D&D 5E Further Future D&D Product Speculation


B/X Known World
In 5e, with the right tools, I think they could kill a CR 20-23 creature at level 14. Don’t forget an 18th level Archmage is a CR 12 creature.
Sure. But a sorcerer-king is a 20th-level wizard, 20th-level psionicist, and 1-10 levels into becoming a dragon. I know that’s 2E stats, but that’s no reason to make them pushovers in 5E.

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What I think they could do is assign the domains to the various elements in the same way they assign them to gods. If you're a cleric of water, you can pick from the Life, Nature, or Tempest domains; if you're a cleric of Fire, you can pick Forge, Light, or War. They could even create expanded spell lists for each element and say that you can, should, or even have to replace the expanded domains spells in the existing domains with the elemental ones. E.g., it doesn't matter what domain you take. If you're an Air cleric, your 1st-level domain spells are feather fall and thunderwave (or whatever). If they include the paraelements, then they have even more options. Some of the existing domains, like Trickery or Death, might be hard to place, but they might represent rogue clerics (not rogue/clerics!) who eschew the traditional elemental setup or follow a twisted version of a normal elemental or something like that.
They actually already did this in Princes of the Apocalypse, in the section about running in Dark Sun.
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WotC has absolutely started hiring cultural consultants everytime they cover material that is not Europe-inspired. The criticism of Tomb of Annihilation and Curse of Strahd largely cemented that it needed to be constant going forward.

I mean, just recently MTG released Kamigawa, and a cultural consultant was one of the speakers in the announcement event/video. The company takes this stuff very seriously now.

And please, don't say "oh this area is too big, you'd need to hire a cultural consultant for every culture is impossible" (wrong) or "what-about-EUROPE" (who cares). Not debating these logic fallacies, not worth my time.
I'm confused. Why "who cares" for Europe? My question remains unanswered: Why are American game designers more qualified to design Europe-inspired settings than non-European settings? I'm not sure how this is a logical fallacy, or why this is "not worth your time."


Planescape surely is too close to Radiant Citadel and Spelljammer. That’s three books in two years based on extra-planar weirdness. Surely they need something a bit more grounded in place.

I’m dying for something like Ghosts of Saltmarsh, that takes a finite place or perhaps two or three and develops it over the course of a campaign. Rather than recreating the D&D equivalent of Star Trek or The Librarians.
That's a good point re: Planescape. Hmm. That said, with the Magic influence, they seem to be very much into "other planes," so maybe they'd add in PS to add a fuller picture of planar gaming. Meaning, it would be strange to do RC and SJ, before and instead of PS.

I'm confused. Why "who cares" for Europe? My question remains unanswered: Why are American game designers more qualified to design Europe-inspired settings than non-European settings? I'm not sure how this is a logical fallacy, or why this is "not worth your time."

1. If someone was making a game that was very deeply inspired by the folk lore, culture, and natural environment of, say, Scandinavia, then I do think the project would benefit from people who were more closely connected to the culture. Many Free League games, for example, have a sensibility that would be hard for a company like wotc to capture

2. There are other geographies other than strictly national ones. The United States was obviously an English settler colony and dominant American culture is inundated with European cultural references. We read english literature in school, learn about European history, learn European languages (often poorly, but still). Politically, America is part of the "global north," and culturally associates itself with the geography of "the West."

3. Historically, "the West," including both Europe and the United States, has viewed the economies, cultures, and peoples of the rest of the world through an extractive lens--taking land, enslaving populations, but also taking the stories and culture of people from around the world. Sometimes these cultures (including languages, mythologies, histories) have been outright destroyed, sometimes they have been put in museums in the west to be viewed as artifacts, and sometimes these cultures have been turned into very reductive stereotypes. That last bit is known as exoticisation and orientalism.

