[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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Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
The tabletop D&D game to me has always been about making stuff up and having fun with it.


Hear! Hear! When my friends and I began back in the day, 40 years ago, my buddy had dibs on the TSR stuff (and then claimed the JG stuff and Mayfair stuff too as time went on), so I had to create my Grymvald setting whole cloth, with guidance from the game books of course. A system set up to ease GM creation of setting and adventures doesn't need a lot of support. A system with fewer mechanical options encourages RPing by the players rather than reliance on dice. Keep it thin, I say, and keep it real.
 

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Zaran

Adventurer
I'm not familiar with any of the published adventures except Phandelver and I'm probably not going to get the Elemental evil one either. I don't resent WOTC for under-supporting 5E at all. The core set feels very much like a complete game and the system makes it easy to create new monsters, magic items, & other stuff as I need it.

The tabletop D&D game to me has always been about making stuff up and having fun with it. To be angry with a company for not doing all of your imagining for you is a bizarre attitude IMHO. I also think that if WOTC doesn't want, or cannot create enough add on products to satisfy the demand, then getting out a set of guidelines for publishers should be high on the priority list. There is probably a wealth of material already produced by third parties just waiting for a means to share it.

That's the issue though. I was planning on using that Handbook for my own elemental magic based campaign. I do not plan on getting that new adventure path. I don't want to run adventure paths. I want modules and settings that I can pull from or put into my own world. I'm all for keeping the bloat down but there is still a lot that can be expanded on. Now I will have to spend extra time trying to fill in the gaps that I was hoping the handbook would take care of. It would be different if there were new magazines but there isn't.
 

Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
(. . .) but there is still a lot that can be expanded on. Now I will have to spend extra time trying to fill in the gaps that I was hoping the handbook would take care of. It would be different if there were new magazines but there isn't.


Or an Internet and a website with more creative minds than you can shake a stick at? Start a thread on it, rally the troops, fill in the gaps collectively if you are pressed for time and cannot do it on your own. Even official stuff is never complete nor covers everything, so it's not like there is ever a perfect solution. Plus, official channels are limited by their inability to glean material from every possible source due to copyright laws, trademarks, and plagiarism, something that doesn't stop an individual when working on his home campaign. So, you've got more people, more resources, and (frankly once you count up the man hours of the people), more time than WotC has to create this thing you say you want. You have the time to post here to say you want, then you certainly have the time to start a thread and check back in on it in a day or two and see what has become of it. Go forth and do what GMs really do!
 

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
Oh please. They were making the book. They subcontracted Sasquatch Games to do it, we knew that, right? They ordered art for the books, we knew that, right? They sent this to retailers in august of 2014(!) .

The book was teased if not essentially announced. It certainly wasn't denied. Mearls is playing on words. This approach to communication is not respectful of his clients' intelligence. Just say the two books were too much to handle. WotC isn't the big producer of RPGs it use to be. We know, no need to be keep it a secret.

I never said the book wasn't being produced at some point.

I'm not going to build a house of cards of doom and gloom or assume I'm being insulted over anything.

You do not know that the two books were to much to handle...thats an opinion or a guess.

I do not agree.
 

bmfrosty

Explorer
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.

I'm coming in with very little pen and paper RPG background, but a lot of CRPG and JRPG behind me. I've looked at DnD multiple times, but before, it's always come with so much cruft, that it seemed impenetrable enough that I couldn't know everything I needed to know before starting, and with that, I couldn't really start. I didn't know where to begin.

I'm massively impressed with the change that's come with 5e. Instead of be a bunch of books for everyone to buy, it seems like one book for the player to buy (be they casual or hardcore), and a multitude of books for the DM to buy.

Not that they have everything set perfectly for a new player, but it didn't take me long to work out that I just needed the Player's Handbook to get started. I also picked up the beginners box, and realized that the mini player's handbook within was redundant to the Player's Handbook, and that the PDF of the Basic Rules was a middleground.

With what appears to be another change with the Elementals storyline, with a hefty DM's guide for the adventure, and the player stuff (the meaty bits hopefully) all being dropped onto a website or PDF, it's starting to look even better, and the barrier for entry is even lower. If the pattern holds, all I'll need as a player will be the Handbook, and a collection of online resources!

I can not applaud WotC and Hasbro enough. They've taken what has for a long time been to me a long time opaque game with an apparent high cost of entry, and made it cheap. $20 for a starter set ($12 on Amazon), $50 ($30-36 on Amazon) for a Player's Handbook, or just the basic rules for free on the website. It's almost obvious how little investment is needed to start. The only thing I'd do more would be to put up a banner that says "New to D&D?", and run into a small faq about how little investment it takes to get started, and links a youtube video or two of a play session.

