D&D General Dungeons & Dragons Sneak Peek at Gameholecon: 50th Anniversary Adventure, Rod of Seven Parts, The Endless Stair, Tsojcanth, Barrier Peaks?

I was leaving a panel at GameHoleCon when Chris Perkins walked in and then Justice and Bill and then quite a few other WotC folk! So I stayed.

Justice Arman, Bill Benham, Amanda Hamon, LaTia Jacquise, Chris Lindsay, Ron Lundeen, Chris Perkins.


I'm glad I did because what started as a very funny trivia game challenge to the WotC folk and some of the audience soon turned into a discussion about things they are working on. Cool things. Oh and some of those questions were by Jon Peterson and were hard! I pride myself in getting a couple correct! Iron Rations for the win! Chris Lindsay talked about the DMSGuild too, and strongly hinted to me about the Manual of the Planes. I just wasn't on the same plane.

Anyway they discussed things that have already been covered, but I think with a bit more detail on particular things. This was more of a conversation than a presentation after all.

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  • Ron Lundeen discussed the internal playtests and that he liked it when he would see similar things discussed in the same ways in both public and private testing.
  • Bill Benham discussed Jaquaysing the maps and adventures and how they are taking that more to heart. I think she was on everyone's mind at the panel, see this thread if you would, she could use our help.
  • Ron also dicussed how he learned that scrolls are a secret magic item table of power and rarity for magic items generally. That's a nice hint I'll have to take a closer look at.
And then Chris talked about how their adventures take this fine line of between having too much and overwhelming new people yet also having to satisfy old hats like myself.
  • The new core books will have an update to format and art like the more recent books.
  • Gateway to new players was a term they kept using for the new PHB and even the DMG.
  • Oh and they mentioned Tasha’s Bubbling Cauldron as a new spell, which Hollie will be delighted with.
  • All three books will have mostly new art from new artists too, like from two concept artists from Obi Wan and the Avatar shows.
Then they went on to the DMG and how it'll talk about what a DM does, what are the parts of the game, the books and even how to use the DM Screen in play.
  • It'll have handouts and tools to help you organize and build your notes and show you a campaign setting designed to be customized as a tutorial to make it your own and eventually build one from scratch.
  • There will be new magic items to fill in more rarity niches and more cool common ones too.
  • And finally we'll get the 1980 cartoon series magic items, something Chris seemed almost giddy about.
The Monster Manual will have more high level creatures and they noted things they'll put in stat blocks that were missing before, like proficiency bonus.

'Romp around the multiverse', I don't think that's a new book title, but it's a new kind of anthology book that revisits all the things they've done in D&D, a '50th anniversary book'. Chris Perkins actually ran the Ravenloft adventure at the convention, I wish I'd captured the events he ran because I'm guessing the title and a few details are in that entry. Anyone here play in his games? Care to share?

And then Chris started to display cool secrets. I'm not sure if any of these are separate books or part of the above mentioned book, but I think they are separate books the way Chris was hinting. I must also offer an apology. There was no way I could get all of these images. I was caught off guard and in a bit of awe. The last one especially is just killing me, it was wonderful and Chris refused to show me after the panel with that wry smile of his.

So here is the only clear image I got. What do you see? Give me your guesses and I'll later give you what the jokes were they made. I even got a laugh out of the crew with one!


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However the missing last image was my biggest regret. It was a cute fluffy bunny on a stump...... Oh the agony! I got a selfie with Chris as a consolation prize!

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OK I’ll spill more. I’m not sure but they indeed seemed to be talking about multiple books and this new book for the 50th. I think they intentionally obfuscated things.
  • The key to me is that the 50th book is a visit to all the 5e adventures and the stuff that isn’t from those are either for the story to tie them together or are from other books
  • The bunny was undead, a Sheep in Wolfs clothing. It was a brand new painting and I didn’t recognize the artist.
  • My joke was that the Rod would fall apart way to easily, as they tried to hint what it was.
So from what they were taking about I think.
  • A D&D 50th Anniversary book
  • An Endless Stair book
  • A Rod of Seven parts book
  • And Expedition to the Barrier Peaks
  • Oh and Tsojcanth
Please note those are all guesses by me. Oh and Tsojcanth.

Chris did say that the D&D 50th book had been announced but I can’t find anything on it.
 
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Azzy

ᚳᚣᚾᛖᚹᚢᛚᚠ
What's weird is that it gets halfway there, with painfully detailed charts about the migration of ethnic groups fleeing various magical catastrophes, discusses how those populations blend and change over time, mentions that most of them aren't the lily white pseudo-Europeans seen in most 1970s fantasy ... and then forgets all of that when it comes time to depict any of these characters or to make the cultures relevant after the migrations are discussed.

