The D&D Multiverse needs a "Crisis on Infinite Oerths"

I'd like to see WotC have a cross-world storyline which ties together the iconic characters from all editions and worlds and times and realities* of D&D. All the heroes join together to fight a multiversal threat, which has gathered all of the iconic villains from D&D history. Like DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths, or Marvel's Secret Wars.

*("Realities" refers to different "game universes" (e.g. AD&D 2E Reality vs. D&D 3E Reality): https://sites.google.com/site/dndphilmont/d-d-realities )

The heroes? Every iconic or pre-generated character and every named adventuring party, from every edition, and every D&D product:


  • Aleena the Cleric, Hawk the Fighter, Clarion the Cleric, Fleetwood the Fighter, Felonius the Magic-User, Greegan the Thief, Rolf the Dwarf, Belain the Elf, and Touchberry the Halfling from the Mentzer Red Box.
  • The Kids from the D&D Cartoon Show
  • The LJN Action Figure characters: Strongheart the Paladin, Mercion the Cleric, Elkhorn the Dwarf, etc
  • The 3E iconics (from Oerth): Regdar the Fighter, Mialee the Elf Wizard: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_&_Dragons_iconic_characters
  • The Heroes of the Lance
  • The Wizards Three: Elminster, Dalamar, Mordenkainen
  • Drizzt and the Companions of the Hall
  • All the heroes from the D&D films, video games, novels, advertisements, and comic books.
etc.

The villains? Every iconic villain from the D&D Multiverse. Tiamat, Takhisis, Orcus, Acerak, Vecna, Tharizdun, Venger...all of 'em.

Many of the lesser-known characters would just be "easter eggs" in the background, seen only during gigantic battle scenes. But there'd be a "who's who" appendix or something which gives their name and source.

The medium? A mega-adventure, along with comic book and novel tie-in.

The result? Not cataclysmic...not destroying the worlds. But rather, a coherentizing. In the process, all adventures, novels, films, etc (and even odd things like characters seen on the AD&D beach towel), are officially placed in one (or more) worlds and timelines, and all timelines are given a numerical continuity designation. (The Transformers continuity is the most sophisticated example of this; even more complex than the Marvel and DC world-numbering system.)

Also, cross-world play is made more accessible via gates.

For more about the timelines, see: https://sites.google.com/site/dndphilmont/timeline

What heroes and villains would you like to see in the fray?
 
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lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
The result? Not cataclysmic...not destroying the worlds. But rather, a coherentizing. In the process, all adventures, novels, films, etc (and even odd things like characters seen on the AD&D beach towel), are officially placed in one (or more) worlds and timelines
They've already been doing this for decades.

It's called the Forgotten "NOM NOM NOM" Realms.

ALL UR SETTINGS R BELONG TO ELMINSTER.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
hmm. Barf!
Are only if Drizzt, and all kender are killed off. And if you want to play a Drizzt clone or Kender, you pay your dm $100 a hour up front.
 

Mort

Community Supporter
Honestly, I prefer the Brandon Sanderson approach -

The worlds may be linked but the connections are subtle. People crossing over make themselves known, but generally are in the background while the heroes (and the problems) of any given world drive each individual story.
 
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So the reason Crisis on Infinite Earths was done was largely to "reboot" DC's comic line to a fewer amount of worlds so comic-book readers would be less confused. This was because there were a bunch of different Earth's with the same heroes, so people often got confused between them.

This doesn't really apply to the D&D universe that much, because every world is pretty distinct from each other; you can't confuse Dark Sun with the Forgotten Realms, or even with Greyhawk.

So what you're describing is more of a Secret Wars, or an Avengers: Endgame type event, where the heroes all unite to take on a big bad. And to that I mostly believe it's not really necessary, and pretty confusing.

