The New D&D Book Is 'The Explorer's Guide to [Critical Role's] Wildemount!' By Matt Mercer

It looks like Amazon has leaked the title and description of the new D&D book a day early (unless it's all a fake-out by WotC) -- and it's a new D&D setting book called The Explorer's Guide to Wildemount; it's the Critical Role campaign setting, penned by Matt Mercer!

Wildemount%2C_Version_20%2C1.png

image from Critical Role wiki

There's no cover image yet, so we're stuck with the "Coming Soon" image.

This book appeared without a title on Amazon last week, and a 'reveal' date of January 9th, which was then later delayed until January 13th. Amazon appears to have jumped the gun a day early.

Here's some information about Wildemount, which is a continent in the same world as Critical Role's other setting, Tal'Dorei. It is described by the official wiki has having "real-world Eastern European influence.... The Dwendalian Empire takes inspiration from 15th century Russia as well as Germanic nations in Central Europe (e.g., Prussia). Xhorhas has a more 13th-century Romanian flair. Outside of Wynandir, on the edges of the Dwendalian Empire, the cultures and peoples of those regions display a distinctly 14th-century Spanish flavor."

HOW DO YOU WANT TO DO THIS?

A war brews on a continent that has withstood more than its fair share of conflict. The Dwendalian Empire and the Kryn Dynasty are carving up the lands around them, and only the greatest heroes would dare stand between them. Somewhere in the far corners of this war-torn landscape are secrets that could end this conflict and usher in a new age of peace—or burn the world to a cinder.

Create a band of heroes and embark on a journey across the continent of Wildemount, the setting for Campaign 2 of the hit Dungeons & Dragons series Critical Role. Within this book, you’ll find new character options, a heroic chronicle to help you craft your character’s backstory, four different starting adventures, and everything a Dungeon Master needs to breathe life into a Wildemount-based D&D campaign…
  • Delve through the first Dungeons & Dragons book to let players experience the game as played within the world of Critical Role, the world’s most popular livestreaming D&D show.
  • Uncover a trove of options usable in any D&D game, featuring subclasses, spells, magic items, monsters, and more, rooted in the adventures of Exandria—such as Vestiges of Divergence and the possibility manipulating magic of Dunamancy.
  • Start a Dungeons & Dragons campaign in any of Wildemount’s regions using a variety of introductory adventures, dozens of regional plot seeds, and the heroic chronicle system—a way to create character backstories rooted in Wildemount.
Explore every corner of Wildemount and discover mysteries revealed for the first time by Critical Role Dungeon Master, Matthew Mercer.

Critical Role's other setting, Tal'Dorei, was published a couple of years ago by Green Ronin. This brings the list of settings in official D&D books to five: Forgotten Realms, Ravnica, Ravenloft, Eberron, and Wildemount.

UPDATE! Barnes & Noble has the cover (but not the title or description).

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Russ Morrissey

Comments

dave2008

Legend
As long as it's not using the Cypher system, I might be down for trying it. I really enjoyed the Numenera setting, but the mechanics didn't really do it for me.
I'm interested too. I didn't back the kickstarter, but I might pick up the PDF when it is released in the near future.

EDIT: It is not the Cypher system it is 5e compatible: Arcana of the Ancients

EDIT 2: It is supposed to ship 3/20/2020
 
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Retreater

Adventurer
@Chaosmancer, regarding all the complaints about Mercer and Critical Role, I appreciate what you wrote earlier. I've been known to criticize them as a sort of knee jerk reaction against "celebrity nerd culture," and it's easy for me to forget that Mercer (et al) are people that like the hobby who just happened to find some degree of mainstream success. I shouldn't hate on it for that reason.
I've watched a few episodes. It's not my thing. (That being said, I haven't enjoyed any of the game streams I've watched, regardless of the players, the DM, or the rules system.)
Strangely, I've noticed that most of the players I've met who have come in on the wave of CR popularity are anathema to my style of gaming: five pages of irrelevant backstory with no effort to tie it into the campaign world, delight about causing inner-party conflict ("hehe my rogue stole your weapon and tied together your shoelaces and poisoned your ale"), and enjoy debating the cost of mundane supplies for extended periods of time trying to save a few copper coins.
It seems to move the focus of the game away from the adventure and action and onto some grand story. It's less a Conan swords and sorcery short story - and more like Wheel of Time. It's just not for me.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Strangely, I've noticed that most of the players I've met who have come in on the wave of CR popularity are anathema to my style of gaming: five pages of irrelevant backstory with no effort to tie it into the campaign world, delight about causing inner-party conflict ("hehe my rogue stole your weapon and tied together your shoelaces and poisoned your ale"), and enjoy debating the cost of mundane supplies for extended periods of time trying to save a few copper coins.
Wow. You wouldn't have liked us back around 1984 either. Because we were doing that back then too. It's not just a CR thing. Never was.
 

