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D&D 5E Old settings coming back?

Dausuul

Legend
I would like Mystara, Spelljammer, Planescape, Dark Sun, and Greyhawk.

The problem is that you need adventures to support the settings.

Why? I mean, it'd be nice, but it's not clear that it's needed. For me, at least, I am unlikely to buy much in the way of adventures. Whatever setting books I buy--and I probably will buy some, if I like the look of them--will be for entertainment and inspiration, not because I intend to actually run a game there.
 

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gyor

Legend
I would like FR, Planescape, Ravenloft, Spelljammer, and Ebberon.

I think FR, Dragonlance, Eberron, Greyhawk, Darksun are more likely sadly for me, good news for fans of Greyhawk.

I just don't think Birth Right or Mysara is likely at all sorry to the fans of those settings, I just don't see it happening.

Al-Qadim and Kara Tur are part of the Forgotten Realms as Cannon so its likely just a matter of time before they get covered, it will be curious as to how these lands handled the Spellplague as asside from refugees from Kara Tur that was never answered in 4e. As for having them be seperate settings from FR, they might have some special mechanics, but the truth is FR is the flagship and it ate both settings so they will not mess with cannon by seperating them from FR.
 

How about - publish a setting guide, and possibly setting monster book. Then publish a single adventure guide that contains (a) one full length adventure (b) a handful of encounters (c) several extensive but undeveloped plot summaries and (d) a bunch of one-sentence plot hooks, all of which are specifically chosen because they evoke the feel/experience of the setting. No adventure from the Planescape book should be just as easily published in the Ravenloft book, for example.
 


While I expect Greyhawk to make a quick reappearance, WotC likely wants to prevent the TSR bloat. One trick is making the settings appeal to people who would never run them.
Here's how I would limit future settings:

* Alternate rules. Settings with a very different feel might be tempting to add, for the number of rules modules, subclasses, spells, and the the like they add. So people who want those options also buy the setting. (Dark Sun, Spelljammer, Ravenloft, Birthright)
* Adventures: Ones they can release as part of adventures. I think a reimagined "Best Of" Dragonlance might work well as an AP.
* Side Stories: Settings where you can add them into a campaign as a break or side story, then return to your other world. (Ravenloft, Planescape, Spelljammer)
 

Cam Banks

Adventurer
Having the mechanics being written, designed, and developed by people who created the game system for one. While the fluff text of the 3e Dragonlance books (and the Ravenloft 2PP) was excellent, the mechanics were often a little shaky and unbalanced.
How many different versions of the Knights of Solamnia PrC were there again?

Three. The DLCS version, which nobody really liked; the War of the Lance version, which was designed specifically for that time period when there weren't many active divine characters and the Orders were at their lowest; and the Knightly Orders of Ansalon version, which embraced the new rules WotC had introduced regarding substitution levels and other design ideas we'd likely have used had they been around originally.

I'm very proud of our game design for those books. It was no more clunky or unbalanced than anything you'd find in a given Complete XXX handbook, and I think we had fewer stat block errors. :)

Oh, and not having books become Out of Print less than a year after release and becoming impossible to find.

Other than Towers of High Sorcery, you can find most of the MWP/SP DL books on the market event to this day, often incredibly cheap.

Cheers,
Cam
 

Abstruse

Legend
Wow, I stirred up a hornet's nest with that, didn't I? Anyway, here's the deal based on what I know, what I think I know, and what I've heard from various people.

Here's what I have confirmed:

Kender and Warforged are going to be in the next Playtest Packet dropping in a week or three.

Keith Baker has had informal talks with Wizards of the Coast working on Eberron, but there's nothing set in stone as WotC is still deciding on setting support.

Margaret Weis has stated that she would not be adverse to coming back to work on Dragonlance and gives her blessing for the setting to come back even without her.

Ed Greenwood is writing not only a column on Forgotten Realms (and has been doing so for Dragon Magazine for I think two or three years at this point), but he is writing the first novel of the Sundering, which is the big edition change event for Forgotten Realms this time around.

That's it for confirmed stuff. There's a few other things that's come up. First, the current editor for online content for WotC is Miranda Horner, whose first jobs for the company were editing Dragonlance and Ravenloft. Now, Chris Perkins is the one who actually makes the decisions on what to print and Miranda pretty much just makes sure there's no typos and everything looks nice on the page, but it is something to keep in mind. (I've got an interview with her that I should have up in a week or two, depending on how a few things pan out).

WotC putting their back catalog up as PDFs is a pretty big indicator of how they're treating this edition, almost as much as how the edition itself feels in the current playtest. They're paying a lot of respect to older fans while still trying to make the game accessible to new players.

And that's the important thing: Paying respect. A LOT of players who jumped ship during 4e era did so because they felt the game had moved too far from what they felt D&D was, and that WotC wasn't paying respect to the material. Do they need to go to Ed Greenwood or Keith Baker? No. They own the IP, straight up. They can do whatever they want with it. Same for Dragonlance, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, and every other campaign setting outside the stuff like Star Wars or Wheel of Time that they licensed back in the 3rd Ed era.

