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D&D 5E Revising Classic Settings

Ravenloft is the first of 3 classic settings Wizards is planning to release. All the previews of VAN RICHTEN'S GUIDE TO RAVENLOFT suggest that it's not updating the campaign world to 5th ed. That they're instead redesigning the world again. Not quite starting from scratch but taking only the foundational ideas and dumping everything else.
The writers are making changes for representation and diversity and to remove stereotypes but also removing pet peeves and fixing redundant kingdoms. The human-horror of Vlad Dracov is becoming a zombie apocalypse land. The sexual predator mesmerist of Dementlieu is becoming a land of fey courtly intrigue with ghoul retainers. And the continent is being broken apart, with every nation now being an island.
It stands to reason if they're completely overhauling Ravenloft they'd do the same to the other two settings to make them more appealing to us modern audiences.

How would you like them to revise the other two settings?

My thoughts:

DragonLance:
There's zero way they wouldn't going to go back to the War of the Lance.
My first thought was they'd revise the Heroes of the Lance. Fewer humans and more women, gender flipping characters like Tassleholf or Flint. But I imagine they would just not mention those characters and all and let PC's be those heroes. Have the included adventure be a different way of starting the war campaign, with suggestions of where to go next that aren't always "follow the novels."
Focusing on the war offers a good focus for the book. It can online a few paths the war could take and provide ideas for having PC's get involved and adventures you can run during a war. Maybe some suggestions or rules for mass combat. As every book adds a new PC optional rule, this book could feature victory points, like in HEROES OF BATTLE for 3rd Ed.

They'd also have to include all the PH races like the half-orcs and tieflings. And Dragonlance people like Minotaurs and Irda. They'd also have to include sorcerers, warlocks, and bards into the world.
The dragonarmies should be mixed species and not just draconians, who could just be dragonborn. Goliaths are pretty popular as well. Wizards could include them in place of the human barbarian tribes to remove the giant Native American stereotypes. They could also rework kender to make them less disruptive at the table. Make them closer to regular halflings.
I've heard complaints about the size of the world. That could be fixed as well.
The use of steel pieces as the currency is weird. You can smelt down your sword for a profit. Dump that idea.
Elements introduced later can also be added. Like the Knights of Neraka and Legion of Steel.

Grayhawk:
There's a buttload of real world analogues in Grayhawk. And most of the kingdoms aren't diverse with elves and dwarves limited to their own kingdoms. The whole setting would need to be heavily reworked. Starting with making the Baklunish and Suel Empires more inclusive and less tied to a human ethnicity.
Might be best to focus entirely on the city of Grayhawk. Briefly describe the surroundings and neighboring lands and the key threats.
Grayhawk was always the setting people made their own. Going back to that would capture the spirit of the original. Provide brief one or two-paragraph descriptions of each kingdom designed to inspire. The book could even offer suggestions for customization, like different ways to use each nation. There could even be blanks on the map where DM's can add their own kingdoms or PC's could claim ownership. Claiming a keep and becoming a local lord is a very 1st Ed idea, which could be a key part of 5th Ed Grayhawk.

Dark Sun:
Wizards already rebooted this setting in 4th Ed. They'd probs keep it the same as that. Set things just after the Tyr uprising.
This world would be hard to update because of the amount of monsters required and all the new races and defiling rules and obsidian weapons. It would be a very big book.
It might be easier to have a list of monster descriptions and the equivalent monster stat block you can use in its place. Instead of having a baazrag you use an ankheg but give it a new trait. That way you could have three or four monsters per page.