Thanks to WotC and Hasbro for making it all the more beginner friendly. Hopefully they'll be able to keep it that way.
 

bmfrosty

Explorer
I wonder why we couldn't have gotten, say, 64 pages of saddle-stitched material. That'd probably be cheap enough to produce. Price it at $10-15 or something.

It'd give players something to have without it costing an arm and a leg.

If it's a website like this:

http://dnd.wizards.com/products/tabletop/players-basic-rules

I don't know what the need is for a paper manual. If you want one, and they offer one like this:

http://media.wizards.com/2014/downloads/dnd/PlayerDnDBasicRules_v0.2_PrintFriendly.pdf

Then it's easy enough to print and bind yourself.

I think there's more than anything an ideal to all of it. Keep it cheap and transparent for beginning players as much as possible, and let those who are going heavily invest do so. Those who DM will invest, and those who are interested in more will invest. Those that just want to jump into one of the big adventures (like Elemental Evil), might download the basic rules for free and sit in on a game as it starts at a game store. Very accessible and easy to get started. Brings characters from level 1 to level 15. If a new player comes in and does this, maybe they make some friends in store, and maybe have more interest in buying the players guide and maybe the monster manual.

I think they're really going to try to have very low barriers of entry.
 

Kramodlog

Naked and living in a barrel
You do not know that the two books were to much to handle...thats an opinion or a guess.
Actually, I know. In fact, we all know. Everything is there in front of us.

The books was ordered by WotC and up to a few weeks ago it was still on track to be released. We even got a teaser of the art. Now everything as changed around the time the books should go to the printer, even the content of the adventure book as changed. The release date has been pushed back too. Why?

Cause suddenly Mearls realized that too many books hurt D&D? Please. They would need to release books for that to happen. Between the release of the DMG and the adventure, 4 months will have past. Not what I would call saturating the market. He had since august to realize that D&D was already too bloatted(!). Realizing this just before he has to send the books to the printer is not reassuring.

Nah, they were doing an adventure path to be released all at once, a splat book, a board game and online stuff. All at the same time with a staff of 15 people (7 of which are working on the RPG). It was too big to handle.

That is what she said. Tee hee!
 

Still only a wild guess...

also I can´t see a failure of communication. They were very upfront about only announcing something they are 90% sure about. This is wy we have heard litterally nothing about an OGL.
This is why announcements are that late, not 6 months in advance.

That too many books hurt D&D is obviuos from looking at 3rd edition or 4th. As an example of 4th edition, we had thounds of feats to go through. And so many powers. Completely not manageable without the electonic character builder.
I don´t want that anymore. Wizards is well served about not releasing 12 books per year.
There wqas some speak about some annual rules updates. I would be glad, if the best races and class builds/revisions will be delivered in a yearly hardcover. That´s it.
For the rest of the year I prefer online rules updates.
 

Halivar

First Post
Just say no to splat books. No more crunch bloat. Leave the edition treadmill. I don't run published adventures, but it makes sense to me that WotC should devote itself strictly to adventures, campaign settings, and only the crunch necessary to run them. I, for one, am thankful my players aren't going to be bringing any new splat material to my table for me to veto in 2015.
 

But we aren't getting anything at all. They aren't going to announce anything for half a year so the only thing in the limelight is Elemental Evil. This media ploy isn't for the tabletop game. It's so they can sell Neverwinter Online and that Board Game. The tabletop game is getting drekked on.

The tabletop game is out. It's been released, and has been very warmly received. It is "complete".

Will they release more products for it down the line? Sure. But splatbooks beyond the core three have never generated enough profit to support the D&D division hence Christmas lay-offs and perpetual core revision and new edition treadmill (3.0 --> 3.5 --> 4E --> Essentials --> 5E).

This time, the philosophy is different - produce a solid, well-received game, and treat it as an evergreen product to perpetually sell to new players, like Monopoly or Scrabble. The real money is to be made in moichandizing which means things Neverwinter, D&D board games and a Hollywood movie.

They're using the tabletop game to build the D&D brand loyalty for those products which will continually make them money, and in turn those products will attract more fans to the pen and paper game - all the little tykes and college nerds who end up buying the core books because "this is the game that Neverwinter / Lords of Waterdeep / the D&D movie was based on". That's how you create an "everlasting edition".

This is the best possible model for D&D going forward because otherwise it's just not going to earn enough money for Wizards to avoid new editions continually being churned out. The lack of product coming out isn't Wizards not knowing how to make D&D profitable, it's Wizards deciding that spending time and resources putting out books for the pen and paper RPG is just about the least profitable thing they could do with the IP - it's always been small potatoes compared to MTG and this time they've decided on a new strategy of much less bloat to make sure someone 25 years from now can walk into a Toys-R-Us and still buy the same core rulebook I've got on my bookshelf right now.
 

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