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D&D 5E The October D&D Book is Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons

As revealed by Nerd Immersion by deciphering computer code from D&D Beyond!

Fizban the Fabulous is, of course, the accident-prone, befuddled alter-ego of Dragonlance’s god of good dragons, Paladine, the platinum dragon (Dragonlance’s version of Bahamut).

Which makes my guess earlier this year spot on!

UPDATE -- the book now has a description!



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Fizban the Fabulous by Vera Gentinetta
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

JEB

Hero
@Faolyn, thank you for clarifying your opinion on alignment for monsters (that it's inherently a bad thing) and on essentialism for monsters (that it's not generally an issue, unless it involves alignment, which you see as inherently a bad thing). I don't share your views on those matters, and believe there are other approaches to addressing those issues as previously described... but I understand your objections and appreciate your honesty.

I should say, after hearing how Fizban's plans to handle these subjects, I will be very interested in how they appear in the final product. It sounds to me like they're on the right track, but we'll see.
 

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if they changed the quick descriptor to "violent and selfish" instead of "chaotic evil", or "scrupulous and kind"
Solasta: Crown of the Magister has done this. Originally, it used a standard D&D alignment grid, with various personality traits to select based on your alignment. Later in development they removed the alignment requirement, so you can create, for example, a "violent kind" character.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Non-alignment words--yes, even words like violent and selfish--don't have intrinsic morality to them. You can have a creatures that are violent or selfish to good ends (like most adventurers, especially those that demand payment for their services) just like you can have them that are violent and selfish to evil ends. Ditto, a kind person can have other traits that could be good or not good.
...
And to be honest, there is some actual, real-world essentialism. Animal species have very distinct and often very strong behavioral traits--and in the case of domestic animals, those traits were often bred into them. Go to any pet site and read up on the temperament of different purebred cats and dogs. Considering how many animalistic traits most D&D monsters have, I don't have a problem with saying that a type of dragon "tends to be enjoy military history."

This still feels like there is going to be problematic though. Even without using good/evil morality, there are plenty of ways to describe a creature in less-than-flattering light. You can say bugbears are inherently lazy, drow culture is sadistic, or gnolls have short, viscous tempers. I didn't say Chaotic Evil, but I still didn't paint them in any positive way, and each used language that has been used by RW racists.

Yet what are the alternatives? How do you differentiate between colors of dragons or varieties of goblinoids beyond physical or mechanical? To say a bugbear is a big goblin or merely have fire dragons, ice dragons, lightning dragons, etc.
 

Yet what are the alternatives? How do you differentiate between colors of dragons or varieties of goblinoids beyond physical or mechanical? To say a bugbear is a big goblin or merely have fire dragons, ice dragons, lightning dragons, etc.
Here's the thing:

I believe that's all the distinction that is necessary.
 

Reynard

Legend
At the risk of repeating myself for the Nth time:

One thing to do is make Alignment exactly that -- the universal force with which the creature is aligned, almost like a zodiac sign. Creatures and characters can act as they will, but they were born under the auspices of Law and Chaos, Good and Evil. Just like you can't determine you aren't a Taurus, and don't have to "act like" a Taurus, a CE creature can't help but be CE, but doesn't have to BE chaotic or evil. But when the universe presses down on that creature, Chaos and Evil hold the most sway.

Or you could just ignore it because it is a meaningless artifact of faction based wargaming.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
These orcs can be aggressively warring against cruel tyrants who seek to enslave the world, or they can be aggressively warring against elves for the crime of having pointy ears.

By not labeling them good or evil, you open up the options enormously without having to also say “most orcs are evil but these ones aren’t”
This is precisely why alignment needs to stay. DMs should have to sit down and figure out in detail what "warlike" and "aggressive" really mean. Alignment helps with that. Traits + Alignment is greater than either traits or alignment alone. All they need to do to take care of both sides is label alignment as optional so it can be ignored by people like you who don't want it and/or go back to 3e alignment conventions where orcs were just "usually chaotic evil," which meant that 40-50% of them were than alignment, making it so that the other half of orcs were of whatever alignments the DM wanted to make them.
 



JEB

Hero
Here's the thing:

I believe that's all the distinction that is necessary.
Fair enough, I certainly understand that view. The problem is, that means DMs have to fill in all the characterization gaps themselves, without any guidance or suggestions whatsoever. If you're super creative, that's great, but many new DMs, or DMs who don't have the time or inclination to come up with that stuff on their own, will find their games suffering for it. Not to mention that for some fans, that kind of material is what makes sourcebooks like Fizban's worth reading...

(On a more pragmatic note, a complaint folks had about 4E books was that they were too focused on rules widgets and too light on lore. Whether or not that's actually true - I've heard opinions from both sides - it seems unlikely Wizards is likely to pursue that path again.)
 

Remathilis

Legend
Here's the thing:

I believe that's all the distinction that is necessary.
Why even bother with that little distinction? You could have one dragon "stat block" that the DM could pick energy type for (like dragonborn do) and you've condensed 10+ different dragons into one. Think of the reclaimed MM space!

