D&D 5E D&D's Classic Settings Are Not 'One Shots'


In an interview with ComicBook.com, WotC's Jeremy Crawford talked about the visits to Ravenloft, Eberron, Spelljammer, Dragonlance, and (the upcoming) Planescape we've seen over the last couple of years, and their intentions for the future.

He indicated that they plan to revisit some of these settings again in the future, noting that the setting books are among their most popular books.

We love [the campaign setting books], because they help highlight just how wonderfully rich D&D is. They highlight that D&D can be gothic horror. D&D can be fantasy in space. D&D can be trippy adventures in the afterlife, in terms of Planescape. D&D can be classic high fantasy, in the form of the Forgotten Realms. It can be sort of a steampunk-like fantasy, like in Eberron. We feel it's vital to visit these settings, to tell stories in them. And we look forward to returning to them. So we do not view these as one-shots.
- Jeremy Crawford​

The whole 'multiverse' concept that D&D is currently exploring plays into this, giving them opportunities to resist worlds.

When asked about the release schedule of these books, Crawford noted that the company plans its release schedule so that players get chance to play the material, not just read it, and they don't want to swamp people with too much content to use.

Our approach to how we design for the game and how we plan out the books for it is a play-first approach. At certain times in D&D's history, it's really been a read-first approach. Because we've had points in our history where we were producing so many books each year, there was no way anyone could play all of it. In some years it would be hard to play even a small percentage of the number of things that come out. Because we have a play-first approach, we want to make sure we're coming out with things at a pace where if you really wanted to, and even that would require a lot of weekends and evenings dedicated to D&D play, you could play a lot of it.
- Jeremy Crawford​

You can read more in the interview at ComicBook.com.

log in or register to remove this ad

log in or register to remove this ad

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
I'd thought about it, but think I'm going to wait for "retail" release. My home space is limited, so I don't need a lot of the extras - just the book and maybe the potion cards. It just hits the right levels of "Kiki's Delivery Service" and "Spirited Away" to grab me*.

However! I wouldn't allow anything from it in a regular D&D game; though it's fine as its own system riffing off D&D rules. I'm not much for "crossing the streams" in games/genres.

*Yeah, I know that's the point, since they say it's heavily influenced by Studio Ghibli, it's just that those two are my favorite.
I suspect I will probably use it as a toolkit for the right D&D game. I don't foresee putting vending machines into the Dungeon under Ptolus, but I can imagine games -- especially ones for my kids -- where the vibe would be right.

FR is a world where different groups of heroes live adventures simultanealy in several far places, but frontiers aren't altered too much. In Dragonlance a complete continent is affected by the action of a little group of heroes. Greyhawk is in the middle between both. In Greyhawk some frontiers could be altered by PCs' actions. Then I suggest to allow alternate timelines for the Greyspace. Maybe the planet of Gamma World and twin worlds are in the same wildspace.

Mystara is incomplete, in the sense not only about the rest of the planet, but also the "wildspace" or crystal sphere. But Mystara could allow players to be "scions of immortals".

I have said several times Hasbro wants each D&D to be a multimedia franchise, a cash-cow making money by different sources.

Japanese roleplayers would rather Call of Chulthu because they want PCs fast to be created, their time for play is too short for long campaigns. It is not our fault or by WotC if they want a different thing. Maybe VTTs can help in the sense the saved time to go other's home to play together.


I imagine settings are problematic for WotC given past problems that have been caused by over production of specific settings, and of books in general - 2e, famously, but not just 2e. It's not just a question of diminishing returns, it's a question of publications becoming so niche that they cannot be profitable, and also a question of dividing the player base so that folks start seeing themselves as primarily Dark Souls players, Spelljammer players, or what have you.

This is antithetical to the whole spirit of the OneD&D project, which is about keeping the concept of D&D unified so that it is easy to onboard new players, and there aren't obvious jumping off points for veterans (e.g. by expecting them to learn a bunch of new rules and buy new books).

So I don't think we will ever see again see WotC go down the settings rabbit hole to anything like the extent that TSR did, nor rely so heavily on churning out books. I expect that what we will continue to see is settings being carefully curated, one source book being released, and the occasional adventure book if there is demand, but years apart. The exception being the Forgotten Realms, which stands as the central IP.

Therefore, I don't think Crawford is lying - I don't think WotC sees its settings as one-shots at all. But they also don't see them as discrete sub-genres that require constant additions. They see them as a part of ONE multi-verse that might get additional publications when there is a good story idea that is likely to sell. I think it will be like Exandria - a sourcebook, then a few years later an adventure with a pretty setting-specific storyline, and now a new sourcebook but coming from a 3PP, so WotC doesn't have to manage much risk. What you won't see is something like 2e Spelljammer, where one niche setting gets over a dozen official publications.
Last edited:

Visit Our Sponsor

An Advertisement