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5E Musings on the likelihood of future products


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Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Maybe.

That's actually a pretty sound analysis, except for one thing that I'm not sure we know (do we?) .... the licensing and IP status of Exandria, and the contractual relation between Mercer and Hasbro.

We know that Green Ronin released Tal'Dorei, and it was ... I mean, it certainly didn't do as well as Wildemount, right? So the Mercer/Hasbro collaboration is mutually beneficial.

...but in the long run, in terms of making ALL THE MONEY (which is what companies like Hasbro like to do), they will want to pour more resources into developing the IP that the completely own and can develop further, and less money into IP that they do not completely own.

So more Exandria? Sure. But these things can be complicated.

I think that there are two factors; the first is that they are more than aware of the sensitivities that they need to deal with (see what happened with just Chult).

On the other hand, with wuxia, anime, and the general ubiquity of Asian culture that has been mainstreamed here, I think that we will see some type of themed sourcebook that is more Asian-inspired fantasy as opposed to the pseudo-Western that we see.

Al Qadim, on the other hand? That might be quite a bit harder.
All good points, but I'd add that the difference between the Tal'Dorei book isn't just Green Ronin vs Hasbro - it's also the high popularity of Critical Role the Geek & Sundry streaming show in 2017 vs the monstrous pop culture breakthrough visibility of Critical Role in 2019-2020.

The Kara-Tur issue isn't an unsolvable one; if they want to avoid the backlash, they just need to hire a primarily-Asian creative team to work on it. If they don't, it's not going to be worth the fallout and there's plenty of other stuff they can do instead.

The same applies to Al Qadim really, except the demand for Al Qadim is pretty much non-existent.

I think the majority of D&D fans for better or worse want fairly generic fantasy settings: Forgotten Realms for Gen X, Exandria for Millennials and Gen Z. Or homebrews which look very similar to them. For that reason and due to the powerful force of nostalgia, I also think Dragonlance would do far better for them than Planescape or Dark Sun.
 


On the other hand, with wuxia, anime, and the general ubiquity of Asian culture that has been mainstreamed here, I think that we will see some type of themed sourcebook that is more Asian-inspired fantasy as opposed to the pseudo-Western that we see.
I think that it's actually because this stuff is so mainstream, and so integrated, that there's no particular reason to have an "Asian" sourcebook. Like, what would it even add? Wuxia and anime stuff is either already doable (and only becoming more doable with the Psi subclasses and so on), or would be outside the scope of D&D. So that's not really something you can add. We got Monks. we got a Samurai subclass. There's nothing a Ninja can do that some kind of Rogue can't already (though maybe you could justify a subclass). Clerics and Paladins cover the role of Sohei entirely. And so on.

All I can see is potentially some largely unnecessary subclasses, and perhaps some mythological races? Doesn't seem like that would warrant a book. I guess maybe one of the Asian-influenced Magic settings could work, but my understanding is that they're a bit underdeveloped compared to other Magic settings, so would be far down the list.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Aleena died for your sins.
I think that it's actually because this stuff is so mainstream, and so integrated, that there's no particular reason to have an "Asian" sourcebook. Like, what would it even add? Wuxia and anime stuff is either already doable (and only becoming more doable with the Psi subclasses and so on), or would be outside the scope of D&D. So that's not really something you can add. We got Monks. we got a Samurai subclass. There's nothing a Ninja can do that some kind of Rogue can't already (though maybe you could justify a subclass). Clerics and Paladins cover the role of Sohei entirely. And so on.

All I can see is potentially some largely unnecessary subclasses, and perhaps some mythological races? Doesn't seem like that would warrant a book. I guess maybe one of the Asian-influenced Magic settings could work, but my understanding is that they're a bit underdeveloped compared to other Magic settings, so would be far down the list.
That's kind of a strange thing to say, since you can say that about any setting. We don't, strictly speaking, need a Greek-flavored setting, or an Egyptian-flavored setting, or Greyhawk, or Forgotten Realms, or Dark Sun, or Dragonlance, any other setting, since you can just "do it" with 5e already.

I mean, it's really not even that much work to make Gamma World.

