D&D General D&D Creator Summit--VTT & One D&D

We'll be updating live from the afternoon session of the D&D Creator Summit so refresh for new content.

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D&D Virtual Tabletop​

The afternoon session began with a look at the upcoming D&D Virtual Tabletop (VTT). Screenshots of the livestream were not allowed so I can't show you what we saw. We saw three windows anyway -- one for the demo, one for the participants in the room talking about it and one for the sign language interpreter so the window with the demo was somewhat small.

Kale Stutzman led the presentation on the D&D VTT. He said more will be shown for it in May. He wants people to see it because that will clear up misconceptions. He asked about what pain points you have as DMs, as content creators, etc.

Stutzman said that the origins of the project came from within D&D, not from someone on high at Hasbro. Stutzman wanted to play with friends who moved away, had kids and couldn't leave the house to play, etc. so he asked, "Why doesn't D&D have a way to play online?" He had to pitch it to the various bosses above him and explain why it would be useful and logical. So it's personal to Stutzman because he just wanted to make it easier to play D&D online

There are already options online so the official D&D VTT had to be a bit different. They made a demo and Stutzman worked with Jeremy Crawford for the rules to figure out the intention behind rules to address the many ways people play D&D at their table.

They want you to have the fun of D&D, not managing inventory. They wanted to play to the fun of D&D. You're not at the same table with your friends so the VTT has to bring other aspects of fun. "We need to have all sorts of awesome 3D experience without making it harder for DMs."

Authenticity is the third goal. This is not a video game. The automation can speed some things up like adding the bonuses.

They want to give groups the freedom to do what they want, like "I'm going to jump and run..." not feel like a video game.

Immersion is the fourth goal. The 3D part is designed to help provide that immersion and help you feel like you are all in the same room.

It's not achieving the four goals yet. He's calling the current stage "pre-alpha." They're still "early, early in the process."

The team gets together to play D&D every week with the tools as they're emerging so they can be sure it's good and achieving the goals. After all, reading a book isn't the same as playing an adventure from a book.

They're tackling the biggest elements of uncertainty first. Those are the biggest risks so they're tackling that first.

They want DMs to be able to show things, hide things, etc. Over the course of this year they're going to keep showing it to more and more people This VTT will have more beta testers than most video games because they want a lot of feedback.

This year they are looking at miniature customization, how you actually build locations from a toolset. Right now the builds are like locked-down LEGOs and they want to give people the LEGO blocks to build their locations.

"You can go into some creator mode and surprise your players. If your players ask, is there a window there, the DM will be able to say yes and update it."

He said, "I don't know how many of you have played high-level D&D but it can be annoying for a DM because everyone can fly, everyone can build walls, etc. so they have to be able to handle that." If it can't, then he's a failed game designer. "So what possibilities can come from that?"

The last step will be sharing the things you make with other people. The first steps have to be handled first. Creating and sharing is very important because sharing things you made is part of the aspirational aspect of D&D and they want to facilitate that. That's the strength of this community.

By contrast, try to make something in the Disney universe and release it -- see what will happen. This community is very different so we want the tools we use as developers to be the tools you can use to make new content and share it with the community.

The first notes on this project began in October 2020 so he's glad with how far it has come, but there's a lot more to do.


Q&A​

That was followed by a Q&A portion.

Will play testing be open public, just in house, etc.?
Currently, any person at Hasbro/D&D or their friends is where the playtesting for the VTT is now. Next they'll open it up to a few influencers. Later there will be a sign-up. They're still figuring that part right now. It's pretty high level and we'll have more information later this year after we get this in the hands of more people and can get feedback.

With VTTs like Alchemy, Roll20, etc. allowing for more than just D&D 5E play how does Wizards feel their VTT can be competitive while only offering one game?
We're in the interesting position where we make the game that the VTT is for so I'll talk to Jeremy about how, say, you can add a thing before, during or after and I'm not looking at bringing any other RPGs into it but who knows what the future will bring?

We heard a little bit about getting these on consoles and how that would help with accessibility. What can you say about that?
Unreal 5 allows us to do that. We started with Unity but switched to Unreal 5 because it enables that as well as phones so I have high hopes for it and to see what we can do between console, tablets, phone, etc.

Will the game be played in a standalone app or a web browser?
No plays for a web browser at this time. You have to weight the benefits of web browsers. The D&D Beyond Team has great ideas for web browsers I won't spoil but we're looking at other possibilities.

This creator summit was described as the start of a conversation. They are planning to do more.

What is the intended future path for supporting homebrew on D&D Beyond and the VTT?
We haven't gotten there yet but we want the VTT to be just an ecosystem. If you want to take your game into the VTT for a single combat or the entire game. You might even use it at the physical table with one person controlling it in case one person is sick and calling in. We're going to try to keep that integration with D&D Beyond because we know people have a lot of their homebrew characters in there.

Are you looking into simplifying how the movement in the VTT works? It didn't feel like it was as accessible as it could be.
Yes. You start with a bit more complex at first but then you start streamlining so it can be done with one finger on a tablet, for example. Getting one control scheme right is hard enough so we want to get it right one way first and then make it easier for other play methods.

