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D&D 5E What is canon about older-edition settings in 5E?

JEB

Hero
With the recent declaration that only 5E books are canon, it occurred to me - they've actually talked about older settings in 5E books! So taking them at their word, I thought I'd assemble together what they have (in theory) established as canon for those settings in 5E thus far. I'll start with the core rules and add more as I feel like it, but feel free to add more sources yourselves before I get to them (and add anything I missed)...

PLAYER'S HANDBOOK

Greyhawk
  • Gray elves and valley elves are high elves
  • Wild elves (grugach) and Greyhawk's wood elves are wood elves
  • Hairfeet and tallfellows are lightfoot halflings
  • The druids' Old Faith is described under the Druid entry
  • Many monk monasteries are dedicated to Xan Yae or Zuoken
  • The Scarlet Brotherhood are evil monks that believe in Suel human superiority
  • Part of the Greyhawk pantheon (not including Xan Yae or Zuoken) is described in Appendix B

Dragonlance
  • Neidar and Klar dwarves are hill dwarves
  • Hylar and Daewar dwarves are mountain dwarves
  • Silvanesti elves are high elves
  • Kagonesti elves are wood elves
  • Draconians are evil dragonborn created from the corrupt eggs of metallic dragons by followers of Takhisis; they fought for Takhisis in the War of the Lance; each corresponds to a metallic dragon color (aurak = gold, baaz = brass, bozak = bronze, kapak = copper, sivak = silver); they have "unique magical abilities" in place of breath weapons
  • Tinker gnomes are rock gnomes
  • Most monks are dedicated to Majere
  • Tika Waylan's background is described throughout Chapter 4 (to include mentions of Solace, the Inn of the Last Home, and dragonarmies)
  • Part of the Dragonlance pantheon is described in Appendix B (broken into gods of good, neutrality, and evil)

Planescape
  • Sigil is described in Appendix C
  • Gate-towns are described generally in Appendix C

Blackmoor, Birthright, Dark Sun, Mystara
  • Mentioned only in Appendix C

MONSTER MANUAL

Greyhawk
  • Nightfang Spire, Gulthias, and the Gulthias tree are mentioned under Blights (but not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • Acererak and the Tomb of Horrors are described under Demilich (but not explicitly tied to Greyhawk, and Acererak later appeared in Tomb of Annihilation)
  • The Demonomicon of Iggwilv is mentioned under Demons and again under Oozes (but not explicitly tied to Greyhawk, and Iggwilv - as Tasha - later featured in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything)
  • Hommlet and the Temple of Elemental Evil mentioned in a sidebar next to the Marilith (but not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • Slaver lord Stalman Klim is quoted in the sidebar next to Goblins (but not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • Mordenkainen describes an iron golem in Maure Castle in the sidebar next to Golems (but not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • The gynosphinx of White Plume Mountain is mentioned in the sidebar next to Sphinxes (but not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)

Dragonlance
  • Lord Soth's origin is described under Death Knight (but not explicitly tied to Dragonlance)
  • A sidebar under Green Dragon by the Silvanesti, Pelios of Ergoth, describes the green dragon Cyan Bloodbane (Silvanesti previously established to be in Dragonlance)

Planescape
  • A sidebar next to the Marid describes the Parted Veil, a bookshop in Sigil, and its proprietor
  • The Great Modron March is described under the Modron entry
  • Shemeshka the Marauder of Sigil is quoted in the sidebar in the Yugoloths entry

DUNGEON MASTER'S GUIDE

Greyhawk
  • Described as a setting that doesn't stray far from the "default assumptions" of D&D
  • Heironeous and Hextor are described
  • Kord, Pelor, Tharizdun, and Vecna, in the Dawn War pantheon, are described as originating from Greyhawk
  • Wee Jas is said to be "akin" to the Dawn War pantheon's Raven Queen
  • The Free City of Greyhawk is mentioned, and also described as an example of an oligarchy
  • The Bandit Kingdoms are an example of a kleptocracy
  • Highport and Suderham are examples of satraps, and the Slave Lords are also mentioned
  • World is named Oerth, "renowned paladin" Murlynd is named
  • The Mace of St. Cuthbert is described
  • The Barrier Peaks are mentioned
  • Elminster is said to have met a wizard from Oerth in Ed Greenwood's kitchen
  • Oerth (a "sword and sorcery" world) is detailed specifically at the end of Chapter 2, to include Bigby, Mordenkainen, the Flanaess, and Iuz
  • Wee Jas, Iuz, and Incabulos are associated with the Death domain
  • Pyremius is associated with the Death domain (not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • Blackrazor, Wave, and Whelm of White Plume Mountain are all described (not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • Eye and Hand of Vecna is described, to include Vecna
  • Sword of Kas described, to include Kas (same setting as Vecna implied)