For one thing, crossovers between worlds are now pretty common. In 5th edition, Rise of Tiamat, Princes of the Apocalypse, Out of the Abyss, Tomb of Annihilation are all crossing either the Outer Planes or Greyhawk with the Forgotten Realms (to differing degrees). In PotA, the Cult of Elemental Evil is a Greyhawk organization and the Elder Eye is a Greyhawk god.

For another, all of these heroes meeting each other would feel a lot more tacky than actually fulfilling. It would feel like the Justice League, the Avengers, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and He-Man all team-up to take on an alliance of villains that have nothing in common. It would be like the plot from Marvel vs. Capcom, or DC vs Mortal Kombat (and believe me you don't play those for plot).

Now I love crossovers, but you need to do them right to make them feel natural and not ridiculous. The upcoming Descent book is a pretty good example of this, crossing elements of Planescape with the Forgotten Realms, plus some tidbits like Arkhan from Critical Role.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
This would be an interesting concept for when they want to end the current D&D line (5E). Since D&D has always been meant as a fairly generic rules for differing worlds, using this event would be a good way to consolidate the worlds into a single style. The next edition could then be based on using that style exclusively, based on the outcome of the storyline.

Some people would probably really enjoy that. I would guess that the majority would not.
 

thundershot

Explorer
I'd love an adventure path that jumps from world to world dealing with something like this... Start off in the Realms, next adventure takes the characters to Eberron, then the third is Dark Sun, then Mystara, with it finally ending with Greyhawk. Use Planescape and Spelljammer as in-between adventures to get from one world to another. If I had the time and energy, I'd write it myself...

Sounds like a great idea for a hardcover adventure book...
 
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flametitan

Explorer
This would be an interesting concept for when they want to end the current D&D line (5E).
If I recall, that was how they ended 2nd Edition AD&D, via Die, Vecna, Die! At a minimum, its plotline combined Ravenloft, Greyhawk, and Planescape.

Since D&D has always been meant as a fairly generic rules for differing worlds, using this event would be a good way to consolidate the worlds into a single style. The next edition could then be based on using that style exclusively, based on the outcome of the storyline.

Some people would probably really enjoy that. I would guess that the majority would not.
I would think it'd be on the unpopular side, as a part of D&D's popularity is its legacy of many different worlds of different styles (even if most people just make their own,) and implicitly taking that option of differing styles away is probably going to upset those who don't want to play whatever style WotC says is now the canonical "D&D Style."
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
It sounds interesting for me but it should be a really good story, and this is a true challenge. We could use the chronomancers and the time dragons, the antagonists of the module "Where the chaos reigns", the grand conjunction of Ravenloft, Vecna, former dark lord of the demiplane of dread and now god of the secrets, and different parallel timeline of Krynn.

Sometimes I think D&D multiverse needs a reboot or a retcon to can add the new classes and races from last editions.
 

Bitbrain

Adventurer
Reply to OP.

And have them destroy all their multiple official settings except the Forgotten Realms?

No, thank you!
 

FaerieGodfather

Born in the Soul of Misery
The result? Not cataclysmic...not destroying the worlds. But rather, a coherentizing. In the process, all adventures, novels, films, etc (and even odd things like characters seen on the AD&D beach towel), are officially placed in one (or more) worlds and timelines, and all timelines are given a numerical continuity designation. (The Transformers continuity is the most sophisticated example of this; even more complex than the Marvel and DC world-numbering system.)
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO These are all wholly separate fantasy worlds. They don't even have the same gods or even the same cosmologies. They're not supposed to be coherent, they're barely supposed to be compatible, and trying to facilitate "cross-play" is the biggest source of the worst elements of all of them.
 

ranger69

Explorer
The way I see it is to have the characters plane-hopping, and interacting with the "icons", but on a quest that is vitally important, but doesn't lead to the destruction of the different settings. It may be that something unique is needed from each official setting to destroy an evil artefact. The PC's will have to fight, steal, trade, bargain, persuade those items from their owners with the help of some of the icons, and the hindrance of others. Some factions will want the artefact destroyed, others to stop it's destruction.
It could help emphasize the difference between the official settings.
So there would be no super group of official icons, instead they are there to help or hinder the PC's, sometimes directly, but mainly indirectly.
Thats my initial take on the idea.
 