Is the VTT integration flexible enough to work with other options like Black Flag and other RPGs or is it confined to D&D?
I think you can do anything manually. You can do anything you want with dice and minis but not the animations because animation is expensive. Then with time we're going to have building blocks DMs can use for homebrew and we'll see how that translates to other game options.

Question about equity because one of the great things about TTRPGs is that it's low threshold to play -- you need dice, pencil, paper, a book. As technology increases it becomes an equity issue for people How are you going to address that? For example, will plain maps be available for free as opposed to the 3D maps.
I try to come in as the standard bearer for D&D. I've been playing with the same people for years and two of them have never spent a dollar on D&D and I want them to be able to continue to play D&D with us. So there's that. The 2D is always going to be agreat way to play so we don't want to force 3D on anyone. We want to make it cool so people want to use but aren't forced to use it. We want people to be able to play anyway they want -- with books, the VTT, whatever. It's difficult as a designer but important as a player.

Will there be a fully 2D option in the VTT?
Not sure. We're looking at how does this scale down for different devices. If we think the best way for it to go on a phone is to be 2D still using Unreal, maybe, but we haven't gotten there yet. We have to make this fun and then go down to that.

How do you handle low-prep when it's like being a video game designer?
We want to solve some adventures that you can say, I've got 4 friends. We're just online. Let's play. I don't think the books are there yet. Another way to make things fast is "we're going to the inn". You grab a tray and throw it down. If you can do that in our VTT that's great. Then tehre's "I have a specific inn in my mind." How long does that take? You have to start drawing things. We can beat that because you'll be thinking first about how it plays, not details. There are a lot of different ways to do it and how much a DM wants to nest into the process of creating their setting.

My day job is at an indie game studio so I might be thinking about it differently. What are the preliminary monetization for the VTT, will be subscription, micro transactions, free to play, etc.?
You're right. You do have to think about monetization because there have to be servers and the game has to be around a long time. We're thinking about it and discussing different options. The business minds are working on that but I'm making sure we think about the player because people don't like it if it's $20 to start playing. I don't know what it is right now because we haven't decided anything yet, but I'm keeping the player in mind and we want people to come in and play and we don't want to charge money at the door to try it out.

Will there be functions like GoDice that will allow Bluetooth dice to allow the satisfaction of rolling dice and how will it work with streamers doing actual play.
We can do Bluetooth dice if people want them. I want people to make comics and YouTube videos of their games that you can take screenshots of their characters. Minecraft people do that all the time. I want feedback from streamers and that's why some of you are here. I'm not a streamer so I need to hear from you what features you need from the VTT. Like, what if viewers could vote on what you do next? So I want to hear what streamers are looking for.

I feel like the challenge of any game development has been inclusivity and including marginalized people in the development process, and by accessibility I mean LGBTQ folks, disabled folks, BIPOC folks, and it's easier when that's tackled from the beginning. Can you give us more direct answers what you're considering from the get go how those voices are being heard, are they're any features, like Sim 4, due to direct community feedback, have now included a very robust skin tone range you can use for your sims.

I think what we're looking at now is character create and I really want people represented in character create. Sometimes you're disappointed with games because it's not what you imagine. That doesn't work for D&D. D&D is super important why I want this digital space is that D&D has always been a great way to try things out in you can't do in real life so the key to getting those video streams out so you can be your character because it's more immersive.

And then on the inclusivity we're talking to people. Like tabletop is using inclusivity readers ad we're going to do the same.

The director of inclusivity then stepped up to address this further.
I don't think it's the sole responsibility of marginalized people to creative inclusivity. We have a diverse lighting approach where it's like the NFL Roomey rule. So for every requisition we're hiring for, it's tied to executive performance. We have an entire inclusive review process for D&D, MTG, Arena, marketing, etc. What inclusion review means is that we have different gates and stops to look at inclusion and accessibly so we're paying market rate for consultants to look at things and advise.

I think it's awesome when we accessibility and inclusivity. Would there ever be a release of content specifically for DMs, players, etc. to implement on their end so they can be more knowledgeable and implement on their end. I think it's something we're passionate about but we need those educational tools
Pay attention to the discussion of the DMG coming up in a few minutes. I think there's a need for D&D to be more global, too. I think we could do a lot of things to be more appealing to a global audience.

One of the issues that has been raised in the past is hiring on a high level. Usually high level roles requires 15+ years of experience and that's difficult to get if you're not a white male.
That's a great question and we're looking at what is actually required to do the job and what's nice to have so it's a question of reassessing. So it's finding people with the right experience for what's actually required. and broadening the scope instead of an arbitrary number. We've also added structured interviewing, which means really digging into what's asked and removing any bias. I love ensuring we have diverse slates of interviewers so we aren't asking our women, our marginalized communities, our disabled team members, etc. to do more interview work.