4. So when people in "the West" create something, they should be aware of the above history and the way that it allows for and impacts what they do, both for the sake of producing a better product and for having an ethical relation to their creators and audiences. Game companies should consider whether they have minorities on their staff, not just as writers but in all areas. They should consider hiring writers from the global south who both have more knowledge of their cultures (and access to knowledge through their knowledge of language) and who face structural obstacles to making a living as a game designer. And they should consider how audiences--all audiences--might receive their product.


Unserious gamer
As a broad idea, sure. Though I’d argue with the specifics. To even have a chance against a sorcerer-king the PCs would need to be 20th level. A sorcerer-king would laugh and wipe the floor with a 14th-level party. The sorcerer-kings are seven of the eight most powerful beings on the planet.
Don’t forget that gathering powerful magic items that specifically target a powerful bad guy’s weak points is a time honored fantasy trope. Sorcerer kings are killable if that’s the plot the DM wants to tell.


Do we actually know that? Serious question. The city state region is fairly small and the Sorcerer-Kings and the Dragon are all in it. Do we know for certain that there aren't any more Sorcerer-Kings or other powerful beings somewhere else on the planet?
Is there still a rest of the planet?


Morkus from Orkus
Now, I'm not sure how they would do defiling/preserving magic, because I honestly can't remember how they did it in 2e.
Defilers drew power from life around them, turning plant life in a radius dependent on the level of the spell being cast to ash. I think higher order creatures in the area felt pain as well. Preserver magic was just normal magic. Defilers also had an experience chart where they gained levels faster, which is why so many wizards defiled. It took less effort and you gained power faster.


Pedantic Grognard
If you make the necessary changes to fix it, it'll make FR fans mad
I really don't think so. Very few FR fans care much for Zakhara; the most typical FR-fan viewpoint, in my experience, is that it was the best of the cultural knock-offs attached to the setting, damning with faint praise. And well, FR fans have already had many real-life years to absorb that there's been two metaphysical shakeups and 120 in-game years since we last saw Zakhara. The relatively rarer Al-Qadim fans, in my experience, would largely have no objections to a thoroughly revised version; most are far more attached to the idea of Arabian Nights fantasy than to the specifics of the particular implementation.

Those things go even further for Maztica and Kara-Tur; strong fans were rarer, they were even more fans of the underlying concept than the actual implementation, and FR has even more built-in reasons for those places to have substantially transformed since we last saw them in product (Shou Lung was conquered by the Horde last time we saw it in any major product, and Maztica was shunted to another world before snapping back). Of all the pitfalls involved in revisions to those areas of the Realms, old fans being angry are not really an issue.

The major advantage I could see in revising them rather than just doing new settings from the same cultural background is specifically to purge their problematic elements, so that issues with the old implementations can be answered by WotC with a "Yeah, we fixed that."

But this is all getting far afield from the question of what products WotC is going to make in 2023 and 2024, since I doubt any of FR's Cultural Expylands will be the 2023 classic setting or the 2024 revisit.


Morkus from Orkus
PCs we’re fighting Acerack on the bounce from an Atropal at 13th level in Tomb of Annihilation. I think Kalak could be on par with Acerack and not be considered a pushover
If 14th level PCs were fighting Acererak and didn't die in 2.3 seconds, something was terribly wrong. That guy ate gods for breakfast.

"Around a hundred years ago, Acererak's quest led him to the Forbidden City of Omu in Chult, on the world of Toril, whose priests were routinely killed in a series of death traps to appease their nine trickster gods. Impressed, Acererak killed all nine gods, enslaved the people, and forced them to build a dungeon beneath the cliffs called the Tomb of the Nine Gods."


I assume so. Nothing I remember from 2e indicated that the planet broke apart.
But is anything outside of the Tablelands actually alive, or in signifnicant numbers?

Looking into it a bit, it seems that the Tablelands are about 100,000 square miles (a fraction of the Sword Coast), and not much is derailed beyond. Though three may be a Thrikreen civilization?

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