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D&D 5E Strixhaven: Orientation

WotC has released an overview of the upcoming Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos, as adventurers of levels 1-10 uncover a plot against the university. Teased are activities like tavern games, a magical frog race, an improv festival, and other social encounters. You can also take exams to improve your skills, join clubs, or get jobs.

Also included is a bestiary of over 40 new creatures.

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The Bibloplex contains most of the information in the multiverse. Plenty of other locations fill the book, such as Captain Dapplewing's Manor, a mansion built for the university professors. One adventure has the PCs breaking into the manor. Another adventure involves the main Strixhaven student sport, Mage Tower.

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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You say that as if it's only a technicality that Strixhaven isn't a boarding school.

You know college isn't boarding school, generally speaking, right?
At some fairly well known universities students live in college.

See: Oxford, Cambridge, Durham (in a castle no less!), St. Andrews...
durham-castle-7.jpg

Durham Castle. Current inhabitants: Durham University students.
 
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What those people are missing is that Strixhaven is where the Hogwarts kids would go to after they graduate from high school, since it is a University.
Is high school a thing in your D&D setting? Historically, universities have been around several hundred years longer than high schools.
 
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eyeheartawk

Works 60% of the time, every time
If Strixhaven is "Harry Potter DnD" then it is literally impossible to make a school with magic in DnD and have it be anything else, at which point the comparison is completely useless.
Please.

The magical universities in Warhammer elicit no Harry Potter comparisons do they?

Your argument against the reductive phrase of "DnD Harry Potter" is itself very reductive. The argument is not simply that it's a magical university and that's all. It's the art, the sort of whimsical feeling, how WoTC is itself promoting it etc.

Nobody is even really saying it's bad, just that's the obvious inspiration. Again, not that it is literally Harry Potter. This is like arguing that 40k did not also take a bunch of elements from Dune. Like, they did, and that's okay. We're allowed to call a rose a rose.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Someone skipped art class!

You need to look up the difference between "style", "tone" (two meanings) and "subject". They are not synonyms!
This kind of condescending snobbery speaks poorly of you, and accomplishes nothing.

I’m well aware of those concepts, thanks. In no context does most of the art for Strixhaven resemble Harry Potter. The style, tone, and subject, are all quite different.
At some fairly well known universities students live in college.

See: Oxford, Cambridge, Durham (in a castle no less!), St. Andrews...
durham-castle-7.jpg

Durham Castle. Current inhabitants: Durham University students.
You…cannot possibly be unaware of the difference between living on campus at college…and a boarding school.

And again, assuming that someone you disagree with doesn’t know very basic things about, in this case, just life generally, makes you look worse than it does anything else.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Please.

The magical universities in Warhammer elicit no Harry Potter comparisons do they?

Your argument against the reductive phrase of "DnD Harry Potter" is itself very reductive. The argument is not simply that it's a magical university and that's all. It's the art, the sort of whimsical feeling, how WoTC is itself promoting it etc.

Nobody is even really saying it's bad, just that's the obvious inspiration. Again, not that it is literally Harry Potter. This is like arguing that 40k did not also take a bunch of elements from Dune. Like, they did, and that's okay. We're allowed to call a rose a rose.
Why would it being HP D&D be a bad thing? Why would you assume that anyone thinks it’s a bad thing?

We just disagree with the claim that it is especially similar.

“A magic school that isn’t grimdark” is an extremely broad similarity. So broad it’s a useless comparison, and tells us nothing about the subject.

The art is more similar to 5e art generally than to HP art. Witchlight has more art that reminds me of HP than Strixhaven does.

And outside of literally one jokey tweet, I haven’t seen anything that suggests HP in the marketing for Strixhaven.

You aren’t calling a rose a rose, you’re calling it a clover.
 



This kind of condescending snobbery speaks poorly of you, and accomplishes nothing.
I'm an English Public School educated teacher with three and a half degrees, of course I'm a condescending snob.
C'mon Paul, you are better than this.
Nah, I'm not.
You…cannot possibly be unaware of the difference between living on campus at college…and a boarding school.
I went to both, so I'm aware of the similarities.

And Oxford University has far more in common with Hogwarts than it does with an "average university", just as Hogwarts has more in common with Oxford than it does with an average high school. I'm pretty sure Stryxhaven is not an "average university".
 