Plane Scape:
Reworking the Factions seems like the way to go. There were so dang many factions. Fifteen plus ones added with each sourcebook. And many had awkward philosophies that made them challenging to belong to as an adventurer. Having a member of the Mercykillers or Revolutionary League or Xaositects can disrupt a party. Streamlining them down to nine would make them more focused and work with the Rule of Three.
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Grayhawk:
There's a buttload of real world analogues in Grayhawk. And most of the kingdoms aren't diverse with elves and dwarves limited to their own kingdoms. The whole setting would need to be heavily reworked. Starting with making the Baklunish and Suel Empires more inclusive and less tied to a human ethnicity.
Might be best to focus entirely on the city of Grayhawk. Briefly describe the surroundings and neighboring lands and the key threats.
Grayhawk was always the setting people made their own. Going back to that would capture the spirit of the original. Provide brief one or two-paragraph descriptions of each kingdom designed to inspire. The book could even offer suggestions for customization, like different ways to use each nation. There could even be blanks on the map where DM's can add their own kingdoms or PC's could claim ownership. Claiming a keep and becoming a local lord is a very 1st Ed idea, which could be a key part of 5th Ed Grayhawk.

I mean, the one way you are sure to anger all of the grognards is by misspelling their favorite campaign setting.

¯\(ツ)
 


I hope we get a new Dragonlance setting. As for what it might be, I think much will be dependent on the upcoming novels. I think a new setting or adventure might focus on large battles and interpersonal relationships and drama. I'd want something that evokes the War of the Lance without retreading that same ground. Give us a new set of Dragon Highlords to fight, with new stakes. Soth can come back, though. Nay, must come back.

Imagine a world where the DL series didn't force you to play as the Heroes of the Lance, weren't locked into the actions of the book. Want to tell the xenophobic elves to get stuffed, convince the goblins to switch sides, well, now you can.

As for Greyhawk, I used to really want it to return, but I'm starting to cool on seeing it in 5e. There's no world where the fans are going to be united in joy at a 5e Greyhawk - just look at the debate over From the Ashes Greyhawk that continues to this day. And I can already imagine certain sorts of gamers calling it "Greywoke."

Dark Sun they've already hinted strongly at releasing for 5e, once they cracked psionics. Now that they've done so, it's probably just a matter of time. I think post-apocalyptic D&D remains relevant, especially as the ravages of the climate crisis increase.

Planescape could certainly happen. I'd certainly be down with some extraplanar content. I'd rather see a new Manual of the Planes, though. To me, Sigil is cool and all, but I'd want places to go from there detailed first.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
You make good points here. I guess these are my thoughts;

Dragonlance
I agree the book will almost entirely be War of the Lance focused, though it may include a small section for "other eras." The War of the Lance is what people know Dragonlance for, it will take up 90% of the book or more.
There of course will be more diversity showcased, at least in art but probably some details of more diverse cultures as well.
I will disagree with you on the book having to include PHB races like half-orcs and tieflings. Recent setting books like Ravnica, Eberron, and Theros do not bother with adding the PHB races, so I see no reason why Dragonlance needs to do so.

Planescape
I very much agree that 15 factions... is a lot. Too many, honestly. I'm going to give it a little more thought as to which ones should be cut, but it should be at least 3 removed.
 

Mind of tempest

Adventurer
I hope we get a new Dragonlance setting. As for what it might be, I think much will be dependent on the upcoming novels. I think a new setting or adventure might focus on large battles and interpersonal relationships and drama. I'd want something that evokes the War of the Lance without retreading that same ground. Give us a new set of Dragon Highlords to fight, with new stakes. Soth can come back, though. Nay, must come back.

Imagine a world where the DL series didn't force you to play as the Heroes of the Lance, weren't locked into the actions of the book. Want to tell the xenophobic elves to get stuffed, convince the goblins to switch sides, well, now you can.

As for Greyhawk, I used to really want it to return, but I'm starting to cool on seeing it in 5e. There's no world where the fans are going to be united in joy at a 5e Greyhawk - just look at the debate over From the Ashes Greyhawk that continues to this day. And I can already imagine certain sorts of gamers calling it "Greywoke."