teitan

Adventurer
@Chaosmancer, regarding all the complaints about Mercer and Critical Role, I appreciate what you wrote earlier. I've been known to criticize them as a sort of knee jerk reaction against "celebrity nerd culture," and it's easy for me to forget that Mercer (et al) are people that like the hobby who just happened to find some degree of mainstream success. I shouldn't hate on it for that reason.
I've watched a few episodes. It's not my thing. (That being said, I haven't enjoyed any of the game streams I've watched, regardless of the players, the DM, or the rules system.)
Strangely, I've noticed that most of the players I've met who have come in on the wave of CR popularity are anathema to my style of gaming: five pages of irrelevant backstory with no effort to tie it into the campaign world, delight about causing inner-party conflict ("hehe my rogue stole your weapon and tied together your shoelaces and poisoned your ale"), and enjoy debating the cost of mundane supplies for extended periods of time trying to save a few copper coins.
It seems to move the focus of the game away from the adventure and action and onto some grand story. It's less a Conan swords and sorcery short story - and more like Wheel of Time. It's just not for me.
You just described just about every game I ever played in. I always felt as a DM it was my job to use the character;s five page background to help shape my adventures anyway, But this is nothing new and definitely not from Critical Role. Heck, it was the default play style for 2e.
 
In the past 18 months, Wizards put out books for Eberron and Ravnica, two decidedly non-Medieval, non-gwneric settings. What's more, with the way these three books have sold, signs are good we'll get more Settings.
Ravnica is a nothing-setting, frankly. I have yet to hear of a single person running a long-term game set there. Eberron is definitely a move in the right direction, but it's far more "generic fantasy" than, say, Dark Sun or Spelljammer, or, I would argue Planescape.

Note I didn't say medieval for a reason - generic fantasy hasn't been purely medieval since the early 1990s.
 
@Chaosmancer,
I've watched a few episodes. It's not my thing. (That being said, I haven't enjoyed any of the game streams I've watched, regardless of the players, the DM, or the rules system.)
I don't enjoy watching other people play D&D. But I don't enjoy watching other people play sports either. I would always rather be taking part rather than spectating.

Strangely, I've noticed that most of the players I've met who have come in on the wave of CR popularity are anathema to my style of gaming: five pages of irrelevant backstory with no effort to tie it into the campaign world, delight about causing inner-party conflict ("hehe my rogue stole your weapon and tied together your shoelaces and poisoned your ale"), and enjoy debating the cost of mundane supplies for extended periods of time trying to save a few copper coins.
It seems to move the focus of the game away from the adventure and action and onto some grand story. It's less a Conan swords and sorcery short story - and more like Wheel of Time. It's just not for me.
I remember plenty of this from the 1980s. It's a case of CR reflecting D&D, not D&D reflecting CR.
 

PMárk

Explorer
@Chaosmancer, regarding all the complaints about Mercer and Critical Role, I appreciate what you wrote earlier. I've been known to criticize them as a sort of knee jerk reaction against "celebrity nerd culture," and it's easy for me to forget that Mercer (et al) are people that like the hobby who just happened to find some degree of mainstream success. I shouldn't hate on it for that reason.
I've watched a few episodes. It's not my thing. (That being said, I haven't enjoyed any of the game streams I've watched, regardless of the players, the DM, or the rules system.)
Strangely, I've noticed that most of the players I've met who have come in on the wave of CR popularity are anathema to my style of gaming: five pages of irrelevant backstory with no effort to tie it into the campaign world, delight about causing inner-party conflict ("hehe my rogue stole your weapon and tied together your shoelaces and poisoned your ale"), and enjoy debating the cost of mundane supplies for extended periods of time trying to save a few copper coins.
It seems to move the focus of the game away from the adventure and action and onto some grand story. It's less a Conan swords and sorcery short story - and more like Wheel of Time. It's just not for me.
I'd say too, that it's a player type, not something exclusive to CR. There just people out there who prefer this kind of play, with interpersonal drama (an more freeform narrative weaving) and day-to-day life in the focus. It's not even dependent on the game system, though many of those people tend to converge around rules light narrative-type storygames. I tend to call them soap-opera players, but not in a pejorative manner. They just enjoy this stuff more than grand adventures and epic fights and amassing power.

Me, I prefer something in the middle. Endless dungeon crawls don't interest me, but spending most of the session on bickering among the characters, pursuing romantic endeavors and hearing the lifestory of the village's smith don't either.
 

PMárk

Explorer
A thing about gatekeeping: I just hate when people call a desire for setting material, a preference for detailed setting or even preference of a crunchier system gatekeeping. Sure it might be more niche and not catering explicitely to the least common denominator, but it's not gatekeeping.
 