“A magic school that isn’t grimdark” is an extremely broad similarity.
The concept of grimdark it is so alien to Wotc that they accomplished the impossible mission to avoid grimdark even in Ravenloft.

"Book after book, book after book
We stuck nor design nor emotions
As idle as a painted lich upon a painted dungeon
Colors, colors everywhere and
All the pages are gilt
Colors, colors everywhere nor anyone not tacky."


Basically, wotc art stands to Fria Ligan art as McDonalds stands to Novelle Cuisine.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I'm an English Public School educated teacher with three and a half degrees, of course I'm a condescending snob.
There isn’t any possible valid excuse for talking down to people in a casual conversation simply for disagreeing with you. Certainly not the number of degrees you’ve accumulated, or your nation of origin.

And I didn’t call you a snob, I described a behavior.
Nah, I'm not.

I went to both, so I'm aware of the similarities.

And Oxford University has far more in common with Hogwarts than it does with an "average university", just as Hogwarts has more in common with Oxford than it does with an average high school. I'm pretty sure Stryxhaven is not an "average university".
I’m not sure what your point is, here.
 

Mercurius

Legend
To be fair, D&D has always been YA, it's just taken me reaching 45 years of age to acknowledge it.
Judging from illustration we are slipping more and more toward the young adult black supermassive hole since 3 or 4 books.

Ha. That's a good and humorous way of putting it. And I think the age thing is just an inevitable part of it for some of us. I've notice over the last several months, especially in relation to products like Strixhaven and Witchlight, various grumblings from some older, diehard fans about the "new" direction. I think part of it is that the "reality of age" (and potentially being aged out) is becoming harder to ignore, and the friction more obvious. I understand it, empathize with it, and feel it myself, but...what do we expect? D&D is both more popular than ever and skewing younger, and they're clearly not focusing on the middle aged demographic.

It doesn't mean they'll ignore it, either, but they might - or at least take the approach, "We're focusing most of what we do on the much larger, younger demographic, but hope you come along for the ride. Oh, yeah, have a bone: Here's Spelljammer! (Sort of). It's coming! (Kind of). And hope you don't mind the pixie dust space unicorns and going to a neogi prom!"

My one point of advice for WotC is: Don't skew too young. I remember part o the fun of getting back into D&D as a weeling is that it felt "adult" - so impenetrable and mysterious, and took quite awhile to unpack, from the esoteric tomes like the mad ramblings of Gygax (aka the 1st edition DMG), to the feeling that I was playing a big kid's game, and not being talked down to.

Meaning, if they lean too much into "D&D for teens," they run the risk of the common mistake made by many adults, forgetting that teens are more interested in adult stuff than they are kid stuff, and trying to be relevant to teens is about the quickest way of turning them off.

Or as my 13-year old daughter often says to me, "OK, Boomer" (ignoring my differentiation of boomers and gen xers).
 

My one point of advice for WotC is: Don't skew too young. I remember part o the fun of getting back into D&D as a weeling is that it felt "adult" - so impenetrable and mysterious, and took quite awhile to unpack, from the esoteric tomes like the mad ramblings of Gygax (aka the 1st edition DMG), to the feeling that I was playing a big kid's game, and not being talked down to.

Meaning, if they lean too much into "D&D for teens," they run the risk of the common mistake made by many adults, forgetting that teens are more interested in adult stuff than they are kid stuff, and trying to be relevant to teens is about the quickest way of turning them off.
Ravenloft exists. Rime exists.

Creating new experiences for new players doesn't negate the other books that just came out.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Ravenloft exists. Rime exists.

Creating new experiences for new players doesn't negate the other books that just came out.
Yes, I know - and I didn't say otherwise. In fact, I said upthread that there's nothing wrong with expanding, especially with an increasing publication schedule. But that also doesn't mean it is unreasonable for some to scratch their heads at what they perceive to be the dominant direction D&D is going in, or at least to have concerns and not be entirely happy with it. I mean, let's not get to the point where if you're not into whimsy sparkle fairy, you're deemed an edgelord (or vice versa).

But as I said, I highly doubt WotC is going to go entirely in on any single direction. More likely they'll put out a diversity of product, and maybe gradually hone in and emphasize those product themes that sell more books,.
 

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