Dragonlance
  • Described as a setting that doesn't stray far from the "default assumptions" of D&D
  • The dragonarmies and Dragon Highlords that serve under Takhisis are an example of a hierarchy
  • Solamnia is an example of a militocracy
  • Sturm Brightblade is described as an "honorable knight" (same setting as Takhisis implied)
  • Described as an "epic fantasy" setting
  • Elminster is said to have met a wizard from Krynn, the Dragonlance homeworld, in Ed Greenwood's kitchen
  • Krynn is detailed specifically at the end of Chapter 2, to include Ansalon
  • Chemosh and Morgion are associated with the Death domain
  • Orb of Dragonkind described, to include Towers of High Sorcery; Takhisis is explicitly described as Tiamat's name on Krynn

Mystara
  • Described as a setting that doesn't stray far from the "default assumptions" of D&D
  • Mystara is detailed specifically at the end of Chapter 2, to include Immortals

Nentir Vale
  • The Dawn War pantheon is presented as an example pantheon (but not explicitly tied to Nentir Vale)
  • World Axis cosmology is described (but not explicitly tied to Nentir Vale)

Dark Sun
  • Described as a setting that moves further away from the "baseline" of D&D
  • The sorcerer-kings of Athas are an example of a magocracy
  • Planet named as Athas, described as a world where arcane magic is hated and drains life from the world, and notes that most magic in Athas is held by evildoers
  • Described as a "sword and sorcery" setting with heroic gladiators
  • Athas is detailed specifically at the end of Chapter 2, to include water being valuable, the gods abandoning it, and metal being scarce

Planescape
  • Described as a setting that moves further away from the "baseline" of D&D
  • Sigil and the Infinite Staircase are mentioned as ways to travel the Outer Planes
  • Gate-towns are named and Sigil is detailed, to include the Lady of Pain
  • Razorvine is described among wilderness hazards

Spelljammer
  • Described as another setting that moves further away from the "baseline" of D&D

Birthright
  • Aebrynis is detailed specifically at the end of Chapter 2, to include scions with divine bloodlines, Cerilia, and abominations born from an evil god
EDIT: Additional posts (disclaimer - these are only possible canon at best - the public, official canon policy only includes the current printings of the core rulebooks, reflected above):
 
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The description of Mystara proves WOTC doesn't know anything about the setting.
I would dispute that.

The bulk of the setting is absolutely in-line with default D&D assumptions. There are weird corners, but they're not representative of the setting as a whole.

Or do you mean the short chapter 2 description which reads:

"On Mystara (a heroic-fantasy world born out of the earliest editions of the D&D game), diverse cultures, savage monsters, and warring empires collide. The world is further shaped by the meddling of the Immortals — former adventurers raised to nearly divine status."

What about that would you dispute? I'm not a Mystara expert but that doesn't seem hugely out-of-line.
With the recent declaration that only 5E books are canon, it occurred to me - they've actually talked about older settings in 5E books! So taking them at their word, I thought I'd assemble together what they have (in theory) established as canon for those settings in 5E thus far. I'll start with the core rules and add more as I feel like it, but feel free to add more sources yourselves before I get to them (and add anything I missed)...
This is a really good summary!

I don't have anything to add yet, but it's particularly interesting because it does imply certain things, like if WotC did do a 5E Dark Sun, it would have Defilers - but the lack of mention of psionics (even as something like "strange powers") is perhaps revealing (esp. as back when the DMG was written WotC was thinking psionics would relatively soon be in 5E). Also Birthright gets a write-up, which I'd forgotten and is faintly surprising. Krynn is tied pretty specifically to the War of the Lance period too.
 

dave2008

Legend
Jeb, are you looking for comments about the core books or taking items from other books as well? Also, is this only about a particular setting, or general lore? Of the top of my Head:

Dungeon Master's Guide"
Takhisis is the name for Tiamat on Krynn (noted in the Dragon Orb artifact entry)
 

JEB

Hero
Jeb, are you looking for comments about the core books or taking items from other books as well? Also, is this only about a particular setting, or general lore? Of the top of my Head:

Dungeon Master's Guide"
Takhisis is the name for Tiamat on Krynn (noted in the Dragon Orb artifact entry)
I'm looking for any information about older-edition settings (other than those published in a 5E setting book - i.e. the Realms, Eberron, or Ravenloft) that was described in any official 5E book. Anything you can add is welcome! Means less books for me to dig through...
 


Personally, I think you are being a bit literal. I don't think the 5e DMG was written with plans this far down the road in mind, and I don't think WotC will be too bothered about changing something they said earlier in 5e if they have reason to do so.
I mean, you may be right, and the 5E DMG really has a lot of signs of being written in an awful hurry (something not seen in a D&D core book post-1E, I'd say), but equally I think the general thinking about these settings at WotC probably still holds true. (Spelljammer and Planescape aren't mentioned because they're just listing "Known worlds of the Material Plane"). So whilst I accept they could change any of this, I very much doubt that they will change any of this.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Personally, I think you are being a bit literal. I don't think the 5e DMG was written with plans this far down the road in mind, and I don't think WotC will be too bothered about changing something they said earlier in 5e if they have reason to do so.