About the VTT: It was demanding and we were playing on AlienWare laptops. What specs are you thinking about? If this is going to tank my machine plus OBS plus Zoom, plus captions, how are you going to maximize to work with graphic cards commonly used?
I can't answer that now because we're not at the stage where we're locked down on content and can downgrade but that's a great question, which means we need to test with OBS on, compatibility lab on, etc. and we need to put them on now so we can get to where it needs to be in 2 years.

Cultural consultants are often used to shelter from criticism. What about promoting or hiring marginalized people into decision making roles. And what are the policies and procedures in place after recommendations are given so they are acted on?
When it comes to consultants, we want to hire the best people for the job. A great game designer is not a culture expert in the broad academic experience of POC. So yes, we are always paying attention to questions in our work force, what is our pay equity, etc. I want to create a work force and work place where a disabled person or POC, etc can create and never talk about their background if they don't want to. We want to make sure we're engaging with experts. How do make sure we're acting on it? Because we do. The consultants give us the info so we can made an educated decision. The recommendations are documented and the changes are documented to be sure it's addressed.

When you purchase an adventure book, will there be an inclusion in price of the maps or will that have to be purchased separately?
We want it to be transferrable but we aren't sure how will go together or will cost at this time. We'll get more ideas on that this year. Books and VTT are two different experiences so we'll have to figure out what they share, what options people want, etc. It's an ongoing decision we haven't figured out yet but we're working on it all the time.

One attendee made a suggestion to stop saying, "it's not a video game." Instead to say, "we're taking the best of video games and using them when it makes sense."


General Q&A

Coming up after a short break will be Jeremy Crawford and Chris Perkins on changes to the Dungeon Masters Guide and more.
Slight schedule changes. Based on feedback from in-person attendees, they're doing a short AMA first, then Crawford. and Perkins will speak. Dan Rossen and Kyle Brink took the lead on this segment.


I think a conversation should take place about creators creating with and for Wizards would be good Do you see the need for that? How do you plan to institutionalize a change for that?
I do think we want to be a partner of choice. D&D is a community effort. There's no doubt about that. You're going to see D&D at conventions more. I can't speak as to why that dropped off because it was before me but we're going to be more visible at conventions, which will allow for more dialogue.

There's a lot lack of confidence and distrust in the community right now. Many of us were attacked for even coming here. What are you going to put in place protections and restore the lack of trust the community feels?
Good question. I think this what we're doing. We're engaging directly. January was horrible. it was no the "welcome to the D&D team" i wanted. I think we lost sight in that moment that in that moment D&D is a dialogue. While I'm not at all happy with the trust we burned but I am happy with where we landed, that the SRD is in Creative Commons and irreversibly so. it's a signal that we want to keep D&D open and inclusive. Rebuilding trust is continuing to build on the dialogue we're all leaning into here. My commitment as the head of D&D is be here and have a dialogue with you and keep it going. it's an ongoing process.

Dixon: We want feedback aimed at us, not the creators working with us. You shouldn't take abuse for things we do.

Follow-up question for Dixon: Wondering what Wizards will do for us after the conclusion of this event but people are still going to yell at us. We've experienced that for a month. It wears down our mental health. It hurts me seeing all the people in this room who took abuse and not seeing Wizards do anything about the harassment we received.
Sometimes we step in and it settles things and sometimes we say something and it inflames things further. We don't want to create the Streisand effect so we need feedback from you as to how we can step in and do it better. We want to be active listeners that create better solutions with you that works for all of us.

A speaker noted that a lack of response can be just as bad as a poor response. It comes across as a lack of communication. Wizards has a PR department. We do not. We're passionate this community. We appreciate you trying to formulate the answer because we're being attacked in the meantime while you're waiting. Dixon agreed that sometimes we need to respond quickly and sometimes we need to step back, reassess and formulate an answer.
Yes, there are issues we need to address and do it better. I'm not going to stand in front you today with a plan that is half baked. Yes, it's going to take some time to make a plan for the future. We really encourage you to talk to us and give us truth that's unvarnished because the only way we'll be able to make that feedback useful. I want people feeling comfortable speaking truth, whether that's in surveys, coming into our Twitter DMs, etc. because that gives us the information needed to make actual changes. We are working toward getting that solved and making a space that's better for all creators.

What rights are granted to VTT creators? We need to maintain ownership of our works.
We've heard this message lout clear -- your content is your content. I don't know what the language is to make that official because we're a ways from that, but we hear loud and clear: your content is your content.

When creators are constantly taking the hits on behalf of WotC because we're the people people can access. It takes a toll and wears on us. Are you putting together mental health and support resources because we need them.
We're working on this within the company but it's different when it's outside the company. Send us your suggestions for how you can be supported. These are hard questions. I understand the concern about being targeted online. We've had that happen to our own team members. it does stake a toll. I've seen it on their faces. it's a super difficult problem without a straightforward answer.

Employees have access to mental health resources and support. We as freelancers don't. it's become toxic. We're here because we love this game. it feels like you don't have our back and we need you to.
Thank you for sharing that so openly.