A thing about gatekeeping: I just hate when people call a desire for setting material, a preference for detailed setting or even preference of a crunchier system gatekeeping. Sure it might be more niche and not catering explicitely to the least common denominator, but it's not gatekeeping.
I think the "Gatekeeping" comes not from wanting that stuff, but from the objecting to anything being published that isn't that stuff.
 
Strangely, I've noticed that most of the players I've met who have come in on the wave of CR popularity are anathema to my style of gaming: five pages of irrelevant backstory with no effort to tie it into the campaign world, delight about causing inner-party conflict ("hehe my rogue stole your weapon and tied together your shoelaces and poisoned your ale"), and enjoy debating the cost of mundane supplies for extended periods of time trying to save a few copper coins.
It seems to move the focus of the game away from the adventure and action and onto some grand story. It's less a Conan swords and sorcery short story - and more like Wheel of Time. It's just not for me.
This is utterly bizarre.

RPGs have been, in large part, like this since at least the late 1980s. You characterize it in the most negative possible way but your last paragraph is telling - many D&D players and indeed certainly most TT RPG players are looking for something that's more of a story than Conan-esque weird incident (much as I love those).

How you are only seeing this now is mind-boggling though. This description could have applied in 1989, or 1999, or 2009. Indeed "Thief stole your weapon" type stuff was more common in 1989 than it is now.
 
That's fair. However, asking for that stuff, when there isn't many isn't gateekeping either.
Sometimes it's better to make stuff yourself rather than wait for someone else to do it for you.

Bottom line, WotC's job is to make money, not make what [insert your own name here] wants.

I'm not particularly interested in this product, but I do know the universe doesn't revolve around what I want.
 

QuentinGeorge

Adventurer
This is utterly bizarre.

RPGs have been, in large part, like this since at least the late 1980s. You characterize it in the most negative possible way but your last paragraph is telling - many D&D players and indeed certainly most TT RPG players are looking for something that's more of a story than Conan-esque weird incident (much as I love those).

How you are only seeing this now is mind-boggling though. This description could have applied in 1989, or 1999, or 2009. Indeed "Thief stole your weapon" type stuff was more common in 1989 than it is now.
Yeah, I remember hearing that complaint about Vampire the Masquerade, or even early Dragonlance era AD&D.
 

QuentinGeorge

Adventurer
It wasn't just Greyhawk, Blackmoor and Forgotten Realms that started as home games - Mystara started as Lawrence Shick and Tom Moldvay's home game as well.

Dragonlance was really the first "crafted by committee" setting, (and a lot, including the cosmology, was cobbled together from the home games of people like Jeff Grubb and Douglas Niles) and 2nd edition was when they really started to take over - Spelljammer, Dark Sun, Al Qadim, Planescape, Birthright, Eberron.
 

amethal

Explorer
No. Mystara has always been Basic D&D, meaning B/X and BECMI.
Not always.

They produced a couple of boxed sets for AD&D 2nd edition and changed a few things e.g. the Grand Duke started calling himself King. (Of course, changes, contradictions and ret-cons are business-as-usual for Mystara.)
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Ravnica is a nothing-setting, frankly. I have yet to hear of a single person running a long-term game set there. Eberron is definitely a move in the right direction, but it's far more "generic fantasy" than, say, Dark Sun or Spelljammer, or, I would argue Planescape.

Note I didn't say medieval for a reason - generic fantasy hasn't been purely medieval since the early 1990s.
I’m running a long-term game set in Ravnica. (Been playing since March, will probably run to the end of the year.)

I know it’s an anecdote and all, but we’re really enjoying the setting.
 

dave2008

Legend
I’m running a long-term game set in Ravnica. (Been playing since March, will probably run to the end of the year.)

I know it’s an anecdote and all, but we’re really enjoying the setting.
Given there are some similarities, is the Eberron book helpful for your Ravnica game? I wondering about the time of these two settings and if they are supposed to be somewhat complementary.
 

Sadras

Adventurer
Is Grognard actually a desirable state?
It is a source of pride for many. :)

Is it something people actively want to achieve, yet are prevented from?
According to some on these forums, you need to have started with 1e or the Moldvay red box to be elevated into such prestigious category. Those who cut their teeth on 2e are thus excluded from the G-club.
 
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PMárk

Explorer
Sometimes it's better to make stuff yourself rather than wait for someone else to do it for you.
That, or chose another product and publisher.

Bottom line, WotC's job is to make money, not make what [insert your own name here] wants.

I'm not particularly interested in this product, but I do know the universe doesn't revolve around what I want.
It's not some kind of perceived entitlement that I demand anyone to make products catering specifically for me. No, it's just that D&D used to have products I was interested in and now, not much. If WotC makes more money by targeting audiences I'm not a part of, well, good for them, but I won't buy their products. That's all.
 

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