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5E Musings on the likelihood of future products

Parmandur

Legend
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. :)
For my money, part of the core brand identity of D&D is a lack of brand integrity.
 

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wingsandsword

Adventurer
DARK SUN - Even though I have a penchant for reminding my fellow grognards and quasi-grognards that we're now a minority, with a new majority of younger players for whom "Greyhawk" is like vinyl and "Mystara" like cassette tapes, I do find myself convinced by the reverant tone with which folks here and in similar places speak of Dark Sun--that its publication is a near-certainty. I think we'll see Planescape first, but Dark Sun will be after that. ETA: 2022.

XANATHAR 2 - (By a different name, of course...I like @darjr 's idea of Xagyg's Unearthed Arcana). We don't know what will be in it--whether psionics, epic rules, revised ranger-sorcerer-druid, or whatnot, but it will almost certainly happen at some point. As an aside, it could be that "Xanathar's 2" is some kind of Dark Sun Player's Guide, complete with psionics, and a smattering of epic rules via dragon-kings and agathion. ETA: 2021-22.
Since three of the biggest things longtime fans have been asking for in 5e have been a Dark Sun book, official psionics rules, and official epic-level rules, it would make sense (given WotC's current attitude towards publishing them) to combine them.

You can't really do Dark Sun faithfully without psionics, and there's a reason the first-ever epic-level book for D&D was made specifically for Dark Sun, I could see either a Dark Sun hardcover having those elements added to cover those things. . .or as you noted, a "Dark Sun Player's Guide" sort of book (whether or not it's officially that) that includes those elements but is released along the same general time as Dark Sun.
 

Parmandur

Legend
SPELLJAMMER - It is clear that Spelljammer is more in the minds of the D&D team than it was in 3E or 4E days. I personally think we'll first see it as an alternate cosmology in a Planes book; if it proves to be popular, possibly a full treatment to follow - but not for awhile. ETA: 2021 (Planes book), 2022 or later, if ever (full treatment).
A bit pedantic of me, but Spelljammer doesn't need an "alternate" cosmology, the PHB and DMG lay out a Great Wheel cosmology with a unified Spelljammer Material Plane quite explicitly. All the standard D&D Settings in 5E are tied by Spelljammer in one Material Plane, and Planescape interdimensionally.

FIEND FOLIO - How can they not re-use this name? We'll almost certainly see another monster book at some point, so why not Fiend Folio?
Reason we won't see something called that is that one of 5Es principles is never reusing older edition book titles, aside from the Core 3.

NENTIR VALE/NERATH BOOK - This seems unlikely, with many of us still having a slight touch of melancholy about the shelved gazetteer. I would never say never, though, and it could fit into an "other worlds" line (see above).
Won't happen, because Exandria killed Nerath and stole it's stuff.
 

Lem23

Adventurer
I dunno about the epic book. As someone posted earlier, 15-20 is pretty epic already, and hardly ever used. While I'm sure some people would love it, I know our group probably wouldn't touch it (and we're very long time in the main - a couple of young 'uns but the majority of us have been playing sicne the early 80s.
 

MatthewJHanson

Registered Ninja
Publisher
I agree with a lot of what's already been said. Planescape/manual of the planes is likely though probably a single book, not both. I could also see spelljammer getting incorporated into that book.

I think Dark Sun is coming whenever they get psionics ironed out.

I could see them doing source books about different locations in the Forgotten Realms (Neverwinter seems likely) though probably not a whole Realms book.

I'm curious to see what they do for the 50th anniversary. Maybe something retro like another adventure compilation?
 

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.
Ok, so what, specifically, would be added in your view? That's my question.

We have Monks (including Kensei). We have Samurai. Bushi are covered by Champions or BMs. Sohei are covered by Clerics (because Clerics aren't restricted the way they once were). Ninjas could be a Rogue subclass, but aren't really a separate thing. Wu Jen are just eccentric Wizards or Sorcerers. An Honor system is already in the DMG. What else would be added?

Theros is only coming because it's already a Magic setting, and they have specific stuff they can deliver with it - "Mythic Monsters" seems to be the main deal. Also for unclear reasons ancient world stuff is kind of zeitgeist-y at the moment (hence the half-dozen other 3PP books with similar settings out or coming out).

I don't think we'll see WotC to an Egyptian-themed setting, nor Greyhawk. They barely did the Forgotten Realms, and only because it's so extremely popular!

Also what even are "Asian themes"? That's such a confusing thing to say. I've been watching anime, wuxia, hong kong movies, Japanese movies and so on since I was like, a little kid (before D&D), and still watch a lot of media from Asia. I don't see any themes that are prevalent there that aren't prevalent here. That's why Asian media has been so successful in part - because as soon you get past the language barrier and aesthetic elements, the culture is immediately understandable and relatable. No-one is all that unusually. Maybe there's a little more of a focus on etiquette and honor, but cut to 50-100 years earlier in the West, and you see the same focus on etiquette and honor (certainly in Britain, you do).
 

There is a good reason for the return of Oriental Adventures, the potential section of the market of the otaku fandom. Manga and animes are making a lot of money. There is even a d20 manga. If Hasbro wants, they could sell action figures of famous characters from Shonen Jump, for example Dragon Quest: the adventures of Fly. If they agree, this manga magazine could publish a new franchise with its own version of D&D: Adventures Orientals.

If Hasbro wants, WotC could publish a Planeshift: Visionaries or Planeshift: Beast Wars, at least for the next April's Fool to test the reaction by the fandom.

WotC could publish a D&D version of famous franchises, but if they want to be linked to the D&D multiverse we may need a really good explanation.