There have been several missteps in the handling of race in D&D, handling of Hadozee, long-standing issues about orcs, changes to the term race, and more. Tasha's addressed it a little bit. What is your game plan for addressing this in the future? What is WotC's high level approach for handling it and how to rebuild trust?

We're doing inclusion reviews. Sharing it to a pro, sharing it to another pro. Make changes. Share it back to the pro and see if it addresses it. We want to make the game as welcoming as possible to as many people as possible but a fact of what happens i that some people will then dislike those changes. Species is one change we're testing. No decision has been made yet.

What is Wizards core value at a high level? With queer, trans, etc. players more visible than possible, which has dangers. What is your core audience? What is your plan for race?
More, not fewer. We're trying to widen the play space. We're always making steps in those direction. I think today's audience is bigger than it has ever been, but I also think it's a fraction of what it could be so we need to be more inclusive. We need to look at what content is not welcome in our spaces because it reflects hate. We need to walk our convictions and ideologies of inclusivity to make it clear hate is not welcome. We're going to publish content guidelines so you'll be able to review it and comment on it. We're making changes on an ongoing basis. For example, "savage" is gone. "Dim-witted" is gone.

It often sounds like changes are made at the end of the process to be inclusive. i think we'd like to hear more about the steps taken in the early stages. Who is in the room from day one making sure not only is it something that can be caught in review but makes sure it's never in the book in the first place.?
Diverse teams make stronger and better teams. Having folks in the room who can offer different life perspectives. The inclusion review process came out after Spelljammer so now everything going forward has these checks in place from the beginning and the very formation of the idea. The process we have now, it never could have happened in Spelljammer. It would be caught early.

A creator who felt he was thrown under the bus in an article asked what to do to prevent that in the future. He was told to contact them immediately, not weeks or months later.
If a content creator feels they're being called out by WotC, they need to reach out so WotC can review it and address it. "If you see something, say something. There is a team of people who want to help resolve these situations."

Do you have any plans in the future to sponsor scholarship programs. For example, last year at Big Bad Con you sponsored AAPI attendees so they could meet people and get jobs. Will there be more of that?
I'm not knowledgeable about this program.
Another speaker from Wizards: "Yes"

Given that 95% of these questions have been addressed by your inclusivity and diversity team, how do you plan to expand and support the team?
They come to me and as they express needs, we address them.

Will you be hiring more because clearly more community support is needed?
Our team works heard to help and serve you. We may not get to everything immediately but we will escalate internally.

With all of this discussion of inclusivity, after having cut Black Dice Society and other similar BIPOC shows, how can we trust you? I know how much it takes to run a show. it's great to talk about equity and inclusion. but money talks so what about seed money or something because a D&D-backed show means a lot. Pulling the rug out from under us is hard. I want someone who can touch the money to answer this question.
I don't know the history....

It's not about the history. it's about moving forward.
I'd love to follow up more afterward and hear more. This isn't about easy questions. I wasn't at Wizards when this happened. I was brought on to lower barriers to access and to represent the voice of the creator space in D&D. We get a lot of show pitches. Many of them are very good. We're still figuring out how to scale that program. That's going to take a bit more time. We want to be in a place where someone can give us a pitch, we can say yes, but we aren't there yet. We need to build that plan. I don't want to give you half-assed plans that won't answer your questions. I'd like to add that hearing these concerns and stories is incredibly valuable to me personally.

I'd like to address the advent of AI. Do you know the current stance of AI inside of WotC
AI is completely incompatible with our process. We work with people. We can't speak for other people but as far as Wizards is concerned, we work with people. Machine learning tools can raise the floor but not the ceiling and we're about the raising the ceiling.

What plans are there to include ASL and captions in streams, etc.
"Yes" is the answer to that. I want to shout out all of the ASL translators today. I want to address how to keep using this moving forward. We want ASL interpreters and captions at as many events as possible. It's not something I'm looking at at the end any more. it's about something I include from the beginning so expect more of it and how we will set a standard for our industry in terms of our stream and show presence.

What are the current means and methods you have in place for monitoring the community, not just on Twitter but other places, and how do you take that into account when you proceed?
All the time. I'm working with our teams to get feedback and get a sense of how things are perceived. We try to be as present in seeing what your thoughts and opinions are. Sometimes we have to look at the overview. It's not just data, it's people we collect feedback and do a lot of listening. Twitter doesn't reward mild takes so if we only look at Twitter, we'll get a skewed view. We want to have these conversations. That might be in a public forum or not. if honest feedback requires a private email, that's fine. if it's in an open forum, fine.


THE 2024 CORE BOOK REVISIONS​

Switching to "Cool D&D Game Stuff." Specifically, talking about the 2024 core rule revisions.... with Jeremy Crawford, Chris Perkins and Josh Herman.

Crawford began by talking about loving D&D and how important it is, how it gives people a chance to play and experiment as other types of people and bond with people.

It's about making this game that provides so much richness to us. it's celebrating its 50th anniversary and I expect it to do that again in another 50 years so it's a great responsibility.