Very much agree with this.

But to give the OP something to chew on, I'll use a recent book, Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, which seems to provide much more "canon" material than the core books probably do.

Specifically, for in the VRGtR, there is a line which implies that Lord Soth's Domain of Dread, Sithicus, is destroyed. That does imply it had existed, but no longer does. So it could mean that at least some of Lord Soth's history and fall to Ravenloft (and likely his escape) is canon. It is of course only one line however.
 



Parmandur

Book-Friend
I don't have anything to add yet, but it's particularly interesting because it does imply certain things, like if WotC did do a 5E Dark Sun, it would have Defilers - but the lack of mention of psionics (even as something like "strange powers") is perhaps revealing (esp. as back when the DMG was written WotC was thinking psionics would relatively soon be in 5E). Also Birthright gets a write-up, which I'd forgotten and is faintly surprising. Krynn is tied pretty specifically to the War of the Lance period too.
I think if/when they do Dark Sun, they will do up Wild Talents similar to Dark Gifts or Supernatural Gifts. Maybe reprint the Psionic Subclasses, maybe they will pull off a Psion of soem sort.

Birthright is still consistently included in their surveys about Settings and such, I think that WotC sees potential there for a "Political Machinations" genre booster that stands out.

If they do anything with Dragonlance, a big old reboot seems to be the order of the day.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
There's a big one hinted at in...

TASHA'S CAULDRON OF EVERYTHING

Planescape
(page 103) an image is captioned "In the City of Sigil, Guildmaster Rhys realizes that finding capable recruits is one of the main challenges of being a patron."

Rhys was originally a factol who, during the events of Faction War, was the sole surviving factol (IIRC) and became just a "guildmaster", thus this image/caption reinforces that Faction War is canon in the 5e conception of Planescape.

EnHmep2XYAMvx5b.jpeg
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
There's a big one hinted at in...

TASHA'S CAULDRON OF EVERYTHING

Planescape
(page 103) an image is captioned "In the City of Sigil, Guildmaster Rhy realizes that finding capable recruits is one of the main challenges of being a patron."

Rhy was originally a factol who, during the events of Faction War, was the sole surviving factol (IIRC) and became just a "guildmaster", thus this image/caption reinforces that Faction War is canon in the 5e conception of Planescape.

View attachment 141135
I dunno if we can assume anything about broader events in Sigil, but the most interesting part about this is it is a 5E illustration of a 2E Tiefling.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
MORDENKAINEN'S TOME OF FOES

Planescape

(page 213) The nigh-unstoppable inevitables serve a singular purpose: they enforce contracts forged in the Hall of Concordance in the city of Sigil. Primus, the leader of the modrons, created maruts and other inevitables to bring order to dealings between planar folk.

The Hall of Concordance is an embassy of pure law in Sigil, the City of Doors. In the hall, two parties who agree to mutual terms – and who pay the requisite gold to the Kolyarut, a mechanical engine of absolute jurisprudence – can have their contract chiseled onto a sheet of gold that is placed in the chest of a marut.

This is the first mention of the Hall of Concordance & the first time we see Kolyarut capitalized and referred to as a singular entity.
 

ersatzphil

Explorer
Rhy was originally a factol who, during the events of Faction War, was the sole surviving factol (IIRC) and became just a "guildmaster", thus this image/caption reinforces that Faction War is canon in the 5e conception of Planescape.
Interestingly, the same chapter depicts Azalin much more in line with how he was in 2e, as opposed to how he's depicted in Van Richten's Guide.

The Eberron book also mentions Sigil in it's description of the Artificer class.
 





Rhy was originally a factol who, during the events of Faction War, was the sole surviving factol (IIRC) and became just a "guildmaster", thus this image/caption reinforces that Faction War is canon in the 5e conception of Planescape.
That's extremely worrying, given Faction War was complete trash to the point where Monte Cook has tried to excuse it more than once. He swears blind he was going to fix the trashfire it caused with the next adventure, but wasn't able to because they (I forget if they was WotC by then) didn't want to publish another one at that point.

They'd better have retcon'd in the Factions coming back to Sigil, and not going with the absolutely disgraceful setup they had in 4E Sigil (mentioned in the DMG2, in some detail), which has Sigil being run by incredibly boring, no-philosphy, no-attitude, no-style, zero cool three-letter-acronym agencies, like some sort of small, forgettable flyover-state city in the US in the 1970s or something. A diverse and wonderful thing replaced by the most boring possible kind of technocracy.

Honestly if they keep that, WotC won't see a penny from me until the next edition. Hell I might quit D&D for the entire time the current management team were in charge (possibly permanently) if they re-vandalized Sigil that badly, after specifically saying they weren't bound by trash from previous editions.
 
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