Dark Sun they've already hinted strongly at releasing for 5e, once they cracked psionics. Now that they've done so, it's probably just a matter of time. I think post-apocalyptic D&D remains relevant, especially as the ravages of the climate crisis increase.

Planescape could certainly happen. I'd certainly be down with some extraplanar content. I'd rather see a new Manual of the Planes, though. To me, Sigil is cool and all, but I'd want places to go from there detailed first.
we would still want a decent full psionic full caster to come with darksun.
do not remind me of the climate problem.

I have money on some variety of planescape.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
As for Greyhawk, I used to really want it to return, but I'm starting to cool on seeing it in 5e. There's no world where the fans are going to be united in joy at a 5e Greyhawk - just look at the debate over From the Ashes Greyhawk that continues to this day. And I can already imagine certain sorts of gamers calling it "Greywoke."

That would be sad.

I almost feel like they have to do something with Greyhawk for the 50th, right?
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
I don't think there are too many factions. And I certainly don't think the Revolutionary League or Xaositects should be cut.

I might have certain political biases that make me sympathetic to the Revolutionary League and some of the political movements they're based on. And I feel the Xaositects should be around even if they're "crazy" because some players like having "crazy" or "silly" characters.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I'd love to see a Dragon Lance adventure path that introduces the setting that way and uses totally re-worked War of the Lance adventures to bring characters from low level to about 15th, but shunting the original stars of the series into revised NPC roles.
 

That would be sad.

I almost feel like they have to do something with Greyhawk for the 50th, right?
I think Hasbro pretty much skipped G.I. Joe's 40th anniversary (a toy line that saved the company twice and is the personal fav or two generations of owners), so I'd say they don't feel a need to do anything. Maybe a reprint, but with POD even that isn't really a thing.
 

Be that as it may, as of right now they seem to be committed to having psionics folded into the subclass system. While it's possible we'll see a psionics class with Dark Sun the way Eberron had the Artificer, my suspicion is that at the most it'll have a few feats to represent the latent psionic ability Dark Sun's populace had, but not a full psionics class.

we would still want a decent full psionic full caster to come with darksun.

It would be nice, but what does a full 5e Greyhawk setting look like? Going with the data that the majority of D&D players are 25 years or younger, you're looking at people that either have no memory of Greyhawk, or came in at the tail end of 3e Greyhawk. And beyond that, the Greyhawk fandom is passionate, but it's also intensely fractured. How do you reconcile all those opposing opinions?

That would be sad.

I almost feel like they have to do something with Greyhawk for the 50th, right?
 

The Glen

Hero
You do not have to include every single race from the Forgotten Realms into every other setting. That's one of the biggest criticisms of the Forgotten Realms is how much of a kitchen sink it is. Dragonlance is memorable because it doesn't have half the races as you expected. Of the seven non catch-all settings less than half of them have dark elves. What you leave out is just as important as what you put in.
 
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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
It would be nice, but what does a full 5e Greyhawk setting look like? Going with the data that the majority of D&D players are 25 years or younger, you're looking at people that either have no memory of Greyhawk, or came in at the tail end of 3e Greyhawk. And beyond that, the Greyhawk fandom is passionate, but it's also intensely fractured. How do you reconcile all those opposing opinions?

Two solutions-

1. Re-issue the old stuff. Just some sort of fancy "collector set" with reprinted big ol' Darlene Maps and charge a ton of money. It won't attract the new gamers, but will keep the olds happy, and would "celebrate" the setting. Of course, it will also result in the death of it ... given the lack of new gamers playing it, but still!

2. Make something good.

I want to emphasize (2). I mean.... what you were just saying could have been said about 5e. At the time, the D&D fanbase was passionate, and intensely fractured. Yet 5e worked, because it was good.

It's the same with anything. You can never please everyone. But when you make something that's good, that tends to work out.
 

