements from their original habitat.
 

neobolts

Explorer
Until they ease up on the ridiculous Avengers-inspired cinematic universe approach, I will continue to have little confidence in WotC. This is the ADHD/Magpie Generation, hopping from one shiny new thing to the next at a pace never before seen. Sustainability is the fav new buzzword for business....this audience will not sustain the shared world concept.

Carry on with a storyline, sure, absolutely, but detach the insane connectedness of things. Loosen the stranglehold it has on products that are not the adventure modules themselves. 5e and D&D deserves better. Paizo is showing how it's done. You combine that type of separation but with WotC's more guarded and slower release schedule....

....ugh, nevermind lol. I'm just not in the target audience anymore. Long live D&D and game on folks. :)

Funny, I feel like they are coming back around to the lifelong players once again. This feels less like some modern caffeinated revamp and more like a move towards some of the classic Spelljammer and Planejammer content. I remember a friend has this Planetary Display Map with Krynnspace, Realmspace, and Greyspace tucked away in the corners. We were bouncing from one Crystal Sphere to the next interacting with the locals. This feels like the logical next step forward for those old realm-hopping settings.
 



Remathilis

Legend
Tiamat implied to be Takhisis?!? Obviously he was suffering a cold and on sudafed. Obviously.

Takhisis/Tiamat and Bahamut/Paladine is an old Planescape era piece of lore. Same god worshiped differently on different worlds. Never outright STATED that was true, but it was heavily implied. (Same was true for Tharizdun/Elder Elemental Eye).

Of course, Dragonlance took 30 some turns to make it untrue, but its not something he pulled out of his kiester.
 

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