Hey dndphilmont, long time no see...

I see you haven't yet given up on the dream of the One True Setting (TM) that combines nearly every inch of terrain TSR or WotC has ever produced into a massive, internally consistent megaverse. Problem is, I don't exactly think there is as much a market for this as you might think there is.

Comic Book crossovers generally work because they focus on characters and their stories. A comic crossover is great because it puts Spider-Man, Ironman, Wolverine, Deadpool, Mr Fantastic, Daredevil, and other heroes up against either impossible odds or invincible foes. The story is big because we follow those characters separately, and then enjoy watching them team up or clash.

D&D, for the most part, is different because it makes the player characters the focus and many games rarely even involve official D&D settings or characters. Sure, D&D has some famous names like Drizzt, Mordenkainen, or the Heroes of the Lance, but in general D&D isn't about big personalities. If there is any exception, it’s that certain villains from modules like Accerack and Strahd hold fond memories of players defeating them, but overall, D&D doesn't have the big names to support a decent crossover event. One need only look at the debate about adapting a famous D&D story (like Crystal Shard or Dragons of Autumn Twilight) into a big-budget movie to see that D&D doesn't have much consensus on what its own iconic moments are.

Moving on, most of the characters you mention are extremely obscure at this point: Nobody under 40 knows who Aleena is, and many current players might be hard-pressed to name Jozan, Mialee and Tordek. The D&D cartoon has a little punch due to nostalgia, but I don't think many people would even know who Strongheart or Warduke are. You might have some luck with the Baldur's Gate NPCs (esp in light of renewed interest due to the third game) and a little luck with the iconic novel heroes (Drizzt, Elminster, etc) but the era of "D&D having iconic recognizable heroes" is largely over. As I said, you would do moderately better with villains (Strahd, Soth, Tiamat, Asmoedus, Accerack, Xanathar) but unless the idea is to march around the universe slaying BBEG, I don't see much value in the League of Super Villains.

These days, you're "big crossover event" might be best done as some massive, interconnected streaming event crossing over Aquistions Inc with Critical Role, Dice Camera Action, the Waffle Crew, and other famous streamers all playing their iconic characters. There is far more love and respect for those characters in the community than there is for most of the names on your list. Plus, the opportunity to see streamers who don't always interact with each other would be far more interesting than name-dropping some obscure 80's character.

Mostly though, I think WotC has taken the right attitude with its slow-walk of various settings so as not overwhelm the game with settings and variants. We have Forgotten Realms as the default/kitchen sink, and have pulled back to reveal parts of Greyhawk (Saltmarsh) and Ravenloft (Barovia), along with fuller setting treatments in Eberron and Ravnica. (The latter opening a larger can of worms in terms of its inclusion; since it drags the entire MtG universe with it kicking and screaming). I'm sure we'll see Dark Sun or a fuller Planescape sooner rather than later, and continued nods toward Greyhawk, Dragonlance, or Mystara. Any sort of multiverse project cramming in Jakandor is bound to be a bigger headache than its worth.

So ultimately, such a project would be a big amount of work for a rather small niche market. I'm happy the implied multiverse (all D&D world more-or-less are reachable via magic, spelljamming or planar travel, even if settings like Ravnica or Eberron are more remote and have their own cosmologies) exists and I aside form the occasional nod or easter egg (like Mordenkainen in Curse of Strahd) I don't see much value in crossing settings in some universe spanning project.

Also, I read War of the Spark for MtG: keep Wizards away from the mega-crossover field if that's the best their writing team can do!
 

Hexmage-EN

Explorer
Unfortunately 5E already assumes by default that all campaign settings are part of the same Great Wheel, including the entire cosmologies of Eberron and Magic: The Gathering, which are explained away as being part of each setting's Material Plane.
 

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