We embarked a few years on revising the core rules. We'll start talking about the Players Handbook and, time permitting, the DMG. We'll be talking in the coming year at conventions and events like this about the game and where do we go next. We're also planning at future conventions to have sessions for content creators as more and more of the rules come into focus we want to have open conversations with people about how they made their content.

Today we're going to focus more on what's coming in the core books, design goals, a revision of 5th edition, nuts and bolts of the players handbook and then we'll see where we are.

Some of what we say today may overlap with things I've said with Todd [Kenrick] in our videos. I used to be a teacher so I don't ever what to assume what people know.

Our first goal for the revised books is to make the game easier to navigate. We want it to be easier for new players and long time players to find things easier. Getting to the fun, getting to the content is key.

We're actually going to encourage people to play before you make a character. That's what the earliest version did. We need to teach you what is this game, how do you play it and how you can make a character.

We're also going to have tremendous support for how to make a character quickly. Sometimes you just want to get up and run fast. For example, you want an array of scores for each character class? Here you are.

All of the rules will have a massive glossary in the back. A really robust glossary and index so you don't have to remember where we filed something. You can find it in multiple places.

The PHB will have a glossary like that in the back.

"One D&D" was never supposed to be the name of the revised books. It was a placeholder to describe 3 initiatives -- the 2024 revised core books, D&D Beyond, and the D&D VTT.

It's not a new edition and never was meant to be.

The DMG will have a similar section that collects D&D lore because there are a lot of people who don't know what Orcus is, as one example. The DMG will now have that covered so people don't have to scramble between multiple sources.

If we rely on people just googling, they're finding out-of-date information or information that is just wrong. If it's in the book itself, it's easier and more accurate.

Easier navigation -- this goal has new tendrils all throughout the game.

The PHB will have new game options. The Monster Manual will have new monsters and the DMG will have new options. That's why you'll start seeing new elements in the Unearthed Arcana mixed in.

The next UA will be the biggest next, including a look at all six core classes.

Where is there a type of play or content the 2014 books didn't address

We'll also look at "lessons learned." We developed 4th edition as part of discussion with the community. Everyone who gave D&D Next play test feedback helped shape the game now. We're looking to make it easier, more fun, more accessible, more inclusive.

We also wanted to improve the quality of play. How can we make the things that squeak for you at the table no longer squeak? Answer things like does Leomund's Tiny Hut have a floor. Cracking the books back open gives us a change to address it.

We're going to be looking at the art. The books are going to have tons and tons of new art. For PHB, it'll be all new art. DMG and MM will have some reused art, but "the PHB is getting a glow up." We're ensuring the fans' voices are heard.

We are already surpassing the level of engagement we had for the entire D&D Next process and we still have a year of testing to go. We have staff that go through all of the feedback and create reports. it's a job that's so critical but often in the background.

About the feedback, sometimes something will get an 85% score, but then when we dig into the written feedback, sometimes it backs up that 85% enthusiastically and sometimes it reached 85% while being viewed as a "meh" because it's OK, but they don't love it. We're looking at those differences and review all of the written feedback.

We sort feedback by what edition people came into D&D for so we can drill in and see the edition biases. The D&D audience is so massive that it's rare for them to all across the board want the same thing. People come to the game with very different expectations. Our approach to 5th Edition has always been to preserve the big tent, so rather than preserve one of those flavors, we're looking for something in everyone of those subgroups.


The 2024 Books Are Not 6E Or Even 5.5

Crawford said that D&D has grown so much in the 5E era, what we've seen is that there are more people who have come to D&D through 5E than any other edition so we also need to include what new players want. Those new players want a game that is even more inclusive. We want to go beyond what we did in 2014.

This is NOT 6th edition or even 5.5. This is very important nuance. We're attempting something that has not been done before in D&D -- revising the game in place.

Crawford continued to that when Wizards created 3.5, it was built on the bones of 3.0, but you had to replace all of your books. That won't be the case here. You'll be able to run your copy of Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel or Curse of Strahd with the new 2024 books. You'll be able to make a character with the 2014 core books and use it at the same table with a character made with the 2024 books. So we're revising 5E and giving it a fresh coat of paint but it's the same game. We want people to buy the new books because they're excited, not because they have to.

The books will include the old terms in the glossary and it will say, "hi, my name changed to this. Everything you read in an old book this term now refers to this term." We don't want any conversion docs. it's all going to be in the book. The new books will say, for example, if your character was made with the 2014 books, you get a feat." We've been working that into the new background because they give a feat. A note says if your background doesn't give you a feat, take a feat.

We're releasing all these new books [like Planescape, Spelljammer, Keys to the Golden Vault] because the 2024 core books are still 5E.

Tasha's and Xanathar's Guide will get a special process. Anything in those books have always had the option to graduate to a core book. When that happens, down the road, we'll combine the leftover material from Tasha's and Xanathar's and add new content. It'll still have a glossary to help guide you to the changes.


2024 PHB Details

It'll be bigger, at least 32 pages longer, and maybe 64 pages longer. Not because it'll be a dump truck of words but because it'll have more art and words. We want to make sure every subclass gets a piece of art because the subclasses in 2014 don't. Every background will have a piece of art.