Given that "base 5e" is very much based on traditional, western European fantasy tropes, however, and given the popularity of Asian themes, I don't think that saying, "Hey there's a Samurai subclass, why don't you just enjoy your elegant courtier ability and shut up" will suffice for most people that want to play in a setting that really explores those themes instead of "Kill some orcs."

YMMV.
 

Aaron L

Adventurer
I am still utterly baffled as to why they abandoned the Unearthed Arcana Mystic class and psionics rules, and then went on to release that far inferior subsystem of psionic class substitution abilities (and then apparently dropped that version as well, I guess?) The final 28-page Unearthed Arcana Mystic document was utterly fantastic; I absolutely loved how the psionics system worked, how the Mystic class worked, how all the Mystic Order subclasses worked, and even just loved the feel of the whole system, making it very distinct from magic and really felt like abilities the character could just do when they had the psionic discipline activated, rather than spells that were cast.

Did a bunch of people complain about it for some reason, or something? I just don't get it at all. They had an entire psionics system worked out, a completed cool and interesting class, a full selection of flavorful subclasses, and a plethora of psionic powers... an entire system which could easily allow you to emulate various types of mystic mental powers from all kinds of different flavors of stories... anything from oldschool pulp Weird Fiction villains with sinister mentalist powers, to Dune style advanced body control and mentalism, all the way up to crazy Dragon Ball Z-style ki blasts. I loved absolutely everything about it except for the class name of "The Mystic," which could easily be changed. What was the problem people had with it, if any?

Regardless of its official deprecation by WotC I will continue to be using the Unearthed Arcana Mystic document as the psionics system for my own games. It's just too bad they won't be continuing to support it, since it's just so great.

And I will always continue to clamor for a new updated Greyhawk sourcebook for 5th Edition... which is perhaps something I will end up wishing I hadn't done. I really don't want to see Dragonborn and 5E style Tieflings normalized into my beloved Oerth. Bizarre fringe creatures, fine, but not something that is widespresd enough to be listed in the main rulebooks as a core playable race.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Now this is the high grade speculation I come here for!

You forgot to include a Monster book category! Volo's Guide openly suggested Fiends (check), Gith (check), Dragons, and Undead for future books in the intro chapter, and we got half of those with MToF. A Draconomicon or Van Richtens Handbook of Horrors would be excellent product ideas.

On the other hand, however, it could be that both Volo's style monster books and Xanathar's style crunch books have been overtaken by the new Setting book format, serving both purposes in one stop. Ravnica actually had a bestiary similar in size to Volo's or Mordenkein's, for instance.

An "Epic Level" handbook is never, ever happening. Level 15-20 are barely played, and are already the "Epic" Levels in effect.

Magic recently tapped into a Hasbro Godzilla licensing deal to print honest to goodness Godzilla Magic cards: it would not surprise me if we saw something like that for D&D in the future, particularly after the Rick & Morty success. I'd kill for a Zelda Setting book...
 

Snarf Zagyg

Aleena died for your sins.
All good points, but I'd add that the difference between the Tal'Dorei book isn't just Green Ronin vs Hasbro - it's also the high popularity of Critical Role the Geek & Sundry streaming show in 2017 vs the monstrous pop culture breakthrough visibility of Critical Role in 2019-2020.
Agreed, but the licensing issue will be paramount; I don't know how much Hasbro will want to continue building up a possible competitor. Then again, I don't know what the contract is between them!

The Kara-Tur issue isn't an unsolvable one; if they want to avoid the backlash, they just need to hire a primarily-Asian creative team to work on it. If they don't, it's not going to be worth the fallout and there's plenty of other stuff they can do instead.
I don't want to be cynical, but I'm pretty sure that all they will need to do is have a consultant. They don't need a "All-Star, All-Asian team," they just need, at a bare minimum, to hire someone to both make sure it's not offensive and to take the fall if there is an issue.

Okay, I guess I am pretty cynical.

The same applies to Al Qadim really, except the demand for Al Qadim is pretty much non-existent.
This is, in my opinion, even more difficult, simply because a lot of the Al Qadim imagery that many people find appealing is tied up with a certain amount of 1001 Nights exoticism.

