[UPDATED] Has ADVENTURER'S HANDBOOK Been Cancelled?

Today's official announcement about the Elemental Evil storyline mentioned Princes of the Apocalypse, a new DM screen, miniatures, video games... but not the Adventurer's Handbook! This could mean nothing, of course. The book was first announced last year, back in August; but the below screenshot from Edelweiss shows it as cancelled. The mystery deepens!

Today's official announcement about the Elemental Evil storyline mentioned Princes of the Apocalypse, a new DM screen, miniatures, video games... but not the Adventurer's Handbook! This could mean nothing, of course. The book was first announced last year, back in August; but the below screenshot from Edelweiss shows it as cancelled. The mystery deepens!

UPDATE: WotC's Mike Mearls answers "We can't cancel a book we never announced!" So that sounds like the Adventurer's Handbook will definitely not be appearing. WotC certainly wrote ad copy and designed a cover for the book (see below). Mike added "we've played things close to the vest is that it's a huge, open question on what support for the RPG should look like... we do a lot of stuff that may or may not end up as a released product. For instance, we now know that the high volume release schedule for 3e and 4e turned out to be bad for D&D. It wasn't too many settings that hurt TSR, but too many D&D books of any kind. lots of experiments ahead..."

Here's the cancellation screenshot. Now, that could mean a number of things - maybe it's been pushed back, maybe it's been renamed, or maybe it's just an admin error. Princes of the Apolocaypse has been pushed back from March 17 to April 7.

ah_cancelled.jpg


What do we know about the book? We have a description from August 2014 and a more recent cover image. Right now, anything could be true; I haven't heard anything about a cancellation or a pushed back release date. If I do, I'll be sure to report it.


ah.jpg


Adventurer's Handbook (March 17, 2015; hardcover; $39.95) -- A Dungeons & Dragons Accessory.

Create Heroic Characters to Conquer the Elements in this Accessory for the World’s Greatest Roleplaying Game​

Not inherently evil, elemental power can be mastered by those with both malevolent and benign intentions. The Elemental Evil Adventurer’s Handbook provides everything that players need to build a character that is tied directly into the Elemental Evil story arc, with skills, abilities, and spells meant to augment their play experience throughout the campaign. Additionally, valuable background and story information provides greater depth and immersion.

An accessory that expands the number of options available for character creation for the Elemental Evil story arc, providing expanded backgrounds, class builds, and races meant specifically for this campaign.

Provides background and setting information critical to having the greatest chance of success.

Accessory design and development by Sasquatch Game Studio LLC.​


 

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dream66_

First Post
Yeah, or AH as an alt-title for a PHII-type book. A new way to spin expanding player's options perhaps.

Actually that'd be a great name for something like that, but I'd want to see completely different classes and races, like you could play with PHB or AH, like monte cook's arcana unearthed, that would be cool.
 

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bmfrosty

Explorer
I love that the players part is going to be free. Lower cost of entry for the players. Makes it much easier for those not already invested in the games who might be interested with 5e.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I love that the players part is going to be free. Lower cost of entry for the players. Makes it much easier for those not already invested in the games who might be interested with 5e.

To be honest, that gets me excited for PotA more than I was. I was going to buy the Adventurer's Handbook and skip the module, but with the stuff I wanted out of AH free (genasi, spells, etc) I might pick the module up to either run or just pick apart for ideas.
 

Looking at the responses, it's no wonder WotC is playing things close to their chest. If people are this upset by the cancellation of a leaked product imagine the reaction if WotC has actually announced it.

Still, some honesty from Mearls and the WotC team would be nice. The vague veiled comments were old years ago and now they're just cringe worthy. A quick sentence saying "yes, we had the product in the works but the content <didn't meet our standards/ seemed inappropriate this soon after launch/ didn't seem to be worth the price of the book/ etc>" would be awesome. I think most people would understand if they talked to us like grownups instead of letting speculation run rampant. From all appearances, WotC seems to have stopped all work on D&D, aside from cryptic hints on Twitter.

I understand the whole "too many products sunk TSR" argument (although the "It wasn't too many settings that hurt TSR, but too many D&D books of any kind" runs contrary to what the actual people who studied the numbers concluded). Fewer books that are more important and less disposable does seem to be a good strategy (it's working well for Paizo) and a generic "elemental evil" sourcebook is a little weak for the first primary sourcebook. Going with one big PC splatbook each you would be enough content. August seems the probably time for that. Still, it would be nice to hear about that before June.

Still, if WotC is uninterested in supporting D&D for the first half of 2015, the fans sure seem to be willing. I'm doing my part to write some 5e content, and with no elemental book forthcoming I'm free to brainstorm a Primordial pact warlock, elemental druid, and more.
 

turkeygiant

First Post
Not really. It more sounds to me that they just ignored the fact that there was leaked information, like most companies who choose not to comment on product rumors, instead choosing to wait until they make an official announcement. The issue here is people took the leaked information as fact, when it wasn't yet.

I don't know what you expected WotC to do. Word leaked out of two books. They could have confirmed the rumor, but then when they changed their mind and decide to scrap one book, what then? They get lots of flack for announcing a book and pulling it from the schedule. Or, they could have denied it. That looks worse, because they would then release a book they outright denied was in publication. Neither of those options are attractive.

So instead, they do what every company does when faced with a product leak. They declined to comment (neither confirming nor denying).

Production schedules change all the time. Products get planned and scheduled internally and later canceled. Some even further in the development process. The fact that this one was leaked doesn't really change anything.

You are pretty much right, though I think they probably should have stepped in and said something when the covers were leaked as well and their distributors started adding BOTH books to their pre-order lists. I think a lot of the frustration some people are feeling is that they were under the impression that the solicits were official and WotC didn't step up to tell them they weren't. I totally thought the books were officially announced, they were even on the ENWorld upcoming releases page.
 

turkeygiant

First Post
Only in the sense that product ad copy and artwork can't originate from anywhere else, and nobody imagined it into existence. That doesn't mean it was deliberate.

How did the leaked ad text and covers make their way to you? Do you remember where they first showed up?
 


turkeygiant

First Post
Their source was a German gaming store. Eidelweiss or something.

So maybe from an over-eager sales rep then? I know with Games Workshop their reps are pretty notorious for spilling info on soon to be announced products to drum up sales. I wonder if somebody at WotC thought these books were closer to finalization when they really weren't because of the delays last fall?
 


Queer Venger

Dungeon Master is my Daddy
This heading reminds me of some of the tabloid covers in UK.
Anywho, I dont think its cancelled, I think its delayed. Fret not, its probably something they'll announce soon. It is, afterall, being published by 3rd PP.
 

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