Mind of tempest

Adventurer
Be that as it may, as of right now they seem to be committed to having psionics folded into the subclass system. While it's possible we'll see a psionics class with Dark Sun the way Eberron had the Artificer, my suspicion is that at the most it'll have a few feats to represent the latent psionic ability Dark Sun's populace had, but not a full psionics class.



It would be nice, but what does a full 5e Greyhawk setting look like? Going with the data that the majority of D&D players are 25 years or younger, you're looking at people that either have no memory of Greyhawk, or came in at the tail end of 3e Greyhawk. And beyond that, the Greyhawk fandom is passionate, but it's also intensely fractured. How do you reconcile all those opposing opinions?
I fear your right, I would hope otherwise but hope died in me years ago.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I don't think there are too many factions. And I certainly don't think the Revolutionary League or Xaositects should be cut.

I might have certain political biases that make me sympathetic to the Revolutionary League and some of the political movements they're based on. And I feel the Xaositects should be around even if they're "crazy" because some players like having "crazy" or "silly" characters.

15 is definitely too many. People are only capable of maintaining 7 things in their head at once (it is why we count 7 colors in the rainbow, and have 7 numbers in a phone number).

I do agree though that the Xaositects and the Revolutionary League are good faction concepts and should stick around. I'd merge the two however, as the latter doesn't have a Factol and they overlap in many respects.

However, the Believers of the Source and the Sign of One merged (into the Mind's Eye), so they should keep that to bump it down to 13. Remove the Free League, they don't have a Factol and are boring (they barely consider themselves a faction). That's 12.

From there it gets a little trickier, but getting to 12 is pretty easy.
 

I can understand some retcon to allow more space where we can add more PC races and classes.

In Planescape the faction war will continue but not in Sigil, now "neutral zone" and we can't forget the gatetowns.

My bet is the first Dragonlance 5th Ed will be the updated compilation of the modules, and with an optional list of PCs, for example a female kender. I talked several times about an event linked with a multiverse crisis causing, or explaining, the reason of retcons or even total reboot of D&D settings (for example no-humans within the two, or even a third one or more, factions of Jackandor).

* What if I wanted to add new classes into Dark Sun? For example the shugenja, the warden, the seeker, the ardent, the lurker, the warblade, the crusader or the totemist shaman.
 

Mind of tempest

Adventurer
I can understand some retcon to allow more space where we can add more PC races and classes.

In Planescape the faction war will continue but not in Sigil, now "neutral zone" and we can't forget the gatetowns.

My bet is the first Dragonlance 5th Ed will be the updated compilation of the modules, and with an optional list of PCs, for example a female kender. I talked several times about an event linked with a multiverse crisis causing, or explaining, the reason of retcons or even total reboot of D&D settings (for example no-humans within the two, or even a third one or more, factions of Jackandor).

* What if I wanted to add new classes into Dark Sun? For example the shugenja, the warden, the seeker, the ardent, the lurker, the warblade, the crusader or the totemist shaman.
you could dump them in of map areas as I do not believe we have a whole globe of athus even to day.
 

The Glen

Hero
If you change something too far from its original base, you lose what made it popular. That's a problem with a lot of remakes in other mediums. The factions are an integral part of planescape. Greyhawk has to have it racial tensions and International rivalries. Mystara needs It's Cold War. You start changing these that people aren't going to like them because you've changed What drew them to it in the first place.

If you want to reintroduce these to younger players, showcase the features that made them great. Older players aren't going to mind if you rehash as long as they get to play in their favorite settings again.
 

dave2008

Legend
I think Hasbro pretty much skipped G.I. Joe's 40th anniversary (a toy line that saved the company twice and is the personal fav or two generations of owners), so I'd say they don't feel a need to do anything. Maybe a reprint, but with POD even that isn't really a thing.
But GI Joe is fundamentally Hasbro, Greyhawk is WotC and it seems that WotC has more autonomy than ever now. I think if WotC wants to do something for D&D's 50th, then Hasbro will not step in and squash it.
 
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