We're viewing background as much as place as info so each one will get a piece of location art to represent the place that made your character who they are. There are a lot of elements that where elsewhere that we're moving to backgrounds.

The book will include the 12 classes from 2014 with 48 subclasses. We wanted to give each class 4 subclasses, which means some classes will get more subclasses than they had in 2014.

One example of this is we're exploring doing a college of dance for a bard. Giving each class 4 subclasses allows us to explore more options.

It does mean the wizard and cleric will retract to 4 to give everyone else 4 subclasses. Want a subclass from the 2014 PHB that doesn't transfer? No big deal because the 2014 book is fully compatible.


More Q&A​

As someone whose culture is stereotyped by the monk, how will it change?
The monk has had that problem and we're going to improve that but part of the issue is that there is not enough non0European representation in the other classes so we're adding more non-European representation to all the classes and then flipping it in the monk to provide that its wording and art isn't specifically Asian because there are unarmed martial traditions all over the world.

Chi will become "spirit points" so it blends better with other martial arts. You'll see that in the next UA. The monk is also getting a definite upgrade because as we delved into the monk's math, the monk wasn't getting enough output, so it's going to start a step higher and other new goodies. But it's a play test. Everything you see in the monk is subject to play testing , community feedback,

The entire reason we explored a new option for the druid, for example, is that in an earlier play test people requested different templates so we tried it. I think where we're going to land with the druid, as we see the feedback you'll have the rich options you love while making it easier to play what is, arguably, the most complex class in the game.

All of our design is going through the inclusion review process we've already discussed, including the monk class. our goal is the inclusion review process is that it's not just at the end. it's throughout the entire process. We also know it's no substitute for the broader community feedback because there are so many cultures and viewpoints.

For example, the nine species in the PHB. We landed on the word "species", which I know some people don't love, because we worked with the inclusion team. I expected us to use "lineage" so we're using "species" now but we're not making a snap judgment on this. We want there to be time for people to try them out, see how it feels, have it go through more levels of inclusion review. We truly don't know where it's going to land.

Another question about how inclusion review works?
We don't send everything to the same people all the time. Different reviewers have different areas of expertise and experience. Everything gets sent to at least 2 people, sometimes more. The old inclusion review process had holes in it because they would only send out what they thought would be a problem. Now EVERYTHING is sent out so we aren't guessing what might be a problem. our team are game designers and storytellers, we're not experts in culture and inclusion. So we're focused on what damage should this creature do. That's why everything goes through inclusion review now so everything in our game brings out delight. Even reprints are going through inclusion review. That's why some older books are changing, too.

We get a full report. We then address the issues identified. We have a conversation. Then it goes back to the reviewers so they can see what we did and comment as to whether it addressed the issue. We also now send the art, even the sketches, through the review process. Jeremy thinks of it as "inclusion collaboration" because it's a conversation going on.

Perkins: A side benefit we've discovered is that inclusion reviews will often mention other things. For example, they'll mention that the feeble mind spell is a problematic name. Maybe addressing that in an adventure book isn't the right place but then we make a note to look at it in the revised PHB.

9 Species, New Background, New Spells, New Weapons

The goliath is joining the core species. it was so popular in the most recent UA and it warms our hearts because we wanted to add it for a long time. We view the goliath as having a relationship to giants akin to the way dragonborn do to dragons.

Orc instead of half-orc. Similarly, there are elves but no half-elf. You can still play the 2014 versions. We already have 3 elf variants in the PHB.

We also haven't been thrilled for years with anything that begins with "half." The half" construction is inherently racist. They'll sitll be in D&D Beyond and the 2014 PHB if you want to play them.

Will be making it easier to build your own background and will have more backgrounds than the 2014 book had. This is an avenue to get a simple feat. This is us very carefully threading a needle. You don't have to plunge into the feats but if you're curios about feats, a good way to do it is to give you a simple one.

Simple feats, slightly more complex feats, epic boon feats.

Weapon Changes and Additions

A new weapon table will be coming the next UA. They've been play testing the new weapon options internally for awhile.

The weapon chart includes a new column called "weapon mastery."

Mastery properties are special properties in a weapon that allow you to have a class feature to unlock them. So if a wizard picks up a dagger, they can't use the 'nick" property. A fighter with the same dagger can unlock that ability. They're a little cantrip-like in their effects.

Each of the warrior classes work with the mastery property a little differently. Monks can unlock it in simple weapons because they are the matter of common objects. So if you unlock the club mastery, you can slow someone in addition to doing damage.

"Flex" lets you use they can use damage two handed damage one handed.

The short sword has gone back to being a martial weapon. We had mostly done that for the rogue and monk but by adding mastery, it wasn't needed. The trident is finally better than the spear.

Also on the list are the musket and the pistol. They were already in the DMG. Every classic D&D setting has at least pistols and muskets. The time reference for D&D is late medieval/early Renaissance. They're still as expensive as they were before. other firearms in the DMG are the domain of the DM and it's up to them.

We wanted to give players a range of tactical options.