We could do that with other monsters too. One stat block for all Giants (just add energy resistance). One for all spectral undead. All goblinoids use the same stat block (adjusted for height). Maybe we could do the same for rentals elementals, angels and fiends too?

You want to remove alignment? Fine. But this track of cutting all cultural and role-playing elements from monsters feels like regressing back to "generic stat blocks only differing monsters by # of HD".

I remember how utterly awful the 4e MM was; rows of stat blocks with no info on what those monsters act like, want or think beyond "use x amount in a y level challenge." I want to see lore improved, but not removed.
 

Faolyn

Hero
This is precisely why alignment needs to stay. DMs should have to sit down and figure out in detail what "warlike" and "aggressive" really mean. Alignment helps with that. Traits + Alignment is greater than either traits or alignment alone. All they need to do to take care of both sides is label alignment as optional so it can be ignored by people like you who don't want it and/or go back to 3e alignment conventions where orcs were just "usually chaotic evil," which meant that 40-50% of them were than alignment, making it so that the other half of orcs were of whatever alignments the DM wanted to make them.
Assuming you meant to write "shouldn't" and not "should"... No, that's not a good reason IMO for several reasons, all of which I already addressed in my previous post. But to reiterate:

Why are they orcs aggressive and warlike? "Because they're evil" is a terrible reason. It provides me with no motivation, no purpose, and no goal. Having monsters who go around all day waging war for no reason whatsoever makes no sense and is, quite frankly, extremely boring. Saying "their gods made them that way" is equally bad for other reasons, including "why has nobody tried to weaken or destroy that god's hold over their people?" and "what if I don't use those gods in my setting?"

And why shouldn't DMs have to think about what warlike and aggressive mean? Unless you're running a game based entirely on random encounters or that is pure improv, or a beer-and-pretzels game where you just want to kill some things, then why shouldn't a DM spend a minute thinking about why creatures in their campaign act the way they do? Even a tiny motivation like "Wanting to claim land" or "for the chief's ego" is better than "because they're evil". Plus it gives you a clue as to how they fight. Orcs who want to claim land aren't going to burn it all down; they'd want to keep it as intact as possible. Orcs who fight for the chief's ego are either going to be rabidly indoctrinated into that chief's cult of personality or are going to say "screw it" whenever things go against them and leave--or even decide to switch sides.

Also, I already addressed the bit about the percentages with "usually chaotic evil." If "usually" meant 40-50% as you claim, then please show me how the remaining 50-60% of orcs in 3x where depicted as something other than chaotic evil. And unless WotC went out of their way to show how half or a small majority of orcs were not CE, those qualifiers are nothing more than lip service.
 

Faolyn

Hero
This still feels like there is going to be problematic though. Even without using good/evil morality, there are plenty of ways to describe a creature in less-than-flattering light. You can say bugbears are inherently lazy, drow culture is sadistic, or gnolls have short, viscous tempers. I didn't say Chaotic Evil, but I still didn't paint them in any positive way, and each used language that has been used by RW racists.
Chaotic Evil describes the entire person. It's like in The Sims, where if you took the Evil trait, you made Evil dinners and took Evil showers.

Lazy, sadistic, or bad-tempered describes one aspect of the individual.

And here's where you (or rather WotC) would think about why those creatures are described that way.

Why are bugbears lazy? Are they just slothful, or is it because they actually have to sleep for long periods of time, like cats? You can call a cat lazy if you like, but they have a biological need to sleep for 16+ hours each day.

Why is drow culture sadistic? What if it wasn't sadistic? What if it were just a small part of drow culture--say the priesthood or the nobility--that were sadistic (due to Lolth worship) and who (thanks to Lolth's blessings) had the rest of the culture under their thumb so they can't rebel and remove those evil influences? I personally prefer the idea of a corrupt, tyrannical leadership giving the entire people a bad name to the idea of every black-skinned elf being super-evil. And the only changes you'd have to make to the drow is to remember that Average Joe drow isn't going to have a ton of non-innate magic (as that's controlled by the priests and nobles).

Why do gnolls have short, vicious tempers? Well, in this case, it's because they're basically demons-infused predatory animals but they got the wrong creature type. And since demons are literally concentrated evil and molded into physical form and who lack true free will, that's OK.
 

Saying "their gods made them that way" is equally bad for other reasons, including "why has nobody tried to weaken or destroy that god's hold over their people?" and "what if I don't use those gods in my setting?"
For "what if I don't use those gods in my setting?", the default line in 5E is that since every setting takes place within the same Great Wheel and shares the same gods (except possibly the Magic the Gathering settings, IDK) gods have an ability to exert an influence upon the inherent nature of the race they are the patron of. Dwarves think and behave the way they do because of Moradin's influence, and orcs think and behave the way they do because of Gruumsh's influence (Eberron is an exception because, while in 5E the entirety of Eberron's cosmology is a segregated portion of the Great Wheel, it has some kind of bubble that protects it from the influence of the gods). In the world of Critical Role this largely isn't the case except for the goblinkin, who are basically brainwashed by Bane from birth unless they are magically protected or severed from it (such as by proximity to a Luxon Beacon). Orcs and drow aren't mentally affected by Gruumsh or Lolth. Yuan-ti aren't, either, but the only group of yuan-ti mentioned in Explorer's Guide to Wildemount that opposes the god Zehir has also been cursed by him.