It all smacks of typical Gygax getting hyper-focused on an idea and then forgetting about it once it's done.
I think that that's more an issue with the art director, not the writers.
 

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Azzy

ᚳᚣᚾᛖᚹᚢᛚᚠ
In 1983, Gygax had a lot of sway at TSR. He could definitely have said "hey, let's get some melanin on those characters" if he'd wanted to.
Sure, if he actually talked to the art department. But, we're talking TSR here.

That said, there's very few illustrations (six, I believe) of people in the 1983 boxed set. Two of which are presumably Baklunish (one illustration being next to the entry for Zeif, the other being either Tiger or Wolf Nomads).
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Sure, if he actually talked to the art department. But, we're talking TSR here.

That said, there's very few illustrations (six, I believe) of people in the 1983 boxed set. Two of which are presumably Baklunish (one illustration being next to the entry for Zeif, the other being either Tiger or Wolf Nomads).
It doesnjelp that tye classic modules are mostly near the more whitebread areas or in the total wilderness or bad places. Technically, the nicest part of the Flannaes is the Caliphate of Eckbar...but nothing much officially happens there under Gygax's watch.
 

What's weird is that it gets halfway there, with painfully detailed charts about the migration of ethnic groups fleeing various magical catastrophes, discusses how those populations blend and change over time, mentions that most of them aren't the lily white pseudo-Europeans seen in most 1970s fantasy ... and then forgets all of that when it comes time to depict any of these characters or to make the cultures relevant after the migrations are discussed.

It all smacks of typical Gygax getting hyper-focused on an idea and then forgetting about it once it's done.
The interesting part is that the most lily-white of the various groups, the Suel, were described as... well, not flatteringly when it comes to their morality...
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
The weird hidge-podge 19th century style ethnography of early Greyhawk hasn't aged super great...but I think it contains the seeds for making a diverse Setting. Though I would also expect most of thst wouldn't be front and center in a modern treatment...
 

What's weird is that it gets halfway there, with painfully detailed charts about the migration of ethnic groups fleeing various magical catastrophes, discusses how those populations blend and change over time, mentions that most of them aren't the lily white pseudo-Europeans seen in most 1970s fantasy ... and then forgets all of that when it comes time to depict any of these characters or to make the cultures relevant after the migrations are discussed.

It all smacks of typical Gygax getting hyper-focused on an idea and then forgetting about it once it's done.
I wasn't only thinking about diversity in the modern sense. It simply wasn't something anyone would have thought about in 1980, and there is nothing in the lore that would contradict ethnically diverse illustrations being added (although I'm sure there would be complaints from certain quarters anyway). Gender, on the hand went for "historical authenticity" - whatever that can mean in a fantasy world. Failing to take account that some of the people who play D&D might be female.

But I was also thinking about variety. This is best illustrated by comparing to the Forgotten Realms. We have the pseudo-medieval Europe land over here, the evil magiocracy over there, some Celtic islands off the coast of a plutocratic city, there is a fledgling democracy in the jungles to the south, etc. It might be an unrealistic hodgepodge, but as a place to locate adventures it's far more useful. The switch to the Forgotten Realms wasn't just political, it was also simply a better setting for playing D&D (and it had better names!)

Greyhawk did get lots of soft retcons as adventure modules where set in various regions, so it did gradually become more varied from what was presented in the 1980 folder. But that goes back to the big question: which version of Greyhawk gets revived?
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
But I was also thinking about variety. This is best illustrated by comparing to the Forgotten Realms. We have the pseudo-medieval Europe land over here, the evil magiocracy over there, some Celtic islands off the coast of a plutocratic city, there is a fledgling democracy in the jungles to the south, etc. It might be an unrealistic hodgepodge, but as a place to locate adventures it's far more useful. The switch to the Forgotten Realms wasn't just political, it was also simply a better setting for playing D&D (and it had better names!)
Now that is interesting, because while I love the Forgotten Realms hodge-podge (and yeah, the names are better), I think this is specifically something that Gygax did well (in the 1983 set, I know thst from PDF, cNnot speak to the Folio they donevem actually sell it). Gygax spends a lot of energy on establishing politoes of different types, different scales, and different Alignments and explicitly states in the text that thisnis to allow a DM to pick a spot for the kind of campaign they want: go here for knights and chivalry, go here.tl be Rovin Hood, go here for Lankhmar, go here for swashbuckling piracy, go here for viking shenanigans, go here for court intrigue, etc, etc.
 

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