We view the fighter as the class that should interact with the mastery option the most and the fighter can actually start moving the properties from one weapon to another so if you want your great sword to do something other than graze, play a fighter. So the pre-reqs are because of this.

The fighter even later gets the option to assign two mastery items to one weapon and every attack they can choose a mastery option. I've had more fun playing a fighter than I have in years due to these option s (said Crawford)

Changes for the sorcery and warlock. We've been switching a lot of subclasses to 3rd but it affects the sorcerer and warlock because they got their subclass at first level. Why move it? It's overwhelming for a new character to pick a subclass before they played even one level.

We also wanted to build more of a core identity for the sorcerer and the warlock. The warlock and sorcerer does not have core identity at first level. Cleric doesn't have that problem because they do have channel divinity at first level. So what you'll see is that we're delving into innate magic for the sorcerer. So we've taken the concept of some chaos magic in side of you that you don't always have control over. You'll get Chaos Bolt for free. Warlocks will get the ability to make a sort of baby pact before they make their main pact at 3rd. The warlock will just have eldritch blast. They won't have to choose.

Some spells will be class exclusive so in stead of saying Arcane, Primal or Divine, it'll say "Bard" or "Sorcerer" as part of the spell's name.

Class-specific spells are not only us trying to protect the identity of certain classes but also protecting easy access by making it easy to know which ones you can choose. That's why we're looking at the lists from the three main types of magic, but also it'll tell you the spell is specific for your class, which will make spell shopping easier.

A segment then that was supposed to focus on PHB questions instead ended up having people who asked questions earlier about abuse content creators have taken from the community and about rebuilding trust were asked yet again even though they had been thoroughly answered several times.

What safety tools will be included in the revised DMG?
Perkins talked about providing tools and guidance for how to do a session zero and create a game experience everyone at the table enjoys. Crawford added that the PHB will also include some of this information because ti's part of the game's culture going forward.

In regard to a comment about balance, Crawford said that Divine Smite will remain delicious even if its frequency changes.

In the MM creatures CR 10 above will be retuned so don't worry about creatures getting steamrolled by the new player options because the higher level CR monsters will hit harder.

There will be DMG and Monster Manual UAs. They're going in order of book so that's why we've only seen PHB stuff so far. Revised encounter building will be in a future UA.

The CR calculation in the 2014 CR is wrong and doesn't' match their internal tool. This will be fixed in the 2024 DMB. You'll be able to use a paper version of their CR calculation tool and eventually a digital version.

The new Monster Manual will have close to 500 monsters in it. It'll be the biggest MM D&D has ever had with almost all new art. We're focusing on higher level monsters and more NPCs because we've found tht DMs use them a ton.

We'll get a few cultists, what a higher level celestial creature or infernal creature, etc. looks like.

Perkins: And you'll be able to find "gelatinous cube" under "G" instead of "o."

What support will DMs get for higher level play. There currently isn't much support and it takes more work to build encounters.
We're going to address that and see if there's a gap we need to fill, especially at those higher CRs.

Crawford: Easier prep will also be a goal to make life easier for new DMs.

Perkins: We want to do more "show not tell" than the 2014 guide provides. We want to provide a skeletal structure to help DMs build their own campaigns and encounters. We're going to show you so you can use it as a framework.

The books will layout how you can use material/adventures from before the 2024 books so people can continue to use the books they own and provide as frictionless a process as possible.

The feedback gleaned from this session will help determine what happens next in terms of how to share changes and plans with content creators. Once the math update for encounter building is ready, you'll see it in the UA process. In the D&D Next play tests you didn't get much of the under-the-hood material. it will be a part of this one.

Creating magic items is a blend of art and math. There will be guidance about magic item rarity and how to buy and sell them.

Any mechanical changes will be brought into the SRD so you won't have to buy the new books for the mechanic changes.

One of the things we're doing to ensure that 5E stays compatible with itself is that when a number is attached to itself, it won't change. So no spells are changing levels and no monster CRs are changing. They're working to make the CR of the monster and not change the CR. Similarly they're making sure the spell is appropriate for the level instead of changing the spell level. This is one of the ways we're supporting a revision of 5E in place instead of creating a 5.5 or 5E.

The way content is on D&D Beyond will not change either. If you bought a book, it'll still be there. They may get a "legacy" label, but they'll still be there.

Will our current core books in D&D Beyond just get upgraded to the 2024 version?
No, they are considered new books because they have so much new content, new art, etc.

Is Planescape a book or boxed set?
It'll be a slipcase with a 96-page gazetteer, a 96-page adventure and a 64=page bestiary with a DM screen. There will be two different versions, the evergreen version and an alt cover version.

I wanted to get a little more info on the revised DMG before the summit wrapped so I asked what were some key points about the revised DMG that Perkins wanted to address,
He said that they get three main comments about the existing 2014 DMG:
  1. I don't know what's in the DMG
  2. I can't find what I need in the DMG
  3. I don't use the DMG very much, except for magic items.
What we're doing with the DMG is to address all of those things and make it an invaluable experience for dungeon masters. It needs a major reorganization. It'll be a better reference guide, both for lore and for how to handle things like losing a player so the campaign doesn't collapse, if a DM is on the verge of burnout, etc. The 2024 DMG will be a place to get concrete, tried and true advice for DMs. Also, all of the books will have a larger typeface so it's easier to read.