What they're doing by bringing back the original creators to work on these settings - even if it's just in a consultation role - is getting validation for the new system. "You didn't like what we did in 4e? I'm sorry, we learned our lesson. Ed Greenwood himself is writing the new novel to fix it. We're also doing this huge open playtest to make sure we get the core system much closer to D&D's original roots. And we're starting to sell all our old back catalog you used to have to spend a lot of time searching for then paying outrageous collectible prices to get. We cool now?"

My gut feeling is that we're going to see Forgotten Realms be the "Default" setting. They'll then release "Themed books", where each book is tied to a genre or campaign style rather than a specific world. Rather than getting a Ravenloft setting book, you get a Horror-themed book with all the rules, class builds, monsters, etc. you'd need to run a horror-themed campaign. Then you'd get a pirate one for sea-based adventures, an urban one, a magitek one, a desert one, a political one, etc. This gives you all the rules you need without branding the rules to a specific setting, avoiding the pitfall of branding issues.

Then they'll release campaign books that are rules-free (similar to the Elminster's Forgotten Realms and Menzoberranzan books from last year) with guides for what additional rulebooks you'd need for each setting. So rather than cramming a bunch of rules in the Ravenloft book, it instead just talks about each of the different demiplanes. This opens up page count to more narrative-based setting books, which allows cross-platform sales so people who play Pathfinder or an OSR system can still purchase the campaign setting and use it in their system of choice. Want the specific D&D Next stats for Strahd? Check out Dragon Magazine #whatever (and expect those to switch from a subscription-only model to also allow purchase through the online store of individual issues).

I've got absolutely no solid evidence this is what they're going to do other than my gut feeling and extrapolating from the various interviews and Q&As going on. I don't even think WotC knows how they're going to do it yet since they're still focused on the rules right now. Branding and release schedules will probably get nailed down toward the end of the year or beginning of next year.
 


Dwimmerlied

First Post
WotC putting their back catalog up as PDFs is a pretty big indicator of how they're treating this edition, almost as much as how the edition itself feels in the current playtest. They're paying a lot of respect to older fans while still trying to make the game accessible to new players.

And that's the important thing: Paying respect. A LOT of players who jumped ship during 4e era did so because they felt the game had moved too far from what they felt D&D was, and that WotC wasn't paying respect to the material. Do they need to go to Ed Greenwood or Keith Baker? No. They own the IP, straight up. They can do whatever they want with it. Same for Dragonlance, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, and every other campaign setting outside the stuff like Star Wars or Wheel of Time that they licensed back in the 3rd Ed era.

What they're doing by bringing back the original creators to work on these settings - even if it's just in a consultation role - is getting validation for the new system. "You didn't like what we did in 4e? I'm sorry, we learned our lesson. Ed Greenwood himself is writing the new novel to fix it. We're also doing this huge open playtest to make sure we get the core system much closer to D&D's original roots. And we're starting to sell all our old back catalog you used to have to spend a lot of time searching for then paying outrageous collectible prices to get. We cool now?"

I don't need to be convinced that they respect me, or whatever, but this approach is my tentative assumption about, at least in part, their modus operandi, and that its good MO is one of the few reasons I'm curious to see how this all goes :D

I don't know what settings they will or won't do. I agree that it might be a better idea if they don't. I used to spend ridiculous hours trawling for GH and FR material online to somehow try to peice together some sort of campaign because I wanted to be a part of that shared experience. Some lessons I learned included that some of the underlying concepts (tm) were so grating I'd need to change it all anyway, and that any man-handling of a new product for a given world (besides, perhaps, Ebberron, which it could be argued that new products were still producing a baseline product) was recieved in board-wide anger.

I missed the boat on the most radical changes to GH, I guess, but having seen what happened with FR, if I were deeply invested in that setting, I may have been quite upset at the changes wrought. But when I think about it, what is the alternative? Any change would have met with dissaproval. Not changing the product, then what would they be selling (and would this unchanged product be met with approval?) I've seen people argue that they grew out of a setting and moved on, or got bored of it, so anyone handling this or that product would have to be faced with making a product that was both relevant and vital, and would still sell.

To make the older stuff accessible to me seems like the best plan. those who care can obtain the stuff, and it doesnt have to be modified to be relevant or meet marketing pressure. New gamers can access it if they are intrigued, though most wont be, because it follows an older paradigm, ones originally inspired by a kind of action, emotion and imagination portrayed in old pulp stories (GH) or high fantasy (FR), and later dragonlance and other things.

Newer gamers are inspired by things that their culture and experiences are piqued by. Not just video games, but relevent movies, world events, new mythologies and ideologies, hell day-to-day lives. Their want to express their emotional and creative responces to these things need new tools and new paradigms; tools and paradigms that can't sell need to be forgotten or changed; can our favourite settings retain their old qualities while still appealing to new niches? So far, it doesn't look like it!

I really like the idea of kender. Ive never played warforged, but they look cool. I hope they remain.
 
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