Hasbro can create its own sword & planet franchise. If Hasbro buys Mattel then the things could change.

Greyhawk will come back, but they aren't ready yet. They need some ideas about how to continue the metaplot.

I am starting to think the strategy will be first the media title, for example short films in youtube, and later the TTRPGs as adaptations of the most popular series by EnternaimentOne/Allspark.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Supporter
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.
I'm just spitballing, but I think doubling down on CR's popularity makes a lot of sense. Maybe WotC is working with Matt Mercer on a new continent for Exandria that can be released concurrently with the next season of Critical Role?
 

Undrave

Hero
ORIENTAL/ASIAN ADVENTURES - Ninjas, samurai, ronin, katana...how can we do without all of this fun stuff? Well, we have so far - and remember that there hasn't been a dedicated Oriental Adventures book in almost two decades. But it could happen...perhaps alongside a re-vamped and properly Realms-ified Kara-Tur.
There's the M:TG setting of Kamigawa. We could play rat ninjas and goblin shamans...

ANYDAY NOW!
Explorer's Guide to Ivalice/Spira/Hyrule or whatever other JRPG setting is left unexploited by official TTRPGs. :p

C'mon, WotC, those games are the closest I've a had to a D&D video game experience since BG 1-2-Dark Alliance!
With stats for Viera, Gria, Moogle, Bangaa and Nu Mou! I want to play a Moogle Animist!

That would be pretty darn fantastic. Where's that Hasbro synergy at, WOTC?

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
I don't know why but that made me chuckle.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Ninjas could be a Rogue subclass, but aren't really a separate thing.
To add to your point, the Shadow Monk from the PHB is blatantly a Ninja. Assassin Rogue with an appropriately tweaked background also fits the bill.

I don't think we'll see WotC to an Egyptian-themed setting, nor Greyhawk. They barely did the Forgotten Realms, and only because it's so extremely popular!
We already have a bit of Greyhawk, and I doubt we've seen the last of it. There is an Egyptian Magic Setting, Amonkhet, which I wouldn't be surprised to see return with a D&D tie-in.
 

Mercurius

Legend
I am most curious to see what they do for the 50th Anniversary.

I think it would be great if they could issue some commemorative reprints of old classics. That seems like low-hanging fruit.

But what will they do with 5e?
That's kind of why I didn't extend the chart -- I wouldn't be surprised to see a shift of direction, more alternate approaches, possibly other genres, just something...different. Or not. But for the 50th anniversary itself, my best guess is the two box sets, possibly a third "best of D&D" one, or maybe a box set of classic modules.
 

Mercurius

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 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.
It could be that they stopped because they settled on the mystic, which would mean we could have psionics sooner than we think. I didn't really follow the UA articles, so can't comment on the quality of the designs, but will take your word for it.
 

Mercurius

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.
Yeah, I thought about monster books later on but was getting tired, and then slotted in FF. But I think you're right and had the same thought: monsters in adventure and setting books, maybe compiled later on.
 

Mercurius

Legend
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.
This is kind of a bummer, but also makes me think, that they should approach psionics, the planes, and epic in a similar manner: as toolbox options with a variety of variations. Like so:

Planescape: Great Wheel, World Tree, build your own cosmology; with options for Planescape/Sigil, Ravnica/planeswalking, and Spelljammer.
Psionics: mystic and psion, dedicated classes and add-on for other characters.
Epic: More detail for existing levels; option for levels 21-30; immortal/demigod rules of "ascension."

Or at least that's what I'd like to see.
 


Undrave

Hero
There's been a ton of speculation about the future of the D&D line, so at the risk of re-hashing discussions, I wanted to present a different way of approaching the subject.
Oh! As an FYI, your first post has issues when viewed in dark mode. It's not a big deal but I just figured I'd mention it.

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.
Because it was TOO MUCH STUFF all at once. It was like multiple classes in one with too many new rules, too many builds out of the box and it felt like a differently themed copy of multiple classes.

Maybe a scaled down version of it could work.
 


Parmandur

Legend
Oh! As an FYI, your first post has issues when viewed in dark mode. It's not a big deal but I just figured I'd mention it.



Because it was TOO MUCH STUFF all at once. It was like multiple classes in one with too many new rules, too many builds out of the box and it felt like a differently themed copy of multiple classes.

Maybe a scaled down version of it could work.
Crawford has hinted that a new, back to the drawing board Psion Class is possible, but it won't be the Mystic.
 


Mercurius

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.
Valid points, all, but I'll throw in few points.

Yes, PS and DS are beloved by us Gen Xers, but they are really beloved. But further: the question is how they'd translate to the contemporary context. No one knows for sure, but I personally think they'd be quite popular among the young 'uns.

Furthermore, the reason they don't have a "growing fan-base" could be because there is no new material. WotC doesn't have to go whole hog; a Manual of the Planes is a near inevitably for reasons I stated, and they can test out Sigil/Planescape within its pages, and then decide on whether to do more specific treatment. So maybe I should push back my Shemeska's Guide by a year or two, and go with the idea of a dedicated Sigil chapter in MotP (like 4E), with possible greater coverage later on.

DS also fills a need, or a lack in the current lineup: a heavily thematic sword & sorcery style setting. It may not receive a line of follow-up books, but I see it getting the Eberron treatment: a core book (with a possible player's guide including psionics), and then opened up to DM's Guild.

Kara-Tur doesn't have to be a PR disaster. I'm not sure how D&D is doing in Japan, South Korea, and China, but if there is a market, it could be designed there as the first "international D&D book."
 

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