As for "why has nobody tried to weaken or destroy that god's hold over their people?", it would make sense for someone to at least try. Before switching over to running a game in the Critical Role setting I had decided that Yeenoghu's influence over the gnolls and Baphomet's influence over minotaurs had waned due to being weakened by heroes in recent centuries.
 

Why is drow culture sadistic? What if it wasn't sadistic? What if it were just a small part of drow culture--say the priesthood or the nobility--that were sadistic (due to Lolth worship) and who (thanks to Lolth's blessings) had the rest of the culture under their thumb so they can't rebel and remove those evil influences? I personally prefer the idea of a corrupt, tyrannical leadership giving the entire people a bad name to the idea of every black-skinned elf being super-evil.
Critical Role's take on drow is pretty much a subversion of how they're handled in the Forgotten Realms.
  • First, the drow existed before they became involved with Lolth, but largely migrated to the Underdark due to her influence about 1000 years ago.
  • Once the Calamity was over, a large number of drow rejected Lolth and emigrated back to the surface on the continent of Wildemount (meaning that their time in the Underdark was relatively brief). Though they kept their society a secret for centuries, they've relatively recently established a Dynasty that worships an entity called the Luxon and are at work trying to bring together the various races that had been used as minions by the evil gods during the Calamity into one peaceful nation made-up of drow, goblinkin, gnolls, ogres, minotaurs, etc. Lolth is not happy about this turn of events and has a small following called the Children of Malice in Wildemount, but there are so few Lolthite drow in Wildemount that they mostly rely on goblinkin converts.
  • Those drow who remained loyal to Lolth have been having a rough time of it in the Underdark below the continent of Tal'Dorei. The largest Lolthite drow city in the world, Ruhn-Shak, is much smaller than the capital of the Luxon-worshiping drow civilization in Wildemount. The kind of society that Lolth encouraged is falling to ruins from both internal treachery and external threats of the Underdark. The desperate citizens of these civilizations are increasingly forced to either flee for remote enclaves on the surface of Tal'Dorei, drink from diminishing pools of Lolth's blood to turn themselves into driders better able to survive, or turn to the worship of Tharizdun.
 
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Anyway, the real reason I came to post in this thread is because I found the Adult Sapphire Dragon mini released a while back at a local game store and bought it today! I'm still not a fan of how ridiculously wide they make the wingspans on dragon figures in 5E, but it still looks neat and I plan to feature it in my game soon.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Why are they orcs aggressive and warlike? "Because they're evil" is a terrible reason. It provides me with no motivation, no purpose, and no goal. Having monsters who go around all day waging war for no reason whatsoever makes no sense and is, quite frankly, extremely boring. Saying "their gods made them that way" is equally bad for other reasons, including "why has nobody tried to weaken or destroy that god's hold over their people?" and "what if I don't use those gods in my setting?"
If you read and understood my prior post, then you know that "because they're evil" isn't a reason at all. You would have understood that alignment is simply a method(if you opt in) for the DM to interpret HOW they are warlike and aggressive.
And why shouldn't DMs have to think about what warlike and aggressive mean?
I have enough to worry about. I'll sit down and do in depth thinking for important NPCs and Monsters, but not for run of the mill monster encounters. If YOU want to worry about them all, you can opt into that. Alignment should be there for those of us like me who don't want to do that kind of thing for a group of orcs or whatever for the party to fight.
Also, I already addressed the bit about the percentages with "usually chaotic evil." If "usually" meant 40-50% as you claim,
It was actually "often" that was 40-50%. That's what orcs were. "Usually" was simply a majority, so as low as 50.01%. I misremembered.
then please show me how the remaining 50-60% of orcs in 3x where depicted as something other than chaotic evil.
That was up to the DM. If the DM didn't do that, that's the DM's fault.
And unless WotC went out of their way to show how half or a small majority of orcs were not CE, those qualifiers are nothing more than lip service.
They were there for the DM to run the game with. Not for WotC to do. They gave you the tool. If you didn't use it, that's on you.
 


Faolyn

Hero
The value in Alignment is allowing a DM to procedurally generate a personality from a small amount of data: it's an improv tool.
What data does "Chaotic Evil" tell you? And more specifically, how does it help you differentiate between a chaotic evil orc and a chaotic evil red dragon and a chaotic evil werewolf? Do they all perform the exact same type of evil? Do they all think the same sort of evil thoughts? Do they all have the exact same goals and motivations?
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
What data does "Chaotic Evil" tell you? And more specifically, how does it help you differentiate between a chaotic evil orc and a chaotic evil red dragon and a chaotic evil werewolf? Do they all perform the exact same type of evil? Do they all think the same sort of evil thoughts? Do they all have the exact same goals and motivations?
It leaves a log open to interpretation, yes. But it does convey roleplayinginformation to the DM. I'm not saying it is a perfect system, or one that beefs to continue, but that's what it's used for. It's garbage metaphysics, but a useful acting prompt.
 

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