The 2024 core books will not initially have alternate covers.
 
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Beth Rimmels

Beth Rimmels

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
PHB is at 3, DMG is at 6, MM is at 8 and not a single adventure is in the top 100 best selling games.
I have a feeling that we're now at the worst time in D&D 5E's history for adventure sales.

In the early days, there wasn't much other content to buy, and sales of the adventures were helped by their themes and presentation (even if the content wasn't to everyone's taste). And, really, everything came together with Curse of Strahd.

But, since then, I think there's been a waning in interest in what adventures Wizards puts out. I don't think that thematically, all of the big adventures have hit that well. And the flaws in their construction have become more and more apparent. I really like Storm King's Thunder, but even that is problematic.

Tomb of Annihilation? A lot of good, but some terrible construction as well.

Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus? It's the one Wizards adventure I tell people to actively avoid.

It's not like most of the later adventures are terrible - I hear great things about Witchlight, for instance - but I don't think they're compelling to people any more.
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Beyond the Witchliis currently #3,026 in all books today on Amazon, which is qctually quite good: many of the Adventure books are doing better. They also sell in FLGS, Target, and B&N. That like is selling fine...
 

mamba

Legend
I have a feeling that we're now at the worst time in D&D 5E's history for adventure sales.
maybe, but that is not helping the ‘adventures sell 30-40% of what the core books sell’ all that much. I don’t think they ever did and I certainly do not think they did so in the aggregate over the last 10 years
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I have a feeling that we're now at the worst time in D&D 5E's history for adventure sales...
I think you are right. In fact, I know it. At least for my store, they've dropped off considerably. There's many reasons for it, which I'll get into.
I also don't think most groups need a huge collection of hardcover adventures that will take a year to finish for many of them. At a certain point, you're full up.
This is one reason, absolutely!

For the first five or six years of 5e, my "after-hours" group ran EVERY SINGLE WotC HC adventure as they came out. We've done most of 'em.... but lately we are falling behind. We're about a third of the way through Witchlight, and we took a break from both BGDIA and the Spelljammer campain to play THAT (so we're not finished either of them). We've had plans to play Stryxhaven, and I would have loved to have run the Radiant Citadel.

We're just not keeping up anymore.

Same goes for the groups of many of my customers. They're not done the adventures they have. There's only so many books that people are willing to buy when they're not using them. (And don't get me wrong, I have quite a few customers who have bought them ALL, but they're clearly starting to strain, and some have definitely started to pick-and-choose, if not stopped altogether).

Beyond the Witchlight is currently #3,026 in all books today on Amazon, which is qctually quite good: many of the Adventure books are doing better. They also sell in FLGS, Target, and B&N. That like is selling fine...
Yes! That's still good! I don't think the point is to say that Adventures aren't selling! They're selling well when compared to previous editions, and overall for D&D. What they're NOT doing is selling well compared to earlier 5e Adventures. IMO it's not from lack of quality. I'd take Radiant Citadel over Princes of the Apocalypse, for example. (And yet, I've played the latter and not the former).

maybe, but that is not helping the ‘adventures sell 30-40% of what the core books sell’ all that much. I don’t think they ever did and I certainly do not think they did so in the aggregate over the last 10 years
No, no... of course not. The core books are going to always outsell adventures by a wide margin. Again, I don't think that's the point that @MerricB was trying to make.

The core books are also slowing down. This has to do with the fact that their days are numbered. 50th Anniversary books are not long now, which will also affect the sales of the adventures. They may bounce back when the new core comes out and they are found to be backwards-compatible like WotC promises, but there's always a "fear" that books are going to be obsolete. The current batch of books may never quite recover from it, though, because presumably new Adventures will ALSO come out soon after the 2024 Core. (I hope not until 2025.) And people will want the NEW SHINY.

Which again, isn't to say that the current and upcoming books won't do fine. They probably will. Just not as well as they would have done, if they had been the books that came 5 years ago, instead of the ones that did.
 


mamba

Legend
No, no... of course not. The core books are going to always outsell adventures by a wide margin. Again, I don't think that's the point that @MerricB was trying to make.
possibly, but it was what my comment was originally aimed at, so I wanted to clarify

I'd be surprised if the ratio is as low as 10-15% if comparing sales of the average WotC adventure book to the average between the core three books. 30-40% I could see.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
possibly, but it was what my comment was originally aimed at, so I wanted to clarify

Oh. I would estimate that the average adventure book sells far less than 10-15% of the core books. I'll take a look at my tracking next time I'm at work (assuming I remember) and tell you all how the average of all Adventures has done compared to the average of the Core 3. It'll only be for MY STORE, of course, but I heartily doubt that there's much difference between my store and the overall average (though you can take it for what it is).
 


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