I think the majority of D&D fans for better or worse want fairly generic fantasy settings: Forgotten Realms for Gen X, Exandria for Millennials and Gen Z. Or homebrews which look very similar to them. For that reason and due to the powerful force of nostalgia, I also think Dragonlance would do far better for them than Planescape or Dark Sun.
This is possibly true? I'm honestly not sure. I'd say that generic settings tend to have the broadest, but shallowest appeal, whereas niche settings tend to have the most passionate, but narrow, appeal.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I am still utterly baffled as to why they abandoned the Unearthed Arcana Mystic class and psionics rules, and then went on to release that far inferior subsystem of psionic class substitution abilities... and then apparently dropped that one as well The final 28-page Unearthed Arcana Mystic document was utterly fantastic; I absolutely loved how the psionics system worked, how the Mystic class worked, how all the Mystic Order subclasses worked, and even just loved the feel of the whole system, making it very distinct from magic and really felt like abilities the character could just do when they had the psionic discipline activated, rather than spells that were cast.

Did a bunch of people complain about it for some reason, or something? I just don't get it at all. They had an entire psionics system worked out, a completed cool and interesting class, a full selection of flavorful subclasses, and a plethora of psionic powers... an entire system which could easily allow you to emulate various types of mystic mental powers from all kinds of different flavors of stories... anything from oldschool pulp Weird Fiction villains with sinister mentalist powers, to Dune style advanced body control and mentalism, all the way up to crazy Dragon Ball Z-style ki blasts. I loved absolutely everything about it except for the class name of "The Mystic," which could easily be changed. What was the problem people had with it, if any?

Regardless of its official deprecation by WotC I will continue to be using the Unearthed Arcana Mystic document as the psionics system for my own games. It's just too bad they won't be continuing to support it, since it's just so great.
No big mystery to it, it was significantly unpopular when they did their surveys, so it wasn't worth adding to the game for WotC. They explained this in the recent Psionics test documents, even.
 

Aaron L

Adventurer
No big mystery to it, it was significantly unpopular when they did their surveys, so it wasn't worth adding to the game for WotC. They explained this in the recent Psionics test documents, even.
Yeah, but I was wondering if anyone understood why it was so unpopular? I thought it was all utterly fantastic and, like I said, I am baffled as to why so many people wouldn't like it. It seems bizarre to me.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Aleena died for your sins.
Magic recently tapped into a Hasbro Godzilla licensing deal to print honest to goodness Godzilla Magic cards: it would not surprise me if we saw something like that for D&D in the future, particularly after the Rick & Morty success. I'd kill for a Zelda Setting book...
mmmm.....

I don't know how I feel about that sort of "crossing the streams." In my mind's eye, I see Bill Lumbergh ...

Hello Snarf, what's happening? Ummm, I'm gonna need you to go ahead come in tomorrow so we can discuss cross-licensing and synergy. So if you could be here around 9 that would be great, mmmk... oh oh! and I almost forgot ahh, I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday too, kay, because synergy requires at least two days.

D&D is its own, weird little thing.

Sometimes you get two great things that are great separate, and together, like peanut butter and chocolate.

Other times, it's more like orange juice and brushing your teeth- both great, just not together.

I'd rather they concentrate on making more D&D stuff than bringing Godzilla and Zelda into D&D.
 

Aaron L

Adventurer
I kinda wish Hasbro could do a cross-licensing deal with Mattel so we could get a Masters of the Universe D&D setting...

You could already get most of the way there by just using the sci-fi weapons rules in the DMG, but you would need some kind of rules for building PCs with the odd unique MotU character powers, like a Ram-Man or a Fisto or a Mechanek.

[Edited to add: I suppose they could do a Visionaries setting? But that just wouldn't be nearly the same... ]
 

Parmandur

Legend
Yeah, but I was wondering if anyone understood why it was so unpopular? I thought it was all utterly fantastic and, like I said, I am baffled as to why so many people wouldn't like it. It seems bizarre to me.
Well, what the most recent Psionics UA said was:

"In 2017 [really, 2015-2017 in several iterations], we experimented with an unofficial character class—the mystic—focused on psionic powers. Through its features and subclasses, the mystic allowed you to create a character who echoed the abilities of other classes in the game but with a psionic twist. As much as many playtesters enjoyed the psionic themes in the mystic, feedback was also clear that the class encroached on other classes’ territory and that it was often too complex, too powerful, or both."

