[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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TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
The material that was going to be sold in a hardback book for $40.00 is now going to be included in the adventure materials it was designed to support and/or available online free of charge. Nothing less is being released. The only difference now is that if you buy the adventure you will get more for your money. How does that suck?

For me, I know I wasn't going to buy the adventure anyway, so the inclusion of the material is a moot point. And it seems unlikely they developed a full 160 or 192 page book full of crunch, but decided to suddenly release it all online. More likely, the amount of solid crunch material developed was far less than necessary to fill a book.

Now, while I'm not unhappy that they aren't releasing a $40 book that's mostly filler, I was looking forward to some new subclasses, at the very least (which would seem to be a minimum standard in releasing a book of player options). New races and spells are fine, but don't really scratch that "new shiny" itch like a new class or subclass would.
 

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Wolfskin

Explorer
New races and spells are fine, but don't really scratch that "new shiny" itch like a new class or subclass would.
I also would've loved some new subclasses. My guess is that new subclasses will show up in an adventure-agnostic supplement, probably announced by GenCon. Just guessing, though!
 

dream66_

First Post
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..."

I can't say how they can said lots of books where bad for 3e and 4e when both sold very very well and really restored the game after the doldrums of being almost forgotten in the 2e era.
 

Gadget

Adventurer
I fail to see what the big hubub is about. WOTC never announced the product. Obviously they did some initial work and a mock up cover as planning and development, but decided not to go forward with the project in this format. Maybe some of the material that was planned for the book will be in the adventure, maybe other material will be released on line. It's almost like an apple rumors forum in here where people get all upset about the latest product because it didn't have all the features that the rumor mill said it would have.
 

lkj

Hero
As I mentioned in another thread, I think they might be experimenting with a new strategy. They are trying to release fewer books, but they know that existing gamers still want new content (like genasi). They also probably want to avoid the critique (which might have been legitimate) that someone who just wanted bits and pieces of mechanics from various storylines were being 'forced' to buy multiple expensive books that contained lots of content they didn't actually want.

This way, those who are gung-ho, can buy the fancy book packed with an adventure and lots of elemental options. Others can get the mechanics out of a free download.

And that free download might just tempt some to go ahead and buy the book.

The strategy would presumably limit the number of books they print per year (clearly a goal of theirs), while still allowing them to expand the game (via free stuff) to keep people engaged.

I'm just speculating. But I think it might be a good strategy to try if I'm right.

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I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
I can't say how they can said lots of books where bad for 3e and 4e when both sold very very well and really restored the game after the doldrums of being almost forgotten in the 2e era.

'cuz neither of them could last more than ~3 years without a new suite of "core rules" (3.5, or Essentials), I'd wager.

If the job of the supplements is to support the game, and if they cost more to make than they're bringing in after a year or two, then they're not doing a very good job of that.
 

dream66_

First Post
'cuz neither of them could last more than ~3 years without a new suite of "core rules" (3.5, or Essentials), I'd wager.

If the job of the supplements is to support the game, and if they cost more to make than they're bringing in after a year or two, then they're not doing a very good job of that.

Well puts me in a real spot. I like splat books, I like having new content. I miss Dragon Magazine BADLY!!!!! I agree with slowing down but this is crazy slow, way too slow for my tastes. I want an active updating game, and pathfinder doesn't capture me.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Well puts me in a real spot. I like splat books, I like having new content. I miss Dragon Magazine BADLY!!!!! I agree with slowing down but this is crazy slow, way too slow for my tastes. I want an active updating game, and pathfinder doesn't capture me.

You might be in the market for EN5IDER!

It's also possible we'll see Dragon/Dungeon revived or put up as a series of articles or somesuch, as a low-cost solution for those who want more material.

And the OGL might yet solve all those issues with a firehose of products!

Those last two are kind of waiting on WotC still, and the first one isn't off the ground quite yet, but I think your need is answerable without WotC needing to spend the money to produce stuff (necessarily).
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I fail to see what the big hubub is about.

There's no particular "hubub". Just some people chatting. If you're not interested in the subject, you don't have to participate. There's lots of other threads here!

WOTC never announced the product. Obviously they did some initial work and a mock up cover as planning and development, but decided not to go forward with the project in this format. Maybe some of the material that was planned for the book will be in the adventure, maybe other material will be released on line. It's almost like an apple rumors forum in here where people get all upset about the latest product because it didn't have all the features that the rumor mill said it would have.

People like talking about stuff they're interested in. This is a good thing. What would be bad is if nobody was speculating about WotC's plans. Many RPG companies would kill for 5% of the amount of interest people have in what WotC does.
 


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