The Top D&D News Stories of 2017

The Top D&D News Stories of 2017

As we approach the end of the year, it's time for our annual look at the top D&D news stories of the year. I've taken the most viewed stories and listed them in a super-suspenseful and exciting format I shall call "descending order". This year, for added fun, I've separated D&D news stories and general RPG news stories (the latter can be found in a separate article). The most popular item on this list was read nearly half a million times!

20. Unearthed Arcana Sorcerers: Favored Souls, Phoenix Sorcery, Sea Sorcery, & Stone Sorcery

After a bit of a break, Mearls & Crawford's Unearthed Arcana is back - and this time it introduces four new Sorcerous Origins: The divinely inspired Favored Soul, the immortal flame-powered Phoenix Sorcery, the elemental Sea Sorcery, and earth magic with Stone Sorcery. As always, these are playtest rules -- "These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your campaign but not refined by design iterations or full game development. They are not officially part of the game. For these reasons, material in this column is not legal in D&D Adventurers League events."

19. New Digital Games Studio announced by the president of Wizards of the Coast
There's been an announcement by Chris Cocks, the President of Wizards of the Coast, of a shift in their support for their product through digital means. The new studio includes the Magic Online team, and it mentions a D&D augmented-reality game (something like Pokemon Go?)

18. Delve into Critical Role's campaign setting with co-writer James Haeck!
The pre-order for the Tal'Dorei Campaign Guide, the D&D 5th Edition campaign setting book written by Matthew Mercer and James Haeck, published by Green Ronin, and based on Geek & Sundry's popular Critical Role web-series, was launched a few days ago (with overwhelmingly popular success, I'm told). It's a full-colour hardback book, 144-pages in length. James Haeck was happy to answer a few questions about the book, and about working with Matt Mercer, and Green Ronin was kind enough to send along a couple of gorgeous previews.

17. Mike Mearls' D&D AMA Summary: Rangers, Initiative, WotC Staff Levels, Fave Pizza

WotC's Mike Mearls is doing an AMA over on Reddit today. I'm sorting the answers into categories and posting them here for easy reading. I'll update this regularly throughout the day. Mike Mearls is the D&D 5th Edition lead designer. In this AMA he touches on things he doesn't like about 5E (the ranger, the initiative system), how he got his job at WotC, the number of people in the D&D design team (spoiler: it's 10), along with various answers about his favourite class, monster, and pizza topping. At the bottom you'll find all the random "what's your favourite class?" type questions, separated out so that you can skip them if you want to.

16. Is D&D Entering a New Golden Age?

Sales of the hobby game market are on the rise, with tabletop role-playing games increasing along with other tabletop games. With a new Wizards of the Coast CEO in place who values Dungeons & Dragons as much as Magic: The Gathering and a movie on the horizon, we're starting to see signs that D&D is doing very well indeed.

15. Here's The Wizard Spell List From Extra Life

The latest Xanathar's Guide to Everything preview to come out of WotC's Extra Life charity campaign is a list of wizard spells from the book. Next up, if they raise $30K for the children's hospital charity, will be a preview of one of the sub-classes. Previous previews include random encounters, life events, and suggested character names.

14. Tomb of Annihilation Is Here - What Do You Think?

Today's the day - WotC's latest Dungeons & Dragons adventure, Tomb of Annihilation, is out! Head on down to your friendly (or unfriendly) local (or not so local) gaming (or comic) store and pick up your copy. Alternatively, if you use a virtual table top, it's available for Fantasy Grounds and Roll20.

13. D&D Beyond: An Official D&D Digital Toolset & Character Builder

D&D Beyond has just been announced! Coming this summer, and billed as "Your digital D&D source", it has a compendium of official content, character builder and manager, the ability to use home-brew content, D&D forums, and is usable on any device. A 1-minute announcement trailer can be seen below. D&D Beyond is produced by a company called Curse Inc, owned by Twitch. Right now, there's a signup for the Beta version. More info as/when it becomes available! [UPDATES: The D&D Beyond folks have offered some more info, which I have included below; I will be chatting with them later this week, with luck!]

12. "Dust" and "Midway" - Codenames for Upcoming D&D Hardcovers

Tales from the Yawning Portal was codenamed Labyrinth. Curse of Strahd was Cloak, and Storm King's Thunder was Dagger (or vice versa). Now two new codenames have emerged, spotted by EN World member kettite. Dust is dated 19 Sep 2017, hardcover, $49.95, and Midway is dated 21 Nov 2017, hardcover, $49.95. These have both appeared over on edelweiss' catalog. They do not match the four unnamed RPG Accessories on Amazon. Engage speculation mode - two new hardcovers later this year!

11. New DM Screen Coming In September
It looks like we know what another of the four unnamed accessories coming this year are! As you may recall, the first turned out to be a book of character sheets; the second, it now transpires, is a new DM Screen coming out September 8th (likely the 19th for non-preferred stores' as that's the date they list for one of the unnamed accessories). This is listed as coming from WotC rather than Gale Force 9. WotC's Nathan Stewart revealed the screen, along with the following photograph -- "On sale at your FLGS Sept 8. That is the DM Screen Reincarnated" I've updated the D&D Release Schedule page accordingly.