"Following that feedback, we’ve decided to say farewell to the mystic and explore other ways of giving players psi-themed powers, as we did with the features of the Great Old One warlock in the Player’s Handbook."

We've known since 2018 that the Mystic was dead, and in 2018 what Mearls said was that people didn't like how different from the standard rules it was, and a large number of DMs said they wouldn't allow it at their table if a player asked. So part of their quest is to find a Psionics ruleset that will be accepted.
 

Aaron L

Adventurer
Well, what the most recent Psionics UA said was:

"In 2017 [really, 2015-2017 in several iterations], we experimented with an unofficial character class—the mystic—focused on psionic powers. Through its features and subclasses, the mystic allowed you to create a character who echoed the abilities of other classes in the game but with a psionic twist. As much as many playtesters enjoyed the psionic themes in the mystic, feedback was also clear that the class encroached on other classes’ territory and that it was often too complex, too powerful, or both."

"Following that feedback, we’ve decided to say farewell to the mystic and explore other ways of giving players psi-themed powers, as we did with the features of the Great Old One warlock in the Player’s Handbook."

We've known since 2018 that the Mystic was dead, and in 2018 what Mearls said was that people didn't like how different from the standard rules it was, and a large number of DMs said they wouldn't allow it at their table if a player asked. So part of their quest is to find a Psionics ruleset that will be accepted.
Makes me a sad panda.
 

Parmandur

Legend
mmmm.....

I don't know how I feel about that sort of "crossing the streams." In my mind's eye, I see Bill Lumbergh ...

Hello Snarf, what's happening? Ummm, I'm gonna need you to go ahead come in tomorrow so we can discuss cross-licensing and synergy. So if you could be here around 9 that would be great, mmmk... oh oh! and I almost forgot ahh, I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday too, kay, because synergy requires at least two days.

D&D is its own, weird little thing.

Sometimes you get two great things that are great separate, and together, like peanut butter and chocolate.

Other times, it's more like orange juice and brushing your teeth- both great, just not together.

I'd rather they concentrate on making more D&D stuff than bringing Godzilla and Zelda into D&D.
On the contrary, crossing more streams, is more better.
 


SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
Somebody clearly skipped the Dragon Age games, Dark Souls, Dragon's Dogma, and so on. It's hard to get more directly D&D-inspired than Dragon's Dogma. That said if they could get an Ivalice setting book licensed that would definitely turn a few heads.
Quoted for truth!
 

Snarf Zagyg

Aleena died for your sins.
On the contrary, crossing more streams, is more better.
Not to denigrate remix culture (which is awesome), but on a fundamental level, the re-use of IP in this manner deprives us of new IP.

In other words, the reason there is a Zelda to begin with (and this is before getting into licensing issues) is because someone created something new instead of just saying, "Eh, let's just license some other property."

D&D not only has a ton of property to explore, it can still create new stuff. That's not to say that we won't see the occasional "Rick & Morty" one-off, but the short-term boost you get from using recognized names ("Look, they have a Dua Lipa edition Adventure Path! Now that's some future nostaliga!") sacrifices the long-term integrity and growth of the brand.

IMO. :)
 


Parmandur

Legend
Much as I like Planescape and Dark Sun, their popularity outside of guys in their 40s-50s who still use the word "module" even though WotC stopped using it 20 years ago is minimal - and even in their heyday, these settings were not very successful financially. The fact that this board overwhelmingly consists of that demographic could lead one to believe there is a demand for those settings, but WotC's market research doesn't bear that out. Each has a Gen X cult following but not a growing fanbase.

Exandria is the money setting right now. Nothing they release in 2020 will outsell the Wildemount book. If they don't release more Exandria stuff, including a hardcover adventure, they will have dropped the ball. And I'm not saying that because I particularly want Exandria stuff; it's just that it's very clearly the best business move they could make right now. WAY ahead of Planescape, Dark Sun, or Spelljammer.

Kara-Tur or any iteration of "Oriental Adventures" is a PR disaster waiting to happen for them unless they hire a team of Asian creators to make it. Otherwise I'm sure they'll have the common sense to avoid it.
This isn't really accurate. WotC has said consistently that Dark Sun and Planescape are top tier in popularity from their surveys, and they have more cache and legs with younger people than you may think. Planescape: Torment just got rereleased on consoles, even.
 

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