10. The State of D&D: Products, Psionics & More

At Game Hole Con, WotC hosted a "State of the Industry" panel, featuring Chris Perkins and Mike Mearls. Nerds on Earth was there to record the audio (listen to that here). Amongst other things, they hinted at the next FOUR products, mentioned that the Mystic, Artificer and Revised Ranger were upcoming, and indicated that D&D is now the most popular it has ever been since the 1980s. They also mention the release schedule, settings, novels, and more.

9. WotC's 2017 Convention Schedule Includes New Hascon, No GenCon


This year WotC will be attending Pax South, Winter Fantasy, Pax East, Gary's con, Origins, Pax A West, the new a Hasbro convention, Hascon, and Gamehole Con. Like last year, the company is skipping Gen Con in Indianapolis.

8. A Few More Tidbits About D&D Beyond From The Developer


Adam Bradford, the senior product manager of upcoming D&D digital toolset D&D Beyond has answered a few questions about the product over at the Tribality website. You can read the full interview at the link, but here are the highlights. Nothing major, but a few bits like filtering content, roadmap features like initiative trackers, color-coded tabs, etc.

7. Unearthed Arcana: Wizards & Warlocks -- Hexblades, Raven Queens, and Lore Mastery!

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This week's Unearthed Arcana from WotC's Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford hits both the Warlock and the Wizard! The Warlock gets two new otherworldly patron features -- the Hexblade (a sentient magic weapon), and the Raven Queen (who rules the Shadowfell from an icy palace). The Wizard gets a new arcane tradition called Lore Mastery. There's also some expansion to the Warlock's eldritch invocations feature.

6. The Actual Table of Contents for Xanathar's Guide to Everything


WotC's Extra Life charity fundraiser reached $40,000 a while ago, and the promised preview for that donation level was the table of contents from Xanathar's Guide to Everything. It's been leaked all over the internet since then by D&D Beyond, Reddit, and elsewhere. Tonight, WotC has released to ToC itself.

5. Mike Mearls “…it’s now obvious how to live without Bonus Actions”' And 6th Edition When Players Ask For It!


Mike Mearls, following up on his comments on how he would change initiative, is talking more about how he would change bonus actions in D&D 5E. He says that "Bonus actions are fairly hacky, and with 3+ years running the final game under my belt it's now obvious how to live without them." In the same conversation, he also brings up the concept of a new edition, implying that 5E is not necessarily an evergreen edition and that WotC will produce a 6th Edition "when players and DMs ask for it". This is the second time he's recently seeded ideas of core rule changes out there, so something's in the air!

4. Tales From The Yawning Portal - 7 Classic Dungeons Updated To 5E!


Coming in April is WotC's next official D&D product, Tales from the Yawning Portal. This hardcover book contains seven classic dungeons updated to 5th Edition, from adventures such as Against the Giants, Dead in Thay, Forge of Fury, Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, Sunless Citadel, Tomb of Horrors, and White Plume Mountain. This is, presumably, the product previously codenamed Labyrinth. It's set for an April 4th release, for $49.95.

3. Here's Mike Mearls' New D&D 5E Initiative System


In his AMA yesterday, WotC's Mike Mearls frequently referenced his dislike for D&D's initiative system, and mentioned that he was using a new initiative system in his own games. He later briefly explained what that was: "Roll each round. D4 = ranged, d8 = melee, d12 = spell, d6 = anything else, +d8 to swap gear, +d8 for bonus action, low goes 1st. Oh, and +d6 to move and do something ... adds tension, speeds up resolution. So far in play has been faster and makes fights more intense." That's the short version; there's likely more to it. Mearls mentioned briefly that he might trial it in Unearthed Arcana at some point to see what sort of reaction it gets.

2. WotC & Goodman Games Partner To Reprint Classic Modules for 5E

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At Gary Con, Goodman Games and WotC announced a partnership, as reported by Brett B over on Google+. They'll be reprinting classic modules, including B1 In Search of the Unknown and B2 The Keep on the Borderlands in a hardcover with both the original adventures and 5th Edition information. More information if and when I hear it!

1. The New D&D Adventure Is - Tomb of Annihilation!

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Tomb of Annihilation is in the Forgotten Realms set in the Lost Continent of Chult - Away from the Sword Coast (the hosts of the live stream are very interested with undead dinosaurs). Acererak is, as many predicted, the source of this plotline as the Archlich is more or less "eating" resurrection magic from the rest of the Forgotten Realms and causing a zombie apocalypse. Pendleton Ward from Adventure Time is a creative consultant on this adventure.
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Russ Morrissey



Slayer of Keraptis
Well, doesn't look like Goodman Games got their reprints done by September. In fact, the only thing I could find was an update here, where they say the hardcover should be out by late 2017--which is now :/ Can't find any other updates.


Well, doesn't look like Goodman Games got their reprints done by September. In fact, the only thing I could find was an update here, where they say the hardcover should be out by late 2017--which is now :/ Can't find any other updates.

I'm really bummed about that too. I was really looking forward to them this year.


Well, that was fun
Staff member
They mentioned to me a couple of days ago that "It's in the final layout stages! It'll be hitting stores in early 2018. We hope to have an exact date soon! :D"